Eastern Church: February 2011 Archives

Sfeir.jpgToday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the petition of His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, cardinal, to retire from his pastoral leadership as the Father of Maronite Church.

The resignation was speculated a few weeks ago.

Here is the letter of Pope Benedict to His Beatitude (in French until an English translation is given).

Jonah.JPGThe Orthodox Church in America (OCA), according to reports, has placed Metropolitan Jonah on a leave of absence. The Synod of the OCA acted swiftly to seeming abuse of power. The Metropolitan Jonah, it seems, is facing mounting questions not only over issues of style of management but anger issues.

The news is found here. This is distressing given all the problems the OCA has faced in recent years.

In his words, His Beatitude speaks about the requested lenten quies.

The OCA news of changes

Being a bishop --and for that matter, a priest-- in this era is tough. One can't lead if the sheep don't want to follow. Some see clearly what is needed for clear testimony and action so that the lex orandi tradition is not trampled. Deeper conversion to Christ and living a coherent life of faith is not easy when sin is rampant. Disconnected from reality is not a virtue for the Christian Church, Catholic or Orthodox. When His Beatitude was elected as head of the OCA just over two years ago there was much hope for good leadership in the OCA after the sexual and financial scandals of clergy and laity alike. His very addresses were received with enthusiasm because he spoke with authority. I, for one, said "Finally, someone who gets it." Could the troubles faced by Metropolitan Jonah be the result of the negative aspects of American culture to engrained in attitudes of members of the Synod coupled with a exaggerated sense in the capacity to change human frailties?

We pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace of prudence for the OCA. May the all-holy Virgin Mary intercede.
St Maron2.jpg1600 years is a long time. But the Church never forgets. She especially never forgets a sainted monk who called together others to live the Gospel and to pray. Maronite Church who traces her foundation to a monk is remembering his good work and his death of so long ago. Several celebrations around the US mark the anniversary.

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour celebrated the Divine Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and prayed for peace in the Middle East at his cathedral, Our Lady of Lebanon, Brooklyn, NY.

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, presided at a celebration of the Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and gave an address in which he reminded the Maronites to be custodians of the Christian gospel and tradition in the Middle East (and wherever they are. The celebration happened at the Maronite College in Rome.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell recently presided at the Maronite Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Waterbury.

Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing prays the Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Lansing, MI.

At the invitation of Chorbishop John Faris, His Eminence Daniel N. DiNardo with Bishop James Cunnigham of Syracuse presided during the Divine Liturgy at Saint Louis Gonzaga Church in Utica, NY.

A beautiful brief video "Saint Maron | 1600 years" is worth viewing even though it is narrated in Arabic.
Husar and Voznyak.jpgIn the past weeks we've seen the Pontiff accepting the resignation of His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, 78, as the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Bishop Ihor Voznyak is the temporary administrator of the Church until a new leader is elected.

The Ukrainian Church is the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches with its own tradition, law, discipline, and customs; in Church law we'd call the Ukrainian Church an Ecclesia sui juris. As a note, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is alternately called the Union Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite or the Kyivan Catholic Church. Empress Maria Theresa introduced the designation of Greek-Catholic in the title of the Church in 1774. In 1999, the Synod of Bishops introduced the name "Kyivan Catholic Church."
Cardinal Husar.jpg
His Beatitude, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, MSU, 78, retired from serving the Ukrainian Catholic Church today. The Holy Father accepted the Cardinal's request to retired due to health concerns. He has served the Church in his present position since 2001.

His Beatitude has been a bishop since 1977. Husar has done a terrific job for the Church these past years and is owed a debt of gratitude.

The Cardinal has a terrific sense of humor, friendly and insightful. My sadness is that he never was granted the title of Patriarch, a title he's entitled to use given the state of his Church but the pope's have been reticent to grant the patriarch's title in fear of what the Russian Orthodox Church would say.

CNS' Cindy Wooden's article on His Beatitude's resignation; looking to the future...

Saint Maron

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In honor of the 1600th anniverssary of the death of Saint Maron, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI blessed and unveiled a new statue of the saint at the Vatican basilica of Saint Peter's.

For the past year, Maronites and others around the world have been observing a jubliee year called by His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasralla Peter Sfeir. In a letter to the Maronite Church around the world he said, in part, 

Our Church was not built after a name of a See or Apostle, but rather took its identity from the radiance of a man and a monastery: the Maronite Church, a Church of asceticism and adoration attached from the beginning to a solitary man, not a man of rank or a Church leader.

The faith lived out by the hermit Maron became the inner strength of a people's history. As for the successive migrations from Syria (in the 5-10th centuries), the Maronites gave them one meaning, that is, giving up land, wealth and comfort in Syria moving toward a poor land where anxiety and austerity prevail, so they could preserve their faith and remain attached to their freedom ... This event is not a simple historical fact among others ...  it is the very beginning of a new history, the history of the Maronites.

The Jubilee Prayer

Lord, Jesus, You called Your chosen one, Saint Maron, to the monastic life, perfected him in divine virtues, and guided him along the difficult road to the heavenly kingdom.

During this jubilee year, commemorating 1600 years since the death of Your chosen one, Saint Maron, when he was called to the house of Your heavenly Father, we ask You, through his intercession, to immerse us in Your love that we may walk in Your path, heed Your commandments, and follow in his footsteps.

May his holy example resonate throughout our lives. With Your love, may we achieve that final distination reached by our father, Saint Maron, and carry Your Gospel throughout the world.

Through his intercession, may we attain the glory of the resurrection and everlasting life in You.

Glory and thanks are due to You, to Your blessed Father, and to Your living Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page is a archive of entries in the Eastern Church category from February 2011.

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