Eastern Church: July 2013 Archives

Blessed Massabki Brothers.jpg

Abdel Mohti, Francis, and Raphael were three Maronite laymen killed inside the Franciscan church in Damascus while they were praying. 

On 9 July 1860, the killers entered the Franciscan church in Damascus where the Brothers were in prayer. The Islamic fanatics gave the Brothers a choice: reject Christianity and accept Islam, or, be killed. The Brothers said: "You may destroy our lives but you cannot destroy our faith in Christ and our souls; we are Christians. In the faith of Christ we live and in the faith of Christ we shall die." The three holy brothers were killed as were several of the Franciscan friars.

Pope Pius XI beatified the three Massabki  brothers on 7 October 1926.

Blessed Massabki Brothers, pray for Lebanon, the Church in the USA, and each one of us.


Today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Shaheen from the pastoral governance of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, and has appointed as Bishop of the same Eparchy the Reverend Father Abdallah Elias Zaidan, MLM, 50, up until now Rector of Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon-St. Peter Maronite Cathedral in Los Angeles. He was ordained a priest on 20 July 1986.

Bishop Robert Joseph Shaheen was the first native American (born in Danbury, CT) to be nominated bishop for the Maronites in the USA, and the second bishop of of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles. He was ordained a priest 1964 and a bishop on 15 February 2001.

Bishop-elect Zaidan will be ordained in Lebanon and later enthroned in the United States.

May God grant Bishop-elect Abdallah many years.

Our Lady of Lebanon, intercede for the Eparchy.

Saint Maron, pray for us.

stagon.JPGThe are differences in how the Christian churches view priesthood. Generally speaking the priests of the Latin Church are celibate. But there are exceptions made for those who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion as married ministers who come into full communion with the Church of Rome. Then in many of the Eastern Catholic churches there are both married and celibate priests. In the USA, more of the Eastern Catholic priests are celibate due to an implementation of a rule imposed upon because of a strife between a Latin bishop and Eastern Catholics.

Eastern Christianity has had a long and venerable tradition of a married priesthood. Peggy Fletcher of the RNS wrote a very fine story on a family with priests "doing God's work with sincerity and earnestness" in "Like father like son(s): Boys follow their father's calling," (The Washington Post, July 1, 2013). I recommend reading the article.

I am not calling into question the valid spiritual discipline of a celibate priesthood in the Catholic Church; the celibate Catholic priesthood has a valuable spiritual tradition with good reasons for following in this manner. The point here is that among those in the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church a man can validly follow the Lord as being married and being a priest. We have a history of it. Eastern Catholic Christians in the USA have been told by the authorities in Rome that a married priesthood is not possible. Certain biases are evident. American Eastern Catholic bishops say a married priesthood is part of the long, lived theological tradition --and it is part of canonical tradition-- and that they ought to be free to ordain married men without issue. There are practical matters that always need to be accounted for, but one can say that both vocations, being married and being a priest, is possible. The article is less about a political statement than it is about the beauty of two vocations cohering well.

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 July 2013.

Eastern Church: June 2013 is the previous archive.

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