Category Archives: Eastern Church

New patriarch for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church

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One head of Church leaves his ministry, another picks up a new call to serve God’s people on the same day. Abune Mathias, 71, was elected to lead Ethiopia’s 50 million Orthodox Christians, majority of the population. He is the sixth patriarch having received 500 of the 806 possible votes. His predecessor, Abune Paulos, was the head of the church since 1992 and died six months ago.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has had its own patriarch since 1959 when Pope Cyril VI allowed for the Ethiopian Church to move from the Coptic Orthodox Church and be self-ruling. The Ethiopian Church has apostolic origins.

The new patriarch was ordained to the Order of Deacon in 1948, and a priest-monk in 1955. Since 1971 a bishop. Abune Mathias has been serving as archbishop of the Church in Jerusalem and has lived outside of Ethiopia for more than 30 years.

Abune Mathias will be enthroned in Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa, on Sunday, 3 March.

Ethiopia has some of the word’s oldest churches, sometimes called “cave churches,” rock-hewn, which are a World Heritage Site, in Lalibella in northern Ethiopia. They’d remind of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Melkite Patriarch wants to work for peace, denounces recent terrorist explosions

The violence in Syria doesn’t seem to end, the dignity persons disrespected. Recent terrorist explosions in Damascus’ Mazraa district left 53 dead and 235 injuredand caused extensive damage, particularly to a school and a hospital. 

Melkite Patriarch Gregory III issued a statement on February 21st. I recommend to your prayers His Beatitude’s intentions and leadership, and to work for peace in your own particular context.

He calls for an end of providing weapons to the warring factions.

Read the full Statement of Patriarch Gregory 21 February 2013.pdf

In short he said,

  • We extend our appeal to Russia and the United States of America to continue their sincere efforts to support progress towards dialogue and a comprehensive political solution. The patience of Syrians is exhausted: their suffering is exacerbated in every detail of their daily life.
  • We ask His Holiness the Pope and leaders of the Holy Apostolic See of Rome to launch a diplomatic initiative of the Catholic Church based on its global spiritual influence.
  • We turn once more especially to our faithful of the Patriarchal Eparchy of Damascus, inviting them to fast and pray during this period of Great Lent for security and peace in Syria and for the success of efforts for dialogue and reconciliation.

The Patriarch of Constantinople’s letter to Benedict

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The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, wrote a letter on occasion of the abdication of Pope Benedict. It is a warm letter and testimony to his co-worker in the vineyard. In an era of lots of change in the leadership of many changes, it is interesting to what is said,

It is with regret that we have learned of the decision by His Holiness Pope Benedict to retire from his Throne, because with his wisdom and experience he could have provided much more to the Church and the world.

Pope Benedict leaves an indelible mark on the life and history of the Roman Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief papacy, but also by his broad and longstanding contribution as a theologian and hierarch of his Church, as well as his universally acknowledged prestige.

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Louis Sako elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Church

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Archbishop Louis Sako, 64, who since 2003 and until now the archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, has been elected the new Patriarch of Babylon, and the archbishop of Baghdad. He is XX worldwide leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Sako was elected this week by the Synod of the Chaldean Church, 15 bishops, which has been meeting in Rome this week to discuss the church life and to elect a successor to Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly who retired on 19 December 2012. Pope Benedict XVI quickly granted his request for full ecclesiastical communion, according to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches.

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako is the point of unity among Chaldean Catholics and with the Bishop of Rome. His work will be to clearly preserve the life of the Chaldean Church, but also to chart the future of the ancient Christian community 

The new Patriarch is a native of Mosul, Iraq, ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He earned two doctorates–first in Patristics at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and the second in history at the Sorbonne, Paris. Sako did pastoral work in Mosul and was the rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad for 5 years prior to being ordained as the archbishop of Kirkuk on 14 November 2003. He is a published author and speaks several languages.

An interview with Vatican Radio.

Rome Reports has a brief news piece.

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Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak elected new Patriarch for Catholic Copts

Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.jpegThe Most Reverend Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57, was elected by the Synod of Bishop of the Catholic Coptic Church, to be Patriarch on January 15, 2013. He succeeds Antonio Cardinal Naguib.

Until now Patriarch Ibrahim has been the bishop of Minya since September 2002. He is the second bishop of Minya to be elected patriarch.
The Coptic Catholic Church is small with c. 165 thousand people. It was established in 1824. In Canada and the USA there are 5 parishes.

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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]
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