Category Archives: Eastern Church

Catholics and Orthodox need to preserve the good of the dialogue for unity

hilarion alfeyev of volokolamsk-vienna.jpg

Back on 31 October 2012, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk

delivered a lecture dedicated to the past and present of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue at Villanova University (Philadelphia, PA). The 46 year old Metropolitan earned a doctorate from Oxford University and was ordained a bishop in 2002. In addition to being a residential bishop he is also the head of the Department of the External Church Relations since 2009. He is a widely published author and an excellent musician of international repute. The two Churches share the same concerns, though there are nuances to be made but that is a conversation for another time. 

I think it is apropos to give a few extracts from the Metropolitan’s talk that pose some points for reflection on the unity of Christians. Remember we beginning the octave of Christian Unity on the 18th.

“The teaching of the holy fathers of the first millennium, when the Churches of the East and the West abided in unity, although at times this unity was subjected to serious trials, is the sure foundation upon which dialogue between Christians can develop successfully and fruitfully. It is my profound conviction that fidelity to the Christian tradition, the preservation of continuity in the teaching and life of the Church is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ’s disciples.

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The Syriac Catholic Church in North America

Referring to the Catholic Church as missionary may seem odd to some people. We don’t think of the Church in terms of being missionary, yet we are. To refer to a Catholic diocese in North America as a “mission diocese” may even rest uneasily on some ears. But both statements are true: the Catholic Church is missionary and there are some dioceses in North America that are mission dioceses. The Church always proposes the eternal truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that the Church He founded is His extension of love and mercy in history.

The presence of the Syriac Catholic Church in North America is a mission diocese (eparchy in church-speak when referencing an Eastern Catholic jurisdiction). The headquarters here is the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark.

Eastern Catholic bishops USA 2012.jpg carried a story by Father Alexander Santora today, “Syriac Catholic bishop is a very busy man,” covers a lot of ground in acquainting us with this particular Church which is not a mere rite, but fully in communion with the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI.
As a Catholic jurisdiction established by Pope John Paul II in 1995, with Bishop Joseph Younan as the first eparch –who has since 2009 been the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church– and now governed by Bishop Joseph Habash, 61, as the second bishop.
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Chaldean Patriarch and Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, resigns

Cardeal Emmanuel III Delly.jpgThe 85 year old Chaldean Patriarch and Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly resigned today.

The Pope accepted his resignation and has called for a special synod of bishops of the Chaldean Church to meet on January 28, 2013 to be supervised by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches.
The Chaldean Church will be governed by Archbishop Jacques Ishaq, 74, a curial bishop. The Chaldean Church in Iraq numbers about 450K+ and 1.5 million worldwide.
Patriarch Emmanuel III was ordained 60 years ago today; has been a bishop since 1963. When he was elected he was a retired bishop. Benedict XVI nominated him a cardinal in 2007.
Delly attended several sessions of Vatican II.
The Orthodox equivalent to the Chaldean Church is The Assyrian Church of the East who has its headquarters in Chicago, governed by Patriarch Dinkha IV. In the USA, there are two Catholic eparchies for the Chaldeans, one in Michigan and one in southern California. Whether Orthodox or Catholic, these church in Iraq considers the Apostle Saint Thomas to be a founder of the Church. Since November 11, 1994, the Church of Rome and the Church of the East (the Orthodox group) signed the Common Christological Declaration meaning that the Churches held Chalcedonian faith in Christ’s humanity and divinity.
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New Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch elected

John Yaziji.jpgThe Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch elected a new patriarch, His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop of Europe, John Yazigi, 57. He will be known as John X.

The special synod of 18 bishops gathered for the election following the death of Patriarch Ignatius IV who died on December 5; the synod met at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Patriarch John was born in 1955 to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother in family of six children. His brother Paul is the Metropolitan of Allepo and his sister is a nun.
Patriarch John X is an Athonite monk ordained a deacon in 1979, a priest in 1983 and a bishop in 1995. In 2008, he was elected to pastoral service in Europe. His education includes degrees in civil engineering, theology, liturgy and music. His skill as an administrator can be seen in his work as Dean of the School of Theology at Balamand twice. John is known to be an exceptional pastor with competencies in the sacred Liturgy and Music; he’s a published author and popular speaker.
Blessings on Patriarch John!

Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, 91, RIP

Ignatius IV Hazim .jpgGreek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, 91, died today, Wednesday, at a Beirut hospital after suffering a stroke a day earlier.


Born in the village of Mhardey near Hama in Syria in 1921, Habib Hazim was the son of an Arab Greek Orthodox family and was attracted to ecclesial ministry early in life. After finishing school in Hama, Hazim moved to Beirut where he studied literature and started serving the Orthodox Church in Lebanon.


 Hazim helped found the global Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations and he became a bishop in 1961 and in 1970 he was elected Orthodox Metropolitan of the Syrian city of Latakia, a coastal city. Hazim was elected Greek Orthodox
Patriarch of  Antioch and all the East in 1979, succeeding Patriarch Elias IV. The Patriarch of Antioch is the third most important See after the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria.


Eternal Memory.

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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