- Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:50
It’s not been a week into the exercise of the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis and members of the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy are “expressing hope” about the Bishop of Rome will or will not do with regard to the so-called “expansion” of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church. Really, they are setting conditions for dialogue and fraternal cooperation.
Recognizable is the fact that Russians want to be the dominant Church body in Eastern Europe and they want no “competition” from anyone else. They believe that to be Russian, or Ukrainian, for that matter, is to be Orthodox. They will not accept the possibility of a person’s freedom in choosing which Church to belong and that historically the Byzantine and Latin Catholics have been part of the cultural makeup of the Christian East. As a condition for good relations Metropolitan Hilarion and other Orthodox leaders want to pressure the Bishop of Rome not to work with the Byzantine Ukrainian Church in any way. Pope Francis, and the entire Roman Church wants good and fruitful relationships with the Orthodox Church worldwide, and in Russia. It will not be the case that we turn our back on the Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Synod. Lingering disagreements are not resolved by pressure and being agenda-driven.
You would never know that Metropolitan Hilarion was educated at Oxford and that he’s spent much of his youthful days enjoying certain freedom of education and culture in the West with ignorant comments such as he’s made about the Jesuits. His suspicion is greatly exaggerated and offensive. It betrays another level of insecurity of his person and his Church. His comments about the Jesuits, and therefore, Pope Francis, show yet example of that he is not a serious churchman. One only has to recall that it’s been the Jesuits in the 20th and 21st centuries who have provided rigorous educational opportunities at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (PIO) in Rome for the service to the Churches. And an education, I might add, to plenty of Orthodox priests, bishops and laity at the expense of the PIO. An anti-Jesuit stance in this case is clichéd and will bear no fruit.
May the great Mother of God bless the Churches.
- Monday, 18 March 2013 15:46
The chair of the Bishop of Rome, Basilica Saint John Lateran, Rome.
In the first moments of his introduction to the world, Pope Francis has spoken of his ministry as the bishop of Rome, and his exercise of said ministry. Nine times, in fact. I think many were surprised at the theological precision that Pope Francis expressed so quickly. How is this possible? Because Francis is clearly Christocentric, and the Petrine ministry located in service of the other and at the foot of the Cross.
We ought to recall that ministries in the Church have gradually taken on new significance over time as the issues of teaching, preaching and sanctifying and governing (leading) surfaced and challenged the unity of the faithful. We know historically that by the third century the parameters of the bishop of Rome began to develop because of the work of Saints Peter and Paul, and because of the importance of the imperial city of Rome, and by the fourth century the influence of the Roman bishop was well-situated; and by the fifth century “canonical” letters, i.e., decrees, were sent to the world’s bishops carrying with them certain authority. One can posit that from almost the beginning bishops from across the Christian world had appealed to the bishop of Rome for assistance in resolving with pastoral problems.
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- Friday, 01 March 2013 17:08
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.
- Tuesday, 26 February 2013 14:44
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.
- Monday, 25 February 2013 07:33
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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