Category Archives: Eastern Church

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

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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.

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NJ.com 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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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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