Category Archives: Eastern Church

Reciprocal festal gestures for Sts Peter & Paul feast: Pope and an Ecumenical delegation meet

It’s like having your favorite but not too seen aunt Gretchen over the house for coffee to remember what she looks like and to keep up some appearances of genuine love. I shouldn’t make light of such encounters; they are important. It’s tradition and tradition is a very good thing. On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul a delegation is sent to Rome to meet the Pope, to exchange fraternal greetings, to listen to a brief discourse that’s on the mind of the Pope, to hear what the Patriarch of Constantinople has to say, etc. The whole thing is repeated on November 30 when Rome sends a delegation to Constantinople for the feast of Saint Andrew. The trouble is, does anything concrete result from these yearly meetings? What are the implications of this type of high level meeting?  Note the Pope’s perspective and his hope. There is an important rhythm of dialogue that happens in coming to understand human and ecclesial complexities which have an end in mind. Two of the Pope’s paragraphs are noted below. 

The Orthodox delegation included: His Eminence, Emmanuel, metropolitan of France and Director of the Office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union, Bishop Athenagoras, Bishop of Sinope and auxiliary to the metropolitan of Belgium and Archimandrite Maximus Pothos, vicar general of the metropolitan of Switerland.

Watch the video report from H2O News.

Orthodox rchbishop with Pope June 28 2011.jpg

We follow with great attention the work of the Mixed Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole. From a purely human point of view, one might have the impression that the theological dialogue is having trouble in progressing. In reality, the rhythm of dialogue is linked to the complexity of the themes being discussed, which call for an extraordinary effort of study, of reflection and of reciprocal openness. We are called to continue this course together in charity, invoking light and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, in the certainty that He wishes to lead us to the full accomplishment of the will of Christ: that they may all be one (John 17:21). I am particularly grateful to all the members of the Mixed Commission and in particular to the co-Presidents, His Eminence the Metropolitan of Pergamum Ioannis and His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, for their tireless dedication, their patience and their competence.

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Nicholas James Samra: New eparch of Newton for the Melkites

Nicholas J. Samra.jpegThe Holy Father, upon the recommendation of the Melkite Synod, has given his assent to election of the Most Reverend Nicholas James Samra as the new Eparch of Newton for the Melkites. Bishop Nicholas, 67, has been the auxiliary of the same. Bishop Nicholas replaces Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros who has been elected the Metropolitan of Beruit and Jbeil.

The Eparchy of Newton covers the entire country; it was founded in 1966 and erected as an eparchy in 1976. According to 2009 stats the Eparchy has 26,700 faithful.
I have known Sayedna Nicholas for years and this is a terrific choice for the Eparchy!!!
Bishop Nicholas is the first native born to be the Father of the Eparchy!
God grant him many years!!!!!

Archbishop Shevchuk interviewed by Vatican Radio

Abp Shevchuk.jpgArchbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk was recently interviewed by Philippa Hitchens of Vatican Radio.

The newly elected Major Archbishop talks about his election, the grace of the Holy Spirit for the Church today, ecclesial unity, the Russian Orthodox Church, Pope John Paul and some other things. He’s clear and polished.
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Sviatsolav wants fraternal realtions with Patriarch Kyril


His Beatitude Sviatsolav is making headlines these days with all kinds of hott button issues. The news is reporting, predictably, that His Beatitude wants to work on relations with the Russian Orthodox Church. No doubt his own predictions for dialogue leading to deeper full, visible unity would indicate his desire to be fraternal with the ROC and one may also say that he’s taking note of Pope Benedict’s desire to meet with Patriarch Kyril.

Sviatsolav said: “Our church has voiced its readiness and openness for a dialogue ever since it emerged from the underground.” And he’s also reported to have said, “I think that today, we should heal the wounds rather than irritate and deepen them. One can heal the wounds of our memory only with mutual forgiveness. Therefore, as for any our brethren or neighbors who wounded us or were wounded by us, the best way to communicate is to be open in a brotherly dialogue, be open to the purification of our memory, to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.”

Shevchuk talks about his election, chosen to lead a Church

Shevchuk & Pope Benedict Mar 31 2011.jpg

Cindy Wooden’s CNS article, “Ukrainian archbishop says he was chosen ‘despite age to promote unity” on Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk gives a clearer sense of the man and some of priorities. Wooden and Shevchuk met in Rome this week on the latter’s visit to Pope Benedict.

Archbishop Sviatoslav described the nature of his church in this way: “We are an Eastern Church with its tradition and inheritance, … a synodal Church is governed by the synod of bishops together with the major archbishop. But, we are also a Catholic Church that lives its identity in a full, visible and real communion with the Holy Father.”

What are Archbishop Sviatoslav’s priorities?
  • to strengthen the proclamation of the Gospel (kērgma) and the teaching of the faith (didachē)
  • to work on the Church’s liturgical theology and praxis; to make the liturgical patrimony intelligible in all the countries where the Ukrainian Catholic Church exists
  • to develop programs that attack secularism and engages the positive secularity
  • to strengthen the service of justice (diakonia)
  • to promote unity in the Church and among the other churches
  • to develop better social communications strategies for the Church
  • to identify ways in which to inculturate the Gospel and Byzantine tradition
  • to work with the Ukrainian people to heal from past injuries viz. the Russian Orthodox Church; to work on the fears that are paralyzing some members of the Church
  • to dialogue and work with the Orthodox Churches in the Ukraine (and where the Church is present) on matters of theology and mutual human interest
  • to promote healthy celibate and married vocations to religious life and priesthood.
Read the CNA story on the archbishop.
The Archeparchy of Philadelphia’s newsletter The Way also gives another sense of the recent events in the Church: The Way March 2011.pdf

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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