Category Archives: Eastern Church

Saint Maron

In honor of the 1600th anniverssary of the death of Saint Maron, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI blessed and unveiled a new statue of the saint at the Vatican basilica of Saint Peter’s.
For the past year, Maronites and others around the world have been observing a jubliee year called by His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasralla Peter Sfeir. In a letter to the Maronite Church around the world he said, in part, 
Our Church was not built after a name of a See or Apostle, but rather took its identity from the radiance of a man and a monastery: the Maronite Church, a Church of asceticism and adoration attached from the beginning to a solitary man, not a man of rank or a Church leader.
The faith lived out by the hermit Maron became the inner strength of a people’s history. As for the successive migrations from Syria (in the 5-10th centuries), the Maronites gave them one meaning, that is, giving up land, wealth and comfort in Syria moving toward a poor land where anxiety and austerity prevail, so they could preserve their faith and remain attached to their freedom … This event is not a simple historical fact among others …  it is the very beginning of a new history, the history of the Maronites.
The Jubilee Prayer

Lord, Jesus, You called Your chosen one, Saint Maron, to the monastic life, perfected him in divine virtues, and guided him along the difficult road to the heavenly kingdom.

During this jubilee year, commemorating 1600 years since the death of Your chosen one, Saint Maron, when he was called to the house of Your heavenly Father, we ask You, through his intercession, to immerse us in Your love that we may walk in Your path, heed Your commandments, and follow in his footsteps.
May his holy example resonate throughout our lives. With Your love, may we achieve that final distination reached by our father, Saint Maron, and carry Your Gospel throughout the world.
Through his intercession, may we attain the glory of the resurrection and everlasting life in You.
Glory and thanks are due to You, to Your blessed Father, and to Your living Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Pope encourages confidence that full communion with the Oriental Orthodox is possible

Pope with Oriental Orthodox bishops Jan 28 2011.jpgLast week members of the  International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Pope Benedict gave a very brief letter encouraging courage and determination to work with the Holy Spirit in the work of full, visible communion between the churches. He said, “We can only be grateful that after almost fifteen
hundred years of separation we still find agreement about the sacramental
nature of the Church, about apostolic succession in priestly service and about
the impelling need to bear witness to the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ in the world.” Watch a video clip of the presentation of the icon to His Holiness.

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Opportunities for continuing dialogue with the Orthodox Church, Farrell says

In the middle of
the annual exercise of  prayer and
study for Christian Unity, the Vatican’s daily news paper,
L’Osservatore Romano,
interviewed Bishop Brian Farrell, LC, secretary of the Pontifical Council for
Promoting Christian Unity. The interviewer asked Bishop Farrell about problems
in the ecumenical quest with the Orthodox Church, and his answer is below.

We
are examining the crucial point of our differences on the Church’s structure
and way of being and operating: the question of the role of the Bishop of Rome
in the Church communion of the first millennium, when the Church in the West
and East was still united. After profound studies and discussions, the members
of the Theological Commission have come to realize the enormous difference
between the lived, assimilated, and narrated historical experience in Western
culture and the historical experience perceived in the Eastern vision of
things
. Every historical event is open to different interpretations. The
discussion has not led to a real convergence.

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The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church

For nearly 25 years I have had a significant attraction to the Eastern Churches with regard to their sacred Liturgy, ecclesiology, culture, food, and friendship shared as it is, and historically lived, in the Maronite Church. My introduction to the Maronite tribe of the universal Catholic Church is found in the good friends I have had through the years who first introduced me to their Maronite Church. I was happy to see that Cistercian Publications is publishing in February a book on one of the Churches that is close to my heart.

From the Website

The Maronites.jpg

The Maronite Church is one of twenty-two Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Pope of Rome. Her patriarch is in Lebanon. Forty-three bishops and approximately five million faithful make up her presence throughout the world.
The story of Maron, a fifth-century hermit-priest, and the community gathered around him, later called the Maronites, tells another fascinating story of the monastic and missionary movements of the Church. Maron’s story takes place in the context of Syrian monasticism, which was a combination of both solitary and communal life, and is a narrative of Christians of the Middle East as they navigated the rough seas of political divisions and ecclesiastical controversies from the fourth to the ninth centuries.

Abbot Paul Naaman, a Maronite scholar and former Superior General of the Order of Lebanese Maronite Monks, wisely places the study of the origins of the Maronite Church squarely in the midst of the history of the Church. His book, The Maronites: The Origins of an Antiochene Church, published during the sixteenth centenary of Maron’s death, offers plausible insights into her formation and early development, grounding the Maronite Church in her Catholic, Antiochian, Syriac, and monastic roots.

Abbot Paul Naaman is a Maronite scholar and former Superior General of the Order of Lebanese Maronite Monks.

Maronite Patriarch said ready to resign

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.jpgPatriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, 90, the 76th head of the Maronite Church is said to have submitted a resignation a few months ago to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The Daily Star has stated this move of Sfeir’s, but the paper has several facts wrong, so the reliability of specifics is questionable.

His Beatitude will be 91 on May 15 and has led the Maronite Church since 1986: he’s been a priest for 60.5 years, a bishop for 49.5 years and patriarch for 25 years. Sfeir is also a cardinal of the Church since 1994.

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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