There is a new expression of religious life for women in the Maronite Church in the USA with the Congregation of Sisters called the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light. They were founded in 2008 under the guidance of Bishop Gregory Mansour. Even if you are not discerning a vocation, I would recommend watching this video.
You may recall that Pope Francis, in February 2015, declared as a Doctor of the Church the sainted Armenian monk and poet, Gregory of Narek (950-c. 1005). He is only one of 36 by the Roman Church.
Many wondered about the person of Gregory and his importance in the Church today. Being declared a Doctor of the Church is one of the most singular distinctions that the Supreme Pontiff could give to one of the saints, but way this monk and poet of the Armenian Church, and why now? Why is this gesture of Pope Francis a key event?
Today, Pope Francis responded to the letter of the new Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia, His Beatitude, Grégoire Pierre XX Ghabroyan, requesting ecclesiastical communion with him, and See of Rome. With this letter of the Holy Father communion between the two churches is confirmed.
In history, the patriarch was known as Bishop Krikor Ghabroyan (emeritus bishop of the Eparchy of France having retired in 2013). As with the bishop of Rome, the new Patriarch has assumed a new name. A new name and office bears a new title: Grégoire will carry the title of “Catholicos-Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians” and the patriarchal headquarters is located in the convent of Bzommar and his residence in Beirut.
Pope Francis’ letter indicates his joy at the Patriarch’s election with the hope that his new ministry will bear many fruits for the Kingdom. One line worth noting: “illuminated by the light of faith in the risen Christ, our vision of the world is full of hope and mercy, because we are certain that the Cross of Jesus is the tree that gives life.”
His Beatitude Grégoire Pierre XX succeeds Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni who died on June 25, 2015.
The Armenian Catholic Patriarch of Cilicia has jurisdiction over 18 eparchies world-wide.
His Beatitude Grégoire Pierre was born on November 15, 1934 in Aleppo, Syria, ordained a priest March 28, 1959, and consecrated bishop 13 February 1977. At his next birthday the Catholicos will be 81.
Today is the feast of Saint Sharbel Makhlouf, the great Lebanese Saint (1828-1898). He is the first Lebanese Ssaint to be canonized formally by the Church of Rome. Most of Sharable’s life was marked chaos in the world, in particular with the Ottoman empire. The war destroyed 40 Lebanese villages and killed over 22,000 Maronites in Lebanon and Cyprus.
The monastic life of Sharbel was that of being a hermit: a life of penance, prayer and supplication before the Lord. His reputation spoke of him as a Miracle Worker of the East. He is an apostle of peace.
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.