Category Archives: Eastern Church

Cyril Vasil ordained bishop

CVasil arms.jpgAs I noted a few weeks ago, Jesuit Father Cyril Vasil, 44, was nominated by the Pope to be Secretary for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches serving the Church with Cardinal Leonardo Sandri. He was ordained a bishop today in the papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, across the street from where he resided and taught Eastern Canon Law at the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Today, is also the Archbishop’s 22nd anniversary ordination as a priest and both ordinations were done by the same bishop.

As his coat of arms suggest, Archbishop is “Always Prepared” to serve the Lord and the Church.
May God grant Archbishop Cyril many years!
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Cyril Vasil: the new secretary for the Congregation of Eastern Churches

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Great News! Today, the Holy Father nominated Reverend Father
Cyril Vasil, SJ, until now the rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as
the Secretary to the Congregation for Eastern Churches, raising him to the
dignity of archbishop.

Archbishop-elect Cyril Vasil was born in 1965 (in Slovakia),
ordained a priest in 1987, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 taking solemn
vows in 2001. In 1994 he earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical
Oriental Institute. He has a working knowledge of 11 languages.

In 2002, Cyril Vasil was elected dean of the faculty of
Oriental Canon Law and in 2007 he was named rector of the Pontifical Oriental
Institute. He is the first rector of the PIO to be of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Among his responsibilities for the Church he is a consultor
for the Congregations of Eastern Churches, Doctrine of the Faith and Pastoral
Care of Migrants. Moreover, he was an expert for the 2005 Synod of Bishops on
the Eucharist. And he’s been active in the International Union of Scouts of
Europe being named a spiritual advisor in 2003.

I can say that this is an excellent choice for the Church: he’s
affable and competent. With Archbishop Vasil’s appointment there are now two Jesuits in prominent positions in the Roman Curia, both are archbishop secretaries. It is also interesting to note that the new archbishop is the first in history working as a Vatican official to be the son of a married Catholic priest of Slovak Greek-Catholic Church, the vast majority of whose clergy are married family men in accord with the age-old (and fully salutary) tradition in the Byzantine East, Catholic and Orthodox. His father, Michael, was ordained by Blessed Vasil Hopko.

Orthodox Pascha 2009

Communion Tuzla, Boznia.jpgHappy Easter to our Eastern brothers and sisters! May the risen Lord lead all of us to greater freedom through His mercy.

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Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture, at Fordham Univ

Abp Demetrios.jpgThe President of Fordham University, Fr. Joseph M. McShane, S.J. announced Tuesday Feb. 17, a Jaharis Family Foundation gift establishing the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture as part of the Orthodox Christian Studies Program of this renowned Roman-Catholic Jesuit University.


The announcement came at the conclusion of the Sixth Annual Orthodoxy in America Lecture given this year by Fr. Stanley Harakas, ThD, who is the Archbishop Iakovos Professor of Orthodox Theology Emeritus at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Fr. Harakas’ topic “The Future of Orthodox Christianity in America: A Normative Approach” captivated his diverse audience of academics, clergymen, students and laymen. He outlined the threats and pitfalls but also the opportunities of the social and cultural reality in America and suggested ways of what we need to do and ought to do, as Orthodox.


Following the lecture President McShane announced the establishment of the Archbishop Demetrios Chair in Orthodox Theology and Culture through a generous donation of two million dollars by the Jaharis Family Foundation. Fr. McShane welcomed Michael and Mary Jaharis as he expressed his great joy and gratitude. He further said that naming the chair after Archbishop Demetrios is a most deserving honor and that the University was “thrilled that his name (the Archbishop’s) and the name of the Jaharis family will forever be associated with Fordham.”


Ignace Joseph III enthroned as new Syrian Catholic Patriarch

The new Syrian Patriarch, Ignace Joseph III Younan, elected on January 22nd was  enthroned on February 15th in Beirut. The story of the event is here and here. It is interesting to note the theological and liturgical differences between Western & Eastern Catholics. The Patriarch was enthroned, not installed. The proper term is enthroned; one installs computer software and a new dishwasher, not a bishop. To enthrone a bishop means that he is led to his chair and seated. Of course there’s more to the rite but that’s it essentially. Worldwide the Syrian Catholics number about 200, 000.

Lori Cathedra.jpgThe point of this note isn’t the size of a bishop’s chair as it was to draw attention to a new Eastern Catholic Patriarch. That said, for some, parsing the difference between enthronement vs. installation may be overly picky. The liturgical theology of the Church says that bishops sit on cathedras (substantial looking chairs), not thrones even if some look more like thrones than mere a big chair. That some bishops may look like plenipotentiaries, even act like them, they’re not. But to say that a bishop is led to a choir stall, like an abbot is upon his election, is not quiet correct either. How long has the word “installation” been used to denote the act of inaugurating a bishop’s ministry? I think some people who claim to be liturgists tend to force a new agenda on the Church using inaccurate jargon. But I defer to a great authority.

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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