Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Vsevolod remembered

Today is the anniversary of death of Archbishop Vsevolod (Maidansky) of Scopelos. The Archbishop was a member of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA. He reposed in the Lord in 2007, six days after his 80th birthday.

Archbishop Vsevolod was man of great humanity and intelligence. I met him at several of the ecumenical meetings he was at and enjoyed is company. His commitment to an on-going dialogue between the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches was remarkable and helpful.

May God draw Archbishop Vsevolod to Himself.

Eternal memory, dear friend.

The Fall of Constantinople

The Fall of Constantinople
–May 29, 1453.

One of the worst tragedies in the history of humanity was the fall of the Byzantine Empire, which put an end to centuries of culture, philosophy, education, and morality.

The Fall of Constantinople and the Rise of the Ottomans began a new era of oppression, barbarianism, authoritarianism, and slavery.

To the defenders of the Great City, the past Emperors, Patriarchs, and Military Leaders of the Byzantine Empire: MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE ETERNAL!

Be custodians of Byzantine tradition, Pope tells Slovak pilgrims

On Friday past Pope Francis met with 1300 pilgrimages and their archbishop on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Prešov Eparchy.

The Prešov Eparchy was born from the Eparchy of Mukačevo. In the span of 200 years (short in historical terms) Prešov has been elevated to a Metropolia sui iuris and to form other eparchies, e.g., Canada. Now we would refer to Prešov as the Archeparchy. The eparchial bishop is Jesuit John Babjak, 64.

One of the key points of the meeting was Pope’s exhortation to the gathered pilgrims is to be custodians of their Byzantine tradition. You may want to read a primer on Eastern Christianity –here is a monograph, “Eastern Christians and Their Churches” by Fr. Steven Hawkes-Teeples, SJ.

Pope Francis quoted his predecessor St John Paul in describing the Greek-Catholic Church in Slovakia as exemplifying “the beauty and goodness of the Creator.” He invited local Church to work as guides and fathers of the people of God who have been entrusted to them by working to “spread goodness, peace, generosity and meekness, with profound humility and simplicity.”

As you know, Eastern Catholic churches (not referred as mere Rites) have their own liturgical, spiritual, canonical and theological traditions, who live in communion with the Pope of Rome. At the same time, the Eastern Catholics share a received tradition with the Orthodox churches in a common Christian heritage given by the Apostles and developed by Fathers and Mothers of the Church.

The Eastern Catholic tradition continues a married priesthood (which was recently restored in the USA). On this point, the Pope was key in overturning a wrong of years ago. In his words, Pope Francis said that, “the families of priests live a particular mission today, when the very ideal of the family is questioned if not explicitly attacked: you bear witness to a healthy and exemplary life.” Francis also said, “you too can draw from the examples present in the history of your Church during the decades of persecution in the second half of the last century, in deportations and deprivations of all kinds.” Today, “it is up to your generation to show the same loyalty, perhaps not in the face of direct and violent persecution, but in the presence of difficulties and dangers of another kind”, that of secularism, and sterile clericalism.

Of concern to this Pope, as with previous ones, is Europe’s Christian foundations and its current challenges. He apparently directed his comments to the laity by saying, “the continent of Europe, in the East as in the West, needs to rediscover its roots and vocation; and from Christian roots they can only grow solid trees, which bear fruits of full respect for the dignity of man, in every condition and in every phase of life.”

Vespers and dinner with Melkite Patriarch Joseph Absi

Tonight I was at Great Vespers then dinner at St Ann Melkite Church (Danbury, CT) presided over by His Beatitude, Patriarch Joseph (Absi) with Bishop Nicholas Samra, Archbishop Nicolas Antiba and Fr Michael Skrocki.

About 125 people were in attendance. Several from the Latin Church but others from Eastern Churches including the Ruthenian and Maronite.

The Patriarch spoke of the universality of the Melkite Church. After all, it was in Syria that the followers of Jesus were called Christian.

It was a beautiful evening!

Armenians restore female diaconate

The female diaconate has been restored with the ordination of Ani-Kristi Manvelian, 24, in Tehran as a deacon for parish life who is not a nun.

It is understood as a “restoring” rather than “reinstating” of the Order of Deacon for women. This act is see as a precedent. The ordination happened  at St. Sarkis Church on 25 September 2017 by Archbishop Sebouh Sarkissian, the Primate of the Diocese of Tehran (Catholicosate of Cilicia).

Archbishop Sarkissian said:

“Today, our Church is confronting the imperative of self-examination and self-critique. It is imperative to rejuvenate the participation of the people in the social, educational and service spheres of the Church. It is our deep conviction that the active participation of women in the life of our Church would allow Armenian women to be involved more enthusiastically and vigorously, and would allow them to be connected and engaged. They would provide dedicated and loving service [to the people]. The deaconess, no doubt, would also be a spiritual and church-dedicated mother, educator, and why not, a model woman through her example. It is with this deep conviction that we are performing this ordination, with the hope that we are neither the first nor the last to do it.”

The narrative of the event was communicated by Hratch Tchilingirian on his blog.

The Armenians have had a tradition of female deacons serving, like the male deacons, at the Altar.

Deaconess  Ani-Kristi Manvelian served the Christmas Eve Liturgy on January 5th. For the Archbishop his act as the head of diocese is “to revitalise the participation of women also in our church’s liturgical life,” adding, “do not be surprised, a woman could also become a servant of the Holy Altar.”

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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