Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Hesychia: necessary for monk and lay person

Throughout the history of Eastern monasticism, there has always been an understanding of silence and solitude that has been called “hesychia”. Hesychia refers to a state of inner stillness and stability that is increasingly able to discern the presence of God in the length and breadth of the everyday. It involves an attitude of listening that focuses the heart, regardless of what one happens to be doing. But the truth is, such silence does not come cheap. It requires practice, a type of spiritual practice that leads one through many levels of growth. This has its analogy in athletic practice, where to reach excellence demands self-sacrifice, personal commitment, making mistakes, and hours and hours of work. (thanks to NS)

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!

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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