Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

William Charles Skurla elected 8th bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy, Pittsburgh

WC Skurla.jpgPope Benedict XVI elected William Charles Skurla, 55, as the 8th bishop (and 5th Archeparch) of the Pittsburgh Ruthenian Church, until now, the Eparch of Passaic (NJ).

The Archeparch-designate has been a priest for nearly 25 years and a bishop for nearly 10. This is third eparchy to have been elected to lead. He succeeds Archbishop Basil who died on June 10, 2010.
The Archeparchy of Pittsburgh is a See of nearly 60,000 souls (2010 stats).
May God grant Archbishop William many years.

Melkite bishop explores ordaining married men, again

News seems to be made about a Catholic married clergy in the USA, at least among the Eastern churches. It’s not new news but it is an interesting development in the USA that needs insight and pastoral action. The new bishop of the Melkite Church in the USA, Bishop Nicholas Samra (btw the first American born leader of the eparchy), spoke of the need of having a properly formed clergy to pastor the 27,000+ souls of the Melkite Church in the USA, even ordaining married men. In the coming year there may be one celibate man ordained.

This is not the first time the Melkite Church is doing such. More than 3 decades ago several married men were ordained in Canada but judged by the Holy See to be illicit; the former eparch Bishop John Elya ordained 2 married men and his hand was slapped.
In the western world married clergy is not viewed by the Holy See to be pertinent whereas in the old world, married men serve as priests. This carries the old prejudice of Archbishop John Ireland who demanded a celibate clergy of the Eastern Churches; his unreasonable proposition helped create the Ruthenian Orthodox Church in the USA.  With the Eastern Catholic Churches it is part of their venerable ecclesiology to ordain married men to the priesthood. On a pastor’s side, the needs of the laity to follow their traditions. Looking at reality in front of him, there is a demonstrable need for Samra (and other Eastern Churches in the USA) to provide a clergy for his people. The eparchy doesn’t have enough single men willing to do the work, nor does it seem reasonable to hope beyond all hope for an exclusive celibate priesthood. The gospel needs to be proclaimed and sacraments administered for our salvation.
Pray to great Mother of God and Saint Nicholas for the grace of prudence for Bishop Nicholas!
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Maronite Bishop admonishes Obama for rebuff of Patriarch Béshara Raï

Béshara Raï, 71, is making a pastoral visit to the Maronite Catholic
communities in both US eparchies from 4 to 23 October 2011. His Beatitude will visit Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon  and the Eparchy of St Maron of Brooklyn.

President Barack Obama has roundly refused to meet the Patriarch. Bishop Gregory openly makes the case that it is a mistake of the current administration to ignore His Beatitude’s visit to the USA.

Béshara Raï, was elected on March 15, 2011 as the 77th Patriarch of the Maronite Church.

Bishop Gregory’s letter:

Patriarch Rai2.jpg

September 30, 2011

Dear Mr. President:

I am terribly
disappointed with the rebuff of Patriarch Bechara Peter Rai who is the Catholic
leader of the Maronites worldwide and one of the most respected Christian
leaders in Lebanon and the Middle East . The motto of his coat of arms
reflects his personality and is call for “communion and love.” He has been
trying to achieve what no other Middle Eastern political or a religious leader
has been able to do: meet others with respect and love, not take sides,
and build bridges to a future that will hopefully lead to peace and happiness
for all people in the Middle East.

Muslim and Christian groups have all found
in him a real father, a Patriarch.  Because he has spoken out expressing
his concern for the future of Christians in the Middle East , he has been
rebuffed by you and your Administration. It is pure hypocrisy for the
leader of the free world to refuse to meet with Patriarch Rai especially since
the Prime Minister of Israel can come and completely disregard essential parts
of a peace plan and still be given a warm welcome, and the King of Saudi
Arabia, where Christians have no freedom whatsoever, can be received with highest
honors. Mr. President, you are ignoring the plight of Christians in the Middle

Patriarch Rai’s warning about the future of Christians in Syria is not
taboo. Christians are in a state of peril in the same way that Christians of
Iraq were a few years ago when two thirds of them migrated out of the country
and are still not protected to this day. To say the Patriarch supports
dictators and sides with terrorists is pure nonsense. With his own unique
charisma, Patriarch Rai has reached out to all Lebanese with whom he has to
live side-by-side. It is a beautiful outreach, one that is uniquely his,
without having to be beholden to anyone.  He speaks with love and tempers
the divisive, hateful talk of many. He gives hope

A new day is dawning in the
Middle East. The Arab Spring is happening with little vision for the
summer that will ensue.  Mr. President, you do not have to agree on
everything with Patriarch Rai, but there is no need to avoid or rebuff
him.  By doing so, you are showing your disrespect for him and for all
Christians of the Middle East.

Mansour, Gregory John.jpg+ Gregory J Mansour

Bishop of the Eparchy of
Saint Maron of Brooklyn

Saint Maximus the Confessor

Maximus the Confessor.jpg

Saint Maximus the Confessor (c. 580-662) taught, 

To harbor no envy, no anger, no resentment against an offender is still not to have charity for him. It is possible, without any charity, to avoid rendering evil for evil. But to render, spontaneously, good for evil – such belongs to a perfect spiritual love.

St Basil’s Cathedral at 450

google st basils cathedral.jpg

The famously beautiful Cathedral of Saint Basil’s in Moscow’s “Red Square” marks its 450th birthday. The origins of the church date back to the 14th century and is dedicated to the Trinity, but the structure really shows several churches linked together. The one currently known was built by Ivan the Terrible in 1554, the church’s domes are an icon really to the Blessed Virgin Mary and later named popularly to recall the life of a local saint, Basil.
Google commemorates this history. Rome Reports has a video story.

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.
coat of arms



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