Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Sviatoslav Shevchuk’s challenge

Sviatoslav Shevchuk4.jpgThe Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is facing new challenges in the coming years and the Church’s Synod of Bishops (the Sobor) has decided to meet the challenge head-on: the Synod elected and the Pope confirmed communion with, a 40 year bishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, a man who’s been bishop for less than 2 years and a moral theologian.

Words that are on everyone’s lips are words like “historic,” “cataclysmic,” “revolutionary,” “high-minded,” “a sign of hope,” and “daring.” The are others no doubt, but what the Synod of Ukrainian bishops did and Pope Benedict XVI confirmed is a paradigm shift in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 40, new major archbishop (patriarch) of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

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Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 40, is the new head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of 6 million people worldwide. The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is the largest Eastern Church in communion with the See of Rome. The election happened on March 23. In Canon Law he holds the title of Major Archbishop (that is, he has the responsibility that a patriarch would have but not the title, though many in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church unofficially use the title, see canon 151 of the CCEO). The election was done by 40 bishops from around the world.

Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, until now, is the Apostolic Administrator of the Eparchy of the Protection of the Theotokos, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Prior to his South American work, the Archbishop was the personal secretary of the former head of the Church, His Beatitude, Lubomyr, from 2002-05.

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At Shevchuk’s election he had to write a letter in his own hand to the Pope requesting communion with the Apostolic See. In accordance with canon 153 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Church reads:
1. A major archbishop is elected according to the norm of cann. 63-74.
2. After acceptance of the election, the synod of bishop of the major archepiscopal Church must notify the Roman Pontiff through a synodal letter about the canonical conduct of the election; however, the one who of is elected, in a letter signed in his own hand, must petition the confirmation of his election from the Roman Pontiff.
3. After having obtained the confirmation, the one who is elected, in the presence of the synod of bishops of the major archepiscopal Church, must make a profession of faith and promise to carry out faithfully his office; afterwards his proclamation and enthronment are to be performed. If, however, the one who is elected is not yet an ordained bishop, the enthronment cannot validly be done before he receives episcopal ordination.
4. If however the confirmation is denied, a new election is to be conducted within the time established by the Roman Pontiff.

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Béshara Raï elected new Maronite Patriarch

Beshara Rai.jpegOnly 20 years junior to the out-going patriarch, His Beatitude Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, the Maronite bishops elected today Bishop Béshara Raï, 71, as the new patriarch. He’s  77th patriarch of the Maronites; Raï takes up the See of St Peter (Peter’s first diocese before moving to Rome), adopting the name Peter. He will be known as “His Beatitude, Patriarch Béshara Peter Raï.

He succeeds Patriarch Sfeir after his 25 years of service. It is expected that Patriarch Béshara Peter will be enthroned on 25 March.
I am happy for His Beatitude’s new opportunity to serve the Church. I met him a number of years ago and he’s a wonderful person.
His Beatitude has been a priest for 43 years and a bishop for nearly 25 years and since 1990 he’s been bishop of Jbeil (Byblos). In Lebanon, the Maronite Christians number about a third of the 4 million population.

Kurt Koch to meet Kyril I

Patriarch Kyril.pngSwiss Cardinal Kurt Koch will be going to Moscow this weekend to meet Patriarch Kyril and Russian Orthodox Church leaders.

Cardinal Koch is the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, a position he’s held since July 2010; he created a cardinal in November 2010. Patriarch Kyril I was elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church in 2009.

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, retires as Maronite leader

Sfeir.jpgToday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the petition of His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, cardinal, to retire from his pastoral leadership as the Father of Maronite Church.

The resignation was speculated a few weeks ago.
Here is the letter of Pope Benedict to His Beatitude (in French until an English translation is given).

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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