Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

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).

Metropolitan Jonah takes time off to re-orient self

Jonah.JPGThe Orthodox Church in America (OCA), according to reports, has placed Metropolitan Jonah on a leave of absence. The Synod of the OCA acted swiftly to seeming abuse of power. The Metropolitan Jonah, it seems, is facing mounting questions not only over issues of style of management but anger issues.

The news is found here. This is distressing given all the problems the OCA has faced in recent years.
In his words, His Beatitude speaks about the requested lenten quies.
The OCA news of changes
Being a bishop –and for that matter, a priest– in this era is tough. One can’t lead if the sheep don’t want to follow. Some see clearly what is needed for clear testimony and action so that the lex orandi tradition is not trampled. Deeper conversion to Christ and living a coherent life of faith is not easy when sin is rampant. Disconnected from reality is not a virtue for the Christian Church, Catholic or Orthodox. When His Beatitude was elected as head of the OCA just over two years ago there was much hope for good leadership in the OCA after the sexual and financial scandals of clergy and laity alike. His very addresses were received with enthusiasm because he spoke with authority. I, for one, said “Finally, someone who gets it.” Could the troubles faced by Metropolitan Jonah be the result of the negative aspects of American culture to engrained in attitudes of members of the Synod coupled with a exaggerated sense in the capacity to change human frailties?
We pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace of prudence for the OCA. May the all-holy Virgin Mary intercede.

Maronites remember founder, Saint Maron

St Maron2.jpg1600 years is a long time. But the Church never forgets. She especially never forgets a sainted monk who called together others to live the Gospel and to pray. Maronite Church who traces her foundation to a monk is remembering his good work and his death of so long ago. Several celebrations around the US mark the anniversary.

Bishop Gregory J. Mansour celebrated the Divine Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and prayed for peace in the Middle East at his cathedral, Our Lady of Lebanon, Brooklyn, NY.
Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, presided at a celebration of the Liturgy in honor of Saint Maron and gave an address in which he reminded the Maronites to be custodians of the Christian gospel and tradition in the Middle East (and wherever they are. The celebration happened at the Maronite College in Rome.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell recently presided at the Maronite Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Waterbury.
Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing prays the Liturgy at Our Lady of Lebanon Church, Lansing, MI.
At the invitation of Chorbishop John Faris, His Eminence Daniel N. DiNardo with Bishop James Cunnigham of Syracuse presided during the Divine Liturgy at Saint Louis Gonzaga Church in Utica, NY.
A beautiful brief video “Saint Maron | 1600 years” is worth viewing even though it is narrated in Arabic.

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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