Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Maronite Patriarch said ready to resign

Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir.jpgPatriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, 90, the 76th head of the Maronite Church is said to have submitted a resignation a few months ago to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI. The Daily Star has stated this move of Sfeir’s, but the paper has several facts wrong, so the reliability of specifics is questionable.

His Beatitude will be 91 on May 15 and has led the Maronite Church since 1986: he’s been a priest for 60.5 years, a bishop for 49.5 years and patriarch for 25 years. Sfeir is also a cardinal of the Church since 1994.

Saint Theodosius the Great

Saint Theodosius the Great.jpgPlanted in the courts of your Lord, you blossomed
beautifully with virtue, and increased your children in the desert, showering them
with streams of your tears, O chief shepherd of the divine flock of God. Therefore,
we cry to you: “Rejoice, Father Theodosius.”
Kondakion – Tone 8

From the hagiography:

Theodosius the Great lived during the fifth-sixth centuries, and was the
founder of cenobitic monasticism. At the monastery St Theodosius built a home
for taking in strangers, separate infirmaries for monks and laymen, and also a
shelter for the dying
. Seeing that people from various lands gathered at the
Lavra, the saint arranged for services in the various languages: Greek,
Georgian and Armenian. All gathered to receive the Holy Mysteries in the large
church, where divine services were chanted in Greek.

St Theodosius accomplished
many healings and other miracles during his life, coming to the aid of the
. Through his prayers he once destroyed the locusts devastating the fields
in Palestine. Also by his intercession, soldiers were saved from death, and he
also saved those perishing in shipwrecks and those lost in the desert. Once,
the saint gave orders to strike the semandron (a piece of wood hit with a
mallet), so that the brethren would gather at prayer. He told them, “The
wrath of God draws near the East.” After several days it became known that
a strong earthquake had destroyed the city of Antioch at the very hour when the
saint had summoned the brethren to prayer.

Before his death, St Theodosius
summoned to him three beloved bishops and revealed to them that he would soon
depart to the Lord. After three days, he died at the age of 105. The saint’s
body was buried with reverence in the cave in which he lived at the beginning
of his ascetic deeds.

Copts demand religious freedom and protection in Rome, Milan & Vienna

Copts in Rome Jan 9 2011.jpg

In my opinion the public and peaceful demonstration of 500 in downtown Rome today of Coptic Christians expressing their need for religious freedom and protection following recent murders in Egypt is the best thing that they could’ve done to draw world attention to their plight. Lacking is clear, consistent media coverage of the plight of Christians in Islamic lands. Another group of 200 demonstrated in Milan. A similar time of prayer happened in Vienna.

Coptic Church celebrates the Lord’s nativity amid tragedy, oppression

Pope Shenouda III, Coptic Cathedral in Cairo Jan. 7, 2010.jpgThe Coptic Church, along with other non-Chalcedonian churches, are celebrating Christmas today. Besides some Christological differences, the Copts (the Egyptian Orthodox Christians; there are Coptic Catholics, too!) follow the Julian calendar which is a number of days behind the Gregorian calendar. About 10% of the Egyptians are Christian.

In this season of Christian-killing by fanatical muslims, truly a season of martyrdom, let us pray for the Copts and give thanks for their witness to Christ. Blessings to Pope Shenouda III. Merry Christmas.

Ahmed al-Tayeb criticizes Benedict for interfering in Egypt; AND a response given

Jesuit Father
Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, responded to what I
believe is unfair, even bigoted criticism of Pope Benedict by Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb of Egypt
following the January 1st bombing of a Coptic Orthodox church. 21 dead and
nearly a 100 wounded. Clear it is to me, the Muslim world rarely pays close attention to what the Catholic Church believes and what the Pope says.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, current current Imam of al-Azhar Mosque,
condemned the bombing. The imam paid a visit to the head of the Coptic Orthodox
Church, Pope Shenouda III to offer condolences. But his good will toward the
Christians however, also include a strident criticism Pope Benedict who asked civil
authorities to protect Christians. In Al-Tayeb’s mind the Pope’s request was an
“unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.” Further, said al-Tayeb, “I
disagree with the Pope’s view, and I ask why did the Pope not call for the
protection of Muslims when they were subjected to killings in Iraq?”

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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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