Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Eleuterio Fortino, RIP: the soul and motor of the Christianity Council at the Vatican

Eleuterio Fortino.jpgOn 22 September 2010, a giant in the world of
ecumenism and Eastern Christianity died after living with illness. No one can
doubt the sentiment expressed by the Pope saying that Monsignor Fortino had a “generous
commitment with intelligence and passion at the service of unity.” The Pope
last saw Monsignor Fortino on June 28 with the delegation of the Ecumenical
Patriarch Bartholomew I. A telegram was sent through his secretary of state,
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, honoring the life of the undersecretary (third in
charge) of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who focused
particularly on relations with the Orthodox Churches.

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Meeting the new rector at the Pontifical Oriental Institute

In May, the announcement of a new rector was made that the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, a Jesuit work for the universal Church, Jesuit Father James McCann. The new rector is a member of the Chicago Province of Jesuits, is 61 years old and was ordained a priest in 1979.

The PIO was founded in 1917 and entrusted to the Society of Jesus in 1922.
Check the website noted above for the new norms governing studies.
Watch a brief interview with Father McCann.

Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, RIP

Archbishop Zayek & Bishop Shaheen.jpgWith great sadness word was received today of the passing to the Lord of His Excellency, Archbishop Francis Mansour Zayek, 90, emeritus archbishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, on the 14 September 2010, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Archbishop Zayek is pictured on the left with Bishop Robert Shaheen.
Archbishop Zayek was a dear friend for many years and I recommend him to your Masses and Prayers. He was really a beautiful person always attuned with the Lord and His Church.
Bishop Gregory Mansour’s letter regarding the death of Archbishop Zayek gives testimony to this great man. Read: Letter on + Francis Zayek RIP.pdf
UPDATED: The October 2010 issue of the Maronite Voice is dedicated to the Archbishop.

The fate of Eastern Christianity to be discussed in October; but what about now?

The hard work of collaborating and witnessing to Jesus Christ for 14 million Eastern Christians is indeed a difficult task, but one that is only sustained by prayer, mutuality and study.

During his trip to Cyprus Pope Benedict released what he things is a reasonable agenda for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops for Christians in the Middle East. But don’t be fooled in thinking that this Synod is merely for those in funny hats doing the Liturgy in a different manner. On the contrary, this Synod, as all Synods, have a direct impact on our Christian lives here in the USA for those living outside of the Middle East. What happens to our brothers and sisters in the East impacts the life of the Church across the world whether we realize it or not. So often, we neglect our Christian brothers and sisters in other parts of the world because there seems to be little identifiable connections between what and how they live there, and what and how we live here. Remember, Christ our Lord and Savior lived, died and resurrected in the Middle East. Why wouldn’t we be concerned with the Christians in the Holy Land and neighboring countries? You and I don’t have to be Melkite, Maronite, Coptic, Syriac or Hebrew Catholics to care for the other. Let’s not wait to later to do this caring, let’s do it now.
The Lineamenta (the agenda for the Synod of Bishops) is built under the title of “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.” Acts 4:32 sets the framework: “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul.”
The heads (and assistants) of Eastern Churches in the Middle East have been preparing for the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome 10-24 October 2010.
An H2O News interview explores some themes.
The Holy Father in consultation with the bishops and many experts speaks of the point of the Synod in this manner, which sets the bar pretty high in my opinion:
1. to confirm and strengthen Christians in their identity through the Word of God and the sacraments;
2. to deepen ecclesial communion among the particular Churches, so that they can bear witness to the Christian life in an authentic, joyful and winsome manner.
In the Pope’s mind these 2 goals are only possible through an ecumenical approach “if Christian witness is to be genuine and credible.” For Pope Benedict, and I pray for all the bishops and religious orders and secular institutes in the Middle East, and for this blog dedicated to communion theology, that communion among Christians will lead to a unified Christian mind and heart which will in turn revitalize Christian life together. That is, that one day full, visible communion among the Churches and ecclesial communities will be a fact.
I urge you to read the working document (the lineamenta) noted above. Beg the Holy Spirit to guide your reading. Take the questions posed in the document with a degree of seriousness to see what can be done from your context to build a deeper bond of communion with Christians in the Middle East and with those who have immigrated to the West.
Let us all be united in prayer to the Holy Spirit and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, to assist the bishops and the experts in dealin with the critical issues being faced by Eastern Christians at this time.

Saint Sharbel Makhlouf

St CharbelThe mountain heights of Lebanon
Resound with songs of joy;
The cedars of that ancient land
Stand tall as we employ
Our hymns of praise and thankfulness
For Sharbel’s saintly ways,
Lived out in strict humility
That guided all his days.

True monk and hermit of the hills,
Saint Maron’s modest son
Scorned wealth and comfort in his life
That heaven’s crown be won.
Of Mary, heaven’s Queen and Gate,
Devoted son was he,
Who cherished all the ancient rites
With great humility.

Fierce lover of the lowly life,
True father of the poor,
As you have done, so help us all
To struggle and endure,
That Christ be praised in ev’ry life,
That riches not ensnare
Or rule us in our daily walk;
That strong may be our prayer!

O Father, Son, and Spirit blest,
One God in persons three,
Receive this hymn we offer now,
And keep your Church e’er free
To follow, as Saint Sharbel did,
Enflamed with love so bright
That we, with eyes fixed firm on Christ,
May vanquish sin’s dark night.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2009, World Library Publications

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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