Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Saint Saba, abbot


St Saba.jpg

The just man will flourish like the palm tree. Planted in the courts of God’s house, he will grow great like the cedars of Lebanon. (Psalm 91:13-14).

Lord our God, in your providence you raised up blessed Saba to foster the monastic life and to defend and uphold the truth of the faith. May we always live that truth in love and serve only you until we attain everlasting joy and glory.

A hagiographical note:

There are several “Saint Saba (Sava),” among the liturgical calendars. This man, Saint Saba the abbot (439-532) whom we honor today, is a Cappadocian monk and priest.

Saint Saba is of particular importance for several reasons, three that are key for us: 1.) his attention to Christian maturity; 2.) his attention to correct teaching about Jesus; and 3.) his composing of a monastic rule, known as the “Jerusalem Typikon” for liturgical rites used in the Palestinian Churches (used till the 19th century).

Saint Saba is revered by monks of the East and West because he was an example of anchorite living, that is monks living in hermitages and coming together periodically for communal activities. Saba is the founder of monasteries. In a manner of speaking, Saba was influential in other monastic rules that are in exist today.

He is invoked for rain, healings and relief of temptations by Satan.

Advent in the Maronite Church

Do you know if Advent’s begun? It has if you are a Maronite Catholic. The typical 4 week Advent season for many Catholics of the Latin Church is not the norm for all Catholics.


qoorbono.jpgSeason of the Glorious Birth of the Lord

(Season of soboorey, or “Happy Announcements”)

Visitation1.jpgThe pre-Christmas Cycle has six Sundays, which all focus on the unfolding revelation of the Birth of the Messiah. This is done in the context of the immediate family of Jesus, centering on Mary and Joseph (Matthew 1, 2; Luke 1, 2). This is certainly in line with the Antiochene emphasis on the humanity of Jesus and its appreciation of the historical aspect of Scripture. The greatest Announcement, of course, is that of the angels on Christmas.

 

There are one or two Sundays after Christmas (depending upon the day of the week that Christmas occurs), one of which is always celebrated: the Finding in the Temple. On 1 January the liturgical commemoration is Feast of the Circumcision (Naming) of the Child Jesus, with a second commemoration of the common Eastern observance of Saint Basil.

 

The Sundays of the Advent Season in the Maronite Church are:

 

  • Announcement to Zechariah
  • Announcement to the Virgin Mary
  • Visitation to Elizabeth
  • Birth of John the Baptizer
  • Revelation to Joseph
  • Genealogy Sunday
  • The Finding in the Temple

In celebrating the Finding in the Temple (Sunday after Christmas) the Maronite Church uses the 3rd Infancy Narrative of Luke (chapter 2) to parallel closely the Gospel development of Jesus’ own growth. He is seen in the Temple, recognizing his true “Father” (his divine Origin) and preparing himself for his Baptism and public life. In addition, Joseph disappears from all the Gospel narratives: Joseph’s earthly fathering is done, and Jesus will now proclaim the heavenly Father. The Twelve Days of Christmas take us to the Feast of the Epiphany (Theophany).

 

Season of Epiphany (in Syriac this feast is called Denho)


Jesus lover of humanity.jpgTaking the Baptism of Jesus (6 January) as the model, the Maronite Church celebrates our new life of Baptism and Chrismation in this Season. In Syriac it is called denho. For some Syriac Churches, this season is the traditional time of reception of catechumens into the Church. But for all Syriac Christians, denho is a time to reflect on our baptism. During the first three days of the Sixth Week of Epiphany (Monday-Wednesday) the Maronite Church observes “Nineveh Days.” These three days are penitential and serve to anticipate the Season of Great Lent. In one form or another, these days are observed by all the Syriac Churches, East and West.

(Thanks to R. Dom Bartholomew Leon, OSB, Saint Rafka Mission, Greenville, SC)

Professor of Eastern Liturgy dies: Father Miguel Arranz, S.J.

On July 16, 2008 Jesuit Father Miguel Arranz, the well-known professor of Liturgy who

Miguel Arranz.jpgtaught at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, in Moscow and in St Petersburg, died.

Father Arranz was born on July 9, 1930 in Guadalajara, Spain. Between 1941 and 1949, he studied at the Seminary of Toledo and in 1949 he began studies at the Pontifical Oriental Institute where he trained under Jesuit Father Juan Mateos. He was ordained a deacon in 1952 and two years later he was ordained a priest. After spending a period of time studying in Belgium, Father Arranz returned to Rome in 1967 and began his study of the Typicon of the Monastery of the Holy Savior (Messina, Italy). In 1969, he defended a work titled “How did the ancient Byzantines pray?” at the Saint Petersburg Orthodox Spiritual Academy. Between 1969 and 1975, he taught Liturgy at the same Academy where in 1975 Patriarch Pimen appointed him a full professor and later he taught in Moscow and in St Petersburg. Father Arranz is the author of many scholarly articles and books on liturgical theology and history.

Coptic Christians under siege

Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior was brought to Egypt by the Evangelist Saint Mark around the year AD 50. Many would consider Saint Mark as the first bishop and patriarch of Egypt. Our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt,

known as Copts, both Catholic and Orthodox, are
Thumbnail image for coptic priest.jpgbeing threatened by the Muslim majority. Of 80 million Egyptians 10 percent are Christian.
 Of this 10 percent, the Orthodox outweigh the Catholics. To give you an example, the 2007 statistics show that there are 7 Catholic dioceses (eparchies) caring for the spiritual and human needs of 161,327 souls. The Saturday edition of the NY Times carried a story with a slide show about the plight of these spiritual sons and daughters of Saint Mark.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for St Menas.jpgConsider supporting the excellent work that the Catholic Near East Welfare Association
(CNEWA), a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support. Your prayer and financial resources would be welcomed.

May St. Mark and St. Menas pray for us.

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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