Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Metropolitan Hilarion on the offensive

It’s not been a week into the exercise of the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis and members of the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy are “expressing hope” about the Bishop of Rome will or will not do with regard to the so-called “expansion” of the Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church. Really, they are setting conditions for dialogue and fraternal cooperation.

Recognizable is the fact that Russians want to be the dominant Church body in Eastern Europe and they want no “competition” from anyone else. They believe that to be Russian, or Ukrainian, for that matter, is to be Orthodox. They will not accept the possibility of a person’s freedom in choosing which Church to belong and that historically the Byzantine and Latin Catholics have been part of the cultural makeup of the Christian East. As a condition for good relations Metropolitan Hilarion and other Orthodox leaders want to pressure the Bishop of Rome not to work with the Byzantine Ukrainian Church in any way. Pope Francis, and the entire Roman Church wants good and fruitful relationships with the Orthodox Church worldwide, and in Russia. It will not be the case that we turn our back on the Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk and Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Synod. Lingering disagreements are not resolved by pressure and being agenda-driven.
You would never know that Metropolitan Hilarion was educated at Oxford and that he’s spent much of his youthful days enjoying certain freedom of education and culture in the West with ignorant comments such as he’s made about the Jesuits. His suspicion is greatly exaggerated and offensive. It betrays another level of insecurity of his person and his Church. His comments about the Jesuits, and therefore, Pope Francis, show yet example of that he is not a serious churchman. One only has to recall that it’s been the Jesuits in the 20th and 21st centuries who have provided rigorous educational opportunities at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (PIO) in Rome for the service to the Churches. And an education, I might add, to plenty of Orthodox priests, bishops and laity at the expense of the PIO. An anti-Jesuit stance in this case is clichéd and will bear no fruit.
May the great Mother of God bless the Churches.

Louis Sako elected Patriarch of the Chaldean Church

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Archbishop Louis Sako, 64, who since 2003 and until now the archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, has been elected the new Patriarch of Babylon, and the archbishop of Baghdad. He is XX worldwide leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Sako was elected this week by the Synod of the Chaldean Church, 15 bishops, which has been meeting in Rome this week to discuss the church life and to elect a successor to Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly who retired on 19 December 2012. Pope Benedict XVI quickly granted his request for full ecclesiastical communion, according to the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches.

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako is the point of unity among Chaldean Catholics and with the Bishop of Rome. His work will be to clearly preserve the life of the Chaldean Church, but also to chart the future of the ancient Christian community 

The new Patriarch is a native of Mosul, Iraq, ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He earned two doctorates–first in Patristics at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, and the second in history at the Sorbonne, Paris. Sako did pastoral work in Mosul and was the rector of the Patriarchal Seminary in Baghdad for 5 years prior to being ordained as the archbishop of Kirkuk on 14 November 2003. He is a published author and speaks several languages.

An interview with Vatican Radio.

Rome Reports has a brief news piece.

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Saint Anthony Anthony of the Desert

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Saint Anthony, father of Monks, intercede for the monastic life in the present day for the monks and nuns can live his consecration in awe and charity at all pleasing only to God.

Saint Anthony Anthony of the Desert (c. 251-356) was a friend of God, and therefore a son and brother to others. His friendship with God flowed from his obedience (his listening to and building his relationship).

He’s known as the founder of monasticism. His rule of life established guidelines for living together as Christians. This is what came to be known as “monastic,” the intense and purpose driven living of the Gospel. Following the death of his parents and providing for his younger sister, Anthony became a monk at 20; his method was to live in total solitude on a desert mountain near the Nile River and eating only bread and water, which he never tasted before sunset, and sometimes only once in two, three, or four days. In the spiritual life the desert is the place to do battle with sin. Anthony shows us that it possible to overcome the temptations of the devil; emerging about 20 years later from total seclusion to instruct hermits in the ways of the Gospel, monasticism, Anthony gave witness to the power of Jesus Christ in his capacity to the heal the sick, being a spiritual father, by casting out demons and preaching. From him we begin to realize that not everything lasts forever. It is said that he lived at least to 100 years.

It is Saint Athanasius’s Life of Saint Anthony that perpetuates the narrative and inspired waves of monks who civilized and evangelized Europe and the Near East. Anthony established a monastery between the Nile and the Red Sea, which exists today.

Saint Anthony, pray for us. Help is to renew and in some cases, refound the monastic living.

Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak elected new Patriarch for Catholic Copts

Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak.jpegThe Most Reverend Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57, was elected by the Synod of Bishop of the Catholic Coptic Church, to be Patriarch on January 15, 2013. He succeeds Antonio Cardinal Naguib.

Until now Patriarch Ibrahim has been the bishop of Minya since September 2002. He is the second bishop of Minya to be elected patriarch.
The Coptic Catholic Church is small with c. 165 thousand people. It was established in 1824. In Canada and the USA there are 5 parishes.

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The Syriac Catholic Church in North America

Referring to the Catholic Church as missionary may seem odd to some people. We don’t think of the Church in terms of being missionary, yet we are. To refer to a Catholic diocese in North America as a “mission diocese” may even rest uneasily on some ears. But both statements are true: the Catholic Church is missionary and there are some dioceses in North America that are mission dioceses. The Church always proposes the eternal truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and that the Church He founded is His extension of love and mercy in history.

The presence of the Syriac Catholic Church in North America is a mission diocese (eparchy in church-speak when referencing an Eastern Catholic jurisdiction). The headquarters here is the Eparchy of Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark.

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NJ.com carried a story by Father Alexander Santora today, “Syriac Catholic bishop is a very busy man,” covers a lot of ground in acquainting us with this particular Church which is not a mere rite, but fully in communion with the Bishop of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI.
As a Catholic jurisdiction established by Pope John Paul II in 1995, with Bishop Joseph Younan as the first eparch –who has since 2009 been the Patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church– and now governed by Bishop Joseph Habash, 61, as the second bishop.
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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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