Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

New Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch elected

John Yaziji.jpgThe Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch elected a new patriarch, His Eminence, Metropolitan Archbishop of Europe, John Yazigi, 57. He will be known as John X.

The special synod of 18 bishops gathered for the election following the death of Patriarch Ignatius IV who died on December 5; the synod met at the Balamand Patriarchal Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Patriarch John was born in 1955 to a Syrian father and Lebanese mother in family of six children. His brother Paul is the Metropolitan of Allepo and his sister is a nun.
Patriarch John X is an Athonite monk ordained a deacon in 1979, a priest in 1983 and a bishop in 1995. In 2008, he was elected to pastoral service in Europe. His education includes degrees in civil engineering, theology, liturgy and music. His skill as an administrator can be seen in his work as Dean of the School of Theology at Balamand twice. John is known to be an exceptional pastor with competencies in the sacred Liturgy and Music; he’s a published author and popular speaker.
Blessings on Patriarch John!

Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, 91, RIP

Ignatius IV Hazim .jpgGreek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV Hazim, 91, died today, Wednesday, at a Beirut hospital after suffering a stroke a day earlier.


Born in the village of Mhardey near Hama in Syria in 1921, Habib Hazim was the son of an Arab Greek Orthodox family and was attracted to ecclesial ministry early in life. After finishing school in Hama, Hazim moved to Beirut where he studied literature and started serving the Orthodox Church in Lebanon.


 Hazim helped found the global Society of Orthodox Youth Organizations and he became a bishop in 1961 and in 1970 he was elected Orthodox Metropolitan of the Syrian city of Latakia, a coastal city. Hazim was elected Greek Orthodox
Patriarch of  Antioch and all the East in 1979, succeeding Patriarch Elias IV. The Patriarch of Antioch is the third most important See after the Patriarchates of Constantinople and Alexandria.


Eternal Memory.

The Season of Advent proposes reclaiming the Garden of Eden

I love the Syriac tradition of liturgical theology. Often I find it a far more satisfying liturgical tradition than the Latin church craziness I face. It is Semitic, very biblical and rich in humanity. I recommend that you immerse yourself in the poetry of Saint Ephrem, deacon and Doctor of the Church.

The Maronite Church is one of whose heritage is West Syrian theologically; historically it’s rooted in the mountains of Lebanon. Their Advent Season has already begun with what is called the Season of Announcements (follow this link for more info on the season). This past Sunday was the Announcement to Mary. This coming weekend the Maronites will celebrate the Visitation of Elizabeth.
Father Steven Bonian, SJ, writes frequently on the sacred Liturgy of the West Syrian Church, the Maronites. See how he connects the Creator, creation and the Liturgy; the image of the Garden is key here for us Christians who are seeking salvation, that is, to dwell again in the Garden of Eden. 
Father Bonian said about the Sunday of Mary’s Announcement:

Annunciation Boccaccino.jpg

Today, the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians (3:15-22), reminds us of how the promise made to Abraham is now being fulfilled through those who believe; those who live by the Law and the Torah of the heart through righteousness. To such as these –like Mary– is the gift of God and his promise handed down through his angels. The Gospel of Luke makes it clear that Mary is the righteous one who has gained the favor of God, and thus, inherited this Gift (Christ) and the Promise (Salvation).
In the Gospel-Icon of Mary and the Angel drawn for us by Saint Luke, and framed for us in this Sunday’s prayers –in the context of the relationship of the creator with his creation –the mountains, the earth, the sea, and the waves are rejoicing in God’s Word! Mary herself has become the New Earth (as Saint Ephrem would teach us) and true representative for all of God’s creation. The Son of God comes to dwell in her, and through her God has returned to live –as in Paradise— in the midst of his creation. Now in Mary, the new covenant, and God’s plan of salvation is being fulfilled. She has become the Cloud, the Pure Womb, the Fountain of Life and Blessings!

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Saint Josaphat Kuncevyc

St. Josaphat, Ukrainian bp.jpgToday, with the feast of Saint Josaphat (c. 1580-1623), we ought to mourn the sad division of the Church that exists between East and West.

The Church prays,
Stir up in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the Spirit that filled Saint Josaphat as he laid down his life for the sheep, so that through his intercession we, too, may be strengthened by the same Spirit and not be afraid to lay down our life for others.
Notice that the prayer calls to our attention that we too, are called to be witnesses to the work of unity, even to the point of laying down our lives for others. Here the use of the word ‘witness’ is used in two ways: giving testimony by word and deed and dying, if need be, with our own lives. Here’s the dual meaning of the martyr (witness).
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New pope elected … for the Coptic Orthodox Church

boy and acting pope.jpegThe electors, nearly 2,406 people, in the Coptic Orthodox Church selected the 118th successor to Saint Mark, Tawadros II. The new pope is the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of All Africa. Until now, Tawadros has been an auxiliary bishop to the Archbishop Pachomius who’s been serving as the acting pope. Tawadros studied pharmaceutical sciences and was ordained a bishop in 1997. 

Bishop Tawadros received 1623 votes, or about 25% of the votes.
Each of the electors, asking God to provide for them a good shepherd, were blindfold in casting their ballot for three of five previously vetted candidates. The three names were placed in a ceremonial box, then the Divine Liturgy was celebrated before a blindfolded child selected one of the three names to be the next pope. The new pope succeeds Pope Shenounda III who died at the age of 88 in March, after serving since 1971.
Pope Tawadros II, 60, will be installed on November 18.

Bishop Tawadros.jpg

Christians in Egypt number about 10% of the 83 million population. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the largest Christian Church in Egypt.
So far, the key Muslim groups have offered their hands in friendship upon Pope Tawadros announcement.
Vatican Radio has an informative piece to read and to listen.

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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