Tag Archives: Eastern Christianity

Residences of Maronite and Melkite Bishops in Aleppo, Syria

Archbishops Youssef Anis Abi-Aad, 72, and Jean-Clément Jeanbart, 69, have taken refuge in other places since their residences were ransacked in the past few days. Clashes between Assad’s forces and other groups are to blame. It is said that “unidentified groups, who want to foster a sectarian war and involve the Syrian people in a sectarian strife.” Not a much more is known at this point.

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Maronite Archbishop Youssef Anis Abi-Aad (left) said his residence and a local Christian museum were ransacked destroying personal and professional affects including icons.

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Melkite Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart (right) and some of his priests went to Lebanon in the face of violence.
It is reported that Christians make up about 7.5 to 10% of the Syrian 20 million population.
Both Maronite and Melkite Churches are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome.
We pray,
O God, author and lover of peace, to know you is to live, to serve you is reign; defend against every attack those who cry to you, so that we, who trust in your protection, may not fear the weapons of any foe.
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Catholic University Looks East

Rev. Mark Morozowich.jpgSalvation comes from the East! You’ve heard that before, no? If not, then it is news you ought to welcome, not just because an Eastern Catholic priest, Father Mark Morozowich is the new Dean of the School of Theology at the Catholic University of America.

Father Mark is a longtime friend, and I rejoice in his selection. A brilliant choice! CUA could use a deeper appreciation for the Christian East and with Mark, perhaps they’ll get it.
Perhaps Father Mark’s appointment will be an opportunity for all the Eastern Churches in the USA to send their seminarians to CUA for their theological education. The Maronites and Ukrainian Byzantines already do so; can the Melkites and Reuthenians do likewise? No sense in being too provincial, is there?
The National Catholic Register carries an interview with Father Mark here.
May the Holy Theotokos guide Father Mark’s work for Christ and the Church.
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Saint Sharbel Makhūf

Saint Charbel.jpgO God, who called the Priest Saint Sharbel Makhūf to the solitary combat of the desert and imbued him with all manner of devotion, grant us, we pray, that, being made imitators of the Lord’s Passion, we may merit to be co-heirs of his Kingdom.

The saint proposed by the Church is a relatively unknown hermit. Saint Sharbel (1828-1898) was a man who fought with the devil in the desert and lived according to tradition given by the Maronite Church. He’s known as the wonder-worker of the Middle East. When Church officials opened the grave of Sharbel they found an intact body with sweet aroma.
A hermit may not be a recognized value for the laity but if you look at the Mass prayer above it notes what we all are after: to be imitators of the Lord’s Passion. The Christian always orients his or her life to the Paschal Mystery (the Life, Death, Resurrection & Ascension of the Lord).

Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria, dead at 88

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On Saturday, 17
March 2012, Pope Shenouda III, the 117th head of the Coptic Christians died.
Shenouda was the successor of Saint Mark. He led his Church since November

UK’s Mail Online has a story of
Pope Shenouda
with other photos here. Plus, the Washington Post has an article to

Pope Benedict XVI sent this note of condolence to the Coptic

On learning of the sad departure to God, our common Father, of His
Holiness Shenouda III, Patriarch of Alexandria on the See of Saint Mark the
Evangelist, I wish to express to the members of the Holy Synod, to the priests
and all the faithful of all the Patriarchate, my most sincere brotherly
compassion. I recall with gratitude his commitment to Christian Unity, his
memorable visit to my predecessor Pope Paul VI, and their signing of the Joint
Declaration of Faith in the Incarnation of the Son of God together in Rome, on
May 10, 1973, as well as his Cairo meeting with Pope John Paul II during the
Great Jubilee of the Incarnation, on February24, 2000. I can say how the
Catholic Church as a whole shares the grief that afflicts the Orthodox Copts,
and how she stands in fervent prayer asking that He, who is who is the
Resurrection and the Life, might welcome his faithful servant. May the God of
all mercy receive Pope Shenouda in His joy, His peace and light.

When I met Pope Shenouda in St Louis, Missouri in 1994, it was a very interesting experience all around. May God be merciful to him and Saint Mark his steps to paradise.

The photo
above is of Pope Shenouda sitting on his throne one last time before burial.
Perhaps the Roman bishops would like to adopt this practice.

Saints Cyril and Methodius

Sts Cyril and Methodius.jpgA lot of westerners are not too aware of Saints Cyril and Methodius. However, there’s a Polish parish in the Hartford and Bridgeport dioceses and a seminary in Michigan that bear the names of these rather famous saints. So, they are not too obscure but they’re not that well-known as they ought to be. In 1985, Blessed John Paul II paid tribute to these two saints in an Encyclical, Slavorum Apostoli, to show the vividness of their witness.

In Russian Orthodox circles, the celebration of Cyril and Methodius is connected with a cultural festival on Salvonic literature. The holy brothers are known for the formation of the Glagolitic alphabet –now called the Cyrillic alphabet– that was instrumental in the evangelization and education of the Slavs.
Here we have saints not only of great zeal for the Kingdom of God but of culture. The true and orthodox faith the lived and taught is the one we desire, too.
The Church prays
O God, who enlightened the Slavic peoples through the brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius, grant that our hearts may grasp the words of your teaching, and perfect us as a people of one accord in true faith and right confession.

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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