- Monday, 25 March 2013 16:40
Tonight, 15th of Nissan, begins the annual days prayer remembering the liberation of the captive Jews in Egypt by God. The theological reality of the Passover is not merely relating to events of 3000 years ago, but an active remembrance (liturgically called anamnesis) that God leads us to freedom today: from slavery of sin to the grace of freedom; from being chained to unfaithfulness to the freedom of love and mercy. Christians will hear echoes in what is believed about Jesus and Holy Week. All leavened foods will be destroyed, needed cleaning done, and time for prayer and fasting. Read the Book of Exodus. The ritual mean of the sedar is a mix of biblical narrative, song and friendship. Passover ends on April 2 (in Israel the observance is 7 days, other places it’s 8).
The Holy Father unites himself, and us, with our Jewish brethren:
A few days on from our meeting, and with renewed gratitude for your having desired to honour the celebration of the beginning of my ministry with your presence and that of other distinguished members of the Jewish community, I take great pleasure in extending my warmest best wishes to you and Rome’s entire Jewish community on the occasion of the Great Feast of Pesach. May the Almighty, who freed His people from slavery in Egypt to guide them to the Promised Land continue to deliver you from all evil and to accompany you with His blessing. I ask you to pray for me, as I assure you of my prayers for you, confident that we can deepen [our] ties of mutual esteem and friendship.
- Friday, 15 March 2013 10:18
Surveying what the ecumenical crowd has to say about this papal election is mixed at best. Time will tell about our interfaith friends, namely the Jewish and Muslim communities. It is said that Pope Francis has had very strong friendships with the Jewish community of Argentina.
On Wednesday night when Pope Francis was introduced to the world on the loggia he said, “And now let us begin this journey, the bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.”
Pope Francis Portrait Painting (Photo credit: faithmouse)
His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (of Constantinople) will attend the enthronement of the newly-elected Pope of Rome on March 19. This is the first time since 1054 that Orthodox bishops will be in attendance. Bartholomew will be accompanied by the Metropolitan of Pergamum, John (Zizoulas), the Metropolitan of Buenos Aires, Tarasios (a native of San Antonio, Texas) and the Metropolitan of Italy, Gennadios.
The Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for External Relations, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, spoke on Thursday that he thought a meeting between the Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow was “possible but the place and timing will depend on how quickly we will overcome the consequences of the conflicts from the turn of 1980s and 1990s.” Hilarion notes, “on several occasions, Pope Francis has shown spiritual sympathy towards the Orthodox Church and a desire for closer contacts.” The Orthodox still refuse to accept the fact that some Christians in the Byzantine East want, in their own freedom, be in communion with the bishop of Rome. Tensions run high when it comes to thinking about the Ukrainian Byzantine Church using the title of Patriarch for their head and the existence of Latin Catholic dioceses in Russia.
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