Tag Archives: Melkite

Vespers and dinner with Melkite Patriarch Joseph Absi

Tonight I was at Great Vespers then dinner at St Ann Melkite Church (Danbury, CT) presided over by His Beatitude, Patriarch Joseph (Absi) with Bishop Nicholas Samra, Archbishop Nicolas Antiba and Fr Michael Skrocki.

About 125 people were in attendance. Several from the Latin Church but others from Eastern Churches including the Ruthenian and Maronite.

The Patriarch spoke of the universality of the Melkite Church. After all, it was in Syria that the followers of Jesus were called Christian.

It was a beautiful evening!

Joseph Absi new Melkite Patriarch

Archbishop Joseph Absi, Patriarchal Vicar for Damascus, has been elected as the new Melkite Patriarch. Axios!‬

His Beatitude succeeds Patriarch Gregory.

The new Patriarch celebrated his 71st birthday yesterday. He is 44 years a priest and 15 years a bishop and a member of the Melkite Paulist Order.

His Beatitude is an American citizen, since 1990. His mother and older brother live in California.

Eis pollá eti Déspota!

Patriarchs Gregory and John meet

Orthodox and Catholic Patriarchs 2014The annual Synod of Bishops of the Melkite Church just finished meeting. The Melkite bishops from around the world meet together each year for some time in prayer, discussions on theology, liturgy, canonical process and the election of bishops. This year the Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, John X, met with Melkite Patriarch Gregory III –a historic meeting.

The Melkites in the USA are governed by Bishop Nicholas J. Samra (of the Eparchy of Newton) and the Antiochian Orthodox Church is awaiting a new head of church since their Metropolitan Philip Saliba died not long ago. The new metropolitan is expected to be announced late next week.

Melkite Synod 2014 meeting with Patriarch JohnSaint Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.

Apostles’ Fast 2013

Ss Peter and Paul coptic.jpeg

Recently on the Sunday of All Saints (26 May 2013) –the Byzantine Church observes a different feast of All Saints than do the Latin Christians– the Eparch (the Greek word for bishop) of the Melkites in the in the USA, Bishop Nicholas James Samra wrote to his people about preparing for the feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. Yes, some Catholics do make preparations for other feasts!

One of the reasons I am drawing our attention to this matter is two-fold: 1.) being Catholic is more than merely following the Latin Church’s disciple — we can learn from others; and 2.) the discipline of those who belong to Christ is more than merely praying, fasting, and almsgiving for selfish reasons, that is, these spiritual activities are to break open our spiritual capacities. Remember what John Paul taught: Christians breathe with two lungs.

The liturgical feast of Ss. Peter and Paul is traditionally preceded by a period of concerted prayer and fasting. These saints –indeed, all of the apostles– are the pillars of our Church. In times past the period of fasting was significant while today it is much modified. The controlling idea is that before an important feast of the Lord, the Mother of God and some saints, the faithful are encouraged to prepare themselves to receive God’s graces in a worthy manner. We prepare by getting rid of sin and living virtuously: corporal and spiritual works of mercy are good things to do.

Bishop Nicholas recalls for us that the Monday after Sunday of All Saints the Byzantine Church begins a time of prayer and fasting leading us to the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul on 29 June.  But now the preparation is modified to 10 days by the Melkite Synod of Bishops. Fittingly, the bishop notes: “We are given this “Apostles Fast” in order to fan into flame the grace of the Holy Spirit within us and to reflect upon the hardships endured by the Apostles as they preached Divine grace and truth to the world.”

Faith needs to be connected with reality. This is the context in which God acts. Several things in our own lives can and ought to be connected with life. Bishop Nicholas indicates that one good way to extrovert our faith by having some sense human ecology on the spiritual level is remember those suffering the effects of the war in Syria. Certainly, we pray for all but special attention to be paid to the Catholics and Orthodox peoples.

Hence, the proposal is to begin our spiritual discipline on June 19. I recommend that you make a confession of sin and receive Holy Communion, pray for the Pope’s intention for June, and name the intentions. Select a charitable organization to to make a donation of funds.

Perhaps we can also use the Apostles’ Fast to pray for those living with cancer. I am thinking of my friend Jesuit Father Edward Oakes who is in need of a miracle due to his recent diagnosis of Type 4 pancreatic and liver cancer.

Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.

Melkite Patriarch wants to work for peace, denounces recent terrorist explosions

The violence in Syria doesn’t seem to end, the dignity persons disrespected. Recent terrorist explosions in Damascus’ Mazraa district left 53 dead and 235 injuredand caused extensive damage, particularly to a school and a hospital. 

Melkite Patriarch Gregory III issued a statement on February 21st. I recommend to your prayers His Beatitude’s intentions and leadership, and to work for peace in your own particular context.

He calls for an end of providing weapons to the warring factions.

Read the full Statement of Patriarch Gregory 21 February 2013.pdf

In short he said,

  • We extend our appeal to Russia and the United States of America to continue their sincere efforts to support progress towards dialogue and a comprehensive political solution. The patience of Syrians is exhausted: their suffering is exacerbated in every detail of their daily life.
  • We ask His Holiness the Pope and leaders of the Holy Apostolic See of Rome to launch a diplomatic initiative of the Catholic Church based on its global spiritual influence.
  • We turn once more especially to our faithful of the Patriarchal Eparchy of Damascus, inviting them to fast and pray during this period of Great Lent for security and peace in Syria and for the success of efforts for dialogue and reconciliation.

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.
coat of arms

Categories

Archives

Humanities Blog Directory