- Tuesday, 23 April 2013 07:34
Doing humanitarian work, two bishops have been kidnapped by rebels Monday evening. Archbishop Paul is the brother Greek Orthodox Patriarch John. Here is the Vatican statement:
The kidnapping of the two Metropolitan bishops of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, and the killing of their driver whilst they were carrying out a humanitarian mission, is a dramatic confirmation of the tragic situation in which the Syrian population and the Christian communities in Syria are living. The Holy Father has been informed of this recent, extremely grave act, which comes on top of the increasing violence of the past days and a humanitarian emergency of enormous proportions. Pope Francis is following the events with deep participation and he is praying for the health and the liberation of the two kidnapped bishops. He is also praying so that, with the support and prayers of all, the Syrian people may finally see tangible responses to the humanitarian drama and real hopes of peace and reconciliation rise on the horizon.
(Source: Vatican Radio)
Here’s an interview with Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni who spoke to Mario Giro, of the Community of St. Egidio about the kidnapping of the Syrian bishops. You may listen to the interview here.
- Wednesday, 20 March 2013 15:30
The Pope met today with Orthodox leaders, Byzantine and Oriental Orthodox, the Anglicans, other ecclesial communities and leaders of various other religions. Of particular interest is the personal meeting of Francis and Bartholomew; the Pope also met with Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Rome Reports has a review of this important ecumenical meeting.
First of all, heartfelt thanks for what my Brother Andrew told us. Thank you so much! Thank you so much!
It is a source of particular joy to meet you today, delegates of the Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and Ecclesial Communities of the West. Thank you for wanting to take part in the celebration that marked the beginning of my ministry as Bishop of Rome and Successor of Peter.
Yesterday morning, during the Mass, through you , I recognized the communities you represent. In this manifestation of faith, I had the feeling of taking part in an even more urgent fashion the prayer for the unity of all believers in Christ, and together to see somehow prefigured the full realization of full unity which depends on God’s plan and on our own loyal collaboration.
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- Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:50
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.
- Sunday, 03 March 2013 13:44
If you want to read a beautiful letter from the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, Kyril I, to Pope Benedict XVI, read the following.
On 1 March 2013, His Holiness, Patriarch Kyril I of Moscow sent a message to His Holiness, Benedict XVI, pope-emeritus.
Your Holiness!In these exceptional days for you, I would like to express the feelings of brotherly love in Christ and respect.
The decision to leave the position of Bishop of Rome, which you, with humility and simplicity, announced on February 11 this year, has found a ready response in the hearts of millions of Catholics.
We have always been close to your consistent ministry, marked by uncompromisingness in matters of faith and unswerving adherence to the living Tradition of the Church. At a time when the ideology of permissiveness and moral relativism tries to dislodge the moral values of life, you boldly raised your voice in defence of the ideals of the Gospel, the high dignity of man and his vocation to freedom from sin.
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- Friday, 01 March 2013 17:08
One head of Church leaves his ministry, another picks up a new call to serve God’s people on the same day. Abune Mathias, 71, was elected to lead Ethiopia’s 50 million Orthodox Christians, majority of the population. He is the sixth patriarch having received 500 of the 806 possible votes. His predecessor, Abune Paulos, was the head of the church since 1992 and died six months ago.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has had its own patriarch since 1959 when Pope Cyril VI allowed for the Ethiopian Church to move from the Coptic Orthodox Church and be self-ruling. The Ethiopian Church has apostolic origins.
The new patriarch was ordained to the Order of Deacon in 1948, and a priest-monk in 1955. Since 1971 a bishop. Abune Mathias has been serving as archbishop of the Church in Jerusalem and has lived outside of Ethiopia for more than 30 years.
Abune Mathias will be enthroned in Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa, on Sunday, 3 March.
Ethiopia has some of the word’s oldest churches, sometimes called “cave churches,” rock-hewn, which are a World Heritage Site, in Lalibella in northern Ethiopia. They’d remind of Raiders of the Lost Ark.