- Monday, 25 February 2013 07:33
The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, wrote a letter on occasion of the abdication of Pope Benedict. It is a warm letter and testimony to his co-worker in the vineyard. In an era of lots of change in the leadership of many changes, it is interesting to what is said,
It is with regret that we have learned of the decision by His Holiness Pope Benedict to retire from his Throne, because with his wisdom and experience he could have provided much more to the Church and the world.
Pope Benedict leaves an indelible mark on the life and history of the Roman Catholic Church, sealed not only by his brief papacy, but also by his broad and longstanding contribution as a theologian and hierarch of his Church, as well as his universally acknowledged prestige.
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- Sunday, 24 February 2013 08:27
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church elected today Metropolitan Neofit, 67, as the new patriarch. He succeeds Patriarch Maxim who at 98, died on November 6, 2012. He had served the Church since 1971.
Of the 14 bishops of the Synod, three were shortlisted. Of the 138 members of the electoral college, 90 voted for Neofit.
80% of Bulgaria follows the Orthodox Church. Patriarch is the first patriarch since the collapse of the Soviet government.
- Wednesday, 02 January 2013 10:07
Several years ago I was introduced to the figure of Saint Seraphim of Sarov ((1759-1833). He was a monk, priest, hermit and ascetic. He was known for his wisdom and humanity. In the Orthodox church he held the title of “startsy,” that is, a charismatic elder (in the strict sense of the word) “anointed” by the Holy Spirit with the gifts of prophesy, healing, discernment of God’s will. Saint Seraphim, you might say, was a spiritual father.
There is a story about Saint Seraphim that gives an interesting side to the man. It reads something to this effect,
“Two nuns from a
certain convent once came to visit Saint Seraphim. Suddenly a bear lumbered
unexpectedly out of the woods and frightened the visitors with his appearance.
“Misha,” – said the saint, – “why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and
bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests.” Hearing
these words, the bear went back into the woods, and two hours later he tumbled
into the holy elder’s cell and gave him something covered with leaves. It was a
fresh honeycomb of purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his
bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door – and the bear left immediately.”
I wonder if Saint Seraphim is invoked by those who have troubled bears? I am sure his guidance would be helpful.
- Tuesday, 18 December 2012 05:39
The 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!
- Wednesday, 05 December 2012 08:29
Greek 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.