Tag Archives: Orthodox Church

Archbishop Job of the Orthodox Church in America: RIP at 63

Archbishop Job.jpgLast week the Lord called to Himself Orthodox
Church of America’s Archbishop Job. After a serious of religious services in Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he was buried. Since hearing of the archbishop’s sudden death of pulmonary embolism, I’ve kept +Job in prayer, and I urge you to do the same.

Archbishop Job was a talented, spiritual
and a man of great humanity. His spiritual sons all testify to the beauty of
his person. Born of a bi-Church family (Catholic & Orthodox), young Richard John was baptized Catholic and later, for serious reasons, was received into the Orthodox Church. The Archbishop’s father rejected his son for many years but reconciled. Through the years he developed the skills of writing liturgical music and icons and was an acclaimed pastor of souls. Before returning to his home city of Chicago as bishop in 1992, Job served the Orthodox faithful of New England beginning in 1983 when he was ordained a bishop at 37 years old.

I was struck by the person and ministry of +Job a number of years ago and was saddened by
his death. The Archbishop’s bio can be read here and his obit here.

Let us pray.

O God of spirits and of all
flesh, Who has trampled down death; You have overthrown the devil and have
given Life to Your world: now give rest, Lord, to the soul of Your departed
servant Archbishop Job, in a place of light, a place of refreshment and a place
of repose, where there is no sickness, sighing nor sorrow.  As You are a
Good God, Who loves mankind, pardon every sin, which he has committed, whether
by word or by deed or by thought, for there is no man who lives and has not sinned. 
You alone are sinless, Your Righteousness is Eternal and Your Word is
Truth.  For You are the Resurrection, the Life and the Repose of your
newly presented servant, Archbishop Job, Christ our God and we give glory,
together with Your Father, Who is Eternal and Your All-Holy, Good and
Life-Creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen!

May his memory be eternal!

It all started here: What Christianity in Constantinople gave to the world

Those interested the roots of Christianity ought to watch the 60 Minutes story on Patriarch Bartholomew. Don’t neglect watching the 3 extra video pieces located to the right on the 60 Minutes’ page.

Saint Andrew, pray for us.

Turkey can’t be trusted

The same old problems can’t be resolved in Turkey between the Turkish government and the Orthodox Church. Since 1971 the Halki Orthodox School of Theology (which operated within the guidelines of the Turkish department of education in the running of a high school and college/seminary) has been closed under specious claims.

Asia News reports today that problems persist and reciprocity is not an adequate avenue for a peaceful end to the Muslim-Orthodox Christian problem.
The head of the Turkish government and his ministers can’t be trusted. Their words are not matched by their actions, and certainly they don’t perceive facts in the same way as reasonable do. In short, they are duplicitous. Why is religious freedom for Christians in a Muslim country such as Turkey or Saudi Arabia  is impossible and Muslim religious freedom in Christian countries (USA, Greece, Italy) is possible, even with the extraordinary fanaticism that exists in many Islamic quarters?

Moscow & Rome to meet soon?

Patriarch & Pope.jpgDo you read the Interfax news agency from Moscow. Every now-and-again you should just to keep up with news not seemingly connected with own. Today, Interfax is reporting that Archbishop Hilarion has indicated that a meeting between Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kyrill and Pope Benedict XVI is on the table. No definite plans appear to have been made but there seem to be significant discussions pointing to a meeting. Interesting that this announcement is on the liturgical memorial of Saint Josaphat, brutally martyred by the Ordthodx (on the Latin calendar).

Speculation of East-West Reunion is too premature

Met. John of Pergamon.jpg

John Zizioulas of Pergamon sent a letter to the Archbishop of Greece and to all
Metropolitans of the Church of Greece reflecting on their acerbic and
uninformed opinion regarding theological dialogue with the See of Rome. Rigid adherence to one’s opinion is sinful. Metropolitan John is a consequential theologian and therefore I think his
insight matters. Clearly one gets the impression he distrusts imprudent public
speculation as to when and how a “reunion of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches”
is to take place. A too hopeful stance is unrealistic and does not account for
the continued dogmatic, ecclesiological differences yet to be resolved. One
wonders if the Catholic theologians and media people actually do their homework
or whether clichés is all they know. There is reason to believe we want to see partial reality.

Your Eminence,

Given that much turmoil has
been unduly created by certain circles, on the subject of the official
theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics, and that views have
also been expressed, which often range between inaccuracy and open falsehood
and slander, I am hereby addressing Your affection in order to clarify the

1. The aforementioned theological Dialogue does not constitute a
concern of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and much less, that of a specific
person, but is something that is taking place upon the decision of all the
autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches without exception. Specifically
with regard to the present period of the Dialogue, during which the undersigned
has the co-chairmanship from the Orthodox side, the agreement of all the
Orthodox Churches for the continuation of the Dialogue has been recorded in
Memoranda signed by the venerable Primates of the Orthodox Churches, which are
hereto attached in photocopy.  As Your Eminence will see when reading
these Memoranda, even the most holy Church of Greece – and in fact with a
Synodical decision – has admitted that “despite the existing difficulties,
which spring from the provocative activities of Unia to the detriment of the
flock of the Orthodox Church, the said Theological Dialogue must
continue.”  Consequently, those opposed to the said theological
Dialogue are doubting and judging pan-Orthodox decisions, which have been
reached synodically. By claiming solely as their own the genuine conscience of
Orthodoxy, these people are in essence doubting the Orthodoxy not only of
certain persons – as they misguidedly insist – but of the very Primates and
sacred Synods of all the most holy Orthodox Churches.

2. The same things apply
in the case of the said Dialogue.  We are informed that a certain
professor in his letter to the Reverend Hierarchs is censuring the topic of
primacy as a chosen topic for the theological Dialogue, and believes that the
Dialogue should be concerning itself with other matters.  But the said
professor is either ignorant of, or indifferent to, the fact that – again – the
topic of the Dialogue was decided on at a pan-orthodox level. The attached
Memoranda, signed by all the Primates of the Orthodox Churches, testify to and
verify this.  The most holy Church of Greece thus accepts that “this
discussion (regarding Unia) can, for the sake of facilitating the course of the
Dialogue, be conducted within the framework of ecclesiology through the prism
of the primacy”.  This is precisely what we normally intend to do,
during the forthcoming discussion of the subject “The Primacy during the
2nd Millennium”, which is also when Unia first appeared. The remaining
topics that the said professor referred to will by no means be overlooked by
the Dialogue. However, during the present phase, as decided at an
inter-orthodox level from the beginning of the Dialogue, the focal point of the
discussion is Ecclesiology. It is duly respected and legitimate, for the said
professor – or anyone else – to have a different point of view, but it is
inadmissible to be crying out that Orthodoxy is in danger because the Primates
who are shepherding Her do not share his opinion.  Where are we heading as
a Church, my Reverend holy brother?

3. It is being propagated very falsely and
that the signing of the union of the Churches is imminent! A
professor emeritus of Theology, who is well known for his ill-will towards my
person, had visited a Hierarch of the Church of Greece and had told him that he
knew with certainty (!) that the union had already been signed (in Ravenna!)
and that the relative announcement was a matter of time!!!  Clergy and
laity have approached me and asked me if it is true that the union is to be
signed in Cyprus, in October!  Obviously, a feeling of unrest is being
attempted among the people of God through this behaviour, with unpredictable
consequences for the unity of the Church.  However, those who are
disseminating these things are fully aware (as long as they have not been
blinded by empathy, fanaticism or a mania for self-projection), firstly, that
the ongoing theological Dialogue has yet to span an extremely long course,
because the theological differences that have accumulated during the one
thousand years of division are many; and secondly, that the Committee for the
Dialogue is entirely unqualified for the “signing” of a union, given
that this right belongs to the Synods of the Churches.
  Therefore, why all
the misinformation? Can’t the disseminators of these false “updates”
think of what the consequences will be for the unity of the Church?  «He
who agitates (God’s people) shall bear the blame, whoever he may be» (Galatians

Your Eminence,

The responsibility of all of us, and mostly of the
bishops who have been appointed by God to cater to the safeguarding of the
canonical unity of their flock, is an immense one.

What is being jeopardized is
ecclesiological: What is the authority and the prestige of Conciliar decisions?
Do we conform to the Conciliar decisions as we are already doing – and being
attacked for doing so – or do we conform to the “zealots” of
  Can there be an Orthodoxy and Dogmas without any Conciliar

We ask you to please place yourself on the matter, before we are led
to a complete demerit of Conciliar decisions, and before Your flock
disintegrates because of negligence on our part.

In humility and in awareness
of episcopal responsibility, we submit the above to Your affection and judgment
and remain, 

in Athens the 26th of September 2009

With Respect, honour and love
in the Lord

+ John of Pergamon

Orthodox Co-Chairman of the Committee for the
Theological Dialogue between Orthodox and Roman Catholics

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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