Cyril Vasil: the new secretary for the Congregation of Eastern Churches

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Cyril Vasil.jpeg

Great News! Today, the Holy Father nominated Reverend Father Cyril Vasil, SJ, until now the rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, as the Secretary to the Congregation for Eastern Churches, raising him to the dignity of archbishop.

Archbishop-elect Cyril Vasil was born in 1965 (in Slovakia), ordained a priest in 1987, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 taking solemn vows in 2001. In 1994 he earned a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He has a working knowledge of 11 languages.

In 2002, Cyril Vasil was elected dean of the faculty of Oriental Canon Law and in 2007 he was named rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He is the first rector of the PIO to be of the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Among his responsibilities for the Church he is a consultor for the Congregations of Eastern Churches, Doctrine of the Faith and Pastoral Care of Migrants. Moreover, he was an expert for the 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. And he's been active in the International Union of Scouts of Europe being named a spiritual advisor in 2003.

I can say that this is an excellent choice for the Church: he's affable and competent. With Archbishop Vasil's appointment there are now two Jesuits in prominent positions in the Roman Curia, both are archbishop secretaries. It is also interesting to note that the new archbishop is the first in history working as a Vatican official to be the son of a married Catholic priest of Slovak Greek-Catholic Church, the vast majority of whose clergy are married family men in accord with the age-old (and fully salutary) tradition in the Byzantine East, Catholic and Orthodox. His father, Michael, was ordained by Blessed Vasil Hopko.


The youngest Archbishop in the Catholic Church

I thought SJ (Jesuits) was a Roman Catholic religious order. Doesn't the Eastern Catholics have any eastern Monks, like us Orthodox have.

Hello Bob, Thanks for reading the blog. Indeed, the Society of Jesus is a Catholic religious order. And Eastern Catholics are Roman Catholics because follow the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. Remember, even Constantinople was known as being part of the Eastern Roman Empire (once upon a time). The Byzantine (and Oriental) Orthodox, of course, do not follow the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, there Eastern Catholic monks and even religious orders. All the major religious orders in the Catholic Church have members that adhere to Eastern Christianity. As two examples of Eastern Catholic Jesuits, the previous superior general of the SJ was ordained an Armenian Catholic priest and Fr Robert Taft was ordained a Byzantine priest (of the Russian rite). Fr Taft has spent a lifetime doing historical research/writing on the Byzantine Liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome.


Dear Paul,
The Eastern Catholics are not Roman Catholics, they are just Catholics! And the Eastern Churches do have their own religious orders: the Basilitans, the Congregation of Mother of God, the Studits, etc. There are also greek-catholics who enter in roman-catholic religious orders, embracing the latin rite, but there are roman-catholic orders who have both rites: e.g. the Franciscans, the Jesuits...

Dear Julian,

As a matter of fact, Eastern Catholics ARE Roman Catholics--they follow the Bishop of Rome as head of the Universal Church. If Eastern Catholics were not ROMAN Catholics then they'd be members of the Orthodox Church. The distinction would be: Eastern vs Latin Catholic. You may want to read the Eastern Code of Canon Law, Fr Robert Taft, Fr Steven Hawkes-Teeples for a full explication of what it means to be Catholic, Latin or Eastern. The Byzantine Church, in the East, was part of the Eastern Roman Empire.

I am confused to why you would point out that I don't think there are no Eastern Catholic Religious Orders in the Church. I made NO SUCH CLAIM, nor would I. I am very aware of the fact that Eastern Catholics are professed members of Latin religious orders (Jesuits, Redemptorists, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc). Those people often accommodate themselves to the Latin liturgical life while some do keep their Eastern Christian heritage; some even change their ritual Church by formal act.

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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]



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on May 7, 2009 8:57 AM.

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