Monday, March 19, 2018

Prayers for clergy always appreciated

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Russian delegation visits Ethiopia

(ROC) - On 1-4 March 2018, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visited Ethiopia to discuss with representatives of the Church of Ethiopia various issues pertaining to the resumption of active contacts between the two Churches.

The delegation included Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov), secretary for inter-Christian relations of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Deacon Dimitry Serov, executive secretary of the Student Exchange Commission.

On March 1, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church met with representatives of the Patriarchate of Ethiopia: Bishop Aregawi Haile Maryam Melesse of South Gonder; Bishop Philipos Ashageré of South Omo; Priest Elias Abreha, general manager of Tinsae Publishing Organization; Archimandrite Kaletsdiq Mulugeta, head of the Foreign Relations Department; and Deacon Michael Feleke, director of Broadcasting Service Agency.

The participants in the meeting discussed prospects of bilateral cooperation in the follow-up of the visit of the delegation of the Church of Ethiopia to Russia in November 2017. The agenda of the meeting included such issues as plight of Christians subjected to persecution in various regions of the world, upholding of traditional morality in the present-day society, promotion of academic contacts, sharing of experience in social ministry and in working with the mass media, as well as youth ministry and Church-society relations.

On March 2, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church was received by His Holiness Abune Mathias of Ethiopia. His Holiness conveyed cordial greetings to the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and emphasized that he highly appreciated his efforts aimed at consolidating the Christian world in the face of common challenges. The head of the Church of Ethiopia noted with satisfaction the progress in negotiations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of Ethiopia aimed at intensifying bilateral cooperation. His Holiness also shared his recollections of the visit to Ethiopia of His Holiness Patriarch Pimen of Moscow and All Russia.

Hieromonk Stefan (Igumnov) thanked the head of the Ethiopian Church for the warm welcome and conveyed to him greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia with the 5th anniversary of his Patriarchal enthronement. As Fr. Stefan noted, the resumption of the inter-church contacts has coincided with the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Ethiopia. This topic was discussed in November 2017, during the meeting between Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, and Mr. Grum Abay Teshome, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Russian Federation.

On March 3, the delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church attended the divine service at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa celebrated by His Holiness Patriarch Mathias together with the assembly of bishops of the Church of Ethiopia, as well as a ceremony that marked the 5th anniversary of His Holiness’ enthronement.

The delegation members also met with other hierarchs of the Church of Ethiopia, visited local monasteries, theological schools, a publishing centre, church workshops and social facilities.

The visit allowed the guests from Russia to learn more about various activities of the Church of Ethiopia. It should be noted that Christians in Ethiopia live in difficult circumstances due to the geopolitical situation of the country, socio-economic crisis and other aggravating factors. However, the Ethiopian people preserve the faith that they received in the apostolic times, and are willing to openly cooperate with the entire Christendom. The bearer of the ancient Christian tradition on the African continent, the Church of Ethiopia in recent years has been actively carrying out missionary work among tribes and ethnic groups living in the south-west of the country.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

First Annual

Some may remember my unkind words for the atrocity that is deaconate. It's now that time of year where institutions are flooding the Internet with event announcements and using the phrase "First Annual." This is not a thing. It's inaugural. If you ask me to blog a poster for your event ant it says "First Annual," I'm not going to do so until you fix it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Kosovo is Serbia

(Christian Today) - The Serbian Orthodox Church plans to change its name to stress connections with Kosovo, the former Serbian province that gained independence in 2008. The controversial move is seen as clashing with the Serbian government's conciliatory efforts with Kosovo.

Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church told the Belgrade-based Kurir newspaper yesterday that through a draft change to its internal constitution, it will be renamed as the Serbian Orthodox Church-Pec Patriarchate.

The change references Pec, now a largely Albanian town in Kosovo but once the centre of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Serbian Patriarchate of Pec existed from 1346-1766 before it was lost to Ottoman Turks, but the Church sought to recover the historic connection when Serbia regained independence in 1879.

'Pec remains ... (a testimony) to our past, of patriarchs and archbishops, and no matter what happened, Pec remains the historical centre of our Church,' Irinej said.

But the move is expected to hinder the efforts of the Serbian government to demonstrate a healthy diplomatic relationship with the country's former province, a prerequisite for Serbia to join the European Union.

'This is a sort of a message which indicates opposition [to state policies]...Views of churches do not always reflect state views about territories,' Zoran Stojiljkovic, a lecturer with Belgrade's Faculty of Political Sciences, told Reuters.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has become known for its conservative and even nationalist politics, and for its opposition to Kosovo's independence. Several of its churches and monasteries in Kosovo were destroyed by Albanian forces ahead of the 2008 victory, but a small Serb minority has remained in the province.

Abp. Kyrill of San Francisco granted leave of absence

(ROCOR-WAD) - With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, our Ruling Bishop, His Eminence KYRILL Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America has been granted a leave of absence for the purpose of addressing his health.

His Grace Theodosy Bishop of Seattle has been appointed Тemporary Аdministrator with all of the privileges of a ruling hierarch. His Grace Irenei Bishop of Sacramento will assist Bishop Theodosy with the administration of the Diocese.

At all Divine Services where the Ruling Bishop is commemorated, Archbishop Kyrill’s name is to be remembered as usual. During the period of this temporary situation in all monasteries and churches of the Western American Diocese, Bishop Theodosy’s name will be raised up following Archbishop Kyrill’s, using the formula “our Lord His Grace Theodosy Bishop of Seattle.”

His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill invokes God’s blessing upon the labors of Bishop Theodosy and Bishop Irenei.

Holy Fire debates

You can also read this if you're interested in a different opinion.

Moscow, March 12 (Interfax) - Press secretary of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia priest Alexander Volkov considers strange statements made by a priest of the Armenian Church Samuel Agoyan, who said that he had seen thrice how patriarchs light wax candles from an oil lamp in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, which means that there is nothing mystical in the Holy Fire.

"Such statements especially from a representative of non-Orthodox Church sound strange and make us doubt the decency of people who voice them," Father Alexander told Interfax-Religion on Monday.

The priest considers the statement strange as theoretically any events of the spiritual life can be treated with criticism and mistrust.

"Descent of the Holy Fire is a great event for millions believers that strengthens their faith and supports them, and the Russian Orthodox Church as well as other Orthodox Churches shares the joy of it," the patriarchal press secretary said reminding that the Holy Fire is delivered by a special flight to Russian Orthodox churches every year.

Eastern Catholic bishops meet in St. Louis

(Eparchy of St. George) - Between March 5-7, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri, Bishop John Michael Botean participated at the Eastern Catholic Associates (ECA) meeting, the national organization of Eastern Catholic bishops in the United States.

This gathering hosted by Bishop Elias Zaidan at the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon and lead by the current president of ECA, Bishop Kurt Burnette, Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Passaic, NJ was an appropriate time to discuss issues and projects pertinent to the Eastern Catholic bishops’ activity in the U.S. territory.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Serbs put out new English Divine Liturgy text

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Passion Week in the Maronite Tradition

(Radiate His Light) - Passion week (or Holy Week as it is known in the West) is fast approaching and begins with Hosanna Sunday on March 25.

"As joyful as Hosanna Sunday is, the days of Passion Week are more important. The first three days of Passion Week are marked by the celebration of the Service of “Coming to the Harbor” (Monday and Tuesday), and the “Service of the Rite of the Lamp” (Wednesday).

The three principal days of Passion Week are: Thursday of the Mysteries, Great Friday of the Crucifixion, and Great Saturday of the Light.

On Thursday of Mysteries, the whole Church commemorates the Institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Lord’s Supper with the Apostles. In focusing on the ritual of the Washing of the Feet, the Maronite Church emphasizes clearly the legacy of love and service that is at the heart of the meaning of the Eucharist, as well as the sacrifice of love on Calvary, with its forgiveness of sins, sacramentally re-enacted in each celebration of the Divine Service.

On Great Friday, the first of the two main services is the Anaphora of the Signing of the Chalice. This is one of the most ancient liturgies of the entire Church, and some form of it is prayed by all the Churches , East and West. The focus is on redeeming Blood of Christ, and His Body is broken for us.

The second service of the day is a Service of the Word: the ritual of the Burial of the Lord. Literal to the Gospel story of the Passion and dramatic, it invites us to be buried with the Lord, to be forgiven and rise with him.

On Great Saturday of the Light, the Divine Liturgy is not permitted during the day. It is a quiet day that invites us to end our Lenten Fast in a spirit of anticipation for the Grandest Feast, the Resurrection. The “Service of Forgiveness” is prayed near noontime. In this communal penance service, we are reminded that we are to be buried with Christ if we are to rise with him.

Excerpts taken from ‘Captivated by Your Teachings’ by Rev Anthony J. Salim, this book can be ordered on Amazon.

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch denounces WCC statement

DAMASCUS, Syria (Crux Now) - The patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church denounced a statement issued by the head of the World Council of Churches regarding the situation in Syria, in particular the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus.

“We are deeply appalled by your statement on Syria,” Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II of Antioch wrote the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse-Tveit, general-secretary of the World Council of Churches, regarding the Feb. 26 statement.

“You mention 550 victims killed in Eastern Ghouta, including more than 130 children. However, you neglect to mention hundreds of civilians, including many children, killed by the mortars and missiles coming from Eastern Ghouta, especially when most of these mortars have long targeted areas populated by Christians from churches which are members of WCC,” the patriarch, a native of Qamishli, Syria, wrote in the March 2 letter.

“Targeting of civilians on all sides should be indeed condemned,” he stressed. However, the patriarch said Fykse-Tveit’s statement “clearly shows a biased position concerning what is happening in Syria in general, and in Damascus in particular.”

“As a council of churches representing its members, including those of us who live in Syria, your statement should have been apolitical, more pastoral and reflecting the position of the great majority of Christians in Syria,” he said. “It is obvious that your information on what is happening in Syria lacks accuracy and objectivity.”

The Syriac Orthodox patriarch warned that “such an unbalanced statement will be used as a political tool serving a political vision of Syria’s future that does not necessarily express the views of the majority of the Syrian people, including Christians.”

He expressed his hope that the WCC “once again becomes the voice of the suffering churches in Syria” and would “convey to the entire world the reality of what they are going through.”

Friday, March 9, 2018

Church of 21 Martyrs opens

Abuna Yemata Guh

The Armenian gochnag

Sunday, March 4, 2018

On mistaking a symptom for the illness

Washington State commodifies the womb

This turns my stomach. A war on women is being waged and it's not a dictatorship doing this, the people are voting it in. There are no protections for these children either and the horrors of this are already known; sexual abuse, slavery, and suffering.

(Christian Post) - Washington state is set to legalize commercial surrogacy, a move children's rights advocates say amounts to the selling of babies, bases the definition of a parent on "intent," and opens avenues for child abuse and other horrors.

Just before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Washington state House of Representatives passed the "Uniform Parentage Act," along party lines with every Democrat in favor and every Republican opposed. The bill had previously passed the state Senate with total Democratic support and three Republicans. The state's Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, is expected to sign the legislation.

"For House Republicans, this bill was a matter of conscience,'' said Liz Pike, who represents the state's 18th house district, according to Clark County Today.

"We all voted 'no' to protect the womb from being monetized and commercialized. This bill sets virtually no limits on the amount people will be able to sell or purchase a human baby for. I'm disgusted that such a bill would ever be considered let alone pass. What have we become as a state, selling human babies to the highest bidder? Is this who we are?"

Katy Faust, who leads children's rights organization Them Before Us and testified against the legislation during the hearings, regards the likely soon-to-be law as disastrous.