Pope Francis recently visited the country of Georgia. Georgia is a majority Orthodox country with a small Roman and Greek Catholic Minority. The Holy Father attending a concert at the Patriarchal Cathedral. This is a short clip of the concert. It is breathtaking. Glory to God.
Recently, His Beatitude Sviatoslav spoke at a banquet in Canada. His full speech is well worth reading, especially in regards to the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute. You can read the full address here.
His Beatitude makes an important theological, ecclesial, and political statement within this address. It is worth posting for all to see.
His Beatitude said:
Our Church has been singled out by the Kremlin’s propaganda machine as some sort of ultranationalist force bent on sowing hatred towards the Orthodox culture of Russia, and the single greatest impediment to worldwide Orthodox-Catholic reconciliation.
That is why I find it important to be able to stand before you today at this great university and state the following in the most unequivocal terms. The Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches is not in any way opposed to the Orthodox Churches. We are an Orthodox Church, with Orthodox theology, liturgy, spirituality and canonical tradition that chooses to manifest this Orthodoxy in the spirit of the first Christian millennium, in communion with Rome. We are witnesses to the fact that Christian East and West not only have an obligation to seek some vague rapprochement, but are called by our Savior Himself to actually live the unity of one Body of Christ, not in the subjugation of one to another, but in the loving union of the Three Divine Persons who live not three lives parallel to each other, but one life: a life of self-emptying love, that gives life rather than take it. It is our mission, as a Church that experienced great persecution and martyrdom in the twentieth century, to stand up for those who experience such persecution today: our brothers and sisters the Copts of Egypt, the Melkites, Chaldeans, Syrian Orthodox, Assyrians, and others in the Middle East. It is our duty to help them tell their stories in this, one of the most respected forums of the world.
A balanced response to the Bulgarian Church’s withdrawal from the upcoming Great and Holy Council from Public Orthodoxy.
By limiting the Church to a visible institution, the Orthodox (Byzantine rite) Church, the Bulgarian approach negates the Pauline notion, taken up by many Fathers of the Church, of the Church as “the Body of Christ” (1 Co 12:12-31; Eph.4:11-13; Col. 1:24 etc.). In much patristic and modern reflection on the Church, this came to be expressed as the “mystical Body of Christ,” emphasizing that the Church extends well beyond the limits of the limits of the Orthodox Church. Christ is “the Way and the Truth and the Life” (Jn 14:6). The three characteristics form one whole. Thus wherever there is Truth, there also are the Way and Life – the way and life that are Christ Jesus. The essence of Church is the possession of Truth, the witness to Truth, and access to the means of salvation. While non-Orthodox Churches and communities do not possess the fullness of the Truth found only in the Orthodox Church, they nonetheless possess elements of the Truth, to the degree to which they witness to Jesus Christ and manifest his teachings. They thus participate in the Church of Christ and hence are indeed members of the Body of Christ, which entitles them to refer to themselves and to be referred to as “Church.”
More information on the Bulgarian Church’s decision can be found here at Byzantine, Texas
Today marks the 563rd anniversary, according to the new calendar, of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks and thus ushering in of centuries of persecution and martyrdom for thousands of Orthodox Christians under the Turkish Yoke.
Greeks and Latins alike, crowded into the great church to pray together for their deliverance. Common fear and common danger worked more of a wonder than all the councils of the church. Orthodox bishops, priests and monks who had loudly protested that they would never again set foot in their cathedral until it had been purged of the Roman pollution, now came to the altar to join their Catholic brethren in the holy liturgy.
Among the celebrants was Cardinal Isidore, whom many of the faithful had branded a traitor and a heretic. The Emperor Constantine came to pray and to ask forgiveness and remission of his sins from every bishop present before receiving communion at the altar. The priest who gave him the sacrament cannot have known that he was administering the last rites to the last Christian Emperor of the Romans.
The last Roman Emperor, the Blessed Great Martyr Constantine XI (Paleologos) died defending the imperial city and the Great Church. Blessed Constantine, and all the New-Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke, pray to God for us.
In 1987, the Primate of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky, publicly asked forgiveness of the Russian Orthodox Church in the following words: “Following the Spirit of Christ, we extend our hand of forgiveness, reconciliation and love to the Russian nation and the Moscow Patriarchate. We repeat the words of Christ that we spoke during our act of reconciliation with the Polish nation: ‘Forgive us, as we forgive’ (Matthew 6:12).” Unfortunately, this gesture has remained unanswered to the present day. Can Orthodox and “Uniates” not begin a new era of relations by having their Protohierarchs send – and respond to – such letters on a regular basis?
Source: Relations of the Orthodox Church with “Uniates”
A rare video of the Servant of God, Father Walter Ciszek. Fr. Walter was an American Catholic priest who served Russian Catholics within the Soviet Union. He was captured, tortured, and spent over twenty years in the prisons, concentration camps, and in Russian cities. He was exchanged for a Soviet spy in the 1980s. I believe that he is a Saint and will be recognized by the Church in the future.
Today, the Holy Father accepted the resignation of Bishop Gerald and appointed Bishop John Steven Pazak as the Bishop of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix. May God Grant both Bishops Many years.
I’ve had the privilege of spending time with Bishop Gerald. I will miss him. Eis Polla Eti, Despota! Many years Master! Enjoy retirement.
I’m at the same time excited for the future with our new Bishop John.
For more information see today’s Pontifical Acts.
With all the recent political insanity, I thought I would post my ideal politician. Blessed Karl of Austria. A Catholic monarchy, yes, please. Or Ron Paul for president.
From the band Champion Leader.