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.
Today Pope Francis of Rome, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, and Archbishop Ieronymos II of Athens and All Greece, visited the Greek Island Lesvos. This island has seen a large number of refugees escaping violence in the Middle East. The three churchmen issued a joint statement.
We, Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece, have met on the Greek island of Lesvos to demonstrate our profound concern for the tragic situation of the numerous refugees, migrants and asylum seekers who have come to Europe fleeing from situations of conflict and, in many cases, daily threats to their survival. World opinion cannot ignore the colossal humanitarian crisis created by the spread of violence and armed conflict, the persecution and displacement of religious and ethnic minorities, and the uprooting of families from their homes, in violation of their human dignity and their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
The tragedy of forced migration and displacement affects millions, and is fundamentally a crisis of humanity, calling for a response of solidarity, compassion, generosity and an immediate practical commitment of resources. From Lesvos, we appeal to the international community to respond with courage in facing this massive humanitarian crisis and its underlying causes, through diplomatic, political and charitable initiatives, and through cooperative efforts, both in the Middle East and in Europe.
Whoever knows the mystery of the cross and the tomb knows the meaning of things.
— St. Maximus the Confessor
The Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph #618 states that:
The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”, for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.” In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.
Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a Sinner