April 19, 2014

A Holy Alliance between Rome and Moscow Is Born

Pope Benedict meets Abp. Hilarion in Rome

Again, almost incomprehensible just a few short years ago. Highlight: "The common objective: the "new evangelization" of Europe. A delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church visits the Vatican, which publishes an anthology of the patriarch's writings. A meeting between Kirill and Benedict XVI keeps getting closer." by Sandro Magister Chiesa Espresso ROME, May 24, 2010 – Benedict XVI will soon create a new "pontifical council" expressly dedicated to the "new evangelization." Not for mission countries where the congregation "de propaganda fide" is already at work. But for the countries of ancient Christian tradition that are today in danger of losing the faith. Pope Joseph Ratzinger wants to link his pontificate to this initiative. And this was the main topic that he discussed one morning in the spring of 2009, at Castel Gandolfo, with four prominent cardinals he had called for consultation: Camillo Ruini, Angelo Bagnasco, Christoph Schönborn, and Angelo Scola, the last being … [Read more...]

Vatican Hosts Russian Concert

Pope Benedict at Russian Concert

Pope John-Paul II, long before the fall of Communism said that the spiritual renewal of Western Europe would come from Russia. These were prophetic words as it turns out, but at the time many culture watchers thought they were the idealistic ramblings of a dreamer. Who would have thought just a few short decades ago the brutal tyranny of Communism would fall, collapsing under its own soul-stultifying weight? Who would have thought that the Russian Orthodox Church would emerge not only as the preserver of the culture of Christendom but also its guarantor as increasingly seems to be the case? This history may emerge as all the great narratives of martyrdom do: The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church and, now, two thousand years later, the Church becomes the protector of humane culture. +++++++++++++ CNEWA (See Met. Hilarion's comments.) VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The gentle notes of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” wafted through the Vatican audience hall and carried with … [Read more...]

Faith to Faith: Russian Patriarch ending landmark Armenia visit

Patriarch Kirill and Catholicos Karekin II laying flowers at the Genocide Memorial.

ArmeniaNow.com Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is completing today his three-day visit to Armenia during which he and his Armenian counterpart accentuated the strong bonds between the two churches and peoples. As part of the visit staged at the invitation of the Catholicos of All Armenians, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church took part in several events, including a visit to Russian soldiers’ memorial, a meeting with Armenia’s Orthodox faithful and honoring the 1915 Armenian Genocide victims at Tsitsernakaberd. His Holiness Karekin II, and Patriarch Kirill signed an agreement for relationship and cooperation between the two cities of Vagarshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia, and Sergiyev Posad, Russia. The cities have been declared sister cities under the two patriarchs’ auspices. Speaking about the spirit of Christian brotherhood and cooperation present in relations between the two churches, Catholicos Karekin II stressed the warm feelings of gratitude of … [Read more...]

Cardinal Levada: Union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism

St. Peter's Basilica

A summary of a recent speech from a Catholic Cardinal who argues that all ecumenical activity should lead to a reconciliation of all Churches with Rome. Read the full text of the speech. Orthodoxy is only mentioned in terms of the "Eastern Catholic" practices. +++++++++++++++++++++++ In a lengthy address delivered in Canada on March 6, Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that the reception of communities of Anglicans into the Catholic Church is consistent with Anglican-Catholic ecumenical dialogue because “union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism.” Tracing the history of Anglican-Catholic dialogue since the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Levada noted that Anglican decisions to ordain women and countenance homosexual activity were not consistent with earlier statements agreed to by Anglican and Catholic theologians. “No wonder, then, that the ordination of a bishop in a homosexual partnership in New … [Read more...]

Greece is in trouble, but so are we

From Pat Buchanan's colum "Pitching for America." We are lurching into crisis. ++++++++++++++++++ Congress this year will spend $1.6 trillion more than it collects in revenue, with the largest outlays in that FY 2010 budget for defense at $719 billion and Social Security at $721 billion. Thus, if the U.S. Government on Oct. 1, 2008, had shut down the Pentagon and furloughed every soldier and civilian here and around the world, and announced that it would not send out a Social Security check for a full year to any of the 50 million retired and elderly, we would still be $160 billion short of balancing the budget. If you zeroed out federal benefits to veterans for a full year, that, added in, would bring us close. Such is the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the country. To balance the budget this year would require a 43 percent across-the-board cut in every category of federal spending -- defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Homeland Security, highways, etc. … [Read more...]

More to the Ecumenical Patriarch’s recent encyclical than meets the eye

Pat. Bartholomew and Pope Benedict in Rome

As I mentioned last week, I recently became a columnist for Catholic Online. They just posted my latest piece. (They are fast. I submitted it just this afternoon.) ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Last week Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew released an encyclical castigating what he called Orthodox “fanatics” who object to Orthodox ecumenical involvement. The encyclical was well received in Christian circles outside of the Orthodox Church, but raised eyebrows among those in the fold, not least for the strength of the language. Here’s the background. The Orthodox Church is emerging out of a period of active persecution that lasted centuries for the Greeks and a generation for the Russians and other Eastern Europeans. Orthodoxy still flourishes in the Middle East although under considerable Muslim pressure. It is growing in Africa, Indonesia (where an indigenous Orthodox Church was started by several Moslem converts), America, Western Europe, and elsewhere in the world. Two … [Read more...]

The Byzantine Liturgy as Missionary

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Fr. George Morelli This article is based on the President’s Message column featured in the Society of St. John Chrysostom- Western Region (SSJC-WR) Newsletter: The Light of the East, Spring, 2010. One of the major developments in the modern age is the marginalization and indifference toward Christianity in society.  (Jacobse, 2010; Morelli, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010). The disunion among Christian communities has not been a beneficent witness to the unity prayed for by Christ Himself “that they may be one” (Jn 17:11). Secular and politically correct values have shaped doctrinal and moral teaching and practice among some groups calling themselves Christian: abortion, euthanasia, female ordination, same sex marriage, are but a few examples that are obvious departures from the teaching of Christ. Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyevi, Chairman of the Department of External Affairs of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow, has suggested an alliance between Catholics and Orthodox be … [Read more...]

Three articles on the economic meltdown in Greece

One article is even from the Huffington Post, which (almost) invariably confuses moral posturing with clear thinking. Send money to Greece? Have you lost your marbles? Sidney Morning Herald Cleaning up Greece's Augean Stable Huffington Post. Note the fourth to last paragraph about potential cooperation between Russia and Greece. Man who broke the Bank of England, George Soros, 'at centre of hedge funds plot to cash in on fall of the euro' London Daily Mail. BTW, did you know more Americans read the online versions of English newspapers than the English? … [Read more...]

Patriarch of Constantinople´s New Encyclical Defends Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue

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The Catholic take on +Bartholomew's Sunday of Orthodoxy encyclical. Caveat: I am a columnist for Catholic Online. ISTANBUL, Turkey, (CNA Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople´s newest encyclical encourages dialogue between the Orthodox Church and other Christian churches and laments those who are "unacceptably fanatical" in challenging such dialogue. He specifically condemned the false rumors spread about Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. Patriarch Bartholomew´s patriarchal and synodal encyclical was dated Feb. 21, Orthodoxy Sunday, when the Orthodox Church celebrates the defeat of the iconoclastic heresy. His letter began by noting the failure of those who tried to suppress, silence or falsify the Orthodox Church. He said that the Ecumenical Patriarchate cares about "protecting and establishing" the unity of the Orthodox Church in order that the Orthodox Christian faith may be confessed "with one voice and in one heart." Orthodoxy, he said, must be promoted with humility … [Read more...]

+Bartholomew: Sunday of Orthodoxy Encyclical

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Prot. No. 213 (February 21, 2010) † BARTHOLOMEW By God's Grace Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch To the Fullness of the Church, Grace and Peace From our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Our most holy Orthodox Church today commemorates its own feast day, and - from this historical and martyric See of the Ecumenical Patriarchate - the Mother Church of Constantinople directs its blessing, love and concern to all of its faithful and dedicated spiritual children throughout the world, inviting them to concelebrate in prayer. Blessed be the name of the Lord! Those who endeavored over the ages to suppress the Church through various visible and invisible persecutions; those who sought to falsify the Church with their heretical teachings; those who wanted to silence the Church, depriving it of its voice and witness; they all proved unsuccessful. The clouds of Martyrs, the tears of the Ascetics, and the prayers of the Saints protect the Church … [Read more...]

Peter Kreeft: Moral exhortations

H/T: Mere Orthodoxy Peter Kreeft is an incisive social thinker who draws from Catholic social teaching for insight into the deeper currents of American culture. The Orthodox and Catholics see eye to eye on many of his points. … [Read more...]

Patriarch Kirill & Pope Benedict: A Tale of Two Leaders for a new Missionary Age

Pat. Kyrill and Pope Benedict

I've been asked to become an Orthodox columnist on Catholic.org and accepted. Below is my first essay. Regular readers will notice ideas we discussed on the AOI Observer. +++++++++++++++++ Catholic Online (www.catholic.org) NAPLES, FL. (Catholic Online) - Over four decades ago Pope John Paul II said that the restoration of the Russian Orthodox Church was necessary for the cultural restoration of Western Europe. At the time his words seemed audacious. Russia was still under the Communist yoke, the winds in Poland were just starting to blow, and the Berlin wall loomed invincible. Culture watchers dismissed the statement as the wistful longing of a faithful man. Yet John Paul, with his gift of seeing through the clutter of immediate events into the deeper and far-reaching ways of God, knew better. He believed that the fall of Communism would unleash a transformation that could only come from those who suffered. His words are proving true. The Orthodox Church in Russia, … [Read more...]