Thursday, November 20, 2014

Archeparchy of Pittsburgh responds to married clergy decree


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Met. Hilarion's (ROCOR) 30th Anniversary

(ROCOR-EAD) - On Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of November, celebrations were held at St. Alexander Nevsky Diocesan Cathedral in Howell (Lakewood), NJ, in honor of the 30th anniversary of the episcopal consecration of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad, and the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Eastern American Diocese. The jubilee celebrations were held in the Diocese’s recently opened administrative center. For the first time since the great consecration of St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Divine Liturgy was concelebrated by 9 hierarchs. All of the festal divine services took place under the protection of the highly venerated icons of the Russian Diaspora – the wonderworking Kursk Root and myrrh-streaming Iveron-Montreal "Hawaiian" Icons of the Mother of God.
http://eadiocese.org/News/2014/nov/mh30.en.htm

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Meeting of council of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA

(MOSPAT-USA) - On Friday, November 14, His Grace Bishop John of Naro-Fominsk, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA led a regular session of the Bishop's Council of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA in St. Nicholas Cathedral, NYC. This meeting will mark Bishop John's first Bishop's Council meeting since his appointment as Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA in August of this year.

Before the start of the meeting, Bishop John presented Archpriest Roman Star with an icon set commemorating his 30th Anniversary to the priesthood.

After a light lunch, the meeting officially opened at 11:55am. Present at the meeting were all members of the Bishop's Council with the exception of Archpriest Igor Tarasov and Matushka Pamela Micek who were unable to attend due to extenuating circumstances.

At the invitation of the Bishop's Council, Mr. John Apostolos, of Compass Rose Services Inc. was present to answer various questions members of the council had regarding church liability and insurance opportunities.

His Grace then proceeded to announce that the Statutes of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA recently accepted at the recent Special Convocation of the Patriarchal Parishes in the USA were approved by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill. Vladyka then thanked the members of the council, and especially Archpriest Alexander Golubov for their labors in the drafting up the updated Statutes. A full version of the Statutes will be made available to each parish by postal mail and electronically through the official website of the Patriarchal Parishes once they become available.

Reader George Konyev then presented to the council a draft of future clergy identification cards and other matters pertaining to communication within the Patriarchal Parishes. The cards will be used to verify the clerical status of clergyman when visiting the infirm and other numerous uses. A final draft will be presented to the council upon which they will be available to the clergy. More information will be found on the official website as it becomes available. These ID cards are an important effort that I know of only one other jurisdiction doing. I hope to see this process moved to the Assembly of Bishops level in the near future.

Archpriest Vincent Saverino presented a proposal to the council for a clergy retreat to be held in 2015 in the Antiochian Village in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The date and theme for the retreat has yet to be decided and will be presented at the next meeting of the Bishop's Council. It would not have been many years ago that the idea of using another jurisdiction's retreat space would have been a tough political sell. It's heartening to see the AV getting more use by American Orthodoxy.

The council resolved that a historical analysis of Orthodoxy in America be produced for distribution. Archpriest Alexander Golubov was appointed to the position and any interested party can contribute to the publication.

Bishop John then opened the floor to discussion in which council members had the opportunity to discuss matters pertaining to parish life.

His Grace Bishop John and the council members proceeded upstairs to the main cathedral for a commemorative group photo after which Vladyka thanked everyone for their participation in the meeting and wished them a safe journey to their parishes.

The next meeting of the Bishop's Council will be held on February 17, 2015 in St. Nicholas Church, Bayonne NJ.

Why the Lukan Jump?

(Orthodox Research Institute) - Why, after the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross, is the reading of the Gospel of St. Matthew suddenly interrupted and why do we start then with the reading of St. Luke?

At first glance, this jump appears to be arbitrary, more especially as there is no parallel in the reading of the Epistles.

To be sure, there is nothing arbitrary, although throughout the centuries the rationale has been forgotten. First, let us keep in mind that the fact that the reading of the Gospel of St. Luke follows the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross is merely coincidental and the theological reason lies elsewhere. Actually, the change is related to the chronological proximity of the commemoration of the Conception of St. John the Baptist celebrated on September 23rd. In later Antiquity, this feast marked the beginning of the ecclesiastical New Year. Thus, the reason for starting the reading of the Lukan Gospel toward the middle of September can be understood. This is based on a vision of Salvation History: the Conception of the Forerunner constitutes the first step of the New Economy, as mentioned in the stikhera of the matins of this feast. As we know, the Evangelist Luke is the only one to mention this Conception (Lk. 1:5-24). Later on, the introduction of new feasts, especially that of the Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8th), contributed to the downgrading of the significance of the Conception of St. John.

The Orthodox in the East have always observed the “Lukan Jump.” In Russia, this tradition vanished, obviously because its rationale was not known. However, some decades ago, on the advice of the great liturgical specialist, the late Professor Uspensky, the Russian Church decided to come back to the old practice of the “Lukan Jump.”

Since this action implies a connection between the cycle of the "Sanctorale" (Menaia) and the cycle of the feast, the date of which is determined by the date of Pascha, there is a practical difference between the Churches following the Julian Calendar and those using the Revised Julian Calendar with regard to the timing of the “Jump.” Let us finally notice that the calendars published by the "Russian Church Abroad" continue to ignore the jump re-established recently by the Moscow Patriarchate.

Married clergy for Eastern Catholics in diaspora

(Pro Unione) - The Congregation for Oriental Churches is issuing a precept, “Pontificia Praecepta de clero Uxorato Orientali” – signed back in June and with papal approval– which allows the Eastern Churches to ordain married men wherever the Church is found, and to bring in already married priests to serve as needed, throughout the world. [6/106 Acta Apostolica Sedes, 496-99] (PDF)

The Eastern Churches find themselves in three jurisdictional situations, basically, which have different practical consequences:
  • First, where there is a regular hierarchy, it is up to the competent ecclesiastical authority – the metropolitan, eparch, or exarch – to ordain according to the traditions of their churches, without restriction from the Latin church.
  • Second, where there is an Ordinariate without a bishop or heirarch, such ordinations would be carried out by the ordinary, but while informing the Latin hierarchy. (there are less than a half-dozen countries where this is the case)
  • Third, where there are groups of the faithful of an Eastern Church under the pastoral care of a Latin ordinary – such as the Italo-Albanians here in Italy – it continues to be a case-by-case basis.
Still, one more reform on the long list of “no-brainers” that could have been done ages ago without actually challenging either doctrine or even its articulation. It is simply the correction of an historical mistake that ought never have happened in the first place – and certainly ought not to have taken 135 years. It is this kind of thing, no matter how small, that demonstrates real “concrete progress” that the ecumenically minded – both “at home and abroad” are looking for.

Muslims in the Church, two different responses

Earlier this month it came to light that a Serbian parish had allowed their hall to be used by Muslims with the permission of the parish priest, Fr. Cedomir Videkanic. The Muslims covered up icons and other obviously Christian objects with their own items. Public outrage ensued and the priest was suspended.

Compare that to the story of the National Cathedral used as a location for a Muslim service this week. Unsurprisingly, a Christian was able to sneak in and speak out against this atrocity. Some might claim that we need to be tolerant. Tolerance isn't syncretism or capitulation. Tolerance certainly isn't using a space set aside for the worship of Christ as God by a group that explicitly denies His divinity. A church is a sacrifice to God. Inviting strange fire would seem ill-advised.


(spc.rs) - Without prejudice or judgement, but mindful of a serious transgression which has eventuated as a result of gross mismanagement of Church property on the part of its warden, in this case a parish priest, the Very Reverend Protopresbyter-Stavrophor Cedomir Videkanic is suspended from all liturgical and administrative functions at the Parish of St Stephen the Archdeacon in Keysborough and the Melbourne Deanery of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand, from this moment and until such time as a full and thorough investigation of what transpired reveals why this was allowed to happen. In the interim, the Reverend Presbyter Dejan Milosevic will assume all administrative and liturgical duties.

With due respect accorded to all faiths and their adherents, it will be understood that the Holy Canons of the Orthodox Church forbid the performance of religious rituals by those of other faith traditions, within our ecclesiastical and associated structures. Furthermore, Orthodox Christians are bound by the Canons to re-consecrate such places should such an unfortunate thing come to pass. Therefore, tomorrow on the 6th of November at 1:00pm, the undersigned together with available members of the Serbian Orthodox Clergy and faithful will gather for a service of sanctification in the Hall of St Stephen’s Church Community.

Any insinuation or assertion that a higher instance, be it myself personally, any member of the clergy or Metropolitanate Executive Board gave permission or sanctioned this transgression is completely false.

+IRINEJ
Bishop of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand

In Sydney, 5 November 2014
Holy Apostle James, First Bishop of Jerusalem
And also...
(Reuters) - The first Muslim prayer service ever hosted at the National Cathedral, a landmark Christian church in the U.S. capital, was briefly interrupted on Friday by a lone anti-Islamic protester but the religious gathering continued with a theme of tolerance.

The outburst came as dozens of Muslims knelt on prayer rugs below walls of stained glass and stone archways. The protester, a woman from Michigan who declined to give her name, managed to sneak into the tightly secured, invite-only service and interrupt the introduction.

"Jesus Christ is on that cross over there," she yelled. "Get out of our church. Leave our church alone."

The woman was physically removed from the prayer service by a reverend and cathedral police, and the service got underway.

Ebrahim Rasool, the South African ambassador to the United States, who is Muslim, gave a sermon that preached religious freedom and condemned Muslim extremists as a dangerous threat to the world.

"They invade lands, behead journalists, execute civilians and declare war on anyone different to them," he said.

Rasool and the National Cathedral's Reverend Canon Gina Campbell organized the service, with help from the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and The Nation's Mosque.

Campbell welcomed the religious gathering, saying the Washington National Cathedral was "a place of prayer for all people.

"Let us stretch our hearts and let us seek to deepen mercy for we worship the same God," she said.

Since 1907, the Neo-Gothic Episcopal church has been used for state funerals for three presidents, and a number of presidential prayer services. It also has hosted services for noted diplomats and dignitaries.

Organizers said they hoped the service on a Friday, when Muslims traditionally gather for prayers, would foster interfaith understanding and tolerance.

After the service, outside the church, the protester said she was not arrested, and was not harmed in the altercation. She did not explain why she disrupted the service.

"I didn't do it for myself," she said. "I did it for the Lord."

The protester was not alone in denouncing the Muslim prayer service at the National Cathedral. Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of U.S. evangelist Billy Graham who is one of America's foremost Christian leaders, took to his Facebook page on Thursday to criticize the plan to host the gathering.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Orthodox clergy in Houston weigh in on Wonder blog posting

(Orthodox Houston) - Statement of the Brotherhood of the Orthodox Clergy Association of Houston and Southeast Texas on the Comments of Fr. Robert Arida on Homosexuality

In response to Fr. Robert Arida’s recent article, which was posted on the OCA’s Wonder blog, there have been many eloquent rebuttals. We do not wish to attempt to reproduce those critiques here, but we do wish to underscore some of the more important points that have been made, and to speak out publically on this controversy.

We find it unacceptable for Orthodox Clergy, who have been given the charge to instruct and guide the laity, to suggest that the moral Tradition of the Orthodox Church needs to change with the times or with the prevalent culture. St. Paul admonishes us to "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:2). And it should be noted that the word translated "world" is not "kosmos" (the material world, world order, or people of the world), but "tō aiōni" which refers to the age (or generation, or time) in which we live. And we have no better guide as to what the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God than we find in the Scriptures and Tradition of the Church.

It is also contrary to our Tradition to write about matters of faith or piety in ways that are intentionally ambiguous – this is rather the approach of liberal Protestantism. As Sergey Khudiev wrote, in response to a previous statement by Fr. Robert Arida, which was likewise replete with studied ambiguity, liberal Protestants have “a particularity which entails a tendency to explain themselves with rhetorical questions, vague allusions and highly mysterious phrases from which you can with more or less justification guess at their positions, but are unable to explain clearly.”1

We are all the more concerned that members of Fr. Robert Arida’s parish who identify themselves as homosexuals, report that though they make no secret of their ongoing homosexual relationships, they are freely communed. One such person, wrote, on an open Facebook group (named oxymoronically “Pro-Gay Orthodox Christians”): “I am gay... I was married to my husband in a civil ceremony in 2005. When I began attending Holy Trinity later that year I was completely up front with the priest. My husband, Martin, began attending liturgies regularly about two years ago. He was chrismated Holy Saturday earlier this year. Our relationship is not a secret; I have had no negative interactions with either clergy or laity in this parish. Martin and I are not the only gay people in the parish, though after Martin became Orthodox, we are the only Orthodox gay *couple* as far as I know. I don't think this constitutes "don't ask don't tell." More like "ask or tell whatever you like... we don't care." Just saying.”2

Fr. Robert Arida’s recent and past statements on the issue of homosexuality are a scandal to the faithful. They also present those who are sincerely struggling against homosexual temptations with additional temptations, and misdirection. As a pan Orthodox organization, we are also concerned that such blatant disregard for the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church present further obstacles to Orthodox unity in America. We can only unite around a common fidelity to the authentic faith and piety of our Tradition. If we are not united in that, then authentic unity is impossible.

This is not a matter that can be swept under the rug of "theologoumenon." A theologoumenon is an opinion that may or may not be correct, but which is neither an authoritative teaching of the Church, nor is it outside of the bounds of acceptable Orthodox opinion. Suggesting that homosexual sex may not really be a sin is not within the bounds of acceptable Orthodox opinion, but on the contrary, the consistent teaching of the Scriptures, canons, and the fathers and saints of the Church that homosexual sex is inherently sinful is clear and unambiguous.

We recognize that those who are struggling against homosexual temptations should be treated with pastoral patience, mercy, and love… as should sinners of any kind that are repenting of their sin, and seeking spiritual healing. However, suggesting to any sinner that their sin is not really a sin, and that they need not repent of it in order to worthily receive the Mysteries of the Church is pastoral malpractice, and cannot be tolerated.

We pray that the Bishops of the OCA will deal with this matter with the seriousness and urgency that it warrants, and put an end to these abuses.

Notes:

1. Sergey Khudiev, "Let Your Yea Be Yea and Your Nay Be Nay", July 5, 2011 Link.

2. October 19, 2014 Link.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

St. Herman Retreat coming up

My children have enjoyed the St. Herman Retreat quite a bit over the years. If you can make it, I endorse this event wholeheartedly. More information and registration form available here.


http://www.antiochian.org/middle-school-winter-retreat-antiochian-village

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lengthy paper presented by Met. Hilarion at St. Vlad's

This is a very lengthy talk given by the head of the Russian Church's Department of External Church Relations on the occasion of receiving an honorary doctorate from St. Vladimir's yesterday. If you want to know what the Russian Church believes about primacy in an Orthodox and Catholic context, this is the thing to read. There's no guessing on his opinions. He doesn't hedge any thoughts. If such reading is your cup of tea, get comfortable and settle in for a while.


(mospat.ru) - Paper presented by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at St Vladimir’s Theological Seminary on 8 November 2014 on the occasion of conferring an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity.

Your Beatitude,

Your Eminences and Graces,

dear fathers, brothers and sisters,

distinguished guests!

First of all I would like to express my profound gratitude to St Vladimir’s Theological Seminary for awarding me the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. It has been a great privilege for me to have been a friend of the Seminary for many years, to have known its deans and chancellors, beginning with Fr John Meyendorff of blessed memory, to having had my books published by the Seminary press and to have served on the Seminary’s board. At a time when relations between Russia and America are once again strained, I find it particularly important to develop strong relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and American Orthodoxy. I believe that St Vladimir’s Seminary with its broad inter-Orthodox outreach may play a crucial role in the restoration of trust between different parts of the globe.

Today I would like to speak on the issue of synodality and primacy. This topic has acquired particular importance in recent years owing to the work of the International Joint Commission on the Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. This matter is also relevant to Inter-Orthodox relations, especially in the context of preparations for the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church. More particularly, it is relevant because of the way that primacy is exercised currently in the Orthodox Church at the universal level, whereby hierarchs and theologians from the Orthodox Church in America participate neither in the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue nor in the preparations for the pan-Orthodox Council.

Let me begin with clarifying the meaning of the terms. The term synodality, or conciliarity, is a translation of the Russian sobornost’, itself coined by nineteenth-century Slavophiles such as Kireevsky and Khomyakov to designate the communion of all believers throughout the globe within the bosom of one Church. This communion included both the living and the dead. According to Kireevsky, ‘the sum total of all Christians of all ages, past and present, comprise one indivisible, eternal living assembly of the faithful, held together just as much by the unity of consciousness as through the communion of prayer’¹.

In a more narrow sense the term synodality, or conciliarity, coming from the word ‘council’ (synodos in Greek, concilium in Latin) designates ‘a gathering of bishops exercising a particular responsibility’. This is how the controversial Ravenna statement of the Joint Commission on the Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue interprets the term². The document claims that the ‘conciliar dimension of the Church’s life belongs to its deep-seated nature’, and that this dimension ‘is to be found at the three levels of ecclesial communion, the local, the regional and the universal: at the local level of the diocese entrusted to the bishop; at the regional level of a group of local Churches with their bishops who “recognize who is the first amongst themselves” (Apostolic Canon 34); and at the universal level, where those who are first (protoi) in the various regions, together with all the bishops, cooperate in that which concerns the totality of the Church. At this level also, the protoi must recognize who is the first amongst themselves’.³

The term primacy in this context points to leadership of one person, who has a hierarchical rank at each of the three levels mentioned above. The Ravenna statement claims that primacy and conciliarity are mutually interdependent.⁴ According to the document, ‘In the history of the East and of the West, at least until the ninth century, a series of prerogatives was recognized, always in the context of conciliarity, according to the conditions of the times, for the protos or kephale at each of the established ecclesiastical levels: locally, for the bishop as protos of his diocese with regard to his presbyters and people; regionally, for the protos of each metropolis with regard to the bishops of his province, and for the protos of each of the five patriarchates, with regard to the metropolitans of each circumscription; and universally, for the bishop of Rome as protos among the patriarchs.’⁵

The Ravenna document makes no mention of any differences in ecclesiology between the Orthodox and the Catholics; in this way it is misleading. Having spoken about the way the Church is administratively organized in the Western and in the Eastern traditions, the document nowhere mentions that we are dealing with two very different models of church administration: one centralized and based on the perception of papal universal jurisdiction; the other decentralized and based on the notion of the communion of autocephalous local Churches.

There is an attempt in the Ravenna document to present the ecclesial structures of both traditions as almost identical at all three levels. While there is a great deal of similarity with regard to the local (diocesan) level, there is indeed an enormous difference between East and West on how ecclesial structures are formed on regional and universal levels. In the Orthodox tradition at the regional level, or rather at the level of an autocephalous Church, there is a synod and a primate with clear prerogatives. In the Catholic Church there is no primacy at the regional level. Who, for example, is the primate of the Catholic Church in Poland? Is it the metropolitan of Gniezno, who has an honorary title of ‘primate’ but exercises no primacy at all? Or is it the president of the Bishops’ Conference, who changes by rotation every four years? Or is it one of the senior cardinals? Indeed, Catholic episcopal conferences that have convened recently can only very loosely be compared with the Synods of the Local Orthodox Churches.

There is in fact only one primacy in the Catholic Church, that of the pope. This primacy is believed to be instituted jure divino and to proceed directly from the primacy of St Peter in the college of the apostles. It is the pope who confirms the decisions of councils, both regional and universal, who gives agreement to each episcopal appointment, and who embodies the fullness of ecclesial power. No such primacy has ever existed in the Orthodox tradition, even though there is an established taxis, whereby one of the primates enjoys first place.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Assyrian Church holds first episcopal conference in US

(Assyrian Church) - The bishops of the dioceses of the Assyrian Church of the East in the United States held their first episcopal conference from October 30th to the 31st, in San Diego, California. The conference, blessed by His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos-Patriarch, was attended by: His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis, Bishop of the Western United States, the chair of the episcopal conference, His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of California and Secretary of the Holy Synod & President of CIRED, and His Grace Mar Paulus Benjamin, Bishop of the Diocese of the Eastern USA and President of ACERO USA. The bishops were also in San Diego to take part in the rite of the consecration of the altar of the Rabban Hermizd Parish, which took place after morning prayers on the First Sunday of the Hallowing of the Church, November 2, 2014. His Grace Mar Yosip Sargis, bishop emeritus, was also present for the consecration rite.

The meeting of the bishops’ conference was held at the offices of St. Rabban Hermizd Parish in San Diego, and was hosted by His Grace Mar Aprim Khamis. The items on the agenda for discussion and implantation in the United States dioceses included, among others: formulating a single Sunday School curriculum for the dioceses in America, preparing a program for the canonical preparation of marriage and baptism in the Church, finalizing the Constitution of the Youth Association of the Church in the US and other Youth matters, pastoral issues in dealing with the married, separated and divorced, unifying the ecclesiastical calendar in the US, the preparation of catechetical materials, strengthening the Church’s charitable ACERO foundation, and various liturgical matters. The episcopal conference also called for a meeting and retreat of all the priests of the three dioceses in the US to take place in early November of 2015. These matters and the decisions of the bishops’ conference will be communicated to the priests and clergy of each appropriate diocese at the next presbyteral council meeting of the diocese, respectively.

​At the closing session, the bishops offered up prayers to our suffering brothers and sisters in the Faith, in Iraq and Syria, and prayed the Lord’s blessings and help upon our suffering People in those countries, and in the Middle East at large. The next episcopal conference will take place in the early Fall of 2015, to be held in the east coast of the United States.

Met. Tikhon removes Wonder article, replaces with his own

I posted a response on the Wonder blog shortly after it was released only to watch an avalanche of similar declarations of outrage and bemusement roll in behind me. It is to the OCA's credit that the synod responded to the issue very quickly and decisively. It will be interesting to see how the OCA's youth blog continues moving forward. Will post receive heavier vetting? Will we see a lull in posting?


(OCA) - On Friday, November 7, 2014, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, in consultation with the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, responded to the recent discussion generated by Archpriest Robert Arida’s article,“Never-Changing Gospel; Ever-Changing Culture,” which was posted on the Department of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry’s Wonder blog.

Metropolitan Tikhon’s reflection may be accessed on the OCA web site here (PDF) and on the Wonder blog here.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Met. Hilarion returning to St. Vlad's, accepting doctorate

(SVOTS) - On Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:00 p.m., His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk and Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, will deliver a free and public lecture at Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary here.

Metropolitan Hilarion will speak on “Primacy and Conciliarity from an Orthodox Perspective,” a topic discussed at the 13th Plenary Session of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches, of which Metropolitan Hilarion was a key participant.

Prior to the lecture, Metropolitan Hilarion will receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, bestowed by the seminary’s Board of Trustees and faculty.

Metropolitan Hilarion is a member of the seminary board, ex officio, and also author of the “Orthodox Christianity Series” published by SVS Press.

The academic convocation and lecture will be held in the Metropolitan Philip Auditorium of the John G. Rangos Family Building on the seminary campus. A public reception will follow. Because of the special convocation and lecture, the seminary’s normal Saturday evening liturgical schedule has been changed, with Great Vespers slated to be celebrated at 5:00 p.m.

Kyiv Patriarchate: Greek Catholics should leave Rome, join us

Moscow, November 6 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church should stop subordinating Rome and unite with Orthodox believers, leader of the self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate Filaret Denisenko believes.

"The first and the main goal: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate should separate from Moscow. Then nothing will prevent us from uniting in one Church. All other Orthodox Church will recognize us. In result, the UGCC will separate from Rome," Denisenko said in his interview posted by the Gazeta.ua website.

According to him, thus, Orthodox and Greek-Catholics "will become one autocephalous Orthodox Church."

"Greek-Catholic Church was established because Ukrainians did not have their own state. Today this reason is eliminated, we have independent Ukraine. There is no reason for divisions," the schismatic leader said.

A webinar for pastors on mental health

This webinar featuring George Stavros, PhD, MDiv, Executive Director of the Danielson Institute and Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Boston University provides examples of actual mental health issues as they have been presented in Greek Orthodox parishes, discusses the prevelance of mental health issues in America, outlines the importance of pastoral ministry to those with mental health problems, outlines the need for training for clergy and parish leadership around mental health issues, and provides a structure and strategy for developing strong mental health referral resources for your community.

California State University: an odd decision on student orgs

(The Christian Institute) - Christian groups at California State University have been stripped of recognition because they refused to sign a policy which would require them to open their membership and leadership to all students, including non-Christians.

Groups that do not sign the new policy lose free access to meeting rooms, are barred from student fairs and cannot receive funding from student associations.

The move has been heavily criticised by members of a nationwide campus ministry and a legal expert.

Ironic

Greg Jao, National Field Director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, said that leaders of religious organisations cannot be expected to sign the policy because their beliefs form a central part of their identity.

He said: “It’s an irony for us that, in the name of inclusion, they’re eliminating religious groups because of their religious beliefs.

“My understanding of an inclusive, welcoming university is to accept people based on their own beliefs.”

’Absurd’

Edward Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC, also raised concerns.

He said: “What we’re seeing more broadly is part of an assault of secular progressivism on the classical liberal understanding of American society.”

Previously such a policy would have been viewed as “absurd”, he commented, as it would involve telling student political bodies to appoint leaders from an opposite political stance.

’Assault’

In 2006, The University of Birmingham Christian Union in the UK was ejected from the Guild of Students for refusing to have non-Christians in leadership.

The Christian Union had its bank accounts frozen and was prevented from having free room hire in the university.

However, last year it was readmitted to the Guild of Students and is permitted to have a leadership team made up of students who are in sympathy and agreement with the Christian Union’s Basis of Faith.