Saturday, September 23, 2017

Met. Hilarion makes visit to EP Bartholomew

( - On 18 September 2017, with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, arrived in Istanbul. At the airport, he was met by Mr. Andrey Podelyshev, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Istanbul. In the evening of the same day the DECR chairman met with Mr. Alexei Yershov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Turkey.

On September 19, Metropolitan Hilarion visited the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Great Martyr George in Phanar, he venerated the holy relics of Ss. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom, and of the Holy Martyr Euphemia the All-Praised, as well as the other shrines. After that Metropolitan Hilarion met with His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. They were joined in the meeting by Metropolitan Emmanuel of France; Metropolitan Bartholomew of Smyrna, chief secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; Archimandrite Vissarion (Komzias); Archpriest Igor Yakimchuk, DECR secretary for inter-Orthodox relations; Rev. Anatoly Churyakov, DECR interpreter; and Mr. Alexander Yershov, assistant to the DECR chairman.

Metropolitan Hilarion conveyed to His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew cordial fraternal greetings from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and a gift from him – an album of the Bible miniature illustrations made in the Palekh technique. Discussed during the lengthy meeting were various issues of promoting bilateral relations between the Patriarchates of Moscow and Constantinople, as well as the current problems of inter-Orthodox cooperation.

The same day later the DECR chairman left Istanbul.

Traveling all last week

A lull in posting due to travel. Hope to "catch up" soon.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Squad goals

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Русскій ладъ - A new Church Slavonic resource

(Russian Manner) - Church Slavonic is the sacred language that unites a number of Slavic Orthodox peoples, regardless of their ethnic and/or linguistic heritage. It is my hope that these resources will bring those who come into contact with this language to a greater understanding of its beauty. The website is available here.

Against a religious test

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ukrainian Greek Catholics to meet in Synod in Lviv

(RISU) - On Sunday, September 3, the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC will solemnly begin. These days, the hierarchs of the UGCC from all over the world will come to Ukraine. The main theme of the Synod will be the “Prayer”. The Synod will last for ten days.

This was announced by the Head of the UGCC His Beatitude Sviatoslav on August 27 at the end of the Bishops' Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.

“The main request we are willing to express at this Synod is the words of the apostles to Jesus Christ: “Lord, Teacher, teach us to pray”" We also seek to ask you and yourself about how we pray, whether we are able to pray, or whether prayer is the breath of our souls? I ask you to pray for this Synod! We need so that the Synod was not a matter of a group of bishops. For it is a universal church event, a great event of the whole Church,” called the head of the church has called on the believers.

According to His Beatitude Sviatoslav, at the beginning of the Synod, next Sunday, a new bishop born in Lviv will be ordained in Lviv, who is appointed as a bishop of the Philadelphia Archdiocese of the UGCC in the United States.

“Therefore, we ask you to remember the new bishop of our Church, bishop-nominee Andriy, in your prayers,” Head of the Church said. It was reported by the Department of Information of the UGCC.

As reported, on August 8, 2017, the Holy Father blessed the decision of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC to appoint Father Andriy Rabia, the protosynclael of the Philadelphia Archdiocese of the UGCC in the United States, the Assistant Bishop of this archdiocese, giving him the titular seat of Germaniciana.

Houston area churches responding to Harvey disaster

St. George's Antiochian jumped in immediately.

As did St. Joseph's Antiochian.

St. Basil's Greek made itself available to first responders.

(Pappas Post) - St. Basil the Great Greek Orthodox Church in Houston made its entire campus and property available to the city of Houston’s first responders from the very beginning of Hurricane Harvey’s devastating blow to region.

First responders and emergency crews used the buildings and parking lot as a critical staging ground for rescue operations throughout the surrounding area.

Fortunately, the church structure itself was not damaged— and even more fortunately, the entire community, led by their parish priest Fr. Luke Palumbis have come out in full force to volunteer.

Numerous St. Basil families were displaced by floods and dozens of others who were safe turned out to help rescue and provide shelter to fellow members of the Greek Orthodox community, as well as to complete strangers in need of shelter.

Dozens have showed up at the church cultural center to pack hygiene kits for people living in shelters.

On Saturday evening, Fr. Luke took to the church’s Facebook page to send a message of thanks and praise for his community’s response.

As did one of Annunciation Greek Cathedral's parishioners.

HOUSTON (USA Today) — The stranger drove down Braesheather Drive in a military vehicle taller than Staci Beinart’s one-story house. He stopped at the curb, killed the engine, and climbed down from the cab, which sits five feet in the air.

Beinart gasped for breath. She took two steps forward, smiled and wrapped the man in a hug. Then she introduced the stranger to her mother.

“Mom! This is the man who rescued us!” said Beinart, 40, before turning back to the man. “I’m sorry. What is your name?”

His name is Nick Sissa. And on Friday afternoon he was the returning hero of Meyerland, a neighborhood west of downtown Houston that experienced severe flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.

For two days this week, through blinding rain that threatened his own livelihood, Sissa drove his two-and-a-half ton military vehicle through the flooded streets of Houston. He rescued about 300 people, he said.

In the grand scheme of things, Sissa’s efforts may account for little. Harvey — one of the largest storms ever to hit North America — flooded about 300 miles of the Houston metropolitan area, the nation’s fourth largest city, forcing tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes. Thousands more participated in rescue efforts. Rebuilding the city will take years.

To the people of Meyerland, however, Sissa’s big truck left a big impression.

“Oh my gosh. You saved my family! My grandchildren!” said Lisa Davidoff, 62, Beinart’s mother. “I am in debt to you.”

Contrary to reports, EP didn't force Abp. Demetrios to resign

NEW YORK (GOARCH) – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announces that information published in a daily Greek-American newspaper stating that His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Geron of America was asked by the Ecumenical Patriarchate to resign, is false and baseless.

His Eminence is returning to the United States from Constantinople to continue to work dynamically and creatively for the edification and progress in Christ of the Holy Church in America, a sacred mission to which he was elected by the most venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate 18 years ago.

Copts asked not to host pilgrimages in Egypt

(Coptic Solidarity) - Coptic monasteries and moulids, the celebrations of saints that bring hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and visitors to holy sites across Egypt, are usually overflowing during the summer. But this year, they are almost empty, thanks to the decision made by Egyptian churches to cancel all church trips and conferences. The decision, made following security instructions issued in fear of Copts becoming the targets of even more terrorist attacks, has cast a long shadow on church activities, as well as on the resources of many monasteries and their ability to meet their needs.

According to church officials, the decision to cancel most church activities was made after close collaboration between the various churches and the country’s security services. The heads of all three churches—Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant—all received strict instructions not to launch any activities that require travel, including trips to monasteries or conferences in coastal areas, pushing all churches to jointly and immediately make the decision. The Deir al-Muharraq monastery in al-Qusiyyah in the south of Egypt, where daily religious celebrations are held for 26 days ending August 26, had to force visitors to leave and canceled the reservations of pilgrims who usually spend many days there, fulfilling vows, giving donations, and attending concentrated religious rites and prayers. Beyond that, a number of monasteries put in place numerous strict requirements for accepting Coptic visitors, whether individually or in groups, including opening the monasteries on specific days for short periods of time, and receiving prior approval for visits.

Summer vacation is the Egyptian church’s most active season of the year, and that holds true for the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. Churches go all-out in setting up spiritual, educational, and recreational events and activities to attract the church’s youth. This includes organizing conferences and competitions in coastal or religiously relevant areas such as Alexandria, Port Said, the Red Sea governorate, and Wadi al-Natroun. This is all in addition to the trips Copts organize through Christian-owned travel agencies to both monasteries and summer resorts...
Complete article here.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I say reconsecrate that church immediately

August 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Spanish bishop apologized for an event in his diocese during which a Hindu deity was processed around a Catholic church and the priest who allowed it resigned from his position as Vicar General.

However, the bishop said Hindu beliefs don't need to be "rebuked" and that wasn't the point of his statement. It's unclear whether the priest, Father Juan José Mateos Castro, will remain in his position at that parish, Our Lady of Africa.

Bishop Rafael Zornoza Boy of the Diocese of Cádiz y Ceuta issued the apology, portions of which Crux translated.

A video of the procession shows people clapping and taking photos as the statue of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god, processed through the church past statues of Catholic saints toward the altar. It was even in front of the tabernacle at one point, which houses consecrated hosts that the Catholic Church teaches are the literal body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.

People inside the church sang a Marian hymn while looking at the Hindu statue...
Complete article here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

St. Vlad's Seminary and the seditious Amsterdam Conference

Fr. Johannes L. Jacobse writes in AOIUSA an article entitled "St. Vladimir’s Seminary Reacts to Amsterdam Conference, Bishops Remain Silent." He asks a very good question: Why are the bishops by and large remaining silent when their clergy start spouting nonsense? The Internet has given an immediacy to the textual purgation of bad ideas like never before. Arians had catchy songs, others had slogans or imperial approbation, but the modern new media publication process makes ready quislings for the deceiver without much effort at all. The words of a simple parish priest no longer have an audience of 200, but of thousands upon thousands when they hit the Internet and the forces at play (a la Public Orthodoxy) encouraging such bunkum need to be met with the same concerted effort that they are applying in disseminating their contrary opinions.

The meeting in Amsterdam organized by Public Orthodoxy several months ago to discuss Orthodoxy and sexuality raised serious questions, some of which have been answered. Thankfully, several attendees withdrew their support of the conference once the questions were raised. Also contributing to their withdrawal was the publication of an article on the Public Orthodoxy Blog by Peter J. (Giacomo) SanFillipo that argued that a renowned theologian of the Russian Orthodox Church was a sodomite (read the refutation here). The conference was poorly conceived and should never have been held.

One troubling question raised was that some of the attendees cited their affiliation with St. Vladimir’s Seminary (SVS), presumably to give the conference a patina of authority it clearly did not have. This fact was not lost on SVS leadership, including the President and the Board of Trustees. Does the seminary want to be associated with a group that by all appearances considers the moral tradition up for grabs, subject to the cultural deconstruction of the kind we see in the SanFillipo article for example? Clearly not it turns out.

Several weeks ago St. Vladimir’s Seminary leadership, clearly troubled by the promiscuous use of the seminary’s name and reputation by some members of the conference, reaffirmed its fidelity to the Orthodox tradition. They wrote...

Complete article here.

The faux outrage over the Nashville Statement

U.S. (Babylon Bee) - After numerous prominent Christians and everyday believers alike signed the Nashville Statement affirming basic Christian doctrine held with rare exception for 2,000 years, progressives across the nation flooded the internet in droves to voice their horror and disgust at the shocking set of beliefs.

“I can’t believe these people would just come out and blatantly state something Christians have unflinchingly agreed on for millennia,” one liberal Christian wrote on Twitter. “It’s absolutely beyond callous.”

“I literally just can’t even,” she added later.

Secular humanist scholar Zeke Reddington agreed, stating on his Patheos blog that for Christians to publicly affirm historically Christian ideas was “unthinkable.”

“It’s 2017, for crying out loud. I can’t believe we have to deal with people who disagree with us in the current year!” he wrote in his insightful 8,000-word blog post.

At publishing time, the many bigoted backers of the Nashville Statement had still refused to apologize for their horrific act of affirming beliefs that most progressive Christians evolved beyond at least two or three years ago.

Tabots consecrated in Bronx cathedral

A tabot is a small tablet that symbolises the Ark of the Covenant. Tabots are regarded by 35 million Ethiopian Christians as so sacrosanct that only priests are allowed to even look at them. Every Ethiopian church has a tabot, which is consecrated instead of the building and its grounds. Tabots are made from stone or wood and generally measure about 7" by 5" and bear a carved cross and an ancient Ethiopian inscription with the name of the saint the church is dedicated to. In the Syriac Church they use a wooden thabilitho (which also symbolizes the Cross of Christ) whereas Orthodoxy uses an antimension (meaning "instead of the table"). The use of the antimension spread in response to the heresies (initially primarily iconoclasm) where the clergy could not trust that the altar had been properly consecrated. Eventually the antimension was used even when there was no doubt about the canonical order of the church.

Bronx, NY (SCOOCH) – On the evening of Thursday, August 24, 2017, the clergy and faithful of the Ethiopian Orthodox Archdiocese of New York gathered at the historic Holy Trinity Cathedral in the Bronx to consecrate a pair of tabots – sacred altar stones, without which a church’s altar is not considered valid – for the chapels of the newly dedicated Kidane Mehret Kidane Selam Hermitage and Women’s Monastery, which is presently being established in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

The tabots were consecrated in the absence of H.E. Abune Zekarias – Archbishop of New York, who is presently traveling in Ethiopia – by H.E. Abune Thaddeus, Archbishop of the Ethiopian Orthodox Archdiocese of the Caribbean, and H.E. Mor Titus Yeldho, Archbishop of the Malankara Archdiocese of the Syriac Orthodox Church. Joining the Archbishops and the Ethiopian faithful were SCOOCH delegates Fr. Varghese Paul, who accompanied Mor Titus, and Deacon Gebre Kristos Nicholas, Ecumenical Officer of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of NY & NE, representing H.G. Bishop David.

Groundbreaking ceremonies and the celebration of the monastery’s first Divine Liturgy will occur in the Catskills on Friday and Saturday, August 25-26 (see flyer for details). The establishment of Kidane Mehret Kidane Selam Hermitage and Women’s Monastery – the name of which means “Covenant of Mercy, Covenant of Peace” – is the culmination of a dream of many years of the convent’s abbess, Mother Wolletta Selassie.

As H.E. Mor Titus said in the moving homily he delivered on Thursday, this is not only a tremendous step forward for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, but an inspiration to the Oriental Orthodox Church as a whole. The Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches congratulates H.E. Abune Zekarias, Mother Wolletta Selassie, and the Ethiopian Orthodox clergy and faithful on this monumental accomplishment. Glory be to God!

“Let’s Talk About the Hard Stuff” event in Grand Rapids, MI

An important effort that should be repeated elsewhere.

(OCA-DMW) - Titled “Let’s Talk About the Hard Stuff,” the retreat will feature the newest resource from Faithtree Resources — “The Relationship Project: Engaging Our Teens in the Life of the Church.” Faithtree Resources is a ministry of Saint Michael Antiochian Orthodox Church, Van Nuys, CA. The Orthodox resource was developed by a pan-Orthodox group of theologians, therapists, and youth directors to assist clergy, parents and youth directors in engaging, supporting and teaching our teens our Orthodox Faith as they learn and grow.

Presenters include Dr. Philip Mamalakis, Anna Kallis, Michelle Moujaes and Archpriest Timothy Baclig.

“Beyond simply being a weekend youth retreat, we will offer specific training to clergy and youth directors in assisting their youth in learning about and navigating today’s tough topics,” said Archpriest Michael Nasser, host pastor. “In addition, the weekend offers a separate track for parents to learn about our Faith and how to engage their teen in the life and teachings of the Church.”

On-line registration is now available here. For additional information please contact Anna Kallis at

"Thomas Aquinas & the Greek Fathers" talk coming up

(NAPS) - The Aquinas Center for Theological Renewal at Ave Maria University and the Thomistic Institute of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of House present “Thomas Aquinas & the Greek Fathers” at Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida, on Jan. 26 and 27, 2018. Submit paper inquiries to by Aug. 1, 2017. For information and to register, visit here.