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Friday, April 29, 2011

Greek Orthodox Archbishop to Serve 40-Day Memorial for Ruthenian Orthodox Metropolitan

The upcoming 40-day memorial for Metropolitan Nicholas (Smisko) of Amissos of blessed memory will be served by Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis) of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America on 8 May at St. John the Baptist's Church in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More here.

Abkhazian Politician Speaks Out on New Athos Dispute

An Abkhazian opposition leader, Raul Khajimba, has spoken on the recent dispute over the New Athos Monastery, saying that the Russian Orthodox Church should respect the self-governance of the Abkhaz Orthodox as they work to reestablish an independent Church of Abkhazia. More here.

Royal Wedding in London

Prince William of Wales and Katherine Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, have married at London's Westminster Abbey. Among the royal wedding's many attendees were Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, King Michael I of Romania, King Constantine II of Greece (who is Prince William's godfather), and Crown Prince Alexander Karageorgevich of Serbia. More here.

Bulgarian Grand Mufti Condemns Incident in Sofia

Bulgaria's grand mufti has condemned a recent incident in the capital Sofia where members of a Bulgarian opposition party drove by Friday prayers at a downtown mosque loudly playing Bulgarian Orthodox music and the sounds of bell-ringing, calling the incident provocative and a denigration of the dignity of Bulgaria's citizens. More here.

Armenians in Georgia Call for Genocide Recognition

Representatives of southeastern Georgia's large Armenian minority have called on the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili to recognize the Armenian Genocide. More here.

Moldovan Muslims Disappointed by Anti-Muslim Remarks

The leader of Moldova's Islamic League has expressed disappointment over anti-Muslim remarks made in recent months by Metropolitan Vladimir (Cantarean) of Chisinau of the Moldovan Orthodox Church and members of the Moldovan government, saying that the country's small Muslim minority is not interested in the fundamentalism sweeping the Middle East and is more concerned with building good relations with the other religions present in Moldova. More here.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Lays Cornerstone of Dubrovka Memorial Church

Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow earlier today laid the cornerstone for a church in southeastern Moscow to be built in memory of the victims of the Dubrovka terrorist attack there in 2002. The church, one of two hundred to be built in Moscow over the next few years, will be dedicated to Sts. Cyril and Methodius. More (in Russian) here.

Cornerstone of New Cathedral Laid in Buryatia

Metropolitan Varsonofiy (Sudakov) of Saransk and Bishop Savvatiy (Antonov) of Ulan Ude have laid the foundation stone for the Eparchy of Ulan Ude and Buryatia's new Cathedral of the Dormition. In attendance at the service were leading members of the government of the Republic of Buryatia, which is a member of the Russian Federation. More (in Russian) here.

"Despre Botezul în Duhul Sfânt"

A good Romanian-language article on baptism and repentance after baptism (our 'second baptism' in a sense) can be found here.

Construction of New Muscovite Churches Discussed

A meeting to discuss the construction of 200 new parish churches in Moscow, which represent roughly a fifth of the total churches destroyed in the area by the Soviets, has been held under Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow. As things currently stand the city center has an adequate number of churches for its residents, but on the whole metro Moscow has one church for every 35,000 Orthodox Christians. More (in Russian) here.

Islamists Demonstrate in Cairo

Thousands of Muslim fundamentalists demonstrated today in Cairo for the release of Coptic Orthodox women they claim are being held against their will because of their desire to convert to Islam. The demonstrators do not believe taped interviews with one of the supposed victims that deny any desire to accept Islam. More here.

Metropolitan Hilarion Visits Estonia

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk has begun a visit to Estonia. As part of his visit he concelebrated the Paschal Divine Liturgy in honor of the Life-giving Spring in Tallinn's Cathedral of St. Alexander of the Neva with Metropolitan Korniliy (Yakobs), who leads the Russian Orthodox Church in Estonia. More (in Russian) here and here.

Coptic Orthodox Church Rejects US Report

The Coptic Orthodox Church has publicly rejected a US report on the state of religious freedom in Egypt, calling on the Egyptian government to resolve the spreading mistreatment of the Copts since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak regardless of what foreign powers say or wish to see happen. More here.

Life-Giving Spring of the Mother of God

Christ is risen! On Bright Friday we celebrate the Life-giving Spring of the Theotokos, a feast established in honor of a church dedicated to her in Constantinople and the miraculous spring over which it was built. More on the feast can be found here. May the Mother of God's protection and intercessions be with us all!

FYI: Commemorations Before St. John's Relics in San Francisco

For the Orthodox who visit this website and/or for lovers of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco, I just found out that names can be submitted for commemoration during the weekly supplication (молебен) served before his relics in San Francisco's new Cathedral of the Joy of All Who Sorrow. To see the guidelines for submitting names and the actual submission form go here.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Copts Demand Return of Kidnapped Women

Copts in Cairo held a protest in front of the Egyptian High Court today demanding the return of eleven Orthodox Christian girls and women kidnapped (in at least one case with her children) since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. More here.

"Cardinal George Suspends Reverend Pfleger"

This interesting article on an ongoing dispute in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago can be found here.

Particularly of interest to me was the implication that Roman Catholic priests, in this particular archdiocese anyways, only serve 12-year terms as parish rectors to avoid them becoming too close to their parishes (my wording, not the article's). While I can understand a little of why such a policy would be in place, it seems at the same time to be a violation of the historic understanding of the priest as the father of his parish church. There's certainly an unhealthy closeness that can develop, but on the whole one would think it better for a priest to know and be known by his flock. Thoughts? :-)

Hat tip to Ad Orientem for posting this article!

UAOC Primate Calls for World Orthodoxy to Resolve Ukrainian Schisms

Metropolitan Mefodiy (Kudryakov) of Kiev, First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church formerly in communion with the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches of the USA and Canada under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has renewed his call for the healing of the schisms within Ukrainian Orthodoxy, addressing his appeal to all of world Orthodoxy and not only to the Church of Constantinople as had been previously done. More here. Hat tip again to Byzantine Texas for posting this first!

Patriarch Pavle to be Glorified?

The movement to glorify the recently reposed and widely renowned Patriarch Pavle (Stojchevich) of Pech is gaining momentum in the Serbian Orthodox Church. More here. Hat tip to Byzantine Texas for posting this first!

Russian Orthodox Patriarch to Visit Japan in 2012

Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow will visit Japan this coming year to check the progress in the reconstruction of the Japanese Orthodox churches damaged during its recent earthquake. More here.

Glorification of New Romanian Saint This Weekend

The Monastery of the Dormition in Lainici, Romania, will this coming weekend host the glorification services and celebrations for one of its past abbots, St. Herodion, who was recently glorified by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Daniel (Ciobotea) of Bucharest will preside over the glorification. More (in Romanian) here.

Sportsman Nova Djokovic Awarded Highest Serbian Orthodox Honor

Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilovich) of Pech today awarded the Order of St. Sava to the internationally renowned Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic. Djokovic was given the award because of his vocal support for the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo. More (in Serbian) here.

Egyptian Presidential Candidate Visits Qena, Nag Hammadi

Egyptian presidential candidate Amr Moussa is visiting the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Upper Egypt's Nag Hammadi as well as the city of Qena in an effort to reach out to both the region's Copts and its Arab Muslims. More here.

Photo of the Day: Metropolitan Jonah at Agape Vespers

Metropolitan Jonah before this year's Agape Vespers at St. Nicholas' Cathedral in Washington, DC, looking very much like Patriarchs Daniel of Bucharest and P'awlos of Addis Abeba.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30th Anniversary of Ann Arbor Area Parish

Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad will be visiting St. Vladimir's Church in Dexter, Michigan, this July to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the parish's founding by Fr. Paul Karas of blessed memory. More on the upcoming anniversary and the festal services can be found on the parish's website.

Jobs: OCMC Seeking Medical Missions Volunteers

The Orthodox Christian Mission Center is seeking medical personnel, preferably doctors, to serve on medical missions trips to central Uganda and northwestern Tanzania this coming summer and fall. More here.

OCA Diocese of Dallas to Nominate New Bishop

Bishop Nikon (Liolin) of Boston, locum tenens of the Diocese of Dallas and Southeastern America of the American Orthodox Church (OCA), has called on the Diocese to prepare for a special diocesan assembly this spring or summer to nominate a candidate for election by the Holy Synod to the diocesan cathedra, which has been vacant since the retirement of Archbishop Dmitri (Royster) in early 2009.

The candidates under consideration by the Diocese's search committee include Bishop Mark (Maymon) of Baltimore, who currently serves as the Diocese's administrator; Archimandrite Alexander (Golitzin), who is also being considered by the Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese of North America; Archimandrite Gerasim (Eliel), who is expected to be nominated for the vacant Sitka cathedra this August; Archpriest Paul Gassios, also currently under consideration by the Bulgarian Orthodox Diocese; and Archpriest David Mahaffey.

More here.

OCA Metropolitan Seeks Removal of Interim Chancellor

Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) of Washington has announced that he is removing Bishop Melchisedek (Pleska) of Pittsburgh as interim chancellor of the American Orthodox Church and resuming the duties of locum tenens of the Diocese of Dallas and Southeastern America, which the Holy Synod of the OCA had transferred to Bishop Nikon (Liolin) of Boston. As both the appointment of an interim chancellor and of Bishop Nikon as locum tenens of the Dallas cathedra were decisions of the Holy Synod it remains to be seen whether Metropolitan Jonah's decisions will be taken as binding or not. More here.

Update (3/5/2011): The Holy Synod has rejected Metropolitan Jonah's unilateral attempt to resume his former position as locum tenens of the Diocese of Dallas and confirmed Bishop Nikon (Liolin) of Boston as its locum tenens. More here.

Hierarchical Visit to Former OCA Parish in Brisbane

This past Lent Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York celebrated the festal services for the Annunciation at the Church of the Annunciation in Brisbane, Queensland. His visit to the parish was the first by a hierarch in 22 years and the metropolitan's first as its diocesan hierarch since the parish's transfer from the American Orthodox Church to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia 2 years ago. More here.

Roman Catholics Seek Return of Mogilev Cathedral

The Roman Catholic Church in Belarus is seeking the return of its former cathedral in the eastern city of Mohilev, which was confiscated from the Church during the Soviet era. More here.

Politics Intrude on Paschal Celebrations in Sofia

The Paschal celebrations in the Bulgarian capital were somewhat marred this year by a disturbance in the patriarchal cathedral. The disturbance was caused by Volen Siderov, the leader of a Bulgarian opposition party, who questioned clergy giving the holy fire to President Georgi S. Parvanov (who as leader of the nation was the first layman to receive the fire) whether they served the 'atheist president' or God. More here.

New Western Rites Priest Ordained in Minnesota

Bishop Jerome (Shaw) of Manhattan, auxiliary to the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, has ordained Philip Ramstad to the holy priesthood to serve the Church of Sts. Aidan and Cuthbert in St. Paul, Minnesota. Axios! More here.

Correction (2/5/2011): Reader Philip Ramstad was ordained to the deaconate on 28 April by Archbishop Justinian (Ovchinnikov) of Narofominsk at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Sign in New York, but has not yet been ordained to the priesthood.

Armenian Genocide Commemorated in Antelias

Thousands gathered in Antelias, Lebanon, on Pascha to celebrate the Lord's Resurrection and commemorate the one and a half million victims of the Armenian Genocide, of whom many of the members of the Armenian Diaspora in the Levant are descendants. The memorial service for the martyrs was served by Catholicos Aram I (Keshishian) of Cilicia. More here.

Patriarchal Services at Kiev Caves Lavra

Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) and Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev concelebrated the Paschal Divine Liturgy in the square in front of the Kiev Caves Lavra's Cathedral of the Dormition today as part of his ongoing visit to Ukraine. (The cathedral is undergoing renovations and services have not been possible in it for some time now.) After the festal services Patriarch Kirill awarded the Lavra's abbot, auxiliary Archbishop Pavel (Lebed) of Vyshhorod, the Order of St. Seraphim of Sarov. More (in Russian) here.

St. John el-Kabir

Christ is risen! Joyous feast! This Bright Wednesday we remember St. John el-Kabir, a devout Coptic Orthodox Christian who worked in the service of the Fatimid Caliphate in late tenth century Egypt. The Saint was known for his virtuous life, his charity, and his love for the Orthodox Faith. During his life the ruling caliph purged the upper echelons of the Egyptian government of non-Muslims, first beginning with his court and the armed forces before turning to the lower ministers and scribes (of whom St. John was one). Calling these lower notables before him, the caliph demanded that they embrace Islam.

St. John, hearing the caliph's demand, asked for a day to consider the matter. Returning home, he confessed his readiness to die a martyr and his desire to say farewell to his family and friends, exhorting them, "Not [to] ask for this vain glory [of government service], for you will loose the eternal glory of the Lord Christ."

The next day St. John returned to the court and confessed Christ before the caliph. Despite the caliph's arguments and threats the Saint remained steadfast in the Faith and was beaten and tortured, giving up his soul to his Savior in the year of mercy 1002. More on his life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

Nuns Tonsured in Kenya

Two nuns were recently tonsured to the great schema at Kenya's first Byzantine Rite monastery in Kaanja, St. George's Monastery under the Holy Synod in Resistance of the Old Calendrist Greek Orthodox Church. More here.

Church of England Blocks Move to Include Roman Catholics in Royal Line of Succession

The Church of England has reportedly blocked an effort to reform the Act of Settlement removing Roman Catholics from the succession to the British throne. In opposing the reform leaders of the Church of England expressed their concern over the possibility of a member of the Roman Catholic Church becoming head of the Anglican Communion. More here.

It would seem to me that the logical thing to do in this circumstance would be to either disestablish the Church of England (perhaps after making an arrangement with the British government for the maintenance of historic churches and institutions) or remove the Queen as head of the Church so that the succession laws don't need to continue to discriminate against the Roman Catholic members of the House of Windsor (if indeed there are any).

Mine Defused in Kosovo Cemetery

A mine planted at a Serbian Orthodox cemetery in Staro Gracko, Kosovo, has been defused by Kosovar police. It is believed the mine was intended to kill Orthodox Christians visiting the cemetery on the upcoming Day of Rejoicing (the Tuesday after St. Thomas' Sunday), on which Orthodox visit cemeteries to leave Paschal eggs on the graves of their loved ones. More here.

Sanctity of the Body

Nearly half a million have gathered for the funeral of Indian guru Satya Sai Baba. Interestingly, in Hinduism highly respected men and women are buried rather than cremated, just as in Orthodox Christianity the faithful are always buried (when physically/legally possible) out of respect for the sanctity of the body as the temple of God. More here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tajikistan Closes Orthodox Church in Khalton

The Tajikistani government has closed the only Orthodox church in one of the country's southern districts because of a supposed issue with its registration application. More here.

Video of the Day: Singing of the Paschal Stichera

video
An excerpt from the singing of the Paschal stichera from Paschal Matins this past weekend at a church in the Chicago Diocese of the American Orthodox Church (OCA).

Cypriot Orthodox Church Rejects Criticism of Its Role in Cypriot Life

Archbishop Chrysostomos II (Dimitriou) of Nea Justiniana has defended the role of the Cypriot Orthodox Church in Cypriot life, saying that it has preserved the identity and faith of the Cypriot people for centuries and "is determined to continue to serve [Cyprus]." More (in Greek) here.

Heads of Middle Eastern Churches to Meet this Summer

It has been announced that Patriarch Bartholomew I (Arhondonis) of Constantinople, Pope Theodoros II (Horeftakis) of Alexandria, Patriarchs Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch and Theofilos III (Giannopoulos) of Jerusalem, and Archbishop Chrysostomos II (Dimitriou) of Nea Justiniana will meet this summer to discuss the ongoing political upheaval in the Middle East, the state of the region's Orthodox Churches, and how the ancient churches can work together to strengthen their position and that of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. More (in Greek) here.

Archbishop of Comana Affirms Exarchate's Union with Constantinople

In his address to Patriarch Bartholomew (Arhondonis) of Constantinople during his recent visit to France, Archbishop Gabriel (de Vylder) of Comana of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe reaffirmed his exarchate's union with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, saying that the latter has given it "full freedom to continue to follow [its] vocation to prepare the way for the establishment of a local church." More (in French) here.

Bishop-Elect of Chicago to be Consecrated on Bright Saturday

Archimandrite Matthias (Moriak) will be consecrated to the episcopacy this Bright Saturday in Chicago's Church of Christ the Savior and enthroned as Bishop of Chicago on St. Thomas' Sunday at Holy Trinity Cathedral, the seat of the American Orthodox Church's Diocese of Midwestern America. A schedule for this weekend's events can be found here.

Californian Orthodox Monastery Breaks Ground for New Church

This past St. Lazarus' Saturday Bishop Benjamin (Peterson) of San Francisco of the American Orthodox Church blessed the site of the future church of St. Barbara's Monastery in Santa Paula, California. The church will be dedicated to Sts. Barbara and Eugene. More here. Hat tip to Byzantine Texas for posting this first!

Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Ireland

A Bulgarian Orthodox parish has been established in the Irish city of Cork. More here.

Churches Protest Israeli Taxation

The leaders of Israel's churches are protesting the Israeli government's decision to tax ecclesiastical properties, saying that the move will destabilize the delicate Ottoman-era status quo currently governing relations between the governments of the Holy Land (the Israeli and Jordanian governments and the Palestinian National Authority) and its historic churches. More here.

"Young Bulgarians Turn to Monastic Life"

An interesting interview with the secretary of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church's Eparchy of Vidin concerning the growth of monasticism in Bulgaria since the fall of Communism can be found here.

Efforts Made to Reduce Immigration of Jerusalem's Christians

The Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Holy Land's Franciscans have agreed to work together to expand the availability of affordable housing to Jerusalem's Christians in the hopes of stemming the immigrations of the Holy City's Christian residents. More here.

Muted Holy Week, Pascha Celebrations in Syria

This year's Holy Week and Paschal commemorations were muted in Syria due to the ongoing political unrest in the country, which opposes the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad, but also threatens the security of the country's religious minorities, among them large numbers of Antiochian, Armenian, and Syriac Orthodox Christians. Public processions and celebrations were voluntarily canceled by the leaders of the Orthodox Churches in Syria to avoid worsening the unrest. More here.

Iraqi Armenians Commemorate Genocide

Commemorations have been held by the Armenian Orthodox in northern Iraq to mark the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. More here.

Constantinople's Bulgarians Celebrate Pascha

Thousands of Constantinople's Bulgarian residents celebrated the Lord's Pascha in the imperial city's Iron Church of St. Stephen. More here.

Convert Murdered in Cairo

A 2005 Muslim convert to Orthodox Christianity, Salwa Atallah, was murdered this past Pascha together with her husband and one of her two children. Her three brothers were responsible for the murders. More here.

Controversy Over Montenegro's Sveti Stefan Church

The Montenegrin government has halted the reconstruction of St. Alexander of the Neva's Church in Sveti Stefan. Although formerly a parish of the Serbian Orthodox Church, since the Communist era St. Alexander's has been part of a resort on Adriatic Sea that is currently owned by a Greek company. A pause in the reconstruction of the church was agreed to by Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Lukšić and Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of Cetinje. More here.

New Coptic Orthodox Governor Suspended

After 11 days of protests by Muslims angry over the appointment of an Orthodox Christian, Emad Mikhail, as governor of the Qena Governorate the Egyptian government has suspended the new governor for 3 months while it looks into the reasons for the protests. More here.

Georgia Releases Prisoners

The Georgian government is releasing roughly a hundred prisoners, having reviewed their cases and decided in favor of clemency in honor of the Lord's Pascha. More here.

126th Anniversary of the Romanian Orthodox Church's Autocephaly

Bright Monday this year marked the 126th anniversary of the granting of autocephaly to the Romanian Orthodox Church on the territory of the former Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia (then newly united as the Kingdom of Romania). Romania's tomos of autocephaly was granted by Patriarch Joachim IV of Constantinople as its faithful were at that time part of the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church. More (in Romanian) here.

Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide

This year Holy Pascha coincided with the feast day of the one and a half million martyrs of the Armenian Genocide. Consequently on Pascha Catholicos-Patriarch Karekin II (Nersessian) of Echmiadzin visited Yerevan's Genocide Memorial and celebrated a memorial for the Genocide's victims on the afternoon of Pascha. More on both the Paschal celebrations and the memorial can be found here and here.

25th Anniversary of Chernobyl Disaster Commemorated

In commemoration of today's 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow and All Rus' and Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev traveled to St. Elijah's Church, the only functioning church in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, to serve a supplication there. Concelebrating the service were hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church from Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. In attendance at the supplication were Presidents Dmitriy A. Medvedev of Russia and Viktor F. Yanukovych of Ukraine together with many other faithful. More here. Patriarch Kirill's encyclical commemorating the Chernobyl disaster can be found here, .

Bangalore Metropolitan Calls on Laity to Engage in Missionary Work

Metropolitan Abraham Mar Seraphim of Bangalore has called on the faithful of his diocese to focus on the missionary work essential to the future of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. More here.

Photo of the Day: Catholicos Aram Washing the Feet on Holy Thursday

Catholicos Aram I (Keshishian) of Cilicia washing the feet of a seminarian in Antelias, Lebanon, as part of this past Holy Thursday's services. More here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Serbs Protest in Belgrade

On St. Lazarus' Saturday tens of thousands of Serbs in Belgrade protested the Serbian government's corruption and failure to deal with the economic issues facing the country. Serbia's opposition parties are pushing for parliamentary elections scheduled for 2012 to be moved up. More here.

New Bishop of Zvenigorod Consecrated in Moscow

This past Palm Sunday Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of All Rus' and twelve other hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church consecrated Archimandrite Nikolai (Chashin) as Bishop of Zvenigorod at the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Bishop Nikolai will be serving as an auxiliary of the patriarchal Eparchy of Moscow. More here and here in Russian.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Pascha

Christ is risen!!! Χριστός ἀνέστη!!! Христос воскресе!!! Al Masih qam!!! Kristo ni muriuku!!!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! Христос воскресе из мертвых, смертию смерть поправ и сущим во гробех живот даровав!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Friday

I know I wasn't going to post anything during Holy Week, but after singing the fifteenth antiphon during Holy Friday Matins earlier tonight I couldn't help but think of this rendition of the antiphon in a mixture of English, Greek, and Slavonic by Archbishop Job of blessed memory.

"Today He Who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the Tree,
The King of the Angels is decked with a crown of thorns.
He Who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery.
He Who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a spear.
We worship Your Passion, O Christ!
Show us also Your glorious Resurrection!"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cairo Protesters Call for Secular State and an End to Discrimination

One last pre-Holy Week post! Over 100,000 Copts and Arabs rallied in Cairo today to call for a "secular, democratic state, a constitution void of any religious clauses, and laws that prohibit discrimination." More here.

"By Your word, O Word of God, Lazarus now leaps out of death..."

Joyous feast! St. Lazarus' Saturday has a beautiful significance in and of itself, but its beauty for me comes from its association with baptisms and chrismations :-). It's not always the case, but oftentimes we have too many people being received to baptize and/or chrismate them all on Holy Saturday and consequently many end up being received today.

The feast and its observance at our parish aside, I'm making another pilgrimage back to the Fourth Rome to attend the Holy Week services, visit friends, and celebrate the Lord's Pascha with my church family. I would like to think I'll be too busy praying to post anything here, but it's more likely that I won't be posting anything because I'll be too busy staying up late talking and baking Pascha goodies ;-).

Whatever the reason, I'm taking time off from posting here. I hope and pray it's a peaceful and saving Holy Week for you wherever you may be! "Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord!"

Friday, April 15, 2011

Greek Orthodox Church Stands Firm in Rejecting Rise in Parish Dues

St. George's Church in Lynn, Massachusetts, remains firm in rejecting demands from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its Metropolis of Boston that it pay an additional $20,000 in dues this year (at a total of $88,000). The parish stated in part that it would "not succumb to the intimidation and bullying...of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios [of Boston]." More here.

Moscow Patriarchate Responds to Suggested Change in Russian State Emblem

The Moscow Patriarchate has responded to a proposal to add a crescent to the Russian state emblem (the Romanovs' double-headed eagle) by stating that crescents should be included in the national emblems of the predominantly Muslim member republics of the Russian Federation, but not the Russian state emblem itself, which "has a history of many centuries and...has stood the test of time." More here.

The spokesman of the leader of Russia's Jews, on the other hand, thought that the proposed addition of the crescent was not enough, stating (tongue in cheek) that, "If you remember, the Soviet emblem featured a slogan "Workers of the World, Unite!" in the fifteen languages of [the] Soviet republics. We can put some other inspiring slogan in [the] one or two hundred languages of Russia's smaller nations and add the same number of heads to the eagle...then we are sure to have a strong and multi-headed eagle." More on his comments here.

OCA "Strategic Plan" to be Discussed by Holy Synod, Metropolitan Council in May

It has been announced that a new draft of the "Strategic Plan" for the American Orthodox Church will be presented to the Holy Synod and Metropolitan Council for their review this coming May. The Plan is supposed to help the OCA know what it is and where it is going. More here.

Malankara Orthodox Outreach in Bangkok

An outreach of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church has been organized in Bangkok, Thailand, for the Malankara Orthodox faithful there. The first Divine Liturgy was held on 3 April. Orthodox faithful in Thailand interested in participating in the mission should contact 0065-81891415. More here.

Milan Synod in Spain Against Reconciliation with Moscow Patriarchate

The Spanish hierarchs of the Old Calendrist Milan Synod have protested its decision to dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church and commemorate Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow in the divine services. The decision is being protested "at the highest levels" of the Milan Synod in Spain, but as it consists of two or three churches and missions in the country it is doubtful that the protests will have much effect on the Synod's decision to seek reconciliation with mainstream Orthodoxy. More here.

Ecumenical Patriarch Visits St. Sergius' in Paris

As part of his ongoing travels in France Patriarch Bartholomew (Arhondonis) of Constantinople has visited the Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe's St. Sergius' Theological Institute in Paris. The patriarch was welcomed to St. Sergius' by Archbishop Gabriel (de Vylder) of Comana, head of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate. More in Greek here.

Russian Mufti Calls for Inclusion of Crescent in National Emblems

Grand Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin of Ufa, the official leader of central Russia's Muslims, has called for the incorporation of the crescent into Russia's national emblems. More on that here. In response to his call another leader of Russia's Muslims, Muhammed Ali Huzin, said in part that the "historic and objective notion of the 'Orthodox majority' should be treated with respect...indeed, Orthodox believers in Syria do not demand to feature their religious symbols on the state emblem, although Syria has an Orthodox patriarchate." More on his comments here.

Moscow Patriarchate, Yakutsk Diocese to Publish Works of St. Innocent

The Moscow Patriarchate and the Eparchy of Yakutsk and the Lena have agreed to cooperatively publish the complete works of St. Innocent (Veniaminov) of Sitka and Moscow. More in Russian here.

Cypriot Journalist Awarded Cross of St. Mark

Cypriot journalist Constantinos Tsouris has been awarded the Cross of St. Mark by Pope Theodoros II (Horeftakis) of Alexandria for his articles on the work of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church in Africa. More in Greek here.

Muscovite Students Protest Church Plans

Students at Moscow State University are protesting plans to build a Russian Orthodox church on the university campus. The proposed church is one of sixty new churches to be built in Moscow. More here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Possible Site of Dragoljub Mihailovic's Grave Found

Serbian officials say that they may have located the grave of Dragoljub Mihailovic, the leader of Yugoslav royalist resistance to the Nazis during World War II and the Yugoslav Communists in the aftermath of the war. More here.

Profile of Roman Catholicism Rises in Kosovo

Since Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 the profile of the Roman Catholic Church in the region has grown significantly, as evidenced by the construction of a large cathedral in Pristina dedicated to Mother Teresa Bojaxhiu of Calcutta. More here.

Armenian Genocide to be Remembered in Turkey

Unofficial commemorations of the Armenian Genocide are being organized in five Turkish cities this year. More here.

Abkhazian President Denies Rumors of Territories Ceded to Russia

President Sergei Bagapsh of Abkhazia has denied rumors that Russia is annexing territories on the border between Abkhazia and Russia. More here.

Armenian Orthodox Church in Geneva Rejects Diocesan Locum Tenens

A dispute between St. Jacob's Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Catholicate of Echmiadzin continues as the parish closed this past weekend to prevent the representative of Catholicos-Patriarch Karekin II (Nersessian), Archbishop Hovnan (Derderian) of Burbank, and the new locum tenens of the Armenian Orthodox Diocese of Switzerland from entering. More here.

Serbian Orthodox Holy Synod Considers Excommunicating Former Kosovo Bishop

The Serbian Orthodox Church is considering excommunicating laicized Bishop Artemije (Radosavljevic) of Rashka and Prizren because of his ongoing schismatic activities in Kosovo. More here.

Interview with Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau

An interesting Romanian-language interview with Metropolitan Vladimir (Cantarean) of Chisinau on the situation of the Moldovan Orthodox Church and Romanians from Moldova abroad can be found here.

Bulgakov Conference this May

A conference on the life and legacy of Protopresbyter Sergius Bulgakov dedicated to the 140th anniversary of his birth will be held in Kiev, Ukraine, this coming May. More here.

Patriarch Maxim, Holy Synod Meet with Bulgarian PM

Patriarch Maxim (Minkov) of Sofia and members of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church met today with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko M. Borisov to discuss aspects of life in Bulgaria in which the Bulgarian government and the Church of Bulgaria can work together for the good of the nation. More here.

Supreme Ecclesiastical Council Meets in Moscow

The first session of the Supreme Ecclesiastical Council of the Russian Orthodox Church was held today in Moscow, Russia, under the chairmanship of Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of All Rus'. The Council was recently established to guide the life of the Church between hierarchical councils in accordance with the decisions of the All-Russian Council of 1917 and 1918, whose reforms were implemented in parts of the Russian Diaspora (including in what is now the American Orthodox Church), but not in Rus' itself due to the Bolshevik Revolution. More (in Russian) here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Priests Don't Answer E-mails"

And another hat tip to Byzantine Texas on an excellent post about the need for better communication skills by our clergy and parishes here in North America!

Serbian Orthodox in Midwest Call for Unified Diocese, New Metropolitan

The recent diocesan assembly of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Novo Grachanica and the Midwest has called on the Holy Synod of the Serbian Orthodox Church to unify the diocese with the Metropolitanate of Libertyville and elect their diocesan bishop, Bishop Longin (Krco), as Metropolitan of Nova Grachanica and First Hierarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church of North America. More here. Hat tip to Byzantine Texas for posting this!

Romanian Teens Polled

A poll in Romania has found that many of its teens may be anti-Semitic and racist. More here.

Prizren Cathedral Vandalized

It has been discovered that the Ljeviska Cathedral of the Theotokos in Prizren, Kosovo, has been vandalized by thieves who badly damaged its roof while stealing its lead. The cathedral had just been restored following its 2004 looting and serves as the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo. More here.

Metropolitan Hilarion Visits Cathedral of Sourozh Diocese

As part of his visit to the UK Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk visited the Cathedral of the Dormition in London, which serves as the seat of the patriarchal Russian Orthodox diocese of the British Isles. During the visit he met with Archbishops Elisha (Ganaba) of Sourozh and Anatoliy (Kuznetsov) of Kerch as well as clergy and faithful of the cathedral parish. More here.

St. Innocent of Sitka

Joyous feast! С праздником! St. Innocent was one of the great lights of the Russian Orthodox Church in the 19th century and certainly an even greater light in Alaskan and American Orthodoxy. An account of his life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

Head of Ethiopian Crown Council Marries

Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, grandson of Emperor Haile Silase I of Ethiopia and head of the Ethiopian Crown Council, has married in Washington, DC. More here.

Baikonur Priest on Exploration of Space

The confessor at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan said in a recent interview that progress in space exploration has been minimal because, "God does not let us move on. While we are in the process of moral growth we shall not go far away from Earth." More here.

Archbishop Hovnan to Bless Khachkar in Palm Desert, CA

St. Garabed's Church in Palm Desert, California, has announced that the blessing of the new khachkar recently erected outside its main entrance will be celebrated by Archbishop Hovnan (Derderian) of Burbank this Pascha. More here.

MA Governor Named 2011 "Friend of the Armenians"

The Eastern American Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Echmiadzin has announced that Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts will be honored at its upcoming diocesan assembly as 2011's "Friend of the Armenians." Governor Patrick is being honored for the warm relations he has maintained with the Armenian community in Massachusetts and for his advocacy of recognition of the Armenian Genocide. More here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Interview on Yuriy Gagarin's Faith

In honor of today's celebration of Yuriy Gagarin and the first manned spaceflight I'd like to bring this interview to your attention. Enjoy!

"Muslims Who Venerate St. George"

An interesting article on the annual Turkish Muslim pilgrimage to the Church of St. George on Principo Island in the Marmara can be found here.

Ethiopian Migrant Workers Return from Middle East

A number of Ethiopian migrant workers deported as political unrest and economic uncertainty sweep through Yemen and the rest of the Middle East have been returned to Ethiopia, many with stories of mistreatment and abuse. More here.

Abkhazian President Returns from Turkey

President Sergei U. Bagapsh of Abkhazia has completed his first state visit to Turkey. During the visit Bagapsh sought to improve economic relations between the two countries and also called on the Abkhaz living in Turkey to return to their homeland to assist in its development. (Roughly 500,000 Abkhaz live in Turkey, a number nearly three times the size of Abkhazia's estimated current population.) More here.

Council of Europe Criticizes Georgia for Human Rights Abuses

A draft report of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has criticized the government of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for human rights abuses in the aftermath of the 2008 invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia. More here.

Orthodox Christians to Remain Unrepresented in Turkish Parliament

Despite discussion by an assortment of political parties in Turkey of presenting Armenian candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections none have been nominated by any of the parties currently represented in the Turkish Parliament. Although a minority in Turkey, Armenians are the largest non-Muslim ethnic minority in the country. More here.

Update (12/4/2011): Four non-Muslim candidates will be field in the upcoming elections, two of whom are ethnic Syrians and two of whom are Jews. Of the four only one, a Syrian from southeastern Turkey, seems to have a strong chance of being elected. More here.

Red Crescent Gives Aid to Greek Orthodox in Constantinople

The Turkish branch of the International Red Crescent has generously provided the Ecumenical Patriarchate with food and other aid for the small Greek community in Constantinople. More here.

Patriarch Irinej on Serbia and Russia

Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilovich) of the Serbian Orthodox Church has given an interview on relations between the Serbian and Russian Orthodox Churches. More in Russian here.

"Egypt at a Crossroads"

An interesting article on the current perception of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamism in Egypt and its political future can be found here.

Metropolitan Vladimir of Chisinau on the Roma

During the celebrations in Moldova last week marking the International Day of the Roma the Moldovan Orthodox Church's Metropolitan Vladimir (Cantarean) of Chisinau sent a message noting the great suffering the Roma underwent during World War II and saying in part that, "Every small nation, every ethnicity has the right to exist and peaceful existence because 'there is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free...'" During the celebrations the leader of Moldova's Roma, Arthur, was awarded the Order of St. Paisius (Velichkovskiy) of Neamts. More here.

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Meets with US Ambassador to Syria

Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I (Iwas) of Antioch met yesterday with the US ambassador to Syria in Damascus to discuss the state of the Syriac Orthodox Church and the situation of the Middle East's Christians in Syria and throughout the region. More here.

Memorials for Victims of Minsk Attack

This morning Metropolitan Filaret (Vakhromeyev) of Minsk and Slutsk, First Hierarch of the Belorussian Orthodox Church, served a memorial for the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack in the Minsk Metro in the capital's Cathedral of the Holy Spirit. All the churches of the Belorussian Orthodox Church have been blessed to serve memorials for the attack's victims for the next 40 days. More here and here.

Photo of the Day: St. Gregory's Day in Antelias

Pictured is Catholicos Aram I (Keshishian) of Sis and Cilicia on this past Saturday's feast of the imprisonment of St. Gregory the Illuminator. He is pictured blessing the assembled faithful with the hand of St. Gregory.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Turkish Writer Apologizes for Ottoman Turkish Genocides

A Turkish writer, Kemal Yalcin, has apologized to Armenians, Assyrians, and ethnic Syrians around the world for the Armenian Genocide and the Seyfo (the Assyrian/Syrian Genocide) undertaken by the Ottoman Turks and Kurds. Yalcin noted that had the Genocide not taken place Turkey today would have some 15 million additional Armenian, Assyrian, and Syrian residents (instead of a paltry 108,000). More here.

Jobs: OCF Seeking Executive Director

The national administration of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), an organization under the Episcopal Assembly of North America for Orthodox Christian college and university students, is seeking an executive director. More here.

OCA Conspiracy Theories Continue

The conspiracy theories continue over at OCA Truth. My favorite in the latest is that the Holy Synod is going to "use" Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) to consecrate Bishop-elect Matthias (Moriak) of Chicago and then get rid of him - as though his presence was required above all others for consecrating a new bishop and therefore necessary until the upcoming consecration :-). "For they speak not peace, but they devise deceitful words..."

Syriac Orthodox Catholicos Leading Funeral of Metropolitan Mar Julius

The funeral of the newly reposed Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Julius is being held today at Manjanikkara's Monastery of St. Ignatius. Catholicos Moran Mar Baselios Thomas I of the East of the Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church will be leading the funeral services. More here.

Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Consecrates Church in Mulhouse, France

This past Sunday evening Patriarch Daniel (Ciobotea) of Bucharest consecrated the Church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in the Alsatian town of Mulhouse. More here.

Sunday Marked 41st Anniversary of Signing of OCA Tomos

This past Sunday was the 41st anniversary of the signing of the tomos that granted the American Orthodox Church independence from the Russian Orthodox Church as an autocephalous Local Orthodox Church. More here.

Patriarch Daniel Consecrates Strasbourg Church

This past weekend Patriarch Daniel (Ciobotea) of Bucharest consecrated the Church of St. John the Baptist in Strasbourg, France, during the Sunday Liturgy. In addition to the patriarch Metropolitan Iosif (Pop) of Paris and Bishops Timotei (Lauran) of Madrid and Marc (Alric), auxiliary of the Romanian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Western and Southern Europe. More here.

Metropolitan Volodymyr Concludes Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev has returned from his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During the course of his pilgrimage he met with Patriarch Theophilos III (Giannopoulos) of Jerusalem in the Holy City, concelebrated the festal services for the Annunciation in Nazareth, and celebrated the Divine Liturgy on the Tomb of the Lord in Jerusalem's Church of the Resurrection.

Metropolitan Volodymyr was accompanied on his pilgrimage by Archbishops Filipp (Osadchenko) of Poltava and Alexander (Drabinko) of Pereslavl and Bishop Feodor (Mamasuyev) of Mukachevo and Uzhhorod, all hierarchs of the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church. More on his travels can be found here.

Belgrade-Karlovci Archdiocesan Council Meets

This past Saturday Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilovich) of Pech chaired a meeting of the archdiocesan council of the Archdiocese of Belgrade and Karlovci to discuss the life and issues of the Serbian Orthodox Church in its patriarchal diocese. More here.

Russian Orthodox Educational Reforms to Gain Western Recognition

Speaking on the ongoing reform of theological education in the institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church, Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun) has said that one of the intentions of the reform is to gain recognition of degrees awarded by the Church's seminaries, academies, and universities by institutions of higher education in the West. His full comments can be found here (in Russian).

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Meets with Armenian Orthodox Catholicos in Lebanon

The new primate of the Maronite Catholic Church, Lebanon's largest Christian religious organization, has visited the seat of the catholicate of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cilicia in Antelias, Lebanon. More here.

Metropolitan Hilarion Arrives in London

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) has ended his visit to the Church of Greece and left for London to present the English-language version of a newly published book by Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow, "Freedom and Responsibility," at the London Book Fair. More here.

Serbian Opposition Calls for Early Elections

Approval for the current pro-European Union (EU) Serbian government is dropping as Serbia's main opposition party calls for early elections. Despite 20% unemployment and significant corruption and crime issues the government refuses to hold early elections before the EU approves Serbia as a candidate for membership, which is expected to take place this October. More here.

Constantinopolitan Orthodox Metropolitans Abroad Obtaining Turkish Citizenship

Apparently 27 out of the 35 (not 100% sure on the numbers) Constantinopolitan Orthodox archbishops and metropolitans serving outside Turkey have applied for Turkish citizenship under an initiative of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to ensure the survival of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Turkey. Of the 27 so far 13 have been granted citizenship. More here.

Serbian Orthodox Nuns Learn Albanian

The nuns of the Sokolica Monastery in Kosovo are being required by their abbess to learn Albanian so that they can communicate with the many Albanian Muslim pilgrims who come to venerate the Mother of God at the Monastery. More here.

Photo of the Day: Consecration in Ma'arat Saydnaya

The newest hierarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, patriarchal auxiliary Metropolitan Mor Chrysostomos (Mikhail) of Atshane, during his consecration yesterday in Ma'arat Sayyidnaya, Syria.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sarah Palin at the Wailing Wall

After a visit to Jerusalem's Wailing Wall last month the controversial US politician Sarah Palin said that she it was "overwhelming to be able to see and touch the cornerstone of our faith." Palin is apparently Jewish as she might otherwise have made her comments after visiting the Holy Sepulchre...

Fr. Zacharias of Essex to Speak at St. Tikhon's 2011 Commencement

Archimandrite Zacharias (Zacharou) of St. John the Baptist's Monastery in Tolleshunt Knights, Essex, will be the commencement speaker at St. Tikhon of Zadonsk's Theological Seminary in South Canaan, Pennsylvania, this year. More here.

Turkey's Minorities Hope for Equal Rights under New Constitution

As Turkey considers introducing a new constitution its ethnic minorities, most of whom predate the Turks in the country by centuries, are hoping that the constitution under consideration will make Turkey's citizens equal under the law regardless of their ethnic origins or religious identity. More here.

Metropolitan Hilarion Meets with Archbishop Jerome, Celebrates Sunday Liturgy in Athens

On the first day of his visit to Greece Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk met with Archbishop Jerome II (Liapis) of Athens to discuss relations between the Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches, the preparations for a general council of the Local Orthodox Churches, and the Church's place and role in the world today. More on their meeting can be found here.

On the second day of his visit to Greece Metropolitan Hilarion celebrated the Sunday Liturgy in Athens' Church of St. Panteleimon, which ministers to the city's residents from the former USSR. The service, which was celebrated in both Slavonic and Greek and was broadcasted on Greek television, was attended by Archbishop Jerome of Athens. More here.

New Patriarchial Auxiliary Consecrated in Syria

During the Sunday Liturgy today Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I (Iwas) of Antioch and seven other metropolitans of the Syriac Orthodox Church consecrated Fr. Mikhail Abboud Shimon as Metropolitan Mor Chrysostomos of Atshane in the Ma'arat Saydnaya Monastery's Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul. Axios! Metropolitan Mor Chrysostomos will be serving as the patriarchal auxiliary responsible for overseeing the patriarchal institutions in Lebanon. More here and here.

New Kamchatka Bishop Consecrated in Moscow

This morning during the Sunday Liturgy in Moscow's Church of Christ the Savior Archimandrite Artemiy (Snigur) was consecrated Bishop of Petropavlovsk and Kamchatka by Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow and other hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church gathered from central Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Siberia. Axios! More here.

Photo of the Day: Consecration in Moscow

Bishop-elect Artemiy (Snigur) of Petropavlovsk and Kamchatka making his confession of faith before Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) prior to his consecration in Moscow's Church of Christ the Savior.

Quote of the Day: St. Niphon

Whoever says that it is impossible to be saved with a wife and children is a deceiver. Abraham had a wife and children and three hundred and eighteen servants, and also much gold and silver, and he was called the friend of God! Many servants of the Church have been saved, and many lovers of the desert; many aristocrats, and many soldiers; many craftsmen, and many farm laborers. Be devout towards God and loving towards men, and you will be saved.

North and South Sudan Begin Talks in Ethiopia

North and South Sudan have begun talks in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, to negotiate the peaceful separation of the two states this coming July and determine the status of South Sudanese working in North Sudan, many of whom were born and raised in North Sudan. More here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Macedonia Edges Closer to EU Membership

Macedonia has inched closer to joining the European Union, though certain issues (corruption amongst them) and Greece's inability to deal with the fact that there is more to Macedonia than the southern districts it has occupied since the Balkan Wars still stand in the way to full membership. More here.

"The Locus and Economy of Community"

An excellent article by Fr. Andrew Damick on globalization and locality can be found here.

Belorussian Orthodox Church, Ministry of Education Sign Agreement

The Belorussian government and the Belorussian Orthodox Church have signed an agreement on cooperation in their educational efforts. More here.

In Memoriam: Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Julius

Metropolitan Kuriakose Mar Julius of the patriarchal Syriac Orthodox institutions in India has fallen asleep in the Lord at St. Ignatius' Monastery in Manjanikkara, Kerala, at the age of seventy-eight. More here.

Photo of the Day: Tonsuring in Central Bulgaria

Toshko Dilovski is brought forward by his sponsoring monk to be tonsured by Metropolitan Gabriel (Dinev) of Lovech into the little schema as the Monk Michael.

Quote of the Day: Metropolitan Jonah of Washington

Spiritual pride is an easy trap for those new to the faith...excessive external piety, false humility, preoccupation with gossip and "issues" in the life of the Church, judging people on their piety or stance in these issues, complete assurance that one knows exactly how things should be done, and perhaps most dangerous of all, idolizing a person or place as the ultimate criterion of Orthodoxy, can all be symptoms of this malady. They are all aspects of spiritual immaturity. What is missing in all this is Christ and the real spiritual struggle with oneself.

St. Rupert of Salzburg

Joyous feast! St. Rupert was the enlightener of what today is Bavaria and Austria who also founded the modern city of Salzburg on the ruins of an old Roman town. St. Rupert fell asleep in 710 and is widely venerated in both Austria and Bavaria. More on his life can be found here. May his blessing and prayers be with us all!

Saturday of the Akathist of the Mother of God

Joyous feast! Today's feast of the Akathist of the Mother of God was established on this the fifth Saturday of Lent to commemorate the Theotokos' deliverance of Constantinople from a Persian army in 625 and her defense of the city against attacking Arab Muslim armies in 655 and 705. The original Akathist, dedicated to the Mother of God, originates in this period in the praises of the people of Constantinople for the Mother of God's deliverance of the city. May her protection and intercessions be with us all!

Islamists in Upper Egypt Force Church to Relocate

Earlier this week Islamists staged a sit-in at the entrance of a Coptic Orthodox church in Kamadir, Upper Egypt. When the church's priest came to serve the Divine Liturgy this past Tuesday he was told by the hundreds of Muslims squatting on the parish's property that Copts were "not allowed" to pray there any more. The sit-in began when the local government approved urgent repairs to the church.

The sit-in was resolved through an agreement by which the parish agreed to build a new church 200 meters away from the new mosque recently built near the site of the old church. The new church is required not to look like a church and is to be half the height of the old one. More here.

Fr. Artemiy Vladimirov Speaking Near Ann Arbor, MI

To anyone and everyone living in metro Detroit or south-central Michigan, St. Vladimir's Church in Dexter is hosting a talk by Fr. Artemiy Vladimirov of All Saints' Church in Krasnoye Selo, Moscow, after tomorrow morning's Divine Liturgy. Fr. Artemiy's talk is entitled "The Eucharist in the Life of the Christian." More here (in English) or here (in Russian).

Friday, April 8, 2011

"West Virginia Monastic Life"

A lovely article on Holy Cross Monastery in Wayne, West Virginia, from West Virginia Public Broadcasting can be found here.

Malankara Orthodox Catholicos Visits Indian Ecumenical Organization

During a visit to the headquarters of the ecumenical National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) Catholicos Moran Mar Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church praised the work of the NCCI and urged all of India's Christians to pray and work so that they can be one. More here.

Japanese Orthodox Synod to Meet, Discuss Earthquake Relief Efforts

The Local Synod of the Japanese Orthodox Church will meet this coming Tuesday to assess the needs of the areas of Japan effected by the recent earthquake and how the Church can help in the ongoing reconstruction efforts.

Since the earthquake the Eparchy of Sendai (the diocese of the Japanese Orthodox Church in the area worst hit by the earthquake) has accounted for all of its clergy and churches. Of its faithful it has been discovered that six died as a result of the earthquake while four others remain missing. More here.

"Theodora"

An interesting survey of the life of St. Theodora, wife of St. Justinian and venerated by the Local Orthodox Churches that accept and reject Chalcedon, can be found here. It has some innaccuracies (for example, the author at one point refers to the controversy over Chalcedon as involving Trinitarian theology, not Christology), but is a good read nonetheless. Enjoy!

Moldovan Orthodox Church Discusses Preservation, Restoration Issues with Moldovan Government

A meeting between Moldovan officials and members of the Moldovan Orthodox Church has been held to discuss the preservation and restoration of the country's historic churches and monasteries. More here.

Fr. Arsenie Recuperating from Surgery

The Romanian elder and confessor Fr. Arsenie (Papacioc) has been released following bladder surgery and is reported to be recovering well. More here.

Patriarch Theophilos Celebrates Annunciation in Nazareth

On yesterday's feast of the Annunciation Patriarch Theophilos III (Giannopoulos) of Jerusalem celebrated the festal Divine Liturgy in Nazareth's Church of the Archangel Gabriel. Reflecting the mixture of peoples present, the services were celebrated in a mixture of Arabic, Greek, Romanian, and Slavonic. More here.

Update (10/4/2011): Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev was present in Nazareth on the Annunciation as part of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and concelebrated the festal services with Patriarch Theophilos. More on his visit can be found here.

Metropolitan Hilarion Visiting Greece

Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk has begun a visit to Greece with the blessing of Archbishop Jerome II (Liapis) of Athens of the Greek Orthodox Church. During his time in Greece Metropolitan Hilarion will meet with Archbishop Jerome and other hierarchs of the Church of Greece and also participate in the presentation of the Greek-language version of his book "The Mystery of Faith." More here.

Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Participates in Inauguration of Kazakhstani President

Metropolitan Alexander (Mogilev) of Astana and Kazakhstan participated today in the inaguration of President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, who is beginning his 4th (or 5th?) term as President of Kazakhstan. More here.

Syriac Orthodox, Maronite Catholic Patriarchs Meet in Lebanon

Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I (Iwas) of Antioch continues his visit to Lebanon with a stop in Bkerke to congratulate the newly enthroned Maronite Catholic patriarch on his election. More here.

Muslim and Orthodox Services Side-by-Side in Cairo Today

What hopes to be a million-person march in Cairo's Tahrir Square today will see Muslim Friday prayers alongside an open-air Coptic Orthodox Divine Liturgy in what the march's organizers hope will be a witness to the unity of Egypt. More here.

Services Banned in Massachusetts Greek Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Methodios (Tournas) of Boston has banned the celebration of the divine services at St. George's Church in Lynn, Massachusetts, because of its refusal to pay the dues levied by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and its Metropolis of Boston. More here.

Syria Grants Kurds Citizenship

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has issued a presidential decree overturning a 1962 ruling that stripped many of northeastern Syria's Kurds of their Syrian citizenship. More here.

Beware of Babo! ;-)

A day-long internet outage in Armenia last month was apparently caused by a 75-year old Georgian woman when she cut through a fiber-optic cable while searching for scrap copper. More here.

Festal Services in Ukrainian Orthodox Parish in Romania

Bishop Lucian (Mic) of Caransebes celebrated Annunciation today in a parish in Zorile, Romania. (More on that here.) This wouldn't be particularly noteworthy were it not that this parish is a Ukrainian Orthodox community in Romania (and therefore under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Bucharest, whose canonical territory Romania is) and on the Julian calendar, whose Romanian Orthodox faithful were persecuted and cast out of the Church of Romania from the 1920s onwards.

Were all the Orthodox to follow the principles being adopted by the Bucharest Patriarchate outside Romania, then the Zorile parish would be under Moscow or perhaps Kiev, whilst others in southwestern Romania would be under the Pech Patriarchate and still more in southern and southeastern Romania would be under the Sofia Patriarchate. Perhaps in the near future the Bucharest Patriarchate will transfer its non-Romanian parishes in Romania to their "rightful" Churches so that 'there is Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, for all are divided in Christ Jesus' as the Scriptures say...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

St. Tikhon of New York

Joyous feast! More on St. Tikhon, who towers in the history of American and Russian Orthodoxy both, can be found here.

Athonites Discuss Response to Greek Taxation

A special session of the Holy Community of Mount Athos has been held in response to the Greek government's abrogation of Mount Athos' autonomous status and special place within Greece by taxing its dependencies in Greece proper. The last time such a meeting was held it was to formulate the Holy Mountain's response to the advance of the Nazis into the Balkans. More here.

Romanian Orthodox Church in Jericho

In addition to its intrusions into the canonical territories of the Russian and Serbian Orthodox Churches the Romanian Orthodox Church has also violated the territory of the mother of Christianity, the Church of Jerusalem, by unilaterally building a Romanian Orthodox church in Jericho functioning as a regular parish of the Church of Romania and not as a representation to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Church of Jerusalem is considering breaking communion with the Church of Romania should the latter refuse to resolve the issue of the Jericho parish. More here.

Russian-Language Interview about Russian Orthodoxy in the Far East, Southeast Asia

An interesting Russian-language interview with Fr. Dmitriy Pozdnyayev of Sts. Peter and Paul's Church in Hong Kong about the life of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Fart East and Southeast Asia can be found here.

Metropolitan Mar Anthonios Appointed Head of Honnavar Mission

Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatios Zakka I (Iwas) of Antioch has appointed Metropolitan Yaqub Mar Anthonios head of the Honnavar Mission in India's Karnataka state to succeed the recently reposed Metropolitan Geevarghese Mor Polycarpose. More here.

Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Visits Zahle

This past Monday Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I (Iwas) of Antioch visited the Syriac Orthodox church in Zahle that was bombed last week. During his time in Zahle Patriarch Ignatius Zakka prayed in the church and met with the faithful of the parish and the area. More here.

Conference on Bulgaria's Roma Takes Place in Vidin

A conference on the place of the Roma (commonly known as 'Gypsies') in Bulgarian life has taken place in Vidin, Bulgaria, with the participation of a representative of the Bulgarian Orthodox Eparchy of Vidin. More here.

Palestinians Demand Access to Jerusalem During Holy Week, Pascha

Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank are demanding greater access to Jerusalem during Holy Week and Pascha. This year Israel's Passover holidays fall over part of Holy Week and Pascha and as Israel has enforced a military closing off of the West Bank during the Passover holidays for the past several years the West Bank's Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics will be unable to attend the services in the Holy City if the blockade is not lifted. More here.

Secularism Grows in Lebanon

A secularist movement demanding 'one size fits all' civil laws regulating inheritances, marriage, and divorce and a personal status law for women is gaining momentum in Lebanon, with some 30,000 demonstrators taking to the streets the day before Lebanon's Mothers' Day last month. More here.

New Synagogue in Baku

A large new synagogue has opened in Baku, Azerbaijan, with state support. More here.

Photo of the Day: Patriarch Cyril and St. Tikhon

Pictured is Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow after a supplication before the relics of St. Tikhon of Moscow and New York.

Clifton Murderer Convicted

A Knanaya man from California charged with murdering his wife in a Malankara Orthodox church in New Jersey has been convicted of the murder. More here.

Initiatives of Sofia's Jewish Community Leader

The young leader of Sofia's Jewish community, Alexander Oscar, is seeking to raise awareness of anti-Semitism in Bulgaria and also diversify the religious options available to Bulgaria's Jews. More here.

King of Jordan Visiting Russia

King Abdullah II bin Hussein of Jordan is on a state visit to the Russian Federation to discuss relations between the two countries, the ongoing unrest in the Middle East, and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. More here.

Pope Shenouda Remaining in Egypt for Ulcer Treatment

Coptic Orthodox officials say that Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani) will not travel abroad again for medical treatment in the near future. He has been diagnosed with a laryngeal ulcer, but will undergo treatment for it in Egypt. More here.

Annunciation of the Mother of God

Joyous feast!!! С праздником!!! I wish I had it in me to write more, but I'm afraid it's been a difficult day and week and so I'll have to be content with a link to more on today's feast.

"Rejoice, star from which the sun shines forth! Rejoice, womb in which God takes on flesh! Rejoice, you through whom creation is reborn!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

British Release Documents on Mau Mau Rebellion

The British government is releasing documents of its colonial administrations to their successor governments, among them many dealing with the atrocities committed by the British against the Mau Mau and other nationalists in Kenya. More here.

Greek Court Rules Against Esphigmenou

A Greek court of appeals in Thessalonica has confirmed a ruling ordering the eviction of the monks of Mount Athos' Esphigmenou Monastery because of their refusal to commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew (Arhondonis) of Constantinople. More here.

Although a number of Mount Athos' smaller communities do not commemorate Patriarch Bartholomew, Esphigmenou has so far proved to be the only of the 20 'ruling' monasteries to steadfastly refuse to commemorate him (in the 1920s all the monasteries with the exception of Vatopaidi stopped commemorating the ecumenical patriarch and several refused to do so until after the 1960s).

Ukrainian Catholic Primate Wants to Meet with Patriarch of Moscow

Major Archbishop Metropolitan Svyatoslav (Shevchuk) of Kiev has expressed a desire to meet with Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow to ease tensions between the Russian Orthodox and Ukrainian Catholic Churches, saying that he is "convinced that in peacefully and openly communicating with each other, we can relieve any tension." More here.

Egyptian Islamists Attack Sufi Shrines

Islamists in Egypt are attacking not only Copts, but also Sufi Muslims, targeting shrines dedicated to Sufi saints. More here.

Azerbaijan Refuses to Allow Mosque, Church Reopenings

Efforts continue to reopen Georgian Orthodox and Evangelical Protestant churches and Sunni mosques that the Azerbaijani government has closed or left closed since the Soviet era. More here.

President of Syria Meets with Hassakeh Representatives

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has met with representatives of the predominantly Kurdish and ethnic Syrian Hassakeh region in northeastern Syria in an effort to calm protests in the area. More here.

Armenian President Meets with Patriarch Irinej of Pech

During his state visit to Serbia President Serzh Sargsian of Armenia has met with Patriarch Irinej (Gavrilovich) of Pech in the Serbian capital Belgrade. During the meeting the two discussed church life in Serbia and Armenia and President Sargsyan noted the role of Armenian peacekeepers in Kosovo in protecting its ancient churches and monasteries. More here.

Archbishop Zosima Arrives in Alania

Archbishop Zosima of Vladikavkaz has arrived in his new diocese, which includes North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Dagestan, after completing 27 years of service in the Eparchy of Elista and Kalmykia. One of Archbishop Zosima's first stops was at the cemetery in Beslan to commemorate the victims of the Beslan terrorist attack buried there. More here.

Georgians, Russians Uninvolved in New Athos Dispute

The Georgian Orthodox Church is reporting that Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev) of Volokolamsk denies any involvement in the recent attempt to apppoint an abbot for the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia. More here.

Iraqi Christians Seek to Immigrate

Iraqi Christians are still seeking to immigrate rather than remain in Iraq. More here.

Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches Discuss Nile River Waters

It is being reported that a visit by Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani) of Alexandria to Ethiopia is being discussed by the Coptic and Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. The sister churches have also been discussing the future use of the Nile River's waters following the completion of the Millennium Dam in Ethiopia, saying that they are prepared to assist their respective governments in resolving the issue. More here.

The use of the Nile's waters has been contentious between Egypt and Ethiopia for centuries. Long before the British negotiated the standing treaty governing how much water the countries along the Nile are entitled to the Ethiopian emperors were threatening to cut off the Blue Nile's flow to Egypt should the latter mistreat its Coptic Orthodox majority (now a minority). Egypt's Arab Muslim rulers in their turn would sometimes refuse to allow new metropolitans to be sent to Ethiopia without assurances from its reigning emperors that the Blue Nile's flow would not be interrupted.

What role, if any, the Churches of Egypt and Ethiopia can or will play in this issue today remains to be seen. What is certain is that Egypt's receipt of the lion's share of the Nile's waters is unfair and no longer tenable given the economic and population growth in the countries that actually provide the bulk of the water that feeds the Nile's tributaries.