Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Weaverville Monastery Brotherhood Moves to Ukraine

A somewhat controversial monastery received into the American Orthodox Church (OCA) from the Ruthenian Catholic Church (more on that here) has been received into the autonomous Ukrainian Orthodox Church with the blessing of Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) of the OCA to be reestablished in Ruthenia (the Transcarpathian oblast of the Ukraine).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Halki Seminary to Reopen

According to US President Barack Obama the Turkish government has committed to reopened the Holy Trinity Theological Seminary on Halki, used by the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church to train clergymen in Turkey until the Seminary's closure in 1971. The Seminary's reopening is a key step towards Turkish membership in the European Union. More here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coptic Orthodox Appoint Papal Locum Tenens

Following the repose of Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani) of blessed memory this past Saturday the Coptic Orthodox Church has appointed Metropolitan Pachomius of Beheira, the eldest member of the hierarchy, as locum tenens of the patriarchal throne until a new pope can be elected. The election is not likely to take place until after the election of a new Egyptian president this July. More here.

In Memoriam: Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria

Our father Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani) of Alexandria has fallen asleep in the Lord at the age of eighty-eight. Born the eighth child of a devout Upper Egyptian family in 1923, the future successor of St. Mark became involved as a youth in the life of the Church, and particularly in the Sunday School movement. He later studied history and theology in Cairo before retreating to the desert of Scetis in 1954 to join the 'Syrian Monastery' of the Mother of God, where he was tonsured with the name Anthony.

In 1962 Pope Cyril VI the Wonderworker consecrated Fr. Anthony to the episcopacy with the name of Shenouda and appointed him dean of the Coptic Orthodox theological seminary in Cairo. Under Bishop Shenouda's guidance the size of the Seminary's student body tripled, and when Pope Cyril VI reposed in 1971 Bishop Shenouda was elected to succeed him as head of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

During Pope Shenouda's forty-one year papacy the Coptic Orthodox Church grew both in Africa and in the Egyptian Diaspora, with numerous new churches and dioceses being established throughout the world. Like his predecessor St. Athanasius, Pope Shenouda was exiled to the desert for his protests against policies of the state in Egypt and throughout his life advocated for the rights of his flock in the country.

After months of illness due to old age Pope Shenouda reposed peacefully in Cairo this past Saturday at the age of eighty-eight. In accordance with his last wishes he is to be buried in the Monastery of St. Paisius (or Bishoy) in Wadi al-Natrun. More on Pope Shenouda's life, as well as some of his sermons, may be found here. May his memory be eternal!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ukrainian Catholic Church Protests Church Legislation

The Ukrainian Catholic Church is protesting legislation recently introduced in the Ukrainian Parliament that would transfer historic monasteries and churches in the country still under state administration to the Church of Ukraine, claiming that the status monuments, which were historically owned by the Orthodox Church, required a "complex settlement." More here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Head of Romanov Dynasty Repents for Tsars' Sins

In an address to the Russian nation on the 400th anniversary of the end of the Time of Troubles the head of the House of Romanov, Grand Duchess Mariya Vladimirovna, has recognized the failings of her dynasty during its rule of Russia, saying that "we repent before God for [the dynasty's] mistakes and sins, and we ask forgiveness of the Russian people—both for myself and on behalf of my ancestors."

The grand duchess, who described the period since the February and October Revolutions as a second Time of Troubles for Russia, went on to call on the Russian people to contribute to funding worthy celebrations of the anniversary by giving to causes that would assist those in need, to "erect monuments...not only on the streets and squares of our cities, but first and foremost in the hearts of the people."

Grand Duchess Mariya Vladimirovna's full address with its appeal can be found here.