Saturday, November 26, 2011

Historic Concelebration in Paris

A historic concelebration has taken place between the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of New York, and the head of the Ecumenical Patriarchate's Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe, Archbishop Gabriel (de Vylder) of Comana. The concelebration, which took place in Paris' Cathedral of St. Alexander of the Neva, was the first between a first hierarch of the ROCOR and a head of the Exarchate since the latter broke away from the ROCOR in 1927 to join the Moscow Patriarchate (and later the Constantinopolitan Orthodox Church). More here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Motherland, Diaspora Resume Dialogue

At its recent session this past weekend the Holy Synod of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church blessed the resumption of dialogue between the Addis Abeba Patriarchate and the Synod in Exile of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in the Ethiopian and Eritrean Diasporas. More here.

The Synod in Exile is led by Patriarch Abune Merqoriyos, the former Archbishop of Gonder who was elected to the patriarchate under the Ethiopian Communist regime. When the latter was overthrown by a Tigrayan Marxist movement in the 1990s, Abune Merqoriyos was forced into retirement and replaced by an ethnic Tigrayan. Abune Merqoriyos now leads a large contingent of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church outside Ethiopia, with a hierarchy and parishes scattered across the globe.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

South American Episcopal Assembly Meets in Buenos Aires

The second session of the Episcopal Assembly of South America has been held in Buenos Aires, with hierarchs representing the dioceses of the Constantinopolitan, Russian, Serbian, and Polish Orthodox Churches present on the continent. During the session the Episcopal Assembly established committees on inter-church relations, canonical and liturgical issues, religious education, and catechetical issues. More here and here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ROCOR Metropolitan Marks Nameday in NSW

As part of his ongoing pastoral visit to Australia Metropolitan Hilarion (Kapral) of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) has marked his nameday at the diocesan Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul in Strathfield, New South Wales. Archbishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal of the ROCOR and Bishop Irinej (Dobrijevic) of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Australia and New Zealand together with local Russian and Serbian Orthodox clergy participated in the festal services at Sts. Peter and Paul, which were led by Metropolitan Hilarion. More (in Serbian) here.

Uzbekistani Government Reschedules Russian Orthodox Patriarch's Visit, Blocks Metropolitanate's Registration

The government of Uzbekistan has apparently rescheduled a pastoral visit to Uzbekistan by Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow, originally organized to coincide with the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Eparchy of Tashkent, due to the Russian Orthodox Church's unilateral reorganization of the Orthodox Church in Uzbekistan and its appointment of a new Metropolitan of Tashkent without first consulting Tashkent. Patriarch Kirill will still visit the Central Asian republic, but not at the beginning of the month as originally planned. Meanwhile the official registration of the newly established Metropolitanate of Tashkent and Central Asia continues to be blocked by the Uzbekistani authorities. More here.

Serbian FM Calls for Preservation of Orthodox Monuments in Kosovo

In his address to the recent UNESCO General Conference Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic presented the Serbian government's opinion that Kosovo's Serbian Orthodox monuments cannot be transferred to the ownership of the independent Kosovar government since the preservation of Kosovo's rich Serbian heritage conflicts with the new state's efforts to emphasize its Albanian identity. More here.

Coptic Orthodox Hierarchs Meet with Egyptian Chief of Staff

A delegation of the Coptic Orthodox Church has met with the chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Sami Anan, to discuss last month's 'Bloody Sunday' killing of 27 Copts and ongoing efforts to build a civil, democratic Egyptian state. More here.

Ukrainian Orthodox Metropolitan in the USA Undergoes Heart Surgery

Please remember Metropolitan Constantine (Buggan) of Irinoupolis, First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, in your prayers as he recovers from heart surgery, which he underwent this past Monday. Metropolitan Constantine is reportedly in good condition.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Meets with Kalmykian President, Bishop of Elista

Patriarch Kirill (Gundyayev) of Moscow has met with Kalmykian President Aleksey M. Orlov and Bishop Zinoviy (Korzinkin) of the Orthodox Church in Kalmykia to discuss plans for the construction of a new diocesan cathedral in Elista, the capital of Kalmykia. The land for the cathedral was donated to the Russian Orthodox Eparchy of Elista by the Kalmykian government. More (in Russian) here.

'Orthodoxy in Cambodia' Website Launched

A Russian-language website has been launched to provide information on Orthodoxy in Cambodia, which currently consists of a single Bulgarian Orthodox church on the compound of the Bulgarian Embassy in Phnom Penh, and the schedule of upcoming visits to the country by Orthodox clergy. The website hopes to expand to include English and Khmer-language versions as times goes on. More (in Russian) here.

Montenegrin Orthodox Metropolitan Visits Argentina

Metropolitan Amfilohije (Radovic) of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro has begun a pastoral visit to Argentina in his capacity as administrator of the newly established Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Buenos Aires and Latin America. The new diocese encompasses all of Latin America (with the exception of Mexico), with parishes and missions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Venezuela. More (in Serbian) on Metropolitan Amfilohije's ongoing visit to South America can be found here.

Metropolitan Volodymyr Hospitalized

Metropolitan Volodymyr (Sabodan) of Kiev, First Hierarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, has been hospitalized since the weekend, with his doctors referring to his health as grave. Please keep him in your prayers! Hat tip to Ad Orientem.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Al-Azhar, Brotherhood Scholars Reject Egyptian Islamist Fatwa

Muslim clergymen and scholars from Egypt's al-Azhar University and its influential Muslim Brotherhood have rejected a fatwa recently issued by an Islamist imam forbidding the country's Muslims from voting for nominal Muslims or Copts (amongst others) in the upcoming Egyptian parliamentary elections. More here.

Minbar Restored in Hagia Sophia

Rumors are circulating that Constantinople's Cathedral of the Holy Wisdom (also known as the Hagia Sophia after its Greek name), formerly the seat of the ecumenical patriarchs, may be returned to use as a mosque. The speculation has spread due to comments by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc that 'fundamental changes' should be made at the cathedral (now a museum) and the recent restoration of the minbar (Muslim pulpit) in the historic cathedral. More here.

Pope Shenouda Bans Political Campaigning in Churches

Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani) of Alexandria has banned candidates for Parliament from campaigning in Egypt's Coptic Orthodox churches, calling on the country's Copts who are running for Parliament not to use religious slogans in their campaigns or otherwise mix religion and politics. More here.

Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarch Turns 97

Patriarch Maxim (Minkov) of Sofia has marked his 97th birthday with visits to Bulgaria's Bachkovo Monastery and the diocesan cathedral in Plovdiv. The patriarch has spent 40 of his 97 years as first hierarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. More (in Bulgarian) here.

French Court in Nice Orders Transfer of Cathedral Keys

A French court in Nice has ordered the city's parish of the Russian Orthodox Exarchate of Western Europe to hand over the keys of the Cathedral of St. Nicholas to the parish established under the Moscow Patriarchate's Diocese of Korsun following the cathedral's transfer to the ownership of the Russian government. The parish has been given 7 days to turn over the keys, with fines of €6,000 to be levied for each additional day taken. More here.

Metropolitan Jonah Opens All-American Council in Bellevue

In getting the All-American Council of the American Orthodox Church (OCA) underway yesterday in Bellevue, Washington, Metropolitan Jonah (Paffhausen) referred to the first three years of his tenure as first hierarch of the OCA as "an administrative disaster," asking the assembled hierarchs, clergy, and faithful for their forgiveness and announcing that he would be undergoing "a complete evaluation" through "a program [specializing] in assisting clergy." His full opening remarks can be found here.

St. Laura of Cordoba

Joyous feast! Today we celebrate the memory of our Holy Mother Laura of Cordoba. Like most women in her time St. Laura, who lived in the 9th century, was married. Following her husband's repose, however, the Saint embraced the angelic life, becoming a nun at a convent in Cuteclara. St. Laura was later martyred in 864 by the Arab and Berber Muslims who had conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula. More on her life can be found here. May St. Laura's blessing and prayers be with us all!