Saturday, August 25, 2012

Syriac Orthodox Church to Consider Relocation of Patriarchate

At the upcoming fall session of its Holy Synod the Syriac Orthodox Church will reportedly consider the transfer of the Antioch Patriarchate from its current seat in Damascus, where it has been situated since the 1950s, to Beirut in neighboring Lebanon due to the ongoing attacks in Syria on Syriac Orthodox Christians and their churches. There may also be discussion of the possibility of transferring the Patriarchate out of the Middle East entirely due to the large Suryoyo Diaspora in Western Europe and North America. (With or without the autonomous Malankara Syriac Orthodox Church in India, most Syriac Orthodox Christians reside outside of the Middle East now.) If this transfer were to take place it would be the first time in its history that the Antioch Patriarchate would relocate outside of its canonical territory in greater Syria. More here.

Pictures from Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch's Funeral Posted

Some wonderful pictures from Patriarch Abune Paul of Ethiopia's funeral this past Thursday at Addis Abeba's Holy Trinity Cathedral can be found here. Hierarchs representing the Alexandrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Malankara Orthodox Syrian, and Syriac Orthodox Churches, including the locum tenens of the Alexandria Patriarchate, were present for the funeral services.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Guatemalan Movement in Dialogue with Syriac Orthodox Church

The Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese of the Western United States is reporting that its ruling hierarch, Metropolitan Mor Clement (Kaplan) of Burbank, has made a pastoral visit to Guatemala as part of the Syriac Orthodox Church's dialogue with a Christian movement there wanting to be united with the Orthodox Church. The movement reportedly has 800,000 followers. In addition to meeting with the leadership of the movement Metropolitan Mor Clement also visited the small Syriac Orthodox community already present in the Guatemalan capital. More in Arabic here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

OCA to Elect New Metropolitan in November

The American Orthodox Church (OCA) has announced that a special All-American Council will be held this November in the Cleveland area. The council will be convened with the sole purpose of nominating a candidate for election by the Holy Synod as Metropolitan of All America and Canada. More here.

Jordanville Women's Skete Marks 25th Anniversary

Archbishop Gabriel (Chemodakov) of Montreal has led celebrations in Jordanville marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the women's Skete of St. Elizabeth. During the celebrations the sisterhood's superior, Nun Elisabeth (Czwikla), was elevated to the rank of abbess. More here.

North American Episcopal Assembly to Meet in Chicago

The Episcopal Assembly of North America has announced that it will hold its third annual meeting this coming September in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to discussing the state of Orthodoxy in North America the assembled hierarchs will also commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks in New York City following the festal Divine Liturgy commemorating the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. More here.

Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Visits Illinois Monasteries

Patriarch Irenaeus (Gavrilovic) of Pech has made a pastoral visit to the Serbian Orthodox Church in Midwestern America, stopping at both the patriarchal Monastery of St. Sava in Libertyville and the region's diocesan seat, the Nova Gracanica Monastery of the Protection in Grayslake. During his time at Nova Gracanica the patriarch stressed the unity of the Serbian Orthodox Church in the former Yugoslavia and worldwide. More here and here.

ROCOR to Allow Investigation of Romanov Relics from Brussels

The Synod Abroad of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia has approved the investigation of Romanov relics previously interred in the Memorial Church of St. Job in Brussels, noting only that it expects a "pious attitude" on the part of those investigating the relics as efforts to conclusively identify the purportedly Romanov remains interred in St. Petersburg's Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul continue. The Synod Abroad's full statement can be found here.

Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Returns to Argentina

Metropolitan Amphilochius (Radovic) of the Orthodox Church in Montenegro has begun a pastoral visit to the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Buenos Aires and South America, of which he is currently administrator per the decision of the Serbian Orthodox Holy Synod when it established the new diocese. Traveling with Metropolitan Amphilochius were two priests newly assigned to Serbian Orthodox parishes in Argentina.

In addition to his visits to Argentina's Serbian Orthodox parishes Metropolitan Amphilochius will also concelebrate at the consecration of a new auxiliary bishop for the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Buenos Aires. More here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch To Be Buried in Addis Abeba

It has been reported that the newly reposed Patriarch Abune Paul (Wolde Yohannes) of Ethiopia will be buried in central Addis Abeba's Cathedral of the Holy Trinity this coming Thursday. Holy Trinity, built under Emperor Haile Silase I after World War II to commemorate the end of the Italian occupation, is the resting place of the last Ethiopian emperor, his wife Empress Menen, and the late Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot of thrice blessed memory, and has served as the patriarchal cathedral of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church since its consecration. More here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Memoriam: Patriarch Abune Paul of Addis Abeba

Patriarch Abune Paul (Wolde Yohannes) of Addis Abeba has fallen asleep in the Lord at the age of seventy-six. The future patriarch was born Gebre Medhin Wolde Yohannes in 1935 in the well known Ethiopian town of Adwa to a family long associated with Abba Gerima's Monastery near Adwa. As a young boy Gebre Medhin entered the monastery, being trained as a deacon before his tonsure and ordination to the priesthood.

Abba Gebre Medhin went on from Abba Gerima to study theology in Addis Abeba during the patriarchate of Abune Theophilus, who blessed him to continue his theological studies in the United States. Shortly after the revolution that toppled (and later killed) Emperor Haile Silase I Abba Gebre Medhin was recalled to Ethiopia, where he was consecrated to the episcopacy with the name of Paul (P'awlos) and made auxiliary to Abune Theophilus with responsibility for ecumenical affairs.

The emerging Ethiopian Communist regime (the Derg) had not approved the consecration of Abune Paul and the three other men consecrated to the episcopacy that year, and consequently they and the patriarch were imprisoned, where Abune Theophilus reposed and where the new bishops remained until 1983. In that year Abune Paul was released and sent into exile, where he continued his theological studies in the USA. In 1986 the renowned Patriarch Abune Tekle Haimanot elevated Abune Paul to the rank of archbishop.

After the fall of the Derg in 1991 the new Ethiopian government had the Ethiopian Orthodox Holy Synod pressure the ruling patriarch, Abune Mercurius, to retire, after which it elected Abune Paul as Ichege of the Throne of Tekle Haimanot, Archbishop of Axum and Addis Abeba, and Patriarch of Ethiopia. Although the former patriarch later established a schism (the Holy Synod in Exile) in the Ethiopian Diaspora, the vast majority of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church remained united under Abune Paul, who did a great deal of work to expand the Church's outreach and engagement with the modern world and deepen its theological education.

A news release on Patriarch Abune Paul's repose may be found here. May his memory be eternal!

"Remember, O Lord, all our fathers, brothers, and sisters who sleep and rest in the Orthodox Faith, and lay their souls in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!" (Anaphora of the Holy Apostles)

Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarch Reposes

Patriarch Abune Paul of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church has fallen asleep. May his memory be eternal! More information will be posted as it becomes available.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In Memoriam: Archbishop John of Presov

Archbishop John (Holoni) of Presov, the senior hierarch of the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church, has fallen asleep at the age of seventy-five. Born Ivan Holoni in 1937 in what today is central Slovakia, as a young man the future hierarch entered the Theological Faculty at the University of Presov, in 1958 being ordained to the deaconate (and later the priesthood) after completing his theological studies.

In 1983 Fr. Ivan was consecrated Bishop of Michalovce in southeastern Czechoslovakia, where he served as ruling bishop until 2006. In that year Bishop John was elevated to the rank of archbishop by the Holy Synod of the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church and later transferred to the Eparchy of Presov, which was newly vacant following the repose of Metropolitan Nicholas of Presov, first hierarch of the Czechoslovak Orthodox Church. Upon Archbishop John's transfer he was designated Exarch of the Orthodox Church in Slovakia.

Archbishop John fell asleep on 2 August and was buried in his home village of Kravany. May his memory be eternal! More on Archbishop John's life can be found here and here.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Coptic Orthodox Church Releases List of Papal Candidates

The Coptic Orthodox Church has released the names of the seventeen candidates in the Church's upcoming papal elections. Of the candidates seven are ruling or auxiliary bishops, which contradicts the tradition of the Coptic Orthodox Church forbidding the transfer of hierarchs from one diocese to another, and ten are monks. Of the monks named three are from the former monastery of Pope Shenouda III (al-Suriani), the Syrian Monastery of the Mother of God in Wadi Natroun. The full list can be found here.

St. Mildred of Minster-in-Thanet

Joyous feast! Today we celebrate the memory of our Holy Mother Mildred, Abbess of Minster-in-Thanet in Kent, a county in southeastern England. St. Mildred was born to the king and queen of Magonset and sent at an early age to Chelles, France, for her education. While there a young nobleman, supported by the abbess of the monastery in Chelles where St. Mildred resided, tried to force the Saint to marry him.

Although she endured great suffering and even tortures at the hands of the abbess St. Mildred remained firm in her refusal, and eventually fled Chelles for England, where she joined the abbey of her mother, St. Ermenburga, in Minster-in-Thanet and was tonsured a nun by Archbishop St. Theodore of Canterbury. After St. Ermenburga's death St. Mildred was elected abbess of Minster-in-Thanet due to the sisterhood's great love for her.

After 38 years as abbess St. Mildred died of a long and painful illness on this day in 732. She became even more popular after her death than she had been in her life, eclipsing even St. Augustine of Canterbury in veneration. In 1033 the Saint's relics were translated to Canterbury, and a portion of her relics were later translated to Deventer in the Netherlands as well. More on her life can be found here. May St. Mildred's blessing and prayers be with us all!

Friday, August 3, 2012

In Memoriam: Metropolitan Mar Pachomius of Mavelikkara

The independent Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church's Metropolitan Paulose Mar Pachomius of Mavelikkara has fallen asleep in the Lord at the age of sixty-six. Although a successful student, as a young man the future metropolitan joined the Bethany Monastery, where he eventually became the superior and generally well known in the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church as a spiritual father. In 2003 then Fr. Paulose was elected to the episcopacy as Metropolitan Mar Pachomius. May his memory be eternal! More on Metropolitan Mar Pachomius' life and recent repose can be found here and here.

Cilician Catholicos Appeals for Aid to Syria

Catholicos Aram (Keshishian) of the Armenian Orthodox Church of Cilicia, which cares for the Armenian Diaspora in Syria, has appealed to humanitarian organizations to expedite the provision of aid to the country's population, which is suffering as conflict between the Syrian government and rebel movements both claims lives and destroys crops. More here.

In Memoriam: Metropolitan Philemon of Kavason

Metropolitan Philemon of Kavason has fallen asleep in Athens at the age of seventy-seven. Born in central France, the future metropolitan studied theology in Thessalonica before his tonsure as a monk. After his ordination in Greece then Fr. Philemon was received into the Church of Alexandria in 1964, serving parishes in Lower Egypt until his consecration in 1979 as Bishop of Canopus, after which he served as abbot of St. George's Monastery in Old Cairo. In 1999 Bishop Philemon was elected Metropolitan of Dar es Salaam, where he served until his retirement in 2000, after which he was elected titular Metropolitan of Kavason. May Metropolitan Philemon's memory be eternal! More in Greek here.

Son of Kenyan PM Baptized in Nairobi

Fidel Castro Odinga, son of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, has been made a member of the Alexandrian Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Macarius () of Nairobi. The metropolitan personally served Odinga's baptism and chrismation, giving him the name Macarius. Not long after Odinga's reception into the Church he was married to his Eritrean/Ethiopian fiancee by Metropolitan Macarius in Nairobi's Cathedral of the Holy Unmercenaries. More here.

Future Bishop of Scopelos Formally Elected at the Phanar

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (Arhondonis) of Constantinople has received Bishop-elect Pancratius (Dubas) at the Phanar, where his formal election as Bishop of Scopelos was conducted in the patriarchal Church of St. George. Bishop-elect Pancratius will serve primarily Ukrainian-speaking faithful of the Metropolis of Mexico City. More here.

New Bishop for Tajikistan Consecrated in Diveyevo

This past Wednesday, the commemoration of the discovery of the relics of St. Seraphim of Sarov, Patriarch Cyril (Gundyayev) of Moscow led the services in honor of the feast at the renowned Diveyevo Monastery of the Holy Trinity in central Russia. During the festal Divine Liturgy the patriarch, Metropolitan Vincent (Morar') of Tashkent and Central Asia, and twenty-two other hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church consecrated Archimandrite Pitirim (Tvorogov) as Bishop of Dushanbe. Axios! The newly consecrated Bishop Pitirim will be shepherding the Orthodox Church in Tajikistan, whose faithful belong to the Metropolitanate of Tashkent and Central Asia. More in Russian here.

Clashes in Egyptian Village Force Flight of Resident Copts

Clashes in Dahshur, a village to the south of Cairo, have left one dead and sixteen wounded and resulted in the flight of the village's Coptic Orthodox residents. The fighting, which occurred this past week, resulted in the torching of multiple shops and homes owned by Dahshur's Copts. More here.

Local Orthodox Churches Celebrate the Baptism of Rus' in Kiev

This past Saturday Patriarch Cyril (Gundyayev) of Moscow led the celebrations in honor of the feast of St. Vladimir and the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus' at Ukraine's historic Kiev Caves Lavra, concelebrating the festal Divine Liturgy in the square fronting the Lavra's Cathedral of the Dormition with Metropolitans Volodymyr (Sabodan) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Vladimir (Canterean) of the Moldovan Orthodox Church; hierarchs representing the Constantinopolitan, Alexandrian, Antiochian, Jerusalemite, Georgian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Cypriot, Greek, Polish, Czechoslovak, and American Orthodox Churches; and numerous hierarchs of the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belorussian Orthodox Churches. Following the services Patriarch Cyril congratulated Metropolitan Volodymyr on the 20th anniversary of his service as primate of the Church of Ukraine. More here and in Russian here.

Antiochian Orthodox Patriarch Calls for Unity in Syria

Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch has called on the Syrian people "to accept each other and live as one nation," decrying the expulsion of Syria's Christians from their homes and calling on the United Nations to work for the peace and stability of the country. The full appeal can be found here.

OCA Prepares for 17th All-American Council

Preparations are fully underway for the seventeenth All-American Council of the American Orthodox Church (OCA), which will be convened to nominate a candidate for election as first hierarch of the OCA. A special session of the Holy Synod of the OCA will be held later this month in metro Detroit to set the location and dates of the upcoming council. More here.

Egyptian President Appoints New Council of Ministers

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has appointed his council of ministers, whose thirty-five members include one Copt although 10 to 20% of the Egyptian population is Coptic Orthodox. (If the government were to give Copts full representation in the cabinet three to seven of the ministers would be Copts.) The new government's Coptic Orthodox minister is also one of two women heading ministries. Of the thirty-five ministers appointed ten served in previous cabinets under either President Hosni Mubarak or the Egyptian Armed Forces, five belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, and one leads a breakaway faction of the Muslim Brotherhood. More here and here. A full listing of the membership in the new council of ministers can be found here.

Russian President Praises Old Believer Hierarch for Service to Church, Society

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin has praised the first hierarch of the main Old Believer ('Belokrinitsy') accord in Eastern Europe, Metropolitan Cornelius () of Moscow, on the occasion of the latter's birthday for "[his] fruitful work as primate of the Russian Orthodox [Old Ritualist] Church," noting his service to his church as particularly valuable in its "contribution to the maintenance of time-honored spiritual traditions, the preservation of the rich cultural and historical legacy of our people, [and] the strengthening of peace and harmony and the moral climate in [Russian] society." More here.