Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pews? P.U.

(Christ and Pop Culture) - Is there anything more reassuring than a church pew?

Simple. Humble. Sturdy. Two rough-hewn planks, fastened with a handful of nails, permanently fixed to the floor—and open to all. Occasionally padded, often not; not comfortable, exactly, but comforting. An invitation to the weary traveler to sit and hear the Word of God proclaimed; a simple reminder that we follow a humble, crucified carpenter; the perfect symbol that all are equal at the foot of the cross. From the greatest king to the poorest pauper, from the holiest saint to the most desperate sinner, all have sat in these pews before us, pondering their failings and begging for mercy. Despite the advent of stadium-style seating and auditorium-like worship halls, the simple, ancient pew endures—and no wonder, because it is, and always has been, the perfect metaphor for the faith.

Except—nothing I just said is even remotely true...
Complete article here.

Romanians discuss glorification of saints & calendar additions

(basilica.ro) - Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu and the Venerable lay-ascetic George Lazăr are the proposals for glorification launched Thursday by the Metropolitan Synod of Moldova and Bucovina that will be analysed by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church during its next working session.

The Synod has also proposed that the Cypriote Saint Neophyte the Recluse be added to the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church, notes a press release of the Archdiocese of Iași.

The Metropolitan Synod held its working session Thursday, 15 June 2017, at the Metropolitan residence in Iași. His Eminence Teofan, Metropolitan of Moldova and Bucovina, chaired the meeting.

The Synodal members included:
  • His Eminence Pimen, Archbishop of Suceava and Rădăuți,
  • His Eminence Ioachim, Archbishop of Roman and Bacău,
  • His Grace Corneliu, Bishop of Huși,
  • His Grace Calinic of Botoșani, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Iași.
According to the press release of the Archdiocese, Metropolitan Joseph Naniescu was proposed for glorification under the name of Saint Joseph the Merciful, Metropolitan of Moldova, with January 26 as feast day. As to the Venerable lay-ascetic George Lazăr, he was proposed for canonization under the name of Saint George the Pilgrim, with August 17 as feast day.

Metropolitan Joseph was born in 1820 in the family of priest Anania Mihalache, receiving at Holy Baptism the name of John. After his father died, his mother Teodosia brought him up until the age of 10, when he was entrusted to a relative, Hierodeacon Teofilact, who was a monastic at Frumoasa Monastery in Bessarabia.

In 1831 they came to Iași, and then to Focșani, where, on 23 November 1835, he was tonsured a monk by bishop Chesarie of Buzău. The next day he was ordained a hierodeacon.

He was ordained a hieromonks in 1850 and for almost 20 years, he carried out a fruitful didactic activity in Bucharest. On 23 April 1872 he was consecrated a Bishop bearing the name of Myra. He was appointed Bishop of Argeș in 1873, and then Metropolitan of Moldova in 1875. He passed to the Lord on 26 January 1902.

Because of his kindness and the care for the poor and the suffering, he was named Joseph the Saint and the Merciful.

Venerable George Lazăr was born in 1846 in Șușag town, Alba County. At the age of 24 he married and was blessed by God with five children. He lived a chosen life in piety, honest work, prayer, fast and almsgiving.

In 1884, he went to the Holy Sepulchre as a pilgrim but remained at the monasteries in the desert of Jordan and Sinai for a year. After spending another one and a half years on Mount Athos, he returned home. In 1890 he retired as a pilgrim to the monasteries of Moldova.

Venerable George Lazăr settled in the city of Piatra Neamț where he laboured as a genuine hermit in the bell tower of Saint Stephen the Great for over 26 years, until he fell asleep in the Lord. There he struggled in solitude, in fast and prayer, in poverty, living by the grace of God.

He passed away on 15 August 1916 and was buried in the city cemetery. His remains were placed in 1934 in the graveyard of Văratec Monastery.

Who is up for being a ruling bishop in the Greek Archdiocese?

The Greek Archdiocese has an episcopal seat to fill. Here are their options.


(GOARCH) - In accordance with Article 14 of the Charter of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the pertinent Regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (Advisory and Consultative Role in Hierarchical Elections) and in light of the vacancy in the Holy Metropolis of Chicago, the Archdiocese publishes the list of candidates eligible for election to the Office of Metropolitan or Auxiliary Bishop. The list includes the names of Auxiliary Bishops, in order of ordination to the Episcopacy; and the names of other clergy in alphabetical order. This list has recently been duly ratified by the Ecumenical Patriarchate with an official document dated March 1st, 2017 and under protocol number 37.

1) Auxiliary bishops (in order of ordination to the Episcopacy)
His Grace Bishop Andonios of Phasiane
His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos
His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela
His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia

2) Archimandrites (in alphabetical order)
V. Rev. Archimandrite Dionysios Anagnostopoulos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Timothy Bakakos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Vasilios Bassakyros
V. Rev. Archimandrite Ambrosios Bitziadis (Bowers)
V. Rev. Archimandrite John E. Constantine
V. Rev. Archimandrite Joachim A. Cotsonis
V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Cottros
V . Rev. Archimandrite Damaskinos V. Ganas
V. Rev. Archimandrite Philip Koufos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Gerasimos Makris
V. Rev. Archimandrite Stavroforos Mamaies
V. Rev. Archimandrite Constantine Moralis
V. Rev. Archimandrite Makarios J. Niakaros
V. Rev. Archimandrite George Nikas
V. Rev. Archimandrite Chrysostom Panos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Christodoulos Papadeas
V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Eugene N. Pappas
V. Rev. Archimandrite Seraphim P. Poulos
V. Rev. Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes
V. Rev. Archimandrite Nathanael Symeonides
V. Rev. Archimandrite Agathonikos Wilson

3) Presbyters (in alphabetical order)
Rev. Fr. E. Kyprianos Bouboutsis
Rev. Fr. Athanasios DeMedeiros
Rev. Fr. Sokratis Dimitriadis
Rev. Economos Christopher Flesoras
Rev. Fr. Eudokimos-Martin Harding
V. Rev. Archimandrite Andrew Mahaleres
Rev. Fr. Christodoulos Margellos
Rev. Fr. Galenos John Pilafas
Rev. Fr. Polykarpos Steve
Rev. Fr. Michael Ziebarth

Spot the journalistic error

(Bonners Ferry Herald) — The Holy Myrrhbearers Orthodox Church in Bonners Ferry was blessed with visiting speakers, David and Mary Ford, from South Canaan, Pa., this past week.

On their tour of the West, they came to the local parish to visit former student, Father Gregory Horton, and his congregation. Their tour is titled “When the Foundations are Shaken.”

Dr. Mary Ford taught about the book of Revelations of St. John. She touched on how the book of Revelations ties into the Old Testament, the description of the apocalyptic times, and several other key points in the scripture.

She gave historic details of the origin of the Bible, detailing how the scripture developed from one long run-on word, to punctuation, and eventually to chapters. She explained how the development of the printing press affected the availability of the Bible, also touching on the history of numbers, and how they evolved.

Speaking about how the book talks about revealing God’s purpose, Mary Ford said, “Not everything He does and not everything He allows or that happens is his ‘will.’ It is all necessary to bring people to the faith.”

Dr. David Ford taught on the subject of St. John Chrysostom, the author of the book of Revelations. St. John lived in the fourth to fifth century and suffered persecution from both within, and outside of the church. He wrote 17 letters to his confidant, the Deacon of Olympia. David Ford went on to reveal how he has recently had the privilege to translate those documents.

“I will be quoting from those letters as an example of how St. John handled the exile and how the Emperor and Empress of Constantinople welcomed his teaching and leadership of the church. The royalty then rebuked him after his teaching against luxury and material possessions,” David Ford said. “He really had a heart for the poor and was trying to encourage the rich to share their wealth and help the poor.”

To learn more about the Fords, visit: www.stots.edu/ford_m.html for Dr. Mary Ford, and www.stots.edu/ford_d.html for Dr. David Ford.

Missteps in the Church's response to the LGBT movement

Here's the money quote from Fr. John Whiteford's post: "The problem in the Orthodox Church in the United States today is not that we are ignoring homosexuality. It is that so many in our Church are failing to take a clear stand on what we actually teach on the subject, and instead, like Fr. John Chryssavgis, choose to focus on how compassionate we ought to be to homosexuals, to the exclusion of clarifying whether or not the Church considers homosexual sex to be incompatible with the Christian life."

It's a long post, but it begins thus. Do give a read to the full article here.


In 2011, Archdeacon John Chryssavgis wrote a review of Homosexuality in the Orthodox Church, by the openly homosexual Episcopalian priest Justin R. Cannon. This review was published in the Saint Vladimir's Theological Quarterly (Vol. 55, no. 3), and is now featured prominently on Justin Cannon's pro-homosexual website "Inclusive Orthodoxy."

Archdeacon John Chryssavgis is not just any deacon. He is the most prominent spokesman for the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and a professor of Theology at Holy Cross Seminary in Boston, and so the semi-endorsement of a piece of pro-homosexual propaganda is profoundly disturbing.

You can read the portion of this book that repeats the usual bogus arguments of homosexual apologists which attempt to argue that the clear condemnations of homosexuality in Scripture don't really say what they actually do say, here: http://inclusiveorthodoxy.yolasite.com/resources/The%20Bible-PDF.pdf

You can find these arguments refuted in the book, "The Bible and Homosexual Practice," by Robert Gagnon (an actual Biblical Scholar, and a book endorsed by some of the most prominent Biblical scholars of the past half century) or by watching his lectures on the subject...
Complete article here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bishop Joseph (Absi) elected to head Melkites

(Narharnet) - Bishop Joseph Absi was elected on Wednesday the new Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, the National News Agency reported.

Absi was elected one month after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Melkite Greek Patriarch of Antioch Gregory III Lahham, 82 years.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Synod has been convening since Monday at the Patriarchate's summer seat in Aley.

Absi was born on June 20, 1946 in Damascus, Syria. He obtained the Lebanese nationality.

In 1973, he was ordained priest and became Chaplain of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul.

On 22 June 2001, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Tarsus of Greek Melkites and Curial Bishop and Auxiliary Bishop in the Melkite Patriarchate.

Melkite Patriarchate of Antioch Gregory III Laham, BS, was his consecrator and the co-consecrators were Archbishop Jean Mansour, SMSP, titular archbishop of Apamea in Syria dei Greco-Melkiti and Archbishop Joseph Kallas, SMSP, Archeparch of Beirut and Jbeil, on September 2, 2001.

Since 2007, he has served as Patriarchal Vicar in the Archdiocese of Damascus.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Melkites awaiting Roman approval to declare new Patriarch

(CWN) - The Synod of the Melkite Catholic Church convened on June 19 in Ain Traz, Lebanon, to choose a new Patriarch.

The resignation of Patriarch Gregory III Laham, who is 82 years old, was accepted by Pope Francis in June. After a day of prayer and reflection, the Melkite bishops will begin voting on June 20 to elect a successor. The new Patriarch will be announced after the vote received papal recognition.

Defunct Catholic monastery reborn as Orthodox seminary

Apostolic Mission of the Moscow Patriarchate has converted deserted Roman-catholic Monastery in to growing Orthodox Christian Seminary.

Monday, June 19, 2017

A monarchy for Georgia?

(OC Media) - Leaders of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party have said that they may consider turning Georgia into a constitutional monarchy, after the head of Georgia’s Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II suggested it during an 18 June sermon.

‘We could think of Georgia as the oldest monarchy’, Ilia II said, adding that ‘this [a shift to constitutional monarchy] cannot happen today or tomorrow, but we must analyse the past, present, and future’.

Parliamentary Chair Irakli Kobakhidze met the Patriarch on 19 June with parliament’s Legal Issues Committee Head Eka Beselia to discuss the initiative. Beselia confirmed that it would be possible to hold a plebiscite on the issue, adding that the Patriarch’s initiative is a ‘notable idea’, but that ‘people need to understand the idea first’.

Kobakhidze said earlier on 19 June ‘what His Holiness has said is truth’ and that ‘constitutional monarchy brings peace in political and state life’. He made no additional comments after the meeting.

Parliament’s Deputy Chairman Giorgi Volski said that ‘monarchy would bring positive changes to Georgia’, but added that ‘no prospects are visible in the near future’.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Unclean" Christians face uphill battle in Egypt

(AINA) - In Egypt's Minya province, which has the highest percentage of Christians in the country, even the mention of the word "church" can be dangerous, as churches are believed to be religiously "unclean" by some local Muslims, according to a report.

"They burned my house. They burned the house my brother was building and the houses of five other brothers. They thought we were going to open a church," NPR quotes Ebrahim Fahmy, a resident of Kom al-Lufi village, where the houses were attacked and set on fire in April when they had gathered to pray for the families of victims of the Palm Sunday attacks that had killed 44 people.

"Christians should go somewhere else to pray because the village has a lot more Muslims than Christians," the mother of an underage Muslim student who allegedly attacked a group of Christian students was quoted as saying. She claimed that the Quran says churches are "haram," or religiously unclean.

Father Daud, a member of the clergy, confirmed that he a has applied for a permit twice since 2006 to build a church in Kom al-Lufi, but the approval is still pending.

He said that Christians and Muslims generally have no tension in MInya but only as long as you don't mention the word "church."

Christian groups have called for a special legislation for churches in Egypt.

"The torching of Coptic homes in Kom al-Lufi underscores once more the urgent need for Egypt's House of Representatives to enact a law regulating the construction and renovation of houses of worship in a manner that guarantees the right of Christians to worship in community with others," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide's senior press officer Kiri Kankhwende at the time.

In May, 29 people were killed in an attack in Minya. Children, including a 2-year-old girl, were among the victims.

The Christians were traveling in two buses and a small truck when masked gunmen stopped the vehicles on a road leading to a monastery. Each person was asked to deny their faith in Jesus Christ, and when they all refused, they were shot dead, according to reports.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Swimming the Dnieper: St. Alexis relics head to Ukraine

(Orthodox Christianity) - St. Alexis Toth arrived to the United States from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1889, and now a piece of St. Alexis has returned to his native land. During the celebrations of the 113th annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage at St. Tikhon’s Monastery in Waymart, PA, His Beatitude Metropolitan Tikhon had the blessing of gifting a particle of the relics of St. Alexis to Archimandrite Pimen (Matsola) who was visiting from the Western Ukrainian Diocese of Khust and Vinohradova, reports the Orthodox Church in America.

Archimandrite Pimen, the dean of the Monastery of the Archangel St. Michael, visited the holy sites of America from May 22 to 31 with the blessing of Metropolitan Mark of Khust and Vinohradova. The main purpose of his visit, according to the Pilgrimage Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, was to visit St. Tikhon’s Monastery, where the incorrupt relics of the Carpatho-Russian St. Alexis Toth are kept. The Khust Diocese is located near the Slovak and Hungarian borders, the area where St. Alexis was born and ministered before coming to America.

Noting that American Orthodox Christians have traveled abroad for many years to venerate the relics of the saints, it is “something wonderful to see pilgrims from Europe coming to America to venerate our saints!” said an elated Met. Tikhon. Archimandrite Pimen received the gift at the Divine Liturgy on the occasion of the anniversary of St. Alexis’ glorification, which took place at St. Tikhon’s on May 29, 1994.

The relics of St. Alexis were delivered to Ukraine on May 31, and will be carried in the traditional diocesan procession on August 20. After that, the relics will be exhibited for veneration in Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral in Khust.

Fr. Pimen also had the blessing of traveling to San Francisco to venerate the relics of St. John Maximovitch, and to visit the Old Russian Cathedral where the saint’s mantia is kept. He also visited St. Herman’s Monastery in Platina, CA to venerate the grave and visit the cell of Fr. Seraphim Rose, as well as St. John’s Monastery in Manton, CA.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pat. Irinej meets Syrian-Jacobite Church representative

(spc.rs) - His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej received the Archbishop of the Syrian-Jacobite Church in Sweden, His Eminence Benjamin (Atas), at the Serbian Patriarchate on 14 June 2017.

Archbishop Benjamin expressed his gratitude to the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church for the cordial reception during which they discussed various challenges and problems faced by Christians in the modern world. The Serbian Patriarch thanked His Eminence for the visit, wishing him, his faithful flock as well as his people abundant Divine blessings.

The reception was attended by His Grace Dositej, Serbian Orthodox Bishop of Britain-Scandinavia, together with Archpriest-stavrophor Dusan Rakovic, entourage of Archbishop Benjamin and the General Secretary of the Office of Serbian Patriarch deacon Dr. Aleksandar Prascevic.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Metropolitan Antonio (Chedraoui) has reposed in the Lord

(Antiochian.org) - "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." John 11:25

His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Archdiocese of North America announce with great regret the departure to the house of the Lord of Metropolitan Antonio Chedraoui on the morning of June 14, 2017.

His Eminence was born in the City of Tripoli, Lebanon, on January 17, 1932. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Lebanon and the Bachelor of Theology at the University of Athens, Greece. On July 20, 1952, he was ordained as a deacon, and on August 29, 1958, he was ordained a priest and elevated to be an archimandrite.

On June 5, 1966, he was consecrated as a bishop, receiving the appointment of Patriarchal Vicar for Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean.

On June 12, 1996, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch elevated the Diocese of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Caribbean to the category of Archdiocese, and appointed him as Metropolitan Archbishop of the said Archdiocese, a position he currently occupied.

His Eminence was active in his ministry. He took the role of Private Secretary of the Archbishop of Tripoli and President of the Spiritual Court from 1957 to 1959. He became the Private Secretary of the Patriarch from 1959 to 1962. He also was Vicar General of the Archbishopric of Mount Lebanon and President of the Spiritual Court from 1962 to 1966. His Eminence had the respect, appreciation and friendship of several presidents of the Mexican Republic such as Mr. Gustavo Diaz Ordaz and Mr. Vicente Fox Quesada, as well as various secretaries of state and religious leaders from various churches.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has asked the clergy and laity of this Archdiocese to pray the Trisagion Prayers for Metropolitan Antonio for the next forty days and to keep him in their personal prayers for the departed. On behalf of the bishops, clergy, Board of Trustees, the organizations and all of the faithful of this Archdiocese, Sayidna Joseph offers to His Beatitude, the Holy Synod of Antioch, and the Archdiocese of Mexico our love, prayers and condolences.

May his memory be eternal!

Britain's Sourozh Diocese launches new website


French govt. calls for release of Eritrean Patriarch

(Republic of France) - France is deeply concerned by the continued house arrest – which has now lasted 10 years - of His Holiness Abune Antonios, Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.

We deplore the fact that in addition the 89-year-old does not have access to the medical care he needs.

We call for his release.

This situation reflects the Eritrean authorities’ serious and persistent violation of the freedom of religion or belief and fundamental freedoms.

France reaffirms its attachment to the freedom of religion or belief, as well as the freedom of opinion and expression. It calls on the Eritrean authorities to take all necessary steps to comply with the international commitments to which they have freely subscribed.