Arhive pe etichete: Church

(Eng.) Metropolitan Hilarion on the preparation of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church

Metropolitan Hilarion made doctor of theology honoris causa by St. Petersburg Theological Academy / 3.nov.2011

On 2 November 2011, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), visited the St. Petersburg Theological Academy with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and at the invitation of Metropolitan Vladimir of St. Petersburg and Ladoga.

Metropolitan Hilarion met with the members of the Academic Board, faculty and students of the Academy. Attending the meeting were Archbishop Ionafan of Tulchin and Bratslav and Bishop Amvrosiy of Gatchina, rector of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Seminary. Metropolitan Hilarion is accompanied by the DECR vice-chairman, hegumen Philaret (Bulekov); archpriest Vladimir Shmaliy, vice-rector of the Ss Cyril and Methodius Postgraduate School; and Director of the St. Gregory the Theologian Charity, Leonid Sevastianov.

Bishop Amvrosiy of Gatchina introduced Metropolitan Hilarion to the audience and enumerated his scholarly titles and degrees. He said that the Academic Board of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy and Seminary decided to confer a title of doctor of theology honoris causa on Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk in consideration of his numerous theological transactions and his extensive scholarly and theological work.

Archpriest Kirill Kopeikin, secretary of the Academic Board, read out Metropolitan Hilarion’s curriculum vita, and Bishop Amvrosiy of Gatchina handed a cross and diploma of the doctor of theology to Metropolitan Hilarion and gave him a book with a dedicatory inscription of Metropolitan Vladimir of St/. Petersburg and Ladoga.

The DECR chairman thanked the Academic Board for the privilege of being made doctor of theology and delivered a lecture, which he dedicated to the memory of Metropolitan Nikodim.

Metropolitan Hilarion spoke of the inter-Orthodox cooperation in the preparation to the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church, the pre-Council process and expectations.

He noted that preparations for the Council cause bewilderment in certain circles. Some marginal mass media launched a campaign against the convening of the Council, while some websites misinform the public by citing the sayings of the Holy Fathers arbitrarily taken out from the context. The believers are frightened that the Council will be an “anti-Christ” council as its decisions would run contrary to the teaching of the Church, its dogmas, canons, and rules.

“Such arguments have no ground and indicate the lack of knowledge or a deliberate distortion of historical facts and the tradition of the Church,” Metropolitan Hilarion said.

He assured all those doubting that the Council will not be the Eighth Ecumenical Council and will not rescind or review the decisions of the Seven Ecumenical Councils. “The Council will not cancel fasts, nor will it introduce married episcopate or allow a second marriage to clergyman. It will not recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome over the Orthodox Church or sign union with the Catholics. The long and short of it is that the Council will do nothing of that what some “defenders of Orthodoxy” fear, displaying zeal that exceeds reason. In case something adverse to the spirit and the letter of the Seven Ecumenical Council happens, the Russian Orthodox Church will renounce this Council and its decisions as she renounced the Council of Ferrara and Florence in 1441. I believe, however, that the other Local Orthodox Church will renounce it, too.

Metropolitan Hilarion hopes that in case the Local Orthodox Churches surmount internal differences and ‘with one heart and one mouth’ witness their inherent unity, the Council will be an important and remarkable event. ‘Undoubtedly, it will strengthen Orthodox cooperation and will help to formulate and voice the pan-Orthodox position on a number of topical issues, thus consolidating the Orthodox Church and making it capable of meeting the challenges of the time. The Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church could be a real Triumph of Orthodoxy provided that convictions, traditions and views of all Local Orthodox Churches are taken into account in the spirit of brotherly love and mutual respect,” the DECR chairman said.



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Greek Orthodox Christians renew calls for Arabising church leadership


– un grup de crestin-ortodocsi din Iordania au protestat din nou (acum la Amman), cerand reformarea Patriarhiei Ierusalimului prin „arabizarea” ierarhiei. Ei aduc ca argument hotararea Patriarhiei din 1958, in care se stipula ca Sinodul sa fie format din 18 membri, care sa aiba cetatenie iordaniana, dintre care cel putin doi ierarhi sa fie originari din Iordania. Momentan, in Sinodul Patriarhiei Ierusalimului activeaza doar un singur episcop iordanian. De asemenea, cer ca grecii sa le permita ortodocsilor arabi sa devina monahi *(in cadrul Patriarhiei Ierusalimului).

– Patriarhul Teofil al III-lea este acuzat de protestatari ca nu si-a respectat promisiunile facute Guvernului Iordanian si Autoritatii Palestiniene inca de la alegerea sa, cum ca nu va mai repeta greseala predecesorului sau (fostul Patriarh Irineu, depus din treapta si apoi exilat) de a concesiona (pe multi ani) evreilor pamant in Ierusalim (detinut de Patriarhie, pe care se afla actualmente ridicate imobilele guvernului israelian). Patriarhul isi poate pierde astfel recunoasterea din partea Guvernului Iordaniei, lucru esential pentru legitimarea sa ca Patriarh, el avand in acest sens nevoie de trei recunoasteri: din partea Iordaniei, a Autoritatii Palestiniene si a Israelului *(teritoriul canonic al Patriarhiei).

– In 2009 o companie israeliana a inchiriat de la Patriarhia Ierusalimului 71 parcele de teren situate intre Ierusalim si Betleem, pentru 99 de ani; iar la inceputul acestui an Patriarhia a reinnoit cu partea israeliana contractul de inchiriere pentru terenurile situate in Ierusalimul de Vest, pana in anul 2150. Prin aceste fapte, spun protestatarii, Patriarhul Teofil „garanteaza recunoasterea Israelului”.

– Patriarhia Ierusalimului a catalogat protestul ca facand parte dintr-o „campanie de defaimare a Bisericii”

Citeste si> Patriarhia Ierusalimului a închiriat terenuri statului israelian pentru următorii 140 de ani


Greek Orthodox Christians renew calls for Arabising church leadership

The Jordan Times / 31 may 2011

AMMAN – Jordanian members of the Greek Orthodox Church have renewed calls for Patriarch Theophilus III to step down and for Arabising the leadership of the Greek-led church.

In a protest held outside the Amman archdiocese on Sunday evening, hundreds of Orthodox Christians accused the Greek patriarch of failing to honour previous commitments and marginalising Arabs inside the Church – an umbrella of believers in Jordan, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

They denounced recent accords between Israel and the Jerusalem-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate to renew contracts leasing Church-owned land on which key Israeli government institutions are situated and called for revoking them.

In 2009, followers of the Church from both sides of the Jordan River took part in a series of protests against Theophilus III, charging he did not meet commitments he made to the Jordanian government and the Palestinian Authority when he came to office six years ago, replacing Irenios I, who was dismissed over sales of church land in Jerusalem to Israeli investors.

Any patriarch has to have the blessings of Jordan, the Palestinians and Israel in order to gain legitimacy. Theophilus III has pledged to stop land sales to the Israelis and present a comprehensive list of all church assets to the Jordanian government.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which is in charge of following up on the Orthodox issue, revealed that earlier this year the patriarchate renewed the lease for land in West Jerusalem until the year 2150.

The headquarters of the Israeli presidency, government and Knesset are situated on the rented land, located in the Talbiyeh neighbourhood, PLO member Hanna Amireh told The Jordan Times over the phone from the West Bank.

“Our position is clear: We condemn this renewal and call on the patriarchate to revoke it,” he said, adding that he believes Theophilus III signed the renewal accord to “guarantee Israel’s recognition”.

In April 2009, an Israeli company rented 71 dunums of land in the Mar Elias area between Jerusalem and Bethlehem from the Orthodox Patriarchate on a 99-year renewable contract, according to the Amman-based Orthodox Society.

We are fed up with the Greek rule… this tyranny should end,” Raouf Abu Jaber, president of the Central Orthodox Council, told the protesters.

Greater say

Arab Orthodox Christians also demand a greater say in the church’s decision-making bodies, and allowing Arabs to become monks. They accuse the patriarchate of violating the 1958 law of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, under which the Holy Synod must be composed of 18 members who hold Jordanian citizenship, with at least two originally Jordanian bishops or archbishops.

There has been only one Jordanian member in the synod, while the patriarchate has claimed the appointment of a second was difficult due to the Israeli occupation.

Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Taher Odwan urged the protesters to contact the authorities.

“The congregation should address the government in writing so that they can take suitable measures,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

The 2009 protests began after Jordanian Archimandrite Hanna (Christoforos) Atallah was dismissed from his post as the church court’s vice president, which the patriarchate deemed “an internal affair with no personal agenda”.

In 2007, Atallah was one of three Arab clergymen whose salaries were suspended for taking part in a meeting in Amman that called for the revoking Theophilus’ recognition because he did not fulfil his commitments.

The patriarchate has not recognised a convent established by Atallah in 1998 in Dibbeen, near the northern city of Jerash, which also angered the Amman protesters, who came from several cities across the Kingdom.

“For decades we have been calling for legitimate rights that are backed by Jordanian laws,” said Ehab Khoury, a 32-year-old protester, adding that they will not stop demonstrating “until we obtain our rights”.

Arabising the church

Many congregation members also want the Greek leadership of the church replaced by an Arab one who “can better understand our needs and rights”. But for others, what matters are their demands, and not the identity of top clerics in Jerusalem.

Arabising the church is on our list of demands, but is now difficult due to the [Israeli] occupation,” noted Nidal Kakish, member of the Central Council for the Arab Orthodox in Jordan and Palestine.

Amireh explained that since most of the church property is situated in Israel, this “makes it difficult to talk about the Arabisation now”. 

Our goal is to reform this church, not to topple it,” he said.

The patriarchate issued a statement on Monday defending its stance, and describing the protest as part of a “defamation campaign” targeting the church.

“Answers to the questions raised by the protest organisers are clear, and if they included these answers in their sit-in, it would have become a rally in support of the church and its ability to survive in the middle of all the storms,” the statement quoted the patriarchate’s spokesperson, Father Issa Misleh, as saying.

Despite several attempts by The Jordan Times to contact Misleh yesterday, he could not be reached for comment.




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Eugene Ionesco and the Elder on Mount Athos: „If you really believe, then all corrects itself”

Mystagogy / 23 may 2011

Eugène Ionesco (26 November 1909 – 28 March 1994) was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, and one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd.

In an interview with French magazine Paris-Match, Eugene Ionesco mentions the following experience he had on Mount Athos:

„I was born in an Orthodox family and I lived in Paris. At twenty-five years, I was a genuine young man of the secular culture of the then Paris. I got the idea to visit Mount Athos because of its position as – and indeed was – a place of asceticism in the Orthodox Church. And there I had another thought in mind: to confess. So I went and found a hieromonk, a spiritual father. What did I say to him? The usual sins of a secular young man who lives without knowing God. The hieromonk, after hearing me, said:

‘Do you believe in Christ my child?’

Yes, yes, I believe Father. Besides, I am baptized Orthodox Christian.’

‘Well, my child, do you believe and accept fully that Christ is God and Creator of the world and us?’

I lost it, because this was the first time a person put forward this question to me, and which I had to answer honestly and take a position. Not just if I believe someone made the world, but that this God, the Creator of the world, has to do with me. And that I have a personal relationship with Him! I replied:

Father, I believe, but help me understand this fact well.

If you really believe, then all corrects itself.'”

This incident caused the shift of Ionesco’s life, who up to deep old age, being famous and notorious, lived as a pious and deeply faithful Orthodox Christian.

What do the words of the elder mean, that „If you really believe, then all corrects itself”? He wanted to show Ionesco that belief in God is not some abstract theory, or words full of hot air. Rather, faith in Christ means complete trust and obedience to a Person who is the Creator and my Savior at the same time. 

Therefore, faith in Christ is not only in words, but mainly works of conscious repentance and returning back to the will of Christ and the embrace of Christ, which is the Church.




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A new church organization has created in Abkhazia: „Abkhaz Orthodox Church” / 16 may 2011

Sukhumi, May 16, Interfax – An ecclesiastical congress has asked to set up a commission to discuss the status of an independent „Abkhaz Church”.

The congress, which took place at the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia on Sunday, adopted an appeal to the Primates and Holy Synods of all Orthodox Churches, asking to set up an inter-Orthodox commission led by a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to discuss the canonical status of the „Abkhaz Church”, an Interfax correspondent reported.

It was reported earlier that the ecclesiastical congress created an archdiocese with an arch-see in New Athos in Abkhazia on Sunday. The congress was convened by young Abkhaz priests at the New Athos Monastery cathedral.

The arch-see will gradually transform into an independent Abkhaz Church,” said Archimandrite Dorofey (Dbar), chairman of the ecclesiastical congress. He suggested asking the Abkhaz Justice Ministry to recognize the ecclesiastical congress as a new Church institution in Abkhazia.

The congress participants voted for appointing the ecclesiastical congress as a supreme church-governing body until a fully functional institution of the „Abkhaz Orthodox Church” has been formed, and elected the Abkhaz arch-see Council that will act as a management body until the issue regarding the creation of the „Abkhaz Church” is decided.



Georgian Patriarchate urges to prevent a schism between the Orthodox Abkhazians / 16 may 2011

Tbilisi, May 16, Interfax – Georgian Patriarchate urged to prevent a schism between the Orthodox Abkhazians.

„It appears that the cause of this congress is an internal standoff. We ask the congress participants and all Orthodox believers living in Abkhazia to raise above the processes inspired by outside forces (which are the cause of the existing standoffs) and to restore with love and peace the canonical unity between us,” the Patriarchate said in a statement on Sunday.

We have always been open to meetings and talks with the Abkhaz clergy and laity,” the Patriarchate said.

The ecclesiastical congress, which took place at the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia on Sunday, adopted an appeal to the Primates and Holy Synods of all Orthodox Churches, asking to set up an inter-Orthodox commission led by a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to discuss the canonical status of the „Abkhaz Church”.

The congress created an archdiocese with an arch-see in New Athos.

„The arch-see will gradually transform into an independent Abkhaz Church,” said Archimandrite Dorofey (Dbar), chairman of the ecclesiastical congress.




Attempt to create Abkhaz „metropolia” will cause deadlock – Russian Orthodox Church / 17 may 2011

Moscow, May 17, Interfax – The creation of a new „metropolia” in Abkhazia announced late last week will only make it more difficult to resolve the Abkhaz church issue, the Moscow Patriarchate has said.

The church canon laws do not involve the making of decisions to create new metropolitanates, let alone autocephalous churches, at „clerical-laic” congresses. And the nomination by the „laic congress” of bishop candidates is explicitly prohibited by the canon law,” Archpriest Nikolay Balashov, deputy head of the Synodal Department of External Church Relations, told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.

On May 15 the cleric-laic congress at the New Athos Monastery in Abkhazia announced the creation of a „metropolia” with a center at New Athos, which should gradually transform into an independent Abkhaz Church.

The event attendees issued a letter to the primates and synods of manorial Orthodox churches, asking to set up an Orthodox commission led by a representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople to define the canonical status of the Abkhaz Church.

„We understand the desire of the Abkhaz people to regulate the situation of the Orthodox religion in this country. However, bringing hot political issues into the life of the church, the division among believers – all this only postpones the possibility of a legitimate resolution of the Abkhaz Church issue,” a Russian Orthodox Church representative said.

A member of the Abkhaz clergy, Fr. Vissarion Aplia, earlier urged the clergy and laity not to attend this congress. The Abkhaz Church can stand firmly on its feet with help from the Russian Orthodox Church, he said.

The congress is non-canonical, and its resolutions have no legal force for Orthodox believers, he said.

Abkhaz Prime Minister Sergey Shamba has expressed concern, while the Georgian Patriarchate urged the congress and all Orthodox believers living in Abkhazia „to raise above the processes inspired by outside forces and to restore the canonical unity with the Georgian Orthodox Church.”




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SPC Synod starts regular May session. The meeting will focus on „the life of the Church in recent months”

B92 / 16 may 2011

BELGRADE – The regular May session of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) Holy Synod of Bishops started Monday in Belgrade.

The meeting will focus will be on „the life of the Church in recent months”, Tanjug was told at the Serbian Patriarchate.

The agenda is still unknown, but according to earlier announcements, the bishops will elect two new Synod members, and continue arondation i.e. division of eparchies which was started during the fall session.

The highest church legislative body will also tackle the issue of former Bishop of Ras-Prizren Artemije, who has been demoted to the rank of simple monk, but is still refusing to accept the decision, and his possible excommunication.

The patriarch has said that if the former bishop does not repent, the Synod will debate his excommunication at the May session, as well as that of his followers.

The Serb National Council in northern Kosovo recently asked the Synod to reinstate Artemije to the position of Bishop of Ras-Prizren, and offered to act as a mediator in talks with the Church.

The Patriarch said earlier that the Synod could also discuss the possible visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Serbia, as part of the celebration of 1700 years of the Edict of Milan.

Two new members will be elected to the Synod, and the Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Littoral Amfilohije is expected to leave the Synod as his mandate expires.

The Synod will continue the arondation process – creating new eparchies and setting their boundaries, as well as appointing new bishops, it has been announced.

The Holy Synod of Bishops convenes twice a year – in the spring and fall, with the spring session usually lasting longer.



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Serbian Church Mulls Making Patriarch Saint / 28th april 2011

Although many Serbs want to see their former Patriarch canonized as soon possible, the Serbian Orthodox Church says the complex process of declaring people saints must be followed carefully.

As the Catholic Church in Rome prepares to beatify the late Pope, John Paul II, on May 1, Serbia’s powerful Orthodox Church is readying to turn its own late head, Patriarch Pavle, into a saint.

But nothing is being rushed. „The Church must be very careful when it comes to canonization, so the whole process of choosing and proposing the candidate takes time,” a Church source told Balkan Insight.

The first step is to see whether a cult exists around the candidate, the source added.

If there is, the relevant bishops inform the Church’s Council with a request to consider the proposal for the person to be declared a saint, the source explained.

Preconditions for being turned into a saint include: a justified reputation for having lived a life of sanctity; a legacy of memories of a trustworthy, godly life; that he was a witness to the faith.

„The entire life of the person who is proposed for sainthood should be checked, as he will be set as an example for believers to look up to,” the Church source continued.

Patriarch Pavle died on November 15, 2009. His death united Serbia for a moment, as most Serbs revered him. Pavle spent 19 years at the helm of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Church, the state and the Serbian people faced huge challenges at the time but Pavle emerged from the era with a high reputation.

He was known for his personal humility and modesty. Many also remember him for a statement he made in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-5 war: “Budimo ljudi iako smo Srbi”. [“It’s more important to be a man than a Serb.”]

If the proposal to canonise the Patriarch goes ahead, an icon of the saint must be made. The saint is then proclaimed at a solemn liturgy at which the icon is blessed as well.

After the canonization, the Church informs its brother Orthodox churches of the news in a letter, asking them to add the saint to their own Church calendars.

Bojana Barlovac




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