Category : Orthodox Church

(CT) Mark Galli–A Meditation on the Orlando Shooting

…there is one particular prayer that Jesus teaches and models. I’m not enough of a world religion scholar to know if it is unique to Christianity, but it is remarkable part of Christian faith and life. It’s the prayer of Stephen as he was stoned and of Jesus on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It is one way we obey Jesus’ command to love enemies, even murderous ones””whether they target us or those with whom we sympathize.

This struck me afresh recently as I recited an Eastern Orthodox prayer of intercession. In the litany of petitions, this one jumped out at me: “Lord, we pray”¦ for those who hate us and those who love us.”

In the Orthodox tradition, this prayer is to be said every evening.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues, Violence

Archbishop Welby gives Vespers address during pilgrimage to Cappadocia

Finally, at a choral evensong in Westminster Abbey, a copy of the latest Agreed Statement, entitled In The Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology was presented to us by the Co-Chairmen of the International Commission for the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue. We were able to celebrate what Anglicans and Orthodox affirm together about the human person. This milestone provides the theological foundation for forthcoming discussions on the practical consequences of our shared theology to address the key themes, including the protection of the environment, ethical questions around medical interventions, and family life, and our call to reconciliation in the world around us. You yourself have been an untiring advocate for peace and reconciliation – politically, with the natural world and in your historic visit at the installation of His Holiness Pope Francis.

Historically I see these achievements as signs of a further deepening of the deep-rooted friendship between our two churches. As noted by Your All Holiness during the visit to Lambeth Palace, as early as the 17th century Cyril Lukaris, Patriarch first of Alexandria and then of Constantinople, had many contacts with the English Church and State. The Anglican and Eastern Churches Association and the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius have both fostered and continue to strengthen ecumenical friendships.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

[Russian Orthodox Church] HH Patriarch Kirill meets with William Franklin Graham

the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church said with regret, ”“ spiritual and religious life in the West has undergone radical changes in the recent years. Western civilization and Western countries ceased to indentify themselves with Christian tradition and adopted an idea of society in which Christian moral values should not be dominant. And then, legislative solutions were taken in many countries, the United States of America including, which allow same-sex marriage, equaling it to natural marriage that the Lord has given us in commandment. People who do not want to abide by these solutions may be subjected to repressions. Today, Christians who uphold the intransient importance of Christian moral values had to become confessors of the faith living under various kind of pressure, on the part of mass media including.”

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association courageously confessed its faith and defended Christian values. “This gives us a sign of hope: there are people among Western Christians akin to us in ethic principles, sharing them with the Russian Orthodox Church,” His Holiness said and reminded his listeners that the Moscow Patriarchate had suspended any contacts and dialogue with Christian Churches and communities which perform same-sex marriages in church and even ordain people of non-traditional sexual orientation as priests and bishops. For instance, we had to break off contacts with the Episcopal Church in the USA, but we support the Anglican Church in North America which remains faithful to Christian ethics. I would like to note once again the role played by the conservative evangelicals in the United States as their position gives us an opportunity to continue our dialogue with Christians in America.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Archbishop Welby sends greetings to His Eminence Silouan upon enthronement

The Archbishop of Canterbury sent greetings to His Eminence Silouan, Metropolitan of Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland, who was enthroned on Saturday 27th February.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, England / UK, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

A NYT article on the historic Meeting between the Pope and Russian Orthodox Leader

Pope Francis on Friday became the first pontiff to ever meet a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, as the two Christian leaders set aside centuries of division in a historic encounter that was held in an unlikely setting: a room at the Havana airport.

Having announced the meeting only a week ago, Francis landed in Havana about 2 p.m. for a stopover that lasted a few hours, before he continued to Mexico City for his six-day visit to Mexico. Awaiting him in Havana was Patriarch Kirill, who was making an official visit to Cuba at the invitation of President Raúl Castro.

As he approached the Russian patriarch amid the clicking of news cameras, Francis was overheard to say, “Brother.” A moment later, he added, “Finally.”

The two men embraced, kissing each other twice on the cheeks and clasping hands before taking seats. “Now things are easier,” Kirill said. Francis responded, “It is clear now that this is the will of God.”

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(GR) Terry Mattingly-What brings Rome and Moscow together at last? Suffering churches in Syria, Iraq

Why now? What world events made this historic meeting possible?

Behind closed doors, the pope and the patriarch will almost certainly talk about Ukraine and other issues. They may talk about the remaining doctrinal barriers that prevent shared Communion, in every sense of that word, between the Orthodox and Catholics.

But all signs are that they are meeting because, to be blunt, Christians have few if any safe havens right now in the lands in which they have lived and worshiped since the birth of Christianity. What happens if Damascus falls to ISIS or even to the American-backed “moderate” forces that have been killing and kidnapping Christians and members of other religious minorities at a slower rate than ISIS?

Stay tuned to see what is in the joint declaration in Cuba. I imagine that U.S. State Department leaders will be reading it carefully.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

(AP) Pope, Russian Orthodox patriarch meet in historic step

The Vatican says Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in a major step to heal the 1000-year-old schism that divided Christianity between East and West.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Andrei Rublev

Holy God, we bless thee for the gift of thy monk and icon writer Andrei Rublev, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, provided a window into heaven for generations to come, revealing the majesty and mystery of the holy and blessed Trinity; who livest and reignest through ages of ages. Amen.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Russia, Spirituality/Prayer

([London Times) Front Page–"Faith leaders unite against persecution of Christians"

Faith leaders from across Britain have condemned a growing crackdown on Christmas in Muslim countries.

Brunei threatened yesterday to imprison for up to five years anyone who celebrates the Christian festival in public. The former British colony’s new penal code could also hand out $20,000 fines for any ceremony contrary to Sharia, including singing religious songs, sending festive greetings or putting up Christmas trees, crosses or candles.

Somalia’s leading clerics issued a similar edict in 2013, which they reiterated yesterday. Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow, the religious affairs minister, said that “all events related to Christmas and new year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture”. They could “damage the faith of the Muslim community” and risk attracting terrorist attacks from Al Shabaab, he added.

In China, which has 70 million Christians and is set to overtake America as the world’s largest Christian country within a decade, large outdoor crosses on hundreds of churches have been dismantled by officials from the atheist Communist party. Some churches have been demolished in the eastern city of Wenzhou, dubbed the “Jerusalem of China”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Terrorism, Violence

(WSJ) Rabbis Abraham Cooper+Yitzchok Adlerstein–Mideast Christians Deserve U.S. Refuge

Tragically, present policy does not take into account the uniquely precarious situation of displaced Christians. Instead of receiving priority treatment, Christians are profoundly disadvantaged. For instance, the State Department has accepted refugees primarily from lists prepared by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, which oversees the large camps to which refugees have flocked, and where they are registered. Yet endangered Christians do not dare enter those camps.

George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote in the Telegraph in Britain in September that a similar protocol in the U.K. “inadvertently discriminates against the very Christian communities most victimised by the inhuman butchers of the so-called Islamic State. Christians are not to be found in the UN camps, because they have been attacked and targeted by Islamists and driven from them.”

U.S. missteps and missed opportunities in the region contributed to the crises that disproportionately affected Christians. America’s policy should immediately be amended to include these refugees at the top of the list. Opening America’s doors to them first is the right thing to do.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Coptic Church, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, History, Judaism, Middle East, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

(CC) Philip Jenkins–Mary among the Egyptians

In many Catholic and Orthodox countries, the most visible face of faith is commonly the Virgin Mary (think of Mexico’s ubiquitous Virgin of Guadalupe). Sur­prisingly””and counterintuitively””Mary is scarcely less venerated in Egypt, an overwhelmingly Muslim country. Unless we pay attention to Mary, we miss large portions of the religious faith and practice of the most populous Arab nation. That fact complicates many assumptions about the inevitable hostility between Christianity and Islam.

Egypt’s Christian population is variously estimated at between 5 and 10 percent, anywhere from 5 to 9 million individuals, and most are members of the ancient Cop­tic Church. These believers have often suffered from violence and persecution, most notoriously during the up­surge of violence that followed the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013. Many churches were attacked, and the continuing insurgency in the country raises grave fears about future pogroms.

Despite that uncertainty, Egypt’s Christians still thrive and maintain their ancient churches and shrines. Almost certainly, historic Christian devotion to the Virgin Mary began in Egypt, which is home to countless churches dedicated to her and icons celebrating her. Egyptians point proudly to many sites that the Holy Family reputedly visited during Jesus’ childhood, some of which are major centers for pilgrimage and religious tourism. The Orthodox Christmas Day (January 7) is a national public holiday, on a par with the familiar roster of Islamic celebrations.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Coptic Church, Egypt, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(CC) Wallace Daniel–The church under Putin: Nationalism and Russian Orthodoxy

Since the passing of the Soviet era, the Russian Orthodox Church has aligned itself closely with the Russian government and especially the nationalist strategies of Vladimir Putin. In the speeches of Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, “Orthodox civilization” is interchangeable with “Russian civilization.”

Following a long Russian Orthodox tradition, Kirill likes to contrast Russia with secular Western nations. In Belgrade in November 2014, the patriarch argued that Western nations had “abandoned their Christian identity.” He identified both liberal democracy and secularism as enemies of Orthodoxy and envisioned a “clash of civilization” in which Russian Orthodox values stood against those of the secular West.

Kirill’s vision of Russian civilization transcends Russia’s current boundaries, encompassing all Orthodox people “living in the countries of historical Rus’””namely Belorussia, Russia, and Ukraine.” The Orthodox Church had risen to the defense of Russia in the prerevolutionary past, he maintained, and it must do so again to defend the nation’s values and unity.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, Europe, History, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Russia, Theology

[Arc] From Godless to Godly: How Religion is Reshaping Russia’s Relations With the West

At the height of the Cold War Russia was frequently depicted in the West as a country ruled by godless communists””a brutal regime that set out to eradicate religion and thus, one that also lacked a strong moral compass. These same charges are again resurfacing many years later, but this time Russia is directing the charges at the West. Over the past several years, Russian leaders have played up its moral superiority and defense of traditional values, while openly criticizing the West as amoral and devoid of spiritual values.

How does a country redefine itself from godless to godly in just over two decades?

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Anglican Archbishops meet with Coptic Pope and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar

The archbishops at the meeting support Lambeth I.10 ”“ the resolution on human sexuality from the 1998 Lambeth Conference. The Grand Imam raised changes to traditional teaching on the subject by some Anglican churches, saying that the issue in the west was seen from the viewpoint of human rights rather than a moral and ethical issue. “I personally see this as an insult to [the teaching of] Jesus Christ by one of His own churches,” he said.

The issue was also discussed when the archbishops met the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II. “We need to stand firm and keep the Church traditions,” he told them. “If this issue is a human rights one, where is God the Creator’s right?”

In their discussions, the leaders welcomed the latest achievements of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox International Commission, and particularly the historic agreed statement on Christology.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Anglican Provinces, Ecumenical Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, The Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East, Theology

Joint communique from the Visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch to the Archbishop of Canterbury

At the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury, His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew paid a formal visit to Lambeth Palace from November 2-4, 2015. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who is based in Istanbul, Turkey, is Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, and occupies the First Throne of the Orthodox Christian Church worldwide. The occasion was in response to Archbishop Justin’s visit to the Ecumenical Patriarchate last year.

The two leaders presided over ecumenical services filled with symbolic significance, participated in formal functions organized by the Nikaean Club and the Greek Community, and shared private conversations. A service was held at Lambeth Chapel, where the Archbishop of Canterbury welcomed His All-Holiness and congratulated him on the twenty-fourth anniversary of his enthronement.

The two leaders prayed for those affected by conflict, persecution, climate change and the refugee crisis. In light of this, they agreed to undertake the joint organization of an international conference in Istanbul next year on overcoming modern slavery and human trafficking.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew calls for urgent action on the environment

The Ecumenical Patriarch His All Holiness Bartholomew has called for urgent action for climate justice ahead of the UN summit on climate change in Paris in December.

In a lecture held at Lambeth Palace as part of a two day visit, the ‘green patriarch’ spoke of the ethical and honourable obligation ahead of COP21:
“It is not too late to act, but we cannot afford to wait. We all agree on the necessity to protect the planet’s natural resources ”¦. and we are all in this together.” The Patriarch urged cities, governments and individuals to voice opinions, make decisions and act to drive a new environmental ethos.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Climate Change, Weather, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ecumenical Relations, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Theology

(ACNS) Anglicans encouraged to drop filioque from Nicene Creed

Last week’s meeting of the Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission in Hawarden, Wales, and the agreement on dropping the filioque clause of the Nicene Creed has moved the two families of churches “one step closer to as close as we can be”, a leading Orthodox bishop has said.

“For us, we saw [the filioque clause] as an addition to the Creed,” Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said. “One of the founders of our Church, Saint Athanasius, was instrumental in formulating it. As a church that has been persecuted for most of its existence, our faith and faith issues are exceptionally important.

“The relevance [of the agreement] is that we are one step closer to as close as we can be. There are things that we are not going to be able to agree on but that should not stop us resolving things that we can agree on.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Anglican and Oriental Orthodox Churches Reach Historic Agreements

A new publication containing the Agreed Statement on Christology of the Anglican”“Oriental Orthodox International Commission 2014 was launched during Vespers in St Asaph Cathedral by the Co”“Chairs of the commission, the Rt Revd Gregory K Cameron Bishop of St Asaph, and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damietta, in the presence of the Rt Revd Dr Geoffrey Rowell, former Co”“Chair of the Commission and co”“signatory to the Statement.
The Commission completed its work on the Procession of the Holy Spirit, agreeing on the omission of the Filioque clause that had been appended to the Niceno”“Constantinopolitan Creed in the Latin Western tradition. The Co”“Chairs signed an Agreed Statement on the procession of the Holy Spirit, which is Part A of our ongoing work on our theological understanding of the Holy Spirit. A detailed discussion of the action of the Holy Spirit in the Church followed, including a discussion of the four marks of the Church, namely: oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. The Commission has designated a drafting group which prepared a preliminary draft and will continue to work on Part B of our theological understanding of the Holy Spirit.
The Commission discussed the present situation of Christians in the Middle East and heard reports on the difficulties facing Churches, particularly in Syria and Iraq. There was a consideration of the most practical ways in which the Anglican Communion in its various countries could respond effectively to the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Christology, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology

(WSJ) Bernard-Henri Lévy–At a Monastery in Sight of Islamic State

On a mountainside in Iraq’s Kurdish region, at the end of a road that winds through sparse olive trees, stands the fourth-century Mar Mattai monastery. It is Iraq’s oldest monastery, named for the hermit monk who retired here at the dawn of Christianity. The forces of Islamic State are a little more than two miles away. When the weather is clear on the plain of Nineveh, you can see the Islamic State front lines defending Mosul about a dozen miles in the distance.

The vast monastery perched high on Mount Alfaf is hewed from stone, its passages, stairways and terraces exposed to the sun and weather. In the courtyard on the ground level live two families who fled Mosul and the persecution of Christians there.

Four monks live at Mar Mattai. There should be several dozen to judge by the empty rooms along the esplanade. But only these four remain, clad in their black robes and caps embroidered with white crosses. In the Eastern Rite church on the upper level, the monks are standing in the crypt at the far end, their eyes closed, intoning one of the “chants of the Greek church” described by Chateaubriand in his 1811 “Record of a Journey From Paris to Jerusalem and Back.” He admired the Kyrie eleison (Lord, have mercy) with its notes “held by different voices, some bass, others treble, executing andante and mezza voce, the octave, fifth, and third.” Its beauty, he said, was enough to cure him of a fever.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Church History, History, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Syria, Terrorism

International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue Communiqué 2015

Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit formally welcomed the Commission to its meeting in his diocese. He offered praise and encouragement for the work of the dialogue. He stressed the urgent need for expressions of Christian unity in light of the deep challenges and crises before the global community, mindful of events unfolding even as the Commission undertook its deliberations.

The Commission brought to completion the first section of its work on the theological understanding of the human person, with the adoption of its agreed statement, In the Image and Likeness of God: A Hope-Filled Anthropology. The report, shortly to be published, is the culmination of six years of study on what Anglicans and Orthodox can say together about the meaning of human personhood in the divine image.

This agreement lays the foundation for continuing dialogue on ethical decision-making in the light of this vision. At its future meetings the Commission will consider the practical consequences of this theological approach to personhood. The Commission anticipates ongoing study in areas such as bioethics and the sanctity of life, as well as human rights and ecological justice.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Primary Source, -- Reports & Communiques, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology

ACNA report: Anglican Leaders Received in Moscow

This week, Archbishop Foley Beach, at the invitation of Patriarch Kirill of Russia, led a delegation from the Anglican Church in North America to Moscow for formal ecumenical meetings with the Russian Orthodox Church.

The delegation made a pilgrimage to the monastery of the Holy Trinity and St. Sergius on Monday, August 24th before beginning meetings with Metropolitan Hilarion, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations on Tuesday, August 25th. Later in the day, the conversations continued when the delegation was officially received by Patriarch Kirill at his residence.
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During the communist era, the Russian Orthodox Church suffered decades of severe persecution. This week the Anglican delegation saw a transformed religious landscape in which Christian symbols now dominate Red Square and Moscow, and new churches are being planted across the country (on average 1,000 per year for the last 27 years).

Both the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in North America expressed a desire to see the growth and deepening of relationships between Orthodoxy and faithful, global Anglicanism. Archbishop Beach delivered a letter of greeting from Archbishop Wabukala, the Archbishop and Primate of Kenya, and Chairman of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GAFCON).

As the realignment of Anglicanism continues to unfold, Archbishop Beach gave thanks for the common ground that the faithful of both churches are finding on the practical moral issues that confront our societies:…

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Russian Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Hilarion meets with delegation of ACNA

On 25 August 2015, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, met with members of the delegation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), who had come to Russia on a pilgrimage visit. The meeting took place at the DECR premises.
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Metropolitan Hilarion told the guests about the activities of the Department for External Church Relations, paying special attention to inter-Christian contacts of the Russian Orthodox Church and her relationships with the Protestant world. As the DECR chairman noted, the process of liberalizing moral teaching is going in a number of Protestant Churches today. The Moscow Patriarchate breaks off communion with such Churches.

The participants in the meeting discussed the issues, pressing for the Anglican Communion today, including the issue of admitting women to ”˜episcopal’ orders, which has become a topic of heated debate after the General Synod of the Church of England made the respective decision in 2014, as well as the problem, closely related to the previous one, of preserving the unity of the Anglican Communion, whose spiritual centre is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The guests shared with Metropolitan Hilarion their vision of the abovementioned issues, reaffirming the ACNA’s commitment to the Gospel moral principles and doctrines, traditional for Anglicans.

The participants in the meeting expressed their satisfaction over the fruitful cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in North America in academic sphere.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Russian Orthodox Church: HH Patriarch Kirill receives delegation of ACNA

On 25 August 2015, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met with members of the delegation of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), who had come to Russia on pilgrimage, at the Patriarchal residence in St Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow.

The delegation included Archbishop Foley Beach, head of the Anglican Church in North America; Bishop Ray Sutton, chairman of ACNA’s Ecumenical Relations Committee; Bishops Kevin Allen and Keith Ackerman; and Rev. Canon Andrew Gross, head of ACNA’s Communications and Media Relations Service.
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Greeting the delegation of the Anglican Church in North America, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill noted the difficulty of the situation in which this denomination had been established six years ago. “At the time your Church was undergoing a very difficult period in her history, which required from believers fortitude and the ability to resist great temptations,” His Holiness said.

“It is my firm belief that in the course of her history, the Church faces challenges which she must overcome with all her courage,” he continued, “There are two models of behavior of the Church and Christians. The first one implies obedience to secular power and those mighty forces that influence the development of society. The second one implies the ability to tell the truth and show commitment to Christ’s glad tidings.”

As the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church noted, the second model always implies martyrdom. “There is nothing new in it. The Lord said that we should follow the narrow path leading to the Heavenly Kingdom. A wide and nice path will not lead us there,” he said, “Here, in Russia, we realized it in the hard times of persecutions of our Church. We also could choose one of the models of behavior, and I thank God for granting fortitude to our predecessors who followed the only right path and never fell away from the Apostolic faith and the Tradition we received through the Apostles and holy fathers.”

“For a moment it seemed that the Church had no future here, for the majority of people would not associate the future of our country with Christianity,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill continued. “Yet, the Lord changed the course of history in several days, and those who had been regarded as outcasts and retrogrades, turned out to be heroes courageously defending their beliefs.”
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The participants in the meeting discussed the processes going on in the Anglican Communion in recent years, as well as prospects of Orthodox-Anglican dialogue. Archbishop Foley Beach told about a positive experience of bilateral dialogue between the Anglican Church in North America and the Orthodox Church in America.

Also discussed at the meeting were practical aspects of cooperation between the Anglican Church in North America and the Russian Orthodox Church.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches

Get Religion Analyzes a Tribune story on Pat Reardon and the Debate on civil marriage

…in the wake of the 5-4 Obergefell decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy and the U.S. Supreme Court, the Chicago Tribune has followed up with a news report about Reardon that does a good job of describing his decision, yet does little to dig into the thoughts and beliefs of those who either oppose or dismiss his strategy. Consider, for example, this passage in which an Orthodox bishop seems to echo, in reverse, some of Reardon’s thinking:

Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, said he doesn’t foresee such a boycott in Chicago. He even questions whether it’s legal.

“I can’t imagine any of our priests doing that,” he said. “It hasn’t happened yet and I don’t anticipate it happening to make a political statement,” he said.

That’s a really important quote.

I would stress that this statement by a Greek Orthodox bishop in no way represents an endorsement of Obergefell, but it clear indicates that there will be theological and legal debates ahead ”“ inside Eastern Orthodoxy in this land and in other sanctuaries ”“ about how priests should handle this clash between state and church.

In other words, this quote should have been near the top of the Tribune report and backed with more material explaining, on the record when possible, the views of those ”“ in Orthodoxy and elsewhere ”“ who have rejected Reardon’s strategy.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, State Government, Theology

(Independent) Historic meeting between Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox head 'getting closer'

An historic meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church is “getting closer every day,” a senior Orthodox prelate said in an interview published on 28 June.

The unprecedented meeting would be a significant step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, which split in the Great Schism of 1054.

“Now such a meeting is getting closer every day but it must be well prepared,” Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign relations department, said in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper.

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Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Ecclesiology, Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic, Theology

(Pemptousia) Jonathan Jackson: “How I became Orthodox”

Holywood actor Jonathan Jackson, recipient of five Emmy Awards, at an interview given in “Pemptousia” during his recent visit to the Monastery of Vatopaidi – Mt Athos, speaks about how he became Orthodox.

Watch it all from Vimeo.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Religion & Culture

Statement by HG Bishop Angaelos following the murder of Ethiopian Chrstns by Daesh (ISIS) in Libya

The confirmation of the murder of Ethiopian Christians by Daesh (IS) in Libya has been received with deep sadness. These executions that unnecessarily and unjustifiably claim the lives of innocent people, wholly undeserving of this brutality, have unfortunately become far too familiar. Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their Faith.

The Christians of Egypt and Ethiopia have had a shared heritage for centuries. Being predominantly Orthodox Christian communities with a mutual understanding of life and witness, and a common origin in the Coptic Orthodox Church, they now also share an even greater connection through the blood of these contemporary martyrs.

This sad news came on the day that His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury visited His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Egypt to personally express his condolences following the similar brutal murder of 21 Coptic Orthodox Christians in Libya by Daesh in February of this year.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethiopia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

Giles Fraser–Arguments over Greek debt echo ancient disputes about Easter

The western church typically criticises the eastern view for having a “free lunch” view of salvation. No pain, no gain, insists Anselm. The eastern church says that the west fetishises suffering and is more committed to some iron logic of cosmic necessity than to God for whom all things are possible.

Atheists such as Alexis Tsipras, the Greek leader, may think both of these are fantasies. But for present purposes that’s beside the point. It’s worth recognising that these two completely different stories support two contrasting moral worldviews and different attitudes towards economics in general and capitalism in particular. Tsipras ”“ like me ”“ is very much more in the Greek Orthodox camp when it comes to salvation. And the Lutheran minister’s daughter Angela Merkel is very much in the western one. He wants to leap free from death-dealing debt. She believes it must be paid back, no matter how much blood and pain is involved.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Easter, Economy, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, Germany, Greece, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, The Banking System/Sector, Theology

The Transition

Holy Saturday is a neglected day in parish life. Few people attend the Services. Popular piety usually reduces Holy Week to one day ”” Holy Friday. This day is quickly replaced by another ”” Easter Sunday. Christ is dead and then suddenly alive. Great sorrow is suddenly replaced by great joy. In such a scheme Holy Saturday is lost.

In the understanding of the Church, sorrow is not replaced by joy; it is transformed into joy. This distinction indicates that it is precisely within death the Christ continues to effect triumph.

”“Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Theology

Terry Mattingly–The unique life, tragic death and legacy of Father Matthew Baker

“Matthew was crazy about theology, a total idealist about studying theology. ”¦ But he wanted to learn history and philosophy and art and everything else,” said Pentiuc. “I don’t know anyone else who read so much and absorbed so much, so soon. It was going to take him 10 or 15 years to fully synthesize what he knew and to find his mature voice.”

Friends joked that they could say “Go!” and challenge Baker to connect random subjects ”“ such as “Duran Duran,” a rock band, “GMOs,” a genetics term, and “Apollinarianism,” a 4th Century heresy ”“ and “he would come up with authentically deep links between them,” said Damick.

It’s easy to imagine three or more books emerging from existing lectures, papers and research by Baker, noted Damick. But all the books and academic tributes in the world cannot answer the ultimate questions being asked by loved ones and friends mourning this loss.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture