Friday, November 14, 2008

Guess he didn't get the "free gift" part:
Man Accused of Trying to Steal Communion from Priest.

Imagine if they did this in church:
Israeli Soldier Given 21 Days in Prison for Yawning.

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Bp. HILARION, on Futile "Dialogue" and Meaningful Action

In a recent interview with Orthodoxy Today, Bp. HILARION (Alfeyev) of the Moscow Patriarchate noted the long and fruitless time Orthodoxy has spent (and is still wasting) on ecumenical dialogue with the most modernist, most radical of Protestants and proposes again proposes combatting modern anti-Christian forces around the world alongside Roman Catholics and Oriental (Non-Chalcedonian) Orthodox, while retaining our separate ecclesial identities. It is nothing new, but it is well worth a read:
After more than thirteen years of intensive ecumenical involvement I can declare my profound disappointment with the existing forms of “official” ecumenism as represented by the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, and other similar organizations. My impression is that they have exhausted their initial potential. Theologically they lead us nowhere. They produce texts that, for the most part, are pale and uninspiring. The reason for this is that these organizations include representatives of a wide variety of churches, from the most “conservative” to the most “liberal.” And the diversity of views is so great that they cannot say much in common except for a polite and politically correct talk about “common call to unity,” “mutual commitment” and “shared responsibility.”
This sounds very much like Met. HILARION of ROCOR, who said, "we can see that there is hardly any union reached, and this organization has lost its importance."
I see that there is now a deep-seated discrepancy between those churches which strive to preserve the Holy Tradition and those that constantly revise it to fit modern standards. This divergence is as evident at the level of religious teaching, including doctrine and ecclesiology, as it is at the level of church practice, such as worship and morality.

In my opinion, the recent liberalization of teaching and practice in many Protestant communities has greatly alienated them from both the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics. It has also undermined the common Christian witness to the secularized world. The voice of Christendom is nowadays deeply disunited: we preach contradictory moral standards, our doctrinal positions are divergent, and our social perspectives vary a great deal. One wonders whether we can still speak at all of “Christianity” or whether it would be more accurate to refer to “Christianities,” that is to say, markedly diverse versions of the Christian faith.
One may go so far as to say what Bp. HILARION leaves implicit: this is less about "Christianities" as Christianity vs. Non-Christianities, which masquerade as Christianity.
Under these circumstances I am not optimistic about the dialogue with the Protestant communities. I am also far less optimistic about the Anglican-Orthodox dialogue than my beloved teacher Metropolitan Kallistos Ware. In my opinion, the only two promising ecumenical dialogues are between the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics, and between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox families. While there are well-known theological differences between these three traditions, there is also very much in common: we all believe in Christ as fully human and fully divine, we all uphold the apostolic succession of hierarchy and de facto recognize each others’ sacraments.
The use of the term "de facto" is of importance.
But even with regard to relations between the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, both Eastern and Oriental, we need new forms of dialogue and cooperation. It is not sufficient to come once every two years for a theological discussion on a topic related to controversies that took place fifteen or ten centuries ago. We need to see whether we can form a common front for the defense of traditional Christianity without waiting until all our theological differences will disappear. I call this proposed common front a “strategic alliance” between the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. I deliberately avoid calling it a “union” or a “council,” because I want to avoid any historical reminiscences and ecclesiastical connotations. Mine is not a call for yet another “union” on dogmatic and theological matters. I am rather proposing a new type of partnership based on the understanding that we are no longer enemies or competitors: we are allies and partners facing common challenges, such as militant secularism, aggressive Islam and many others. We can face these challenges together and unite our forces in order to protect traditional Christianity with its doctrinal and moral teaching.
His Grace has long proposed such a strategic alliance, whether formal or informal. At the risk of misinterpreting his comments by tying them together in my own shorthand, those being targeted by encroaching Secular Humanism may better spend their time discussing their defense of the faithful rather than humoring endless, hopeless "dialogue" with those Christians who have so clearly compromised with it. With the deteriorating state of Christendom in the West, especially in the culture of the nations in which Bp. HILARION's spiritual children reside (Western Europe), such an alliance (not "union," "reunion," or "ecumenical council") will come either through its constituent members' deliberate choice or of necessity, as they find themselves sharing a last, desperate foxhole, surrounded by impending darkness.

(Hat Tip: Ad Orientem)

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Other Latin Mass

On the feast day of St. John Chrysostom, here's one for our Latin enthusiasts.

The complete text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom in Latin, as translated by Erasmus, from vol. 63 of Migne's Patrologia. You'll have to scroll down, as the text begins with a (much abbreviated) Kairon, followed by the vesting prayers and Proskomedia. Then the Divine Liturgy begins with the immortal invocation:

Benedictum regnum Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti, nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.



New OCA Metropolitan JONAH

Met. JONAH (Paffhausen) of the OCA

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has elected a new Metropolitan: His Eminence JONAH (Paffhausen). Its website announced:
On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.
After joining the Orthodox Church in 1978, he earned two Master's degrees from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, then began working toward a Ph.D. at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. (If he went to Berkeley and remained Orthodox, that is a very good sign.) He went on to live in Russia, then to join Valaam Monastery, where his spiritual father blessed him to become a priest-monk. (Imagine, a monk who belonged to an established monastery, who waited on others to confirm his call.) He has been a priest since 1995, tonsured a monk at St. Tikhon's Monastery, and helped found numerous missions.

In the spring of 2008, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America elevated Fr. Jonah to the rank of Archimandrite and he was given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibilities of auxiliary bishop and chancellor for the Diocese of the South.

Bishop Jonah's episcopal election took place on September 4, 2008, at an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops. Earlier in the summer, his candidacy was endorsed by the Diocese of the South's Diocesan Council, shortly after Bishop Jonah had participated in the diocese's annual assembly.

Bishop Jonah was consecrated Bishop of Forth Worth and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the South, at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX, on Saturday, November 1, 2008.
Incidentally, Met. JONAH is a former Episcopalian.

Several members have provided links to media for this occasion:

He is not entering the hierarchy at a time of smooth sailing. May God lead him in this difficult time. Many years to him.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Two New Western Rite Missions in Massachusetts

On Saturday, October 18, the Antiochian Western Rite Vicariate received two new missions into the fold: Emmanuel Orthodox Church in Warren, Massachusetts; and St. Stephen's Orthodox Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

More than 100 faithful from the two churches were chrismated at Emmanuel Orthodox Church on that date, while other members who could not attend were scheduled to be chrismated later. The Very Reverend Fathers Edward Hughes and Michael Keiser presided at the combined service, which lasted 2.5 hours. Both Emmanuel and St. Stephen's were formerly part of the Charismatic Episcopal Church and have been in formation for approximately a year. Both parishes will celebrate the Liturgy of St. Gregory. Please click on the pictures below to see them full-size. (Story continues below.)

Chrismation Service of Emmanuel and St. Stephen Orthodox Churches,
Oct. 18, 2008

A Side View of the Church, During the Service
More of the Congregation

The Very Rev. Fr. Edward Hughes
Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
The Very Rev. Fr. Michael Keiser
The Seal of the Gift of the Holy Spirit
Except Ye Become as a Little Child
(Some of) the Newly Chrismated Servants of God

The former CEC priest Fr. Ken DeVoie and the former CEC deacon Chris Nerreau will be ordained to the diaconate on Friday, November 21, and to the priesthood on Saturday, November 22, at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Ad multos annos to all their flock, and our prayers for their impending ordinations!

(I had this information quite some time ago but wanted to make sure I could post the pictures correctly...and it took me forever. Mea culpa! I hope the new impending ordinands will forgive me. Maybe after November 22, I can receive formal absolution?)

Update: OK, let's see if the pictures work now....