Thursday, July 9, 2020

Clergy-Laity tries to set clergy age limits, synod torpedos

It's pretty surprising to see the laity trying to put an age limit on their clergy. Benefits cost containment? A check on "power" from long service? A benign thought that garnered this extraordinary response?

(GOARCH) - July 8, 2020 - Communique of the Holy Eparchial Synod

The Holy Eparchial Synod met today in an extraordinary video conference at the invitation of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros with an exclusive objective to discuss the recent public debate on an official proposal to change the pension program of the Hierarchs.

Following a discussion, it is stated that in accordance with the Sacred Canons of the Orthodox Church, there is no age limit for the exercise of the duties of Hierarchs. The retirement from active ministry (or not) of an individual Hierarch is entrusted exclusively to the individual choice and sole judgment of said Hierarch. Furthermore, it is noted that within the Ecumenical Patriarchate, no such age limits are applied.

In conclusion, the Holy Eparchial Synod rejects the current proposal in the form of the draft resolution for the upcoming Clergy-Laity Congress of 2020, inasmuch as such a proposal is beyond the capacity of the Clergy-Laity Congress, which is unable to decide in matters dogmatic and canonical.

The Hierarchs of the Holy Archdiocese minister to the People of God in the spirit of self-sacrifice, love and devotion, dedicating their whole life in service to the Church.

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy Eparchial Synod.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The "Greek Community of Toronto" and the Eucharist


You might wonder how this prohibition on communing the Greek faithful came to be. seems to point squarely at their own Greek community. Shocking but not without precedent. Many people attempted to put their fingers on the scales of justice at the parish and diocesan level in many jurisdictions.  This is unique in that it worked with 100% effectiveness. May God have mercy on their souls.

Religious freedom & 3 recent Supreme Court decisions

(The Hill) - Among the trio of recent decisions, perhaps the most politically potent was the court’s 7-2 ruling to give certain employers more leeway to opt-out of paying for birth control, as is generally required under ObamaCare.

“The Supreme Court's decision to enable the Trump Administration’s brutal assault on women’s health, financial security and independence is a fundamental misreading of the statute,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act was explicitly designed to prevent discrimination against women and to ensure that women have access to preventive care, including contraception.”

In the Obama era, religious nonprofits could claim an exemption from contraceptive coverage. But legal challenges arose in response to the Trump administration’s move to expand eligibility to companies that voiced religious or moral objections.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority, which comprised his fellow conservative justices, as well as two of its more liberal justices, Obama appointee Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. But the two more liberal justices made clear their vote in the case — Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania — was not centered on religious liberty.

“Kagan and Breyer insisted that exemptions to the contraception mandate must stand only because the Executive Branch has broad power to create the exemptions, not because they agreed that the Little Sisters had a right to be exempt from the law,” said Franke, who serves as faculty director of Columbia University’s Law, Rights, and Religion Project and who joined an amicus brief opposing the expanded exemptions for religious employers.

But Kagan and Breyer expressed no such reservations when they joined the conservative wing to expand religious rights in a decision issued earlier Wednesday morning.

In that case, the court ruled that a pair of Los Angeles-area Catholic schools are immune from discrimination suits brought by two former teachers in a decision that expands the scope of protections for religious employers.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

EP creates vicariate of Russian parishes in France

( - Late last year, Metropolitan Emmanuel of Gaul of the Patriarchate of Constantinople announced the creation of a vicariate of Russian parishes in France, and on Saturday, July 4, a constitutive general assembly of the vicariate was held, thus marking its official formation.

“There was an historical event yesterday. The Russian Vicariate of the Metropolis of Gaul of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was officially formulated,” writes Hieromonk Damaskin of the new vicariate.

Patriarch Bartholomew sent a message on the occasion of the assembly in which he notes that the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople resolved to remove the status of exarchate from the Archdiocese of Russian Churches in Western Europe in November 2018 and to instruct its parishes to move under their local Greek metropolis “in order to conform to the canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church.”

This change of status eventually led to the majority of the Archdiocese, under the guidance of its hierarch, His Eminence Metropolitan John of Dubna, to return to the Russian Orthodox Church from which it was born in the early 20th century. The new vicariate is made up of those clergy and laity who did not follow Met. John and did not join other Churches, such as the Romanian Patriarchate.

“From now on, the vicariate is organized and is entirely part of the Metropolis of France, under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel,” the Patriarch writes.

“It is the mission and vocation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to preserve the unity of the Orthodox Church by respecting the ecclesiological criteria according to which the bishop of a locality must be the only one in whose name the Holy Eucharist can be celebrated, and the sole administrative and pastoral manager,” he continues.

“Moreover, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has always been concerned to serve all Orthodox without distinction of nationality or ethnic origin,” he adds.

The Metropolis of France has a rich history, and the parishes of the vicariate have their own history with Constantinople dating back to 1931, Pat. Bartholomew writes. It is “thanks to the protection offered by the Great Church” that the parishes have been able to bear witness to the Gospel in the West, he states.


The Archdiocese of Russian Churches of Western Europe originated within the Russian Church in the early 20th century, but ended up with the Patriarchate of Constantinople due to the difficulties of the 20th century. It existed as an exarchate until November 2018, when the Patriarchate suddenly revoked its exarchate status, instructing the parishes to join their local Greek-tradition metropolises. The Archdiocese, however, voted overwhelmingly to remain together as an ecclesiastical body and began exploring different avenues for its future. In the end, Abp. John joined the Moscow Patriarchate after Constantinople suddenly and unexpectedly released him from its jurisdiction, and over 80 clergymen later voted to go with him. The Archdiocese formally reunited with the Russian Church at a service in Moscow in early November last year.

Met. Emmanuel of Gaul offered to create a vicariate for the parishes of the Archdiocese within his metropolis after seeing that the majority and clergy were intent on remaining together under the guidance of Met. John of Dubna.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

GetReligion on former MIT chaplain Daniel Moloney

It is to be expected that when someone is mistreated that he should ask after God's justice, but when that same man errs himself he wants less justice and more mercy. It being one thing to clamor for the prosecution of the man who speeds past you on the highway, but you must also acknowledge the same man will find it perfectly reasonable - and even desirable - to be given a warning in lieu of a ticket for his own speeding. Mercy is a strange thing. We find it natural when applied to ourselves, but difficult to cultivate in response to the actions of others. And we can apply this "self" to people we identify with and those deserving what we perceived justice for those who we do not.

So it is that a Catholic priest attempted to tackle this interplay of justice with mercy and got burned. He called for societal reflection and personal introspection, and was punished for not saying the right words in the right order. A chaplain's role is not that of the shaman's rote incantations. His role is in no small part to tackle the difficulties of right now and apply them to the timeless wisdom of God and His Church. That is rightfully going to prove uncomfortable. MIT didn't want to be discomfited and opted for a bubble of silence in an ocean roaring waves.

The problem is that such a unity of opinion doesn't exist. There are people who believe that racism is systemic, that our nation at its core is irredeemably unfair, and that the only answer is to tear it all down and build something new. There are people who believe people with long rap sheets are being released too easily already and so a knee on the neck is a reasonable and "just" response. And there are people who believe all this has nothing to do with them and they deserve to be left alone. We as a people don't agree. There must be a national dialogue before we are so far apart that we can no longer even hear each other. Perfect justice and perfect mercy are impossible on this side of heaven, but we are obliged to seek after those things according to God's plan.

Our path to the other side of this maze is not obvious. Pulling people such as this cleric out of his position as he tries to navigate towards a solution is done in the name of some perverse justice, at the expense of peace, and in the absence of mercy.

(GetReligion) - Earlier this year, a Catholic priest published a book entitled "Mercy: What Every Catholic Should Know," focusing on doctrine and discipleship issues that, ordinarily, would not cause controversy.

But these are not ordinary times. Acting as a Catholic chaplain at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Father Daniel Moloney tried to apply his words about mercy and justice to the firestorm of protests and violence unleashed by the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.

In the end, the priest resigned at the request of the Archdiocese of Boston, in response to MIT administration claims that Moloney, in a June 7 email, violated a campus policy prohibiting "actions or statements that diminish the value of individuals or groups of people."

Moloney wrote, in a meditation that defied simplistic soundbites: "George Floyd was killed by a police officer, and shouldn't have been. He had not lived a virtuous life. He was convicted of several crimes, including armed robbery. … And he was high on drugs at the time of his arrest.

"But we do not kill such people. He committed sins, but we root for sinners to change their lives and convert to the Gospel. Catholics want all life protected from conception until natural death."

Criminals have human dignity and deserve justice and mercy, the priest said. This is why Catholics are "asked to work to abolish the death penalty in this country."

On the other side of this painful equation, wrote Moloney, police officers struggle with issues of sin, anger and prejudice. Their work "often hardens them" in ways that cause "a cost to their souls." Real dangers can fuel attitudes that are "unjust and sinful," including racism.

In a passage stressed by critics, the priest wrote that the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck "until he died acted wrongly. … The charges filed against him allege dangerous negligence, but say nothing about his state of mind. … But he showed disregard for his life, and we cannot accept that in our law enforcement officers. It is right that he has been arrested and will be prosecuted.

"In the wake of George Floyd's death, most people in the country have framed this as an act of racism. I don't think we know that."

An editor who has worked with Moloney stressed that the scholarly priest – with degrees from Yale University, Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame – is a precise writer.

Thus, it's important to note what he was "actually saying and, equally important, what he was not saying," noted Joseph Pearce, in The Catholic World Report. "He wasn't saying, as some have alleged by misquoting him, that George Floyd's death was not an act of racism. He was simply saying that we don't know whether it was racist."

Citing Catholic teachings, the priest noted that "racism is a sin. … So is rash judgment." The email ended with these words: "Blessed are the peacemakers, our Lord tells us. May we all be counted among them."

In an online post the day before writing the fateful email, entitled "Mercy in a time of national anger," Moloney said that it helps to remember that leaders of the Civil Rights Movement – especially the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. – struggled to obtain justice, but also sought to "cultivate mercy."

Right now, Americans are shouting at one another – or worse – about politics, class struggle and violence.

"Some people think that the right thing to do is to enact reforms of the police; others think that the right thing to do is to kill the police and bomb the precinct," wrote Moloney. "Some people think that nonviolent protests are an appropriate response; others think that injustice justifies robbing the local Target. Some people are satisfied when the bad cops are arrested, prosecuted and convicted; others want to overthrow the government. Some are just so upset that they don't know what to do.

"All agree that something deeply wrong happened to George Floyd, but our consensus stops there, at the level of justice. Mercy is the virtue that comes into play when things go wrong. Once we decide that something is unjust, we still have to decide what is the right thing to do."

Friday, July 3, 2020

Dn. Nicholas Kotar: from cradle to conscientious Orthodoxy

Fr. Dn. Nicholas is an important anglophone voice for Orthodoxy. He is an intriguing mixture of great respect and reverence for tradition while at the same time not being afraid to engage with ideas for fear of breaking them. Our faith is not a brittle antique but something with which we really should - as Israel did - wrestle. The Christian is obliged to evangelize and he is best empowered to do so when he is informed, engaged, and unafraid of the topics of the day. What value the Internet? What value social media? What value the epic narrative format? What value the Church's understanding of sex, friendship, love, and more? After you've watched this video, do be so kind as to visit his blog at A Light so Lovely.

Pope of Rome helps fund first Orthodox monastery in Austria

(Orthodox Times) - Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew will lay the foundation stone of the first Orthodox monastery in Austria – the first in the region of Central Europe – on September 26. The ceremony of the laying of the foundation stone would have taken place on June 27, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 restrictive measures. 
The foundation stone will be laid by the Ecumenical Patriarch together with the Metropolitan of Austria and Exarch of Hungary and Central Europe, Arsenios, Roman Catholic Bishop Ägidius Johann Zsifkovics, and the governor of the Austrian state of Burgenland, Hans Peter Doskozil. The construction work will begin at the beginning of October. 
The first Orthodox monastery will be built in Sankt Andrä am Zicksee in the Austrian federal state of Burgenland, which is located in eastern Austria near the border with Hungary. The Roman Catholic Bishop, Ägidius Johann Zsifkovics, granted this plot of land to the Holy Metropolis of Austria for the construction of the monastery.

Announcing in October 2014 the founding and forthcoming construction of the “first organized Orthodox monastery in the region of Central Europe,” Metropolitan Arsenios said that it would be a bridge that would unite Austria with Greece, the Catholic Church with Orthodoxy.

As he had stated in Vienna at the time, the Metropolis wanted to establish and operate an Orthodox monastery under the jurisdiction of the Metropolis and Exarchate from the very beginning of his priesthood in December 2011. The Metropolitan managed to do so with the conclusion of the donation agreement, after many months of contacts and discussions with Bishop of Burgenland, Ägidius Johann Zsifkovics.

For the construction of the monastery, Pope Francis had donated EUR 100,000, a check which was festively delivered by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Metropolitan Arsenios of Austria in Vienna in late February 2018, as part of the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Austrian Federal Law on Orthodoxy.

"What did Augustine know?"

This is a new series and I find the first installment fascinating. Give it a read, from the blog Multa Legenda...

There are things that everyone just knows, there are things that “everyone knows” but few actually understand, and there are things that “everyone knows,” but some don’t believe.

Let me state a few propositions, by way of example:
  1. Britain is currently under partial lockdown, Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom, and Boris Johnson is Prime Minister. (I am writing on June 17, 2020).
  2. The Earth goes around the Sun, and the novel pneumonia that began spreading in China in roughly November 2019 is caused by the coronavirus denoted (by the standard nomenclature while I write this post) SARS-CoV-2.
  3. The Earth is undergoing climate change due to increased production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by human, who are a product of several millennia of mammalian evolution by natural selection.
Every one of these propositions represents the standard view, among experts, on the political situation in Britain, astronomy and medical science, and the origins of the human race and the present ramifications of its industrialization for the Earth’s ecosystem. But they hold quite different significance for most people.

That Britain is in lockdown is, for the person in Britain, an obvious fact, like saying that grass is green. To deny it would require careful qualifications (this “lockdown” is not a real lockdown; grass is often brown in winter or in summer heat), and, without them, would risk making one look utterly ignorant or out of touch with reality. Likewise, if I said that the Sun goes around the Earth. But that is not, though I have studied a fair amount of physics, something I have actually tested directly. I take it on the trust of universal consensus, and confirm that trust by the knowledge that ordinary experience of seasons, the phases of the moon, and the calendrical cycle do not contradict it.

That the Earth goes around the Sun has, as people sometimes say, a different epistemic status than the claim that Britain is in lockdown or my grandmother’s hair is grey. I believe all these things to be true, but I know some in ways that I do not know others. And, of those things I know on others’ authority, I of course hold some more deeply than others. I would be greatly surprised to hear that SARS-CoV-2 does not cause the novel pneumonia and reluctant to believe anyone who said so. Still, if such evidence were to be produced and gain evident currency among virologists, I would not hold onto a hypothesis formed under the pressure of a spreading epidemic with the tenacity with which I would hold onto a hypothesis upheld by centuries of astronomical observation and confirmed by the great successes of engineering (satellites, space stations, moon landings) enabled by an astronomy that includes, among its many findings, that the Earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical path.

There are many people who would insist with equal certainty on anthropogenic climate change and human evolution, but there are also many people who would adamantly deny them. Among either group, one view can become what everyone is supposed to know in that group, even if only one view holds the general respect of the educated (and so constitutes what everyone–in society as a whole–is supposed to know). To hold to a position or resist can thus take on overtones of politics and of something more indefinite and yet undeniably important: class will not quite do, as it suggests that social rank is decisive, but perhaps status. Controversy and opposition can shape what one thinks is under discussion, and imbue the discussion with a moral hue that, say, doubting heliocrentrism would not.

Today, the obvious objects of such tenacious, socially-inflected belief and disbelief involve science, sex, and some issues of practical governance. In late antiquity, we find that kind of tenacity focused on sexual lifestyles, too, but it’s ordinarily self-denial and refusal of marriage, not any sense of orientation, that is the main issue at stake. It’s monasticism, not liberation. The great dividing lines have to do with religion. There’s no party politics to speak of in the later Roman Empire, and very little substantial public controversy over natural science.

What I aim to do in this series of posts, therefore, is to take a number of topics–science, economics, civic life, and so forth–and say what it was that everyone knew about them in Augustine’s day. I do mean to keep those different senses of “everyone knowing” in play. Augustine will usually be our main source, and his views weren’t always uncontroversial. In fact, on many issues, they are distinctly controversial: he is describing what he thinks ought to become common knowledge, or what he wishes were, or what was common knowledge in his overlapping monastic, catholic, and educated circles. In some cases, we will quite distinctly be seeing “the world according to Augustine”: what he thought, possibly alone. But even then we are seeing what a particular ancient person thought, and that’s worthwhile in itself.

Your donations keeping Kenyan seminary going!

(OCMC) - His Eminence Elder Archbishop Makarios of Kenya recently sent OCMC an update on the Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus Patriarchal Seminary in Kenya. Thankfully, your support has made it possible for the seminary to make the necessary adjustments and continue its operations amidst COVID-19. Read His Eminence's update below:

Greetings in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Allow me to write this letter in regards to my email and telephone conversation with Fr. Martin, to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Orthodox Christian Mission Center fraternity and moreso the OCMC board headed by Fr. Martin Ritsi, the Executive Director, for the cordial relationship and the support for our mission work here in Kenya that has spanned for many years.

Through your support and grants for the Orthodox Patriarchal Ecclesiastical School: Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus Seminary, and especially during these times of global economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we thank God that the seminary is still functioning through an online learning program, which was mandated by government restrictions and guidelines to help curb the spread of COVID-19 in Kenya. We have continued to offer the learning process through the online platform, which has really helped us to complete our syllabus and prepare for the graduation of our students towards the end of the year. This has proven to be the best way to engage our students, but at the same time our expenditure has largely remained constant. This is because the lecturers and subordinate staff must be paid their monthly salaries, and we still have office and administration costs for the preparations of lessons, as well as security, electricity, and general maintenance bills which remains to some level constant. The only overhead that is not expensed is the food and catering service, although we still have a budget for it.

Your moral, spiritual, and financial support has enabled us to fulfill the Gospel of Jesus Christ through teaching. It is really a great blessing for all of us – and we note the great sacrifice from our brothers and sisters at OCMC. May the Almighty God continue to bless you.

In Christ’s Service,
Archbishop Makarios of Kenya

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Ordination of Arch. Elisée (Germain) to the episcopate

On June 28, 2020, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Metropolitan John of Dubna, head of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Rue Daru in Paris. Concelebrating with Metropolitan John were Metropolitan Antony of Chersonesus and Western Europe, Archbishop Nestor of Madrid and Lisbon, and Bishop Symeon of Domodedovo, vicar of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition. During the Liturgy Archimandrite Elisée (Germain), rector of the French-speaking community of the Holy Trinity at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky, was consecrated Bishop of Reutov, vicar of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition.

New St. Athanasius College course offerings

( - St. Athanasius Academy Announces Class with Bishop JOHN, Other Resources

Father John Finley, Chairman of the Department of Missions & Evangelism, and Interim Dean​ of St. Athanasius College and St. Athanasius Academy, announces several resources:

His Grace Bishop JOHN: This fall, Bishop JOHN is teaching an online class called "Pastoral Care Revisited." Registration is currently open to Antiochian clergy only. On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the registration will open up to clergy from all Orthodox jurisdictions. There are only 20 spots in this class. Reserve your spot for only $50! Register and learn more!​

Fr. Michael Oleksa: Fr. Michael is teaching two sociology courses for the college. His first course, Communicating Across Cultures, is an excellent course to help us understand and deal with current events. Learn more HERE. Let me give a personal nod on this one. If you have not heard him speak before, you are in for a treat.

Academy Core Subjects: The academy is offering core subjects from 4th grade to 12th grade. Subjects include language arts, math, social studies, civics & economics, and Greek. Learn more HERE.

Parenting Conference: We are working on our next parenting conference. We have tentatively scheduled this to take place this fall. Details will be shared as soon as possible.

New bishops for Russian Archdiocese of W. Europe

(ROC) - On June 28, 2020, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, Metropolitan John of Dubna, head of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky in Rue Daru in Paris. Concelebrating with Metropolitan John were Metropolitan Antony of Chersonesus and Western Europe, Archbishop Nestor of Madrid and Lisbon, and Bishop Symeon of Domodedovo, vicar of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition.
During the Liturgy Archimandrite Elisée (Germain), rector of the French-speaking community of the Holy Trinity at the Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky, was consecrated Bishop of Reutov, vicar of the Archdiocese of Western European Parishes of Russian Tradition.

The decision concerning the election of two vicar hierarchs for the Archdiocese was taken at its general assembly on January 24, 2020, and approved by the resolution of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church of March 11, 2020 (Minutes No. 12). The rite of nomination of Archimandrite Symeon (Cossec) as Bishop of Domodedovo and Archimandrite Elisée (Germain) as Bishop of Reutov took place in the evening of June 26. The episcopal consecration of Archimandrite Symeon was performed on Saturday, June 27.

Among those concelebrating the Sunday Liturgy were also Protopresbyter Anatole Rakovitch, Protopresbyter Jean Gueit, Archpriest Eugene Chapyuk, Archpriest Nicolas Crnokrak, Priest Maxim Politov, and clergy of the Archdiocese.

After the Liturgy Metropolitan John of Dubna expressed his best wishes to Bishop Elisée of Reutov in his lofty episcopal ministry. Vladyka Elisée gave his first archpastoral blessing to numerous parishioners, website of the diocese of Chersonesus reports.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

EP affirms non-negotiable nature of Eucharist


Between​​ June 23 - 25 2020, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate was convened for its regular meeting of the current month at the Orthodox Center of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Chambésy, Geneva. On the first day, the chairmen of the synodal committees were engaged in their cooperative work. Many of the Hierarchs of the Throne in Europe were present as well.

During this meeting, the Official Letters of Their Beatitiudes the Orthodox Primates that had been received thus far in response to the letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch to them of May 17th of this year, on the issue of the mode of distribution of Holy Communion that emerged after the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, were read and discussed. It was satisfactorily determined that their opinion coincided with that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. This consists of the following:

a) The Mystery of the Divine Eucharist is non-negotiable, because we believe that through it it is transmitted to the faithful the Body and Blood of the Savior Christ "unto the remission of sins and life eternal" and it is impossible that through this Mystery of Mysteries any disease might be communicated to those who partake. For this reason, the Church remains steadfast and immovable in its teaching towards the essence of the Mystery of Holy Communion.

b) As to the mode of distributing the ineffable Mysteries to the faithful, the Church, respecting Holy Tradition that is interwoven inextricably with the daily ecclesiastical practice and kenoitc experience, and as the guardian and vigilant watchman of those traditions handed down from the Holy Father, finds no need for a change of this mode, especially under pressure from external factors.

At the same time, the Mother Church, mindful of the special needs of Her children in the Diaspora, urges the Chief Shepherds who serve in the Diaspora that with a pastoral sensitivity, responsibility, and consciousness, to temporarily make, by economia, accommodations to problematic situations that arise from local laws of the State for the greater spiritual benefit of the Christian people, always in coordination with the Sacred Center at the Phanar.

In Geneva, 25, June 2020

From the Chief Secretariat

of the Holy and Holy Synod

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

On the Sunday of the Chinese Martyrs

(OMSGSA) - Sunday of the Chinese Martyrs - Second Sunday after Pentecost/Second Sunday of Matthew

On this day, second Sunday of Matthew, we celebrate the Synaxis (gathering) of the Chinese Orthodox Christians who were martyred in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion in the year 1900. 

Short History

In the year of our Lord 1900, when the Empress Dowager reigned over the vast country of China and supported the Boxer Rebellion against all foreigners, two-hundred twenty Orthodox Christians in Peking died as martyrs, although a few others lost courage and renounced the truth of the Gospel. Leader of the martyrs was the Priest Metrophanes Tsi-Chung. Many others followed his example and became martyrs with him, by various means, among whom were his wife Tatiana and sons Isaiah and John, Isaiah’s fiancée Maria, also Paul Wang, the teacher Ia Wang, the eight year old boy John, Clement Kui Lin, Matthew Chai Tsuang, his brother Witt, Anna Chui, and many others, whose names are known by the Lord of life who awards the crowns. 


China, too, possesses Christ-bearing Martyrs,
who continually lift their hands in prayer for her.

The good  earth of China bore fruit, the God-loving Martyrs.

By the intercessions of Your Saints, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

Mode 3. Seeing how beautiful.

When you renounced your false ancestral errors all, * you came to know that Christ is God and Lord of all. * When you courageously proclaimed that He is the only Savior, * you endured the suffering and the tortures as if you were * bodiless, and you received from His hand the unfading crown. * And now you intercede for all of China * to see the light of knowledge, O Martyr Saints.

Mode 4. You who were lifted.

In recent times you imitated the martyrs of former times in your victorious contests, O blessed Saints, for you competed valiantly for Christ. Watering the holy Church of the great land of China with your blood, you have received a crown from Lord’s hand. As you are standing near Him in the heights, commemorate us who honor your martyrdom. 


Sweet is the death of Martyrs and full of gladness; for the abuse and tortures endured for Christ bring an abundance of honor. Therefore the great multitude of Chinese martyrs has brought spiritual joy to the entire Church today, as she marvels at their courage and steadfastness of mind, and also their indomitable confession of faith, by which they glorified Jesus the giver of the crowns, after being killed in various ways. We who love martyrs dutifully celebrate them and in faith cry out to them: “Athletes of the Lord, worthy of God, as you are standing near Him in the heights, commemorate us who honor your martyrdom.

Russian Church sees reason where many of us do not

Moscow, June 20 (Interfax) - Head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Metropolitan Hilarion believes that toppling of statues in the USA is an attempt to rewrite the history.

"We certainly should not project modern standards to the past. People of the past lived according to other rules, they spoke a different language, they acted in a different way, and just automatically transfer all acting standards, especially the existing in the West so-called liberal standards, to the past of humanity - it means to rewrite history permanently," the metropolitan said on air Church and the World program on Rossiya-24 TV.

According to the hierarch, it is impossible to rewrite the history and "it is necessary to pay tribute to outstanding figures of the past basing on the standards that existed that time and not artificially project modern standards to the past."

Thus the Russian Orthodox Church official responded to mass dismantling of monuments in America to people who had to do with slavery, which commenced on the back of the protests against murder of Afro-American George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis.