(ABC News) - Macedonia's Orthodox Church has backtracked from an initial ban on its clergy using Facebook, but says it will instead impose social networking restrictions.
The decision to prohibit use of the site in October sparked tensions between older Church dignitaries who don't use the Internet and the younger clergy.
Church officials at the time had said the ban was intended to prevent "new phenomena of confessions and intimate conversations with young people."
On Thursday, Bishop Clement, secretary of the Holy Synod, which governs Macedonia's Church, said officials would "clarify" how members of the clergy would be allowed to use Facebook. He did not offer further details.
About two-thirds of Macedonia's 2 million people are Orthodox Christians.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
It should be noted that Bishop Lukas has repeatedly stated that these words were not his.
(CWN) - A Greek Orthodox bishop’s exhortation to Syrian Christians to take up arms is “insane” and “reckless,” a Syrian Catholic prelate told the Fides news agency.
Bishop Lukas El Khoury, an auxiliary bishop of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, had said that “every young Christian in a position to do so should take up arms to protect Syria, churches, and convents,” Fides reported. “We cannot remain with arms folded.”
“As men of the Church, we cannot incite Christians to take up arms and to take part in the conflict,” Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo, the Syrian Catholic archbishop of Hassaké-Nisibi, said in response. “We cannot say these things, it is insane. It goes against the Gospel and the Christian doctrine … Reckless statements put Christians in danger of becoming targets of violence.”
In “the situation in which we find ourselves, every individual, even Christian, is free to make his own choices according to conscience,” Archbishop Hindo added. “Last year the government had offered me 700 Kalashnikovs to be distributed among the Christians of Hassaké, and a thousand for those of Qamishli, and I refused. We are against violence, from whatever side it comes.”
|Seminarians from St. Sophia Seminary pray for Ukraine.|
(UOC-USA) - The use of force, confrontation and violence will fail to resolve political issues!
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!
The events of the last several weeks and especially the last several days in the life of independent Ukraine have caused the Council of Bishops of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to call upon the brothers and sisters in Ukraine to remain true to their aspirations to continue the development of true democratic society that has been under a severe threat. As you know from various media outlets, thousands of Ukrainian citizens have taken liberty to stand up for their beliefs by participating in protests-maydans throughout Ukraine and especially in the capital of Kyiv.
As we have stated in the past: throughout Ukraine’s history, millions of people have given their lives for freedom, dignity and human rights, in order to reclaim the right to peaceful demonstration as well as political and societal activity. We solemnly repeat - The voice of the street must be heard and respected and it cannot be silenced by the noise and uncertainties of those in leadership positions who choose to confuse and abuse by utilizing violence against the protestors. The use of force, confrontation and violence will fail to resolve political issues!
We call upon the leaders of Ukraine to address and immediately cease the violence against the protestors. The country's democratic future will depend on dialogue and the ability to listen to voice of Ukrainian citizens. It is essential that logic and calm prevail. No physical force will ever succeed in eliminating the free will and the voice of the citizenry! The authorities must respect the protestors who simply exercise their political and constitutional – and most importantly – God-Given rights to peacefully gather in protest and demonstration. All the leaders and citizens of the Ukrainian nation must, as Saint Paul reminds us, clothe themselves in “heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” (Col. 3:12)
We direct the clergy and parishes of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to serve a special Moleben service following Divine Liturgy on Sunday, December 15, 2013, beseeching the Lord to shed light on those in darkness, so that they may comprehend the seriousness of the present moment. The future of Ukraine may very well be determined by the actions and words of both those in governmental positions and those protesting peacefully on the streets out of love for their nation. A dialogue must be established between all concerned so as to avoid a degradation of the situation into chaos and economic ruin.
Embracing the gift of freedom with you, our spiritual children here in the United States of America and with those in Ukraine and in the hope of moving forward, rather than backward in history, we beseech with awe and thanksgiving the Father of lights and every perfect gift, the Son of righteousness and the Spirit of truth to descend upon us all, embrace us, guiding and perfecting our every deed.
P.S. We know that many of our faithful have expressed desire to offer monetary assistance to those on the streets of Kyiv and other cities. We encourage them to forward their contributions to the already established channels through Ukrainian Credit Unions and other community organizations.
(Standard Speaker) - A shuttered church could get new life in Sheppton.
A Russian Orthodox Rite congregation in Mayfield bought an historic Russian Orthodox church in Sheppton that closed down years ago. They plan to make it usable sometime in the future for possibly a Russian Orthodox parish.
The church is located on West Market Street in Sheppton and, according to East Union Township resident John Biros, services haven't been conducted there in more than 20 years.
Biros said he and his wife, Ann, purchased the church with the intention of perhaps building a home on the property, but once inside something told him not to demolish the old church because it was so beautiful.
"It was not heated but it somehow withstood the elements after it went out of service and it was preserved," Biros said. "It was just amazing how beautiful it was inside."
Schuylkill County records indicate that Biros purchased the church in 1999 for $5,000 and sold it for $30,000 in 2003 to the Russian Orthodox Church in Mayfield.
Father John Sorochka of St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield used those same words to describe what he saw when he went inside with then-owner John Biros. He had contacted Biros about his parish wanting to buy the church and was struck with how well preserved the church was after all the years had passed.
"We were very much surprised how beautiful the inside of the church was," Father Sorochka said.
The Russian Orthodox parish in Mayfield and some local volunteers intend to restore the church so that at least a service could be conducted in it from time to time, Father Sorochka said.
About five years ago, Father Sorochka 71, and a few of those volunteers put a new roof on the church to stop any rain or water from leaking into the structure and he said the outside needs a new coat of paint.
"The inside needs some cosmetic work but it is a very solid church," Father Sorochka said. "Outside the church looks rustic."
He noted that some paper print icons were found inside with "vibrant," original colors that are more than 100 years old.
"There is a chandelier missing but the altar is there and again it is surprisingly in good shape considering the years that have passed since a service was held inside it," he said.
Biros bought the church 14 years ago and his only stipulation in selling was that it remain a church, according to Father Sorochka. The parish didn't hesitate to buy it.
"Just from a historic aspect it is believed to be one of the first, if not the first Russian Orthodox Church in the area, its very important," Father Sorochka said. " The cornerstone of the church is marked 1891."
The county records indicate the church was officially built in 1894.
The Russian Orthodox Church in Mayfield has almost 800 parishioners and in two years St. John The Baptist will celebrate its 125th anniversary, Father Sorochka said. The congregation may look into having the Sheppton church added to the Schuylkill County Historical Register.
"Our position is that we want to get the Sheppton church in usable condition to where it can have a service once a month," Father Sorochka said. He added, "It's cost a few dollars, so far. The roof was most expensive and, you know, the cosmetic things, like the grass has to be cut and maintained each year."
Father Sorochka said if anyone would like to donate money toward getting the outside of the church painted they can contact St. John The Baptist Cathedral in Mayfield at 570-876-0730.
"Its part of the history of that town, so, for that reason alone in addition to the spiritual aspect," he said. "This is the actual motivation to restore a landmark church in Sheppton."
Apologies for the machine translation.
(Portal-Credo) - DOCUMENT: official hierarchy of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia split into two jurisdictions. Statement of Archbishop Simeon Brno-Olomouc Orthodox clergy and believers throughout the church community.
Warn the clergy and faithful of the Orthodox Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia about the fact that after today (09.12.2013) the Holy Synod, I was the only representative of our canonical Orthodox Church. The remaining members of the Holy Synod meeting today, unfortunately, acted in contradiction to the holy canons, which led to a confrontation with the current High Representative for our church and thus to exercise a split in the bosom of the Orthodox Church.
I am in a strong disorder of their actions and I dare say that this situation is not caused by me. Such a result would not and do not bear responsibility for it. Only wanted to solve problemmu vacant Prague archbishopric department in the sense that I was recently pronounced in two open Pastoral Epistles. Their content in the familiar church. Assume that the remaining members of the Synod decide to create an unfavorable situation and do not want to openly violated because the canonical and constitutional principles that led to the split.
I warn you that message during the last meeting of the Synod, which was posted on the Internet pages (http://pravoslavnacirkev.cz) contains false information.
I ask all our other clerics and all the Orthodox faithful of our Church to recognize the Archbishop stopped Rostislav, Archbishop and Bishop George Jehoiakim for Canonical Orthodox spiritual leaders, and closed to and supported only the canonical bishop of our church who, after today's events, I'm just. I'm sorry that the other members of the Synod have chosen the path of confrontation and division. I will make every effort to calm the current turbulent situation. Will go exclusively dear saint of the Orthodox tradition and canons of the holy fathers, and will ask for help from other Local Churches, primarily - the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
(Notes from Arab Orthodoxy) - Apologies for this being the translation of a translation. The below is based on the French here, translated from a report on Amen.gr here. The text of Patriarch Theophilos' letter to Patriarch John can be read, in Greek, here.
The Patriarchate of Jerusalem remains firm in its initial position regarding its ecclesial jurisdiction over Qatar but, according to some reports, it is proposing to the Patriarchate of Antioch-- which questions the Church of Jerusalem's rights over the diocese in question-- to form a special commission made up of scholars of canon law in order to study and document ecclesial jurisdiction in the region. The same sources mention that the Patriarchate of Antioch has already received a letter from the patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos, in which he responds to the arguments elaborated by the patriarch of Antioch, John, in his previous letter. Figures from the Church of Antioch in contact with the website Amen.gr call the Patriarchate of Jerusalem's expression of support for the Syrian people tried by the clashes of the Civil War a sign of brotherly love. Nevertheless, regarding the dispute that has arisen over Qater, they report that Jerusalem maintains its initial position and that its proposal to have the question discussed by a group of specialized scholars as part of the dialogue between the two churches has been reiterated. According to the same sources, the patriarch of Jerusalem, recalls in his letter his constant position regarding his canonical presence and pastoral activity in Qatar, as they were elaborated in a letter going back to March 2013. The Patriarchate of Jerusalem reiterates its disposition toward dialogue and negotiations that it showed in its willingness to participate in the four-way negotiations recently held in Athens under the auspices of Costas Tsiaras, at the time the Greek vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, with the participation of representatives from the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Antioch and the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. As far as the Church of Antioch's warning about it suspending communion with the Patriarchate of Jerusalem if it does not leave Qatar, the patriarch of Jerusalem stresses in his letter to patriarch John of Antioch that that such an act would shatter the unity of the sister Churches and of all Orthodoxy.
(Moscow Times) - According to a member of the Tomsk diocese, the use of an expletive banned in the media is necessary to denounce women who have babies without being married.
A missionary from the Russian Orthodox Church has proposed "rehabilitating" a common Russian expletive and using it to refer to single mothers and unmarried women who live with their partner.
Maxim Stepanenko, a missionary from the Tomsk diocese, justified his use of the word by saying that it is cognate with an archaic word for "deception" or "adultery" that appears in a Church Slavonic translation of the New Testament.
The modern-day expletive can be translated as "harlot," though it is commonly used as an all-purpose irate interjection by many Russian speakers.
Stepanenko said that the expletive was necessary to denounce the women who have babies without being married and suggested bring it back into common usage.
"Alas, the old Russian word [expletive] and all of its derivatives have become indecent," he said in an article published on a website run by the diocese last week. "This, of course, was no accident. There are so many [expletive] around, and this word is scorching."
The original article was removed from the website on Wednesday, but can still be seen in a Google cache version (see here).
The government has been trying to boost birth rates by offering financial incentives to parents with two or more children, but Stepanenko said the country was doomed as long as children were being born out of wedlock.
Nearly one-third of babies born in the Tomsk region in 2012 were born by single mothers, he said, citing regional government figures.
"So many [expletive] in the Tomsk land!" Stepanenko said, referring to single mothers. "We have no future."
A law signed by President Vladimir Putin last spring prohibits the Russian media from using the word, along with several other crude expletives, in print or broadcasts, with violations punishable by a fine.
Documentary about daily life of a Men's Monastery in Abkhazia.
Monday, December 9, 2013
(Antiochian.org) - December 7, 2013
The President and Mrs. Obama; The White House; 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW; Washington D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President and Mrs. Obama,
Greetings and best wishes to you and to your two precious daughters in the spirit of this Holy Christmas season. I was honored to receive your invitation to attend a White House holiday reception on Friday, December 6th, 2013.
I remember fondly my attendance at the White House reception two years ago. The photograph which we took together on that auspicious occasion continues to adorn my office. Unfortunately Mr. President, I did not attend your holiday reception this year because while I do have the joy of Christmas, I do not have the peace of Christmas. This is the peace which the angels proclaimed on that Holy Night "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men" (Luke 2:14). Although I am Lebanese by birth and a proud American citizen for the past fifty-seven years, I received my secondary education in the cities of Homs and Damascus, Syria.
Mr. President I do not have the peace of Christmas because there is no peace either in Lebanon or in Syria. During the time which I spent in Syria as a student and secretary to the late Patriarch Alexandros Tahan, I ate the bread of Syria, I drank the water of Syria, I breathed the air of Syria and I enjoyed the most generous hospitality of the Syrian people.
No Mr. President, I do not have the peace of Christmas while two of my brother archibishops Boulos Yazigi and Youhanna Ibrahim are still in captivity in northern Syria with no news since their abduction. Actually Mr. President, we do not know whether they are alive or dead. Two weeks ago, Mr. President, twelve of our Orthodox nuns were abducted from the convent of St. Thekla of Maaloula, Syria. These nuns are innocent women who care for some orphans in the convent. These peaceful women do not have arms and do not fight but pray for peace every day and night. I contacted the State Department and spoke to Ambassador Ford who promised me that he is doing everything possible to gain the release of the two abducted Archbishops and the nuns, but to no avail.
Recently a video appeared on Al-Jazeera network which reportedly showed the nuns and the Abbess of the convent, Mother Pelagia in captivity, and she said that they were living in a villa. What a mockery! If the abductors wanted the nuns to escape the bombardment of Maaloula, they could have sent them to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Damascus, which can accommodate one hundred nuns. We know the truth Mr. President. The truth is that the video was made under extreme psychological pressure, which these nuns are enduring every day. There is every reason to fear for their safety.
Finally Mr. President, anything that you can do as the leader of the free world to stop the bloodshed and destruction in Syria will be very deeply appreciated. May the peace of Christmas which this broken world does not understand dwell in your hearts and in the hearts of your family forever.
Metropolitan PHILIP (Saliba)
The Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese
of North America
|(Νυχθημερόν) - Sunday morning, Dec. 8, 2013, the Greek Community of Pretoria, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation, attended a Memorial Service for the great leader of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, who has already received the proper place in the pantheon of world history as a leading fighter for equality and fairness among people and, yet, as a staunch defender of the weak and disadvantaged Africans.|
Saturday, December 7, 2013
(The Daily Saint) - Patrick McConlogue, 23, is a brilliant programmer who would pass by Leo Grand, a homeless man, every day on his way to work. Something about the man struck him, and one day on a whim, McConlogue offered Grand $100 no questions asked, or an old laptop, three books on coding and one hour of coding lessons every day for two months. Grand took Door Number Two.
That was a few months ago, and since then, people have been following the journey of the unexpected pair on their Facebook page called Journeyman.
Just this week, Grand appeared on the Today Show and CNN to discuss his new app called Trees for Cars, which matches people looking for rides with drivers in the area.
The opportunity has been a lifeline for Grand, a computer lover who said he’s been sleeping in shelters for two years since the rent at his former apartment shot up and he was evicted.
And Grand has proven to be an apt student under McConlogue’s teachings.
“The speed at which I’m going through these lessons is insane,’’ McConlogue told TODAY. “We barely cover things twice. His memory is really, really good.”
Grand, who is passionate about science and the environment, created the app in order to promote carpooling to combat global warming.
“All homeless people are mentally ill, lazy, unintelligent — that’s the stigma,’’ Grand said. “It doesn’t really matter [about] your living arrangements as long as you’ve got the mindset to do it and the will.”
“You give a man a fish, you feed him for a day,’’ McConlogue said. “You teach a man to fish, and you watch him change the world.”
Friday, December 6, 2013
BEIRUT (The Daily Star) - Thirteen kidnapped Lebanese and Syrian nuns appeared in good health in a video broadcast by Al-Jazeera Friday, with one captive saying they would be released in two days.
“We are 13 nuns and three civilians and we are here in a very, very nice villa ... and we will leave in two days,” one of the nuns said in response to a question posed by a man behind the camera.
Asked whether they considered themselves hostages, another nun said they were evacuated from Maaloula into a safer place as a result of heavy shelling on the Christian town.
One of the nuns also said they were being treated fairly, urging opposing forces in Syria to refrain from targeting religious sites such as mosques and churches.
A group calling itself the Free Qalamoun Battalion demanded the release of 1,000 Syrian women detainees as part of a swap deal to secure the release of the nuns seized from a convent in Syria.