Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Getting to know the Episcopal Assembly

It's interesting reading. How many of our bishops are monks? How many had secular jobs first? How many were Catholics? If that sort of thing piques your interest, give it a read.


(EA) - "Fast Questions and Fast Answers about American Orthodox Bishops" (PDF) is the first essay in a new series called "Fast Questions and Fast Answers…," a group of mini-reports to be published in the next few months. Based on questions that American Orthodox hierarchs often receive from clergy and parishioners, this essay offers readers plenty of interesting facts about their lives as Bishops, as well as who they are as people. Here are a few examples of the questions that are answered in this mini-report:
  • What are our Bishops’ personal hobbies, talents and interests?
  • Prior to becoming a clergyman, have any of the American Orthodox hierarchs worked in some "secular" – not church-related – job positions?
  • Is being a Bishop a difficult "job?" What are the challenges that American Orthodox hierarchs face?
Read this story and if you have any follow up questions, feel free to ask. Send your inquiries to: akrindatch@aol.com

And get ready for the upcoming mini-reports, such as "Fast Questions and Fast Answers:

…about the Geography of Orthodoxy in America"
…about Church Attendance in American Orthodox Christian Parishes"
…about Young Adult Parishioners"
…about Orthodox Students in American Colleges and Universities"

Many more mini-reports will follow.

Romanian monastic synaxis held

(Basilica) - The superiors of the monasteries within the Archdiocese of Bucharest gathered Thursday, September 20, in Bucharest for a Synaxis chaired by His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel.

The assembly was held at the Conventus Hall of the Patriarchal Palace and was attended by His Grace Timotei of Prahova, the assistant bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest.

The session was opened by the Patriarch of Romania who spoke about the contribution of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the achievement of the 1918 Great Union.

‘The Church’s contribution was very important through the cultivation of national consciousness over the centuries and the direct involvement of the clergy in all this work of achieving the Great Union, as one can see in the list of the 1228 delegates at Alba Iulia.’

‘These delegates included many Orthodox deans and priests,’ the Patriarch said.

At the Synaxis, the patriarchal vicar Archimandrite Paisie Teodorescu spoke about Romania’s first Patriarch Miron Cristea and his contribution to the 1918 Great Union.

Earlier the same day, the monastics attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated by Bishop Timotei of Prahova at the Ss Constantine and Helen Patriarchal Cathedral.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Executive Committee of Episcopal Assembly meets

(Antiochian.org) - The Executive Committee of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America met Tuesday at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. The meeting was chaired by His Eminence Archbishop DEMETRIOS. Those present were First Vice-Chairman, His Eminence Metropolitan JOSEPH (AOCA), His Eminence, Secretary, Metropolitan GREGORY (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of North America) and Treasurer, His Eminence Archbishop MICHAEL (OCA). Also attending were His Beatitude, Metropolitan TIKHON (OCA) and His Grace Bishop SABA (Georgian Orthodox Church). Other guests included Archpriest Thomas Zain, (AOCA) and Nicholas Anton (GOA).

The hierarchs met in preparation for the Assembly in Cleveland next month, in order to plan the agenda and review the previous year's work. At the end of the meeting, Archbishop DEMETRIOS hosted a lunch for all present. ​

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Coptic Pope Tawadros II on extended visit to US

(ahramonline) - In his first papal visit to northern US cities, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II is sending clear messages of trust in the Egyptian leadership, comfort and unity concerning the circumstances of Copts in Egypt and hope in the future of the country.

Pope Tawadros II left Cairo on Thursday 13 September for his first stop in Cedar Grove in New Jersey.

The pope's tour includes New York, New Jersey, Florida and California.

The organising committee member of the US visit Osama Ibrahim told Al-Ahram Weekly that the pope was expected to inaugurate 20 new churches in New York among a total of 68 during his tour, all under the auspices of Bishop David, bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church of New York and New England dioceses.

The pope is expected to spend 29 days in the US. He is staying in New York until 5 October, after which he will fly to Florida, then leave to San Francisco in California on 7 October, Ibrahim said.

Tawadros’ visit to the US is his second since he became leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria in November 2012. The first was in 2015 when he met the Coptic community in the western state of California.

Around 900,000 Egyptians reside in the US, according to 2017 figures from Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

During the holy mass at the inauguration of a new church in Queens in New York, named Queen Helana Church, Tawadros II gave a sermon in which he spoke to the congregation about the latest developments in Egypt.

Tawadros II stressed that the leadership of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi prioritises unity among all the Egyptian community and understands the great danger of divisions and fragmentation that destroys societies.

“The president leads the country like a maestro, and he refuses to name citizens by their religion. We are all one, but in some places, Egypt suffers from ignorance and intolerance,” the pope said, highlighting that changing people’s way of thinking needs time.

He then warned the Coptic diaspora about fake news, highlighting that many news stories concerning Egypt and the Coptic Church are sometimes manipulated.

“Do not listen to most of the news; 99 per cent of Facebook news is false and fake,” Tawadros II said.

Manal Rizk, 53, who was among the congregation at the newly inaugurated church at Queens, spoke to the Weekly on how she felt when listening to Tawadros II.

“I felt that all the statements concerning fake news are really true. It was good to hear this from His Holiness. It makes me feel more comfortable,” Rizk said, adding that the younger generation always has mixed thoughts when reading the news, but that the pope knows how to reach them.

Speaking on improvements that have been made in Egypt, Tawadros II said, “Egypt, like any other country, has white, black and grey pages”, but that the situation has been improving over the past five years.

Among the signs of improvement, he pointed out, is the road network where around 3,000 kilometres have been added.

He added that Egypt is a developing country whose “budget and capabilities are limited”. Nonetheless, he said that the political leadership has a sincere desire to resolve existing problems.

No one can deny the existence of issues inside the church and in the community, Tawadros II said, but they are being calmly resolved.

Commenting on the pope’s messages, Coptic thinker Kamal Zakher told the Weekly that Tawadros II had presented the issues in a very balanced way.

“It is the first time that a pope speaks openly about the issues and deals realistically with the situation,” says Zakher.

The papal visit has had a positive effect on the Coptic diaspora living in the US. Rizk, who has been living in the US for the past 15 years, said she was excited that the pope was coming. “We worked on the church for three years non-stop. It was an amazing experience.”

Speaking about the church’s situation in Egypt, Rizk agreed with the message brought by the pope that change takes time.

Andrew Amir of the congregation at the Church of Saint Mark in Boston told the Weekly that the congregation rejoiced over the visit “and the blessing of his holiness” because such visits are not often repeated.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

President of Ukraine meets with EP exarchs

A common question: Will these exarchs meet with the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine (UOC-MP) while they are there? No. Hierarchs from Moscow and Kyiv have both stated emphatically that they will not meet with this legation.



(President of Ukraine) - President Petro Poroshenko had a meeting with the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine - Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in Canada and Archbishop Daniel of Pamphylia and the Western Eparchy of the UOC in the United States of America.

The Head of State emphasized that the beginning of the mission of the Exarchs of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Ukraine, Archbishop Daniel and Bishop Ilarion, is an extremely important event for all Orthodox people in Ukraine. "It is also extremely important that I can speak to you in Ukrainian. This is a huge pleasure and understanding that Ukraine has a big part in your heart," the President added.

"I am very grateful to His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for the courage and wisdom shown with your appointment," the President said. "We know that Ukrainians have prayed for hundreds of years to have the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. The views of Ukrainians were aimed at the Mother Church, Constantinople. It is wonderful that the Lord heard our prayers," Petro Poroshenko said.

The President stressed a long way had been passed over the last three years: "And in the framework of this way, we can say now that we have come to the finish line. This is an extremely enjoyable news".

The Head of State recalled the celebration of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Kyivan Rus’-Ukraine when hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took part in the Cross Procession. “And before that, there were hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian believers who prayed together for the Lord to give us the Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” he said.

"If you look at the faces of people who then walked in the procession, they were all filled with joy, peace and grace, waiting for the Autocephalous Orthodox Church to come to Ukraine and become a symbol of the unification of the country, peace, goodness, which would finally contribute to the unification of the Orthodox faith and the Ukrainian state," the President noted.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Abp. Job of Telmessos gets a tad bellicose

(Cerkvarium via RISU) - The process of preparing the granting of autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church is already at a practical level. This caused a lot of negative emotions from the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and the UOC-MP, who accused the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Patriarch Bartholomew of “heresy of papism”, interfering in the affairs of other Local churches, and almost preparing a new pan-orthodox schism. Such aggressive allegations could not have been left without a response from the Mother Church — the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Cerkvarium is grateful to the Archbishop of Telmessos Job (Gecha) for providing detailed explanations on the most painful issues that concern Orthodox believers.

— The Moscow Patriarchate insists that autocephaly can only be requested by the canonical part of a Church, and everything else is “the legalization of the schism.” But all the latest autocephalies arose as a result of separation exclusively from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, and this was very difficult and painful. Are there any recognized rules to who can ask for autocephaly, how and when? After all, the greatest experience in this matter – is in Constantinople.

— If you study the history of the Orthodox Church, according to texts and documents, rather than created myths and false historiography, it is evident that absolutely all modern autocephalies have been proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Even if we take the history of the Orthodox Church in Russia, we see that its autocephaly was self-proclaimed in 1448, when Moscow elected metropolitan Jonas independently, without the consent of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. It is interesting to emphasize that the Orthodox Church in Russia has never been given a tomos of autocephaly! In 1589-1590, Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremias II simply normalized the situation by raising this see to a patriarchal rank, while allowing the Moscow bishop “to be called” patriarch, provided that he would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch and consider him “as his head and protos”, as stated in the letter.

Later autocephalies that were proclaimed in the 19th and 20th centuries – all were proclaimed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate: the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Greece (1850), in Serbia (1879 and elevated to the a patriarchate in 1922), in Romania (1885 and elevated to a patriarchate in 1925), in Poland (1924), in Albania (1937) in Bulgaria (1945 and elevated to a patriarchate in 1961), in Georgia (1990) and in the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1998). Each of these proclamations was linked to a political factor and autocephaly was proclaimed as a way of ensuring the unity of the Church, within the interior of each of these states, as well as the unity between the Local Churches.

In addition to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the history of the Orthodox Church, no other Local Church has proclaimed autocephaly. True, the Orthodox Church in Russia may claim that it proclaimed the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Georgia (1943), in Czechoslovakia (1951) and in America (1970), but these autocephalies were not recognized by the fullness of the Orthodox Church as the Orthodox Church in Russia does not have such a prerogative of providing autocephaly. Therefore, these three Churches themselves appealed to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for providing tomoses of autocephaly. Over time, the Ecumenical Patriarchate normalized the situation by declaring the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Georgia (1990) and in the Czech Lands and Slovakia (1998).

Orthodox Christian attorney gathering set for October in FL

Lengthy report on Muscovite-Constantinopolitan relations

(ROC-DECR) - The Statement was adopted at an extraordinary session of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church on 14 September 2018 (Minutes No. 69).

With profound regret and sorrow the Holy Synod the Russian Orthodox Church learned about the statement made by the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Constantinople concerning the appointment of its two “exarchs” to Kiev. This decision was taken without an agreement with the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church and His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine – the only canonical head of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. It constitutes a flagrant violation of the ecclesiastical law and an intervention of one Local Church in the territory of the other. Moreover, the Patriarchate of Constantinople presents the appointment of the “exarchs” as a stage in the implementation of a plan aimed at granting “autocephaly” to Ukraine. This process, according to the statements of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, is irreversible and will be carried through.

Trying to justify the claims of the Throne of Constantinople for renewing its jurisdiction over the Kiev Metropolia, the Phanar representatives allege that the Kiev Metropolia has actually never been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate. Such allegations are untrue and completely contradict the historical facts.

The Russian Orthodox Church and its first see – the Kiev Metropolia – constituted a whole for centuries, despite various political and historical tribulations which at times shattered the unity of the Russian Church. The Patriarchate of Constantinople, that originally had jurisdiction over the Russian Orthodox Church, consistently defended its unity until the middle of the 15th century, as was later reflected in the title of the Metropolitans of Kiev – “of All Russia.” And even after the Primatial see had been transferred from Kiev to Vladimir and then to Moscow, the Metropolitans of All Russia were stilled called Metropolitans of Kiev.

The temporary division of one Metropolia of All Russia into two parts was caused by the dire consequences of the Council of Ferrara-Florence and the beginning of the Unia with Rome, which the Church of Constantinople first accepted, and the Russian Church immediately rejected. In 1448 the Council of Bishops of the Russian Church, without the blessing of the Patriarch of Constantinople who was in the Unia at the time, elected St. Jonah as Metropolitan. At that moment the autocephalous life of the Russian Orthodox Church began. However, ten year later, in 1458, the former Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory Mammas, who was in the Unia and lived in Rome, consecrated an independent metropolitan for Kiev – Gregory the Bulgarian, an Uniate, and submitted to him the territories which are now parts of Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus and Russia.

Russian Church ceases commemorating EP Bartholomew

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Orthodox Church said on Friday it would no longer participate in structures chaired by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, deepening a row in Orthodox Christianity over the Ukrainian Church’s bid to break away from Moscow’s orbit.

The Russian Orthodox Church’s Holy Synod ruling body convened on Friday to consider how to respond as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has courted Constantinople to formally make it a self-governing body independent of Moscow.

Ukraine’s pro-Western political leaders have sought step by step to take the former Soviet republic out of Moscow’s orbit after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and a Moscow-backed insurgency broke out in eastern Ukraine.

Vladimir Legoida, a Russian Church spokesman, said the Holy Synod had decided to suspend its participation in all structures chaired or co-chaired by representatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

It is also suspending all services with top priests of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and will not commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in its services, Legoida wrote on social media, summarizing the outcome of the meeting.

“Essentially this is a breakdown of relations. To take an example from secular life, the decision is roughly equivalent to cutting diplomatic ties,” the Russian Church’s Metropolitan Ilarion was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.

RIVAL CHURCHES

The Moscow Patriarchate is part of the Russian Orthodox Church and has a sizeable following in Ukraine.

Kiev considers it a tool for the Kremlin to wield influence, while the Moscow Patriarchate sees itself as the only legitimate Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

The Kremlin said it was following the situation closely and opposed any split in Orthodoxy, adding that the state should not intervene in church matters.

“Of course for Moscow and indeed for the entire Orthodox world the single preferable scenario is the preservation of unity of this Orthodox world,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

The Moscow Patriarchate vies for influence in Ukraine with the Kiev Patriarchate - a branch of the Orthodox Church that broke away from Moscow in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union - and with other Orthodox and Catholic denominations.

The Kiev Patriarchate’s leader has been sharply critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in 2014 suggested he was possessed by Satan.

The Ecumenical Patriarch does not wield the power enjoyed by the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church but is traditionally regarded as the ‘first among equals’ among the patriarchs of the self-governing Orthodox churches and also as the spiritual leader of the roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.

The Ecumenical Patriarch, currently Bartholomew, also holds the title of Archbishop of Constantinople, the old Greek name for Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. The city fell to the Muslim Turks in 1453 but has remained the historic seat of Orthodoxy.

However Russia has long been home to the world’s largest Orthodox Christian Church.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Russian Church holds emergency session

(ROC-DECR) - On 14 September 2018, at the Patriarchal and Synodal residence in St. Daniel’s Monastery in Moscow, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church held an extraordinary session.

The permanent members of the Holy Synod are Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine; Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsy and Kolomna; Metropolitan Vladimir of Kishinev and All Moldova; Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan, head of the Metropolitan area in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Metropolitan Vikenty of Tashkent and Uzbekistan, head of the Metropolitan area of Central Asia; Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga, chancellor of the Moscow Patriarchate; Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavsk, Patriarchal Exarch for All Belarus; and Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations.

Summoned for the winter session (September-February) are Metropolitan Luka of Zaporozhye and Melitopol, Metropolitan Sergy of Barnaul and Altai, Bishop Lazar of Narva and Prichudye, Bishop Veniamin of Rybinsk and Danilov, and Bishop Nikolai of Nakhodka and Preobrazheniye.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia opened the meeting, saying:

“Today we have on our agenda one item pertaining to the implementation of the decision of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to send the so-called “exarchs” to Ukraine. On 8 September, our Synod made a statement concerning the decision taken by the Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to send these representatives, and we have received reliable information that they arrived in Ukraine and set to work.”

For health reasons His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev and All Ukraine could not attend the session. A video conference was organized, during which Metropolitan Onufry informed the members of the Synod of the situation in Ukraine after the appointment of the two representatives by the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

“It is true that both so-called “exarchs” of the Patriarchate of Constantinople have arrived in Ukraine,” His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry said, “One was assigned to conduct negotiations with the party of the so-called “patriarch” Philaret, and the other – with the party of “metropolitan” Makary, head of the “Ukrainian autocephalous orthodox church.”

“We have not met with them and have no intention to meet, because they came here without our blessing. As representatives of the canonical Church in Ukraine, we will not communicate with them. We will see how the situation will unfold,” Metropolitan Onufry added.

Based on the information received from Metropolitan Onufry, the members of the Synod will take decisions pertaining to this matter.

Greeting His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufry, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill expressed his hope that the supreme authority of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church would “continue to pursue the only right path of carrying out its ministry in accordance with the canons of the Orthodox Church.”

“The situation caused by the appointment of the so-called “exarchs” is mirroring the situation back in the 1920s, caused by the actions of the Patriarch of Constantinople. At the time our Church, led by His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon, was in the most difficult circumstances,” the Primate of the Russian Church said, “The Patriarch was under the tremendous pressure from the authorities, while the schismatic organization inspired by the authorities – the Renovationist “church” – was gaining strength. Then Patriarch Gregory VII of Constantinople made a decision to send the so-called “commission” to Moscow, allegedly at the request of some Orthodox believers. Of course, the Russian Orthodox Church sent no such requests to Patriarch Gregory VII. Those requests most likely came from the schismatics – Renovationists. And Patriarch Tikhon wrote a very clear, canonically justified letter, in which he protested against sending by another Local Church, in the uncanonical way, some “commission” to the canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church which he headed. We know in what difficult situation Patriarch Tikhon was at the time. Although the Patriarch was almost imprisoned, he expressed his position in a courageous and clear way.”

“Since the current situation in Ukraine is, as I have said, mirroring what was going on in the early 20th century, we must pursue the path that was courageously shown to us by His Holiness Patriarch Tikhon in the hardest period for our Church. This path is the only right and canonically justified one,” His Holiness Patriarch Kirill said in conclusion.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

In San Francisco, Holy Trinity Cathedral's new dome icons

UOC-MP calls for Synaxis of Patriarchs

(orthochristian.com) - In response to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s troubling intrusion into its canonical territory as a stepping stone towards granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian schismatics, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church has called for a council of all the primates of the autocephalous Local Orthodox Churches.

Archpriest Nikolai Danilevich, the deputy head of the Ukrainian Church’s Department for External Church Relations (DECR), spoke about this in an interview posted on the site of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church yesterday, saying, “I think that now is the time, on a global level, for the primates of the Churches to gather in a council, in a synaxis, a meeting, to make a decision on these matters, because very hard times are coming.”

“And we have created these times for ourselves, or rather, not we, but some of our brothers,” Fr. Danilevich added.

The DECR deputy head is referring to the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s recent appointment of two exarch bishops in Kiev: His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, a convert to Orthodoxy from Uniatism, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada. Their appointment was made “within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.”

The Ukrainian Church representative added that if the Ecumenical Patriarchate desires to solve the issue of the schism in Ukraine, he is invited to dialogue. “But this mustn’t be done clumsily: solving the small question of the Ukrainian schism but creating greater problems for all of universal Orthodoxy. This is wrong,” he said.

Asked about which Churches will support the Russian Church in this situation, and which will support the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the archpriest stated that he does think such predictions would be useful, but shared that “The patriarch of one of the Greek Churches, when he heard what had happened, grabbed his head, saying it’s a catastrophe. Other Churches are also concerned about what is happening.”

The synods, primates, and hierarchs of at least eleven of the fifteen autocephalous Orthodox Churches have expressed support for the canonical Ukrainian Church against the schismatic bodies that are currently seeking autocephaly. Their statements can be read here.

Fr. Danilevich also called on all Orthodox Christians to intensify their prayers for both His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill, “so that the Lord would guide them and grant them Solomonic wisdom to solve the problems that exist. If they solve these problems, then they will go down in history as the greatest patriarchs. If it is not resolved and Patriarch Bartholomew goes all the way, it will not bring honor to him or to us,” the DECR deputy head concluded.

Expelled HCHC seminarian ordained a ROCOR deacon

Can anyone supply some context here?


(Pokrov) - Pokrov.org recently learned that John Smyrni, the Holy Cross student who was expelled from the seminary in 2012, was made a deacon on March 26th of this year in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (PDF). He is now known as Deacon Gregory.

The former seminarian was removed from the school shortly prior to graduation due to “an incident of serious misconduct with a young adult woman. (PDF)” The National Herald reported that Smyrni was a middle aged man with six children of his own at the time. The young woman, barely past the age of majority, was hired by Smyrni to babysit his younger children.

Smyrni was ordained by Metropolitan Hilarian Kapral. The new deacon is now working at Saint Thomas Orthodox Church in Mountain Home, Arkansas, a Western Rite parish.

A Prayer in the face of inclement weather


O Master, Lord our God, Who through Thy consubstantial Word, Who is without beginning, and Thy life-giving Spirit, Who is equal in honor, hast brought everything out of nothingness into being; Who hast set sandy barriers to the sea, and hast weighed the mountains and the valleys in a balance; Who hast measured the skies and holds the water in the palm of Thy hand; Who hast given to this visible world of the senses its law and rules, its harmony and order; Who hast appointed changes to the weather and variations in the orbit of the sun; Who, through the mingling of the elements, holds all things together by Thine inexpressible power and keeps them free from harm and intact: Do Thou Thyself, all-good King, extending to us Thine innate and customary love and goodness, visit the work of Thy hands. Do not deprive us of Thy mercies and Thy compassion, and do not destroy Thine inheritance, for Thou hast ineffably created us in Thine own image.

Thou hast given Thine only-begotten Son as a ransom for us, and through the mystical communion of Thy Spirit hast made us share in Thine own divinity; forgive, we pray, the multitude of our sins in the far greater multitude, of Thy mercies. Thou didst wash away the sins of humanity through the Cross and the Blood of Thy Son. Restore the world of nature, which has been grievously disturbed into an unnatural state, and restore it to its natural harmony and order. Make the great ocean return to its usual calmness, bring to end the tempest and the disturbance of the elements that threaten us, order the winds to blow once more with gentleness and moderation. Rebuke the raging of the sea and the unnatural violence of the gales; let the storm be stilled and the tempest return to tranquility, through the intercession of the most blessed Lady Theotokos, of all the Angels and Saints, and the good pleasure and love of Thine only-begotten Son, with Whom Thou are blessed, together with Thine all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Amen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blame where blame is due.

I blame this hurricane on the Patriarchate of Alexandria.