Saturday, April 13, 2024

An end to the Zoghby Initiative

Metropolitan Elias (Zoghby) was a vocal proponent of the "Orthodox in communion with Rome" idea that many Greek Catholics in America have subscribed to. At the same time I remember speaking to Archbishop Basil (Schott) of the Ruthenian archeparchy who described Greek Catholicism as neither Roman nor Orthodox, but its own "third way." Honestly, there are as many identities of what it means to be Greek Catholic as their are people you'll run into on any given Sunday at one of their parishes. As this article states later:

"This option, for us Melkite Greek Catholics, means a reorientation. Even today, we counted ourselves as interlocutors between the Catholic and Orthodox sides and we said of this dialogue that we were the bridge that connects them. But the failure of the initiative in the way that it happened blocked the path and posed questions for us that we should not be afraid to put a finger on now: Does this failure threaten our mission? Do we remain suspended over the bridge that we have built? Has the time not come for us to plant our feet on this or that side of the river?"

It was always hoped by some that the Melkite Church could form a bridge between the two larger groups of Orthodoxy and Catholicism. Still others considered the very existence of "Uniatism" to be an added impediment to that hoped for unity. It seems there has been a decided pivot in a new direction. Where it will go I do not know.

(Notes on Arab Orthodoxy) - A response to Patriarch John X's speech at Balamand last October and for Patriarch Absi's very clear statement that from his perspective "in dogma and canon law, we are Catholics, and in liturgy and sacramental life we are Byzantines", quite different from the vision of "Orthodox in communion with Rome" sometimes promoted among followers of the late Metropolitan Elias Zoghby.

The Speech of His Beatitude Yusuf in Honor of Metropolitan Yusuf al-Klas

Sunday, April 7, 2024

al-Liqa' Centre, Rabwa, Lebanon

My speech today at this gathering in honor of His Eminence, the beloved brother and father Yusuf al-Klas, former metropolitan of Beirut, Jbeil and the dependencies for the Melkite Catholics, centers on the book that he has worked for months to prepare together with the Rev Basilian Fr Nicholas Bustros under the supervision of the Rev Fr Gabi Hachem, which was published about a week ago with the title The Effort for Fraternal Reconiciliation in Antioch: History and an Analysis of the Initiative of the Melkite Greek Catholic Synod, 1996-1997. The book and my speech are thus both abut the initiative that was born in the mind and heart of His Eminence Metropolitan Elias Zoghby, of thrice-blessed memory, which was adopted by our church's synod and proposed to the Synod of the Byzantine Antiochian Orthodox Church.

The initiative that we are discussing is, in short, for the Melkite Catholics to belong at the same time to the Catholic Church and to the Byzantine Antiochian Orthodox Church, for them to have a double affiliation, such that the desired unity between them and the Greek Orthodox takes place while they remain in communion with the Catholic Church. Nevertheless, they did not precisely or finally define how this affiliation would be in practice and how it would be arranged, remaining content to make some observations...

Complete article here.


  1. It is my observation that the Eastern Rite Greek Catholics are second class citizens in the Roman - Latin Rite Catholic Church but they refuse to admit it. Evidence of this observstion is that these Eastern Riters continue to be Latinized by their Roman- Latin Rite superiors. If they were truly "on their own", they would have preserved their liturgies and practices as they were when they first unified. I see no evidence that their Latin Rite superiors have adopted any Eastern Rite Greek Catholic practices. So, it seems that they werre and remain just pawns which, in the end, will be morphed into the Roman-Latin Rite Church.

    For example, just look at the Eastern Rites in the U.S.A. They remain ethno-centric. There is no equivalent of the Prthdpx Church of America. So, as they remain Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Melkite, etc. they loose their youth to the dominant Roman-Latin Rite Church as their ethnic congregations dwindle. This of course appears to be by design and not by chance.

    This modus apprendi was evident over 130 years ago in how Saint Rev. Alexis Toth was dismissed by the Roman-Latin Rite Hierarchy. And why Metropoltan Orestes Chronock broke with them. Perhaps the Bishop who most blatant regsrding this Latinization was Nicholas Elko, who do to parochial uproar was retired. But the subtle, and not so subtle, changes still are advancing. so, in my opinion the Eastern Rite Greek Catholics are at a crossroads.

  2. I'm wondering how long the Eastern Catholics are even going to be able to be in union with Rome. After Pachamama, the fiducia and every other innovation you would think they would finally leave. Glad to see the Orthodox in union with Rome mentality is dying out because that's a nonsensical notion.

  3. I've always been highly skeptical of the Orthodox in communion with Rome silliness. But what should be terrifying to Greek Rite Catholics is the liturgical (and theological) revolution going on in Rome. A pope who has the power to, with a stroke of a pen, abrogate almost the entirety of the Western Church's liturgical patrimony could do the same to the Eastern Rites. That he has not done so thus far, means absolutely nothing. Vatican II is coming for the Greek Catholics. Of that one may be certain.