Saturday, November 28, 2020

Jad Ganem: Conciliarity or Ottomanism?

 Arabic original here.

Conciliarity or Ottomanism?

It is difficult for anyone who follows the news of the Orthodox Church to believe the depths to which conciliarity has fallen in this church in recent years. It is equally difficult to imagine the level that had reached this conciliarity because of the destructive politics pursued by a number of the church's primates who pathologically equate their own persons, their whims and the interests of the churches that they claim to serve.

After Patriarch Bartholomew decided in 2016 that the Great Orthodox Council, for which successive generations of pastors had been preparing in patience, wisdom and deliberation, had to be held with those who attended, contrary to all the ecclesiastical canons, customs and agreed-upon rules, proceeded with his plan and held the "Council of Crete" in the absence of four churches which constitute the majority of the world's Orthodox, just so it could be said that the council was held under him, after he started to claim that he is the head of the Orthodox Church, he proceeded to the second stage of marginalizing others and monopolizing authority along with his entourage when he abolished the role of the primates of the autocephalous churches in participating in crucial decisions relating to the universal Orthodox Church and decided to grant autocephaly to schismatics from the Church in Ukraine, contrary to all ecclesiastical canons and despite the rejection and fierce opposition to this from a majority of them.

After the "Council of Crete", where less than one quarter of the world's Orthodox bishops were invited to the proceedings, was turned into a "great Orthodox council", contrary to all ecclesiastical logic, Constantinople's court theologians began taking pride in justifying something that cannot be justified and started to distort the nature of conciliarity and to disavow their own earlier writings and positions about ecclesiology and councils. From there, the crisis of authoritarianism and the absence of the conciliarity in the Church moved to the local churches, especially the Greek ones, which do not dare to confront the Phanar. Thus the Patriarch of Alexandria, after renouncing his positions on the Ukrainian issue, recognized Epifany without a conciliar decision. He was followed by the Archbishop of Greece, who snuck in the same decision, contrary to his synod's Internal Statutes. Finally, the Archbishop of Cyrprus recently ignored the opinion of his Holy Synod and proceeded, against its recommendations, to commemorate Epifany.

On the basis of the above, it is possible to say that Greek-speaking Orthodoxy, apart from the voices of a small number of bishops, has come to practically disavow Orthodoxy conciliarity, which holds:

- that all the world's bishops are invited to an ecumenical council and make decisions on the basis of a majority of those present.

- that its presidency is not monopolized by a particular bishop, but rather the council chooses its president.

- that a patriarch or archbishop is not the ruler of his church and does not control its decision-making. He is the one who implements the decisions made by the council which meets with its president.

The Greek-speaking churches have made it clear that they all submit to the opinion of the Patriarch of Constantinople and support him even if he is wrong. No doubt, with the majority of bishops who are today defending the Phanar's behavior, they have departed from Orthodox conciliar thinking and have approached an Ottoman system that requires them to line up behind the opinion of the millet-başı.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Interview: Hope from the Ruins of Beirut

Hope from the Ruins of Beirut

August 12, 2020 Length: 40:26
 
Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick hosts a moving interview with Deacon Gabriel Abdel Nour of St. Demetrios Orthodox Church in Beirut (Achrafieh), Lebanon, sounding notes of both sorrow and hope in the midst of destruction from the recent explosions, economic desperation and pandemic.

Listen to it here.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Galadza and van Vogelpoel: Multilingualism in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Among the Melkites

Daniel Galadza and Alex C. J. Neroth van Vogelpoel, “Multilingualism in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Among the Melkites,” ARAM 31:1-2 (2019), 35–50

Abstract

This paper examines elements of multilingualism in the text and celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom among the Melkites, from the eighth to thirteenth centuries. The main focus for this investigation is the manuscript Sinai Gr. N.E. X 239, a thirteenth-century bilingual Greek-Syriac manuscript with Arabic marginal notes found among the Sinai New Finds in 1975, which contains the text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The fourteen paper folios of the booklet containing the Divine Liturgy include a particular zeon rite during the Communion of the clergy. The texts and rubrics of the liturgical service are often repeated in Greek and Syriac, along with three Arabic marginal notes, which suggest the copyist and those praying from the manuscript were more familiar with Arabic and Syriac than they were with Greek. Nevertheless, Greek was used as a liturgical language. Comparison with other Syriac Melkite liturgical manuscripts, in particular with the thirteenth-century Euchologion Vatican Borg. Syr. 13, brings forward certain peculiarities of Melkite liturgical practice. Many of these Syriac Melkite liturgical texts have been examined by Cyrille Korolevsky, Joseph Nasrallah, and Heinrich Husmann, but their observations remain only preliminary to this day. The study of Syriac Melkite liturgical texts is accompanied by a comparison with Greek and Georgian liturgical texts originating in the Chalcedonian Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem, facilitated by recent research on the Greek and Georgian Euchologion from Jerusalem and Palestine by Heinzgerd Brakmann and Tinatin Chronz. The paper concludes by outlining what elements constitute unique Melkite liturgical practices in the Divine Liturgy, how they were celebrated in the multilingual environment in which Melkite Christians lived and prayed, and how the liturgical practices and rites were related to the liturgy of the Byzantine Rite in Constantinople and elsewhere.

 Read the entire article here.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Donations for Saint George Hospital, Beirut

From their website:

Dear Friends,
Saint George Hospital University Medical Center (SGHUMC), the first hospital in the region that has been serving people for more than 150 years now, sustained severe damages during the 4th of August explosion in Beirut. Since its formation SGHUMC has relied on the generous donations of its benefactors which enabled it to become a leading hospital in Lebanon, serving the entire Lebanese population. Most recently, SGHUMC has been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. Following the recent ravaging explosion, the hospital was rendered non-operational and 160 inpatients had to be evacuated from the floors to the Emergency Room (ER) and then to their homes or to other hospitals. The 400-bed hospital who has always been providing high quality care was suddenly transformed into a field hospital providing urgent care to the injured on the floor using all available means, including rudimentary ones such as cell phones. The devastating loss hit the heart of SGHUMC. Four of our cherished nursing staff lost their lives, as they were getting on with their work. In addition, 12 patients and one visitor were also killed. More than 100 of our healthcare professionals, doctors, residents, nurses and administrative staff, sustained injuries ranging from mild to critical.

In order to resume its mission of providing excellent healthcare services to our community, a lot of work is needed on different levels of the hospital and the cost of this rehabilitation runs into an estimate of more than ten million US Dollars and may even reach twenty million.

Your prayers and support is highly appreciated. We sincerely hope that you will be able to help us realize this very worthy cause!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DONATIONS BY CARD OR WIRE TRANSFER HERE.

The Antiochian Archdiocese of North America's Collection for Beirut

By now, the world has seen videos of a mushroom cloud soaring over the Lebanese capital of Beirut, which explosions rocked today, August 4. People fled in terror, homes have been destroyed, and countless lives were ended or ruined. St. George Hospital in Beirut was without power and treating casualties in the darkness.

His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, leader of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, issued the following message:

“It is with a sense of shock and awe that I learned of the tragic explosions in Beirut today. I have been in contact with the Archdiocese of Beirut and am thankful that His Eminence Metropolitan Elias of Beirut is safe. At this moment, all of the clergy of his archdiocese are safe. However, churches in Beirut including St. George Cathedral in downtown and especially St. Nicholas Church in Ashrafiyah suffered severe damage. There was also significant damage to Metropolitan Elias’ archdiocesan headquarters as well as St. George Hospital. We will send out an immediate appeal to our parishes requesting funds to aid our brothers and sisters in Lebanon. If you want to give directly, please send your donations to the Archdiocesan Headquarters (P.O. Box 5238, Englewood, NJ 07631-5238) and put “Beirut” in the memo of the check. In the meantime, please keep all of our Lebanese brothers and sisters – and their families on this continent and overseas – in your prayers as they endure yet another tragedy and hardship in their history.”
 
 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Hasan Çolak: Catholic Infiltration in the Ottoman Levant and Responses of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates during the late 17th and early 18th Centuries

Catholic Infiltration in the Ottoman Levant and Responses of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates during the late 17th and early 18th Centuries

Abstract:

During the long reign of the French King Louis IV (1638-1715), there was a great influx of Catholic conversion activities among not only the Greek Orthodox flock, but also the hierarchs, including priests,  bishops and even patriarchs in the Ottoman Empire. The present paper focuses on two major fields: Firstly, it discusses the positive and negative reception of this Catholic infiltration among the Ottoman Christians in general, and the Greek Orthodox population and hierarchy in the Ottoman Empire in  particular. Secondly, it analyses the parallel policies that the Ottoman central administration, the Greek Orthodox lay elites and the Patriarchates came to follow after the catastrophic effects of the Catholic infiltration. The essay points out how the flourishing of Catholicism in the Ottoman Levant led to the formation of a new group by introducing the concept of patriarchal elites—in parallel to the lay elites— with close association with Istanbul, the core of ecclesiastical and political centre in the Ottoman Empire. In particular, it provides a discussion of the nature of the relations between the Patriarchs of Constantinople, and the Eastern Patriarchs in whose appointment the former began to take more determined role. In addition to the already-published sources, namely the reports written by Jesuit missionaries in the Levant, and Greek patriarchal documents, this essay brings to the fore unpublished and unused correspondence between the Ottoman central administration, and the Patriarchs of Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria preserved in the Prime Ministerial Ottoman Archives in Istanbul.

Read the whole article here

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Retired Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregorius III on Hagia Sophia

Arabic original here.

Gregorius III Calls on Muslims to Reject the Turkish Court's Decision to Transform the Church of Hagia Sophia

Former Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria and Jerusalem, Gregory III commented on the decision to change the Hagia Sophia Museum into a mosque, saying, "Today the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed a decree opening the Hagia Sophia historical museum for Muslim to perform prayers following the Higher Administrative Court's ruling requiring that the Church of Hagia Sophia historical monument so that the Church of Hagia Sophia once more becomes a mosque, after having been a museum and shared world heritage since 1934, during the time of Ataturk, the founder of modern, secular Turkey. The church is a holy place and the mosque is a holy place. The church and the mosque are a place of prayer. We respect mosques just as we respect churches."

He continued, "But what is unfortunate is that the mosque will be a commodity and instrument for politics, a manifestation of chauvinism, a call for extremism and hatred between people and fellow-citizens, a cause for stirring up feelings and a reason for erecting psychological and nationalistic barriers between people.

Are we in need today of an additional church or an additional mosque, of thousands of mosques and churches? Or do we need to develop faith and love, solidarity, brotherhood, communication and mutual respect between people in Turkey or in any other place in the world? I address my words to my Muslim brothers whom I love, in our Arab countries and throughout the world. I call upon them with the feelings of mercy and compassion which fill the pages of the Noble Qur'an.... to be the first to reject this new situation on the basis of the values that Muslims and Christians hold in common in the comprehensive human rights document that His Holiness Pope Francis and the honorable sheikh of al-Azhar jointly signed."

He closed by calling "in particular on my Muslim brothers and fellow-citizens in Syria, Lebanon and our other Arab countries to reject this decree and to demand that the Turkish court's decision be cancelled. May the attitude of my Muslim brothers toward this decision be a building-block of love, compassion, respect and esteem among fellow-citizens in our blessed Arab nations. May this position be a pillar of support for the dialogue of religions and civilizations and for the building-up of the civilization of love to which our holy faith calls us."