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Moving Day

I’m beginning to copy some of the articles on ecumenism over to a new blog called “Eirenikon“, devoted solely to the topic of Orthodox/Catholic rapprochement. I am still setting things up there, so I ask your patience. At this point, Eirenikon is experimental, as I honestly don’t know how much time I will be able to devote to it. I will keep Cathedra Unitatis up as an archive, but I won’t be approving new comments for it.

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From Byzantine Ramblings comes the sad news of the falling asleep in Christ of a major voice for Orthodox-Catholic unity in our time, the Melkite Catholic Archbishop Elias Zoghby:

His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III, the Bishops of the Holy Synod of the Melkite Catholic Church, His Grace, Elias Rahal, Archbishop of Baalbeck, the Clergy and Faithful of the Eparchy of Baalbeck, His Grace, Bishop Youssef Joel Zraiy, Patriarchal Vicar of Egypt and Sudan, the Clergy and Faithful of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Zoghby Family and their relatives here and abroad, regret to inform you of the passing to the Lord of His Grace, Archbishop Elias Zoghby, on Wednesday, 16 January 2008.

Archbishop Zoghby was Dean of the Holy Synod of Melkite Bishops, Patriarchal Vicar Emeritus of Egypt and Sudan, and Archbishop Emeritus of Baalbeck.

Archbishop Zoghby’s Funeral will take place at St. Paul Basilica in Harissa, on Saturday, 19 January 2008, at 3:00 P.M. Sympathies will be accepted before and after the funeral service at St. Paul Convent in Harissa and on Sunday, 20 January 2008 at the Patriarchal Residence in Rabweh from 11:00 A.M to 6:00 P.M.

Archbishop was perhaps most famous for his controversial proposal known as the “Zoghby Initiative”, approved by the Melkite Holy Synod in 1995 (and politely rejected by the CDF under the presidency of Cardinal Ratzinger):

  1. I believe everything which Eastern Orthodoxy teaches.
  2. I am in communion with the Bishop of Rome as the first among the bishops, according to the limits recognized by the Holy Fathers of the East during the first millennium, before the separation.

Archbishop Elias was a prolific writer on the topic of Orthodox-Catholic relations, including his 1996 book Tous Schismatiques? (“Are We All Schismatics?”, printed in English under the slighly mistranslated title “We Are All Schismatics”). Two of his essays have been featured here: “The Desire for Christian Unity” and “Christian Unity Involves the Whole Church”. Eastern Christian Publications carries a small book of his entitled Ecumenical Reflections, as well as a biography of Archbishop Elias by Suzane Aboueid.

No matter what one thinks of his Initiative and ideas about Christian unity, I hope we can all join in prayer for the repose of his soul and that his memory may be eternal. O Christ God, with the Saints grant rest to the soul of your High Priest Elias in a place where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing, but everlasting life.

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A bit of a break

I’ll be taking a bit of a break for Advent/pre-Nativity fast. I will continue to look after the comboxes but there shouldn’t be new posts until after Christmas. A holy and blessed season to all.

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Part I | Part II

A perfect harmony between primacy and conciliarity may be an ideal that is unattainable in this world. But it remains true that each of these true attributes is essential for the Church. Even in our present condition, we must continue to strive to keep both of these attributes, primacy and conciliarity in balance. The schism between East and West allows us to see clearly – perhaps too clearly – what can happen when either of these attributes goes to extremes at the expense of the other.

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Bucharest, Sep. 13, 2007 (CWNews.com) – Metropolitan Daniel of Moldavia and Bucovina has been elected the new Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The new Romanian Orthodox leader replaces Patriarch Teoctist, who died on July 30 at the age of 92. Patriarch Teoctist had acted as host to Pope John Paul II in 1999, during the first visit of a Roman Pontiff to a traditionally Orthodox country.

Metropolitan Daniel has maintained friendly relations with Catholic Church leaders– particularly Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna– and is regarded as a strong proponent of ecumenism. His election was welcomed by members of the country’s Catholic minority.

The newly elected Orthodox Patriarch, who has shown a special interest in developing a Christian media presence, was chosen over Metropolitan Bartolomeu Ananaia, a prelate regarded as less friendly toward Catholic interests. In recent years Romanian Catholics have frequently clashed with their Orthodox neighbors over the ownership of parish properties that were seized from Eastern-rite Catholic congregations during the years of Communist rule and handed over to the Romanian Orthodox clergy.

The Romanian Orthodox Church is the second-largest body in the Orthodox world, after the Russian Orthodox. Roughly 20 of Romania’s 23 million people are Orthodox.

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The network of the communio, as we have seen it in Christian antiquity, appears at first to allow for no church to be subordinate or superior to any other church. In fact, in certain circumstances, each bishop could presume to express the will of the universal Church. Each bishop could excommunicate any other bishop and thereby separate him from universal communion. Within the communio all are equal. No one has rights or powers which the others do not possess in the same degree. At first sight, therefore, the system of communio seems to exclude any special prerogative for the see of Rome.

At the end of the second century we can observe the initial formation of metropolitan groupings among the bishops of the same civil province. The first traces of this are the synods that Victor of Rome called just before A.D. 200 in an attempt to settle the controversy over the celebration of Easter. On this occasion the future metropolitan sees made their appearance in some regions. By the fourth century, organized ecclesiastical provinces, as they were later called, were fully developed.

Historical studies treating this development, up to the institution of the patriarchates, invariably lead to the negative conclusion that the primacy of the Roman church was not a product of this process of organization. It was not the case that the hierarchy of the Church grew up like a pyramid, with the bishop of Rome at the apex over bishops, metropolitans, primates, and patriarchs. On the contrary, the overdevelopment of the metropolitan system actually obscured , for a while and to some extent, the prerogatives of the Roman see. Nonetheless, at least from the fifth or sixth century onward, these Roman prerogatives are an undeniable fact. Since they did not arise out of the metropolitan organizations, we must look elsewhere for their origin.

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… as I said earlier, so I really need to buckle down and neglect the blog for a while. I will not be moderating comments either, so if you leave one, it will take a while to appear. Thanks!

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