International Orthodox Christian News

H H Pope Shenouda Summons Malawi Bishop to the US

Malawi Diocese put off a conference, planned to be held today to explain its final stance on Abu Fana incidents, to next August 14 after Malawi Bishop Dimeterus headed for the US following a phone call from Pope Shenouda III. The conference will be held in Cairo and the new timing was defined by Father Yoannas, Pope Shenouda’s secretary, who is expected to be attending, said Ehab Ramzy, the diocese’s lawyer.

Malawi Diocese put off a conference, planned to be held today to explain its final stance on Abu Fana incidents, to next August 14 after Malawi Bishop Dimeterus headed for the US following a phone call from Pope Shenouda III.

The diocese had finished arrangements for the conference and prepared buses for transporting media men and representatives of human rights organizations from Cairo. It had also fixed giant video screens and published more than 500 huge pictures, including pictures of the monks who were injured in the incidents.

Ramzy blasted statements made by Menya governor Ahmed Diaa Eddin while addressing the People’s Assembly National Security Committee. The statements were “arbitrary and arouse more tension”, he added. Al-Masry Al-Youm learned that Pope Shenouda held two days ago a two-hour meeting in Cleveland with deputy chairman of People’s Assembly Committee on Religious Affairs Alaa Hassanein, Father Yoannas, secretary of the papal office Father Armeya, Youth Bishop Father Moussa and chairman of Egyptian Expatriates Federation Hani Aziz.

During the meeting Hassanein reviewed the problem’s dimensions, stressing that the matter was a dispute over a plot of land and the real criminals were arrested and brought to book. So, the Pope decided to put off Malawi Diocese conference and summoned its bishop to the US. According to sources, the Pope stressed the necessity of reconciliation among neighbors in general and restoring good ties with Menya governor.


The Varna and Great Preslav Bishopric of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church denounced Tuesday the gay parade, which is planned to take place in Sofia on Saturday. In a statement, the Bishopric points out that the Bible defines homosexuality as a sin. The Orthodox Church says that the same-sex relationships as a disease and an unnatural conduction resulting from the original sin, but it also states that it offered a way for curing this type of sin. "The Holy Orthodox Church prays with care for every persons who descended in such a condition so that they could realize their sin, repent, and change their behavior and beliefs in order to find their true purpose as people", the statement of the Church reads. "Such public appearances promote immorality and try to supplant the established family values. We do not denounce and despise these people but we denounce the sin of homosexuality, and its scandalous advertising", the clergy also states.

The statement of the bishopric concludes by expressing its protest against such parades, which sought to change the public beliefs in order to make the unnatural seem natural and be approved. Earlier this week the extreme rightist and nationalist Bulgarian National Union led by the former associate of the Ataka party Boyan Rasate declared it would organize several counter-events within a "Week of Intolerance". According to Rasate, homosexuality had a lot to do with pedophilia.

The birthday anniversary of His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, was celebrated yesterday, July 22. The event debuted with the celebration of the Holy Liturgy in the Patriarchal Chapel, followed by a Te Deum service celebrated by Right Rev. Ciprian of Campina, Patriarchal Vicar, surrounded by priests and deacons.

In attendance, besides the Patriarch, also were Most Rev. Nifon, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Targoviste, Right Rev. Irineu, Vicar Bishop of the Ramnic Episcopate and Metropolitan-elect of Oltenia, Right Rev. Vincentiu of Ploiesti, Patriarchal Vicar, His Beatitude's collaborators from the Patriarchal Administration and the Bucharest Archdiocese, as well as state and local officials and other personalities.

His Beatitude, Patriarch Daniel, thanked all the guests and expressed his joy for the thanksgiving moment, and said that the birthday anniversary for any of us is a blessed moment in which we should thank, above all, God for our existence. His Beatitude also underlined that the patriarchal ministry to which he was chosen is characterized by a special relationship with God, which demands the responsibility of prayer for the well-being and the salvation of the Romanian people, for its Christian dignity and following the symbolism of the Romanian Grand Seal: the cross-bearing eagle, which rises through sacrificial love and pure faith in the glory of eternal life, the love of the Holy Trinity.

Prominent state and local officials, as well as other public figures, have come to attend the Te Deum and congratulate His Beatitude. The official day of the Romanian Patriarch is September 30, the day on which, last year, His Beatitude Patriarch Daniel was enthroned head of the Romanian Orthodox Church

His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, announced yesterday, July 22, that the Romanian Patriarchate will receive parts of the relics of Holy Apostle Paul. The holy relics, kept at the “Panagia Soumela” monastery in Greece, will be donated to the Romanian Orthodox Church due to the efforts of Most Rev. Panteleimon, Metropolitan of Veria, Greece, and will reach the Romanian Patriarchate for the feast of the Righteous Dimitrie the New, Protector of Bucharest, which is also the feast day of the Patriarchal Cathedral. The gift comes within the context of this year's celebrations related to Holy Apostle Paul, said His Beatitude on the occasion of the anniversary of his birthday at the Patriarchal Residence.


On the feast of Saint Sergius of Radonezh His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra.

On the feast of the uncovering of the precious relics of St Sergius of Radonezh, the primates of the Russian and Cypriote Orthodox Churches presided over the festal divine services in the Cathedral of the Dormition at the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra. With His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia and His Beatitude, Archbishop Chrysostomos II of New Justiniana and All Cyprus hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as priests who were members of the Cypriote delegation, and members of the Lavra's brotherhood, concelebrated.

After the Divine Liturgy, the primates of the fraternal Local Churches celebrated a service of supplication to St Sergius of Radonezh on the monastery's main plaza. In accordance with tradition, the chanting of the feast was provided by a unified choir of singers from the Lavra and from the Moscow seminaries, under the direction of Archimandrite Matthew (Mormil'). The chanters sang from specially erected platforms near the Lavra's bell-tower.

Present at the divine services was a youth group from several of the dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, headed by Protopriest Andrew Sommer, a member of the clergy of the Synodal Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign, in New York City. Following the service of supplication, His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy, and His Beatitude, Archbishop Chrysostomos, venerated the precious relics of St Sergius, and afterwards addressed words of greeting to the thousands of pilgrims who had traveled to the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra from Russia, the Ukraine, Belorussia, and other countries.


Holy Synod Session at Patriarchate of Georgia

On 27th of June 2008 there was held the Holy Synod session at the Patriarchate of Georgia. The session was chaired by His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II, and Metropolitan Grigol (Berbichashvili) of Poti and Khobi Diocese was the session Secretary. The session was missed by Metropolitan Athanase (Chakhvashvili) of Rustavi and Marneuli Diocese, Metropolitan Abraham (Garmelia) of Western Europe Diocese, Archbishop Zosime (Shioshvili) of Tsilkani and Dusheti Diocese, Bishop Zenon (Yarajuli) of Dmanisi Diocese. I. The Holy Synod heard a speech by Metropolitan Theodor (Chuadze) of Akhaltsikhe and Tao-Klarjeti Diocese on “Ongoing process of transferring property to Patriarchate of Georgia by State”. Holy Synod gratefully noted that pursuant to the Constitutional Agreement and the Order by President of Georgia, there was legalized most land plots and building premises being under ownership of Patriarchate of Georgia, and some new objects were granted. But, much still remains to be done especially in dioceses. The Holy Synod ordered: to form target commissions at dioceses in order to accelerate submission of proper documentations to the Patriarchate and continuation of damage compensations by the state to the Patriarchate. II. The Holy Synod heard a speech by Mr Avtandil Sulaberidze, Director of Institute for Demography and Social Science, on current demographic situation in Georgia. The Holy Synod expressed its worry about extremely difficult demographic situation in the country and its readiness to support and encourage families having many children. There was mentioned positive outcomes of Christening every third child by Catholicos Patriarch. III. The Holy Synod heard information submitted by Metropolitan Daniel (Datuashvili) of Tskhum-Abkhazeti Diocese, and Metropolitan Isaiah (Chanturia) of Nikozi and Tskhinvali Diocese on Tskhum-Abkhazeti Diocese and Nikozi and Tskhinvali Diocese. The Holy Synod ordered: 1. Send a written appeal to Patriarchate of Moscow to prevent illegal activities in Abkhazeti and Samachablo by members of Russian Church that even more tenses extremely difficult situation between the two countries; 2. Form a group of scientists to stop any attempt of falsification of history of Georgia and publish materials systematically. IV. The Holy Synod heard offer by Catholicos Patriarch on election of Archpriest George Gamrekeli as Deputy Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia. The Holy Synod ordered to title Archpriest George Gamrekeli as Bishop of Tsurtavi and appoint as Second Deputy Catholicos Patriarch. Admit to the veil ceremony is to be held at Tbilisi Holy Trinity Cathedral, and consecrated to Bishop ceremony is to be held at Svetitskhoveli Patriarchate Cathedral. V. The Holy Synod heard speech by Archpriest George Gamrekeli on educational institutions at the Patriarchate of Georgia. The Holy Synod ordered: to form Sunday Schools at every acting church all around Georgia. Sunday schools coordination and supervision shall be authorized to the Educational Committee of Patriarchate of Georgia. VI. The Holy Synod heard appeal by Coordinating Board of Youth Organizations Coalition “Movement for Moral Georgia” (including 16 organizations). The Coordinating Board asked the Holy Synod to support perfection of Broadcasting Code. The Holy Synod noted that television played greatest role in spiritual and cultural development of the nation. But, they often propagate violence, aggression, immorality purposefully or accidentally. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to stop the process legally. The Holy Synod ordered: to appeal the Board of Observers and directly the television authorities to protect the society off aggression immorality, and encourage strengthening of national ideology. VII. The Holy Synod heard a speech by Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II on active role of Georgian Church in social care. The Holy Synod ordered: 1. Form job councils supporting reduction of unemployment at the Patriarchate of Georgia and its diocese. Priests and church members should be actively involved into the process; 2. Order the job councils working out social projects and seeking necessary financial resources for their implementation. VIII. The Holy Synod heard an offer by Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II on canonization of our great ancestors George Guramishvili, the Kakabadzes (father and son), 300 Aragvians and other heroes, civilians and clergy, of Krtsanisi Battle. The Holy Synod ordered to canonize 300 Aragvians and clergy heroically died during Krtsanisi Battle in 1795, and write their icon, prayer, life-story, motet; 11 (24) September canonize their tribute day; ask Tbilisi Mayor in agreement with the Patriarchate to arrange and decorate Krtsanisi Field as consecrated place. IX. The Holy Synod heard a speech by Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II on canonization of nine brothers of the Kherkheulidzes and their mother and other 9000 Georgians heroically died during Marabda Battle. The Holy Synod ordered to canonize the nine brothers of the Kherkheulidzes and their mother and other 900 soldiers heroically died during Marabda Battle in 1625, and write their icon, prayer, life-story, motet; 3 (16) August canonize their tribute day. X. The Holy Synod heard an offer on establishing the Highest Order “Savior’s Tunic Order” by Apostolic Church of Georgia. The Holy Synod ordered to award Savior’s Tunic Golden Order to His Holiness and Beatitude Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II for 30th years patriarchate anniversary and his greatest contribution and invaluable deeds for Georgian Church and Georgian nation. The awarding ceremony is to be held during festive divine service at Svetitskhoveli Patriarchate Cathedral on the Twelve Apostles Tribute Day, 13 July (30 June) 2008.

In Memoriam: Archpriest John Voytilla

STEUBENVILLE, OH [OCA Communications] – The Archpriest John Voytilla, 71, rector of Holy Transfiguration Church here, fell asleep in the Lord on Monday, July 21, 2008.

Born on January 1, 1937 in Campbell, OH, he graduated from Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, South Canaan, PA in May 1959 and was married to the former Anna Timpko the following month. He was ordained by His Eminence, Archbishop Dimitry [Magan] of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, to the diaconate at St. Barbara Church, Cassville, NJ, on August 26, 1959, and to the priesthood at the Nativity of the Theotokos Church, Cassville, NJ, the following day. He served several parishes in Ohio and Pennsylvania before his assignment to Christ the Saviour Church, Byesville, OH, in 1968. In 1984, he was assigned rector of Holy Transfiguration Church, Steubenville, OH, where he served until the time of his repose.

Father John was active in numerous community ministries and organizations. For many years he served as a member of the board of directors for the Salvation Army. A genuine "people person," he constantly pursued helping others and was well known for bring humor into their lives, whether it be in working at a soup kitchen, socializing with heart patients, or visiting friends at local restaurants or businesses -- always wearing his "signature" kamilavka. He left an indelible stamp on everyone he met. Passionate about his faith and the Church, he was never afraid to speak up on controversial issues. He supported the pro-life movement and attended numerous local and national pro-life celebrations. He was a leader in the pan-Orthodox community, placing the faith above ethnicity, as reflected in the parishes he served, which included faithful of Slovak, Russian, Romanian, Greek, Serbian, Albanian, Lebanese, and other heritages. He revealed his passion for life through singing, traveling, gardening, cooking, and grandparenting. His love for people, however, was obvious to all who knew him.

For his years of faithful pastoral service, Father John received numerous clerical awards, including the right to wear the nabedrenik, skufia, kamilavka, and gold cross; elevation to the rank of archpriest; and the right to wear the jeweled cross and palitza. At the time of his repose, he and his wife were anticipating the celebration of the 50th anniversary of his ordination in 2009.

Father John is survived by his wife, Matushka Anna; his son John and his wife Enid and his grandsons Jonathan and Alexander, St. Charles, IL; and his son Nicholas and his wife Cindy, Mingo Junction, OH. His third son, Andrew, fell asleep in the Lord in 1983. He is also survived by his sister Olga and sister-in-law Joann, both of the Youngstown, OH area. In addition to his immediate family, he leaves many godchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, and faithful parishioners.

Funeral services will be celebrated on Friday evening, July 25, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 300 South 4th St, Steubenville, OH, at 7:00 p.m., after visitation throughout the day. On Saturday, July 26, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated at Holy Transfiguration Church, Steubenville, OH at 10:00 a.m. His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, locum tenens of the Diocese of Western Pennsylvania, will preside. Following a repast, interment will take place at Saint John the Baptist Cemetery, Campbell, OH.

May Father John's memory be eternal!


Orthodox Church in America

CAMBRIDGE, NY [New Skete Monastery] -- The Monastic Communities and Chapel Community of parishioners of New Skete Monastery, Cambridge, NY, invite all to join them for a day of prayer and reflection celebrating their feast day on Saturday, August 9, 2008 (rain or shine). The theme of the pilgrimage is "Healing: New Life in Christ."As is the rule of monastic life, the day will begin and end with prayer with Matins at 8:30 am, followed by the celebration of the Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am, and Vespers and Vigil at 5:30 pm.

A special healing service will be held at approximately 4:15 pm. Two main presentations will be held in the afternoon -- "Perspective on Healing" with Dr. Demetra Velisarios Jaquet and Fr. Steven Voytovich and "Holy Unction: Human Illness, Healing, and Wellness" given by Rev. Dr. Alkiviadis Calivas.

In addition, the day will include tours of the monastery Churches, a demonstration of the monks' dog program, as well as time for hiking, conversation, reflection and quiet. Activities for children and teens are also planned. Traditional ethnic and American style food will be available for purchase. The Monks, Nuns, and Companions of New Skete are a Stavropegial monastery of the Orthodox Church in America.


NEW YORK – The Office of Ionian Village is pleased to announce that FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, has awarded 14 scholarships for high school students to participate in this year’s Byzantine Venture program (July 26 – August 14, 2008). “FAITH” has generously offered these scholarships as part of the Archdiocese’s ongoing effort to make Ionian Village accessible to more families.

“The FAITH Endowment has made this dream a reality for 14 deserving students, and we thank God for their generous efforts”, stated Fr. Mark Leondis, Director of the Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

The Ionian Village program aims to provide a vibrant, first hand experience of Orthodox Christianity and Hellenism to its participants. Participants spend three weeks at the Ionian Village campsite, making guided excursions to some of the most important cultural and religious sites of Greece. Ionian Village destinations include the church of St. Dionysios on the island of Zakynthos, Ancient Olympia, the monastery of Ossios Lukas, and Delphi. In addition to excursions, participants are offered an educational program that includes athletic events, catechetical discussions, and sessions focusing on Greek culture. The last three days of the program are spent in Athens, where participants stay at an Athenian hotel, have the opportunity to get to know the city and take excursions to the Acropolis and the nearby island of Aegina.

For details or questions about the program, please visit or call 646.519.6190

Contact: Stavros H. Papagermanos
Tel.: 212.570.3556 – Fax: 212.774.0237

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America concluded its 39th Biennial Clergy-Laity Congress in the Nation’s Capital on July 18th, where more than 1,400 faithful, clergy and laity, representing their parishes, their local Philoptochos and young adults from across the country gathered for five fruitful days of deliberations, worship, fellowship and education. The 39th Clergy-Laity was the most positive and productive Congress in recent years, organized and held in an exemplary manner.

The theme of the Congress “Gather my People to my Home” was explained by Archbishop Demetrios in his Keynote address as the focus of our Archdiocese, our Parishes and our Ministries in the coming years. The Archbishop prescribed specific methods and actions for parishes and faithful to follow and in concluding his address said:

"Every time that we are in our churches, in our beautiful parishes, let us think of those other sheep, those other people who are outside, known and unknown, the ones described in the parable of the Great Banquet. Let us think of all others, the truly significant others, who wait to hear the voice of Christ. The voice of Christ invites them to gather in His home, to become His flock. But how can they hear the voice of Christ? We are the voice of Christ! My beloved people let such voice be heard outside of our Churches, calling the people of God to His home. Let us be the voice of Christ. Everywhere for everyone. At any time, at any place of the wide world of God." (See full text at

This same theme was repeated and elaborated by the other hierarchs of the Holy Eparchial Synod in the special sessions that followed the opening ceremony. Metropolitans Iakovos of Chicago, Maximos of Pittsburgh, Methodios of Boston, Isaiah of Denver, Alexios of Atlanta, Nicholas of Detroit, Gerasimos of San Francisco and Evangelos of New Jersey, all presided at these separate breakout sessions where the main congress theme was discussed, a discussion which was carried through the many educational workshops and committee meetings that followed. This theme resonated among those present at the various sessions and became an uplifting message which the delegates took with them back to all the faithful in their local Metropolises and parishes.

All the reports of the various ministry committees were discussed and accepted during the two plenary sessions on July 16-17. Clear progress was evident in all Church matters especially the Archdiocese finances which showed improvements on all levels as the National Ministries revenues exceeded $24 Million resulting in a record revenue year for 2007. Another notable and positive indication of this healthy financial state was the reduction of the Archdiocese debt by $5.1 Million from $7.9 Million to approximately $2.7 Million at the close of 2007.

Before its conclusion, the 39th Congress adopted two resolutions: a) a Chaplaincy Resolution expressing support for Orthodox Chaplaincy in general and calling for the creation of a canonical pan-orthodox chaplaincy agency in the U.S. military and b) a resolution in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate calling upon the Federal Government and state legislatures to support the religious freedoms and human rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Archbishop Demetrios, offering some closing thoughts, suggested that parishes of the Archdiocese prepare a progress report by 2010 on the effectiveness and growth of the Church as a result of the call of this Congress to “Gather my People to my Home.”

“This Congress was guided by the Holy Spirit,” said Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain in his closing remarks. Praising the participants he added: “you are all members of an orchestra that plays God’s song.” Archbishop Gregorios represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at the Congress.

The Congress concluded with its grand banquet where religious and government representatives gave greetings and messages which touched upon many issues relevant to church life as well as issues of persecution and religious freedom in Cyprus and at the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Constantinople (Istanbul). Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte praised Archbishop Demetrios as a “man of faith, an inspiring leader and a great humanitarian.” He also expressed his support for a just resolution to the Cyprus problem and the support of the religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate saying that “respect for the Patriarchate and the Patriarch are incumbent on a democracy like Turkey and we continue to urge the restoration of confiscated church properties and the re-opening of the Halki seminary at the highest levels with the Turkish government.” Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Congressman Gus Bilirakis of Florida, Ambassador Andreas Kakouris of Cyprus and Ambassador Alexandros Mallias of Greece also expressed strong support for the issues in Cyprus and religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

A special video tribute chronicling the life and accomplishments of Archbishop Michael of blessed memory, who served as the leader of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America from 1949 to 1958 was shown at the banquet.

At the conclusion of the evening, once again amplifying the Congress theme “Gather my People to my Home”, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios urged those in attendance “to hear the voices of the people who cry for a connection or a reconnection, to the Church and to Faith.”


On 19th July 2008, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, together with His Grace Genadios of Nilopolis, Secretary of the Holy Synod, officiated and preached the homily at Great Vespers in the Holy Church of the Prophet Elijah in Alexandria. On Sunday 20th July 2008, His Beatitude conducted the Divine Liturgy at the celebrating church, and before the end he conducted memorial prayers for the repose of the souls of his predecessors Christoforos II, Nicholas VI and Parthenios III, who fell asleep in the Lord in the month of July 1967, 1986 and 1996 respectively.


MANIZALES, COLOMBIA: Several priests of the UAOC eparchy of Latin America, were interviewed by the newspaper La Patria, asked to express their purpose for participating in a July 20 public march. The march was held throughout the country and elsewhere as a demonstration of solidarity with hostages held by radical terrorist groups. Father Felipe Evelio Cardona said, "We are going to march for the peace of Colombia, of the world and for the liberty of all the captives. "To ask Our Lord, that through this march, he will give freedom to all the hostages," commented Father César Augusto Salazar.

The article appeared in the Monday, July 21, 2008 edition of La Patria, page 10a.


Anti-Trafficking Workshop Held in Tsaghkadzor

From July 8-10, with the blessings of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, the Armenian Round Table of the World Council of Churches held the second in a series of clergy workshops in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. The workshops are being conducted as part of the "Clergy Against Trafficking" project. Sixteen clergymen from different departments of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and dioceses of Armenia and Artaskh participated in the seminar.

The purpose of the seminar was to increase awareness on the issues of human trafficking. Topics discussed included prevention methods and counseling assistance for the victims.

The seminar was opened by Ms. Gyulnara Shahinian, UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) expert on trafficking and human rights, who presented a report on the overall situation of trafficking in the world. She discussed the manifestations of trafficking, new methods of exploitation, as well as current Armenian legislation on the issue. She also spoke about the re-integration of trafficking victims into society and other related issues.

During the three-day seminar, group discussions were held on several topics. Clergy participants identified ways to aid trafficking victims, methods to integrate them back into society and how to mediate between society and the family members of the victims. It was emphasized that the victims of trafficking very often need counseling and compassion from experienced priests, and therefore the Armenian Church has an important role to play in these efforts.

The participants also watched documentaries on trafficking issues, which were followed by discussions.

As part of the activities scheduled for the seminar, attendees toured the monastic complex of Kecharis and participated in evening services.


His Holiness Aram I awarded the “Saint Mesrob Mashdots” Medal to Lebanese Armenian artist and painted Haroutioun Torossian during a ceremony in the Saint Asdvadzadzine Monastery in Bikfaya on July 18. The event also celebrated the launch of Torossian’s “Tuidanguines”

(“From my Perspective”) book.

Father Sahag Yemishian delivered the opening remarks of the conference, highlighting the importance of art and its influence on the lives of people. Well known pedagogue Krikor Shahinian, an old friend of the artist, then spoke about Torossian and his paintings. “The lines of his paintings are clear and firm, his shapes are impressive but not severe.” Due to his long-standing friendship with Torossian, Shahinian had come to know the man beyond the artist. “He’s a good man and a passionate Armenian. It is a true pleasure to see artistic skills and moral values on one person”, Shahinian observed.

Speaking in French, Mrs. Mary Therese Tabet portrayed in detail the artist’s personality. “The art of Haroutioun Torossian is an experience that enriches the soul, specially when produced by an artist who has such a sensitive spirit,” she said.

A student of Torosian, Hanna Bou Soujwan, expressed his gratitude towards her teacher. “An artist in every sense of the word, he never knew hatred, nor rest. He breathed with the colors, having Lebanon as his source of inspiration,” he said in his Arabic speech.

In his concluding remarks, His Holiness Aram I upheld the characteristics of Torossian the man and the artist. “Haroutioun Torossian is the combination of simplicity, love and spiritual values. As an artist, he has been one that has remained peaceful at times like the calm sea and restless at others like the stormy sea.” His Holiness highlighted three unique characteristics in Torossian: the artist of letters, colours and lines; the artist of dialogue between east and west; the artist who clearly articulates the spirit of what does it mean to be Armenian. His Holiness observed that Torossian had produced his art with faith and a firm dedication to our nation’s values. “We come and go, but we remain in the life of people by what we give to humanity” added the Pontiff.

His Holiness then placed the Catholicosate of Cilicia’s “Saint Mesrob Mashdots” Medal on the artist’s chest as a symbol of appreciation for his valuable work. The event also featured a cultural entertainment program including a performance by Father Torkom Donoyan on the piano. The ceremony ended with the collective singing of “Cilicia”.


Moscow, July 24, Interfax - Patriarch Bartholomew has recently met with leaders of two schismatic Ukrainian structures - Filaret Denisenko ("The Kiev Patriarchate") and Mefody Kudryakov (the so-called Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church)."According to information that wasn't widely spread, Bartholomew I met with these people in mid-June in his residence in Istanbul," head of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate Ukrainian Orthodox Church Archimandrite Kirill (Hovorun) said.The self-proclaimed Kiev Patriarchate convened its "Bishops Council" few days after it to declare that "canonical" status of this schismatic structure had been regulated and Constantinople would help settle its problems, the interviewee of the agency reminded. The Ukrainian Church representative also cited another fact that is even more remarkable: in the run-up to the 1020th anniversary of Russia's Baptism, Bartholomew I distributed invitations among the heads of all local Orthodox Churches to participate in Kiev celebrations and even arranged for accreditation of the press to spotlight Ukrainian events. Representatives of the Russian Church and Orthodox community have more than once urged Bartholomew I to give up interfering in church affairs of Ukraine as it is a canonical territory of the Moscow Patriarchate. Deputy Chairman of the Ukrainian Union of Orthodox citizens Oleg Sheludchenko, commenting on Constantinople interference in the matters of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, reminded that it was the Constantinople Patriarchate in 1920 that "recognized renovation schism inspired by Bolsheviks, but the Russian Orthodox Church headed by Saint Patriarch Tikhon though at worst position then, was persistent and managed to overcome it."

Moscow, July 24, Interfax - The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church urged Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople not to interfere in its affairs. "The Ukrainian Orthodox Church can settle its inner problems independently. Assistance of other local Churches should not turn in their interference in inner affairs of our Church," an address to Patriarch Bartholomew says as adopted at an extraordinary session of the Ukrainian Church Synod and cited by the Moscow Patriarchate official website. The Holy Synod members state that all initiatives on overcoming church crisis in the country should be coordinated with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as the "only recognized Orthodox Church in Ukraine" that is a member in the family of local Churches. Besides, the Ukrainian Church Synod says that interference of state authorities and various political and public forces is also undesirable as it always results in "grave conflicts that may take many years to overcome"The address to Patriarch Bartholomew stresses that recent centuries in the Constantinople Patriarchate history "have shown how politic interference in church matters resulted in painful church splits.""Present situation in Ukraine is not an exception. It is interference of political forces that has led to the current schism," members of the Ukrainian Church Synod believe. Head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad also participated in the Synod session on the invitation of Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev.

Moscow, July 23, Interfax - Primate of the Cyprus Orthodox Church Archbishop Chrysostomos is concerned with interference of Ukrainian and Estonian authorities in Church matters. "When political authorities interfere in church affairs, they often destroy instead of building up as very few politicians today coordinate their life with moral spiritual values," Archbishop of Cyprus said at his meeting with Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia. "We are deeply concerned with such a situation, the archbishop further said, we don't approve of such actions. Holy canons should have a priority in the Church and be rigorously observed. We are urged to build up and not to destroy unity."Patriarch Alexy expressed his anxiety that certain politicians "want to split centuries-old spiritual and canonical bonds between Ukrainians and Russians and some Orthodox brethren are ready to help them in it."According to him, "it threatens with the total chaos in Church relations." Alexy II also spoke on the history and current situation of Orthodoxy in Estonia, where the state helped develop non-canonical structure of the Constantinople Patriarch and refused to acknowledge the fact that Estonia had been a part of the Moscow Patriarchate canonical territory for centuries. "When we face the lack of Orthodox solidarity in our attitude to schismatic leaders, when Orthodox hierarchs, our brothers, give schismatics an occasion to say that there are local Churches to back them up, all believers take it especially hard. The precious unity is being destroyed. The entire Orthodoxy suffers loss," the patriarch stressed saying that it largely refers to the Ukrainian situation. Archbishop of Cyprus also believes local Churches should be unanimous in preventing splits that could damage ecumenical Orthodoxy. "It's so frightful to bring a schism to the Church, after all each of us will have to answer to God!" Archbishop Chrysostomos said. Patriarch Alexy thanked his guest for his firm and principal position, the Moscow Patriarchate official website reported.

Moscow, July 24, Interfax - European integration cannot develop without respect for the opinions and interests of the Orthodox people living in Europe, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II said."The Russian Orthodox Church welcomes the desire of the European People's Party [EPP] to work with the Orthodox peoples of Europe. It guarantees the preservation of a single European civilization and accord in our common European cause," Alexy II said in his welcoming address to participants in a conference held in Kyiv, which addresses the dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the EPP and the European Democrats in the European parliament.The Orthodox peoples are ready for dialogue on public and political values and their involvement in development using their "centuries-long religious tradition and national spiritual experience," Alexy said in his address published on the official website of the Moscow Patriarchate on Thursday.The Russian Orthodox Church is ready to propose for discussion the foundation of its doctrines on dignity, freedom and human rights adopted at the Bishop's Council, says the address.Alexy II noted with satisfaction that the European Union and the Council of Europe have started to give more attention to the dialogue with the Orthodox community and issues relating to the cooperation between different cultures and religions in general, pointing out that Christian churches are "important institutions of civil society in Europe."


The collection of Eastern and Western Armenian literary masterpieces, “Orhnerkoutyoun Medzaskanchin” published last year by the Catholicosate of Cilicia, dedicated to the Armenian language, was presented on July 17 to educational officials from around the Armenian Diaspora gathered in Antelias to attend the second Pan-Diaspora Conference on Education.

The event, sponsored by His Holiness Aram I, was to re-evaluate the “Year of the Armenian Language” declared by the Catholicosate of Cilicia in 2007, during which several initiatives throughout the Diaspora brought the Armenian Language at the center of attention. The volume was edited by Lebanese-Armenian intellectual Sarkis Giragosian, also lecturer on the Armenian Language and Literature at the Seminary and an intellectual. It had been published towards the end of the year.

In his opening remarks, Deacon Father Mesrob Sarkissian talked about the educational mission of the Catholicosate of Cilicia, which coexists side-by side with its spiritual, religious mission. Seminary students then recited poems praising the Armenian Language.

Lebanese Armenian poet Hagop Manoukian delivered a comprehensive account of the content of the volume and the editorial work involved in its preparation. Mr. Manoukian presented to the audience poetic and literary excerpts from the volume, speaking about the uniqueness of the collection.

In his speech, His Holiness Aram I once again upheld the essential importance of the Armenian Language. Speaking about the Catholicosate of Cilicia’s initiatives to bring important issues to the center of public attention, His Holiness talked about the Year of the Armenian Language in 2007. “However, for each Armenian the Armenian Language is a daily existential struggle. The Armenian Language is one of the Holy values of our nation and one that can not be forgotten, not only because the discovery of the Armenian letters was made by a Saint, but because the Language acquired a value equal to that of sanctity in Armenian life. Is there an Armenian intellectual who has not realized the important value of our language? Is there an Armenian clergyman, who while conveying the Word of God, does not realize the sacred value of the Armenian Language?” wondered His Holiness. On this occasion the Pontiff also highly praised editor Sarkis Giragossian, the Cilician Brotherhood members who organized the conference, the Seminary students who participated in the program and the Seminary’s management. The cultural entertainment program continued with performances by Seminary students and a reception by the Seminary’s management.


The second Pan-Diaspora Conference on Education was launched on July 17 in the Saint Asdvadzadzine Monastery in Bikfaya. The conference brings together some 100 Armenian community officials from around the world involved in the field of education, including principals of Armenian schools and teachers of Armenian Language, Literature, Religion.

The official opening of the conference in the “Prapyon Doumanian” Hall of the Seminary followed the morning service in the Saint Asdvadzadzine chapel. In his speech the Pontiff praised the commitment of the Armenian school and its dedicated teachers to the spiritual and intellectual formation of the new Armenian generations. Referring to the discussions of the first conference on education held four years ago in Antelias, His Holiness talked about those proposals, which had been brought to life as well as the shortcomings in realizing some others.

Outlining his vision of the second conference’s discussions, His Holiness advised that it should be unique in its kind. “This is not only a conference to share our difficulties and concerns with one another. We have come here to talk about re-organizing the teaching of Armenological topics, particularly Armenian Language, Literature, and Religion. We live in different circumstances. In some countries there are difficulties with regard to classes, textbooks and even teachers. Therefore, the exchange of viewpoints and your proposals are essential for the coordination of our collective efforts. Finally, His Holiness called up the participants to work collectively.

The sessions of the first day featured discussions on the status of the above-mentioned topics in each of the Dioceses and other concerns. The conference will continue over the next two days.


Session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was held

Today, July 16, at the residence of the Primate in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra regular session of the Holy Synod was held. It was presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr.
Taking part in the session were Metropolitan Agathangel of Odessa and Izmayil, metropolitan Iriney of Dnipropetrovsk and Pavlohrad, Archbishop Mark of Khustiv and Vynohradiv, Archbishop Mytrophan of Bila Tserkva and Boguslav, Archbishop Feodor of Kamyanets-Podilsk and Gorodok, Bishop of Olexandriya and Svitlovodsk Panteleimon, Bishop Anthony of Boryspil.


At the session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine the Holy Synod heard the information of His Beatitude concerning the Address of the Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Byzantine rite His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomir Husar to the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Letter № Р-08/214 of April 26, 2008).

It was resolved to send the following answer of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Byzantine rite His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomir Husar:

His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomir Husar
Head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Byzantine rite

Your Beatitude!

In response to your letter of April 26 of the present year where you suggest your own model of reunification of the Ukrainian Churches who are direct or indirect successors of the Baptism of Volodymyr, and express your own vision of the further cooperation between our Churches, we inform You that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church shares Your anxiety of the dissents in Ukraine between the full blood brothers, who had confessed one and the same faith in the past, but we cannot agree in all details with Your view of restoration of the lost unity.

We believe that the questions you raised in Your letter fall into two groups, i.e. a) the question of restoring of the unity between the Catholic and the Orthodox Churches on the whole, b) the question of restoring of the unity between the Orthodox and the Catholics of the Eastern rite in Ukraine. It follows from Your letter that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and other Orthodox confessions, and the Orthodox and Catholic world on the whole are suggested the classical Uniate model of restoring unity.

First of all we'd like to emphasize that such an approach does not correspond the general context of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, the task of the latter lies in finding mutual theological understanding of the dogmatic divergence between our Churches, such as the issue of primacy in the Church, Filioque etc. Only after elimination of these dogmatic differences restoration of unity of our Churches is possible.

Among the issues discussed in the course of dialogue was the problem of ‘union' as a means of achievement of the unity of the Catholics and the Orthodox. This problem was considered by the Combined Commission on the Orthodox -Catholic Dialogue in Freising (Germany, 1990) and in Balamandi (Lebanon, 1993). In particular, the Balamandi document states that "the form of missionary apostleship" called "Uniate", is no longer acceptable both as a method or a model of unity our Churches are striving for." Let's remind that this document was ratified both by the Orthodox as well as by the Roman Catholic Church whose structural part is the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church that You head. In view of the fact, we are surprised by your Uniate proposals which do not only contradict the documents mentioned, but are also outdated since they were rejected in the process of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue.

We are also doubtful of the competence of the Church structure that You head to make respective proposals, since the UGCC has no separate Statute and is guided in the canonical sphere by the Code of Canon Law of the Eastern Churches, according to which it is a part of the "Catholic Church ruled by the successor of Apostle Peter and the bishops in communion with him" (Canon 7, paragraph 2). In compliance with it, as a structural unit of the Catholic Church the UGCC has obviously no right to enter into any canonical or liturgical communions, nonconforming with the canon regulations of the Catholic Church. All that makes us think that the ideas expressed in Your letter are devoid of any ecclesiastic, canonical or liturgical grounds.

In view of that we believe that instead of creation of the new church unions, conforming neither with Catholic nor Orthodox ecclesiology, it would be more expedient to join our efforts for resolving the public and social problems, not resorting to gambling in the ecclesiological sphere. For the same reasons the Ukrainian Orthodox Church highly approved at the very beginning the idea of creation of the Council of the Ukrainian Churches of St. Vladimir's Baptism. It is a good sign that Your Church supports this initiative. We believe that such organization may be a place of meeting and fruitful cooperation between our Churches.

At the same time, we take this opportunity to note once again that the direct successor of the Baptism of St. Vladimir and of the ancient Metropolis of Kyiv is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. As for the UAOC and UOC-KP, they are the newly created denominations that have lately seceded from the UOC. We recognize their and the UGCC's indirect relation to the Baptism of St. Vladimir.

It is our earnest conviction that the united Orthodox Church of all the orthodox people of Ukraine may emerge only after the schisms are eliminated. Further on, taking into account the state of the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, in the process of which it was acknowledges by both parties that the model of "Union" as a way of restoring unity was unacceptable, we find it more commendable for the faithful of the UGCC, identifying themselves with the Eastern Orthodoxy, to return to the Orthodoxy, and for those holding dear their communion with the Church of Rome to turn to her, preserving their eastern rite. All the more so because after the Second Council of Vatican the Roman-Catholic Church ahs expanded her view of the rite, to which testifies, for example, the existence of the famous monasteries in Chevton (Belgium) and Bose (Italy) in her fold, keeping to the eastern rite, but not separated into a special canonical structure. Thus one of the significant obstacles on the way to restoration of the ecumenical unity between the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church would be eliminated. We understand that it is very difficult but in our case it depends only upon us - the Orthodox and the Greek Catholics of Ukraine. At the same time, implementation of the model You suggest depends on recognition of the "Ukrainian Local Church" by the rest of the Churches (the Orthodox and Roman-Catholic), the possibility of which is very doubtful, to put it mildly.

Greeting the initiative of creation of the Council of the Ukrainian Churches of the Baptism of St. Vladimir, we pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten our hearts and that the time come when we praise the Lord with "one mouth and one heart".


The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church presided over by His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr of Kyiv and All Ukraine considered at its session the issue of introducing amendments into the Statue of the Russian Orthodox Church concerning the legal procedures for clergymen, made at the Bishops' Council of the Russian Orthodox Church on July 24-29, 2008.
The resolution was made to send the respective Address to His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia:

His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia,

Your Holiness!

In connection with passing of the Regulation on the Church Court by the BishopsCouncil of the Russian Orthodox Church, and the relevant amendments to the Statute of the Russia Orthodox Church, on behalf of all Fullness of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church we address You with request to introduce some specifications into the Statute stipulated for by the rights of extended autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

In particular, we ask You to introduce into the paragraph 5 of Article VII («Church Court») the regulation, according to which the right of imposing canonical prohibitions such as lifetime suspension from service, deposition from the holy orders and excommunication from the Church in the boundaries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church should be transferred to the Primate and the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The new formulation of the given paragraph might be as follows: “The canonical prohibitions, such as lifetime suspension in service, deposition from the holy orders and excommunication from the church are imposed by the diocesan bishop or the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and The Holy Synod (in the boundaries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - by Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine and the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church) exclusively at the suggestion of the church court”.

With filial love,

† Volodymyr, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine


On Friday, June 11, in the Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra the celebrations were held at which thousands of pilgrims and numerous representatives of the clergy from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus were present. The vigil on the day of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul was presided over by His Eminence Metropolitan of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk Sergiy in concelebration with other hierarchs, clergy and brethren of the Lavra of Svyatogorsk.

On Saturday, July 12, in the Cathedral of Holy Dormition of the Svyatogorsk Lavra in the course of Divine Liturgy was performed the rite of glorification in the ranks of saints of the Synaxis of the Holy Fathers Who Shone in the Holy Mountains at Donets. Taking part in the solemn divine service together with Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Volodymyr were 18 hierarchs: Metropolitan Sergiy of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk, Hiero-archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra Metropolitan Hilarion of Donetsk and Mariupol, Metropolitan Iriney of Dnipropetrovsk and Pavlohrad, Metropolitan Ioannikiy of Luhansk and Alchevsk,

Archbishop Efraim of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol, Archbishop Ioann of Kherson and Tavriya, vicar of the Kharkiv Diocese Archbishop Onuphriy of Izyum, Deputy Abbot of the Hermitage of Nativity of the Theotokos in Glinka Archbishop Luka of Konotop and Glukhiv, Bishop Amvrosiy of Chernihiv and Novhorod-Siverskyi, Deputy Abbot of the Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra, Vicar of the Diocese of Donetsk Bishop Arseniy, Bishop Mytrofan of Horlivka and Slovyansk , Vicar of the Donetsk Diocese Bishop Varnava of Makiyivka, Bishop Yelisey of Berdyansk and Prymorsk, Bishop Agapit of Severodonetsk and Starobilsk, Rector of the Kyiv Theological Academy and Seminary Bishop Anthony of Boryspil, Bishop Alexander of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, and His Grace Bishop Alipy. Concelebrating with the hierarchs were the host of clergy and the brethren of Lavra. І

At the Divine Liturgy at the Lesser Entrance was served the last Litia for the reposed God-pleasers, thereafter two hierarchs said the word of enunciation. Bishop of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol Efraim read out an extract from the Journal of Proceedings of the session of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which passed the decision on glorification among the saints of the Synaxis of Fathers who shone in the Holy Mountains at Donets, approved the troparion, prayer service and the icon for veneration. Then Bishop Mytrofan of Horlivka and Slovyansk read out the lives of each of the hermits of Svyatogorsk. Thereafter the icon depicting the synaxis of the Fathers of Svyatogorsk was taken from the altar to the singing of troparion to the newly-glorified saints, and the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr performed the first prayerful veneration of the holy image and of the reliquaries with the holy relics that stay here, at the Cathedral of Holy Dormition. This example was followed by other archpastors and clergy, and the Divine service went on.

Upon completion of the Liturgy in the Cathedral of the Holy Dormition the festive prayer service was performed proclaiming "many years" to the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to the hierarchs, clergy and all those praying.

Then Metropolitan Sergiy of Voronezh and Borisoglebsk addressed those present with the greeting word, in which he congratulated heartily on the greatest event in the life of the Svyatogorsk Lavra and the Diocese of Donetsk, and of the whole Ukrainian Orthodox Church as well - on the glorification in the ranks of saints of the Holy Fathers who shone in the Holy Mountains at Donetsk. On behalf of the hierarchs present Vladyka expressed sincere gratitude to Hiero-archimandrite of the Svyatogorsk Lavra metropolitan Hilarion and to Deputy Abbot of the monastery Bishop Arseniy for the warm reception. Metropolitan Sergiy expressed assurance that through the prayers of the newly-glorified hermits of Svyatogorsk the Lavra of Svyatogorsk and all the Orthodox Donbass will flourish spiritually further on. In his turn Deputy Abbot of the monastery Bishop of Svyatogorsk Arseniy thanked the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church His Beatitude Metropolitan Volodymyr, the hierarchs and the clergy for participation in the celebrations. Then the festive meals served for the guests and pilgrims were served.


At Most, in Czechia, a new Romanian Orthodox church will be built with the feast day of Holy Martyr Valentine. The church will be a memorial for the 40,000 Romanian soldiers who died on the area of the former Czechoslovakia during the two World Wars.

The founding stone was consecrated by the praise-worthy Patriarch Teoctist on June 14 2007, together with Right Rev. Vincentiu of Ploiesti, Patriarchal vicar. The building of the new worship place will help promote the Romanian spirituality and traditional architecture in Czhechia.

The church is the first to be built in Czechia after World War II and its consecration is set to take place in 2010, when 65 years will be celebrated from the end of World War II.

Those who wish to join the Romanian Patriarchate by contributing to this sacred deed of honoring the heroes of the Romanian nation, can make deposits in the following accounts of the Romanian Patriarchate, mentioning 'For the Most church.'

The Romanian Patriarchate - Social and Cultural Mission: RO31RNCB0075004895030117 (account in RON) and RO04RNCB0075004895030118 (account in Euro), accounts opened at the Romanian Commercial Bank.


Today, Sunday, July 6 2008, in the Episcopal Cathedral or the Serbian Orthodox Church in Stockholm, took place the enthronement ceremony of the first bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Northern Europe, Right Rev. Macarie Dragoi. The Holy Liturgy was celebrated by Most Rev. Nifon, Archbishop and Metropolitan of Targoviste and Patriarchal Exarch, who is the delegate of His Beatitude Daniel, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church; Most Rev. Serafim, Metropolitan of Germany, Central and Northern Europe; Most Rev. Iosif, Metropolitan of Occidental and Southern Europe; and by other hierarchs of the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church or from sister Orthodox Churches, surrounded by a numerous synaxis of priests and deacons.

The event was also attended by representatives of Romanian and Scandinavian authorities, representatives of the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Syrian Churches, monastics and faithful from Romania or the Scandinavian Peninsula, as well as a numerous delegation of youths dressed in the traditional clothes of the native village of Right Rev. Macarie, Spermezeu in the Bistrita Nasaud county, who also sang during the Holy Liturgy.

After reading the Metropolitan Gramata, the Most Revs. Metropolitans Nifon and Serafim handed Right Rev. Macarie the regalia of his new episcopal dignity, then seated him onto the hierarchical throne. Most Rev. Nifon read the message of His Beatitude Daniel, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Her Excellency Victoria Popescu, Romanian ambassador in Sweden, presented the message of the Romanian President Traian Basescu and counselor Adrian Lemeni that of Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

After the speech by Most Rev. Serafim, Metropolitan of Germany, Central and Northern Europe, the first bishop of Romanians in Northern Europe presented in his address the pastoral priorities in his new ministry bestowed onto him and thanked those in attendance at the event, as well as those who contributed to his spiritual and intellectual development.

The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, in its working session on October 22, 2007, analyzing the requests filed by Romanian Orthodox parishes in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, has approved the foundation and organization of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Northern Europe, headquartered in Stockholm.
The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church, acknowledging the decision of the Eparchial Gathering of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of Northern Europe taken on February 23, 2008, has elected, on March 5, 2008, with 42 out of 45 votes, Very Rev. Macarie Dragoi, the Ecclesiarch of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cluj-Napoca, as the first bishop of this diocese.

Right Rev. Macarie Dragoi was ordained bishop in the metropolitan cathedral of Cluj-Napoca on the feast of Theotokos of the Lifegiving Font (May 2)


The 76th Congress of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate 'Romanian Hearth' of America started today, July 4th. The Congress debates the proposal of unification between the two Romanian eparchies in the Americas, namely the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate 'Romanian Hearth' which is a diocese of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and Canada, under the jurisdiction of the Romanian Patriarchate.

Rev. Mircea Alexa Uta, Patriarchal counselor - External Communities Sector, said that the meeting has also a commemorative character, as this year have passed 50 years since the passing into eternity of the first bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, Policarp Morusca.

The two Romanian episcopal structures have been split since 1947. Father Mircea Alexa Uta has indicated that the main motivation of the unification proposal is the sincere desire for reconciliation showed by the hierarchy and faithful of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate, which has already been done through the reciprocal request for forgiveness of the delegates from the two Romanian Orthodox ecclesiastic structures in America.

The unification proposal was written in the joint statement issued after the meeting of the dialog commission between the two Romanian ecclesiastical structures in the United States and the Romanian Patriarchate, on February 25-27 2008.



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