Cross purposes: an explanation of the Russian Orthodox cross

With events in Ukraine continuing to dominate the headlines, and crosses like the one above become more familiar, this item deserves some attention. An Eastern Rite friend posted this on Facebook, and I thought it was pretty interesting: an explanation of the “three-bar cross” used among the Orthodox. A lot of complex and beautiful imagery [Read More...]

Historic: Pope names Coptic priest as personal secretary

This is pretty remarkable, when you think about it, from the National Catholic Register:  Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, a priest of the Coptic Patriarchate of Alexandria, has been made second personal secretary to Pope Francis. The position is among the Pope’s closest collaborators, and this marks the first time that an Eastern Catholic priest has [Read More...]

Orthodox churches to hold first “ecumenical” council in 1,200 years—UPDATED

This is news that only breaks once every millennium:  Patriarchs of the world’s 250 million Orthodox Christians ended a rare summit in Istanbul on Sunday calling for a peaceful end to the crisis in Ukraine and denouncing violence driving Christians out of the Middle East. Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of [Read More...]

Historic: First married Maronite Catholic in U.S. to become a priest—UPDATED

From USA TODAY (and note the quote from FOB Deacon Bill Ditewig!): In a move that could open the doors for more wedded priests in some Catholic churches across the USA, a married Maronite deacon will be ordained Thursday as a priest in St. Louis. Deacon Wissam Akiki, who serves St. Raymond’s Maronite Cathedral, will be the first [Read More...]

Stunning image: priest hearing confession on the front lines in Kiev

Check this out: And read the analysis from Terry Mattingly.  This is courage. This is grace. Pray for the people of Ukraine—and remember, in a special way, these extraordinary clergymen. [Read more...]

The Women Deacons of the Armenian Church

Hours after this story broke, about the head of the CDF’s remarks on women deacons, the item below popped up in my Google newsfeed. I think it opens a window to a part of the Christian world many of us in the Latin church don’t know about. The story recounts a talk given last month [Read More...]

Vatican releases text for Pope Francis’ Way of the Cross

The text, to be prayed at the Col0sseum on Good Friday, was supervised by a newly created cardinal, Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï, and written by Lebanese young people with a special emphasis on the struggles of people in the Middle East. CNS notes:  A group of Lebanese young people wrote the meditations at the [Read More...]

Report: Francis and Bartholomew may travel to Holy Land together

Details: The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople has invited Pope Francis to travel with him to the Holy Land next year to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the embrace between Patriarch Athenagoras and Paul VI, the pioneers of Catholic-Orthodox dialogue. During their private meeting, Bartholomew and Francis explored possible paths towards unity, including theological dialogue, environmental [Read More...]

Pope speaks of ecumenism, the “walk towards unity” and welcomes patriarch as “Andrew”

Some details, from CNS: For the good of all people, the care of the poor and the future of the Earth, religions must cooperate in reminding modern men and women that God exists and has a plan for their lives and their behavior, Pope Francis said. “The Catholic Church knows the importance of promoting friendship [Read More...]

Maronite patriarch will compose text for Way of the Cross

This is pretty big news:   Recalling his trip to Lebanon and inviting the whole Church to remember the problems of and the Christian communities in the Middle East in their prayers, the Holy Father has invited―through his cardinal secretary of state―His Beatitude Bechara Boutros Rai, O.M.M., Patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, to prepare [Read More...]


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