Every second Saturday of the month, Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ.
4pm Divine Liturgy. Next: 13th November 2021

Very sadly, the Divine Liturgy in English at 9-30 am on Sundays at the Holy Family Cathedral, Lower Church, have had to be put on hold. Until the practicalities we cannot use the Lower Church space. Hopefully this will be resolved very soon. Please keep checking in here for details.

Owing to public health guidance, masks should still be worn indoors and distance maintained. Sanitisers are available. Holy Communion is distributed in both kinds from the mixed and common chalice, by means of a separate Communion spoon for each individual communicant.

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Bishop Andreas Abouna - Eternal Memory

Bishop Andreas Abouna of Baghdad has died in Erbil, aged 67 having suffered from kidney failure. The bishop, who had served as priest in charge of Chaldean Catholics in Ealing, west London, for more than a decade, died on Tuesday morning in the city of Erbil in Kurdish northern Iraq. He was buried in St Joseph’s Cathedral, Ankawa, near Erbil, later the same day after a funeral presided over by Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly, reports the Catholic Herald.

Bishop Abouna, a Chaldean Catholic, became one of the best known Church leaders in Iraq following his ordination as bishop by Pope John Paul II on January 6 2003 – less than three months before the US-led invasion of his country to oust Saddam Hussein.

Throughout the war years Bishop Abouna ministered to the Christian people of the Iraqi capital who were often afflicted by sectarian attacks from Islamic militants.

Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil said that the bishop was a pastor who was “always smiling, even in difficult situations”.

“He was a very close friend not just to me but to so many others,” he told Aid to the Church in Need, a charity for persecuted Christians which had helped to fund Bishop Abouna’s healthcare.

Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk also paid tribute: “Bishop Abouna was a very good and humble man, very open-minded,” he said.

“He really took care of each one of his priests and he always worked for the unity of the Church. I hope he can pray for us from heaven.”

Marie-Ange Siebrecht, the charity’s projects coordinator for Iraq, said: “I had the pleasure to meet Bishop Abouna many times during my visits to northern Iraq.

“He was a very spiritual person and had great concern for the priests and seminarians he was in charge of. Especially in Baghdad he played a great role among the priests to try to show them that there is a future in their country.”

Bishop Abouna was born on March 23 1943 in Bedar, a village outside the northern Iraqi town of Zakho. He entered St Peter’s Seminary, then based in Mosul, and was ordained a priest on June 5 1966. A year later he was appointed to a parish in Basra, southern Iraq, and four years later became pastor of St Joseph the Worker, Baghdad, where he served for 20 years. In 1989 he became secretary to Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid of Baghdad. About two years later he moved to London to serve as priest in charge of the Chaldean and Syrian-Catholic Mission in England, a role in which he remained for 11 years.

On November 11 2002 he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad and he returned to his native country the following year. In the aftermath of 2003 invasion he had to deal with bomb attacks on churches and witnessed an exodus of Christian refugees fleeing Islamist violence.

He responded to a shortage of priests by serving at the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in the city’s Al Mansour district.

An appreciation of his life and courageous witness by Fr John Salter, Chairman of the Society, will be carried in the next issue of Chrysostom.

Russian Federation and Holy See: Full Diplomatic Relations

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, up until now the Pope's representative to the Russian Federation, has now been appointed the Holy See's first apostolic nuncio to the country.

The archbishop presented his letters of credence to Foreign Affairs Minister Sergej Lavrov on July 15. This follows the agreement in December 2009 between Pope Benedict XVI and President Dmitry Medvedev to upgrade relations to full diplomatic ties between the Holy See and Russia, which raises the level of representation to apostolic nuncio and embassy respectively. Since 1990 representation has been maintained at the level below that of ambassador.

In greeting the new Nuncio, Alexander Krusko, the vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, observed how relations between the Vatican and Russia are "characterized by a growing understanding and spirit of collaboration." He called for "a fruitful collaboration in the great moral and ethical challenges posed to man today."

Archbishop Mennini in response conveyed the Pope's greeting to the Russian president, promising the Holy See's "collaboration for a further reinforcement of relations with the government, as well as for the spiritual and moral growth of the Russian people."

On June 26, His Excellency Mikolay Sadlichov in Rome had first presented his letters of credence as the first Russian ambassador to the Holy See.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

Patriarch Kirill in Ukraine - Catholics and Orthodox Together can Sustain the Spiritual Identity of Europe

Billboards announcing Patriarch Kirill's visit in Kyiv

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow says that he and Benedict XVI often see eye-to-eye on many issues, especially with regard to those of a moral nature, according to statements reported on July 19th by Interfax as the Patriarch was about to visit Ukraine.

"The position of the present Pope, Benedict XVI leaves room for optimism," he said in an interview on Ukrainian television channels, observing how the Pope is often criticized by "liberal theologians and the liberal mass media in the West" for his opinions. "However, in his approach on many public and moral issues, the Pope coincides fully with the approach of the Russian Orthodox Church. This gives us an opportunity to promote Christian values with the Catholic Church, in particular in international organizations and in the international arena," he asserted.

At the same time, the patriarch discerned "dangerous phenomena" in contemporary Protestantism, in which Christians "let sinful elements of the world enter their interior and justify these elements that the secular society offers them."

As a result, he said, "liberal secular philosophical slogans are repeated within the Protestant churches and grow roots in religious thought." In this connection, Patriarch Kirill referred to the question of the ordination of women, which he said appears in the West because "the secular notion of human rights is incorporated to theology".

Patriarch Kirill went on to stress the importance of the integration of both Russia and Ukraine in Europe for preserving their "national, cultural and spiritual identity" and Erurope's too. "It is a great challenge in conditions of globalization. We must preserve the diversity and beauty of God's world and at the same time promote good international cooperation and peaceful relations between nations."

He said that if Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians reject their "basic values," they would lose their national bearings, causing "a great catastrophe of civilization, the same as with other nations that have lost their identity."

Without their essentially Christian fundamental identity the nations of the world could be "easily manipulated, because this traditional spiritual culture in the majority of the population is the main criterion for them to distinguish good from evil."

2011 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - Jerusalem

The Churches from all round the world will focus their attention on their "Mother Church", the church of the first Christians, in Jerusalem as they observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January 2011.

Recalling first century harmony as well as experience of historical and contemporary challenges to unity, the Churches and communities of Jerusalem have prepared material with the theme, "One in the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer," a phrase from the Acts of the Apostles.

Zenit reports (14 July 2010) that the retired Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem of the Latins was among those who collaborated with Orthodox, Lutheran and Episcopal officials and other Christian leaders to prepare the resources.

In the introduction they explain, "The call for unity this year comes to churches all over the world from Jerusalem, the mother church. ... Mindful of its own divisions and its own need to do more for the unity of the Body of Christ, the churches in Jerusalem call all Christians to rediscover the values that bound together the early Christian community in Jerusalem, when they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

"This is the challenge before us. The Christians of Jerusalem call upon their brothers and sisters to make this week of prayer an occasion for a renewed commitment to work for a genuine ecumenism, grounded in the experience of the early Church."

The Week of Prayer began as the Church Unity Octave, an Anglican-Papalist initiative in 1908 led by Father Paul Wattson in the US and the Revd Spencer Jones in England. When Fr Paul and his Franciscan community entered the Roman Catholic Church, the Octave became established in the Catholic world. In 1933 it was re-imagined as the Week of Universal Prayer for the Unity of Christians by Fr Paul Couturier in Lyons and gained in popularity among Catholics, Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans and Reformed Christians, as well as people of other faiths. After Couturier's death, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, the Week of Prayer was entrusted to the World Council of Churches and the Secretariat (now the Pontifical Council) for Promoting Christian Unity as a joint venture.

The international resources for the 2011 Week of Prayer can be found here on the Vatican website. The UK version, developed by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland is available here.

New Apostolic Visitor for the UK's Syro-Malankara Catholics

Zenit reports, 14 July 2010:

Pope Benedict XVI has erected an Apostolic Exarchate for the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in the United States, and appointed Father Thomas Naickamparampil, 49, of the Major Archieparchy of Trivandrum as its first bishop. He will also serve as apostolic visitor for the Syro-Malankara Catholics in Canada and Europe.

Mar Thomas (left) was born on June 6, 1961 at Mylapra in Pathanamthitta District of the Eparchy of Pathanamthitta. After completing high school, he joined St. Aloysius Minor Seminary, Pattom, Trivandrum, and then later completed his priestly formation at the Papal Seminary in Pune. He was ordained on December 29, 1986. He has a doctorate degree in philosophy from the Pontifical University Gregorian in Rome.

The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church traces its roots back to St. Thomas the Apostle. The Church split from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in 1930, and then entered into communion with Rome. In 2005, the Eastern Church was elevated to a major archiepiscopal Church. It is currently led by Major Archbishop Baselios Cleemis, and currently has eight eparchies and some 500,000 faithful.

The community of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church began to organize in 1984 in New York. Today there are an estimated 10,000 members, 16 parishes and 15 mission stations of the Church in the United States and Canada. It numbers 30 priests, and 34religious. The new Apostolic Exarchate will have its headquarters in New York City, and the main parish will be the Malankara Catholic Church in Long Island. The Syro-Malankara Catholic community in the United Kingdom is co-ordinated from St Anthony's Church in Forest Gate, Diocese of Brentwood, by Fr Daniel Kulangara, who is Special Pastor for five missions in the UK.

Friday 16 July 2010

Amidst the Violence of Iraq, Two Chaldean Priests and Four Deacons Ordained

Layla Yousif Rahema on Asianews reports (16 July 2010):

"A sign of vitality and hope." Thus, the Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk, Msgr. Louis Sako, describes the ordination of two new priests held today, July 16, in the cathedral of his diocese. It can be said that July saw a real flowering of priestly ordinations which have infused new life into the Christian community, prostrated by continuing sectarian violence and the political instability that plagues Iraq.

Together with the two priests, four permanent deacons were ordained today. Before them, on July 9, it was the turn of another priest consecrated July 9 in Dohok, in the north, while a fourth priest will be ordained on July 23 in Karamless in the diocese of Mosul. Even the Syro-Catholic Church of Bartella and Karakosh were gifted with new priests this month.

"It 's a sign of vitality and hope to see these young people consecrated to the Lord and to the service of their brothers living in great suffering, in this time of tribulation and darkness," said Msgr. Sako to AsiaNews.

Today, the mass celebrated by Msgr. Sako, was attended by many faithful, united in prayer and joy, "so that these new priests may bring the message of God who is love and peace to all without distinction" the prelate said. In his homily, the Archbishop reminded the new priests to live the gift of God as Mary did, as a personal relationship that changed her life: "Like Her, we must 'keep all these things, reflecting on them in our heart' (Lk 2 19:51). Prayer is a true shield of protection, provided that it is done in humility. Mary said, 'I am the handmaid of the Lord', we too are servants of the Lord. Prayer is the distinctive characteristic that allows people to see Christ in our apostolate".

Friday 9 July 2010

Monsignor Enrico Benedetti (1874-1941)

Among History’s Vanished

The archivist of the Oriental Congregation, Gianpaolo Rigotti’s recent article “Uomini e attività della Congregazione per la Chiesa Orientale tra i motu proprio Dei providentis (1917) e Sancta Dei Ecclesia (1938)” deals with key figures that served the Congregation of the Oriental Church(es). However, one person is conspicuously absent from among these figures: Monsignor Enrico Benedetti. For twenty years, Benedetti was one of the most important employees of the two oriental departments of the Roman Curia, from 1904 to 1924. After this date he largely vanishes from history and obtaining his biographical data continues to be difficult. There are few overt references to his person and activities in the archives of the Oriental Congregation but, surprisingly, more significant information is to be found in other archives of the Apostolic See and in works dealing with Ukraine and the Greek-Catholic Church. Recently, Benedetti’s memory was brought back to life by the research of Monsignor Giuseppe M. Croce. In his now famous edition of Cyrille Korolevskij’s autobiography and correspondence, there are significant references to Benedetti, a protagonist of Byzantine Catholicism in the Roman Curia. Croce’s work has finally lifted the veil from the mystery of aspects of Benedetti’s curial career. This brief biography, based on what appears to be left of Benedetti’s personal file and supplemented by other archival sources, is intended as a modest addition to such research.

Enrico Benedetti was born in Rome in 1874 and was ordained for his native diocese in 1897, at the age of twenty-three. He subsequently obtained a teaching degree, as well as degrees in theology and in canon law, the latter for which he received top marks. In 1899 he was taken on provisionally at the Congregation of the Council [of the Clergy]. On 13 January 1900, he was given the chair of letters at the schools of the Pontifical Urban College run by the Sacred Congregation De Propaganda Fide where he later taught ecclesiastical history. It was in this teaching capacity that Angelo Roncalli (future Blessed John XXIII) remembered Benedetti in his famous memoirs, Journal of a Soul.

Propaganda Fide called Benedetti to additional responsibilities in 1904. At that time the minutante for the Ruthenian, Romanian, Bulgarian and Georgian Rite affairs received another posting and resigned his charge at the Congregation. According to the custom of the time, Italian priests were asked to submit their names for the vacant post. Among the eighteen contestants, Benedetti ranked among the top three for “the best physical, intellectual and moral requisites.” Benedetti was further prized for his knowledge of Greek, French and a little English and German. On 4 July 1904, the cardinals selected Benedetti and Pope Pius X approved the selection the following 12 July. The new minutante was informed of his appointment in a letter from the Assessor of the Sacred Congregation De Propaganda Fide for the Affairs of the Oriental Rite, Monsignor Savelli Spinola, dated the following day.

When Pope Benedict XV suppressed the old Congregation De Propaganda Fide for the Affairs of the Oriental Rite, in 1917, Benedetti passed over to the newly created Congregation Pro Ecclesia Orientali [for the Oriental Church]. In the new department, his past faithful service and expertise earned him the promotion from simple minutante to official, in which capacity he could co-sign documents with the cardinal-secretary or the bishop-assessor. Additionally, Don Enrico was granted the honourary distinction of papal chamberlain which carried with it the title of Monsignor.

The new Congregation was charged with demonstrating a more sympathetic image to Eastern-Rite Christians and its modus operandi was to be exclusively attuned to their needs. For this purpose the Pope chose Cardinal Marini, who had a certain interest in oriental scholarship, as the Congregation’s head. As second-in-command the Pope chose a Greek-Catholic, Bishop Isaias Papadopulos.

Among those who showed the greatest interest in the Christian East was Monsignor Benedetti himself, especially in his area of competency, the Greco-Slavic Churches, the largest among which was the Byzantine-Ruthenian, which comprised several of what we now call ecclesiae sui iuris. Benedetti soon began publishing material about the history of the Ruthenian Churches. In 1916 he published Punti di storia religiosa del popolo ruteno (Notes on the Religious History of the Ruthenian People) in Cardinal Marini’s journal Bessarione. The article was later printed as a booklet. Another important work appeared in 1922, entitled Le Chiese Orientali (The Oriental Churches).

One of the early issues that the new Oriental Congregation had to tackle was the Ukrainian problem. Benedetti had developed a relationship of trust with the Ukrainian Catholic hierarchs, the most senior of which was Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky. Ukrainian political leaders, Catholic and Orthodox, also reached out to the Apostolic See to secure political recognition. In exchange for which they promised freedom for Catholicism in Ukraine, especially for the Eastern-Rite variant. The Congregation, however, was not authorized to address political questions. These were the responsibility of the papal Secretariat of State and the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, which dealt with any religious questions connected with state governments. The Ukrainian question was, in the language of the Curia, a questione politico-religioso (a political-religious mix). The religious values that the Apostolic See intended to promote were intertwined with the political questions of the day. And therein lie the seeds of conflict over Ukraine within the Roman Curia.

With Europe in flux, Benedict XV and his secretary of state Cardinal Gasparri showed significant openness to Ukrainian independence. In 1919 an extraordinary Ukrainian diplomatic representation was received at the papal court. In turn, the Oriental Congregation recommended a papal representative to the Ukraine. Such a pontifical liaison was to assess the situation and present the religious goals of the Apostolic See to Ukrainian notables. The Pope accepted these recommendations and appointed Father Giovanni Genocchi as apostolic visitor to Ukraine.

But who recommended Genocchi to this post? According to his friend and biographer Vincenzo Ceresi: “Enrico Benedetti was a faithful admirer of the religious and devoted to him like a son.” Genocchi’s charming personality had made him many friends in Italian social and intellectual circles but these associations had made him enemies in the Curia, especially during the Modernist Crisis. As had been his predecessor Pius X, so too was Benedict XV an admirer of Genocchi and recognized his fidelity. Pope Benedict sought Monsignor Benedetti’s counsel to find a way to remove Genocchi from the climate of curial suspicion. Benedetti proposed the apostolic visitation to Ukraine and Eastern Galicia at the beginning of February 1920 and, according to Ceresi, the Pope accepted the proposal a week later, naming Genocchi on 13 February.

The instructions that Genocchi received from the Oriental Congregation in March 1920 had been composed by Benedetti and contained a long and sympathetic summary of the history of Ruthenian-Ukrainian questions. Don Enrico’s sympathy was keenly felt by Ukraine’s religious and political men, who, together with Genocchi, corresponded privately with him, seeking counsel and encouragement.

Benedetti also helped many Ukrainian priests. Through the mediation of Ukrainian diplomatic representative Father François-Xavier Bonne, in January 1920 Don Enrico arranged for the future Cardinal Josyf Slipyj to further his studies in Rome. Slipyj received funding through the Congregation for which he wrote to thank Benedetti in November. Two years later, with the Ukrainian diplomatic cause going badly, Bonne himself received a stipend through Benedetti’s intercession.

The turning point in Enrico Benedetti’s curial career occurred at the beginning of 1922 regarding political ramifications to the Ukrainian religious question; namely, the restoration of the ancient Byzantine bishopric of Lutsk.

Metropolitan Sheptytsky had ordained Josyf Botsian Bishop of Lutsk (Volyn) in 1914, using special powers granted him secretly by Pius X. But when Botsian attempted to begin his mission in Volyn he was blocked by Polish civil and religious notables. They feared that the restoration of the illegally suppressed Greek-Catholic Eparchy of Lutsk would help the Ukrainian independence movement and block centuries-old Polish hegemony over the territory. Following his release from Russian captivity in 1917, Sheptytsky made repeated attempts to have Botsian’s appointment legitimized. Finally in 1921, Metropolitan Andrei was able to prove to Benedict XV the existence of the secret faculties granted by Pius X. Thus on 21 February 1921, Pope Benedict did not hesitate to confirm Botsian’s appointment. However, due to the extreme opposition to Botsian in Poland, the Pontiff added the reservation that, although truly Bishop of Lutsk, until a modus vivendi with the Polish government could be achieved, Botsian was not to exercise episcopal jurisdiction.

One of Monsignor Benedetti’s duties was to correct the drafts of the papal Catholic directory, the Annuario Pontificio. In doing so, he added the name of Josyf Botsian under the resident diocese of Lutsk. Shortly before his death in January 1922, Benedict XV had examined these notations, but had made neither comment nor objection. During the sede vacante, Polish prelates in the Curia put pressure on the papal secretariat of state to have the entries removed. Monsignor Borgongini Duca ordered the head of the Annuario to remove Botsian’s name; but the priest in charge replied that, since the late Pope had approved the drafts, he required a written order. Borgongini complied with the request and the name was removed from the list of resident bishops (page 161). However, the priest-in-charge apparently forgot to remove the name from the index (page 902). Several copies of the first and second editions had already gone into circulation, before the third and final edition removed Botsian’s name altogether.

News about the original versions of the Annuario reached Ukrainian diplomatic representatives resulting in a series of articles in the Italian journal Il Popolo Romano, written by the secretary of the Ukrainian Legation in Vienna, Volodymyr Bandrivsky. A diplomatic incident occurred, resulting in vehement protests from the Polish Legation to the Holy See. Following an internal investigation, Cardinal Gasparri wrote a strong letter to Cardinal Marini blaming Monsignor Benedetti for divulging confidential information. Gasparri argued that, Benedetti, who had added the entries by hand, could not possibly be free from blame because he was aware that the late Pope had ruled that Botsian was not to exercise episcopal jurisdiction. “Mons. Benedetti put the Holy See in a very embarrassing position before the Polish Government.”

Benedetti ardently denied the charge but someone had to take the blame. Recently uncovered archival sources point to the fact that Ukrainian priests in Rome had been the source of the information, especially Basilian Father Lazar Berezovsky who carried on written correspondence with the Ukrainian diplomatic representatives. Pius XI was very annoyed by the incident, especially by the fact that Ukrainian politics seemed to be limiting the Church’s freedom of action. As a result, Cardinal Gasparri summoned Father Berezovsky, informing him that the Pope did not want to hear of “Ukrainians” but only “Ruthenians”. The rector retorted that they were indeed Ukrainians and that no one had the right to take away their name.

The upshot was that the Apostolic See had to give strong assurances to the Polish Government that Bishop Botsian (at least for the time being) would remain a bishop in name only. Enrico Benedetti received a reprimand in kind: his name was also removed from one section of the Annuario, the list of papal chamberlains. This honour, once conferred, remained in force only during the lifetime of the reigning Pope but had to be reconfirmed by his successor. Father Cyrille Korolevskij recounted the affair to Metropolitan Sheptytsky three months later, ended his letter by stating that “Today, the incident has calmed down but Benedetti was not confirmed in his title of “Monsignor” by the new Pope, who said: “We’ll see about it later.”

Even though he was soon restored to his monsignorial title, the Lutsk-Annuario incident had marked Benedetti’s curial career at the very inception of the new pontificate. In Korolevskij’s words: “Benedetti [...] is not in the [new] Pope’s good graces.” The Polish legation was especially on guard against any initiatives of Bendetti and his department, whose attempts to protect Eastern Catholics were regarded as inimical to Poland. Ambassador Skrzyński complained to Genocchi that "as long as Msgr. Benedetti is there, nothing good will be done" by the Oriental Congregation. Leading Polish curialist Monsignor Kazimierz Skirmunt suggested that Botsian’s title be changed without the knowledge of the Congregation so that it "and with it the whole Oriental universe" would not be given the opportunity to protest. Benedetti earned further papal displeasure in 1924, due to his participation in that year's Velehrad Congress. Pius XI complained that he did not want members of the Congregation to participate at such events in an official capacity.

The Oriental Congregation’s wings had been clipped in March 1922. Shortly after the Annuario incedent, its head, Cardinal Marini, became ill and was replaced by Cardinal Tacci. Marini had not demonstrated any remarkable capacity and Tacci turned out to be even worse, particularly due to an undiscovered brain tumour. During the latter’s term, many affairs were left unresolved and a number of important documents were mislaid, only to be found among the cardinals papers after his death. By 1924, in the words of Korolevskij, Benedetti had become “disgusted”. He left the Congregation on 31 December 1924 and passed to the Vatican Library the following year.

Although he ceased active service, Enrico Benedetti was well respected in the Roman Curia for his erudition and for many years of service he had given in no less than three Vatican departments. As a result, following his curial retirement, Don Enrico was called upon to serve as consulter to the Consitorial and Oriental Congregations; charges which he fulfilled until his death.

The Ruthenian bishops would have been devastated to see one of their few overt sympathizers retire from the Roman Curia. The relationship of trust that they had formed with Benedetti induced Metropolitan Sheptytsky to propose him for yet one more service. At their Episcopal Conference of 1928, the Ruthenian hierarchs of Poland (Ukrainians) and Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia (Carpatho-Ruthenians) and Bulgaria agreed to Sheptytsky’s proposal to appoint Benedetti as their man in Rome. On 8 July 1928, Sheptytsky wrote to Monsignor Giuseppe Pizzardo, head of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, asking him if the Curia had any objection to the bishops’ recommendation: The Bishops “considered Msgr. Enrico Benedetti, whom all have known for a long time, and who has always shown great devotion to the interests of their Churches and possesses all the necessary experience.”

Pizzardo asked the opinion of Monsignor Eugène Tisserant, a co-worker of both Benedetti and Korolevskij at the Vatican Library. Tisserant replied that he could not see any difficulty with the appointment. The matter was then forwarded to the Oriental Congregation, which also found no objection. Cardinal Sincero wrote to Sheptytsky on 19 July 1928 that “This Sacred Congregation is very happy to inform Your Lordship that it has nothing against your wish [...] as it has nothing against the person chosen for this office.” Once he had received Benedetti’s consent, Sheptytsky formally presented him to the Apostolic See on 27 November 1928 as procurator of the Ruthenian Episcopate in Rome for the affairs of the Ruthenian Churches.

Being familiar with both worlds, Benedetti was perfectly suited to act as a liaison between the Roman Curial offices and the Ruthenian hierarchy. Among notable affairs handled, in 1929 he made important oral clarifications regarding the candidates for auxiliary bishop to Metropolitan Sheptytsky. Two years later, in 1931, he rendered an important service when, together with Korolevskij, he was consulted by the Congregation on the history and status of Sheptytsky’s title Metropolitan of Halych, as distinct from to that of Archbishop of Lviv and Bishop of Kamiamets-Podilsk.

In his final years, Benedetti endured a long illness. Shortly before his death, which occured on Monday, 10 March 1941, he received a special blessing from Pope Pius XII. Monsignor Professor Enrico Benedetti’s funeral took place three days later, on Thursday, 13 March 1941, at the Roman parish church of the Sacred Heart on the Lungotevere Prati. The funeral rites were attended by numerous officials of the Oriental Congregation, among whom many counted themselves as admirers of their former colleague. Eugène Tisserant, now the cardinal-secretary of that department, subequently paid high tribute to Benedetti’s example of generous and loyal service to the Church.

Benedetti's memory continued to endure in the tiny community of Ukrainian priests and religious in the Eternal City, especially among those whom he had known and helped. As late as 1998, Ukrainian historian Liliana Hentosh identified his photograph, still displayed in the corridors of Piazza Madonna dei Monti, the seat of the Ukrainian procurature. The photo had been displayed at the orders of Cardinal Slipyj, whose first Roman sojourn had been arranged by Benedetti. Sadly, with recent renovations to the Madonna residence, even this last vestige of his memory has vanished.

Final Report of the Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, June 2010

Final Report of the  Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church
at the Patriarchal Summer Residence, Ain-Traz, 21-26 June 2010

The Synod of Bishops of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church was held at the Patriarchal Residence of Ain Traz, Lebanon, from 21 to 26 June 2010. It was presided over by His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III with the participation of hierarchs of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church who had come from the Church’s eparchies in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, the Holy Land, the United States of America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, together with the superiors general of the religious orders and of the Society of Missionaries of Saint Paul.

Their names and ranks are as follows:

The Rt. Rev. Boulos Borkhosh, Metropolitan of Bosra, the Hauran and Jabal Arab
The Rt. Rev. André Haddad, Archbishop of Furzol, Zahlé and all the Beqaa
The Rt. Rev. John Adel Elia, Bishop emeritus of Newton (USA)
The Rt. Rev. Ibrahim Nehmé, Metropolitan emeritus of Homs, Hama and Yabrud
The Rt. Rev. Georges Riashi, Archbishop and Patriarchal Administrator of Tripoli – Lebanon

The Rt. Rev. Georges Kwaiter, Archbishop emeritus of Saida and of Deir-el-Kamar
The Rt. Rev. Yuhanna (John) Assaad Haddad, Metropolitan emeritus of Tyre
The Rt. Rev. Cyril (Salim) Bustros, Archbishop-Bishop of Newton
The Rt. Rev. Boutros Mouallem, Archbishop emeritus of Saint John of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee
The Rt. Rev. Isidore Battikha, Metropolitan of Homs, Hama and Yabroud
The Rt. Rev. Georges el Murr, Archbishop emeritus of Petra, Philadelphia (Amman) and of all Transjordan
The Rt. Rev. Jean-Clement Jeanbart, Metropolitan of Aleppo, of Seleucia, of Cyr
The Rt. Rev. Farès Maakaroun, Archbishop-Bishop of  São Paulo (Brazil)
The Rt. Rev. Georges Kahhalé Zouhairaty, Apostolic Exarch of Venezuela, titular Bishop of Abila, Lysania
The Rt. Rev. Issam John Darwish, Bishop of Sydney (Australia and New Zealand)
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Kallas, Metropolitan emeritus and Patriarchal Administrator of Beirut and Jbeil
The Rt. Rev. Nicolas Sawaf, Archbishop of Lattakieh and Christian Valley – Syria
The Rt. Rev. Selim Ghazal, titular Archbishop of Edessa and Patriarchal Auxiliary emeritus
The Rt. Rev. Joseph Absi, Patriarchal Vicar in Damascus and titular Archbishop of Tarsus
The Rt. Rev. Joseph-Jules Zerey, Patriarchal Vicar in Jerusalem and titular Archbishop of Damietta
The Rt. Rev. Georges Nicolas Haddad, Archbishop of Paneas and Marjayyoun (Caesarea Philippi)
The Rt. Rev. Ibrahim Michael Ibrahim, Bishop of Montreal (Canada)
The Rt. Rev. Elias Rahhal, Archbishop of Baalbek
The Rt. Rev. Georges Bacouni, Metropolitan of Tyre
The Rt. Rev. Elias Shakkour, Archbishop of Saint John of Acre, Haifa, Nazareth and all Galilee
The Rt. Rev. Georges Bakar, Patriarchal Vicar in Egypt and Sudan, titular Archbishop of Pelusium

The Rt. Rev. Michel Abrass, Patriarchal Auxiliary (Bishop of Curium) and titular Archbishop of Myra
The Rt. Rev. John Abdou Arbash, Apostolic Exarch in Argentina and titular Bishop of Palmyra
The Rt. Rev. Elia Beshara Haddad, Archbishop of Saida and Deir-el-Kamar

The Rt. Rev. Yasser Ayyash, Archbishop of Petra and Philadelphia (Jordan)
Archimandrite Gabriel Ghanoum, Patriarchal Administrator of the Eparchy of Mexico
Archimandrite Jean Faraj, Superior General of the Basilian Order of the Most Holy Saviour
Archimandrite Samaan Abdel-Ahad, Superior General of the Soarite Basilian Order
Archimandrite Najib Tobji, Superior General of the Aleppine Basilian Order
Father Elia Aghia, Superior General of the Society of Missionaries of Saint Paul

Absent and excused were the following:
The Rt. Rev. Hilarion Capucci, titular Archbishop of Caesarea in Palestine and Patriarchal Vicar ad extra of Jerusalem
The Rt. Rev. Gregory Haddad, titular Archbishop of Adana and Metropolitan emeritus of Beirut and Jbeil
The Rt. Rev. Boulos Antaki, titular Archbishop of Nubia and Patriarchal Vicar emeritus in Egypt and Sudan
The Rt. Rev.
Spiridon Mattar, Bishop emeritus of São Paulo (Brazil)
The Rt. Rev. Nicolas James Samra, titular Bishop of Gerasa and Auxiliary Bishop emeritus of the Eparchy of Newton (United States of America)

The secretariat was provided by:
The Rt. Rev. Michel Abrass, Secretary General of the Synod,
assisted by Father Elias Shatawi, Economos General and Father Antoine Dib, Chancellor of the Patriarchate.

His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III opened the Synod, before a delegation of journalists, with a speech welcoming the hierarchs and superiors general: 

The Patriarch in his opening remarks called to mind the late Rt. Rev. Antoine Hayek, Archbishop emeritus of Paneas-Marjayyoun (Caesarea Philippi), who had departed this life on Saturday, 1 May 2010, and asked the Lord in his mercy to receive him.

The Patriarch then moved on to the main topics, first of all inviting the faithful children of our Church to adhere to their faith and religious obligations and bear the difficulties and pressures which affect the Christian community today.

He proposed as examples the apostles and martyrs whose shrines he had visited, and where they had proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and been martyred for his sake: the Apostle Thomas in India, the Apostle Paul in Malta and the Apostle James in Saint James of Compostela in Spain.

His Beatitude repeated his appeal to the faithful not to be afraid of the future, exhorting them to optimism and trust in God, who never abandons his children.

His Beatitude similarly called to mind the preparations for the Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for the Middle East The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness, convoked by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for October 2010.

The Patriarch recalled that he had addressed a letter to the Heads of State of Arab countries to explain to them the meaning and objectives of that special Synodal Assembly and its importance for the Christian presence and for co-existence in the Middle East, developing faith values, human rights, freedom of religion and conscience, the value of women and the protection of families: all values common to Christians and Muslims.

His Beatitude had received a letter from His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI with his good wishes for the success of the Synod, for continuous renewal in the mission particular to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, and on the eve of the Synod of Bishops’  Special Assembly for the Middle East, for the Church to be a communion and witness among Christians, and a stabilising factor for peace and brotherhood among the peoples of the region.

At the beginning of the session, the Fathers of the Synod had addressed a letter to the Holy Father, asking for His Holiness’ blessing on the work of the Synod.

His Beatitude spoke again on the first day of the Synod in a meditation for the half-day of recollection:

The Patriarch presented the main points from his Christmas Letter 2009 for the Year for Priests, emphasising the duty of holiness for each bishop and priest, and the need for permanent formation, commensurate with the rapid progress in all sectors; he also emphasised the need for openness on the part of priests towards working with lay-people.

The Patriarch communicated some good news:

1.    He will make a pastoral visit to Latin America (August-September 2010) to our eparchies of Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. In the last country, he will take part in the seventh congress of the eparchies of the expansion.

2.    In 2011, the jubilee of the bicentenary of the Patriarchal Residence of Ain Traz will take place.

3.    In the spring of 2011, there will take place in Rabweh the inauguration of the Al-Liqa’a international centre for the dialogue of civilisations and next year there will be the first conference, in memory of the late Archbishop Elias Zoghby, who was a great voice calling for Christian unity.

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Issam John Darwish presented, on the occasion of the Year for Priests, a study, submitted for discussion by the Fathers of the Synod, entitled “Priestly Integrity,” calling attention to priestly training and vocations.

The Fathers discussed ways and means of our Church’s participation in the Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for the Middle East and decided upon the topics to be dealt with by each of them during the Synod.

The topic of ecclesiastical courts also drew the Fathers’ attention, particularly, how to enable competent and qualified lay-people to take part in the business assigned to these tribunals. They underlined the importance of preparing priests specialising  in canon law prior to their taking office. They recommended expediting the verdicts on matrimonial cases and not prolonging the trials. They decided that a Council for Family Protection should be formed in each eparchy, as families are the foundation of Church and society.

The Fathers reviewed the activities that had marked the Year for Priests, in the Patriarchate in general and the eparchies in particular. Then, they were expecting progress in the beatification and canonisation process of the Servant of God, Beshara Abou Mrad, hieromonk of the Basilian Order of the Most Holy Saviour.

The Fathers examined the report on the Patriarchal Major Seminary of Saint Anna (Rabweh, Lebanon). For the ad hoc Committee supervising the Seminary, the Fathers elected Archbishop Joseph Absi, Patriarchal Vicar in Damascus, to succeed Archbishop Georges Kwaiter, who has resigned from the Committee.

A report was presented about the Community Fund. The Fathers asked the Canonical Commission to prepare an internal statute to help develop the fund to meet the increasing needs of the Eparchies and institutions in realising their projects.

The Patriarchal Liturgical Commission, presided over by His Beatitude, and whose Secretary is the Economos, Elias Shatawi, presented a report on its work, especially with regard to the re-printing of the Evangelion, the Epistolarion, the little Euchologion and the Typikon. Attached to the report was a list of all the liturgical books, texts and hymns published by the Commission since 1992. His Beatitude recalled the obligation for everyone to respect liturgical norms, according to the Church’s requirements regarding unity and discipline. 

Some Fathers also provided data on developments in the eparchies, which are workshops for the glory of God, the service and preservation of faith and the development of man and society.

Then Mrs. Neveen Haj Shaheen, director of the patriarchal quarterly Le Lien, gave a presentation about the magzine, asking for it to be circulated and asking for news from the eparchies, as the review is our Church’s window opening onto the western world and our children in all the regions of our Church’s expansion.


Resolutions and Appeals
The Fathers of the Synod strongly condemned the harrassment, even killings, perpetrated by extremist groups against our Christian brethren in Iraq, who are the oldest inhabitants of the country and are good citizens, having lived in peace for centuries with their non-Christian fellow-citizens.

The Fathers launched a world-wide appeal for help for Iraq’s Christians, bishops, priests and faithful (including university students), to protect their presence in the country and to work for peace in that country, so that all its inhabitants, Christians and Muslims, can work to promote their living together according to the age-old tradition of that country.

The Fathers of the Synod did not fail to register the repercussions of the situation in Palestine, particularly in Gaza and Jerusalem. They strongly condemned the blockade imposed by the Israeli authorities on the Gaza strip, which deprives its inhabitants of many of the basic necessities for life. They appealed to international bodies to intensify their pressure for the delivery of aid to the Gaza strip.

They stressed the importance of the restoration of Palestinian rights and peace in the Middle East, because it is the key to peace in the world. They also appealed to all governments and regional principalities and powers to impose a quick solution to this grave crisis. Similarly, they appealed to Palestinians for national unity to ensure the achievement of their supreme goal of establishing a worthy Palestinian homeland.

The Fathers addressed the Lebanese authorities, especially the police, requesting that they redouble their effective vigilance and take care to thwart sedition and the spread of lawlessness, such as the distribution of leaflets calling for the expulsion of Christians east of Saida from their villages. They also appealed for the Government to work effectively against the epidemic sweeping our young people, such as drugs, moral confusion, etc., so that Lebanon can always remain an oasis of peace, and be worthy of the popular proverb, “Blessed is he who owns a goat-shelter in Mount Lebanon!”

Elections and next Synod
The Fathers went on to elect bishops to eparchies that had become vacant: the names of those elected were sent to the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

They also specified the dates of the Synod for next year, from 20 to 25 June, 2011.

The Synod concluded with the Divine Liturgy, presided over by His Beatitude, surrounded by the Fathers of the Synod, praying ardently for the sons and daughters of our Church, clergy, monks, nuns, and lay-people committed to serving the Church and all our faithful throughout the world, especially for strengthening faith and bringing about justice, love and peace.

Translation from the French: V. Chamberlain


Thursday 8 July 2010

Catholics & Orthodox Share Church again in Romania

ZALAU, Romania, JULY 7, 2010, with thanks to Zenit.org

Byzantine Romanian Catholics celebrated on July 4 their first Mass in 62 years in the parish church of Bocsa, with what was described as a "festive and moving" atmosphere.

The Bosca parish is unique because, thanks to an agreement between Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics, it will be shared between the two Churches.

The parish has been hailed as an example of conflict resolution between the two Churches, often at odds over patrimonial issues in former Soviet countries.

The Bocsa parish was confiscated by the Communist authorities in 1948 and given to the Orthodox Church, after the forced abolition of the Romanian Catholic Church. Catholics went underground until legalization was regained. Pope John Paul II re-established their hierarch y in 1990.

Since then, the Romanian Byzantine Catholic community has worked legally for the devolution of confiscated churches (some 2,600 properties), whereas the Orthodox requested that the new balance of faithful be kept in mind, given that the Byzantine Catholics have decreased significantly in numbers over the last decades.

In the specific case of Bocsa, the Romanian Catholic community asked the Orthodox to return the parish, or to seek an alternative over the use of the church.

The case was taken to court, while the Romanian Catholics continued to propose an agreement. At the beginning of 2010 the court decided in favor of the Romanian Catholics, though they continued to offer an agreement to the Orthodox.

The court proceeded last July 1 with the execution of the sentence, returning the church to the Catholics. A few hours later, the Orthodox accepted the proposal of an agreement, which was subsequently signed before the judicial authorities of Salaj.

Now both communities have committed themselves to share the use of the church with different timetables.

The first Romanian Catholic Divine Liturgy was celebrated at 9 a.m. last Sunday. It was presided over by Father Valer Parau, dean of the Romanian Catholic Church of Zalau.

Father Valer insisted on forgiveness "to be able to heal wounds," the Romanian Catholic agency Catholica.ro reported.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God," he recalled. "We believe that with this realistic, pragmatic relationship in accord with the spirit of the Lord's Gospel, other cases can be resolved in which Greek Catholics are obliged by the circumstances to pray in inadequate places. There is space for one another in the same church."

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Ordinariates – Unprecedented and Unknown?

Fr Mark Woodruff, Vice-Chairman, writes in Chrysostom for Pascha 2010, about the Ordinariates to be set up in the Roman Catholic Church for Christians of Anglican background and patrimony


Western Uniatism?

When Anglicanorum Coetibus was announced, there was immediate and misleading comment that here was the revived policy of Uniatism; here, after everything that had been promised, was the counter-productive old strategy of the “ecumenism of return”. Or, as Professor Eamon Duffy says of Pius XI’s Encyclical on Religious Unity - Mortalium Animos  - that articulated it in 1928, “Come on in, with your hands up!” The Roman Catholic Church, it is claimed, is proselytising Anglicans like the Orthodox of yesteryear.

Thus writes Dr Timothy Bradshaw, Tutor in Doctrine at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, in The Times of 21 October 2009:


Rome’s move looks like a Western version of the Eastern Orthodox groups that accepted the primacy of Rome, the largest being the Ukrainian. The so-called Uniate churches keep their liturgical local custom and practice, as the Anglican body would be allowed to do under the new offer.


As an Anglican Evangelical member of the Anglican-Orthodox Theological Commission, he ought to know that this will not do, unless it is an expression of an old aspiration for affinity with Orthodoxy, because this serves an Anglican apologetic that it too is historic, legitimate and apostolic, but non-Papal.


First, however, Anglicanorum Coetibus is not the poaching exercise that controversialists, who scent Papal Aggression in a characteristically old-fashioned English way, imagine. The provision comes as a response by the Apostolic See to formal, repeated and insistent requests from Anglican bishops and bodies for admission to full Catholic communion, by means of the inclusion of a distinctively Anglican church and liturgical life. It bears repeating that these requests have come from Christians of the Anglican tradition from all round the world and this includes the Church of England.


Secondly, it is clear that the provision of the ordinariates lies within the Latin rite, of which the Anglican liturgical and ecclesiastical patrimony is a version, or “use”. Like the military ordinariates on which they are modelled, they will be non-territorial (i.e. personal) dioceses of the Latin rite. They will not constitute a self-governing (sui juris) Church to be distinguished by rite. The point of Anglicanorum coetibus is to provide for a structure that integrates the ordinariates with other Roman Catholic dioceses, both locally and at the universal level, by means of juridical dependency on the Apostolic See of Rome. So the liturgical comparison of Anglican ordinariates with Catholic Churches of Eastern Rite is inaccurate.
Third, the 21 Eastern Catholic Churches - specifically those of Byzantine Rite, such as the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, or the Melkite Greek-Catholic Church - are not properly seen as the result of proselytism away from Orthodoxy. They see themselves as Orthodox Churches which historically never lost communion with the Roman See, or recovered and retained it, even at great cost. Both the Ukrainian and Melkite Churches, furthermore, have a strong record of efforts towards reconciliation with their Orthodox neighbours. In Ukraine, for instance, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was highly regarded by members of the Russian Orthodox faithful for his practical solidarity and aid during its dark hours after the Russian Revolution. And the Patriarchates of Antioch - Melkite and Greek Orthodox - are renowned for their progressive efforts towards imaginative reconciliation. So, again, the misrepresentation of the complex history of Catholic-Orthodox relations and of the real circumstances concerning Eastern Catholic Churches is a very inexact comparison for the forthcoming provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus and their implementation in practice.


Professor Nicholas Lash, writing in The Tablet of the 14th November 2009, makes this very clear too:


It has been suggested that the new structures, established by the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, ... should be considered as analogous to those of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Aidan Nichols OP proposed something along these lines in 1993, in The Panther and the Hind and, in 2006, in an article in New Blackfriars entitled: “Anglican Uniatism: A Personal View”. I would make two comments on this. The first concerns the need not to speak of “Uniates”. The schism between Western and Eastern Christianity was not so much a single event as a lengthy process of mutual alienation, culminating in the formal breaking of relations between the patriarchate of Constantinople (drawing the four other, far less powerful, eastern patriarchates in its wake) and the papacy. Over time, many Eastern Churches (of more than 20 types or families) were recon­ciled into full communion with the Holy See. Their Orthodox brethren, seeing this as betrayal, coined the highly pejorative term “Uniate” to describe them. It is a term that Eastern Catholics therefore find offensive. (And, of course, the term is not only offensive but inaccurate when applied to those Churches, such as the Maronites, which never broke off communion with Rome.) Many British Catholics seem unaware of this, perhaps because there are so few Eastern Catholics in this country to complain ...

In the second place, the analogy simply does not stand up. Each of the Eastern Catholic Churches is, precisely, a Church: a distinct, episcopally and presbyterally structured body with its own identity, history and character. The proposed ordinariates, however, are not Churches, but groups of disaffected Anglican lay people.


We will come back to the last sentence. Next, here is the account of an interview in L’Osservatore Romano of the 15th November with Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, by the commentator, Sandro Magister:


Cardinal Kasper was in Cyprus because the island was hosting, from October 16-23, the second round (after the first in Ravenna in 2007) of theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox on how to understand papal primacy … The news that the Catholic Church is ready to incorporate groups coming from Anglicanism also put the Orthodox on alert. Their fear is that a "Uniate" Church of the Anglican rite will be established and added to the "Uniate" Churches of the various Eastern rites … Kasper says in the interview:

"In Cyprus, in order to avoid misunderstandings, I immediately told our Orthodox counterparts that this is not a matter of proselytism or a new Uniatism. ... Uniatism is an historical phenomenon involving the Eastern Churches, while the Anglicans are from the Latin tradition. The Balamand Document of 1993 is still valid, according to which this is a phenomenon of the past that took place in unrepeatable circumstances. It is not a method for the present or the future. The Orthodox were mainly interested in understanding the nature of the personal ordinariates for the Anglicans, and I clarified that this is not a matter of a Church sui iuris, and therefore there will not be the head of a Church, but an ordinary with delegated powers."

In simpler terms: while a "Uniate" Church has its own structured hierarchy, with a patriarch and territorial dioceses, none of this will apply to the former Anglican "personal ordinariates", which will provide pastoral care for the faithful but without their own ecclesiastical territory, a little bit like the military ordinariates.


Ordinariates: “There are Unknown Knowns and there are known Unknowns”

Elsewhere Professor Lash observes that the structure of “personal ordinariates” is unknown in the Catholic Church. Of course, as one of the great standard-bearers for the achievements and reform of the Second Vatican Council, he rightly points to the teaching of Lumen Gentium, the 1964 Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, that the Catholic Church is both composed of and found in the local, particular churches of the People of God in every place, the diocese led by its bishop in communion with his brother bishops, all of whom together are in communion with and under the bishop of Rome as successor in the ministry of St Peter (and, as St Irenaeus pointed out, St Paul).


But that is not quite the whole story. The Catholic Church is manifest not only at the local, territorial level, but also at the metropolitan and universal levels. Canon law and long custom provide for variations on the basic theme of the diocese.


The most obvious is the existence of religious orders and monasteries. Except for diocesan institutes, the governance of a religious order and the arrangements for its sacramental, liturgical and apostolic life are in the hands of the superior or abbot, not the bishop of the diocese. Indeed, many religious institutes operate across diocesan, metropolitan and national boundaries; and the jurisdiction of the superiors is in this sense non-territorial. It relates instead to the competent dicastery of the Apostolic See, namely the Congregation for Religious. That said, in the care of parishes, setting up a house in a diocese and in regulating relations within the diocese, it is the bishop who is the competent authority. But not always. There are no examples in the United Kingdom, but there are also such rare persons as “abbots nullius”. They lead a territorial abbey “belonging to no one”, not sited in the territory of diocese, and they also possess jurisdiction over the surrounding land. Historically they were in remote or mission areas. Famous examples are Monte Cassino in Italy and Einsiedeln in Switzerland. These ordinaries are not (necessarily) bishops. While these situations are clearly exceptional, they show two things: first, it is legitimate within the organisation of the Catholic Church for it to exist other than in a territorial diocese led by a bishop; and secondly, where this is the case, they depend not on the metropolitan archbishop or the national conference of bishops, but the Church’s supreme authority vested at the universal level in the pope.


Another variation is the non-territorial dioceses for the armed forces, which are also termed ordinariates. Interestingly, these were known from their foundation in 1953 as vicariates, like deaneries or administrations led by clerics whose power was delegated by other bishops or directly by the pope, although they were led by a bishop. In Pope John Paul II’s 1986 Apostolic Constitution Spirituali Militum Curae, they were established as dioceses in their own right, led by a bishop possessing ordinary, proper and immediate power. Operating as a vicariate, with the necessary powers delegated for reasons of practicality by the bishops of dioceses across a country, and sanctioned by the Apostolic See, they might be manageable in one national territory - but what was the status of personnel posted on active service abroad? What was the Vicar’s jurisdiction and how far did it run; did the faculties of the priests extend across the designated boundaries; and which bishop had responsibility for overseeing the faithful’s sacramental life – Christian initiation, reconciliation and marriage – the Vicar, the bishop of one’s home diocese, or the bishop of the diocese in which one was posted? The Code of Canon Law of 1983 did not specify and simply allowed for there to be separate rules to govern the provisions for the military. The solution was found three years later in 1986 - the structures providing for the military were made into “ordinariates”. They were described as corresponding to dioceses and constituting “particular churches”. In the United Kingdom the term “ordinariate” is not used and “bishopric” is preferred; but canonically it is an ordinariate. Unlike any other diocese, this “Bishopric of the Forces” is not aligned along geographical boundaries, but encompasses anywhere in the world that United Kingdom military personnel are serving or deployed. Note that it is not exclusively related to the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, or Scotland or Ireland. Its status as a diocese does not relate to diocesan, or metropolitan or “national conference” territories; hence the necessity for defining its relationship as a particular church to rest with the Apostolic See at the universal level.


Unprecedented? - Ukraine

There are further precedents from history. Although these concern Eastern Catholic Churches, the interest in terms of the present discussion is not in their internal workings, or their integrity as Churches distinct from the Roman Catholic Church, but the management of overlapping jurisdiction with territorial Western dioceses of the Latin Church.

First, Ukraine. I am indebted to the Revd Dr Athanasius McVay of the Eparchy of Edmonton, Canada, for much of this perspective (an eparchy in the Byzantine Churches is the same as  a diocese). The present day Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is the direct descendant of the Kyivan metropolitanate, out of which also grew what is now known as the local autocephalous Russian Orthodox Church. Russian Orthodoxy acknowledges its source in the baptism of Vladimir and the Rus people of Kiev in 988. With the later rise of Muscovy and, later still, Russia itself, the government of the Church followed the shift of the political centre east to Moscow. But the historic Byzantine church of the Rus people (from whom comes our word Ruthenian) - in Galicia, in what is now western Ukraine, parts of Belarus, parts of old Poland and old Lithuania - retained their strong sense of ancient identity. It held to its “communion of origin” (a phrase of Pope Paul VI about Catholic and Anglican relations that can be apt in other contexts). At the time of Prince Vladimir’s baptism there had been no Great Schism. The Byzantine Churches of Constantinople and Kiev had been in full communion with the Church of Rome in the Latin West. After the estrangement of Rome and Constantinople became final in 1054, states and rulers in eastern Europe changed over the centuries and allegiances were fluid. But Muscovy was in the orbit of Constantinople, while its fellow Byzantines to the west related to neighbouring Latin Catholics. And even when they came under the rule of Polish or Lithuanian Catholic princes and were incorporated into their states, it is important to note that the local “Greek” Byzantine dioceses and hierarchies predate the establishment of Latin Catholic dioceses.


When present-day Western Ukraine was conquered by Poland in the fourteenth century, some “Greek” bishops were turned out and their sees were occupied by Latins (e.g. in Lviv, Przemysl, Chelm).  Yet, under the Polish crown, the Metropolitan of Kyiv was recognised as the head of his autonomous Church. When the communion of this historic Kyivan Church with the Apostolic See of Rome was recognised and restored at the Union of Brest in 1595, his authority and privileges were confirmed. This also protected him from the claims of the newly established patriarchate in Moscow.  But with the division of most of the Polish territory between the Habsburg monarchy to the south and Russia to the north and east, the “Greek” Catholics of what is now Eastern Ukraine and Belarus were compelled to submit to the Russian Orthodox Church. To serve the Greek-Catholic rump in Eastern Galicia (now Western Ukraine), the civil power asked the Kyivan Metropolitan to appoint an Orthodox bishop as a vicar for the “Greeks”, technically under the Latin Archbishop of Lviv-Halych (the city from which the name “Galicia” comes). This arrangement was made into the Greek-Catholic metropolitan see of Lviv under Latin Catholic Austria-Hungary. But, despite its seniority as the original Church of the territory, the metropolitan’s privileges were greatly reduced.  All that remained was "an ecclesiastical province", and he was treated no differently from any other Latin rite metropolitan archbishop. By the early twentieth century, the Roman Curia had more or less forgotten that the great Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky was really the primate of an historic, autonomous Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.  It was not until 1963 that Lviv was raised to the status of a “major archbishopric”, in view of Metropolitan Cardinal Slipyj's calls for a patriarchate at the second session of the Second Vatican Council. Recently Archbishop Cardinal Lubomyr Husar transferred his see from Lviv back to Kyiv (where there are also several rival Orthodox metropolitans). To this day, the Roman Catholic bishops of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic bishops have hierarchies in exactly the same territory, relating to the same see cities. They are in full ecclesial communion. This long and complex story is important when considering how the principle that Catholic ecclesiology is exclusively territorial – that there is one bishop in one church in one place – actually works out in the realities of history and the way in which people belong to the Catholic Church. It is an exceptional history; but it demonstrates that it can be legitimate for two ordinaries to bear responsibility for the Catholic faithful in churches covering the same territory. Indeed, in this case, it was the supreme power of the Apostolic See of Rome which, progressively throughout the twentieth century, confirmed the rights and integrity of the Eastern Churches, recognised their inherent right to exist sui juris and established the norms to protect their independence from encroachment in their own territories by the Latin Catholic hierarchy.


Unprecedented? - Canada

Secondly, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic diaspora in Canada (I am again indebted to Dr McVay). The first Ukrainian Catholic bishop for North America, Soter Ortynsky, like the “Greek” vicar for the Latin Archbishop of Lviv-Halych, was just an ordaining bishop. He was named apostolic visitor in 1907. “Apostolic” indicates that he was appointed by mandate of the Apostolic See, another indication of the proper role of the universal primate in addressing concerns which transcend the resources and capacity of the local diocese, or province, or autonomous “ritual” church (whether Latin or Byzantine), or patriarchal territory. But as a visitor he had no “ordinary” authority, and was reliant on the support of the Latin bishops in whose territorial dioceses he was active. Some cooperated and others would not. As he had no real authority over the clergy he was supposed to be responsible for, the “apostolic visitor” arrangement did not work. Furthermore, there was sustained pressure from the Roman Catholic bishops and clergy on the Greek-Catholic faithful to conform to the Latin rite and its sacramental discipline. The result was that many, despite the weight of history, “apostatised”; in other words they abandoned the long cherished communion with Rome, for which so much had been sacrificed, as they felt rejected and constrained to become Orthodox.


After sustained lobbying from Sheptytsky and local missionaries, the Latin hierarchy finally relented. Arrangements were made for the necessary jurisdiction in Canada from July 1912, with an Ordinariate led by Bishop Nykyta Budka (followed in 1913 by the conversion of Ortynsky’s visitorship to the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in the United States likewise into an ordinariate). The Canadian ordinariate was later renamed an Apostolic Exarchate – note once more the term “apostolic”, indicating the competence of the supreme authority and the proper role of the pope in overseeing the arrangement for a personal (i.e. non-territorial) ordinariate operating across Latin Catholic dioceses. In 1948, it was divided into three apostolic exarchates (there are now five).  In 1956 the exarchates, based on the model of a personal ordinariate, were raised to the status of eparchies – territorial dioceses in their own right, parallel, as in Ukraine, with Latin Catholic dioceses. A similar process occurred in the United States.


Unprecedented? - Italy

Third, the Albanian Church of southern Italy. An important fresh look at evidence by Anthony O’Mahoney, director of the new Centre for Eastern Christianity at Heythrop College, recounts the fascinating history of Greek and Albanian Christians in the former territories of the Byzantine empire in southern Italy. From antiquity the region was known as Magna Graecia, Great Greece. Thus it lay within the orbit of the patriarchate of Constantinople. Some of the basilicas and cathedrals of Sicily, Calabria, Puglia and Basilicata betray as much. Indeed Southern Italian Byzantine influences can be traced almost as far as Rome. But with the contraction of the Eastern Roman empire, the loss of Sicily to Arab Muslims and then the passing of much of southern Italy to Norman rule, Constantinople ceded its primatial role in the region to Rome. The pope confided pastoral care and jurisdiction for the Greek Christians of the south to the Metropolitan at Ohrid, now a town in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, but then the capital of the huge empire of Bulgaria. Until 1767 the see of Ohrid was at the head of an autocephalous Byzantine-rite Church whose relations with both Rome and Constantinople waxed and waned through the centuries. This did not extend to a complete breach of communion with either of them, despite Rome’s long breach with Constantinople. The arrangement whereby Ohrid exercised vicarious care for the Greek Christians and, later, Albanian Byzantine refugees from the Ottomans within its primatial territory persisted some time even beyond the Council of Trent.


In 1742, Pope Benedict XIV revised the Instruction, issued by Clement VIII for the guidance of Latin-rite bishops with Greek-Catholics in their dioceses, that had been drawn up following the 1595 Union of Brest. He provided a canonical framework to regulate the church life of the Italo-Greeks and the Italo-Albanians on something of a proper footing, albeit within the territories of the Latin dioceses in which they lived. Schools and seminaries were also founded.  But for ordinations they relied on visiting “ordaining bishops”, acting as vicars of the Latin bishops, or on sending candidates to a Byzantine Catholic bishop in Rome or elsewhere.


In 1919 the Italo-Albanians of Calabria on mainland Italy were given their own bishop, with the foundation of the eparchy of Lungro, composed of several enclaves within Latin dioceses. It is a territorial diocese with 29 parishes, two of which are of the Latin rite. In this case, the Roman Catholics are subject to the jurisdiction of an Eastern Catholic bishop, a reversal of the historical case of the Ukrainian Catholics in Lviv-Halych and North America. When needed, a nearby Latin-rite bishop, acting as vicar of the Eparch of Lungro, can be asked to “fly” in; Latin rite priests can be loaned or transferred from elsewhere. But in practice, the Byzantine clergy can function bi-ritually. By the same token, the Eparch of Lungro can provide for the needs of the Italo-Albanian faithful living outside the enclaves of the eparchy in the surrounding Latin rite dioceses vicariously.


In 1937 the eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi (formerly dei Greci) was established for the Italo-Albanians of Sicily. This is likewise a territorial diocese composed of enclaves within Latin-rite dioceses. Some of its 15 parishes are of the Latin rite and are subject, as in the eparchy of Lungro, to the jurisdiction of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church. As with Lungro, there is a wider “personal” (i.e. non-territorial) remit for Byzantine Catholic faithful further afield; indeed there is a Co-Cathedral for the eparchy outside its territory, situated in Palermo. Also in 1937 the Byzantine-rite Basilian monastery of Grottaferrata, just south of Rome, the last of hundreds of such Italo-Greek monasteries that flourished across southern Italy in the Middle Ages, was given the status of territorial abbey, separated from the jurisdiction of the local Latin rite diocese of Tusculum-Frascati. It was founded in 1004 by St Nilus from Calabria, who had journeyed north to St Benedict’s Monte Cassino in search of greater seclusion for himself and his monks and, after a period in Rome, retreated to Grottaferrata in the Alban Hills to the south. The abbot is an exarch, an “abbot nullius”, holding within his abbey’s territory the position of ordinary. The community is, however, no longer composed of Italo-Greeks, or even Italo-Albanians. Nowadays it draws members from the Ukrainian Church and other Byzantine Catholic Churches. Nevertheless, it forms part of the Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, which is not Roman Catholic but a distinct Church sui juris in full communion with the Apostolic See of Rome.


Having only two dioceses, however, the Italo-Albanian Church is not able to form a self-governing Church under a primate or metropolitan of its own, notwithstanding the affiliation of Grottaferrata whose abbot is an ordinary and also, by custom, a bishop. At the moment, the Italo-Albanian Church is directly subject to the Apostolic See and, for practical purposes, the eparchies are closely linked the local Latin metropolitan provinces across which their enclaves are distributed.  But it is believed that in due course a third bishopric for the Eastern Catholics in the rest of Italy will be founded. This will enable one of the eparchies to become a metropolitan see and the Italo-Albanian Church to become a “metropolia” and self-ruling with its own primate, without the need for direct dependence on the Apostolic See.  Already in 2004 there has been an intereparchial synod of the three “circumscriptions”. If this turns out to be the case, the third bishopric may be “personal” (that is, non-territorial), having responsibility for the Italo-Albanian Catholics further north on the mainland and possibly, in practice, for other Byzantine Catholics of various diaspora (although much of the historic Italo-Greek community to be found in the ports and large cities, such as Naples, long ago gravitated to Orthodoxy), thus overlapping like an ordinariate with the territorial Latin dioceses. Again note that, because provisions for the historic Italo-Albanian Catholics transcend the boundaries of individual Latin dioceses and even ecclesiastical provinces, the competence to make them lies with the pope, both as primate of the Church of Italy and as universal primate bearing the supreme authority when it comes to relations between the particular churches of the Catholic Church.


Authentic Ecclesiology in a Latin Context

So there exist abundant contemporary and historical examples of particular churches and ordinariates which do not exactly fit the normative template for Catholic ecclesiology of the local territorial diocese in the West. The ordinariates for Anglicans are thus neither unknown nor unprecedented. Moreover, the role of the pope in their establishment and governance is not the violation of the prerogatives of the local ordinary, as some allege, but the legitimate exercise of primatial and universal authority proper to the Apostolic See. Indeed, this is the only competent authority for ensuring that particular local, cultural, spiritual, social, liturgical and historical conditions are met and at the same time duly accommodated in a way that works in the interests of the Church as a whole. Thus were resolved the challenges facing the former structure for military vicariates, and the obstacles to the life of Eastern Catholics in diaspora, faced with Latin territorial bishops believing that their jurisdiction must prevail exclusively.


It is worth noting here that, at the meeting of the Eastern Catholic patriarchs with Pope Benedict in September 2009 at Castelgandalfo, the Melkite Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch raised the problem of their jurisdiction in the diaspora and their responsibility for their faithful outside their patriarchal territories in the Latin West, for which the pope is directly responsible. Pope Benedict in response stressed the importance of maintaining the relationship of the people with the Church of their original territory to which they belong, even when they are in the Latin West. After all, Latin Christians are to be found in the territories of the Eastern Churches while remaining attached to the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Benedict’s constructive development for solving the problem of jurisdiction when primacies and hierarchies overlap was warmly welcomed by the other patriarchs and archbishops.


As we have observed, however, the Anglican ordinariates will not form a church sui juris like the Eastern Catholics. But the same potential problems of jurisdiction and the due freedom of the ordinaries to exercise power are addressed in Anglicanorum Coetibus. Hence the need for an Apostolic Constitution – so that they are not thrown back on merely local and provisional arrangements, but can rely on regulations that apply throughout the Church. Thus the norms provide for the need for good relations, consultation and co-ordination with the existing Catholic hierarchy from the outset.


In England there is a relevant case in point – the Polish chaplaincies. Unlike other national and ethnic chaplaincies, because of history and specially agreed custom, the Polish Catholic Mission does not come under the direct jurisdiction of the bishops of England and Wales, despite being staffed with Latin Catholic priests. The parishes it runs are formally situated within the English dioceses, but their clergy are governed by a vicar-delegate nominated by the Primate of Poland and technically appointed by the president of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales. In 2007, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, sensing that the Polish Catholics were not integrating and risked dividing the Catholic Church in this country along ethnic lines, attempted to address this anomaly afresh. Such was the indignation among Poles in England and in the Church in Poland that the status quo ante was left undisturbed. This is perhaps a small factor in English Catholic anxiety over a multiplication of jurisdictions, as suspicion of Anglicans bringing division and resistance to integration has been expressed vocally.


Analysis from the Church of England

In an eirenic response to Anglicanorum Coetibus, the distinguished ecumenist Bishop Christopher Hill of Guildford, as chairman of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, has contrasted the military ordinariates with the ordinariates for former Anglicans.  A military ordinariate is juridically comparable to a diocese. This means that in law its ordinary, the bishop, possesses “ordinary, proper and immediate power … for the exercise of his pastoral function” (Canon 381.1). Under the terms of Anglicanorum Coetibus, however, Bishop Hill observes that the ordinary’s power is “qualified”: it is vicarious and it is personal (§ V). But this fails to note that the military ordinary also has delegated power. Not being suffragan to a provincial primate, and relating to several bishops’ conferences, and being directly dependent upon the Apostolic See, he requires the power of the Church at the level of the universal primate to be entrusted to him in a vicarious capacity, so that he can exercise his ministry among the clergy and faithful who belong to him across both national and ecclesiastical borders in the territory of other bishops with ordinary power. Far from qualifying his power as an ordinary (as if, contrary to the teaching of Lumen Gentium §27, bishops are merely “vicars of the Roman Pontiff”), it adds confirmation and protection to it. He thus both has ordinary jurisdiction as of right and benefits from delegated jurisdiction proper to the needs of the situation.


Bishop Hill also identifies in the “personal” (i.e. non-territorial) character of the ordinariates for Anglicans a further difference from the military ordinariates on which they are supposed to be based. The military ordinariates are part of the normal structure of the Church in the lands in which they are established. They serve a very defined purpose and, by and large,  do not impinge upon the regular life and experience of parishes and dioceses. They relate to each of the dicasteries in Rome according to their competencies in the normal way, not least the Congregation for Bishops, as in other dioceses. An ordinariate for former Anglicans, however, relates primarily to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and it is in this  that Bishop Hill perceives that the “personal” status renders it different from an ordinariate which is “juridically comparable to a diocese”. Yet the historic role of the Congregation is to maintain the integrity of the faith. As the senior Congregation, it is not surprising that it is charged with ensuring that Christians coming into full communion with the Catholic from another confession are genuinely and perfectly integrated. Thus it oversees their “growing into communion” and it is in a position to co-ordinate the related work of other dicasteries in support of the newly established ordinariates. Just as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is responsible for relations with Christians who are not Catholics, so the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is responsible for relations with those groups of Christians who have become Catholics in their deepening union with the See of Peter:

the duty proper to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals throughout the Catholic world: for this reason everything which in any way touches such matter falls within its competence (John Paul II’s 1988 Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus §48)


With the passage of time, normal responsibility for dealings with the ordinariates may no longer need the co-ordinating oversight of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Thus it will pass to the other dicasteries in their respective spheres, just like the military ordinariates.


Creative and Complementary Catholicity

Returning to the significance of the term “personal”, in the Code of Canon Law there is mention of personal prelatures (Canons 294-297), which are organisations of secular clergy for pastoral or missionary purposes (in fact there is only one so far – Opus Dei), and personal parishes (Canon 518) established by reason of rite, nationality, language for the faithful of a certain area, or on some other basis. There are no references to “personal dioceses” or “personal ordinariates”, for the simple reason that they had not yet been envisaged, at least in those terms. The operational conditions for military vicariates required the creation of military ordinariates, which are both personal and relate to the home territory of the faithful who are members of the forces. Similarly, the ordinariates designed to accommodate the “objective reality” of “Anglican patrimony”, are personal in that they are not a portion of the people of God distinguished according to the territory in which they live, and yet they are established within, and in relation to, the territory of an established Bishops’ Conference. So the word “personal” signifies no subtle difference in the way in which an ordinariate of whatever kind might operate. Each available example, whether it is specified or not, is in some way personal.


The Code, nevertheless, did indeed foresee something of the sort. Canon 372 notes:


§1.    As a rule, that portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular Church is to have a defined territory, so that it comprises all the faithful who live in that territory.

§2.    If, however, in the judgment of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory particular Churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other quality.


This seems to fit the bill of Anglican ordinariates perfectly. Note once more the role proper to the Apostolic See in establishing the legitimate arrangements for something that does not quite fit the normal ecclesiological template, yet which will actually serve the larger purposes of the Catholic Church as a whole. More particularly, far from being contrary to the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, this accords with the foresight of the same Council’s 1965 Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church, Ad Gentes §20, that there may need to be creative, special arrangements to enable people to belong to the Catholic Church who may not otherwise find a way to do so:


If it happens that in certain regions there is a group of people which is impeded from accepting the Catholic faith because they cannot adapt themselves to the particular guise in which the Church presents itself in that place, then it is desirable that this situation should be specially catered for, until all Christians can gather together in one community.


Perhaps indeed the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus may prove ultimately to be provisional. As the Catholic League’s historic work on its “proto-pro-Ordinariate”, the Congregation of the English Mission, showed in its early 1990s Inlook into Anglican Identity, the only purpose of maintaining separate co-existence following corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Catholic Church that adds up is to serve mutual enrichment, collaboration and complementary aptitude for evangelisation - and, ultimately, perfect integration in the charity and peace of Christ, in the name of the unity of all humanity.


So was Professor Lash right to say, “The proposed ordinariates … are not Churches, but groups of disaffected Anglican lay people”? It has to be admitted that they are not the norm. But they can complement the norm. They are a genuine “portion of the people of God” within the communion of the Universal Church, established like all particular churches by the authority of the Successor of Peter, juridically comparable to a diocese, served by their own clergy and led by a legitimate ordinary not unlike any other ordinary. They meet the relevant conciliar and canonical criteria. Furthermore, they are supported by weighty historical and contemporary precedent.


And in respect of the disaffection from Anglicanism that people may allegedly be tempted to import to the Catholic Church, this is exactly why the responsibility for the ordinariates, in which they will both corporately and individually discover the “wondrous harmony” of the Catholic faith (Pope John Paul II on the Catechism of the Catholic Church), is vested at the outset in the Congregation charged to “maintain and defend the integrity of the faith” and the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.


23 April 2010

Fr Mark Woodruff is Secretary of the Society for Ecumenical Studies and Vice Chairman of the Society of St John Chrysostom. This article from The Messenger of the Catholic League for Spring 2010 is reproduced here with kind permission.