Russian Orthodox Church Statement on Church of England Decision to Allow Women to Serve as Bishops

The Orthodox Church News:

The Russian Orthodox Church has been alarmed and disappointed to learn about the decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate, since the centuries-old relationships between our two Churches had shown possibilities for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in Anglicanism. As far back as the 19th century, the Anglicans, members of the Eastern Church Association, sought “mutual recognition” of orders between the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches and believed that “both Churches preserved the apostolic continuity and true faith in the Saviour and should accept each other in the full communion of prayers and sacraments.”

The decision to ordain women, which the Church of England took in 1992, damaged the relationships between our Churches, and the introduction of female bishops has eliminated even a theoretical possibility for the Orthodox to recognize the existence of apostolic succession in the Anglican hierarchy.

Such practice contradicts the centuries-old church tradition going back to the early Christian community. In the Christian tradition, bishops have always been regarded as direct spiritual successors of the apostles, from whom they received special grace to guide the people of God and special responsibility to protect the purity of faith, to be symbols and guarantors of the unity of the Church. The consecration of women bishops runs counter to the mode of life of the Saviour Himself and the holy apostles, as well as to the practice of the Early Church.

In our opinion, it was not a theological necessity or issues of church practice that determined the decision of the General Synod of the Church of England, but an effort to comply with the secular idea of gender equality in all spheres of life and the increasing role of women in the British society. The secularization of Christianity will alienate many faithful who, living in the modern unstable world, try to find spiritual support in the unshakable gospel’s and apostolic traditions established by Eternal and Immutable God.

The Russian Orthodox Church regrets to state that the decision allowing the elevation of women to episcopal dignity impedes considerably the dialogue between the Orthodox and the Anglicans, which has developed for many decades, and contributes for further deepening of divisions in the Christian world as a whole.



EIGHTY Children Die on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

What kind of barbarians shoot down a civilian airline?! Surely this is an act of war.

Child victims: Three grandchildren, Mo Maslin, 12, (left), his brother Otis, eight, (centre) and sister Evie Maslin, 10, (right) were killed on the flight along with their grandfather Nick Morris.

The world is a sick and fallen place. The Daily Mail:

  • Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 shot down over territory held by Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

  • Body parts and wreckage spread over nine-mile area, suggesting plane broke up mid-air.

  • Airlines had been advised to cease flights over the region which is ‘effectively a war-zone’.

  • The service was headed from Amsterdam in the Netherlands to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

  • Nine Britons and 154 Dutch have been confirmed dead, along with 28 Australians, 43 Malaysians and 12 Indonesians.

  • Prime Minister Tony Abbott extended his most profound condolences to the families of Australian victims.

  • Ukrainian interior ministry says plane was shot down by a BUK surface-to-air missile President Petro Poroshenko issued robust denial that his forces were involved, and calls crash an ‘act of terrorism’.

  • Ukraine’s state security chief accuses Russian military intelligence officers of involvement in crash.

  • US senator John McCain vows there will be ‘hell to pay’ if missile was fired by rebels or Russian backers.

More on of the victims here.

Mourners have laid flowers at the doorstep of the embassy to pay respect to victims

Here’s a summary of the horrific events:

flight mh17 graphic

Innocent people and children… Just imagine some one near and dear to you, one you truly love, being on that plane… It cause a feeling of total numbness.

Let us mourn with and pray for those who have lost loved ones in this despicable act… And may God Almighty avenge innocent blood lost!



Dedication of the Holy Sepulchre: First and Foremost a Place of Worship

From the Custos earlier this week:

Every fifteenth of July the Diocese of Jerusalem commemorates the day that the Crusaders’ Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre was consecrated as a religious building. In the same way as the Church joins together every November 9th to celebrate the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, all the parishes and Catholic communities present in the Holy Land celebrate the Dedication of the Holy Sepulchre. As mass is sung daily by the Franciscans in front of Christ’s tomb in the small hours of the morning, the Latin Church of Jerusalem joined the conventual community to celebrate this anniversary.

The dedication goes back to the year 1149, when the Crusaders consecrated the altar and sprinkled holy water in the newly rebuilt basilica. As Fra Stéphane reminds us, “We are not celebrating the glory of the Crusades. When the Franciscans came here in the 14th century and began to serve in the Holy Sepulchre, they were inserted into the country with their own values and ways of behaving: respect for others, dialogue and perseverance. This dedication recalls the primary purpose of the basilica—celebrating worship, a worship to which all the Christians in the world are invited.”

The Custos of the Holy Land being on a pastoral visit to Syria and Cyprus at the moment, the Custodial Vicar, Fra Dobromir Jasztal, officiated for the celebration. In his homily, Fra Dobromir recalled that over the centuries there have been several dedications. Orthodox Christians commemorate, for example, the dedication of the Byzantine basilica by Constantine on September 14th. “Several dedications, several basilicas, but only one tomb and one mystery; that is the essence,” he declared. Pilgrim or parishioner, everyone who prays at the Holy Sepulchre becomes a “witness of the Resurrection,” he concluded.

This mystery of the Lord is celebrated every day in the Holy Sepulchre in different languages and according to different rites, as defined in the Status Quo of 1842. The worship is sometimes “inconvenient” or at least surprising to the crowd of impatient pilgrims waiting to enter the tomb who quickly move to one or another of the chapels or simply remain in place in pious silence. This Dedication of the Holy Sepulchre reminds us that public worship takes priority over the private desires of individuals: a precious time of encounter in the place where God renewed his covenant with his people.

… public worship takes priority over the private desires of individuals.



Mandela Day

It’s the 1st Mandela Day since his death. Celebrating Mandela Day without Madiba.

It is the fifth year since the United Nations declared July 18, Madiba’s birthday, an international day aimed at “bringing people together to fight poverty and promote peace and reconciliation”.

This year’s event marks 20 years since Mandela became president of South Africa.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said this year will focus on literacy, shelter and food security – which remains a global concern.

The day will be commemorated with a host of activities in every corner of the country, with more than 1 000 events planned that are connected with the international day.

President Jacob Zuma will be taking part in Operation Clean-Up at the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology in Mvezo near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

Zuma urged all to demonstrate their love for the country by cleaning their surroundings…

Wikipedia has more on Mandela Day here.

The official Mandela Day website is here.