Monday, 27 January 2014

The challenge of Unity - Part 1

One of my greatest desires of Christendom, is that there should be unity between the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church. This goal, however, has a few hurdles that must be solved before ever being achieved.

In saying this, there have been many theological issues that have been resolved. Most notably, Christological issues of Christ's humanity and divinity.

The first issue that I would like to discuss is the issue of the canon law of the Eastern Churches within the Catholic Church. The current situation between the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Roman Catholic Church regarding canon law is one that does not make any sense. That is, the Eastern Code of Canon Law which was promulgated by Rome. Defines the law of the Eastern Churches and their rights. That is, the Eastern Code of Canon Law, is law created by the Latin Church. Not only does this compromise the autonomy of the Eastern Churches but it also groups all Eastern Churches into one block. Disregarding the richness of traditions in the East: Coptic, Syriac, Tawahedo, Armenian, Byzantine etc.

What should happen, is that Eastern Churches should create canon law for Eastern Churches. The Latin Church, if it wishes, may publish canons regarding its relationship with the Eastern Churches only. The corresponding Eastern Churches may have a joint declaration with the Church of Rome to reaffirm unity and the conditions of unity.

The current Canonical Legal Status of the Eastern Catholic Churches is insufficient for union. Canon Law must be restored to best resemble the Early Church in order for unity to be achieved.

Please pray for unity.

Through the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem. God Bless you all.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Syriac an Official Language in Iraq

It seems that Syriac has officially become an official language in post-2003 Iraq. The Iraqi National Assembly has passed a law that allows Syriacs (Chaldeans and Assyrians) to speak Syriac in Iraq.

What is silly about this news item though is the fact that Syriac was officially a language in Iraq during the era of Saddam Hussein. Below are pictures of a book entitled "Syriac Reading - the preliminary first class", which was used to teach young students Syriac.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI on the Syriac Tradition

"In our excursion into the world of the Fathers of the Church, I would like to guide you today to a little-known part of this universe of faith, in the territories where the Semitic-language Churches flourished, still uninfluenced by Greek thought. These Churches developed throughout the fourth century in the Near East, from the Holy Land to Lebanon and to Mesopotamia. In that century, which was a period of formation on the ecclesial and literary level, these communities contributed to the ascetic-monastic phenomenon with autochthonous characteristics that did not come under Egyptian monastic influence. The Syriac communities of the fourth century, therefore, represent the Semitic world from which the Bible itself has come, and they are an expression of a Christianity whose theological formulation had not yet entered into contact with different cultural currents, but lived in their own way of thinking. They are Churches in which asceticism in its various hermitic forms (hermits in the desert, caverns, recluses, stylites) and monasticism in forms of community life, exert a role of vital importance in the development of theological and spiritual thought."

Monday, 6 January 2014

Patriarch Cheikho and Ba'athist-Iraq

In the early 1980s, in Iraq, a book was introduced in all schools (regardless of religious affiliation) to teach the Qu'ran. This book had certain deceitful prejudices against the Christian faith.

It is rumoured that the Chaldean Patriarch at the time - Paul II Cheikho, requested a meeting with the deputy Prime Minister at the time, a Chaldean Catholic - Tariq Aziz. To ask that the teaching of this particular book to not be used for Christian students.

Apparently Tariq Aziz was quite rude to the former Patriarch. Mr Aziz told the Patriarch that the book must be taught regardless of religious belief. The Patriarch then apparently beat Aziz's head, with his Episcopal-Shepards stick.

The Patriarch then requested a meeting with the president at the time Saddam Hussien. Who ordered that the book should not only not be taught to Christian students, but Muslim students as well.

Whether this story is true or not, I think it shows something. That the people at least believed that their Patriarch had courage, and if they believed he had courage, I have no reason to think that he did not. I think this type of zeal may be missing with our current leadership. But we hope that it will return.

Through the Birth-Giver of God Maryam and Mor Ephrem. God Bless you all.