Holy and Great Council, Suicide Attack, Manuscripts from St. Catherine’s Monastery

Holy and Great Council, Suicide Attack, Manuscripts from St. Catherine’s Monastery


Friday, July 01, 2016

Welcome to This Week in Orthodoxy, the world’s only online video newscast focused on events in the life of the Orthodox Church.  I’m Emmy Louvaris. These are some of the stories making headlines this week.

1. Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church Proceeds in the Spirit of Unity, Despite Absences

2. Patriarch Ignatius, head of Syrian Orthodox church, escapes suicide bomb attack

3. UCLA Plans to Digitize Manuscripts from St. Catherine’s Monastery

Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox

First Up from Greece, the work of the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church convened June 20 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete.

Although the Primates of the 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches were expected to participate in this historical event, nine were present with their respective honorable delegations.

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who presides over the Council, during his introductory address expressed his regret and pain for the absences of the sister Churches of Antioch, Russia, Bulgaria and Georgia, “an unpleasant surprise on the twelfth hour.”

The Primates of the Local Orthodox Autocephalous Churches in their turn, addressed greetings to the Council, unanimously expressing their joy and support for being present at this historic event. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together in unity to address the questions facing the Church in the contemporary world and to deepen co-operation in the future.

The First Ecumenical Council was held in Nicaea in 325 AD on June 19th. The Holy and Great Council of 2016 AD commenced with the Patriarchal Divine Liturgy co-celebration of the Holy Feast of Pentecost – calling all in unity.

In the ensuing days they considered and discussed the six Pre-Conciliar Documents on the agenda:

The Mission of the Orthodox Church in today’s World, the Orthodox Diaspora, Autonomy and the means by which it is proclaimed, the importance of Fasting and its observance today, Relations of the Orthodox Church with the rest of the Christian World and the Sacrament of Marriage and its impediments.

With the completion of this occasion & with words of gratitude, His All-Holiness thanked the Primates of the Churches who participated in the proceedings, stressing that “the grace and illumination of the Holy Spirit, which constitutes the entire institution of the Church, led to unanimity”.

Referring to the normality of the proceedings, Patriarch Bartholomew said, “there have been difficulties, not everything was easy, not everything was pink, but the Council fathers demonstrated that they are united in diversity.”

You can find more information on the Holy and Great Council by going to the official website holycouncil.org as well as the Ecumenical Patriarchate Press Office at www.orthodoxcouncil.org

Patriarch Ignatius escapes suicide bomb attack

And next up, from Syria. Three people were killed and another 5 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated himself last week at a commemoration event led by Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II, head of the Syrian Orthodox church, who was able to escape without injury.

“The suicide attacker tried to enter the hall where people were gathered but was stopped by local security forces, and he detonated himself among them,” a security source at the scene told AFP, the French Press Agency . A photographer working with AFP, and attending the event said he heard the blast and saw pieces of flesh lying next to damaged cars.

It was concluded that the suicide bomber ‘detonated himself near a security checkpoint after he couldn’t reach his real target, Patriarch Ignatius’.

The attack, took place in the city of Qamishli as locals gathered at a hall to commemorate the deaths of tens of thousands of Christians by the Ottoman army starting in 1915 known as the Sayfo ‘Sword’ massacre.

UCLA Plans to Digitize Manuscripts from St. Catherine’s Monastery

And Lastly, “’UCLA is Digitizing Ancient Manuscripts from St. Catherines Monastery is the title of an article written by Michael Kozlowski Good E Reader.

In the article, he reports that “The UCLA Library has just received a massive grant and they intend on digitizing 1,100 rare and unique Syriac and Arabic manuscripts dating from the fourth to the 17th centuries. The three-year project is being initiated by the fathers of St. Catherine’s Monastery,”located on Mount Sinai in Egypt, near the location of THE Burning Bush. Protected by the harsh desert climate and generations of Bedouins, it currently houses the oldest continually operating library in the world.

According to Michael Kozlowski, “These remarkable manuscripts, which delve into subjects ranging from history and philosophy to medicine and spirituality, were never easily accessed by scholars and students, who had to travel to this desert region, considered sacred to three world religions – Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Today, access is even more problematic given security concerns in the Middle East.”

According to UCLA University Librarian Ginny Steel. “The Ahmanson Foundation visionary support honors the careful stewardship of St. Catherine’s Monastery over the centuries and ensures that these invaluable documents are not only accessible but preserved in digital copies.” To read more go to myocn.net

News from OCN

And in News from OCN. Be sure to log on to myocn.net to listen to interviews recorded in anticipation and then in completion of the Holy and Great Council.

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That brings another edition of “This Week in Orthodoxy,” to a close. For everyone here in our OCN studios, I’m Emmy Louvaris. Let’s go forth in peace.



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About author

Emmy Louvaris

Emmy Louvaris is the host of This Week in Orthodoxy, the first weekly news show to cover the international Orthodox Church and community.