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Pope (Benedict XVI) pledges to end Orthodox Rift
CNN ^ | May 29, 2005 | AP

Posted on 05/29/2005 7:55:52 AM PDT by kosta50

BARI, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI visited the eastern port of Bari on his first papal trip Sunday and pledged to make healing the 1,000-year-old rift with the Orthodox church a "fundamental" commitment of his papacy.

Benedict made the pledge in a city closely tied to the Orthodox church. Bari, on Italy's Adriatic coast, is considered a "bridge" between East and West and is home to the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra, a 4th-Century saint who is one of the most popular in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Benedict referred to Bari as a "land of meeting and dialogue" with the Orthodox in his homily at a Mass that closed a national religious conference. It was his first pilgrimage outside Rome since being elected the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church on April 19.

(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...


TOPICS: Catholic; Ecumenism; Orthodox Christian; Other Christian
KEYWORDS: benedictxvi; olivebranch; orthodox; reconcilliation; reformation; schism; unity
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Orthodox-Latin ping
1 posted on 05/29/2005 7:55:52 AM PDT by kosta50
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To: Kolokotronis; Agrarian; Tantumergo; Vicomte13; Cronos; annalex; pharmamom; MarMema; FormerLib; ...

Comments?


2 posted on 05/29/2005 7:58:27 AM PDT by kosta50 (Eastern Orthodoxy is pure Christianity)
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To: kosta50

Not enough information. What will the theologians do about the filioque?


3 posted on 05/29/2005 8:45:17 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: kosta50

It won't happen because the Orthodox have made it clear they won't reconcile until the Pope kisses the feet of their patriarchs and then falls on his sword.


4 posted on 05/29/2005 8:51:48 AM PDT by Conservative til I die
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To: kosta50

Certainly, reconciliation with the Orthodox is a noble end and I'm all for it. Yet, I think that the Orthodox Church in general is ill-prepared to engage in the self-examination and reflexion necessary to achieve reconciliation. Suspicion runs deep in the Orthodox Church and in spite of the ecumenical overtures made by individual jurisdictions, her claim to be the One True Catholic Church remains unabated. I'm skeptical that any Orthodox prelate has the courage to make decision that goes against his Church's self-understanding. Although reunion is highly desirable and work toward reunion needs to continue, we should not feel as if it has taken place already. Courage, patience, perseverance, and lots of institutional introspection are still needed to bring about reunion.

-Theo


5 posted on 05/29/2005 8:55:26 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org)
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To: Teˇfilo; kosta50
Catholics engaging in 'self-examination and reflexion' have given us such later day innovations such as the immaculate conception, purgatory, indulgences, celibate clergy and an infallible human being. I point this out to sjow thatt he Orthodox have not diverged from doctrine it is the West that has diverged.
6 posted on 05/29/2005 9:09:34 AM PDT by Destro (Know your enemy! Help fight Islamic terrorism by visiting johnathangaltfilms.com and jihadwatch.org)
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To: Conservative til I die

The Pope said:

"Words aren't enough, he said, adding that "concrete gestures" were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.

"I also ask all of you to decisively take the path of spiritual ecumenism, which in prayer will open the door to the Holy Spirit who alone can create unity," he said."

You wrote:

"It won't happen because the Orthodox have made it clear they won't reconcile until the Pope kisses the feet of their patriarchs and then falls on his sword."

I sincerely doubt that is our position, but do you think your words are those that +Benedict XVI was thinking of?


7 posted on 05/29/2005 9:54:39 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: kosta50; Tantumergo

Undoubtedly heartfelt and pious words from +Benedict XVI. What these will translate to in actions I can't foresee. I will say that the proposal for an Orthodox/Roman Synod at Bari is an intriguing idea, but while I have no doubt the Pope himself understands how we Orthodox view councils and the effect of their pronouncements, I wonder if the rest of the Roman hierarchy or laity does. If not, they are liable to be in for a disappointment...doesn't mean that the idea is a bad one, though.


8 posted on 05/29/2005 9:59:00 AM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: ClaireSolt
What will the theologians do about the filioque?

They'll sit around a table and discuss it, just like they will on other issues.

9 posted on 05/29/2005 10:19:21 AM PDT by monkfan (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.)
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To: Destro
Catholics engaging in 'self-examination and reflexion' have given us such later day innovations such as the immaculate conception, purgatory, indulgences, celibate clergy and an infallible human being. I point this out to sjow thatt he Orthodox have not diverged from doctrine it is the West that has diverged.

Ok, I'll bite for now. I am sure that it has been pointed out to you that the Orthodox also have celibate clergy and that bishops are selected from among them. Clearly, the Orthodox Church also values celibacy. Apparently, we valued it a tad more. Should we change? Sure, but not because cheap shots such as yours force us to.

The Orthodox refer to the Blessed Mother as "Most Holy, Most Pure, Ever-Blessed, Ever Virgin" in the liturgy. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception enshrines and protects that consideration; there is nothing in that Dogma which contradicts Orthodox belief. The main objection appears to me that a Pope of Rome said it. Well, someone had to say it and among all the pontiffs, it might as well have been the Successor of Peter. You don't object to Mary's Assumption into Heaven which was also promulgated by another Pope, so I find your objection inconsistent and incoherent.

May I remind you that the Orthodox belief on "purgatorial fires" or "the way stations after death" is pretty much equivalent to our own concept of Purgatory? If ours is a completely new development, so is yours. Add to that the belief in "uncreated energies" beheld by hesychast contemplatives and perhaps, just perhaps, you may want to reconsider your objections.

May I also remind you that our belief in an "infallible human being" also strictly defines its scope and also includes a belief in the infallibility of the Church? If Orthodoxy is the "One True Catholic Church," why haven't we heard her authoritative voice for the last 1,400 years? Let's be fair: if the Orthodox hasn't spoken "infallibly" since then, is she infallible now? If not, what's the use to join her?

I believe we have conceded several things to the Orthodox, in word and in deed, since our last meeting in the Lateran Council over 500 years ago. It is now your turn.

-Theo

10 posted on 05/29/2005 10:19:43 AM PDT by Teˇfilo (Visit Vivificat! - http://www.vivificat.org)
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To: Conservative til I die

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and did far worse to himself than merely fall on a sword to save his flock.

A pope came off his throne to wash the feet of St. Francis of Assisi, a nobody.

If fulfilling Jesus' direction and prayer that we should be united means merely kissing the feet of a couple of patriarchs and having meetings in which all of the points of disagreement since the 7th Ecumenical Council are placed upon the table, and every one of them is resolved in favor of the Orthodox view, and this results in the reunification of the sundered halves of Christianity, then it is for the better.

The filioque issue has already been resolved in principle, has it not?

Papal infallibility was last (and only) used when? Over what? Do the Orthodox and Catholics not agree in the perpetual virginity of Mary and the immaculate conception?
If reconciliation means that the Pope resolves, for the purposes of Christian love and unity, not to use this doctrine outside of Councils of the Church, which all agree are infallible, this is conceding the power without conceding fundamental error in the couple of times that the power was use. Why does this matter?

Kiss their feet and fall on our swords. And stand back up united. Pride keeps us apart, and it is a sin. Give them everything they ask.


11 posted on 05/29/2005 10:37:04 AM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Vicomte13; Kolokotronis; kosta50; Agrarian; Conservative til I die
The filioque issue has already been resolved in principle, has it not?

It was not resolved. And behind it there is another, larger issue, -- a significant difference in religious worldview, which prevents a resolution of the issue through scholasticism, -- which is how the West apparently thinks it is to be resolved.

Filioque

12 posted on 05/29/2005 12:04:07 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Vicomte13

Perhaps we can meet in the middle.

I am growing weary of the "evil Romans" caricature. We are supposed to be apologetic for everything we are and everything we believe to just about everyone. Everything is acceptable these days except traditional Catholicism. It is inaccurate and unjust.


13 posted on 05/29/2005 12:21:37 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Vicomte13; conservative till I die
having meetings in which all of the points of disagreement since the 7th Ecumenical Council are placed upon the table, and every one of them is resolved in favor of the Orthodox view, and this results in the reunification of the sundered halves of Christianity, then it is for the better

No, it's not, because it would result to the detriment of the Christian Faith, which is integrally preserved by the dogmatic definitions issued by the Catholic Church:

Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.
In the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son and holy Spirit, we define, with the approval of this holy universal council of Florence, that the following truth of faith shall be believed and accepted by all Christians and thus shall all profess it: that the holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and his subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration. ... And since the Father gave to his only-begotten Son in begetting him everything the Father has, except to be the Father, so the Son has eternally from the Father, by whom he was eternally begotten, this also, namely that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. We define also that the explanation of those words "and from the Son" was licitly and reasonably added to the creed for the sake of declaring the truth and from imminent need. ... Also, if truly penitent people die in the love of God before they have made satisfaction for acts and omissions by worthy fruits of repentance, their souls are cleansed after death by cleansing pains; and the suffrages of the living faithful avail them in giving relief from such pains, that is, sacrifices of masses, prayers, almsgiving and other acts of devotion which have been customarily performed by some of the faithful for others of the faithful in accordance with the church's ordinances.

14 posted on 05/29/2005 12:40:02 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.)
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To: Kolokotronis; kosta50

"What these will translate to in actions I can't foresee."

Me neither, but it promises to be interesting. Festina lente, though.

"I have no doubt the Pope himself understands how we Orthodox view councils and the effect of their pronouncements"

I assume you mean by this that a Council or Synod is not considered authoritative until it has been received by the whole Church?


15 posted on 05/29/2005 12:50:31 PM PDT by Tantumergo
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To: gbcdoj
Regards GBCDOJ...per your previous post...

Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful. Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should dare to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he thinks in his heart.

Are you honestly telling the rest of us non Catholics out here that if we don't believe that Mary was not free from original sin we are CONDEMNED? Wow. Reread John 3:16, perhaps then the truth shall set you free.


Again from your post...

Also, if truly penitent people die in the love of God before THEY HAVE MADE SATISFACTION for acts and omissions by worthy fruits of repentance, their souls are cleansed after death by cleansing pains; and the suffrages of the living faithful avail them in giving relief from such pains, that is, sacrifices of masses, prayers, almsgiving and other acts of devotion which have been customarily performed by some of the faithful for others of the faithful in accordance with the church's ordinances. Please reference Romans, chapters 3, 4 and 5. The inspired Holy Word so clearly and eloquently shows us the we are justified fully by Christ's death on the cross and his resurrection...Our sins were forgiven by this unfathomable and most selfless sacrifice by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May the Lord be glorified for eternity for His most awesome gifts of undeserved forgiveness and undeserved life with Him through faith in Christ Jesus May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon, may the Lord grant you His favor and give you peace.

in Christ...
16 posted on 05/29/2005 1:16:06 PM PDT by phatus maximus (John 3:16...it's not just words on a sign held in the end zone anymore...)
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To: Kolokotronis; All
Undoubtedly heartfelt and pious words from +Benedict XVI. What these will translate to in actions I can't foresee. I will say that the proposal for an Orthodox/Roman Synod at Bari is an intriguing idea, but while I have no doubt the Pope himself understands how we Orthodox view councils and the effect of their pronouncements, I wonder if the rest of the Roman hierarchy or laity does. If not, they are liable to be in for a disappointment...doesn't mean that the idea is a bad one, though.

I think that this is a very positive first step. Both churches will have to do a little introspection and self examination over the long term to make this work. But as a starting point this sounds like a good move. Still I see the theological hard liners in both churches as being a problem. Both the Catholic and the Orthodox have groups that will oppose anything that does not involve a complete surrender by the other church and an admission to being wrong. One of the unique features of the Orthodox Communion may prove both a help and hindrance in this regard. That is of course that there is not really a single Orthodox Church. Rather there are somewhere between a dozen and fifteen (depending on which church is giving you their version) autocephalous (self governing) Orthodox Churches that are in communion with each other. Some, especially those that are present in the Middle East and the United States and Canada have shown a greater openness towards the idea of improving relations with the Catholic Church. On the other side are those Orthodox Churches in eastern Europe and especially the Balkans and Russia where suspicion of and hostility towards all things Catholic is part of the culture. All of these churches do not necessarily move in the same direction or at the same speed. While agreeing on matters of doctrine and substantially sharing a common liturgy these churches do act quite independently of one another and intra-Orthodox squabbles are not unknown.

As an historical side note it should also remembered that the east west schism did not happen in 1054 as commonly thought. That was the date where the first breach occurred. But it was a local break in communion between the Patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople. The other eastern Patriarchates did not sever communion with Rome all at once. In fact communion between Rome and most of the eastern churches remained in place until the end of the 13th century. The final nail in the coffin so to speak was probably the sack of Constantinople by the fourth crusade. This was a major event whose importance has largely been forgotten in the west. But among many Orthodox Christians, especially in eastern Europe and the Balkans it might as well have happened yesterday afternoon. Just as the schism did not occur in one bold stroke reunification may also be more of a piecemeal affair. It might be one of the Middle Eastern Patriarchs that takes the first leap by saying something along the lines of "Acknowledging we have differences in matters of theology, and those are significant, what binds us is greater than what divides us." He could in essence say that doctrinal differences are no longer sufficient to bar restoring sacramental communion between Rome and his branch of the Orthodox faith. I do not at all believe we are at that point yet. I think that at present we have a ways to go and there absolutely needs to be a clarification of important points of disagreement. But at some time in the future I suspect one or more of the Orthodox Churches will decide that they can live with whatever understanding has been reached and go back to the way things were in the first millennium when the east and the west essentially agreed to disagree on some issues while remaining in communion.

For it's part Rome has a double edged sword as well. On the one hand the Pope having much more authority can pretty much impose his will and silence objections. Or at least he has the power to ignore them. But the flip side is that it is precisely that power and authority which has historically repelled the Orthodox. How far is Benedict willing to go in terms of backing away from the absolute monarchy that the Papacy has developed into? Early indications from both his writings and the symbolism of his papacy thus far suggest he would like to scale back, perhaps dramatically, the degree of control over the church as a whole. He is the first Pope in countless centuries who has not had the famed Tiara somewhere in his coat of arms. The symbolism of his installation mass was more evocative of the first millennium than the second. And his writings have indicated a high level of discomfort with the centralization of power and authority in Rome. He has also bemoaned the lock step uniformity that has resulted in the near total suppression of most of the ancient rites of western christianity.

But he is also quite conservative on hard and settled matters of doctrine. And this includes a much more expansive understanding of the powers and position of the Papacy than is likely to be acceptable to even the most reunion oriented Orthodox Patriarch. This, rather than the filloque is going to be the most difficult path to maneuver. Further complicating this are problems which are unique to the western half of the ancient and apostolic faith. Namely the problem of rampant liberalism and open dissent, so serious, that in some places clergy and even bishops who are Catholic in name either secretly or openly are in favor of making changes in the doctrines of the Catholic Church that would be much more in line with Protestantism. Many of these changes, such as the ordination of women, the acceptance of homosexuality, and a more tolerant attitude about abortion would certainly be unacceptable to the Orthodox. These issues by and large do not exist within the Orthodox faith. So to some degree the Pope will need to preserve his authority to reign in clergy who are straying dangerously close to what both the Catholic and Orthodox churches would call heresy.

Finally, Benedict is 78. His advanced age I fear will make it unlikely that he will live to see the end of what he is trying to start. So it will be as much the successor to Benedict XVI who will determine where things go. I pray ceaselessly for an end to this schism which is a great scandal to all Christendom. But I am also painfully aware of the very real difficulties and sensibilities that will need to be overcome for this to happen.

17 posted on 05/29/2005 1:32:42 PM PDT by jec1ny
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To: Tantumergo

"Festina lente, though."

Indeed!

"I assume you mean by this that a Council or Synod is not considered authoritative until it has been received by the whole Church?"

Exactly. I know he understands the import of the disasterous Council of Florence.


18 posted on 05/29/2005 2:04:55 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: kosta50; ClaireSolt; Teˇfilo; Destro; monkfan; Kolokotronis; american colleen; Lady In Blue; ...
....

Pope Benedict XVI visited this eastern Italian port on his first papal trip Sunday and pledged to make healing the 1,000-year-old rift with the Orthodox church a "fundamental" commitment of his papacy.

Benedict made the pledge in a city closely tied to the Orthodox church. Bari, on Italy's Adriatic coast, is considered a "bridge" between East and West and is home to the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra, a 4th-Century saint who is one of the most popular in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Benedict referred to Bari as a "land of meeting and dialogue" with the Orthodox in his homily at a Mass that closed a national religious conference. It was his first pilgrimage outside Rome since being elected the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church on April 19.

"I want to repeat my willingness to assume as a fundamental commitment working to reconstitute the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ, with all my energy," he said to applause from the estimated 200,000 people at the Mass.

Words aren't enough, he said, adding that "concrete gestures" were needed even from ordinary Catholics to reach out toward the Orthodox.

"I also ask all of you to decisively take the path of spiritual ecumenism, which in prayer will open the door to the Holy Spirit who alone can create unity," he said.

Benedict has said previously that reaching out to the Orthodox and other Christians would be a priority of his papacy, and his call to ordinary Catholics to take the charge as well built on that agenda.

Although a brief, three-hour visit, the trip was Benedict's inaugural pastoral pilgrimage and showed he was following in the much-traveled footsteps of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The most-traveled pope in history, John Paul made 104 foreign pilgrimages and 146 pastoral visits in Italy during his 26-year papacy. John Paul visited Bari in 1984.

Benedict, 78, has said he is looking forward to attending the World Youth Day celebrations in Cologne, in his native Germany, this August — a trip John Paul had hoped to make himself.

He also has told residents of Castel Gandolfo, the lakeside papal residence in the hills south of Rome, that he would spend the summer months there. The Holy See distinguishes between pastoral visits to Italian cities and visits to Castel Gandolfo, which is Vatican property.

Polish bishops have said they also want Benedict to visit the late pope's homeland.

Benedict flew by helicopter to Bari, near the "heel" of boot-shaped Italy, and waved to the crowds from a white "popemobile," before celebrating the seaside, open-air Mass to close the conference on the Eucharist.

Wearing his bishop's miter and white vestments with Swiss Guards standing at attention at the foot of the altar area, Benedict blessed the faithful, many of whom waved the Vatican's yellow and white flags or white baseball caps handed out by organizers to shield them from the sun.

Security in the city was tight, with the town center and seaside boulevard leading to the Mass site closed to regular traffic. Hundreds of police patrolled the streets, coastal waters were closed to private vessels and the Italian navy ship San Giusto was anchored nearby, officials said.

In his greetings at the start of the Mass, Archbishop Francesco Cacucci of Bari referred to the city's Orthodox ties, saying the arrival of St. Nicholas' bones in 1057 "built a bridge between the East and West that neither time nor divisions have ever demolished."

"Even in these days, many brothers of the eastern churches have been united with us, encouraging us to continue with renewed commitment and enthusiasm on the path of prayer and ecumenical dialogue," the archbishop said.

In a bid to improve relations, the Vatican's top ecumenical official, Cardinal Walter Kasper, proposed this week at the Bari conference to hold a synod, or meeting of Catholic and Orthodox bishops, news reports said.

Father Vladimir Kuciumov, rector of the Russian Orthodox Church in Bari, said Benedict had already made a good start toward improving relations with the Orthodox in some of his inaugural homilies and speeches.

"We hope for the best," he said in a telephone interview Sunday. "We still have to see, but there is a hope to improve our relations."

The Italian media had been speculating that Benedict would use his first pilgrimage in Italy to weigh in on a pressing national issue: upcoming referendums on voiding parts of a new law that restricts assisted fertility treatment in Italy. Italian bishops have urged voters to stay home so the referendums fail to reach quorum.

It seemed more likely though, that Benedict would use an audience with the Italian Bishops' Conference on Monday to make any reference to the issue.

+ + + + +

Nicholas of Myra's feast day is celebrated in the Eastern and Western Churches on December 6. What is actually known about Nicholas is little, but as far as can be determined he was born toward the end of the 3rd century the son of Theophanes, a celebrity in his own right in the city of Patara in Lycia in Asia Minor, part of the Eastern Roman Empire. Nothing is known about his childhood, but legend has it that after his birth, while still in the baptismal fond, he stood on his feet for three hours supported by no one to render honor to the Holy Trinity. In his youth he was influenced by his uncle, Nicholas, bishop of Patara, to chose the monastic life. As a young man he was imprisoned during the persecutions of the Emperors Diocletion and Maximilian. In time he became known for his piety and acts of charity. While the Arian heresy was rampaging throughout Christendom, he sided with the Catholic party. The arch-heretic, Arius, had taught that Christ is neither equal to nor of one substance with the Father, but merely an intermediary between God and man. To crush this heresy, Emperor Constantine summoned the bishops into solemn conclave in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325. At this council the Catholic party prevailed over the heretics and Arius was condemned. The story goes that Nicholas was present at the council and was so incensed by the heretic's arrogance that he struck him, for which reason he was expelled by the council fathers. Nicholas is nowhere to be found on the lists of bishops who attended the council.

Another story tells that Nicholas gave three bags of gold to three girls as dowry to spare them from prostitution. He is also said to have raised three boys to life after they had drowned and to have saved three wrongly condemned prisoners from execution and sailors from drowning.

Nicholas' reputation for charitable works grew during his lifetime and after his death on December 6, 343. After the Virgin Mary and St. John the Forerunner he was the most revered saint in the early Church. The Emperor Justinian instituted his feast day in the liturgical calendar on December 6 and dedicated a splendid church in his memory in Constantinople. By popular acclamation he was declared a saint worthy of universal veneration.

St. Nicholas is venerated as patron saint of Greece, Russia, Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, and by several cities of Europe including Moscow. On his feast day he was celebrated as benefactor of children in both the Eastern and Western Churches.

When the city of Myra was threatened by the invading Muslims and fell into their hands, out of fear that his remains might be desecrated by the heathens, his body was transported by Italians to Bari on the east coast of Italy in the year 1084 where it remains to this day within a magnificent basilica built in his honor. His remains are reputed to exude a fragrant myrrh-like substance known as myron. This phenomenon known as "manna of St. Nicholas" was present during the reinternment of his body in the 1950ies.

The Protestant revolt in 16th century Europe worked hard to suppress the veneration of the Virgin Mary and the saints in the territories under its control. It was in those parts of Europe that Nicholas evolved from a saint into a jolly old fat fellow who gives gifts to children on December 6. His secularization continued in America as Santa Claus or St. Nick, moved from Myra to the North Pole whence he emerges every year to the joy of the money-grubbing merchant class and of the innocent children, few of whom know of his origins. To the faithful, however, in the Eastern Churches of the Byzantine/Slavonic liturgical tradition St. Nicholas remain preeminent for his good works and is represented for veneration in many an icon throughout the world where right-believing Eastern Christians are found.

 

TROPARION of Saint Nicholas

The sincerity of your deeds has revealed you to your people as a teacher of moderation, a model of faith, and an example of virtue. Therefore, you attained greatness through humility, and wealth through poverty. O Father and Archbishop Nicholas, ask Christ to save our souls.

KONTAKION of Saint Nicholas

You were truly a priestly worker in Myra, for zealously living the Gospel of Christ, you dedicated your life to your people; you saved the innocent from death. Therefore you have been sanctified as one who has entered the mystery of God's grace.


19 posted on 05/29/2005 2:25:22 PM PDT by NYer ("Love without truth is blind; Truth without love is empty." - Pope Benedict XVI)
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To: Kolokotronis

I can't see a repeat of the Florentine Council happening (at least from the East's p.o.v.) if for no other reason than that communications are a little better than they were 550 years ago.

Any Council of the future would have a fair idea of how their deliberations were being received as they were going along. Obviously instant reactions aren't the same as reception, but it would prevent any outright howlers being adopted!


20 posted on 05/29/2005 2:26:00 PM PDT by Tantumergo
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