3 January 2018
CNEWA’s president Msgr. John E. Kozar just returned from spending Christmas in Bethlehem — and shared the above photograph, from a vespers service on Christmas Eve at the Church of the Nativity. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Apostolic Administrator for the Latin Patriarchate, presided. Msgr. Kozar is shown standing, third from the right.
(photo: Nadim Asfour/CTS, courtesy the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem)
2 January 2018
Melkite Greek Archbishop Georges Bacouni visits some of his flock at St. Vincent de Paul Hospital in Nazareth. (photo: Geries Abdo, courtesy Melkite Catholic Archbishopric)
The December 2017 edition of ONE features a Letter from Galilee, by Georges Bacouni, who serves the people where Jesus lived:
What a blessing, to be in this particular part of the world — where Jesus was born, grew up, proclaimed the Good News, was crucified and rose from the dead.
The Lord entrusted me with the flock of his homeland and to follow in the footsteps of the apostles.
When I was taught how to meditate on a Gospel passage, I was asked sometimes to imagine the places where Jesus lived: Capernaum, Tiberias Lake, Nazareth, Jerusalem.
Now I know all these places, and they remind me of the historical facts. But Jesus is not only part of the history, he is still alive and in the midst of his church.
When you enter Peter’s house in Capernaum, where Jesus healed the paralytic; when you see the place where he fed five thousand people; when you are in a boat in the middle of the lake where he walked on the water; and many other holy sites, I assure you that you feel you are sharing the experience of the apostles and the crowds. You feel privileged being Christian. Visiting these sites — let alone living there — is a spiritual retreat.
Many of my predecessors used to say, “I am the archbishop of Jesus.” I don’t dare say that, but it’s true in a way that the bishop in Galilee is responsible for Jesus’ hometown.
What a blessing! But in the same time, it’s a huge responsibility and difficult mission for many reasons.
Read more in this Letter from Galilee to discover why.
29 December 2017
An elderly woman braves the winter weather in Nyírascád, Hungary, a village of 4,400 where Greek Catholics continue to hold onto their traditions as the world changes around them. Read more about Holding on in Hungary in the May 2006 edition of ONE. (photo: Balazs Gardi)
28 December 2017
In Lviv, Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate care for a bedridden sister who once served the underground church. Read more about how this church is growing, thanks to the enduring faith of its people, in the December 2017 edition of ONE. (photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)
22 December 2017
The Christmas tree is seen after a lighting ceremony in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican
on 7 December. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Earlier this month, Pope Francis made special mention of the Christmas tree standing in St. Peter’s Square and underscored its symbolic significance:
The centerpiece of the Vatican’s Christmas holiday decorations is the towering 92-foot spruce tree.
Measuring nearly 33 feet in diameter, the tree was donated by the Archdiocese of Elk, Poland, and transported to the Vatican on a flatbed truck traveling over 1,240 miles across central Europe.
Thanking the members of the Polish delegation, the pope said the tree’s soaring height “motivates us to reach out ‘toward the highest gifts’” and to rise above the clouds to experience “how beautiful and joyful it is to be immersed in the light of Christ.”
“The tree, which comes from Poland this year, is a sign of the faith of that people who, also with this gesture, wanted to express their fidelity to the see of Peter,” the pope said.
21 December 2017
Children dressed in Santa Claus costumes sit and sleep inside a classroom before participating in Christmas celebrations on 20 December at a school in Chandigarh, India.
(photo: CNS/Ajay Verma, Reuters)
20 December 2017
People carry Christmas trees, handed out annually by the Jerusalem municipality, in Jerusalem’s
Old City. (photo: CNS/Amir Cohen, Reuters)
19 December 2017
Britain’s Prince Charles greets clergymen after attending a prayer service led by the Melkite Catholic community on 19 December at St. Barnabas Church in London. During the service, Prince Charles described the “barbaric persecution” of Christians as “even more perverse and dreadful” given the Quran’s spirit of reverence toward Jesus and Mary. (photo: CNS/Toby Melville, Reuters)
The Prince of Wales made some pointed remarks today during a visit to a Melkite church in London.
From The Tablet:
The Prince of Wales has described his profoundly shocked at the suffering endured by Catholics in Syria.
Addressing the Melkite Greek Catholic Community in London, along with their hosts from the Anglican Parish of St Barnabas in Pimlico, and friends from other churches, he said it was “a particular privilege” to be able to celebrate the birth of Christ with a community that traces its origins to the very earliest Christian communities in the Holy Land.
“As someone who, throughout my life, has tried, in whatever small way I can, to foster understanding between people of faith, and to build bridges between the great religions of the world, it is heartbreaking beyond words to see just how much pain and suffering is being endured by Christians, in this day and age, simply because of their faith,” he said.
“As Christians we remember, of course, how Our Lord called upon us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute. But for those confronted with such hatred and oppression, I can only begin to imagine how incredibly hard it must be to follow Christ’s example.”
18 December 2017
Tags: Syria Middle East Christians
Women gather inside Sts. Peter and Paul the Apostles Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church in Kosmach, Ukraine, during the Christmas liturgy. (photo: Petro Didula)
With Christmas fast approaching, we were reminded of a report from Ukraine in 2004 which gave readers a wintry glimpse of life in the Carpathian Mountains:
“The Christian faith in the area is nuanced,” says Father Vasylii Hunchak, pastor of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox parish of Sts. Peter and Paul in Kosmach. “There is faith, but it is not exactly Christian, rather half-Christian, half-pagan ... a mystical faith. In the Carpathian Mountains, there are people who know about trees, plants, nature.” The Hutsuls are intimately connected to nature, the elements and to their dead.
“Before Christmas Eve supper, people visit cemeteries,” says longtime resident Mykhailo Didushytskyi. “They put candles on the graves of their relatives and invite them to come for supper. A place is then left at the table, with plate and utensils for a deceased relative, to show respect for the dead.”
Timing is important.
“When the cattle are fed and the first star appears, we sit down at the table, light candles and pray,” Mr. Didushytskyi continues. “The eldest takes the kuttia [porridge made of wheat, honey, nuts and poppy seeds] and throws it on the ceiling with a spoon.” If the porridge sticks, this means God has blessed the family with health, cattle and fertile fields.
Caroling remains an important Christmas tradition. “According to legend, God gave gifts to all the countries,” says Father Hunchak, “Ukraine came late and God had nothing left to give except songs. Our Christmas carols are simply gifts from God.”
On Christmas Eve, grandchildren carol for their grandparents. On Christmas Day, older children carol. After that, however, only adult men who have permission from their pastors may carol. Proceeds from the singing — carolers receive “tips” — are donated to the parish.
Read more about Faith and Tradition in the November 2004 edition of ONE.
15 December 2017
Christian and Muslim leaders in Lebanon gather on 14 December for an interreligious summit at Bkerke, the seat of Maronite Catholics, to discuss and put forth a unified position regarding the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Read more about the meeting and the group’s response here.
(photo: CNS/courtesy Mychel Akl, Maronite Catholic Patriarchate)