(Vatican Radio) Church leaders from the different Eastern Catholic rites have been gathered in Rome this week to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for Eastern Churches. Pope Francis visited the Institute on Thursday and issued a mesage praising its “high achievements” and reminding it to be always attentive to the “enormous challenges facing Christians in the East”.
In 1917, in the middle of the First World War, Pope Benedict XV established the Institute to be a bridge between East and West and to make the rich traditions of the Oriental Churches available to the entire Catholic world. A century on, the Institute maintains a world class reputation for its research, teaching and publishing on all issues of Eastern theology, liturgies, patristics, history, canon law, literature, spirituality, archeology, as well as questions of ecumenical and geopolitical importance.
Jesuit Father David Nazar , is the current rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. Born in Canada to a family of Ukrainian origin, he’s a former superior of the Society of Jesus in Ukraine and former Provincial of the Jesuits in the English Canada Province.
He explains that the ‘Orientale’ as it’s known, is a papal institute, entrusted to the Society of Jesus, to focus on matters concerning all of the Catholic and Orthodox Eastern Churches.
Eastern treasures available to all
Since many of the Eastern Churches are smaller and lacking the resources of Christians in the West, he says, the popes were concerned to make sure that the wealth of research on liturgy, ancient traditions, and original manuscripts could be made available to Christians across the globe.
World class library
Fr Nazar says that over the past century, the Jesuits have worked hard to establish a world class library, which was funded for a number of years by friends of Pope Pius XI. It remains second to none in the world, he notes, in the study of the ancient traditions and languages of the Eastern world.
Ancient rites and traditions
Much of this work has been significant for the West as well, he adds, such as the Second Vatican Council’s document on the importance of the Eastern Churches “which would have been unimaginable without the fifty years of research that had been done at the Orientale”.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has sent a Message to the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Oriental Institute , Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, who is also the Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches . The Pontificium Institutum Orientale , or “Orientale” as it is known in Roman shorthand, was founded in 1917 by Pope Benedict XV, and became part of the “Gregorian Consortium” including also the University and the Biblical Institute, under the direction and tutelage of the Society of Jesus. In his Message, Pope Francis makes note of the high achievements in the twofold mission of research into liturgical, theological, ecclesiological, and spiritual sources of the Christian East, and the preparation of instruments by which to make the riches of the Eastern Christianity more readily available and accessible to Christians in the West. The Pope also calls on the Orientale to mindfulness of and solicitude for the enormous challenges facing Christians in the East. “Keeping intact the attention and application of traditional research,” Pope Francis writes, “This Institute, through research, teaching and testimony, has the task of helping our [Eastern] brothers and sisters to strengthen and consolidate their faith in the face of the tremendous challenges they face,” challenges which, in the present day, include strong temptations to leave their native homelands, and often forced displacement under threat of persecution and even martyrdom. The Holy Father concludes his message, “In joining myself to the thanksgivings to God for the work it has done over these 100 years, I hope that the Pontifical Oriental Institute will pursue its mission with renewed impetus, studying and spreading with love and intellectual honesty, with scientific rigor and pastoral perspective, the traditions of the Oriental churches in their liturgical, theological, artistic and canonical variety, better and better responding to the expectations of today’s world to create a future of reconciliation and peace.” (from Vatican Radio)…CONTINUE READING
(Vatican Radio) The President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization , Archbishop Rino Fisichella has been speaking about Pope Francis’ speech on Wednesday evening marking the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Council sponsored a meeting to celebrate the anniversary and reflecting on the Pope’s address, Archbishop Fisichella said that, “there are many different issues in the discourse of Pope Francis.”
Archbishop Fisichella spoke with Vatican Radio’s Blandine Hugonnet.
Listen to the interview:
The Archbishop noted in particular the Pope’s reference to Pope John XXIII ’s opening speech to the Second Vatican Council . The Pope, noted the President, explains in his words that faith is not static but dynamic . The Archbishop added that, “ in this speech I would say the dynamic of the Christian truth and our faith is what, in my humble opinion, touched me personally.”
Asked about Pope Francis’ reference to the death penalty, Archbishop Fisichella said the Holy Father’s comments are very much in line with the words of St Pope Paul II and Pope Benedict on this issue. But he continued, “yesterday it seems to me that Pope Francis said something more, because he said that when we have a voluntary suppression of a human life so this is against the Gospel itself. I think that this is something with strong; very profound but very strong.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday celebrated Mass in the Basilica of St Mary Major to mark the centenary of the foundation of the Pontifical Oriental Institute and the Congregation for Eastern Churches. In his homily the pope encouraged all Christians of the Oriental Churches to continue with their courageous witness, despite the dramatic persecutions that they suffer.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen’s report
Recalling the establishment of the Institute by Benedict XV in 1917, during the First World War, Pope Francis said that today we are living though another “piecemeal” world war. When we see the persecution and worrying exodus of Christians, he said, just like the people of the Old Testament, we cry out “Why?”
Persecution of Christians
In today’s reading from the prophet Malachi, the pope continued, we read about those who turn away from God and do evil, yet they go unpunished. In the same way today, he said, we see unscrupulous people who destroy others in order to pursue their own ends and we ask God, “Why?”
We find the answer in the verses of Malachi, Pope Francis said, as we read about the way God listens to his people and records their suffering in a ‘book of memories’.
Pray and trust in the Lord
Pointing to the words from St Luke’s Gospel, the pope said if we pray and trust in the Lord, we know that “everyone who asks, receives; those who seek, find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened”.
But do we really know how to pray, to knock on the door of God’s heart, the pope asked? The Gospel reminds us that if we, sinners, know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
God’s gift of the Holy Spirit
The Spirit is God’s great gift to us, Pope Francis concluded, so let us learn how to knock courageously on the door of God’s heart. May courageous prayer inspire and sustain your service to the Church, he told the Oriental Church leaders, so that it may bear fruit which does not wither and die.
(from Vatican Radio)…