Category Archives: Eastern Catholic

#274 – Saint Isaac of Syria and the Love of God

The holiness of Saint Isaac of Syria, also known as Saint Isaac of Nineveh, transcends the divisions between the Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic and Assyrian Churches. His words describing the great love that God has for all of His creation have inspired Christians everywhere.

Links:
Selections from the writings of Saint Issac
Prayer in the writings of Saint Issac the Syrian
The theology of Saint Isaac the Syrian
Website devoted to Saint Isaac the Syrian

Sources:
Alfeyev, Hilarion. The Spiritual World of Isaac the Syrian. Cistercian Studies Series no. 175. Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 2000.
The Ascetical Homilies of Saint Isaac the Syrian. Boston, Mass: The Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 1984.
Hagman, Patrik. The Asceticism of Isaac of Nineveh. Oxford Early Christian Studies. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
The Wisdom of St. Isaac of Nineveh. 1st Gorgias Press ed. Texts from Christian Late Antiquity v. 1. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2006.

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Website of the Third Order Franciscans

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To listen, just click on the link below:

podcasticon#274 – Saint Isaac of Syria

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#273 – The Coonan Cross Oath

During the Age of Exploration, the encounter between the Thomas Christians of India and the Portuguese led to a tragic schism whose effects are still felt today. Against the threats of Latinization, the Thomas Christians struggled to preserve their faith and traditions.

Links:
Website of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Website with much information on the Thomas Christians
Another website with much information on the Thomas Christians
A Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church site with much information on the history of the Thomas Christians
A painting of the Coonan Cross Oath can be found here.
Video of the Qurbana/Liturgy of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Video of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Liturgy
Vatican Radio program on the Syro-Malabar Church

Sources:
Frykenberg, Robert E. Christianity in India: From Beginnings to the Present. Oxford University Press, 2010.
Mundadan, A Mathias. The Syro-Malabar Church: An Overview. Sacred Heart Provincial House, 1995.
Neill, Stephen. A History of Christianity in India: The Beginnings to AD 1707. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Tisserant, Eugène. Eastern Christianity in India: A History of the Syro-Malabar Church from the Earliest Time to the Present Day. Orient Longmans, 1957.
Vadakkekara, Benedict. Origin of Christianity in India: a historiographical critique. Media House Delhi, 2007.
Vithayathil, Varkey J. The Origin and Progress of the Syro-Malabar Hierarchy. Oriental Institute of Religious Studies, 1980.

Image of St. Thomas Cross by Robin Klein
Image of the divisions of the Thomas Christians by Joehoya3

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Send e-mail questions and comments to catholicunderthehood@gmail.com

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podcasticon#273 – The Coonan Cross Oath

#267 – Sub Tuum Praesidium

The Sub Tuum Praesidium is the oldest prayer dedicated to the Mother of God we have. It is a prayer that continues to inspire the hearts of Christians today, just as it did over 1,750 years ago.

Links:
Extensive article on the Sub Tuum Praesidium
Another article on the Sub Tuum Praesidium can be found here
An article on the Rylands Parchment can be found here

Various versions of the Sub Tuum Praesidium in Greek [begins at 2:13], Latin, Russian [Bortnianskii], another Russian version, a version by Mozart

Sources:
Johnson, Maxwell E. “Sub Tuum Praesidium: The Theotokos in Christian Life and Worship before Ephesus”. In The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer: Christology, Trinity, Liturgical Theology. Eds. Bryan D. Spinks and Martin Jean. Liturgical Press, 2008. 243-267.
Mathewes-Green, Frederica. The Lost Gospel of Mary: The Mother of Jesus in Three Ancient Texts. Paraclete Press, 2007.

Image – the Rylands Parchment

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podcasticon#267 – Sub Tuum Praesidium

Today in Catholic History – The Council of Chalcedon

From the 8 October to 1 November 451, the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon met to define the doctrine of the two natures of Jesus Christ as fully human and fully divine.

Those who did not accept the doctrine of the two natures [physis] of Christ would be called monophysites by the Chalcedonian Christians, though those who believe Christ had only one nature prefer to be called miaphysites. For both miaphysite and Chalcedonian Christians, Christ must be fully divine and fully human if he is to be the savior of humanity by reuniting God and Man after the fall of Adam. However, where the Chalcedonians express the union without confusion of divinity and humanity in Christ by using the terminology of two natures, the miaphysite Christians refer to two aspects of one nature. Unfortunately, historical misunderstandings and differences in theological language led to a split between the miaphysites who are represented today by the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Chalcedonians who are represented by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

The Council also passed a series of canons, including the 28th canon which sought to raise the status of the Patriarchy of Constantinople to the level of that in Rome. This 28th Canon would not be confirmed by Pope Leo in Rome.

Today in Catholic History – The Second Council of Nicaea

On 24 September 787, 350 clergy met in Nicea at what would become the Second Council of Nicea and the Seventh Ecumenical Council.

The main objective of the council was to address the schism between East and West over Iconoclasm heresy. In 754, the Council of Hieria had condemned the veneration of icons but the council was not recognized by the Pope or any of the Eastern Patriarchs. As a result of the advocacy of Iconoclasm by Byzantine Emperors Leo VI and Constantine V, Rome had broken with Constantinople.

However after the death of Constantine V, Byzantine Empress Irene, and Patriarch of Constantinople Tarasius sought both to reunite Rome and Constantinople and to restore the veneration of icons. Pointing to support from the scriptures and the Church Fathers, the Second Council of Nicea proclaimed that it was fitting and praiseworthy to venerate icons as the honor given to an icon was truly offered to the saint, angel, or Christ represented by the icon.

Today in Catholic History – The Syro-Malankara Church enters into communion with Rome

On 20 September 1930, the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church/Malankara Syrian Catholic Church entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church comes from the tradition of Thomas Christians in India, as does the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church also in communion with Rome.

In 1930, the Syro-Malankara Church broke from the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church which had itself broke with the other Thomas Christians under the attempt of the Portuguese to Latinize them in the 16th century. While at the time of the union, the Syro-Malankara Church contained only Archbishop Mar Ivanios and five other members of the church – who left because of a decision giving the Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch full administrative authority over the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, today there are 500,000 members of the Syro-Malankara Church. The Syro-Malankara Catholics were permitted to maintain their rite and traditions.

Today in Catholic History – Leonid Feodorov becomes Catholic

On 31 July 1901, Leonid Feodorov entered into the Catholic Church at the Jesuit Church of the Gesù in Rome.

Leonid was born into the Orthodox Church in Russia and had even contemplated becoming an Orthodox priest, but after becoming acquainted with Western literature grew interested in Roman Catholicism.

After his conversion, he entered into a seminary of the Society of Jesus under a pseudonym to keep himself hidden from the Russian Secret Police. In the seminary he would decide not to become a Latin Rite priest, instead choosing to remain in the Eastern Rite so as to better serve the Russian people. He was ordained on 25 March 1911.

After returning to Russia, he was immediately exiled to Siberia by the Russian government, but was freed after the February 1917 revolution and appointed Exarch of the Russian Catholic Church and secretly consecrated as bishop.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, Fedorov would be tried in 1923 for counter-revolutionary activities and was sentenced to three years at the infamous Butyrka prison in Moscow and then to exile at the Solovki prison camp.

While at Solovki, Fedorov would offer the Divine Liturgy in secret.

He was released on 6 August 1929 and would die on 7 March 1935.

He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 27 June 2001.

The Life of Blessed Feodorov

#241 – The Formation of an Identity Part II

Surviving serious crisis and threats to its existence, the Uniate Church in the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth comes to see itself as flower shining forth the “grandeur of the Church”.

Sources:
Barbara Skinner – The Western Front of the Eastern Church. Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in 18th-century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia 2009
Joseph Macha, SJ – Ecclesiastical Unification. A Theoretical Framework Together With Case Studies From the History of Latin-Byzantine Relations 1974
Paul Magocsi – A History of Ukraine 1996
Serhii Plokhy – The Cossacks and Religion in Early Modern Ukraine 2001

Be sure to check out the CUTH blog for more on the history of the Catholic Church

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Send e-mail questions and comments to catholicunderthehood@gmail.com or leave voice mail at 1 740 936 4354

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podcasticon#241 – The Formation of an Identity Part II

#240 – The Formation of an Identity Part 1

Continuing our extended look at the history of the Eastern Catholic Church in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with a special focus on how the Eastern Catholic Church began to understand its relationship to the Orthodox and Roman Catholics.

Image: Formerly Eastern Catholic, now Orthodox Church in Turzańsk, Poland by Tomasz Kuran

Sources:
Barbara Skinner – The Western Front of the Eastern Church. Uniate and Orthodox Conflict in 18th-century Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia 2009
David A. Frick – Melitij Smotryc’kyj 1995
Demetrius E. Wysochansky, O.S.B.M. – Josaphat Kuntseviych – Apostle of Church Unity 1987
Joseph Macha, SJ – Ecclesiastical Unification. A Theoretical Framework Together With Case Studies From the History of Latin-Byzantine Relations 1974
Paul Magocsi – A History of Ukraine 1996
Serhii Plokhy – The Cossacks and Religion in Early Modern Ukraine 2001

Be sure to check out the CUTH blog for more on the history of the Catholic Church

Also check out the other great podcasts at the Starquest Production Network

Send e-mail questions and comments to catholicunderthehood@gmail.com or leave voice mail at 1 740 936 4354

To listen, just click on the link below:

podcasticon#240 – The Formation of an Identity Part 1

Today in Catholic History – Synod of Diamper

On 20 June 1599, the Synod of Diamper began in Udayamperoor/Diamper in Kerala, India] under the leadership of Archbishop Aleixi de Menezes.*

When the Portuguese encountered the Thomas Christians after the arrival of explorer Vasco de Gama in 1498, the Thomas Christians were part of the Assyrian Church of the East or Chaldean Church.* As a result of Portuguese missionary activity many Thomas Christians were influenced by the rituals and practices of the Roman Catholic Church and in 1552 a group of Thomas Christians entered into communion with the Pope.

However, the Portuguese hierarchy in India wanted to bring the Thomas Christians into closer jurisdiction of the Latin hierarchy and replace the Assyrian/Chaldean liturgy with that of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of the local customs were condemned as heretical and many of the liturgical books of the Thomas Christians were ordered corrected or were burnt.

The Archbishop summoned all priests to the Synod of Diamper under pain of excommunication. 130 priests and 660 laymen met at the Synod which lasted until 26 June 1599. The Synod, presided by the Archbishop of Goa, condemned the Chaldean Patriarch who was in communion with Rome to be a heretic and a schismatic, Thomas Christians were not to accept any bishop except one immediately chosen by Rome, and the Latinization/adoption of Roman Catholic traditions and practices was confirmed.

More recently, the studies of Bishop Jonas Thaliath has demonstrated that the Synod of Diamper was invalid on the grounds that the Synod was convoked without the proper authority from Rome and did not follow Canon Law.

The effect of the Synod was to provide a greater push toward the further Latinization of the Thomas Christians and to separate them from their historic ties to the Chaldean Church. As the Catholic Encyclopedia notes, “The only case in which an ancient Eastern rite has been willfully romanized is that of the Uniat Malabar Christians, where it was not Roman authority but the misguided zeal of Alexius de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, and his Portuguese advisers at the Synod of Diamper (1599) which spoiled the old Malabar Rite.”

Moreover, hostility from the Thomas Christians to the Portuguese treatment led to the Koonan Kurishu Satyam (Koonan Cross Oath) in 1653. At which some of the Thomas Christians swore that they would not obey the Portuguese bishops or the Jesuit missionaries. This will lead to a split among the Thomas Christians between the Syro Malabar Catholic Church which followed the Synod of Diamper and the Syriac Orthodox which did not.

The history of the Syro-Malabar Church

*The native Christians of India called themselves Thomas Christians because there tradition states that they were evangelized by Thomas the Apostle.