Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Irenaeus, June 28,2016

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Irenaeus, June 28,2016

Born near Smyrna, Asia Minor, Irenaeus was an early missionary to the city of Lugdunum (Lyons) in Gaul. Suceeding the martyred Pothinus as the second beshop of Lyons, he defended the Church against the Gnostic heresies. The Gnostics envisioned a dualistic universe ruled by both a good spirit and an evil force responsible for the creation of matter. Against this, Irenaeus proclaimed the Christian God “who holds all things in being, and gives being to all creatures.” Through his thorough refutation of the Gnostic claims, Irenaeus “emerges as the first great Church theologian who created systematic theology” (Pope Benedict XVI). He died in the year 202 A.D.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, Most often when trials and adversities come into our life, we are frightened of the terrible things, real and imagined, occurring in our lives. Lord Jesus, bless, us with faith and the strength that our fear is not necessary. Enable our hearts to rest in You. Make us believe always that with You in our hearts, the storms of our hearts will be made calm and peace will be upon us. In your Name, we hope and pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Am 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you, over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:

You alone have I favored,
more than all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you
for all your crimes.

Do two walk together
unless they have agreed?
Does a lion roar in the forest
when it has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from its den
unless it has seized something?
Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
when there is no lure for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground
without catching anything?
If the trumpet sounds in a city,
will the people not be frightened?
If evil befalls a city,
has not the LORD caused it?
Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing
without revealing his plan
to his servants, the prophets.

The lion roars—
who will not be afraid!
The Lord GOD speaks—
who will not prophesy!

I brought upon you such upheaval
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
Yet you returned not to me,
says the LORD.

So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
and since I will deal thus with you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8

R. (9a) Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
no evil man remains with you;
the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You hate all evildoers;
you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
the LORD abhors.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
in fear of you, O LORD.
R. Lead me in your justice, Lord.

Gospel
Mt 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Do not fear

In today’s gospel, we are all witness to two different dispositions amidst the violent storm that came up to sea. We have Jesus who was not alarmed, who was at peace and “cool” about the whole thing (as a matter of fact, he was asleep and resting after a long day). He was not apprehensive and panicky. Neither did He show any signs of breakdown nor despair. On the other hand, we see the early disciples truly gripped by fear. They could not let the storm take its course but had to wake Jesus up and ask Him to do something about the storm. They were so terrified of the possibility that their boat would sink and they would all drown in the middle of nowhere.

Jesus was able to properly handle the storm with great peace because He knew that the Father was always with Him and that He will never abandon Him.. He believed in His heart the Father so loved Him and that there will be nothing that will separate Him from the Father, not even that great storm on the sea. Jesus had full trust in the Father that nothing could shake his faith in Him.

On the other hand, the disciples were completely taken aback by the storm and were fearful because they have not yet learned to completely entrust their lives to God. Their faith was yet to be perfected. They were so human in their reactions that Jesus used the storm to wake them up from their slumber and make them realize that their lives should be truly founded on God and His ways.

Today, just as Jesus brought His first disciples to a realization that life is a matter of faith and not reason, trust rather than human power and recklessness, He too wants us to believe and have faith in the Father as He did. Jesus knows that perfection of our faith takes a lifetime that He gives us every opportunity to trust God and let Him prove Himself to us. By opening our hearts to God, He works in us and makes us truly one with Him. The more we are united to God, the stronger our faith will be and the greater our trust will be; the greater His peace and joy will dwell in our hearts.

Direction

Keep the Word on our lips at all times, meditating on it day and night. Recall God’s faithfulness and victories in our lives.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I surrender all my cares to You as I believe that You truly love me and that You will never abandon me. In Jesus, I hope and pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?

How can we fight fear with faith? Jesus’ sleeping presence on the storm-tossed sea reveals the sleeping faith of his disciples (Matthew 8:25). They feared for their lives even though their Lord and Master was with them in the boat. They were asleep to Christ while he was present to them in their hour of need.

Why are you afraid?
The Lord is ever present to us. And in our time of testing he asks the same question: Why are you afraid? Have you no faith (Matthew 8:26)? Do you recognize the Lord’s presence with you, especially when you meet the storms of adversity, sorrow, and temptation? Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord Jesus is there with the same reassuring message: “It is I, do not be afraid”(Matthew 14:27).

Faith nourished with the word of God
What are the characteristics of faith and how can we grow in it? Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to us. Believing is only possible by grace and the help of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and who opens the eyes of the mind to understand and accept the truth which God has revealed to us. Faith enables us to relate to God rightly and confidently, with trust and reliance, by believing and adhering to his word, because he is utterly reliable and trustworthy. If we want to live, grow, and persevere in faith, then it must be nourished with the word of God.

Let the love of Christ rule your heart and mind
Fear does not need to cripple us from taking right action or rob us of our trust and reliance on God. Courage working with faith enables us to embrace God’s word of truth and love with confidence and to act on it with firm hope in God’s promises. The love of God strengthens us in our faith and trust in him and enables us to act with justice and kindness towards our neighbor even in the face of opposition or harm. Do you allow the love of Jesus Christ to rule in your heart and mind, and to move your will to choose what is good in accordance with his will?

“Lord Jesus, increase my faith in your redeeming love and power that I may always recognize your abiding presence with me. Give me courage and strength to face every difficulty, trial, and temptation with trust in your saving help and guiding presence.” – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jun28.htm

Reflection 3 – Learned helplessness or trust?

Psychologist Martin Seligman made an interesting observation about animals that experienced pain. He demonstrated that if these animals were trained that receiving a shock was inevitable, they would not attempt to escape it even when the escape route became obvious. Instead, they would cower and cringe helplessly. Seligman called this phenomenon “learned helplessness.”

Lot and his wife were the epitome of learned helplessness in today’s first reading (Gen. 19:15-29). Under threat of fire and brimstone, Lot hesitates to leave his home and has to be dragged out by God’s messengers. His wife looks back, presumably in despair, and is turned into a pillar of salt. Lot cannot even make his way to the safety of the hills, but begs instead to be allowed to settle in a nearby town. If not for God’s response to Abraham’s earlier plea of mercy, Lot would have perished with the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The disciples in today’s gospel (Mt. 8:23-27) passage demonstrate a similar mentality. Knowing from experience that they have no control over the storm, they realize their helplessness and they panic: “Save us, Lord! We are about to die.” We might identify with their feelings of powerlessness, knowing what it is like when we believe we cannot change a situation that threatens us. We may become depressed or emotionally paralyzed when faced with illness, the loss of a loved one, or a threat to our livelihood.

What modern researchers have found about the human expereince of learned helplessness, though, is that it is largely dependent on how one explains the situation to oneself. Those who believe that the situation is personal, permanent or pervasive are likely to believe that they have no power to change it. Individuals who are optimistic in their view of difficulties are empowered by that optimism to change.

Christians know that ultimate power is in the hands of God. Like the disciples, we may cry, “Lord, save us!” But we know that we are never lost when we are in God’s hands. We need never cower or cringe like Lot; we need never give up hope for changing the things that put us in peril. (Source: Cecilia A. Felix. Weekday Homily Helps. Ohio: St. Anthony Messenger Press, June 30, 2009).

Reflection 4 – Risky Business

He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. —Matthew 8:26

Denis Boyles knew it would be challenging to interview a man on a roller coaster—especially when the interview took place during an attempt to set a world’s record for continuous riding. After several times around the track, Denis was so overcome with fear he could hardly talk.

Then the man showed him how to use his body and feet to lean into the loops, twists, and turns. Writing in AARP Magazine, Boyles explained how that took away the terror. It also taught him a lesson about risk and fear. The roller coaster felt risky though it was quite safe. But driving his car to the amusement park posed a far greater risk of injury. Risk and fear are easily confused.

As Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee, a storm came up and waves swept over their boat. Incredibly, Jesus was asleep. The disciples woke Him and said, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (Matt. 8:25). In a gentle rebuke, Jesus asked, “‘Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?’ Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (v.26).

Like the disciples, the more we learn about Jesus, the more we trust Him. Our greatest risk is failing to depend on Him when life seems out of control.
— David C. McCasland

But we see Jesus! Oh, what peace!
What balm for troubled heart!
His very name brings rest and calm
And bids the fears depart! —Adams

Keep your eyes on Jesus and you’ll soon lose sight of your fears (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 5 – Fear And Faith

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. –Psalm 56:3

I agree with the statement “Faith chases out fear, or fear chases out faith.” But I also know that no believer is immune to panic or terror.

One Sunday evening the hair on my neck stood up and my heart rate soared as the driver of an oncoming car tried to pass another vehicle when he shouldn’t have and I was forced off the road.

Christians caught in a major earthquake have told me about the panic that seized them when it occurred.

Military people who have survived intense bombing attacks say that anyone who claims he wasn’t afraid at the time is either a liar or a fool.

It is not a sin to feel panic or terror in a life-threatening situation.

During a sudden, violent storm, the disciples were gently rebuked as having “little faith” because they should have known that nothing could harm them while Jesus was in their boat. But they did the right thing in calling out to Him, “Lord, save us!” (Mt. 8:25).

When fear strikes, think of God and consciously trust Him. The psalmist said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Ps. 56:3).

Remember, fear will chase out faith, or faith will chase out fear.

I’ll walk this day in faith, dear Lord,
No foe nor storm I’ll fear;
Because I’m trusting in Your Word,
I know that You are near.

Faith can break the stranglehold of fear (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 6 – Calming the storms we fail to avoid

What’s stormy in your life right now? From where did this turmoil come? Have you wondered, “Why me?”

Some storms occur because we’re living in a world that’s full of bad weather and we can’t avoid the tumult no matter what we do. These are opportunities to grow stronger in faith by learning from the troubles. We become more humble through them. We have a greater need to rely on God and so we grow closer to him. And then we can help others more effectively endure their own storms. (Our sufferings are pointless if we don’t turn them into ministry for others.)

Some storms feel like punishments from God, especially when we know that we deserve it. We have sailed into a hurricane’s path by sinning or making other bad decisions. While these storms should make us crawl into the Father’s lap for security, if we’re feeling guilty, we might see them as a reason to be afraid of God and maybe even angry at him.

One example of just such a storm is the suffering caused by enduring miserable employment, because we have not put forth enough effort to go out and find a better job with God’s help. Another example is suffering through division in a significant relationship because we have not put forth the effort to examine and deal with our own shortcomings.

When we make bad decisions and sail into sinful territory, we create our own storms. The choice is ours — it’s always ours. God never wants us to get punished by life. He sends plenty of warnings and then, if we get into a mess anyway, Jesus beckons us. He’s eager to calm our storms, and he can do it. Storms are only an interruption in the peaceful skies of God’s love.

While it is true that we deserve to be punished because of our sins, Jesus took the Father’s righteous wrath upon his own flesh, so that we could receive mercy instead of punishment. As we see in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus wants to calm our storms, not cause them.

When we, like the disciples, cry out, “Lord, save us!” Jesus replies, “Where’s your courage? How little faith you have! My peace is already here.” It’s our insufficient faith — our lack of awareness of his calming presence — that causes us to wander away from his peace and to fear troubled waters.

If we really knew that he loves us beyond all measure, if we truly understood that he wants what’s best for us, if we fully trusted that his ways are the best ways, we would recognize the bad weather warnings and steer away from the avoidable storms, and we’d survive all the other storms without sinking our boats.

What do you need Jesus to save you from today? Trust him, and he will calm your fears today and lead you to peaceful shores. – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2016-06-28

Reflection 7 – How to Face the Storms in Life

“Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise, God, whose very own you are, will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will carry you in his arms.

“Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same understanding Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day.

“He will either shield you from suffering or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

“Be at peace, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations” (Source: St. Francis de Sales, +1622 A.D., Magnificat, Vol. 17, No. 4, June 2015, pp. 420-421).

Reflection 8 – St. Irenaeus (130?-220 A.D.)

The Church is fortunate that Irenaeus was involved in many of its controversies in the second century. He was a student, well trained, no doubt, with great patience in investigating, tremendously protective of apostolic teaching, but prompted more by a desire to win over his opponents than to prove them in error.

As bishop of Lyons he was especially concerned with the Gnostics, who took their name from the Greek word for “knowledge.” Claiming access to secret knowledge imparted by Jesus to only a few disciples, their teaching was attracting and confusing many Christians. After thoroughly investigating the various Gnostic sects and their “secret,” Irenaeus showed to what logical conclusions their tenets led. These he contrasted with the teaching of the apostles and the text of Holy Scripture, giving us, in five books, a system of theology of great importance to subsequent times. Moreover, his work, widely used and translated into Latin and Armenian, gradually ended the influence of the Gnostics.

The circumstances and details about his death, like those of his birth and early life in Asia Minor, are not at all clear.

Story:

A group of Christians in Asia Minor had been excommunicated by Pope Victor I because of their refusal to accept the Western church’s date for celebrating Easter. Irenaeus, the “lover of peace” as his name indicates, interceded with the pope to lift the ban, indicating that this was not an essential matter and that these people were merely following an old tradition, one that men such as Saint Polycarp (February 23) and Pope Anicetus had not seen as divisive. The pope responded favorably and the rift was healed. Some one hundred years later, the Western practice was voluntarily adopted.

Comment:

A deep and genuine concern for other people will remind us that the discovery of truth is not to be a victory for some and a defeat for others. Unless all can claim a share in that victory, truth itself will continue to be rejected by the losers, because it will be regarded as inseparable from the yoke of defeat. And so, confrontation, controversy and the like might yield to a genuine united search for God’s truth and how it can best be served.

Quote:

A group of Christians in Asia Minor had been excommunicated by Pope Victor I because of their refusal to accept the Western church’s date for celebrating Easter. Irenaeus, the “lover of peace” as his name indicates, interceded with the pope to lift the ban. Irenaeus indicated that this was not an essential matter and that these people were merely following an old tradition, one that men such as Saint Polycarp (February 23) and Pope Anicetus had not seen as divisive. The pope responded favorably and the rift was healed. Some 100 years later, the Western practice was voluntarily adopted.

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/default.aspx

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here for other saints celebrated on this date. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irenaeus   
For other uses, see Irenaeus (disambiguation).
Saint Irenaeus
Saint Irenaeus.jpg

An engraving of St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (now Lyons, France)
Bishop and Martyr
Born 130 AD
Smyrna in Asia Minor (modern-day İzmir, Turkey)
Died 202 AD (aged 72)
Lugdunum in Gaul (modern-dayLyons, France)
Venerated in Anglican Communion
Assyrian Church of the East
Eastern Orthodox Church
Lutheran Church
Oriental Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Church
Feast June 28 (Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion); August 23 (Orthodox and Oriental Churches)

Irenaeus (/rəˈnəs/; Greek: Εἰρηναῖος) (early 2nd century – c. AD 202), also referred to as Saint Irenaeus, wasBishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyon, France). He was an early Church Fatherand apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. A resident of Smyrna, he had listened to the preaching of St. Polycarp.[1] Polycarp is traditionally considered a disciple of John the Evangelist.

Irenaeus’ best-known book, Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies (c. 180), is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus.[2] As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition.[3] Against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture.[4] His polemical work is credited for laying out the “orthodoxies of the Christian church, its faith, its preaching and the books that it held as sacred authority.”[5] His writings, with those ofClement and Ignatius, are taken as among the earliest signs of the doctrine of the primacy of the Roman see.[2]Irenaeus is the earliest witness to recognition of the canonical character of all four gospels[6]

Irenaeus is recognized as a saint in both Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. His feast day is on June 28 in theGeneral Roman Calendar, where it was inserted for the first time in 1920; in 1960 the Catholic Church transferred it to July 3, leaving June 28 for the Vigil of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, but in 1969 it was returned to June 28, the day of his death.[7] The Lutheran Church[8] commemorates Irenaeus on that same date for his life of exemplary Christian witness.[9] In the Orthodox Church his feast day is 23 August.

Biography[edit]

Irenaus, in Church of St Irenaeus, Lyon.

Irenaeus was born during the first half of the 2nd century (the exact date is disputed: between the years 115 and 125 according to some, or 130 and 142 according to others), and he is thought to have been a Greek from Polycarp‘s hometown of Smyrna in Asia Minor, now İzmir, Turkey.[10] Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was brought up in a Christian family rather than converting as an adult.

During the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161–180, Irenaeus was a priest of the Church of Lyon. The clergy of that city, many of whom were suffering imprisonment for the faith, sent him in 177 to Rome with a letter to Pope Eleuterus concerning the heresy Montanism, and that occasion bore emphatic testimony to his merits. While Irenaeus was in Rome, a massacre took place in Lyon. Returning to Gaul, Irenaeus succeeded the martyr Saint Pothinus and became the second Bishop of Lyon.[11]

During the religious peace which followed the persecution of Marcus Aurelius, the new bishop divided his activities between the duties of a pastor and of a missionary (as to which we have but brief data, late and not very certain). Almost all his writings were directed against Gnosticism. The most famous of these writings is Adversus haereses (Against Heresies). Irenaeus alludes to coming across Gnostic writings, and holding conversations with Gnostics, and this may have taken place in Asia Minor or in Rome.[12] However, it also appears that Gnosticism was present near Lyon: he writes that there were followers of ‘Magus the Magician‘ living and teaching in the Rhone valley.[13]

Little is known about the career of Irenaeus after he became bishop. The last action reported of him (by Eusebius, 150 years later) is that in 190 or 191, he exerted influence on Pope Victor I not to excommunicate the Christian communities of Asia Minor which persevered in the practice of the Quartodeciman celebration of Easter.[14]

Nothing is known of the date of his death, which must have occurred at the end of the 2nd or the beginning of the 3rd century. A few within the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Church celebrate him as a martyr.[15] He was buried under the Church of Saint John in Lyon, which was later renamed St Irenaeus in his honour. The tomb and his remains were utterly destroyed in 1562 by the Huguenots.

Writings[edit]

Irenaeus wrote a number of books, but the most important that survives is the Against Heresies (or, in its Latin title, Adversus Haereses). In Book I, Irenaeus talks about the Valentinian Gnostics and their predecessors, who go as far back as the magician Simon Magus. In Book II he attempts to provide proof that Valentinianism contains no merit in terms of its doctrines. In Book III Irenaeus purports to show that these doctrines are false, by providing counter-evidence gleaned from the Gospels. Book IV consists of Jesus’ sayings, and here Irenaeus also stresses the unity of the Old Testament and the Gospel. In the final volume, Book V, Irenaeus focuses on more sayings of Jesus plus the letters of Paul the Apostle.[16]

Cambridge University library manuscript 4113 / Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 405. Irenaeus. Ca. 200 AD.

The purpose of “Against Heresies” was to refute the teachings of various Gnostic groups; apparently, several Greek merchants had begun an oratorial campaign in Irenaeus’ bishopric, teaching that the material world was the accidental creation of an evil god, from which we are to escape by the pursuit of gnosis. Irenaeus argued that the true gnosis is in fact knowledge of Christ, which redeems rather than escapes from bodily existence.

Until the discovery of the Library of Nag Hammadi in 1945, Against Heresies was the best-surviving description of Gnosticism. According to some biblical scholars, the findings at Nag Hammadi have shown Irenaeus’ description of Gnosticism to be largely inaccurate and polemic in nature.[17][18] Though correct in some details about the belief systems of various groups, Irenaeus’ main purpose was to warn Christians against Gnosticism, rather than catalog those beliefs. He described Gnostic groups as sexual libertines, for example, when some of their own writings advocated chastity more strongly than did orthodox texts—yet the gnostic texts cannot be taken as guides to their actual practices, about which almost nothing is reliably known today.[19][20] In any case the gnostics were not a single group, but a wide array of sects. Some groups were indeed libertine because they considered bodily existence meaningless; others praise chastity, and strongly prohibited any sexual activity, even within marriage.[21] Rodney Stark asserts that it is the same Nag Hammadi library that proves Irenaeus right.[22]

Irenaeus also wrote The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (also known as Proof of the Apostolic Preaching), an Armenian copy of which was discovered in 1904. This work seems to have been an instruction for recent Christian converts.[23][24]

Eusebius attests to other works by Irenaeus, today lost, including On the Ogdoad, an untitled letter to Blastus regarding schism, On the Subject of Knowledge, On the Monarchy or How God is not the Cause of Evil.[25][26][27]

Irenaeus exercised wide influence on the generation which followed. Both Hippolytus and Tertullian freely drew on his writings. However, none of his works aside from Against Heresies and The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching survive today, perhaps because his literal hope of an earthly millennium may have made him uncongenial reading in the Greek East.[28] Even though no complete version of Against Heresies in its original Greek exists, we possess the full ancient Latin version, probably of the third century, as well as thirty-three fragments of a Syrian version and a complete Armenian version of books 4 and 5.[29]

Irenaeus’ works were first translated into English by John Keble and published in 1872 as part of the Library of the Fathers series.

Scripture[edit]

Irenaeus pointed to Scripture as a proof of orthodox Christianity against heresies, classifying as Scripture not only the Old Testament but most of the books now known as the New Testament,[2] while excluding many works, a large number by Gnostics, that flourished in the 2nd century and claimed scriptural authority.[30]Oftentimes, Irenaeus, as a student of Polycarp, who was a direct disciple of the Apostle John, believed that he was interpreting scriptures in the same hermeneutic as the Apostles.[31] This connection to Christ was important to Irenaeus because both he and the Gnostics based their arguments on Scripture. Irenaeus argued that since he could trace his authority to Christ and the Gnostics could not, his interpretation of Scripture was correct.[32] He also used “the Rule of Faith”,[33] a “proto-creed” with similarities to the Apostles’ Creed, as a hermeneutical key to argue that his interpretation of Scripture was correct.[34]

Before Irenaeus, Christians differed as to which gospel they preferred. The Christians of Asia Minor preferred the Gospel of John. The Gospel of Matthew was the most popular overall.[35] Irenaeus asserted that four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, were canonical scripture.[36] Thus Irenaeus provides the earliest witness to the assertion of the four canonical Gospels, possibly in reaction to Marcion‘s edited version of the Gospel of Luke, which Marcion asserted was the one and only true gospel.[6][23]

Based on the arguments Irenaeus made in support of only four authentic gospels, some interpreters deduce that the fourfold Gospel must have still been a novelty in Irenaeus’ time.[37] Against Heresies 3.11.7 acknowledges that many heterodox Christians use only one gospel while 3.11.9 acknowledges that some use more than four.[38] The success of Tatian‘s Diatessaron in about the same time period is “… a powerful indication that the fourfold Gospel contemporaneously sponsored by Irenaeus was not broadly, let alone universally, recognized.”[39]

Irenaeus is also the earliest attestation that the Gospel of John was written by John the Apostle,[40] and that the Gospel of Luke was written by Luke, the companion of Paul.[41]

The apologist and ascetic Tatian had previously harmonized the four gospels into a single narrative, the Diatesseron (c 150–160).

Scholars[specify] contend that Irenaeus quotes from 21 of the 27 New Testament Texts:

Matthew (Book 3, Chapter 16)
Mark (Book 3, Chapter 10)
Luke (Book 3, Chapter 14)
John (Book 3, Chapter 11)
Acts of the Apostles (Book 3, Chapter 14)
Romans (Book 3, Chapter 16)
1 Corinthians (Book 1, Chapter 3)
2 Corinthians (Book 3, Chapter 7)
Galatians (Book 3, Chapter 22)
Ephesians (Book 5, Chapter 2)
Philippians (Book 4, Chapter 18)
Colossians (Book 1, Chapter 3)
1 Thessalonians (Book 5, Chapter 6)
2 Thessalonians (Book 5, Chapter 25)
1 Timothy (Book 1, Preface)
2 Timothy (Book 3, Chapter 14)
Titus (Book 3, Chapter 3)
1 Peter (Book 4, Chapter 9)
1 John (Book 3, Chapter 16)
2 John (Book 1, Chapter 16)
Revelation to John (Book 4, Chapter 20)

He may refer to Hebrews (Book 2, Chapter 30) and James (Book 4, Chapter 16) and maybe even 2 Peter (Book 5, Chapter 28) but does not cite Philemon, 3 John or Jude.[citation needed]

Irenaeus cited the New Testament approximately 1000 times. About one third of his citations are made to Paul’s letters. Irenaeus considered all 13 letters belonging to the Pauline corpus to have been written by Paul himself.[42]

Apostolic authority[edit]

Irenaeus is also known as one of the first theologians to use the principle of apostolic succession to refute his opponents.[43]

In his writing against the Gnostics, who claimed to possess a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture.[44] In a passage that became a locus classicusof Catholic-Protestant polemics, he cited the Roman church as an example of the unbroken chain of authority which text Western polemics would use to assert the primacy of Rome over Eastern churches by virtue of its preeminent authority.[45][46]

With the lists of bishops to which Irenaeus referred, the doctrine of the apostolic succession, firmly established in the Church at this time, of the bishops could be linked.[45] This succession was important to establish a chain of custody for orthodoxy. He felt it important, however, to also speak of a succession of elders (presbyters).[47]

Irenaeus’ point when refuting the Gnostics was that all of the Apostolic churches had preserved the same traditions and teachings in many independent streams. It was the unanimous agreement between these many independent streams of transmission that proved the orthodox Faith, current in those churches, to be true.[48]

Irenaeus’ theology and contrast with Gnosticism[edit]

The central point of Irenaeus’ theology is the unity and the goodness of God, in opposition to the Gnostics’ theory of God; a number of divine emanations (Aeons)along with a distinction between the Monad and the Demiurge. Irenaeus uses the Logos theology he inherited from Justin Martyr. Irenaeus was a student ofPolycarp, who was said to have been tutored by John the Apostle.[40] (John had used Logos terminology in the Gospel of John and the letter of 1 John). Irenaeus prefers to speak of the Son and the Spirit as the “hands of God”.

The Unity of Salvation History[edit]

Irenaeus’ emphasis on the unity of God is reflected in his corresponding emphasis on the unity of salvation history. Irenaeus repeatedly insists that God began the world and has been overseeing it ever since this creative act; everything that has happened is part of his plan for humanity. The essence of this plan is a process of maturation: Irenaeus believes that humanity was created immature, and God intended his creatures to take a long time to grow into or assume the divine likeness.

Everything that has happened since has therefore been planned by God to help humanity overcome this initial mishap and achieve spiritual maturity. The world has been intentionally designed by God as a difficult place, where human beings are forced to make moral decisions, as only in this way can they mature as moral agents. Irenaeus likens death to the big fish that swallowed Jonah: it was only in the depths of the whale’s belly that Jonah could turn to God and act according to the divine will. Similarly, death and suffering appear as evils, but without them we could never come to know God.

According to Irenaeus, the high point in salvation history is the advent of Jesus. For Irenaeus, the Incarnation of Christ was intended by God before He determined that humanity would be created. Irenaeus develops this idea based on Rom. 5:14, saying “Forinasmuch as He had a pre-existence as a saving Being, it was necessary that what might be saved should also be called into existence, in order that the Being who saves should not exist in vain.”[49] Some theologians maintain that Irenaeus believed that Incarnation would have occurred even if humanity had never sinned; but the fact that they did sin determined his role as the savior.[50]

Irenaeus sees Christ as the new Adam, who systematically undoes what Adam did: thus, where Adam was disobedient concerning God’s edict concerning the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Christ was obedient even to death on the wood of a tree. Irenaeus is the first to draw comparisons between Eve and Mary, contrasting the faithlessness of the former with the faithfulness of the latter. In addition to reversing the wrongs done by Adam, Irenaeus thinks of Christ as “recapitulating” or “summing up” human life.[51]

Irenaeus conceives of our salvation as essentially coming about through the incarnation of God as a man. He characterizes the penalty for sin as death andcorruption. God, however, is immortal and incorruptible, and simply by becoming united to human nature in Christ he conveys those qualities to us: they spread, as it were, like a benign infection.[52] Irenaeus emphasizes that salvation occurs through Christ’s His Incarnation, which bestows incorruptibility on humanity, rather than emphasizing His Redemptive death in the crucifixion, although the latter event is an integral part of the former.[53]

Christ’s Life[edit]

Part of the process of recapitulation is for Christ to go through every stage of human life, from infancy to old age, and simply by living it, sanctify it with his divinity. Although it is sometimes claimed that Irenaeus believed Christ did not die until he was older than is conventionally portrayed, the bishop of Lyons simply pointed out that because Jesus turned the permissible age for becoming a rabbi (30 years old and above), he recapitulated and sanctified the period between 30 and 50 years old, as per the Jewish custom of periodization oan life, and so touches the beginning of old age when one becomes 50 years old. (see Adversus Haereses, book II, chapter 22).

In the passage of Adversus Haereses under consideration, Irenaeus is clear that after receiving baptism at the age of thirty, citing Luke 3:23, Gnostics then falsely assert that “He [Jesus] preached only one year reckoning from His baptism,” and also, “On completing His thirtieth year He [Jesus] suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age.” Irenaeus argues against the Gnostics by using scripture to show that Jesus lives at least several years after his baptism by referencing 3 distinctly separate visits to Jerusalem. The first is when Jesus makes wine out of water, He goes up to the Paschal feast-day, after which He withdraws and is found in Samaria. The second is when Jesus goes up to Jerusalem for Passover and cures the paralytic, after which He withdraws over the sea of Tiberias. The third mention is when He travels to Jerusalem, eats the Passover, and suffers on the following day.[54]

Irenaeus quotes scripture, which we reference as John 8:57, to suggest that Jesus ministers while in his 40’s. In this passage, Jesus’ opponents want to argue that Jesus has not seen Abraham, because Jesus is too young. Jesus’ opponents argue that Jesus is not yet 50 years old. Irenaeus argues that if Jesus was in his thirties, his opponents would’ve argued that He’s not yet 40 years, since that would make Him even younger. Irenaeus’ argument is that they would not weaken their own argument by adding years to Jesus’ age. Irenaeus also writes that “The Elders witness to this, who in Asia conferred with John the Lord’s disciple, to the effect that John had delivered these things unto them: for he abode with them until the times of Trajan. And some of them saw not only John, but others also of the Apostles, and had this same account from them, and witness to the aforesaid relation.”[54]

In Demonstration (74) Irenaeus notes “For Pontius Pilate was governor of Judæa, and he had at that time resentful enmity against Herod the king of the Jews. But then, when Christ was brought to him bound, Pilate sent Him to Herod, giving command to enquire of him, that he might know of a certainty what he should desire concerning Him; making Christ a convenient occasion of reconciliation with the king.”[55] Pilate was the prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26–36.[56][57] He served under Emperor Tiberius Claudius Nero. Herod Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, a client state of the Roman Empire. He ruled from 4 BC to 39 AD.[58] In refuting Gnostic claims that Jesus preached for only one year after his baptism, Irenaeus used the “recapitulation” approach to demonstrate that by living beyond the age of thirty Christ sanctified even old age.

Irenaeus’ use of Paul’s Epistles[edit]

Many aspects of Irenaeus’ presentation of salvation history depend on Paul’s Epistles.

Irenaeus’ conception of salvation relies heavily on the understanding found in Paul’s letters. Irenaeus first brings up the theme of victory over sin and evil that is afforded by Jesus’s death. God’s intervention has saved humanity from the Fall of Adam and the wickedness of Satan.[59] Human nature has become joined with God’s in the person of Jesus, thus allowing human nature to have victory over sin.[60] Paul writes on the same theme, that Christ has come so that a new order is formed, and being under the Law, is being under the sin of Adam Rom. 6:14, Gal. 5:18.

Reconciliation is also a theme of Paul’s that Irenaeus stresses in his teachings on Salvation. Irenaeus believes Jesus coming in flesh and blood sanctified humanity so that it might again reflect the perfection associated with the likeness of the Divine. This perfection leads to a new life, in the lineage of God, which is forever striving for eternal life and unity with the Father.[61][62] This is a carryover from Paul, who attributes this reconciliation to the actions of Christ: “For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ” 1 Cor. 15:21-2.

A third theme in both Paul’s and Irenaeus’s conceptions of salvation is the sacrifice of Christ being necessary for the new life given to humanity in the triumph over evil. It is in this obedient sacrifice that Jesus is victor and reconciler, thus erasing the marks that Adam left on human nature. To argue against the Gnostics on this point, Irenaeus uses Colossians Col. 2:13-4 in showing that the debt which came by a tree has been paid for us in another tree. Furthermore, the first chapter of Ephesians is picked up in Irenaeus’s discussion of the topic when he asserts, “By His own blood He redeemed us, as also His apostle declares, and ‘In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins.’”[63]

Irenaeus does not simply parrot back the message of Paul in his understanding of salvation. One of the major changes that Irenaeus makes is when the Parousia will occur. Paul states that he believes that it was going to happen soon, probably in his own life time 1 Thess. 4:15 1 Cor. 15:51-2. However, the end times does not happen immediately and Christians begin to worry and have doubts about the faith. For Irenaeus, sin is seen as haste, just as Adam and Eve quickly ate from the tree of knowledge as they pleased. On the other hand, redemption restored to humanity through the Christ’s submission to God’s will. Thus, the salvation of man will also be restored to the original trajectory controlled by God forfeited in humanity’s sinful in haste.[64] This rather slower version of salvation is not something that Irenaeus received from Paul, but was a necessary construct given the delay of the second coming of Jesus.

Christ as the New Adam[edit]

To counter his Gnostic opponents, Irenaeus significantly develops Paul’s presentation of Christ as the Last Adam.

Irenaeus’ presentation of Christ as the New Adam is based on Paul’s Christ-Adam parallel in Romans 5:12-21. Irenaeus uses this parallel to demonstrate that Christ truly took human flesh. Irenaeus consideres it important to emphasize this point because he understands the failure to recognize Christ’s full humanity the bond linking the various strains of Gnosticism together, as seen in his statement that “according to the opinion of no one of the heretics was the Word of God made flesh.” [65] Irenaeus believes that unless the Word became flesh, humans were not fully redeemed.[66] He explains that by becoming man, Christ restored humanity to being in the image and likeness of God, which they had lost in the Fall of man [67][68] Just as Adam was the original head of humanity through whom all sinned, Christ is the new head of humanity who fulfills Adam’s role in the Economy of Salvation.[69] Irenaeus calls this process of restoring humanity recapitulation.[70]

For Irenaeus, Paul’s presentation of the Old Law (the Mosaic covenant) in this passage indicates that the Old Law revealed humanity’s sinfulness but could not save them. He explains that “For as the law was spiritual, it merely made sin to stand out in relief, but did not destroy it. For sin had no dominion over the spirit, but over man.”[71] Since humans have a physical nature, they cannot be saved by a spiritual law. Instead, they need a human Savior. This is why it was necessary for Christ to take human flesh.[71] Irenaeus summarizes how Christ’s taking human flesh saves humanity with a statement that closely resembles Romans 5:19, “For as by the disobedience of the one man who was originally moulded from virgin soil, the many were made sinners, and forfeited life; so was it necessary that, by the obedience of one man, who was originally born from a virgin, many should be justified and receive salvation.”[72] The physical creation of Adam and Christ is emphasized by Irenaeus to demonstrate how the Incarnation saves humanity’s physical nature.[73]

Irenaeus emphasizes the importance of Christ’s reversal of Adams’s action. Through His obedience, Christ undoes Adam’s disobedience.[74] Irenaeus presents the Passion as the climax of Christ’s obedience, emphasizing how this obedience on the tree of the Cross Phil. 2:8 undoes the disobedience that occurred through a tree Gen. 3:17.[75] Irenaeus’ interpretation of Paul’s discussion of Christ as the New Adam is significant because it helped develop the Recapitulation theory of atonement. Irenaeus emphasizes that it is through Christ’s reversal of Adam’s action that humanity is saved, rather than considering the Redemption to occur in a cultic or juridical way.[76][77]

Valentinian Gnosticism[edit]

Valentinian Gnosticism was one of the major forms of Gnosticism that Irenaeus opposed.

According to the Gnostic view of Salvation, creation was perfect to begin with; it did not need time to grow and mature. For the Valentinians, the material world is the result of the loss of perfection which resulted from Sophia’s desire to understand the Forefather. Therefore, one is ultimately redeemed, through secret knowledge, to enter the pleroma of which the Achamoth originally fell.

According to the Valentinian Gnostics, there are three classes of human beings. They are the material, who cannot attain salvation; the psychic, who are strengthened by works and faith (they are part of the church); and the spiritual, who cannot decay or be harmed by material actions.[78] Essentially, ordinary humans—those who have faith but do not possess the special knowledge—will not attain salvation. Spirituals, on the other hand—those who obtain this great gift—are the only class that will eventually attain salvation.

In his article entitled “The Demiurge,” J.P. Arendzen sums up the Valentinian view of the salvation of man. He writes, “The first, or carnal men, will return to the grossness of matter and finally be consumed by fire; the second, or psychic men, together with the Demiurge as their master, will enter a middle state, neither heaven (pleroma) nor hell (whyle); the purely spiritual men will be completely freed from the influence of the Demiurge and together with the Saviour and Achamoth, his spouse, will enter the pleroma divested of body (húle) and soul (psuché).”[79]

In this understanding of salvation, the purpose of the Incarnation was to redeem the Spirituals from their material bodies. By taking a material body, the Son becomes the Savior and facilitates this entrance into the pleroma by making it possible for the Spirituals to receive his spiritual body. However, in becoming a body and soul, the Son Himself becomes one of those needing redemption. Therefore, the Word descends onto the Savior at His Baptism in the Jordan, which liberates the Son from his corruptible body and soul. His redemption from the body and soul is then applied to the Spirituals.[80] In response to this Gnostic view of Christ, Irenaeus emphasized that the Word became flesh and developed a soteriology that emphasized the significance of Christ’s material Body in saving humanity, as discussed in the sections above.[81]

In his criticism of Gnosticism, Irenaeus made reference to a Gnostic gospel which portrayed Judas in a positive light, as having acted in accordance with Jesus’ instructions. The recently discovered Gospel of Judas dates close to the period when Irenaeus lived (late 2nd century), and scholars typically regard this work as one of many Gnostic texts, showing one of many varieties of Gnostic beliefs of the period.[82]

Irenaeus’ Mariology[edit]

Irenaeus of Lyons is perhaps the earliest of the Church Fathers to develop a thorough mariology. It is certain that, while still very young, Irenaeus had seen and heard Bishop Polycarp (d. 155) at Smyrna.[25] Irenaeus sets out a forthright account of Mary’s role in the economy of salvation, presenting Mary as New Eve whose obedience in the Annunciation counters Eve’s disobedience.[83] He states, “even though Eve had Adam for a husband, she was still a virgin… By disobeying, Eve became the cause of death for herself and for the whole human race. In the same way Mary, though she had a husband, was still a virgin, and by obeying, she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.[84]

This presentation of Mary as the New Eve is an extension of Irenaeus’ Adam-Christ typology. Just as Christ undoes Adam’s disobedience, Mary undoes Eve’s disobedience.[85] His emphasis on the role of Mary helps Irenaeus counter Christologies along the lines of Docetism and Adoptionism.[86] His emphasis on Mary’s role in the economy of salvation further demonstrates how God transforms the material world through the Incarnation, which was an important part of Irenaeus’ conflict with the Gnostics.[87]

Like Ireneaus, Tertullian describes how Christ’s Virgin birth parallels Adam’s creation from virgin earth. Tertullian also discusses how it was necessary for God to be born of a Virgin so that what was lost through a woman would be saved through a woman.[88] This indicates that the concept of Mary as the New Eve was known in both the Eastern and Western Church during the second and third centuries.[89]

Pope Pius IX made reference to this theme of Irenaeus, in the 1854 apostolic constitution Ineffabilis Deus, which defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.[90]

Prophetic exegesis[edit]

The first four books of Against Heresies constitute a minute analysis and refutation of the Gnostic doctrines. The fifth is a statement of positive belief contrasting the constantly shifting and contradictory Gnostic opinions with the steadfast faith of the church. He appeals to the prophecies to demonstrate the truthfulness of Christianity.[91]

Rome and Ten Horns[edit]

Irenaeus shows the close relationship between the predicted events of Daniel 2 and 7. Rome, the fourth prophetic kingdom, would end in a tenfold partition. The ten divisions of the empire are the “ten horns” of Daniel 7 and the “ten horns” in Revelation 17. A “little horn,” which is to supplant three of Rome’s ten divisions, is also the still future “eighth” in Revelation. Irenaeus climaxes with the destruction of all kingdoms at the Second Advent, when Christ, the prophesied “stone,” cut out of the mountain without hands, smites the image after Rome’s division.[92][93][94]

Antichrist[edit]

Irenaeus identified the Antichrist, another name of the apostate Man of Sin, with Daniel‘s Little Horn and John‘s Beast of Revelation 13. He sought to apply other expressions to the Antichrist, such as “the abomination of desolation,” mentioned by Christ (Matt. 24:15) and the “king of a most fierce countenance,” in Gabriel‘s explanation of the Little Horn of Daniel 8. But he is not very clear how “the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away” during the “half-week,” or three and one-half years of the Antichrist’s reign.[95][96][97]

Under the notion that the Antichrist, as a single individual, might be of Jewish origin, he fancies that the mention of “Dan,” in Jeremiah 8:16, and the omission of that name from those tribes listed in Revelation 7, might indicate the Antichrist’s tribe. This surmise became the foundation of a series of subsequent interpretations by others.[98][99]

Time, Times and Half a Time[edit]

Like the other early church fathers, Irenaeus interpreted the three and one-half “times” of the Little Horn of Daniel 7 as three and one-half literal years. Antichrist’s three and a half years of sitting in the temple are placed immediately before the Second Coming of Christ.[100][101][102]

They are identified as the second half of the “one week” of Daniel 9. Irenaeus says nothing of the seventy weeks; we do not know whether he placed the “one week” at the end of the seventy or whether he had a gap.[103]

666[edit]

Irenaeus is the first of the church fathers to consider the mystic number 666. While Irenaeus did propose some solutions of this numerical riddle, his interpretation was quite reserved. Thus, he cautiously states:

But knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, have a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation.[104][105]

Although Irenaeus did speculate upon three names to symbolize this mystical number, namely Euanthas, Teitan, and Lateinos, nevertheless he was content to believe that the Antichrist would arise some time in the future after the fall of Rome and then the meaning of the number would be revealed.[106][107]

Millennium[edit]

See also: Millennialism

Irenaeus declares that the Antichrist’s future three-and-a-half-year reign, when he sits in the temple at Jerusalem, will be terminated by the second advent, with the resurrection of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the millennial reign of the righteous. The general resurrection and the judgment follow the descent of the New Jerusalem at the end of the millennial kingdom.[101][108][107]

Irenaeus calls those “heretics” who maintain that the saved are immediately glorified in the kingdom to come after death, before their resurrection. He avers that the millennial kingdom and the resurrection are actualities, not allegories, the first resurrection introducing this promised kingdom in which the risen saints are described as ruling over the renewed earth during the millennium, between the two resurrections.[109][110][111]

Irenaeus held to the old Jewish tradition that the first six days of creation week were typical of the first six thousand years of human history, with Antichrist manifesting himself in the sixth period. And he expected the millennial kingdom to begin with the second coming of Christ to destroy the wicked and inaugurate, for the righteous, the reign of the kingdom of God during the seventh thousand years, the millennial Sabbath, as signified by the Sabbath of creation week.[101][112][113][111]

In common with many of the fathers, Irenaeus did not distinguish between the new earth re-created in its eternal state—the thousand years of Revelation 20—when the saints are with Christ after His second advent, and the Jewish traditions of the Messianic kingdom. Hence, he applies Biblical and traditional ideas to his descriptions of this earth during the millennium, throughout the closing chapters of Book 5. This conception of the reign of resurrected and translated saints with Christ on this earth during the millennium-popularly known as chiliasm—was the increasingly prevailing belief of this time. Incipient distortions due to the admixture of current traditions, which figure in the extreme forms of chiliasm, caused a reaction against the earlier interpretations of Bible prophecies.[114]

Irenaeus was not looking for a Jewish kingdom. He interpreted Israel as the Christian church, the spiritual seed of Abraham.[115][116]

At times his expressions are highly fanciful. He tells, for instance, of a prodigious fertility of this earth during the millennium, after the resurrection of the righteous, “when also the creation, having been renovated and set free, shall fructify with an abundance of all kinds of food.” In this connection, he attributes to Christ the saying about the vine with ten thousand branches, and the ear of wheat with ten thousand grains, and so forth, which he quotes from Papias of Hierapolis.[117][116]

Exegesis[edit]

Irenaeus’ exegesis does not give complete coverage. On the seals, for example, he merely alludes to Christ as the rider on the white horse. He stresses five factors with greater clarity and emphasis than Justin:

  1. the literal resurrection of the righteous at the second advent
  2. the millennium bounded by the two resurrections
  3. the Antichrist to come upon the heels of Rome’s breakup
  4. the symbolic prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse in their relation to the last times
  5. the kingdom of God to be established by the second advent.[118]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History Book v. Chapter v.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)
  3. Jump up^ “Caesar and Christ”(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972)
  4. Jump up^ “Encyclopaedia Britannica: Saint Irenaeus”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  5. Jump up^ Romer, John Testament: The Bible and History, p. 200, in the section Making the Choice: Irenaeus of Lyon, pp. 198-202. Abstract. (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1988). ISBN 0-8050-0939-6.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 14. Anchor Bible; 1st edition (October 13, 1997). ISBN 978-0-385-24767-2.
  7. Jump up^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 96
  8. Jump up^ Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Lesser Festivals and Commemorations,Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 16. Augsburg Fortress.
  9. Jump up^ [1] Archived July 25, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. Jump up^ Irenaeus himself tells us (Against Heresies 3.3.4, cf Eusebius Historia Ecclesiastica 5.20.5ff) that in his ‘youth’ he saw Polycarp, the Bishop of Smyrnawho was martyred c156. This is the evidence used to assume that Irenaeus was born in Smyrna during the 130s–140s.
  11. Jump up^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.4.1
  12. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.pr.2, 4.pr.2
  13. Jump up^ Against Heresies 1.13.7
  14. Jump up^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.24.1ff
  15. Jump up^ Gregory of Tours is the first to mention a tradition which held Irenaeus to be a martyr
  16. Jump up^ Grant, Robert M., Irenaeus of Lyons, p. 6. Routledge 1997.
  17. Jump up^ Pagels, Elaine. Beyond Belief, Pan Books, 2005. p. 54
  18. Jump up^ Robinson, James M., The Nag Hammadi Library, HarperSanFrancisco, 1990. p. 104.
  19. Jump up^ Pagels, Elaine. “The Gnostic Gospels,” Vintage Books, 1979. p. 90.
  20. Jump up^ Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities (Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 121.
  21. Jump up^ Stark, Rodney. Cities of God, HarperCollins, 2007. chap. 6
  22. Jump up^ Stark, Rodney. Discovering God (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 325–327.
  23. ^ Jump up to:a b “The Development of the Canon of the New Testament – Irenaeus”. Ntcanon.org. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  24. Jump up^ This work was first published in 1907 in Armenian, along with a German translation by Adolf von Harnack. It is Harnack who divided the text into one hundred numbered sections.
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b “CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Irenaeus”. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  26. Jump up^ Rev. J. Tixeront, D.D. A Handbook of Patrology. Section IV: The Opponents of Heresy in the Second Century, St. Louis, MO, by B. Herder Book Co. 1920.
  27. Jump up^ Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 5.20.1
  28. Jump up^ Henry Chadwick, The Early Church, Penguin Group, 19932, p. 83
  29. Jump up^ Richard A Norris, Jr, ‘Irenaeus of Lyons’, in Frances Young, Lewis Ayres and Andrew Louth, eds, The Cambridge History of Early Christian Literature, (2010), p47
  30. Jump up^ “Encyclopaedia Britannica: Saint Irenaeus”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  31. Jump up^ Farmer, Hugh (1997). The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Fourth ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 250. ISBN 0-19-280058-2.
  32. Jump up^ J.T. Nielsen, Adam and Christ in the Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons: An Examination of the function of the Adam-Christ Typology in the Adversus Haeresesof Ireaneus, against the Background of the Gnosticism of His Time. Van Gorcum’s Theologische Bibliotheek. (Asen, The Netherlands: Koninkliijke Van Gorcum 7 Comp. N.V., 1968), p. 48-49.
  33. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.4.2. and IV.33.7.
  34. Jump up^ Paul Parvis, “Who was Irenaeus? An Introduction to the Man and His Work,” inIrenaeus: Life, Scripture, Legacy, ed. Sara Parvis and Paul Foster (Minneanpolis: Fortress Press, 2012), 20.
  35. Jump up^ Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985)
  36. Jump up^ “But it is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the church has been scattered throughout the world, and since the ‘pillar and ground’ of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life, it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing incorruption on every side, and vivifying human afresh. From this fact, it is evident that the Logos, the fashionerdemiourgos of all, he that sits on the cherubim and holds all things together, when he was manifested to humanity, gave us the gospel under four forms but bound together by one spirit.” Against Heresies 3.11.8
  37. Jump up^ McDonald & Sanders, The Canon Debate, 2002, p. 277
  38. Jump up^ McDonald & Sanders, p. 280. Also p. 310, summarizing 3.11.7: the Ebionites use Matthew’s Gospel, Marcion mutilates Luke’s, the Docetists use Mark’s, theValentinians use John’s
  39. Jump up^ McDonald & Sanders, p. 280
  40. ^ Jump up to:a b McDonald & Sanders, p. 368
  41. Jump up^ McDonald & Sanders, p. 267
  42. Jump up^ Blackwell, Ben C. Christosis: Pauline Soteriology in Light of Deificaiton in Irenaeus and Cyril of Alexandria (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2011), p. 36
  43. Jump up^ “Hieromartyr Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyons”, Orthodox Church in America”
  44. Jump up^ “Wherefore we must obey the priests of the Church who have succession from the Apostles, as we have shown, who, together with succession in the episcopate, have received the certain mark of truth according to the will of the Father; all others, however, are to be suspected, who separated themselves from the principal succession.” Adversus Haereses (Book IV, Chapter 26). read online.
  45. ^ Jump up to:a b “Encyclopaedia Britannica”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  46. Jump up^ “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”read online Adversus Haereses (Book III, Chapter 3)
  47. Jump up^ Against Heresies, IV.26.2.
  48. Jump up^ “Adversus Haereses (Book V, Chapter 33:8)”. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  49. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.22.3.
  50. Jump up^ J.B. Carol, Why Jesus Christ?: Thomistic, Scotistic, and Conciliatory Perspectives (Manassas, VA: Trinity Communications, 1986), p. 172-74.
  51. Jump up^ AH 3.18.7; 3.21.9–10; 3.22.3; 5.21.1; see also, Klager, Andrew P. “Retaining and Reclaiming the Divine: Identification and the Recapitulation of Peace in St. Irenaeus of Lyons’ Atonement Narrative,” Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ, eds. Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), esp. p. 462 n. 158.
  52. Jump up^ M David Litwa, “The Wondrous Exchange: Irenaeus and Eastern Valentinians on the Soteriology of Interchange,” Journal of Early Christian Studies p. 324-25.
  53. Jump up^ Andrew J. Bandstra, “Paul and an Ancient Interpreter: A Comparison of the Teaching of Redemption in Paul and Irenaeus,” Calvin Theological Journal 5 (1970): pp. 47, 57.
  54. ^ Jump up to:a b A.H. 2.22.5
  55. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Demonstration of Apostolic Preaching §77 Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  56. Jump up^ “Britannica Online: Pontius Pilate”. Britannica.com. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  57. Jump up^ Jona Lendering. “Judaea”. Livius.org. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
  58. Jump up^ Bruce, F. F. (1963–1965). “Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea”.Annual of Leeds University Oriental Society 5.
  59. Jump up^ Bandstra, Andrew (April 1, 1970). “Paul and an Ancient Interpreter: a Comparison of the Teaching of Redemption in Paul and Irenaeus”. Calvin Theological Journal 5 (1): 48.
  60. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.18.7
  61. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.18.1
  62. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.19.1
  63. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.2.2
  64. Jump up^ Vogel, Jeff (Summer 2007). “The Haste of Sin, the Slowness of Salvation: An Interpretation of Irenaeus on the Fall and Redemption”. Anglican Theological Review 89 (3): 444.
  65. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.11.3.
  66. Jump up^ Litwa, “The Wondrous Exchange,” p. 312-13.
  67. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.18.1.
  68. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.16.2.
  69. Jump up^ Nielsen, Adam and Christ in the Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons, p. 11.
  70. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.18.2.
  71. ^ Jump up to:a b Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.18.7.
  72. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.8.7.
  73. Jump up^ Dominic J. Unger and Irenaeus M.C. Steenberg trans. St Irenaeus of Lyons: Against the Heresies III, Ancient Christian Writers: The Works of the Fathers in Translation (New York: The Newman Press, 2012), p. 176-77, endnote 48.
  74. Jump up^ Andrew J. Bandstra, “Paul and an Ancient Interpreter,” p. 50.
  75. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.16.3.
  76. Jump up^ Bandstra, “Paul and an Ancient Interpreter,” p. 61.
  77. Jump up^ For other theories of atonement see Atonement in Christianity.
  78. Jump up^ Grant, Robert M., Irenaeus of Lyons (Routledge, 1997), p. 23.
  79. Jump up^ “CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Demiurge”. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  80. Jump up^ Litwa, “The Wondrous Exchange,” p. 316-17.
  81. Jump up^ Litwa, “The Wondrous Exchange,” p. 313-16.
  82. Jump up^ Dr. John Dickson. “A Spectators Guide to the Gospel of Judas” (PDF). Sydneyanglicans.net. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  83. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.22.4
  84. Jump up^ Irenaeus of Lyons, Adversus haereses 3.22.4
  85. Jump up^ Irenaeus, Against Heresies, III.22.4.
  86. Jump up^ M.C. Steenberg, “The Role of Mary as Co-Recapitulator in St. Irenaeus of Lyons,” Vigilae Christianae 58 (2004): 124-25.
  87. Jump up^ Steenberg, “The Role of Mary as Co-Recapitulator,” 119-20.
  88. Jump up^ Tertullian, De Carne Christi, 17
  89. Jump up^ Luigi Gambero, Mary and the Fathers of the Church: The Blessed Virgin Mary in Patristic Thought,trans. Thomas Buffer (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), p. 66.
  90. Jump up^ Ineffabilis Deus Papal Encyclicals Online. Retrieved December 7, 2012
  91. Jump up^ Froom 1950, p. 244.
  92. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 25″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  93. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 26″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  94. Jump up^ Froom 1950, p. 245.
  95. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 28″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  96. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 25, sec. 2–4″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  97. Jump up^ Froom 1950, pp. 246-247.
  98. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 25, sec. 3″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  99. Jump up^ Froom 1950, p. 247.
  100. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 25, sec. 3–4″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  101. ^ Jump up to:a b c Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 30, sec. 4″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  102. Jump up^ Froom 1950, pp. 247-248.
  103. Jump up^ Froom 1950, p. 248.
  104. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 30, sec. 2″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  105. Jump up^ Froom 1950, pp. 248-249.
  106. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 30, sec. 3″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  107. ^ Jump up to:a b Froom 1950, p. 249.
  108. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 35, sec. 1–2″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  109. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 31″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  110. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 35″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  111. ^ Jump up to:a b Froom 1950, p. 250.
  112. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 28, sec. 3″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  113. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 33, sec. 2″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  114. Jump up^ Froom 1950, pp. 250-252.
  115. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 32, sec. 2″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  116. ^ Jump up to:a b Froom 1950, p. 251.
  117. Jump up^ Against Heresies Book 5 Chapter 33, sec. 3″. Newadvent.org. Retrieved24 November 2014.
  118. Jump up^ Froom 1950, p. 252.

References[edit]

  • Froom, LeRoy (1950). The Prophetic Faith of our Fathers (DjVu and PDF) 1. Review and Herald Publishing Association.
  • Bandstra, Andrew J. “Paul and an Ancient Interpreter: A Comparison of the Teaching of Redemption in Paul and Irenaeus,” Calvin Theological Journal 5 (197): 43-63.
  • Blackwell, Ben C. Christosis: Pauline Soteriology in Light of Deification in Irenaeus and Cyril of Alexandria. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reiche 341, edited by Jorg Frey. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2011.
  • Irenaeus, Against Heresies. Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. In Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 1, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coze (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Co., 1885).
  • Litwa, M. David. “The Wonderous Exchange: Irenaeus and Eastern Valentinians on the Soteriology of Interchange.” Journal of Early Christian Studies 22 (2014): 311-40.
  • Nielsen, J.T. Adam and Christ in the Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons: An Examination of the function of the Adam-Christ Typology in the Adversus Haereses of Ireaneus, against the Background of the Gnosticism of His Time. Van Gorcum’s Theologische Bibliotheek. Asen, The Netherlands: Koninkliijke Van Gorcum 7 Comp. N.V., 1968.

Pope Francis to young Armenians: Don’t be carried away by the lying avenging force

Pope Francis to young Armenians: Don’t be carried away by the lying avenging force

Published on Jun 27, 2016

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He led an ecumenical prayer meeting for peace with Armenian Catholicos, Karekin II.

Returning From Armenia, Pope Stops at Santa Maria Maggiore

After His 14th Apostolic Visit Abroad, Francis’ 1st Stop Upon Return to Rome Is to Pray Before Mary in Marian Basilica

Santa Maria Maggiore

Santa Maria Maggiore –Photo ZENIT Cc

Moments after landing in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis traveled to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to offer thanks for the success of his three-day Apostolic Trip to Armenia, July 24-26, the first nation ever to adopt Christianity as a state religion.

According to a note from the Holy See Press Office, before returning to the Vatican, after landing safely at the airport, the Pope made his usual detour to go to the Marian Basilica.

The Holy Father always venerates the icon before and after his international apostolic trips.

During his time inside, Francis prayed before the ancient image of Mary, Salus Populi Romani, in silence for several minutes, and left flowers for the Blessed Mother.

Pope Francis press conference: “Benedict resigned with Science and Theology. There is only one Pope”

Pope Francis press conference: “Benedict resigned with Science and Theology. There is only one Pope”

Published on Jun 27, 2016

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He said that it upset him how the media interpreted his words about deaconesses.

Pope Francis’ In-flight Press Conference Touches a Host of Issues

Brexit, role of pope emeritus, sin of Christians

_DSC5565

L’Osservatore Romano

Flying home from Armenia on Sunday, Pope Francis gave a press conference in which he spoke on a variety of issues, including the Armenian genocide, the relation of the Church to people with homosexual tendencies, and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Sunday’s in-flight press conference began with questions about the Apostolic Voyage to Armenia that Pope Francis had just concluded. Asked about his message for Armenia for the future, the Holy Father spoke about his hopes and prayers for justice and peace, and his encouragement that leaders are working to that end. In particular, he talked of the work of reconciliation with Turkey and with Azerbaijan. The Pope will be travelling to Azerbaijan later this year.

Pope Francis also spoke about his use of the word ‘genocide,’ acknowledging the legal import of the expression, but explaining that this was the term commonly in use in Argentina to refer to the massacre of Armenians during the first World War.

During the press conference, Pope Francis also addressed a number of religious and ecumenical issues. Speaking about the controversy that arose from remarks by the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who in a speech earlier this month had spoken of an expanded “Petrine ministry,” Pope Francis insisted there was only one Pope, while praising the Pope Emeritus as a “great man of God.”

About the Pan-Orthodox Council, which concluded Sunday in Crete, the Pope said, “A step was made forward . . . I think the result was positive.” In response to a question about upcoming commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Pope Francis said, “I think perhaps this is also the right moment for us not only to remember the wounds on both sides, but also to recognize the gifts of the Reformation.” He also had words of praise for Martin Luther.

Pope Francis also answered a question about women deacons, and his decision to form a commission to study the issue. He said he was surprised and annoyed to hear that his remarks were interpreted to mean that the Church had opened the door to deaconesses. “This is not telling the truth of things,” he said. But, he continued, “women’s thought is important,” because they approach questions differently from men. “One cannot make a good decision without listening to women.”

Reporters also questioned the Pope about recent events, including the recent “Brexit” vote in Britain. He said he had not had time to study the reasons for the British vote to leave the European Union, but noted that the vote showed “divisions,” which could also be seen in other countries. “Fraternity is better, and bridges are better than walls,” he said, but he acknowledged that there are “different ways of unity.” Creativity and fruitfulness are two key words for the European Union as it faces new challenges.

The secular press, meanwhile, latched onto remarks Pope Francis made concerning the Church’s relationship to homosexuals. Insisting once again that homosexuals must not be discriminated against, the Pope said that the Church should apologize to homosexuals and ask forgiveness for offending them – but he added, the Church should also ask forgiveness of any groups of persons who have been hurt by Christians who do not live up to the Gospel. There will always be good and bad Christians in the Church, he said, citing Christ’s parable of the wheat and the weeds. “All of us are saints, because all of us have the Holy Spirit. But we are all sinners, [and] I [am] the first.”

Finally, answering a question from Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis reflected on his visit to the Memorial at Tzitzernakaberd, and his upcoming journey to Poland, which will include a visit to Auschwitz. The Pope said that in such places, he likes to reflect silently, “alone,” praying that the Lord might grant him “the grace of crying.”

At the conclusion of the press conference, Pope Francis thanked the reporters for their hard work and goodness.

From Vatican Radio

Pope Sends Telegrams Returning From Armenia

Reminds Nations of Remembrance in His Prayers, Invokes God’s Blessings of Peace, Prosperity

Pope Francis on the Alitalia plane

PHOTO.VA – OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Below are the texts of the telegrams Pope Francis sent to the Heads of State of the countries his plane flew over yesterday while flying from Armenia to Rome after his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad, June 24-26:

***

TURKEY:

HIS EXCELLENCY RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY
ANKARA

AS MY RETURN FLIGHT CARRIES ME OVER TURKEY, I RENEW TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS MY GOOD WISHES, AND I INVOKE THE ALMIGHTY´S BLESSING UPON YOUR LAND.

FRANCISCUS PP.

***

BULGARIA:

HIS EXCELLENCY ROSEN PLEVNELIEV
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA
SOFIA

FLYING OVER BULGARIA ON RETURNING FROM MY VISIT TO ARMENIA, I RENEW MY BEST WISHES TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS, WITH THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS FOR THE NATION.

FRANCISCUS PP.

***

SERBIA:

HIS EXCELLENCY TOMISLAV NIKOLIĆ
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
BELGRADE

FLYING OVER SERBIA ON THE RETURN JOURNEY FROM MY PASTORAL VISIT TO ARMENIA, I WISH TO RENEW MY BEST WISHES TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS, AND UPON ALL IN THE NATION I INVOKE THE BLESSING OF ALMIGHTY GOD.

FRANCISCUS PP.

***

MONTENEGRO:

HIS EXCELLENCY FILIP VUJANOVIĆ
PRESIDENT OF MONTENEGRO
PODGORICA

AS I FLY OVER MONTENEGRO ON RETURNING FROM ARMENIA, I EXTEND ONCE AGAIN MY GOOD WISHES TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS AND THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS.

FRANCISCUS PP.

***

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

HIS EXCELLENCY BAKIR IZETBEGOVIĆ
PRESIDENT OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
SARAJEVO

AS MY RETURN FLIGHT TO ROME CARRIES ME OVER BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, I RENEW TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS MY GOOD WISHES AND THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS.

FRANCISCUS PP.

***

CROATIA:

HER EXCELLENCY KOLINDA GRABAR-KITAROVIĆ
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
ZAGREB

FLYING OVER CROATIA ON THE RETURN FROM MY JOURNEY TO ARMENIA, I RENEW TO YOUR EXCELLENCY AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS MY BEST WISHES AND THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS FOR THE CROATIAN PEOPLE.

FRANCISCUS PP.

[Original texts: English] [Telegram texts provided by the Vatican]***

To His Excellency

The Honorable Sergio Mattarella

President of the Italian Republic

Quirinale Palace – 00187 Rome

Upon returning from the Pastoral Visit to Armenia, where I was able to meet several representatives of the population and express my affectionate esteem to the Christian Communities charged with history, exhorting all to continue on the path of dialogue and concord, I send to you, Mister President, and to the dear Italian Nation, my auspicious greetings, united to the hope of a growing commitment in favor of the needs of the people, in particular of the family, foundation of coexistence and remedy against social disintegration.

Francis PP.

VATICAN SUMMONS MORE NUNS TO ROME TO EXPLAIN THEIR DISSENT

VATICAN SUMMONS MORE NUNS TO ROME TO EXPLAIN THEIR DISSENT


by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  June 27, 2016

Vatican concerned with “public dissent of Church teaching” by certain U.S. sisters

VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Vatican is summoning the heads of two more female religious orders so they can explain their “public dissent” from Church teaching.

The most recent communities to be summoned are the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (CSJ) and the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM). The Vatican’s concern in both communities involves their dissent from Church teaching.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Apostolic Life wrote to CSJ superiors earlier this year. Their concerns for the CSJ community included:

  • The order’s promotion of an “emerging form of religious life”
  • Membership in the community by those who “dissent from the Church’s moral teaching or approved liturgical practices”

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CSJ superior Sr. Mary McKay received the letter on behalf of the community and was invited to Rome for “prayerful conversation” with the Congregation regarding these issues. She wrote to members of the community saying the letter was presented as a follow-up to the on-site visit Rome had with the order in St. Paul, Minnesota in late 2010. A letter to CSJ sisters by the women superiors expressed the leadership’s goal of working “toward resolution of the doctrinal investigation.”

The BVM community has also been contacted by Rome. Sister Teri Hadro, president of the order,said her community received a letter from the Vatican in early April asking for a written response to ongoing concerns over the order’s “public dissent of Church teaching.”

She described the letter as “friendly,” adding, “It’s just that I think they tend to interpret things as dissent that really aren’t dissent.” Noting the emphasis on abortion by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Hadro related that women religious in the United States focus more on issues like food, water and shelter for the marginalized.

“Because we focus on those issues and not on right to life from conception forward,” Hadro commented, “our silence is being interpreted as dissent.”

As ChurchMilitant.com reported earlier, the Vatican is summoning superiors to Rome from approximately 15 female religious communities in the United States as a follow-up to its six-year investigation launched in 2008. Although the Vatican’s initial investigation was closed in December 2014 involving 341 female orders comprised of 50,000 women religious, the Holy See has singled out these remaining communities for further inquiry.

Noted in the report was one such community slated for ongoing investigation, namely, the Sisters of Loretto in Kentucky. President of the community Sr. Pearl McGivney wrote June 1 to members that she has been called to Rome October 18 to discuss five “areas of concern.”

The Vatican had written McGivney in April asking her to explain “some points” involving certain “ambiguities” in the community’s adherence to Catholic doctrine and its manner of living religious life.

There are roughly 500,000 Catholic women religious worldwide, 10 percent of whom reside in the United States.

Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com. Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli

CHURCH MILITANT HEADLINES, JUNE 27, 2016

CHURCH MILITANT HEADLINES, JUNE 27, 2016

Get briefed on today’s top stories with Christine Niles.

June 27, 2016

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Cdl Marx: Church Should Apologize to Gays
Claims Church is guilty of marginalizing homosexuals. FULL STORY 

Clinton, Catholics Cuomo, de Blasio March in NYC Gay Pride Parade
Polls indicate Clinton leads Trump by 12 points. FULL STORY

ACLU Sues to Defund U.S. Bishops Over Abortion
Activist group argues bishops should lose federal funding for refusing to assist in abortion. FULL STORY COMING SOON

Italy, France, Denmark, Netherlands See Calls to Leave EU
Critics claim referendum calls sparked by immigrant crisis. FULL STORY COMING SOON

Australian Sex Party Attacks Rome In Blasphemous Ad
“The Vatican Can” accuses Rome of indoctrination, money hoarding, LGBT discrimination. FULL STORY COMING SOON

THE VORTEX: THAT’S VERY NICE

THE VORTEX: THAT’S VERY NICE

Sometimes one little expression says it all — so have a nice day!

June 27, 2016

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TRANSCRIPT

Every now and then we receive an email that’s a real show stopper. We get a flood of emails and can promise you they all get read — but every so often one comes in that says it all.

Of course, the actual subject matter of what the viewer is referring to we, like you, don’t find funny at all. But his tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic treatment of it tickled our funny bone. So here is his email — because sometimes you just have to laugh at the all the insanity just to keep your own sanity.

Dear Church Militant,

I attend a very nice parish in a very nice diocese that is shepherded by a very nice bishop.

All of the parishioners at the Parish of Nice are very nice. So as not to offend fellow parishioners who are less fortunate, everyone in the parish has agreed to dress very casually in order to avoid being boastful. As a result, many parishioners attend Mass dressed in beachwear attire. It looks so very nice.

Additionally, a large number of parishioners have volunteered to leave Mass immediately after receiving Holy Communion in order to clear the parking lot for the remainder of parishioners who stay until Mass is officially concluded. It is so very nice of those who volunteer.

Our priest, Fr. Nice, is also very nice. He is very careful not to offend any of his parishioners who might be actively involved in homosexual relationships, cohabitation, fornication, divorced and remarried outside the Church, taking contraception, or considering having an abortion. It is so nice of him to be considerate of others by withholding official Church teachings.

Instead he tells funny jokes during his homily which sometimes result in applause. Attending Fr. Nice’s Mass is very nice.

At the conclusion of the Mass, parishioners evacuate the church building as quickly as possible in order to make room for the next Mass, which is very nice. As they hurriedly depart, they are nice enough not to kneel, bow or acknowledge the Tabernacle in any way, as doing so would obstruct the evacuation. This is so very nice.

Attending Mass at the Parish of Nice in the Diocese of Nice with Fr. Nice and Bishop Nice is very nice.

Have a nice day!

Read the source and comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/vort-2016-06-27

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Cyril of Alexandria, June 27,2016

Readings & Reflections: Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Cyril of Alexandria, June 27,2016

Cyril, bishop of Alexandria in Egypt, is remembered in the East as the “pillar of the Faith.” In his copious writings he conscientiously cited the Church Fathers, in particular Athanasius. He urged the heretical bishop Nestorius to revise his erroneous Christology. With fatherly sternness, Cyril reminded Nestorius: “It is essential to explain the teaching and interpretation of the Faith to the people in the most irreproachable way, and to remember that those who cause scandal even to only one of the little ones who believe in Christ will be subjected to an unbearable punishment.” The Council of Ephesus in 431 confirmed Cyril’s condemnation of Nestorius’ Christology. Cyril died in 444 A.D.

AMDG+

Opening Prayer

Dear Jesus, Following You to be your faithful disciple entails a lot of work deep within our hearts. It means being ready to face up to difficulties, trials and hardships as experienced by your early disciples. Lord, today, we need your grace and blessing as we choose to live out our lives for You. Make us truly committed to follow You despite any adversity and problem that may be posed on us. Lord with You in our hearts, we believe that we can go through life according your will and plan for us. In your Name, we pray. Amen.

Reading 1
Am 2:6-10, 13-16

Thus says the LORD:
For three crimes of Israel, and for four,
I will not revoke my word;
Because they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.

Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
who were as tall as the cedars,
and as strong as the oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above,
and their roots beneath.
It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and who led you through the desert for forty years,
to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground
as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong man shall not retain his strength;
The warrior shall not save his life,
nor the bowman stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
nor the horseman save his life.
And the most stouthearted of warriors
shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
50:16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

R. (22a) Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“When you see a thief, you keep pace with him,
and with adulterers you throw in your lot.
To your mouth you give free rein for evil,
you harness your tongue to deceit.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.

Gospel
Mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – I will follow you wherever you go.

When one of Jesus’ disciples said to him, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father” and He responded, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead” was Jesus ruthless and rude?

Jesus was not heartless and never was He unkind at all. In my understanding, the disciple’s father was still living and what he was relaying to Jesus was, “let me wait till my father dies and from thereon I will follow You.” The disciple’s commitment to Jesus was regrettably conditional and premised on the fact that he will follow Jesus only after he has fulfilled his social and familial obligations.

Today Jesus sets in place the priorities that we should have in our lives. Our first obligation therefore is to the Lord and to no one else. Discipleship in Christ implies that we have to put Him at the highest priority. Unless we are ready to do this, then our covenant relationship with Him will never be perfect. Discipleship is a life of commitment in every shape and size. Without commitment, we wither and die. Without commitment, we are unable to give our lives to Jesus and most often we hesitate in our servanthood; we keep our eyes open for a better offer.

Jesus faced this very temptation at the beginning of his ministry. After a long period of soul-searching, Jesus acknowledged that his vocation was to be a brother to us, to walk with us, to help us grow whole and find our way home, and to stick with us even if we ignore him. But no sooner had he said “yes” to God’s call when He was faced with a whole array of glamorous alternatives: fame, fortune, and power. Jesus never wavered in His commitment. That was how faithful Jesus was to His calling. Just like Jesus, we often face temptations to look back instead of forward, to give up and abandon our servanthood.

To remain committed to the Lord, one has to be committed to let go of countless things we no longer need and it could mean experiencing pain. But the more we have pain, the more we grow spiritually into entirely new creations, the more we become Christ-like, the more we live and love as spouses, parents, friends to which we committed ourselves long ago.

When Jesus said, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead” He was searching our hearts for our commitment and He knew that making that kind of commitment and sticking with it through hard times will not be an easy task. But it can be done and we can become faithful people who are true to our commitments in good times and bad, because we have Jesus as our strength and our refuge; because we have Jesus Who is always there for us, Who will never pull back and leave us alone.

Jesus is asking us to MOVE on amidst our apprehensions, our shortcomings, our hurts and failures. He is asking us to forget the past and allow His Spirit to move us on to greater heights that His work will bring us forth. “MOVE ON” is God’s message to us!

Today, the message of Jesus has not changed. He once more calls us to His fold? “Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead?”

Let our response be an unconditional: “I will follow you wherever you go.”

Direction

Commit to repent and ask the Lord to lead us in our work for Him.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, unworthy as I am to serve You, I humbly bow down and ask for your grace to totally commit my life to serve you and your people. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go

Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may lead you? In love, the Lord Jesus calls each one of us personally by name and he invites us to follow him as our Lord and Teacher. What an awesome privilege and an awesome responsibility! What does it cost to be a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus? Our whole lives, for sure! The Lord Jesus in turn promises to give us all that we need to follow him and more besides!  Before we “sign-up” for something, it is quite natural and appropriate to ask what it will cost us. Jesus made sure that any “would-be” followers knew what they were getting themselves into.

The cost of discipleship
One prospective follower, a scribe who was an expert in the Torah (the law of God in the first five books of Moses in the Jewish bible), paid Jesus the highest compliment he knew. He called Jesus “teacher”. Jesus advised this would-be follower: Before you follow me, think what you are about to do and count the cost. A disciple must be willing to part with anything that might stand in the way of following Jesus as Teacher and Master. Another would-be disciple responded by saying that he must first bury his father, that is go back home and take care of his father until he died. This disciple was not yet ready to count the cost of  following Jesus. Jesus appealed to the man’s heart to choose for God’s kingdom first and to detach himself from anything that might keep him from following the Lord.

The greatest call
The Lord Jesus invites us into the most wonderful and greatest of relationships – a personal relationship of love and friendship, trust and commitment with himself, the Lord and Ruler of the heavens and the earth. How can we give the Lord our unqualified “yes” to the call he has for our lives? The Lord Jesus fills the hearts of those who accept his invitation of discipleship and friendship with the outpouring of his love into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:5). The love of God frees us from attachments to other things so we can give ourselves freely to God for his glory and for his kingdom. It was love that compelled the Lord Jesus to lay down his life for us. And he calls us in love to give our all for him.

We cannot outgive God
What can keep us from giving our all to God? Fear, self-concern, pre-occupation, and attachment to other things. Even spiritual things can get in the way of having God alone as our Treasure if we put them first. Detachment is a necessary step if we want to make the Lord our Treasure and Joy. It frees us to give ourselves without reserve to the Lord and to his service. There is nothing greater we can do with our lives than to place them at the service of the Lord and Master of the universe. We cannot match God in generosity. Jesus promises that those who are willing to part with what is most dear to them for his sake “will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29). Is there anything holding you back from giving your all to the Lord?

“Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess you have given me. I surrender it all to you to be disposed of according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace – with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more.” (Prayer of Ignatius Loyola, 1491-1556) – Read the source: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/jun27.htm

Reflection 3 – Getting ridiculous with Jesus

If Jesus said to you, “Come follow Me into a life that’s very different from the one you have now”, what familiar comforts would you find hard to give up? What unfinished business would you want to accomplish first?

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is talking to those of us who want to follow him “but only if –.” Only if we have a comfortable place to sleep and an easy road to travel. Only if we control which duties to handle. Only if God doesn’t ask for much. Only if everything stays predictable and God’s plans are obvious. Only if it doesn’t interfere with what’s already in our plans.

Following Christ is rarely convenient and comfortable. In fact, it’s an up-stream swim that goes against the currents of normal life. At times, it even seems irresponsible! Why? Because God stretches us beyond our current limitations so that we can become ever more effective as apostles for his kingdom.

“Follow Me,” says Jesus. Do you want to have better relationships? Then go the extra mile. Do you want to find healing from the wounds that others have caused you? Then forgive over and over again until you’ve finally let go of the desire to see remorse and repentance. Do you want to find peace? Then surrender to God everything that you’re fighting for, and trust him to provide you with what you need when you need it, which is always better than the way you think you need it.

“Let the dead bury the dead” means that we should leave behind our lifeless, fruitless efforts in trying to solve problems the way unbelievers do. Those who do not give up everything to follow Christ should not be our examples, nor should we feel obligated to do what they say we should do. In Christ we become truly alive. But are we willing to do the ridiculous, what the world calls nonsense? Are we willing to take a left turn where the world posts a big sign that says “turn right”?

Every day, we face both little and large decisions about going left or going right. “I’ll follow you, Lord, but wait, not to there! You don’t really want me to do that ministry; I’m not good enough at it.” Or …. “I’ll follow you, Lord, but wait, not now! This isn’t the right time! I have other obligations. I’m too busy. And I can’t cook dinner for my sick neighbor until after we form a friendship, which by the way, Lord, I don’t have time for either.”

No matter how hard we try, we’ll never find the easy, comfortable life that we’re striving for, so why live in the illusion that it’s a worthwhile goal? Jesus says, “Come, let go of everything that holds you back from reaching your full potential in the kingdom of God. Be ridiculous and follow Me!” – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2016-06-27

Reflection 4 – Follow me

“Come now, my brothers and sisters, we’re Christians; we all want to make the journey; even if we don’t want to, we’re still making it. Nobody is permitted to stay here, all who come into this life are forced by the turning wheel of time to pass on. There’s no place for sluggards; walk, or you will be dragged along. As we were making our way along and found ourselves at a kind of fork in the road, we were met by a certain man – not a man in fact, but God who is man for sake of men. He said to us, “Don’t go this way; this route certainly looks easy and smooth and delightful, well trodden by many and broad; but this road in the end leads to doom. Since you aren’t permitted to stop and live here, nor is it in your best interests, you have to keep on going; but go this other way. You will be proceeding through a number of difficult places, but no sooner are the difficulties over and done with than you will come to a vast field of joys, and you will have avoided those traps and ambushes which nobody can avoid who chooses to proceed along that way.”

“That’s what this person said – I think we all know who he was, if we have a shred of faith. Or would you agree to examining this person’s credibility? Let us call to mind past events and times, and the Old Testament Scriptures. Isn’t this man the Word of God? Didn’t this Word later on become flesh and dwell among us (Jn 1:14)?” (St. Augustine of Hippo, +430 A.D.)

Reflection 5 – St. Cyril of Alexandria (376?-444 A.D.)

Saints are not born with halos around their heads. Cyril, recognized as a great teacher of the Church, began his career as archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, with impulsive, often violent, actions. He pillaged and closed the churches of the Novatian heretics (who required those who denied the faith to be rebaptized), participated in the deposing of St. John Chrysostom (September 13) and confiscated Jewish property, expelling the Jews from Alexandria in retaliation for their attacks on Christians.

Cyril’s importance for theology and Church history lies in his championing the cause of orthodoxy against the heresy of Nestorius, who taught that in Christ there were two persons, one human and one divine.

The controversy centered around the two natures in Christ. Nestorius would not agree to the title “God-bearer” for Mary (January 1). He preferred “Christ-bearer,” saying there are two distinct persons in Christ (divine and human) joined only by a moral union. He said Mary was not the mother of God but only of the man Christ, whose humanity was only a temple of God. Nestorianism implied that the humanity of Christ was a mere disguise.

Presiding as the pope’s representative at the Council of Ephesus (431), Cyril condemned Nestorianism and proclaimed Mary truly the “God-bearer” (the mother of the one Person who is truly God and truly human). In the confusion that followed, Cyril was deposed and imprisoned for three months, after which he was welcomed back to Alexandria as a second Athanasius (the champion against Arianism).

Besides needing to soften some of his opposition to those who had sided with Nestorius, Cyril had difficulties with some of his own allies, who thought he had gone too far, sacrificing not only language but orthodoxy. Until his death, his policy of moderation kept his extreme partisans under control. On his deathbed, despite pressure, he refused to condemn the teacher of Nestorius.

Comment:

Lives of the saints are valuable not only for the virtue they reveal but also for the less admirable qualities that also appear. Holiness is a gift of God to us as human beings. Life is a process. We respond to God’s gift, but sometimes with a lot of zigzagging. If Cyril had been more patient and diplomatic, the Nestorian Church might not have risen and maintained power so long. But even saints must grow out of immaturity, narrowness and selfishness. It is because they—and we—do grow, that we are truly saints, persons who live the life of God.

Quote:

Cyril’s theme: “Only if it is one and the same Christ who is consubstantial with the Father and with men can he save us, for the meeting ground between God and man is the flesh of Christ. Only if this is God’s own flesh can man come into contact with Christ’s divinity through his humanity. Because of our kinship with the Word made flesh we are sons of God. The Eucharist consummates our kinship with the word, our communion with the Father, our sharing in the divine nature—there is very real contact between our body and that of the Word” (New Catholic Encyclopedia).

Read the source: http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/SaintofDay/default.aspx

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint. Click here for other saints celebrated on this date. 

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyril_of_Alexandria  

Saint Cyril of Alexandria
Rousanu16.jpg

St Cyril I, the 24th Pope of Alexandria
The Pillar of Faith; Bishop, Confessor and Doctor of the Church
Born c. 376
Died c. 444
Venerated in Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodoxy
Roman Catholic Church
Eastern Catholic Churches
Anglicanism
Lutheranism
Feast 18 January and 9 June (Eastern Orthodox Church)
27 June (Coptic Church, Roman Catholic Church, Lutheranism)
formerly also on 9 February (Roman Catholic Church, 1882–1969)
Attributes Vested as a Bishop withphelonion and omophorion, and usually with his head covered in the manner of Egyptian monastics (sometimes the head covering has a polystavrionpattern), he usually is depicted holding a Gospel Book or ascroll, with his right hand raised in blessing.
Patronage Alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria (Greek: Κύριλλος Ἀλεξανδρείας; c. 376 – 444) was the Patriarch of Alexandria from 412 to 444. He was enthroned when the city was at the height of its influence and power within the Roman Empire. Cyril wrote extensively and was a leading protagonist in the Christological controversies of the late-4th and 5th centuries. He was a central figure in the Council of Ephesus in 431, which led to the deposition of Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople.

Cyril is counted among the Church Fathers and the Doctors of the Church, and his reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles Pillar of Faith and Seal of all the Fathers, but Theodosius II, the Roman Emperor, condemned him for behaving like a “proud pharaoh”, and the Nestorian bishops at the Council of Ephesus declared him a heretic, labelling him as a “monster, born and educated for the destruction of the church.”[1]

Cyril is well-known due to his dispute with Nestorius and his supporter Patriarch John of Antioch, whom Cyril excluded from the Council of Ephesus for arriving late. He is also known for his expulsion of Novatians and Jews from Alexandria and for inflaming tensions that led to the murder of the Hellenistic philosopher Hypatia by a Christian mob. Historians disagree over the extent of his responsibility in this.

The Roman Catholic Church did not commemorate Saint Cyril in the Tridentine Calendar: it added his feast only in 1882, assigning to it the date of 9 February. The 1969 revision moved it to 27 June, considered to be the day of the saint’s death, as celebrated by the Coptic Orthodox Church.[2] The same date has been chosen for the Lutheran calendar. The Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches celebrate his feast day on 9 June and also, together with Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria, on 18 January.

Early life[edit]

Little is known for certain of Cyril’s early life. He was born c. 376, in the small town of Theodosios, Egypt, near modern-day El-Mahalla El-Kubra. A few years after his birth, his maternal uncle Theophilus rose to the powerful position ofPatriarch of Alexandria.[3] His mother remained close to her brother and under his guidance, Cyril was well educated. His writings show his knowledge of Christian writers of his day, including Eusebius, Origen, Didymus the Blind, and writers of the Church of Alexandria. He received the formal Christian education standard for his day: he studied grammar from age twelve to fourteen (390–392), rhetoric and humanities from fifteen to twenty (393–397) and finally theology and biblical studies (398–402). In 403 he accompanied his uncle to attend a synod in Constantinople.[4]

Patriarch of Alexandria[edit]

Theophilus died on 15 October 412, and Cyril was made Pope or Patriarch of Alexandria on 18 October 412, but only after a riot between his supporters and those of his rival Archdeacon Timotheus. According to Socrates Scholasticus, the Alexandians were always rioting.[5]

Thus, Cyril followed his uncle in a position that had become powerful and influential, rivalling that of the prefect in a time of turmoil and frequently violent conflict between the cosmopolitan city’s Pagan, Jewish, and Christian inhabitants.[6] He began to exert his authority by causing the churches of the Novatianists to be closed and their sacred vessels to be seized.

Dispute with the Prefect[edit]

Orestes, Praefectus augustalis of the Diocese of Egypt, steadfastly resisted Cyril’s ecclesiastical encroachment onto secular prerogatives.[7]

Tension between the parties increased when in 415, Orestes published an edict that outlined new regulations regarding mime shows and dancing exhibitions in the city, which attracted large crowds and were commonly prone to civil disorder of varying degrees. Crowds gathered to read the edict shortly after it was posted in the city’s theater. Cyril sent the grammaticus Hierax to discover the content of the edict. The edict angered Christians as well as Jews. At one such gathering, Hierax, read the edict and applauded the new regulations, prompting a disturbance. Many people felt that Hierax was attempting to incite the crowd into sedition.[8] Orestes had Hierax tortured in public in a theatre. This order had two aims: the first was to quell the riot, the other to mark Orestes’ authority over Cyril.[9][10]

Socrates Scholasticus recounts that upon hearing of Hierex’s severe and public punishment, Cyril threatened to retaliate against the Jews of Alexandria with “the utmost severities” if the harassment of Christians did not cease immediately. In response to Cyril’s threat, the Jews of Alexandria grew even more furious, eventually resorting to violence against the Christians. They plotted to flush the Christians out at night by running through the streets claiming that the Church of Alexander was on fire. When Christians responded to what they were led to believe was the burning down of their church, “the Jews immediately fell upon and slew them” by using rings to recognize one another in the dark and killing everyone else in sight. When the morning came, the Jews of Alexandria could not hide their guilt, and Cyril, along with many of his followers, took to the city’s synagogues in search of the perpetrators of the massacre.[11]

After Cyril rounded up all the Jews in Alexandria, he ordered them to be stripped of all possessions, banished them from Alexandria, and allowed their goods to be pillaged by the remaining citizens of Alexandria. With Cyril’s banishment of the Jews, “Orestes […] was filled with great indignation at these transactions, and was excessively grieved that a city of such magnitude should have been suddenly bereft of so large a portion of its population.”[11] Because of this, the feud between Cyril and Orestes intensified, and both men wrote to the emperor regarding the situation. Eventually, Cyril attempted to reach out to Orestes through several peace overtures, including attempted mediation and, when that failed, showed him the Gospels, which he interpreted to indicate that the religious authority of Cyril would require Orestes’ acquiescence in the bishop’s policy.[12] Nevertheless, Orestes remained unmoved by such gestures.

This refusal almost cost Orestes his life. Nitrian monks came from the desert and instigated a riot against Orestes among the population of Alexandria. These monks’ had resorted to violence 15 years before, during a controversy between Theophilus (Cyril’s uncle) and the “Tall Brothers“; The monks assaulted Orestes and accused him of being a pagan. Orestes rejected the accusations, showing that he had been baptised by the Archbishop of Constantinople. A monk named Ammonius, threw a stone hitting Orestes in the head. The prefect had Ammonius tortured to death, whereupon the Patriarch honored him as a martyr. However, according to Scholasticus, the Christian community displayed a general lack of enthusiasm for Ammonius’s case for martyrdom. The prefect then wrote to the emperorTheodosius II, as did Cyril.[13][14]

Murder of Hypatia[edit]

Main article: Hypatia

Prefect Orestes enjoyed the political backing of Hypatia, an astronomer, philosopher and mathematician who had considerable moral authority in the city of Alexandria, and who had extensive influence. At the time of her death, she was likely over sixty years of age. Indeed, many students from wealthy and influential families came to Alexandria purposely to study privately with Hypatia, and many of these later attained high posts in government and the Church. Several Christians thought that Hypatia’s influence had caused Orestes to reject all reconciliatory offerings by Cyril. Modern historians think that Orestes had cultivated his relationship with Hypatia to strengthen a bond with the Pagan community of Alexandria, as he had done with the Jewish one, in order to better manage the tumultuous political life of the Egyptian capital.[15] A mob, led by a lector, named Peter, took Hypatia from her chariot and murdered her, hacking her body apart and burning the pieces outside the city walls.[16][17]

Neoplatonist historian Damascius (c. 458 – c. 538) was “anxious to exploit the scandal of Hypatia’s death”, and attributed responsibility for her murder to Bishop Cyril and his Christian followers.[18] Damascius’s account of the Christian murder of Hypatia is the sole historical source attributing direct responsibility to Bishop Cyril.[19]Some modern studies represent Hypatia’s death as the result of a struggle between two Christian factions, the moderate Orestes, supported by Hypatia, and the more rigid Cyril.[20] According to lexicographer William Smith, “She was accused of too much familiarity with Orestes, prefect of Alexandria, and the charge spread among the clergy, who took up the notion that she interrupted the friendship of Orestes with their archbishop, Cyril.”[21] Scholasticus writes that Hypatia ultimately fell “victim to the political jealousy which at the time prevailed”. News of Hypatia’s murder provoked great public denouncement, not only against Cyril but against the whole Alexandrian Christian community.

Conflict with Nestorius[edit]

Another major conflict was between the Alexandrian and Antiochian schools of ecclesiastical reflection, piety, and discourse. This long running conflict widened with the third canon of the First Council of Constantinople which granted the see of Constantinople primacy over the older sees of Alexandria and Antioch. Thus, the struggle between the sees of Alexandria and Antioch now included Constantinople. The conflict came to a head in 428 after Nestorius, who originated in Antioch, was made Archbishop of Constantinople.[22]

Cyril gained an opportunity to restore Alexandria’s pre-eminence over both Antioch and Constantinople when an Antiochine priest who was in Constantinople at Nestorius’ behest began to preach against calling Mary the “Mother of God”. As the term “Mother of God” had long been attached to Mary, the laity in Constantinople complained against the priest. Rather than repudiating the priest, Nestorius intervened on his behalf. Nestorius argued that Mary was neither a “Mother of Man” nor “Mother of God” as these referred to Christ’s two natures; rather, Mary was the “Mother of Christ”. Christ, according to Nestorius, was the conjunction of the Godhead with his “temple” (which Nestorius was fond of calling his human nature). The controversy seemed to be centered on the issue of the suffering of Christ. Cyril maintained that the Son of God or the divine Word, truly suffered “in the flesh.”[23] However, Nestorius claimed that the Son of God was altogether incapable of suffering, even within his union with the flesh.[24] Eusebius of Dorylaeum went so far as to accuse Nestorius of adoptionism. By this time, news of the controversy in the capital had reached Alexandria. At Easter 429 A.D., Cyril wrote a letter to the Egyptian monks warning them of Nestorius’ views. A copy of this letter reached Constantinople where Nestorius preached a sermon against it. This began a series of letters between Cyril and Nestorius which gradually became more strident in tone. Finally, Emperor Theodosius II convoked the Council of Ephesus (in 431) to solve the dispute. Cyril selected Ephesus[citation needed] as the venue since it supported the veneration of Mary. The council was convoked before Nestorius’s supporters from Antioch and Syria had arrived and thus Nestorius refused to attend when summoned. Predictably, the Council ordered the deposition and exile of Nestorius for heresy.

However, when John of Antioch and the other pro-Nestorius bishops finally reached Ephesus, they assembled their own Council, condemned Cyril for heresy, deposed him from his see, and labelled him as a “monster, born and educated for the destruction of the church”.[25] Theodosius, by now old enough to hold power by himself, annulled the verdict of the Council and arrested Cyril, but Cyril eventually escaped. Having fled to Egypt, Cyril bribed Theodosius’ courtiers, and sent a mob led by Dalmatius, a hermit, to besiege Theodosius’ palace, and shout abuse; the Emperor eventually gave in, sending Nestorius into minor exile (Upper Egypt).[25]Cyril died about 444, but the controversies were to continue for decades, from the “Robber Synod” of Ephesus (449) to the Council of Chalcedon (451) and beyond.

Theology[edit]

Cyril regarded the embodiment of God in the person of Jesus Christ to be so mystically powerful that it spread out from the body of the God-man into the rest of the race, to reconstitute human nature into a graced and deified condition of the saints, one that promised immortality and transfiguration to believers. Nestorius, on the other hand, saw the incarnation as primarily a moral and ethical example to the faithful, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Cyril’s constant stress was on the simple idea that it was God who walked the streets of Nazareth (hence Mary was Theotokos, meaning “Giver of Birth to God”), and God who had appeared in a transfigured humanity. Nestorius spoke of the distinct “Jesus the man” and “the divine Logos” in ways that Cyril thought were too dichotomous, widening the ontological gap between man and God in a way that some of his contemporaries believed would annihilate the person of Christ.

The main issue that prompted this dispute between Cyril and Nestorius was the question which arose at the Council of Constantinople: What exactly was the being to which Mary gave birth? Cyril affirmed that the Holy Trinity consists of a singular divine nature, essence, and being (ousia) in three distinct aspects, instantiations, or subsistencies of being (hypostases). These distinct hypostases are the Father or God in Himself, the Son or Word (Logos), and the Holy Spirit. Then, when the Son became flesh and entered the world, the pre-Incarnate divine nature and assumed human nature both remained, but became united in the person of Jesus. This resulted in the miaphysite slogan “One Nature united out of two” being used to encapsulate the theological position of this Alexandrian bishop.

According to Cyril’s theology, there were two states for the Son of God: the state that existed prior to the Son (or Word/Logos) becoming enfleshed in the person of Jesus and the state that actually became enfleshed. The Logos Incarnate suffered and died on the Cross, and therefore the Son was able to suffer without suffering. Cyril passionately argued for the continuity of a single subject, God the Word, from the pre-Incarnate state to the Incarnate state. The divine Logos was really present in the flesh and in the world—not merely bestowed upon, semantically affixed to, or morally associated with the man Jesus, as the adoptionists and, he believed, Nestorius had taught.

Mariology[edit]

Cyril of Alexandria became noted in Church history because of his spirited fight for the title “Theotokos[26]” during the First Council of Ephesus (431).

His writings include the homily given in Ephesus and several other sermons.[27] Some of his alleged homilies are in dispute as to his authorship. In several writings, Cyril focuses on the love of Jesus to his mother. On the Cross, he overcomes his pain and thinks of his mother. At the wedding in Cana, he bows to her wishes. Cyril created the basis for all other mariological developments through his teaching of the blessed Virgin Mary, as the “Mother of God.”[28] The conflict with Nestorius was mainly over this issue, and it has often been misunderstood. “[T]he debate was not so much about Mary as about Jesus. The question was not what honors were due to Mary, but how one was to speak of the birth of Jesus.”.[29] St. Cyril received an important recognition of his preachings by the Second Council of Constantinople(553 d.C.) which declared;

“St. Cyril who announced the right faith of Christians” (Anathematism XIV, Denzinger et Schoenmetzer 437).

In modern culture[edit]

Cyril plays a role in the Arabic novel Azazel by the Egyptian scholar Youssef Ziedan. The novel, which won the 2009 International Prize for Arabic Fiction, is set in 5th-century Egypt and Syria and deals with the early history of Christianity. The book depicts religious fanaticism and mob violence among early Christians in Roman Egypt. The narrator, Hypa, witnesses the lynching of Hypatia and finds himself involved in the schism of 431, when Cyril deposed Nestorius. Cyril is portrayed as a fanatic who kills Jews and others who have not converted to Christianity from the traditional religions of antiquity. This portrayal angered many of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.[30]

Cyril has also been portrayed in Ki Longfellow‘s novel Flow Down Like Silver, Hypatia of Alexandria.[31] Though Longfellow does not depict Cyril ordering the death ofHypatia, her fictional work does not shy away from speculating on his part in the murder.

In the 2009 film Agora, Cyril is played by Sami Samir as an extremist who opposes Orestes’s attempts to harmonize the different communities of Alexandria.

Works[edit]

Cyril was a scholarly archbishop and a prolific writer. In the early years of his active life in the Church he wrote several exegetical documents. Among these were:Commentaries on the Old Testament,[32] Thesaurus, Discourse Against Arians, Commentary on St. John’s Gospel,[33] and Dialogues on the Trinity. In 429 as the Christological controversies increased, the output of his writings was so extensive that his opponents could not match it. His writings and his theology have remained central to the tradition of the Fathers and to all Orthodox to this day.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

General
  • “Cyril I (412–444)”. Official web site of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
Specific
  1. Jump up^ Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 47.
  2. Jump up^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice, 1969), pp. 95 and 116.
  3. Jump up^ Farmer, David Hugh (1997). The Oxford dictionary of saints (4. ed.). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. p. 125. ISBN 0-19-280058-2.
  4. Jump up^ Schaff, Philip. “Cyril of Alexandria”, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. III.
  5. Jump up^ Chapman, John. “St. Cyril of Alexandria.” The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 14 June 2016
  6. Jump up^ Preston Chesser, “The Burning of the Library of Alexandria”., eHistory.com
  7. Jump up^ Wessel, p. 34.
  8. Jump up^ John of Nikiu, 84.92.
  9. Jump up^ Socrates Scholasticus, vii.13.6-9
  10. Jump up^ Wessel, p. 34.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History, born after 380 AD, died after 439 AD.
  12. Jump up^ Wessel, p. 35
  13. Jump up^ Socrates Scholasticus, vii.14.
  14. Jump up^ Wessel, pp. 35-36.
  15. Jump up^ Christopher Haas, Alexandria in Late Antiquity: Topography and Social Conflict, JHU Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8018-8541-8, p. 312.
  16. Jump up^ Socrate Scolastico, vii.15.
  17. Jump up^ Giovanni di Nikiu, 84.88-100.
  18. Jump up^ Whitfield, Bryan J., “The Beauty of Reasoning: A Reexamination of Hypatia and Alexandria”, The Mathematics Educator, vol. 6, issue 1, p.14, University of Georgia, Summer 1995
  19. Jump up^ Dzielska 1996, p. 18.
  20. Jump up^ Maria Dzielska, Hypatia of Alexandria, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press, 1995 (Revealing Antiquity, 8), p. xi, 157. ISBN 0-674-43775-6
  21. Jump up^ http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/1645.html[dead link]
  22. Jump up^ Leo Donald Davis, The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787): Their History and Theology, Collegeville (Min.): The Liturgical Press, 1983, pp. 136-148. ISBN 0-8146-5616-1
  23. Jump up^ Thomas Gerard Weinandy, Daniel A. Keating, The theology of St. Cyril of Alexandria: a critical appreciation; New York: T&T Clark Ltd, 2003, p. 49.
  24. Jump up^ Nestorius, Second Epistle to Cyril http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/34-patrtexts/189-nestorius-to-cyril2
  25. ^ Jump up to:a b Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 47.
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  27. Jump up^ PG 76,992, Adv. Nolentes confiteri Sanctam Virginem esse Deiparem, PG 76, 259.
  28. Jump up^ Gonzalez, Justo L. (1984). The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. New York: HarperOne. p. 254. ISBN 9780060633158.
  29. Jump up^ Gonzalez, Justo L. (1984). The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. New York: HarperOne. p. 254. ISBN 9780060633158.
  30. Jump up^ Maya Jaggi, “Meeting the winner of the ‘Arabic Booker'”, The Guardian 26 March 2009; archived by WebCite.
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  32. Jump up^ Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on Luke (1859), Preface, pp.i-xx.
  33. Jump up^

Pope Francis departs from his speech and once again denounces the Armenian Genocide

Pope Francis departs from his speech and once again denounces the Armenian Genocide

Published on Jun 24, 2016

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June 24, 2016. The last time he made these remarks, Turkey demanded explanations from the Pope’s ambassador.

Pope Bids Farewell to Armenia After Visit Marked by Symbols of Unity

Leaders of two Churches say they are convinced of ‘crucial importance’ of furthering their communion

SS. Papa Francesco - Viaggio Apostolico Armenia Preghiera per la Pace

25-06-2016

@Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano

Christian unity is one of Pope Francis’ great passions, and he often reminds the faithful that it is not an optional cause, but a clear mandate of Our Lord. He also likes to recall that those who persecute Christians often don’t care what denomination their victims belong to, and this is the case in so many regions of persecution today.

His just-concluded visit to Armenia gave the Holy Father a chance to emphasize these points at the side of Catholicos Karekin II, leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Armenian Apostolic Church doesn’t recognize the fifth-century Council of Chalcedon and has been separated from the Catholic Church since then. However, the last few decades have seen an increase in collaboration and friendship, under both Francis’ and Karekin’s predecessors.

Today Francis and Karekin promulgated a “common declaration,” and from the Monastery of Khor Virap, simultaneously sent a pair of doves off in the shadow of Mount Ararat. They also together lit a candle in the monastery.

From the common declaration:

[We] raise our minds and hearts in thanksgiving to the Almighty for the continuing and growing closeness in faith and love between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church in their common witness to the Gospel message of salvation in a world torn by strife and yearning for comfort and hope.

[R]eligious and ethnic minorities have become the target of persecution and cruel treatment, to the point that suffering for one’s religious belief has become a daily reality. The martyrs belong to all the Churches and their suffering is an “ecumenism of blood” which transcends the historical divisions between Christians, calling us all to promote the visible unity of Christ’s disciples.

The two spiritual leaders also joined forces in addressing certain issues in society:

[W]e ask the faithful of our Churches to open their hearts and hands to the victims of war and terrorism, to refugees and their families.

The Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church share the same vision of the family, based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between man and woman.

They concluded, affirming that what already unites the Churches is significant, and looking forward to the path of full communion:

We gladly confirm that despite continuing divisions among Christians, we have come to realize more clearly that what unites us is much more than what divides us. This is the solid basis upon which the unity of Christ’s Church will be made manifest, in accordance with the Lord’s words, “that they all may be one” (John 17.21). Over the past decades the relationship between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church has successfully entered a new phase, strengthened by our mutual prayers and joint efforts in overcoming contemporary challenges. Today we are convinced of the crucial importance of furthering this relationship, engaging in deeper and more decisive collaboration not only in the area of theology, but also in prayer and active cooperation on the level of the local communities, with a view to sharing full communion and concrete expressions of unity.

Text of Common Declaration: https://zenit.org/articles/common-declaration-of-francis-and-karekin-ii/

‘May We Follow God’s Call to Full Communion and Hasten Towards It,’ Says Pope

Kicking Off Last Day of 3-Day Trip to Armenia, Pope Privately Celebrates Mass, Meets Bishops, Speaks at Divine Liturgy

Divine Liturgy. Day 3 in Armenia -- CTV Screenshot

Divine Liturgy. Day 3 In Armenia — CTV Screenshot

“Just as on Easter morning the Apostles, for all their hesitations and uncertainties, ran towards the place of the Resurrection, drawn by the blessed dawn of new hope (cf. Jn 20:3-4), so too on this holy Sunday may we follow God’s call to full communion and hasten towards it.”

Pope Francis said this following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy he participated in this morning in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral.  The Holy Father gave an address following that of Catholicos of all Armenians, Karekin II.

The Holy Father had begun his final day of his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad in Armenia, July 24-26, with a private Mass in a chapel prepared for the occasion in the Apostolic Palace of Etchmiadzin, where the Holy Father has been residing during his pastoral visit to the nation. Armenia was the first nation ever to adopt Christianity as the state religion. After the Mass, Francis privately met with Armenia’s 14 Catholic bishops and 12 priests before heading to the liturgical celebration.

In his address, the Pope noted this visit to Armenia was greatly desired and is one”already unforgettable” for him. He thanked His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, and said they have met “as brothers.”

One Beating Heart

“We have felt as one her beating heart, and we believe and experience that the Church is one,” he said. “Our meeting comes under the aegis of the holy Apostles whom we have encountered.  Saints Bartholomew and Thaddeus, who first proclaimed the Gospel in these lands, and Saints Peter and Paul who gave their lives for the Lord in Rome and now reign with Christ in heaven, surely rejoice to see our affection and our tangible longing for full communion.

For all this, Francis expressed, saying, “I thank the Lord, for you and with you: Park astutsò! (Glory to God!).”

“May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may the communion between us be complete,” he said, ” May an ardent desire for unity rise up in our hearts, a unity that must not be ‘the submission of one to the other, or assimilation, but rather the acceptance of all the gifts that God has given to each.’”

Achieving this, Francis pointed out, will show the entire world the great mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ.

Let us …

“Let us respond to the appeal of the saints, let us listen to the voices of the humble and poor, of the many victims of hatred who suffered and gave their lives for the faith.  Let us pay heed to the younger generation, who seek a future free of past divisions,” he said. “From this holy place may a radiant light shine forth once more, and to the light of faith, which has illumined these lands from the time of Saint Gregory, your Father in the Gospel, may there be joined the light of the love that forgives and reconciles.”

Before concluding, Pope Francis asked His Holiness Karekin II to bless him and the Catholic Church, as well as their path together toward full unity.

After the Liturgical Celebration, the Pontiff had an ecumenical lunch with the Catholicos, archbishops and bishops of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic bishops, and the cardinals and bishops of the papal entourage in the Apostolic Palace before partaking in the rest of the final day’s events.

***

On Zenit’s Webpage

Pope’s Address at Conclusion of Divine Liturgy in Armenian Apostolic Cathedral: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-greeting-at-conclusion-of-divine-liturgy-in-armenian-apostolic-cathedral/

Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos Of All Armenians, During Divine Liturgy: https://zenit.org/articles/message-of-his-holiness-karekin-ii-catholicos-of-all-armenians-during-divine-liturgy/

Common Declaration of Francis and Karekin II

“We gladly confirm that despite continuing divisions among Christians, we have come to realize more clearly that what unites us is much more than what divides us”

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 9.25.15 AM

 

Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II today signed a common declaration, at the end of the Pope’s three-day visit to Armenia.

Here is the full text of the Common Declaration of Pope Francis and Catholicos Karekin II at Holy Etchmiadzin, Republic of Armenia

__

Today in Holy Etchmiadzin, spiritual center of All Armenians, we, Pope Francis and Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II raise our minds and hearts in thanksgiving to the Almighty for the continuing and growing closeness in faith and love between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church in their common witness to the Gospel message of salvation in a world torn by strife and yearning for comfort and hope. We praise the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for enabling us to come together in the biblical land of Ararat, which stands as a reminder that God will ever be our protection and salvation. We are spiritually gratified to remember that in 2001, on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity as the religion of Armenia, Saint John Paul II visited Armenia and was a witness to a new page in warm and fraternal relations between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church. We are grateful that we had the grace of being together, at a solemn liturgy in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome on 12 April 2015, where we  pledged our will to oppose every form of discrimination and violence, and commemorated the victims of what the Common Declaration of His Holiness John-Paul II and His Holiness Karekin II spoke of as “the extermination of a million and a half Armenian Christians, in what is generally referred to as the first genocide of the twentieth century”  (27 September 2001).

We praise the Lord that today, the Christian faith is again a vibrant reality in Armenia, and that the Armenian Church carries on her mission with a spirit of fraternal collaboration between the Churches, sustaining the faithful in building a world of solidarity, justice and peace.

Sadly, though, we are witnessing an immense tragedy unfolding before our eyes, of countless innocent people being killed, displaced or forced into a painful and uncertain exile by continuing conflicts on ethnic, economic, political and religious grounds in the Middle East and other parts of the world. As a result, religious and ethnic minorities have become the target of persecution and cruel treatment, to the point that suffering for one’s religious belief has become a daily reality. The martyrs belong to all the Churches and their suffering is an “ecumenism of blood” which transcends the historical divisions between Christians, calling us all to promote the visible unity of Christ’s disciples. Together we pray, through the intercession of the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, Thaddeus and Bartholomew, for a change of heart in all those who commit such crimes and those who are in a position to stop the violence. We implore the leaders of nations to listen to the plea of millions of human beings who long for peace and justice in the world, who demand respect for their God-given rights, who have urgent need of bread, not guns. Sadly, we are witnessing a presentation of religion and religious values in a fundamentalist way, which is used to justify the spread of hatred, discrimination and violence. The justification of such crimes on the basis of religious ideas is unacceptable, for “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (I Corinthians 14:33). Moreover, respect for religious difference is the necessary condition for the peaceful cohabitation of different ethnic and religious communities. Precisely because we are Christians, we are called to seek and implement paths towards reconciliation and peace. In this regard we also express our hope for a peaceful resolution of the issues surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.

Mindful of what Jesus taught his disciples when he said: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25: 35-36), we ask the faithful of our Churches to open their hearts and hands to the victims of war and terrorism, to refugees and their families. At issue is the very sense of our humanity, our solidarity, compassion and generosity, which can only be properly expressed in an immediate practical commitment of resources. We acknowledge all that is already being done, but we insist that much more is needed on the part of political leaders and the international community in order to ensure the right of all to live in peace and security, to uphold the rule of law, to protect religious and ethnic minorities, to combat human trafficking and smuggling.

The secularization of large sectors of society, its alienation from the spiritual and divine, leads inevitably to a desacralized and materialistic vision of man and the human family. In this respect we are concerned about the crisis of the family in many countries. The Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church share the same vision of the family, based on marriage, an act of freely given and faithful love between man and woman.

We gladly confirm that despite continuing divisions among Christians, we have come to realize more clearly that what unites us is much more than what divides us. This is the solid basis upon which the unity of Christ’s Church will be made manifest, in accordance with the Lord’s words, “that they all may be one” (John 17.21). Over the past decades the relationship between the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Catholic Church has successfully entered a new phase, strengthened by our mutual prayers and joint efforts in overcoming contemporary challenges. Today we are convinced of the crucial importance of furthering this relationship, engaging in deeper and more decisive collaboration not only in the area of theology, but also in prayer and active cooperation on the level of the local communities, with a view to sharing full communion and concrete expressions of unity.  We urge our faithful to work in harmony for the promotion in society of the Christian values which effectively contribute to building a civilization of justice, peace and human solidarity. The path of reconciliation and brotherhood lies open before us. May the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth (cf. John 16:13), sustain every genuine effort to build bridges of love and communion between us.

From Holy Etchmiadzin we call on all our faithful to join us in prayer, in the words of Saint Nerses the Gracious: “Glorified Lord, accept the supplications of Your servants, and graciously fulfil our petitions, through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, John the Baptist, the first martyr Saint Stephen, Saint Gregory our Illuminator, the Holy Apostles, Prophets, Divines, Martyrs, Patriarchs, Hermits, Virgins and all Your saints in Heaven and on Earth. And unto You, O indivisible Holy Trinity, be glory and worship forever and ever. Amen”.

Holy Etchmiadzin, 26 June 2016

His Holiness Francis                     His Holiness Karekin II

Message of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos Of All Armenians, During Divine Liturgy

‘Today, we have gathered for the celebration of Divine Liturgy, joined in prayer by the Pontiff of Rome, our beloved brother, Pope Francis.’

Divine Liturgy in Armenian Apostolic Cathedral - CTV Screenshot

Divine Liturgy In Armenian Apostolic Cathedral – CTV Screenshot

Below is the Vatican-provided translation of the message Of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos Of All Armenians, given during the Divine Liturgy this morning in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin during the last day of his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad in Armenia, July 24-26:

***

When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd;

and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.

John 13:34

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

Yours Holiness, beloved brother in Christ,

Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Armenia,

Beloved spiritual brothers and faithful people,

Over the course of the past few days we have been experiencing an abundance of spiritual joy and joint prayer while glorifying God in Holy Etchmiadzin. Today we have gathered for the celebration of Divine Liturgy, joined in prayer by the Pontiff of Rome, our beloved brother, Pope Francis.

It is symbolic that today’s reading of the Scripture, during the celebration of Divine Liturgy, was the story of the multiplication of bread. The Evangelist tells us that when Christ secluded himself, knowing this, the multitude of people followed Him, and when the Lord saw the gathered crowd, He had compassion for them and healed the sick. In the evening the apostles asked the Lord to set the people free so that they could find food for themselves. Christ commanded them to feed the people. However, there was a shortage of food, and the Lord blessed it and the bread, which had miraculously multiplied, was enough for the apostles to feed the entire multitude.

The essence of this miracle, which became one of the important missions of Christ’s Holy Church, is the satisfaction of empty spirits by the Lord-given teachings and the support of the needy through compassion. The Lord urges His followers to rejuvenate faith by works, to conjoin prayer and worship with compassion, and to give alms; through which, by the appeasement of hardship and tribulations, we are co-workers with God, according to the words of the apostle (1 Corinthians 3:9). Through this vision, numerous prophesying Church fathers, graceful patriarchs, brave and good shepherds, countless witnesses of faith and devout believers have for centuries depicted the pages of the history of Christ’s Church with the devout preaching of the Word of God and the great works of giving alms and fostering; so that the people may be strengthened by faith, and through the works of faith they may secure the presence of God in the lives of humanity.

Today, faith in God is being tempted and human souls are being hardened during times of hardship and difficulties as well as during times of wealth and lavishness, when they are disengaged with the concerns of those who long for daily bread and are in pain and suffering. Faith is put to the test by extremism and other kinds of ideologies; xenophobia, addictions, passions and self-centred profits. The processes of secularism are intensifying, spiritual and ethical values and views are distorted, and the family structure, established by God, is being shaken. The root of evil in modern life is in trying to build a world without God, to construe the laws and commandments of God which bring forward economic, political, social, environmental and other problems, that day by day deepen and threaten the natural way of life.

Nevertheless, the world does not cease from being the center of God’s love and care. The Lord continues to say, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). The one who has tasted the delightful teachings of the Lord stoops to raise the fallen, to increase hope and faith in the hearts of men, and to repeat the miracle of the multiplication of the bread through supporting and consoling the needy, the sick, and the sorrowful. Goodness will prevail in the world and current challenges will be overcome by these commands of God, and by utilizing spiritual and moral values. All good works express God’s care towards humanity and the world, according to the words of the Lord, “behold the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), and as an affirmation of this, the churches of the world bring their service.

Dear ones, during these days together with our spiritual brother, Pope Francis, with joint visits and prayers we reconfirmed that the Holy Church of Christ is one in the spreading of the gospel of Christ in the world, in taking care of creation, standing against common problems, and in the vital mission of the salvation of man who is the crown and glory of God’s creation. The inseparable mission of the Church of Christ is the strengthening of solidarity among nations and peoples, reinforcing of brotherhood and collaboration, and a witness to this is the participation in this Divine Liturgy today of the ethnic minorities in Armenia: the Assyrians, Belarus, Greeks, Georgians, Jews, Yezidis, Kurds, Germans, Poles, Russians and Ukrainians who in brotherly coexistence with our people bring their assistance towards the development of our country and the progress of social life.

On this graceful day we are appreciative for another opportunity to thank Pope Francis on the occasion of his brotherly visit. We and our people will always pray for you, beloved brother, and for your efforts made towards peace and prosperity of humanity and towards the advancement of the Church of Christ. May God give you strength, bless and keep firm our Churches in love and collaboration and may He grant us new opportunities for witness of brotherhood. In your daily prayers remember the Armenian people, the Armenian statehood and the Armenian Church and the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

With a prayerful spirit we ask for the protection and support of the Holy Right Hand of Almighty God to shelter those suffering from wars and terrorism, as well as those who are in starvation, poverty and other kinds of afflictions. We also beseech the Lord to pour abundant graces of heaven upon our lives and the whole world.  Amen

[Vatican-provided translation]

Pope’s Address at Conclusion of Divine Liturgy in Armenian Apostolic Cathedral

‘Let us respond to the appeal of the saints, let us listen to the voices of the humble and poor, of the many victims of hatred who suffered and gave their lives for the faith.’

Divine Liturgy in Armenian Apostolic Cathedral - CTV Screenshot

Divine Liturgy In Armenian Apostolic Cathedral – CTV Screenshot

Below is the Vatican-provided translation of the address Pope Francis gave at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy this morning in the Armenian Apostolic Cathedral in Etchmiadzin during his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad in Armenia, July 24-26:

***

Your Holiness, Dear Bishops,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of this greatly-desired visit, one already unforgettable for me, I join my gratitude to the Lord with the great hymn of praise and thanksgiving that rose from this altar.  Your Holiness, in these days you have opened to me the doors of your home, and we have experienced “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity” (Ps 133:1).  We have met, we have embraced as brothers, we have prayed together and shared the gifts, hopes and concerns of the Church of Christ.  We have felt as one her beating heart, and we believe and experience that the Church is one.  “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope… one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:4-6).  With great joy we can make our own these words of the Apostle Paul!  Our meeting comes under the aegis of the holy Apostles whom we have encountered.  Saints Bartholomew and Thaddeus, who first proclaimed the Gospel in these lands, and Saints Peter and Paul who gave their lives for the Lord in Rome and now reign with Christ in heaven, surely rejoice to see our affection and our tangible longing for full communion.  For all this, I thank the Lord, for you and with you: Park astutsò! (Glory to God!).

During this Divine Liturgy, the solemn chant of the Trisagion rose to heaven, acclaiming God’s holiness.  May abundant blessings of the Most High fill the earth through the intercession of the Mother of God, the great saints and doctors, the martyrs, especially the many whom you canonized last year in this place.  May “the Only Begotten who descended here” bless our journey.  May the Holy Spirit make all believers one heart and soul; may he come to re-establish us in unity.  For this I once more invoke the Holy Spirit, making my own the splendid words that are part of your Liturgy.  Come, Holy Spirit, you “who intercede with ceaseless sighs to the merciful Father, you who watch over the saints and purify sinners”, bestow on us your fire of love and unity, and “may the cause of our scandal be dissolved by this love” (Gregory of Narek, Book of Lamentations, 33, 5), above all the lack of unity among Christ’s disciples.

May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may the communion between us be complete.  May an ardent desire for unity rise up in our hearts, a unity that must not be “the submission of one to the other, or assimilation, but rather the acceptance of all the gifts that God has given to each.  This will reveal to the entire world the great mystery of salvation accomplished by Christ the Lord through the Holy Spirit” (Greeting at the Divine Liturgy, Patriarchal Church of Saint George, Istanbul, 30 November 2014).

Let us respond to the appeal of the saints, let us listen to the voices of the humble and poor, of the many victims of hatred who suffered and gave their lives for the faith.  Let us pay heed to the younger generation, who seek a future free of past divisions.  From this holy place may a radiant light shine forth once more, and to the light of faith, which has illumined these lands from the time of Saint Gregory, your Father in the Gospel, may there be joined the light of the love that forgives and reconciles.

Just as on Easter morning the Apostles, for all their hesitations and uncertainties, ran towards the place of the resurrection, drawn by the blessed dawn of new hope (cf. Jn 20:3-4), so too on this holy Sunday may we follow God’s call to full communion and hasten towards it.

Pope Francis: Martyrs From Heaven Are Pointing Out Path to Communion, Says Pope

Pope Francis: Martyrs From Heaven Are Pointing Out Path to Communion, Says Pope

Calls on witness of two heroes of Armenian Church to urge unity, peace

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 11.13.41 AM

Pope Francis and the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church voiced their resolve to progress in peace and unity in a celebration this evening in Yerevan.

“With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far, and we look confidently towards the day when by God’s help we shall be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion,” the Pope said in his address, which he gave after an address by Karekin II.

The Holy Father spoke of the martyrs who have “sealed our common faith in Christ by their blood.” He called them “our stars in heaven, shining upon us here below and pointing out the path towards full communion.”

The Pope called on the example of the “saintly Catholicos,” Nerses Shnorhali. This 12th-century leader of the Armenian Church worked for reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox.

The Armenian Apostolic Church has been separated from the Catholic Church since the 5th-century Council of Chalcedon.

“To realize this necessary unity, Saint Nerses tells us that in the Church more is required than the good will of a few: everyone’s prayer is needed,” the Pope stressed. “It is beautiful that we have gathered here to pray for one another and with one another. It is above all the gift of prayer that I come this evening to ask of you.”

Christians united in suffering

The Pontiff noted those persecuted for their faith still today, particularly in the Middle East. And he spoke of the sufferings of the Armenian people, particularly the “Great Evil,” the massacre of a 100 years ago.

Quoting John Paul II, the Pope affirmed that “your sufferings are our own: ‘they are the sufferings of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body.’”

“Not to forget them is not only right, it is a duty,” Francis added. “May they be a perennial warning lest the world fall back into the maelstrom of similar horrors!”

The Pope further reflected that the Christian faith of the Armenians “was the driving force that marked the beginning of your suffering people’s rebirth.”

“Wounds still open, caused by fierce and senseless hatred, can in some way be configured to the wounds of the risen Christ, those wounds that were inflicted upon him and that he bears even now impressed on his flesh,” he said. “Those terrible, painful wounds suffered on the cross, transfigured by love, have become a wellspring of forgiveness and peace. Even the greatest pain, transformed by the saving power of the cross, of which Armenians are heralds and witnesses, can become a seed of peace for the future.”

“Memory, infused with love, becomes capable of setting out on new and unexpected paths, where designs of hatred become projects of reconciliation, where hope arises for a better future for everyone, where ‘blessed are the peacemakers,’” he said.

A future of peace

The Pope invited them to work for a future that would “resist being caught up in the illusory power of vengeance,” with conditions for peace, including employment, the end of corruption and care for the needy.

“Dear young people, this future belongs to you. Cherish the great wisdom of your elders and strive to be peacemakers: not content with the status quo, but actively engaged in building the culture of encounter and reconciliation,” he said.

Pope Francis also mentioned the Armenian saint he has made a doctor of the Church, Saint Gregory of Narek.

He quoted the saint’s prayer: “Remember [Lord,] those of the human race who are our enemies as well, and for their benefit accord them pardon and mercy… Do not destroy those who persecute me, but reform them; root out the vile ways of this world, and plant the good in me and them.”

The Pope said the saint’s “universal solidarity with humanity, is a great Christian message of peace, a heartfelt plea of mercy for all.”

The event ended with a ceremony full of symbolism, as representatives of the descendants of refugees in various lands, poured dirt over a tree planted into a replica of Noah’s Ark. Then the Pope and the Catholicos simultaneously watered the tree, which is meant to be a gift to St. Peter’s from the Armenian lands.

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-address-at-ecumenical-encounter/

Pope’s Address at Ecumenical Encounter in Armenia

“Memory, infused with love, becomes capable of setting out on new and unexpected paths, where designs of hatred become projects of reconciliation, where hope arises for a better future for everyone, where ‘blessed are the peacemakers’”

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 10.48.40 AM

Here is the Vatican-provided translation of the address Pope Francis gave this evening at the Ecumenical Meeting and Prayer for Peace at Republic Square in Yerevan, Armenia. The Pope is in Armenia through Sunday.

__

Venerable and Dear Brother, Supreme Patriarch-Catholicos of All Armenians,
Mr President,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

God’s blessing and peace be with all of you!

I have greatly desired to visit this beloved land, your country, the first to embrace the Christian faith. It is a grace for me to find myself here on these heights where, beneath the gaze of Mount Ararat, the very silence seems to speak. Here the khatchkar – the stone crosses – recount a singular history bound up with rugged faith and immense suffering, a history replete with magnificent testimonies to the Gospel, to which you are heir. I have come as a pilgrim from Rome to be with you and to express my heartfelt affection: the affection of your brother and the fraternal embrace of the whole Catholic Church, which esteems you and is close to you.

In recent years the visits and meetings between our Churches, always cordial and often memorable, have, thank God, increased. Providence has willed that on this day commemorating the Holy Apostles of Christ we meet once again to confirm the apostolic communion between us. I am most grateful to God for the “real and profound unity” between our Churches (cf. JOHN PAUL II,Ecumenical Celebration, Yerevan, 26 September 2001: Insegnamenti XXIV/2 [2001], 466), and I thank you for your often heroic fidelity to the Gospel, which is a priceless gift for all Christians. Our presence here is not an exchange of ideas, but of gifts (cf. ID.,Ut Unum Sint, 28): we are reaping what the Spirit has sown in us as a gift for each (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 246). With great joy, we are walking together on a journey that has already taken us far, and we look confidently towards the day when by God’s help we shall be united around the altar of Christ’s sacrifice in the fullness of Eucharistic communion. As we pursue that greatly desired goal, we are joined in a common pilgrimage; we walk with one another with “sincere trust in our fellow pilgrims, putting aside all suspicion and mistrust” (ibid., 244).

On this journey, we have been preceded by, and walk with, many witnesses, particularly all those martyrs who sealed our common faith in Christ by their blood. They are our stars in heaven, shining upon us here below and pointing out the path towards full communion. Among the great Fathers, I would mention the saintly Catholicos Nerses Shnorhali. He showed an extraordinary love for his people and their traditions, as well as a lively concern for other Churches. Tireless in seeking unity, he sought to achieve Christ’s will that those who believe “may all be one” (Jn 17:21). Unity does not have to do with strategic advantages sought out of mutual self-interest. Rather, it is what Jesus requires of us and what we ourselves must strive to attain with good will, constant effort and consistent witness, in the fulfilment of our mission of bringing the Gospel to the world.

To realize this necessary unity, Saint Nerses tells us that in the Church more is required than the good will of a few: everyone’s prayer is needed. It is beautiful that we have gathered here to pray for one another and with one another. It is above all the gift of prayer that I come this evening to ask of you. For my part, I assure you that, in offering the bread and cup at the altar, I will not fail to present to the Lord the Church of Armenia and your dear people.

Saint Nerses spoke of the need to grow in mutual love, since charity alone can heal memories and bind up past wounds. Memory alone erases prejudices and makes us see that openness to our brothers and sisters can purify and elevate our own convictions. For the sainted Catholicos, the journey towards unity necessarily involves imitating the love of Christ, who, “though he was rich” (2 Cor 8:9), “humbled himself” (Phil 2:8). Following Christ’s example, we are called to find the courage needed to abandon rigid opinions and personal interests in the name of the love that bends low and bestows itself, in the name of the humble love that is the blessed oil of the Christian life, the precious spiritual balm that heals, strengthens and sanctifies. “Let us make up for our shortcomings in harmony and charity”, wrote Saint Nerses (Lettere del Signore Nerses Shnorhali, Catholicos degli Armeni, Venice, 1873, 316), and even – he suggested – with a particular gentleness of love capable of softening the hardness of the heart of Christians, for they too are often concerned only with themselves and their own advantage. Humble and generous love, not the calculation of benefits, attracts the mercy of the Father, the blessing of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. By praying and “loving one another deeply from the heart” (cf. 1 Pet 1:22), in humility and openness of spirit, we prepare ourselves to receive God’s gift of unity. Let us pursue our journey with determination; indeed, let us race towards our full communion!

“Peace I give to you. Not as the world gives it, do I give it to you” (Jn 14:27). We have heard these words of the Gospel, which invite us to implore from God that peace that the world struggles to achieve. How many obstacles are found today along the path of peace, and how tragic the consequences of wars! I think of all those forced to leave everything behind, particularly in the Middle East, where so many of our brothers and sisters suffer violence and persecution on account of hatred and interminable conflicts. Those conflicts are fueled by the proliferation of weapons and by the arms trade, by the temptation to resort to force and by lack of respect for the human person, especially for the weak, the poor and those who seek only a dignified life.

Nor can I fail to think of the terrible trials that your own people experienced. A century has just passed from the “Great Evil” unleashed upon you. This “immense and senseless slaughter” (Greeting, Mass for Faithful of the Armenian Rite, 12 April 2015), this tragic mystery of iniquity that your people experienced in the flesh, remains impressed in our memory and burns in our hearts. Here I would again state that your sufferings are our own: “they are the sufferings of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body” (JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter on the 1700th Anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People, 4: Insegnamenti XXIV/1 [2001], 275). Not to forget them is not only right, it is a duty. May they be a perennial warning lest the world fall back into the maelstrom of similar horrors!

At the same time, I recall with admiration how the Christian faith, “even at the most tragic moments of Armenian history, was the driving force that marked the beginning of your suffering people’s rebirth” (ibid., 276). That is your true strength, which enables you to be open to the mysterious and saving path of Easter. Wounds still open, caused by fierce and senseless hatred, can in some way be configured to the wounds of the risen Christ, those wounds that were inflicted upon him and that he bears even now impressed on his flesh. He showed those glorious wounds to the disciples on the evening of Easter (cf. Jn 20:20). Those terrible, painful wounds suffered on the cross, transfigured by love, have become a wellspring of forgiveness and peace. Even the greatest pain, transformed by the saving power of the cross, of which Armenians are heralds and witnesses, can become a seed of peace for the future.

Memory, infused with love, becomes capable of setting out on new and unexpected paths, where designs of hatred become projects of reconciliation, where hope arises for a better future for everyone, where “blessed are the peacemakers” (Mt 5:9). We would all benefit from efforts to lay the foundations of a future that will resist being caught up in the illusory power of vengeance, a future of constant efforts to create the conditions for peace: dignified employment for all, care for those in greatest need, and the unending battle to eliminate corruption.

Dear young people, this future belongs to you. Cherish the great wisdom of your elders and strive to be peacemakers: not content with the status quo, but actively engaged in building the culture of encounter and reconciliation. May God bless your future and “grant that the people of Armenia and Turkey take up again the path of reconciliation, and may peace also spring forth in Nagorno Karabakh (Message to the Armenians, 12 April 2015).

In this perspective, I would like lastly to mention another great witness and builder of Christ’s peace, Saint Gregory of Narek, whom I have proclaimed a Doctor of the Church. He could also be defined as a “Doctor of Peace”. Thus he wrote in the extraordinaryBook that I like to consider the “spiritual constitution of the Armenian people”: “Remember [Lord,] those of the human race who are our enemies as well, and for their benefit accord them pardon and mercy… Do not destroy those who persecute me, but reform them; root out the vile ways of this world, and plant the good in me and them” (Book of Lamentations, 83, 1-2). Narek, “profoundly conscious of sharing in every need” (ibid., 3, 2), sought also to identify with the weak and sinners of every time and place in order to intercede on behalf of all (cf. ibid., 31, 3; 32, 1; 47, 2). He became “the intercessor of the whole world” (ibid., 28, 2). This, his universal solidarity with humanity, is a great Christian message of peace, a heartfelt plea of mercy for all. Armenians are present in so many countries of the world; from here, I wish fraternally to embrace everyone. I encourage all of you, everywhere, to give voice to this desire for fellowship, to be “ambassadors of peace” (JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Letter for the 1700th anniversary of the Baptism of the Armenian People, 7: Insegnamenti XXIV/1 [2001], 278). The whole world needs this message, it needs your presence, it needs your purest witness. Peace to you!

Message of Karekin II at Encounter for Peace

“Indeed, peace cannot be realized without justice, human lives cannot become the subject of speculations and cannot be neglected”

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Here is a Vatican-provided translation of the message of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, during this evening’s ecumenical prayer service for peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9)

 

Your Holiness, beloved brother in Christ,

Your Excellency, President of the Republic of Armenia,

Graceful spiritual brothers and dear faithful,

With the praise of the holy name of God Most High on our lips, today in the center of the capital Yerevan, under the blessed gaze of the biblical Mount Ararat, we have gathered together for a joint prayer. From the land of Noah from which God emanated the rainbow of peace, we raised our plea towards heaven together with Our beloved brother in Christ, Pope Francis, for establishment of peace in the world and for a secure and prosperous life. We reflect with emotion that praying with us in this square are also victims of wars, terrorism, and violence who are refugees from Azerbaijan as well as from Syria, and Iraq. With hope in God they wait for peaceful days to arrive in their native lands.

Indeed, one and a half decades ago we were greeting the third millennium with the hope that it would be the beginning of coexistence in solidarity among nations and good cooperation among countries for the sake of creating a peaceful and just world. Yet every day we hear troubling news of increased activities of war and acts of terror, unspeakable human suffering, and irreplaceable losses. Children, teenagers, women, and elderly in different corners of the world, of different nationalities, religions and confessions, become the victims of weapons of death and brutal violence, or they choose the path of refugees, overcoming inexplicable difficulties in order to find a haven of safety.

Exactly a century ago our nation was walking on this same path, finding herself in a grave situation, where because of the Armenian Genocide she had lost the majority of the homeland, and having one and a half million innocent martyrs, was fighting for the right of her existence. Today as well our nation lives under the difficult situation of an undeclared war, protecting peace within the borders of our country at a heavy price and the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to live in freedom in their maternal cradle. In response to our people’s peaceful aspirations, Azerbaijan violated the ceasefire and began military operations on the borders of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh in the month of April. Armenian villages were bombarded and destroyed, soldiers who were protecting the peace as well as school-aged children were killed and wounded, peaceful and unarmed civilians were tortured.

By confronting these difficulties our people also feel empathy, for the ruins and losses which are continuing in the Near East, for the acts of terror that have occurred in major European cities, in Russia, the United States, Asia and Africa, and for the religious and cultural heritages which are unsparingly being destroyed in the conflict zones. How many sacred sites were desecrated and valuable artifacts destroyed in Syria, Iraq, and in the countries of the East and Africa? How many cross stones were destroyed in Azerbaijan? Buried under the wreckage, pain of loss and need, are the values and emotions of human souls.

In such situations, the mission of the Christian churches and religious leaders cannot only be confined to helping the victims, consoling them, and giving pastoral care. More practical steps must be taken on the road to searching for peace by consolidating our efforts in preventing evil, by fostering the spirit of love, solidarity and cooperation in the societies through ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, according to God’s command, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Your Holiness, it is evident that your pastoral service is truly reflecting your wholehearted dedication to the God-bestowed commandment of peace in the world and reconciliation among nations. One of the testimonies of this was your solemn mass, celebrated last year in the Basilica of St. Peter on the occasion of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in memory of our innocent victims, when in your message you voiced the urgency of reestablishment of justice and stated; “Concealing and denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it!”

Led by the same principle, in the last year new countries and organizations, once and for all condemned the Armenian Genocide, including Germany which was an ally of Turkey during the First World War, who in recent days recognized the Genocide committed against the Armenians.

Our people are grateful to Your Holiness and to all who advocate for and protect justice, and anticipate that Turkey, following Your message and the plea of many countries as well as international institutions, will demonstrate enough bravery to face their history, to end the illegal blockade of Armenia and to cease from supporting Azerbaijan’s militaristic provocations targeted against the right of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to live in freedom and peace.

Indeed, peace cannot be realized without justice, human lives cannot become the subject of speculations and cannot be neglected. As the apostle says, “God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34-35). Only justice that is rooted in the protection of rights of individuals and nations, can become a strong foundation for prevention of crimes committed against humanity, and the most successful path towards comprehensive conflict resolution.

It is with an eager heart that we beseech God for the realization of this objective, so that He may hear our prayers and by abundantly pouring the graces of the Holy Spirit, He may crown the brotherly love and cooperation of the Churches with fruitful results. May our merciful Lord cleanse the world from the tragedies of evil and grant peace and protection, and as the prophetic words state, they shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4).

Having in our hearts the spiritual joy of our meeting, which is grated to us by our benevolent God, we beseech our Lord and Savior for His grace and peace for us all, and invite You, Our beloved Brother in Christ, to deliver Your message and convey Your abundant blessings to the thousands of faithful gathered here.

Pope Prays at Tzitzernakaberd Memorial for Those Killed in Armenian Massacre

Present at Ecumenical Prayer Service Were Some Descendants of Armenian Refugees Pope Pius XI Hosted at Papal Residence in Castel Gandolfo After the Metz Yeghern

Tzitzernakaberd Memorial

Pope Participates At Prayer Service For Armenians Killed At Tzitzernakaberd Memorial -CTV Screenshot

Pope Francis has prayed for those killed during the massacre of the Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

This morning during the second day of his Apostolic Visit to Armenia, July 24-26, the Holy Father participated in an ecumenical prayer service at the Tzitzernakaberd Memorial to the Metz Yeghern, or ‘Great Evil,’ in Armenia.

Francis offered an intercessory prayer aloud and extensive silent prayer for those who were killed in the massacre.

The service included saying an Our Father, reading two Biblical passages (Heb 10:32-36 and John 14:1-13), and the Pope’s intercessory prayer. To remember his visit to the Tzitzernakaberd Memorial, before the service concluded, Francis blessed and watered a tree.

Also present at the solemn gathering was a small group of descendants of the Armenian refugees whom Pope Pius XI hosted at the papal residence in Castel Gandolfo after the Metz Yeghern.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Pope’s Intercessory Prayer: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-intercessory-prayer-at-tzitzernakaberd-memorial/

Pope’s Intercessory Prayer at Tzitzernakaberd Memorial

‘Christ, who crowns your saints, Who fulfills the will of your faithful and looks with love and tenderness upon your creatures,
hear us from your holy heavens, by the intercession of the holy Generatrix of God and by the prayer of your saints and those whom we remember today.’

Below is a Vatican Radio English translation of Pope Francis intercessory prayer this morning at the ecumenical prayer service at the Tzitzernakaberd Memorial to the Metz Yeghern (‘Great Evil’) on the second day of his Apostolic Visit to Armenia, July 24-26:

***
Christ, who crowns your saints,
who fulfills the will of your faithful
and looks with love and tenderness upon your creatures,
hear us from your holy heavens,
by the intercession of the holy Generatrix of God
and by the prayer of your saints
and those whom we remember today.
Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy.
Forgive us, expiate and remit our sins.
Make us worthy to glorify you with thankful hearts,
together with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.

[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by Vatican Radio]

Pope at Mass in Gyumri Suggests 3 Foundations to Build, or Rebuild, Our Lives

Warns Against ‘Locking Up Faith in Archives of History’ as If It Were ‘Beautiful Illuminated Book to Be Kept in a Museum’

Pope's Holy Mass in Vartanants Square in Gyumri. Armenia Day Two

Pope’s Holy Mass In Vartanants Square In Gyumri. Armenia (CTV Screenshot)

“What is the Lord asking us to build today in our lives, and even more importantly, upon what is he calling us to build our lives?”

Pope Francis asked this during this morning’s Holy Mass in Vartanants Square in Gyumri during the second day of his 14th international apostolic visit, which has brought him to Armenia. He recalled the Prophet Isaiah’s words in today’s reading: “They shall build up the ancient ruins… they shall repair the ruined cities” (Is 61:4).

Francis began his homily by recalling the “terrible devastation” that the immense 1988 earthquake caused, killing tens of thousands of people. He pointed out how faithful were gathered at today’s Mass “to give thanks to God for all that has been rebuilt.”

After asking the faithful on what they plan to build, or rebuild, their lives, the Holy Father suggested to those present “three stable foundations.”

Memory

The first foundation, he noted, is memory, which makes us recall all that God has done in and for us, without ever forgetting us.

“God has chosen us, loved us, called us and forgiven us,” he noted, saying, “Great things have happened in our personal love story with him, and these must be treasured in our minds and hearts.”

He also reminded them that another memory must be preserved, that of “a people.”

“Peoples, like individuals, have a memory. Your own people’s memory is ancient and precious. Your voices echo those of past sages and saints; your words evoke those who created your alphabet in order to proclaim God’s word; your songs blend the afflictions and the joys of your history. As you ponder these things, you can clearly recognize God’s presence. He has not abandoned you.”

Faith

The second foundation he mentioned was faith, which signifies hope for your future and a light for life’s journey.

“There is always a danger,” he warned, “that can dim the light of faith, and that is the temptation to reduce it to something from the past, something important but belonging to another age, as if the faith were a beautiful illuminated book to be kept in a museum. Once it is locked up in the archives of history, faith loses its power to transform, its living beauty, its positive openness to all.”

However, faith, he explained, is born and reborn from encountering Jesus, experiencing His mercy illuminating every situation in our lives.

“We would do well,” Francis encouraged, “to renew this living encounter with the Lord each day. We would do well to read the word of God and in silent prayer to open our hearts to his love. We would do well to let our encounter with the Lord’s tenderness enkindle joy in our hearts: a joy greater than sadness, a joy that even withstands pain and in turn becomes peace.”

All of this, Francis explained, renews our lives, makes us free and open to surprises.

“When he calls – and I say this especially to you young people – do not be afraid; tell him ‘Yes!’” Francis said. “He knows us, he really loves us, and he wants to free our hearts from the burden of fear and pride. By making room for him, we become capable of radiating his love. Thus you will be able to carry on your great history of evangelization. This is something the Church and the world need in these troubled times, which are also a time of mercy.”

Merciful Love

The third foundation of merciful love, Francis said, has been gifted to us by God, exemplified in Jesus, and we are to offer it to our neighbors. “In the exercise of charity, the Church’s face is rejuvenated and made beautiful.

“Concrete love is the Christian’s visiting card; any other way of presenting ourselves could be misleading and even unhelpful, for it is by our love for one another that everyone will know that we are his disciples.

May believers always set an example, cooperating with one another in mutual respect and a spirit of dialogue, knowing that “the only rivalry possible among the Lord’s disciples is to see who can offer the greater love!” (John Paul II, Homily, 27 September 2001: Insegnamenti XXIV/2 [2001], 478).

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that the Spirit of the Lord is always with those who carry glad tidings to the poor, who bind up the brokenhearted and console the afflicted (cf. 61:1-2).

“God dwells in the hearts of those who love him. God dwells wherever there is love, shown especially by courageous and compassionate care for the weak and the poor. How much we need this! We need Christians who do not allow themselves to be overcome by weariness or discouraged by adversity, but instead are available, open and ready to serve.”

What we need, the Pope highlighted, are men and women of good will, who help their brothers and sisters in need, “with actions and not merely words,” and societies of greater justice, “where each individual can lead a dignified life and, above all, be fairly remunerated for his or her work.”

How Can We Do This…

All the same, the Jesuit Pope acknowledged we might ask ourselves: how can we become merciful, with all the faults and failings that we see within ourselves and all about us?

“I would like to appeal to one concrete example, a great herald of divine mercy, one to whom I wished to draw greater attention by making him a Doctor of the Universal Church: Saint Gregory of Narek.” This 10th-century Armenian monk, Francis stressed, was “a master of life, who teaches us that the most important thing is to recognize that we are in need of mercy.”

Born in 950 A.D., St. Gregory of Narek is known for his poetic writings and commentaries and is revered as one of the great figures of Armenian religious thought. His book of prayers, also known as “Book of Lamentations,” is widely thought to be one of his great masterpieces and still considered as a definitive piece of Armenian literature.

Before concluding with a prayer for God’s mercy, Pope Francis stressed that we must overlook our own failings and the injuries done to us, so that we don’t become self-centered, but instead open our hearts to the Lord in sincerity and trust.

***

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full Text: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-holy-mass-in-vartanants-square-in-gyumri-armenia/

Pope’s Homily at Holy Mass in Vartanants Square in Gyumri, Armenia

‘All the same, we might ask ourselves: how can we become merciful, with all the faults and failings that we see within ourselves and all about us?’

Pope's Holy Mass in Vartanants Square in Gyumri. Armenia Day Two

Pope’s Holy Mass In Vartanants Square In Gyumri. Armenia (CTV Screenshot)

Below is the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ homily during this morning’s Holy Mass in Vartanants Square in Gyumri during the second day of his 14th Apostolic Visit to Armenia, July 24-26.

***

“They shall build up the ancient ruins… they shall repair the ruined cities” (Is 61:4). In this place, dear brothers and sisters, we can say that the words of the Prophet Isaiah have come to pass. After the terrible devastation of the earthquake, we gather today to give thanks to God for all that has been rebuilt.

Yet we might also wonder: what is the Lord asking us to build today in our lives, and even more importantly, upon what is he calling us to build our lives? In seeking an answer to this question, I would like to suggest three stable foundations upon which we can tirelessly build and rebuild the Christian life.

The first foundation is memory. One grace we can implore is that of being able to remember: to recall what the Lord has done in and for us, and to remind ourselves that, as today’s Gospel says, he has not forgotten us but “remembered” us (Lk 1:72). God has chosen us, loved us, called us and forgiven us. Great things have happened in our personal love story with him, and these must be treasured in our minds and hearts. Yet there is another memory we need to preserve: it is the memory of a people. Peoples, like individuals, have a memory. Your own people’s memory is ancient and precious. Your voices echo those of past sages and saints; your words evoke those who created your alphabet in order to proclaim God’s word; your songs blend the afflictions and the joys of your history. As you ponder these things, you can clearly recognize God’s presence. He has not abandoned you. Even in the face of tremendous adversity, we can say in the words of today’s Gospel that the Lord has visited your people (cf. Lk 1:68). He has remembered your faithfulness to the Gospel, the first-fruits of your faith, and all those who testified, even at the price of their blood, that God’s love is more precious than life itself (cf. Ps 63:4). It is good to recall with gratitude how the Christian faith became your people’s life breath and the heart of their historical memory.

Faith is also hope for your future and a light for life’s journey. Faith is the second foundation I would like to mention. There is always a danger that can dim the light of faith, and that is the temptation to reduce it to something from the past, something important but belonging to another age, as if the faith were a beautiful illuminated book to be kept in a museum. Once it is locked up in the archives of history, faith loses its power to transform, its living beauty, its positive openness to all. Faith, however, is born and reborn from a life-giving encounter with Jesus, from experiencing how his mercy illumines every situation in our lives. We would do well to renew this living encounter with the Lord each day. We would do well to read the word of God and in silent prayer to open our hearts to his love. We would do well to let our encounter with the Lord’s tenderness enkindle joy in our hearts: a joy greater than sadness, a joy that even withstands pain and in turn becomes peace. All of this renews our life, makes us free and open to surprises, ready and available for the Lord and for others.

It can happen too that Jesus calls us to follow him more closely, to give our lives to him and to our brothers and sisters. When he calls – and I say this especially to you young people – do not be afraid; tell him “Yes!” He knows us, he really loves us, and he wants to free our hearts from the burden of fear and pride. By making room for him, we become capable of radiating his love. Thus you will be able to carry on your great history of evangelization. This is something the Church and the world need in these troubled times, which are also a time of mercy.

The third foundation, after memory and faith, is merciful love: on this rock, the rock of the love we receive from God and offer to our neighbour, the life of a disciple of Jesus is based. In the exercise of charity, the Church’s face is rejuvenated and made beautiful. Concrete love is the Christian’s visiting card; any other way of presenting ourselves could be misleading and even unhelpful, for it is by our love for one another that everyone will know that we are his disciples (cf. Jn 13:35). We are called above all to build and rebuild paths of communion, tirelessly creating bridges of unity and working to overcome our divisions. May believers always set an example, cooperating with one another in mutual respect and a spirit of dialogue, knowing that “the only rivalry possible among the Lord’s disciples is to see who can offer the greater love!” (JOHN PAUL II, Homily, 27 September 2001: Insegnamenti XXIV/2 [2001], 478).

In today’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that the Spirit of the Lord is always with those who carry glad tidings to the poor, who bind up the brokenhearted and console the afflicted (cf. 61:1-2). God dwells in the hearts of those who love him. God dwells wherever there is love, shown especially by courageous and compassionate care for the weak and the poor. How much we need this! We need Christians who do not allow themselves to be overcome by weariness or discouraged by adversity, but instead are available, open and ready to serve. We need men and women of good will, who help their brothers and sisters in need, with actions and not merely words. We need societies of greater justice, where each individual can lead a dignified life and, above all, be fairly remunerated for his or her work.

All the same, we might ask ourselves: how can we become merciful, with all the faults and failings that we see within ourselves and all about us? I would like to appeal to one concrete example, a great herald of divine mercy, one to whom I wished to draw greater attention by making him a Doctor of the Universal Church: Saint Gregory of Narek, word and voice of Armenia. It is hard to find his equal in the ability to plumb the depths of misery lodged in the human heart. Yet he always balanced human weakness with God’s mercy, lifting up a heartfelt and tearful prayer of trust in the Lord who is “giver of gifts, root of goodness… voice of consolation, news of comfort, joyful impulse… unparalleled compassion, inexhaustible mercy… the kiss of salvation” (Book of Lamentations, 3, 1). He was certain that “the light of God’s mercy is never clouded by the shadow of indignation” (ibid., 16, 1). Gregory of Narek is a master of life, for he teaches us that the most important thing is to recognize that we are in need of mercy. Despite our own failings and the injuries done to us, we must not become self-centred but open our hearts in sincerity and trust to the Lord, to “the God who is ever near, loving and good” [ibid., 17, 2), “filled with love for mankind … a fire consuming the chaff of sin (ibid., 16, 2).

In the words of Saint Gregory, I would like now to invoke God’s mercy and his gift of unfailing love: Holy Spirit, “powerful protector, intercessor and peace-maker, we lift up our prayers to you… Grant us the grace to support one another in charity and good works… Spirit of sweetness, compassion, loving kindness and mercy… You who are mercy itself… Have mercy on us, Lord our God, in accordance with your great mercy” (Hymn of Pentecost).

[Original Text: Italian] [Vatican-provided text]Greeting at the end of the Mass

At the conclusion of this celebration, I wish to express my deep gratitude to Catholicos Karekin II and to Archbishop Minassian for their gracious words. I also thank Patriarch Ghabroyan and the Bishops present, as well as the priests and the Authorities who have warmly welcomed us.

I thank all of you here present, who have come to Gyumri from different regions and from nearby Georgia. I especially greet all those who with such generosity and practical charity are helping our brothers and sisters in need. I think in particular of the hospital in Ashotsk, opened twenty-five years ago and known as “the Pope’s Hospital”. It was born of the heart of Saint John Paul II, and it continues to be an important presence close to those who are suffering. I think too of the charitable works of the local Catholic community, and those of the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and the Missionaries of Charity of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.