Eastern Catholics and Saints Cyril and Methodius

Here is a recent article from the Catholic News Service, Zenit:

Eastern Rite Bishops to Discuss Evangelizing Culture
Annual Meeting Scheduled for This Week in Slovakia

ROME, October 15, 2013 (Zenit.org) – The annual meeting of Eastern Rite Catholic Bishops is to take place Oct. 17-20 in Košice (Slovakia), European Capital of Culture 2013, on the occasion of the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Slavic territory (Great Moravia – Slovakia, the Czech Republic, South-east Poland, and North-west Hungary).

In Košice, the bishops representing 14 Eastern Rite Catholic Churches in Europe will tackle the theme of evangelisation of culture, with re-reading, too, of the evangelising mission of Saints Cyril and Methodius from an historiographic point of view and the challenges which the Church faces today. Speakers include Cardinal Jozef Tomko, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Mgr Cyril Vasil’, Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches; the Apostolic Exarch for Byzantine Rite Catholics in Greece, Mgr Dimitrios Salachas; and Fr Juraj Dufka SJ from Košice’s East-West Centre for Spirituality, who will speak about Art as a tool for evangelisation.

“The aim of the meeting is for Eastern Rite Catholic Bishops to discuss the challenges which our Churches must face at the local level”, said Mgr Milan Chautur C.SS.R., Eparch (Eparchial Bishop) of Košice, adding: “The 1150th anniversary of the evangelising mission of the brother Saints Cyril and Methodius to the Slav peoples and to Great Moravia, enables us, in the course of Year of Faith, to question ourselves about the theme of evangelisation of modern cultures and the inculturation of the Gospel, starting from our ecclesial, liturgical and cultural reality, so that the message of love and the truth about humanity which Christ brings, while remaining always the same, may be welcomed by the men and women of today”.

Participants at the meeting, supported by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), will include Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest and CCEE President, and His Beatitude Svjatislav Shevchuk, Major Archbishop of the Greek-Catholic Church in the Ukraine.

get_thumbs_on_fly.phpThis photo was taken at the meeting described above.

I think that this recent story emphasizes that it is just as simplistic to make the West ‘Evangelical’ and the East ‘Insular’, as it is to say that the West is ‘Rational’ and the East is ‘Mystical’ (for more reflections along those lines, see here.)

Instead, our vision of evangelization is something is both relevant and at the center of our Eastern Christian Faith. We are not a museum piece for observation-instead, we can breathe with vitality as we embrace our call to evangelize the world. May the Holy Spirit profit our labors to be more like Saints Cyril and Methodius! Then we will see that our Byzantine Christian faith is something that the whole world needs to receive.

 

Update: A Greek Catholic brother from Slovakia sent this link to the meeting, which is to be held October 17-20: http://concilium2013.grkatke.sk/

There are English and Italian versions of the site, in addition to the original Slovak. May God prosper His people who meet to commemorate Saints Cyril and Methodius, and may it reinvigorate our work!

On 1% and Memes

Memes can be powerful tools to convey messages. Their succinct nature combined with striking images can have a profound impact. However, with all brief communications they can also be misunderstood. To that end, I wanted to clarify on some of my own paltry contributions to the internet meme world.

Slide1

This picture was put together back when there were protests against the richest 1%. Using the verbal meme of the 99% vs. the 1%, there is a basic sociological fact that the richest 1% continue to get richer while the rest of us are either getting poorer/less wealthy. But I feel that there is something about this meme that could be missing if we focus too much on numbers as numbers, versus numbers as memes.

When I wanted to compare Eastern Catholics to this meme of the 1%, the goal was in some senses to encourage the smallness of our numbers so that we might one day become the 2%, etc. It may have been perceived as a “we’re small but this is where we are”. But really my deepest intent would be to ask us to realize our own wealth as Apostolic Christians, as opposed to a meditation on our numerical smallness.

His Grace, Bishop John of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma was interviewed last year (along with many other great servants of the Church) on our Churches and vocations, and I find his comments here to convey this message in a deeper manner than any meme could. Please watch his comments, in addition to the priests who also answered this question on the hopes for Byzantine Catholics (and all Eastern Catholics/Christians, by extension):

So going back to the meme of Eastern Catholics as the 1%, the deep questions I would like to ask are:

1) Where do we see our deepest spiritual wealth?

2) How do we share this spiritual wealth?

3) Are we sharing our spiritual blessings, or holding them in?

4) What more can we do to share this treasure?

I think that as long as we are asking these questions versus raising our hands in despair or blame, we are on the right path.

Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!