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Author Topic: "Secular" family vs Syrian heritage  (Read 3241 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ibrahim
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« on: January 26, 2005, 06:29:42 PM »

I have recently been trying to get back in tune with my heritage. I am 17, I was born in Syria to hardcore Ba'thist "secularist" (aka atheist) parents. We moved to the US several years ago for financial purposes. My mother's family is in name Syrian ORthodox but none of them really attend chuch but the older people (still in Syria). M father's family is also in name Melikite but again only the old people attend. I am not baptised (I do not think my parents are either) in any church. My parents used to discourage me from religious activities (still do) but I am very much interested in learning more about the Melikite and Syrian churcches but there are not any in our area (New HAven Ct) except for Russian and Ukranian churches and a few "real" Greek churches. Is anyone on this board familiar with Syrian or Melikite churches in Greater New Haven? IS there a Syrian Orthodox website where I could find this out? Any links or insite into these churches would be greatly appreciated. Thre is a bit of hostility towards most religion in my family (particularly Christianity and ISlam) does anyone else have a problem such as this? Thanks.

Ibrahim.
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2005, 06:46:51 PM »

Ibrahim,

I found this link. http://www.syrianorthodoxchurch.org/directory/index.htm  I think it is the "right" Syrian Church. Also, you may want to consider the Antiochian Archdiocese. It is much more prevalent in the US and the people come from a background of syriac or lebanese culture (plus there's a large contingent of converts.)

www.antiochian.org
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2005, 08:29:20 PM »

I realize you'd probably feel more comfortable in a Syrian or maybe Antiochian setting, but visit other Orthodox parishes as well in CT - if you're willing to drive, say, up to a half hour or so away.  You'll find Arab Orthodox (to use the term VERY loosely) in several Orthodox jurisdictions.  Check out OCA parishes as well.  Mine for example is very diverse, with many Americans, Eritreans, a few Arabs, Romanians, Russians, Serbs and Greeks.  I have no idea how it is back east though, as I'm in the San Francisco bay area.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2005, 08:53:24 PM »

Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, may God grant him many years and peaceful times, together with Papa Abba Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark, and their brother Catholicos Aram Keshishian of the Great House of Cilicia and Supreme Head of All Armenians
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2005, 09:02:50 PM »

A Coptic parish would be good for you as well as Syriac and Coptic Christians are in official communion with one another (that means they are part of the same Church).

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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2005, 11:10:06 PM »

The Syrian Orthodox website above is of the legitimate Syrian Archdiocese in America.  Ibrahim, you should contact them (although it looks like they don't have a parish in CT listed on the site).  The suggestion to check out the Copts is a good one, as they seem to be more spread out.  I'm not sure if the "Melkite" you have in mind is the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (under the Pope) or the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (Rum Orthodox), so I'm not sure what to recommend, I'd have to know whether the Melkites in your family are Catholic or Orthodox. 
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« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2005, 03:08:05 AM »

Slomo
Dear brother Ibrahim try hard to discover your spiritual roots, at present I can only recommend you the link of Eastern US archdiocese website http://www.syrianorthodoxchurch.org/ of Syriac Orthodox Church. I am not sure whether there is any church in CT. You should not hesitate to seek help despite your background. If you wants to talk to somebody in person, please contact Very Rev John Meno Archdiocesan Secretary, 263 Elm Ave, Teaneck, NJ 07661 Office: (201) 907-0122 Fax: (201) 907-0551 Home: (201) 928-1810. If you could provide your contacts, I will request Rev to contact you personally. The suggestion to check out the Copts for time being is nice suggestion.

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« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2005, 09:56:30 AM »


Dear Ibrahim,

I am glad that you are seeking to discover your true Christian heritage.  May God help and comfort you in your search. It is a shame that many Middle Eastern Christians found it necessary to embrace secular political ideologies, but during the nationalist era, when the yolk of Western colonialism was happily being thrown off, this seemed to many to be the only alternative to being swallowed up by Islamic governments dominated by the sharia.

Like Anastasios, Mor, and some of the others, I would suggest that you contact the Syriac Orthodox Church under H.H. Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch, may God grant him to shepherd his flock for many years.  Failing that, you may want to check out Coptic Church, as we are in full Communion.  I'm not sure that going outside of our Communion would be the right advice for you.

In addition to the above mentioned links, you could also check out:

http://sor.cua.edu/
http://www.bethsuryoyo.com/
http://www.geocities.com/mfignatius/index2.html

In Christ,

Nick
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« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2005, 10:24:49 AM »


I'm not sure that going outside of our Communion would be the right advice for you.


Interesting comment seeing as Ibrahim also asked about Melkites who are not in either communion- Eastern or Oriental Orthodox.
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« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2005, 12:22:22 PM »


I guess it would be up to the Melkites to steer him towards Melkite churches.  Frankly, I'm not that familiar with them myself. Since he posted in the Oriental Orthodox sub-section, and mentioned the Oriental Orthodox Church of Antioch, I provided what information I thought was relevent.  Frankly, I'm not sure how the Roum Orthodox Church of Antioch figures into his inquiry, unless the term "Melkite" was intended to describe them.  I've heard it used this way before, but nowadays I believe it is more often used to describe those in Communion with Rome.  Or maybe it was mentioned because there is a Syrian element in that Church?
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2005, 12:25:03 PM »

It's possible the Melkites he was referring to are what we'd call Antiochian Orthodox; I've heard at least one Syrian refer to them as Melkites, and it confused me until I realised what he was talking about.  Generally, Melkite is used for Catholics and Antiochian for the Orthodox, but it is sometimes used for both (then you have to ask "Rum ____" ?). 
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« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2005, 12:27:12 PM »

There probably are Syrians in both Churches, Catholic and Orthodox, but not following the Syrian rite. 
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Ibrahim
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2005, 04:31:21 PM »

I am sorry for the confusion I may have caused this was an error on my part. My father's family is not Melikite they are Greek Orthodox (Eastern Church I believe it also called?).It was a mix up in termonology. I assumed that they were the same thing (my mom said "Melikite" but when I asked my dad he said Greek ORthodox so I'm going to take his word lol)  I am assuming there is more than one "GReek" church? There is a Catholic one and an Orthodox one?
But thank you very much for the links, they have been very helpful particularly in the historical aspects of the church. Any further clarification is welcome!
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2005, 04:50:14 PM »

Thank you for the additional information, Ibrahim. Yes, there are several "Greek" Orthodox Churches which are in the Eastern communion. Your father seems to be describing the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch (called Rum Orthodox by the Turks). This church does have an autonomous church here in the USA commonly referred to as the Antiochian Orthodox Church (http://www.antiochian.org - as noted a the post above).
No apologies are necessary - even us old guys get confused quite often.  Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2005, 05:10:53 PM »

Were not most U.S. parishes of the Antiochian [Byzantine] Orthodox Archdiocese that were founded by immigrants, chartered as and primarily known as "Syrian Orthodox"?
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2005, 05:12:27 PM »

I am sorry for the confusion I may have caused this was an error on my part. My father's family is not Melikite they are Greek Orthodox (Eastern Church I believe it also called?).It was a mix up in termonology. I assumed that they were the same thing (my mom said "Melikite" but when I asked my dad he said Greek ORthodox so I'm going to take his word lol) I am assuming there is more than one "GReek" church? There is a Catholic one and an Orthodox one?
But thank you very much for the links, they have been very helpful particularly in the historical aspects of the church. Any further clarification is welcome!

In light of this information, all of the posts directing you to Antiochian Orthodox sites are now entirely pertinent, and my previous admonitions to remain strictly within the Oriental Orthodox Communion are out the window. Don't the two Orthodox Churches of Antioch have arrangements for children of "mixed marriages"? Or does that apply only to people in Syria itself?

In light of the following, you may be able to commune in both Churches:

Official Statements
Statement of the Orthodox Church of Antioch on the Theological Dialogue
On the Relations between the Eastern and Syrian Orthodox Churches, November 1991

A Synodal and Patriarchal Letter

To All Our Children, Protected by God, of the Holy See of Antioch

Beloved:

You must have heard of the continuous efforts for decades by our Church with the sister Syrian Orthodox Church to foster a better knowledge and understanding of both Churches, whether on the dogmatic or pastoral level. These attempts are nothing but a natural expression that the Orthodox Churches, and especially those within the Holy See of Antioch, are called to articulate the will of the Lord that all may be obe, just as the Son is One with the Heavenly Father (John 10:30).

It is our duty and that of our brothers in the Syrian Orthodox Church to witness to Christ in our Eastern region where He was born, preached, suffered, was buried and rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven, and sent down His Holy and Life Giving Spirit upon His holy Apostles.

All the meetings, the fellowship, the oral and written declarations meant that we belong to One Faith even though history had manifested our division more than the aspects of our unity.

All this has called upon our Holy Synod of Antioch to bear witness to the progress of our Church in the See of Antioch towards unity that preserves for each Church its authentic Oriental heritage whereby the one Antiochean Church benefits from its sister Church and is enriched in its traditions, literature and holy rituals.

Every endeavour and pursuit in the direction of the coming together of the two Churches is based on the conviction that this orientation is from the Holy Spirit, and it will give the Eastern Orthodox image more light and radiance, that it has lacked for centuries before.

Having recognised the efforts done in the direction of unity between the two Churches, and being convinced that this direction was inspired by the Holy Spirit and projects a radiant image of Eastern Christanity overshadowed during centuries, the Holy Synod of the Church of Antioch saw the need to give a concrete expression of the close fellowship between the two Churches, the Syrian Orthodox Church and the Eastern Orthodox for the edification of their faithful.

Thus, the following decisions were taken:

1. We affirm the total and mutual respect of the spirituality, heritage and Holy Fathers of both Churches. The integrity of both the Byzantine and Syriac liturgies is to be preserved.

2. The heritage of the Fathers in both Churches and their traditions as a whole should be integrated into Christian education curricula and theological studies. Exchanges of professors and students are to be enhanced.

3. Both Churches shall refrain from accepting any faithful from accepting any faithful from one Church into the membership of the other, irrespective of all motivations or reasons.

4. Meetings between the two Churches, at the level of their Synods, according to the will of the two Churches, will be held whenever the need arsies.

5. Every Church will remain the reference and authority for its faithful, pertaining to matters of persoanl status (marriage, divorce, adoption etc.).

6. If bishops of the two Churches participate at a holy baptism or funeral service, the one belonging to the Church of the baptized or deceased will preside. In case of a holy matrimony service, the bishop of the bridegroom's Church will preside.

7. The above mentioned is not applicable to the concelebration in the Divine Liturgy.

8. What applies to bishops equally applies to the priests of both Churches.

9. In localities where there is only one priest, from either Church, he will celebrate services for the faithful of both Churches, including the Divien Liturgy, pastoral duties, and holy matrimony. He will keep an independent record for each Church and transmit that of the sister Church to its authorities.

10. If two priests of the two Churches happen to be in a locality where there is only one Church, they take turns in making use of its facilities.

11. If a bishop from one Church and a priest from the sister Church happen to concelebrate a service, the first will preside even when it is the priest's parish.

12. Ordinations into the holy orders are performed by the authorities of each Church for its own members. It would be advisable to invite the faithful of the sister Church to attend.

13. Godfathers, godmothers (in baptism) and witnesses in holy matrimony can be chosen from the members of the sister Church.

14. Both Churches will exchange visits and will co-operate in the various areas of social, cultural and educational work.

We ask God's help to continue strengthening our relations with the sister Church, and with other Churches, so that we all become one community under one Shepherd.

12.11.1991
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« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2005, 11:57:49 AM »

May God keep the life and standing our blessed father His Holiness Papa Abba Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark. Likewise, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Also, His Holiness Catholicos Aram Keshishian, Patriarch of the Great House of Cilicia and all Armenians. May the Lord also keep His Holiness Abuna Paulos Gebre Yohannis, Patriarch of Ethiopia, as well as His Holiness Catholicos Patriarch Baselios Mar Thoma Matthews I of the East and His Holiness Abuna Antonios Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church. Finally, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church. Egypt, Syria, Armenia, India, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the British Isles- may God bless our lands.
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« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2005, 01:07:46 PM »

LR,

Just as the OCA once titled itself Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic the Antiochians who were under the omophor of the Russian bishops titled themselves Syrian Orthodox Greek Catholic for a time.  Perhaps one of our Antiochian friends could confirm but I am sure I have seen this title used in books in the library at Antiochian Village.

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« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2005, 01:24:28 PM »

May God keep the life and standing our blessed father His Holiness Papa Abba Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark.  Likewise, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Also, His Holiness Catholicos Aram Keshishian, Patriarch of the Great House of Cilicia and all Armenians.  May the Lord also keep His Holiness Abuna Paulos Gebre Yohannis, Patriarch of Ethiopia, as well as His Holiness Catholicos Patriarch Baselios Mar Thoma Matthews I of the East and His Holiness Abuna Antonios Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.  Finally, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church.  Egypt, Syria, Armenia, India, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the British Isles- may God bless our lands.

Amen and Amen!
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« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2005, 01:29:39 PM »

May God keep the life and standing our blessed father His Holiness Papa Abba Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark.  Likewise, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Also, His Holiness Catholicos Aram Keshishian, Patriarch of the Great House of Cilicia and all Armenians.  May the Lord also keep His Holiness Abuna Paulos Gebre Yohannis, Patriarch of Ethiopia, as well as His Holiness Catholicos Patriarch Baselios Mar Thoma Matthews I of the East and His Holiness Abuna Antonios Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.  Finally, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church.  Egypt, Syria, Armenia, India, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the British Isles- may God bless our lands.

an our Malankara Jacobite brothers in SOC jurisdiction. May God bless you.

-Paul
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« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2005, 02:03:01 PM »

Ibrahim, we rarely use the word 'Malaky' in Arabic, as you know; instead, 'Katoleek' or 'Rum Katoleek'. The question you should ask your father is whether his particular Church is plain 'Rum' (signifies the Orthodox when used alone without a qualifier) or 'Katoleek'.

In any case, it does not appear to me that your father is 'Siryanee', so what is known in English as the Syrian Orthodox Church is out of your scope. But as for your mother, she would clearly know whether she is 'Rum' or 'Siryaniy'yeh'. The Arabic names are the key, not the English translations.

I hope you benefit from your exploration of the old religious traditions and your patrimony.

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« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2005, 02:21:09 PM »

Ibrahim, I read your second message. Yes, in light of that, your father is Greek Orthodox, though in Arabic, we don't use the word 'Greek', but 'Roman', hence 'Rum Ortodox', with 'Roman' not signifying Rome and the pope, but rather the Byzantine traditions that the two Churches carrying this word in their official names follow, as well as their past allegiance to the Byzantine State and Empire centuries ago (the Empire was not called 'Byzantine' back then, but 'Roman', hence the explanation of the meaning behind the word 'Roman'). Yes, there is a Catholic Church and an Orthodox Church, both of which follow the Byzantine traditions (the reason why both use the official title 'Rum'). In English, 'Rum Katoleek' is abandoned for 'Melchite' or 'Greek Catholic', and 'Rum Ortodox' for 'Greek Orthodox'. Literal translations are not employed.

Philip, back home, I haven't ever heard the word 'Melchite' used to describe the Greek Orthodox (it is often not even used by Greek Catholics except in speaking the official name of the Church in full). Perhaps in the diaspora, the Orthodox may sometimes use the word in English. But I doubt that saying 'Malaki' in Syria would cause anyone to not think it is the Catholics who are being spoken of.

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« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2005, 03:39:58 PM »

 
May God keep the life and standing our blessed father His Holiness Papa Abba Shenouda III, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark.  Likewise, His Holiness Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka Iwas, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East. Also, His Holiness Catholicos Aram Keshishian, Patriarch of the Great House of Cilicia and all Armenians.  May the Lord also keep His Holiness Abuna Paulos Gebre Yohannis, Patriarch of Ethiopia, as well as His Holiness Catholicos Patriarch Baselios Mar Thoma Matthews I of the East and His Holiness Abuna Antonios Patriarch of the Eritrean Orthodox Church.  Finally, His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church.  Egypt, Syria, Armenia, India, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the British Isles- may God bless our lands.

In this list, where is H.H. Karekin (I think?) Catholicos of Etchmiadzin?  And I thought he, and not the Catholicos of Cilicia, was properly "Catholicos of all Armenians"? 
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« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2005, 03:41:48 PM »

Dear Samer,

The people I spoke to who used that usage were Syrian Orthodox in the diaspora.  When I first heard it, I also thoguht they were talking about the Catholics.  When they clarified it to mean the Orthodox, then I had to look into the history of the term a little more.   
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« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2005, 04:54:24 PM »

Heheh, sorry, it's just that there seem to be several Armenian patriarchs, I just picked the one I was most familiar with, and the one that Pope Shenouda meets with.
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« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2005, 08:50:34 PM »

No matter.  God preserve them. 
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