Archive for August, 2007

Orientale Lumen Australasia & Oceania III

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

It is with great pleasure that I remind everyone that the third Orientale Lumen Conference for Australasia and Oceania will be held September 26-29, 2007 at St. Patrick’s Campus of Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia.  Following the pattern of the US conferences, this meeting brings together many different Catholic and Orthodox traditions for prayer, education and fellowship.  The theme of the conference will be “The Life in Christ.”  Father Lawrence Cross, the organizer of this conference, does a wonderful job providing the same kind of program that we do with other OL conferences, and I commend his efforts.

One of the principal keynot speakers will be Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev of the Russian Orthodox Church from Vienna, Austria.  An original musical composition of Bishop Hilarion’s will also be performed during the conference. 

Other speakers include: Rev. Columba Stewart, OSB, St John’s School of Theology, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA; Dr. Mary Cunningham, University of Nottingham, England; Dr. Abraham Terian, St Nersess Armenian Seminary, New York, USA; Archimandrite Serge Keleher, Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, Dublin, Ireland (and editor of Eastern Churches Journal); Prof. Geoffrey Hull, University of Western Sydney, Australia;  Dr. Mary Marrocco, Canadian Council of Churches, Canada.  The moderator will be Rev. Dr. John Henderson, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, Sydney, Australia.  This stellar lineup of speakers will surely provide an exciting program of presentations and discussion.

I just wish I could be there!  Unfortunately, other work-related commitments and church events in the US during this week prevent me from making the trip, which I so very much enjoyed for the first two conferences in 2000 and 2003.

I encourage anyone interested in the Eastern Churches and the ecumenical dialogue among them to attend.

More information can be found at the conference website:

Criticisms and Replies about the OL Conferences

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

At each Orientale Lumen Conference, we distribute an Evaluation Form to participants and ask them to rate each of the sessions, various aspects about the conference, and generally give us their feedback for improvements for next year. Last week, I posted the positive feedback. I thought I should also post some of the less favorable comments, and give some reply, as the conference chairman and organizer. I would like to hear from you on your thoughts to improve the conferences.

1. Use the chant tradition of other groups (Galician, Russian, Greek, etc.) rather than mostly Ruthenian.

I try to get as wide a variety of services and singing traditions as possible. But it is very difficult to find people willing to volunteer and lead the singing of services, and who can do a good job at it. For the last few years, we have had more variety at the San Diego conference, with Maronite, Armenian, Romanian and Greek singing. This last year in Washington, we ended up with almost all Carpathian/Ruthenian chant style. I approached four other local churches to provide singers, or to attend a service during our conference, however, all had scheduling conflicts or could not accommodate our group. We will try other options for 2008, and I welcome any reasonable offers to lead the singing. The only tradition I know well is Ruthenian/Carpathian chant, and I use that form when other alternatives are not available.

2. I wish greater interaction with the floor would be possible during the panel discussions.

We use written notecards for questions to keep the discussions moving, and allow the widest number of responses. The moderator can then combine similar questions and select the sequence in which they are asked. This does reduce interaction, but keeps the panel discussions on topic, and provides the panelists with a good format to address many issues. I will review how we can allow more questions directly from the audience in the 2008 conferences, and find a way to try it. We will also try to extend the panel discussion time period. It seems more interesting dialogue occurs among the speakers than comes from the formal presentations.

3. In the service books, if you use Greek or Slavonic, please use the proper type fonts rather than transliterated English.

The majority of the participants cannot read Greek or Slavonic in their proper fonts, and so we provide transliterated texts for their benefit.

4. Why don’t we visit a local church to experience a liturgical service in a more proper setting — a real church?

We did visit churches in San Diego the last three years. I have tried to arrange similar visits in Washington in recent years, but scheduling conflicts have prevented attending a local church. We will work to include that next year for the Washington conference.

5. I think there needs to be greater input and attendance by Roman Catholic and Orthodox participants.

I agree, and we do the best we can to promote the conference with fliers, brochures, press releases, etc. We send out over 6000 brochures every year, and 30 press kits to Orthodox and Eastern Catholic newspapers and diocesan communications offices. The best promotion is “word of mouth” from attendees. Please invite your friends, members of your church, and people that your think would enjoy and benefit from the conference — your help in spreading the word will help the attendance grow.

6. Since icons are a visual expression, there was an expectation that the presentations be visual and not solely auditory.

Actually, we had MORE visual presentations this past year than ever before (none). I do try to give the speakers parameters and expectations, and I accommodate their presentation needs. I do not want to control how they present or what they say. I rely on their expertise and judgment as to how best to present their ideas. They come voluntarily, and I appreciate their contribution of time and effort.

7. Can you get at least a couple of hierarchs to join us next year?

Yes, I would love to have more participation by bishops. I invite every Orthodox and Catholic bishop in the US each year to our conferences. Encouragement from you, the lay persons and clergy, might help — please try.

8. More free time! — The free time was too long between sessions!

I guess the complaints both ways means we got it just about right!

9. More lay speakers and women too!

I would welcome suggestions for lay speakers and women. Your help in this area is important.

Comments from Attendees at OL XI Conferences

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

The following comments were received on the evaluation forms for the OL XI Conferences held in June in Washington, DC and San Diego, CA:

“I have been a priest for 32 years and have attended countless workshops and conferences. Orientale Lumen, which I have attended twice now, is the best conference I have ever attended. Thank you!”

“Meals together are super for education and fellowship.”

“Your program reaches down to the grass roots.”

“Great conference. Thank you.”

“OL Conferences provide the context and forum for ecumenism to proceed in the body of the Churches of different traditions and jurisdictions. Free of political issues, it is a meaningful experience each time.”

“The prospects for reunion are — or seem to be — more promising than they have ever been. I truly commend your efforts, and we must all work toward the reconciliation of our Churches. It is certainly God’s desire, and needs to be the wish and prayer of all of us. Thank you for a very special experience.”

“I appreciate the tremendous effort that goes into creating these events. Thank you. I’ll be back!”

“As usual, good conference — speakers were good.”

“Great opportunity, great conference.”

“The attention to detail and the fervor with which things are done is appreciated.”

Announcing a Historic Reprint of The Ruthenian Recension

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

In the first half of the twentieth century, bishops from the group of eparchies around the world known as “Ruthenian” within the Catholic Church (churches associated with both the Unions of Brest and Uzhorod), petitioned Rome to promulgate an official set of liturgical texts in Church Slavonic for their usage.

This movement of standardization also had an ecumenical dimension in that Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky believed that the Slavonic texts could also be used by the corresponding Orthodox Churches, namely the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox and the Ukrainian Orthodox in both Europe and North America.

This collection of books was promulgated from the 1940s through the 1970s, with the last book, the Bishop’s Service Book, or Archieratikon, appearing in 1973. Some of these books are now out of print and no longer available, and I have been advised that the Congregation for Eastern Churches in Rome has no intent of re-printing these books.

With the encouragement of several hierarchs, both Catholic and Orthodox jurisdictions, and the authorization of Bishop Milan Šášik of the Eparchy of Mukačevo, Ukraine (Protocol No. 132/07 dated February 2, 2007), Eastern Christian Publications has reproduced the entire set of the Ruthenian Recension and offers it for sale.

The original seven books have been divided into twelve volumes for uniformity of page count, binding and ease-of-use (some of the original books are too small to read to too many pages in one book). All seven original books have been normalized to the same size – 5.5”x8.5”. The reproductions are in two-color, on high-quality paper, and hand-bound. A complete 12-page Table of Contents in English of all twelve books appears in the front of each volume for easy reference. The twelve books include:

Volume I: Evangelion — The Holy Gospel
Volume II: Apostol – Apostle: Part 1
Volume III: Apostol – Apostle: Part 2
Volume IV: Archieratikon – Book of Hiearchical Services
Volume V: Sluzebnik – Book of the Priest and Deacon: Part 1
Volume VI: Sluzebnik – Book of the Priest and Deacon: Part 2
Volume VII: Casoslov – Book of the Hours: Part 1
Volume VIII: Casoslov – Book of the Hours: Part 2
Volume IX: Casoslov – Book of the Hours: Part 3
Volume X: Trebnik – Book of Sacraments and Blessings: Part 1
Volume XI: Trebnik – Book of Sacraments and Blessings: Part 2
Volume XII: Moleben – Book of Prayer Services

Each volume is priced at $75.00 if purchased separately. The price for the entire set purchased at one time is $50.00 per book, or $600. Eastern Christian Publications will accept a check or money order for the full amount, or arrange twelve monthly payments of $60 per month on your credit card. (

By making these texts available in the 21st century I pray they will help achieve further unity of the Church of Jesus Christ, and preserve the scholarship and tradition of the Ruthenian Recension well into the future.

Call 703-691-8862 to place an order, or e-mail Surface mail should be directed to: Eastern Christian Publications, Post Office Box 146, Fairfax, Virginia 22038-0146, USA.