As a convert from Greek Orthodoxy, I have long been involved in attempting to make
more Catholics knowledgeable concerning their Eastern rite brethren as well as the need to multiply prayers and
penances for the hoped for reunion of the dissident Eastern Orthodox churches with the See of Peter. The recent
visit of Pope John Paul II to Greece and Syria once again highlights the Holy Father's wishes to transcend the
scandals of our centuries-old separation from the 16 or so autocephalous Byzantine Greco-Slav churches which have
retained the greatest part of our Catholic doctrinal patrimony. Despite the strident opposition of certain Ultra-Orthodox
circles which regard ecumenism with the Catholic Church as "heretical", it is consoling that many of the Greek and Syrian Orthodox laity responded favorably
to the Pope's visit and to the apology which he gave for the past sins of Catholics which have impeded efforts
to restore the perfect communion of the churches in Christ. There has been no question that the highest priority
of Pope John Paul II's Pontificate has been the reunion of the separated Eastern churches with the See of Peter,
"head of all the churches of God".
A plethora of Papal encyclicals and Apostolic Letters have witnessed this Roman
Pontiff's zeal that "the memory of past sins against ecclesial communion
may be fully purified and make way for reconciliation and fraternity."
( General Audience, 5/16,01 after his return from Greece, Syria, and Malta). The following documents witness to
his extraordinary zeal in marking out the path of Catholic ecumenism with the East:
- The Apostolic Letter Patres Ecclesiae on the sixteenth centenary of St.Basil.
- The Encyclical Letter Slavorum Apostoli in commemoration of the Eleventh Centenary of the Evangelizing Work of Sts. Cyril and Methodius.
- Letter for the 1600th Anniversary of the First Council of Constantinople and the
1550th Anniversary of the Council of Ephesus.
- Apostolic Letter Euntes in Mundum on the occasion of the Millenium of the Baptism of Kievan Rus.
- Si fa vicino Apostolic Letter
for the 400th Anniversary of the Union of Brest.
- Apostolic Letter Duodecimum Saeculum On the 12th Centenary of the Second Council of Nicaea.
- Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen to mark the Centenary of Orientalium Dignitas of Pope Leo XIII.
- Encyclical Letter Et Unum Sint On Commitment to Ecumenism.
As of this writing Pope John Paul II is preparing to visit Ukraine and later Armenia, stressing as he has always
done the Catholic Church's concern to maintain the theology, spirituality, liturgy, discipline and customs of the
Christian East. As he has repeatedly insisted, "the ultimate goal
of the ecumenical movement is to re-establish full visible unity among all the baptized." ("Ut UnumSint", 77). In countless addresses, in conformity with the teaching of Vatican I and II, he has
explained clearly the Office of Peter in the Church.
In a recent booklet (now, unfortunately, out of print), I had dedicated its pages
to the memory of Madame Swetchine, Vladimir Soloviev, Elizabeth Wolkonsky, Michael-Dimitrevitch Gerbstsoff, Ivan
Gagarin,S.J., Barnabite Gregory Schouvaloff, Exarch Leonid Fedorov, Prince Vladimir Ghika, Bishops Isaias Papadopoulos,
Helene Iswolsky, Helle Elpiniki Georgiades, and other sons of the Eastern churches whose study of the Church's
history led them to embrace the fullness of the Catholic faith which Christ the Lord had established upon the solidity
of the Rock of Peter.
May the Theotokos, and all the Angels and Saints inspire all of us to greater prayer
and penance to obtain not only the grace of deeper personal conversion but also that "All May Be One" in Christ the Lord and Lover of Mankind.
Author of Ending the Byzantine
CREDO OF BUFFALO - HOMEPAGE
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Catholics United for the Faith - Homepage
Proclaiming Christ to a New Generation
The articles below represent but a small portion of the total writings of Mr. Likoudis.
Being a convert from Greek Orthodoxy, he has personal and extensive knowledge of Eastern Orthodoxy issues. As (former)
President of Catholics United for the Faith International CUF,
he has travelled far and wide to promote the Unity of the Church. Mr. Likoudis has built a solid reputation as
a Catholic apologist specializing in the field of catechesis, sex education, ecumenism and the Papacy.
Jim's Biography and Achievements
Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox: Who
Brief History of the Byzantine Greco-Slav
Schism, giving rise to the Eastern Orthodox Churches
Pope St. Gregory ‘the Great', Defender
of the Papacy
St. THOMAS AQUINAS, PAPAL SUPREMACY,
and the WITNESS OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES IN THE FIRST MILLENNIUM
Apologetics, The Papacy, And
Let us restore visible unity to the Church or this world will be deprived
of a witness that only the disciples of God's Son, who died and rose out of love, can offer it so that it may be
prompted to open itself to faith (cf. Jn. 17:2).
And what can encourage the people of today to believe in Him, if we continue
to tear the seamless garment of the Church, if we do not succeed in receiving the miracle of unity from God by
working to remove the obstacles which prevents its full manifestation? Who will forgive us for this lack of witness?
I have sought unity with all my strength, and I will continue to do all I can until the end to make it one of my
priority concerns of the Churches and of those who govern them in the apostolic ministry.
(Pope John Paul II to the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Hierarchy - 5\8\1999.)
To contact Mr. James Likoudis, write:
By Land Mail: P.O. Box 852, Montour Falls, NY 14865, U.S.A.
By E-Mail: email@example.com
This Version: 18th May 2001