Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday Patriarchal Address

PATRIARCHAL SEE 5 MARCH 2014 (ORCNS) - The Patriarch of Saint Stephen, Old Holy Roman Church of the English Rite, gave his Ash Wednesday address to the members of the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham today. Ash Wednesday is one of the five times that these formal addresses are given on topics including administration, pastoral matters, and world events. Excerpts from the transcript are provided below.


On this day the faithful are reminded that we are all dust, and we shall all return to dust. It is a time to confront our own frail humanity, our own mortality, and our own weaknesses. The fallen state of mankind is so often exhibited in ways that also underscore our mortality. These include war and persecution, two prime examples of man’s inhumanity to man. As we speak, there is strife around the world, as it seems there always is. We need hardly mention that chief among these are the conflict in Syria and the tensions in the Ukraine. In Syria, while the leaders of the world pretend that nothing is going on, Christians are being killed, harmed, tortured, and persecuted. Some are forced to leave their ancient homeland in search of safety, for Syria is indeed one of the oldest areas in Christendom. In the Ukraine we see the results of revolution and the chaos it brings. More often than not, the anarchist revolutionaries that bring about such chaos profess to be overthrowing a bad government, only to institute a worse system when they themselves come to power. It is a vicious cycle that plagues much of the world. Indeed, I cannot say with certainty that the promises of liberty of the American republicanists in the 18th century are truly being realized. Such is the cyclical nature of mankind’s existence. Thus We ask that at least a portion of your Lenten sacrifices be dedicated to the intentions of those people around the world who are suffering from injustice, persecution, torment, and warfare.

Within Our See, We are pleased to announce a marked increase in vocations. We ever strive to have the highest level of clerics in the service of Christ and His Holy Church within the flock entrusted to Our pastoral care.

We also announce, in the spirit of this year’s liturgical theme of Chivalry and Service, a reiterated effort to the preservation of the history and traditions of the Holy Roman Empire. These traditions are kept and maintained in a living way within Our Particular Church, which was indeed born out of the Holy Roman Empire. That which was created under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff over one thousand years ago has not died.

As we begin Lent today, we look forward to the coming festivities of the Easter Season. That itself is reason enough to proclaim that Lent is not a time of sorrow or boredom or difficulty, but is itself a time of joy as we realize the full extent of Christ’s Sacrifice for us all. How can the faithful begin to appreciate what they experience on Easter without Lent? It would be similar to an athlete receiving an Olympic medal without first having gone through the experience of training and preliminary competition. How could that be appreciated at all? Truly there is no Easter without Good Friday. That might be an oft-used expression, but it is true. Too often in the world today, people demand the joys of Easter without the Sacrifice of the Cross. That cannot be. It cannot produce real results. It is entirely contrary to the laws of nature. Let us, then, as a collection of faithful in Christ, serve as an example to the world that the people everywhere may learn to engage in selfless sacrifice and service to others to put themselves in solidarity with Our Lord on the Cross.