Melkite Greek Catholic Church
 

New Metropolitan of Beirut and Jbeil, Lebanon

Archbishop Cyril Bustros

On June 15, 2011 the web site of the Melkite Patriarch Announced -

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has given his assent to the election of two archbishops, canonically elected by the Holy Synod of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, at Ain Traz on 25 June 2010.

They are:

The Most Rev. Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, hitherto Eparch of Newton (USA), elected Metropolitan of Beirut and Jbeil, Lebanon; and The Most Rev. Bishop Issam John Darwish, B. S., hitherto Eparch of St Michael the Archangel of Sydney, (Australia and New Zealand), elected Archbishop of Zahleh and Furzol, Lebanon.
15 June 2011

Archbishop Cyril's New Position within the Church

Our beloved Eparch, Archbishop Cyril has been greatly honored by his elevation to the Metropolitan Archeparchy of Beirut (which is the Proto-Throne of Antioch). This is one of the most important historical Sees of the Melkite Church.

According to the Patriarchal Web Site -

"Theeparchy of Berytus, in ancient times suffragan to Tyre, was made a metropolitan see in 451 A.D. by the Council of Chalcedon. As a Melkite GreekCatholic eparchy, it has existed officially since 1736, following the division of the Melkite Patriarchate of Antioch into two branches, one Orthodox and one Catholic in 1724.

Territorially speaking, the diocese now comprises the old bishoprics of Berytus (Beirut) and Byblos (Jbeil). It includes the capital of Lebanon with all its outskirts, as well as a large part of Mount Lebanon (Metn, Kesrouan and part of the Shouf). It is limited by the boundary of Batroun to the north, the crests of the Lebanon range to the east, the Damour River to the south and the Mediterranean on the west.

Thanks to the rising population of Lebanon and to the influx of thousands of Melkite Catholics from neighbouring countries, Beirut has become the biggest and most important Melkite Catholiceparchy of the Middle East, with some 150,000 faithful.

Since the war in Lebanon, theeparchy of Beirut has undergone profound transformations in its population, caused by the continuous movement of people from the residential quarters of the capital towards the outskirts, and from other eparchies towards that of Beirut. In obedience to the law of the attraction exerted by a capital on the provinces, thousands of the Melkite faithful from the eparchies of the South and of the Bekaa have settled in Beirut and its suburbs. One might also add that theeparchyof Beirut has borne a large part of the weight of the politico-social drama provoked as much by the economic situation of the country as by the political upheavals of the last few years."

Axios ! Axios ! Axios!

Archbishop Cyril's Enthronement as Eparch of Newton

 

A message from

Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros

Annunciation Cathedral

"Be Holy, Because God is Holy"

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

We read in the First Letter of St. Peter: "Gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as He Who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy'" (1: 13-16).

In the Liturgy, when the priest elevates the consecrated gifts saying: "Holy gifts for the holy", we answer: "One is holy, one is Lord, Jesus Christ for the glory of God the Father. Amen". We are called to holiness, because we are children of God Who is holy, but we recognize at the same time that we are sinners. In the Creed we proclaim our belief in "One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church". The Church is holy because she is the Body of Christ who is holy. But we, as members of the Church, we remain sinners who need to repent. St. Ephrem defined the members of the Church as "the assembly of sinners who walk through repentance to holiness".

The late bishop Fulton Sheen wrote: "I once gave a retreat in a maximum security prison, where there were 1,979 inmates. All of them thought, of course, that I had on a white hat and they had on black hats—that I was good and they were bad. How could I begin? Well, I began by saying: Gentleman, I want you to know that there is one great difference between you and me. You got caught. I didn't. In other words, we are all sinners". And commenting on the following verse of one of the psalms: "I thirst for the living God, when will I appear before Him?", he writes: "We have a thirst for holiness. We want to be saints. We want to be happy, to be at peace on the inside, to be one with the Father. What is sanctity? Sanctity is Christ living in me so that His mind possesses my mind and I am governed by His truth. That's sanctity. He is in my body, so that my body becomes a tabernacle. Sanctity is not only Christ in me, it's making Christ known to others. It's being loveable. It's making Christ loveable. When others see us, they see Christ".

Holiness is a long journey in which we have to struggle so that we "do not act in compliance with the desires of our former ignorance." Great Lent is a particular time for repentance from our sinful conduct and for deepening our union with Christ so that He Who is holy may live in us. "I am the vine," Jesus said, "you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, because without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

I wish you a holy and fruitful Lent. "The grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God the Father and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all".

+ Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros
Eparch of Newton
 

A message from

Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

The Lenten season is a time of repentance, prayer, and joy in the Lord.

  1. On Monday of the first week of Great Lent, our Byzantine Church invites us first of all to repentance. In the first prayer of Vespers, we say: "As we set out on the course of the Fast, let us hasten to tame our flesh through abstinence. With prayer and tears, let us seek the Lord our Savior. In order that He may forget our evil deeds, let us say to Him: We have sinned against You, O Christ Our King! Save us as you saved the people of Nineveh of old. In Your compassion grant us a share in Your heavenly Kingdom." Our sins are always sins against God: "We have sinned against You, O Christ Our King!" That is why the Church invites us to "seek the Lord our Savior." By sin we live outside God's Kingdom. That is why we pray that God, in His compassion, grant us a share in His heavenly Kingdom.
  2. By sin we also live in darkness and we disfigure the image and likeness of God in us. That is why we pray to God in the second prayer of Vespers: "I entreat You: cleanse me in the waters of repentance. And through prayer and fasting, make me shine with light, for You alone are merciful." Those who recount the lives of the Saints, especially of the hermits in the desert, always mention that their faces shone with light. This light is the Divine Light, the glory of God that filled the Temple of Solomon and that radiated from Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. St. Paul says: "All of us, gazing on the Lord's glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into His very image by the Lord Who is Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18) The faces of the Saints were illumined by the radiant glory of Divine Life that filled their hearts.
  3. The Lenten season is also a season of joy and a time of purification. In the third prayer of Vespers we pray: "Let us enter the season of the radiant Fast with joy, giving ourselves to spiritual combat. Let us purify our spirit and cleanse our flesh. As we fast from food, let us abstain also from every passion. Rejoicing in the virtues of the Spirit, may we persevere with love, so as to be worthy to see the solemn Passion of Christ our God, and with great spiritual gladness to behold His holy Resurrection." This Lenten combat is first and foremost a spiritual combat. Our fasting from food has spiritual value only when it used as a weapon in the spiritual battle for our hearts. Fasting is not an end in itself but rather a most effective means in helping us attain liberation from the passions, a necessary condition for our sanctification.

By fully embracing the spiritual combat of Great Lent we prepare ourselves to celebrate with pure and radiant joy the Feast of the Resurrection. In the second hymn of the Orthros on the first day of the Fast, we pray: "Let us joyfully begin the holy season of abstinence. Let us shine with the bright radiance of the holy Commandments of Christ our God, with the brightness of love and the splendor of prayer, with the purity and the strength of good courage. Clothed in a garment of light, let us hasten to the holy third-day Resurrection that shines upon the world with the glory of eternal life." When we live clothed "with the brightness of love and the splendor of prayer," we can say that we are already living in the spirit of the Resurrection.

I wish you a holy and fruitful Lenten journey that you may arrive at the Great and Holy Pascha of Christ radiant with His abundant Life dwelling in your hearts.

+ Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros

Eparch of Newton

 

Archbishop Cyril Bustros' Christmas Letter

To the Clergy, Laity and Friends of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton

December, 2004

"When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law and to enable us to be adopted as sons" (Gal. 4:4). The expression "fullness of time" designates a new quality of the time. It is a time full of the presence of God. St. John writes in the prologue of his Gospel: "No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, Who is nearest to the Father's heart, Who has made Him known" (Jn. 1:18). Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God. He is the Word of God Who "was in the beginning with God" (Jn 1:1), and Who "was made flesh, lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1,14).

Christmas is the feast of the appearance of God in the flesh through His Word and Son, Jesus Christ. It is the feast of our salvation: the name of "Jesus" (in Hebrew "Yeshua") means "God saves". This name was given at the command of God's angel: "The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name Him Jesus, because He is the One who is to save His people from their sins" (Mat. 1:2-21). That is why He is also called "Emmanuel", a name which means "God-is-with-us" (Mt. 1:23).

If we ask why the Word of God became man? The answer of the Holy Scripture is this: "to make us partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). St. Athanasius writes: The Son of God became man so that we might become sons of God".

By nature we are created in God's image and likeness. God's image is in our nature, that means in our reason which seeks the truth, in our love which is the reflection of God's love, and in our ability to do good. God is absolute truth, absolute love, and absolute goodness. God's likeness is in our holiness. By sin, we lost God's likeness, although His image remains engraved in our nature. Jesus Christ came to restore God's likeness. That is what He called "born again" (Jn. 3:3). In St. Paul's terms, our destiny is to be not merely "flesh" but "Spirit". He writes to the Galatians: "My point is that you should live in accord with the Spirit and you will not yield to the cravings of the flesh… It is obvious what proceeds from the flesh: lewd conduct, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering, jealousy, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissentions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I have warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity. Against such there is no law! Those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's lead" (Gal. 5:16-25).

That is a good description of what Jesus said to Nicodemus in the Gospel of St. John: "I tell you solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God; what is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not be surprised when I say: you must be born from above" (Jn. 3:5-7).

"In this faithless and corrupt age" (Mark 8:38), in this society which calls for immoral and corrupt behavior, we need to hear again and again these Divine words which lift us up to the perfection of our human nature, lead to peace between the peoples of this world, and contribute to the realization of the hymn which the angels sang at the birth of Jesus: "Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom His favor rests". (Luke 2:14).

Merry Christmas, Happy and holy New Year!

+ Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros

Eparch of Newton

 

Address of Most Rev. Cyril Salim Bustros at the Enthronement Liturgy

Cathedral of the Eparchy of Newton

August 18, 2004

Your Beatitude, Most Reverend Bishops, dear priests, deacons and subdeacons, dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

"Let your light shine". This is the program of my new ministry and my appeal and Christ's appeal to everyone of you. I am coming from Baalbeck, in Lebanon, the ancient "Heliopolis", a Greek word that means "City of the sun". There I was born, and there I served as Archbishop for sixteen years, from 1988 to 2004, after having been for twenty-two years rector of St. Paul's Institute of Philosophy. I am a bishop of the Catholic Church. At my first interview with the press in 1988, they asked me some questions about political problems; my short answer was "I am a Doctor in theology not in politics". And in fact, I did not interfere in political matters, and I was at the service of all men and women from all religions and all political parties. I accepted the priesthood and after that the episcopacy for the singular aim of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God and Savior of all human beings, and to unite the diversity of human beings and the diversity of nations into one body, the Body of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has reconciled in his Body all who were before enemies, as St. Paul wrote to the Ephesians: "Christ himself is our peace: He it is who has made both one, and has broken down the intervening wall of the enclosure, the enmity, in his flesh" (Eph 2, 14). So we can say with Saint Paul: "Hence there is not ‘Gentile and Jew', ‘circumcised and uncircumcised', ‘Barbarian and Scithyan', ‘slave and freeman', but Christ is all things and in all" (Col 3, 11).

Adapting this saying to the American situation, we can say: "There is no American and Arab", but only Christ, and we, Americans and Arabs, are the One Body of Christ. The Arabs remain Arabs: they cannot deny their origin; neither can they loose their identity. They are bearers of a very rich heritage of which they are proud. But at the same time, they became Americans, and they are also proud of this new identity. I personally, am also proud to be Lebanese; but at the same time, I am happy to come to America, and to be enriched by my new American identity. We read in the letter to the Hebrews: "Here we have no permanent city, but we seek the city that is to come" (Heb 13, 14). This city that is to come is the Kingdom of God. This Kingdom of God is to come, but it is already here, though in a mystical way: He is in us! We are all citizens of the one Kingdom of God. In Christ we have become, all who were baptized, a new creature. We are all in pilgrimage on this earth, and our mission is to make the whole humanity a new creation in Christ Jesus by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has appointed me Eparch of Newton upon my election by our Greek Catholic Melkite Synod. I accepted with joy and love this nomination. When I obtained my Doctorate in Theology in 1976 from the English Department of the University of Louvain in Belgium, after having followed for two years all the courses in English with many Americans who were following the same courses as I, I did not know at that time that God was preparing me to be one day a Bishop in the United States of America. And when I came after obtaining my doctorate in 1976 to visit the late Most Reverend Joseph Tawil and spend one month with him in Boston, I never imagined that I shall be after twenty-eight years his successor as Eparch of Newton.

My dear co-workers, Most Reverend Nicholas Samra and all priests and deacons and subdeacons in the Eparchy; my dear sisters and brothers: I am coming to you to serve you. And the best food I can offer to you in my service is my love, which I hope shall be the reflection of the Love of God the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and the link of unity between all the members of our dear Eparchy. In this love, we are called by God to collaborate for the good of the Church in general and for the prosperity of our Melkite Church in particular. I know that there are many problems that need to be solved. I cannot solve them alone, or immediately, but with you and with love, we can solve the most serious problems. I do not fear to face serious problems. I am used to that, in my long ministry in Baalbeck. And I can say with Saint John the Evangelist: Where there is love, there is no fear.

Dear Brothers, Most Reverend bishops of the other churches, I thank you very much for coming to participate with us in this Liturgy. We are all ministers of the One, Holy Catholic Orthodox and Apostolic Church. And this Church, as Pope John Paul II has said many times, has to breathe with two lungs: East and West. I know what this saying means, having been a member of many ecumenical commissions in the Middle East, and General Reporter of the Synod of Bishops in its special Assembly for Lebanon. And I am still a member of the Commission of Dialogue between the Catholic church and the Assyrian Church of the East.

I thank Most Reverend Bishop John Adel Elya for the service he has done during his ministry as Eparch of Newton. He is now free of this heavy responsibility, and he can have the rest, he has merited. But he remains my dear friend and the dear friend of all of you. And to my other friend, Most Reverend Bishop Nicholas Samra, I say: we will work together in a very cordial collaboration, and be a sign of the unity for the Church.

I thank His Beatitude our Patriarch Gregorios the III, for presiding over this Liturgy. And we shall remain in contact with him and with all the bishops of our Greek Catholic Melkite Synod, so that our Melkite Church can also breathe with two lungs: the one in the Middle East and the one spread all over the world.

May the Love of God the Father and the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

 
Formal protrait of Archbishop Cyril Bustros

Announcement -

New Eparch for Newton

by Exarch Joseph Hagger

His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend John A. Elya from pastoral governance of the Eparchy of Newton and has appointed the Most Reverend Cyril Salim Bustros, most recently Archbishop of Baalbeck in Lebanon, as the new Eparch of Newton.

Archbishop Cyril was born at Ain-Borday, near Baalbeck in Lebanon on January 26, 1939 . After his primary and secondary studies at the Minor Seminary of St. Paul at Harissa, he pursued his philosophical studies at St. Paul Institute in 1956 and 1957, and made his novitiate at the White Fathers in Gap, France. Then, he studied theology for four years (1958-1962) at the Major Seminary at St. Anne of Jerusalem. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood in the Society of the Missionaries of St. Paul on June 29, 1962 .

From 1962-1970, he was Professor of Classical Greek and of French Literature at the Minor Seminary. Then from 1972-1974 Professor of Philosophy and Theology at St. Paul Institute in Harissa.

Interrupting his teaching, he pursued a Doctorate of Theology at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, and received his degree in 1976. Then for eleven years he was Director of the St. Paul Institute of Philosophy and of Theology of the Paulist Missionaries at Harissa, and at the same time Professor at St. Joseph University in Beirut, and in various lay centers.

It was in 1988 that the Holy Synod of the Melkite Church elected him Archbishop of Baalbeck, succeeding the Most Reverend Elias Zoghby. He was ordained to the Holy Episcopate on November 27, 1988, in the Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, by His Beatitude Maximos V, assisted by Archbishops Elias Zoghby and Joseph Raya.

Plans for the Installation of Archbishop Bustros will be forthcoming as soon as they have been formulated.

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