This congregation governs the persons and discipline of the Eastern Catholic Churches which covers the areas mostly concentrated in the mideast Europe, eastern Asia and northeastern Africa. This congregation, with Italian Cardinal Achille Silvestrini as Prefect, also governs Eastern Church members in communities outside the mid-east such as in America and Canada. Churches include the Armenian Catholic Church, the Byzantine Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Coptic Catholic Church, the Latin Patriarch Church, the Melkite Church, the Oriental Churches, the Syriac Catholic Church as well as allegiance to Rome by the Ethiopian Church and the Malabarese Church.
Religious organization, following political developments chiefly in Rome and Constantinople, led to the separation of first the Greek, then the Russian Orthodox Church. Within the Eastern Catholic Churches only the Maronite Church has never been in schism. With the passing of the centuries, those in schism divided and subdivided. Then, chiefly since the 16th and 17th centuries, most of them returned to full unity with the True Church. Most however, chose to practice their Holy Liturgy in the language and culture of their origin. To accommodate this Rome took measures to assure their rights for these rites.
The origin of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Churches thus began during the pontificate of Pope Pius IX on January 6, 1962 with his Apostolic Constitution Romani Pontifices when it was added to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. On May 1, 1917 in the Motu Proprio Dei Providentis Pope Benedict XV created the congregation as a separate entity and Pope Pius XI further extended its authority on March 25, 1938 with his Motu Proprio Sancta Dei Ecclesia.
This congregation is headed by Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez of Chile who was appointed Prefect by John Paul II on February 21, 1998 during the Consistory where he also was welcomed into the cardinalate. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has jurisdiction over the promotion and regulation of the liturgy, especially the sacraments to make sure everything is in harmony with the rubrics and the competencies of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Attached to this congregation are special commissions that review causes of nullity or dispensations for priests and deacons and absolution from their obligations which they vowed at their ordinations.
This congregation, originally was composed of two congregations - the Congregation for Divine Worship which was instituted by Pope Paul VI on May 8, 1959 as an offshoot of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments created by Pope Saint Pius X on June 29, 1908. He had established it to replace the Congregation of Rites which Pope Sixtus V instituted in 1588 after the Council of Trent. Though Paul combined both Worship and Sacraments, it was John Paul II who reunited the two as it exists today in his Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of June 28, 1988.
This congregation handles all aspects of beatification and canonization of candidates as well as regulating the preservation of relics. Headed by Bishop Jose Sairava Martins, C.F.M. who has been busy since Pope John Paul II has beatified and canonized more saints than any other Sovereign Pontiff in the history of the Church including the most recent: yesterday's beatification of Bishop Anton Martin Slomsek in Slovenia.
This congregation was first created as the Congregation of Rites in the aftermath of the Council of Trent by Pope Sixtus V in 1588. Though Pope Pius IX made some modifications in 1920, Pope Paul VI made the most significant changes by defining the functions of this office with his Apostolic Constitution Sacra Rituum Congregatio in 1969 and finally revised, upgrading procedures by Pope John Paul II in 1983 with his Apostolic Constitution Divinus Perfectionis Magister.
In this final year of preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, we are invited to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance as an encounter with our merciful and forgiving Father. Through the Death and Resurrection of his Son, God the Father has established a Covenant relationship with us, in which we are called to be open to the message of the Gospel, to be converted and to do works of penance.
Through the Sacrament, sinners are restored to the saving relationship of the Covenant; they are freed from sin, grow in holiness, and rediscover the profound joy of being restored to the state of grace.
As we approach the Jubilee, the pastoral task of Bishops and priests is to ensure that the Christian communities entrusted to them undertake the path of conversion and penance. In this regard, I would remind pastors that, to be good confessors, they themselves must be authentic penitents. I pray that the entire People of God will experience conversion and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that together we may enter the new Millennium with renewed hearts and minds.
He was made a bishop on May 28, 1982 by Pope John Paul II and consecrated by Cardinal Benelli a month later on June 24th as the Titular Bishop of Tubune di Mauretania and Auxiliary Bishop of Florence. Less than a year later on March 18, 1983 he was made permanent Archbishop with the death of Cardinal Benelli. Two years later he was further honored by being included in the Holy Father's Consistory of May 25, 1985 receiving the red beretta and the titular church of St. Mary of Graces along the Via Trionfale.
At 75 he is nearing retirement as Archbishop of Florence, having held that position for sixteen years. Besides his busy duties in the city known as the birthplace of the Renaissance, he serves membership on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace while residing at Arcivescovado at Piazza San Giovanni 3, 50129 in Firenze, Italy.
The interment of Pope Saint Agapitus in Rome. Though he died on April 22 in Constantinople, his body was sealed in a leaden coffin and preserved until it could be brought back for proper burial in the eternal city.
Death of the antipope Paschal III who had been promoted by Frederick I Barbarossa against the legitimate Pope Alexander III.
Election of Cardinal Orlando Bandinelli as the 170th successor of Peter, taking the name Pope Alexander III. He was embroiled in a battle with antipopes during this time in the tug of war between Frederick I of Barbarossa and the Holy See. Alexander excommunicated Barbarossa and defeated him at the Battle of Legnano with the help of the Lombard League. He also convened the 11th Ecumenical Council.
The Portuguese-born Cardinal Pedro Juliao of Spain is elected Pope John XXI, becoming the 187th successor of Peter. From Alphonsus of Portugal he obtained the promise that the churches and their income would be respected in that kingdom. John died in the collapse of the residential palace in Viterbo while it was being hastily constructed for him.
Ferdinand Magellan embarks on his voyage that would circumnavigate the world, carrying with him missionaries who would touch souls during the journey.
Death of Saint John Masias, Dominican lay brother from Lima, Peru who had the gift of reading hearts.
Death of Saint Andrew Kim, Saint Paul Chong and companion Korean martyrs. For more on their story, click on DAILY LITURGY
Pope Pius IX is forced to surrender to King Victor Emmanuel opting for that rather than bloodshed. From that point on Rome became the capital of Italy and the Pope was denied from governing the Papal States, thus officially eliminating them, but he was allowed to retain the Holy See and the Vatican grounds which would become Vatican City and a country unto itself. It would not be until 1929 that a Treaty of Peace would be signed between Italy and the Vatican.
Pope Leo XIII issues his 22nd encyclical Vi e bn noto on the Rosary and public life.
Pope Leo XIII releases his 60th encyclical , also on the Rosary entitled Fidentem piumque animum.