We Melkites, Eastern, Byzantine or Greek Catholics (Greek in ritual tradition but not in nationality), are governed by a successor to the Apostles of the first churches in the person of His Beatitude, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem. He is presently residing in Damascus, Syria. We relate directly to him and to the Holy Synod of Melkite Bishops throughout the world.
Our Diocese, the Eparchy of Newton, covers the entire United States and is shepherded by an Eparch (Bishop) in Roslindale, Massachusetts. He is assisted by an auxiliary Bishop with residence in Warren, Michigan. Our Annunciation Cathedral is in Roslindale, Massachusetts, is the mother Church, the seat of the Eparch for this Diocese.
The Melkite story goes back a long way: to the very dawn of Christian history. Originally, the Melkites, or Byzantine (Greek) Catholics of Middle Eastern origin, were descendants of the early Christians of Antioch (then in Syria).
Today, the term Melkite is used to refer to those Catholics whose ancestry could be Middle Eastern or those who follow the Byzantine tradition in worship, theology, and spirituality according to the Melkite ritual. As Rome was the most powerful city in early Western Europe and spread her manner of worship throughout the surrounding area, so too the Greek capital, Constantinople (originally called Byzantium), spread her traditions and customs to the countries closest to her.
Feastday – November 13th
Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, Syria around the middle of the fourth century. His father was an officer in the Roman army and his mother a woman of devout faith. At the age of twenty he retired to the desert, outside the city of Antioch for prayer and fasting and eventually became a monk. After seven years in the desert, he was forced by failing health to return to Antioch in 381 A.D. and was ordained to the diaconate later that year. In 386 A.D., he was ordained to the priesthood and became what amounted to chancellor for the Archbishop of Antioch.
In 397 A.D., upon the death of Nectarius, Archbishop of Constantinople, Saint John was elected as his successor and installed as Patriarch of the capital city of the empire in 398 A.D. Saint John was critical of many superfluous concerns of the Church of Constantinople and redirected much of the wealth of the Church to assist the poor, establish monasteries, support hospitals and house the homeless. Through his preaching, Saint John won for himself the Empress Eudoxia as a violent enemy. She was disturbed by his public condemnations of her lavish living and had Saint John exiled in 403 A.D. The population of Constantinople along with an earthquake fored the Empress Eudoxia to reconsider the exile of the Patriarch and he returned to the city. For a period of four years, Saint John fluctuated between exile and his Patriarchal See at the instigation of the Empress Eudoxia and Emperor Arcadios. In 407 A.D., he died during a final exile at Comanos on 14 September.
Saint John Chrysostom, meaning the “Golden-mouthed”, is remembered for his great homiletic eloquence and ranks as one of the greatest pastors of the Church. He is also commemorated on two other dates on our Church calendar, on 27 January, the transfer of His Holy remains from Comanos to Constantinople and on 30 January along with Saint Basil the Great and Saint Gregory the Theologian, the Feast of the Three Holy Hierarchs.