Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holy Thursday Letter

PATRIARCHAL SEE 4 April 2020 (ORCNS) - The following letter was issued for Holy Thursday by HHE Archfather Don Rutherford, as is traditional each year. 

To my venerable brethren the Bishops, to the priests and regular clergy, and to the Serene Princes, Illustrious Nobles, and Honourable Knights, greetings on this Holy Thursday as we began the transition from Lent to the glorious celebration of Easter.

On this feast day upon which we celebrate, commemorate, and experience the institution of the Holy Eucharist, we together find ourselves in a world currently in a state of global confusion and turmoil, walking in darkness. Yet we know well the words: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. Our Lord is that light, the only light that illuminates the world. In this time in which some of the most basic, fundamental aspects of human dignity are being violated or ignored by world leaders, and even in which the ability of the Church herself to function is being threatened by civil government, we together must keep our faith in our Lord, looking forward to the future, doing what we can to help others along the way, following the example of Christ.

During this time in which we remember the institution of the Holy Priesthood by our Lord, it is also a marvelous time to give thanks for being in the tenth year of the modern Imperial Patriarchate. The past decade has been a time of slowly rebuilding and joining together the diverse and unique patrimony of the See in which we all serve. Following ancient custom, this tenth year is the year in which the modern patriarchate has been perfected in its standing and sovereignty, and thus it is in this year that the totality of the rich customs particular to this See and its ancient heritage were brought into use and public knowledge. That is the cause of the recent changes that you may have noticed. We therefore also take this opportunity call to mind and honour Our predecessors as Florentine Archfathers, who were also Roman Popes: Leo X, first Baroque Pope who launched the counter-reformation; Clement VII, who opposed the Protestant break with Rome in England under Henry VIII and who personally approved the theory of Catholic cleric Nicholas Copernicus that the earth revolves around the sun almost a century before Galileo; Pius IV, who brought the Council of Trent successfully to a fruitful conclusion; and Leo XI, whose reign was less than one month, but who earlier has served as Florentine ambassador for Pius V, legate to France for Clement VIII, and Archbishop of Florence.

We have indeed, through the eternal blessings of Almighty God and the intercession of the Blessed Vision Mary and our celestial patron St. Stephen the Deacon and Protomartyr, arrived at a most special and sacred milestone. We carry on the faith and traditions of Florence and Rome into the present era and, by the grace of God and the help of our Lady and blessed Stephen, we will carry on our rich traditions, flowing from the altar of God, into the future together.

We wish each of you a blessed Holy Week and a most joyous Easter season. May we celebrate and rejoice in that wonderful event that brings us all together.