Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Blessed Ghebre-Michael

I  am fortunate  to live in a parish which is served by members of the Vincentian order. And for this reason we remembered Blessed Ghebre-Michael  (1790-1855) today at mass.  (READ  more here)    His story is a sad one which highlights an important aspect of this icon: the relationship between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox  churches.   As we noted in an earlier blog, it was Blessed John Paul's  dearest wish that Catholics and members of the Orthodox tradition should seek greater unity and understanding.  This was clearly absent at the time of Ghebre-Michael when there was a good deal of tension and misunderstanding between the  two traditions.   His  martyrdom reminds us of the continuing need for a  of better understanding between the two great traditions of Christianity - which have so very much in common.   In its own small way I think this icon is trying to help that relationship by showing how the 'light from the east'  can serve to illuminate the most Catholic of images - the Sacred Heart.   In turn, I hope that someone from the Orthodox tradition can read this icon and find that they are illuminated by some light from the west!  By reflecting on the 'heart' in scripture we may converge towards a deeper relationship. 

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