Allies of the Confraternity St. Spyridon Orthodox Church in Union with the Vatican
Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul Melbourne Australia.
On Wednesday 10 February 2021, feast of St. Paul's Shipwreck on Malta, an alliance was signed between the Confraternity of the Knights of St. Peter & St. Paul and the Parish of St. Spyridon Orthodox Church in Union with the Vatican.
The alliance was signed by His Excellency Chevalier Peter Paul Portelli Grand Master of the Confraternity and the Mitered Archimandrite His Excellency The Rt. Revd. Dr. Andrew Vujisic for the Parish of St. Spyridon.
His Excellency The Rt. Revd. Dr. Andrew Vujisic Mitered Archimandrite
His Excellency The Rt. Revd. Dr. Andrew Vujisic is a Mitered Archimandrite of the Eastern Rite Church, highly credentialed academically, an author on spiritual matters, and is the Rector and Honorary President of the Board of Trustees of the St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute. He is the head Eastern Rite Church in Puerto Rico
PUERTO RICO WELCOMES FIRST-EVER EASTERN CATHOLIC PARISH by Martin Barillas FLUSHING, Mich. — The first-ever Eastern Catholic parish in Puerto Rico was established this spring, when a formerly Orthodox parish entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. The priests and faithful of St. Spyridon Parish in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico, were welcomed into the Catholic Church June 10, during a Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Father Alberto Figueroa Morales, vicar general of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan. The liturgy was held at the Divine Child Chapel, located outside San Juan, where the community has worshipped for the past 10 years.
Their reception into the Catholic Church became official with the signing of an agreement between the authorities of the archdiocese and the parish. The clergy made a profession of faith in a ceremony at the chancery, and congregation members made their profession of faith during the June 10 liturgy, which included the commemoration of the “bishop of Rome” and of the local archbishop in the litanies.
Among the priests received into communion were the pastor, Father Andrew Vujisic, and his associate, Father Peter DiLeo-Vulic. Father Christopher Grist, a priest affiliated with the parish, was received into the Catholic Church as well. In the absence of an Eastern Catholic bishop for the island, the parish is currently under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Juan. As all Eastern Catholic churches in similar circumstances, they retain their Eastern Christian theological, liturgical and spiritual traditions and practices.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the East-West schism of 1054 that saw the separation of the ‘Roman’ Catholic church from the ‘Greek’ Orthodox one and if anyone needs proof of that, need not look any further than Puerto Rico.
There, in Trujillo Alto, the Pan Orthodox Church of San Espiridion (St. Spyridon), built in the 1930s by missionaries from by the Archdiocese of Mexico of the Greek Orthodox Church in the diaspora, merged with the Catholic church to form a ‘Greco-Catholic Byzantine community’. Practically this meant a transition of authority from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to the Archbishop of San Juan of Puerto Rico.
The welcome ceremony was presided over by the Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Father Alberto Figueroa Morales on behalf of the Archbishop Latin Archbishop, Metropolitan Roberto González, who was commemorated along with Pope Francis.
Despite being part of the Catholic church, the priests and parishioners will continue celebrating the Divine Liturgy and sacred mysteries according to the Byzantine tradition, and the continuous liturgy in the Church Slavonic language, English and Spanish. They will also keep following the old (Julian) calendar instead of the Gregorian one.
The Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese, Father Alberto Figueroa Morales and Archimandrite Fr. Dr. Peter DiLeo - Vulić explain the Community agreement document between the two churches.
His Excellency Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez Nieves - Archbishop of San Juan
HE Archbishop Roberto González Nieves is the Metropolitan Archbishop at the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico. Metropolitan Archbishop or ‘Metropolitan’, in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, is the head of an ecclesiastical province, originally one who resided in the chief city, or metropolis, of the province.
The first known use of the title was at the Council of Nicaea in 325. On March 26, 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed His Excellency Archbishop Roberto González Nieves as Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to then HE Archbishop Nieves had served in United States diocese, particularly in New York and Boston.
HE Archbishop Roberto González Nieves was installed as Archbishop on May 8 1999, in a ceremony that attended by many of his friends from Corpus Christi, New York and Boston, and many others including the then mayor of San Juan and future Governor of Puerto Rico, Sila Calderón; and the former Governor, Carlos Romero Barceló.
Puerto Rico - brief details
Puerto Rico is officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, in Spanish it is Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, meaning the 'Free Associated State of Puerto Rico'. From 1898 to 1932, it was also called Porto Rico in English – meaning Rich Port.
Puerto Rico is an archipelago among the Greater Antilles, an unincorporated territory of the United States approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. Puerto Rico's indigenous people are the Taíno; it was colonized by Spain following Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493 and remained a Spanish possession for the next four centuries until it became a U.S. territory in 1898.