December 26, 2013 will mark the 37th Anniversary of my priestly Ordination by the late +Uladyslau [Ryzy-Ryski], Patriarch of the Byelorussian Orthodox National Church. It was a wintery Sunday, the Feast of the Poor Shepherds at the Chapel of the Cathedral Of Learning on St. Andrew’s Avenue in the Bronx, New York City. Present were the brother of the Patriarch, Dr. Emigidiusz Jerzy Ryzy [now Patriarch Yuri I of the Byelorussian Orthodox National Church], Archbishop Francisco Barquero of Nicaragua, Mgr. Lorenzo Abrunedo and other dignitaries of The American World Patriarchates. After the beautiful service a Turkey Dinner was served to all, especially the Poor of the Bronx, in honor of the Poor Shepherds who had welcomed the Saviour of the World, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth Peace to Men of Good Will who have found favor with God.”
The Assignment given to me then by +Uladyslau and which I still cherish today was the Vilatte Guild. The Guild was to cement relations between the many denominations of the Vilatte Succession and the Mother Church in India, the Malankara Orthodox Church. Last Christmas one of our members, Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan [San Luigi Grand Prior for the United States], offered Christmas Eve Mass for the Syro-Malabar Nazrani community of Long Island. Our links are strong and getting stronger.
Our London representative, Dr. John Kersey, has published a study of Archbishop Vilatte: Joseph Rene Vilatte, Some Aspects of his Life, Work and Succession (2011, European-American University Press, distributed by Lulu Enterprises and available to read online for free at the link above). This is the definitive work on Archbishop Vilatte and his Succession. It will make a great Christmas present to anyone of the Vilatte Succession, worldwide.
Greater love hath no man than to give his life for a friend. Our Saviour whose birth we anticipate did just that for each and every one of us.
Merry Christmas and May the Star of Bethlehem enlighten your days, today and for the rest of your life.
+Francis C. Spataro
[Archbishop Spataro is a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Thorns and is the official representative for New York of the San Luigi Orders. Since 1998 he has served as Primate of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, in which the Prince-Abbot is Archbishop of Great Britain.]