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CHICAGO (AP) - Pope John Paul II has created a diocese in Chicago to serve about 60,000 North American members of a church that started two millenniums ago in India. The Eparchy of St. Thomas of the Syro-Malabarians of Chicago is the first Syro-Malabar diocese outside India. The pope appointed the Rev. Jacob Angadiath as eparch, or bishop, of the Eastern Rite church on Tuesday. Eastern Rite churches are organized along ethnic lines. They accept the pope's authority but are autonomous in matters such as ritual and discipline. The Syro-Malabar Mass is celebrated in Malayalam, an Indian dialect. The liturgy has longer prayers and is ordered differently than the Latin Rite, Angadiath said. St. Thomas the Apostle founded the Syro-Malabar church in the first century, Angadiath said. Angadiath, 55, is pastor of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Mission at Mar Thomas Shleeha Church in suburban Bellwood. More than 7,000 Syro-Malabars live in the Chicago area. There are 50,000 Syro-Malabars in the United States and 10,000 in Canada.
Full article at: http://www.infobeat.com/fullArticle?article=406395528
June 8, 2001 Pope Receives Syriac Patriarch of Antioch
Rite Maintains Aramaic of Jesus
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2001 (Zenit.org).- When he received the new Syriac patriarch of Antioch today, John Paul II described the discreet but decisive contribution of the Syrian-Catholic Church as leaven in the dough.
His Beatitude Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, 71, arrived at the Vatican accompanied by a pilgrimage of faithful and ecclesiastics of this Christian community. He is succeeding Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, whom the Pope last year appointed prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches.
Ignace Pierre VIII was appointed patriarch canonically Feb. 16 by the Synod of Syrian-Catholic Bishops. A few days later he received the papal approval of his election. The Pope does not choose the patriarchs of the Oriental Churches.
Now, as a sign of recognition, the patriarch, whose see is in Lebanon, visited the Pontiff. He also confirmed his obedience and fidelity to Rome, a peculiarity of this Eastern Church, which returned to communion with Rome at the end of the 18th century, separating itself from the Syrian-Orthodox Church.
Found in Lebanon since the 17th century, the Syrian-Catholic rite is followed by 30,000 Catholics in the region, along with emigrants who reside primarily in the American continent. This Church's liturgy uses an Aramaic dialect, similar to the one used by Jesus.
John Paul II encouraged the Syrian-Catholics to combine profound theological study with the education of youth and the formation of new priests. Story from Zenit - ZE01060809
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