Monday, February 21, 2011

New Catholic Encyclopedia Ambiguities on Canonizations

From yesterday's post in which I show that Alexander Nevsky might have been Catholic from 1248 until his death in 1263:
In the New Catholic Encyclopedia article "Alexander Nevski [NCE, vol. 1, 2nd ed., p. 263], Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor says, "He is venerated as a saint in the Russian Church." Properly speaking, the Russian Church is the Russian Catholic Church, and I hope that is what Sherbowitz-Wetzor means; the New Catholic Encyclopedia should be revised to dispel many ambiguities about canonizations.
The following examples show that the 2003 New Catholic Encyclopedia (which had some articles revised in 2010) is not uniformly clear about whether the Catholic Church considers certain people to be saints.




Sherbowitz-Wetzor is quite clear in his NCE article "St. Vladimir" [XIV:576]: "The Russian Church remained under the jurisdiction of Constantinople, but Vladimir and his successors remained close and friendly to the West. Vladimir is venerated as a saint by both Byzantine Catholics and the Russian Orthodox. Feast: July 15."

The 2003 version of J. M. Hussey's article "Symeon the New Theologian, Monk of the Studion" [XIII:672] is similarly clear: "Feast: March 12 (Orthodox Church)."

Byzantine Emperor John III Ducas Vatatzes (1221-1254)
G. T. Dennis is not as clear in his article "Byzantine Emperor John III Ducas Vatatzes" [VII:913]; he says "In the Byzantine Church, St. ... His interest in learning and his charitable measures made him so popular that soon after his death he was honored as St. John the Merciful. Feast: Nov. 4." Was he commemorated by Byzantine Catholics, and not only by Orthodox Christians? The Wikipedia article attests to his commemoration by the latter: "A half-century after his death, John III was canonized as a saint, under the name John the Merciful and was still commemorated annually until recent times," citing "Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press, 1969, p. 444."

St. Sergius of Radonezh (1314-1392)
P. Roche's article "St. Sergius of Radonezh" correctly mentions that the latter's feast is on September 25 [XIII:16], but ought to mention that the saint, who reposed in 1392, was approved by Ven. Pope Pius XII of Rome (1939-1958) for veneration by Russian Catholics in 1940, and is in the 2004 Roman Martyrology.
Bl. Exarch Leonid Feodorov the Martyr (1879-1935)
The 2003 version of P. A. Mailleux's article [V:687] about the Russian convert Exarch Leonid Feodorov (1879-1935) fails to mention that Bl. Pope John Paul II the Great of Rome (1978-2005) beatified Bl. Leonid as a martyr on 6/27/2011.

St. Cyril of Turov
G. Luznycky [IV:473] does not mention that St. Cyril of Turov (1130-1182) appears on April 28 in the list of saints of the Roman calendar that the Servant of God Pope Paul VI approved in 1969.
Nicodemus the Hagiorite (1749-1809)
G. A. Maloney says [X:382]: "Nicodemus [the Hagiorite] was solemnly canonized a saint of the Greek Church on May 31, 1955." He should say, in his entry on a man who denied the validity of Roman Catholic Baptism, "the Greek Orthodox Church." Maloney should mention Nicodemus's denial of the validity of Roman Catholic Baptism; he says only the following: "His most important work, the Pedalion, or Rudder of the Ship of Knowledge, is a commentary on Greek canon law, which manifests certain anti-Roman tendencies. These are usually attributed to interpolations by its editor, the monk Theodoritus, though Nicodemus elsewhere manifests obvious prejudices against Roman ecclesiastical institutions."
Patriarch Joseph I of Constantinople (1267-1275; 1282-1283)
F. Chiovaro's article [VII:1043], which details the anti-Catholic beliefs activities of Patriarch Joseph I of Constantinople (1267-1275; 1282-1283), which says "Feast: Oct. 30," should not say even "Feast: Oct. 30 (Greek Church)" or "Feast: Oct. 30 (Oriental Church)," but "Feast: Oct. 30 (Orthodox Church only)."

Even in the case of people glorified only by the Orthodox Church, the NCE fails to mention their glorification. L. Ouspensky's article "Andreĭ Rublëv" [XII:400] does not mention that the Russian Orthodox Church glorified the outstanding iconographer Andrei Rublev (1360-1430) in June 1988. P. A. Mailleux's article [IX:760-761] omits to mention that anti-Catholic Metropolitan Peter Moghila of Kiev (r. 1633-1646) is on some official Orthodox calendars of saints. R. H. Schmandt [XIII:884] does not mention that Eastern Orthodox Christians commemorate the righteous Roman Emperor Theodosius I (r. 379-395) as a saint on January 17.

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