Historic Agreement for Unity - for Russian Orthodox
Sunday, May 20th, 2007
An historic reunification agreement has been signed in the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow. This agreement re-establishes unity between the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and the Moscow Patriarchate. This schism dates back to the early years of the Communist revolution in Russia which took root in 1917. I believe the reunification of these two very hostile churches is a landmark in the reconversion of Russia.
The agreement was signed in the Cathedral of the Savior in Moscow. This is a particularly symbolic site for such a reconciliation. The original Cathedral of the Savior was ordered demolished by Stalin as part of his program to eradicate Christianity from the country.
In December 1931, he had the structure blown up with the intention of replacing it with a huge temple to Communist atheism, the so-called Palace of the Soviets. This monumental structure was supposed to be topped off with a colossal statue of Lenin. The plan was that the height of the Palace and statue would exceed that of the then highest building in the world, the Empire State Building (see attached artist’s rendering of the proposed structure). For some reason Stalin’s engineers could never stabilize a foundation on the site. After a number of attempts, the grandiose design was scrapped and a swimming pool was built there.
Shortly after the fall of Communism the idea of rebuilding the destroyed cathedral grew in the hearts of the faithful. Construction began in 1994 just ten years after Pope John Paul II’s Collegial Consecration with the bishops of Russia and the world. This time there were no problems setting the foundation for the Cathedral. Work proceeded quickly despite the immense labor of reproducing the lavish decorations of the original cathedral in the financially chaotic situation that followed the end of the Soviet state. By 1996 the basic structure had been erected and topped off with a huge cross. The completed church was consecrated on Sunday, August 20, 2000, following a Divine Liturgy celebrated by Patriarch Alexy II and many Eastern Orthodox hierarchs from around the world.
The reconstruction of this church is recognized by the faithful in Russia as symbolic of the resurrection of religion in that country after its long period of martyrdom under godless Communism. When former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was buried in an Orthodox funeral held in this cathedral recently, it was noted by many observers as marking the final transition from the former state atheism of the old regime. This can well be another SIGN OF THE “BEGINNING” OF THE TRIUMPH OF MARY’S IMMACULATE HEART. THERE IS A LONG ROAD AHEAD FOR THE COMPLETE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA. BUT THE BEGINNING IS WELL UNDERWAY.
WATCH EWTN for the four part series, titled: “MIRACLE IN RUSSIA” made by Father Robert J. Fox of the Fatima Family Apostolate International in Russia when Russia’s first Shrine to Our Lady of Fatima was dedicated as built by the Fatima Family Apostolate. The Pope’s apostolic blessing was sent the day of the dedication and blessing. The four episodes are to be aired on Eternal Word Television Network: Miracle in Russia: Ep. 1 -4 - May 29 - June 1 at 3 AM & at 6:30 PM Eastern USA time.
90th Anniversary of Fatima Apparitions and Message
Friday, May 11th, 2007
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Angelo Cardinal Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, to be his personal representative at the 90th anniversary of the Apparitions of Fatima at ceremonies in the Cova da Iria this May, the Pope himself being in Brazil.
The Pope wrote for the occasion:
“Ninety years ago, the Heavenly Queen of Peace, in order to transmit divine help and the promise of sure hope for peace, appeared in Fatima to three astonished little shepherds, while they kept watch over their flock. … We remember well the special devotion and gratitude of John Paul II, Our Predecessor of good memory, who twenty- five years ago thanked the Virgin Mary for the miraculous sparing of his life and urged all the faithful to put into practice her warnings and requests.
“Therefore, We who have already visited that shrine and, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, have studied the message entrusted by the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherds, wish that you propose again to the faithful the value of the prayer of the holy Rosary as well as this message, in order that we may obtain the favors and graces which the Mother of the Redeemer Herself promised to the people devoted to Her Immaculate Heart.”
I’ve spent the last several weeks putting together a special edition of the magazine, Immaculate Heart Messenger, which will have about half of its 52 pages being a pictorial history of Fatima from the beginning; to be continued in a Part II special edition for the following issue. Having spent much time in Fatima, often 6 weeks each summer, the last 33 years - I have collected much history and multiple pictures which I can now use in honor of Fatima’s 90th anniversary. The next issue will have the interview information with Branca Paul, MD - Sister Lucia’s doctor the last 15 years of her life - and who was with her when she died. Dr. Branca Paul was here recently at the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama where I offer daily Mass in lower church at 12 PM Noon on weekedays and 10 AM on Sundays. Dr. Paul said, “Sister Lucia became my spiritual doctor.”
Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) the end of May will carry the four programs I made in Russia on the occasion of the dedication of Russia’s first Shrine in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. Sister Lucia honored the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Russia Shrine when I said Mass at her Monastery Chapel before continuing on the Russia. The Catholic Archbishop of Moscow asked the Fatima Family Apostolate to sponsor the building of this Shrine in St. Petersburg, Russia. The series will air on EWTN Ep. 1-4 May 29 - June at 3 AM & 6:30 PM Eastern time USA. THANK YOU. Fr. Robert J. Fox - FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE INTERNATIONAL
MARY APPEARED TO LUCIA MORE THAN A 7TH TIME
Friday, May 4th, 2007
WHEN I PLACED ON THE FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE WEBSITE that I had interviewed the personal doctor of Sister Lucia, her doctor for 15 years and who was with Sister Lucia when she died, within a few hours it was picked up by at least two other websites and within two days this Fatima Family Apostolate website received 13,672 unique visitors. Most were friendly visitors and I was most grateful.
Some got very excited and manifested the confusion, even anger, that exists among those confused by misrepresentations which are not under any Church authority whatsoever. The fact is, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to Sister Lucia, not only a seventh time but various times. The most famous was on December 10, 1925, together with the Child Jesus who spoke:
“Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”
Then Our Lady said to Lucia:
“My daughter, look at my Heart surrounded with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console me, an say that I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.”
On February 15, 1926, The Child Jesus again appeared to Lucia, asking her if she had spread this devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.
June 13, 1929 Our Lady appeared again to ask the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, “Promising by this means to prevent the spreading of its errors and to bring about its conversion.” But only December 20th, 1940, eleven years later, was Lucia authorized to write to the Holy Father Pope Pius XII, asking for this Consecration. In a future entry I type in how that apparition went.
In the book, THE INTIMATE LIFE OF SISTER LUCIA, which I had published and prepared jointly with Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, S.J. who first published in several languages the well-known memoirs of Sister Lucia, now known as “Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words,” I shared another special apparition Sister Lucia had after the famous six on the 13th, May through October, 1917. That book, THE INTIMATE LIFE OF SISTER LUCIA, has many personal accounts, letters, etc. written by Sister Lucia, not published elsewhere (available through this website in a book of 333 pages for those interested). Fr. Martins gave the manuscripts to me in Portuguese to be published only after the death of Sister Lucia. I long knew that when the Bishop asked Sister Lucia to put into writing the third part of the Fatima secret, at a time when Lucia was very sick, that for weeks Lucia labored under anxiety herself. Lucia had a profound sense of obedience to her Religious Superior and especially to her Bishop. But how could she obey the Bishop when she was told by Our Lady to keep it secret from the world at that time. Sister Lucia suffered greatly for some time, unable to fulfill the Bishop’s request. SHE JUST COULD NOT BRING HERSELF TO WRITE DOWN THAT 3RD PART OF THE FATIMA SECRET.
For years I thought she was not able because of her serious sickness. I thought she was too weak to write. - Not until I processed the many Portuguese pages for the book on her intimate life, having them translated into English for the book, THE INTIMATE LIFE OF SISTER LUCIA, did I realize that her difficulty in writing down the secret was not her health - even though the Bishop feared then she would die and the secret be hidden from the world forever.
The difficulty was that she felt, once written down, it will get out to others, confidences will be broken. Finally, as noted in the documents of this book, Our Lady of Fatima appeared to her again and told her to write it down as the Bishop requested. ONCE OUR LADY APPEARED AND TOLD HER TO WRITE IT DOWN IN OBEDIENCE TO THE BISHOP and give it to him, she had it written down in a matter of minutes.
We know well now how guarded that secret was, first by the Bishop and finally the Vatican until May 13, 2000 when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified.
NOW, WHAT ABOUT THAT 7TH APPARITION OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA - that thousands got excited about when I wrote a blogon this site - that I had spent about 2 1/2 hours interviewing the personal doctor of Sister Lucia who said that in Lucia’s Diary after her death they found mention of the 7th apparition that was not previously known.
First, we need to make proper distinctions and read carefully while THINKING properly. On May 13, 1917 - the first Fatima apparition in the Cova da Iria, our Lady said, “And I will return here yet a seventh time.” “Here” - she was appearing and speaking then in the Cova da Iria. She did in fact appear to Lucia other places after the deaths of Jacinta and Francisco. It was a 7th appearance “here” that was the subject of the 7th apparition in the Cova da Iria of which the doctor made mention. - You can read for yourselves, some of the reactions, some not positive, some accusing, as if something they and the world were entitled to was not being revealed to them NOW. There seemed an unhealthy and uncontrolled curiosity as if something that was an “important message’” intended from the world was being withheld. First, the blog of this Fatima Family Apostolate International website did not mention “message” or that it was “Important” as some assumed but merely “apparition.”
Some making comments were really commenting on each others comments than on the blog entry itself which I had made. It was from Sr. Lucia’s personal Diary which to my knowledge was never intended for the world. That decision will have to be for others and I know little about it. At the end of the many comments below the following article which follows - I finally then give my own comment to the comments.
The readers of the websites that picked up the blog on the interview with Sister Lucia’s doctor which I had mentioned - apparently were not accustomed to this website of the Fatima Family Apostolate. It is a service to the Fatima Family Apostolate members and its vehicle of information, the Immaculate Heart Messenger, and for the past years I would inform readers of what to expect in the next issue of this magazine. I am now working on the summer issue, to be out late June. Information on that magazine can be obtained by clicking into the magazine mentioned at the very top of this page. I thank all of you for writing, for your comments, and I hope you read my comment on the comments (after article below) and even comment to this comment I now enter.
THANKS - FATHER ROBERT J. FOX - DIRECTOR, FATIMA FAMILY APOSTOLATE INTERNATIONAL
Doctor of Sister Lucia of Fatima Interview
Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
It was my privilege on the eve of May 2007 to spend two and one-half hours with the personal doctor of Sister Lucia of Fatima. This woman doctor who is now 57 years old came here to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Hanceville, Alabama where I offer Mass daily in the lower church. Branca Paul M.D. was Sister Lucia’s personaldoctor the last 15 years of Lucia’s life and was with her when she died. Branco Paul M.D. shared special and precious pictures with me concerning informal moments with Sister Lucia. This woman doctor had gone to the Castle Store here at the Shrine and discovered my book, “FATIMA IS FOREVER.” She was delighted to find in the book one of the pictures she had taken of Sister Lucia venerating the image of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It was especially interesting to hear Branca Paul M.D. talk about papers of Sister Lucia discovered after her death, including Sister Lucia’s personal diary in which she reveals the seventh apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, something not known previously. It was known that at the May apparition [just 90 years ago as I enter this blog] that our Blessed Mother said: “I came to ask you to come here for six successive months, on the 13th day at the same hour. Later I will tell what I want. And I will return here yet a seventh time.”
There has long been speculation about about what, when, if, that seventh apparition took place. Sister Lucia’s Diary opened by others - after her death - clears it up, according to her personal doctor. I will write what that Diary revealed in a future issue of my magazine.
I was delighted that after our dinner and interview together, which was filmed, that Branca Paul M.D. came to my home to receive a personal autographed copy of my recent book, FATIMA IS FOREVER, concerning lives and deaths of the two friends, Pope John Paul II and Sister Lucia. The doctor wanted a picture of my presenting her an autographed copy of my book, FATIMA IS FOREVER, - by the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima and the three little shepherds which is front of my home here in Alabama - which is near the Mother Angelica’s Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels and Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
THE INTERVIEW WITH SISTER LUCIA’S DOCTOR and many pictures given by the doctor - will be in the July issue of the IMMACULATE HEART MESSENGER which will be out later part of June. This 90th year celebrations of the Fatima events will also contain in my magazine a future article by a Scientist who has studied the miracle of the sun at Fatima through witnesses for past 40 years or more.
Father Robert J. Fox