Thursday, December 31, 2009
La Ermita de la Virgen de Regla, fundada en 1982 por el P. Miguel Lobo como una misión hispana en la Catedral Ortodoxa de San Jorge, Coral Gables, Florida, es una parroquia de rito occidental de la Arquidiócesis de Norteamérica (Diócesis de Miami y el Sudeste) del Patriarcado Ortodoxo Griego de Antioquía y Todo el Oriente, donde los discípulos de Cristo comenzaron a llamarse cristianos (Hechos de los Apóstoles 11:26). Se recordará que el culto a la Virgen María comenzó en la Iglesia ortodoxa oriental después del concilio de Éfeso (431 A.D.) que, para reafirmar la divinidad de Cristo, proclamó a María "Madre de Dios". La antiguedad de la Virgen de Regla la hace patrimonio de toda la cristiandad, pues fue en el siglo V que san Agustín, obispo de Hipona, en el norte de África, colocó en su oratorio una imagen de la Virgen Negra que, según una tradición, le inspiró la "regla" o reglamento para su comunidad de monjes . De ahí el antiguo título de "Nuestra Señora de la Regla de san Agustín". En Miami, la Virgen de Regla es la patrona de nuestra Ermita y también de la Pequeña Habana, siendo san Antonio Abad el patrón auxiliar de nuestra parroquia, que es el único templo en la Iglesia ortodoxa consagrado a santa María de Regla. Nosotros creemos y confesamos el cristianismo católico tradicional de los Siete Concilios Ecuménicos de la Iglesia indivisa de los once primeros siglos, que es la Iglesia una, santa, católica y apostólica que confesamos en el Credo. Le invitamos a que nos visite.
According to an old and pious tradition, the image of the Virgin Mary known today as "Our Lady of Regla" dates from the earliest times of Christianity. Among her devotees was prominent St. Augustine (+430 A.D.); father and doctor of the faith, Bishop of Hippo and defender of the Orthodox Christian faith.
Additionally, the holy bishop had an image of the Black Virgin in his oratory, and it was the Mother of God who gave him the "rule" ("regla" in Spanish) to direct his monastic community. This explains the ancient title of "Our Lady of the Rule of St. Augustine" that was later given to the image in Spain.
After the death of St. Augustine, a persecution against Christians arose in the African church. This caused Deacon Cyprian, and other disciples of the Blessed Augustine, to flee to the coasts of southern Spain; bringing with them the venerated image whose devotion spread under the name of Lybian Virgin or "Beautiful African". From there the devotion later spread to very distant lands like Belgium, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Venezuela and the United States.
The privilege to revive the devotion to Our Lady of Regla among Hispanic immigrants to the United States fell on the founders of the Shrine and the Brotherhood of the Virgin of Regla. On June 25, 1982, Fr. Miguel F. Lobo and a group of devotees founded in the city of Miami, Florida, The Shrine and Brotherhood of Our Lady of Regla, with the purpose of building a Shrine to the Virgin. Religious services began to be celebrated at St. George Cathedral in Coral Gables, part of the Self-Ruled Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese in North America, which generously opened her doors.
On September 7, 1982, the image of the Virgin of Regla was placed in the Cathedral of St. George, where it remained until Easter Sunday 1984, when it was translated to her provisional chapel in the city of Miami.
On March 25, 1987, the image of Our Lady of Regla was proclaimed "Patroness of Little Havana" by the parish council of the Shrine of Regla; and on September 7th of the same year, that title was ratified in a proclamation by the Mayor of the City of Miami, the Honorable Xavier Suarez. Wiith the psalmist we can say: "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
After an extensive renovation of the building to adapt it to the needs of divine worship, the Most Holy Virgin of Regla was solemnly crowned in the City of Miami on May 7, 1989. Father Miguel F. Lobo, with previous authorization of the Vicar General of the Western Rite, Archpriest Paul Schneirla, placed two crowns on the heads of the Divine Child and His Most Holy Mother while he said: "As we crown you on earth, so may we also be crowned by Christ in heaven." The ceremony took place during the celebration of Holy Mass in the recently renovated Shrine.
St. Mary of Regla is not the only Black Virgin venerated in Christendom. Among other famous images we can mention the Virgin of Montserrat, a Byzantine statue brought from Constantinople to Catalonia, Spain; as well as the Black Virgin of Poland, a Byzantine icon. Both images show the Mother of God with a dark complexion.
This is briefly the story of Our Lady of Regla; a story filled with trials throughout the centuries. "Blessed are they that love you for they shall rejoice in your peace. Blessed are they which have been sorrowful for all your scourges; for they shall rejoice for you when they have seen all your glory and shall be glad forever." (Tobit 13:14).
Canon Miguel F. Lobo
27 February 2008