Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday August 10th - 3pm Great Vespers, 4pm Divine Liturgy for Sunday

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Constantinople, Orthodoxy & Unity - Lecture, 1 November 2019

His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira
Inaugural Lecture as Orthodox Patron of the Society

“Constantinople, Orthodoxy and Unity”

at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family,
Duke Street (corner of Weighhouse Street), Mayfair, London W1K 5BQ

(close to Bond St Underground on the Central or Jubilee Lines)

1st November 2019, 7-30 pm

Preceded by Ukrainian Catholic Divine Liturgy at 6-15 pm and followed by a Reception

Booking essential at:

or
www.facebook.com/events@SocietyofStJohnChrysostom




Friday, 13 September 2019

Letter of Francis to Bartholomew: on bones of the Apostle Peter

To His Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch

Your Holiness, dear Brother,

With deep affection and spiritual closeness, I send you my cordial good wishes of grace and peace in the love of the Risen Lord. In these past weeks, I have often thought of writing to you to explain more fully the gift of some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter that I presented to Your Holiness through the distinguished delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate led by Archbishop Job of Telmessos which took part in the patronal feast of the Church of Rome.
Your Holiness knows well that the uninterrupted tradition of the Roman Church has always testified that the Apostle Peter, after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero, was buried in the adjoining necropolis of the Vatican Hill. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful from every part of the Christian world. Later, the Emperor Constantine erected the Vatican Basilica dedicated to Saint Peter over the site of the tomb of the Apostle.

In June 1939, immediately following his election, my predecessor Pope Pius XII decided to undertake excavations beneath the Vatican Basilica. The works led first to the discovery of the exact burial place of the Apostle and later, in 1952, to the discovery, under the high altar of the Basilica, of a funerary niche attached to a red wall dated to the year 150 and covered with precious graffiti, including one of fundamental importance which reads, in Greek, Πετρος ευι. This contained bones that can quite reasonably be considered those of the Apostle Peter. From those relics, now enshrined in the necropolis under Saint Peter's Basilica, Pope Saint Paul VI had nine fragments removed for the private chapel of the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.
The nine fragments were placed in a bronze case bearing the inscription, Ex ossibus quae in Archibasilicae Vaticanae hypogeo inventa Beati Petri apostoli esse putantur: “Bones found in the earth beneath the Vatican Basilica considered to be those of Blessed Peter the Apostle”. It was this same case, containing nine fragments of the bones of the Apostle, that I desired to present to Your Holiness and to the beloved Church of Constantinople over which you preside with such devotion.

As I reflected on our mutual determination to advance together towards full communion, and thanked God for the progress already made since our venerable predecessors met in Jerusalem over fifty years ago, I thought of the gift that Patriarch Athenagoras gave to Pope Paul VI: an icon depicting the brothers Peter and Andrew embracing, united in faith and in love of their common Lord . This icon that, at the behest of Pope Paul VI, is displayed today in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has become for us a prophetic sign of the restoration of that visible communion between our Churches to which we aspire and for which we fervently pray and work. Hence, in the peace born of prayer, I sensed that it would be highly significant were some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter to be placed beside the relics of the Apostle Andrew , who is venerated as the heavenly patron of the Church of Constantinople.
I sensed that this thought came to me from the Holy Spirit, who in so many ways prompts Christians to regain that full communion for which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed on the eve of his glorious Passion (cf. Jn 17:21).

This gesture is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our Churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace. Pursuing this journey calls above all for spiritual conversion and renewed fidelity to the Lord who requires on our part greater commitment and new, courageous steps. Difficulties and disagreements, now and in the future, must not distract us from our duty and responsibility as Christians, and particularly as Pastors of the Church, before God and history.
The joining of the relics of the two brother Apostles can also serve as a constant reminder and encouragement that, on this continuing journey, our divergences will no longer stand in the way of our common witness and our evangelizing mission in the service of a human family that today is tempted to build a purely secular future, a future without God.

Your Holiness, beloved Brother, I have found great comfort in sharing these thoughts with you. In the hope of soon encountering you once more, I ask you to pray for me and to bless me, and I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace of peace.

From the Vatican, 30 August 2019
FRANCIS


Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Bishop Hlib Resigns as Ukrainian Eparch for UK

Kyr Hlib serving in Rome on the day of his resignation

“The authority of a bishop is not the strength of his power, but the power of his willingness to serve.”   – Kyr Hlib (Lonchyna)


The Apostolic See announced on 1 September 2019 that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna from the pastoral leadership of the Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of London. Following the announcement, Bishop Hlib summed up his years of service in Great Britain as well as his plans for the future.

How would you summarise 10 years of ministry in Great Britain and Ireland? What has changed? Whathas developed differently and what has remained the same? 

In 2009 I was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Exarchate of Great Britain, then the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church elected me Exarch. Later the Synod asked Pope Benedict to raise our two exarchates – of Great Britain and France– to the dignity of Eparchy (diocese). This happened in 2013. I see this as a great blessing for the organisational and pastoral development of the London Eparchy, which in these years has become dear to me.

I envisioned my main task as being not in administration, but in pastoral care for our faithful in Great Britain, as well as in Ireland, where I have served as Apostolic Visitor since 2004.

In Great Britain there are two waves of migration: post-World War Two and contemporary; the latter predominantly being in search of employment. These are two diverse groups of people whom I strived to bring together and help them to integrate in the larger community so that they support one another and work together. My instruments have been quite simple: homilies, spiritual talks, confession, conferences, and just meeting people.

What is the Church like in this part of the world? Who attends our churches?

The London Eparchy of the Holy Family covers all Great Britain, that is, the island that contains England, Wales, and Scotland. As I mentioned before, there are two waves of migration. The post-war emigration was numerous, counting around 30 thousand, and people settled across the entire island. Thus, our parishes were scattered throughout the whole of Great Britain – from Scotland in the north to England in the south. Our Church was organised quite nicely. Our people did not build their own churches as they had not the means. Instead they bought churches, mainly Anglican ones, and later adapted them to the needs of our rite. There were different cultural and educational organisations. This is the reality in the United Kingdom.

By the 1990s many people of the first migration had passed away. Unfortunately, their children and grand-children left the Church for various reasons.

In the last 70 years our parishes grew smaller. Then in the 1990s and 2000s people from Ukraine began arriving and filling up our churches. However, they usually settled in larger cities where there is employment, especially London. Our cathedral parish is comprised mainly of the new émigrés. In other cities there are not many new-comers, and you can see this reflected in our congregations.

Today we have around 30 pastoral centres, 10 of which are full-fledged parishes, and the other 20 are missionary points where not many people attend Liturgy – which is not even celebrated every Sunday.

How does this new wave of migration affect pastoral workWhat challenges do bishops and priests face?

Pastoral work outside of Ukraine, where people do not live nearby as they had in the homeland, is very different. We see people mainly on Sundays, as they are scattered and constantly busy, because they have come here to seek employment. So, our pastoral work is limited to those few hours when the people are available. This requires of us more concentration – we need to fit our pastoral plan into that one Sunday. This is a challenge for priests who must focus on the needs of the people who come to them, serving them the best they can.

What is the reason for your decision to leave the ministry of eparchial bishop?

Last year our Synod of Ukrainian Bishops appointed me to spearhead a committee for the revision of liturgical texts and this year the Holy Father entrusted me to be Apostolic Administrator of the Paris Eparchy of Saint Volodymyr, since Bishop Borys, the former Eparch, was transferred to the metropolitan see of Philadelphia. This gave me two huge responsibilities which were added on to my main obligations to the London Eparchy. I also have other commitments for which I must travel, mostly to Rome and to Ukraine.

For the last few months I have been striving to fulfil my obligations but concluded that I cannot do justice to all. My faithful in the Eparchy of London need stability and care. The bishop should provide for the eparchy, visit parishes, be with the people 100%.

For its own good the eparchy needs a bishop who will serve our people on both islands. Therefore I asked the Holy Father and he has graciously released me from my duties towards the London Eparchy of the Holy Family.

What are your feelings as you depart? What are you going to miss? How will you uphold contact with the faithful for whom you were and remain a spiritual father?

hada good relationship with the priests and in every parish I found people who truly seek God and cherish the visits of their pastors. I will miss such direct contact with our faithful.

was always glad to see how parishes and organisations collaborate to preserve what our parents have left us. This shows there is a healthy spirit amongst our faithful, which I support with gratitude.

I have spent 10 years in Great Britain. This is the longest I have ever been in pastoral ministry in one place and will miss the people with whom I have developed a spiritual bond.

How do you envision the new bishop for the eparchy?

He must, first, be a man of prayer who will intercede for his priests, religious and faithful before God. He needs to be pastorally minded, open to people and sincerely desire to serve them. He should not fear challenges but be ready to offer his time and energies to interact with people, visit even the most distant parishes, support his priests and develop pastoral areas. The bishop should love his priests and be a father to them.

The bishop should also cherish our rite and our traditions.

Of course, he must master the English language because the bishop is a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and has regular meetings with the local bishops. We also maintain contacts with the Syro-Malabars, who are Eastern Christians from India. They too have an eparchy in England, as do we Ukrainians.

Summing up, I would say we need spirituality, openness and hard work.

What will happen to the Paris Eparchy where you are currently Apostolic Administrator?

I shall be in that temporary position until our Synod chooses a new bishop and the Apostolic See assents to his election. In the Paris Eparchy I shall strive to upkeep and develop everything that Bishop Borys Gudziak has built up in the six years he was there.

But at the same time your episcopal ministry does not endWas form will it take from now on?

I have already occupied numerous roles as bishop in our Church, so a change is nothing new to me. I served in Italy, Spain, as curial bishop in Ukraine; as a priest I served in my Studite monastery, in St Nicholas Parish in Passaic, NJ, worked as attaché in the Apostolic Nunciature in Kyiv, was spiritual director at the Lviv Seminary and taught there, as well as at the Lviv Theological Academy and other institutes of higher learning. I have always looked at these forms of service as one whole in pastoral ministry. I am united to the end of my life to all these people whom I have served, encountered, worked with – I carry them all in my heart and in my prayers. Wherever I am in the world, they will always be dear to me.

Allow me a somewhat indiscreet question: what does episcopal authority mean and what does it mean to relinquish it voluntarily? The world, both contemporary and past, is just obsessed with power. Where do you find the strength to overcome this?

The authority of a bishop is not the strength of his power, but the power of his willingness to serve. If I do not serve the faithful, then power will be useless – even if it is the greatest on earth. I do not relinquish an office to search for prestige or comfort, but wish the best for this eparchy. I have prayed and contemplated for quite some time on what would best serve my eparchy and my faithful. And I believe that after 10 years I should depart and allow others to take on this responsibility so the eparchy may grow and prosper.

Interview by Mariana Karapinka


Saturday, 15 June 2019

First Mass at Notre Dame since the Fire: the Solidarity of the Christians of the Middle East


Tonight at 6 o'clock in Paris, Mass was celebrated at Notre Dame on the feast of its Dedication, for the first time since fire devastated the roof and part of its vault was destroyed on the 15th April 2019. At the end of Mass, Monseigneur Pascal Gollnisch (left), director-general of Oeuvre d'Orient (a Catholic relief agency for Eastern Christians) presented the Archbishop of Paris, Monseigneur Michel Aupetit,  with a Cross carved from the stone of the Maronite Catholic cathedral of St Elias in Aleppo in Syria, which had itself been badly damaged in the civil and religious strife between 2011 and 2016. The Cross will be installed in Notre Dame when it is restored. Thus there will always be a spiritual bond between the Church in France, and the Christians of all Churches who had been persecuted and had their homes and churches attacked and destroyed in hatred of the Faith in the Middle East. The Archbishop observed that, on the feast of Notre Dame's dedication, how appropriate it was that they were recalling the Stone once rejected Who became the chief Cornerstone.

Friday, 19 April 2019

Today, we venerate Your Passion, O Christ: now give us Your glorious Resurrection



Today the Lord Who raised the dry land from the waters is raised upon the Cross. A crown of thorns is placed upon the head of the King of angels. He cloth the sky with clouds; now today He is clothed with a purple robe. In the Jordan He freed Adam; now today He is slapped in the face. The Bridegroom of the Church is fastened with nails; the Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear. We worship Your Passion, O Christ; we worship Your Passion, O Christ; we worship Your Passion, O Christ. Now let us behold Your glorious Resurrection.

Antiphon 15, sung by Fr Shafiq Abouzayd, Melkite parish of St John Chrysostom, London, at Procession of Cross, 18 April 2019

Monday, 11 March 2019

Update

The delayed editions for Chrysostom for October 2018 and Theophany 2019 will be issued after Pascha, once work is completed on the Ecumenical Marian Pilgrimage to Walsingham, which is a biennial major focus of the Society. See www.ecumenicalmarianpilgrimage.org.uk

We will also announce events for late summer and autumn (our annual Christopher Morris Lecture).

Thursday, 14 February 2019

The Face of God: Ian Knowles on Icons


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Vespers with Catholic & Coptic Orthodox Archbishops

Catholic and Coptic Orthodox Archbishops to pray Vespers together
Press Release for immediate release 26.10.2018

At the kind invitation of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna the Eparchial Bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Mayfair, London, the first Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London, His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos will be present with Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark, at Vespers in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral on Tuesday 6 November 2018 at 6.15pm. The homily will be given by Archbishop Athanasius Toma Dawod, the leader of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK.  The Vespers will be followed by a Reception.

The rapprochement between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches is one of the most significant ecumenical developments of the last hundred years. The Popes of the Catholic Church and Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches have agreed joint statements that move beyond the doctrinal conflicts of the past, and they have been able to proclaim their Faith in Jesus Christ with a united voice and minister collaboratively, regardless of existing and continuing differences.  

The joint celebration expresses a deep desire for unity at the grass roots of the Churches. The evening is one of the fruits of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum of Great Britain which meets precisely to promote rapprochement and to establish ever greater collaboration between the Churches. All ecumenical endeavours are rooted and grounded in prayer, particularly in shared prayer. The kind invitation and hospitality of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London provides a beautiful place to come together for this evening prayer, which includes the heartfelt desire to make our own the prayer of Our Lord Jesus Christ that “they all may be one” (John 17:21).

All who wish to attend this ecumenical event are very welcome, please RSVP by 31 October to Canon John O’Toole, Secretary Department for Dialogue and Unity, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales 020 7901 4811 


Note to Editors
The Oriental Orthodox Church is a family of six self-governing Church bodies in the East and is the fourth largest communion of Christian Churches. The Oriental Orthodox Churches include: the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria (Egypt), the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (also called the Indian Orthodox Church) and the Syriac Orthodox Church. Each of these Churches is autonomous while maintaining communion with each other.

Each self-governing church in Oriental Orthodoxy has as its highest office a patriarchate. The patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria is also known as the Pope. Most of the 70 million members of the Oriental Orthodox Family of Churches live in Ethiopia, Egypt, Eritrea, Armenia, India, Syria, and Lebanon. Oriental Orthodox churches also exist in North America, Australia, Europe, and other parts of the world.         

The Oriental Orthodox family of Churches is separate from the Eastern Orthodox family of Churches. They recognise the first three ecumenical councils of Nicea, Constantinople, and Ephesus. They are known as ‘non-Chalcedonian’ or ‘miaphysite’ not monophysite.      

Archbishop Angaelosis widely recognised for his extensive advocacy work, and as a result he was conferred the honour of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen for ‘Services to International Religious Freedom.’ Archbishop Angaelos has also been conferred the Lambeth Cross for Ecumenism by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Coventry Cross of Nails for Reconciliation. With a pastoral ministry spanning more than two decades, Archbishop Angaelos specialises in youth ministry and travels around the world to speak at youth conferences and conventions.

Archbishop Kevin McDonaldis the Catholic Emeritus Archbishop of Southwark.  He worked for eight years inin Romeon the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unityand is the Catholic Co-Chair of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Forum and Chair of the Committee for Catholic-Jewish relations.



Photos:



Thursday, 25 October 2018

Revival of the Society of St. John Chrysostom in 1959

The following article appeared on page 5 of the 13 November 1959 edition of The Catholic Herald:

Eastern Churches Society Forming Links of Charity

A gesture of goodwill towards separated Christians was successfully made by London Catholics last Friday, when the recently revived Society of St. John Chrysostom invited Orthodox and Anglican clergymen to attend a lecture by Mr. Donald Attwater on " The Society of St. John Chrysostom and its Patron Saint ".


Fr. Kyril, a Russian Orthodox priest, was present, and wore cassock and pectoral cross. The Rev. C. E. Hampson, of the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius, was the Anglican representative.
The Fellowship, mainly an Anglican venture, is first in the field in this modern move to replace prejudice with charity among Christians in Britain.
OBJECTS
That the Society of St. John Chrysostom, a Catholic organisation having as one of its objects to get Catholics to know and love the Eastern Christian tradition, intends quickly to establish links of charity with other Christians was shown by the presence at the meeting of priests whose avowed aim this is. They included Mgr. J. M. T. Barton, Fr. Maluga, C.SS.R. Vicar General of the Ukrainians, Fr. C. Sipovich. M.I.C. superior of the Byzantine Rite Marian House, London, and Prebendary Pilkington of Westminster Cathedral. The late Dom Bede Winslow, O.S.B., a pioneer in this work. would have attended too, for he had been invited. The Society has arranged for a funeral service in the Byzantine rite to be celebrated for him on Friday. November 27. at 7 p.m., at the Saffron Hill Ukrainian Church, London.
Mr. Attwater, the expert in Eastern Church matters, prefaced his remarks by complimenting the Ukrainians in choosing the second Archbishop of Canterbury. the Greek monk St. Theodore, as patron for their London church. "Cardinal Godfrey, the president of the society, and their Exarch, is his 67th successor," he said. "Theodore gave us the basic structure of the English Catholic Church." When questioners turned from the subject-matter of the lecture and began to comment on the prospects for unity, Fr. Sipovich wisely intervened to point out that the society exists to get Catholics to appreciate "the treasury of theology and devotion to be found in the East". Once this is done, and a bond of sympathy established. then we can go on and talk about unity.
Tonight (Friday) the feast of St. John Chrysostom in the Eastern calendar, Fr. Maluga, Fr. Sipovich, and Fr. Alexander will concelebrate the Liturgy at seven o'clock in Marian House, to which all are invited.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Ecumenical Patriarch dispatches legates to Ukraine, in preparation for Autocephaly


The Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced on 7 September 2018 that within the framework of the preparations for the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ecumenical Patriarchate has appointed as its Exarchs in Kiev His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon from the United States, and His Grace Bishop Ilarion of Edmonton from Canada, both of whom are serving the Ukrainian Orthodox faithful in their respective countries under the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
source: The Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Arjakovsky: The recognition of the Church of Kiev by Constantinople will be a wise decision


Professor Antoine Arjakovsky, Orthodox historian and author of “From Saint Petersburg to Moscow: Anatomy of the Russian Soul” (Salvator, 2018),  writing for La Croix (7.8.2018) explains what is at stake with the possibly imminent acknowledgement of  autocephaly for the Church of the Patriarchate of Kiev.


The Orthodox Christian Church, ever since she ceased to acknowledge the primate of the Church of Rome, considers the Patriarch of Constantinople as the “first among equals” of the fourteen Churches which recognise each other as Orthodox.

This primacy of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, termed “Ecumenical” since at least the 5th century A.D., has been challenged by the Church of Muscovy from the 15th century onwards, when the Imperial City was subjugated by Turkish invaders. At the end of the 16th century, the Patriarch of Constantinople was forced by the Ottoman Turks to bring himself to recognise the Moscow Church’s status of autocephaly, that is to say, its power to elect its own primate without seeking Constantinople’s authorisation. Thus the Church of Moscow came to bear the honour of the fifth place among the Churches of the East.

But the Ecumenical Patriarch refused to accept that the jurisdictional authority of the Patriarchate of Moscow extended to include Ukraine. Indeed the Church of Kiev, which received baptism in 988 as a result of the missionary effort of the Byzantine Church, was still recognised, even after the conquest of eastern Ukraine by the Czars at the end of the 17th century, as coming under the de jure authority of the Church of Constantinople.

This is the basis on which the Patriarch of Constantinople granted the status of autocephaly to the Polish Orthodox Church in 1924. Now this Church contained within itself numerous Orthodox parishes that are situated in what is now western Ukraine. In 1994, following the same logic, Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople integrated the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the United States and Canada, which had self-proclaimed its autocephaly in the era of Soviet persecution, into his own jurisdiction. 


The Tomos of Autocephaly Likely to be Granted Soon

In the present day, Patriarch Bartholomew, whose headquarters are in Istanbul but who is still called “of Constantinople” for the sake of the historical legitimacy of his see, has gone one step further. In all likelihood, the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople is going to grant the Tomos of Autocephaly to the Church of the Patriarchate of Kiev.

This Church, led since 1992 by Patriarch Philaret (Denysenko), has not so far been recognised by any Orthodox Church in the world, because Moscow is categorically opposed to it. Indeed , ever since 1688 the Patriarchate of Moscow has had a Ukrainian Orthodox Church of its own creation subject to its direct jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, since Ukrainian independence in 1991, the great majority of Ukrainian Orthodox have chosen to follow this self-proclaimed Church (with a good 15 million faithful, as opposed to the 10 million belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church coming under Moscow, even though the latter counts a larger number of registered parishes), so as both to extricate themselves from the control of Moscow and to worship in the Ukrainian language (and not in Old Slavonic, the liturgical language used by the Patriarchate of Moscow in Russia and Ukraine).


Re-establishing Historical Truth

There are three main reasons why Patriarch Bartholomew’s decision is wise. First, contrary to the myth propagated in Russia, the Byzantine Patriarch is re-establishing the historical truth in recalling that the Church of Moscow, which only dates from 1588, is the daughter of the see of Kiev and not the other way round.

The political consequences to this are well understood. Clearly, if Moscow received its baptism subsequently to the conversion of Prince Volodymyr a Chersonesus in Crimea in 988, it was mediated by the Church of Kiev. The annexation of Crimea by Russia, against which Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has made no protest, effectively amounts to the suppression of the Church of Kiev’s identity, which is something that the Patriarch of Constantinople cannot accept.

Secondly, Patriarch Bartholomew is granting recognition to the maturity of the Orthodox Church of Kiev that it has been awaiting for at least a century. Despite the marginalisation that it has been subjected to, this Church has maintained a highly dynamic ecclesial life. In particular it is in constant dialogue with Ukraine’s Catholic and Protestant Churches. Meanwhile, the Patriarchate of Moscow in Ukraine, to judge by the Pochaiv monastery in Volhynia, is renowned for its highly intransigent attitude towards “western heretics”.

Finally, Constantinople, after the snub of the Russian Church’s no-show at the Pan-Orthodox Council at Kolymbari in Crete in 2016, is reasserting its leadership vis-à-vis Moscow, reminding it that throughout history and to the present day it has always been Constantinople that granted the status of autocephaly to local Churches (for example the Church of Serbia, or that of Romania).


Breach of Communion between Moscow and Constantinople Probable

It seems obvious, in the light of declarations from the Russian Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), but also from the strenuous efforts of the Kremlin on this front (leading to the recent expulsion of two Russian diplomats by Greece and a meeting between President Putin and Patriarch Kirill on 11th July right in the middle of the football World Cup), that Constantinople’s decision is going to provoke a breach of communion between Moscow and Constantinople.

It is also going mean that each Orthodox Church (and the Catholic, Protestant and Anglican Churches too) will have to choose sides. There is every chance that Constantinople’s decision could be received favourably by the majority.  It is also certain that in Ukraine it will lead to many of the Orthodox faithful, who were once hesitant to belong to a non-canonical Church, turning to the Patriarchate of Kiev.

Doubtless, too, President Poroshenko, who is heavily invested in all this, and who carries with him the support of the great majority of deputies in the Rada, will benefit from a big popularity boost. But this schism, a further injury in relations between Russia and the rest of the world, will need to be treated. For this to happen, it will be necessary to move beyond a narrowly political and confessional logic to a vision that is ecumenical and oriented towards the common good.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

A Millennial Problem: 1,030 years after the Baptism of Rus’, the Vatican is turning its back on Ukrainian Catholics

Pragmatism towards Russian Orthodoxy is beginning to look like appeasement, says Fr Raymond J de Souza in the Catholic Herald

Is Pope Francis, like Donald Trump, guilty of abject capitulation to Russia’s Vladimir Putin? That question was raised by one of the most respected Vatican commentators, John Allen, bringing to greater prominence a criticism often made behind closed doors.

“As with Trump, albeit in a very different key, the question that appears destined to plague Francis going forward is how much is too much – when flexibility and pragmatism, in other words, turn into craven placation?” Allen wrote. “So far, the verdict would appear to be that for both men, the answer remains a work in progress.”

Allen recounts how, since the first months of his pontificate, Pope Francis has proved an ally of Putin in Syria, where Russia has now re-established its Middle East presence in an alliance with President Bashar al-Assad. And since 2014, Pope Francis has been muted in his criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, repeatedly disappointing members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC).

I noted here last month (in our June 15 issue) that, in a meeting with a delegation of the Russian Orthodox Church in May, Pope Francis appeared to take the Russian side in all matters Ukrainian. That was noticed, apparently, in Kiev, for on July 3 there was a private audience granted to Major-Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the UGCC, by the Holy Father, ostensibly to honour the 1,030th anniversary of the baptism of Kievan Rus’ in 988.

The UGCC statement pointedly noted that the meeting had been requested by Major-Archbishop Shevchuk. Indeed, the lengthy statement by the UGCC after the meeting systematically refuted all the points made by Pope Francis in his meeting with the Russian Orthodox.

All of which is remarkable in 2018, which marks 30 years since the millennium of the baptism of the eastern Slavs in 988. In 1988, with the Cold War still on, Gorbachev’s Soviet Union was prepared to recognise the baptism of Kievan Rus’, the kingdom out which Russia, Belarus and Ukraine would eventually emerge.

In 1988, all were still part of the Soviet Union, and the Russian Orthodox Church claimed for itself the exclusive inheritance of the baptism of 988. Indeed, for the Russian Orthodox, the UGCC should not even exist, and the Soviet Union was right to crush it.

John Paul, though, insisted that the Greek Catholics of the Ukraine – still suppressed and illegal at that time – participate in the millennium celebrations, as heirs to the baptism of Kievan Rus’. He published two apostolic letters to that effect in the spring of 1988, and celebrated Mass with the UGCC hierarchy in Rome in July 1988.

John Paul was making an argument in 1988 that the millennium belonged to more than just Moscow. Vladimir the Great ruled from Kiev – there was no Moscow at the time. He chose to be baptised in the Byzantine tradition of Christianity – this was before the split with what would become Orthodoxy – in Crimea.

That is why, when Putin speaks about Crimea, he partially justifies Russia’s annexation of it by noting that the baptism of Vladimir took place there, making it a place of Russian heritage.

John Paul and the Ukrainian Catholics saw it differently. The baptism of Russia in 988 was a baptism into a Byzantine Christianity in full communion with Rome, and took place in Ukraine’s capital. Today, who are the Ukrainians of Byzantine tradition who are in full communion with Rome? The UGCC.

“The gift of the Christian faith has been passed down as our greatest treasure,” said Major-Archbishop Shevchuk on July 15. “Today we thank God that it was the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church who was privileged to be a successor to Prince Vladimir and his holy baptism.”

In 1988, both the UGCC and the Vatican were making the same argument. In 2018, Major-Archbishop Shevchuk is repeating the argument independent of Rome, or even in contradiction to it.

The political tension between Russia and Ukraine and the conflict between the Ukrainian Orthodox and the Russia Orthodox are all rooted in the history of 988. Over the millennium the gravitational centre of Orthodoxy and political power in the Slavic world shifted east from Kiev to Moscow. Today, Russia – both Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church – argue that this should mean a Ukraine that takes its lead, politically and religiously, from Moscow. Ukrainians disagree, feeling that Ukraine ought to move away from Moscow’s dominance, re-staking its own claim to the inheritance of 988.

July 28 is the date marking the baptism of Vladimir and the eastern Slavs. Thirty years ago, the Polish Pope made the relevant claims on behalf of the Ukrainian Catholics, for the millennium was not only about the past but also the present. Today, Major-Archbishop Shevchuk does the same in Kiev. But the Holy See appears to have forgotten the position it took in 1988.

Fr Raymond J de Souza is a priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario, and editor-in-chief of convivium.ca

This article first appeared in the July 27 2018 issue of the Catholic Herald. Please visit the Catholic Herald website to see it there and, to read the magazine in full from anywhere in the world, go here.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral Celebrates 50 Years

On Saturday, 23 June 2018, the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Westminster celebrated 50 years since its solemn opening. The hierarchical Divine Liturgy, celebrated by Kyr Hlib (Lonchyna), Bishop of the Eparchy of the Holy Family Family of London, concelebrated by Ukrainian and Roman Catholic priests. The responses to the Liturgy were sung by the Cathedral Choir "Promin Nadii" (Ray of Hope). Among the numerous faithful, some of the oldest parishioners had been present at the blessing and opening of the Cathedral on 29 and 30 June 1968.


For the history that led up to this event, see:
"In Exile No Longer": Holy Family Cathedral Celebrates 50 years. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Ecumenical Marian Pilgrimage Trust: 19-22 March 2019

Bookings are now open:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/walsingham-ecumenical-marian-pilgrimage-tickets-45795098372?aff=es2

Speakers so far: Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Archbishop Edward Adams (Apostolic Nuncio), Dr Sarah Jane Boss, Dr Margaret Barker, Revd Dr Gareth Powell, Prebendary Norman Wallwork

More details and alternative booking at www.ecumenicalmarianpilgrimage.org.uk

Monday, 14 May 2018

Murphy Donohue Chair of Eastern Catholic Theology - Professor Anthony O'Mahony

Our greatly admired and valued Committee Member, Anthony O'Mahony, director of the Centre of Eastern Christianity at Heythrop College, University of London, has been appointed to the Sir Daniel and Countess Bernardine Murphy Donohue Chair of Eastern Catholic Theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome for 2018.

The closure of the Centre for Eastern Christianity with the demise of Heythrop is much to be mourned. Founded in 2010, it became a remarkable place of encounter between the Eastern Churches and Christians in the UK, in London as a world city, in an historic Catholic higher education institution, with the spheres of academic study, Church life and leadership, and the broader context of civil society, politics and diplomacy. Through the Centre, Anthony has brought people together from across the globe and given them a voice, or a channel that otherwise they would not have had, to be heard and understood not only in Church and academic settings but in places of influence and policy too. To the leaders of Christians whose ancient Churches have been and remain under severe threat across the Middle East (where a century ago they constituted as much as 25% of the population, now reduced to under 5%) the Centre led by Anthony has been a beacon of hope and encouragement.

The Centre has provided access to research in the Christian East's history, life, religion and present situation for a numerous and impressive community of new scholarship, at its peak the largest body of research students in a single discipline in Heythrop's recent history. It has thus drawn in a larger network of people in the wider Church, both Eastern Catholics and Orthodox now present and settled in the UK, and also interested and concerned clergy and people from the western Churches. The regular series of open courses, lectures, events and research showcases have been a remarkable example of the mutual engagement, support and animation, both intellectual and pastoral, that properly exists between Church and Academy. The Society is recognises the immense value the Centre for Eastern Christianity has brought, since its aims are very close to those for which the Society was founded in 1927. It is also proud to have played a small part to support the initiative over the last eight years, and hopes to continue to do so as the work takes on new forms and opportunities.

It is a magnificent, and richly deserved, tribute that in the Centre's concluding term at Heythrop, the value and importance of the accumulated work and knowledge of its founder and director have been internationally recognised by the award of this prestigious Chair (previous Donohue Professors have included Metropolitan Kallistos and Archbishop Rowan Williams). The Chair also signifies the esteem in which the work, as its life at a Catholic university college in England ends, is held by the Universal Church at the principal Catholic institute for the study of Eastern Christianity in the service of the Bishop of Rome.

Professor O'Mahony's inaugural lecture was given on the 11th May 2018, and it can be viewed here, at the POI's YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBpzbTe_eEo

Professor, Axios!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Joint Statement of the Patriarchs of the Patriarchate of Antioch on the US-UK-France Attacks on Syria

God is with us; Understand all ye nations and submit yourselves!

We, the Patriarchs: John X, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, Ignatius Aphrem II, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, and Joseph Absi, Melkite-Greek Catholic Patriarch of Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem, condemn and denounce the brutal aggression that took place this morning against our precious country Syria by the USA, France and the UK, under the allegations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. We raise our voices to affirm the following:

This brutal aggression is a clear violation of the international laws and the UN Charter, because it is an unjustified assault on a sovereign country, member of the UN.

It causes us great pain that this assault comes from powerful countries to which Syria did not cause any harm in any way.

The allegations of the USA and other countries that the Syrian army is using chemical weapons and that Syria is a country that owns and uses this kind of weapon, is a claim that is unjustified and unsupported by sufficient and clear evidence.

The timing of this unjustified aggression against Syria, when the independent International Commission for Inquiry was about to start its work in Syria, undermines of the work of this commission.

This brutal aggression destroys the chances for a peaceful political solution and leads to escalation and more complications.

This unjust aggression encourages the terrorist organizations and gives them momentum to continue in their terrorism.

We call upon the Security Council of the United Nations to play its natural role in bringing peace rather than contribute to escalation of wars.

We call upon all churches in the countries that participated in the aggression, to fulfill their Christian duties, according to the teachings of the Gospel, and condemn this aggression and to call their governments to commit to the protection of international peace.

We salute the courage, heroism and sacrifices of the Syrian Arab Army which courageously protects Syria and provide security for its people. We pray for the souls of the martyrs and the recovery of the wounded. We are confident that the army will not bow before the external or internal terrorist aggressions; they will continue to fight courageously against terrorism until every inch of the Syrian land is cleansed from terrorism. We, likewise, commend the brave stand of countries which are friendly to the Syria and its people.

We offer our prayers for the safety, victory, and deliverance of Syria from all kinds of wars and terrorism. We also pray for peace in Syria and throughout the world, and call for strengthening the efforts of the national reconciliation for the sake of protecting the country and preserving the dignity of all Syrians.

April 14th, 2018

http://syriacpatriarchate.org/2018/04/a-statement-issued-by-the-patriarchates-of-antioch-and-all-the-east-for-the-greek-orthodox-syrian-orthodox-and-greek-melkite-catholic/

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

First Ukrainian Church in London

“How I Found the Church at Saffron Hill”

translated from “Як я знайшов церкву на Сафрон Гіл?,” 
in Наша Церква, vol. 15, no. 2 [79] (April–June 1967), p. 14–17.

Father Josaphat Jean, London 1947
I have been in England several times in my life. I was there before the First World War, in 1912, but did not meet with Ukrainians then. In the winter of 1921, I was again in London with Dr. Kost Levytsky to lobby for the Ukrainian question at the British Parliament. After that, I was in England in 1922, 1923, and 1925. 

I know that, in 1922, the Ukrainian Diplomatic Mission, headed by Dr. Stefan Vytvytsky, was in London. Ivan Petrushevych also lived there. From 1925–1939 travelled around England Yakiv Makohin, who considered himself a descendant of Prince Rozumovsky. He established the Ukrainian Bureau in London where Drs. Kisylevsky, Biberovych, and Ivan Petrushevych worked.

Digitaries of our Church also visited Britain: Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, Bishop Nykolai Charnetsky, Father Rector Yosyf Slipyi, our present Major-Archbishop and Cardinal. In the final years before the Second World War, Mitred-Archpriest Jacques Perridon from France and Belgian Redemptorists came to minister.

It must be said, however, that Ukrainian immigration to Great Britain really began during the Second World War. In 1944, Ukrainian-Canadian soldiers in London established the Ukrainian Club at Sussex Gardens, Paddington. Beginning in October 1945, a portion of the Canadian Forces started to return home, and their place was taken by Ukrainian soldiers in General Anders’ Polish Corps. Among these were Greek-Catholic chaplains Antin Hodys, Stefan Koliatkivsky, and Ivan Dumych. Afterwards, Rev. V. Pashkivsky joined them, for a sort time.

Having received a mandate from Bishop Ivan Buchko, whom the Apostolic See had named Apostolic Visitor for all Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Western Europe, with the agreement of my Basilian superiors, I officially arrived in England on 1 March 1947. I immediately went to Westminster and requested an audience with Cardinal Bernard Griffin. The head of the Catholic Church in England received me very courteously, and we spoke at length about how to provide pastoral care for Ukrainian Catholics. I asked the Cardinal if we could acquire a small church for our religious needs, and well remember his response: “My own Catholics do not have enough churches for their own needs, since they were subject to much misfortune during the War. Some of our churches were damaged and, although some have been restored, there are still not enough. But I know that there are many un-renovated Protestant churches for sale. Look for one and, when you find it, let me know and I will help with the purchase.”

I then, immediately broached a second matter with the Cardinal, this time a personal one. Cardinal Griffin was a very merciful person. He picked up the telephone receiver and, for a long time, spoke with the superior of the Oratorian Fathers (London Oratory), and arranged the matter then and there. For a time, I could stay at the Oratory.
fragment of Jean to Griffon
The superior received me very courteously and gave me a comfortable room. I felt as if I was one of my own Basilian monasteries. I celebrated the Divine Liturgy, every morning, in the magnificent church, sometimes even using the High Altar. I partook of the common table together with the Oratorian Fathers. I especially loved to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the marble chapel of St. Wilfred, who was the principal patron of the founder of the London Oratory, the Servant of God, Father Faber (1814–1863).

For three weeks, I looked all over London for a church. I scoured the papers, but found nothing. In Paddington there was a ruined Protestant church but the architect thought that it would be difficult to repair it. Then, from 28 March, I began a novena in honour of the Servant of God, Father Faber, the founder and first superior of the London Oratory. Each day, I celebrated the Divine Liturgy and prayed ardently in for the intention of finding a church. I remember that 4 April 1947 was Latin (Gregorian) Good Friday, and I was not allowed to celebrate Divine Liturgy in Church. Then I went to Father Faber’s room where there was a small altar. That year was the hundredth anniversary of the Faber’s conversion from Protestantism to the Catholic Church. In a state of great peace, I celebrated the Divine Liturgy and was renewed with interior strength and hope. 

Saffron Hill church
The next day, Saturday, I finished my novena and set out to continue my search for a church. This time I chose the Holborn area. Emerging from the underground,  I stopped at the oldest church in London at Ely Place, Saint Ethelreda (1252 AD) and prayed there for a long time to find a church for Ukrainians. When I was returning to Farringdon underground station I saw a stone church, at the bottom of a dead-end street, that looked unused. Entering the lower area via stairs, I knocked at the side door. A woman came out; it was Mrs Guidera, the wife of the local alderman. Seeing that I was a priest, she kindly invited me into the house, and it was there that I first learned about the church. It was a Catholic Church that, for the past 50 years, had been used as a school and had been damaged a little, in one place, by a bomb. Alderman Guidera had received funds from the city to fix the roof and, for this, Cardinal Griffon allowed him to live in one part of the school. “Our neighbour, said Mrs Guidera. has a door and window factory. He wants to buy this school so that he can expand his business and is offering the cardinal £5,000. I believe that this building is worth that amount. 

After examining the school, which had once been a church, I virtually flew to Westminster. The cardinal promised to reserve this building for the Ukrainians in London, with the proviso that Westminster Diocese could buy it back in the event that the Ukrainians no longer needed it.

And thus, with God’s help and the prayers of the Father Faber, Ukrainians received their first religious base which would soon helped to invigorate the life of our Church. For 20 years, in modest, dead-end Saffron Hill, God abided with the Ukrainian exiles and they have have reamined with Him and have been fulfilled. I hear that Divine Providence will shortly lead you to a new temple, your first cathedral [1967]. May God bless you! In your new church also remember me, just as I remember my chosen Ukrainian people, each day, for which I gave my whole heart.



Note: Father Jean's reminiscences were always somewhat romanticised and inexact in chronology, as primary correspondence of the period invariably demonstrates. Letters from Jean to Griffon and diocesan officials reveal that Jean had proposed several churches, all of which were deemed unsuitable, for various reasons. He discovered the 143 Saffron Hill property on Good Friday of the following year, 26 March 1948, long after he had departed from the Oratory and was living at the Ukrainian Bureau in Sussex Gardens. The Guideras were forced to leave the adjoining premises at 144 Saffron Hill, which was turned into parish offices. S. Guidera did not become an alderman until 1953.