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 8th September - 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.

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.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Chevetogne & Its Ecumenical Vocation: Film Showing


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018


 

May they all be One

The Monastery of Chevetogne and Its Ecumenical Vocation

A Film by Alexia Veriter





Friday 19th January 2018

6-30 pm (after Mass in the Church of Our Lady Immaculate at 6 pm)

With discussion and a reception



Mount Street Jesuit Centre,

114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AY

By kind invitation of Fr Dominic Robinson SJ and the Jesuit Community and generous support from the Catholic League



For the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, KTOTV (French Catholic TV) has made a documentary about the Benedictine monastery of Chevetogne in Belgium, founded to promote Christian Unity, by mutual encounter, understanding, dialogue, prayer and worship. The Chevetogne community continues to be closely involved internationally in Catholic-Orthodox, Catholic-Anglican and Catholic-Reformed dialogue and friendship.

Newly subtitled in English, the 52 minute film hears from the monks and their friends about their work in the monastery, their study and ecumenical engagement, and their spirituality and worship of the community in its two churches - Latin rite and Byzantine rite.





All are welcome. Admission is free but a donation is requested.

Tickets: www.eventbrite.co.uk (search Chevetogne)

Enquiries: johnchrysostom@btinternet.com

www.orientalelumen.org.uk

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Relations of the Orthodox Church with “Uniates”

A Plea for Removing One More Skandalon in an Increasingly Scandalized World

Allow me to begin by suggesting that today’s “new circumstances and challenges” referenced in the Draft Document “Relations of the Orthodox Church with the Rest of the Christian World” (par. 24) require a radical kenosis among Christians. The rapid rejection of Christ’s truth in the West, and the equally widespread secularization of the educated classes in the East, demand a new commitment to “modeling the new man in Christ” (cf. par. 23).  This “new man in Christ” blesses those who curse him and does good to those who hate him (cf. Mathew 5:44). This kind of love shatters secularism’s self-assuredness.
In 1987, the Primate of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, Cardinal Myroslav Ivan Lubachivsky, publicly asked forgiveness of the Russian Orthodox Church in the following words: “Following the Spirit of Christ, we extend our hand of forgiveness, reconciliation and love to the Russian nation and the Moscow Patriarchate. We repeat the words of Christ that we spoke during our act of reconciliation with the Polish nation: ‘Forgive us, as we forgive’ (Matthew 6:12).” Unfortunately, this gesture has remained unanswered to the present day. Can Orthodox and “Uniates” not begin a new era of relations by having their Protohierarchs send – and respond to – such letters on a regular basis?  
The present Primate of the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Church, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, has continued his predecessor’s legacy. Contrary to some perceptions, he welcomed the recent meeting of Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis  The concerns he expressed related only to the phrasing of three paragraphs of the otherwise superb Havana Statement (pars. 25, 26 and 27). These presented a distorted interpretation of the situation in Ukraine, and belittled the ecclesial status of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Statement referred to them as “ecclesial communities,” a term in Catholic parlance reserved for Protestants. Moreover, the fact that Greco-Catholics were informed of their “right to exist” (par. 25) was viewed as a patronizing concession to what is actually a Church of true martyrs. In any case, the Balamand Agreed Statement had already asserted this right almost 25 years ago. Notwithstanding this, Ukrainian Greco-Catholic hierarchs sincerely hope to see encounters like the Havana Meeting occur more often – and at different levels – so that each successive gathering might bring the participants closer to the Truth.
Recent history provides striking examples of Orthodox-Eastern Catholic rapprochement. In the mid-1960s Patriarch Athenagoras declared to Melkite Patriarch Maximos IV, that the latter had “spoken for the Orthodox” at Vatican II. In the USA, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School welcomed Melkite Greek Catholic seminarians for years – with wonderful results evident to all. In Canada, the Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies has hired not only a long list of Orthodox scholars as adjunct faculty, but was blessed to have the current chancellor of the Orthodox Church in America as a full-time, tenured professor. Finally, the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv frequently hosts presentations by scholars of the Moscow Patriarchate, and hires lecturers of various Orthodox Churches.
Eastern Catholics understand the sense of vulnerability that prevents many Orthodox from reciprocating such gestures. However, in the meantime, we hope for at least a change in attitude among those Orthodox who continue to view Eastern Catholics as either “traitors to Orthodoxy,” or “heretics.” The question of “treason” is too broad to be discussed here. However, as regards “heresy,” it is odd that while Eastern Catholics accept the same teachings as Roman Catholics, they are frequently treated with far greater disdain.
In any case, more Orthodox need to understand the reasons that so many Eastern Catholics remain Catholic. In part, at least, it relates to some of the unresolved issues that continue to generate division within Orthodoxy. Eastern Catholics have found them resolved as a result of union with Rome – imperfect as that union has been. Jurisdictional strife, for example, is essentially absent from Eastern Catholicism. Also, the ethno-phyletism that plagues parts of Orthodoxy is challenged by communion with a universal primate. Of course, Eastern Catholics can be just as guilty of the same ethno-phyletism (though, ironically, its proponents within Eastern Catholicism insist that they simply want a “national Church” – “just like the Orthodox”). However, as culpable as Eastern Catholics may be of this ecclesiological heresy, they nonetheless recognize the right of the Bishop of Rome to reprove and/or discipline Catholic leaders who would foment or tolerate nationalist hatred. And while the Pope’s admonitions may not always be heard, no one in the Catholic Church questions his right to exercise universal primacy in this way. These problems are not adduced here to point to “Orthodox failings.” They are only mentioned to illustrate why even those Eastern Catholics who passionately love Orthodoxy remain Catholic.
In conclusion, two concrete initiatives for strengthening the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3) – and thus removing hindrances to the gospel – seem quite feasible:
  1. The creation of an international theological dialogue involving official representatives of the Byzantine Catholic (or, Greek Catholic) Churches on the one hand, and the Eastern Orthodox Churches on the other. Presently, the Eastern Catholics who participate in the International Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue do so as delegates of the Vatican – not their own Synods. In any case, theological meetings of Eastern Orthodox and Catholics of the Byzantine tradition would facilitate focused discussions of issues particularly germane to these Churches. Such a dialogue could develop, for example, a common historiography of the 1946 Pseudo-Synod of Lviv. Some of the same Orthodox who appropriately decry proselytism continue to champion the Synod as a legitimate “return to Orthodoxy.”
  1. The publication by the Holy and Great Council – or a subsequent Conciliar commission – of theological and practical principles for Orthodox relations with Eastern Catholics. Naturally, different regions will adapt these principles according to diverse sensibilities. But certain uncharitable attitudes and behaviors, witnessed occasionally even in North America, would hopefully be declared unacceptable.
Finally, to end where we began: The concluding paragraph of the Draft Document reads: “The Orthodox Church is aware of the fact that the movement for the restoration of Christian unity takes new forms in response to new circumstances and new challenges” (par. 24). In the present circumstances of global strife and antipathy towards our Churches, truly committed Christians within Eastern Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy will “cleanse out the old leaven… the leaven of malice” and become new dough heated by the Holy Spirit so that we might again celebrate together “in sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:8).
Archpriest Peter Galadza is Kule Family Professor of Liturgy and Acting Director of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada.
This essay was sponsored by the Orthodox Theological Society in America’s Special Project on the Holy and Great Council and published by the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Orthodox-Catholic meeting in Leros



From 5 to 9 September 2017 a meeting will be held of the Coordinating Committee of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. The meeting will take place in Leros, Greece, hosted by the Orthodox Metropolitan Paisios (Aravantinos) of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. The works will be chaired by Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the archbishop of Telmessos Iob (Getcha), of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. After the joint document “Synodality and primacy during the first millennium. Towards a common understanding in service to the unity of the Church”, published last September in Chieti, Italy, the Coordinating Committee has the task of planning the future steps in Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue.

Vatican Press Service

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Absi elected Melkite Patriarch Joseph I

Archbishop Joseph Absi has been elected Melkite Patriarch of Antioch! 

Αξιος!  Аѯіосъ!!  Axios!

photo of the newly-elected Patriarch Joseph

مبروك ولسنين كثيرة سيدنا

The Society of Saint John Chrysostom congratulates the new Patriarch, the Synod of Bishops , the clergy and the faithful throughout the world, and wishes abundant blessings and graces to venerable Patriarch-emeritus Gregory III. 



Patriarch Youssef I was born on June 20, 1946 in Damascus, Syria and later obtained Lebanese nationality.
In 1973, he was ordained priest and became Chaplain of the Missionary Society of Saint Paul.
On 22 June 2001, he was appointed Titular Archbishop of Tarsus of Greek Melkite, Curial and Auxiliary Bishop in the Melkite Patriarchate.
On 2 September 2001 he received the episcopal chirotonia from Patriarch Gregory III Laham with co-consecrators Archbishop Jean Mansour, titular archbishop of Apamea in Syria, and Archbishop Joseph Kallas, Archeparch of Beirut and Jbeil. 
Since 2007 he has served as Patriarchal Vicar in the Archdiocese of Damascus.   source

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar (1933–2017)

Cardinal Husar at the Ukrainian Cathedral in London
May 31, 2017, at 18:30 after a serious illness His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar), Archbishop Emeritus of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Church died at the age of 85.
January 26, 2001 - February 10, 2011 he served as a Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.
Born in Lviv, Ukraine, on February 26, 1933, Lubomyr Husar fled from Ukraine with his parents in 1944, ahead of the advancing Soviet army. He spent the early post-World War II years among Ukrainian refugees in a displaced persons camp near Salzburg, Austria. In 1949, he emigrated with his family to the United States of America.
From 1950 to 1954, he studied at St. Basil’s College (Ukrainian) Seminary in Stamford, Connecticut. He continued his studies at Catholic University of America in Washington DC, and at Fordham University in New York. He was ordained a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest of the Eparchy of Stamford on March 30, 1958.
From 1958 to 1969 Fr. Husar taught at St. Basil’s College Seminary, and also between 1966 and 1969 was the pastor of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Greek Catholic parish in Kerhonkson, New York. In 1969, Fr. Lubomyr went to Rome, where he earned a doctorate in Dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Urbanian University in 1972. During his stay in Rome he joined the Ukrainian Studite monastic community at the Studion Monastery not far from Castelgandolfo, Italy, and was elected hegumen (superior) of the monastery in 1974.
He was consecrated a bishop in 1977 in the Studion monastery chapel in Castelgandolfo by Patriarch Josyf Cardinal Slipyj. He was named Archimandrite (Abbot) of the  Studite Monks in Europe and North America in 1978.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, he returned to his native country and served as spiritual director of the newly re-established Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv.  In 1994, he established a new Studite monastery near Ternopil, Ukraine.
The Synod of Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops elected him Exarch of the Archiepiscopal Exarchy of Kyiv-Vyshhorod in 1995. In 1996, the Synod elected him as auxiliary bishop with special administrative delegated authority to His Beatitude Myroslav Ivan Cardinal Lubachivsky, Major Archbishop of Lviv. Upon the death of Cardinal Lubachivsky on December 14, 2000, Pope John Paul II named Bishop Husar apostolic administrator of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Lviv.
In January of 2001, the Synod elected him Major Archbishop of the Church and Father and Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The following month, he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II.
In 2001, Cardinal Husar along with the Catholic bishops, clergy and faithful of Ukraine welcomed Pope John Paul II on his first visit to a former Soviet Republic. His Beatitude also became the first Chancellor of the newly established Ukrainian Greek Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. Under his leadership in August 21, 2005, the major archiepiscopal see of Kyiv-Halych was officially transferred to Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine.
On 10 February 2011 Pope Benedict XVI announced that he has accepted the resignation of His Beatitude Lubomyr Cardinal Husar, father and head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and major archbishop of Kyiv-Halych in accordance with 126 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches. 
Cardinal Husar remained active in ecclesial and social life of Ukraine.
May his memory be eternal! Вічная пам'ять!
source: RISU English

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Resignation of Melkite Patriarch Gregory III

Gregorios III and Sviatoslav of Kyiv
To His Beatitude Gregory III Laham
Patriarch of Antioche of the Greco-Melkites 
and to all the Bishops of that Church


Beatitude and Venerable Brothers in Christ,

In my sollicitude for all the Churches, I address myself to you, grateful for your service to the People of God and conscious of your responsibility as Pastors.

Following the meeting of the Synod of Bishops last February, during the audience which I granted him, His Beatitude spontaneously presented his resignation from the patriarchal office, and asked me to chose the most favourable moment to accept it. After having prayed and reflected attentively, I have judged it opportune and necessary, for the good of the Greco-Melkite Church, to accept his resignation today.

In thanking His Beatitude, a zealous servant of the People of God, for the years of generous service to his Church and for and for keeping the international community’s attention focused on the tragedy of Syria, I invoke upon you all the intercession of the Holy Mother of God and gladly grant the apostolic blessing to our dear Greco-Melkite Church, as a sign of grace and encouragement for the future of communion and witness to the Gospel.

From the Vatican, 6 May 2017
FRANCIS

source: Vatican Radio English section

Many have questioned why The Father and Head of a sui iris Church entrusted this task to the Pope. According to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, it is the prerogative of a patriarch to do so:

CCEO, canon 126 §2. "The synod of bishops of the patriarchal Church is competent to accept the resignation of the patriarch, having consulted with the Roman Pontiff, unless the patriarch approaches the Roman Pontiff directly."


Friday, 28 April 2017

COMMON DECLARATION OF FRANCIS AND TAWADROS II

1. We, Francis, Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Catholic Church, and Tawadros II, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, give thanks to God in the Holy Spirit for granting us the joyful opportunity to meet once more, to exchange a fraternal embrace and to join again in common prayer. We glorify the Almighty for the bonds of fraternity and friendship existing between the See of Saint Peter and the See of Saint Mark. The privilege of being together here in Egypt is a sign that the solidity of our relationship is increasing year by year, and that we are growing in closeness, faith and love of Christ our Lord. We give thanks to God for this beloved Egypt, the “homeland that lives inside us,” as His Holiness Pope Shenouda III used to say, the “people blessed by God” (cf. Is 19:25) with its ancient Pharaonic civilization, the Greek and Roman heritage, the Coptic tradition and the Islamic presence. Egypt is the place where the Holy Family found refuge, a land of martyrs and saints.
2. Our deep bond of friendship and fraternity has its origin in the full communion that existed between our Churches in the first centuries and was expressed in many different ways through the early Ecumenical Councils, dating back to the Council of Nicaea in 325 and the contribution of the courageous Church Father Saint Athanasius, who earned the title “Protector of the Faith”. Our communion was expressed through prayer and similar liturgical practices, the veneration of the same martyrs and saints, and in the development and spread of monasticism, following the example of the great Saint Anthony, known as the Father of all monks.
This common experience of communion before the time of separation has a special significance in our efforts to restore full communion today. Most of the relations which existed in the early centuries between the Catholic Church and the Coptic Orthodox Church have continued to the present day in spite of divisions, and have recently been revitalized. They challenge us to intensify our common efforts to persevere in the search for visible unity in diversity, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
3. We recall with gratitude the historic meeting forty-four years ago between our predecessors, Pope Paul VI and Pope Shenouda III, in an embrace of peace and fraternity, after many centuries when our mutual bonds of love were not able to find expression due to the distance that had arisen between us. The Common Declaration they signed on 10 May 1973 represented a milestone on the path of ecumenism, and served as a starting point for the Commission for Theological Dialogue between our two Churches, which has borne much fruit and opened the way to a broader dialogue between the Catholic Church and the whole family of Oriental Orthodox Churches. In that Declaration, our Churches acknowledged that, in line with the apostolic tradition, they profess “one faith in the One Triune God” and “the divinity of the Only-begotten Son of God ... perfect God with respect to his divinity, perfect man with respect to his humanity”. It was also acknowledged that “the divine life is given to us and is nourished in us through the seven sacraments” and that “we venerate the Virgin Mary, Mother of the True Light”, the “Theotokos”.
4. With deep gratitude we recall our own fraternal meeting in Rome on 10 May 2013, and the establishment of 10 May as the day when each year we deepen the friendship and brotherhood between our Churches. This renewed spirit of closeness has enabled us to discern once more that the bond uniting us was received from our one Lord on the day of our Baptism. For it is through Baptism that we become members of the one Body of Christ that is the Church (cf. 1Cor 12:13). This common heritage is the basis of our pilgrimage together towards full communion, as we grow in love and reconciliation.
5. We are aware that we still have far to go on this pilgrimage, yet we recall how much has already been accomplished. In particular, we call to mind the meeting between Pope Shenouda III and Saint John Paul II, who came as a pilgrim to Egypt during the Great Jubilee of the year 2000. We are determined to follow in their footsteps, moved by the love of Christ the good Shepherd, in the profound conviction that by walking together, we grow in unity. May we draw our strength from God, the perfect source of communion and love.
6. This love finds its deepest expression in common prayer. When Christians pray together, they come to realize that what unites them is much greater than what divides them. Our longing for unity receives its inspiration from the prayer of Christ “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21). Let us deepen our shared roots in the one apostolic faith by praying together and by seeking common translations of the Lord’s Prayer and a common date for the celebration of Easter.
7. As we journey towards the blessed day when we will at last gather at the same Eucharistic table, we can cooperate in many areas and demonstrate in a tangible way the great richness which already unites us. We can bear witness together to fundamental values such as the sanctity and dignity of human life, the sacredness of marriage and the family, and respect for all of creation, entrusted to us by God. In the face of many contemporary challenges such as secularization and the globalization of indifference, we are called to offer a shared response based on the values of the Gospel and the treasures of our respective traditions. In this regard, we are encouraged to engage in a deeper study of the Oriental and Latin Fathers, and to promote a fruitful exchange in pastoral life, especially in catechesis, and in mutual spiritual enrichment between monastic and religious communities.
8. Our shared Christian witness is a grace-filled sign of reconciliation and hope for Egyptian society and its institutions, a seed planted to bear fruit in justice and peace. Since we believe that all human beings are created in the image of God, we strive for serenity and concord through a peaceful co-existence of Christians and Muslims, thus bearing witness to God’s desire for the unity and harmony of the entire human family and the equal dignity of each human being. We share a concern for the welfare and the future of Egypt. All members of society have the right and duty to participate fully in the life of the nation, enjoying full and equal citizenship and collaborating to build up their country. Religious freedom, including freedom of conscience, rooted in the dignity of the person, is the cornerstone of all other freedoms. It is a sacred and inalienable right.
9. Let us intensify our unceasing prayer for all Christians in Egypt and throughout the whole world, and especially in the Middle East. The tragic experiences and the blood shed by our faithful who were persecuted and killed for the sole reason of being Christian, remind us all the more that the ecumenism of martyrdom unites us and encourages us along the way to peace and reconciliation. For, as Saint Paul writes: “If one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 12:26).
10. The mystery of Jesus who died and rose out of love lies at the heart of our journey towards full unity. Once again, the martyrs are our guides. In the early Church the blood of the martyrs was the seed of new Christians. So too in our own day, may the blood of so many martyrs be the seed of unity among all Christ’s disciples, a sign and instrument of communion and peace for the world.
11. In obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit, who sanctifies the Church, keeps her throughout the ages, and leads her to full unity – that unity for which Jesus Christ prayed:
Today we, Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros II, in order to please the heart of the Lord Jesus, as well as that of our sons and daughters in the faith, mutually declare that we, with one mind and heart, will seek sincerely not to repeat the baptism that has been administered in either of our Churches for any person who wishes to join the other. This we confess in obedience to the Holy Scriptures and the faith of the three Ecumenical Councils assembled in Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus.
We ask God our Father to guide us, in the times and by the means that the Holy Spirit will choose, to full unity in the mystical Body of Christ.
12. Let us, then, be guided by the teachings and the example of the Apostle Paul, who writes: “[Make] every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph 4:3-6).
Cairo, 28th April 2017.

source: Bulletin of the Holy Roman See