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.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Iraq to the Holy See: We Need our Christians

Habbeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr, the Ambassador of Iraq to the Holy See has asked Pope Benedict XVI "to encourage Christians to return to their country with a willing spirit for its reconstruction, being the cultural, technical and economic part which Iraq cannot do without in its new growth." Iraq will need to rely on its historic Christina communities to rebuild itself, but is aware that the number of Christians in the country has collapsed from 3% of the population owing to massive emigration and persecution from some elements in the Kurdish, Sunni and Shia Muslim constituencies. "For its part, the government has committed itself to all those who return, to give them a job, a plot to rebuild their homes and 1.5 million Iraqi dinars," he promised, because the Constitution guarantees full equality for Christians, and even allows them "wherever they so wish, to create a region with a special status, such as that of Kurdistan, where they can adopt Syriac or Aramaic as the official language."

There are also five seats in parliament allocated exclusively to Christians, in addition to posts that will eventually be created at regional and provincial government levels.

"Today Iraqi Christians fully enjoy liberty of worship, as well as civil and political rights: Many of them are fully inserted in the political world carrying out important tasks. [...] Recently three ambassadors were appointed". Free speech, the free press and Christian television channels, he said, also demonstrate that Christians' place in the future Iraq is assured.

"Considerable sums" are also being devoted to the protection of Christian historic and cultural patrimony, he noted. And funds are allocated for the training of "dozens" of Iraqi priests each year through studies in Rome.

Turning to the anti-Christian violence plaguing Iraq, the ambassador observed that terrorists have realised that the blood of Iraqi Muslims is of less interest to the Western media than that of Christians. Without intending to, the media have played into the hands of terrorists by "being interested in the Christians, in their future and in the lack of development of the society, thus turning the spotlight on terrorist acts," lending credence to the belief that Iraqi society can never achieve democracy. But he pointed out that "the first to condemn all the attacks against Christians have always been Iraqis of all the communities that make up the country."
So, linking terrorism to Islam is a "mistaken prejudice and an illogical judgment that Western media fuels, stressing only the work of fundamentalist groups, without saying anything about the goodness of the actions and community life of so many other Muslims who live peacefully among non-Muslims desirous of being open to the other."

He called on all governments, rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, East and West "to promote a true and fruitful dialogue between the various cultures and religions," to address the present challenges all face alike, including terrorism, unbelief, failures in public trust, family and social divisions, environmental problems and the emerging water crisis.

No comments: