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.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Death of Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria - Memory Eternal


Fr John Salter, chairman, writes in Chrysostom, Advent-St Nicholas 2012:

The death occurred in Sophia, Bulgaria, on 6th November 2012 of His Holiness Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria. He was the longest serving head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, having been Patriarch for 41 years. He was 98.

His Holiness was born in the village of Oreshak in central Bulgaria, close to the famous monastery of Troyan, where his body is now laid to rest. He was born into the family of Minkov and baptized
and chrismated with the names Marin Naidenov.

He was ordained to the priesthood during the World War II in 1941. In 1971 he was elected patriarch. Not all that long before he was ordained, the Bulgarian Church was received back into the  communion of the Ecumenical Patriarch in 1945. The schism from the Phanar had lasted 73 years. The Bulgarians and the Greeks had always been unhappy bedfellows, as the Greeks saw the Bulgarians as an obstacle to the realization of their Great Dream of a restoration of Greater Greece. The Bulgars, unhappy with Hellenization, created an independent Church governed by an Exarch, who did not reside in Sophia, but - rather provocatively, and with the connivance of the Sublime Porte's government - in Orta-Keuy on the Bosphorus, with a basilica built of castiron, floated down the Danube and erected almost opposite the Ecumenical Patriarch's residency in the Phanar, where it stands to this day.

The Communist government brought in a new constitution for the Orthodox Church, in which the Exarchate was advanced to a Patriarchate. In 1953 the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras was informed of this promotion and made the usual dignified protest, but as with all the other Balkan Orthodox Churches the fait accompli had to be accepted and in 1953 the much-loved Patriarch Kyril Markov was appointed from the Metropolitanate of Plovdiv.

In the mid-1970s Maxim paid a visit to Archbishop Michael Ramsey at Lambeth and served the Divine Liturgy in the Archbishop‘s presence at the Russian cathedral in Ennismore Gardens. He seemed a rather shy man, but he accomplished a great deal for his Church: building new churches
throughout the patriarchate and renewing the religious life. His Majesty King Simeon, living at that time in exile in Madrid, did not break off communion with the Mother Church as other exiled Orthodox monarchs tended to do, but remained in full communion with it.

The Bulgarian clergy were rather an independent group of clerics and were the first group, and probably the only group, to form a sort of priests' trades union in Christendom. Perhaps, due to this independent spirit, after the fall of communism in Bulgaria, some put it about that Maxim had not been legitimately elected by the Church, but was put in place by President Todor Zhivkov. The rebel clergy went into schism from the Holy Synod and set up an Orthodox Church in opposition to the Patriarchal Church. The schism was brought to and end in 1998, but it was ten years later before the last priest was reconciled.

The Bulgarian Patriarchate has upgraded its presence in London recently from that of a Priest-in-charge to a Bishop, who has a place of worship in Westminster and resides in Hackney, East London.

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