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 14th July - 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

Eternal Memory: His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Coptic Orthodox Church

Pope Shenouda lying in state
Fr John Salter, chairman, writes in Chrysostom for Advent-St Nicholas 2012:
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III died on 18th March 2012. He was 88 years of age. He had been Patriarch of Alexandria for almost 40 years and presided over the largest Church in the Middle East. He was often a controversial figure and was from time to time placed under house or rather monastic arrest. He tried valiantly to stand up to the military junta and to those Moslems who attacked his flock and his churches. Many, many Copts are worried about their future now that their Pope is no longer here to speak out against atrocities.
Pope Shenouda was a conservative, was strongly opposed to divorce; and when in London made his views very clear that he was against the ordination of women and gay bishops. To the surprise and dismay of ecumenists His Holiness vetoed the admission of the Assyrian Church of the East to the Middle East Council of Churches: he regarded that Church as embodying the Nestorian heresy. He also tried to prevent Coptic Youth from getting embroiled in demonstrations on the streets of Cairo, 
Alexandria and other Egyptian cities. Last October, a military crackdown on a Christian protest left 25 people dead and caused Christian outrage, many Copts believing that the military were complicit in the deaths and attacks on Christians. A Coptic man at the funeral of the Pope said:
The Copts are treated like children. We can‘t build a church without asking permission, and if we do build without a permit it is burnt down and they come with swords to cut off our ears.

Some of the worst offenders are the sect of the Salafi, whom Christians have identified as the
perpetrators of several violent attacks. Some Christians have predicted that there will be a great exodus of Copts and other Christians from Egypt, forced to flee en masse, as has been the fate of the Christians of Iraq. 

Pope Tawadros (Theodore) II at his enthronement

Months have gone by since the death of Pope Shenouda and now a successor, has been chosen: Pope and Patriarch Tawadros II aged sixty, who studied, at one time, in the United Kingdom. He was chosen by a Council of prominent members of the Coptic community – the elders, met to pick a worthy candidate. Candidates were narrowed down to three, whose names were written on sheets of paper and then a youth picked one at random, Candidates have to be Egyptian by birth, and must be at least 50 years of age and have served at least 15 years as a monk. With the difficult position that the Copts find themselves in Egypt it is, perhaps, not a position that many would seek.

Our prayers are for the repose of a Confessor of the Faith. His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and for his successor, who may not only be a Confessor, but with the deterioration in Egypt could possibly suffer martyrdom, as did Pope Shenouda‘s Foreign Secretary Bishop Samuel, who was shot with the then President, who was sympathetic to the Copts and paid for it with his life.

May the Lord God remember in His Kingdom His servant Shenouda, now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

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