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 April, 4pm - keeping Palm 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, 25 August 2012

Damian Thompson on Syria


"Radical Islam revives an ancient hatred - Damian Thompson in Saturday's Daily Telegraph


Is a new and shocking wave of anti-Semitism engulfing the Middle East and the developing world? Consider the following: More than half the Jews in Iraq have been driven out of the country; those that remain are forced to pay a fine or leave their homes. Some are forced to marry Muslims.


In Syria, towns and villages where Jews have lived for centuries are now almost entirely Muslim; these communities have fled to safer parts of the country, where they hope to escape an anti-Semitic massacre.

In Egypt, the new regime is surreptitiously encouraging attacks on synagogues; the Jews, despised for their supposed wealth, fear that the “Arab spring” is about to release centuries of pent-up anti-Semitic hatred.


In Nigeria, Jews have been attacked and killed while studying scripture. In Bangladesh, Jewish children are being forced into madrassas. In Pakistan, the body of an 11-year-old Jewish boy was discovered this week; he’d been tortured to death and his lips sliced off.

You won’t have heard about this atrocious persecution. That’s because – forgive me – I’ve played one of the oldest tricks in the journalist’s book. For Jews, read Christians. For anti-Semitic, read anti-Christian. For synagogues read churches.


I hope Jewish readers won’t take offence: I’m not denying that actual anti-Semitism is spreading like a virus throughout Arab societies. It’s just that, if these attacks against Christians were being directed against Jews, the precedent of the Holocaust would shock the world into action.


This new persecution is the result of the simultaneous revival of militant Islam in many countries. We can say that with confidence. What we can’t say, however, is that there is a co-ordinated Islamic plot to exterminate Christianity as a stepping stone to a universal caliphate.


Conspiracy theorists may derive emotional satisfaction from this idea, but it doesn’t correspond to the messy politics of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Also, it lets the “Christian” West off the hook.


We have to confront the awkward fact that, for decades, some of the world’s most despicable dictators have protected indigenous Christians from Islamic mobs. When the West withdraws its support from these rulers, Christian minorities are exposed as never before.

The removal of Saddam has eviscerated Iraqi Christian churches so ancient that they still worship in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The fall of Mubarak means that it’s open season on Copts. Those who can afford to do so may follow the example of Palestinian and Lebanese Christians and emigrate. A key statistic: 100 years ago, the Levant was 20 per cent Christian; now the figure is 5 per cent.


The British government, despite prodding by the heroic Lord Alton, is doing a good imitation of not giving a stuff about any of this. Maybe it’s guilt: Anglo-American policies helped liberate Islamism.


As for Western Christianity, some evangelical and Catholic campaigners are drawing attention to the persecution – but they’re undermined by colleagues. For many evangelicals, Iraqi or Syrian worshippers are not “real” Christians because they venerate icons. Lefty Catholics are too obsessed with climate change and benefit cuts to spare a thought for their martyred co-religionists.


Keep an eye on Syria after Assad goes. First they’ll come for the Alawites, then the Christians. There’s a real chance that all traces of Christianity will disappear from the very place where St Paul was knocked off his horse and blinded by a vision of the risen Christ. What a horrible piece of symmetry

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Congratulations to Professor Allen Brent: Christopher Morris Lecturer 2012

The Revd Dr Allen Brent, a priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has a distinguished academic career in both Britain and Australia as a scholar of Early Christianity and Theology in Classical Culture, as well as in its lessons for the Church of the present day. Shortly after his ordination in the Catholic Church, he was appointed Professore Invitato at the Augustinianum, the Patristics Institute at the Lateran University, in Rome, whereby he also runs an annual course for his doctoral students at King's College, London, in collaboration with the British School at Rome.

We warmly congratulate him on his new appointment as Professor of Early Christian History and Iconography at King's College, London.

Fr Brent will deliver the Society's 2012 Christopher Morris Lecture, on Wednesday 14th November, at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Duke Street, London W1 at 7 pm:

Culture and Mission in Eastern and Western Catholicism – Can Bishops Represent Cultures rather than Territories?

Please email us if you would like to receive an invitation.

“Blessed are the peacemakers” - from Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch




                                                                         Damascus, 3 August 2012



"Blessed are the peacemakers" 



With these words Our Lord exalts peace-makers, saying that “they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5: 9). Through these same Gospel words, I should like to explain the Church’s attitude to the widespread talk of arming Christians, especially in Damascus:



1.       No official has spoken to us about arming Christians.

2.       We have never contacted any official and we have never asked for our Christian children to be armed, in Damascus or elsewhere.

3.       We have never considered – and never will – arming ourselves.

4.       Furthermore, we believe that the attempt to arm Christians, from whatever quarter, involves a danger of sectarian conflict and exposes predominantly Christian districts to attacks of unknown origin.

5.      We call upon all our faithful, in all parishes, to refuse offers of arms. We remind them of the teachings of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Matthew 26: 52) And also, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." (Matthew 5: 5 and 9)

6.       We remind them likewise of Saint Paul’s teaching, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." (Romans 12: 18)

Our role as Christians is one of mediation and reconciliation: of being bridge-builders between the children of the same homeland. That is the finest mission that we could carry out for our country, Syria, for our brother and sister fellow-citizens of all denominations, regardless of political party, tribe, region or persuasion.

7.       We have not stopped calling for this, ever since the outbreak of the crisis in March, 2011. That is the role of the Church and its pastors – Patriarchs, bishops, priests – monks, nuns and lay-persons involved in various sectors of activities and services of the Church. Our churches, schools, institutions and confraternities are all schools of peace, faith, virtue, love and frank, sincere fellow-citizenship and respect for all.

8.       I recall a saying of the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras of Constantinople, "I am no longer afraid, because I have laid my weapons down!"
 

Our Lord calls us to this in the Holy Gospel, "It is I, be not afraid!" (Matthew 14: 27; Mark 6: 50; John 6: 20) And also, "Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33) And John the Evangelist tells us, "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1 John 5: 4) Let us add: faith in our brethren, our homeland and our sincere, humane national values.
 

We pray God to deign to bring back love to the hearts of all Syrians, so that they will have no need of weapons or fear of massacres, for they will be living together, as children of the same family and the same homeland.
 

We implore him: God of peace, grant peace to our country.


                                                      + Gregorios III       

                                                      Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and of Jerusalem

APOCALYPSE AND RESURRECTION: News from Damascus


We have just received this email from His Grace Samir Nassar, Archbishop of Damascus of the Maronites, circulated by Bishop Nicholas Samra of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton in the USA.

 
APOCALYPSE AND RESURRECTION


Dear friends
I will keep on writing as long as I live and as the Internet access is still possible ... Since Tuesday, July 17, 2012 morning, the battles reached the capital Damascus using heavy weapons, tanks and helicopters in a crowded city. The destruction is enormous. What a Calvary!

The clashes are taking place in the streets and move from one neighborhood to another. It is impossible to sleep with the fear and the sound of bombs and gunfire of cannons. Summer temperatures are from 42°C (108°F) to 56°C (133°F) and power outages are awful.

Damascus is cut off the rest of the Syrian cities and suffers from many shortages.  The supplies can no longer reach it. We are short of bread, vegetables, live, cooking gas and fuel for bakeries ...

Run for your lives ... Many families are leaving the hot neighborhoods of battles to form an endless chain on the road to Lebanon. Other roads to Jordan, Iraq and north to Homs-Aleppo are closed.

A general feeling of panic is causing the exodus towards Lebanon. I hope the people the will find the proper welcome there … Because the Syrians have so welcomed Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqis refugees...

 
The few faithful who dared coming to pick up the courage from the mass burned many candles at the tomb of Blessed Martyrs of Damascus. They exchanged farewells and tears before returning running to their homes under the sounds of gunfire and explosions ...

Damascus was spared for 16 months from the violence that tore the other cities of Syria ... here comes our turn to suffer and die.

We just managed to fit in a corner under the stairs to shelter with our neighbors from the bombshells, the caves of the parish have just been cleaned …

Provided that the Resurrection will not be late after so much suffering ....

 Damascus July 20, 2012.
                                                                 
+ Samir NASSAR
 Maronite archbishop of Damascus

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Patriarch Gregorios: Keeping the Dormition Fast alongside Muslims and Ramadan for Peace

Christians and Muslims are fasting and praying together

To our brother bishops, members of our Holy Synod in the Middle East and throughout the whole world! To our sons and daughters: priests, monks, nuns, and Greek Catholic faithful! May “the Peace of God which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus!” (Philippians 4: 7)


Dear brothers and sisters!

Once again Christians and Muslims are fasting and praying at the same time. That is one of the most beautiful marks and signs of their living together in solidarity.


So Muslims have begun the fast of the honourable month of Ramadan (that lasts this year from 20 July to 18 August.)


In a few days, Christians will begin the fast or abstinence of the Dormition of the Mother of God, from 1 until 15 August. This fast is a summer fast. There is first the autumn fast that precedes the Nativity (40 days). Then follows Great Lent or the winter fast (40 to 50 days), before the Feast of the Resurrection or Great Feast, and the spring or Apostles’ fast (20 to 25 days), in June.


The fast or abstinence of Our Lady is very popular and loved by Christian families. During these 15 days we celebrate the consolation or invocation service called Paraklesis in Greek. It is a very popular service that fills our hearts with hope, consolation and joy. It is celebrated for various intentions, especially for the sick, injured, travellers, mourners, orphans, refugees, exiled, departed…


We call upon our faithful, especially in our patriarchal eparchy in Damascus, to participate in these services, with fasting, prayer and repentance.


So the sounds of services in churches and mosques will be simultaneously united, as will be the prayers, fasting and devotions of Muslims and Christians both in places of worship and homes! What beautiful harmony of faith!


Together we shall be praying especially for the safety of all Syrians and for the cessation of the violence that sows fear in quiet districts and has caused the displacement and flight of thousands who have left their homes and properties! We pray too during this period for the return of charity, friendship, fellowship and compassion among all citizens. Syrians are still capable of loving and forgiving each other, being reconciled and showing tolerance to one another. Together they can rebuild a renewed, free, secure, conciliatory Syria, in which citizens regardless of group, party, religion or affiliation can enjoy freedom, dignity, employment and education … United together, they can rebuild what has been destroyed and work for development and prosperity, for a better future for all citizens.


Together we pray: “O Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance. Grant peace to thy world! Grant peace to Syria! By thy Cross, preserve thy people!”


We ask everyone to add special litanies for peace and reconciliation to services.


To everyone, a holy fast! With my affection! United in prayer!


Gregorios III
Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, of Alexandria and Jerusalem


Damascus, 27 July 2012

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Istanbul: The historic meeting between the Grand Mufti and Patriarch Bartholomew

From Vatican Insider, ROME 7/5/12

Today was a historic day for Istanbul. Turkey’s greatest religious authority, the Grand Mufti, Mehmet Görmez, attended a meeting with Bartholomew I, at the Patriarchate of Constantinople. This was the first time in the history of modern Turkey that the head of the Presidency for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) visited the highest representative of the country’s oldest religion, the Orthodox faith, which has its origins in the Byzantine Empire.

The meeting, which had been scheduled some time ago, was arranged in order to give impetus to interreligious dialogue and push for the re opening of the Orthodox Halki seminary, which the military closed in 1971. For centuries, this seminary was the training place for the upper echelons of the Orthodox Church. The Grand Mufti addressed this issue in today’s meeting with Bartholomew: "A country as big as this should not have to send its clergy abroad to be educated." In other words, if the Halki seminary is not reopened, Bartholomew I’s successors will inevitably come from abroad. The Patriarch said he "fully agreed" with Görmez, adding that Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conservative Islamic government "is dealing with the problem in a constructive manner."

In this morning’s issue of Turkish daily newspaper Radikal, Huseiyn Celik, former Education minister and Vice Secretary of Akp, stated: "It was a mistake to close Halki; not to reopen it would be another mistake. There is no criticism preventing it from being opened; it is a right." The first discussion between the two religious leaders, which was then followed by a second closed-door meeting, was broadcast live on television.

The two clerics exchanged gifts. A beautiful silver item engraved with the name of Allah engraved on it, for Mehmet Görmez and a papyrus with verses from the Koran, the Gospel and the Torah, on God’s existence, for Bartholomew. "Let us not make this meeting an isolated case," Görmez said. "Let us meet more often."

Kyivan Patriarchate Asks Christian World to Condemn Repeated Baptism By Moscow Patriarchate

Kyivan Patriarchate Asks Christian World to Condemn Repeated Baptism By Moscow Patriarchate