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.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Archive (Catholic Herald) - Society keeps 950th Anniversary of Baptism of St Vladimir of Kyiv, 28 July 1938


15 July 1938: Society of St John Chrysostom

On July 28, Russians, both Catholics and Orthodox, will celebrate the 950th anniversary of the baptism of St. Vladimir, Great Prince of Kiev, and his people. The Society of St. John Chrysostom is to commemorate this historical event by a solemn Liturgy in the Eastern rite and a special meeting.

The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom will be celebrated by Fr. F. Wilcock, S.J., at the church of SS. Anselm and Cecilia, Kingsway, by kind permission of the Very Rev. Canon Daniell on the feast of St. Vladimir, Thursday, July 28, at 11 a.m. It is interesting to note that for the first time in this country an English Catholic choir will sing the Liturgy. It was trained by Mr. P. C. Silby who went to great trouble to overcome the difficulty of unfamiliar Slavonic words, a difficulty which is being gradually overcome. Needless to say that all members of the choir gave their work-and time free, and, by attending the weekly practices, supported Mr. Silby's devoted and competent work. The Mass will be offered for Russia and for her return to the faith in which she was baptised just 950 years ago. The final arrangements for the meeting and lectures have not yet been fixed, but will be announced shortly.

Like English history, Russian history had been tampered with to support a certain thesis. The official version was that St. Vladimir received his faith front a particular Greek Church after careful study of different religions, and that he was a champion of Orthodoxy as this term is erroneously understood in the East, But scholarly researches of Russian and Western historians and the discovery of new documents have shown that period under a very different light (see the short article on this subject in the current issue of the Month), and it is more than likely that St. Vladimir, being a Varangian or Norseman, owed his conversion not to Greeks, but to his own people.

Vladimir's close friend Olav Tryggwison, King of Norway, who himself was baptised in Britain, seems to have played an important part in his conversion.

But whatever the origins of Russian Christianity, one fact must never be forgotten : in the tenth century the unity of the Christian world was not yet broken by the great schism and, despite national, dynastic and other rivalries, there existed a feeling of the unity of the whole civilised world.

Under its Norman conquerors "Rus," as Russia was known then, was evolving into a European country in close and friendly relations with the West and with the Holy See. The recent researches of Fr. F. Dvornik, Professor of Theology at the University of Prague., as well as those of the Assumptionist scholars Frs. V. Grumel and M. Jugie, have shown that the version accepted in the West of the ninth century schism of Patriarch Photius is wrong. It was elaborated by Cardinal Baronius in the sixteenth century under the influence of false documents compiled by followers of Patriarch Ignatius, rival of Photius. Actually, after a quarrel with Pope Nicholas I, Photius was reconciled to Rome, recognised as lawful patriarch of Constantinople by Pope John VII, the Acts of the Council of 869-870 which condemned him being annulled. The same historians have also thrown new light upon the schism of Michael Cerularius in 1054, showing that the final separation was due more to a lack of understanding than to any doctrinal differences. Professor Dvornik is shortly expected in London, and the Society of St. John Chrysostom hopes he will do them the honour of speaking at the meeting of July 28.

Dr. Dvornik's researches have opened a door for the reconciliation between the East and the West: if the origins of the separation are due to misunderstandings and personal quarrels, such misunderstandings, humanly speaking, should not last for ever. The rift has lasted so long that a reconciliation is certainly more difficult now and can be reached only by the sincere desire to see not what separates, but what unites the two Churches. St. Vladimir, his grandmother St. Olga and other saints of the Russian Church before the separation belong to the Universal Church: they were the apostles of Unity and through their intercession the broken unity may perhaps be restored.

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