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 9th June - 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, 22 December 2013

Persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a crime against humanity | Tom Holland | Comment is free | theguardian.com

In AD 781, the Caliph Al-Mahdi summoned the leading churchman of his empire to recently founded Baghdad to debate with him the rival merits of Christianity and Islam. Patriarch Timothy did not hesitate. He had no reason to feel nervous. Christianity was thriving in the Middle East. It was Christians, not Muslims, who formed the majority in the Caliphate.

The notion that the future of their faith might lie in the barbarous lands of the west, rather than in the Fertile Crescent, would have struck Timothy as ludicrous. It was in the east, after all, that "Jesus Christ walked in the flesh 33 years on the Earth"; in the east that the church's greatest saints, scholars and ascetics had lived. Even as Timothy debated with the Caliph, missionaries were preaching the gospel to the Chinese and the Turks. A bishopric was planned for "the peoples of Tibet".

How distant now the world of Timothy seems. When Prince Charles, at an advent reception, warned that Christianity was at risk of extinction in the lands of its birth, he was not scaremongering. The calamity has been a long time brewing. The Middle Ages saw Christians progressively lose their majority status in the region. The collapse of Byzantium then confirmed Islam's status as its dominant religion.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Christians represented just over 10% of its total population. Even so, had the Middle East remained what it had been for the previous two-and-a-half millennia, a patchwork of different faiths ruled by distant emperors, they might well have clung on to their ancestral lands.

Read Tom Holland's full report in The Guardian online here:
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a crime against humanity | Tom Holland | Comment is free | theguardian.com
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