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 July, 4pm

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, 29 March 2014

A great Catholic renaissance in Ukraine may be at risk: John Allen interivews Bishop Borys Gudziak | National Catholic Reporter







John Allen, NCR, 28 May 2014


On any countdown of terrific Catholic stories over the last twenty years, the renaissance of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine would have to be near the top of the list. Numbering some five million faithful, about ten percent of the Ukrainian population, Greek Catholics follow Orthodox liturgical and spiritual traditions but have been in full union with Rome since the 16th century.

Under the Soviets, the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine was the largest illegal religious body in the world, and one of the most persecuted. The legendary Ukrainian Cardinal Josef Slipyi, who spent two decades in the gulags, once said that his church had been buried under "mountains of corpses and rivers of blood." During his 2001 visit to Ukraine, John Paul II beatified 27 Greek Catholic martyrs under the Soviets -- one of whom had been boiled alive, another crucified in prison, and a third bricked into a wall.

Given that history, the church's recovery in the short span of time since the Soviet Union imploded has been nothing short of miraculous. In 1939, the Greek Catholics boasted 2,500 priests; by 1989, the number had fallen to just 300. Today it's back up to 2,500, with 800 seminarians in the pipeline. Greek Catholics played key roles in the "Orange Revolution" of 2004/05, which for a brief, shining moment, promised to bring democracy and the rule of law to Ukraine.

In many ways, the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine has become a global model for the evangelization of culture.

Today, however, Catholicism in Ukraine may once again be at risk, as a new government has come to power which seems bent on reviving Soviet-style authoritarianism. On May 18, an official of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the successor to the KGB, visited the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv -- the only Catholic university in the former Soviet Union, which means it's the only Catholic university in twelve time zones. The police official warned the rector, Fr. Borys Gudziak, against students participating in illegal anti-government protests. (Gudziak, by the way, is a 50-year-old Ukrainian-American born in Syracuse, New York, who holds a Harvard doctorate in Slavic and Byzantine Cultural History.)

The SBU official also insisted that Gudziak sign a letter and then give it back, presumably to be placed in police archives. Gudziak refused, charging that asking people to sign letters and turn them over to the police was a classic KGB technique for recruiting collaborators. 

(Gudziak's description of the experience can be found here, which he says has no precedent in Ukraine since independence in 1991: New Government Pressures UCU)

As proof that the May 18 visit was not a one-off event, consider that Gudziak's cousin Teodor, a layman and mayor of a city in Western Ukraine, was recently arrested on bribery charges – despite the fact that he actually has video of plainclothes policemen breaking into his office to plant forged documents. Consider, too, that staffers at the Ukrainian Catholic University got calls from the SBU on their cell phones this week, a none-too-subtle way of saying "We know how to find you," and that when President Viktor Yanukovich visited Western Ukraine on Wednesday, where the bulk of Catholics are concentrated, the university conveniently lost its electrical power. Faculty and students have been using the Internet to inform the world of what's happening in the country -- and that, of course, requires electricity.

All this is especially alarming because the Ukrainian Catholic University is a fascinating place, with much to offer the broader enterprise of Catholic higher education around the world. For example, the university has launched a "Center for Spiritual Support of the Handicapped" in conjunction with the L'Arche Community, a new movement in Catholicism founded by Canadian layman Jean Vanier, which fosters friendships with people who have physical and mental disabilities. Gudziak says the theory is that contact with the handicapped ought to be an integral part of theological formation. Next month, the university will break ground on a new dormitory, where the spiritual life will be inspired by L'Arche.

Gudziak says that L'Arche is a perfect fit for a society recovering from the systematic deception and lack of trust associated with the Soviet period -- because, he said, "the handicapped do not have masks."

So far, Western reaction to the pressures facing Gudziak and his fellow Greek Catholics has circulated mostly in conservative circles, among hawks already convinced that Putin and his allies in the former Soviet sphere are sliding back into Cold War-era patterns. In principle, however, this is not an ideological question, but a matter of religious freedom and human rights, as well as solidarity with fellow Catholics at risk -- wherever that risk originates.

On Wednesday, I reached Gudziak by phone at his office in Lviv to discuss the situation facing the university and the church.

Read the full interview here:
A great Catholic renaissance in Ukraine may be at risk | National Catholic Reporter
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