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.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Christians in Ukraine: Ecumenism in the Trenches | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views

The conflict between the state and the society in Ukraine has led to a significant, and positive, shift in perspective among Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants

The religious map of Ukraine on the eve of the protests that began in November 2013 looked like a mosaic of military camps. The troops did not conduct active maneuvers nor openly attack each other. They just stayed in their tranches, while their generals occasionally met on the neutral ground to imitate negotiations on truce, which none of them really wanted. The situation changed, however, when the civil protests began in November 2013 at the central square of Kiev, the Maidan of Independence. The civil awakening urged the Ukrainian churches to reconsider their relationship to each other. This followed the reconsideration of their relationship with the Ukrainian state and the society. The common fight for restoration of social justice and later on against the aggression of Russia provide the Ukrainian Churches a chance for reconciliation.


Ukraine is religiously diverse. No one Church has a monopoly. The largest is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) in communion with the Patriarchate of Moscow. According to the official statistics1, in January 2013 it had 12,485 registered communities. This is the only Ukrainian church recognised by the fellowship of the Orthodox Churches worldwide. For 22 years the Primate of this Church was Metropolitan of Kiev Volodymyr Sabodan. In recent months, however, his health condition has dramatically deteriorated. For this reason on February 24, the Synod of this Church elected as Locum Tenens of the Kievan See Metropolitan Onufry.

The second largest Church is the Patriarchate of Kiev (UOC KP), which was founded in 1992 by the former exarch of Ukraine Filaret Denisenko, who was anathematised for this by the Patriarchate of Moscow. This Church, according to the same statistics, counted 4,536 registered communities in the beginning of 2013.

The third is the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) with 1,205 registered communities. It originates from the Autocephalous movement that started in 1918, then moved into the emigration, mostly Canada and the US, and after Ukraine became independent, returned to its motherland as a UAOC.

There is also a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church (UGCC), a Catholic Church sui iuris, which follows the eastern rite. In January 2013, this Church counted 3,734 registered communities, mostly in the western Ukrainian region of Galicia. It nevertheless developed a distinct social teaching and has a powerful voice recognised throughout the whole country. The rest of the Ukrainian Churches, including the Roman Catholic Church with 919 communities, act publicly mostly through the All-Ukrainian Council of the Churches and Religious Organisations. This Council is the most effective platform of cooperation between different religious groups in Ukraine, including Jewish and Muslim communities.

Civil awakening

All major Ukrainian Churches, including the Greek-Catholic Church, belong to the eastern Christian tradition. According to this tradition, the Church gives priority to relations with the state, and not so much with the society. The Maidan, however, urged the Ukrainian Churches to begin realising that the unilateral relationship of the Church with the state is insufficient. There exists a society, which has its own interests that can be very different from the state.

In Ukraine, the society opposed the kleptocratic and violent state and articulated its own agenda. Under the pressure of the conflict between the state and the society in Ukraine, the Churches realised that society is distinct from the state and equally important for them, if not more important. They had to choose between the two, and all of them eventually chose the side of the society. Some of them earlier, like the Greek Catholic Church, and some later, like the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate.

The Ukrainian Churches “discovered” for themselves the society with its distinct agenda owing to the Maidan. Why did the Maidan become a power that made the Ukrainian Churches change their orientation from the state to the society? The Maidan was a community, which can be interpreted as a classic instance of the civil society. This community understood itself on the basis of shared values, including dignity, honesty, non-violence, solidarity, and readiness for self-sacrifice. Civil society in the form demonstrated by the Maidan can hardly be found even in the modern Europe, where for the most part people nowadays are united on the basis of common interests, but not common values.

The Ukrainians saw how the European politicians betrayed the European Maidan, but the Ukrainians did not betray the values that Europe, historically, stood for. The Churches realised how close these values are to the values of Christianity, including altruism, readiness for self-sacrifice, and solidarity. The Maidan pushed the Churches to rise above the status quo that dominated their relationship with the state for years, and to take the side of the society in its struggle with the violent regime.

The common effort of the Ukrainian Churches in addressing the issues of social justice and human dignity raised by the Maidan gave a clue to the solution of another problem that has been plaguing the Churches in Ukraine since the country’s independence: the ecclesial schisms. The Orthodox Churches in Ukraine are divided not for ecclesial or theological reasons, but for social and political ones. The social divide in the Ukrainian society is the real reason of the schisms. By helping bridging this divide, the Churches help themselves; they thus pave a way to reconciliation and the overcoming of schism.

Condemnation of intervention

Even more the divided Churches became united in dealing with the challenges, which Ukraine faced immediately after the victory of the Maidan, of separatism in the east and south of the country, and Russian military aggression. They've began acting—not with separate efforts, as often happened during the protests at the Maidan—but with more unity. They chose the platform of the All-Ukrainian Council of the Churches and Religious Organisations to voice their concerns.

Read the rest of the article here:
Christians in Ukraine: Ecumenism in the Trenches | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views
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