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.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Great Lent Pastoral Letter of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy of the United States of America

Dearly Beloved Faithful

“Open to me the doors of repentance, O Giver of life. As we worship in your temple this morning, teach us how to purify the temples of our bodies, and in your compassion, purify me by the goodness of your mercies.” - from the matins for the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
In teaching the faithful about the cycle of feasts and commemorations contained in the liturgical year of the Byzantine church, the church Fathers often used the symbol of a door, as we see in the above citation from the service of matins. Indeed, as a pilgrim community journeying towards the heavenly Jerusalem, we can say that we have only just recently passed through the door symbolizing the culmination of the celebrations surrounding the birth and baptism of Our Lord. And having closed it behind us, we have travelled only a few steps along the journey, and have come upon another door along our path: the door that crosses the threshold into the time of Great Lent. Great Lent is a blessed time of cleansing, renewal and conversion that encompasses the totality of our being: physical, psychological and above all, spiritual – all in preparation for the great commemoration of the death, burial and Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Every year at this time we ask ourselves the question: How are we to effectively use this time of Lent so that we can be truly transformed, in mind, body and spirit? Thankfully, the Church in her wisdom, has shown us the answer through the Gospel lessons contained in the Sundays immediately before the beginning of Great Lent. We find in them, concrete means of preparing for Lent so that we can embark upon these 40 holy days, sure of our victory in the end.

In the Gospel of the Sunday of Zaccheus (Lk. 19:1-10) we learn that a personal and indomitable desire for conversion is necessary if we are to profit from the time of Great Lent. The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee (Lk. 18:10-14) demonstrates that a humble recognition of our personal sinfulness is also a prerequisite. The Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Lk. 15: 11-32) contains many lessons for us, one of them being that God will cover us with his boundless forgiveness and mercy if we take but one tiny step towards him in repentance. Meatfare Sunday (Mt. 25: 31-46) presents us with a terrifying picture of the Last Judgment and Christ’s admonition that only through acts of corporal mercy towards our brothers and sisters in need, will we escape the sentence of eternal damnation. Finally, when we at last stand on the threshold of Great Lent, the Gospel of Cheesefare Sunday (Mt. 6: 14-21) teaches us that our sincere forgiveness of those who have offended us is the key that ensures God’s mercy and forgiveness for our own transgressions.

During the time of Great Lent we urge you to return often to the Gospel lessons of these preparatory Sundays, to meditate upon them and plumb their depths for the golden nuggets of God’s grace, wisdom and love that are found within them in abundance.

If we do this, then we will discover that, at the end of our Lenten journey, yet another door will be opened for us: a door that leads to the celebration of the indescribable joy of Our Lord’s glorious Resurrection from the dead; a door that leads to a faith in Christ that is stronger, deeper, more courageous and resilient, shining brightly for all to see. Indeed, gathered together in our parish churches on Easter Sunday we can become modern examples those ancient communities where Saint Paul preached so long ago, communities for which ‘God had opened the door of faith’. (Acts 14:27).

Of course, the gift of faith is not something to be hoarded and hidden from sight. We are called to put it on display for all the world to see, to ‘set it on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house’. (Mt. 5:15) To paraphrase the words that were pronounced at our baptism we are to ‘take the lighted candle and strive throughout our lifetime to shine brightly with the light of faith and of good deeds…’
When our entire being is filled with the joy of faith, then our natural desire should be to share this joy and this faith with others. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis has emphasized this noble privilege and responsibility of Christians in his brilliant Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ – ‘The Joy of the Gospel’ in which he writes that the Good News of our faith is ‘a joy ever new, a joy which is shared’. This is also reflected in the resolution of the Synod of Bishops of our Ukrainian Catholic Church last year, which, under the banner of the program of parish spiritual renewal entitled ‘The Vibrant Parish – a Place to Encounter the Living Christ’, has dedicated 2014 to the development of a Missionary Spirit in our Ukrainian Church.

The very nature and mission of the Church means that we are called to bear witness to Christ and to share the Good News with others. May the journey through Great Lent upon which we are embarking, be a time of true spiritual conversion and renewal for all of us. And may all those who yearn to walk through the door that leads to an encounter with Christ and the Church, be guided through the light of our good example.

+Stefan Soroka Metropolitan-Archbishop of Philadelphia
+Richard Seminack Eparch of St. Nicholas in Chicago
+Paul Chomnycky, OSBM (author) Eparch of Stamford
+John Bura Apostolic Administrator of St. Josaphat in Parma

Great Lent, 2014
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