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 September, 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.

"It's Now or Never: The Return of the Eastern Christians to Iraq and Syria" - John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need gives the annual Christopher Morris Lecture in the Society's 90th year. Monday 27th November at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 pm Divine Liturgy, 7-15 pm Lecture, 8-15 pm Reception. £10 donation requested. RSVP to johnchrysostom@btinternet.com







Monday, 31 March 2014

Sisters of St Macrina: Praying history does not repeat - Herald-Standard, Uniontown PA

Prayers for peace in Ukraine are being said at Mount St. Macrina’s House of Prayer as Russia continues its annexation of Crimea and anti-government protests are held in Kiev’s Independence Square, Maidan Nezalezhnosti.

The eastern European country is where the Order of St. Basil the Great was founded in the fourth century, and Ukraine is home to the largest province of the religious order, with about 180 nuns serving throughout the country. The Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province, based at Mount St. Macrina, is one of the larger provinces in the order, at one time its second largest.

Sister Barbara Jean Mihalchick, who resides at Mt. St. Macrina, has been to Ukraine 25 times and was instrumental in getting property returned to the order taken during the communist regime.

She has seen the devastation of the church under communism and participated in the restoration of the church since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. She is praying that the annexation and political unrest don’t lead to yet another persecution of the church. Mihalchick said that so far the Crimean annexation hasn’t affected much in western Ukraine.

“Things are pretty normal there except the people are frightened for all, and they have asked for prayers. The reality in eastern Ukraine is different. The priests who have been serving there, like in Crimea, they have been threatened. One priest was abducted, at least one that we know of, but he has since been released,” Mihalchick said.

Mihalchick said the Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests, who are permitted to marry, have moved their families from Crimea back to mainland Ukraine.

“The priests went back to their parishes. They said, ‘We will stay with the people in the middle of this crisis.’ What will happen now, I don’t know if they will chase all Ukrainians out of Crimea. I know they will be establishing a border, and there’s probably going to be a need now to have a passport to go between the two, or documents of some kind,” Mihalchick said.

Mihalchick said that in addition to the kidnapping, priests in Ukraine are already facing accusations from Russia reminiscent of the 1940s and ’50s, calling them Vatican agents.

“You can’t call them communists. They claim to be over that. The only reality is you are dealing with the same people who have changed their colors only, in some mindsets. It is still a threat to the mentality because they are afraid of foreign powers. If we are connected to the Vatican, and we are, then that’s like a fear of a foreign power right there. Fear of the West: the whole nervousness over Ukraine is because Ukraine was thinking of joining NATO and that would have put NATO right at their border of Russia, and they don’t like that idea at all,” Mihalchick said.

Those fears were acted upon in the past, leading to the destruction of many churches and the martyrdom of those serving in the religious life.

“The Sisters were forced into the underground around 1947 and then that release did not happen until 1990, that they could be seen as a legal reality within the country of Ukraine. So, they then began to organize, and this is why I’ve been in Ukraine already 25 times, to help restore religious life, to develop communities, to find buildings, to struggle with authorities to get rightful properties returned to the community,” Mihalchick said.

Mihalchick said circumstances are ripe in Ukraine for a foreign power to take over, following four months of protests against the government and nearly 100 people killed in clashes with police in protests in Kiev.

“A lot of the protests were spurred on by the intense corruption that’s part of that country, and they want to say, ‘Enough, enough. Look at all the years since communism fell, and we’re still living with the issues that won’t go away.’ People still need to pay for bribes to get their son or daughter into a university or into a specialty. Many people can’t make a decent living. Throughout the country, it has been an issue, and the country itself hasn’t been able to make the progress it should have, simply because of the corruption,” Mihalchick said. “The corruption has, in fact, made it easier for people to long for another country to help them, and Russia said, ‘We’re the ones who are going to give you more money.’ That can be attractive. But it’s because it’s such a struggle just to get ahead.”

Mihalchick said sisters from the Order of St. Basil the Great have been present in Independence Square in Kiev along with others in ministry, both Catholic and Protestant, holding prayer vigils.

“Our sisters, the Sisters of St. Basil, also went there in Kiev and were praying with them at times. They took shifts, they organized food and drink and it just became a real community-building, faith-building experience for them. And all the people are being strengthened, I think, those that want to save Ukraine. The Greek Catholics have always been contributors toward a love for their country and a protectionism of the country,” Mihalchick said.

Mihalchick said that the church, which has seen freedom for the past two decades in Ukraine, has had a great resurgence, both among those taking religious vows and in the congregations. It is unlikely it will be forced underground again.

“The people see this as a challenge, and they’re used to challenges. Truly, it’s a time of great prayer and a strengthening of one another,” Mihalchick said. “If you want to put us through the challenge, we’ve been there before. And by our faith and by our being able now to come together in churches, we’re not in hiding anymore. We’re right out there in public.”


Praying history does not repeat - New Today - Herald-Standard
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