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.




Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Symbols of our Office | Symposium - Fr James Siemens on Priesthood and Pastorship

A couple of months ago, I was in London to deliver a lecture, after which two friends and I headed across the road for food and drink. Having spoken to the audience dressed as an Eastern priest should, in pidryasnik, riassa, and skoufia (for Latin readers: closer-fitting ‘inner’ cassock, flowing ‘outer’ cassock, and soft-sided pill-box hat), I was still in cassock and skoufia when we walked through the lanes of Knightsbridge looking for somewhere to eat. Arriving at a heaving pub, we squeezed through the crowd until we found a table and ordered our fare. Immediately after the food arrived, I got up to ask the waiter for some additional napkins. ‘Of course,’ he said in halting English, bending down to retrieve them, ‘tell me, though: are you a priest?’ ‘Yes I am,’ I replied, knowing that my garb, while obviously marking me out, looked different to what most people – even churched people – expected to see. ‘What sort of priest?’ he continued. ‘Greek Catholic,’ I said. ‘Like Orthodox, but in communion with the pope.’ His eyes got wide. ‘Oh good. You believe in the pope, then?’ ‘Well,’ I replied, ‘I am in communion with him.’ ‘Okay…’ he looked around, then back at me, ‘can you hear my confession?’

At that moment, it struck me for the first time since ordination just how privileged I was to be a priest. Until I was presented with the opportunity to administer the sacrament of penance in the middle of a crowded pub, just how therapeutic and graceful the power of the Church was had never fully hit home. Celebrating the Divine Liturgy had always been a source of great joy to me, but there was something about my experience in the pub that hearkened back to the stories of Christ in the Gospels being pressed upon by the crowds from every side; of the Fathers of the Church speaking of the Kingdom of God in the public square.

Pope Francis has called upon priests to ‘take on something of the smell of the sheep’, a reminder which I can appreciate very much. It is the vocation of the Church to manifest something simultaneously divine and mundane, and it can be tempting at times to avoid the latter in favour of the former. I would argue, in fact, that whenever a priest becomes too interested in his vestments, or in sipping sherry, or in debating rubrics, to the neglect of changing his own light bulbs, mowing his own lawn, or washing the dishes at a parish function, he is distorting the Incarnation by overemphasising the redditus and forgetting – sometimes entirely – the exitus. But – and it is a big ‘but’ – that is not to say that the vestments, rubrics, and even the sherry, are not important. The perfect balance, of course, would be for a priest to ....




Read more on Fr James' blog here:

The Symbols of our Office | Symposium
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