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 August 10th - 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.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Our Lady of Damascus & St Nicholas Churches, Valletta, Malta

At our March Liturgy in English at the Ukrainian Cathedral, we were joined by visitors from Malta's Greek-Catholic parish of Our Lady of Damascus. This church and also the Church of St Nicholas of Myra were originally founded for the spiritual needs of the Greek Catholics who arrived in Malta with the knights in 1530, following their departure from Rhodes in 1523, and to house the icons of their patrons, brought by the family of Giovanni Calamia.

St Nicholas was built in 1569, but the building of Our Lady of Damascus was not completed before Calamia died in Sicily in 1579. His executors however proceeded with the work and this church was ready in 1580. Seven years afterwards, in 1587, the icon of Our Lady of Damascus was solemnly transferred from Vittoriosa to the new church at Valletta, where it attracted the devotion of local people. In 1637 it is recorded that the Maltese generally held this Syrian-Byzantine icon in high esteem.

During the 17th century, the parish priest of the Greek community at Valletta, Papas Giovanni Metaxi, gave up the use of the Church of St Nicholas, which he passed to the Sodality of the Holy Souls in 1639 (although he retained certain jurisdictional and parochial rights over it). He re-located and settled himself and the centre of the Greek-Catholic parish in the church of Our Lady of Damascus. The present 'Damascena' church is in Byzantine style and was inaugurated in 1951 to replace the previous building lost to enemy bombing during WWII. It is in the care of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. St Nicholas of Myra, Valletta (commonly known by the name of the Sodality, Holy Souls, that rebuilt it - follow the link to hear its bells) also suffered considerable bomb damage during World War II and was likewise reconstructed by 1951. Today it is used by the Serbian Orthodox congregation.

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