Every second Saturday of the month, Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
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.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Romanian Greek Catholic Church, London - Visit of Bishop Claudiu-Lucian Pop of Mariamme

In 2011-12, in view of the rising numbers of European Eastern Catholics in diaspora in the United Kingdom the Romanian Church united with Rome (also known as the Romanian Greek Catholic Church) established a mission in London, under the leadership of Fr Eduard-William Fartan and with the assistance of the Latin Catholic diocese of Brentwood. The mission was assigned the Franciscan Sisters' convent Church of the Annunciation in the parish of Canning Town in east London.

On March 30 2014, the Romanian Catholic Mission in England received its first archpastoral visit, with the arrival of Bishop Claudiu-Lucian Pop of Mariemme, who is also curial bishop to the Cardinal Metropolitan Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Iulia, who is Head of the Romanian Church United with Rome. Apart from the pastoral contact with the people, he also ordained a subdeacon, and blessed Fr Eduard and invested him with the pectoral cross. The same honour was bestowed on Mgr John Armitage, vicar-general of the Diocese of Brentwood in recognition of his support to the Romanian Catholic community established its Christian life in England. Accompanying Bishop Claudiu was Britain's own Bishop Hlib, bishop of the Eparchy of the Holy Family of London for the Ukrainian Catholics.

The Society was represented by Fr Mark Woodruff, vice-chairman, and Mr Peter Bykar, secretary.

The origins of the Romanian Catholic Church lie in 1698, when Romanian territory came permanently under Habsburg rule through Hungary. The Union with Rome, recognising the rights and privileges of the Orthodox, was effected in 1700. When the territory fell to Communism after World War II there were 12 dioceses with 1.5m faithful. All these were suppressed, the bishops deposed and its churches and property either expropriated in favour of the state-run Romanian Orthodox Church or confiscated by the government. Since the fall of Communism, the Church has struggled, but been determined, to recover. With great difficulty, it managed to recover four of its Cathedrals although much of its property lies in Orthodox hands unwilling to return what is essentially stolen property, or remains in state hands. The Church calculates it has over 660,000 faithful in various degrees of affiliation, in 1250 parishes, with 800 priests and over 250 seminarians. The government and the Orthodox Church, however, claim that the number of faithful is little more than 150,000.

Because of the fluidity of populations in Romania, the different centres of political rule, and the shifting of boundaries and cultural influences, including prolonged exposure to Western Christianity, within the present borders there are Hungarians and Romanians who are Roman Catholic or Protestant, together making up 10% of the 20 million population. The heartland for the non-Orthodox Christians tends to be in Transylvania. During the 18th and 19th centuries there was also a Magyarisation of the Greek-Catholic population in Romania within the Habsburg Empire, which is related to the Hungarian Greek-Catholic Church that once spread across the lands ruled by Hungary. After the Romanian revolution of 1989, which brought down the rule of Ceaucescu but saw former Communists remain in positions of power, the Church has continued to endure civil discrimination and religious repression, both from the authorities and the Romanian Orthodox Church. Blessed Pope John Paul II was a constant support to the recovery of the Romanian Church United with Rome following the collapse of Communism, ensuring that its freedom be sustained with sui iuris ecclesial standing (canonical autocephaly), under the primacy of its own head, with the patriarchal rank of "major archbishop". The seniority of the Church's head, the historic bond with the Bishop of Rome  and the ecclesial communion with all the Catholic Church are recognised in his bearing the title and rank of Cardinal - not of the Roman Church but as a Patriarchal Head in his own right of a sui iuris Church in union with Rome.

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