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 14th July - 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, 20 May 2014

The Tragedy of Syria's Besieged Christians | ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Damascus, May 19, 2014 (Zenit.org) Lela Gilbert

The present bloodshed in Syria began in 2010, during the early days of the so-called Arab Spring. At first, the anti-regime protests appeared to be another series of “peaceful” demonstrations defying yet another despotic regime. The “rebels” – first identified as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and claiming to be mostly secular and pro-democracy, seemed to be offering a positive alternative to President Bashar Assad’s iron-fisted, pro-Iran regime.

But today, more than three years later, that early protest has exploded into a ferocious civil war. Sunni warriors, many of them affiliated with al-Qaeda, have swept across the Syria-Turkey border, overpowering more moderate forces. Today they are waging jihad against Assad’s army, which is in turn heavily supported by Iran’s Lebanon-based Shiite proxy, Hezbollah.

News reports have become more and more appalling: Chemical weapons have killed thousands. “Barrel bombs,” designed both to murder and to mutilate, have left hundreds of civilians dead or surviving minus limbs, or blinded and disfigured. Children are being both starved and targeting by gunmen.

Recent reports from Israeli doctors – who have quietly and heroically treated more than 1,000 wounded Syrians – claim that snipers are intentionally striking children in the spinal cord, aiming to cripple, and shooting pregnant women in the abdomen, intentionally murdering their unborn babies. The U.N. has stopped trying to accurately update the civil war’s death toll, which is estimated at more than 150,000.

At the outset of the conflict, Syria’s ancient Christian community appeared only to be caught in the crossfire. For decades, they had been protected by Assad’s regime as a minority, and thus were assumed to be aligned with his forces. But more recently, Christians have been specifically targeted – not only identified as Assad supporters, but looked upon by radical jihadis as “infidels.”

Untold numbers have fled, and many are struggling to survive in primitive refugee camps. The most fortunate have made their way into nearby countries or, when possible, the West.

Meanwhile thousands of Syrian Christians are barricaded in life-and-death circumstances. And faced with ever-increasing violence, those believers remaining in Syria’s ancient and historical Christian community are gradually being decimated.

Read this substantial review in full here online:

The Tragedy of Syria's Besieged Christians | ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Lela Gilbert is author of "Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner" and co-author, with Nina Shea and Paul Marshall, of "Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians." She is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute and lives in Jerusalem. For more, visit her website:www.lelagilbert.com.
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