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 10th June, 4pm

SSJC Committee Open Meeting: Monday 19th June, Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 Liturgy, Talk at 7-15, followed by meeting.

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, 29 June 2014

Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior - The Daily Beast







06.29.14, Peter Schwartzstein, The Daily Beast


Reeling from regional developments and disillusioned with the West, some Iraqi Christians are looking to Russia for support. After a decade of church bombings, targeted killings, and anti-Christian workplace discrimination, Ramy Youssef has finally tired of Iraq’s halting progress and is intent on emigrating.

“I don’t want to leave. I don’t want these terrorists to do what no one’s ever done before: push Assyrians out of our historic homeland, but I can’t work like this,” said the fresh-faced IT technician, his voice rising, as he sipped tea in his cousin’s Erbil liquor store a month after death threats forced him to abandon his business in Baghdad.

Youssef will be the last of his immediate family to jet off—joining roughly two-thirds of Iraq’s pre-war population of 1.5 million Christians who’ve fled abroad or trudged north to Kurdistan. Before he goes, though, he’s keen to set the record straight and settle some old scores.

“This is America’s fault. It’s the Muslims who are killing us, but this never would have happened if the West hadn’t turned our lives upside down,” he fumed. “Maybe we’ll be able to return one day if we have proper allies.”

As far as some of his Iraqi co-religionists are concerned, there’s a ready-made alternative to American influence out there and they’re frantically trying to solicit its support.

“Russia proved through history that it’s the only defender of Christians,” said Ashur Giwargis, who heads the Assyrian Patriotic Movement (APM), which for two years has energetically lobbied the Kremlin to support an independent Assyrian Christian state in northern Iraq.

Until recently, the Beirut-based exile and his colleagues, who are scattered among the global Iraqi diaspora, had little to show for their efforts, but in January, as Western-Russian tensions escalated over Ukraine, Giwargis was summoned to Moscow to meet government officials. ISIS’s rampage through the historically Christian Nineveh province, its gutting of the Holy Spirit Church, and its use of the ancient Mar Behnam monastery as a base for militant operations threatens to trigger an additional exodus.

“They assured their support for the Assyrian cause, but we’re looking for a serious Russian stand in the international arena,” he said.

While they wait, APM members are busy currying favor by disseminating the Kremlin’s message, appearing at Russian embassy events, and cheering its foreign policy maneuvers elsewhere in the world.

“With the growing Americo-European incitement for the Republic of Ukraine to join the European Union … the Crimean parliament’s decision to join the Russian Federation came as pleasant news for the oppressed Christian peoples around the world,” read a public letter of congratulations dispatched to the Russian Embassy in Lebanon in Mid-March.

“Russian professional diplomacy has proven able to contain conspiracies against vulnerable peoples and states,” Giwargis wrote in another missive.

There are few assurances that Russia—which is already held in low regard by much of the Arab World for its stance on Syria—will further jeopardize its relations across the region by throwing its weight behind Iraq’s Christians. Nor, for that matter, does APM’s courting of Putin necessarily command serious support among many Iraqi Christians, of whom only 10-15 percent favor its pro-active approach, according to several church officials.

But the APM’s fishing for alternative patrons is illustrative of the tremendous anger many Eastern Christians feel towards the West for its perceived indifference to their plight.

“The West is not Christian,” raged Aziz Emmanuel al-Zebari, a Chaldean Catholic church official, when we met in Erbil’s buzzy Christian quarter on a blazingly hot Ascension Day late in May. “They destroyed us by installing a government based on Islamic sects in which we have no place,” he added, as a sermon in Aramaic rang out from the distinctive Ziggurat-style cathedral in the background.

Read the article in full here: Iraq’s Christians See Putin As Savior - The Daily Beast
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