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.

Friday, 4 July 2014

B92 - News - Serbian Church sends letter to Vatican about canonising Blessed Aloysius Stepinac

Before reading the report below, which we do not edit, the following points, not addressed by the Serbian Orthodox Church or the Serbian State, should be borne in mind.
  • The fascist Croatian Ustase were the puppet civil authority of the Germans and it was impossible for the Catholic archbishop of their capital not to deal with them.
  • Among Croatians who, little more than a decade before had been subjects of Catholic Austria-Hungary, there had been resentment of Serbian dominance of Yugoslavia and discrimination in favour of the Orthodox Church to the disadvantage of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as Greek-Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and other minorities.
  • As with other peoples in Eastern Europe, among Croatians the Axis powers were seen as a strategic defence against Russian Soviet atheism, even if the Germans were National Socialists. This is how Stepinac indeed saw them at first. BUT as Archbishop of Zagreb he soon denounced the Ustase's racism, including atrocities against Jews, Gypsies and others targeted under the racial laws,  including Orthodox Serbs. He described the Nazi/Ustase death camps as a stain on Croatia's honour. He actively sought to protect Jews from deportation and persecution, arranging shelter and self passage to Spain and Turkey (where Angelo Roncalli, future Pope St John XXIII was nuncio)
  • He pleaded for the human dignity of Jews and Serbs through the channels to the state available to the primate. He condemned the massacres and deportations to death camps on the steps of his Cathedral in public
  • The Nazis murdered Stepinac's brother in 1943.
  • In 1942 the Ustase demanded the Holy See remove Stepinac from office owing to his sustained criticism of the regime's crimes. This was rejected because the Vatican, informed throughout by Stepinac, refused to recognise the legitimacy of the Ustase state despite Italian Fascist pressure
  • The death camps, in which the Serbian Church and State now implies Stepinac was complicit, were those which he condemned as a stain on national honour, at the same time as denouncing the death sentence of innocent people on racial law grounds
  • Stepinac was indeed convicted after the war for collaboration, but this was a Communist show trial, engineered on account of his opposition to the new atheist regime and its persecution of Croatian soldiers and civilians deemed by it to be collaborators with Germany, of the liberty of the Catholic Church, and of hundreds of priests and religious who had been imprisoned, executed or otherwise disappeared
  • Serbs condemn Stepinac for the forced conversion of Orthodox to the Catholic faith under the Ustase. In his diocese he punished priests engaged in anti-Serbian and anti-Semitic activity. His instruction to clergy were to admit Orthodox to the Catholic Church if their lives were in danger and the appearance of conversion might save their lives from the Ustase. This was to be arranged such that the "conversion" had no validity, which enabled those who had undergone it to return to their own faith and practice in safer times with good conscience.
  • As a result of the show trial conviction by the atheist Communists to which the state-controlled Orthodox Church assented, Pope Pius XII excommunicated those who had taken part in the prosecution and judgement. Next, in a sign of solidarity shared widely across the free world, he appointed him a Cardinal for having refused to allow the creation of a national Catholic Church of Croatia in schism from the See of Peter
  • After 5 years, Tito agreed to the release of Stepinac from prison, offering a choice of exile or house-arrest in his home village. He chose the latter and died of a blood cancer in 1960.
  • Pope St John Paul concluded that, owing to the discovery of arsenic in his remains, he was a martyr. Arsenic may have formed part of his treatment according to the medical science of the day; on the other hand, it may be that the weakening of his physical health was a consequence of his ordeal in prison and under house arrest. The determination of a martyr's death, for whatever reason, formed the ground on which he was judged by the Supreme Authority in the Church after extensive investigation to be among the Blessed.
  • It is true that Stepinac maintained working relations with the Ustasa regime and did not excommunicate its leaders and supporters despite evidence presented to him of atrocity and genocide. This was for the sake of remonstration in private and public for the lives of the persecuted and oppressed, as well as direct and indirect intervention that saved the lives of Roma, Serbs and Jews. While there continue to be those who condemn this judgment-call as collaboration, Churchill observed that, unlike the Orthodox Church leaders, Stepinac was one of the few men in Europe to raise his voice against Nazi tyranny despite the immediate danger to his own safety

July 2, 2014 | 11:30
BELGRADE -- A letter explaining the position of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) regarding the canonization of Alojzije Stepinac was recently handed to a Vatican official.

The daily Politika writes that the letter was given to Secretary of the Holy See for Relations with States Dominique Mamberti, who has been on a visit to Serbia.

The content of the message, however, remains unknown, but the newspaper noted that the SPC "undoubtedly does not view favorably announcements that Stepinac could become a saint."

Mamberti will also take with him to the Vatican another letter dedicated to the same subject, sent by the Serbian president.

In an interview for Politika published in Sunday, SPC Patriarch Irinej said the announcements from the Vatican that Stepinac could be canonized by the end of the year came as "a great surprise" for the Serbian Orthodox dignitaries - "because in order for someone to be a saint, they must be a truly shining and holy personality and be accepted as such by other Christians."

Stepinac was a WW2-era Croatian Catholic cardinal, convicted after the war for collaboration with the fascist Independent State of Croatia (NDH) entity. The NDH operated death camps during the war that were the sites of mass murder of Serbs, Jews, and Romas.

B92 - News - Serbian Church sends letter to Vatican
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