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.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Churches in Ukraine and North-East England - civil society, solidarity and action

North East Churches Acting Together
North East Regional Faiths Network

‘Restoring Hope in Ukraine – Faith Groups Acting Together’

CRC North East England has been actively engaging with both civic and civil society organisations in Ukraine over the past 4years. The initiatives have been supported by the British Council’s Active Citizens Programme and the EU resourced Youth in Action scheme. Strong links have been made with Ukraine churches and faith organisations and cross-Ukraine NGO’s. The events of 2013 -2014 has given a new meaning and significance to active citizenship and church based social action. The election of President Poroshenko provides a unique opportunity to utilise the knowledge and experience of Ukrainians, not least those in the churches and faith groups, to build a strong civil society. The challenges are many and complex but the majority of Ukrainians are very hopeful and spirited in intent. Support is requested and hugely appreciate and working links are well established.

The event held on Thursday 19th June 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne set out to consider and discern the key question - ‘In the present crises in Ukraine….How can churches, faith organisations and concerned individuals help?

Resume of responses
The following are the six aspects identified in response to the key question: ….How can churches, faith organisations and concerned individuals help.
  • Lobbying and awareness raising
  • Providing immediate humanitarian aid
  • Helping to sustain and rebuild communities and civil society
  • Maintaining and developing local links between Ukraine and churches / faith groups in the NE of England
  • Supporting reconciliation and conflict resolution work in Ukraine
  • Prayer and support from concerned individuals in the NE.
Lobbying and raising awareness

It is vital that the Ukraine situation remains ‘on the agenda’. Contacting MPs and MEPs can be a very effective means of doing this as well as working within the structures of each of our denominations. The House of Lords has debated the situation and our Bishops have contributed to the discussion.

Humanitarian Aid

Evidence received re needs and concerns:
  1. People injured in armed conflicts and violent demonstrations in Kiev, Odessa, and in the east (Donetsk and Lugansk regions)
  2. People who have disappeared, been abducted, and been held hostage
  3. People who have fled their homes, including Crimean Tartars and people caught up in the violence in the east. An article in the Guardian 21/6/2014 gives a good account of the background and current situation of the Crimean Tartar people: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/21/crimean-tatars-struggle-survival
Some of the organisations providing humanitarian help (with contact details)
  1. Caritas: works with local Greek Catholic churches providing a range of direct services to those in need http://www.caritas.eu/country/ukraine
  2. Depaul International & the International Association of Charities[AIC] are actively involved in meeting the needs described above, including providing refuge for displaced Crimean Tartar families. http://www.depaulukraine.org/?lang=en & http://www.vip-gb.org/about-us/branches-of-the-vincentian-family/international-association-of-charities-aic
  3. International Committee of the Red Cross and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society
  4. As well as humanitarian aid in the form of first aid and supplies the Red Cross is also involved in tracing and visiting detainees including journalists held against their will. http://www.icrc.org/eng/where-we-work/europe-central-asia/ukraine/overview-ukraine.htm
Communities and civil society
Development needs and concerns
  1. The ‘third sector’ in Ukraine is small and finds it difficult to raise funds in a country where charitable work is unfamiliar and not well established. Organisations such as those addressing the HIV/Aids epidemic in Ukraine or support for the Roma community face additional problems of ignorance and prejudice.
  2. Support for democratic institutions, human rights and the development of an active citizenry has been undermined by corruption since Ukraine became independent in 1991.The Euromaidan movement has shown that Ukraine has a new generation of people committed to reform and ardent defence of human rights.
There are a number of organisations contributing to building an inclusive and open society including
  1. the British Council and its Active Citizen’s programme and other society work http://www.britishcouncil.org.ua/en/programmes/society
  2. the Open Society Foundation (Soros) http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/projects/stand-Ukraine
  3. the EU and its programmes e.g. Erasmus + http://www.eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/
Local links between the NE and Ukraine

Through the Churches Regional Commission in the NE and its participation in The British Council’s Active Citizens programme and the EU’s Youth in Action exchange programme the North East now has a range of strong on-going and sustained links with Ukraine. These include.
  • Work with children and young people in deprived and excluded communities (Khryvy Rih) including work with the Roma community. Our work has been supported in 2012-2013 Youth in Action exchange programme involving groups of young people from the NE of England and cities in the Ukraine. Following the .initial exchange we have now facilitated an ongoing internship scheme for young Ukrainians involving a year long placement in the UK (currently involving work at a NE youth project Kids Cabin arranged and supported by the Assumption Volunteers organisation http://www.assumptionvolunteers.org.uk/where-we-work/uk-walker.html on
  • faith and ethnicity (Lviv, Khryvy Rih, and Simferopol and Bachisary, Crimea) including work with Greek Catholic, Muslim Crimean Tartar, Roma and Jewish communities.
  • Communities, citizenship and local government: we have undertaken workshops and seminars with local government representatives in the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast sharing with them our work on building community resilience. This work also involves building links with ‘opposite numbers’ in the UK (local government councillors and officers).
  • Churches and communities (Lviv, Khyvy Rih, and towns in west Ukraine). We have ongoing links with Greek Catholic churches and the Greek Catholic University in Lviv, and with evangelical churches in Khyvy Rih, following an agenda which looks at the ways in which churches are helping to develop and strengthen communities through service, enterprise and personal development.
Reconciliation and conflict resolution
Addressing the following concerns:

The divisions and aggravated conflicts which have arisen in Ukraine over the past few months will take years to repair. This is long term work and will require great skill and dedicated effort. It is an area of work that churches and faith groups are particularly well placed to make a contribution.

Organisations at work:
  1. The OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is doing very important and vital work through its Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (which only hit the news when a number of its observers were ‘detained’). http://www.osce.org/ukraine-smm
  2. The UK government issued a call on the 18th June 2014 for project proposals aimed at peace building and reconciliation work (closing date 16th July 2014) https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/conflict-pool-in-ukraine-call-for-project-proposals-in-2014-2015
  3. Quakers in Britain and Europe have considered the Ukraine situation and the need for reconciliation work and are planning to send representatives to East Ukraine. http://www.quaker.org.uk/meeting-sufferings-7-june-2014-final-minutes-follow-letter-and-associated-papers
Churches in Ukraine are of course actively involved in peacemaking and rebuilding society. Information of their work can be found from

  1. Religious Information Service of Ukraine http://risu.org.ua/en/index/all_news
  2. Boris Gudziac Bishop of the Greek Catholic Church and VC of the Catholic University in Lviv  http://ucu.edu.ua/eng/digest/3225/
  3. The following article from De Welt shows how churches in Ukraine are working together and how important the churches are to Ukraine’s future. http://www.dw.de/ukraines-united-divided-churches/a-17708827
Prayer and support group in the NE

Finally our continuing prayers and expressions of solidarity with all those hurt and those working to build Ukraine are essential.

Jim Robertson jimwrobertson@yahoo.com

Churches Regional Commission in North East England
North East Churches Acting Together.

June 2014

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