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 8th July, 4pm

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.


Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Arab Christian revolt against Jerusalem's Orthodox Patriarch - Vatican Insider

07/30/2014, Gianni Valente, Rome

The Israeli military offensive has reignited conflicts within the Jerusalem Patriarchate which has organized a Catholic-Orthodox theological summit on supremacy to be held in Amman this coming September
The growing tensions between Arab faithful and the high clergy of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem has now turned into a full-fledged war. The Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip and the tragedy of the growing Palestinian civilian death toll is catalyzing the showdown between Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land: Greek Orthodox Arabs blame the Patriarch and other Orthodox prelates of Greek origin of colluding with the instigators of Israel’s “genocidal war” as it is referred to it in their communiqués. The conflict going on within the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem – which is purely internal - could potentially have consequences for ecumenism: between 15 and 23 September, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem will be hosting the Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches’ plenary session. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the issue of supremacy.

The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, chose the Jordanian capital Amman as the venue for the meeting. Amman is inside the Patriarchate’s canonical territory and seemed like a stable place to hold the meeting given the climate of uncertainty that has rocked the region as a whole. But now there are protests in Amman against the Patriarch and the Synod which they claim is being hegemonised by Greek bishops. Last week, a movement for the reform and revival of the Patriarchate was formed in the capital of the Hashemite Kingdom. A group of over 700 representatives from Arab Orthodox communities, led by a few bishops and Arab Orthodox archimandrites, met at the Orthodox Club to address and announce the goals and strategies of what they presented as a reform battle aimed at saving the Patriarchate from decline. 

The ecclesial revolt’s programmatic “manifesto” published after the meeting was based on controversial arguments, which Arab faithful have resorted to in the past to criticize the dominance of Greek patriarchs and bishops – all of them picked from the monastic Congregation of St. Michael - over the Orthodox Church in the Holy Land. 

The Arab bishop Atallah Hanna, together with the archimandrites, priests and Arab faithful once again spoke out against the “racist domination over the Church of Jerusalem” and the decline caused by a lack of pastoral care for its faithful. This has led to a drastic drop in the number of Orthodox Christians is recent years as they are choosing to switch to other Christian Churches.  

The statement’s authors are protesting against the squandering of money donated to the Church by previous generations. They criticize the dereliction of patriarchal schools and ecclesial courts and the corrupt administration of the Patriarch’s assets, which totally lacks transparency. The statement also recalls the restrictions placed on advocators of an apparently urgent reform. 

But given the events currently being witnessed in the Holy Land, the points which stand out the most are those relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Today our people are being exterminated by the army of Israeli occupation while a priest comes to us with a plan to compel Christians to mandatory service in the army of Zionist occupation, under the cover and with the blessing of the Greek patriarch who has not once looked at the suffering of his people and his flock.” There is an implicit reference here to Gabriel Naddaf, a Greek Orthodox priest serving in the Nazareth region. The priest has become the main ecclesiastical supporter of the campaign, which is backed by Israeli political circles in order to make military service in the Israeli army obligatory for Arab Christians. Patriarch Theophilos also comes under fire for “award[ing] medals to an officer in the army of occupation while our people-- women, children and elderly-- are being targeted by the occupation's artillery.”

In their statement, the Orthodox Christians in the Holy Land stress their Arab identity, mentioning their partnership with their “Muslim brothers” “in the unity and defence of our nation.” “The Arab Orthodox clergy … call for an Orthodox ecclesiastical revival that preserves the teachings of the fathers, the canons of the Church and her spirituality in its pastoral and patriotic dimensions.” They set out eight concrete demands for their “reform” programme. Amongst other things, they demand an end to the sale of Church property, the modification of the Synod’s membership to include Arab members and the formation of an elective body composed of priests and lay people who would contribute to the ordinary administration of the Church. The Orthodox “rebels” are seeking political support for their ecclesial offensive, declaring their loyalty to Jordan’s King Abdullah II, asking the Palestinian president Mahmood Abbas for help and paying tribute to the Hashemite monarchy as custodian of the Muslim and Christian Holy Places in Jerusalem.


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