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 9th March - 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.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Inside the refugee camps of northern Iraq - Daily Telegraph

By , 29 Nov 2014

On August 6 Isil fighters seized control of the largest Christian city in Iraq. Militants had first attacked Qaraqosh six weeks earlier as they surged through north-western Iraq, capturing Mosul on the night of June 9 and Tikrit on June 11. As Isil forces closed in on Qaraqosh – 40 miles south of Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan – they cut off the city’s electricity and running water, and the 50,000 or so Christian inhabitants were given a choice: convert to Islam or be killed. Most instead fled.

Isil (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), whose goal is to create a caliphate in the Middle East, has proved to be a very effective war machine, combining terrorist atrocities such as beheadings and crucifixions with a strong military capability and a disciplined leadership. And as it has swept through the region it has pursued a campaign of ethnic cleansing, targeting the followers of Iraq’s oldest minority religions, Yazidism and Christianity.

Since the conflict began, more than two million Iraqis have been internally displaced, and 700,000 have sought the security and stability of Kurdistan. Some have gone to Dohuk or Sulaimaniya, but Erbil has borne the greatest proportion of the burden – an influx of 176,784 people (29,464 families) as of September 1, according to a report by the International Organisation for Migration, Iraq Mission (IOM Iraq). Erbil, with a population of 1.5 million, has absorbed about 120,000 refugees – equivalent, in proportional terms, to the inhabitants of Nottingham and Bristol flowing into London.

Most are from the provinces of Ninevah and Salah al-Din and comprise Kurds (Muslim, Christian, Yazidi), Arabs and Turkmen (ancestors of the ancient nomadic Turkic people). Some are able to live with relations (or friends), or to stay in hotels. Some have found rented accommodation. About a third have found refuge in abandoned buildings, schools, churches and transit camps (where families stay for a short time before moving on). And as personal savings dwindle, the number of homeless will only rise, IOM Iraq warns.

When I visit Erbil at the end of September, Mar Elia Catholic church is one of six churches doubling as a shelter for some 3,000 families. Hundreds of families are living in a half-built shopping mall in the city centre (a temporary stairwell connecting the floors has no railing, and what was planned as the mall’s atrium is still a gaping hole). And at Baharka, a small town about six miles north of Erbil, a camp that opened in July as an emergency transit facility for about 200 families now has 3,000 permanent inhabitants.

Before Mar Elia opened its doors to the refugees, it was run by two priests and a handful of volunteers. Now the number camping in the churchyard is 704 and there are 25 volunteers. Street smells permeate: washing, cooking, cigarette smoke. ‘During the first week, the only thing I could hear was crying,’ Father Douglas Bazi, the parish priest, says. ‘They were destroyed.’ The feeling of sadness is absolute. Everyone has lost a home, lost stability.

To read the full Telegraph article and see Anastasia Taylor-Lind's photographs: Exclusive: Inside the refugee camps of northern Iraq - Telegraph

No comments: