Every second Saturday of the month, Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ.
4pm Divine Liturgy. Next: 13th November 2021

Very sadly, the Divine Liturgy in English at 9-30 am on Sundays at the Holy Family Cathedral, Lower Church, have had to be put on hold. Until the practicalities we cannot use the Lower Church space. Hopefully this will be resolved very soon. Please keep checking in here for details.

Owing to public health guidance, masks should still be worn indoors and distance maintained. Sanitisers are available. Holy Communion is distributed in both kinds from the mixed and common chalice, by means of a separate Communion spoon for each individual communicant.

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.

Tuesday 30 June 2009

Orthodox-Catholic Celebrations in Damascus for the Closure of the Year of St Paul

A conference involving Antiochian Orthodox, Melkite Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic, Muslim and Political Leaders took place in Damascus, Syria, from Friday 26 June to Monday 30 June.

Friday 26 June 2009

2000 Concert by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchal Cathedral

Saturday 27 June

0800 Holy Mass in the Church of Saint Ananias

1030 Study sessions in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate:

- Paul, spiritual son of Damascus. Here is the Encyclical Letter of Patriarch Gregorios on the Close of the Year of St Paul: The Collaborators of St Paul
- Christian remains in Syria : churches and other ancient buildings

1230 Departure for Saidnaya to visit the Greek Orthodox monastery of the Mother of God and for Maaloula to visit the Greek Catholic Monastery of Saints Sergius and Bacchus

2000 Recital of Christian music at the Damascus Opera, by different communities in indigenous languages

Sunday 28 June

0700 Holy Mass at the Saint Paul Memorial

1030 Study session in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate:

- The Church in Syria today (round table discussion). Here is the Discussion Paper.

1500 Visit to the Umayyad Mosque and the Old City of Damascus

1700 Visit of His Beatitude Ignatius IV (Hazim), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch

1800 Vespers at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Tel Kawkab in the presence of the Greek Orthodox and Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchs and of civil authorities

2100 Dinner hosted by the Minister of Awqaf (Islamic charitable endowments)

2215 Showing of the Syrian film on Saint Paul, Damascus, at the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate

Monday, 29 June

1000 Audience of His Excellency the President of the Syrian Arab Republic by His Eminence Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela, Envoy of the Holy Father, and the Representatives of the Episcopal Conferences

1700 Solemn Divine Liturgy in the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition, in the presence of His Eminence, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela (Archbishop of Madrid and President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference), Representative of the Holy Father, of the Apostolic Nuncio, the Right Reverend Archbishop Mario Zenari and of Bishops of Syria and other countries (delegated by their Episcopal Conferences), followed by a procession to Saint Ananias’ and Saint Paul-on-the-Wall. Here is the Patriarch's Sermon on the Closure of the Year of St. Paul.

2100 Concert at the Citadel of Damascus

Catholics and Orthodox called to a shared hope

The Vatican Information Service reports, 27 June 2009:

This morning the Holy Father welcomed a delegation sent to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul by His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. An ecumenical delegation traditionally visits Rome for the 29 June feast, while a delegation from Rome attends celebrations in Istanbul for the 30 November Feast of St. Andrew, patron of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

This year the delegation was made up of Metropolitan Emmanuel of France, director of the office of the Orthodox Church to the European Union; Bishop Athenagoras of Sinope, assistant to the Metropolitan of Belgium, and Deacon Ioakim Billis of Fanar.

Greeting them the Pope gave thanks to God "for all the fruits and benefits brought by the celebration of the bi-millennium of the birth of St. Paul". Together, he said, we will celebrate "the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the 'protothroni' of the Apostles as they are known in Orthodox tradition, in other words those who hold first place among the Apostles and are called 'masters of ecumenism'".

"With your presence here", the Holy Father went on, "which is a sign of ecclesiastical fraternity, you remind us of our shared commitment to achieve full communion. You already know, but I wish to reaffirm, that the Catholic Church seeks to contribute in every possible way to the re-establishment of full unity, thus responding to the will of Christ for His disciples and recalling Paul's own teaching which tells us that we are called to be 'a single hope'".

In this context the Holy Father spoke of his "confidence in the progress of the activities" of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox. The commission is due to meet in October "to examine a crucial aspect of relations between East and West: the role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church during the first millennium".

"Such study", he continued, "is an indispensable step towards gaining a deeper understanding of this question in the current context of the search for full communion". Benedict XVI also pointed out that the commission will be received by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus which he thanked for its "fraternal welcome ... which will facilitate our task and our mutual understanding".

"I wish participants in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue to be aware that my prayers accompany them always and that such dialogue enjoys the support of the Catholic Church", concluded the Holy Father. "It is my heartfelt wish that the fraternal misunderstandings and tensions that arose among Orthodox delegates during recent plenary sessions of the commission be overcome in fraternal love, so this dialogue may more broadly represent Orthodoxy".

Thursday 25 June 2009

Support the Christians of the Holy Land

The Vatican Information Service reports:

This morning the Holy Father received participants in the annual general meeting of the Reunion of Organisations for Aid to the Oriental Churches (ROACO). The meeting had focused on the situation in the Holy Land and on the Catholic Church in Bulgaria.

"Charity", said the Pope, "is the fertile source of all forms of service to the Church, it is their measure, their method and the means by which they are verified. Through your membership of ROACO you wish to live in charity, making yourselves available to the Bishop of Rome through the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. In this way you will be able to continue, even to augment, that 'movement of charity which, by papal mandate, the Congregation supervises so that, in a disciplined and equitable way, the Holy Land and other eastern regions may receive the spiritual and material support necessary for ordinary ecclesial life and for special needs".

After then recalling his own recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Benedict XVI went on: "I renew my prayer and my appeal for no more war, no more violence, no more injustice. I wish to assure you that the Universal Church remains at the side of all our brothers and sisters who reside in the Holy Land. This concern is reflected in a special way in the annual Holy Land collection. I therefore exhort your ROACO agencies to continue their charitable activities with zeal and with fidelity to the Successor of Peter".

Friday 19 June 2009

Pope receives Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan, Catholic Patriach of Antioch of the Syrians

The Vatican Information Service reports:

In the Vatican this morning, Benedict XVI received His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, the new Catholic patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, accompanied by various members of the Synod of that Church.

"Divine Providence", said the Pope in his address, "has made us ministers of Christ and shepherds of His one flock. ... Christ Himself, our Lord, appointed the Apostle Peter as the 'rock' upon which He founded the spiritual edifice of the Church, calling upon His disciples to remain in full unity with Peter, under his sure guidance and that of his Successors".

"Over the course of your millenarian history", he continued, "your communion with the Bishop of Rome has always been accompanied by faithfulness to the spiritual tradition of the Christian East. These are complementary aspects of a single heritage of the faith which your venerable Church professes".

The Pontiff then recalled how, in order to emphasise "the Eucharistic roots" of this communion, he had granted "ecclesiastica communio" to the patriarch when he was elected head of the Synod. Addressing the patriarch directly, he added: "With a public sign - yesterday's Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of St. Mary Major - you most appropriately demonstrated the close ties binding you to the bishop of Rome and the Universal Church".

Pope Benedict went on: "In effect, the Eucharist fuses our different traditions in the unity of the one Spirit, making them a source of wealth for all God's people. May the celebration of the Eucharist, source and summit of ecclesiastical life, keep you anchored in the ancient Syriac tradition which can claim to possess the language the Lord Jesus spoke, and at the same time open your horizons to ecclesial universality. ... The Eucharist is the Bread of Life that nourishes our communities and makes them grow in unity and charity. In the Eucharist, Sacrament of unity and community, may you find the strength to overcome the difficulties your Church has faced over recent years, in order to rediscover the paths of forgiveness, reconciliation and communion".

Finally the Holy Father expressed his satisfaction at the return to full activity of the Synod of this Church and encouraged "efforts being made to favour unity, understanding and forgiveness, which must always be considered as priorities for the edification of the Church of God".

"I pray continuously, among other things, for peace in the Middle East, especially for Christians living in the blessed land of Iraq, whose sufferings I offer every day to God during the Eucharistic sacrifice".

Thursday 18 June 2009

Syriac-Catholic Liturgy at Santa Maria Maggiore

From the Rorate Caeli blog (where more pictures are available):

"His Beatitude Mar Ignatius Joseph III, Syrian Catholic Patriarch of Antioch celebrated a Patriarchal Divine Liturgy in the Syro-Antiochene Rite June 18, 2009, at the Papal Basilica of St. Mary Major. The occasion was the granting of ecclesial communion to the Patriarch by Pope Benedict XVI. (Upon their election, Eastern Catholic Patriarchs ask for, and receive, the ecclesiastica communio from the Roman Pontiff.)

"Without in any way wishing to be critical of the Syrian Catholics in this time of great joy for them, and solely for the information of our readers, I would like to note the extensive influence of Roman liturgical vesture on the vestments of Syrian Catholic clergy, an influence also present in the Chaldean and Maronite Catholic Churches. Thus, their use of tall Latin-style mitres and lace albs, and vestment decor that is more Western than Oriental.

"The more authentic style of Syrian liturgical vesture has been preserved by the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church in India, which is co-heir to the Syriac tradition along with the Syriac Catholic Church."(SSJC: and the Syriac Orthodox Church).

The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is the patriarchal church in Rome of the Patriarchs of Antioch, St Peter's being proper to the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Pamela Sandilands, Dowager Lady Torpichen

Fr John Salter writes:

Pamela Torphichen was a devout Roman Catholic and a keen ecumenist long before it became acceptable or fashionable to be so. It was while at school at the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus at Mayfield in Sussex that she not only became interested in music and politics, but also in Russia – its history and the Orthodox Church and its art, particularly its icons. On one occasion her interest in Russia brought her into contact with Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alleluyeva, a difficult person to deal with, understandably, as Pamela discovered! A less fraught encounter was with the Russian poetess Irina Ratushinskaya, whose poem, Song of Freedom, Pamela set to music and had performed in the presence of the poetess in her home in Moore Street, Chelsea.

Her other interests were the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, and in particular the Ukrainian Greek Catholics, who following World War II were “Displaced Persons” and were settling in London, and whom she felt needed special care. She also involved herself with the work of The Aid to the Church in Need, the Latin Mass Society, the Friends of The London Oratory and the Knights of Malta, which she helped with the Order’s work in Lourdes, and which earned her the Companionship of the Order in the Scottish Delegation in 1990.

Living, as she did, in the parish of St. Mary’s, Cadogan Street, Chelsea, she was a keen supporter of the Melkite Greek Catholic Liturgy celebrated from time to time in that church by Father David White and the Carmelite Father Elias.

A severe stroke some ten years ago greatly reduced her activities and confined her to a wheel chair, but she lived on looked after devotedly by her family and two au pairs, happily from her beloved Eastern Europe.

Fr. John Salter and Fr. Giorgios Ntagkas of the Society’s Committee represented the Society at her funeral in the London Oratory.

Cyril and Methodius: Perennial Example of Inculturation

From the Vatican Information Service:

Sts. Cyril and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs and co-patrons of Europe, were the subject of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope sketched a brief biography of the saints explaining how Cyril, born in Salonika around the year 826, received a careful education and was ordained a priest at an early age. Soon afterwards his older brother Methodius, born about the year 815, abandoned his own administrative career and retired to a monastery on Mount Olympus in Bithynia where he was subsequently joined by Cyril.

Some years later the imperial government entrusted Cyril with a mission to the peoples living around the Sea of Azov who had asked to be sent "a man of letters capable of discussing with Jews and Saracens". On his return to Constantinople, the emperor Michael III, who had been a school friend of Cyril, sent the two brothers to Moravia where Prince Ratislav had requested "a teacher capable of explaining the true faith to us in our own language.

"Their mission", the Pope added, "soon met with unexpected success. By translating the liturgy into Slavic the two brothers earned great affection among the people. This, however, also aroused the hostility of the Frankish clergy who had arrived in Moravia earlier and considered the territory as part of their own ecclesial jurisdiction". Travelling to Rome to justify their actions, the brothers stopped in Venice where they opposed the "so-called trilingual heresy, ... which sustained that there were only three languages in which God could legitimately be praised: Hebrew, Greek and Latin".

The brothers eventually reached Rome to request the support of Pope Hadrian II. That Pontiff "understood the great importance of their exceptional mission" because he thought "the Slavic peoples could act as a bridge between East and West, helping to maintain the unity of Christians on both sides of the empire. Thus he did not hesitate to approve the brothers' mission in Great Moravia, accepting the use of the Slavic Language in the liturgy".

While in Rome Cyril fell seriously ill and died on 14 February 869. Methodius returned to Moravia and Pannonia in 870 "where he worked actively in organising the Church and in forming a group of disciples". He died on 6 April 885.

"To give a brief spiritual profile of the two brothers", the Holy Father continued, "we must first note the passion with which Cyril studied the writings of St. Gregory of Nazianzus from whom he learnt the importance of language in transmitting the Revelation". In this context, Benedict XVI recalled how, even before their mission to Moravia, Cyril and Methodius "were working on a plan to gather Christian dogmas into books written in Slavic. This entailed the need for new graphic symbols, closer to the spoken language, and from here arose the Glagolitic alphabet which, subsequently modified, became known as 'Cyrillic' in honour of the person who inspired it".

"Cyril and Methodius were convinced that individual peoples could not claim to have fully received the Revelation until they had heard it in their own language and read it in the letters of their own alphabet". Thus they are, he went on, "a classic example of what today we call 'inculturation': each people must integrate the revealed message into their own culture and express the truths of salvation with their own language".

In this context, the Pope concluded, "the brother saints have left a testimony ... from which the Church today continues to draw inspiration and guidance".

Syriac Catholic Delegation to the Holy See

From the Vatican Information Service:

At the end of today's general audience, the Pope presented a Syriac Catholic delegation led by His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan who, "on this his first official visit, is accompanied by patriarchs emeritus, bishops and faithful from the Middle East and other parts of the world where Syriac Catholics live, thus maintaining a living bond between the Eastern Christian tradition and the Bishop of Rome".

Benedict XVI went on: "My affectionate greetings go to the venerable Patriarch Youssif, to whom I have already granted the 'communio ecclesiastica' which, in accordance with the holy canons, he requested from me as soon as he was elected. That communion will find public expression in the divine liturgy in the Syriac-Antiochean rite to be held tomorrow in the basilica of St. Mary Major, at which Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, will participate as my representative.

"While giving assurances of my prayers for you, dear brother", the Pope added addressing the patriarch, "and for all those accompanying you, I would like to express my solicitude and concern for all the Eastern Catholic Churches, encouraging them to continue the ecclesial mission, though beset by many difficulties, in order to build universal unity and peace".

Monday 15 June 2009

Melkite Celebrations for the Closing month of the Year of Saint Paul

On Sunday 7th. June, in the evening, His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III, together with four bishops, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Mismiyeh, where Saint Paul is traditionally thought to have stayed during his three years spent in the Hauran wilderness, meditating on his experience of Christ and working as a tent-maker. Some four thousand people, including troops of scouts, attended the Liturgy.

In the evening of Monday 8th. June, His Beatitude led a pilgrimage, accompanied by prayers and hymns, from the Melkite Greek Catholic Church of Saint Joseph, Damascus, to the sanctuary of Memorial Saint Paul, not far from Bab Sharqi, where he presided at a service initiated by the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate. The Memorial, which is in the care of the Franciscans, was founded by the late Pope Paul VI after his pilgrimage to the Holy Land and his fraternal meeting with the late Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964. The grotto in the garden of the Memorial is traditionally venerated as the place where Saint Paul rested after escaping in a basket down from the walls of the city.

New Catechism for the Ukrainian Catholic Church

The first worldwide catechism for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is set to transform catechesis throughout the rite. Six years in the making, the historic book is almost finished and will be published in 2010.

Sister Luiza Ciupa, whose work at the Catechetical Institute in Lviv, western Ukraine, has been vital in the Church’s recovery from 70 years of communist atheism, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that the catechism was intended for Ukrainian Greek Catholics around the world. “Because this will be the book of our faith for our Church and will unify our faith it will be translated into at least six languages,” she said.

As well as Ukrainian, the catechism is due to be published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Polish, with versions in other languages possible. Essential aid of more than $25,500 to cover editing and other costs related to its preparation was provided by ACN. Sr. Ciupa said, “It’s a costly project, but it’s also very important for our Church.”

Stressing its significance for a Church that was not allowed to teach catechesis in Ukraine under communist rule, Sr. Ciupa explained, “The catechism is important because it leads people into the sacraments and into the life of the Church….I think that every time we open ourselves to the deepening of our faith, our tradition, our membership of our particular Church, it helps us live our faith more deeply and better express our faith and so it helps us in some way to better know our identity and testify to our faith.”

Sr. Ciupa has been heavily involved in the project, which has drawn contributions from experts including theologians, catechists, liturgists and biblical scholars, under the guidance of Bishop Peter Stasiuk of Melbourne, Australia. With many Ukrainian Greek Catholics now living abroad, Sr. Ciupa said the catechism would help unite people in their faith. “It will help others to discover the beauty of our tradition and our rite,” she told ACN. “The Ukrainian soul will find itself wherever [the faithful] live: Brazil, Argentina, London, Germany, wherever!”

A series of conferences, workshops and meetings with priests is planned to implement the catechism into the life of the Church part of a 10-year strategy by the Ukrainian bishops. The completed text is due to be presented to the synod of bishops in November for their final approval.

ACN has helped with numerous catechetical projects in Ukraine, including printing 70,000 Bibles as well as building churches. Sr. Ciupa thanked ACN saying, “ACN has made very substantial contributions and we are profoundly grateful to the staff and benefactors for all the various projects.”

Wednesday 10 June 2009

John Scotus: Expressing the Ineffable God

The Vatican Information Service reports, 10th June 2009:

At his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope turned his attention, in his series of reflections on the great theologians of the Church, East and West, to John Scotus Erigena, "an outstanding philosopher of the Christian West", who was born in Ireland at the beginning of the ninth century and died around the year 870.

Scotus, who moved to France where he established himself at the court of the French King Charles the Bald, "possessed a profound patristic culture, both Greek and Latin", explained the Holy Father. "He was particularly interested in St. Maximus the Confessor, and especially in Dionysius the Areopagite ... whom he described as the 'divine author' par excellence and hence used his works as the main source for his own thought. He translated Dionysius into Latin, and the great theologians of the Middle Ages such as St. Bonaventure knew the Areopagite's works through this translation. He dedicated his entire life to studying and developing Dionysius' ideas".

"Truth to tell", the Pope went on, "John Scotus' theological labours did not meet with much success. Not only did the end of the Carolingian period lead to his works being forgotten, but censorship by the ecclesiastical authorities cast a shadow over his figure. Scotus represented a radical Platonism which at times seemed to approach a pantheistic view of life, although his personal and subjective intentions were always orthodox".

Among the works of this Irish theologian, "his treatise 'De Divisione Naturae' and his 'Commentary on the Celestial Hierarchy of St. Dionysius' are particularly worthy of mention", said the Pope. Scotus "develops certain stimulating theological and spiritual ideas which could indicate interesting avenues for further study, even for modern theologians", said Benedict XVI referring in this context to Scotus's views "about the need to use appropriate discernment on what is presented as 'auctoritas vera', and about the commitment to continue searching for truth until attaining some experience of it in silent adoration of God".

For Scotus, Scripture "was given by God ... so that man could remember everything that was engraved on his heart from the moment of his creation 'in the image and likeness of God', and that original sin had caused him to forget. ... Indeed, thanks to Scripture our rational nature can be introduced to the secrets of true and pure contemplation of God. ... The word of Holy Scripture purifies our somewhat-blind reason and helps us to return to the memory of what we, as the image of God, carry in our souls, marred, unfortunately, by sin". This, the Pope went on, leads to "certain hermeneutic consequences which even today can show us the road to follow in order to interpret the Scriptures correctly. What is important is discovering the meaning hidden in the sacred text, and this requires a particular form of inner discipline thanks to which reason can open the sure way towards truth. This exercise consists in cultivating a constant readiness to conversion".

"Silent and adoring recognition of the mystery, which culminates in unifying communion, is therefore the only way to achieve a relationship with the truth that is both the most intimate and the most scrupulously respectful of alterity", said the Holy Father. He completed his catechesis by noting how, in the final analysis, "all John Scotus' theology clearly shows his attempt to express the ineffable God, on the exclusive basis of the mystery of the Word made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth".

Friday 5 June 2009

Ecological destruction is 'sacrilegious' says Ecumenical Patriarch

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomeos I, leader of the world's Orthodox Christians as their spiritual leader, has called the destruction of the environment a "sacrilegious and sinful" act.

"The ecological crisis, and particularly the reality of climate change, constitutes the greatest threat for every form of life in our world," Bartholomeos said in a statement issued to mark World Environment Day on 5 June.

Here is the statement in full.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Rabanus Maurus: Exegete, Philosopher, Poet and Pastor

The Vatican Information Service reports, 3 June 2009:

At his general audience this morning, Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis to Rabanus Maurus, abbot of the monastery of Fulda, archbishop of Mainz and "praeceptor Germaniae". The audience, held in St. Peter's Square, was attended by more than 17,000 people.

Rabanus, born in the city of Mainz about the year 780, entered a Benedictine monastery at an early age where, "with his exceptional capacity for work, he contributed perhaps more than others to keeping alive, and in part also to developing with his own gifts, that theological, exegetical and spiritual culture from which succeeding centuries would draw". Thanks to his "extraordinary culture", he was an "advisor to princes". And despite being elected as abbot of Fulda and later as archbishop of Mainz, he was able "to continue his studies, demonstrating with the example of his own life that it is possible to be ... at the service of others without depriving oneself of time for reflection, study and meditation. Thus was Rabanus Maurus an exegete, philosopher, poet, pastor and man of God".

"His works", the Pope explained, "fill fully six volumes of Migne's Latin Patrology. In all probability one of the most beautiful and well-known hymns of the Latin Church is due to him: 'Veni Creator Spiritus', an extraordinary summary of Christian pneumatology". One of Rabanus' most important texts is the "De laudibus Sanctae Crucis" in which he uses poetry "as well as pictorial forms within the manuscript itself. ... This method, ... which comes from the East, touched unequalled heights in the illuminated manuscripts of the Bible and in other works of faith and art that flowered in Europe until the invention of printing, and even afterwards".

In Rabanus Maurus we see "an extraordinary awareness of the need to involve not only the mind and heart in the experience of faith, but also the senses". This he accomplished by using "other aspects" such as "aesthetic taste and human sensitivity which bring man to benefit from the truth with all of himself: 'spirit, soul and body. This is very important because faith is not just thought, faith comprehends our entire being", said the Holy Father.

Author also of the "Carmina" which he intended should be used in the liturgy, Rabanus "did not dedicate himself to poetry as an end in itself, ... rather he employed art, and all other forms of knowledge, for a deeper understanding of the Word of God". Thus he was concerned "with introducing his contemporaries, above all ministers (bishops, priests and deacons), to an understanding of the profoundly theological and spiritual significance of all elements of liturgical celebration". And, given that the Word of God is an integral part of the liturgy, throughout his life Rabanus Maurus "produced appropriate exegesis for nearly all the books of the Old and New Testaments, with clearly pastoral aims".

This pastoral side of his character is also highlighted by his "Penitentiaries" in which, "in keeping with the sensibility his time, he listed sins and their corresponding punishments using, as far as possible, motivations drawn from the Bible, from the decisions of the Councils and from papal decrees". Other of his pastoral works include "De disciplina ecclesiastica" and "De institutione clericorum", in which "he explained the fundamental elements of Christian faith to the common people and clergy of his diocese".

"I believe that Rabanus Maurus also speaks to us today", Pope Benedict concluded. "Whether immersed in the frenetic rhythms of work or on holiday, we must reserve time for God. ... We must not forget Sunday as the day of the Lord and the day of the liturgy, in order to see - in the beauty of our churches, of sacred music, and of the Word of God - the beauty of God Himself, and allow it to enter our own being. Thus our lives become great, they become true life".

Correction: Apostolic Exarchate of the Ukrainian Catholics in the UK

On the 2nd June the Vatican Information Service announced the following:


VATICAN CITY, 2 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Hlib Lonchyna M.S.U., curial bishop of the major archbishopric of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, as apostolic exarch for Ukrainian faithful of Byzantine rite resident in Great Britain."

Further research reveals that Bishop Hlib is in fact not to be the Exarch but Apostolic Administrator in succession to Fr Benjamin Lysykanych. The vacancy in the exarchate has already lasted three years and it seems Bishop Hlib's task will be to prepare its affairs and administration for the appointment of an Exarch in 2010.

Here is a link to an Interview with Bishop Hlib by the Religious Information Service of Ukraine from 2002.

Bishop Hlib was born on 23 February 1954 in Steubenville, Ohio. He obtained an education in Detroit in the primary and secondary schools of Immaculate Conception Parish, which were run by the Basilian Fathers and Sisters.

He obtained his theological education in Rome at the Urbaniana University. He defended a doctorate in liturgy at the Pontifical Oriental Institute.

He became a monk in the Monastery of Saint Theodore Studite in Grottaferrata near Rome, in which he took his vows on 19 December 1976. He was ordained to the priesthood by Josyf Cardinal Slipyj on 3 July 1977. For a few years he ministered at the Parish of Saint Nicholas in Passaic, New Jersey.

In 1994, he moved with the monastic community to Ukraine. He was a chaplain at Holy Spirit Seminary in Lviv, where he taught liturgy and biblical studies, as well as at the Lviv Theological Academy and the Institute of Higher Religious Culture. He also worked as an attaché at the Apostolic Nunciature in Kyiv.

On 11 January 2002, he was nominated a bishop of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church with the titular see of Bareta. His episcopal consecration was in Saint George's Cathedral on 27 February 2002. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchal Curia of the Major Archbishopric and Head of the Curia of Kyiv and Halych Metropolitanate.

On 1 March 2002, His Beatitude Lubomyr named Bishop Hlib a Senator of the Ukrainian Catholic University. From 25 June 2002 to 2 June 2007, Bishop Hlib was the Head of the Senate.

From 22 March 2002 to 8 June 2004, he was the Head of the Patriarchal Liturgical Commission.

On 14 January 2003, by a decree of His Holiness John Paul II he was named Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Italy. From 25 March 2003 to 9 May 2006, he was the Apokrisarius-procurator of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church at the Roman See.

On 1 July 2003, by a decree of His Beatitude Lubomyr he was appointed postulator of the cause of beatification and canonization of Servant of God Andrey Sheptytsky.

On 4 March 2004, His Holiness John Paul II nominated Bishop Hlib Apostolic Visitator for Ukrainian Greek-Catholics in Spain and Ireland.

On 16 June 2006, His Beatitude Lubomyr Husar appointed Bishop Hlib as Head of the Religious Administration of the Kyiv and Halych Metropolitanate. On 28 September 2006, he became head of the Department of Church Commissions and Responsible for Monastic Matters within the Patriarchal Curia.

In the past, Bishop Hlib has fostered close ecumenical relations with prominent Anglican theologians, notably Professor John Milbank of the University of Nottingham, leader of the "Radical Orthodoxy" traditional-progressive movement within Anglicanism.

He is seen by some as a supporter of the "patriarchal movement", as conceived by Josyf Cardinal Slipyj, for the Roman See to recognise the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church as a patriarch, like the other Eastern Churches in communion with the Holy See, of which the Ukrainian is by far the largest. But such a move is not currently under consideration, owing to the importance to the Vatican of not complicating the need for improved relations with the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which, also strongly active in Ukraine, is resisting pressures for it to withdraw to allow the establishment and recognition of a separate Autocephalous Ukrainian Orthodox Church led by a new Orthodox Patriarch of Kyiv.)

Tuesday 2 June 2009

The Society is delighted to welcome the appointment of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna MSU, curial bishop of the Majorarchbishopric of Kyiv-Halyc, Ukraine, as Apostolic Exarch for the Ukrainian faithful of the Byzantine rite in Great Britain.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church is a part of the Catholic Church, but it is not Roman Catholic, as it uses the Byzantine Rite, not the Roman or Latin rite. It belongs to the same Christian family as the Orthodox Church, but many centuries ago its unity with the Apostolic See of Rome was recovered. It is thus a separate and self-governing Church but in full communion with the Pope and thus with the Roman Catholic Church. Because of the complexities of the history of Christianity in Ukraine, and relations with the Latin Catholic Church in the West and the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine and Russia, the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has, especially in recent years, set itself the task of working hard to promote peace, unity, and understanding, believing Eastern Catholics have a special role in the reconciliation of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The recent growth and wide impact of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv is testament to this positive role, increasingly welcomed and respect on all sides after many years of difficulties. Christianity in Ukraine is stronger and more faithful as a result.

Normally the Majorarchbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husak, would make the appointment of bishops to eparchies (dioceses) in the Ukraine, recognised by the Holy See, but as the appointment to lead the diocese in the United Kingdom is within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church, the invitation and appointment resides with the Pope, through the 'Oriental' Congregation for Eastern Churches, after the usual consultation and the agreement of the Cardinal in Kyiv

The Exarchate has been without a bishop for many years and we share the rejoicing that at last they will have their own pastor, sent direct from the Majorarchbishopric. The clergy of the Exarchate have been good friends to the Society in recent years, especially Father Benjamin Lysykanych, the apostolic administrator who deserves a long deserved relief after shouldering the burdens of the diocese for so long. We wish Bishop Hlib, and all his new clergy and faithful every blessing in this new chapter in the life of their Church and assure them of our prayers and constant friendship.

Monday 1 June 2009

Here is Light of the East, the Spring (April-June 2009) Newsletter of the Western Region of SSJC in the US.