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.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Original Greek sermons by Origen of Alexandria discovered


June 12, 2012

[My translation of the original article from the Bavarian State Library, H/T Ben Blackwell]:

A spectacular discovery was recently made in the Bavarian State Library, in the process of cataloguing the Greek manuscripts from the collection of Johann Jakob Fuggers. While cataloguing a manuscript, Philologist Marina Molin Pradel identified numerous texts of sermons on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria (AD 185 – 253/54), the most important theologian of the early Christian church before Augustine–sermons which until now had not been known in the original. The importance of this find cannot be overestimated. The attribution to Origen was confirmed, with the highest degree of certainty, by internationally recognised Origen expert Lorenzo Perrone from the University of Bologna. 

Origen is regarded as the founder of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. His works, which are numerous, yet are often no longer extant or only found in Latin translation, are fundamental for Christian thought. As a philosopher, theologian, philologist and preacher, Origen has made a deep impression on the intellectual history from late antiquity to today. His sermons and interpretations of the Psalms were, until now, only fragmentary and only extent in Latin translation. The inconspicuous-looking, extensive Greek manuscript, whose true contents have now been identified, comes from the 12th century. 

"The find is extremely important–both in terms of its age and its extent. It will trigger lively discussion in scholarly and research circles, and will even allow new insights into the text of the Greek version of the Bible. All of the church Fathers had read Origen and received his work in depth. The discovery allows us now to deal directly with hitherto unknown original texts", said General Director Rolf Griebel. 

The manuscript has already been digitised by the Bavarian State Library and is available to everyone on the Internet:  www.digitale-sammlungen.de - Type in "Homiliae in psalmos"

The Bavarian State library possesses more than 650 Greek manuscripts, the largest collection in Germany. It has been, and still is, used intensively by scholars. Scholarly analysis takes place at the in-house Manuscript Analysis Centre, funded by the German Research Foundation. The find shows how necessary and important is this detailed and elaborate analysis. The project of cataloguing the Greek manuscripts in the Bavarian State Library celebrates its 20th Jubilee this year; it will last at least fifteen more years until all of the Greek manuscripts have been freshly recorded.

Bulgarian Relics of John the Baptist are Probably Authentic

June 15, 2012 By Thomas L. McDonald from http://www.patheos.com/

Two years ago, in an altar in the ruins of a 5th century monastery on Sveti Ivan Island the Black Sea, Bulgarian archaeologists found a small reliquary made of hardened volcanic ash. The Greek inscription on the reliquary included the name of John the Baptist and the date of his birth, June 24th. Scientists naturally dismissed the claims, because scientists all know that Catholic relics are completely fake. They read it … somewhere. They don’t know where. They’ll get back to you on that one. (It’s just like the "fact" that, if you put all the relics of the true cross together, you’d have enough wood to build Noah’s Ark, which is just a plain old lie. You wouldn’t even have enough wood to make a baseball bat.) In any case, the pieces of bone they discovered–a tooth, a knuckle bone, and pieces of a skull, jaw, and arm–have been tested and, whaddayaknow, they come from a 1st century guy who lived in the Middle East:
Many sites around the world claim to hold relics of the saint, including the Grand Mosque in Damascus which says it has his head. Countries around the Mediterranean claiming to have remains include Turkey, Greece, Italy and Egypt. The right hand with which the prophet allegedly baptised Jesus in the River Jordan is also claimed to be held by several entities, including a Serbian Orthodox monastery in Montenegro. "We were surprised when the radiocarbon dating produced this very early age," said Oxford Professor Tom Higham, who led the study. "We had suspected that the bones may have been more recent than this, perhaps from the third or fourth centuries. "The result from the metacarpal hand bone is clearly consistent with someone who lived in the early first century AD," He added: "Whether that person is John the Baptist is a question that we cannot yet definitely answer and probably never will." Dr Hannes Schroeder, from the University of Copenhagen, added: "Of course, this does not prove that these were the remains of John the Baptist but nor does it refute that theory." Thanks for that scrupulous bit of waffling, Hannes. I don’t wanna be all non-scientificy, but if I have bones in a box labelled "John the Baptist," and those bones were treated with reverence and date to the early first century, with DNA confirming a person of Middle Eastern origin, then, yeah: those are probably authentic. Here, I’ll even make it sound all official: "I am 92.3% certain these are the real deal." Let the veneration continue!

Thursday 14 June 2012

Homilies by Origen Rediscovered

ROME, JUNE 13, 2012 thanks to Zenit.org

An Italian philologist has found unpublished sermons of  Origen in the library of Monaco of Bavaria. The discovery was announced Tuesday by the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek.

On April 5, Marina Molin Pradel, who was studying a Byzantine manuscript of the 11th century, the Monacense Greco 314, realized that some homilies on the Psalms contained in it were similar to those of Origen, who lived from 185 to 232.

Following further study of them she came to the conclusion that all the 29 homilies contained in the manuscript, to date unpublished, were of Origen.

In the first half of the 3rd century, Origen wrote on the Psalter and had an important impact on biblical exegesis.

The homilies do not bear the author’s name, perhaps because of the condemnation of errors by some of his followers at the Council of Constantinople in 553.

The discovery of these lost manuscripts is of great importance given that much of Origen’s writings, especially the exegetical ones, was lost following the condemnation in 553.

His writings on the interpretation of the Psalms, whether in homilies or in commentaries, with the exception of a few homilies translated into Latin, had been lost and in his time these texts had been considered as his greatest achievement. With the recovery of the manuscripts a part of that loss has been remedied.

Origen had an important influence on Christian literature in the ancient world, whether in doctrine or spirituality in general, both in the East and in the West.

In 2007, as part of a series of addresses on the Fathers of the Church, Benedict XVI spoke about Origen in two of his Wednesday audiences. Coincidentally the discovery of this manuscript of Origen happened precisely in the home region of the Pope.

Friday 8 June 2012

Patriarch's Call to Prayer and Fasting for Peace in Syria

In the ancient Eastern tradition of the Church, after Pentecost in June is observed the Fast (or period of abstinence) of the Twelve Apostles, chief among whom are Peter and Paul, whom the Church in East and West alike commemorates on 29 June. This fast (or period of abstinence) begins this year on Monday June 4 and ends on June 28.

We issued a call to fasting and prayer at the beginning of the tragic, bloody events experienced by our dear country, Syria. Now after the escalation of violence, especially the widespread series of assassinations and kidnappings for ransom that has affected a great many members of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church and others, especially in Homs, we ask all the children of our patriarchal Eparchy of Damascus to keep the fast as much as possible and say special prayers every day at home and in church if possible, as many have already done during the Marian month.  This is our response to the painful events that have caused weeping and heartbreak, implanting terrifying images in the souls of the elderly and young and provoking hatred and vengeance.

We remember all the slain of every place and religion, praying that they may rest in peace. We pray too for the wounded in hospital and for the bereaved and doubting, for the fearful, for refugees and those in distress.

We are sending this letter to all clergy and parishioners to inform them of this initiative. We suggest the following petitions to accompany our prayer, fasting and abstinence:

  • For all Christians, that their hearts may be confirmed in true faith and kept from false doctrines, that they may be united in your Church, and be children of the light and of the day, O Lord, we beseech you.
  • For leaders and members of Parliament, that they may be enlightened, and follow the ways of understanding, compassion and effectual co-operation, in order to improve social situations, let us pray to the Lord.
  • Grant to all the inhabitants of this country faith and love, that their hearts may be confirmed in understanding and peace, O Lord, we beseech you.
  • For all Christians who are sad and in need of your compassion and help, that you be for them, O Christ, a God of goodness, comfort and healing, O Lord, we pray to  you.
We request that these litanies be sung during church services and also in homes during family prayers, as well as in meetings of confraternities and various movements, so as to accompany the situation in our country with prayer, hope and optimism, for God protects Syria, as he is God of peace.  May he restore peace, brotherly love and mutual assistance in Syria in all its regions and among all its citizens.

With my love, blessing and prayer,
+ Gregorios III
Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch
Of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
Damascus, 2 June 2012
Patriarch Gregorios is President of Conference of Catholic Bishops of Syria. The Society of St John Chrysostom spiritually unites itself with His Beatitude and all his bishops, clergy, religious and faithful, in solidarity through prayer and fasting for peace, love and hope.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Eastern Christianity: modern and contemporary trends - Day Conference at Heythrop, Centre for Eastern Christianity

Wednesday 27 June 2012, 9am to 6 pm
  •  Eastern Orthodoxy, Rowan Williams and Islam: Exploring the impact of Eastern Orthodoxy on Rowan Williams’ Anglican engagement with Islam: Richard Sudworth, Heythrop College
  • Response by Charles Miller, Rector of Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • We brought it on ourselves: Greek Evangelical Perceptions of the Current Crisis: Gerasimos Makris, Panteion University, Athens
  • Response by Scott Thomas, University of Bath
  • Time to Rise up or Time to Lament our Sins? The Orthodox Church Response to the Greek Financial Crisis: Dimitrios Berkidakis, Panteion University, Athens
  • Response by Scott Thomas, University of Bath
  • The Orthodox Church and its Palestinian-Christian Identity: Leonard Marsh, Heythrop College
  • Response by Mary Grey, St Mary’s University College, Twickenham
  • Conscience and Freedom: Reflections on the thought of Olivier Clément: Stefanie Hugh-Donovan, Heythrop College
  • The Russian Orthodox Church and Islam: Basil Cousins, Heythrop College
  • The Georgian Orthodox Church: John Flannery, Heythrop College

Friday 1 June 2012

Christian East-West Day IXa - Turvey Abbey

11 June 2012

Worship and Prayer in the Benedictine, Catholic, Eastern, Anglican and Methodist Traditions
Turvey Abbey, BEDFORD
10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
  • Sr Esther of Turvey Abbey: Icongrapher and Teacher; President and Founder-member of The British Association of Iconographers
  • Canon Angela Tilby
  • David Carter & Revd Caroline Carter
  • Fr Timothy Curtis
Charge: £20 . Please make Cheques/POs, payable to Turvey Abbey and send (name, address, email and telephone number) to Sr Lucy Brydon, (Christian East-West Day), Turvey Abbey, Turvey, BEDFORD MK43 8DE.
Please bring a packed lunch. Coffee, tea, milk and biscuits are provided

Michael Prior Lecture: Peace and Justice in the Holy Land

Living Stones of the Holy Land Trust

Peace and Justice: a Christian Viewpoint from the Holy Land

Reverend Doctor Raed Awad Deeb Abusahlia

Born in Zababdeh in Palestine, Father Raed was ordained priest by the Latin Patriarch in 1990 and began his priestly ministry in parishes in Jordan. After completing higher studies in philosophy at the Lateran University in Rome, Father Raed served as Professor of Philosophy at the Latin Seminary at Beit Jala and as Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, until appointed parish priest of the Latin Church in Taybeh (biblical Ephraim) in the Palestinian West Bank, where he is active in initiatives for peace and justice such as the “Olive Branch Foundation” and “Lamps for Peace in the Holy Land”.

4.00pm on Wednesday 13th June 2012

Marie Eugenie Room, Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College, Kensington Square, London W8 5HN.

All are welcome - registration not required.

Christian Arabs trying to revive Aramaic, language of Jesus

Thursday, May 31, 2012 | by diaa hadid associated press - jish, israel

Two villages in the Holy Land’s tiny Christian community are teaching Aramaic in an ambitious effort to revive the language centuries after it all but disappeared from the Middle East. The new focus on what was the dominant language in the region 2,000 years ago comes with a little help from modern technology: an Aramaic-speaking television channel from Sweden, of all places, where a vibrant immigrant community has kept the ancient tongue alive. In the Palestinian village of Beit Jala, an older generation of Aramaic speakers is trying to share the language with their grandchildren. Beit Jala lies next to Bethlehem, where the Christian Bible says Jesus was born. 

And in the Arab Israeli village of Jish, nestled in the Galilean hills, elementary school children are now being instructed in Aramaic. The children belong mostly to the Maronite Christian community. Maronites still chant their liturgy in Aramaic but few understand the prayers. "We want to speak the language that Jesus spoke," said Carla Hadad, a 10-year-old Jish girl. During the lesson, a dozen children lisped out a Christian prayer in Aramaic. They learned the words for "elephant," "How are you?" and "mountain." Some children carefully drew sharp-angled Aramaic letters. Others fiddled with their pencil cases, which sported images of popular soccer teams.

The dialect taught in Jish and Beit Jala is "Syriac," which was spoken by their Christian forefathers and resembles the Galilean dialect that Jesus would have used, according to Steven Fassberg, an Aramaic expert at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "They probably would have understood each other," Fassberg said. In Jish, about 80 children in grades one through five study Aramaic as a voluntary subject for two hours a week. Israel’s education ministry provided funds to add classes until the eighth grade, said principal Reem Khatieb-Zuabi.

Several Jish residents lobbied for Aramaic studies several years ago, said Khatieb-Zuabi, but the idea faced resistance: Jish’s Muslims worried it was a covert attempt to entice their children to Christianity. Some Christians objected, saying the emphasis on their ancestral language was being used to strip them of their Arab identity. The issue is sensitive to many Arab Muslims and Christians in Israel, who prefer to be identified by their ethnicity, not their faith. Ultimately, Khatieb-Zuabi, a secular Muslim from an outside village, overruled them. "This is our collective heritage and culture. We should celebrate and study it," the principal said. And so the Jish Elementary School became the only Israeli public school teaching Aramaic, according to the education ministry.

Their efforts are mirrored in Beit Jala’s Mar Afram school run by the Syrian Orthodox church and located just a few miles from Bethlehem’s Manger Square. There, priests have taught the language to their 320 students for the past five years. Some 360 families in the area descend from Aramaic-speaking refugees who in the 1920s fled the Tur Abdin region of what is now Turkey. Priest Butros Nimeh said elders still speak the language but that it vanished among younger generations. Nimeh said they hoped teaching the language would help the children appreciate their roots.

Aramaic was the vernacular of the area’s residents, including its Jews, from 2,500 years ago until the sixth century of the common era, when Arabic, the language of conquering Muslims from the Arabian peninsula, became dominant, according to Fassberg. Modern Jews encounter Aramaic as the language of the Kaddish and much of the Talmud. Linguistic islands survived through the centuries: Maronites clung to Aramaic liturgy and so did the Syrian Orthodox church. Kurdish Jews on the river island of Zakho, near the Iraq-Turkey border, spoke an Aramaic dialect called "Targum" until fleeing to Israel in the 1950s. Three Christian villages in Syria still speak an Aramaic dialect, Fassberg said.

The two schools teaching Aramaic found inspiration and assistance in an unlikely place: Sweden. There, Aramaic-speaking communities who descended from transplanted Middle Easterners publish a newspaper, "Bahro Suryoyo," pamphlets and children’s books, and maintain a satellite television station, "Soryoyosat."

Officials estimate the Aramaic-speaking population at anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 people.

For many Maronites and Syrian Orthodox Christians living in Israel, the television station was the first time they heard the language outside church in decades.

3rd European Catholic-Orthodox Forum: Address by Metropolitan Gennadios

LISBON, JUNE 6, 2012 thanks to Zenit.org

Here is the translation of the address given by His Eminence Metropolitan Prof. Dr. Gennadios of Sassima, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, to the 3rd European Catholic-Orthodox Forum.

It is with great joy that the IIIrd Forum of Dialogue between the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences of Roman Catholic Church (CCEE) and the Orthodox Churches in Europe is taking place these days in Lisbon, this unique and lovely historical city and capital of Portugal, where myriads of saints and martyrs confessed and expressed the Christian Faith and Witness of the undivided Church.

We gathered, Catholics and Orthodox, coming from various destinations of this old continent of Europe, under the gracious auspices of His Eminence, Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, Patriarch of Lisbon.

I have the particular honour and joy to convey to all of your Eminences, Excellencies, Graces, beloved Fathers and brothers in Christ, the paternal greetings and prayers of His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, wishing a successful and constructive meeting with positive outcomes for the benefit of our Churches and for all other Christians living in this continent.

The theme of this forum, particularly nowadays, is very crucial and touches all peoples' hearts and lives: The economic crisis and poverty: challenges for Europe today

Today, the present economic crisis is an unprecedented reality in the history of this continent, where many countries and societies are facing the tragic consequences of a financial and social poverty. Millions of peoples lose their jobs, unemployment is rapidly increasing, youth loses even their hopes and are dispersed looking towards an ambiguous and uncertain future. Many are making appeals and try to find refuge in our Churches, asking for help, moral assistance and spiritual encouragement to overcome difficulties. Prayer, faith and hope are the only "spiritual instruments" that we can offer as Churches to those in need, to those struggling to survive and striving for a better future, with dignity and respect to the sacredness and uniqueness of humankind.

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as the first in rank spiritual leader among the other primates of the Orthodox communion, gives a significant attention to any "dialogue" held between the Christian Churches and in particular to the International Roman Catholic-Orthodox Theological dialogue, as well to this European Forum which with God's blessing has its third gathering.

Beloved brothers and sisters, the unity that we all seek is a gift from above, which we must persistently pursue as well as patiently; it is not something that depends solely on us, but above all on God’s judgment and kairos. Nevertheless, this sacred gift of unity is something that also demands of us radical conversion and re-orientation so that we may humbly return to our common roots in the Apostolic Church and the communion of saints, but also that we may entrust ourselves and submit to God’s heavenly kingdom and authority.

Let us, then, together renew our commitment to dialogue, collaboration and unity as a road to reflection and renewal. And let our deliberation be a prayerful offering to God in our sincere desire that we "may be one" (John 17.21) in response to our Lord’s command and will.