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.

Friday 13 September 2019

Letter of Francis to Bartholomew: on bones of the Apostle Peter

To His Holiness Bartholomew
Archbishop of Constantinople
Ecumenical Patriarch

Your Holiness, dear Brother,

With deep affection and spiritual closeness, I send you my cordial good wishes of grace and peace in the love of the Risen Lord. In these past weeks, I have often thought of writing to you to explain more fully the gift of some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter that I presented to Your Holiness through the distinguished delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate led by Archbishop Job of Telmessos which took part in the patronal feast of the Church of Rome.
Your Holiness knows well that the uninterrupted tradition of the Roman Church has always testified that the Apostle Peter, after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero, was buried in the adjoining necropolis of the Vatican Hill. His tomb quickly became a place of pilgrimage for the faithful from every part of the Christian world. Later, the Emperor Constantine erected the Vatican Basilica dedicated to Saint Peter over the site of the tomb of the Apostle.

In June 1939, immediately following his election, my predecessor Pope Pius XII decided to undertake excavations beneath the Vatican Basilica. The works led first to the discovery of the exact burial place of the Apostle and later, in 1952, to the discovery, under the high altar of the Basilica, of a funerary niche attached to a red wall dated to the year 150 and covered with precious graffiti, including one of fundamental importance which reads, in Greek, Πετρος ευι. This contained bones that can quite reasonably be considered those of the Apostle Peter. From those relics, now enshrined in the necropolis under Saint Peter's Basilica, Pope Saint Paul VI had nine fragments removed for the private chapel of the papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace.
The nine fragments were placed in a bronze case bearing the inscription, Ex ossibus quae in Archibasilicae Vaticanae hypogeo inventa Beati Petri apostoli esse putantur: “Bones found in the earth beneath the Vatican Basilica considered to be those of Blessed Peter the Apostle”. It was this same case, containing nine fragments of the bones of the Apostle, that I desired to present to Your Holiness and to the beloved Church of Constantinople over which you preside with such devotion.

As I reflected on our mutual determination to advance together towards full communion, and thanked God for the progress already made since our venerable predecessors met in Jerusalem over fifty years ago, I thought of the gift that Patriarch Athenagoras gave to Pope Paul VI: an icon depicting the brothers Peter and Andrew embracing, united in faith and in love of their common Lord . This icon that, at the behest of Pope Paul VI, is displayed today in the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has become for us a prophetic sign of the restoration of that visible communion between our Churches to which we aspire and for which we fervently pray and work. Hence, in the peace born of prayer, I sensed that it would be highly significant were some fragments of the relics of the Apostle Peter to be placed beside the relics of the Apostle Andrew , who is venerated as the heavenly patron of the Church of Constantinople.
I sensed that this thought came to me from the Holy Spirit, who in so many ways prompts Christians to regain that full communion for which our Lord Jesus Christ prayed on the eve of his glorious Passion (cf. Jn 17:21).

This gesture is intended to be a confirmation of the journey that our Churches have made in drawing closer to one another: a journey at times demanding and difficult, yet one accompanied by evident signs of God’s grace. Pursuing this journey calls above all for spiritual conversion and renewed fidelity to the Lord who requires on our part greater commitment and new, courageous steps. Difficulties and disagreements, now and in the future, must not distract us from our duty and responsibility as Christians, and particularly as Pastors of the Church, before God and history.
The joining of the relics of the two brother Apostles can also serve as a constant reminder and encouragement that, on this continuing journey, our divergences will no longer stand in the way of our common witness and our evangelizing mission in the service of a human family that today is tempted to build a purely secular future, a future without God.

Your Holiness, beloved Brother, I have found great comfort in sharing these thoughts with you. In the hope of soon encountering you once more, I ask you to pray for me and to bless me, and I exchange with Your Holiness a fraternal embrace of peace.

From the Vatican, 30 August 2019

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Bishop Hlib Resigns as Ukrainian Eparch for UK

Kyr Hlib serving in Rome on the day of his resignation

“The authority of a bishop is not the strength of his power, but the power of his willingness to serve.”   – Kyr Hlib (Lonchyna)

The Apostolic See announced on 1 September 2019 that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna from the pastoral leadership of the Holy Family Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of London. Following the announcement, Bishop Hlib summed up his years of service in Great Britain as well as his plans for the future.

How would you summarise 10 years of ministry in Great Britain and Ireland? What has changed? Whathas developed differently and what has remained the same? 

In 2009 I was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Exarchate of Great Britain, then the Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church elected me Exarch. Later the Synod asked Pope Benedict to raise our two exarchates – of Great Britain and France– to the dignity of Eparchy (diocese). This happened in 2013. I see this as a great blessing for the organisational and pastoral development of the London Eparchy, which in these years has become dear to me.

I envisioned my main task as being not in administration, but in pastoral care for our faithful in Great Britain, as well as in Ireland, where I have served as Apostolic Visitor since 2004.

In Great Britain there are two waves of migration: post-World War Two and contemporary; the latter predominantly being in search of employment. These are two diverse groups of people whom I strived to bring together and help them to integrate in the larger community so that they support one another and work together. My instruments have been quite simple: homilies, spiritual talks, confession, conferences, and just meeting people.

What is the Church like in this part of the world? Who attends our churches?

The London Eparchy of the Holy Family covers all Great Britain, that is, the island that contains England, Wales, and Scotland. As I mentioned before, there are two waves of migration. The post-war emigration was numerous, counting around 30 thousand, and people settled across the entire island. Thus, our parishes were scattered throughout the whole of Great Britain – from Scotland in the north to England in the south. Our Church was organised quite nicely. Our people did not build their own churches as they had not the means. Instead they bought churches, mainly Anglican ones, and later adapted them to the needs of our rite. There were different cultural and educational organisations. This is the reality in the United Kingdom.

By the 1990s many people of the first migration had passed away. Unfortunately, their children and grand-children left the Church for various reasons.

In the last 70 years our parishes grew smaller. Then in the 1990s and 2000s people from Ukraine began arriving and filling up our churches. However, they usually settled in larger cities where there is employment, especially London. Our cathedral parish is comprised mainly of the new émigrés. In other cities there are not many new-comers, and you can see this reflected in our congregations.

Today we have around 30 pastoral centres, 10 of which are full-fledged parishes, and the other 20 are missionary points where not many people attend Liturgy – which is not even celebrated every Sunday.

How does this new wave of migration affect pastoral workWhat challenges do bishops and priests face?

Pastoral work outside of Ukraine, where people do not live nearby as they had in the homeland, is very different. We see people mainly on Sundays, as they are scattered and constantly busy, because they have come here to seek employment. So, our pastoral work is limited to those few hours when the people are available. This requires of us more concentration – we need to fit our pastoral plan into that one Sunday. This is a challenge for priests who must focus on the needs of the people who come to them, serving them the best they can.

What is the reason for your decision to leave the ministry of eparchial bishop?

Last year our Synod of Ukrainian Bishops appointed me to spearhead a committee for the revision of liturgical texts and this year the Holy Father entrusted me to be Apostolic Administrator of the Paris Eparchy of Saint Volodymyr, since Bishop Borys, the former Eparch, was transferred to the metropolitan see of Philadelphia. This gave me two huge responsibilities which were added on to my main obligations to the London Eparchy. I also have other commitments for which I must travel, mostly to Rome and to Ukraine.

For the last few months I have been striving to fulfil my obligations but concluded that I cannot do justice to all. My faithful in the Eparchy of London need stability and care. The bishop should provide for the eparchy, visit parishes, be with the people 100%.

For its own good the eparchy needs a bishop who will serve our people on both islands. Therefore I asked the Holy Father and he has graciously released me from my duties towards the London Eparchy of the Holy Family.

What are your feelings as you depart? What are you going to miss? How will you uphold contact with the faithful for whom you were and remain a spiritual father?

hada good relationship with the priests and in every parish I found people who truly seek God and cherish the visits of their pastors. I will miss such direct contact with our faithful.

was always glad to see how parishes and organisations collaborate to preserve what our parents have left us. This shows there is a healthy spirit amongst our faithful, which I support with gratitude.

I have spent 10 years in Great Britain. This is the longest I have ever been in pastoral ministry in one place and will miss the people with whom I have developed a spiritual bond.

How do you envision the new bishop for the eparchy?

He must, first, be a man of prayer who will intercede for his priests, religious and faithful before God. He needs to be pastorally minded, open to people and sincerely desire to serve them. He should not fear challenges but be ready to offer his time and energies to interact with people, visit even the most distant parishes, support his priests and develop pastoral areas. The bishop should love his priests and be a father to them.

The bishop should also cherish our rite and our traditions.

Of course, he must master the English language because the bishop is a member of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and has regular meetings with the local bishops. We also maintain contacts with the Syro-Malabars, who are Eastern Christians from India. They too have an eparchy in England, as do we Ukrainians.

Summing up, I would say we need spirituality, openness and hard work.

What will happen to the Paris Eparchy where you are currently Apostolic Administrator?

I shall be in that temporary position until our Synod chooses a new bishop and the Apostolic See assents to his election. In the Paris Eparchy I shall strive to upkeep and develop everything that Bishop Borys Gudziak has built up in the six years he was there.

But at the same time your episcopal ministry does not endWas form will it take from now on?

I have already occupied numerous roles as bishop in our Church, so a change is nothing new to me. I served in Italy, Spain, as curial bishop in Ukraine; as a priest I served in my Studite monastery, in St Nicholas Parish in Passaic, NJ, worked as attaché in the Apostolic Nunciature in Kyiv, was spiritual director at the Lviv Seminary and taught there, as well as at the Lviv Theological Academy and other institutes of higher learning. I have always looked at these forms of service as one whole in pastoral ministry. I am united to the end of my life to all these people whom I have served, encountered, worked with – I carry them all in my heart and in my prayers. Wherever I am in the world, they will always be dear to me.

Allow me a somewhat indiscreet question: what does episcopal authority mean and what does it mean to relinquish it voluntarily? The world, both contemporary and past, is just obsessed with power. Where do you find the strength to overcome this?

The authority of a bishop is not the strength of his power, but the power of his willingness to serve. If I do not serve the faithful, then power will be useless – even if it is the greatest on earth. I do not relinquish an office to search for prestige or comfort, but wish the best for this eparchy. I have prayed and contemplated for quite some time on what would best serve my eparchy and my faithful. And I believe that after 10 years I should depart and allow others to take on this responsibility so the eparchy may grow and prosper.

Interview by Mariana Karapinka