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 September, 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.

"It's Now or Never: The Return of the Eastern Christians to Iraq and Syria" - John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need gives the annual Christopher Morris Lecture in the Society's 90th year. Monday 27th November at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 pm Divine Liturgy, 7-15 pm Lecture, 8-15 pm Reception. £10 donation requested. RSVP to johnchrysostom@btinternet.com







Thursday, 26 August 2010

Christian Unity: In the Shoes of the Fisherman

Cobbler Gives Same Shoes to Pontiff, Patriarch

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- It's a known fact that a good pair of shoes can help lessen the aches and pains of weary feet, but can they promote Christian unity? Cobbler Adriano Stefanelli thinks it's worth a try.

The Italian shoemaker from Novara, known as one of the Pope's shoemakers, was on hand today at the weekly general audience to present Benedict XVI with two pairs of shoes, one red and one made of white satin, reported L'Osservatore Romano.

Stefanelli revealed that the pair of white satin shoes is the exact same style he made for Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, except that the patriarch preferred his in black satin.

"It is a small sign to reinforce the desire for Christian unity," he said. The 62-year-old cobbler noted that the idea isn't a new one for him, as in previous years he has sent similar shoes to the former Russian Patrarich Alexei II, and Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The 62-year-old artisan began to make shoes for Pope John Paul II in 2003 when he saw the "suffering John Paul II on television" and wanted to help in some way to "alleviate his pain."

"I know how to make shoes and I will give him shoes," he had said to himself.

Stefanelli has also made five pairs of shoes for Benedict XVI, as well as a pair of house slippers and two pairs of hiking shoes for when he vacations in the Italian Alps. The cobbler revealed that all shoes are handmade with techniques he learned from his father, and that it takes about 30 days to make one pair.

Shoes for a Pope, he noted, must be simple, "without elaboration and with a very subtle anti-slip layer in the leather."

The shoemaker said he takes great pleasure in seeing the Pope wear his shoes, and especially when they start to look "used and worn," which means for a cobbler that the shoes must be "comfortable."

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Iraq to the Holy See: We Need our Christians

Habbeb Mohammed Hadi Ali Al-Sadr, the Ambassador of Iraq to the Holy See has asked Pope Benedict XVI "to encourage Christians to return to their country with a willing spirit for its reconstruction, being the cultural, technical and economic part which Iraq cannot do without in its new growth." Iraq will need to rely on its historic Christina communities to rebuild itself, but is aware that the number of Christians in the country has collapsed from 3% of the population owing to massive emigration and persecution from some elements in the Kurdish, Sunni and Shia Muslim constituencies. "For its part, the government has committed itself to all those who return, to give them a job, a plot to rebuild their homes and 1.5 million Iraqi dinars," he promised, because the Constitution guarantees full equality for Christians, and even allows them "wherever they so wish, to create a region with a special status, such as that of Kurdistan, where they can adopt Syriac or Aramaic as the official language."

There are also five seats in parliament allocated exclusively to Christians, in addition to posts that will eventually be created at regional and provincial government levels.

"Today Iraqi Christians fully enjoy liberty of worship, as well as civil and political rights: Many of them are fully inserted in the political world carrying out important tasks. [...] Recently three ambassadors were appointed". Free speech, the free press and Christian television channels, he said, also demonstrate that Christians' place in the future Iraq is assured.

"Considerable sums" are also being devoted to the protection of Christian historic and cultural patrimony, he noted. And funds are allocated for the training of "dozens" of Iraqi priests each year through studies in Rome.

Turning to the anti-Christian violence plaguing Iraq, the ambassador observed that terrorists have realised that the blood of Iraqi Muslims is of less interest to the Western media than that of Christians. Without intending to, the media have played into the hands of terrorists by "being interested in the Christians, in their future and in the lack of development of the society, thus turning the spotlight on terrorist acts," lending credence to the belief that Iraqi society can never achieve democracy. But he pointed out that "the first to condemn all the attacks against Christians have always been Iraqis of all the communities that make up the country."
So, linking terrorism to Islam is a "mistaken prejudice and an illogical judgment that Western media fuels, stressing only the work of fundamentalist groups, without saying anything about the goodness of the actions and community life of so many other Muslims who live peacefully among non-Muslims desirous of being open to the other."

He called on all governments, rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, East and West "to promote a true and fruitful dialogue between the various cultures and religions," to address the present challenges all face alike, including terrorism, unbelief, failures in public trust, family and social divisions, environmental problems and the emerging water crisis.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Europe's Brothers: Catholic and Orthodox Bishops Embrace at Communion & Liberation Meeting in Rimini

Zenit.org reports (August 24, 2010:

High-ranking representatives of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches embraced on Monday in a moment reflecting a will for unity between the two Churches. It was a highlight of the 31st Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples, an annual event sponsored by the Catholic Communion and Liberation Movement in Rimini, Italy. The cardinal and metropolitan made their embrace of unity as they joined in a debate on the topic "Can An Educated Man, a European of Our Days, Actually Believe in the Divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ?"

Cardinal Erdo is the archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and the president of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE). Filaret is the metropolitan of Minsk and Sluzk and Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.

The Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches are already united in their common stance on many issues affecting Europe: challenges to life and family and religious freedom among them. Recently, an apostolic nunciature was opened in Moscow, and there is ever greater insistence on a meeting between Benedict XVI and Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.

To this end, Metropolitan Filaret said that "the time is ripe for a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch. It might even be possible in 2011; in principle I see no obstacles. We have been in dialogue with the Catholic Church for some time, at times with moments of exhilaration, at others with a fall in tensions," he added. "Now we are in a moment of stability, but between us, we, the parties, are open to dialogue. I hope this atmosphere will continue."

Cardinal Erdo pointed to Catholic-Orthodox union in dogmatic issues. "Hence, for me," he said, "the circumstance that we are not in full and complete communion is a physical pain."

The searching discussion (for further details, see the full Zenit report here) concluded with these words from Cardinal Erdo:

God is only one, and only one is the mediator between God and men: the man Jesus
Christ," stressed Cardinal Erdo. Because of this, "we must be messengers and
missionaries of the new evangelization of Europe. We must be united with our
other Christian brothers, because unity can reinforce our testimony.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Catholic Archbishop of Minsk on Belarus Society and Relations with the Orthodox Church

On 20 August 2010, Zenit carried an interview with Roman Catholic Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk on the challenge of secularism to Christians following the end of communism and the rise of Western-style consumerism in the new Belarus. He also discusses the positive relations between the Orthodox Church and the Latin Roman Catholic Church in Belarus.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Two Syrian Orthodox Churches reopen in Turkey after 30 years

Hundreds of Syrians from all over the world attended the inaugural Liturgies yesterday of the 4th century Mor Eşayo and the 6th century Mor Kuryakuş churches, reopened after 30 years, having been closed since the 1980s. The buildings were restored by 72 Syrian families, at a cost of 600,000 Turkish lire (about 300,000 euros). They were reopened yesterday in the village of Midyat's Yemişli in the region of Mardin, south-eastern Turkey. Presided at the Liturgy was Mor Timetheos Samuel Aktaş, Metropolitan Bishop of Tur Abdin. In Turkey, the Syrian Orthodox church has 5,000 faithful.

Tuma Çelik vice-president of the European Syriac Association, spoke at the ceremony: "The Syrians who live in countries far from their land actually live here in mind and spirit. Want to return to rest in this land. The existence of the Syrians in Turkey is not recognized by the Constitution; it should be. If the government build infrastructure to improve social, cultural and economic conditions, the Syrians who return will grow quickly".

In eastern Turkey, the Syrian Orthodox community is very active and the government in Ankara is making positive overtures towards them.