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 8th July, 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.


Friday, 18 November 2011

Russian Orthodox and Maronite Patriarchs Meet

BEIRUT, Lebanon, NOV. 17, 2011 thanks to Zenit.org



The head of the Russian Orthodox Church met Tuesday with the Maronite Catholic patriarch of Antioch and other Eastern Catholic leaders who were in Lebanon for their assembly, which focused on the theme of Christians in the Middle East.

The historic meeting gave Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros Raï a chance to note with Russian Patriarch Kirill the need for a united effort in assisting Christians in the Holy Land.

"We feel today a great need to collaborate with Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches," the Maronite patriarch affirmed. "We would like to propose to Your Holiness the possibilities of collaboration with the Russian Church in order to safeguard the Christian presence in the countries of the Middle East, and to preserve those Christians from emigrating. 

"Their presence must remain effective in their societies, as it was all along the history of this presence, since the time of Christ, the apostles and the first Christians, as 'the leaven in the dough.'"

For his part, Patriarch Kirill noted the difficult theological issues facing Orthodox-Catholic dialogue, and affirmed his conviction that dialogue is not the only channel for cooperation.

Patriarch Kirill believes that common work for the sake of upholding Christian values in the modern world is equally important, a statement from the patriarchate noted.

"The problem of Christianophobia is very acute today; common efforts of Christians of different confessions are essential to hold out against this dangerous phenomenon," Kirill said. 

He invited the Maronite patriarch to visit Moscow at the end of the month for an international conference on this problem, or for a visit at a later date.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Archimandrite Serge Kelleher - Memory Eternal

Fr Serge in Dublin
Archimandrite Serge Kelleher fell asleep in the Lord in Dublin late in the morning of Friday 11th November. Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, Apostolic Exarch for the Ukrainian Greek Catholics of Great Britain, responsible also for the Ukrainian Catholic flock in Ireland, informs us that the priestly Parastas is planned for Friday evening, 18th November, and the Funeral itself will be on Saturday, 19th November. 

Father Deacon Richard Downer writes:
Back in early 1994, when I was a both a member of the Society of St John Chrysostom and of the Melkite-Greek Catholic Community in London, I arranged with Fr Shafiq AbouZayd for Fr Serge and two other Greek Catholic priests (Fr Graham Woolfenden and Fr Elias O’Brien) to come down from Oxford to serve the Divine Liturgy in English for our Melkite Community in London on a monthly basis. However, Carol, my wife, and I first met Fr Serge at Keston College, a research organisation in England that supported persecuted Christians in Communist lands. This was prior to Perestroika, if I remember correctly; perhaps around the time that Ronald Reagan had a meeting with Gorbachev in Iceland. Fr Serge kindly took Carol and myself down to his office in the college, where we had a long discussion about the then plight of the persecuted Greek Catholic Church in the Ukraine. He was unmistakable on our subsequent visits to Keston College, wearing as he did his Kamelevikon and veil at public meetings of the College.


It was while he was at Keston College that Fr Serge published his book about the persecuted Greek Catholics in the Ukraine. He invited Carol and myself to the book launch, which was held in the Church Hall of the joint Russian/Greek Orthodox Church in Canterbury Road in Oxford. Among others, the Rev Michael Bordeaux, head of Keston College, the then Bishop Basil of the Russian Orthodox Church and Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of the Greek Orthodox Church were present. The Orthodox presence in a Church Hall, a Hall that they owned, was quite remarkable considering the fact that Fr Serge’s book was about the suffering/persecuted Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine. Once again Fr Serge stood out, as it were, by wearing his Kamelevikon and veil; neither of the Orthodox Bishops wore theirs. What was even more remarkable, bearing in mind the topic of the book, was that Metropolitan Kallistos was chairing the book launch. Michael Bordeaux, as head of Keston College, spoke about the book and its purpose. At some stage during the gathering Metropolitan Kallistos also spoke. He started his talk in his own very English humorous way as follows: “God is a mystery; therefore because man is made in the image of God, he too is a mystery; but there is no greater mystery than Archimandrite Serge Kelleher!” How could one forget such an opening remark; in a way it was both a telling and an affectionate remark.
Archbishop Joseph Raya and Fr Serge at Madonna House,
Combermere, Canada

In addition, many years ago, when the Society of St John Chrysostom in England had almost ceased to exist, there was a meeting held downstairs in the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London attended by Fr Serge, the late Fr Graham Woolfenden, the late Joe Farrelly, myself and others, in order to see how the Society could be re-started, as it were. Following on from that meeting various things began to happen, and Fr Serge played an important role in this regard. This was some time before the formation of the Society of St John Chrysostom in the USA, a matter that we discussed at some of our Society committee meetings in London, prior to its formation. Another of Fr Serge’s projects was the launching of the Eastern Churches Journal, the first copy of which appeared for Winter 1993/1994, Fr Serge being the editor. Again this was a matter that we discussed on various occasions at Society committee meetings in London prior to the Journal being launched.

The Society is immensely grateful to God for Fr Serge, who not only helped to lay the foundations for the work of the Society today, but also the significant work of our sister Society in the United States and its conferences and publications in furtherance of Catholic-Orthodox unity following the Apostolic Letter of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Orientale Lumen.

May his memory be eternal!



Friday, 4 November 2011

Pope Benedict: Study the Eastern Catholic Churches

Pope's November Intention: That Whole Church Will Esteem This "Spiritual Treasure"


VATICAN CITY, NOV. 3, 2011 thanks to Zenit.org


Pope Benedict XVI is praying this month for an increase in knowledge of and esteem for the Eastern Catholic Churches. The Apostleship of Prayer announced the intentions chosen by the Pope for this month.

His general intention is "that the Eastern Catholic Churches and their venerable traditions may be known and esteemed as a spiritual treasure for the whole Church."

The Eastern Catholic Churches are in full communion with Rome. They originate in Eastern Europe, Asia or Africa and have their own liturgical and legal systems. The national or ethnic character of their regions of origin identifies these Churches. There are 22 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their members number worldwide between 16 million and 17 million.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Head of Ukrainian Catholic Church explains challenges of guiding dispersed flock

Evangelizing post-communist, secular society

By Michelle Martin - Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly, 23 October 2011
Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 41, was elected in March to lead the Ukrainian Catholic Church, an Eastern-rite church with more than 7 million members worldwide. The young archbishop and primate visited Chicago last month to celebrate the golden jubilee of the St. Nicholas Eparchy, which includes the United States from Indiana west, including Alaska and Hawaii. He has emphasized developing good ecumenical relationships with other churches and evangelization of post-communist Ukraine since taking his position. He spoke with Our Sunday Visitor in the offices of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Chicago.
Our Sunday Visitor: How many of your members are in Ukraine and how many are in other countries?
Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk: In Ukraine, we have 5.5 million. In other countries we have around 2 million, more or less. It’s not so easy to count.

OSV: What makes it difficult?
Archbishop Shevchuk: As a global church, we exist in different cultures and in different countries. Very often our people will be disseminated in very huge territories. For example, for two years I was bishop for the Ukrainians in Argentina. In Argentina we have almost 300,000 Ukrainians, but I was in touch only with 10,000. It’s a huge territory, six times bigger than the territory of Ukraine. I can imagine there is the same situation in other countries. After the fall of communism, 5 million Ukrainians emigrated, mostly from western Ukraine, which is the Catholic part. We are trying to reach those people in the countries where they are settled, especially Italy, Spain and Portugal. A lot of Ukrainians are in Africa, and in eastern countries, like Singapore, Oceania, in Australia we have an eparchy. This immigration process is making it difficult not only to count those people but to provide for them adequate pastoral care.

OSV: Do you see that challenge here as well?
Archbishop Shevchuk: The most interesting phenomenon in terms of the internal immigration of Ukrainians in the United States is that now people will move to where they can find a job. In the past, they would go mostly to those places where a Ukrainian community exists. That’s why it’s not so easy to follow those people.

OSV: What happens when you have a few dozen Ukrainians who go to, say, somewhere in west Texas because there are jobs there? Do they go to a Latin-rite church if there is no Ukrainian church? Do you lose contact with them?
Archbishop Shevchuk: There are two different kinds of reactions when perhaps two dozen Ukrainians find themselves in a place where there is no Ukrainian church. Some of them would go to the Roman Catholic Church, and we are very grateful for the Roman Catholic priests that provide pastoral care for our people. But very often, they would not go to any church. Again, in Argentina, a lot of people were moving from the more rural territory to the cities, and in the big cities, we do have our parishes, but they would not come. Some of them explained to me that they were very strongly attached to their church in the village, and when they came to the city, it was not so easy for them to integrate themselves in a new parish. That’s why we are supposed to be more welcoming to newcomers, and not only those people who are originally from Ukraine or who are Ukrainian descendants.

OSV: Is your church trying to play catch-upafter being underground under communism, when so many bishops and priests were exiled to Siberia?
Archbishop Shevchuk: The Ukrainian church in Ukraine is a little different than the Ukrainian Church in the diaspora. In Ukraine, church structures were destroyed during communism, but the church communities? No. They were small, but they were very active, vibrant. After the fall of communism, those small communities really exploded. They became big parishes, very active. Many people from those parishes emigrated, especially to the United States. In some cases, those people would join the old parishes (in their new homes), but in some cases, those people would perceive that those parishes were very old, not so vibrant structures, so they would go away. That’s why we are considering the pastoral care of our parishes, not only in Ukraine, but also outside, how to be open to newcomers, They can revitalize, make more living parishes.

OSV: What’s your relationship with the Orthodox churches like? It seems to be more friendly than it might be in Russia or other countries.
Archbishop Shevchuk: It’s a very different situation in Russia. Russia is a mostly Orthodox country. Ukraine is a more pluralistic country. There is no one Orthodox church in Ukraine; among the Orthodox, we have three churches. Also in Ukraine we have a big number of Protestant churches of the different denominations and Muslims and Jews.

OSV: What’s the biggest challenge facing your church?
Archbishop Shevchuk: Well, Ukraine is a post-communist country and maybe half of the population does not believe in God. This is a country that needs new evangelization. But also Ukraine is receiving all those influences from the West, which we’d call with one word: secularism. In Ukraine, those ideas find very good soil. That’s why for us, it’s so important to fulfill our most important mission: to preach the Gospel of Christ. Those people are looking for the church. They are asking for some spiritual care. Maybe after those decades, we have the right time in order to give the bread of life to those people who are hungry or thirsty for this spiritual dimension of human life. It’s why I proclaimed evangelization is our most important task.

OSV: How do you go about doing that?
Archbishop Shevchuk: We are trying first of all to conserve our treasure: liturgy, spirituality, theology. Thanks be to God, we have a lot of vocations. Right now in Ukraine we have almost 600 seminarians, but it’s not enough. In our church in Ukraine, for one priest we have 2,050 faithful. It’s very difficult to give them efficient pastoral care. I think the most important thing right now for us is the formation of clergy and people of consecrated life. Then, also formation of laity. A lot of Ukrainian young people did not have a good catechetical preparation; it’s why catechization is one way to evangelize.

OSV: What would you want a Roman Catholic here in the United States to know about the Ukrainian Catholic Church?
Archbishop Shevchuk: Three points. First, that the Catholic Church does not mean Latin-rite Church. The Catholic Church is a community of different churches. In the Catholic Church, there are 22 different Eastern churches of the different traditions. Second, it’s very important to have mutual respect and the interchange of our treasures. Maybe we can ask Roman Catholics how to help our faithful be present in a territory where there are no Ukrainian Catholic parishes, to help them to preserve their identity. Third, I will promise that we will be more and more open to helping Roman Catholics learn more about us who are present in this country.

Dr Adam DeVille on Orthodox attitudes to Primacy & Infallibility

From http://easternchristianbooks.blogspot.com/ on Friday, September 30, 2011

Orthodox Diversity on the Problem of Primacy

Met. Hilarion Alfeyev, of whom I was recently critical, has come out with a restatement of his views--already in circulation since the fall of 2007 at least--on the issue of Orthodox understandings of primacy, correctly observing that "there are certain divergences, and there are different positions, of the Orthodox churches on the question of the primacy." He further noted that "we do not have a very clear picture as to what should be the role of the primate in the Orthodox tradition....Without having this clear and unified vision, we cannot easily discuss the issue of how we see the role of the 'primus inter pares' in the universal Church." In other words, until Orthodoxy deals with its internal notions of primacy, external discussions about papal primacy with Catholics will probably not go very far.

I've heard this argument before, and rejected it. As I have argued in several places, most fully and with more detail than anyone else has ever done in my Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity, the problem of primacy within Orthodoxy only becomes an issue after East and West part company. I am convinced (and here follow the suggestion of Met. John Zizioulas in his essay in The Petrine Ministry: Catholics and Orthodox in Dialogue) that Met. Hilarion's proposed method for resolving this disagreement needlessly extends the process to a superfluous second step. He says Orthodoxy must treat internal notions of primacy first and then papal primacy.

On the contrary, I am convinced that Orthodoxy and Catholicism must have this discussion together: "solving" the problem of papal primacy will ipso facto solve the problem of internal Orthodox orderings of primacy. For that, and many other germane arguments, you really will want to read Orthodoxy and the Roman Papacy: Ut Unum Sint and the Prospects of East-West Unity.


He added on Monday, November 7, 2011

… on infallibility - picking up the point that the late Tomas Spidlik made in referencing a conversation he had with Romania's greatest theologian of the twentieth century, Dumitru Staniloae:

I went to see a dear Romanian friend of mine, the great Orthodox theologian Staniloe, shortly before his death. He told me he could not understand the infallibility of the Pope. I then replied: You and I are also infallible. He was amazed at my answer, so I explained: When I say during the Mass: "This is my body ..., this is my blood ..." or when I say: "I absolve you from your sins," these are infallible words and this is also the Pope's infallibility, nothing else.
 
Then Staniloe said: If infallibility is understood in this way, then it is easier to comprehend. Not only is the Pope infallible when he speaks in the name of the Church, but so is the Mother when she tries to speak of God to her child. The priest is infallible in the sacraments and the Pope is also infallible when he speaks in the name of the great sacrament, of the whole Church.
 

Melkite Eparchy of Newton considers ordaining married men in US

From Catholic News Service, by Mark Pattison, Washington, & Cindy Wooden, Rome, 16 November 2011
To address a shortage of priests in his nationwide eparchy, the Melkite Catholic bishop of Newton, Mass., is exploring the possibility of ordaining married men as priests. Bishop Nicholas J. Samra of Newton notes that of the 40 parishes in his diocese, eight have no resident priest. And, while the answer is more priests, the question is how to get them.

The strategy Bishop Samra prefers is to develop priests from within the diocese rather than ask Melkite Catholic bishops from the Middle East, where the rite has its roots, to supply priests. Bishop Samra made his views clear during an address he gave Aug. 23, the date of his installation as bishop.

"God calls men and women to religious vocations. And I believe he also calls married men to the priesthood," he said in his remarks. "We need to study this situation in our country and develop the proper formation for men who are truly deemed worthy of this call." He added, " The (diocesan) deacon formation program is a good program; however, (it) is not the back door to the priesthood. Married men who are called to priesthood need the same formation as those celibates who are called. I have already discussed this issue with those involved in priestly formation and hopefully soon we can see the growth of properly formed married clergy. Of course there are also major financial issues to be looked at and we will embark on this also." 

In a Nov. 9 telephone interview with Catholic News Service, Bishop Samra said his comments should not provoke any surprise at the Vatican. "This is not new that I said this. I've said it before. They must have known this when they named me (bishop)," he said, adding he has even published his views in a book. "I know a copy went to Rome and I'm sure they saw that. "I haven't hidden the fact that it's a necessity for our church," he said, noting that any such initiative would need to be "properly managed, and not just ordaining somebody who thinks they have a vocation."

The Vatican began placing limits on the ordination and assignment of Eastern Catholic married priests in the West in the 1880s. In 1929, the Vatican, at the request of the Latin-rite bishops of the United States, ruled that married priests could not serve the Eastern-rite churches in the United States. The ban was applied to Canada in the 1930s and to Australia in 1949. But by the early 2000s, the Vatican had stopped suspending married men ordained to the priesthood for service in the Eastern Catholic churches of North America and Australia. 

Archbishop Cyril Vasil, secretary of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, told CNS in Rome that the Vatican reconfirmed the general ban in 2008, "but in individual cases, in consultation with the national bishops' conference, a dispensation can be given" allowing the ordination.

Eastern Catholic bishops say the Second Vatican Council's call to respect the traditions and disciplines of the Eastern churches, and the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches affirmation of that call, in effect nullifies the ban, or at the very least makes the ban a "disputed question" and therefore not binding. 

But practical questions abound for the Melkites. "The Melkite Church never had a married clergy (tradition) in the USA," Bishop Samra told CNS. "We have a bunch of people who want to be ordained, but we need to have men who have the credentials," he said, adding there are priests in the diocese who have complained, "If I had to go through all that training to get it (ordination), why shouldn't they?" To that end, Bishop Samra said he planned on meeting with representatives of the Byzantine Catholic seminary where Melkite seminarians are educated to work out those issues.

There are some married priests serving the diocese; four are assigned to small parishes that struggle to pay the expenses incurred by the priests' families. To address that, Bishop Samra said he would like to reinstate a dormant philanthropic arm of the diocese, and apply 30-40 percent of the funds raised as an escrow account to have the dioceses pay the costs of a priest's family, leaving the individual parish to pay the same costs whether the priest is celibate or married. 

One solution Bishop Samra said he would no longer pursue is bringing in Melkite priests from the Middle East. "Everyone we brought over we had problems with, and they're all gone," he said, noting they did not adapt to U.S. culture. He added that he has told his brother Melkite bishops, "I'm a little afraid now of requesting priests from the Middle East. I'm just afraid you're going to send us people who have problems and those problems are going to be multiplied."  Bishop Samra is the Melkite Catholic diocese's first U.S.-born bishop.

He said other approaches include having "working priests" who make a salary outside the diocese staff parishes during the weekend, and "asking a couple of our birituals to help out a little more." Biritual priests have permission to celebrate Mass in two rites, often the Latin rite and an Eastern rite.

Melkite parishes have been closed, not for a lack of priests but for a lack of parishioners, according to Bishop Samra. He said Melkite Catholics without a priest will typically worship at a Latin-rite church, but that the longer they attach themselves to a Latin-rite parish, the harder it is to bring them back to the Melkites once a priest becomes available. 

"I haven't had people calling me up complaining they have no priest. They just don't understand modern-day assignment procedures," Bishop Samra said. "I'm a bishop, but that doesn't mean I can be a dictator. ... Although they sing 'despota' in the liturgy, I can't be a despot." 

He added, "God provides, and that's my faith. We're working on it."

Light of the East, November-December 2011 - Youngstown Chapter SSJC

Light of the East, November-December 2011, Newsletter of the Youngstown Chapter of SSJC, is now available here.