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 13th May, 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.












Sunday, 23 August 2009

Patriarch Gregorios III in Geneva for a Meeting of the International Catholic Migration Commission, July 14-15 2009

Recently elected to the Governing Committee of the ICMC, His Beatitude Patriarch Gregorios III was keen to attend its meeting in Geneva on 13 July.

Identity and work of ICMC
Responding to the needs of people on the move since its establishment by the Holy See in 1951, ICMC serves and protects uprooted people: refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants, regardless of faith, race, ethnicity or nationality. Working directly with migrants and refugees in more than forty countries, and in co-operation with governments and non-governmental organisations, ICMC is an international commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences and Episcopal Assemblies, advocating and implementing at national and regional levels rights-based policies and lasting solutions for vulnerable people. The ICMC Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland, with liaison offices in Belgium and the USA. Among the ICMC’s field offices worldwide there is one in Jordan and certain of its one hundred and more expert resettlement personnel support UNHCR field offices in the Middle East through the ICMC-UNHCR Deployment Resettlement Scheme. The direct experience of ICMC Members underpins the ICMC’s presentation in international and regional policy-making debates of their concerns for human dignity. This ensures that the Church’s voice can be more widely heard.

The Governing Committee Meeting
The Governing Committee of the ICMC, with its President, John Michael Klink, met for an intensive working day on 14 July, between the hours of 9a.m. and 6p.m. Present were the eleven elected members, including Cardinals John Njue (Kenya), George Pell (Australia), Christoph von Schönborn (Austria) and Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga (Honduras), with Patriarch Gregorios III (Syria) and other distinguished representatives of Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Uganda and the USA. Among the observers were the Papal Nuncio to Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi and Msgr. Novatus Rugambwa, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants (Rome) and the President of ICMC Europe, Mr. Bernard Ryelandt. The three counsellors present were Archbishop François Gayot (Haiti) and two Sisters, from Ecuador and Australia. Among the topics discussed that day were services and resettlement for Iraqi refugees and the Middle East’s regional issues, which the ICMC would be requested to pursue. There followed Holy Mass in a nearby church, with a memorable sermon by Cardinal von Schönborn on the reading for the day, from the Book of Exodus, about the five women figuring in the story of Moses’ infancy and the ways in which they acted to preserve and sustain the child’s life and overcome enmity, injustice and persecution. Patriarch Gregorios from the altar sang in Arabic, while his concelebrants and staff of the ICMC received communion. Later there was an evening reception and dinner for staff and a few guests. The morning of 15 July was devoted to discussion of the ICMC’s financial situation, to hearing the presentations from the auditors and discussing future fund-raising for the welfare of migrants. Holy Mass in the nearby Papal Chapel was followed by a simple meal at a local restaurant, with the afternoon’s work following within the hour.

ICMC Lebanon and Caritas Syria
Patriarch Gregorios was concerned to contribute to the afternoon’s topics, which included the situation of partnership with Caritas, Syria. Also on the agenda was the topic of a Board to be registered ICMC in Lebanon. The concluding discussion and review of decisions was far-ranging and the meeting ended rather later than planned. The Governing Committee resolved to continue to liaise closely with the Episcopal Conferences and to continue to maintain close links with the Vatican in order to further their care for migrants during the current global crisis. The provisional date of the next committee meeting was fixed for January 21-23, 2010 in Vienna. After the close of the meeting, His Beatitude went on to fulfil a pastoral engagement in Geneva.

V. C.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

His Holiness Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias: An Appreciation by Fr John Salter

His Holiness was not a Russian, but an Estonian. He was born Alexis Michaelovitch Ridiger, on 23 February 1929 (Old Style), the son of a priest of the Estonian Orthodox Church, and a member of the nobility of the Baltic States, who were of German origin in the Russian Empire. He grew up when the Nazis occupied Estonia and he helped his father in his ministry to those who had been interned in concentration camps.

He married in 1950 Vera Alekeseeva, but the marriage was short-lived and within the year it was dissolved; and the same year he was ordained a priest. His rise in the hierarchy was swift, and in 1961 he was consecrated bishop for Tallinn, the Estonian capital. It was rumoured that Alexis was a member of the secret service, the K.G.B., on the grounds that he had a code name “Drozdov” (“Blackbird”), but the Soviets tended to give code names to important figures whether they were Soviet agents or not. It has always been strenuously denied that he was an agent of the K.G.B.

In 1986 he became Metropolitan of Novgorod and Leningrad, the next see below that of Moscow itself, and on the death of Patriarch Pimen of Moscow, Alexis was elected to the Patriarchal throne, taking the name Alexis II in honour of Alexis I (Simansky), who had led the Russian Church through the Stalinist period and the notorious siege of Leningrad, when he was Metropolitan of that city in World War II.

Alexis II succeeded to the patriarchate in 1990 at a time of transition for the Russian Church. A year earlier the Berlin Wall had been torn down marking the beginning of the end of Communism in Europe. The government began to relax its grip on the Church and to hand back a multitude of church properties: churches, monasteries and convents in various states of decay and dereliction. Alexis set to work to restore these places and to place monks and nuns in them. The most spectacular restoration or total re-building was the Church of the Saviour in Moscow, which Stalin had razed to the ground to build a swimming pool. The Donskoi and Danilovsy monasteries were restored and re-inhabited, as was the famous convent of the Novodevichy, all of them in Moscow. It was becoming a far cry from the years of Terror when Patriarch Sergius was encamped in a caravan, until he managed to secure the old Imperial German embassy in Chisty Lane, Moscow, as his official residence.

Patriarch Alexis II was a conservative in religion and was not at the forefront of the Ecumenical Movement. He nursed a certain hostility towards Rome, which he thought was encroaching on Orthodox territory, while he seemed to ignore the number of diocese and parishes established by the Orthodox in traditional Catholic countries in Western Europe. His hostility was not confined to the so-called Uniate Churches, but also to the Latins in the former Soviet Union, the descendants of Lithuanians and others of Catholic origin, who had been deported to Siberia by Stalin. No protests at their deportation seem to have been made by the Russian Church at that time. Rome realized that these lost Catholics needed to be looked after spiritually, just as the Russian émigrés in Western Europe needed spiritual sustenance in their own tradition. From time to time Alexis II found himself at odds with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, particularly over the question of the autocephaly of the Estonian Orthodox Church, until recently under the Moscow Patriarchate, but latterly taken under the omophorion of the Ecumenical Throne. Estonia particularly rankled with Alexis as an Estonian Orthodox himself.

Alexis’s great achievement was the reconciliation of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, which, having moved from Constantinople, to Sremsky-Karlovsky in Serbia, then to Munich, finally had its headquarters in New York. In 2007 he and the late Metropolitan Lavrus signed a concordat, which brought the two parts of the Russian Orthodox Church into visible union, although certain parishes and religious houses could not accept the union and the monastery of St. Edward at Brookwood, the Convent of the Annunciation in Willesden, West London, and the Leshna Convent in Normandy, together with certain parishes and individuals allied themselves with the Greek Old Calendarist Church of The Resistance. This was a disappointment to Alexis, but not such a trauma as the loss of so many parishes in the Ukraine, where two Orthodox Patriarchates now existed alongside the Moscow Patriarchate and the Old Believers of the Byelo-Krinitza Concord.

Alexis II came to the patriarchal throne when Russia was in a certain amount of turmoil and when various American-based sects were seizing the opportunity of setting up missions to convert the Orthodox, and when ultra-nationalism was raising its head and the revival of anti-semitism was underway, something which Alexis was quick to condemn.

It is, perhaps, too early to judge his legacy, but his cool guidance of the Russian Church helped it to adjust to the new situation and the collapse of Communism and the return of many to the Church, so that today it is reckoned that two-thirds of the Russian nation regard themselves as “Pravoslavenie”, Orthodox.

May the memory of the Servant of God Alexis be Eternal!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Newsletter of SSJC Youngstown-Warren Ohio Branch

The August-September 2009 Newsletter of the Youngstown-Warren Ohio branch of the Society, Light of the East, is now published, full of news and developments from the north of the US and more widely on the Catholic-Orthodox ecumenical scene. Here is Light of the East to read or download in full.

East-West Monastic Meeting, Minster Abbey, 28-30 August

Sister Benedict Gaughan, who has done so much to promote East-West encounter through meetings of monks and nuns from Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and Oriental Orthodox traditions at Minster Abbey arising from the letter Orientale Lumen, informs us of a three day encounter led by Archimandrite Demetrios Chabak of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, and a member of the International Orthodox-Catholic Dialogue, on the role of Peter in the ecclesiology of the Church, and specifically the Petrine ministry of the papacy in the first and second millennia, and in a future re-integrated Orthodox-Catholic Church. There are places available for others interested, so please be in touch with Sister Benedict at Minster direct (contact details on the website here).

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Ceslaus Sipovitch-The First Belarussian Catholic Bishop in the 20th Century 1914 - 1981

Ceslaus Sipovitch - The First Belarussian Catholic Bishop in the 20th Century 1914 - 1981
by Archpriest Alexander Nadson, The Belarussian Catholic Mission of Byzantine Rite in England, Marian House, Holden Avenue, London

Book Review by Fr John Salter

Neither Bishop Ceslaus Sipovitch nor Archpriest Alexander Nadson will need any introduction to older members of the Society of St. John Chrsysostom for Bishop Ceslaus was Vice-President of the Society and Father Alexander was once Chairman.

Archpriest Alexander Nadson has ministered to the spiritual and material needs of the Belarussian Catholics and Orthodox for nearly half a century in the United Kingdom from his headquarters at Marian House in North London. He is, since the death of Bishop Ceslaus Sipovitch, the Apostolic Visitor for Belarussian Catholics outside the territorial boundaries of Belarussia. He has initiated humanitarian aid in the United Kingdom for those Belarussian children who are still suffering from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl and its fallout.

His friend and bishop and the subject of this fascinating biography, Bishop Ceslaus Sipovitch, was born into a farming family on 8th December 1914 in the small village of Dziedzinka in the north-western corner of Belarus, at a time when it was part of the Russian Empire. After World War I and the Russian Revolution the Belarussians found themselves divided between the Soviets and the Poles. Greek Catholics were not welcomed by either side.

Most Belarussians were Orthodox (70%) and about 25% were Roman Catholics. The majority of Latin Catholics lived in the western territories and found themselves after 1920 under Polish rule. The Tzarist government in 1839 suppressed the so-called Uniates or Greek Catholics (there was nothing ‘Greek’ about them except their Rite – the Byzantine). They had to become Russian Orthodox , but some managed to change to the Latin Rite, but others had to opt for Orthodoxy. Ceslaus’s parents were Catholics of the Latin Rite, but they may have been forced to take up the Latin Rite and leave the Greek Catholic community after 1839, or, at least their parents may have had to do so.

Ceslaus was educated by the Marian Fathers, but owing to the extreme nationalism of the Poles, intolerant of any non-Polish groups, the Belarussian language was forbidden even in the playground, and most sermons were preached in Polish. The Marian Fathers were weakened by the accusations of ultra nationalist Poles that they were in some ways a threat to Polish national unity. The Marian Belarussian Fathers were also weakened by the departure of some of its members for missionary work among the exiled Russians in Harbin, Manchuria.

Father Nadson writes:

‘They were victims of the then fashionable policy of the “conversion of Russia”. According to its proponents, after the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union (of which they did not doubt), the Russian Orthodox Church would be weak and demoralised. This would present a unique opportunity for the Catholic Church to extend her frontiers eastwards right to the heart of Russia. The most prominent exponent of this idea was Bishop Michel d’Herbigny, a learned French Jesuit, Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, who knew how to gain the confidence of Pope Pius XI. In 1925 a special Commission “Pro Russia” was established , first as part of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, and from 1930 as an independent department of the Vatican, directly responsible to the Pope. Like a new Napoleon, d’Herbigny was preparing the spiritual conquest of Russia by amassing his troops on the borders of the Soviet Union. One such bridgehead was the Jesuit House in Albertyn in Western Belarus, which was then under Polish rule. At the same time affairs of the Eastern (Byzantine) rite in Western Belarus were placed under the jurisdiction of the Commission “Pro Russia”. This fact dismayed many Belarussians who saw their hopes for a revival of the Greek Catholic Church dashed. It also antagonised the Poles who considered Belarus to be their “sphere of influence” and who did not take kindly to the idea of Belarussians being ‘russified’ by…the Vatican’.

Father Nadson points out that ‘the Commission “Pro Russia” had no interest in, or understanding of, the particular spiritual needs of Belarussians, and regarded them only as useful tools for the “conversion” of Russia. This was the feeling of many Belarussian priests who were concerned about the religious state of their own people. One of them, Kazimier Kulak, wrote on 15th December 1931: … “For the Union action to succeed it is essential that those who are supposed to benefit from this action, i.e. Belarussians and Ukrainians, have confidence in it. In the meantime this confidence is diminishing every day, and not because of the fear of polonisation and latinisation on the part of the Poles, but of russification from…Rome! A group of well-known Belarussian priests - 5 or 7 persons - were thinking of adopting the Eastern rite, joining one of the religious congregations - Basilians or Marians, and starting together the work for the Union in our country. However, if there is no action Pro Alborussia, but only Pro Russia, then why bother? To be sent to convert the Chinese, while our own people are perishing under the onslaught of sects and atheism ?”

It was against this sort of ecclesiastical ospoliticking that Ceslaus Sipovitch was ordained in the Latin Rite, and being the sort of man he was and the milieu in which he found himself, he saw the need to break down the centuries old prejudices and misunderstandings between the Greek Catholics on the one side and the Latin Catholics and Orthodox on the other, and to try and build relationships that were founded on mutual trust, respect and tolerance, and he felt it his vocation to act as an ambassador of Belarussia and her faithful in the Church and in the world. In London he cared as much for the small Belarussian Orthodox as for his own flock. The writer remembers when the Byelorussian Orthodox under their Synod in Exile established at St. Silas-with-All Saints, Pentonville, North London, a worshipping base from scratch, under the late Archpriest John Perkarski, it was Bishop Ceslaus Sipovitch who arranged for his choir master, Mr Guy Picarda, to start the ball rolling musically for the Orthodox. Also, the writer recalls taking Bishop Ceslaus to preach at one of the great Anglo-Catholic shrines in Manchester, St. Benedict’, Hardwick, and their being met by the local Byelorussian Orthodox priest who had come to pay his respects to a much loved “Uniate” bishop.

Although Ceslaus was ordained into the Latin Rite in the Roman Church he made up his mind to change to the Slav-Byzantine Rite on the Latin feast of Our Lady of the Snows, 5th August 1938. The decision was made during a Retreat, which Ceslaus offered for the following intentions “1. That all, especially the Eastern and Roman Catholics, may become one Church; 2. That God may help me to do his will, and to give light and understanding and strength to work in the Eastern rite”. On the last day of the Retreat he made the following note : “ I thanks all my holy patrons for the help, given to me during these eight days. Quite deliberately and putting aside all doubts I have decided to embrace the Eastern rite if this is what Jesus will demand of me tomorrow.” That was a brave thing to do in Poland at that time.

Father Alexander has given a full account of the difficulties facing the Ruthenian Uniates, i.e. those Greek Catholics of Belarussia and the Ukraine, who found themselves under Polish rule during the Second Republic.

Bishop Ceslaus Sipovitch’s life was no bed of roses, yet he became the first Belarussian Catholic Bishop of the 20th century, and he could have said like St. Paul: “By God’s grace I am what I am, nor has His grace been given to me in vain” (1 Corinthians 15.10)

The whole book may be read online here.

Sir Patrick Maitland, Baronet, 17th Earl of Lauderdale

Fr John Salter writes:

Patrick Lauderdale belonged to that almost vanished breed the aristocratic Anglo-Catholic layman, of whom Viscount Halifax one of the initiators of the Malines Conversations, to explore Anglican/Roman Catholic Unity, was the best known example. Patrick Lauderdale was a keen promoter of the cause of Christian Unity and a devout Anglican in the High Church and Episcopal Church of Scotland tradition, and from a family which gave some of its sons to the Anglican Ministry. His father was the Vicar of St. Mary’s, Palfrey, Walsall, a leading Anglo-Catholic church in the “Biretta Belt” of the West Midlands, who had also been Rector of Ingestre and chaplain to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Patrick inherited the earldom from his brother the 16th Earl, the Revd. and Honble. Sydney Maitland; and his own younger son the Revd. and Honble. Sydney Maitland is a priest in the Episcopal Church of Scotland.

Patrick had a keen interest in the Orthodox Churches and married a Serbian Orthodox lady – Stanka Lozanitch. He worked for some years as President of the Church Union, an Anglo-Catholic society, which had once had Lord Halifax as its patron. In 1955 he was invited by the College of Guardians of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which housed an Orthodox chapel, to become a Guardian and Treasurer. He continued as a Guardian until 1982, when he was made a Guardian Emeritus.

At the suggestion of the Master of the College of Guardians, Father Alfred Hope Patten, Patrick restored, in the Lauderdale aisle of the Presbyterian Kirk in Haddington, the mediaeval shrine of Our Lady of the Three Kings. Patrick set about making it an ecumenical shrine and it attracted many pilgrims from the Church of Scotland, the Episcopal Church of Scotland, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church and Anglicans from the British Isles, and it became a centre for spiritual and physical healing. Fifty years ago it would have been unthinkable that a shrine to the Mother of God would find a home in the Scottish Kirk, but due to Patrick’s drive and charm and ecumenical contacts, and the feeling that here was a Christian who could be trusted, it became a reality, and will remain his permanent memorial.

The Glory Suffered

To mark in August the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, here is a video presentation of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia on "The Glory Suffered", the first of four lecture delivered delivered at Rosehill College, South Carolina. The three other presentations in the series can be viewed on the website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Pilgrimage to Albania and Macedonia

The Church of St George, Lushunje, Albania - Before

Fr John Salter, the chairman, writes:

In the first ten days of September I shall be on pilgrimage with the Anglican & Eastern Churches’ Association to Albania and Macedonia. I was last in Albania in the summer of 1967 when the then Dictator, Henver Hoxha, declared it the first truly atheist state. I arrived in the city of Schodra to find the Franciscan basilica smouldering with the Friars locked inside and burnt to death. The mosque, too, was in bad shape, and the fear among the people was palpable. Clergy and seminarians were being murdered or blinded and I was thankful that my passport described me as a “Clerk in Holy Orders”, which the fifteen-year old soldiers in charge of passports did not understand, and as they held the passport upside-down I wondered whether they could read at all!


The Christmas broadcast of Pope Paul VI on Vatican Radio that Christmas of 1967 announced that “The Church in Albania has peace…the peace of the grave!” Much has changed in the last forty-two years and the Church has risen again, particularly the Orthodox Church under Archbishop Anastasios (appropriately named!) Yannoulatos, a Greek, who was appointed from Kenya by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch, Bartholomeos I, who had to act to save the Church as there were only three aged and broken priests left of the former Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Schiptar. The resurrection of the Church has been nothing short of miraculous and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are working together to educate the people isolated for sixty years from mainstream Christian Europe.



The Church of St George, Lushunje, Albania - After Restoration

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Orthodox Saint Edward Brotherhood Roofing Fund Appeal

The Brotherhood writes to us:

On Thursday, 20th March/2nd April we issued an appeal for the estimated shortfall in the amount we need to complete the work. The cost of the re-roofing of St. Edward’s church will now be £170,000.

On 8th July New Style, we had a consultation with our contractors, and structural deficiencies have been found in the large wooden trusses that support the roof and a few other areas. These could have been left, but that would incur further works in the future, with more upheaval then and perhaps even greater costs. We have arranged that the remedial work can be undertaken within our present schedule, but unfortunately it will cost us a further £7,500.

Donations received recently - £2,175.42
Given since 2nd April 2009 - £29,258.91*
We now (11th July 2009) need - £25,741.09

*Of this figure, £1,320 is from Interest-Free loans

Please continue to give and support the appeal by your prayers. United Kingdom taxpayers, please gift-aid your donation by including a signed note, with your full name and address, saying you wish the charity to be able to reclaim the tax already paid on it. This enables us to increase your donation by 25%. Please make all cheques payable to: KING EDWARD ORTHODOX TRUST Co. Ltd. U.S. donors paying in dollars, please make cheques (checks!) payable to “Saint Edward Brotherhood”- we will transfer funds from our dollars account to the KEOTCoLtd account, and this will save bankers’ fees.

Saint Edward Brotherhood
Saint Cyprian’s Avenue
Brookwood, Woking
Surrey
GU24 OBL
England UK

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Ukrainian Synod in London, September 2009


His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, with Fr John Salter (right), on the Cardinal's 2008 visit to London

From September 25-30 the Ukrainian Cathedral of the Holy Family in London will host a meeting of the Permanent Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, led by His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, Major-Archbishop of Kyiv, and assisted by leading hierarchs from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church from Ukraine and across the world, including Bishop David Motiuk JCD, Eparch of Edmonton, Canada, and Bishop Paul Chomnycky, Eparch of Stamford, Connecticut. Also present will be Bishop Hlib Lonchyna, who on Sunday 27th September will be officially installed as Apostolic Administrator of the Ukrainian Exarchate for Great Britain.

The Permanent Synod forms the standing Patriarchal Council for Cardinal Husar. This meeting is especially important as it is preparing for the Synod of the whole hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, which is due to take place in Kyiv in the autumn and looks set to be the largest gathering of the Ukrainian hierarchy since the 16th century.

Fr John Salter, chairman of the Society, will be welcoming the Cardinal and the other members of the Synod upon the occasion of their historic visit to London.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Royal Monastic - Princess Ileana of Romania, the Story of Mother Alexandra


Royal Monastic - Princess Ileana of Romania, the Story of Mother Alexandra
by Bev.Cooke. Conciliar Press Ministries, Ben Lomond, California, U.S.A. $15-95

Book Review by Fr John Salter

Princess Ileana was in every way a remarkable woman. She was the sister of King Carol of Romania and the daughter of the romantic Queen Marie, the colourful granddaughter of Queen Victoria, with her lily-filled rococo byzantine palaces. Ileana was a member of some of the most powerful families in the world at her birth. Not only was her mother a member of the British Royal Family, she was also the granddaughter of Tzar Alexander II of Russia, so she was born into a life of luxury and privilege, which was to begin to disintegrate at the end of World War I and to receive its coup-de-grace by the end of World War II, as far as the Balkan monarchies were concerned. The visits of her Romanov cousins had come to an end after 1917, all of them slaughtered at Ekaterinburg, and the Karageorgevitch dynasty was to be forced out of Yugoslavia and Ileana’s sister, Queen Marie of Yugoslavia, fled into exile in London in World War II.

The dynasty of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, the German imported Royal House, was not without its dynastic problems, the most disturbing being the marriage of the Crown Prince, Carol, to a Romanian subject, Zizi Lambrino, in an Orthodox church in Odessa. This marriage, although in church and sacramentally valid, was not in conformity with the House rules of the ruling dynasty and it was annulled on the couples’ return to Bucharest. Carol then eloped with Mlle. Elena Lupescu to Portugal, leaving his son, Michael, as King, only to return and re-claim the throne from King Michael, Ileana’s nephew.

King Michael came to London for the marriage of Princess Elizabeth to Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, where he met his future bride, Princess Anne of Bourbon-Parma. Michael had only just emerged from a very difficult war. He had courageously arrested the fascist leader of his government, Antonescu, a government allied to Nazis Germany, and had thrown in his lot with the Western allies. Unfortunately the neighbouring “Western” Ally was Joseph Stalin, and it was not long before Romania had a Communist government foisted upon her. Nevertheless, King Michael managed to continue as king, but on his return from the Royal wedding in London it was made clear that he should leave the country. Ileana had tried to work, as far as was possible, with the Communist regime and she knew Anna Pauker, one of its leaders, well. This caused a certain estrangement from her nephew, the king, but her work was mostly relief work and she tried to get the best for the people from her contacts with the regime. By her charitable work and her nursing and care for those whose lives had been devastated by war, she proved even to the Communist regime, that she was no parasite living off the backs of the people. But eventually she too had to flee her beloved homeland.

After King Michael had arrested Antonescu in 1944 the Royal Family were virtually trapped in Romania since Hungary, still allied under Admiral Horthy with the Axis powers, had closed its border at Brasov.

In 1931 Ileana had married the Archduke Anton of Austria, a Hapsburg. She had become an Archduchess in a dynasty which had been at war with Romania only a few years earlier. Her brother, King Carol, exiled them both. They had six children: Stefan 1932-1998; Maria Ileana (Minola) 1933-1959; Alexandra (Sandi) 1935- ; Dominic (Niki) 1937- ; Maria Magdalena (Magi) 1939 - ; Elizabeth (Herzi) 1942 - .

In 1954 Ileana divorced Anton and married Stefan Issarescu. That marriage lasted until 1965 and they, too, were divorced. Ileana now sought the cloister. She had been a devoted member of the Romanian Orthodox Church and had written works of devotion and theology. In the late 1950s she came to the Serbian Cathedral of St. Sava in London with her sister Queen Marie of Yugoslavia to launch her book on the Nicene Creed, Symbol of Faith. This work was followed by her autobiography I Live Again.

It was Bishop Anthony (Bloom) of Sergievo, later to become Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh – Primate of the Russian Orthodox Patriarchal Church in London, who suggested that Ileana try her vocation at the Russian Orthodox Convent of The Protecting Veil of The Mother of God, in Bussy-en-Othe in France. She had, however, received permanent residency status in the United States, which necessitated her living for certain periods of each year in America. Thus it came about that she shuttled between France and the U.S.A. The Convent at Bussy was not French-speaking in its liturgy, but used Old Slavonic, a language which Ileana did not understand. Another difficulty was the lack of privacy; as one nun put it, “It is like living with (several) of your not-so-closest friends”. But Ileana felt called to America and to share the riches of the Orthodox tradition with that continent. She returned to America and began plans for establishing a Pan-Orthodox English-speaking monastic community.

She approached the Primates of the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the States: Metropolitan Ireney, head of what was then the Metropolia and would later become the Orthodox Church in America, granted autocephaly by the Moscow Patriarchate; Archbishop Jakovos of the Greek Archdiocese under the Ecumenical Throne and Metropolitan Phillip of the Patriarchate of Antioch. Metropolitan Ireney accepted the potential monastery into his jurisdiction, with the Romanian Archbishop Valerian as its spiritual director.

The English translations of the services of the Orthodox Church, on which Ileana’s fellow nun, Mother Mary, had worked, and which would provide the basis for the monastery’s work in the United States. Father Timothy (Ware), now Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, encouraged their efforts and their translations of the Octoechos, the Lenten Tridion and the Festal Menaion are still used today in English language Orthodox churches in the United States and Canada.

A decision had to be made as to where the monastery was to be located. Ileana felt drawn to the Nevada desert, but if it were to be a centre where the laity could be educated in the monastic way of life it had to be more accessible. Pennsylvania was chosen as it had a considerable number of Orthodox Christians settled there, and it was of easier access not only for residents in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C., but also Canada.

The monastery was dedicated to the mystery of the Holy Transfiguration of Christ, where those who lived there and those who visited it could be transformed, and where “the peace that passeth all understanding” might be nurtured. She became its first igumena, or abbess, taking the name Alexandra. She, thus, became the third female descendant of Queen Victoria to become a Mother Superior in a convent of her own foundation. The first was the Grand Princess Sergei, the Tzarina Alexandra Feodrovna’s sister (both Princesses of Hesse-and-by-Rhine), now venerated as a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church and whose image adorns the west front of Westminster Abbey among other modern martyrs; the second was Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark, the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, who founded her Order in Athens on the rule of her aunt’s Order of SS. Mary and Martha in Moscow. Whether “Gan-Gan” would have been “amused” by her descendants choices we shall never know this side of the grave! Mother Alexandra reposed in the Lord in 1991. A twenty-one gun salute had signalled her Royal birth, the Thrice Holy Hymn and the tolling of the monastery bells accompanied her burial and a pot of the soil of her beloved Romania was buried with her. She left behind a large number of descendants.

Bev Cooke has written an attractive portrait of Princess Ileana of Romania, Archduchess of Austria, Mother Alexandra, without being mawkish or hagiographical. The book has interesting family photographs, some of which may not have been seen outside the Royal Family before.

This is what Ileana’s successor as igumena has written:

“Bev. Cooke’s extensive research, coupled with her storytelling ability, makes Royal monastic a comprehensive and enjoyable read for any age. We are sure the readers will learn to appreciate this remarkable woman who in some ways could identify with everyone she met, yet in other ways with no one on earth.”
Mother Christophora, Abbess.
And an Orthodox priest wrote:

“Here is a book that makes sanctity believable as well as attractive. At the end of the book, we feel that we truly know the saintly protagonist, and wish that we could get to know her even better.”
Archpriest Lawrence.

His Sacred Beatitude Stephanos II Ghattas, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts

Fr John Salter writes:

Patriarch Stephanos II died earlier this year in the Italian hospital in Cairo. He was born in Sheik Zein el-Dine, in the Eparchy of Sohag on 16th January 1920. At the age of ten he entered the minor seminary in Cairo, followed by classical studies at the Jesuit College of the Holy Family. Just before World War II, in 1938, he entered the Propaganda College in Rome, where he obtained doctorates in philosophy and theology, and was ordained in Rome to the priesthood on 25th March 1944.

He began his ministry as the Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Philosophy at the major seminary of the Catholic Copts at Tantah, Egypt; and on 2nd October 1952 he entered the novitiate of the Congregation of the Mission in Paris and after six years ministering in the Lebanon, he was appointed to the office of treasurer and Superior of the community in Alexandria.

On 8th May 1967 the Holy Synod of the Catholic Coptic Patriarchate elected him Bishop of Luxor, Thebes. He was consecrated on 9th June 1967.

On 24th February 1984 he was appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Catholic Patriarchate of Alexandria to replace the Patriarch Stephanos I Sidarous, who was in failing health. On the retirement of the Patriarch the Holy Synod elected Mgr. Ghattas Patriarch on 9th June 1986. His Holiness Pope John-Paul II awarded His Beatitude the “Ecclesiastica Communio” on 23rd June 1986, as a sign of his communion with the Apostolic See. The Patriarch then changed his baptismal name, Andraos, to Stephanos in honour of his predecessor.

In the Roman Curia he was a member of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

In February 2000 he welcomed the Holy Father John-Paul II during his pilgrimage to Sinai, “The God-Trodden Mountain”. The Pope named him a Cardinal of Holy Church and gave him, along with 37 other Cardinals, the Red Hat on 21 February 2001. At the funeral of Pope John-Paul II, as senior Patriarch, he censed the body of the Pope in the final prayers.

The Holy Synod of the Catholic Coptic Patriarchate, meeting in session from 27th-30th March, accepted His Beatitude’s resignation on the grounds of age and ill health, after consulting the Supreme Pontiff. Since his resignation the late Patriarch lived in the residence of the Priests of St. Stephan in Cairo. At his death he was 89 years of age and had been 56 years in the Congregation of the Mission.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

East-West Monastic Meeting VIII, Turvey Abbey, November 2009

The latest in the admirable line of Christian East-West Meetings, hosted in a monastic context, will take place at Turvey Abbey, Bedfordshire, on Saturday 14 November 2009, 10.30 to 4.30.

Envisioning a New Monasticism for Lay and Monastics

  • Bishop Basil of Amphipolis, Episcopal Vicariate of Great Britain and Ireland (Russian Tradition), Ecumenical Patriarchate
  • Father Robin Gibbons, St John's Skete, Oxford, and St Mary's University College, Strawberry Hill
  • Mother Joanna, Holy Myrrh Bearers' Skete, Cambridge, and the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies
  • Sister Esther, iconographer and East-West ecumenist, Turvey Abbey
£12 - bring a packed lunch. For a booking form please contact Sister Esther, Turvey Abbey, Bedfordshire, MK43 8DE, or telephone 01234 881432, or email here.

One in Christ, Summer 2009

The latest edition of One in Christ is now published and fully justifies the courageous decision of the Olivetan Benedictines to revive this important contribution to ecumenical dialogue and awareness.

As usual, space is given to a focus on Eastern Christianity and Christian Unity:

  • Dom Bede Winslow 1888-1959, a memoir by Sr Benedict Gaughan OSB, who has done so much to give new impetus to Dom Bede's vision of unity with the Christian East
  • The Figure of Mary from Israel to the Church in the Orthodox Tradition, by Dom Nicholas Egender OSB of Chevetogne
  • Re-establishing the Sacramentality of Creation: Understanding the So-called Gnosticism of Paul Florensky, by the Revd Dr B.J. Lawrence Cross
One in Christ is available by subscription by applying to the editors. Contact details are on the website.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Open Air Divine Liturgy in Liverpool, 1937

The Pathe news film archive carries a remarkable short video of the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy outside the Lutyens crypt of Liverpool Catholic Cathedral in 1937. Here is the link.

The Bishop is the Servant of God Mykolai Carneckyj (or Charnetsky) CSsR (1884-1959), a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Redemptorist. He was associated with the work of Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky to protect and strengthen the Ukrainian Catholic Church, but at the end of the Second World War, when Ukraine inevitably fell into the hands of Russia and incorporated into the Soviet Union, Kyr Mykolai was arrested by the NKVD and sentenced to 6 years' hard labour in Siberia. He died in Lviv in 1959.

The Pathe reportage is excellent. It describes the "Byzantine Slavonic" rite to be celebrated by the Eastern bishop as Orthodox, but goes on to explain that while many Orthodox did not agree with the papacy or accept its authority, these were Orthodox who did. Evidently Pathe had been well briefed by a member of the Society of St John Chrysostom.

The Chairman, Fr John Salter, offers the picture below of another celebration of the Byzantine rite celebrated in a very western setting: "a Greek Catholic Bishop correctly vested, but celebrating the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom at a Latinized altar attended by Latinized acolytes."

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Although the Oriental Institute, just near Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, forms part of the Gregorian Consortium with the Gregorian University and the Biblical Institute, it is academically and financially independent of them. The cost to the students is kept low to enable students from very poor countries to study here. Consequently tuition covers less than half of our expenses.

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Orthodox Parish in Bruges, Belgium


Every year, there is an Ecumenical Pilgrimage of English Anglicans and Catholics to Our Lady of the Vineyard at the Beguinage, and to the Holy Blood, in Brugge. Its principal aim is to be an exercise in spiritual ecumenism, praying for the visible reconciliation of all Christians in the one Church of Christ, and joining together, side by side, in the beautiful worship and Gregorian chant of the Benedictine sisters in the Begijnhof and at the Holy Blood Basilica.

In recent years, a much appreciated new aspect to the pilgrimage has been a celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom served by the Society of St John Chrysostom's chairman, the Melkite Fr John Salter, in the house chapel of the sisters.

The local Catholic diocese in Brugge is well known for its strong commitment to Christian Unity and a few years ago it was instrumental in enabling the Orthodox parish (founded in the mid 1990s) to take on a disused 13th century chapel of St Joos - previously set aside as an ecumenical place of prayer - to become their Church of Saints Constantine and Helena, their patronage symbolising the undivided Church when Byzantium became the capital of Christendom to a congregation of many diaspora from around the world putting down roots in contemporary Belgium. During the last 2 years an immense amount of building work has taken place, culminating in the painting of beautiful frescos and the consecration of the Church in May 2008. The parish has a photo gallery at Orthodox Bruges. And here is the parish website. The parish maintains the ecumenical spirit of the old chapel - the rector, Fr Bernard Peckstadt, is active in ecumenical efforts and prayer in Flanders.

Fr John Salter, chairman, and Fr Mark Woodruff, vice-chairman, hope to visit the Orthodox parish in Brugge in September.

Russian archbishop's censure of Stalin as 'a monster' makes waves

ENI reports:

Comments by a senior official of the Russian Orthodox Church condemning Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, accusing him of genocide, shortly before a European security forum equated the crimes of Stalin and Hitler, have stirred heated debate in the Russian media and blogosphere. "I think that Stalin was a spiritually-deformed monster, who created a horrific, inhuman system of ruling the country," Archbishop Hilarion had said in a interview with the news magazine Ekspert. "He unleashed a genocide against the people of his own country and bears personal responsibility for the death of millions of innocent people. In this respect Stalin is completely comparable to Hitler."

Hilarion is head of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for External Church Relations, a post Patriarch Kirill I held before he was elected leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in January.

Hilarion’s comments came shortly before a session of the parliamentary assembly of the 56-member, Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Lithuania. At its 3 July meeting, the organization in a resolution stated that both Nazism and Stalinism “brought about genocide, violations of humans rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

The resolution called on member states to mark each 23 August, the day of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which divided Eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union, as “a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism”.

The Russian foreign ministry denounced the resolution as “an attempt to distort history for political purposes”.

The Second World War is considered a sacred topic in Russia, where it is called the Great Patriotic War. In May, President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the creation of a commission to fight the “falsification of history” and defend the official account of the Soviet past.

Stalin is portrayed by top officials, and also in a study guide for high school teachers approved by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin when he was president, as an effective manager, comparable to the Russian tsars or to Bismarck, who united Germany in the 19th century. Putin has also continued his efforts to unite the pre-revolutionary and Bolshevik strands of Russian history into a seamless narrative.

Shortly before Victory Day celebrations on 9 May to mark the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, Patriarch Kirill indicated an interpretation of events that might diverge with that of the Kremlin. The Soviet victory in the war was “a miracle,” Kirill said, and the suffering of the Soviet people during the war is atonement for its rejection of Christianity during the Bolshevik era after the Russian Revolution in 1917.

At the end of July, during his first official visit in Ukraine, Kirill laid a wreath at a monument to victims of a Stalin-era famine that Ukrainians regard as genocide, and which President Medvedev refused to visit in 2008. The Patriarch spoke of how his family, and the entire Soviet people, had suffered under Stalinism.

Archbishop Hilarion in his interview said that “the number of victims of Stalinist repressions is completely comparable to our losses in the Great Patriotic War”. Yet, Hilarion also warned against idealising pre-revolutionary Russia.

“If everything had been right in the pre-revolutionary church, then there wouldn’t have been a mass retreat from it during the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period,” he said. “Maybe the revolution itself wouldn’t have happened.”

Today, said Hilarion, the situation requires a different approach to relations between Church and State.

“Of course, there were many positive things as well in the pre-revolutionary status of the Church in the State,” said the archbishop. “But under no circumstances must there be an attempt to recreate the pre-revolutionary situation. We must create a new model of Church-State relations that would exclude those negative phenomena in church and public life that led to the revolution.”

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Eastern Catholic Churches - A Help or a Hindrance to Christian Unity?, John Salter

The Eastern Catholic Churches – A Help or a Hindrance to Christian Unity?, The Reverend A T J Salter. £3 including postage from the author, Chairman of the Society of St John Chrysostom, 1 St James Close, Bishop Street, London N1 8PH

In this booklet, Fr. Salter gives an outline history of the Eastern Churches and their entry into union with the Holy See. He argues that "Uniatism" or Latinization of the ancient rites of the Eastern Churches should be avoided, as this is a hindrance to the witness of the so-called Uniate Churches.

The Latinization was the policy often pursued by the Latin Catholics in Poland, and also some Eastern Catholics were guilty of it. He reminds his readers that the largest union achieved between Rome and the Eastern Churches (the Ukrainian) in 1596 at Brest-Litovsk was ideally a union of faith and not of rite. Pope Clement VIII proclaimed the union in his bull Magnus Dominus et Laudibilis of 23rd December 1595. The Ukrainian Rite was to be preserved and this was reiterated by Pope Clement VIII`s successors. Pope Benedict XIV was adamant that there should be no ritual or ceremonial changes introduced into the Ukrainian/Ruthenian Rite by even the greatest prelates of the Eastern Catholic Churches, without first seeking and obtaining permission from the Apostolic See. This is proclaimed in the bull Demandatum Coelitis.

More widely the book explores how for the most part the Eastern Catholic Churches, far from forming part of a policy of proselytism by the Roman See among the Orthodox, are more truly descendants of previous attempts of genuine corporate reunion and re-established communion. Political and cultural factors, as well as religious and doctrinal, have stood in the way of efforts to overcome the effects of the Great Schism throughout the second millennium, but the soreness of the divide (as it became) in Ukraine was not the same experience in other parts of the world where there were Catholics and Orthodox of the Eastern Church living alongside each other. The positive contribution of the Armenian Catholics to Armenian Orthodoxy is a case in point, as was the pragmatic and positive relations among Catholics, Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox living under the Ottomans.

A low point in terms of the Eastern Catholic position vis a vis Orthodoxy may have been the First Vatican Council and its unfinished business of the declaration concerning Papal Infallibility - exemplified par excellence in the humiliation of the objecting but loyal Melkite Patriarch. But in the 20th century things have changed - Pope Paul and Patriarch Athenagoras lifted the 900-year old mutual excommunications, the Eastern Catholics at Vatican II (notably Archbishop Elias Zoghby) made a powerful case against Uniatism in tune with the fresh thinking of the Catholic Church as communion, not a mere juridical body, and increasing warm and imaginative relations and initiatives towards unity involving the Eastern Catholics with their Orthodox and "pre-Chalcedonian" Orthodox counterparts, particularly in areas where the Christian community as a whole faces a larger external challenge - the Middle East (eg the Balamand formula for communion among Greek Catholics and Greek Orthodox in the patriarchate of Antioch), Iraq (a new friendship between the Chaldean Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East) and more recently in Ukraine, where Orthodox unity is under pressure and Ukrainian Catholicism, historically seen as a rival is becoming a valued ecumenical friend.

And Pope John Paul famously added impetus to the sense that the Catholic Church needs the Christian East - and unity with the Orthodox Church - as a priority, notably in his ground-breaking Letter on 'The Light from the East', Orientale Lumen in 1996, shortly followed by the Encyclical on Ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, in which he called for Christians in other Churches to re-imagine the papacy, the Petrine Ministry, to propose how it could be of service in the reality of the Church today and a servant of the one Great Church's unity and communion. And both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have stressed the theme of the Church needing both lungs to breathe on, and how what the Catholic Church wants is not jurisdiction but communion.

Could it be that the historic Eastern Catholic Churches, not well understood in the Latin West and at times greatly misunderstood in the East, in a new age, with new conditions, having confirmed their distinctive role and function, their integrity as Churches, and having been refined in the purifying fires of suffering and persecution alongside their Orthodox fellow Christians, can point a way towards restored communion with confidence? Certainly the friendships and theological awareness growing through the current Orthodox-Catholic dialogue suggests it may be possible on the official level, and the Orientale Lumen series of conference inspires a like aspiration.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Orientale Lumen Conference - Europe East III - Constantinople, July 5-8, 2010

Church Councils of the East


Speakers
  • Archimandrite Robert Taft, SJ, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome, Italy
  • Sister Vassa Larin, University of Vienna, Austria
  • Patriarch Bartholomew is expected to address the conference.
  • Additional speakers will be posted here as they confirm.
The speakers will discuss the conference theme of "Church Councils of the East" from the perspective of their own tradition. Each plenary will conclude with a limited discussion period among the speakers and with questions from the audience. All Plenary Sessions will be conducted in English , and prayer services will be in a mixture of English, Greek and Church Slavonic. All of the papers presented will be published and provided to all attending in a Proceedings book after the conference. A Liturgical book will be prepared for full participation in the liturgical services. Opening and closing remarks will be made by various Church leaders in attendance.

Plenary sessions and most meals will be in the Hotel (5 star), which is the Conference venue. A one day excursion is planned to the Orthodox Theological Seminary on Halki.


Conference Fees

Conference fees are payable in advance and include all meals, materials, space usage, travel expenses for the speakers, receptions, and other related conference expenses (excluding transportation for participants).
  • Full Conference Fee: $ TBA
  • Monastics & Students: $ TBA
Conference registration deadline is June 5, 2010.


Accommodation

Accommodation is available at either a 5 star Hotel (at the conference venue), or a 3 star hotel close by in Istanbul. It can be booked through the conference office for an additional cost.

  • 5 Star Hotel Double or Single $ TBD/night
  • 3 Star Hotel Double or Single $ TBD/night


Optional Tours
  • Churches of Constantinople, Friday, July 9 - $ 50.00/per person (includes lunch)
  • Ephesus and Patmos, Saturday, July 10 to Sunday, July 11 - $ 500.00/per person (includes airfare, hotel, breakfast, lunch & tours)

Special Notes

  • U.S. citizens and many others are required to obtain a visa for Turkey on arrival at Ataturk Airport (Check price on Turkish Immigration Website
  • Clerical dress is not permitted in public areas of Turkey
  • Dress for conference sessions is business casual

Conference Website, Timetable and Online Booking

The Re-founding of the Society in 1926

The Society of St. John Chrysostom was originally founded in England at the end of the nineteenth century. The original association died out and was re-founded in 1926 under the patronage of the Archbishop of Westminster. In two of its 1926 issues, the journal Irénikon reported the following:

"On Wednesday, 31 March 1926, in the shadow of Westminster Cathedral, the inaugural meeting of the Society of Saint John Chrysostom was held under the presidency of His Eminence Cardinal Bourne. This society seeks to learn about the problems that exist between the Catholic Church and those Christians of the East who are not in communion with the Holy See, while avoiding all polemics."

"The new Society of Saint John Chrysostom, of which we spoke in our May issue (p. 119) has organized, for the end of this month, a series of conferences which will conclude with a solemn Slavonic Liturgy, celebrated in the great Cathedral of Westminster. His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, President of the Society, will open the week on the evening of the 26th in his cathedral Hall, and His Lordship Msgr. d’Herbigny will speak about the Oriental Institute in Rome of which he is president. Three days of lectures will follow, over the course of which we note the following conferences: Mr. Herbert Ward will speak on the state of the Church in Mesopotamia; Dom Lambert Beauduin on the “the appeal of the Christian East and monastic hopes”; Count Bennisen and Prince Volkonsky on iconography and Russian music respectively; Miss Gertrude Morrison on Greek monasticism in southern Italy. After an explanation of the Liturgy, on the evening of the 29th by Rev. Fr. David Balfour, Monk of Unity [ed: between Latin and Byzantine Rites, a member of the monastery founded by Dom Lambert Beauduin at Amay-sur-Meuse and now at Chevetogne in Belgium], the Congress will conclude on the morning of the 30th with what promises to be a splendid celebration. In the famous Westminster Cathedral, a large iconostasis will be erected in harmony with the cathedral’s own Byzantine style architecture; Rev. Fr. Abrikosoff from Rome will sing the Divine Liturgy (preceded by Tierce) with Rev. Fr. Omez of Lille Seminary and Dom Andrew Stoelen of Amay concelebrating. The slavonic chants will be performed by the cathedral choir, which is renowned in the London musical world, under the direction of a Russian musician. The committee of the Society, which includes several eminent Catholics such as Doctors Myers and Vance, the Right Reverend Dom Butler, O.S.B., Rev. Frs. Martindale, S.J. and Vassall-Phillips, C.S.S.R., has invited European Catholics to this Congress who are involved with the work church unity, including six Monks of Unity."

Father Peter Galadza of Sheptytsky Institute reports this information in footnote 286, pages 133-134 of his important new book Unité en Division: Les Lettres de Lev Gillet, (“un moine de l’église d’Orient”) à Andrei Cheptytsky – 1921-1929. The note also claims that “The Society continued to exist in England until 1989 and published a journal beginning in 1960.” Au contraire, we are happy to report that rumours of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The picture shows a more recent event in Westminster Cathedral arranged by the diocese and the Society in 2002: Lenten Orthodox Great Vespers, celebrated by the then Bishop Basil (Osborne) of Sergievo of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh in the UK, in the presence of HE Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and his fellow Catholic Bishops, His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, the Syriac Orthodox and Armenian Bishops in London and other hierarchs, clergy and faithful of the Eastern Churches, with many Latin Catholic and other Western Christians too. The choir of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in Mayfair sang the Vespers and the service was attended by almost 1,500 people.