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 10th June, 4pm

SSJC Committee Open Meeting: Monday 19th June, Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 Liturgy, Talk at 7-15, followed by meeting.

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, 27 January 2013

Pope Benedict's Homily At Conclusion of Week of Prayer

VATICAN CITY, January 28, 2013, thanks to Zenit.org - Here is the translation of Pope Benedict XVI's Homily during the ecumenical celebration of Vespers of the Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. The occasion marked the end of the XLVI Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme: "What Does the Lord Require of Us" (Micah 6:6-8)

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

It is always a joy and a special grace to come together, around the tomb of the Apostle Paul, to conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I greet with affection the Cardinals present, first of all Cardinal Harvey, Archpriest of this Basilica, and with him the Abbot and the community of monks who are hosting us. I greet Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and all the collaborators of this dicastery. I express my cordial and fraternal greetings to His Eminence Metropolitan Gennadios, representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, to the Rev. Canon Richardson, personal representative in Rome of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and all the representatives of the different Churches and ecclesial communities, gathered here this evening. In addition, I am particularly pleased to greet the members of the Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches, to whom I wish a fruitful work for the plenary session that is taking place these days in Rome, as well as students of the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey, on a visit to Rome to deepen their knowledge of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox young people who study there. Lastly, I greet all those present gathered to pray for the unity of all the disciples of Christ.

This celebration is part of the Year of Faith, which began on 11 October, the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Communion in the same faith is the basis for ecumenism. Unity is given by God as inseparable from faith; St. Paul expresses this effectively: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all"(Eph. 4:4-6). The baptismal profession of faith in God, the Father and Creator, who revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ, pouring out the Spirit who gives life and holiness, already unites Christians. Without faith - which is primarily a gift of God, but also man's response - the whole ecumenical movement would be reduced to a form of "contract" to enter into out of a common interest. The Second Vatican Council reminds Christians that "the closer their union with the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, the more deeply and easily will they be able to grow in mutual brotherly love"(Decr. Unitatis redintegratio, 7). Doctrinal issues that still divide us must not be overlooked or minimized. They should rather be faced with courage, in a spirit of brotherhood and mutual respect. Dialogue, when it reflects the priority of faith, can open to the action of God with the firm conviction that we cannot build unity alone: it is the Holy Spirit who guides us toward full communion, who allows us to grasp the spiritual wealth present in the different Churches and ecclesial communities.

In today's society it seems that the Christian message affects personal and community life less and less, and this represents a challenge for all the Churches and ecclesial communities. Unity is in itself a privileged instrument, almost a prerequisite to announcing the faith in an ever more credible way to those who do not yet know the Saviour, or who, having received the proclamation of the Gospel, have almost forgotten this precious gift. The scandal of division that undermined missionary activity was the impulse that started the ecumenical movement that we know today. Full and visible communion among Christians is to be understood as a fundamental characteristic of an even clearer witness. While we are on the path towards full unity, it is necessary to pursue concrete cooperation among the disciples of Christ for the sake of passing on the faith to the contemporary world. Today there is a great need for reconciliation, dialogue and mutual understanding, not in a moralistic perspective, but in the name of Christian authenticity for a more incisive presence in the reality of our time.

True faith in God is inseparable from personal holiness, as well as from the pursuit of justice. In the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which ends today, the theme offered for our meditation was, "What Does the Lord Requires of Us," inspired by the words of the prophet Micah, which we have heard (cf. 6:6-8). It was proposed by the Student Christian Movement in India, in collaboration with the All India Catholic University Federation and the National Council of Churches in India, who also prepared the aids for reflection and prayer. To those who have collaborated, I want to express my deep gratitude and, with great affection, I assure you of my prayers for all the Christians of India, who sometimes are called to bear witness to their faith in difficult conditions. "Walking humbly with God" (cf. Micah 6:8) above all means walking in radical faith, like Abraham, trusting in God, or rather placing in Him all our hopes and aspirations, but it also means walking past the barriers, past hatred, racism and social and religious discrimination that divide and harm society as a whole. As St. Paul says, Christians must first provide a shining example in their search for reconciliation and communion in Christ, that overcomes every kind of division. In the Letter to the Galatians, the Apostle of the Gentiles says, "As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus"(3:27-28).

Our search for unity in truth and in love, then, must never lose sight of the perception that Christian unity is the work and gift of the Holy Spirit, and goes far beyond our own efforts. Therefore, spiritual ecumenism, especially prayer, is the heart of ecumenical commitment (cf. Decr. Unitatis redintegratio, 8). However, ecumenism will not bear lasting fruit unless it is accompanied by concrete gestures of conversion that move consciences and foster the healing of memories and relationships. As stated in the Decree on Ecumenism of the Second Vatican Council, "there is no true ecumenism without interior conversion" (no. 7). Authentic conversion, as suggested by the prophet Micah and of which the Apostle Paul is a significant example, will bring us closer to God, to the center of our lives, in such a way as to draw us also closer to each other. This is a key element of our ecumenical commitment. The renewal of the inner life of our heart and our mind, which is reflected in everyday life, is crucial in any process of reconciliation and dialogue, making of ecumenism a mutual commitment to understanding, respect and love, "so that the world may believe" (Jn 17:21).

Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the Virgin Mary with confidence, the incomparable model of evangelization, so that the Church, "a sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity among all men" (Const. Lumen Gentium, 1), may announce with all frankness, even in our time, Christ the Savior. Amen.

[Translation by Peter Waymel]

Saturday, 26 January 2013

POPE RECEIVES MEMBERS OF JOINT INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THEOLOGICAL DIALOGUE


Vatican City, 25 January 2013 (VIS) – Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. The commission was instituted ten years ago as a initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The commission has dedicated this week to exploring "more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history", Benedict XVI said, expressing his hope that "relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord’s followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel."

"Many of you," he concluded, "come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints, who throughout the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us."


The full text can be read online here and is given below:


Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Dear Brothers in Christ,

It is with joy in the Lord that I welcome you, the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Through you I extend fraternal greetings to the heads of all the Oriental Orthodox Churches. In a particular way I greet His Eminence Anba Bishoy, Co-President of the Commission, and I thank him for his kind words.

Before all else I would like to recall with appreciation the memory of His Holiness Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, who died recently. I also remember with gratitude His Holiness Abuna Paulos, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahedo Orthodox Church, who last year hosted the Ninth Meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was saddened, too, to learn of the death of the Most Reverend Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil, Titular Archbishop of Takrit and Procurator of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate in Rome and a member of your Commission. I join you in prayer for the eternal rest of these dedicated servants of the Lord.

Our meeting today affords us an opportunity to reflect together with gratitude on the work of the International Joint Commission, which began ten years ago, in January 2003, as a initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. In the past decade the Commission has examined from an historical perspective the various ways in which the Churches expressed their communion in the early centuries. During this week devoted to prayer for the unity of all Christ’s followers, you have met to explore more fully the communion and communication which existed between the Churches in the first five centuries of Christian history. In acknowledging the progress which has been made, I express my hope that relations between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches will continue to develop in a fraternal spirit of cooperation, particularly through the growth of a theological dialogue capable of helping all the Lord’s followers to grow in communion and to bear witness before the world to the saving truth of the Gospel.

Many of you come from areas where Christians, as individuals and communities, face painful trials and difficulties which are a source of deep concern to us all. Through you, I would like to assure all the faithful of the Middle East of my spiritual closeness and my prayer that this land, so important in God’s plan of salvation, may be led, through constructive dialogue and cooperation, to a future of justice and lasting peace. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in serving the cause of peace and justice in fidelity to the Lord’s will. May the example and intercession of the countless martyrs and saints who down the ages have borne courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen all of us in meeting the challenges of the present with confidence and hope in the future which the Lord is opening before us. Upon you, and upon all those associated with the work of the Commission, I cordially invoke a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, joy and peace. Thank you for your attention.



Patriarch Sviatoslav States in Vatican That Church Identity of Emigrants Should Be Preserved

Patriarch Sviatoslav States in Vatican That Church Identity of Emigrants Should Be Preserved

Friday, 25 January 2013

The Conflict of Syria and its effect on the Christian Community

5 February 2013
 
Dr Michael Oz, Syrian Orthodox Church, 7-15 pm, St James' Church, Sussex Gardens, London W2
A joint meeting of the Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius and the Anglican & Eastern Churches' Association. Following an Anglican Eucharist at 6-30 pm.
 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A new Russian Greek Catholic priest in Siberia

RORATE CÆLI: Ordinations - I: a new Russian Greek Catholic priest

There are more photographs on Fides et Ratio, showing a Latinisation - prostration of the ordinand, we are told, during the Litany of the Saints. Even more photographs on the website of the (Latin) Catholic Diocese of the Transfiguration in Siberia, in whose Cathedral in Novosibirsk the ordination took place, because its bishop is the ordinariate for Byzantine Catholics in Russia, since 2004.

Although the Russian Catholic Church is a Catholic Church sui iuris and was recognised in some sense towards the end of the Tsardom, it is not recognised or acceptable to the Russian Orthodox Church. From the beginning of the Communist period Byzantine Catholic populations (including Russians, Belorussians and Ukrainians who at the time celebrated the Byzantine rite, like the Russian Orthodox, in Slavonic, and not in vernacular tongues) from the western areas of what became the Soviet Union were deported to Siberia for enforced labout programmes. An account of their plight, and explaining thus why Siberia is now a home to Russian Catholicism, is in The Forgotten: Catholics of the Soviet Empire from Lenin Through Stalin, by Christopher Lawrence Zugger (Syracuse University Press, 2001).

The Moscow Patriarchate objected to the establishment of Latin Catholic non-territorial vicariates and then dioceses for its faithful across Russia under Pope John Paul II, and this contributed to its withdrawal for years from the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches, on the grounds that they contravened the principle of territorial integrity of "local" churches. The dioceses in the territory of other patriarchates and in the territory of the Latin West that Moscow itself has set up are not the same, it claims, as they are not "ordinary" or territorially defined, but exist purely for the pastoral care of the Russian diaspora. It is difficult to see how the Catholic dioceses, Latin and Byzantine alike, are not other than to serve Catholic faithful dispersed from elsewhere. In so far as they attract people to the Catholic Church, they are no different in effect from Russian churches in the West, which tends not controversial.

While it could be wished otherwise for the sake of the Byzantine Catholic faithful in the Russian Federation, it is judged imprudent in the present phase of dialogue and rapprochement to disturb such progress as is being made by establishing a circumscription for them under the provisions of a Russian Catholic Church sui iuris.

Vatican artist from Russia follows the Old Masters

Vatican artist from Russia follows the Old Masters - Yahoo! News Singapore

Byzantine Ukrainian Faithful of France given Eparchy

VATICAN CITY, January 21, 2013 (Zenit.org).

Benedict XVI has elevated the apostolic exarchate for Ukrainian faithful of the Byzantine rite resident in France to the rank of eparchy (diocese). The new eparchy has the title: Saint Wladimir-Le-Grand de Paris des Byzantins-Ukrainiens. Bishop Borys Andrij Gudziak, until now apostolic exarch there, was named the first eparchial bishop. An apostolic exarchate in the Eastern Catholic Church is similar to an apostolic vicariate in the Latin Rite Catholic Church. It is headed by a titular bishop as its ordinary with the title of exarch.

With the elevation of the Ukrainian apostolic exarchate in France to the rank of eparchy, Bishop Gudziak is no longer the titular bishop of Carcabia but becomes the first bishop of the new Eparchy (Diocese) of Saint Wladimir-Le-Grand. Borys Andrij Gudziak was born in 1960 in Syracuse, New York, was ordained to the priesthood in 1998, and received episcopal ordination in 2012. For many years he served as the widely respected rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, famous for its Ecumenical Institute and its Business School.

Mandated Celibacy for US Eastern Catholic Priests - Report of Seminar in Rome

BINGHAMTON, NY

from Very Rev. Protopresbyter James S. Dutko



It was both an honor and a blessing to have the privilege to travel to Rome to participate in The Chrysostom Seminar at Domus Australia in Rome on November 13th. The forum dealt with the issue of the ongoing obstacles of the ordination of married seminarians to the priesthood of the Eastern Catholic Church in North America.

I was invited to participate by Fr. Peter Galadza, a married Ukrainian Catholic priest and professor at the Sheptysky Institute for Eastern Christian Studies at St. Paul's University in Ottawa and Fr. Lawrence Cross, a married Russian Catholic priest at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne. Other participants included Fr. Basilio Petra (a scholar in the issue of marriage and priesthood in the early church), of the Theology Faculty in Florence, Italy, and Fr. Thomas J. Loya, a Byzantine Catholic priest of the Tabor Life Institute in Chicago.

In his presentation, Fr. Cross insisted that the vocation of married priests in the Eastern churches could not be understood apart from an understanding of the sacramental vocation of married couples. "Those who are called to the married priesthood are, in reality, called to a spiritual path that in the first place, is characterized by a conjugal, family form of life," he said, and priestly ordination builds on the vocation they have as married men. 

Fr. Cross and other speakers at the conference urged participants to understand the dignity of the vocation of marriage in the way Blessed John Paul II did: as a sacramental expression of God's love and as a path to holiness made up of daily acts of self-giving and sacrifices made for the good of the other. "Married life and family life are not in contradiction with the priestly ministry," Fr. Cross said. A married man who is ordained is called "to love more, to widen his capacity to love, and the boundaries of his family are widened, his paternity is widened as he acquires more sons and daughters; the community becomes his family."

Fr. Basilio Petra, a Latin Rite priest and expert in Eastern Christianity and professor of theology in Florence told the conference: "God does not give one person two competing calls." "If the church teaches—as it does—that marriage is more than a natural institution aimed at procreation because it is "a sign and continuation of God's love in the world," then the vocations of marriage and priesthood "have an internal harmony," he said. Fr. Petra, who is a celibate priest, told the conference that in the last 30 or 40 years, some theologians and researchers have been making a big push to "elaborate the idea that celibacy is the only way to fully configure oneself to Christ," but such a position denies the tradition of married priests, configured to Christ, who have served the church since the time of the apostles."

Fr. Thomas Loya, told the gathering that it would be a betrayal of Eastern tradition and spirituality to support the married priesthood simply as a practical solution to the priest shortage or to try to expand the married priesthood without at the same time, trying to strengthen Eastern monasticism, which traditionally was the source of the celibate clergy.

Fr. Peter Galadza spoke of the grandparents of his Pani, who refused under Soviet pressure to abandon the Ukrainian Catholic Church to enter Russian Orthodoxy and thus spent seven years in prison and in exile in Siberia. He noted that Ukrainian Patriarch Sheptytsky, who in the early years of his episcopacy expressed support for a celibate Eastern Catholic clergy, changed his mind after years in Soviet prisons where he encountered the faithfulness of married priests and their panis who also suffered in exile and in prison. "As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, we hope the same Holy Spirit, who guided the authors of its decrees, would guide us in implementing them," he said, referring specifically to Vatican II's affirmation for the equality of the Latin and Eastern churches and its call that Eastern Churches recover their traditions."

"There has been a long history of confusing 'Latin' and 'Catholic,'" he said, and that confusion has extended to an assumption that the Latin church's general discipline of having celibate priests is better or holier than the Eastern tradition of having both married and celibate priests.

The speakers unanimously called for the universal revocation of a 1929 Vatican directive (Cum Data Fuerit), which banned the ordination and ministry of married Eastern Catholic priests outside the traditional territories of their churches.

The topic of my presentation was "Mandatory Celibacy among Eastern Catholics: A Church Dividing Issue." The catalyst for the paper was linked to a Catholic New Service story in May 2012 concerning the remarks of Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches in Rome during the "ad limina" visits to the Vatican of Eastern Catholic hierarchs from North America:

"The cardinal urged care in helping young people discern their vocation, "maintain formation programs, integrating immigrant priests (and) embracing celibacy in respect of the ecclesial context" of the United States where mandatory celibacy is the general rule of priests."

The recommendations of a 21st century Cardinal that the injustice leveled again Eastern Catholics in the 19th and 20th centuries forbidding married priests to serve (and thus be ordained) in North America be maintained brought to the forefront an awareness of how this issue had been divisive in the past. Even more, it was indicative of how it still impacted Eastern Catholic candidates for Holy Orders and their churches in North America in the present, and how it would serve as a major obstacle in healing of the chasm between Christian East and West before the 1,000th anniversary (in 42 years) of the Great Schism of 1054.

In the paper, I sought to demonstrate how Rome's insistence, from 1890 - with Cum Data Fuerit in 1929, requiring celibacy for Eastern Catholic Seminarians in America - was a violation of the terms by which Orthodox entered into communion with Rome in the Synod of Brest (1596) and Uzhorod, 1646. The result fueled the return to Orthodoxy Christianity by thousands of Greek Catholic immigrants in the early years of the 1900s through the leadership of the then Father, and now Saint Alexis Toth. I discussed at length the impact of 1929 mandate, which ignited the second major rupture in the Greek Catholic communities. After years of efforts to overturn the mandate, developments were traced leading to the creation of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox diocese under the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the consecration in Constantinople of Bishop Orestes Chornock 75 years ago.

I spoke of the Vatican II Council's affirmation a half century age of the historic Sacred Traditions of the Christian East and the subsequent efforts by Eastern Catholic bishops to restore their right to ordained married men to the priesthood in North America. At the present time, married candidates for the Eastern Catholic priesthood in North America are to be evaluated on a case-by case basis in Rome. No married men, however, have been ordained in Pittsburgh since 1929. 

Finally, I expressed my concerns, after serving on the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation since 1989, that the ultimate goal of healing the millennial old division in the Body of Christ could not be overcome if the ban remained in effect. 

In the presentation, I also spoke of how the ban impacted life at the parish level in communities like St. Michael's in Binghamton, NY. Likewise, I shared some insights regarding the priesthood of Fr. Stephen Dutko and how a person of faith can help to heal the wounds of the past. The mandate to do so is clear in Our Lord's very prayer, "May they be one as You and I are one."

While in Rome, I had the privilege of speaking with His Eminence, Archbishop Cyril Vasil in the offices of the Congregation of the Eastern Church (he is from Eastern Slovakia and has both a father and a brother who are priests in the Greek Catholic Church). Archbishop Cyril is the secretary to Cardinal Leonardo Sandri. I presented His Eminence with a copy of the text of my paper. I also gave him a copy of Fr. Barriger's historic study (Good Victory) on the life of Bishop Orestes and the establishment of the diocese. Finally, I presented him with a copy of St. Michael's Centennial Journal, which outlines parish life in a community directly affected by the priestly celibacy mandate of 1929. I also had the opportunity to attend Vespers on two evenings at the Russicum and visit students and faculty from the Oriental Institute for Christian Studies. (Our Patriarch Bartholomew was a graduate of this faculty when he was a young theologian.)

I am very grateful to the clergy and faithful of the diocese for your encouragement and prayers during my visit to Rome. May Our Lord bless one and all! 

Very Rev. Protopresbyter James S. Dutko is Pastor of St. Michael's Church in Binghamton, NY, and presently serves as Dean of the Southern-Tier Deanery of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. He has been a member of the North American Eastern Orthodox/Roman Catholic Theological Consultation since 1989.

 

Light of the East, January-February 2013 Youngstown Chapter SSJC Newsletter

The January-February 2013 edition of Light of the East from Youngstown SSJC Chapter is available here.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pope Benedict grants Ecclesial Communion to the new Patriarch of the Catholic Copts

VATICAN CITY, January 21, 2013 thanks to Zenit.org - Benedict XVI has granted the "Ecclesiastica Communio" to His Beatitude Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, elected the patriarch of Alexandria.

The 57-year-old bishop succeeds Cardinal Antonios Naguib, who officially retired last week. The cardinal had a stroke in 2011.

The Holy Father said that Sidrak's election to the patriarchal throne is "an important event for the entire Church."

"I am sure," wrote the Pontiff, "that, with the power of Christ, victor over evil and death by His resurrection, and with the cooperation of the fathers of your patriarchal synod, in communion with the college of bishops, you will have the courage to guide the Coptic Church. … May the Lord help you in your ministry as 'Father and Head,' to proclaim the Word of God, so that it may be lived and celebrated with piety according to the ancient spiritual and liturgical traditions of the Coptic Church and may all the faithful find comfort in the paternal care of their new patriarch."

Christians make up 9% of Egypt's population. There are no more than 250,000 Catholics out of a total population of 83 million. There are some 8 million Coptic Orthodox in Egypt, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pope Benedict Creates Eparchy in London for Ukrainian Catholics

Ohio-born Priest Named 1st Bishop of New Diocese - Axios!







Our beloved patron and a member of the Society of St John Chrysostom's committee is appointed First Bishop of the new Eparchy of the Holy Family of London for the Urkainian Catholics of Great Britain. At one time, the former Apostolic Exarchate was known under its patronage of the Holy Family in Exile. Not it has at last "come home" and it is the Eparchy of the Holy Family of London. Consequently, Kyr Hlib will be the first Catholic bishop "of London" since the removal of Bishop Edmund Bonner in 1559 when the Catholic Queen Mary I died and Queen Elizabeth I, a Protestant, ascended the throne, finally confirming the separation of the English Church from Catholic unity. In an ecumenical age, Kyr Hlib's eparchy not only marks the cordial relations between Catholic and Anglican Christians in London, but also the fraternal co-existence in a world-city of Christians from all over the world, near and far, who have made Britain their home, and their commitment to witness side by side to the truth and love of Christ the Lord's Good News.

Axios! Many years, Father!


LONDON, January 18, 2013, thanks to Zenit.org - Pope Benedict XVI has elevated the Ukrainian apostolic exarchate in Great Britain to the rank of eparchy (diocese).

The new eparchy has the title: Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of the Holy Family of London.

Bishop Hlib Borys Sviatoslav Lonchyna, until now apostolic exarch there, was named the first eparchial bishop.

An apostolic exarchate in the Eastern Catholic Church is similar to an apostolic vicariate in the Latin Rite Catholic Church. It is headed by a titular bishop as its ordinary with the title of exarch. 

With the elevation of the Ukrainian apostolic exarchate in Great Britain to the rank of eparchy, Bishop Hlib Lonchyna is no longer the titular bishop of Bareta but becomes the first bishop of the new Eparchy (Diocese) of the Holy Family of London.

The apostolic exarchate for Ukrainians in Great Britain was erected in England and Wales in 1957 and was extended to Scotland and Great Britain in 1968.

Born in Steubenville, Ohio, in 1954, Hlib Lonchyna was ordained to the priesthood in July 1977. He was appointed titular bishop of Bareta and ordained auxiliary bishop of Lviv, Ukraine, in 2002. The next year, he was appointed apostolic visitor for the Ukrainian Greek–Catholics in Italy. In 2004 he became apostolic visitor in Spain and Ireland. 

In 2009, he was appointed apostolic administrator "sede vacante" of the apostolic exarchate for Ukrainian Catholics in Britain and Ireland. He was formally named apostolic exarch by Benedict XVI in June 2011. 

Bishop Hlib’s appointment as eparch is with immediate effect.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Disunity - the Fault Disfiguring the Countenance of the Church: Pope Benedict's Angelus Address in the Week of Prayer for Unity

VATICAN CITY, January 20, 2013 thanks to Zenit.org - Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters!

Today the liturgy proposes the Gospel passage about the wedding at Cana, an episode narrated by John, an eye witness of the event. This episode is part of this Sunday that immediately follows the Christmas season because, together with the visit of the Magi from the east and with Jesus' baptism, it forms the trilogy of the epiphany, that is, of the manifestation of Christ. The manifestation at the wedding at Cana is, in fact, "the first of the signs" (John 2:11), that is, the first miracle performed by Jesus, with which he publicly manifested his glory, awakening the faith of his disciples. Let us briefly recall what happened at the wedding feast of Cana in Galilee. It happened that the wine had run out, and Mary, the Mother of Jesus, pointed this out to her Son. He told her that his hour had not yet come; but then followed Mary's intervention and, six large stone jars being filled with water, he transformed the water into wine, an excellent wine, better than the wine that had been served earlier. With this "sign" Jesus revealed himself as the messianic bridegroom, come to establish the new and eternal Covenant with his people, according to the words of the prophets: "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:5). And the wine is the symbol of this joy of love; but it also alludes to the blood that Jesus will pour out at the end to seal the nuptial pact with humanity.

The Church is the bride of Christ, who makes her holy and beautiful with his grace. Nevertheless, this bride, made up of human beings, is always in need of purification. And one of the gravest faults that disfigures the countenance of the Church is the injury to her visible unity, in particular the historical divisions that have separated Christians and that have not yet been overcome. Precisely at this time, from January 18 to 25, the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed, a time that is always welcome to believers and to communities, which reawakens in everyone the desire and spiritual commitment to full communion. In this sense the prayer service that I was able to celebrate with thousands of young people from all over Europe and with the ecumenical community of Taizé in this piazza was very significant: it was a moment of grace in which we experienced the beauty of being one in Christ. I encourage everyone to pray together so that we can realize "what the Lord requires of us" (Micah 6:8), which is the theme of this year's Week; it was a theme proposed by some communities in India, which invites us to move decisively toward visible unity and to overcome, as brothers of Christ, every type of unjust discrimination. Next Friday at the conclusion of these days of prayer, I will preside at Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in the presence of representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities.

Dear friends, once more to the prayer for Christian unity I would like to add a prayer for peace so that, in the various conflicts now going on, the slaughter of civilians cease and all violence end, and the courage for dialogue and negotiation be found. For both of these intentions let us invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, the mediatrix of grace.

Following the recitation of the Angelus the Holy Father greeted those present in various languages. In English he said:

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Angelus. In these days, we are celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Let us join our prayers to those of our brothers and sisters of all Churches and communities, that we may dedicate ourselves ever more earnestly to working towards our visible unity in Jesus Christ. God bless you and your loved ones!


[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

Friday, 18 January 2013

Patriarch Filaret Asks Ecumenical Orthodoxy Not To Consider Question of Autocephaly Without Kyivan Patriarchate

Patriarch Filaret Asks Ecumenical Orthodoxy Not To Consider Question of Autocephaly Without Kyivan Patriarchate

Syrian Orthodox and Catholics Appeal for Aid In Hassake | ZENIT







Hassake, January 17, 2013 (Zenit.org)

A new report from Fides News Agency stated that the people Hassake, the capital of Mesopotamia located in Eastern Syria is suffering tremendously from cold weather, lack of fuel and water, and limited electricity. According to the report, over 25,000 Christians (Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholics, and Chaldean Armenians) have crowded the city, mainly seeking refuge from the ongoing conflict. Many have sent messages to Fides asking for aid.


Two months ago, an appeal was made by three regional Bishops who "launched an SOS to avoid catastrophe." The Bishops stated that "nothing has been done: no one cares for the exhausted population of Hassake, who urgently need humanitarian aid."

Syrian Catholic Bishop Jacques Behnan Hindo and Syrian Orthodox Bishop Matta Roham are intensifying efforts to contact other Christian Syrian leaders and humanitarian organizations, but the response they have received so far has been minimal. "It is impossible to bring aid to Hassake because it is too dangerous and lacks minimal security conditions," the Bishops stated.

Islamist groups and terrorists have occupied several areas of the region and have mposed several checkpoints on the roads. The "Jubhat el Nosra" militants were recently added by the United States to the black list of "terrorist groups". The area has also been overrun by common criminals who commit robbery, kidnapping, looting, even in the city. The population "is slowly dying, left to itself," Fr. Ibrahim, a Christian priest resident in Hassake told Fides.

"The people are hungry and living in fear," he continued. "Every day, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there is a sort of curfew, because armed groups roam the streets. This is followed by kidnappings, sometimes with ransom demands, not always. In recent days, two brothers of the Bashr family and two young members of the Fram family were killed at point blank range on the street. Young Christians are threatened and terrified, 90% have fled the city. If young people leave, what will our churches be needed for? "

Georgius, a Christian university student whose family is in Hassake and has taken refuge in Lebanan told Fides that the "Jubhat el Nosra" militants have specifically targeted youth born between 1990 and 1992.  "They look for them, accuse them of being soldiers for the national service and kill them cold-bloodedly. They want to terrorize young people to prevent them from enlisting."

The population of Hassaké are weary and tired. Georgius also stated that he fears a final assault on the city will "cause the definitive exodus of Christians from Hassake


Online here:
Syrian Orthodox and Catholics Appeal for Aid In Hassake | ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Pope Benedict Receives Ecumenical Delegation From Finland | ZENIT







Prays for Communion Among Christians on Eve of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Vatican City, January 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) Junno Arocho Esteves


An Ecumenical Delegation from Finland was received in audience by Pope Benedict XVI today. The delegation came for their annual visit to Rome for the feast of St. Henrik, patron saint of Finland.

The Holy Father greeted the members of the delegation while noting that timeliness of their visit on the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Pope commented on the theme of the upcoming Week of Prayer: "What does God require of us?" which is taken from the prophet Micah.

"The Prophet makes clear, of course, what the Lord requires of us: it is "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God". The Christmas season which we have just celebrated reminds us that it is God who from the beginning has walked with us, and who, in the fullness of time, took flesh in order to save us from our sins and to guide our steps in the way of holiness, justice and peace," the Pope said.

"Walking humbly in the presence of the Lord, in obedience to his saving word and with trust in his gracious plan, serves as an eloquent image not only of the life of faith, but also of our ecumenical journey on the path towards the full and visible unity of all Christians."

The Supreme Pontiff said that in order to move forward in ways of ecumenical communion, it is ever more crucial to be united in prayer, to be committed to the pursuit of holiness, "and ever more engaged in the areas of theological research and cooperation in the service of a just and fraternal society."

Expressing his hope that the delegations visit to Rome would help strengthen ecumenical ties between Christians in Finland, Pope Benedict prayed that Christ would guide Finnish Christians towards greater love and unity.

"By walking together in humility along the path of justice, mercy and righteousness which the Lord has pointed out to us, Christians will not only dwell in the truth, but also be beacons of joy and hope to all those who are looking for a sure point of reference in our rapidly changing world," Pope Benedict XVI said.

Read online here:
Pope Benedict Receives Ecumenical Delegation From Finland | ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome


Full text of the Holy Father's address:


Your Eminence, Your Excellencies, Dear Friends,







Once again I am happy to welcome your Ecumenical Delegation on its annual visit to Rome for the feast of Saint Henrik, the patron saint of Finland. It is fitting that our meeting takes place on the eve of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year is drawn from the Book of the Prophet Micah: "What does God require of us?" (cf. Mic.6:6-8).

The Prophet makes clear, of course, what the Lord requires of us: it is "to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God" (v. 8). The Christmas season which we have just celebrated reminds us that it is God who from the beginning has walked with us, and who, in the fullness of time, took flesh in order to save us from our sins and to guide our steps in the way of holiness, justice and peace. Walking humbly in the presence of the Lord, in obedience to his saving word and with trust in his gracious plan, serves as an eloquent image not only of the life of faith, but also of our ecumenical journey on the path towards the full and visible unity of all Christians. On this path of discipleship, we are called to advance together along the narrow road of fidelity to God’s sovereign will in facing whatever difficulties or obstacles we may eventually encounter.

To advance in the ways of ecumenical communion thus demands that we become ever more united in prayer, ever more committed to the pursuit of holiness, and ever more engaged in the areas of theological research and cooperation in the service of a just and fraternal society. Along this way of spiritual ecumenism, we truly walk with God and with one another in justice and love (cf. Mic 6:8), for, as the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification affirms: "We are accepted by God and receive the Holy Spirit, who renews our hearts while equipping and calling us to good works" (No. 15).

Dear friends, it is my hope that your visit to Rome will help to strengthen ecumenical relations between all Christians in Finland. Let us thank God for all that has been achieved so far and let us pray that the Spirit of truth will guide Christ’s followers in your country towards ever greater love and unity as they strive to live in the light of the Gospel and to bring that light to the great moral issues facing our societies today. By walking together in humility along the path of justice, mercy and righteousness which the Lord has pointed out to us, Christians will not only dwell in the truth, but also be beacons of joy and hope to all those who are looking for a sure point of reference in our rapidly changing world. At the beginning of this New Year, I assure you of my closeness in prayer. Upon all of you I cordially invoke the wisdom, grace and peace of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholics Appeal for Aid In Hassake, Eastern Syria

HASSAKE, January 17, 2013 (Zenit.org) - A new report from Fides News Agency stated that the people Hassake, the capital of Mesopotamia located in Eastern Syria is suffering tremendously from cold weather, lack of fuel and water, and limited electricity. According to the report, over 25,000 Christians (Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholics, and Chaldean Armenians) have crowded the city, mainly seeking refuge from the ongoing conflict. Many have sent messages to Fides asking for aid.

Two months ago, an appeal was made by three regional Bishops who "launched an SOS to avoid catastrophe."  The Bishops stated that "nothing has been done: no one cares for the exhausted population of Hassake, who urgently need humanitarian aid."

Syrian Catholic Bishop Jacques Behnan Hindo and Syrian Orthodox Bishop Matta Roham are intensifying efforts to contact other Christian Syrian leaders and humanitarian organizations, but the response they have received so far has been minimal. "It is impossible to bring aid to Hassake because it is too dangerous and lacks minimal security conditions," the Bishops stated.

Islamist groups and terrorists have occupied several areas of the region and have mposed several checkpoints on the roads. The "Jubhat el Nosra" militants were recently added by the United States to the black list of "terrorist groups". The area has also been overrun by common criminals who commit robbery, kidnapping, looting, even in the city. The population "is slowly dying, left to itself," Fr. Ibrahim, a Christian priest resident in Hassake told Fides.

"The people are hungry and living in fear," he continued. "Every day, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, there is a sort of curfew, because armed groups roam the streets. This is followed by kidnappings, sometimes with ransom demands, not always. In recent days, two brothers of the Bashr family and two young members of the Fram family were killed at point blank range on the street. Young Christians are threatened and terrified, 90% have fled the city. If young people leave, what will our churches be needed for? "

Georgius, a Christian university student whose family is in Hassake and has taken refuge in Lebanan told Fides that the "Jubhat el Nosra" militants have specifically targeted youth born between 1990 and 1992.

"They look for them, accuse them of being soldiers for the national service and kill them cold-bloodedly. They want to terrorize young people to prevent them from enlisting."

The population of Hassaké are weary and tired. Georgius also stated that he fears a final assault on the city will "cause the definitive exodus of Christians from Hassake." 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Conference: The Beauty of God's Presence in the Fathers of the Church

Patristic Symposium held in Saint Patricks, Maynooth

By William A. Thomas, Dublin, DEC. 19, 2012 (thanks to Zenit.org)

Described as spectacular and the most international and ecumenical Patristic conference ever held in Ireland, the ‘Eighth International Patristic Conference’ recently concluded at Saint Patricks College in Maynooth. Delegates came from Greece, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Poland, Italy, and Spain.

Many of the them were Greek or Russian Orthodox, while others were Anglican and Catholic, but all have one thing in common, their love for the Fathers of the Church, both the Latin and Greek Fathers. The Fathers can be after all a fruitful meeting place for dialogue and encounter among the different ecclesial communities of the world.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Pope Tawadros visits Catholic Churches in Egypt

Michael Victor, Watani International 28 December 2012.

Pope Tawadros II seized the opportunity of Christmas to visit the heads of the Churches in Egypt that celebrate Christmas on 25 December, to offer his good wishes and respects. Pope Tawadros II seized the opportunity of Christmas to visit the heads of the Churches in Egypt that celebrate Christmas on 25 December, to offer his good wishes and respects. The Pope was accompanied by Bishop of Youth Anba Moussa, Bishop of Shubral-Kheima Anba Morqos, Deputy of the patriarchate Father Sergius, and manager of ecumenical relations at the Coptic Cultural Centre Sobhy Girgis.

The first visit was to the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate where Pope Tawadros met Bishop Kyrillos William, administrator of the Coptic Catholic Church, to wish the Coptic Catholic Church a blessed Christmas. The patriarch, Cardinal Antonius Naguib, was sick and unable to meet the Coptic Orthodox patriarch, so Pope Tawadros paid him a special visit two days later.

Pope Tawadros also visited the Greek Melkite Catholic Church where he offered his good wishes to Pope Gregory III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, who keeps a tradition of celebrating Christmas with his congregation in Cairo. The third visit was to the Greek Orthodox Pope Theodore II of Alexandria and all Africa, who thanked Pope Tawadros for his visit, and prayed that his papacy would be blessed, since he had become patriarch “while Egypt is undergoing difficult times”.

Father Rafiq Greiche, the spokesman for the Catholic Churches in Egypt, said that Pope Tawadros’s visit was a source of great happiness and blessing, since it confirmed the love and cordial relations between the Churches in Egypt. “The Late Pope Shenouda III,” Fr Rafiq said, “had been used to make this round of Christmas visits, until his health failed the last three years. We are very happy Pope Tawadros has picked the thread and resumed the visits.”

Bishop Kyrillos William said that, even before Pope Tawadros II was chosen as patriarch last November, all the Churches had been invited to pray together with the Coptic Orthodox Church for the Lord to choose a new pope according to His will. “Ever since,” he said, “we feel we are indeed one Church, and that Pope Tawadros is not only the Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox, but is also the spiritual father of the entire Middle East, in his capacity as head of the largest Christian community there.”

For his part, Pope Tawadros said that compassionate relations have always tied the Churches in Egypt, and expressed his personal love and respect to each of them. He asked them all to join in prayer for Egypt, saying that the nativity of Christ should be a message of love to the entire world.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Prefect of Congregation for Eastern Churches Celebrates Year of Faith with Egyptian Christians

Cardinal Leonardo Sandri Emphasizes 'Renewed Missionary Impulse From the Year of Faith"

CAIRO, January 11, 2013 thansk to Zenit.org - Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, met with those responsible of apostolic events in Egypt during his visit to the country to celebrate the Year of Faith with the local Church. Cardinal Sandri spoke to the group in Cairo and commended them on their faithfulness and commitment to the Catholic community in Egypt.

"You are the ones who have made yourselves personally available to serve the Church and you have received the ecclesial task of committing yourselves, in faithfulness and constructive cooperation with pastors, so that the life of the Catholic community in Egypt may know how to efficiently announce the Son of God through sacramental life, catechesis, and charity—especially in charitable aid, in education, and in the concrete and daily service of our many brothers and sisters," the cardinal said.

The Italian prelate commented on the current difficulties faced by Christians in the area, inviting the faithful to not allow the "desert advance in our consciences and our hearts precisely while we are trying to advance the Gospel."

"Do not forget", he continued, "that the Son of God's intense days were preceded and followed by an even more intense dialogue with the Father. Let us also, dear friends, pause at the oasis of Elim spoken of in the book of Exodus so that, despite the serious worries that the present holds for Christians in the Middle East and in your own dear country, our faithfulness may be reinvigorated while embracing the beauty of friendship with God."

Cardinal Sandri went on to describe he meeting in Alexandria with the Egyptian Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Italian prelate also noted the recent construction of a church in Sharm el-Sheikh which he described as "an exception example of Christian charity."

"Many contributed generously: the area's ecclesial community, the Pontifical Representation, and some assistance agencies belonging to ROACO (Reunion of Organizations for Aid to the Oriental Churches) of which the prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is president," Cardinal Sandri said.

"We cannot nor do we want to forget Egypt's secular tradition: the heights of religiousness and culture that it has now and which must be confirmed in the present and the future: a culture ever open to the revelation of God."

"Safeguarding and cultivating the faith," he continued, "in the cultural arena constitutes a privileged part of our pastoral mission and, perhaps, collaboration between the various centers that have for some time inspired the apostolic and missionary activity of this nation should be incentivized."

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches concluded his discourse by entrusting the objectives of the Year of Faith to those responsible for apostolic events. Among the objectives, Cardinal Sandri emphasized a "renewed missionary impulse from the Year of Faith."

"The ability to profess one's own creed must be guaranteed to everyone without exception, and thus also to Christians," he stressed.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Orthodox and Roman Catholic Community Trapped in Small Syrian Village

ALEPPO, January 10, 2013 thanks to Zenit.org  - Close to 1,000 Christians, both Orthodox and Catholic, are trapped in the small village of Yaakoubieh, located in the north of Aleppo. In a report by Fides News Agency, refugees are completely worn out and lack basic necessities, such as food and electricity while dealing with heavy fighting between loyalist forces and opposition groups.

They are unable to leave the village and "are in terrible condition, where they risk extinction," said Fr. François Kouseiffi OFM, a Franciscan friar and pastor of the church of San Francesco in Hamra (Beirut) to Fides. Fr. Kouseiffi deals with the care and assistance of about 500 Syrian refugees.

The refugees have reported to Fr. Kouseiffi the plight of the village of Yaakoubieh, and where many of their relatives are. Before the war there were about 3,000 Christians in the village between Armenians, Orthodox and Catholics, and now almost all have fled. In the village there are Franciscan nuns who, says the friar, share the fate of civilians.

"The situation is very serious. The faithful are trapped. We are trying in every way to help them to come to Lebanon. In past days, some of our emissaries left to go there, but the journey is dangerous and, after more than a day's journey by land, they reached Aleppo. The contacts with the remaining Christians are sporadic. They launched the alarm for their survival. They risk of dying in the general silence," Fr. Kouseiffi said.

The Syrian Christians are paying the price of the destabilization of the country and suffer like other Syrian citizens but, like other minorities, they are the most vulnerable groups. Out of the approximately four million Syrian refugees, the Syrian Christians are about 500 thousand, 25 thousand of which are in Lebanon. In past days, recalls Fr. Kouseiffi, "the wave of frost has made their condition even more difficult: we are in the middle of a humanitarian emergency. They talk about their drama, their hopes, and dreams of a better future for their country."

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Armenian Christian Tradition: History, Doctrine, Spirituality and Liturgy: Lecture Series

Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College


The Revd Dr Nerses Nersessian

30 January to 6 March 2013 

The emergence of Armenia as a Christian state in the first half of the fourth century and the founding of the Armenian Church. 30 January 2013


The Christology of the Armenian Church. The attitude of the Armenian Church to the first eight Ecumenical Councils. 6 February 2013

Contacts and Initiatives for reunion between the Armenian, Greek and Roman Churches. The ecumenical approaches of Nerses IV Klayetsi, called Shnorhali (1102-1173) and Nerses Lambronatsi (1152--‐1198). 20 February 2013


The Armenian Church under the political authority of Ottoman Turkey, Tsarist Russia, and the Soviet Union. 27 February 2013
The meaning of the Divine Liturgy for the Armenian Christians.
Followed by a celebration of the Armenian Divine Liturgy in the Chapel of Maria Assumpta Convent by kind permission of the Sisters and reception hosted by the Centre for Eastern Christianity and the Armenian community. 6 March 2013


Free admission. No registration required. Nearest tube: High Street Kensington.
4.30pm - 6.00pm in the Marie Eugenie Room