Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 9th September, 4pm

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.




Monday, 27 October 2014

Centre for Eastern Christianity - Michaelmas Term Programme

The Centre's programme of lectures for Michaelmas term in about to get under way:

- A Lecture Series on the Armenian Church in history, during the Soviet era and its rebirth post-secularisation

- Christianity in the Middle East - Life and Death of a Tradition? A collaboration with the Las Casas Institute at Blackfriars in Oxford

- Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church

- Oriental Orthodoxy in Dialogue with the Catholic Church: Christology

Please follow the special link to the Centre's page on our site by clicking on the tab above.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Catholic-Orthodox Pastoral Consultation in England

After almost two years of careful preparation, the first meeting of a new pastoral consultation between Orthodox and Catholics in England took place in Oxford in February 2014. It is jointly sponsored by the Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius and the Society of St John Chrysostom, the sister societies for East-West unity founded within a year of each other in the 1920s. The initiative has the blessing of the chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, and of Archbishop Gregorios of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, and Archbishop Elisey of the Russian Orthodox diocese of Sourozh.

Consultation will involve common pastoral concerns, and promote mutual understanding, contact and exchange, including theological dialogue that can contribute to greater unity among the two Churches in the setting of contemporary society in the UK and also disseminate in this country the work of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

At the first meeting, the Consultation looked at the place and education of Orthodox children in Roman Catholic schools, as well as present developments in the international dialogue. The second meeting in London on 29 September 2014 reviewed these discussions, and also began to examine questions of marriage and family life with a view to the forthcoming Synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church.

The lifetime of the Consultation is five years in the first instance and will conclude with a final report. Reports and statements may also be issued along the way.

At the end of their September meeting, the Consultation issued a message of solidarity and support for the Christians and their Churches in Iraq and Syria at the present moment of their suffering, dispersal and witness for the sake of faithfulness to Christ.

The members are:

For the Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius

Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Orthodox Co-Chairman and Patron of the Fellowship)
Archpriest Stephen Platt (Orthodox Co-Secretary and General Secretary of the Fellowship)
Protopresbyter Ian Graham, rector of the Parish of the Holy Trinity, Oxford
Dr Julia Konstantinovsky, University of Oxford (Sister Seraphima, Monastery of St John Baptist, Tolleshunt Knights)
Dr Brandon Gallaher (Lecturer in Theology, University of Exeter)

For the Society of St John Chrysostom
Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham (Catholic Co-Chairman and Patron of the Society)
Father Mark Woodruff (Catholic Co-Secretary and Vice-Chairman of the Society)
Bishop Robert Byrne CO (Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham)
Sister Benedict Gaughan osb (Convenor of the East-West Monastic Meetings at St Mildred’s Priory, Minster Abbey)
Anthony O’Mahony (Director of the Centre for Eastern Christianity, Heythrop College University of London)


Archpriest Stephen Platt
Fr Mark Woodruff
Co-Secretaries

29 September 2014





The Plight of the Christians of the Middle East: Message from the Catholic & Orthodox Pastoral Consultation in England, September 2014

The Catholic & Orthodox Pastoral Consultation in England, meeting in London for its 2nd Session, wishes to add its voice of support and union in prayer to the Apostolic Churches of Iraq and Syria, their Patriarchs and all their people, to the message of solidarity in prayer and hope from the 13th Session of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, that met earlier in September in Amman, Jordan.

At the present moment of their suffering, dispersal and witness for the sake of faithfulness to Christ, we pray for their continued growth, strength and enduring presence in the Middle East in peace and safety, as integral members of their societies’ history, identity and future.

Increasingly, these very Churches in diaspora are becoming close to us in England as the Christians of the Middle East seek safety and a future in the West. Already they are forming part of the developing character and shape of the Christian Church in Britain as a whole, not least as we seek the restoration of our unity in the one Body of Christ. To them and to their bishops among us we also extend our heartfelt concern and prayer for the security and deliverance of their families and fellow Church members in their homelands.

Above all we pray for a peace that is just, in which those of all faiths may live in harmony and freedom, Christian refugees can return to restore their Churches, wrongs are put right through mutual and equal respect, enemies reconciled and hope for the future assured.

Fr Mark Woodruff - Archpriest Stephen Platt
Society of St John Chrysostom - Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius
Co-Secretaries
29 September 2014



Note: The Catholic-Orthodox Pastoral Consultation is an initiative to discuss matters of mutual concern and interest, jointly sponsored by the Fellowship of St Alban & St Sergius (www.sobornost.org) and the Society of St John Chrysostom (www.orientalelumen.org.uk), sister societies founded in the 1920s to raise awareness of the Eastern Churches and to work for East-West Church Unity.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Ecumenism in London, or What I Did This Summer | Royal Doors

Some new friends from Canada visited us in the summer, and attended the Divine Liturgy in English at the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. Here is Brent Kostyniuk's story of August's Liturgy, which was attended by a lovely group of iconographers at the end of their study day.



Ecumenism in London, or What I Did This Summer | Royal Doors



Just one slight note of correction: the Eparchy of the Holy Family of London has its own territory, which covers Great Britain, and the Cathedral parish is not a personal parish forming part of the territory of the Latin primatial diocese of Westminster's local deanery; nor is its archbishop the metropolitan for the eparchy. That said, the relations with neighbouring Latin parishes - St James' Spanish Place, the Jesuit Church of Our Lady on Farm Street, and the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham's parish at the Assumption & St Gregory - are excellent.



At Corpus Christi there is a large street procession between Farm Street and Spanish Place and for the first time this year it made a station at the doors of the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral, where the Blessed Sacrament was venerated at a specially erected Holy Table, while prayers in Ukrainian and English offered for Britain and Ukraine, and Benediction in the Latin rite given before the procession made its way. The Ukrainian Cathedral Choir welcomed the Procession and the Blessed Sacrament singing beautiful hymns that moved everyone. It was a remarkable meeting of Christian East and West, marked by the integrity of the two traditions respecting each other at a moment of intense faith and devotion. In 2015, the principal officiant at the Procession will be the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Nichols, assisted by Kyr Hlib Lonchyna the eparchial bishop of the Holy Family eparchy. Kyr Hlib has the distinction of being the first Catholic bishop "of London" since the deposition of Bishop Edmund Bonner in 1559 - not of the Latin but of a Greek-Byzantine Church.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Tone 1, Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, London

The icon depicting the events of this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 5.1-11) shows the Lord standing on the shore of the lake. A crowd presses in on Him and there are too many, too close, for Him to make Himself heard. He sees Peter’s and James & John’s boats, and climbs in while the fishermen are mending their nets. He gets them to put out into the water just far enough, so that everyone can see Him and hear Him easily, using the surface of the lake to convey the sound of His voice.
 
At first, you might have thought He was putting some distance between Himself and the crowd, trying to get away from people’s demands. He has done this before, slipping through the crowds when accusers wanted to attack Him; or sensing someone in the crowd had taken power from Him, when it turned out that the woman with the bleed touched Him for healing.
 
But this is no act of escape. The true meaning of this story is not that He left the people behind on dry land, but that He “entered in”. He entered into a boat and from a vantage point actually turned back toward the crowd to drawn it into His world of the Spirit.
 
“Enter in” – where have we heard that phrase before? Think back to Christmas:
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today..
O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord, Emmanuel.
This story of the Lord, getting into a boat, coming among His people, is a story of the incarnation, of the God of heaven taking human form and voice, to be the Word of God living among humanity. The significance of the boat is that it alludes to another ark – the Ark that preserved God’s creation from the Flood and brought it to salvation. This Ark in turn alludes to the Ark of the Covenant, the throne of the Great King in the Temple, that held both the Law and the presence of God among His people. To us in the Church, both of these are vivid symbols of the Mother of God, who is often referred to as the Ark, on whom sits the Lord as God made Flesh, Emmanuel, God among us, and in Person the very arrival of salvation.
 
So it is that in the Theotokion for today we sing to the Mother of God,
 
“The Master of all became flesh in you, the Holy Ark … you have become wider than the heavens carrying your Creator. Glory to Him Who freed us through birth from you.”
 
We often think of heaven as our destination after life, and the world as the path of struggles we take to it. But truly the Kingdom comes to us here. Christians do not believe in life after death; we believe in eternal life now. “Death has vanished,” we declare, and Eve is “redeemed from bondage now” – now, not at some point in the future. We sing, “You arose … and gave life to the world” – here to the world, not hereafter to its faithful few survivors. This is what the fishermen saw, especially when the Lord told them, in that luminous phrase, to “put out into the deep water”, asking them too, like Him, to “enter in” to something; something now all round them, yet something they had never known to look for before. Because here, in the deep water, is the breadth of the heavens – don’t get confused by the story – carrying not more fish than the nets can haul out of the sea, but hauling out their Creator Whom they cannot contain. Simon Peter beholds what Jesus is, and what he himself is standing before Him, having beheld the deep. Here is humanity, inadequate, failing by its own efforts, frustrated by its limitations, undermined by its shortcomings, sinful and self-defeated. Yet here too is the Creator, Who does not steer clear of what He has made but enters into it.
 
Simon Peter and the sons of Zebedee - the crowds too - have seen the Word of God and heard Him. Just as this Word turn from heaven to face the people, so too these people have been made, by the very entry of God into their midst, to turn round and face themselves in the deep. They experience amazement, but also do not like what they begin to see about themselves. As St Luke puts it, they were filled, but “begin to sink”.
 
Simon Peter’s words speak for us all in the face of the Kingdom of God that constantly comes to us, not as some afterthought to our life on earth, but arriving whenever we too put out into the deep water and attend the Liturgy, say our prayers, or behold the majesty of the Creator and Redeemer set in comparison beside so much suffering and cruel disfigurement of the goodness and beauty He has made in the world and our humanity. Simon Peter, who has ventured beneath the surface of life, says, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man”. We join him at every moment when we say, “Lord, have mercy, Hospodi pomylui, Kyrie eleison”. But Simon Peter’s words are also prophetic, the gift of his realisation of the Kingdom standing before him in Person, that - he has also found - lies within. The Lord has entered in, and Simon Peter has begun to behold the Kingdom of God; so why does he ask the Lord to go away from him? He realises that there is more putting out into the deep to be done. If Jesus does not now go on His way, the fishermen have no way to go either. If Jesus does not move ahead, they have nothing and no one to follow.
 
So Christ enters in, casts out their sin. The boat that almost sank under the weight of a miracle of heaven, is the Ark of Salvation that bears God among us on earth, “born in us today”. The deep water is not in the lake, but the Kingdom of God that would well up from within us and flood us into being a superabundance of the coming of heaven to the world.
 
For it is we who are to be the Resurrection – this is why Christ turns to face us with it, eternal life entering in now, not after. For this the disciples left everything and followed Him. For this we join the heavenly powers crying out, “O Giver of life, glory to Your kingdom; glory to Your saving plan, O only Lover of mankind.”
 
No life else but Christ’s eternal life! No one else but Christ loves us so much as to enter in, cast out our sin and be born in us today. “O Virgin … Glory to Him Who freed us through birth from you.”

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dialogue Goes Forward Says Greek-Catholic Bishop

During his stay at the Council of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic (UGCC) in Poland, which takes place in the city of Przemysl, Bishop Bohdan (Dziurakh), secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC commented for RISU on the recent statement of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate on the latter’s willingness to return to the issue of ‘Uniatism’ within the Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue. This proposal, as reported by Russian media, was put forward by Russian delegation during the last meeting of the Commission in Amman, Jordan.
According to Bishop Bohdan (Dzyurakh), there is always a lot of negativity in trying to raise the issue of so-called ‘Uniatism’: “it is always referred to as a ‘bloody wound on the body of Christianity’ and as something to be done with. I think that such rhetoric has no future, as it suggests that we should do something with a certain group of Christians, or rather do something they cease to exist. This is not a positive proposal, it is not a proposal that may have development and give rise to a good, creative and fruitful dialogue. In order that the dialogue was fruitful and constructive it must take place in love. And love requires respect for the rights of each party concerned.”
Commenting on the possibility of returning to this issue within an official dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox, Bishop Bohdan expressed his conviction that it should be returned to in a positive format rather than negative: “We are inviting to the dialogue to find new formats of unity. Perhaps, the methods that were used 400 years ago now look anachronistic, but the idea of ​​unity does not come either from the Holy See or from a particular group of Christians – this is the commandment of Christ, a gospel postulate. So we have no choice here. For the choice here is to follow Christ, to go to unity or maintain this tragic dissent. I see that the authoritative representatives of the Orthodox Church in the person of the Patriarch of Constantinople understood it and along with the Pope withdrew the mutual anathemas that had emerged as a result of human sinfulness and ambitions.”
“I think that does not make sense to continue the dialogue in polemical manner. For ‘polemics’ comes from ‘polemos’ that means ‘war’ in Greek. In our case, this is war on religious grounds. We should rather seek and offer new models of unity. Regarding the statements of the Moscow Patriarchate representatives to turn back to the issue of ‘Uniatism’ within the theological dialogue. As far as I know, this proposal was not supported by the Commission members. This suggests that those who are looking for true dialogue think in a positive way. And this gives us hope that ecumenical dialogue is moving forwards despite the various difficult moments of crisis,” concluded the Secretary of the Synod of Bishops of the UGCC.

Source: RISU