A tribute to Father Hamel, Catholic Martyr of France. 


At that time, our Beloved Lord has saith: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” ‭‭St Matthew‬ ‭24:9‬ ‭

We here at HolySynergy are very saddened by the death of the beloved Father Jacques Hamel of Saint Étienne-du-Rouvray, France. By the hands of infidels in whom belonged to the cult of ISIS, he was be headed for the Holy Catholic Faith. Therefore, we pray the following prayers: 

Remember, O Lord, those that have departed this life, the Catholic kings and queens, princes and princesses, most holy universal supreme pontiffs and patriarchs, most reverent metropolitans, bishops and archbishops, those in priestly and clerical orders of the Church, those in priestly and clerical orders of the Church, and those that have served Thee in the monastic order, and grand them rest with the saints in Thine eternal tabernacles. (Sign of the Cross and bow) 

Remember, O Lord, the souls of Thy departed servant Father Father Jacques Hamel, and forgive him for his transgressions, both voluntarily and involuntarily, granting him the kingdom and a portion of Thine eternal good things, and delight of Thine endless and blessed life. (Sign of the Cross and bow) 

Remember, O Lord, also all our fathers and brethren, and sisters, and those that lie here, and all Catholic Christians that departed in the hope of the resurrection and life eternal, and settle them with Thy Saints, where the light of Thy countenance shall visit them, and have mercy on us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. (Sign of the Cross and bow)

Grant, O Lord, remission of sins to all of our fathers, brethren, and sisters that have departed before us in the faith and hope of the resurrection, and make their memory to be eternal. (Sign of the cross and bow)

It is truly meet to bless thee, the Theotokos, and ever blessed and most blameless, and mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and far more glorious than the Seraphim, who without corruption gave birth to God the Word, the very Theotokos, thee do we magnify. 

Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, both now and forever unto ages of ages. Amen. 

Love Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy, Lord Have Mercy! O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, for the sake of the prayers of Thy most pure mother, and our holy and God bearing fathers and all the saints, have mercy on us. Amen. 

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The forgotten Russian Orthodox converts to the Catholic Church

“For Faith is the beginning and the end is love, and God is the two of them brought into unity. After these comes whatever else makes up a Christian gentleman.” –St. Ignatius of Antioch

A close friend and brother of our blog has recently asked us if there were any converts to the Catholic Church from the Russian Orthodox Church. After taking a look at history, we have found a significant amount of converts. That being said, we can only name a few because of the high percentage of converts to the Catholic Church from the Russian Orthodox Church. Considering that one of our admins are Russian Catholic, we would like to dedicate this post to him.  Let’s take a look at the inspiring souls that have even risked being persecuted for the Church because of their conversion.

1. Vladimir Vladimirovich Abrikosov

Vladimir Abrikosov, following his wife a year later, converted to the Catholic Church in 1909 after leaving the Russian Orthodox Church. On May 29th of 1917, Vladimir Abrikosov had taken part in the council of the Russian Greek Catholic Church and was ordained a priest of the Church in the Byzantine Rite by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. 

Following his ordination, he was appointed as the rector of the local Moscow Greek Catholic parish and the head of the Dominicans within the area. In 1920 – 1922, Father Abrikosov has held a meeting in which has taken place between both Catholic and Russian Orthodox representatives within his home.

 By the grace of God and the influence of Father Vladimir, he has converted former Russian Orthodox Dmitriy Vladimirovich Kuz’min-Karavaev to the Catholic Church, causing Father Vladimir to be arrested and threatened with a sentence to death by the Russian government due to it being “counter revolutionary” on the 17th of August, 1922. 

After the punishment has been examined by the government officials, it was later terminated and Father Vladimir was instead sentenced with perpetual exile, causing him to be expelled from Russia, his native land. Even though he was expelled from the land of Russia, he has built contacts with Russian Catholic officials within Rome due to the persecution of Greek Catholics within the Soviet Union. In the name year, Father Vladimir has obtained an audience within the presence of His Holiness Pope Pius XI to discuss the situation of the Russian Catholic Church in regards to its persecution. 

Later, Father Vladimir was recognized as an official member of the Congregation for Eastern Churches and procurator of the Russian Exarchate. However, he was unfortunately slandered by a Russian officer, that being Baron Igor von der Launitz, in whom was hostile towards Roman Catholic Bishop Michel d’Herbigny.

 After Launitz’s extradition from Italy, Abrikosov continued his work to abolish the Russian Exarchate when he left Rome to establish himself in Paris. from the contacts with Russian immigrants, Abrikosov remained in solitude. He died on 22 July 1966. 

2. Igor Akulov
Ignor Akulov was born to a family of Russian orthodox peasant farmers in the year of 1897 on April 13th. He graduated from a technical high school and later became a telephone clerk at the Moscow Saint Petersburg’s Railway. During the Russian Civil War, he served the Red Army as a non combative soldier. On July 2, 1921 he was tonsured as a Russian orthodox monk with the name of Brother Epiphany. After meeting with Exarch Leonid Fyodorov, and under his influence Brother Epiphany Akulov began attending Eastern Rite Catholic Liturgies, and in the summer of 1922 was received into the Russian Catholic Church. In 1921, he was ordained as an Eastern Catholic priest by Archbishop Jan Cieplak. After August 1922 he was the Pastor of the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Descent of the Holy Ghost in Petrograd. 

After the closings of the Catholic Churches within his area, he secretly served the church in his apartment. On November 23, he was arrested along with other priests, however, not within the same area. He was accused of the Catholic counter-revolutionary organization. 19 May 1924 was sentenced to 10 years in prison, was in political prison near the Irkutsk. In 1927 released early and sent into exile. In 1933 he was freed from exile, he served in various churches in St. Petersburg. Akulov was a good preacher, preached in Russian. 

In 1935, he was again arrested for a short time. On the 26th July, 1937 he was arrested, sentenced to death on August 25, 1937, and was later executed on August 27. He was buried at Levashovo Mass Grave in St. Petersburg.

3. Nikolai Alexandrov

Nikolai Alexandrov was born in 1884 in Moscow. He graduated from the Moscow Technical School as an engineer-technologist. From 1912 he worked in Germany as an engineer in the company of Siemens-Schuckert. While in Germany Alexandrov converted to Catholicism from Russian Orthodoxy, his religion by birth. 

Since July 1913, after his return to Moscow he worked in city government, with the 1914 charge tramway workshops, with 1917 worked as an engineer. Nikolai Abrikosov joined to the Greek Catholic community, helped the abbot came to his father, Vladimir Abrikosov. In 1918 he was arrested “in the case of the White Guard organization”, but was released on December 27. After that he became a monk taken the name Peter.

 In August 1921, on the recommendation of Vladimir Abrikosov, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Jan Cieplak,[1] and was later appointed deputy by Exarch Leonid Fyodorov in the event of his arrest. Since September 1922 after his father, Vladimir Abrikosov was sent abroad, headed the Moscow community of Greek-Catholics.

 He was arrested in Moscow in the night from 12 to 13 November 1923 for grouping business of Russian Catholics. On May 19, 1924 he was sentenced under articles 61 and 66 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to 10 years in prison. Sent to Solovki prison camp, first on the island of Conde, in the summer of 1925 Abrikosov was transferred to the central island. 

In the spring of 1929, together with Leonid Fyodorov made Easter liturgy, which led to his transfer to the Anzer island. Soon he was sent to Belbaltlag the station Bear Mountain. In 1934 he was released but the ban stay in 6 major cities and border areas within 3 years. Settled in Dmitrov, Moscow region, Abrikosov worked as an engineer, however performed secret services in his apartment. In 1935 he was arrested in Dmitrov, and on December 29 was sentenced to 5 years in labor camps. Sent to the Solovki prison camp, Father Nikolai Abrikosov died here on 29 May 1936.

For more information on Russian orthodox converts to Catholicism: http://rumkatkilise.org/necplus.htm

St. Maximilian Kolbe, guilt of sin, and the Theotokos


“Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…
My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.
In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.
The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.
If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.”

Separate parts of the Byzantine Rite Liturgy


The Proskomedia (from the Greek προσκομιδή, “offering”), sometimes referred to as prothesis (from the Greek πρόϑεσις, “setting forth”) or proskomide, is the Office of Oblation celebrated by the priest prior to the Divine Liturgy during which the bread and wine are prepared for the Eucharist. 

The Proskomedia is a prerequisite for the Divine Liturgy. The priest conducts the Office of Oblation behind the Iconostasis at the Table of oblation or Table of Preparation (also Prothesis, or sometimes Proskomide) that is located to the left of the Altar Table. Proskomedia, when translated to English, means “preparation.”

The Prothesis (Table of Oblation) represents the cave of Bethlehem where our Lord and Savior was born. Originally, the Prothesis was located in the same room as the altar table, being simply a smaller table placed against the eastern wall to the north of the altar table. 

During the reign of the Emperor Justin II, the Prothesis came to occupy its own separate chamber to the north of the altar, in a separate apse, and joined to the altar by a door way. 

Another apse was added on the south side for the Diaconicon. From this time on many large Byzantine Parishes were built with three apses on the eastern end of the church building. However, most smaller churches continued to be built having only one apse containing the altar, the Prothesis and the Diaconicon.

The Chalice with the Diskos and Star

The bread and wine are prepared for the liturgy on the Prothesis. The chalice and a round plate on a stand called the diskos or paten that holds the bread are kept on this table. 

These vessels are normally decorated with iconographic engravings, Christian symbols, and the sign of the cross. The top of each loaf is impressed with a seal bearing the sign of the cross.

The Greeks usually use one large loaf for the Liturgy of Preparation, with a large round seal on it inscribed not only with the square seal (from which the Lamb will be taken), but also markings indicating where the portions for the Theotokos, the Ranks, the Living and Dead will be removed. 

Those churches which follow Slavic usage will typically use five small loaves, recalling the five loaves from which Christ fed the multitude (John 6:5-14). Normally all will be stamped with a small square seal, though special seals for the Theotokos are sometimes used.

Also on this table is a special liturgical knife, symbolically called the spear, that is used for cutting the eucharistic bread (prosphora) and a liturgical spoon for administering holy communion to the people. 

There are also special covers for the chalice and diskos and a cruciform piece of metal called the asterisk or star that holds the cover over the eucharistic bread on the diskos. A sponge and cloths for drying the chalice after the liturgy are also usually kept here. 

The Prothesis is decorated in a manner similar to that of the altar table. Above the Prothesis may be found various icons, often one of Christ praying in Gethsemene: “Let this cup pass…”

The incensation of the congregation and the iconostasis. “They will teach your people to obey your Law; They will offer sacrifices on your altar.”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭33:10

Little Entrance
The Little Entrance is the procession of the clergy to the altar led by the Book of the Gospels. It sometimes called the “Small” or “First” Entrance.

Procession

If the priest is serving the Divine Liturgy alone, without a bishop, the Little Entrance is made by the clergy circling the altar table and then to the middle of the church with the Gospel Book. Then he enters the altar through the royal doors of the iconostasis accompanied by the hymn of Entrance.

If the bishop is celebrating, the Gospel Book is brought out to him in the center of the church, in the midst of the people, where he has been standing from the beginning of the liturgy. This is led by the deacon (who holds the Gospel Book in the procession), and is followed by priests in order of rank.

Meaning

In the Little Entrance, the movement of the entire Church, through its Head Jesus Christ in the person of the celebrant (and in the Gospel Book the celebrant is holding), to the altar, which symbolizes the Kingdom of God, can be seen.

But dwelling on this “historical-representational symbolism” can lead to a separation of the clergy and the laity and a resulting misinterpretation of the two groups from full participants in the common action to performers and audience.

History

Originally, the Little Entrance marked the beginning of the service, but it is now preceded by various Litanies and Psalms. It was a way the bring the Gospel Book from where it was kept to the service.

Apostolos

The Apostolos is the liturgical book containing the various Apostolic Readings as are appointed by the lectionary (just like the daily readings in the Roman Missal).  

The letters from Apostles to Christians in the New Testament are often referred to as Epistles, such as 1 Corinthians and the book of Romans. Also in this book, are the Prokeimenon and Alleluia Verses for each reading. 

Another form of the book is the complete Acts and Epistles with an index of the readings, and with the proper introduction, such as “Brethren…” or “In those days…”.

Liturgical use
In the context of the Divine Liturgy or other liturgical service, the epistles refer more specifically to a particular passage from a New Testament epistle, or from the Acts of the Apostles, that is scheduled to be read on a certain day or at a certain occasion. The liturgical book itself often has the readings arranged in three parts according to the Byzantine liturgical year: the Pascha season, the weeks after Pentecost, and the season of pre-Lenten, Great Lent, and Holy Week.

Great Entrance:

The Great Entrance is one of the two processions in the liturgical life of the Church. Like the Little Entrance, the Great Entrance generally originated in times when functions now concentrated in the sanctuary, such as the proskomedia and the storage of liturgical vessels, were segregated into separate architectural elements and the procession was needed to bring these objects into the church.

Performance:

The Great Entrance occurs at a later point during the Divine Liturgy when the bread and wine to be offered are carried from the Table of oblation, located at the north side of the sanctuary (sometimes occupying its own apse), out the North Door and back through the Holy Doors to be placed on the altar. 
This entrance interrupts the Cherubic Hymn and is accompanied by a series of intercessions formulated according to the customs of the jurisdiction.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, celebrated on Wednesdays and Fridays during Great Lent, and is a Vespers service combined with the distribution of Holy Communion that had been consecrated the previous Sunday. 

The Great Entrance is performed not with bread prepared for the offering but with bread that has already been consecrated, and in complete silence and subdued reverence.

Epiclesis
In the Epiclesis (or epiklesis), God’s Holy Spirit is called on to come down “upon us and upon these gifts” (the bread and wine), so that they may become “truly the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” . A distinction is usually made between the invocation over the people (called a ‘communion’ epiclesis) and the one over the Gifts of bread and wine (called a ‘consecratory’ epiclesis). This is the main supplication in the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Divine Liturgy: 
The Catholic Church believes, that the Holy Spirit is always “everywhere present and fills all things.” The invocation of the Holy Spirit at the Divine Liturgy is the solemn affirmation that everything in life which is positive and good is accomplished by the Spirit of God.
During the Epiclesis, the people join their hearts to the words and actions of the priest as he petitions God to make these gifts holy. The bread and wine offered in remembrance of Christ, are the gifts to be changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The prayer:
The form of the epikleses vary from anaphora to anaphora. The consecratory epiclesis of the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is as follows:
Again we offer unto Thee this reasonable and bloodless worship, and we ask Thee, and pray Thee, and supplicate Thee: Send down Thy Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here offered.
And make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ. (Amen)
And that which is in this cup, the precious Blood of Thy Christ. (Amen)

Making the change by the Holy Spirit. (Amen, Amen, Amen )
That these gifts may be to those who partake for the purification of soul, for remission of sins, for the communion of the Holy Spirit, for the fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven; for boldness towards Thee, and not for judgment or condemnation. 


Repost: A prayer to Saint Josaphat. 


St. Josaphat Kuntsevych was a Ukrainian (Greek Catholic) archbishop. He labored in Polotsk for the reunion of the separated brethren with the Catholic Church. His untiring zeal caused his premature death. On Nov. 13, 1623 he was killed by the enemies of the reunion. 

O Saint Josaphat, wonderful Saint and heroic martyr for the union of our Church with the Vicar of Christ, the Pope of Rome. Thou are glorious on account of thy zeal in the propagation of the true Catholic faith among our people. Thou art wonderful because of thy heroic martyrdom for the unity of faith of our people with the Holy See of Rome, the true center of orthodox Catholicism.

Thou art admirable on account of thy sublime virtues with which thou has adorned thy soul. We admire thy ardent love for Jesus and Mary and thy allegiance to the Vicar of Christ. Thou art a sublime example of all virtues for the people of whom thou wert born. 

Since thou art so powerful with God as thy miracles prove, I ask thee to obtain for me from Jesus and Mary a strong attachment to the Catholic faith and my beautiful Eastern Rite which I shall never betray nor abandon. 

Obtain also the grace of indefatigable zeal that I may labor for the reunion of my separated Eastern Brethren.

O glorious martyr of our Catholic Church, remember the nation of which thou wert a son, look at our people and pray to God for future reunion of all Ukrainians under one fold and one shepherd. 

May the day come soon in which all thy Brethren will assemble before thy holy relics in a free and independent Ukraine to give thanks to God for the union of all Ukrainians with the Holy See. Amen.

(Excerpted from pages 126-127 of the Ukrainian Rite prayerbook, My Divine Friend by Rev. Michael Schudlo, CSSR. Published 1959 Imprimi Potest: Vladimir Malanchuk, CSSR. Vice-Provincial No. 596, May 25, 1958. Nihil Obstat: Basil Makuch, STD, PhD. Censor Episcopalis. Imprimatur: Constantine Archbishop Metropolitan Philadelphia, August 1, 1958 No. 767/52M.)

Repost: http://holyunia.blogspot.com/2011/06/prayer-to-st-josaphat-kuntsevych.html?m=1