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Eastern Christians celebrate "Bright Week"



(Vatican Radio) This week is “Bright Week” – the week of the Easter Octave – for millions of Eastern Christians who celebrate the Paschal Mysteries according to the Julian Calendar.

At the Regina Coeli on Sunday, Pope Francis greeted those who are celebrating Easter this week. “I wish to send to these brothers and sisters a special greeting,” he said, “uniting myself to them with all my heart in proclaiming the joyful news: Christ is risen!” He prayed especially for those celebrating Easter amid “trials and sufferings,” praying that the Holy Spirit would give them “counsel and consolations” and guide them “in the ways of peace and reconciliation.”

Among those celebrating Easter this week are Ukrainian Catholics around the world. Bishop Hlib Lonchyna is the first Eparch of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London. He spoke with us about the celebration of Easter in the Eastern Churches. “The Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukraine celebrates Easter – and all of the liturgical feasts – according to the Julian calendar,” he said. “And here in the west, in Great Britain, France, in Italy, in Germany, and other countries, we continue with this tradition to be in spiritual communion with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine.”

Bishop Lonchyna explained the difference between the two dates for celebrating Easter: “It’s a known fact that the Julian calendar is late by thirteen days in relation to the Gregorian calendar. But with the date of Easter, there can be even greater differences. Sometimes Easter falls on the same Sunday, sometimes it falls a week apart, sometimes it can fall, like this year, even five weeks apart.”

There are many Eastern Christians around the world, he said, including Ukrainians, Russians, Serbians, Greeks, Mekites, Slovaks, Croats, and many others. “We ourselves are Eastern Christians. We are of the Byzantine Rite. . . . Together with the Orthodox, we share the same rite, the same traditions. But together with the Catholics we share the same Faith in the sense that we recognise the Holy Father as the head of the Church.”

Bishop Lonchyna emphasised the what is most important about the celebration of Easter: “I hope that, whenever anybody celebrates Easter, what is the most important is that we do not celebrate this as a historical event only, that happened two thousand years ago, but rather as an event that includes us today. Because not only will we also resurrect thanks to the Resurrection of Christ; but also, the power of the resurrection works in our lives even today, as Christ always raises us up from our sins, from our problems – and we need to be more aware of that. And so that is what I hope and what I hope for all people of good will.”

Listen to the full interview of Bishop Hlib Lonchyna of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Holy Family of London with Christopher Wells: RealAudioMP3




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