News from St. Petersburg


Dear friends!

Allow me to share with you the great joy, God gifted us here, in St. Petersburg.

Today our community first time had a Byzantine Catholic Liturgy, served with us in St. Petersburg. The Liturgy was offered for us by Fr. Sergij Golovanov, who visited St. Petersburg in order to take part in a "Caritas" conference here.

For us it was a great grace of God and a real gift. The Liturgy were served in St. Petersburg Franciscan monastery, which kindly allowed Fr. Sergij and us to use their Chapel for Liturgy. May God reward them for it with the abundance of His grace!! There were about eight participants only - because it was unable to give a public information about the Liturgy in the current circumstances. But anyway it was a historical event for our community in St. Petersburg.

Of course our singing during th Liturgy was quite discordant sometimes - because we hadn't enough possibility to practice our liturgical singing before. But our hearts were risen towards the God, Christ, our Lord and glory of His Resurrection - and this is the main, because it's not the voice that is the most important when we praise God, but our prayerful hearts.

The Liturgy was served in honour of Blessed Leonid Feodorov, Exarch-Martyr of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church. I believe that was the first Liturgy in honour of him, served in His city, St. Petersburg. The readings for the day were so suitable to the situation, as they were especially planned by the Providence for us. Let me allow you the quotations from the readings. The Gospel read was from Mark. (9:10 etc.). "So they kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant. And they asked Him, saying, 'Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?' Then He answered and told them: 'Indeed, Elijah is coming first and restores all things. And how is it written concerning the Son of Man, that He must suffer many things and be treated with contempt? But I say to you that Elijah has also come, and they did to him whatever they wished, as it is written of him'"

Of course, thoughts about the prophetic mission and suffering of Blessed Leonid Feodorov came to mind, and the resurrection of the Russian Church from what seemed to be her death. And also the Apostle was very important and so inspiring in our today's situation: "Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him'. Be we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. Now, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony…" (Heb. 10:35 ff).

Well, through this reading, I'm sure, God encouraged us in our "praxis", in faith and our work - and promised His grace for the Russian Church and the fullfiling of our hope.

In his sermon, Fr. Sergij told about Blessed Leonid Feodorov and his martyrdom - his life, that seemed empty and fruitfulness in the eyes of the world - but so glorious before God. He said also, that we should care about the fulfilling the will of God - and that the external success is not that important in this case - because it's not external success brings us to God, but grace and peace He gives to our souls. And also he said about how great is this grace - to serve a Liturgy here in St. Petersburg and what a gift from God for us - because many generation of Russian Catholics and Russian Catholic Priests hoped and prayed for they could participate in the Liturgy in Russia - but it didn't occur - and to us God is giving this grace completely free - and also, answering their warm hope and prayers.

After the Liturgy, Fr. Sergij said that it was a big grace for him also to serve for us - and that it's wonderful, that we could gather a group of faithful having practically nothing but faith and love - no money, no support of the power of this world.

Please, keep us in your prayer, and ask God, that one day, when God wishes it, we could have a regular Russian Byzantine Catholic Liturgy here in St. Petersburg and in other cities of Russia, and more Russian Catholic priests and faithful gathered around them.

With love and prayer,



Dear friends of Russian Byzantine Catholics! This newsletter was written by Feodor Petrov (E-mail: on behalf of the Community of St. Archangel Michael (St. Petersburg, Russia) and of the Society of the Mother of God of Vladimir. It can be freely distributed and printed anywhere providing no changes are made in the text. Please, if you reprint this, save this note at least as a footnote.

Russian Catholics in St. Petersburg, Russia

Several members of the Community of St. Michael Archangel in the "forest chapel" during the camping this summer.

Some news and needs.

1) Community of St. Michael Archangel in St. Petersburg

New community of Russian Byzantine Catholics was founded in St. Petersburg, Russia. St. Petersburg is a city with a very important role in the history of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church. Here was born and served the first Exarch of Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, Leonid (Leontiy) Feodorov, recently beatified by Pope John Paul II during his pilgrimage to Ukraine. We Russian Byzantine Catholics believe that through his prayers, our Church will grow and develop. As always, blood and sufferings of martyrs, confessors and witnesses of Christ, become a fruitful seed of faith. Today living in Russia in very difficult circumstances, we praise God for all things - and pray for the revival of our Church.

Informally, the Community of Russian Byzantine Catholics has existed for about a year. On Friday, September 14th, 2001 (which is September 1st - and the beginning of the Byzantine Liturgical Year according to the old style calendar) the community met and, after a prayer, assumed St. Michael Archangel as its heavenly patron and passed a Statute of the Community. There's no Russian Byzantine Parish in St. Petersburg, so, under canon law, the Community exists as the private association of faithful. It doesn't have a priest associated with it (because there are no serving Byzantine Catholic priests in St. Petersburg).

Our Community isn't big. It has about 7 to 10 members for the moment, and also some friends, some of whom are Orthodox Christians. Most of the members are former members of the Russian Orthodox Church, who came to the conviction that the fullness of orthodoxy can't be achieved outside communion with the bishop of Rome as the Heir of St. Peter.

The Statute of Community determines several aims, such as: - to support the members of the Community in their wish and duty to live in accordance with Byzantine Catholic tradition - to assist members of the Community in their religious education - to participate in the religious life of Byzantine Rite Catholics in Russia and abroad and to contribute to its development - to contribute to the studying of the rich spiritual heritage of Russian Byzantine Catholics, as well as the heritage of the whole Byzantine Rite and the whole Catholic Church. - to promote the canonical foundation of the Byzantine Catholic Parish in St. Petersburg, when it becomes possible

As the community doesn't have its own place, we gather for prayer in the private flats of our members whenever possible. This causes great difficulties with the development of our mission, as most of our members are young people and most of their families are atheistic or indifferent, so it's hard to find a place for meeting sometimes. While we don't have a priest with us, we use several forms of Byzantine prayer reader-services, intended for such circumstances. Members of the Community keep contact with several Byzantine priests in Russia and abroad (in Ukraine and overseas).

We urgently need prayer support and help from our brothers and sisters in faith. Some of our material needs are listed below. The community can be reached through e-mail: and

NB: There is a strange website on the Internet - - where it states that it's the site of the Community of Blessed Leonid Feodorov in St. Petersburg. We don't know anything about this community and have never heard of its existence nor its members. We are the only Byzantine Catholic Community in St. Petersburg as far as we know. Please DO NOT associate us with this site.

2) The Society of The Mother of God of Vladimir

During their first official meeting (and after consultations with Fr. Sergij Golovanov from Omsk, Russia) some members of our Community founded the Society of the Mother of God of Vladimir for the Support of the Russian Orthodox-Catholic Movement. "Orthodox-Catholic" is one of the historical terms for our Byzantine Catholic Church used in the times of Blessed Leonid Feodorov.

This Society is a civil organisation (that legally acts without state registration for the moment). Each person who has the desire and the opportunity, can participate in its work and activities (with the consent of the Society) - so it is not intended as a regional organisation or community. We heartily invite all people of good will, who share our faith and heritage, or just understand our aims and sympathise with them, to participate in our work for God and Russian Byzantine Catholics and to support it.

Investigating the current state of Byzantine Catholic communities and individuals in Russia, we can see some things that bring suffering to them. Most noticeable is the lack of different information and mutual support - as well as some other problems. The Society of the Mother of God of Vladimir was founded in order to make at least the most humble contribution to the solution of this problems. The Society is a voluntary organisation which doesn't claim any authority or right to speak on behalf of the Church - its intention is only to become the humble servant of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church in her present difficult situation, uniting efforts of volunteers, enthusiasts and friends of our Church.

The Statute of the Society describes its aim as "to provide support for the development of the Russian Orthodox-Catholic Movement".

In order to achieve this aim through its many activities, the Society:

- gathers and spreads information concerning the Russian Orthodox-Catholic Movement

- makes contacts with the participants of this Movement and other religious and social organisations

- runs conferences, meetings etc, concerning the Russian Orthodox-Catholic Movement, its study and development. - assists those interested in getting necessary information about Orthodox-Catholic Movement - assists Byzantine Catholics (especially in Russia) in realization of their lawful religious rights and freedoms - assists Byzantine Catholics (in Russia) in seeking necessary financial and other help in Russia and abroad Let us describe several activities planned by the Society (some are already in progress): - to make contacts with all Communities of Russian Byzantine Catholics in Russia and abroad, and with the friends of our Church and fellow Byzantine Catholics - to collect information connected with Russian Byzantine Catholics - canonical, historical, legal, liturgical and practical - to support (morally and by proper consultations) those Byzantine Catholics, whose civil and religious rights and freedoms were unlawfully broken - to provide those Byzantine Catholics anywhere who wish, with the help of God, to start a new community (where there isn't any) with the priests' contact information; liturgical texts necessary for reader-services; canonical, legal and practical information necessary for the beginning of the community, etc. - when possible, to promote Russian Byzantine Catholic studies - to promote the Byzantine devotions, especially the devotion to new martyrs of our Church - Blessed Leonid Feodorov and Blessed Clementiy Sheptitsky. Let us present for you some current projects of the Society: a) Collecting historical information and news We're working on collecting as much information as possible concerning our Church, its history, news and events. If you have any documents, photos, magazines, articles or books (especially old ones), concerning the history of our Church, please contact us! We urgently need a copy of any materials you may have - for historical studies and for the memory of the future generations of Russian Byzantine Catholics. We also would highly appreciate it if you could send us your personal memories about our Church history here and abroad (maybe you were witness to some things or knew someone who narrated to you about them). Please take time to write them down - they can have a great historical, and also spiritual, value. We would highly appreciate any kind of help in collecting these materials. Please also send us news about the events in the life of your Russian Byzantine Community, Parish or Family. This information can be important for the writing of the current history of our Church. b) Russian Byzantine Catholic Magazine - "The Word of Truth" From 1903 to 1918, a magazine was published in St. Petersburg called "The Word of Truth" ("Slovo Istiny"). That magazine was published by Russian Byzantine Catholics for themselves and those who were interested. The work of this magazine was supported by Blessed Leonid Feodorov, Exarch of the Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, and several of his articles were published there. There were 68 issues of "The Word of Truth" published until it was closed in 1918. In the years 1997-2000, Fr. Sergij Golovanov, Russian Byzantine Priest from Omsk (Siberia), published a small bulletin called "Primireniye" ("Reconciliation") that was printed in extremely small quantities and sent personally to several people. At the moment, this bulletin is on hold because Fr. Sergij is too busy with his pastoral work. This means that at the moment, Russian Byzantine Catholics in Russia don't have their own magazine or newspaper - something which would be very helpful during times of difficulty or lack of proper information. The Society of Our the Mother of God of Vladimir decided to revive "The Word of Truth". We plan to start publishing a small magazine in Russian under this same title, as a newsletter of "Russian Orthodox Christians in communion with the See of Rome". We regard the reviving of this magazine as a necessary contribution to the revival of our Church - and also as an act of honour and devotion to Blessed Leonid Feodorov. The new "Word of Truth" would continue the traditions of the old magazine and also of the bulletin published by Fr. Sergij (with his consent), who agreed to be the Church Consultant of the new magazine. "The Word of Truth" plans to publish several articles from the old issues of the magazine (some of them have remained quite topical), and also publish new articles written by Byzantine Catholics and their friends - as well as information about Byzantine Catholics in Russia and their news. The old issues of the magazine are available in the Public Library at St. Petersburg (we only need some finances to copy them for editorial needs). As the situation in Russia is very difficult, it would be impossible for the magazine to survive without donations from the friends of our Church. It's quite likely we'll have to distribute the magazine to most of its Russian readers for free. So, we ask you for help and support (and also invite you to offer us your articles and materials). The magazine, as we plan it, would be published in black and white. It would have about 32 pages (the old one has 16) and would be published quarterly in the beginning (the old one was monthly). We're going to start with a small number of copies - about 250 (increasing it if the need arises). Provided we follow this plan exactly, total costs for printing one issue would be about US$60. The distribution of the magazine might also cost us some money. We also plan to publish at least some materials from the magazine on the net, for free reading and using. We are currently working on the first issue and hope to publish it by the end of the year 2001. c) Building a Website for the Society We also plan to build a website for the Society, where we hope to place a lot of information, necessary for Russian Byzantine Catholics, including: - Russian Byzantine Catholic news and events reports (including informal information) - Books and articles about the history and spirituality of our Church, its current situation, its theology, Liturgy, Saints etc. - Liturgical texts (needed for reader-services if there is no priest available) with the necessary explanations on their use. - Articles from our magazine "The Word of Truth" - Reviews of new books - General and contact information about existing communities and priests - in Russia and elsewhere. In short, we hope to build a Russian Byzantine Catholic Treasury online, where Russian Byzantine Catholics can find all the possible information they need. The organisation in USA, called CathTech, already provided us with the domain name and space for this site. We're working on it and preparing materials we have for publishing there. We also plan to start a mailing-list in Russian, connected with this site, that would be a pre-moderated mailing-list for Russian Byzantine Catholic news, articles etc. d) New books and materials There's a need for books and other materials for developing the Russian Byzantine Catholic Mission. The number of existing books is small and some of them were published long ago and are rare or out of print. We plan to collaborate with the authors, work on the writing or translating new books and materials, and prepare old ones for reprinting. Then we will try to find sponsors for publishing these books and materials, with the help of God. We invite all who can help in this work to co-operate and collaborate with us. 3) Invitation to contact and to participate If you're a Russian Byzantine Catholic or a friend of Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, please contact us. We would be happy to communicate with you. You're welcome to participate in our work, if you share the aims of our Society. We ask all Russian Byzantine Catholic Parishes and Communities (in Russia and abroad) to get in touch with us and to send us their news and contact information. 2) Urgent needs of the Community of St. Michael Archangel and the Society of the Mother of God of Vladimir. We urgently need your moral support and prayers. We started all our work only because we believe it's necessary for our Church in the present situation. Most of us here, in Russia, are very poor - so we started out only with the support of some priests and friends - and our trust in God. Please support us, first of all, with your prayers. Then we're in great financial need - we need your help and financial support if we are to survive and work further. The Community of St. Michael Archangel doesn't have any place to gather for prayer. It causes great difficulties, especially in developing its mission and in educational work. At the moment we gather for prayer in our flats, where it's impossible to arrange a proper place for common prayers (and - if any priest could visit us here - for Liturgy). We hope to rent a flat, when it becomes possible - it costs about US$160 per month (for a one-room flat). We would use it for prayers, educational work, and also as an office place for the Society of the Mother of God of Vladimir and for welcoming visitors from other cities, when necessary. We would be very grateful to anyone who could help us to obtain a home for our Community. We also need, as has been mentioned, financial support for our magazine "The Word of Truth" - about US$60 for publishing one issue (and some money for copying old issues). There are other urgent financial needs - liturgical books, postage for foreign letters, etc). There are also some non-financial needs. We urgently need the English edition of the Code of Canons of Eastern Churches. It can be obtained through the Internet, but we don't have any money for it. We would be very thankful if anyone could buy and send it to us (and, possibly, other books on Eastern Catholic Canon Law). Please e-mail us before you buy it (because someone could send us a copy before you). We would be thankful also for any Eastern CATHOLIC ikons and books (for it's not a problem here to buy any Russian Orthodox books and ikons). If you can send us such things - we would use them for the aims of our Society - or would pass them to other Russian Byzantine Catholics who need it. 5) Contacts and accounts

Both the Community and the Society can be contacted by e-mail: OR

You're welcome to e-mail us with your prayer requests. We'll remember you and your needs during our prayer meetings.

Postal Address: poste restante for Drakunova Anna Mikhailovna, St. Petersburg, 194354, Russia

If possible, please e-mail us before you send something by post — because our postal address may change at any time. We can also provide you with a more reliable postal address — but at the moment we can do it only on a personal basis, at your request, because of some existing circumstances.

Bank account:

1) HSBC Bank USA (New York) 452 5th Avenue Floor 5, New York, USA SWIFT: MRMDUS33, acc. 000303402 Alfa-Bank for St. Petersburg branch acc. 30301.840.700000001031 in favor of account number D-2807, Drakunova Anna Mikhailovna, transfer aim: gift (or donation for educational purposes)

2) Chase Manhattan Bank (New York) 4 New York Plaza Floor 15, New York, USA, SWIFT: CHASUS33, acc. 400927098 Alfa-Bank for St. Petersburg branch acc. 30301.840.700000001031 in favor of account number D-2807, Drakunova Anna Mikhailovna, transfer aim: gift (or donation for educational purposes)

3) BANKERS TRUST CO SWIFT:BKTRUS33 acc. 04415617 Alfa-Bank for St. Petersburg branch acc. 30301.840.700000001031 in favor of account number D-2807, Drakunova Anna Mikhailovna, transfer aim: gift (or donation for educational purposes)

NOTE: Please DO write what is written above as "transfer aim" - because it will make your donation tax deductible here.

Please e-mail us, if possible, before sending money. We would then know about your donation and can collect it here. Also you can indicate in the e-mail the exact aim of your donation. If you wish, at your request, we will send you a full report of how your donation was used.

Thank you very much for your help in this difficult situation.

Glory to God for all things.

Feodor Petrov (,
Russia St. Petersburg
October 15, 2001