Ukrainian Orthodox Easter Service II

I posted on this two years ago and it still seems popular so I thought a quick update would be OK.

IMG_0394Still at the church in Rochdale, the same priest Otets Bohdan Matwijczuk  and the same order of service.

IMG_0397After the purification by incense the splash of holy water which the kids think is hilarious.IMG_0400

They seem to love the rituals, lighting the candles beforehand, and receiving chocolates is always a good thing!IMG_0403

For more photos go the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Rochdale Facebook site.


Happy Ukrainian Xmas

Yes today is Xmas Day for Ukrainian, Russian and Greek orthodox believers. 

It’s based on the old Julian calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in AD 46 and discontinued in most countries by 1930 to be replaced by the Gregorian calendar. Eastern Orthodox churches have maintained the old calendar for liturgical purposes.

These pictures are from the service held today in Rochdale, Lancashire. If you’re on Facebook you can see more pictures at Uoc Rochdale.P1030222 P1030221

Religious children are more selfish

world_religions_1600_wht_8904This may seem counter-intuitive as you might expect people with strong religious beliefs to be “better” people.

However a study carried out by the University of Chicago of children around the world aged 5 to 12 found that children brought up in a religious families were more selfish than those from atheist or agnostic ones. And the more they went to their place of worship, be it church or mosque, the more selfish they were.

The study used a test of altruism and involved sharing stickers with anonymous children in their school. The idea was to test the notion that being religious has positive associations with self-control and moral behaviours. Jean Decety, the lead author of the study, says this view is so deeply embedded that in some countries e.g. the USA, not being religious can make you a morally suspect person.

While Jesus may have believed in the social benefits of sharing in this study it was the non-believers who demonstrated the principle not his followers. Furthermore muslim children were more likely to believe that when their peers transgressed they should receive more punitive punishments.

This research fits with earlier studies which showed that religious people were the most selfish.

Why should this be the case? One view is that it is due to what is called “moral licensing when people use something good to justify something bad” without realising what they are doing. Religious people believe they have done something good simply by being religious and this gives them the licence to do something bad.

Doing something which strengthens their positive self-image makes them less worried about the consequences of doing something immoral. Decety said “I hope people begin to understand that religion is not a guarantee for morality and that religion and morality are two different things. Societies that cultivate secular values are more peaceful and generally “healthy” than those countries which anchor or base their values in religion

We can see that now in Syria and the middle east with the rise of Daesh.

And the point in a colleague’s earlier blog about not needing to be religious to have moral values seems borne out by this research.

I don’t need religion to be a moral person……………..

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)


Here is a thought for the day which I came across whilst casually reading Facebook (see Elephant Buddhadharma), and I am sure the late lamented Christopher Hitchens would have nodded in approval.

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Blessing the graves

In this beautifully tended cemetery in Whitworth, Lancashire, there are several graves of Ukrainian families. Many of them worked in the local mills when they came to Great Britain as refugees after the second world war.P1020136

It’s traditional in the Ukrainian Orthodox church to bless the graves in the period after Easter and here is Otets Bohdan Matwijczuk carrying out the blessing.P1020139

Ukrainian Orthodox Easter services in Lancashire

In this small Ukrainian Orthodox church in Rochdale, Lancashire the Easter service on Friday was “the bringing out the shroud”. The priest is here walking round the altar several times carrying a symbolic shroud.

P1020036You can see the back wall is completely covered with icons (an iconostasis).

P1020039On Saturday afternoon it was the “blessing of the baskets”.

People take baskets of food including a traditional bread called paska, and decorated eggs.

P1020058The priest blesses all the baskets, and the congregation, with holy water and everyone donates an egg for those who can’t afford to bring them (largely symbolic).

There will be late night services in other churches to celebrate this important event in the Christian calendar.

This weekend Easter fell on the same dates for both Western and Eastern christians. In case you’re curious about why Easter dates vary so much here’s an explanation from the BBC web-site.

Photography note. I can’t use flash as the incense in the air creates a fine mist which the light bounces off so they have to be manual shots an sometimes a bit blurred.