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Eparchial Links
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Fellow Parishes
Byzantine Links
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Church Blessings
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Saints of the Church

Metropolitan Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
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ArchBishop William Skurla
Bishop Milan Lach, S.J.
Eparchy of Parma
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William C Skurla
Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh
Milan Lach, S.J.
Bishop of Parma
Eparchy of Passiac
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Bishop Kurt Burnette
Bishop John Pazak
Holy Protection of Mary
Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix

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Kurt Burnette
Bishop of Passaic
John Pazak
Bishop of Phoenix

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Annunciation of the Mother of God
Homer Glen, IL

Byzantine Catholic Mission
Peoria, IL

St. Luke Byzantine Catholic Church,
Sugar Creek, MO (Kansas City)

St. Athanatius the Great Byzantine Catholic Church,
Indianapolis, IN

St. John Byzantine Catholic Church,
Minneapolis, MN

St. Barbara the Great Martyr Byzantine Catholic Chapel,
Dayton, OH

Eastern Catholics in Eastern Iowa,
West Liberty, IA

St. Gabriel the Archangel Byznatine Catholic Church
Las Vegas, NV

St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church,
Orlando, FL

Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
Virginia Beach, VA

St. Melany Byzantine Catholic Church,
Tucson, AZ

Our Co-Tenants:
St. Mark Catholic Church
St. Louis, MO

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Blessings of the Church

12345From the book of Genesis we learn that God created all things good. And when He was finished creating He proclaimed them good. When we bless things, we declare the inherent value of God's creation and thereby acknowledge that these good things come from God, the All Good One (see James 1:17). Blessings are our thanksgiving to God for His abundant good gifts. In a world which constantly reveals God's providential care and goodness to us, it is proper that many things are blessed. It is no surprise that Blessing is a very common practice in the Byzantine Church and that all sorts of things are blessed: icons, food, homes, crosses, medals, fruit, flowers, meals, etc. Besides acknowledging God, thanking Him and placing us in His presence, Blessings also do the following: they add to the special nature of the holyday, reinforce its meaning, reconnect Church and home, teach lessons, and allow children to share in the day's observance.

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The Blessing of Water

12345On January 6th, the Church celebrates the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. His baptism becomes the example for all Christians. The texts of Evening and Morning prayer speak of the waters of the Jordan River becoming holy or blessed by the presence of the Lord who stands in them. Part of the remembrance of this event in the life of Jesus is the Solemn Blessing of Water on January 6th. This blessed water now becomes more than ordinary drink, or a means of cleaning. For believers it is a sign of God's presence, and thus they drink of this blessed water, and take it to their homes.

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The Blessing of Willows and Palms

12345On the Sunday before the Resurrection, Flowery Sunday (Palm Sunday), we celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. When Jesus entered the city, the people greeted Him in their customary fashion by waving tree and palm branches. The Faithful who live in countries where palms are not readily available re-enact this event by waving flowering branches. Pussy willow branches are an excellent symbol since they are the first to come to life in spring after the "death" of winter. These branches are blessed, held and waved by believers today on Palm Sunday. Even today palms and willows are instruments by which we welcome Jesus to enter our lives with His presence.

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The Blessing of Baskets of Food

12345The Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus (Easter) is a day without parallel in the Church. The Resurrection is the central mystery of our Faith and the Faithful joyfully celebrate it in soul and body. Part of their celebration is their bringing a basket of food to the Church to be blessed. The foods in the basket were those not eaten during the fasting of the Great Lent....meats, eggs, cheese, butter. The "forbidden" foods of Great Lent become the foods of the Easter Banquet. Amid the foods stands the Paska, a raised Bread which symbolizes the risen Lord Jesus. The abundant "restored" food and the Paska show prosperity, God's favor and they become a sign of His presence.
Making a Traditional Basket

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The Blessing of Bread, Wheat, Wine, and Oil

12345In ancient times bread, wheat, wine and oil were signs of prosperity, and prosperity was a sign of God's favor. These foods were also staple items for people in those days. On great holydays when the faithful spent long hours at prayer, sometimes throughout the entire night, these foods were blessed at Vespers (Evening Prayers) and then eaten to forestall fatigue during the hours of prayer yet to come. The Prayer of Blessing recalls Jesus feeding the 5000 and asks that these foods be multiplied throughout the world to feed all the people as a sign of God's providence and favor. Thus, God's favor is a sign of His presence among us. After the holyday, Bread from this blessing is cut and distributed as the faithful are annointed on the forehead. This annointing is called Mirovanije.

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The Blessing of Fruit

12345On August 6th, the Transfiguration of Jesus, which occurs during the harvest season, the Faithful bring fruit to the Church to be blessed. The transformation from flower to nourishing fruit reflects the transformation that we undergo as believers when we develop into a Christian in the image of Jesus.

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The Blessing of Flowers

12345On August 15th, the Falling Asleep (Dormition/Assumption) of Mary, Mother of God, is celebrated by the Church. Tradition speaks of the Apostles returning to the tomb of Mary, finding it empty and flowers present where her body once lay. Since Mary could only have been taken up by the Lord, flowers are seen as the presence of His saving Power. As a reminder of this event, flowers are brought to Church and blessed.

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Sharing The Blessing

12345Many things that are blessed in Church can be taken home, and part or all of them given as gifts. For example, flowers may be given to the sick, a loved one, a neighbor, someone offended, placed on a grave, etc. These moments then become a time to speak about Church, Faith, the holyday, forgiveness or the reason for the gift. Such gifts place us in God's presence.

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The Blessing of Homes

12345Customarily, homes are blessed on the days following January 6th, but may be blessed anytime. A cross or icon in a prominent place becomes the focus of God's presence in our home.

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The Blessing of Meals

Icon of the Annunciation
Icon of the Theophany
In the name of the Father + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May the poor eat and be satisfied, may they who seek the Lord praise Him, and may their hearts live forever.
O Christ God, bless the food and drink of Your servants, for You are holy, always now and ever, and forever. Amen.
In the name of the Father + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Icon of the Nativity
Icon of the Ascension
In the name of the Father + and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
We give thanks to You, O Christ, Our God, for having refreshed us with Your earthly good things. Exclude us not from Your heavenly kingdom, but as You came in the midst of Your disciples, O Saviour, and granted them peace, come also to us and save us.
The Father is our hope; + the Son is our refuge; and the Holy Spirit is our protection: O Holy Trinity, our God, glory to You.

12345This Prayer for God's Blessing on us and our food is a daily reminder to us from Whom we truly receive life. "Give us this day our daily bread" speaks about the nourishment our soul needs as well as what our body needs.

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The Blessing of Cars

12345Cars and vans may be blessed on the holydays of St. Elias (Elijah) on July 20th and St. Michael on November 8th. The Blessing Prayer mentions the coming to Faith of the Ethiopian while he rode with in his vehicle with the Apostle Phillip and listened to his preaching. It asks for our protection and also asks for our growth in the life of Faith.

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The Blessing of Animals

12345Some parishes have a blessing of animals on or near October 4th, the holyday of St. Francis of Assisi. Our care for them reflects in a way the care we give to all God's creation.

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Lenten/Fasting Information:
Lenten Recipes

Music of our Church:
Metropolitan Cantor Institute
Karpato-Rus Ensemble

Byzantine Church Information:
Intro to Eastern Catholic Churches on You Tube
The Eastern Christians and Their Churches
Written by our favorite son, Fr. Stephen Hawkes-Teeples, SJ

Byzantine Catholic Church in America
Horizons Eparchy of Parma Newspaper
Pontifical Oriental Institute

Documents of the Church:
Decree on the Catholic Eastern Churches, Vatican II
1934 Letter of the Oriental Congregation in Rome to Bishop Basil Takach regarding Celibacy.

Informational Articles:
Sui Iuris Churches

Icons of our Church:
Contemporary Hagiography by Sophia Portalakis-Armaos

Uniontown, Sisters of St. Basil

Educational Links:
Saint Louis University
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Benedictine University
Other Links:
Byzantine T-Shirts, etc.
It's All Relative Czech and Slovak Genealogy

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"Sui Iuris Churches"

The Catholic Church is a communion of 23 autonomous or sui iuris Churches which use six ancient Liturgical or Ritual Traditions. The sui iuris Churches listed here are grouped first, according to Eastern or Western, and second, according to one of the six Liturgical Traditions. Patriarchs govern seven of these Churches (Roman, Coptic, Melkite, Maronite, Syrian, Chaldean, Armenian), Major-Archbishops govern two of them (Syro-Malabar, Ukrainian), and except for the Albanian, Belarusans, and Russians, Metropolitans or Bishops govern the rest.


12345I Alexandrean

12345678901. Coptic
12345678902. Ethopian

12345II Antiochean

12345678903. Syrian
12345678904. Maronite
12345678905. Syro-Malankara

12345III Armenian

12345678906. Armenian

12345IV Chalean

12345678907. Chaldean
12345678908. Syro-Malabar

12345V Byzantine

12345678909. Albanian
123456789010. Belarusan
123456789011. Bulgarian
123456789012. Greek
123456789013. Hungarian
123456789014. Italo-Albanian
123456789015. Krizevci
123456789016. Melkite
123456789017. Romanian
123456789018. Ruthenian
123456789019. Slovak
123456789020. Ukrainian
123456789021. Russian


12345VI Latin

123456789023. Roman

Other non-Roman Liturgical Traditions in the Western Church: some have been absorbed by the Roman Church, others exist in limited form and places. Those absorbed are Gallican and Sarum or Celtic. Those still existing in particular places are Ambrosian and Mozarabic.

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Sacred Oriental Congregation.
Prot. No. 572-30

Rome, July 23, 1934
(Borgo, Nuovo, 76.)

Your Excellency:

It is certainly not without profound pain that the Holy See has had to realize that, among the Catholics of the Greek Ruthenian Rite in the United States of America, and in particular among the clergy and faithful of the Pod-Carpathian Ruthenian Ordinariate, grave agitations and deplorable rebellions are being intensified and expanded on the pretext that this Sacred Congregation had threatened the rights and privileges of the Ruthenian Church.

But your Excellency knows well how, under the appearance of vast questions, there lies prevalently that much more restricted question, which has its origin in the regulation of article XII of the Decree Cum Data Fuerit of March 1,1929, and by which was again decreed what had already been prescribed since 1890; that is to say, "that Greek Ruthenian priests who desire to betake themselves to the United States of America and to remain there must be celibates." This regulation indeed was not and is not a "lex de coelibatu apud clerum graecoruthenum," as some have wanted to affirm. By it, nothing has been modified or changed in that particular Ruthenian ecclesiastical discipline, to which, in so far as it concerns the privilege of a married clergy, the Holy See has consented and still does consent. This regulation arose not now, but anew, from the peculiar conditions of the Ruthenian population in the United States of America. There it represents an immigrant element and a minority, and it could not, therefore, pretend to maintain there its own customs and traditions which are in contrast with those which are the legitimate customs and traditions of Catholicism in the United States, and much less to have there a clergy which could be a source of painful perplexity or scandal to the majority of American Catholics.

And, moreover, when the Holy See recognized the peculiarities of the Greek Ruthenian Church and guaranteed them, it intended principally - as is evident from the Decree of Union of 1596, during the Pontificate of Clement VII, and of the Brief of Paul V of 1615 - to recognize and guarantee the ritual traditions of the Ruthenians.

As regards their particular canonical discipline, the Holy See could not have affirmed its integral application at all times and in all places without taking into account the different exigencies and circumstances. Thus one can well understand how a married clergy, permitted in those places where the Greek Ruthenian Rite originated and constitutes a predominant element, could hardly be advisable in places where the same Rite has been imported and finds an environment and mentality altogether different.

Let it not be said that the regulation of Cum Data Fuerit was new legislation, since the preceding Decree Cum Episcopo (August 17, 1914) - issued as a modification of the Constitution Ea Semper (June 14, 1907) - did not make any mention of it.

The fact that no mention was made of it in the Decree Cum Episcopo was not due in any way to a revocation of the regulation, adopted since 1890 and solemnly called to mind on several occasions; on the contrary, it was due to an indulgent attitude of the Holy See taken in view of the statements of the Ruthenian Bishops in Europe to the effect that the number of unmarried priests in their dioceses was still too few and that they could not very well reduce that number by aligning some of them to the spiritual assistance of the Ruthenian faithful in America. And that this was so is proven clearly by the fact that in the years from 1914 to 1929 - that is during the period in which the regulation in question did not appear - the Holy See upheld in practice the same regulation, which continued to be known to the entire Ruthenian hierarchy and clergy so much so that when the Ordinary of the Pod-Carpathian Ruthenians in the United States of America deemed it necessary in 1925 to ordain some married clerics, he asked the Holy See to permit him, by way of exception to do so. The Holy See in acceding to the request, took care to emphasize the exceptional nature of the permission and to add "exclausa quavis spe futurarum ordinationum."

As the situtation changed for the better, it seemed well that the decree of March 1, 1929, should state again, explicitly, that which in fact had never been abrogated. And so much the more so, because the regulation in question does not concern exclusively the Ruthenian clergy, but applies without exception to priests of all Rites.

But the Decree was accompanied on the part of the Holy See by an attitude of the greatest discretion and indulgence; so that even after it, no action was taken to send away from the United States those married Ruthenian priests who had already immigrated there in opposition to the regulation which would have forbidden them to do so; and these priests were not disturbed even when some of them showed themselves to be partisans of an altogether deplorable movement of hostility against their bishop and against the Holy See itself.

In the face of the simplicity and the logic of what article XII of the Decree Cum Data Fuerit disposes, it seemed immediately evident that some sought to bemuddle the situation, deceiving the ingenuous minds of the faithful by a misleading and a malign interpretation of every act emanating from the Holy See and put into effect by the Ordinary, Bishop Takach. And if there would have been any doubt about this, it would have been dissipated at lengths by what happened in the Convention, promoted by the KOVO and held in Pittsburgh from July 26 to 28, 1933 a meeting of intents and manifestations clearly schismatic, even to the extent of threatening the Holy See that unless it had - within sixty days - granted what was requested in the resolutions of the convention, the delegates at Pittsburgh and the people whom they represented would declare themselves "independent of Rome." A tremendous statement, which, however, was not surprising because it revealed without possiblity of further doubt, the true motives of a complete campaign of the press, of meetings, of protestations, of rebellions, of schisms, which under the cloak of the defense of the privileges of the Ruthenian Church had already grievously offended against the spirit of reverence and obedience to the Ordinary - even to the extent of depriving him of almost every means of substinence - and weakened the very attachment to the Catholic Faith . . .

Therefore, let every dissension and - every suspicion by banished, so that there may be reestablished, in the pride of the common Catholic faith and in fraternal sentiments inspired by a common origin and membership in the same Rite, that mutual charity which should bind closely together all the Ruthenian people in America with their Bishop and clergy, and make of them, even in that land far distant from their native county, a magnificent appeal to dissidents to return to the unity of the Catholic faith.

Your Excellency, who by reason of long practice of office and of affection, has closely at heart the spiritual welfare of the Ruthenian people in the United States, will convey to all the good people, and first of all to Bishop Takach - so sorely and unjustly tried - the trustful word of the Holy Father, who, the guardian of ecclesiastical discipline by reasons of his apostolic ministry, desires that the exact observance of whatever regulations this Sacred Congregation has issued be, on the part of the Ruthenian Church in the United States of America, the most worthy proof of its Catholic faith and of its willingness to live, increase and flourish in works of holiness.

May there descend upon Bishop Takach, his clergy, his faithful - and among them, upon also those who are sorry for their transgressions and return to the proper disposition, the comforting and vivifying blessing of Almighty God, which the Holy Father, through the intercession of the most glorious Virgin Mother, invokes generously and with a fervent prayer that it may be abundant in heavenly graces.

With sentiments of esteem and best wishes, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Luigi Cardinal Sincero
Bishop of Palestrina, Sicily
G. Cesarini, Assessor


During the first fourteen days of August during each year, the Church enters into a strict fast period in honor of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary. This fast period is climaxed on August 15th, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Great Feast of the Dormition (Falling-Asleep) of the Theotokos. During this fourteen day fast period, the Orthodox Church prescribes that the Paraclesis Service be held in honor of the Mother of God. The word “paraclesis” has two different meanings: the first is “consolation,” from which the Holy Spirit is called the “Paraclete,” or “Consoler”; the second is “supplication” or “petition”. The Service of the Paraclesis to the Theotokos consists of hymns of supplication to obtain consolation and courage. It should be recited in times of temptation, discouragement or sickness. It is used more particularly during the two weeks before the Dormition, or Assumption, of the Theotokos, from August 1 to August 14. The theme of these Paraclesis Services centers around the petition. . “Most Holy Mother of God, save us.” If you have a problem or if something is burdening your soul, if you feel spiritually uneasy and if you are not at peace with yourself and with those around you, then, you should come to the Church during the first fifteen days of August and ask for the intercessions of the Mother of God. Even if you are fortunate enough to be one of those very few who are at peace with themselves and with God, then those blessed ones should come to these services and thank God and His Blessed Mother for the blessings that they have bestowed upon you and your family. Since these Paraclesis Services to the Theotokos are primarily petition for the welfare of the living, let the whole Church pray for you during the first fifteen days of August and especially on the Great Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on August 15th. Don’t let your laziness and your apathy cause you to miss this great blessing and inspiration that the Church can bestow upon you. Let the peace and holiness that only the Mother of God can give you enter into your life. “Let us lay aside all earthly cares,” and let us truly, during these fifteen days, participate in the fasting and prayer life of the Church so that we can “taste and see that the Lord is good” and so that we may fully experience the spiritual blessings that the Church offers to us at this holy time. “Blessed is he whom He shall find watching.” Come and pray to the Theotokos with us and with the Church and by her prayers and intercessions, may our souls be saved!

By Rev. Archpriest Charles A. Mezzomo
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ST. PHILIPS FAST (14 November - 24 December):

The Nativity Fast is called the St. Philip's Fast (or Filipovka), as it always begins on the feast of St. Philip the Apostle, November 14. Advent in the Roman Catholic Church begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. These four weeks represent the four thousand years before the coming of Christ. The Eastern Church traditionally prepares for forty days. Unlike the Latin Rite, our Advent is not a liturgical season; we do not see any changes in the Divine Liturgy, Vespers or Matins, except for the two Sundays immediately preceding Christmas. The Western focus is the anticipation of King and Messiah. The Eastern focus is on the Light we are awaiting. We celebrate the victory of light over darkness both in nature and in us. The fast of Filipovka once had very strict rules. Today, the Church encourages us to abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Fridays. We are also required to practice the spirit of sacrifice, penance, especially charity. To prepare to celebrate the joy of Christmas, we fast, we pray more and we increase our acts of love and compassion. Fasting involves not just food, but the entire being. Our mouths should fast from off-color, offensive or hurtful words. Our eyes should fast from things they shouldn't see, perhaps movies or television programs that do not promote Christian values. Our ears should fast from listening to things they shouldn't, like gossip and music that goes against moral integrity. Our minds should fast from thoughts that aren't compatible with our life as Christians.

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APOSTLE'S FAST (second Monday ater Pentecost - 29 June):

The Apostles' Fast, also called the Fast of the Holy Apostles, the Fast of Peter and Paul, or sometimes simply St. Peter's Fast, is a fast observed by the faithful of the Eastern Churches (both Catholics and Orthodox). It is one of the four periods of fasting handed down through Holy Tradition. The others being the Great Lent Fast, the Nativity Fast and the Dormition Fast. The Apostles' Fast begins on the second Monday after Pentecost (the day following All Saints' Sunday) and continues until the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29.
12345Having rejoiced for fifty days following Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Apostles began to prepare for their departure from Jerusalem to spread Christ's message throughout the world. According to Sacred Tradition, as part of their preparation, they began a fast with prayer to ask God to strengthen their resolve and to be with them during their missionary efforts as they spread the Gospel.
12345The Biblical foundation for the Fast is found in the Synoptic Gospels, when the Pharisees criticized the Apostles for not fasting, Jesus said to them, "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” Our Lord, in this passage, was referring to his being taken to be crucified; but in the larger sense these words of the Lord are understood in terms of his Ascension into heaven, and his command to preach the Gospel, which can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting. The New Testament mentions the practice of fasting many times.
12345The tradition of the Apostles' Fast has existed at least since Pope Leo I (461 AD), as is evidenced by his homilies, though it has subsequently passed from practice in the West. The Fast is thought to have been instituted out of thanksgiving to God for the witness of the Apostles of Our Lord. With this Fast, the faithful express their thanks for the Apostles' endurance of persecution during their mission.
12345The Apostles' Fast is not as severe as Great Lent or the Dormition Fast, but mandates fasting from red meat, poultry, meat products, eggs, dairy products, fish, oil, and wine. Fish, wine and oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays, and oil and wine are allowed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These fasting rules are similar to those observed during the Nativity Fast. 12345As with the three other Fasts of the Church year, there is a Great Feast that falls during the Apostles' Fast; in this case, the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24). There should be no fast on that day of celebration.
12345The length of the Apostles' Fast is variable, being determined by the date of Pascha. Eight weeks after Pascha comes the Sunday of All Saints. The next day, Monday, the Fast of the Holy Apostles begins. The Fast lasts until June 29, the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The Apostles' Fast can begin as early as May 18 or as late as June 21 – depending on the date of Pascha. Accordingly, it may be as short as eight days or as long as forty-two days in duration.

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