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Friday, 29 July 2011

Prayers continue for Norway

Bishop of Oslo, Ole Chr M Kvarme
Today is St Olav's day. St Olav (or Olaf) was the king of Norway, killed in battle on this day in 1030. Today I will be attending, along with other ecumenical guests and representatives of the Norwegian and UK governments, a special service of prayer and reflection in the Norwegian Church in London, which is dedicated to this patron saint of Norway. The Revd Torbjorn Holt, the Rector and Senior Chaplain of the Norwegian Church, says "it is special to have this service on the feast day of the martyred Norwegian King".
During the service there will also be a chance for members of the congregation and visitors to sign the book of condolence.

The other day, I received a warm letter from the Bishop of Oslo, the Rt Revd Ole Chr M Kvarme, responding to the message I sent to him last Saturday, on behalf of our diocese. I share this below.

Bishop Ole writes:
Dear Bishop David
From all over the world we have received condolences after the immense atrocities in our capital Oslo and the massacre of young people at the island of Utøya. Your greeting has touched our hearts, and we share your words with our people as an expression of consolation and compassion.
We are now a people in mourning, and our churches provide space to express the pain and the agony, but also to get a glimpse of hope. A young generation has suffered immense losses, and we are moved when these young people say that our response should not be hatred, but love. Thousands upon thousands have taken to the streets, and we have experienced an unprecedented outburst of warmth, empathy and love.
But we are still in mourning, and a process of healing is in front of us. For this process your greeting and words to us are so meaningful and consoling. Therefore we again express our gratitude to you and take refuge in the words of Paul: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Yours
+ Ole Chr M Kvarme
Bishop of Oslo
St Olav (left), a bishop, and St Peter

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