WELCOME...

to Bishop David's blog. Here you can find news, information, articles and pictures about the Church of England Diocese in Europe. We have over 300 congregations or worship centres serving Anglican and (mostly) English-speaking people in Europe, Morocco, Turkey, Russia and some central Asian countries.


For official diocesan information please click the diocesan logo on the right.



Monday, 30 June 2014

Three priests ordained in Cologne


In All Saints Church, Cologne, on Saturday 28 June, three persons were ordained to the sacred priesthood: the Revd Richard Gardiner, the Revd Matthias Grebe and the Revd Doreen Cage.

Richard and Matthias are both assistant curates at St Boniface Bonn and All Saints Cologne and Doreen is assistant curate at St George's, Málaga. Along with assisting clergy and Readers, they entered the Church in procession still as deacons, and took their place ready to take their solemn vows as priests.



The preacher for the service was the Revd Canon William Gulliford, the Director of Ordinands, who had worked with each of the candidates for several years, as their vocation was discerned and they were trained and prepared for this day. Canon Gulliford also also led their pre-ordination retreat.


At the heart of the ordination rite, just prior to the ordination prayer and laying on of hands, is the solemn invocation of the Holy Spirit. Richard, Matthias and Doreen chose to lie prostrate for this part of the liturgy, to be reminded that they are completely dependent upon God for their ministry, as the ordinal says “you cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God”. During the prostration the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and the litany are sung, in which the community prays for the ordinands to be filled with the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.



All photos courtesy of Reiner Knudsen

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Faithful of Athens build caves


On Trinity Sunday, 47 members and 5 children of the congregations in Athens brought rocks to a day apart so that they could build caves!

Building caves was a community activity at the start of a parish "away day", and was in fact integrated into the lectio divina undertaken during the course of the day. The biblical passages which were the focused upon were the stories of Elijah and Mary Magdalene standing at a cave. The emphasis for the day's reflection was ‘Listening to the voice – Growing in mission’.

The final session was on what had been learnt and what the two congregations in the parish, St Paul's in central Athens and St Peter's in suburban Kifissia might do next. Leadership for the day was provided by the Revd Canon Leonard Doolan, Vicar of Cirencester, UK and fine hospitality was extended by the sisters of the Uniate Convent of the Pammacaristos in the northern suburbs of Athens. It was a day much appreciated by all who attended.


Monday, 23 June 2014

New priest-in-charge in Gran Canaria

Fr Eduardo, Area Dean Mike Smith, Fr Brian
On St Barnabas Day, 11 June, the Area Dean of the Canaries and Morocco, the Revd Mike Smith, licensed the Revd Canon Brian Stares as the priest-in-charge of the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. They were joined by a priest of the Spanish Reformed Episcopal Church who is resident on the island, the Revd Eduardo Cuesta, who has been giving support (particularly with the Spanish language) to Fr Brian.

Holy Trinity Church
Las Palmas is probably the 7th largest city in Spain with a population of about 800,000. The historic mother Church of the Holy Trinity there also supports two daughter congregations elsewhere on the island, in two summer resorts in the south, Playa del Inglés and Puerto de Mogán.

One of the more curious facts about this parish is that when Holy Trinity was founded in the 19th century, it was a parish in the Diocese of Sierra Leone! Such were the transportation links in those days.


The chapel in Puerto de Mogán


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Archbishop of Canterbury at All Saints Rome


All Saints Church in Rome welcomed the Archbishop of Canterbury on Sunday to preside and preach at the Sunday Eucharist.

The Archbishop was in Rome that weekend for an official visit to Pope Francis. Among those in his entourage who joined All Saints for the service were Archbishop Sir David Moxon (Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome), Bishop Nigel Stock (Bishop at Lambeth), Bishop Stephen Platten (Chairman of the Governors of the Anglican Centre in Rome), Canon Alyson Barnett Cowan (Director of Ecumenical Affairs for the Anglican Communion) and myself. Members from the daughter congregation of St Mary at the Cross, Macerata, were also present and their choir performed a piece from Nigeria during the offertory. The clergy and members of (American) Episcopal Congregation of St Paul's-within-the-walls joined with All Saints for this special occasion, making for a packed church.


This was Archbishop Welby's first visit to All Saints and the Venerable Jonathan Boardman, the Chaplain, took a moment towards the end of the service to point out to the Archbishop some of the diversity which marks this vibrant congregation which is a home to Anglicans and others, of all ages, from around the world. Fr Jonathan drew attention to those in the chancel alone who were from places as diverse as Italy, Ecuador, Japan, Nigeria, England, New Zealand, USA and Canada.




Saturday, 14 June 2014

Resources for Commemorating the Centenary of First World War


Canon Meurig Williams, the Bishop’s Chaplain, has compiled a collection of resources which our Churches in Europe may find useful for commemorating WW1. He has drawn from material proposed by the Church of England and helpfully supplemented with his own suggestions.

He points to two websites that are particularly helpful:

http://www.ctbi.org.uk/673 (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland)

http://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/latest-updates/world-war-one-liturgy.aspx (The Liturgical Commission of the Church England)

We thank Canon Williams for this resource.

This is a very large post. For convenience, it is also in a separate page tab under the Eurobishop header photo.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Prayers, perhaps, for the World Cup


The Church of England has released prayers for the World Cup. These prayers come originally from Bishop Nick Baines of Leeds (a Liverpool fan). 

A Prayer for the World Cup
Lord of all the nations, who played the cosmos into being, guide, guard and protect all who work or play in the World Cup. May all find in this competition a source of celebration, an experience of common humanity and a growing attitude of generous sportsmanship to others. Amen.
A Prayer for Brazil
God of the nations, who has always called his people to be a blessing for the world, bless all who take part in the World Cup. Smile on Brazil in her hosting, on the nations represented in competition and on those who travel to join in the party. Amen.
A prayer for those simply not interested 
Lord, as all around are gripped with World Cup fever, bless us with understanding, strengthen us with patience and grant us the gift of sympathy if needed. Amen.
In the Diocese in Europe, there will be a range of teams being supported. However, I do rather like Bishop Nick's suggested prayer for the English team....
A prayer  for the England Football team
"Oh God..."

Saturday, 7 June 2014

70th Anniversary of D-Day

The Bell for Peace and Freedom
It was very moving to be present at three significant celebrations on 6 June, the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

The first was the Royal British Legion Service of Commemoration and Remembrance in Bayeux Cathedral at 9.15. The RC bishops of Normandy were present, as was Cardinal Vignt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris. The Revd Patrick Irwin, formerly a priest in this Diocese (Bucharest and Sofia), took part as the Royal British Legion Chaplain to Normandy.

During the service a new bell was dedicated by the Cardinal. The bell was given the name Thérèse-Bénédicte, the religious name of St Edith Stein, a Carmelite Nun, a convert from Judaism, who died a martyr in Auschwitz.


The service in the cathedral was followed by a Service of Remembrance at Bayeux Cemetery, where over 4,100 Commonwealth servicemen (along with about 500 from other nations) are buried. Her Majesty the Queen was in attendance and laid the first wreath. Many veterans from the D-Day landings were present from Commonwealth countries.These brave men, now mostly in their late 80s or early 90s, had many stories to tell.

New Zealand Vets


Younger soldiers were also on hand, to accompany the Vets and to honour those who had fought and died for freedom in Normandy. The Canadians always seem to be able to find me, for some reason.


The main international event, hosted by French President François Hollande, was in the afternoon. Heads of state and heads of government from 17 countries were present, including Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Harald V of Norway, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, King Philippe of the Belgians, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Barack Oama and President Vladimir Putin. Quite a gathering.

Each of the dignitaries greeted the representatives of the veterans from the countries which were involved in the D-Day landings, who were the real VIPs on this occasion.


When each head of state or government arrived they were accompanied by school children from Ouistreham, a symbolic reminder of the need to pass on the memory of the remarkable events of D-Day to the younger generations.



Through a 4 sets of dramatic images, newsreel footage, music and choreography, right on the beach where one of the sets of landings was made, the stages of the war were replayed before the thousands present. The presentations ended with a reminder, quite important given recent anti-EU sentiment, that the European Union, and indeed the United Nations were born of the commitment of countries to end war and barbarism and build a peaceful world.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Vienna Anglicans take their turn in a project for released prisoners


On Saturday 31 May, eight members of Christ Church Vienna took their turn to run a soup kitchen organised by a Lutheran parish in the 6th district of the Austrian capital. The soup kitchen was set up to help those being released from prison to reintegrate into the life of the city.

It was a very international brigade of volunteers from Christ Church! They came originally from six countries: Austria, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa and Sri Lanka. In the photograph above, the helpers are pictured with Norbert the soup kitchen manager. The Anglican parish's next turn is on 20 September.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Historic Ascension Day Service in Armenia


A significant moment occurred last week in the history of links between the Church of England and the Armenian Apostolic Church. Possibly for the first time in the history of our inter-church relations, an Anglican priest was invited by the Armenian Church to preside at an ecumenical celebration of the Eucharist for the Feast of the Ascension.

The invitation came to the Revd John Barker, our priest-in-charge in Yerevan, from His Grace Bishop Hovakim, the Director for Inter Church Relations of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The service was held in Bishop Hovakim’s home diocese in the north of Armenia, in a monastery church in Harichavank. It was a powerful sign of unity as Christians celebrated together the Ascension of our Lord.


Present at the service were representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church, including seminarians who are studying at Harichavank, plus members of the Anglican congregation in Armenia bolstered by a visiting
group from the UK that was led by Canon William Taylor from the Diocese of London.





Sunday, 1 June 2014

We bid farewell to two members of the Diocesan Bishop's Staff

Sue and Margaret with Canon Meurig behind
Changes are taking place in the Diocesan Bishop's staff.

On 19 May Mrs Sue Walshe began a new position as PA to the Bishop of Horsham. Sue worked in Bishop's Lodge in Worth for 3 years, with particular responsibility for the Bishop's finance and travel.

On 30 June, Mrs Margaret Gibson, who was the Diocesan Bishop's PA for 8 years and secretary to the Bishop's Senior Staff Meeting and Safeguarding Committees will begin a new position as PA to the Bishop of Chichester.

The Diocesan Staff, the Bishop's Chaplain, Canon Meurig Williams, and my own Chaplain Frances Hiller will miss Sue and Margaret, as will many of the clergy and laity of the diocese who have come to know them during these past years. For Margaret and Sue their work in the Diocese was much more than a job, it was also a vocation. We wish them well in their new positions and assure them of our prayers as they settle into the new challenges. Their experience working in a bishop's office in this diocese will serve them well as they support the work of their new bishops.

At the Diocesan Synod which meets in Cologne from 2 - 7 June, Sue and Margaret will be present for a day, so that the Synod can express their appreciation for their years of work.