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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Ecumenical Bishops' Meeting in Rome

Bishops Jürgen Johannesdotter (retired Schaumburg-Lippe, EKD) and Ole Christian Kvarme (Oslo, Church of Norway)
About 100 bishops of the Sant'Egidio movement, mostly from Africa, but with a small number from Europe, Asia and Latin America met in Rome from 1 to 5 February. Most were Roman Catholic, but there were a handful of Anglicans, Lutherans and Orthodox among them. It was a time to reflect together on the effect of Vatican II on the life of the Churches, and to explore the words of Pope John Paul XXIII who opened the Council 50 years ago, calling for "a Church for all, particularly the poor".

It was a challenging theme: we were reminded as bishops that a poor Church is a Church that is a friend of the poor, that knows their world, that puts them at the centre of her life. "Only if we are friends of the poor can we be a Church of all".

Cardinal Levada
The meeting began with a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle St Peter, then a Papal audience. There were a number of times of common prayer and celebration including a eucharist in the Basilica of St John Lateran, presided by Cardinal Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and prayers in the St Bartholomew's Church on Tiber Island, where 20th centrury martyrs of all Christian Churches are commemorated, including three Anglican members of the Melanesian Brotherhood, Patteson Gatu, Alfred Hill and Robin Lindsay, who gave their lives for the Gospel in Guadalcanal. Some items belonging to the Brothers are displayed in one of the chapels.

During our time in Rome snows covered the city, a sight not seen since 1985! The African bishops especially enjoyed this experience, but the centre of the city was unusually quiet and deserted as schools were cancelled and people stayed home rather than venture out in the icy conditions.

1 comment:

  1. Is that a zucchetto that I see worn with the EKD & Norwegian bishops, or just a faint purple nimbus around your head? Either is good; but a zucchetto is quite to be desired!
    Peter, Costa Blanca