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Monday, 1 August 2016

St Petersburg cross, a reminder of the refugee roots of St Nicholas's Helsinki

The Church of England is embarking on a programme to attract younger vocations to the priesthood. Many of us who were ordained in our 20s remember that the first inkling of a call to the sacred ministry often occurred when we were servers or acolytes, perhaps while still in our teens or even younger. The experience of being given a responsibility in the liturgy, and being entrusted with the privilege of handling "holy things" was powerful and formative.

The Revd Tuomas Mäkipää, Chaplain of St Nicholas's Helsinki, has already incorporated this insight into his own parish strategy. For example, Fr Tuomas's young daughter Linnea now takes her own leadership as an acolyte very seriously. With great care and dignity she leads the procession of the ministers in to the service, carrying the cross.

The cross she carries, incidentally, was the one that was once in our congregation in St Petersburg. The last members of that congregation brought it with them when they fled to Helsinki in 1917 at the outbreak of the revolution in Russia. Thus our congregation in the Finnish capital is reminded week by week that it was founded by refugees. Today, St Nicholas's continues to serve those fleeing for their lives, many of whom come from Sudan and South Sudan.

1 comment:

  1. It is nice to read more about the Finns. I am half-Finnish and am proud of it. They are very strong and resilient people, but also very humble and nice. One day I would love to go there and learn more about the culture and people. There is something about traveling to new places that changes someone's soul, I think.

    Carson Coronado @ OldStMarysDetroit