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.

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

New Chaplain for Venice and Trieste

Hilary Wild and George Blunden present Fr Malcolm to Archdeacon Vickie Sims to be inducted as Chaplain of Venice with Trieste 
On Saturday 25th November a two year interregnum at St George’s, Venice and Christ Church, Trieste, drew to a close with the licensing of the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw MBE as the new Chaplain. Malcolm with his wife Olga moved to Venice after almost 18 years as Senior Chaplain in Athens, Greece. The Venerable Vickie Sims, Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, presided at the licensing service.

The substantial congregation in St George's included ecumenical guests from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Waldensian and Charismatic Episcopal Churches. Pastor Bernd of the local German Lutheran Church read the Gospel at the mass. The Mayor of Calvene (the site of a substantial Commonwealth War Cemetery) and some of his fellow councillors attended.

Music was provided by the Venice Music Project and Liesl Odenweller (soprano) sung Vivaldi’s sacred motet Nulla in mundo pax sincera. The occasion finished with an appropriately Venetian flow of prosecco and delightful Italian finger food.

Although coming from Athens, Fr Malcolm is no stranger to Italy. He was once the Chaplain of All Saints, Milan. It is excellent news for the Archdeaconry of Italy and Malta to welcome him back!  Bentornato in Italia, Padre Malcolm!

Fr Malcolm with Archdeacon Vickie Sims, the Mayor of Calvene and a councillor  
Photos courtesy of Roger Branson

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Italian mass in London, a reversal of my usual Sunday pattern!

Last Sunday 19 November was an unusual complete reversal of contexts for me. Normally I would be in a continental European parish, celebrating the eucharist for an English-language congregation. On Sunday, however, I was invited to preside in Italian for the Italian community which worships at St Peter's Church in Acton Green, London.

The invitation originated from one of our own priests Fr Giovanni La Rosa from Randazzo Sicily, who is a friend of the Associate Vicar at St Peter's, Fr Fabrizio Pesce. Fr Giovanni was the preacher for the Italian mass.

Fr Giovanni preaching
Fr Fabrizio hails from Puglia and has served as a missionary in Argentina. He moved to London in 2010 and after his reception into the Church of England has been serving this west London parish.

The Italian language service is relatively new. It is not a proselytising ministry at all, but in the best of the Anglican parochial tradition simply aims to live the truth that God welcomes everyone in his community without excluding anyone. The Italian community at St Peter's thus aims to be a place of faith where all can feel at home.

Fr Fabrizio has a clear theological focus in this outreach ministry: "In the Spirit of Pentecost, the diversity of languages, cultures, and ethnicities is not an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to meet, share life and grow together, creating bonds of family, friendship, faith, and essentially communion". It was a privilege to be part of this fairly new project at St Peter's.

Fr Fabrizio
Fr Fabrizio's senior associate as Vicar is actually Fr Kevin Morris, who has overall responsibility for St Peter's as well as nearby St Michael and All Angels, Bedford Park. Fr Kevin is 2nd from right below.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

A new Bishop of London - Bishop Angaelos! Axios!

Bishop Angaelos enthroned by Metropolitans of the Coptic Orthodox Church
On 18th of November His Grace Bishop Angaelos was enthroned as the Coptic Bishop of London at St. George Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Stevenage. This was in effect also the establishment of the Diocese of London for the Coptic Church, with Bishop Angaelos now its first diocesan bishop.

Many ecumenical guests attended this 3 1/2 hour service, marking what was a historic occasion for this ancient Church. The first Coptic parish in Europe was founded in London in 1954. Since then, the Church has grown to over 20,000 faithful in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Deacon Frances Hiller, Aiden Hargreaves-Smith joined me in representing our Diocese.

Bishop Angaelos described his 22 years serving his Church in the UK as "the longest engagement ever". He is now officially "married" to his new diocese, and as he said, "they have me for life!"

I am privileged to count Bishop Angaelos as a friend and a close collaborator in ecumenical work and endeavour.  We pray God's blessing on this new stage of his ministry and for this new diocese.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

St Laurence Lanzarote - "a wonderful diversity of culture and language in which we rejoice"

Fr Peter prepares for the mass at Nazaret
The Anglican parish of St Laurence in Lanzarote offers a welcome to the many visitors to the island, as well as being a warm home for the English-speaking residents and "swallows". Like so many of our parishes in Europe, members and visitors come from a diverse range of backgrounds and yet find a common home and a sense of family in our churches.

There are three congregations in St Laurence parish, in Puerto del Carmen, Nazaaret and Playa Blanca. From 4 - 6 November I was on the island for a parish "check-up". Besides meetings with the priest, the Revd Fr Peter Ford OGS and the Church Council and Churchwardens, there were three Sunday eucharists, and a confirmation.

Years ago, a "mystery worshipper" wrote a review of the services in Lanzarote saying they were "dinified, warm, convivial and joyous". Thankfully these words still describe the feeling at the eucharists on that weekend visit. It is heartening to see growth, both with young people in Nazaret, and with adults, including the confirmation candidate in Puerto del Carmen.

Confirmand Diane (3rd from right)

Friday, 10 November 2017

St Thomas Becket Hamburg pilgrimage to Rome

Edoardo guides the pilgrims through the Vatican Museums
17 people from the parish of St Thomas a Becket in Hamburg recently made a pilgrimage to Rome. From 23 to 28 October, led by their priest, the Revd Canon Dr Leslie Nathaniel, the pilgrims who aged from 17 to 70 visited many of the Christian sites as well as the ancient monuments of the Eternal City. I was pleased to be able to accompany the pilgrims for a couple of days, as I was in Rome for other meetings at that time.

One of our postulants for Holy Orders, Edoardo Fanfani, from All Saints Rome, who is a student at the Pontifical Gregorian University studying art history was able to be the guide for the group. Edoardo knows just about everything there is to know about Rome, her buildings, her art, her monuments, and links all this to the Christian presence and life in this his native city.

Fr Leslie Nathaniel at the Papal General Audience
Among the highlights of the pilgrimage was a visit to the Anglican Centre in Rome, where Associate Director Fr Marcus Walker gave the group a short introduction to the role of the Centre and an overview of Roman Catholic-Anglican relations over these past 50 years of formal dialogue. The parishioners of St Thomas Becket were thrilled to find that one of the most precious items at the Anglican Centre is a relic of St Thomas Becket himself!

Fr Marcus presenting the work of the Anglican Centre in Rome

Another highlight was the visit to the Catacombs of Santa Priscilla where some of the most ancient Christian art can be found, including a late 3rd century image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the child Jesus.

There are more than 10 km of passage ways in these catacombs, and some 40,000 early Christians were buried here, including 7 early Popes. We were given permission to celebrate the eucharist in an area of the catacombs close to the tomb of St Marcellinus, Bishop of Rome in the late 3rd century. It was a very moving place to pray together and celebrate the mass.

One of the pilgrims, who is normally confined to a wheelchair, was unable to descend into the catacombs, but we were able to bring Holy Communion to him when we surfaced after the eucharist.

The pilgrims joined in the General Audience held in St Peter's Square, and had special seats reserved for them, close to Pope Francis.

It was a joy to be able to have a short while with these pilgrims and to get to know them (I had confirmed a number of them) and spend time sharing our faith in Rome. St Thomas Becket parish is already a deeply ecumenically minded community and this pilgrimage is sure to strengthen that commitment.