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.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Welcome to the Cathedral Chapter Canon Paul Ormrod

The Revd Paul Ormrod was recently installed as a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter, in the Pro-Cathedral of St Paul in Valletta, Malta.  The Chancellor of Malta, Canon Simon Godfrey presided at the installation, and the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Aiden Hargreaves Smith performed the necessary legal actions. The function of the Cathedral Chapter is to support the bishop by prayer and counsel.

The Chancellor of Malta, Canon Ormrod and the Diocesan Registrar
Many travelled from St George's Madrid where Canon Ormrod serves as Chaplain, as well as from a former parish where he served in Formby. In addition to his considerable parochial work in Madrid, Fr Paul has begun to work with me on an ecumenical vision for our partnership with the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. I will celebrating a Chrism Mass in St George's Madrid on 27 March.

Welcome to the Cathedral Chapter, Canon Ormrod!

Photos courtesy of Jill Ormrod

Saturday, 24 February 2018

One of our largest chaplaincies, St Anthony Abbot, Padua

One of the misconceptions about the Diocese in Europe is that it consists of church for the "Brits abroad". Whilst there are many UK passport holders who count among our faithful in the 300+ congregations, we are a diocesan family of people from scores of nations. For example, one large sector of our people come originally from Nigeria. In Italy we have several congregations where the majority are of Nigerian background, in Turin, Macerata and Pesaro, for instance.

Fr Amos with the church mini-bus (note the logo!)
I recently paid a visit to one of our largest congregations in Italy, St Anthony Abbot Church in Padua. The members of St Anthony Abbot come almost entirely from Nigeria, apart from those who are Italian born, but of Nigerian parentage. It is a vibrant community led by its priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Amos Osaromkpe. We work in partnership with Archbishop Kattey of the Province of Niger Delta in Nigeria in supporting Fr Amos.

Young Ignatius 
The liturgy included the Baptism of Fr Amos and Blessing's son Ignatius, the Churching of Women (I hadn't done one of those for a while!), the admission of new members of the Mothers' Union, the honouring of the congregation's "Father of the Year" and confirmation of about a dozen young persons. A short 4 hour event!

After the mass there was a wonderful community lunch with a splendid variety of food from Italy and Africa. According to Fr Amos, the community fellowship meal is an important component of congregational life, as many travel great distances to come to church in Padua.

The electoral roll is currently being updated, but on my visit there were likely about 170 people present for the service. The activities of the parish are impressive, with a choir, a music group, the Men's Fellowship, Mothers' Union, and a "Children's Department" with about 40 children involved in education and catechesis.

Some new Mothers' Union members
Transportation is an issue on Sundays in Padua, and a church mini-bus provides a pick up service for many. There are other challenges facing the congregation as many parishioners are moving away, to the UK, Germany or other countries, which has greatly affected the finance of the congregation. I am working the Archdeacon to address this crisis.

It was a great blessing for me to be with this parish for the weekend, and there were many moments of great joy.

Some choir members

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ecumenical life is celebrated each Shrove Tuesday in All Saints Rome

Clergy from many denominations prepare in All Saints Vestry before the ecumenical service.
Shrove Tuesday is an ecumenical occasion in All Saints Rome. For the parish to have an annual ecumenical celebration around their patronal feast would be almost pointless as All Saints Day and the surrounding days in Italy are taken as holidays. So the solution for many years is to hold an ecumenical service and event on Shrove Tuesday, which does not feature greatly on any Church or civic calendar, and thus ecumenical partners are general free to attend.

This year clergy from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist and traditions joined Canon Jonathan Boardman, the Chaplain, for Solemn Mattins according to the Book of  Common Prayer. The preacher was the Revd Dana English, the Assistant Priest at All Saints. This was Dana's last official engagement in Rome, as she is moving shortly to England. Other Anglican clergy in Rome, from St Paul's-within-the-walls Episcopal Church and the Anglican Centre, as well as some studying in the city were also present, along with Ambassadors to the Holy See from Canada, Georgia and Slovenia.

After the service a lunch was hosted by the parish for all the visitors, concluding with an ecumenical pancake toss. Surely unique in Christendom! Can you spot the pancake "fryer"?

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists walking together for unity in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated with an ecumenical "Church Walk", (in Danish, Kirkevandring). It is now in its 64th consecutive year, being the oldest such continuous event in the world. It was started by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, an organisation which since 1928 has sought to promote links between the Churches of East and West.

This year, more than 800 people walked through Copenhagen visiting and worshipping - as part of one continuous service - in churches of  different denominations: The Danish Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Alban's Anglican Church and ending with a longer service in the Swedish Church. This year the preacher was Bishop Martin Lind of the Swedish Lutheran Church (who has been serving as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in the UK). The service at St. Alban's was a shortened version of traditional evensong.

St Alban's has been deeply involved each year. The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Director of Ministerial Development, has been part of the planning committee for several years. The Revd  Palle Thordal, (a Danish priest with Permission to Officiate in St. Alban's) the Revd Paul Skirrow, the locum priest were all participants.