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.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

La giustizia e solo la giustizia - Justice and only justice: Unity Week in Venice

The Chaplain of St George's Venice, the Revd Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, is just finishing his term as chairman of the Consiglio Locale delle Chiese Cristiane di Venezia, the local council of Churches in Venice. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is of course a busy time for such local ecumenical bodies. In Venice the week came to a close with a liturgy in the magnificent Basilica de San Marco on Friday 25 January. I had the privilege of being the preacher at the service, which was presided by the Patriarch of Venice, Don Francesco Moraglia.

Following the liturgy, seminarians from Venice were on hand to provide some refreshments for the participants.

Fr Malcolm Bradshaw

The Patriarch and I held discussions on Saturday 26th, particularly focussiing on the changes in Europe and Italy in these days. The Patriarch has been a strong voice in support of welcoming refugees in Italy, and urging his parishes to collaborate in concrete actions of solidarity and support, upholding and defending the dignity of these human beings. 

Don Francesco spoke warmly of our ecumenical relations and was particularly interested in IARCCUM, the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Communion for Unity and Mission, of which I am the Anglican Co-chairman.

Padre Stefano Cavalli and Padre Malcolm Bradshaw
Other ecumenical visits included time at the  L’Istituto di Studi Ecumenici “San Bernardino”, hosted by Padre Stefano Cavalli OFM. The institute has an impressive ecumenical library. Other visits included to the Church of the Redentore, one of the most venerated churches in the city, built to mark the end of the plague of 1575-77. Some time was also spent in the  Church of the Parish where our own St George's is located, Santa Maria del Rosario ai Gesuati. Don Francesco Marchesi, the Diocesan Ecumenical Officer was a gracious host for these visits. 

St George's Venice
Sunday was of course a time to celebrate and preach at our own St George's Church. There are exciting plans ahead for increasing the use of St George's as a venue for art and music, to capitalise on both the splendid location of the church and its excellent acoustic. 

At the end of the mass, I was able to bless a small plaque to be placed on the altar rail in memory of Fr Howard Levitt, who was Fr Malcolm's predecessor as Chaplain.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Encouraging growth in St Augustine of Hippo congregation, Rabat

St Augustine of Hippo congregation in Rabat, Morocco, is one of the newest communities in our Diocese in Europe. It was established about 5 years ago, under the leadership of the Revd Canon Dr Medhat Sabry. the Chaplain of St John the Evangelist, Casablanca. It is still served by Fr Medhat each week.

The congregation is a home for foreigners of many nationalities in the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco. Rabat is about 90 km from Casablanca, the largest city. Our congregation is hosted in the chapel a school run by the Roman Catholic Filles du Cœur Immaculé de Marie. 

Over the past 5 years the congregation has grown slowly but steadily. For the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, the congregation numbered 40, including some children in a Sunday School. The time has come to consider the next steps in the life of the congregation. Very soon I will authorising a local Church Council to form to give direction and local leadership for the ongoing development of the congregation.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council meeting

Břevnov Monastery
The Anglican-Old Catholic International Coordinating Council has recently concluded its meetings, which were held at the Břevnov Monastery in Prague. This was the final meeting of the Council's present mandate and much of the work was focussed on preparing the final report to the Anglican Consultative Council and the (Old Catholic) International Bishops' Conference. The AOCICC is the official instrument serving the communion between Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht and the Churches of the Anglican Communion which was brought about in 1931 through the Bonn Agreement.

At the closing Mass in the Old Catholic Cathedral (in sub-zero temperature), Mrs Jennifer Knudsen, a member of the Council from the Chaplaincy of St Boniface Bonn with All Saints Cologne, and a Reader in Training in this diocese, read a lesson. 

Jennifer Knudsen
Of course, being Prague, the monastery produces its own beer!

Below is the official communiqué:


The Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council
Internationaler Anglikanisch/Altkatholischer Koordinierungsrat

Communiqué 2019

AOCICC with Cardinal Duka and Bishopp Malý

Prague, 19 January 2019

The Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council (AOCICC) met in the central European capital city of Prague, Czech Republic, from 16 to 19 January 2019. The meeting was hosted by the Union of Utrecht. This was the seventh and final meeting of the Council under its current mandate (2013–2019).

The work of this meeting centred on:

  • finalising the Report of the Anglican–Old Catholic International Coordinating Council 2013–2019 to the Anglican Consultative Council and the International Bishops’ Conference;
  • the importance of and progress made in Safeguarding in both Communions;
  • formulating recommendations for the next mandate of the AOCICC.

The Council was invited to the Archbishop’s Palace for a meeting with Cardinal Dominik Duka OP, Archbishop of Prague, and Auxiliary Bishop Václav Malý. The members were grateful for the opportunity to learn about the challenges facing the Czech Churches throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Worshipping together has always been integral to the life of the Council. Alongside the (Anglican and Old Catholic) Daily Office the Council celebrated the Eucharist in the Old Catholic tradition at the Old Catholic Cathedral of St Lawrence in Prague, at the invitation of the Dean the Revd ThDr. Petr Jan Vinš. The Council thanks him, his bishop, the Rt Revd PhDr Pavel Benedikt Stránský, and the Bishop’s Office for organising and hosting the meeting.

For further information, please contact the Revd Neil Vigers ( or the Revd Lars Simpson (

Websites: and

Members of the Council:


The Right Revd Michael Burrows, Co-Chair
The Revd Jennifer Adams-Massmann (not present)
The Right Revd David Hamid
Ms Jennifer Knudsen
The Revd Tony Litwinski
The Revd Canon Dr John Gibaut, Anglican Communion Office (not present)
The Revd Neil Vigers, Co-Secretary, Anglican Communion Office
Ms Lucy Cowpland, Administrator for Communications & Unity, Faith, and Order, Anglican Communion Office

Old Catholics

The Right Revd Dr Dirk Jan Schoon, Co-Chair
The Revd Professor Dr Angela Berlis
The Revd ThDr. Petr Jan Vinš
The Revd Lars Simpson, Co-Secretary

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Baptism of Our Lord at St John the Evangelist, Casablanca

The Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord was an occasion for joyful celebration at St John the Evangelist Church in Casablanca when several members of the congregation were confirned.

The services at St John's tend to be lively affairs, with much music and rhythm from sub-Saharan countries alongside western songs and hymns. During the sprinkling of the people, reminding them of their own Baptismal vows, a song composed by one of the Liberian members of the parish was sung. Fittingly, referring to God's grace, the song is called "It is Raining!"

Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, the Chaplain of St John's, was joined on the occasion of my visit by the Revd Canon Joanna Udal, who is an (ecumenical) member of a religious community in Casablanca. Canon Udal was the former Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs for the Archbishops of Canterbury, Rowan Williams and Justin Welby.

Meanwhile work continues apace on the St John's community centre, which will provide accommodation for educational programmes for young and old, a priest's office and other facilities for the community.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Celia Paterson, supporting Godly Play ecumenically and internationally

Celia Paterson is a Reader who serves in St George's Madrid. She is also one of Europe's leaders in Godly Play, a creative and imaginative approach to Christian nurture for those in early, middle and late childhood. It is without doubt a significant movement supporting the exploration of faith by children and young people in today's Church.

The diocese is justifiably proud of Celia's leadership in Godly Play internationally and ecumenically, a clear outworking of her Reader vocation to teach the faith and nurture disciples.  Here is an account from Celia of a recent event in Northern Spain:


I was invited to take part in a Young people’s retreat run by the De La Salle brothers in the north of Spain. It was immediately after Christmas – 26th-28th December – and was held in a beautiful monastery in Bujedo in the Province of Burgos.
I knew the brother organising it, Guillermo Moreno Barrero, from one of the Godly Play courses I had run and I was asked to help José Andrés Sánchez Abarrio run the Biblical ‘Itinerary’. He had chosen the theme of Abraham and we used several Godly Play stories among other things over the two days. José Andrés is a Biblical Scholar, who teaches at the De La Salle University near Madrid and has run some Godly Play courses with me, along with a nun, Mercedes Méndez Siliuto.
There were around 130 of us at the retreat. Most of our group were in their twenties, with two or three older people, including José Andrés’s secondary school headmaster! They were a lovely group of people.

I was asked to give a ‘Testimony’. I found the idea quite scary, but agreed to do it. I had to talk a bit about my life and faith, my role in the church and especially about Anglicanism. Then the people could ask questions.
There were some 40 to 50 people and I had a mixture of questions from the young people and de La Salle Brothers. I was worried I might get a deep theological question from one of the older de La Salle Brothers, but I managed to answer all the questions and anyway had Guillermo and José Andrés either side of me as my guardians!!
I found it very encouraging that so many people wanted to find out about the Anglican Church. I think I was probably the only person on the retreat who was not Roman Catholic.

There was a concert the last evening given by Sister Glenda, a Chilean nun who evangelizes through her singing. 
The two days were fantastic. The atmosphere was wonderful. I also learned a lot from José Andrés over the two days. The people came from all over Spain and many from Portugal and were so enthusiastic. I had met a few brothers through Godly Play courses, but now know a lot more. I felt very privileged indeed to have been part of the retreat.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

St Thomas à Becket, a very English and very European saint, patron of the Anglican Church in Hamburg

For over 400 years, since 1611, the English Church in Hamburg has been serving the English speaking community in the city. At first the congregation was made up of English residents who were largely engaged in shipping and trade. Today the Church is a multinational community; typically at the Sunday mass the congregation, which is regularly more than 100, represents over 15 nationalities.

The Church is dedicated to St Thomas à Becket. On 9 January a window depicting the saint was blessed, having been restored, mounted and illuminated in one of the upper galleries of the building. The glass, dating from the late 19th century, was donated by Graham Dry and his wife Beate Dry-von Zerschwitz who discovered it among other stained glass in a specialist shop in London.

The members of the congregation are proud to have this saint as their patron, particularly in these days when the relationship between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe is uncertain. They know that St Thomas à Becket is a very European saint. Just a couple of years after his martydom in 1170 in a provincial city on an off-shore island, he began to be honoured across the entire continent. As early as a decade after the martyrdom people from as far away as Iceland were including Canterbury on their pilgrimage agenda along with Santiago de Compostela and Rome. St Thomas is is a reminder that we in Europe share a history; we share a story; we share heroes; we share an identity. For over 800 years St Thomas has joined the English community to other European communities. His widespread veneration is a reminder that we are essentially one as people, united in proclaiming and living the great values and truths of the Gospel. 

Apart from speaking of our fundamental European solidarity and unity St Thomas's martydom, on the orders of King Henry II, reminds us our Christian calling to resist all abuse of power in our world today, and to stand with courage against all distortion of the Christian message and Christ’s values of justice, love and peace.  

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Spectacular, most beautiful. An ecumenical compliment!

Well, it is the 10th day of Christmas - no "Lords a-Leaping",  but instead here is one account of the ecumenical impact our traditional Christmas carol services have. It is from Canon Malcolm Bradshaw, the Chaplain of St George's Venice. Not a bad testimony from the city of the Gabrielis and Monteverdi!

"Spectacular, most beautiful. To see and hear those young people singing really filled my heart."
Such were the remarks of Don Andrea the Roman Catholic priest of the parish in which St George’s Anglican Church, Venice, is situated. He had attended and participated in the service of Nine Lessons and Carols held in St George’s on 15th December. Immediately on returning home he sent the above words to Mr David Newbold the Churchwarden.

St George’s was privileged by having the contribution of thirty six voices from the choirs of Eton College and St Paul’s Girls' school, London. This was the first occasion that these two choirs toured together. The service (standing room only) proved to be a powerful act of worship. It also highlighted what a rich inheritance the UK has in its tradition of Christmas carols and music – something not found in southern Europe but increasingly appreciated in these parts.