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.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Malines Conversations Group: another instrument working towards a common future for Anglicans and Roman Catholics

Dr Ben Gordon-Taylor of Mirfield presents items related to Bp Walter Frere CR a participant in the origial Malines Conversations.
Many people know of the two official instruments of the international dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church: ARCIC, (the theological dialogue) and IARCCUM (the episcopal commission on unity and mission, of which I am privileged to serve as the Anglican Co-chairman). 

There is another interesting and informal dimension to our international dialogue which takes its inspiration from a unique initiative in the 1920s, long before Vatican II, and not long after Pope Leo XIII declared in the 1896 Bull Apostolicae Curae that Anglican Orders were "absolutely null and utterly void" - the Malines Conversations, 1921 to 1926. 

Fr Thomas Pott presents a gift to Professor Gordon Lathrop. Fr David Richardson looks on.
In 2013 the Conversations began again with theologians from each Communion taking up the task began in the 1920s. The Malines Conversations Group continues to explore matters which the official theological dialogue is not mandated to do, including the difficult question of Anglican Orders. This year we met in York hosted by the Dean and Chapter of York Minster. 

The official communiqué is below:



The seventh international meeting of the Malines Conversations Group took place in York, UK, between Sunday 24th March and Thursday 28th March 2017. Under the patronage of The Right Reverend and Right Honourable The Lord Williams of Oystermouth (former Archbishop of Canterbury), this informal group comprises Anglican and Roman Catholic theologians from seven different countries and meets with the blessing and support of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and Lambeth Palace. It includes members of both ARCIC and IARCCUM.

The Group was hosted by the Dean and Chapter of York, and welcomed by the Dean, The Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost. Celebrating the historic relationship between the Archdiocese of Malines and the Diocese of York, Cardinal Josef de Kesel was represented throughout the meeting by the Bishop of Liège, The Right Revd Dr Jean-Pierre Delville, who gave a paper entitled The Eucharist in the context of a divided Church

The Group visited the Community and College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, for a seminar, and joined with the Community for a celebration of the Eucharist having viewed items belonging to Bishop Walter Frere CR, a participant in the original conversations. On the final evening, the group attended Evening Prayer at the Parish Church of Kirby Underdale, where a window commemorates Cardinal Mercier and Viscount Halifax. The Group joined the Earl and Countess of Halifax for dinner, at which Lord Halifax spoke movingly about his ecumenically-pioneering great-Grandfather.

During seminars and conversations, the Group was once again guided in its thinking about scripture by The Revd Professor Gordon Lathrop, in considering issues around gender by Professor Joseph Selling of KU Leuven, and in exploring canonical questions by The Revd Professor Georges-Henri Ruyssen SJ, of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome. The social entrepreneur and impact consultant Jurgen Mortier also led a working session on organisational strategy. This year’s gathering focussed in particular on issues of gender, orders and Eucharist, responding to the challenge laid down for our churches to find new yet faithful ways of considering old problems in the context of a communion ecclesiology.

The meeting took place within the context of daily prayer in York Minster, and concluded with a celebration of the Eucharist with the Mercier Chalice, in which is set the Episcopal Ring of Cardinal Mercier. In the week after his funeral, the Group prayed in particular for their former patron Cardinal Godfried Danneels who died on 14th March 2019. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.

The Malines Conversation Group is immensely grateful to all its sponsors and supporters, Anglican and Catholic alike. An eighth meeting is planned for next Spring, in Madeira, where Viscount Halifax first met the Abbé Portal. Preparations are also underway for the centenary of the Conversations in December 2021. 


Anglican members:

The Right Revd David Hamid, Suffragan Bishop of the Church of England Diocese in Europe; Co-chairman of IARCCUM 

The Most Revd David Moxon, Former Co-Chairman of ARCIC III and former representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome

The Revd Canon Professor Emeritus Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emerita, University of Cambridge, UK

The Revd Dr Jennifer Cooper, Director of Initial Ministerial Eduction, Dioceses of Durham and Newcastle; Research Fellow, Campion Hall Oxford

The Revd Canon Dr James Hawkey, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge; member of the International Anglican-Reformed Dialogue.

The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge; Senior Associate of the Cambridge Theological Federation, Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

The Very Revd Canon David Richardson, former representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See and director of the Anglican Centre in Rome 

The Revd Canon Professor Nicholas
Sagovsky, Former Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey; Former member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)

Catholic members:

His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R, Archbishop of Newark

The Revd Canon Anthony Currer, Secretary to the Anglican and Methodist dialogues at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome

The Revd Professor Marc R. Francis, President of The Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Illinois       

Professor Joris Geldhof, Professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Chair of the Liturgical Institute Leuven; Editor-in-chief of the bilingual journal Questions Liturgiques/Studies in Liturgy; President of Societas Liturgica

Dr Maryana Hnyp, Coordinator of Inter-Religious Affairs, KU Leuven; Institutional Development Officer, Caritas Europa; Founding Chair KU Leuven Lifestance Network

Professor Dr Arnaud Join-Lambert, Université catholique de Louvain; Centre de théologie pratique

The Revd Professor Keith Pecklers, SJ, Professor of Liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), Professor of Liturgical History at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of Sant’Anselmo (Rome); Founding president of the International Jungmann Society

The Revd Professor Thomas Pott OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Professor of Oriental Liturgy and Sacramentology at the Pontifical Atheneum Sant’Anselmo and at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome); Consultor of the Sacred Congregation for the Eastern Churches and of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

The Revd Cyrille Vael OSB, Monastery of Chevetogne (Belgium); Advisor of NNE (New Narrative for Europe) of the Department for Promotion and Protection of the Regional Cultural Heritage of Europe (European Commission).

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Archdeaconry retreat explores the Jesus Prayer, the Rosary and Martin Luther's teaching on prayer

From 3-5 May 2019 at the Salesian Centre in Barcelona over 25 people from parishes in the Archdeaconry of Gibraltar came together for a weekend to explore prayer and spirituality using insights and traditions from our ecumenical partners.

I gave three addresses outlining some forms of prayer that can enrich our own prayerlife, learning from ecumenical partners. From the Orthodox tradition, the Jesus Prayer; from the Roman Catholic tradition, the Rosary, and from the Lutheran tradition, Martin Luther's teaching on prayer using Scripture or the Creeds, which was a good launchng point for considering the Lectio Divina tradition in general.

There was much time for private prayer and contemplation in the beautiful setting of the Salesian Centre.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

St George’s Anglican Church Venice, joins in the 58th Art Biennale

Invited guests for the private viewing before the opening to the public. The tall gentleman dressed in blue is the curator of the Khankhalaev Gallery in Moscow who put together the exhibition.
St George’s Anglican Church in Venice is ideally situated on the main thoroughfare in 'Gallery/Museum Mile’ in Venice. Recently the Chaplaincy Council took the decision to remove the pews in the nave. On doing so an ideal space for exhibitions, concerts, lectures, workshops and the like became apparent. 

Through a Venetian agent an art exhibition has now been installed focused upon the work of the emerging and acclaimed Russian painter Zorikto Dorzhiev. He has exhibited his work in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Zorikto is from the Mongolian Steppe land around Lake Baikal. His art is focused upon the life of the nomadic people of that region but not specifically Christian. Yet it most aptly illustrates the language of journeying, pilgrimage, or that sentence from the Letter to the Hebrews, ‘They acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens without fixed abode on earth’ (Hebrews 11.13) - language which is so much part of Christian spirituality. Interestingly the Moscovite curator who designed the exhibition made a point of placing four models of horsemen, seated on horseback and dressed in traditional Mongolian attire, as the centre pieces of the exhibition and riding towards the sanctuary – ‘looking for a country of their own’ (Hebrews 11.14).

The British Ambassador to Italy, Jill Morris (with back to the camera, brown jacket), converses with the team responsible for the exhibition. The younger man to her left and slightly in the background is the artist, Zorikto Dorzhiev. Later, the Ambassador used the church for a Town Hall meeting for British nationals focused on the issue of Brexit.
Thus, St George’s is now contributing along with many other galleries, exhibition centres and churches to the 58th Venice Art Biennale and is part of the ‘buzz’. The theme for this year’s Art Biennale is ‘May you live in interesting times’. It is notable that many exhibits are focused upon the issue of dispersed and marginalized people. One exhibit is a craft that sunk off the island of Lampedusa with a great loss of life.

Visitors to the private viewing. Note the statues of Mongolian horsemen. The title given them is ‘The Silk Way’. They are facing the sanctuary!
St George’s is already the focus of programmes other than worship such as the weekend concerts given by the Venice Music Project. This project makes a point of researching and performing early baroque music composed in Venice which has long been forgotten. The replacing of the pews with stackable but ergonomic chairs means that the use of the church can now be greatly widened for worship and cultural events. Such events are also a source of income which will help with the enhancement of the whole building. An appeal for a substantial renovation programme is about to be launched. The exhibition will remain open until 24th November 2019. 

An example of the art of  the artist Zorikto Dorzhiev now on display in the church. It is entitled, ’Elder Sister’s Fairytales’.