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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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Saturday, 23 November 2019

St Paul's Pro Cathedral Valletta celebrates 175th anniversary of consecration

The spire of St Paul's Pro Cathedral on the Valletta skyline
Dowager Queen Adelaide was the Royal Benefactor who wished to establish a "Collegiate Church in the Anglican Tradition" in Malta. St Paul's, Valletta, is now one of the two Pro-Cathedrals in the Diocese (the other is in Brussels) which together with our Cathedral in Gibraltar make us rather well endowed as far as cathedrals go!


The Main Entrance to St Paul's, by night
2 - 3 November was a busy weekend for the Pro-Cathedral. Over the course of the two days, several events were held to mark the 175th anniversary of the consecration of the building. 

When consecrated by the then Bishop of Gibraltar on All Saints day 1844 it was dedication to St Paul who holds great significance for the Maltese. He was the first Christian missionary to the island when he was shipwrecked there around AD 59/60, thus was the Apostolic founder of the Church there.  For this reason, the Chancellor of the Pro-Cathedral, the Revd Canon Simon Godfrey, thought it fitting that consecration crosses be installed and blessed as part of the anniversary. Consecration crosses are reminders in our physical buildings that the Church of God is built on the foundation of the Apostles of Jesus Christ.This unusual liturgical event occurred on 2 November during a Requiem Mass celebrated for the Friends of St Paul's AGM. 




As fitting as this ceremony was, it was not thought fitting (or safe, given what I was wearing) for me to climb up the ladder to bless the crosses. The intrepid Fr Simon, much fitter than I, climbed the ladder to consecrate each of the six crosses while I remained on terra firma to recite the prayer of blessing.  





The next day, All Saints Sunday, the 175th anniversary itself was celebrated in a festive mass. The President of the Republic of Malta, Dr George Vella KCMG and the British High Commissioner, HE Stuart Gill OBE were present as well as ambassadors from Germany and Italy, and several government ministers and ecumenical dignitaries. 


HE President Vella and Mme Vella, with Chancellor Canon Simon Godfrey
It was a joy on that occasion also to witness the Revd Canon David Waller be installed in his stall (of St John Henry Newman), by the Chancellor. Fr David is the Archdeacon-designate to serve the two archdeaconries of Italy and Malta and Gibraltar. 


Archdeacon Designate Canon David Waller
The Pro Cathedral is in the midst of a capital appeal for a complete restoration. It is the largest appeal ever of its kind in our diocese, with a target of €8 million. So far, €5.2 million have been raised, which includes a generous donation from the European Union. The restoration will include urgent repairs to the spire which is a central part of the iconic Valletta skyline, as well as other works inside and out.is pressing. An appeal is being launched to raise more than €8,000,000 (more than €8 million) for vital restoration work. The fund will be ring-fenced for this work only - it will not be used for running expenses.
The need is pressing. An appeal is being launched to raise more than €8,000,000 (more than €8 million) for vital restoration work. The fund will be ring-fenced for this work only - it will not be used for running expenses.


Thursday, 21 November 2019

Interns in Rome: from pub with the vicar to verging the Archbishop of Canterbury

MES interns Edoardo (with the cross) and Ksenia (with the candle) serving at All Saints, Rome
The Ministry Experience Scheme (MES) of the Church of England offers young adults aged 18 to 30 the opportunity to serve in a parish as part of the discernment of a possible call to the ministry.  We have three MES interns in the Diocese in Europe serving on the scheme this year (it is the 5th year we have participated and we were among the first dioceses to do so) and two of them are assigned to All Saints Rome.


One of the Rome interns, Ksenia Smykova, is a native of Russia. The other, Edoardo Fanfani, is an Italian-American. Typical of our international diocese! Both appear to be having a very enriching time, working along Fr Rob Warren, the Chaplain of All Saints, and supporting in a diverse range of ways the life and ministry of the Chaplaincy. As Ksenia said recently, "MES enables me to engage full time in the service that I love. I don't know where I will be when the programme ends, but while I'm here the goal is to give all that I can to this parish, dedicating the work to God."


The work of a MES intern is varied.  In All Saints for instance, Ksenia and Edoardo are nvolved in the liturgies, in organising parochial events, in working on social media, and in leading study groups. They have initiated and are supporting an additional mid-week mass on Thursdays, followed by a soup lunch (which they prepare). They have also rounded up a group of young adults for occasional evenings of conversation and fellowship called "pub with the vicar". 

L to R: (RC priest) Fr Robert McCullogh, Anglican Centre in Rome Director Archbishop Ian Ernest, Fr Rob Warren, Intern Ksenia on the day of her reception into the Church of England.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of receiving Ksenia formally into the communion of the Church of England (she comes from an Orthodox background). I was also proud of Edoardo who was the verger for the service at which the new Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome was installed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

"Pub with the Vicar" - a young adult gathering organised by the interns
In the Diocese in Europe, the MES scheme is made possible through commitment from the host chaplaincies, grants from foundations, some finance from the National Ministry Division and from the Diocesan Board of Finance. Dr Clare Amos, the Director of Lay Discipleship oversees the MES scheme in our Diocese. In addition to service in their assigned Chaplaincy, the interns participate in supervised theological and pastoral reflection organised by Dr Amos.