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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.


For official diocesan information please click the diocesan logo on the right.



Friday, 30 July 2021

Both proud and humbled by the calling of our newly ordained

"Do you believe that God is calling you to this ministry?"

At the ordination of deacons and priests this question is solemnly asked of the ordinands who usually by this time are filled with a mixture of nervousness, joy and anticipation. In the past month and a half I have had the privilege of ordaining deacons and priests in St George's Madrid, All Saints Milan and Her Majesty's Chapel of the Savoy in London. The ordinands all answered the question with a resounding, "I do so believe".


In recent weeks, even as the Church of England has been celebrating ordinations in every diocese, there have been some voices raised which seem to question the need for the ordained. "Key limiting factors" was an expression used to describe them, which caused, rightly, some push-back. Surely these are times when priests and deacons are needed more than ever. 

So I am incredibly proud and humbled by the strong calling of these men and women who are ordained in this time of pandemic. Every ordination is a beautiful and memorable day in the life of the Church but these ordinations are historic, being celebrated in the midst of a global crisis. In my charge to the ordinands I said that some would say that these are difficult days to be taking on Holy Orders: not only is the pandemic still with us, but the world is convulsed with systemic racism and injustice, international order and good governance seems fragile, and the planet is heating up. But the ministry of deacons and priests is all the more vital in such times. These men and women are ordained to be signs of God's love, revealing to the world the values of God's kingdom: justice, compassion, love and peace.


These clergy ordained in the pandemic will carry with them in a very deep way their calling to be instruments of God's healing in a world which needs much rebuilding and reshaping. The Gospel they preach is one of hope which is not dimmed by pandemic or fear. And the heart of their ministry will be the liturgy of the Church, where, in the words of Archbishop Michael Ramsey, they are "to be with God, with the people on [their] heart.” 





Wednesday, 14 July 2021

RIP: The Very Revd Walter Raymond OGS

It is with sadness that we in the Diocese in Europe learn of the death yesterday of the Very Rev. Walter H. Raymond OGS. Fr Walter was the Chaplain of St Paul's Monaco where he served for close to ten years before retiring to his beloved Quebec in 2017. Before coming to Monaco he had served in the Diocese of Toronto and the Diocese of Quebec where he was Dean of the Cathedral in Quebec City. He was a member of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, and the spirituality of the Oratory fed and sustained his fruitful ministry. 

With Archbishop Bernard Barsi

Fr Walter was known in Monaco for his ecumenical commitment, and he and the Roman Catholic Archbishop, Mgr Bernard Barsi, were great friends. During his time in St Paul's he regularly presented many candidates for confirmation, and was dedicated to nurturing the faith among the young. He also loved to share his passion for the Grand Prix and other sporting events in Monaco, and was a warm and generous host. 




From the French language version of the Canadian Book of Common Prayer which Fr Walter loved:

Accorde-lui le repos éternel, O Seigneur, et que la lumière perpétuelle brille sur lui. Amen.


Saturday, 3 July 2021

Ecumenical meetings in Venice

Fr Malcolm Bradshaw and Fr Castro Adiebah


I was marooned for a few more days in Italy than I had counted on, due to changing COVID quarantine requirements imposed by Italy after I arrived for some parish visits. A return to the UK (with the usual quarantine) then a return to Milan for in time for ordinations, with a newly imposed Italian quarantine, was going to be impossible. 

But it was far from lost time, as I was able to touch base with several of our parishes in Italy duing these days, including Venice. Fr Malcolm Bradshaw, the Chaplain of St George's, was able to introduce me to a Ghanaian priest from the Anglican Diocese of Sekondi, who has been sponsored to do a masters degree in ecumenism, at the prestigious Ecumenical Institute of Venice. Fr Castro Adiebah is clearly an emerging young African theologian, and it is very good to be able to give him an Anglican home in Venice during his studies. 


It was also good to have a chance to have a meeting with Metropolitan Polykarpos, the Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in Italy. His Eminence was previously the Metropolitan of Spain and Portugal, where we shared many ecumenical ventures.

Metropolitan Polykarpos

Excellent relations in Venice are maintained with the (RC) Patriarchate. Don Angelo Pagan is the Vicar General of the Patriarchate of Venice and has the additional role of being the equivalent of an English Catheral Precentor, but in the great basilica of San Marco, the musical home of Giovanni Gabrieli and Claudio Monteverdi!

Don Angelo Pagan, right


Thursday, 1 July 2021

Holy Cross Palermo, old wine and new spirit!

The Marsala Chapel in Holy Cross, Palermo

Many Anglican churches have side chapels, but on a recent parish visit to Holy Cross, Palermo, Sicily, I was reminded of the particularly splendid, and wonderfully named, "Marsala Chapel". In fact the whole church building is rather beautiful, with a splendid apse decorated with mosaics in a style common to this part of Sicily. 

The chapel's dedication comes from the fact that the church was built in the 1870s by the descendents of Benjamin Ingham Sr, an Englishman who settled in Sicily and built up the Marsala wine industry. (There are a few other churches in the Diocese with a similar history, such as in Malaga, Porto and Madeira!)

Today, the members of Holy Cross Church come from around the world, the UK and Northern Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East. Others have been born and raised in Italy and have found a spiritual home in this Anglican congregation. Over the years, excellent ecumenical relations have been built, particularly with the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Archbishop of Palermo, Corado Lorefice, with former locum Fr Russ Ruffino to his right.

It was a joy to celebrate the sacrament of Confirmation with some candidates on 20 June. They had been prepared by the locum priest, Fr Nigel Gibson, whom I had not seen for several years. Fr Nigel previously served in this diocese in Milan and Lugano. The faith of the confirmands was palpable and moving. 


The chaplaincy is now awaiting the arrival of their new chaplain, the Revd James Hadley. Fr James will begin his work in September.





Tuesday, 29 June 2021

All Saints Rome: "an eclectic mix"

 

All Saints Church Council

All Saints Rome describes itself as "an open-minded and welcoming Anglican community in the heart of Rome".  An Anglican congregation has been worshipping in the Eternal City since 1816. Once largely English, today it is the home for "an eclectic mix of expatriated employees of international companies, people working locally in Rome, diplomatic personnel from embassies, visiting scholars and international students". Each Sunday, outside the extraordinary time of pandemic, the regulars are joined by a healthy community of tourists and pilgrims. 

Now that some of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic are being relaxed, like so many congregations, priest and people are working together to map the way forward, with physical worship restored, and online / hybrid services continuing. In All Saints, the numbers at Sunday liturgies are now back to a healthy size and the Council and the Chaplain, Fr Rob Warren, are looking at how to strengthen the stewardship and finances in the parish after a very difficult year, as well as focussing on some essential work to maintain the beautiful building, and attend to the pastoral needs of a diverse and growing congregation.  

All Saints Church Mouse reminds the faithful of the financial needs of the parish!

Situated in Rome, not surprisingly there is a significant ecumenical role for All Saints as well. Fr Rob knows that many non-Anglicans, and many Roman Catholics in particular, may encounter Anglicanism for the first time when they attend a service in the chaplaincy. In so many ways All Saints is a "shop window" for Anglicanism and the Church of England, in the very centre of Rome.

Archbishop Ernest (centre) with Fr McCulloch to his left, and the Pakistani priest to his right


On Sunday 13 June, the sacraments of baptism and confirmation were celebrated, and one of the ecumenical friends of the parish, Fr Robert McCulloch, a Roman Catholic Columban priest, brought a young Pakistani priest with him, who is studying ecumenism in Rome, but who had never witnessed an Anglican liturgy. It perhaps was not a typical Sunday mass, given the baptisms and confirmations, but also because my good friend, Archbishop Ian Ernest, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome was present to assist me in the celebration! 




The diversity of ordained ministry in St George's Madrid

St George's Madrid

The Diocese in Europe, even though part of the Church of England, is not very English at all. In fact, it is a particular privilege as a bishop to be able to accompany congregations as they grow and develop in response to the challenges of multicultural and multinational ministry. 

Solomon Ike (left) with St George's Chaplain Canon Sabry (right)

St George’s Madrid was once called "the British Embassy Church of St George". Today it is like so many of our churches in capital cities: a magnet for people from every part of the world who use English as a first, second, or even third language and who are seeking a church home.  

Many years ago I had the pleasure of a meeting with a dozen or so members of the church who are originally from Nigeria. They spoke to me with great pride that one of their own compatriots was wanting to become a priest. That began a long journey of discernment and training for Solomon Ike.


The ordination of Solomon in St George’s Madrid on 30 May opens new and greater possibilities for wider outreach to Anglicans from the African continent. The Chaplain, Canon Dr Medhat Sabry, is already from Africa (Egypt). Deacon Solomon brings further links to people from sub-Saharan Africa, as he is passionate about extending the reach of pastoral care and spiritual support to the Nigerian community in particular. 

The British who established St George's perhaps did not know what a blessing they were giving to the city in building a Church that would not only serve them but grow to embrace Christians from around the world.

Deacon Solomon with some members of the Nigerian community at St George's


Thursday, 24 June 2021

Congratulations Archbishop Ian Ernest on your 20th anniversary as a bishop

 


A warm ecumenical celebration occurred today, the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, in the Anglican Centre in Rome. It was the 20th anniversary of the ordination to the episcopate of the Most Revd Ian Ernest, the Director of the Centre. Anglican (and Episcopalian), Roman Catholic, Methodist, Lutheran and Armenian friends and colleagues were able to join in this significant milestone in the ministry of Archbishop Ian.

Archbishop Ian presiding at the mass

The preacher at the mass was Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, the Pontifical Legate of the Armenian Church in Western Europe, and the Representative of the Armenian Church to the Vatican. We also all had a chance to learn a Creole refrain, Creole being the mother tongue of Archbishop Ian and his wife Kamla.

Kondir mwa, vey lor mwa, Senyer, pran mo lamain.

Ad multos annos, Monseigneur Ian!

Armenian Archbishop Khajag Barsamian

An added blessing for me was the chance to get to know Archbishop Khajag; he and I share many good friends in the Armenian Church world wide and the Anglican Communion! 


Saturday, 22 May 2021

Pentecost - the sign of the Church's universal embrace



On the day of Pentecost, according to the Acts of the Apostles, there was amazement in the crowd which was gathered from the then known world. People as diverse as Parthians to Cretans to Arabs all heard the disciples speaking in their native language. This was the sign that the Church's destiny was to be open to all human nations and cultures.

In this diocese we try to live this Pentecost vision, witnessing to our unity as a community, no matter where on the globe we are from. The licensed clergy who lead our parishes themselves hail from 24 countries (according to my last count), from Canada to Congo.

And the list is growing. The newest priest to be licenced is the Very Revd Dr Ishanesu Sextus Gusha, who is the Chaplain of St Philip and St James, Palma de Mallorca. He comes from Zimbabwe where he was the Dean of the Cathedral of St Mary and All Saints in Harare. Appropriately for our international diocese, he has travelled extensively in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America (where he completed his Masters degree; his doctorate in New Testament studies is from the University of Pretoria). He is accompanied by his wife Caroline and three boys, Ishanesu Jr, Theophilus, and Theodore. 

Fr Ishanesu, I know that since you were a child you loved the sea. So from landlocked Zimbabwe to the island of Mallorca - welcome!


A prayer for Pentecost:

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill our hearts with the fire of your love and with the desire for justice for all. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord.

Amen.

Friday, 9 April 2021

HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. RIP


This is what we have posted on the Diocese in Europe website, on news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

_______________________________________________________________________

Buckingham Palace has announced today the death of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Revd Justin Welby said:

"I join with the rest of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the loss of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and give thanks to God for his extraordinary life of dedicated service. Prince Philip continually demonstrated his unfailing support and unstinting loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen for 73 years.

He consistently put the interests of others ahead of his own and, in so doing, provided an outstanding example of Christian service. During his naval career, in which he served with distinction in the Second World War, he won the respect of his peers as an outstanding officer.

On the occasions when I met him, I was always struck by his obvious joy at life, his enquiring mind and his ability to communicate to people from every background and walk of life. He was a master at putting people at their ease and making them feel special.

The legacy he leaves is enormous. The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which he founded in 1956, has inspired generations of young people to help others and instilled in them a vision for citizenship and a desire to serve their communities. His work with countless charities and organisations reflected his wide- ranging, global interests in topics including wildlife, sport, design, engineering and inter-faith dialogue.

In his powerful advocacy for conservation his was a prophetic voice for over half a century, as he brought people from around the world to a new concern and commitment to action for the future of our planet.

As we recover and rebuild after the terrible trial of the coronavirus pandemic, we will need fortitude and a deep sense of commitment to serving others. Throughout his life Prince Philip displayed those qualities in abundance, and I pray that we can take inspiration from his example.

I also join many people in giving thanks for the marriage of Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, and for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Theirs was a marriage grounded in friendship and mutual respect and sustained by shared faith in Christ.

I pray that God will comfort Her Majesty and the rest of the Royal Family at this time. May His Royal Highness rest in peace and rise in glory."

The Archbishop of York, The Most Revd Stephen Cottrell has also issued a statement which you can read here.

Bishops Robert and David have joined the expression of condolences to the Royal Family. In a statement they said:

“We acknowledge that while the UK has lost an untiring servant, and the Royal family lost a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, the admiration for The Duke of Edinburgh extends throughout the Commonwealth of Nations and beyond.

For our European diocese, we remember that Prince Philip was born in Corfu, and his links across our continent were extensive. When he lived in Malta, he and the then Princess Elizabeth worshipped every Sunday he was not at sea at St Paul’s Pro Cathedral in Valletta, where he remained the Royal Patron of the Friends of St Paul’s Pro Cathedral.”

The Church of England has opened an online book of condolence, and prepared some suggested liturgies.

Guidance to chaplaincies in the diocese regarding memorial services and other arrangements will issue shortly.

The Diocese offers this prayer at this time:

God of our lives,
We give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,
For his devotion to Her Majesty The Queen,
For his dedication to global community and God’s creation,
And for his lifetime of loyal service.
We entrust him now to your love and mercy,
Through our Redeemer, Jesus Christ,
Amen.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Easter - healing, hope and love for the world



We celebrate another Easter in the midst of the pain of the world caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Lockdowns continue in many of the countries and regions of the diocese. But for much of the world vaccines are not yet available, and billions of people remain vulnerable, without a coordinated response to address the spread of the virus. 

Justice and peace seem far from reach for millions of our sisters and brothers; grief from war and violence in so many places has not abated. Close to my own heart. the bloody oppression of the people of Burma continues, with no signs of the military thugs lessening their grip on power.  But not only in distant lands, in every community, when we open our eyes, we know there is injustice, grief and despair. 

Christians celebrating the resurrection victory of our Lord are renewed in our commitment to reach out in love, and bear hope to a world in the midst of pain and suffering. The Easter story of the myrrh bearing women is our inspiration for this task.
Almighty God, who revealed the resurrection of your Son to Joanna, Mary and Salome, as they faithfully came bearing myrrh to his tomb: Grant that we too may perceive the presence of the risen Lord in the midst of pain and fear, that we may go forth proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.

A blessed and joyful Easter to all!

Christ is risen!

 

Easter hope expressed by the young people of St Nicholas's Helsinki

 


The Anglican Church in Finland, whose principal congregation is St Nicholas Helsinki, was founded by refugees from St Petersburg, fleeing the Russian Revolution. The cross above is one of the historic artifacts brought with them. 

Today, almost 100 years later, St Nicholas's congregation comes from around the world, a vibrant community of people of all ages. 

The children and young people of St Nicholas parish have prepared and released this video, in which they express their Easter hopes and prayers:  

  • for a greener and fairer world for all God's creatures, 
  • for Coronavirus to leave the planet 
  • to see family abroad 
  • to have birthday parties again 
  • to be with friends and eat chocolate eggs!  

It is a delightful and joyful piece, which summarises our hopes before God this Easter.

Thank you to the young folk of St Nicholas! 






 

   

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Anglican Lutheran Society - a place of friendship

St Ethelberga of Barking who founded All Hallows in 675

The Anglican-Lutheran Society is an ecumenical body which brings Lutherans and Anglicans closer together in common cause for the unity of Christ's Church. It promotes a knowledge of our respective traditions and opportunities for common worship, study, witness and, of course, friendship. 

Last Saturday, 6 March, the Annual Meeting was held virtually, hosted by the Church of All Hallows-by-the-Tower in London and their vicar, the Revd Dr Katherine Hedderly. It was a world-wide gathering of friends indeed. Members hail from 37 countries (so far!).  The business of the Annual Meeting was transacted with the gentle leadership of the Co-Moderators, Bishop Michael Ipgrave (Anglican) and the Revd Dr Jaakko Rusama (Lutheran). At the meeting, I was honoured to be elected the Anglican President to serve alongside my dear friend and sister (Lutheran) Bishop Jana Jana Jeruma-Grinberga, also elected at the same time.  

Bishop Jana Jana Jeruma-Grinberga

But the large part of the day was devoted to exploring together an important theme, of interest to Christians everywhere and of every tradition: "Witness Through Service and Sacrifice: Martyrdom in the Church Today".  

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani

Bishop Guli Francis-Dehqani led a very personal and thought provoking session based on her experience as a Persian Christian, whose father was a bishop in Iran, and her brother a martyr of the Church in that country. She shared some deep insights and some lessons for today's Church, where we are often worried about growth and numbers, setting goals and outcomes. Bishop Guli encouraged us, inspired by the martyrs, to be less fearful about loss, to have hope, "to let go of what has been to allow something new to be born". 

Henrietta Blyth

Henrietta Blyth, Chief Executive of ‘Open Doors UK’, gave a presentation on the persecution of Christians around the world today. She drew attention to the multiple ways that we can be vulnerable today, on account of our faith, our ethnicity, and our gender, sometimes, all together.  

God has blessed the Anglican-Lutheran dialogue around the world in recent years. We have achieved together some remarkable convergence in matters of faith. In places such as the British Isles and Ireland and the Nordic and Baltic countries, and the USA and Canada, Anglican and Lutheran Churches have restored full communion between them.  The Anglican Lutheran Society provides a common home for Anglicans and Lutherans to enjoy fellowship and learning, and to be together as friends as we journey together towards the unity which Christ wills for the Church. 

I encourage Anglicans in this Diocese in Europe, who have an ecumenical commitment written into our DNA as a diocese, to consider membership. The website is here


Saturday, 13 February 2021

Looking for a Lent Resource: This is highly recommended!

Among the Anglican Communion's Five Marks of Mission, it is perhaps the fifth mark "to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the Earth" that has an urgent resonance for people of all faiths, and none. We are living in a damaged world in the midst of a climate emergency and time is running out for us to stop and change direction; we have no other planet to go to. 

With Lent fast approaching, I wish to commend a resource produced by USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel). It is a set of 6 studies, exploring environmental justice from Anglican perspecrives around the world entitled For Such a Time as This. This resource is available in PDF format here. Each study provides a reflection from a global partner, biblical extracts for reflection, questions for discussion, prayers and a simple action or commitment. The beauty of this resource is that it is easy for small groups to manage. Although written with a UK audience in mind, (hence references in the actions to saving "pence" or eating UK vegetables) it is rich with experiences from around the world which make is particularly attractive for our international diocese. 

If you are looking for an easy to use Lenten resource, I would highly recommend this. Of course, it is applicable for use at any time of the year. 

The Diocese in Europe has prioritised addressing environmental issues, as individuals, church communities, and in the diocese as a whole. USPG is a major partner and friend of our own diocesan life and mission. Rebecca Boardman, one of the senior staff at USPG (and a former worker in our refugee projects in Greece) sits on our Mission and Public Affairs Unit, which is chaired by Archdeacon Leslie Nathaniel. USPG's historic predecessor SPG, founded many of our present day chaplaincies. 



Photos courtesy of USPG

Friday, 22 January 2021

Ecumenism of the Cross

A tragic on Wednesday afternoon this week killed at least 4 persons in buildings belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Madrid parish of the Virgen de la Paloma in the heart of the Spanish capital. One priest was among those who died. The building was close to a school, where, due to the snow, the children were not in the playground, or else there would likely have been further tragic deaths and injuries. Reader Celia Paterson who serves in St George's Madrid, knows some of the teachers and LaSalle Brothers at the school, for she has trained them in Godly Play courses. Celia has been in contact with them.  

I also sent a message to the Cardinal Archbishop on behalf of Anglicans. In this week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we remember that we are also united in times of grief and sorrow. The International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, IARCCUM, of which I am the Anglican Co-chairman, describes what we call "the ecumenism of the Cross". 

Su Eminencia

En nombre de nuestro pueblo de la parroquia de la Iglesia de Inglaterra, St George, Madrid, deseo enviarle nuestro más sentido pésame por las muertes tras la explosión de ayer en los edificios de la parroquia de la Virgen de la Paloma. Tengo entendido que hasta el momento han muerto 4 personas, entre ellas uno de sus sacerdotes, el padre Rubén Pérez Ayala, y muchas más han sufrido heridas graves.

Ofrecemos nuestras oraciones por todos los que han muerto, para que el Señor los reciba en su paz eterna. Oramos también para que Dios ayude a los heridos y consuele a los que han perdido a sus seres queridos.

En esta Semana de Oración por la Unidad de los Cristianos, unimos nuestros corazones en solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y hermanos de su Arquidiócesis, les enviamos nuestro amor fraterno y les aseguramos nuestra oración continua.

Atentamente y fraternalmente


Friday, 15 January 2021

Mgr Mark Langham, RIP



Mgr Mark Langham at the Anglican Consultative Council, New Zealand, 2012 

Anglicans around the world, particularly those who have been closely involved in dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, join our Catholic sisters and brothers who are mourning the death of Mgr Mark Langham. Fr Mark died in hospice care early this morning after a struggle with cancer. He was the Chaplain of Fisher House, the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy at Cambridge University. Before that he worked from 2008 to 2013 at the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, where he was responsible for relations with the Anglican Communion and with the Methodists. During that time, he served as the Roman Catholic Co-Secretary of ARCIC, and also was among the official representatives of the Catholic Church at the Lambeth Conference of 2008, and at meetings of the Anglican Consultative Council.

As a dialogue partner Mark was meticulous and clear in his thinking, and had the extraordinary gift of finding common ground while honouring to the fullest his own Catholic position. So many of us remember his infectious sense of humour and often hilarious tales of life at the Vatican. He was always a convivial companion around a glass of wine or over dinner. 

In early January as he was moved to hospice care he wrote to friends, "I would ask for no fuss, or messages. I am a firm believer in the communion of saints, and it is your love and prayers that will sustain me most at this time." 

May God now receive him into the communion of the saints in light, and grant this faithful servant eternal rest.