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Monday, 28 February 2022

In Rome 2 parishes, Anglican and RC, witness together to God's love

Don Felice, assistant at Ognissanti, and Fr Rob preaching together

5 years ago, a bishop paid a visit to a parish and encouraged them in their life and mission. Not an unusual thing to happen, except it was the Bishop of Rome visiting the Church of England parish of All Saints in Rome

At that time All Saints entered into a twinning partnership with the Roman Catholic parish of Ognissanti Appia Nuova in Rome. Together, inspired by Pope Francis’s visit and his ecumenical encouragement, the two parishes covenanted together to share the love of Christ in the city through common projects. One of these is a weekly provision of food to the homeless at Ostiense train station. 

As the Anglican Co-Chairman of the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), established by the highest authorities of our two communions to translate the theological agreement and spiritual communion achieved through our dialogue into visible and practical outcomes, I am very heartened by this twinning in the heart of Rome itself. United in participation in God’s mission we can witness to the unity which is Christ’s will for all of humanity. 

To celebrate 5 years of this twinning and to thank God for this growing together in joint mission, a service of Evensong was held in All Saints Rome with the participation of both parish priests, Don Walter Groppello (Ognissanti) and Fr Rob Warren (All Saints) together with other colleagues and members of both communities. Testimonies of the significance of this partnership were shared by members from both parishes.

Thursday, 24 February 2022

Prayer for Ukraine


Christ Church, Kyiv

We awoke this morning, 24 February, to the news that a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine by Russia has begun. We may have forgotten that there has been conflict in eastern Ukraine for the past 8 years, but now the scourge of full-scale war between nations has returned to Europe. 

Ukraine has seen invasions over the centuries, with invaders seeking to control the land, its rich resources and its political system. But in 2022 such an act of aggression upon a democratic nation by Russia not only threatens the people of Ukraine, but dangerously destabilizes the coexistence between nations.  

Let us unite in prayer for the avoidance of death and suffering, for the protection of the people of Ukraine, and for the strengthening of all who now face danger. We pray for the leaders of our nations that they may urgently seek every way to return to dialogue, for the immediate withdrawal of Russian military, and a reduction of dangerous international tensions.

In our diocese we hold in special loving prayer our congregation of Christ Church Kyiv, that the Lord may grant them protection at this time. We remember also the peoples of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and even Finland, who are fearful and uncertain for the future of their own countries, given the history of Russian aggression in the region.

May we all respond to Pope Francis’s call for Ash Wednesday, 2 March, to be an international day of fasting and prayer for peace in Ukraine. 

I am on pastoral and ecumenical duties in Rome and Florence these days. Tomorrow morning, in All Saints, Rome at 9 am, I will offer a votive mass for peace in Ukraine.

Father of all, your Risen Son gave new hope to his apostles with words of peace and the assurance of his presence: send your Holy Spirit upon the peoples of Ukraine. Bless them with Christ’s gift of peace, and strengthen the resolve of all who labour for an end to this conflict; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

St Michael the Archangel has been the patron saint of Kyiv since ancient times. May the Archangel be a guardian and companion to the people of Ukraine, bringing strength and consolation and restoring hope. 

May peace once again prevail.

Statue of St Michael, Maidan, Kyiv