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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Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Farewell to Archbishop of Uppsala

On Sunday 30 October, the Archbishop of Uppsala, the Most Revd Dr Antje Jackelén retired. Archbishop Jackelén is a long-standing friend of the Church of England and as the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden has played a significant role as one of the primates of the Churches which are in communion as a result of the Porvoo Agreement.

In her closing sermon during the High Mass at which she laid down her crozier the Archbishop preached on “life together” as a description of what God wants for the people of the world: 

To live together. In the home, among neighbours, in villages and cities, in a society that is shaped by everyone's participation, in the interdependence between all the countries of the world, in community with all other living beings on a planet where the climate is changing, and to live together with and before existence's deepest secret, that we, along with most people on earth, call God”.

Many testimonies and speeches were given recognising Archbishop Jackelén’s worldwide influence. Greetings and warm words of thanks were extended from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. I was privileged to be able to deliver a message from Archbishop Justin Welby. 
Among the colleagues who gathered was the Revd Professor Dr Charlotte Methuen, representing the Scottish Episcopal Church. Charlotte was a former Director of Ministry in the Diocese in Europe and is now Professor of Church History at the University of Glasgow. A close friend of Archbishop Antje, Charlotte preached the homily at the Vespers the evening before the farewell service.

Summing up the many tributes, the General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, the Revd Anne Burghardt, spoke of the Archbishop’s role in leading the Church’s humanitarian and development work, and strengthening the work of advocacy, theological education and gender justice.

Professor Methuen and a Representative of the Sámi Community

Particularly notable at the service was the presence and participation of representatives of the Sámi People. One of the lessons was read in the South Sámi language. Last year, Archbishop Jackelén led her Church in issuing an official apology to the Sámi for centuries of mistreatment towards them, and for the pain and shame inflicted on generations of these indigenous peoples through racism and abuse of power. The presence and participation of the Sámi was a sign of the commitment to the path of reconciliation.  

Friday, 4 November 2022

Commitment, faith and love at St Anthony Abbot, Padova

Every time I pay a pastoral visit to St Anthony Abbot Church in Padova, I come away inspired and deeply moved by the infectious and joyful faith of the community. My most recent visit in October was no exception. The priest, Fr Amos Osaromkpe, leads his people forward, following the COVID difficulties, to rebuild the life of the chaplaincy. 

Lay commitment and discipleship in the parish goes from strength to strength, evidenced by many new members of the Mothers’ Union whom I admitted during the (3 1/2 hour!) Sunday liturgy. I was assisted in this very happy task of admission by Mrs Tonie Chandler, the Diocesan President of the MU. 

Many young people were confirmed and committed themselves to be active followers of Our Lord. During the eucharist, as they gathered around the waters of baptism, they solemnly reminded themselves of that most important moment in their lives, when they became joined to Christ Our Saviour. 

It was a blessing to be able to celebrate all this, and much more during my visit, and to receive the warm hospitality and generosity of the faithful. The parishioners are determined to ensure that I am the best dressed bishop in the Church of God, and presented me with a very fine pair of new shoes! 

Thursday, 3 November 2022

St George's Taormina - Centenary celebrations

St George’s Taormina, which has to be located in one of the most dramatically beautiful settings in the diocese, celebrated the centenary of their building on 14 October. The festive eucharist on the occasion was according to the Book of Common Prayer, the rite that would have been used 100 years ago. 

Taormina has been a favoured destination for British visitors since the 19th century when writers, actors, poets and film stars on the Grand Tour descended on this town, perched under Mount Etna, overlooking the Mediterranean. Visitors continue today in great numbers and swell the congregation of regulars. St George’s is thus a meeting place for so many from around the world. 

Civic and ecumenical guests, as well as parishioners, visitors, clergy who have served St George’s, and neighbouring Anglicans from Palermo and Randazzo helped to fill the Church on the joyful occasion. I was assisted at the mass by the Archdeacon of Italy and Malta, David Waller. The locum priest, Fr Shawn Denney, and his wife Mary Ann, who live in Springfield, Illinois, worked with the lay leadership of St George’s over many months, to plan the celebrations. It was a fitting and historic event!

Later that same weekend, the Sacrament of Confirmation was celebrated in St George’s with candidates from Taormina and from St Alberto congregation in Randazzo.