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Saturday, 24 December 2022

Christ is born, to save us with his love

A Ukrainian Icon of the Nativity

The greatest and most loving gift we celebrate at this time of the year is the very birth of Our Lord. The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner summed it up: “When we say, ‘It is Christmas,’ we mean that God has spoken into the world his last, his deepest, his most beautiful word in the incarnate Word, a word that can no longer be revoked because it is God’s definitive deed, because it is God himself in the world. And this word means: I love you, you, the world and humankind”

A Ukrainian Christmas hymn also affirms this truth: 

God eternal is born tonight.

He came down from above

To save us with his love

And he rejoiced.

A joyful, loving and peaceful Christmas to all!

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

St Nicholas Helsinki embodies the symbolism of Christingle


The mass for the Third Sunday of Advent at St Nicholas, Helsinki, was an all age eucharist, incorporating a nativity play for the Liturgy of the Word, and after the communion of the people, Christingles!

Most Anglicans know about Christingles, a custom which originated in Germany in the 1700s. At St Nicholas’s the symbolism of the Christingle itself, the orange representing the world, and the red ribbon the love of Christ which embraces the world and her peoples, came alive as the children of the chaplaincy had links to every continent on the planet. Together and with great joy, (suitable for Gaudete Sunday!) they bore witness to Christ, the Light of the World.

TV cameras making last minute adjustments at the rehearsal for the service

The next day, the Chaplain, Fr Tuomas Mäkipää, was equally busy, as the Chaplaincy's annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols held in the (Lutheran) Cathedral was this year to be recorded for broadcast on Finnish State Television this coming Sunday. 

Helsinki Cathedral

The Cathedral which holds well over a thousand people was quite full, which was very encouraging as the service itself took place in the midst of one of the worst blizzards Helsinki had seen for years. Fr Tuomas had made sure that a wide cross-section of the parish were given key parts, from members of the youth group, to senior members who have supported the Chaplaincy for decades. 

Ambassador Bubbear

While the order of service was the traditional one, some parts were in Finnish, including the 8th lesson read in excellent Finnish by HE Mrs Theresa Bubbear, the UK Ambassador to Finland.    

Fr Tuomas and Dr Hamid