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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Thursday, 19 January 2023

Blessings on the new Bishop of Visby, our partner diocese


We send our best wishes and assurance of our prayers to Bishop Erik Eckerdal, who was consecrated the Bishop of Visby in the Church of Sweden on Sunday 15 January, in the great cathedral in Uppsala. Visby is the partner diocese of the Diocese in Europe, within the Porvoo family of Churches.  The partnership takes its origin from the fact that the Bishop of Visby also oversees the parishes of the Church of Sweden Abroad, which covers Europe, like ourselves. But Bishop Erik also oversees the Church of Sweden congregations in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia! 

Photo from Svenska Dagbladet

Consecrated at the same time was the new Bishop of the Diocese of Linköping, Marika Markovits. I was moved to be invited to be one of the consecrators of Bishop Erik, by the Archbishop of Uppsala,  Martin Modéus, at the High Mass (Högmässa) of Consecration.  Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson were in attendance. Archbishop Martin also invited me to preach the homily at the vigil Vespers in the cathedral, on Saturday evening. 

Bishop John Okoro and Obispo Maximo Rhee Timbang

It was also a joy to be with some old friends among the foreign bishops, including the Obispo Maximo of the Philippine Independent Church, His Grace Rhee Timbang, and Bishop Emeritus of the Old Catholic Diocese of Austria, the Rt Revd Dr John Okoro. This was the first time that an Old Catholic Bishop had participated in the consecration of a woman bishop. 

Photo courtesy of the Church of Sweden

The Archbishop of Uppsala with the two new bishops and Their Majesties, the King and Queen

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine

It was not what I was planning for the week after the New Year break, but nevertheless it was a  privilege to be one of the representatives of the Anglican Communion at the funeral of Pope Benedict XVI. Bishop Christopher Hill, a distinguished ecumenist and one of my predecessors as Co-Secretary of ARCIC, and Archbishop Ian Ernest the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and I made up the trio of delegates.

Bishop Hill, Fr Martin Browne OSB (the Vatican's man for Anglican relations) and Archbishop Ernest

It was cold and rather misty morning in St Peter's Square (and we were seated 2 hours before the mass began). But the square was soon filled with mourners from around the world who joined prayerfully in the requiem at which Pope Francis presided (from the chair) with the cardinals and bishops concelebrating. 

Preparing for the Requiem

There is no denying the range of views about Pope Benedict. He was loved by some for his strong teaching, particularly in his encyclical letters, and his emphasis on the beauty of the liturgy which he taught should be at the heart of the Church's life. Others were less pleased with the inadequate way he dealt with clerical abuse and with his conservative theological positions. But at his simple, dignified funeral such differences were put aside; we were all aware that we had gathered to commend a  human being, like us prone to failings and error, to God our loving and merciful Father.   

I was able to speak to Pope Francis for a moment to convey the condolences of the people of the Church of England Diocese in Europe.