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.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ecumenical life is celebrated each Shrove Tuesday in All Saints Rome

Clergy from many denominations prepare in All Saints Vestry before the ecumenical service.
Shrove Tuesday is an ecumenical occasion in All Saints Rome. For the parish to have an annual ecumenical celebration around their patronal feast would be almost pointless as All Saints Day and the surrounding days in Italy are taken as holidays. So the solution for many years is to hold an ecumenical service and event on Shrove Tuesday, which does not feature greatly on any Church or civic calendar, and thus ecumenical partners are general free to attend.

This year clergy from the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist and traditions joined Canon Jonathan Boardman, the Chaplain, for Solemn Mattins according to the Book of  Common Prayer. The preacher was the Revd Dana English, the Assistant Priest at All Saints. This was Dana's last official engagement in Rome, as she is moving shortly to England. Other Anglican clergy in Rome, from St Paul's-within-the-walls Episcopal Church and the Anglican Centre, as well as some studying in the city were also present, along with Ambassadors to the Holy See from Canada, Georgia and Slovenia.

After the service a lunch was hosted by the parish for all the visitors, concluding with an ecumenical pancake toss. Surely unique in Christendom! Can you spot the pancake "fryer"?

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Orthodox, Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists walking together for unity in Copenhagen

In Copenhagen, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is celebrated with an ecumenical "Church Walk", (in Danish, Kirkevandring). It is now in its 64th consecutive year, being the oldest such continuous event in the world. It was started by the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius, an organisation which since 1928 has sought to promote links between the Churches of East and West.

This year, more than 800 people walked through Copenhagen visiting and worshipping - as part of one continuous service - in churches of  different denominations: The Danish Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St. Alban's Anglican Church and ending with a longer service in the Swedish Church. This year the preacher was Bishop Martin Lind of the Swedish Lutheran Church (who has been serving as Bishop of the Lutheran Church in the UK). The service at St. Alban's was a shortened version of traditional evensong.

St Alban's has been deeply involved each year. The Revd Canon Ulla Monberg, the Director of Ministerial Development, has been part of the planning committee for several years. The Revd  Palle Thordal, (a Danish priest with Permission to Officiate in St. Alban's) the Revd Paul Skirrow, the locum priest were all participants. 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

23 persons from 10 different countries in the Diocese explore vocation to the Sacred Ministry

23 persons from across the diocese met last weekend under the direction of our Director of Ordinands, Fr William Gulliford, to explore what it means to be called to the Sacred Ministry in the Church of England.

Fr William was assisted in this task with a team of clergy (some who were former ordinands from this diocese), current ordinands themselves, and members of our Diocesan Ministry Team. Parish visits were arranged to 5 very different communities in London.

The intensive three days covered a range of essential topics such as:
  • the discernment, selection, training and deployment processes in the Church of England, 
  • the nature of obedience and authority under which clergy live their vocation 
  • spiritual resources for preparing for the vocational journey
  • the Diocese in Europe's unique history and role in the Church of England
  • the Anglican Communion's 5 marks of mission
  • issues in human sexuality
  • the ministry of priest and deacon 
Those on this exploratory weekend came from congregations of the diocese in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Russia, Turkey and Poland.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

An exhilarating Week of Prayer in Venice

As readers of Eurobishop will know, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018 has just come to a close. In Venice it has truly been an exhilarating experience, reports the Chaplain Fr Malcolm Bradshaw.

During the course of the week services were held in thirteen churches of different denominations and all well attended – up to eighty people plus. An exchange of pulpits occurred with no hesitation for an elder of the Waldensian/Methodist Church to preach in the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, a Lutheran pastor in St Mark’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic priest in the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Evensong was held in St George’s Anglican Church and was honoured by the presence of the Ecumenical Secretary of the Patriarch for Venice, Don Francesco. He delivered the sermon. Local Catholic clergy and religious were in attendance. Fr Malcolm was invited to preach in the Roman Catholic parish church of St Hilary, Malcontenta, on the mainland from Venice. The service was supported by a choir of young people and adults. In the congregation were members of the Focolare movement. Afterwards a small reception was given, in which, to his surprise, Fr Malcolm received a hamper of local produce – preserves, wines, biscuits, salami and an apron for the kitchen. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has its benefits in ways unexpected! The above photograph is a selection of shots from the various services with an expression of thanks by the Ecumenical Secretary. 

This year, the Anglican Church holds the presidency for the Ecumenical Council of Venice. This is largely due to the loyal and long commitment to the Council of Mr David Newbold, Churchwarden at St Georges. This year this Council is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Monday, 29 January 2018

"God brought you here": the traditional greeting at St Margaret of Scotland parish in Budapest

Isten hozott - Welcome! Or more precisely "God brought you here" were the words that greeted me on my recent pastoral visit to St Margaret of Scotland Chaplaincy in Budapest.

The Sunday Eucharist, despite heavy snow, was well attended by adults and children. (There is an active Sunday School). Hungary seems to be a country particularly blessed with musical talent, and this is put to good use in the Sunday sung mass. The Revd Dr Frank Frank Hegedűs is the parish priest. Fr Frank was born in the USA and has ministered in Los Angeles, San Diego, Michigan and Minnesota. Of Hungarian and Polish extraction, he is also a citizen of Hungary, and very much at home in our international diocese, and in this international parish with members from Africa, North America, Europe and the UK. Fr Frank is also an Area Dean in the Eastern Archdeaconry. Saint Margaret of Scotland, by the way, was an English princess, born in Hungary in the 11th century, when her family was in exile. She later married King Malcolm III of Scotland.

One of the aspects of Saint Margaret’s work is support for charities in the Budapest area, including the Menedékház, which offers shelter and accommodation to homeless families and children. The Menedékház was also the focus the 2017 Lent Appeal.

Churchwarden Rupert Foster, Cardinal Erdő, Fr Frank and Dr Vilmos Fischl (General Secretary of the Hungarian Ecumenical Council)
The pastoral visit included a private meeting with Cardinal Péter Erdő where a number of ecumenical and social issues were discussed, as well as offering us a chance to inform the Cardinal of some of the needs of our own Anglican community in the Hungarian capital.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Mother Teodora contributes to Archdiocese of Perugia's Biblical programme

Mother Teodora is 6th from the left next to Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
One of our clergy in Italy, the Revd Mother Teodora Tosatti, has been invited in her capacity as a Biblical theologian, to be part of the Biblical Apostolate Sector of the Archdiocese of Perugia. This is a significant ecumenical development and is a wonderful testimony to Dr Tosatti's own scholarship, and her ecumenical commitment. The Biblical Apostolate Sector (Settore di Apostolato Biblico) was established in 2016 by decree of the Archbishop of Perugia, HE Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti.

The Apostolate seeks to promote Biblical knowledge at every level of the Church, deepening the understanding of God's Word for the Christian life, through the sacred liturgy, catechesis, prayer and study.

We are honoured that one of our own priests, Mtr Teodora, is part of this great initiative. She is seen in these photos with Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture who visited the Biblical Apostolate Sector recently and gave an address on the Book of Daniel in which he stated how we can learn from Daniel, a young person living in turbulent times, who commits himself to justice in the face of corruption and despair.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Unity in Christ celebrated in Hungarian, Arabic and English

Fr Frank Hegedűs with Lutheran Bishop Tamás Fabiny in St Stephen's Basilica
It was a joy to join Fr Frank Hegedűs at the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity service in the beautiful St Stephen's Basilica in Budapest on Sunday 21st January. Cardinal Péter Erdő presided and representatives of more than ten church communities from across Hungary and the world participated.

There was a significant representation of Christians from the Middle East including Bishop William Shomali the Latin Rite Patriarchal Vicar in Jordan, and a very dear friend for many years, Archbishop Paul Sayah, the Vicar General of the Maronite Patriarchate based in Beirut. Archbishop Paul is also one of the IARCCUM bishops-at-large. (IARCCUM is the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission).

Archbishop Paul Sayah
Most Christians in Hungary are Roman Catholic. The Reformed and the Lutheran Churches are significant minorities. Interestingly the Reformed (Calvinists) in Hungary have bishops! I was very moved to have been invited not only to lead a prayer at the service, but also to give the final blessing.

Calvinist Bishop József Steinbach, Cardinal Péter Erdő, Lutheran Bishop Tamás Fabiny

Here is the final blessing given in Hungarian, Arabic and English:

Saturday, 13 January 2018

A city without love is like a city without water

Dr Clare Amos is our Diocesan Director of Lay Discipleship. She is also a theologian, an experienced partner in the area of interfaith dialogue, and someone who knows the Holy Land and its Holy City Jerusalem intimately. Readers of Eurobishop will find a recent blog article written by Dr Amos for the Anglican Communion News Service to be a moving account of some of the depth of feeling in Jerusalem at present, particularly now that the search for peace with justice for all its inhabitants has been made potentially more difficult and complex by the recent decision of President Donald Trump to move the US embassy to Israel there from Tel Aviv. 

Read Clare’s article here

Dr Clare Amos (rt) with Diocese in Europe Ministry Interns in the Holy Land

I would also highly recommend a short book written by Clare on Jerusalem, published by the World Council of Churches and widely available, including through Amazon. It is entitled Peace-ing Together Jerusalem. Clare’s biblical scholarship and her own experience of life in Jeruslam makes this compelling reading and holds out a hopeful vision for its future as the sacred city for Jews, Christians and Muslims. 

Friday, 12 January 2018

The historic organ in our Cathedral restored

A significant moment in the history of the mother Church of the Diocese will take place on 13 January. The organ in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar, is due to be rededicated following major refurbishment over the past year. The organ is a significant part of Gibraltar’s musical heritage as it is the largest instrument of its kind in the territory. Of course, this fine instrument is far more than a historical artefact. The organ is vital in the worship of the Cathedral where the liturgy, rooted in the great tradition of the Church, is celebrated in a way that seeks to mediate the transcendence which so many in today’s world are seeking and which can be found in our Anglican sacramental and Eucharistic life. 

The refurbishment was supervised by the Diocesan Organ Advisor, Mr Adrian Mumford, (who is known to many in the diocese in his previous role as Diocesan Secretary). 

On Saturday 13 January a special service will be held to hallow the refurbished instrument. The service itself will be followed by a lecture on the history of the organ by organ builder Andrew Cooper whose company undertook the restoration, and a recital by Maestro Hamish Dustagheer. Maestro Dustagheer is Maestro di Cappella of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Malta,  (the Conventual Church of the Knights of Malta), and is one of Europe’s foremost organists, performing regularly in great churches across the continent. 

The significance of the event was noted by the Gibraltar Broadasting Corporation, which featured this brief interview about the Cathedral organ in its evening news:

Saturday, 30 December 2017

An ecumenical Christmas service in Venice

On Christmas morning, the Italian State Television Channel RAI 2, broadcast a pre-recorded ecumenical service from Venice. Held in the German Lutheran Church, representatives from the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Waldensian, German Lutheran, Anglican, Adventist and Baptist Churches all made contributions. The music was varied ranging from Byzantine and Gregorian chant, to a songs by a Gospel choir and carols in Latin. German and Italian were the languages of the service. The Patriarch of Venice was one among others who provided brief reflections on the feast whilst children distributed candles lit at the close of the service.

It was a substantial ecumenical congregation which gathered, with limited standing room only at the beginning of the service. The picture above shows the Gospel choir standing to the side of the sanctuary in the Lutheran church.   

Fr Malcolm Bradshaw, the Chaplain of St George's Venice, who was of course present for the service, commented, "For such a wide grouping of Churches to feel at home in each other’s company and together deliver such an act of worship and to go public on it was a rich experience. I hope that perhaps the same can be done next year and following years as part of our bonding together."

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas to Eurobishop readers

We live in a time of tribulation for so many of our world's inhabitants who face persecution and suffering. What has broken my own heart this year has been the plight of the Rohingya people from my beloved Burma. But killing, war, destruction and extreme impoverishment continue in so many other places too, driving many to search for peace, security and basic human dignity here in Europe. We must not forget that the UN still considers Syria to be the locus of the world's greatest humanitarian crisis at present.

And now, in the land of the birth of Our Saviour, new tensions increase around the place of Jerusalem, the Holy City for Jews, Muslims and Christians, under a new threat of disturbance to the longstanding status quo consensus which is in place, pending the negotiation of a lasting and inclusive peace for all its peoples. 

But Christians believe that the birth of God's Son heralds a new way of living, a new love for all people, a solidarity with the meek and the poor, and a promise of joy and peace. This is summed up in the words of the great hymn writer and teacher of the faith, fittingly, from the heart of the Middle East, St Ephrem of Syria  (+373). 

This is the day on which the Saviour of the earth, the Light of the world, shone forth. On this day the Saviour of Israel came down from the pinnacle of heaven to set free all those whom the ancient enemy held captive by reason of Adam’s fault; he came down so that blind souls might have light and deaf souls might hear. The mountains and hills leap for joy, the very foundations of the world break into song, thrilled by the great mystery of his incarnation and all the good it has brought.
For our part, let us humbly entreat our Redeemer to show us his love and mercy. May our souls, begrimed by sin, be cleansed by heartfelt contrition, so that his light may shine gloriously in and about us, and the bliss of salvation be ours to enjoy for ever.
May all readers of Eurobishop find peace and joy this Christmastide!

Staff in London thank colleagues at the National Institutions at Church House

In the days before Christmas, the staff of the London office expressed their thanks to the many colleagues who work for the National Institutions based in Church House, on whose daily support and collaborative work we rely, in order to serve the people of this Diocese in Europe. This ranges from those who clean our offices to those who handle complex legal matters within the wider Church of England.

One of the latter is Mr Sion Hughes Carew, the Administrative Secretary to the Legal Office of the Church of England, who processes our requests for the Archbishop of Canterbury's Permission to Officiate, a legal preliminary for those clergy ordained outside the Anglican Provinces in Britain and Ireland, who wish to minister in our Diocese which is part of the Province of Canterbury. In the picture above, Mrs Emma Biaggi, Locum Clergy Administrator, and Deacon Frances Hiller, my Chaplain, who have much to do with Sion, present him with a small thank you gift.