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.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Bringing greetings to the new Bishop of Gothenburg

On 4 March in the ancient cathedral in Uppsala, I represented the Church of England at the consecration of Susanne Rappmann to be the next bishop of Gothenburg. I was able to extend greetings not only from the Church of England as a Porvoo partner church, but also from our own parish of St Andrew in Gothenburg, which has worked closely with the Swedish diocese over the years, especially in student ministry.

Bishop Susanne was consecrated in a solemn yet joyful service by the Archbishop of Uppsala, the Most Revd Antje Jackelén, who was assisted by several Swedish bishops, the Bishop of Moray, Ross and Caithness of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Bishop of Iceland, the Bishop of Berlin-Brandenburg.and Bishop Absalom Mnisi of Swaziland. Bishop Absalom's diocese is twinned with Gothenburg, and it was good to have a time to catch up with him and with the Dean of Gothenburg Cathedral, Karin Burstrand, a strong supporter of our Anglican parish in that city.

Bishop Absalom and Dean Burstrand
Consecrations in the Church of Sweden are very similar to those in the Church of England, and are always set in the context of the högmässa, or High Mass of the Church. Besides a colourful array of bishops, many ecumenical guests were present, from the Roman Catholic Church, the Coptic and Syrian Orthodox, the Salvation Army and other free churches.

Bishop Suzanne has chosen as her motto, Vår Gud bär sår which I think means "Our God bears wounds". She says this motto reminds us of our calling to bear the wounds of others, and like Christ our God who bore the wounds of the cross but who rose again, to spread hope in the world.

Monday, 12 March 2018

50 years of Costa del Sol East Chaplaincy

The thurifer prepares for the anniversary mass
The Anglican Chaplaincy of St Andrew on the Costa del Sol East has just celebrated 50 years of life and witness. From humble beginnings in 1968, meeting in people's houses, the Chaplaincy now has a full-time priest, its own building and chaplaincy centre in Fuengirola, and 3 other worship centres in Roman Catholic Churches in Benalmádena, Calahonda and Alhaurín El Grande. The Revd Alaric Lewis, the current Chaplain, is assisted by a Reader Caroline Macfarlane and a Church Army Captain, John LePage.

Whilst firmly in the Anglican tradition, the Chaplaincy, (which has as its patron St Andrew), seeks to be a spiritual home for English-speaking Christians from all backgrounds. Most of the members are British in origin and many of them retirees. Nevertheless, Fr Alaric has initiated an occasional programme for children - "The Mustard Seed Gang". In addition to daily worship and the Sunday eucharists in the various centres, other parish activities include study groups, retreats, and numerous social activities. One such activity, a special afternoon tea, was part of the golden jubilee festivities. My recent visit on 24-25 February for the 50th anniversary included the confirmation of one of the members.

Fr Alaric, unfortunately for us in the Diocese and for parishioners in the parish of Costa del Sol East, is moving on and taking up a new post in the Diocese in Norwich at the end of this month. Speaking of the anniversary, he said,  "God has truly blessed us with so much, and today’s celebration was the perfect way to give thanks. Praise God for fifty years of prayer and service in his name, and prayers for the years to come. May we all continue to grow in love for Him and for one another".

Amen to that!

Confirmand Sheila, Fr Alaric and Reader Caroline

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Welcome to the Cathedral Chapter Canon Paul Ormrod

The Revd Paul Ormrod was recently installed as a Canon of the Cathedral Chapter, in the Pro-Cathedral of St Paul in Valletta, Malta.  The Chancellor of Malta, Canon Simon Godfrey presided at the installation, and the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Aiden Hargreaves Smith performed the necessary legal actions. The function of the Cathedral Chapter is to support the bishop by prayer and counsel.

The Chancellor of Malta, Canon Ormrod and the Diocesan Registrar
Many travelled from St George's Madrid where Canon Ormrod serves as Chaplain, as well as from a former parish where he served in Formby. In addition to his considerable parochial work in Madrid, Fr Paul has begun to work with me on an ecumenical vision for our partnership with the Roman Catholic Church in Spain. I will celebrating a Chrism Mass in St George's Madrid on 27 March.

Welcome to the Cathedral Chapter, Canon Ormrod!

Photos courtesy of Jill Ormrod

Saturday, 24 February 2018

One of our largest chaplaincies, St Anthony Abbot, Padua

One of the misconceptions about the Diocese in Europe is that it consists of church for the "Brits abroad". Whilst there are many UK passport holders who count among our faithful in the 300+ congregations, we are a diocesan family of people from scores of nations. For example, one large sector of our people come originally from Nigeria. In Italy we have several congregations where the majority are of Nigerian background, in Turin, Macerata and Pesaro, for instance.

Fr Amos with the church mini-bus (note the logo!)
I recently paid a visit to one of our largest congregations in Italy, St Anthony Abbot Church in Padua. The members of St Anthony Abbot come almost entirely from Nigeria, apart from those who are Italian born, but of Nigerian parentage. It is a vibrant community led by its priest-in-charge, the Revd Canon Amos Osaromkpe. We work in partnership with Archbishop Kattey of the Province of Niger Delta in Nigeria in supporting Fr Amos.

Young Ignatius 
The liturgy included the Baptism of Fr Amos and Blessing's son Ignatius, the Churching of Women (I hadn't done one of those for a while!), the admission of new members of the Mothers' Union, the honouring of the congregation's "Father of the Year" and confirmation of about a dozen young persons. A short 4 hour event!

After the mass there was a wonderful community lunch with a splendid variety of food from Italy and Africa. According to Fr Amos, the community fellowship meal is an important component of congregational life, as many travel great distances to come to church in Padua.

The electoral roll is currently being updated, but on my visit there were likely about 170 people present for the service. The activities of the parish are impressive, with a choir, a music group, the Men's Fellowship, Mothers' Union, and a "Children's Department" with about 40 children involved in education and catechesis.

Some new Mothers' Union members
Transportation is an issue on Sundays in Padua, and a church mini-bus provides a pick up service for many. There are other challenges facing the congregation as many parishioners are moving away, to the UK, Germany or other countries, which has greatly affected the finance of the congregation. I am working the Archdeacon to address this crisis.

It was a great blessing for me to be with this parish for the weekend, and there were many moments of great joy.

Some choir members

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.