Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bishop of London in St. Sophia

Yesterday evening the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres Bishop of London gave a talk at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sophia, Moscow Road. The event was organised by the Anglican & Eastern Churches Association (AECA),  the oldest organisation based in the U.K. which promotes relations between the Anglican and the Orthodox Churches. Representatives from both the Orthodox and the Anglican Churches were there, including Archbishop Grigorios of Thyateira and Gr. Britain, Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Bishop Angaelos of the Copitc Church, priests from the Serbian, Antiochean, Russian and Romanian churches.

The evening began with Vespers. The choir consisted of priests and chanters from various Greek Orthodox churches from London. After Vespers the Lecture took place in the Church. The Bishop of London's talk was entitled: "Anglican-Orthodox thoughts on present discontent".  This talk took place in a time of extreme anxiety for the Christian Community. The Bishop of London explained how Orthodoxy is not and should not be considered an exotic religion, but part of the Christian Ecumenie within Britain. 

"What is evident is that the Anglican Church must recover a patristic mind". The speaker spoke about the fact that a spiritual development and not so much a development of knowledge is what is needed in order to maintain a development of theology. 
There are numerous difficulties in communicating the Gospel today. A solution is to develop a right tone in conversation. A paradigm given to all Christians is the Ecumenical Patriarchate Bartholomew, who in 1995 organised a Symposium on Religion, Science and Environment. This event showed how church leaders must speak in our modern world.

The Bishop of London analysed the challenges faced by many Christian Communities, referring to the current situations in both Greece and Egypt, that are going through social, economic, political and ethical turmoil. However the speaker also applied it to British society. The leaders of this land believed that God would be marginalised and that the rest of the world would follow. However this is not evident, especially after the events of 9/11. The story is, nevertheless, very different. We are now turning towards God's Wisdom. The editor of the Economist wrote a book entitled "God is Back", hence if the Economist believes it, it must be true. Also Dr. Richard Chartes encompassed the importance of God in Education, fit for the 21st century. There should be religious literacy and spiritual awareness in our modern society.

In order to achieve these goals a new language should be found, promoting freedom, discipline and responsibility. All Christians should promote a global conversation and a creative dialogue.

(In this picture Fr. Savvas Vasileiadis, the Bishop of London and the writer)

The talk ended with the wish of recovering the Divine Wisdom. We need to try and preserve paradise on earth, if we do not achieve this then we will be responsible for the (negative) consequences. What I found interesting was that the Bishop of London, together with a couple of Anglican priests, expressed the view that they felt like home at the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Sophia. The evening's epilogue took place in the Church's crypt were a lovely and friendly reception gave an opportunity to all the attendees to speak and exchange views on numerous matters.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent report on such an important presentation by the Anglican Bishop of London, who greatly respects Orthodoxy and loves the Eastern Fathers of the Church.