Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chapel, University of Winchester

The Chapel of the University of Winchester is located in the middle of the King Alfred campus, giving it thus a natural place for Christian worship and activity for people whatever their background and experience. Its main goal is achieving spirituality, celebrating the Christian Foundation, encouraging those living within the Christian Faith, whilst also welcoming those who live within other Faiths and those who have no faith. 

The Chapel is responsible for serving the Christian identity and the Anglican traditions of the University, leading an ecumenical Chaplaincy to meet the spiritual and personal needs of the whole University community. This means developing effective and imaginative ways to explore worship, fellowship and social action programmes. However, the Chapel has served other Christian denominations, including Orthodox services, showing the good relationship between the two Christian Churches. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Celtic Prayers

It is a joy and a blessing to be able to pray. It puts us in touch and in communion not only with reality but also with God. Living far from God results in us living a lie, since he is The Truth. It opens our eyes, ears and hearts to the love and strength that He offers us. Living far from God, we thus starve our spirit. During our modern, capitalist, globalised and digital epoch, many try to fill their lives with things and ideas that are earthly and secular; nevertheless we forget that mankind was created not for the now and for this world but for eternity. St. Augustine explains, “Lord, our hearts are restless until they rest in you”.
Celtic Christianity has a rich tradition in prayers. Many of us do not know these very beautiful and interesting prayers; however it is good to know these prayers in order to understand Christianity within the Celtic countries.

Here are some examples of Celtic Prayers:

I arise to life today
I arise to light and love.
I arise to life today
Through the love of God above.
I arise to life today
In the power of the Creator adored.
I arise to life today
Through Christ, our risen Lord.
I arise to life today
With energy for each hour.
I arise to life today
In the Holy Spirit’s power.
Christ, risen in glory,
Scatter the darkness from our path.
Christ, risen in glory,
Lift the heaviness from our hearts.
Christ, risen in glory,
Dispel the troubles from our minds.
Christ, risen in glory,
Take the weariness from your world,
And we will serve you in love,
In joy and light and peace. Alleluia. Amen. 

Risen Christ, come. Raise the fallen, strengthen the weak, support the weary. Give peace to the troubled, comfort to the anxious. Uplift all who are down, give wholeness and healing. Be with us now and forever. Risen Christ, come, now and forever.

Light of the world, bless all who are in darkness, shine upon us in love. Be with the despairing. Support the depressed. Comfort the suicidal. Give us your hope, give us your joy, give us your peace. Lighten our darkness today and evermore.

The Spirit of God is upon you. The Spirit of God strengthen you. The Spirit of God guide you. The Spirit of God protect you. The Spirit of God enlighten you. The Spirit of God enlighten you. The Spirit of God fill you today and evermore, today and evermore. God of Peace relax the tensions of my body...Still the anxieties of my mind...Calm the storms of my heart...Give me courage to wait...Let peace flow in me, through me, from me, the deep deep peace of God.

God is with you when the way is dark and life seems cold. God is with you when the body is weak and you feel old. God is with you when doubts arise and fears descend. God is with you forever, my friend.

As you love each other, grow in the love of God. As you give yourselves to each other, God gives himself to you. As you share your lives together, God shares his life with you. As you grow in awareness of each other, grow in awareness of God. Let his love encircle your love. Let his life fill your lives. Let him bind you as one together and one with him.

With the weary and the wounded, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. With the fragmented and the fractured, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. With the stressed and the shattered, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. With the broken-hearted and broken-spirited, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. With broken relationships and broken hopes, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. With broken promises and broken dreams, Christ of the cross, we come to you, for you alone can make us whole. 
Lord, you give yourself for me; may I give myself to you. You give me life, you give me love, you give me yourself; may I give my life, my love, myself to you. In the power of your cross, deliver me from all evil and lead me into life and peace, O Christ, who died and rose for us and lives forever and ever. Amen.

Grant to me, O Lord, an eye of vision, a sensitive mind, a gentle heart, and make me kind.
Grant to me, O Lord, a discerning taste, a life of love, an awareness of you and hope from above.

Prayers were taken from: Adam, David, “Celtic Prayers”, (Tim Tiley Ltd., Bristol, 2006).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Street Art, Nafplio

Why would anyone graffiti a wall, a train, a clean surface? Why would they colour it in vivid colours that are alien to the dullness of a city. I say, why not? Should we abide by the grey, black, white colours of a clean wall in a dirty and in some cases inhospitable city? However, let us not accept it everywhere, especially when it ruins the beauty of an old city, with its glorious history, or its religious buildings, whether they are churches or mosques. Here is a small collection of street art found in Nafplio, a small, historic city in the Peolponnese (Greece). 

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Greek Orthodox Community, Beaconsfield

Beaconsfield is a small town located between London and Oxford. The Greek Orthodox Community in Beaconsfield is a small and young community, however it tries to maintain a Greek School and one Liturgy on the first Sunday of each month. The Community is dedicated to St. Gregory the Theologian, named after the current Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, Gregorios.

It has achieved to share a beautiful Anglican Church, the Church of St. Mary and All Saints, located in the Old Town, showing thus the good relations between the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Church.  

This church is a historic one, having a list of clergy dating back to 1210 A.D. Little is known of the church architecture until 1420. It was evidently a well-constructed building with a tower, because in 1420, the Lord of the Manor made a grant towards the upkeep of the belfry. In 1521 John Waller left money to build a steeple. In 1634 and 1657 Inspectors of Churches reported that the fabric was badly in need of repair, but it was not until 1705, when the rights of patronage passed to Magdalen College, Oxford, that extensive repairs were put in hand. 

Through the centuries , there have been a few rectors who have gone on to become bishops, one who witnessed the historic meeting between Henry VIII and the King of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and many who faithfully served the people of Beaconsfield over the years.

Many Greek communities began with small numbers, by sharing churches with the Anglicans. However, they prevailed, they increased their numbers, giving them the opportunity to eventually buy their own church. We can only wish that this will be the case with this young but vibrant community. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

City Cross, Winchester

The earliest reference to the City Cross, located in the centre of Winchester, is in the early 14th century, when the tenant of this building was known as Walter at the Cross. Known locally as the Butter Cross, the structure was a focal point for civic ceremonies in the later Middle Ages, when it was flanked by taverns called Hevene and Helle. The upper parts of the cross were rebuilt in 1865 by the architect Gilbert Scott. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Who runs Britain?

It is a fact that the elite which exists in each country rules and governs that state. Britain is no exception to this rule, since it is still being run by public school elite. Ten public schools have produced one in eight of the professional elite who effectively run the country. Eton College alone boasts 4% of the nation's most prominent citizens as old boys, including David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and the next Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby. 
According to recent findings, almost a third of those holding senior positions in business, politics, law and the diplomatic service also have an Oxbridge education. 68% of leading figures in public service, including the royalty, lord-lieutenants and others in national, public or local government organisations were privately educated, followed by law, senior armed forces and business, whilst the police had the fewest number of leading figures who went to fee paying schools.

The 10 private schools that produce 12% of the professional elite were Eton, Winchester, Charterhouse, Rugby, Westminster, Marlborough, Dulwich, Harrow, St. Paul's Boys' School and Wellington College.The top comprehensives were Haverstock School and Holland Park. The top grammar school was Watford Grammar, Hertfordshire. 
From the above we understand how expensive education pays of, giving more opportunity and contacts to future citizens in order to progress. However, social mobility needs to be improved, in order to ensure that every young person can achieve his or her potential, regardless of their family background. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Constantinople Lecture, 2012

The Anglican and Eastern Churches Association in conjunction with The Nikean Club organised this year's Constantinople Lecture at Lambeth Palace, on the 22nd of November 2012. The evening began with Evensong in the Archbishop's Chapel, within Lambeth Palace. The Service was conducted by The Rev'd Dr. William Taylor, Chairman of the A.E.C.A. It was a fantastic experience giving the opportunity to everyone to join in a tradition of worship that has been offered by Archbishops of Canterbury and their households on this site since at least the 13th century. 

A magnificent surprise for all was the choir, which sang angelically. The choir that sang during Evensong is from the "Sing Evensong" project whose mission is to bring this ancient and beautiful service to churches where it has not been sung for many years, to churches without a choral tradition and to other atmospheric but unusual places, always at a time that is convenient for people who work nearby and those who have busy evenings. Fr William Taylor pointed out, "The Sing Evensong Choir is one of the best things that have come out of the Anglican Church".
The lecture, which followed Evensong, was given within the Archbishop's Chapel by The Rt Revd Dr Vahan Havhanessian, Primate of the Armenian Church in the U.K. and Ireland. His talk was on "The New Testament Apocrypha and the Armenian Church Canon of the Bible". 
He began his talk by explaining numerous terms, in order for everyone to understand their true meaning and for all to follow his paper. He explained that,
Bible: comes from the Plural of Greek word meaning book. Thus the word Bible means books, a collection of books. 
Biblical Canon: is the collection or list of books considered to be divinely inspired and authoritative. The word canon derives from the Greek κανών, meaning rule or measuring rod. The Canon of the Scriptures was formed in order to have a minimum of readings which were necessary for the Christian. Also it was a way of marking which were the accepted books and which were heretical. However, an interesting point is that there is no Ecumenical Council which has marked what books are to be in the Canon and which are not accepted. The West have a Synod in the 12th or 13th century, whilst the East has only a local synod, the Synod of Jerusalem.

Apocrypha, is a Greek word (απόκρυφα), meaning things that are hidden away. 
After giving the background history in regards to the Canon, the speaker examined the Armenian Bible, which was one of the first translations of the Bible. It is called the "Queen of Translations". However, until its translations, in the 4th century, the Church life and the Church Fathers spoke and worked using Greek. After the first translation of the Bible Armenian was used. The interesting fact is that together with the Canon, a number of Apocrypha were also translated and incorporated in the Armenian Bible. 
The 4 Apocrypha, which are part of the Armenian Canon are:

1. The Rest of the Evangelist John. This is a compilation of speeches and prayers attributed to the apostle John. In this book, the Evangelist knows that he will die, so he organises a Liturgy and makes his students dig his grave, in which he voluntarily rests while offering his final prayer. 
2. Third Corinthians. It is a two-letter correspondence between the Corinthians and Paul. The key theme of the correspondence is the fleshly resurrection of the dead. 
3. The Petition of Euthaliuse. It is a petition and exhortation to pursue the Christian way, to endure the consequent challenges and suffering and not to give up. 
4. The Sailings of the Apostle Paul to Rome. This small paragraph narrates the path of the Apostle's  journey, and the various stops, from Caesarea to Rome. 

There are of course more Apocrypha books, which are not used in Liturgical life as are the above four. The Rt. Revd concluded that a lack of an Ecumenical Council on this matter has left the fathers of the Armenian Church in the midst of a tension between two forces in the early centuries of Christianity. This resulted in the gradually developing of the universal canon list and the popularity of New Testament Apocrypha that were used by the early evangelists and preachers of Christianity in Armenia. The tension between these two forces can be clearly traced in the different lists of the Canon and the various Church Fathers of the Armenian Church.
The night concluded with supper, giving thus the opportunity to all the members of both the A.E.C.A. and the Nikean Club to come closer and talk about the lecture and current situations in regards to the relations between Western and Eastern Christianity.