Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Christ the Pantocrator of Roath blessed by Archbishop Rowan Williams, Cardiff

The Church of St. Martin in Roath (an Anglican Church in the Diocese of Llandaff within the Church in Wales), Cardiff, on the 22nd of September 2013 celebrated a High Mass for the Blessing and Dedication of the new Mosaic of Christ the Pantocrator of Roath. Present were the ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, Fr. Irvin Hamer (parish priest) many priests and faithful. The magnificent icon was a gift of an anonymous benefactor to the Church. The work was designed and executed by Aidan Hart.






Archbishop Rowan is undoubtedly the best hierarch within the Anglican Communion, in regards to icons, since he has written many books on icons, including ‘Ponder These Things – Praying with Icons of the Virgin’ and ‘The Dwelling of the Light – Praying with Icons of Christ’. During his sermon he explained some features of the icon of Christ, especially the three letters found in the halo (Ο ΩΝ, which in English translates He who Is). It was interesting, from an Orthodox point of view, when he was explaining the importance of icons and their significance within Christianity, a reality which prevails in the East.





Towards the end of the High Mass the Archbishop officiated at the Rite of Blessing of the Mosaic. There he said the following prayer:

Good Father
Lover of the human race, we praise you for the great love shown us
In the sending of your Word.
Born of the Blessed Virgin,
He became our Saviour, our first born brother, like us in all things but sin.

You have given us Christ as the perfect example of holiness:
We see him as a child in the manger, yet acknowledge him as God almighty.

We see his face and discern the countenance of his goodness.
We hear him speak the words of life and are filled with
Your wisdom.

We search the deepest reaches of his heart and our own hearts
Burn with that fire of the Spirit which spread in order to renew
The face of the earth.

We look on the Bridegroom of the Church, streaked in his own blood,
But we revere that blood which washes our sins away.
The Church rejoices in the glory of his resurrection and shares
in the promise it holds.

Lord, listen to our prayer.
This day we solemnly hallow and dedicate this Mosaic to the glory of your
Holy Name and name it, Christ the Pantocrator of Roath. 

May we always be of one mind and heart with Christ. May Christ be the
Way that leads us to you, the truth that shines in our hearts, the life that
Animates our actions. May Christ be a light to all who see this image in this community, may he draw all men and women to himself and be a place
Of rest on their journey.
May he be the gate that opens to all the City of Peace
For he lives their reigning with you and Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever.
Amen




This mosaic, in the centre of Cardiff, emphasises the importance icons in the Christian World. St. Martins Church of Roath shows the unity between East and West, since the 3 icons within the Church and the mosaic, above the main entrance, follow the Byzantine iconographic tradition. Here East meets West. Additionally, Jesus Christ’s mosaic, the Christ of Pantocrator of Roath, will be a testimony of Christianity, in the Welsh Capital, where passers-by will be able to face The Truth, i.e. Jesus Christ (as expressed by Archbishop Rowan during his sermon). This reality, i.e. of the re-introduction of icons in Western Churches highlights that the tradition of icons is a reality of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, even here in Britain. The relations with the Orthodox have brought back the Anglicans to an ancient tradition, i.e. the icons, where a relationship with Jesus and the Saints is cultivated.



(Fr. Anastasios Salapatas, Archbishop Rowan Williams and Dimitris Salapatas)


(Fr. Irvin Hamer,  Aidan Hart and Fr. Anastasios Salapatas)


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