Friday, February 28, 2014

A Talk on Anglican-Orthodox Relations

On the 27th February St. John the Evangelist's Church, Upper Norwood organised a talk on “Anglican-Orthodox Relations. A Dead-End or a Way Forward?” This Event took place at St John the Evangelist’s Church, Upper Norwood.
The talk analysed various features of the relations. Firstly we had the introduction of the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association (AECA), which was the first Anglican-Orthodox body, founded in 1864. Its aim was to: Advance the Christian religion, particularly by teaching members of the Anglican and Orthodox Churches about each other, in order to prepare the way for an ultimate union between them, in accordance with our Lord’s prayers that ‘all may be one’. 

The second important society promoting Anglican-Orthodox Relations is the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius. The Fellowship shows the one life of the Church overcoming division; it is a sign of the future unity, wished by everyone who is involved in the Ecumenical Movement.
A historical overview was given, in order to give the basis of the current official dialogue. It was evident that a sporadic interest was shown towards the Eastern Christians, whilst the initiative in the negotiations came from the Anglicans. Relations have existed since the 17th century; however the 20th century will be known as the Century of Ecumenism. During this century we have the establishment of the first Orthodox Archdiocese in the West, the Archdiocese of Thyateria and Great Britain, in London. 

The World Council of Churches (WCC) was analysed. The objective of the WCC is not to build a global ‘super-church’, nor to standardise styles of worship, but to deepen the fellowship and the relationship of the Christian churches in order to identify the true manifestation of what we all claim in the Creed, i.e. ‘one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.’
The Relations have reached an official stage, which have resulted in the 3 Agreed Statements: Moscow (1976), Dublin (1984), Cyprus (2006). The Fourth Official Statement will concentrate on Anthropology, as proposed by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia.
The importance of the relations in Britain:
-          First Orthodox Archdiocese in the West – London.
-          More than 150 Orthodox Communities in the U.K.
-          Icons in many Anglican Churches.
-          Converts.
Results of the Dialogue:
-          The highest and most promising ‘ecumenical virtue’ is patience (Fr. George Florovski).
-          Further understanding of the other ecclesiastical body.
-          The Relations have inevitably affected both East and West!

Dead End or a Way Forward:
-          The future is bright, as long as there are people who are interested in promoting Anglican-Orthodox Relations.
-          Cooperation is key in the furtherance of the relations.
-          Archbishop Justin Welby: ‘There is much that united us and as we continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship our understanding of each other’s traditions will grow.’
-          We should all pray ‘for the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of God’s holy Churches, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.’

I would like to thank the Church of St John the Evangelist and Ian Golds for organising this event and to everyone who came and were part of this event. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Faith in Eternal Life

“The Church’s faith in the eternity of man is not the conviction that there is somehow a future “condition” where “something” from man survives, his “soul” or his “spirit”. But it is the certainty that my nature and its existential possibilities do not secure the hypostasis of my life; my relationship with God, his erotic love for me, secure it and constitute it. Faith in eternity is the trust that this love will not stop but will always constitute my life whether my psychosomatic capacities function or do not function. 

Faith in eternal life is not an ideological certainty; it is not defended with arguments. It is a motion of trust, a deposit of our hopes and our thirst for life in the love of God. He who gives us here and now such a wealth of life, in spite of our own psychosomatic resistances to the realization of life (of real life which is a loving self –transcendence and communion), he has promised us also fullness of life, direct adoption, a face to face relationship with Him, the last resistances of our rebellion are put out in the earth”[1].

[1] Yannaras, Christos, Elements of Faith, (Edinburgh, T&T Clark, 1991), p.66

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anglican-Orthodox Relations: a Dead End or a Way Forward?

On Thursday 27th February 2014 at 8pm the Church of St John the Evangelist, Upper Norwwod, is organising a talk given by Dimitris Salapatas entitled: “Anglican-Orthodox Relations: a Dead End or a Way Forward?” This talk will analyse the history of the relations between the Anglican Communion and the Orthodox Church. The objective of this paper is to identify, through the history of the relations and the Official Dialogue, whether the relations between East and West have reached a dead end or whether there is a future and what this means for both churches.  

This event will take place at St. John the Evangelist’s Church, Upper Norwood SE19 2RX (Corner of Auckland Rd and Sylvan Rd). Nearest station: Crystal palace, then 410 bus or 15 minute walk. All are welcome to come and be part of this event. Light refreshments will be given from 7.30 pm. Night Prayer will follow the talk, at 8.45 pm.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in London

St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in London was the first Greek community to be based in the U.K. The current church was designed by architect John Oldrid Scott, following the Byzantine style of Church architecture. 

The Church was named after the Holy Wisdom of God, because the Orthodox Church had always been inspired in its policy by the highest philosophical principles, which had been developed by Saints John and Paul, and because the philosophical mind of the Greek Fathers was attracted by the idea of giving the more important Churches of the first period of Christianity the appellations of the higher attributes of God: The Power of God, the Peace of God, the Wisdom of God. 

The Church was consecrated on February 5th, 1882, by the Archbishop of Corfu, Antonios Chariates, who then happened to be staying in London. 

It is a practice within the Greek Archdioceses of the Diaspora to have at least one church dedicated to Saint Sophia, in remembrance of the Great Cathedral of the Byzantine Empire. London, of course, is no exception to this rule. It is a historic church emphasising the Greek Orthodox presence in London since the 17th century. It is a landmark for London and Bayswater, reminding the visitor and the faithful of the great church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople..  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Classic Locomotives of Wales – Royal Mail First Day Cover

The new stamps produced by the Royal Mail continue the series on Classic Locomotives, moving now to Wales. The new collection depicts four locomotives: the LMS, the Hunslet, the W& LLR and the BR 5600.
The LMS is a ‘coal tank’ built by Francis Webb at Crewe Works for the London and North Western Railway, this engine is pictured leaving the Britannia Bridge with a Bangor-to Holyhead local train, c. 1930.  

The Hunslet, photographed in 1964, passing Pen Cob Halt on the Ffestiniog Railway, Hunslet No. 589 Blanche was originally constructed for the Penrhyn Slate Quarry by the Hunslet Engine Company in Leeds.
W&LLR: The Earl was built by Beyer Peacock in Manchester for the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway and is shown in 1953, waiting on Unions Street in Welshpool while a car is moved from the line.
BR 5600 is built by the Great Western Railway (GWR) for hauling freight across the GWR’s vast railway network, the engine is seen heading a coal train at Cwmbargoed in Merthyr Tydfil in 1959.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Bible is a book about God

“The Bible is a book about God. But the God of the Bible is not Deus absconditus, but Deus revelatus. God is manifesting and revealing himself. God intervenes in human life. And the Bible is not merely a human record of these divine interventions and deeds. It is a kind of divine intervention itself. It carries with itself a divine message. God’s deeds constitute themselves a message. No need therefore to escape time or history in order to meet God. For God is meeting man in history, i.e. in the human element, in the midst of man’s daily existence. History belongs to God, and God enters human history.

The Bible is intrinsically historical: it is a record of the divine acts, not so much a presentation of God’s eternal mysteries, and these mysteries themselves are available only by a historical mediation. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1.18). And he declared him by entering history, in his holy incarnation. Thus the historical frame of the revelation is not something that ought to be done away with. There is no need to abstract revealed truth from the frame in which revelations took place. On the contrary, such an abstraction would have abolished the truth as well. For the Truth is not an idea, but a person, even the Incarnate Lord”[1].

[1] Florovsky, George, Bible, Church, Tradition: An Eastern Orthodox View, (Belmont, Nordland Publishing Company, 1972), p. 20

Saturday, February 22, 2014

St. Basil the Great, Love cannot be taught

Love for God cannot be taught. No one taught us to enjoy the light nor to want life, nor anyone else taught us to love our parents or those who raised us. Similarly or rather much more, knowledge of divine love does not come from outside. But in the same time when man was composed, a seminal reason was deposited in us, which has by itself the causes of appropriating love. ...
Only the good is properly beautiful and lovable. God is good. Everything loves good, therefore, everything loves God. … To be alienated and to depart from God is unbearable, even more than the fire of hell. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

How the World Works

You have 2 cows.
You give one to your neighbour.

You have 2 cows
The State takes both and gives you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both and sells you some milk.

You have 2 cows.
The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other and then throws the milk away.

You have two cows.
You sell one and buy a bull.
Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows.
You sell them and retire on the income. 

You have two cows.
You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company.
The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.

You have two cows.
You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

You have two cows.
You go on strike, organize a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are.
You decide to have lunch.

You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you.
You charge the owners for storing them.

You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim that you have full employment and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows.
You worship them.

You have two cows.
Both are mad.

Everyone thinks you have lots of cows.
You tell them that you have none.
Nobody believes you, so they bomb the crap out of you and invade your country.
You still have no cows but at least you are now a Democracy.

You have two cows.
Business seems pretty good.
You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

You have two cows.
The one on the left looks very attractive.

You have two cows borrowed from French and German banks.
You eat both of them.
The banks call to collect their milk, but you cannot deliver so you call the IMF.
The IMF loans you two cows.
You eat both of them.
The banks and the IMF call to collect their cows/milk.
You are out getting a haircut.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Church of Panagia Faneromeni, Zante

Zante (Zakynthos) follows the iconographic tradition of the Renaissance period of the West, making all the Ionian Islands a distinct group within the Greek world.  One example of this tradition is the Church of Panagia Faneromeni, located near the Church of St Dionysios in the city of Zakynthos. Its beautiful icons, jewels and wood work show the great work of a number of Zantian artists, including Doxara and his pupils. 

This part of the island was once under water. The area within which the Church is located is called Ammos (Sand), whilst the Church has the name Virgin Mary Faneromeni (She who appears), because the icon of the Theotokos was found at the exact place where they later built the Church. The 15th century building was unfortunately destroyed during the 1953 earthquake; however, it was rebuilt using the same material, following the original format of the Church building and keeping the old bell tower, which was not destroyed. The few icons which survived are of immense importance and have been moved to the Museum of Post-Byzantine Art. 

A unique feature, not found in many Orthodox Churches, is the fact that the Ambo is very high up on the right wall of the Church. The Deacon, in order to stand on the Ambo, needs to go outside the Church and climb the stairs, located on the exterior wall. This makes the Ambo useless during the winter months and especially during rainy days. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful feature of this Church. This Church is also blessed and can boast on having within its area, a Saint of the Orthodox Church, Saint Theofilos, who lived just behind the Church.