Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2015

Yesterday the Guild Church of St Dunstan-in-the-West together with the Romanian Orthodox Parish of St George hosted an Ecumenical Service of Choral Evensong and Romanian Orthodox Vespers to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Romanian Liturgy at the Church of St Dunstan-in-the-West. This was part of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Rt. Revd. Jonathan Baker (Guild Vicar and Bishop of Fulham) Officiated, whilst the address was given by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph Pop (Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan of South and West Europe, Romanian Orthodox Archbishop of Paris) who spoke on ‘The Saints of the 1st Christian Millennium – a common legacy for Eastern and Western Christendom.’

The Metropolitan firstly thanked St Dunstan’s for having under its aegis the Romanian Orthodox Parish of St George for the past 50 years. He then examined the key theme, i.e. Saints, who can be a Saints and how one becomes a Saint. There are Biblical quotes supporting Saints; the Patristic Tradition, especially after the iconoclastic period, whilst in the New Testament we read that the Christians are called Saints. He then spoke about a number of British Saints and Saints who worked and lived in Britain, such as St Bede, St Theodore of Tarsus and others. There was also a reference to the new monastery dedicated to All Celtic Saints[1]. The Metropolitan explained how the Saints remain our friends. They are models for us, especially today, in a world which promotes that there are no more models to follow.

In December 1964 the first Liturgy of the Romanian Orthodox Church took place commenced under the aegis of the then Guild Vicar, John Richard Satterthwaite, who at that time was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Counsellor for Foreign Relations. In 1970 he became Bishop of Fulham and subsequently Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe. Shortly afterwards the first Liturgy, the splendid Romanian Iconostasis, which had originally been made for the Antim Monastery in Bucharest in the 1830’s, was moved to this church.

In the mid-seventies the then Bishop of London, the Rt. Revd. Gerald Ellison made an official visit to the Patriarch in Bucharest. Through its links with St Dunstan’s the Anglican and Eastern Churches Association has made several pilgrimages to Romania[2] and has also made grants towards the training of a number of Romanian Priests.

[1] For more information on the monastery please see a previous post: http://londinoupolis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/fellowship-of-st-alban-and-st-sergius.html
[2] For this year’s AECA pilgrimage to Romania please see below:

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