Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Twelve Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, Hertfordshire

The Twelve Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, Hertfordshire was formed in 1991. The first part of its history (i.e. during the first seven years) the Twelve Apostles Church shared St Andrews Anglican church in Cuffley, Hertfordshire. This is a practice many Orthodox communities followed, in order to form themselves better, before actually purchasing a church building of their own. This was the case here too.

Great credit has to be given to Fr Joseph Paliouras. A beautiful description of his important work is explained in the Church’s site, whereby we find: ‘The arrival of Father Joseph Paliouras as our priest gave an added impetus to our progress. He has provided enthusiasm, faith, and guidance, as well as a quality of leadership which has helped to swell the ranks of our congregation. He has worked tirelessly, both with the committee and the congregation, becoming truly the foundation on which our hopes and dreams are founded.’[1]

This dream, of course, was realised in December 1997, purchasing the current Church, in Brookmans Park – Hertfordshire. First service in this new Church took place on the 28th February 1999, whilst it was consecrated on Sunday 1st October 2000, by His Eminence Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain, Gregorios. Currently there are two priests serving this community, Fr Joseph Paliouras and Fr Demetrianos Melekis[2].

Recently the Twelve Apostles Church was iconpainted, following the tradition of the Eastern Church. It is a great example of how the Orthodox Churches in England combine Western architectural style together with the iconographic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church. This marriage clearly works, creating an interesting combination, followed by many Orthodox Churches in Britain.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Rostra (Bema) where St Paul was judged, Ancient Corinth

St Paul is also known as the Apostle of the Nations because of his missionary journeys throughout the Mediterranean (46-58 AD) in order to teach the world about Christ. One of the cities he visited, writing two Epistles to the faithful in that city, which were incorporated in the Canon of the New Testament, is of course Corinth. Corinth was a Roman Imperial Colony and capital city of the province of Achaea (Peloponnese and Central Greece), experiencing a period of great prosperity during the Roman epoch. When he was in Corinth, St Paul worked with the local Jewish tentmakers Aquila and Priscila. During his stay he preached the Gospel to the Jews of the city, being confronted, however, with strong opposition from several members of the city’s large Jewish community. Saint Paul, thus, resolved to devote his full attention to the conversion of the Gentiles, a decision which proved highly successful. As he left for Ephesus, he had left behind him an established and well organised Church in Corinth. Additionally he kept in contact with that Church, producing his two Epistles to the Corinthians.

In Ancient Corinth we find the rostra (bema). During Paul’s stay in the city, he was brought for judgement before the proconsul Galli on the accusation of conducting illegal teachings. Gallio, however, refused to judge what he considered to be a mere religious dispute among the Jews. According to tradition, the site of Paul’s trial was the bema, a large elevated rostrum standing prominently in the centre of the Roman forum of ancient Corinth and from the city’s officials addressed the public. Probably because of the monument’s connection to St Paul, the bema was transformed into a Christian church during the Byzantine era. Today, the monument constitutes the historical seat of the Metropolis of Corinth and is the location where a Great Vesper is celebrated on the feast of St Paul (29th June). 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

‘Beauty will save the world’ – Christianity and the arts – Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius 2016 Conference

The Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius is organising its 2016 Conference, entitled: ‘Beauty will save the world’ – Christianity and the arts. The Conference will take place at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, between the 16th and 18th August 2016.

For further details, to download a booking form, to see the conference centre details and see the Conference programme, please visit the Fellowship’s website:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Panathenian Stadium

The Panathenian Stadium is inexorably linked not only with the athletic events held in the capital of Greece, but also with the history of Athens. The Stadium is first mentioned during the reign of Lykourgos (330-336 B.C.), who decided to build a sports field for the inhabitants of the city. The most appropriate place was located near the hill of Ardettus, in the narrow passage between the two adjacent hills next to the Ilissos River.

After completion of the necessary work, the Stadium started hosting athletic events. The nobility and the priests had sitting rights for the few wooden seats, in contrast with the spectators who had to find a place somewhere on the rocks of the two hills. Five centuries passed, before a proper stadium was constructed. In 131 AD, Herod Atticus conceived the idea for a new, 50.000 seat stadium. He created a true masterpiece with marble being the main material used, while the stands were divided into two tiers, with 23 rows of benches each.

Gradually over the years, the Stadium was neglected. Hard times and different stages of Athenian history did not favour the holding of athletic events. The Stadium was abandoned and the marble removed and utilised in the construction of other buildings. Some initiative was noted in 1858, when an effort to clear the area and conserve the remnants of the ancient Stadium in order to hold the Zappas Olympics, was made. Nothing came of that, but 12 years later, in the second Zappas Olympics, conditions were somewhat better.

When in 1894, the Paris International Sports Convention decided that Athens should be awarded the revival of the Olympics Games and the need for a new stadium emerged, most thoughts were immediately directed towards the Panathenian Stadium. At noon of March 25th 1896, the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games was held, in front of over 60.000 Athenians who had crowded into the Stadium. The first modern Olympic Games included track events, gymnastics, wrestling, weight lifting, and of course the Marathon run in which Spyros Louis finished first, one of the most widely discussed and covered victories in the history of the Olympic Games. Since then it has played a major role in key sporting and musical events in Athens, including the annual Marathon run, the Athens Games (2004), musical events, the reception of the Greek Football team who won the European Cup during Euro 2004 and many more.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Celebrating the Saints

Upon entering an Orthodox Church building one is able to identify the great veneration the Orthodox have to Christ, the Mother of God and the countless Saints, which adorn the whole interior of the Church. The Orthodox, therefore, tend to also celebrate their memory greatly. On the feast day of the Saint, whoever has the saint’s name celebrates. This celebration (the nameday) is more important than the birthday of a person, showing great veneration to the certain Saint, God and the Church. St John of Damascus, who wrote three treatises in defence of icons, explains, in regards to the significance of the Saints:

‘If you raise temples to the saints of God, then put up trophies to them as well. Of old a temple was not erected in the name of human beings, nor was the death of just ones celebrated, but they were buried, and anyone who touched a corpse was reckoned unclean, even Moses himself. Now the memorials of the saints are celebrated. The corpse of Jacob was buried, but that of Stephen is celebrated . . . it is impossible not to celebrate the memorials of the saints, for the choir of the holy apostles and the god-bearing fathers enjoins that these should take place. For from the time when God the Word became flesh, and was made like us in every respect save sin, and was united without confusion with what is ours, and unchangingly deified the flesh through the unconfused co-inherence of his divinity and his flesh one with another, we have been truly sanctified. And from the time when the Son of God and God, being free from suffering in his divinity, suffered in what he had assumed and paid our debt by pouring out a worthy and admirable ransom (for the Son’s blood was appealing to the Father and worthy of respect), we have truly been set free. And from the time when he descended into Hades and preached forgiveness to the souls, who had been bound as captives there for all eternity, like sight to the blind, and, having bound the strong one by his excess of power, rose again and gave incorruption to the flesh that he had assumed from us, we have been made truly incorruptible. From the time we were born of water and the Spirit, we have truly been adopted as sons and become heirs of God. Henceforth Paul calls the faithful holy. Henceforth we do not mourn for the saints, but we celebrate their death. Henceforth, “we are not under the law, but under grace,” “having been justified through faith,” and knowing the only true God – “for the law is not laid down for the just” – we are no longer enslaved by the elements of the law as children, but being restored to perfect manhood we are nourished with solid food, no longer prone to idolatry. For the law is good, like a lamp shining in a squalid place, but only until the day dawns. For already the morning star has risen in our hearts and the living water of the knowledge of God has covered the seas of the nations and all have come to know the Lord. “The old things have passed away, and behold everything is new.” The divine apostle therefore said to Peter, the supreme chief of the apostles, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?” and to the Galatians he wrote, “I testify to everyone who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law.”’ (Treatise I, 21).

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Friendship can be considered as one of the greatest gifts. Being able to share your life with friends, live with them, go through a number of experiences together. Being with communion with others is a blessing. It is said that hell is when you are not able to speak or see others. If this is the case, then paradise is where you are able to communicate with your friends and loved ones. In the Old Testament Book Wisdom of Sirach (6:5-17) we find the importance of friendship and how we should be careful in choosing and keeping the right friend close to us:

5 If you are polite and courteous, you will enjoy the friendship of many people. 6 Exchange greetings with many, but take advice from only one person out of a thousand. 7 When you make friends, don't be too quick to trust them; make sure that they have proved themselves. 8 Some people will be your friends only when it is convenient for them, but they won't stand by you in trouble. 9 Others will fall out with you over some argument, and then embarrass you by letting everyone know about it. 10-11 Others will sit at your table as long as things are going well; they will stick to you like your shadow and give orders to your servants, but they will not stand by you in trouble. 12 If your situation takes a turn for the worse, they will turn against you, and you won't be able to find them anywhere.

13 Stay away from your enemies and be on guard against your friends. 14 A loyal friend is like a safe shelter; find one, and you have found a treasure. 15 Nothing else is as valuable; there is no way of putting a price on it. 16 A loyal friend is like a medicine that keeps you in good health. Only those who fear the Lord can find such a friend. 17 A person who fears the Lord can make real friendships, because he will treat his friends as he does himself.[b]

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weird Olympic Games Facts

Each time the Olympics are on, I wonder what weird thing will happen or if a mistake on the part of the organisation will take place. Here we show a small number of weird facts taken from the modern Olympic Games.
During the 2004 Olympic Games, Greece – being a host nation, had to have a team for most, if not all, the sport events, going through without having to qualify. Therefore, Greece had to form a baseball team, a sport not known in the European country. Nevertheless, despite the fact that they did not know much about it, they ended up second to last.

There are no more gold medals. The last time gold medals were given was in 1912. Due to their enormous cost, they were replaced with silver, which are later gold platted.
In 1988, boxer Eduard Paululum was to become the first athlete to represent the Pacific country Vanuatu to the Olympics. However, he was disqualified during the weighing, due to the consumption of an enormous breakfast.

 Due to the Cold War, the USA team did not participate in the 1980 Games in Moscow and later the Soviet team boycotted the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
During the 1952 Games, Josef Barthel from Luxembourg won the 1.500 metre sprint. However, the Olympic Band did not bother to learn the National Anthem of Luxembourg. Therefore, they improvised; they played a triumphed piece, making the whole ceremony an awkward one.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Xochimilco Floating Gardens, Mexico City

One of the most beautiful attractions and fun places in Mexico City is Xochimilco. The ancient canals, built by the Aztecs, are home to the colourfully decorated boats. The flat-bottomed boats are painted with colourful flour motifs, emphasising and verifying the colourful character of Mexico City. There, the visitor is able to see the floating Mariachis, who play great Mexican music, to have a drink, food and souvenirs. Xochimilco is a great place for parties and even wedding receptions. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Father’s Advice

Reading the Old Testament Book of Tobit, I came across a wonderful passage, whereby Tobit is giving advice to his son Tobias, just before he believed he would die. The advice he gives is definitely timeless, which applied in every era and peoples. It is universal advice and a way of life we should all strive to follow, especially us who believe in God. Tobit says to his son: (4: 6-20).

‘6 And all the days of thy life have God in thy mind: and take heed thou never consent to sin, nor transgress the commandments of the Lord our God. 7 Give alms out of thy substance, and turn not away thy face from any poor person: for so it shall come to pass that the face of the Lord shall not be turned from thee. 8 According to thy ability be merciful. 9 If thou have much give abundantly: if thou have a little, take care even so to bestow willingly a little. 10 For thus thou storest up to thyself a good reward for the day of necessity. 11 For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness. 12 Alms shall be a great confidence before the most high God, to all them that give it.
13 Take heed to keep thyself, my son, from all fornication, and beside thy wife never endure to know a crime. 14 Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind, or in thy words: for from it all perdition took its beginning. 15 If any man hath done any work for thee, immediately pay him his hire, and let not the wages of thy hired servant stay with thee at all.

16 See thou never do to another what thou wouldst hate to have done to thee by another. 17 Eat thy bread with the hungry and the needy, and with thy garments cover the naked. 18 Lay out thy bread, and thy wine upon the burial of a just man, and do not eat and drink thereof with the wicked. 19 Seek counsel always of a wise man. 20 Bless God at all times: and desire of him to direct thy ways, and that all thy counsels may abide in him.’

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Mystery of Pentecost

Pentecost, the birth-day of the Church, is one of the most important festivities in the ecclesiastical calendar. This day emphasises the continued love and salvific plan of God for His Creation. Following is a small paragraph on Pentecost, examining how it is as important as Redemption, and how the Holy Spirit plays a crucial role in the deification of us all, written by Vladimir Lossky. He explains:

‘The mystery of Pentecost is as important as that of Redemption. Christ’s redeeming action is an absolute condition of the deifying action of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord himself states it when he says: “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” (Luke 12:49). But on the other hand it may be said that the action of the Holy Ghost is in its turn subject to the action of the Son; for it is by receiving the Spirit that the human person may, in total consciousness, be witnesses to the divinity of Christ. The Son became like unto us in his incarnation; we become like unto him in deification, in being partakers off the divine nature through the Holy Spirit who endows with it each human person in particular. The Son’s redeeming action concerns our nature; the deifying action of the Holy Spirit concerns our persons. But the two are inseparable, inconceivable one without the other; each conditions the other; each is present in the other. In the last analysis, they are but one action of the Holy Trinity accomplished by two divine Persons sent into the world by the Father. This double action of the Word and the Comforter has but one end: the union of created being with God.’[1]

[1] V. Lossky, ‘Redemption et Deification’, in A l’image et a la Resseblance de Dieu, Paris, Aubier, 1967, p.107 (in French). 

Monday, June 20, 2016

The many names of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the Third Hypostasis of the Trinity has multiple names. Many Church Fathers have examined this interesting fact. St Gregory Nazianzen claimed: ‘I am seized with dread, when I think of the abundance of titles. . . He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Mind of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and Himself the Lord, the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Liberty. . . . The Creator-Spirit, who by baptism and by resurrection creates anew; the Spirit who knows all things, who teaches, who blows where and to what extent he lists . . . who reveals, gives light, quickens, or rather is the very Light and Life; who makes temples, who deifies; who perfects so as even to anticipate baptism, yet after baptism to be sought as a separate gift; who does all things that God does; divided into fiery tongues; dividing gifts; making Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, pastors and Teachers . . .another Paraclete in the sense of another God.’[1]

According to a prayer from the Liturgy of St Basil, said silently by the priest, we read: He is ‘the Spirit of truth, the gift of adoption, the pledge of future inheritance, the first-fruits of eternal blessings, the life-giving power, the source of sanctification.’ Additionally, St John of Damascus names the third hypostasis of the Holy Trinity: ‘Spirit of God, direct, authoritative, the fountain of wisdom, and life, and holiness; God existing and addressed along with the Father and Son: uncreated, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not subject to any lord: deifying, not deified: filling, not filled: shared in, not sharing in: sanctifying, not sanctified.’[2]

[1] ‘Or. XXXI (Theol. V), 29-30’, P.G., XXXVI, 159 BC.
[2] ‘De fide orth., I, 8’, XCIV, 821 BC.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Synday of Pentecost

The hymns in the video below are from the Sunday of Pentecost, 1964, whereby Thrasivoulos Stanitsas, one of the greatest chanters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, chanted the service in Beirut, Lebanon.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Oneness of Christ through the Spirit

‘Through the Spirit, the oneness of Christ, as the unique Saviour, the unique God, becomes also oneness for the Church without suppressing the diversity, the freedom, the personal variety of God’s creation. This is beautifully expressed in the hymnography of Pentecost.

The Spirit bestows all things; it appoints prophets; it consecrates priests; it gives wisdom to the simple; it turned fishermen into theologians; it gathers together the whole assembly of the Church. O Comforter, consubstantial and co-reigning with the Father and the Son, Glory to Thee!
We have seen the true light; we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, who has saved us!’[1]

[1] Meyendorff, John, Living Tradition, (Crestwood, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1978), pp. 117-118. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

St Alban the Protomartyr

The first Saint of Britain, also known as Protomartyr, is St Alban. Numerous traditions relating to St. Alban are very ambiguous, and it is impossible to verify various historical details and traditions about this legendary saint. Nevertheless, during the 5th century a Gallic saint named Alban, and a native of Britain was widely venerated both in this country and on the continent. He was a soldier in the Roman army and, according to the venerable Bede, was brought to faith in Christ by a fugitive priest to whom he gave shelter. It is said that the priest’s name was Amphibalus – but this is almost certainly a fictitious name given to him because it is the Greek equivalent of Caracalla – or cloak – which played an important part in one of the episodes of St. Alban’s martyrdom. Alban so convinced of the priest’s holiness and authenticity, that he conveyed his wish to become a Christian.

A local magistrate found out that Alban was sheltering a priest and a group of soldiers was sent to arrest both of them. When Alban realised what was about to happen, he exchanged clothes with the priest, allowing him to escape, thus giving him the opportunity to continue preaching the Gospel of Christ. When introduced to the magistrate he was demanded to sacrifice to the pagan Gods. After his refusal he was sentenced to be scourged, in order to make him recant, but to no avail. He was then sentenced to death. On the day of his execution all the town gathered in order to witness the event. However, the bridge by which the procession was to pass was blocked by all the people. Alban prayed to God and the waters of the river pulled back, thus creating a passageway. When observing this, the executioner was so moved that he laid his sword to the protomartyr’s feet wishing that he as well would be executed together with Alban. Upon reaching the spot of the execution, the saint desired some water, and after praying to God a living spring broke out near him.
After hearing the events that took place, the magistrate was astonished. This admiration resulted in the termination of all persecutions. When, eventually, the Church became the established religion, a magnificent church was built on the spot of St. Alban’s Martyrdom, near London, which is the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain.
Whether or not he was aware of Christianity before the circumstances which led to his conversion is unknown, nonetheless it likely that he would have had some experience of it. Despite the fact that St. Alban is termed the ‘Protomartyr of England’, it is likely that there were many other saintly figures in the British Isles, who lived and died for their faith before him, especially during the reign and persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. St. Alban is commemorated on the 17th of June.
St. Alban is so important to English Christianity, that even an organisation which promotes Anglican-Orthodox Relations is named after him: The Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius. This testifies the importance that England has played since the early centuries of Christianity.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Service in remembrance of St Alban

The following service in St Albans, was celebrated on the feast of St Alban, 17th June 2015. His Grace Bishop Ignatie led the service, accompanied by a beautiful Byzantine choir. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The First Woman Sports Fan

The first woman sports fan was Callipatira, a woman who broke every rule of her time in order to attend the Olympic Games. As historians report, the Games were protected by regulations, the strict enforcement of which helped maintain a very high level of competition. Athletes violating these rules were penalised by fines, exclusion from the games or whipping in public, depending on the degree of their violation.
The severity of the rules did not only apply to athletes, trainers and Hellanodikes. Spectators were also concerned: no slaves or persons guilty of sacrilege were admitted. As an exception, barbarians were allowed to watch the games.
Women were also banned from attending the games. However, views are divided on this matter. According to some, all women were prohibited from watching the games. Pausanias, on the other hand, reports that only married women were excluded, while virgins were freely admitted to any place they chose.

Any woman who violated the prohibition was condemned to be thrown from the cliff of the Typaio Mountain, located southeast of Olympia, beyond the Alpheios River. Yet, there is no historical evidence confirming that this grave penalty was ever applied.
The only woman allowed to watch the events was the high priestess of the goddess Demeter Chamyne, who was granted this honorary privilege by the people of Heleia every four years. The Heleians had once elected high priestess of Demeter Chamyne the wife of Herod who had bestowed upon Olympia the building of an aqueduct, so that she would be admitted to the stadium to watch the games.
On the other hand, there are reports that Phereniki, a woman from Rhodes, or, according to others, Callipatira, daughter of Diagoras of Rhodes, the great Olympic champion, and many times winner of the boxing event, and lauded by Pindar, was the first woman to break the prohibition. After losing her husband, Callipatira herself escorted her son Peisirhodos to Olympia to take part in the youth’s games. The ingenious woman from Rhodes disguised herself as a trainer and, by mingling with other trainers, managed to enter the stadium without being noticed to watch her son compete. Her son won, and his victory, of course, made her deliriously happy.

According to the historians of the time, she ran to Peisirhodos, but as she leapt inside the track, she was careless, and her robe got caught in the trainers’ fence, revealing her female body to everybody’s great surprise. She was immediately arrested and taken to the committee of the Hellanodikes to be tried and to face the consequences of the law. However, the Hellanodikes spared her life, in honour of her father, three brothers and son, who had all been Olympic champions. Nevertheless, after this incident, which probably took place in 396 BC, the Olympic Committee passed a law obliging trainers to enter the Stadium naked – just like the athletes. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016




OXFORD, 14-17 JULY 2016

(Most sessions will be held at St Gregory and St Macrina House, 1 Canterbury Road, Oxford).

Organized by Ainos Cultural Society in cooperation with the University of Winchester, the Orthodox Theological Research Forum, the Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius and the House of St Gregory and St Macrina

This event, dedicated to the memory of Philip Sherrard on the occasion of twenty years from his death, will focus on various aspects of the always interesting topic of the sacred in life and art. The workshop tackles questions related to the notion of the sacred in the 21st century, in life and art.

The Sacred here is approached in the context of the many layers of the concept of the mystery, such as what we cannot fully understand; what is beyond us; the perception of the divine in religious discourse; mystery as sacrament; the mystery of artistic creation; the challenge of research. Our event is intended as an occasion for presentations of works in progress, as a venue for an exchange of ideas and perspectives, and also as an opportunity for intercultural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary dialogue.

We are becoming increasingly aware that the forms of our life and art — of our modern civilization generally — have over the last few centuries been characterized by the progressive loss of precisely that sense which gives virtually all other civilizations and cultures of the world their undying luster and significance: the sense of the sacred. In fact, the concept of a completely profane world — of a cosmos wholly desacralized — is a fairly recent invention of the western mind, and only now are we beginning to realize the appalling consequences of trying to order and mould our social, personal and creative life in obedience to its dictates. It is not even too much to say that we are also beginning to realize that unless we can re-instate the sense of the sacred at the heart of all our activities there can be no hope of avoiding the cosmic catastrophe for which we are heading.

Philip Sherrard, The Sacred in Life and Art

Thursday 14th July
Morning session 10:30-13:00
Welcome address
Mission statement of the contributing organizing bodies
Panel on The Sacred Unplugged: Art, Life and Beyond

Reflections and discussion on selected readings by:
 St Paul, Cappadocians, John Damascene, Symeon the New Theologian, Eugene Trubetskoy, Fotis Kontoglou, Philip Sherrard, Fr Maximos Constas

Afternoon session: 15:00-19:00
Andrew Louth (Durham/Amsterdam)
Philip Sherrard and the Experience of God
Graham Speake (Oxford)
Philip Sherrard and Mount Athos
Robin Cormack (London)
Philip Sherrard: Greek East / Latin West and the Art Historian
Peter Mackridge (Oxford)
Translation and Interpretation: Sherrard and Modern Greek Literature
Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Oxford)
Philip Sherrard: A Prophet of our Times


Friday 15th July
Morning Session (10:00-13:00) Afternoon Session (15:00-19:00)

Dimitrios Harper (Winchester)
The Finality of Beauty: the non-anagogical Turn of Kantian Aesthetics
Tikhon Vasilyev (Oxford)
            The notion of Beauty in Sergius Bulgakov
Nikos Livanos (Athens)
Orthodoxy and Science around the World
Richard Price (London)
            Sacred and Secular: Where the two meet
Patrick Martin (Winchester)
The Last Judgment Mosaic at Torcello, Venice – Exploiting the Resources of Byzantium
Maria Lidova (Oxford)
The Virgin among the Angels in Byzantine Art
Ouresis Todorovich (Athens, Sydney)
The Sacred in Art as a Diachronic Experience: from Prehistoric Cave Painting to 'Byzantine' Mark Rothko
Aidan Hart (Shrewsbury)
Art of the Altar and of the Portico: The Relationship of Orthodox Iconography and Gallery Art
Markos Kampanis (Athens)
            Is There a ‘Sacred’ Style?


Saturday 16th July
Morning Session (10:00-13:00) Afternoon Session (15:00-19:00)

Sotiris Mitralexis (Istanbul/Winchester)
New Services for the Orthodox Church: an Anonymous Contribution
Andreas Andreopoulos (Winchester)
An Analysis of the Christian Liturgy through the Poetics of Aristotle
Rebecca White (Oxford)
For everything that lives is holy (William Blake); Gregory Palamas on Beauty and Holiness
Lady Maryanna Tavener
            ‘Shall these bones live’: Reflecting on the Work of Sir John Tavener
June Boyce-Tillman (Winchester)
            To be a Pilgrim: John Tavener’s Spiritual Journey through Music
Alex Lingas (London, Oxford)
            Music and Sacred Performance
Dimitri Salapatas (Winchester)
Iconography Finding its Place: The Increasing Awareness of Orthodox Iconography in Britain
Veronique Magnes (Athens)
The Sacred in the 21st Century: The Person and the Inner Icon


Sunday 17th July
Afternoon Session (15:00-19:00)

Andrew Louth (Durham / Amsterdam)
Art and the Sacred in Philip Sherrard's thought
David and Karen Cann (Winchester)
“Realization" of the Liturgy from the Perspectives of Dance Studies and Theology
Niki Tsironis (Athens)
            Sacred Performance in Byzantium
Andrew Walker White (Stratford)
Hierarchies of Performance: Some Thoughts on Ritual, Theater and Hellenic Culture
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (Oxford)
            Beauty will save the world. Is Beauty Sacred?


Evening events include:

Projection of the film/documentary Breath of Earth by Panos Karkanevatos based on the research and with the artistic direction of Lampros Liavas (University of Athens)

Projection of the documentary on Philip Sherrard, by ANTIFONO

Poetry reading by Christopher Villers

Presentation of the work of modern artists (Aidan Hart, Markos Kampanis, Ouresis Todorovich, Noel White)

Reception at the garden of St Gregory’s House

PLEASE NOTE that this is not the final programme
Times of presentations and events are due to change

For fees, registration and general information please contact us on    tel: +30 6932421060


OXFORD, 14-17 JULY 2016

Name *:
Surname *:
Title :
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  Regular registration for the entire workshop: £ 150
  Regular registration per day: £ 50
  Student rate and concession registration for the entire workshop: £ 130
  Student rate and concession per day: £ 40
  Benefactor rate per day* : £ 70
*Benefactor rates will enable us to offer concession rates to more attendants
Fees include: Tea/Coffee/Biscuits during the workshop and Fork/Finger Buffet Lunch

The conference is not financially supported by any organisation or other official body. For this reason we would kindly ask you to support the initiative paying the regular or the benefactor’s rate.

Payment Instructions

Deposit required by the 20th of June 2016 /Instalments available

Contact us: Tel: +30 6932421060

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Monday, June 13, 2016


The Anglican and Eastern Churches Association held its Annual General Meeting at St Sava’s Serbian Orthodox Church on Thursday 9th June. The evening began with Vespers, followed by the AGM and dinner.
During the AGM the Chairman of the AECA, Dr Fr William Taylor, the Secretary Janet Laws, the Editor of Koinonia, Fr Stephen Stavrou, the Treasurer, David Powell and the Pilgrimage Secretary, Fr Andrei Petrine presented statements or/ and spoke about the previous year and what they wish to achieve in the coming year for the Association. Following are a number of reports, produced for this AGM, for those who were unable to be present at St Savas.

Chairman’s Report

The past year (2015-16) has been one of much renewed activity in general in work with the Orthodox Churches, and increased activity for me as Chairman of the AECA. I outline below some of the work which I have done:
Incoming Visits: 2015-16 has seen an unusually high level of activity in receiving incoming visits of Heads of Churches/Patriarchs:
Visit of H.H. Catholicos Karekin II. His Holiness came on a brief visit to London in October 2015 accompanying the President of Armenia, for the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide in Westminster Abbey. Although the Genocide is not recognised by the UK Government (it is by Welsh Assembly), the word was used several times in His Holiness’ address in Westminster Abbey. I worked with the Armenian delegation from meeting the presidential plane to his departure.
Visit of H.A.H. The Ecumenical Patriarch. To mark the publication of the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue’s Buffalo Agreed Statement, In the Image and Likeness of God, His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople paid an official visit to the Archbishop of Canterbury at the beginning of November. I worked with the Nikaean Club, with Lambeth Palace, and with the Archbishop’s International Secretary at Church House in many aspects of the visit.
Visit of H.H. Patriarch John X of Antioch. To mark the creation of the new Diocese for the Church of Antioch in the UK, a visit was planned in November for His Holiness Patriarch John of Antioch. Unfortunately, this visit had to be postponed for medical reasons after the Patriarch suffered an accident, but much planning and work had been done for the visit, including a lunch in the House of Lords, which had to be postponed.
For both visits of the Armenian Catholicos and Patriarch of Antioch, the AECA Committee had budgeted sums for official entertainment of the two Heads of Churches, should it have been needed.  
Representational Work
Nikaean Club Executive Committee. Much of the work of the Nikaean Club (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s club for entertaining his official guests) overlaps with the AECA, especially where Orthodox matters are concerned, so it is important that the AECA has representation on the committee of the Nikaean Club. At present, AECA is well represented, with 3 members of the Executive serving on the Nikaean Club’s – myself [Fr William Taylor], and Frs Stephen Stavrou and Andrei Petrine.
Anglican Oriental Orthodox International Commission. Together with Fr Stephen Stavrou, I serve on the Anglican Orthodox International Commission. In 2015, it met in Hawarden, Wales, a place which hosts the Gladstone Library, so important for the history relations between The Churches of Armenia and the British Isles. The agreed statement on Christology was published in the course of this meeting, while present work is focused on an agreed statement on the Holy Spirit.
Anglican Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum. I serve on this group, which brings together the Churches of the Anglican and Oriental Orthodox traditions in the UK, and focusses on practical co-operation between our Churches.
Hospitality for our Anglican President, the Bishop of London. The AECA funded a lunch, hosted by the Bishop of London in the House of Lords, to which senior representatives of the Orthodox Churches were invited, and where each spoke about their aspirations for their own work and that of the AECA. This should assist us greatly in the strategic review we plan – (see below).
I am frequently asked to represent the Bishop of London at various Orthodox events (for example, the Installation of Metropolitan Selouan as Bishop for the Antiochian Church in London and arranging hospitality for guests) and in planning meetings – work is in hand for incoming visits of the Heads of churches on 2016, including their Holinesses the Patriarchs of Moscow and Serbia, as well as events of more local significance.
Churches of the Middle East
The Household of HRH the Prince of Wales. HRH the Prince of Wales takes an active interest in the welfare of Middle Eastern Christians, especially in Iraq and Syria. I assisted with the preparations which were made for the Advent reception hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the Prince of Wales, and continue in an ongoing capacity in advising his staff on issues related to Christians of the Middle East.
Advocacy and Justice. I have been asked twice in the last year to testify in immigration tribunals in the cases of Middle Eastern Christians whose applications for asylum have been refused. These is often a deep lack of knowledge in the legal representatives of the Home Office, which can involve weeks and months of preparation of background documents in defence. The last case in which I testified (in Bradford) had a defence case briefing of over 280 pages of evidence.  
Strategic Review
While 2015-16 has been an extremely busy year with ever closer co-operation between the Churches of our different traditions, 2016-17 promises to be even busier, with the AECA taking a more strategic role in taking forward the vitally important work of relations between Anglicans and Orthodox. A major strategic review of our work is planned for the autumn of 2016, of which more anon in the year ahead.

General Secretary’s Report for the Annual General Meeting - 9th June 2016

The Association has had another successful year and its profile has been raised considerably through the improvements to the website and other forms of social media to which Dimitris Salapatas had made a huge contribution, bringing us all up to date, and for which the Committee is very grateful. The regular mailings by post continue, however, for those members of the Association who do not have access to a computer.
The Committee has been in discussion at its recent meetings as to putting past copies of Koinonia on to the website and Elena Stavrou has been undertaking the background work to this project and further updates will be provided in the Autumn.
The Executive Committee has met three times during the year to discuss the Association’s affairs, programme planning and to consider grant applications which have been received. The Treasurer will provide more details informed on the grant applications during his financial report.
The Reception for Orthodox Church Leaders held in October was a great success and attended by more of our Orthodox friends than ever before and earlier this year the Bishop of London, Anglican President of the Association, hosted a lunch in the House of Lords for the senior members of the Orthodox Churches where there was also an opportunity for them to share their thoughts about their own work and how the Association might work with them in the future.
The Annual Constantinople Lecture was given in November by the Bishop of Southwark, Bishop Christopher Chessun, entitled Patriarchy & Dispersion and was once again hosted by the Greek Cathedral of St Sophia. Another successful event and the photographs of the evening are available for all to see on the Association’s website [].
The pilgrimage Secretary has given his own report, and Fr Stephen Stavrou, the Editor of Koinonia, having recently changed his full time ministry role, moving to another parish, has sent his apologies for the AGM but has confirmed the next edition of Koinonia will be with all members shortly. He is currently working on this but due to the move of parish this has delayed slightly the edition which would normally go out at Pentecost, but as it is always of such a high standard, it is always worth waiting for.
The current membership stands at 191. At its meeting in January the Committee agreed that in future all subscriptions for the Association would need to be paid by bankers order with effect from the 1st January 2017. This will not only save a lot of time in the processing of cheques, (which will eventually be phased out anyway), but will ensure all subscriptions are paid on the same date, 1st January annually. I have already written to a large number of members who currently pay by cheque, explaining the new pattern, and the remainder of the letters will go out in the coming weeks to ensure members of the Association have plenty of time to set up the arrangement with their bank by the 1st January 2017.
Please continue to encourage new members to the Association, particularly young people.
You will receive separately an excellent report on the Chairman’s work for the Association in the last year and it only remains for me to thank you for your continued support throughout the year.
Janet Laws
General Secretary AECA
June 2016

AGM Report on Koinonia 2016
First my apologies to you all for not being present at the AGM due to a family wedding in Scotland this week.
Since this time last year the two issues of Koinonia have included articles on the commemoration of the Armenian Genocide (and as I write Germany is another nation that has just recognised it as such), the visit of the Ecumenical Patriarch, and the Constantinople Lecture by Bishop Christopher Chessun of Southwark.
Since the launching of the new website it has become possible to put past issues of Koinonia on the website for download and this excellent resource is available to all – although the latest issue is always only available to AECA members.
Another exciting development this year has been the start of a project to digitalise the journals of AECA and various antecedent organisations. Some of the material goes back to the first years of the 20th century and is a fascinating record of ecumenical endeavour and of historical importance. The necessary preparatory work has been undertaken and the journals should be online very soon and accessible via the new website.
I must apologise for the delay in the appearance of the current issue which is chiefly due to my having recently moved to a new parish and home. I am working on it at this time and it will be ready in the very near future.
As Editor, I rely on all of the members of the AECA to help point me towards interesting material for inclusion whether in the form of news and notices, articles long and short, and book and exhibition reviews. Please contact me with any material, and although I cannot guarantee inclusion depending on theme and space, I am always grateful.

Stephen Stavrou, Editor.