Friday, 6 August 2010

Visit of Metropolitan John to London; 10-23 June 2010

His Eminence Metropolitan John has made a pastoral visit to our people in London. This visit included (as usual) a varied programme and activities. His Eminence celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Sundays 13th and 20th June at St George’s Cathedral in London, which was an occasion to meet the people of the parish, young and old, as well as to meet with the Parish Council and discuss with them the latest developments and topics.

At the invitation of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, His Eminence gave a lecture entitled “Christianity in the Middle East”, at St Botolph’s Church in London, in which he spoke of the importance of the Middle East from the historical, geographical and spiritual point of view, and also of the rise of the Church and its spread. He then turned to the coming of Islam and the cohabitation of Christianity and Islam. He ended his lecture by talking about the position of Christians now present in the Middle East and their effective role, despite harsh difficulties.

His Eminence also attended the regular meeting of the Priests and Deacons of our Deanery in Great Britain and Ireland, discussing with them the present position and how to go forward in these parishes in accordance with the collective plan. At this meeting His Eminence elevated Father Gregory Hallam to Archpriest.

On Sunday 20 June the service was enhanced by the blessing of Dunstan Commander as Reader and Christopher Porritt as Sub-Deacon, and the ordination of Deacon Paul Totten as Priest to assist Father Irenaeus in the service of the parish in Belfast in Ireland, and also the elevation of Father Samir Gholam to Archpriest.

On Monday 21 June the Orthodox Metropolitans who have parishes in Great Britain met together: His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople); the Most Revd Metropolitan Youhanna of Western and Central Europe (Patriarchate of Antioch); His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Patriarchate of Moscow); The Rt Revd Bishop Dositej of Great Britain and Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia); The Most Revd Archbishop Iossif of Western and Southern Europe (Patriarchate of Romania); The Rt Revd Bishop Zenon of Dmanisi and Great Britain (Patriarchate of Georgia); His Eminence Archbishop Mark (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia); His Eminence Anatoly of Sourozh; and Their Eminences Kallistos, Chrysostemous and Athanasius (Ecumenical Patriarchate). This was the constitutive meeting of the Council of Orthodox Bishops in Great Britain.
The visit of His Eminence ended on Tuesday 22 June when the Council of Orthodox Bishops (referred to above) met with the Rt Revd Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams and the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres. The meeting was extremely useful and amicable. The attendees considered the relationship between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches, and how to consolidate their relationship and the joint Christian witness of the Church in Great Britain.
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