Wednesday, 25 November 2009
Whilst on the theme of the Armenians. We may think that injustice within our own church is a problem. Have a look at how the Armenian Orthodox are having to cope. We always new that many of the ancient Armenian churches have been desecrated by the neglect of the Turks(I will address the Genocide of Armenians by the Turks on another occasion) but have a look at this report on relations with their neighbouring Orthodox of Georgia. Christ is always suffering when Christians disagree. May he have mercy on us all when the time of reckoning arrives, as it will surely do for us all and especially those responsible for their inactions as well as their actions.
On Friday, November 20, His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, presided during a meeting of the Supreme Spiritual Council in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Discussed during the meeting was the collapse of the St. Gevork of Mughni Armenian Church in the Diocese of Georgia. At the end of the meeting, the following statement was released:
The Supreme Spiritual Council regrets to confirm that the St. Gevork of Mughni Armenian Church (built in 1356) in Tbilisi, Georgia, has collapsed.
The Supreme Spiritual Council regretfully states that years of effort on the part of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin and the authorities of the Republic of Armenia, to regulate the legal standing of the Armenian Diocese of Georgia and secure the return of Armenian churches, through dialogue with the authorities of the Republic of Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church, were unsuccessful. The collapse of the St. Gevork of Mughni Armenian Church is only one of the consequences of the unwarranted delays exhibited by the Georgian side in the handling of the aforementioned issues. The authorities of the Republic of Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church are wholly responsible for the collapse of the church.
The indifference exhibited by the Georgian state toward the preservation of Armenian holy sites does not correspond in any way with: 1) the establishment of good neighborly relations, 2) fidelity to universal human values, 3) respect for the rights of ethnic minorities, 4) the constant statements made by the Georgian state regarding the preservation of the historical and cultural heritage of their ethnic minorities, and 5) the Georgian state’s accepted obligations before the international community.
The Supreme Spiritual Council calls on the authorities of the Republic of Georgia and the Georgian Orthodox Church to immediately implement steps to grant legal status to the Armenian Diocese of Georgia and to return the Armenian churches in Georgia to the Armenian Diocese of Georgia for the normal functioning of national-ecclesiastical life for the Georgian-Armenian community and the safe preservation of Armenian holy sites.
Monday, 23 November 2009
As I suggested in a previous post I would return to the subject of the Latin shaped mitre in the Armenian Apostolic Church as depicted in the statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator AD 301 recently erected on the side of St Peter's basilica, Rome. He was a successor of the Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholemew the founders of the Armenian church. Although there is a small community of Armenian rite Catholics throughout the world who take their origins from Lebanon in the 18th. cent. the vast majority of Armenians are Orthodox and the mother see is based at the holy city of Etchmiadzin in Armenia within sight of Mount Ararat ( now supposedly Turkey) where Noah's Ark rested after the great flood. I attach some photos I took on pilgrimage in 2003 (post soviet occupation) showing the latin shaped mitre. They are on the whole all of the 'precious mitre' type and the only difference is in that they are joined at the top instead of open. I have not yet found out why they follow(or perhaps they lead) the latin form. The orthodox mitre which is crown shaped is retained by the priests and also unusually the deacons as well on some occasions especially at ordinations. The Catholicos of all Armenians (His Holiness Karekin II) with whom I and others shared an audience is dynamic and friendly. These photos are during the Divine Liturgy of the Mass ( the ancient rite is a mix of St John Chrysostom and St. Basil). He is in the photos at his throne not mitred and not celebrating on this occasion but gave the blessing. The audience is in the palace of His Holiness. More details another time.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
These are some words from 'The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution'
(now promulgated under the name of "Anglicanorum Coetibus") by Fr. Ghirlanda of the Vatican. We have this official interpretation, which has struck me with enormous force and significance. They are ....
" the Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral tradition IS a particular reality within the Latin Church."Note that it does not say , may be ,could be or will become.... but IS. This gives enormous encouragement to those who have sacrificed everything to justify this reality within the Anglican church over centuries, often against vehenomous opposition within it. It also gives Anglicans who wish to move towards visible unity with the Bishop of Rome at a slower speed and those who may be forced to be left behind a validity that the faith which they are expressing in the church of their upbringing, nationality and culture is valid, is part of the One Holy catholic and Apostolic church...already, if on an impaired and so far imperfect basis. All life is imperfect in varying degrees. Some will want to rubbish the Constitution for their own grubby church-political reasons. The more open minded and truly liberal and ecumenical, as opposed to current establishment quasi-liberal, will welcome all the words of this generous and fatherly offer of care and concern from Rome. You must read the full text, I believe you will be amazed, humbled and joyous whatever your personal views. Here is a link http://www.ebbsfleet.org.uk/acghrl09.htm
Sunday, 8 November 2009
We will remember them...Remembrance 2. A day of charged emotion here in the UK on this Remembrance Sunday. Our Parish Church is small and Celtic from the 9th. century. Most of the original stones are below ground and in the circular wall of the churchyard. We worship on sacred ground and these stones have seen many wars and burials in their time. They have also witnessed the centuries-old worship and prayers of the people that continue to soak up our catholic and post-reformation liturgies and sacrifices of prayer and thanksgiving even today....a thousand years later. The Requiem Mass this morning in our small rural parish of 900 or so souls mustered a congregation of 50 communicants and others and 10 Sunday School members who led our intercessions. The tone was solemn, Gospel-centred and based on Jesus' promise of eternal life. The Communion concluded at 10.52 am and in the presence of the blessed Sacrament of the Lord remaining on the altar we processed to the war memorial plaque behind the font, the Celebrant carrying the wreath of Flanders poppies from before the altar in the sanctuary, through the body of the church with solemn music playing from the Victorian pipe-organ. As the wreath was laid the Deacon lit the pascal candle and at exactly 11am the two minute memorial silence began in time with the Sovereign's church parade at London's cenotaph and throughout the land. After two verses of the National Anthem we returned to the sanctuary for the post-communion and blessing.
It was at the South door and in the school room afterwards that we shared common experiences of the tragedy of war that affects many of us even in the rural parishes at the moment. Many, many people in our communities and in our nation are now again having to share in the losses and the injuries of the present war in what we used to call the North West Frontier, always a most unhappy burial-ground for the British. Our loyalty to the troops on the ground and to their families is never in question. We look to the Generals and to the politicians for strong, explicit and morally justifiable war-leadership at this time . Our question as to the truth and efficacy of this will be left for another day. For this day we shared, even in this small community, with those in tears for the bomb disposal friend blown-up, the 18yr. old brother of a niece's school friend shot down in his youth, the garrison-town stories two miles away where too many young men have died in the heat of Afghan battles. On the way out two of the congregation quietly reflected on their war-time service. One in Palastine one in Borneo where,captured by the Japanese, 1000(one thousand) men in his Japanese transport ship died even before they got to the prisoner of war camp due to the cruelty of man to man... no water... no light.. ..no air.... A foretaste of the three years of continuing cruelty to come to him and his fellow compatriots and their allies. A day of charged emotion but one of unity, common suffering and determination to overcome and to share in new life. "At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will ( always) remember them.....WE WILL REMEMBER THEM."
Friday, 6 November 2009
This is the season of Remembrance and we with many other families will have special things to recall. Every year at this time I get out the letters sent home by my late father from the front in World War II. He was a Major serving in the Royal Artillery having been called up from his City of London territorial regiment The City of London Yeomanry ( The Rough Riders). I gave his medals and the service sword of my maternal Grandfather (Capt. Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers, note the two royals) to my brother Tim who was in the RADC but I have kept the letters. I will reproduce an extract at the end.....One letter (subject to the censor of course) recounts how he was caught up in the" forgotten war" of 1944. Having fought in North Africa and in the desert(where he says "it was jolly hot"!)he found himself in the civil war in Greece between the communists(the KKE) the left(EAM ,their fighters were ELAS) and the royalists (EDES). Remembering also that he would have been 27yrs old then having begun the war at 24. He was one of five bothers( all became Doctors), four were fighting and the youngest at school. The family home, where my eye surgeon Grandfather had died prematurely in his fifties, was called Winchester House in Southampton and took a direct hit and was bombed flat. " Luckily we were out at the time " famously quoted my widowed Grandmother! At this season there is much to remember, much to regret and much to thank God for. Never should we glory in war but never should we forget the debts we owe. The tragedy is that our modern young troops continue to sacrifice "their today for our tomorrow" WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.
Greece 1944 "There was some straffing from the air... a sniper had just shot one of our spotters, tanks were smashing a road block, fighters were destroying a defended house. The padre is magnificent. He walks about in his cassock puffing his pipe indifferent to the snipers,tanks and barricades. He always turns up for meals but in between there is no hot-spot he does not visit. He seems to have complete faith in the immunity provided by his dog-collar...or perhaps it's his complete faith" Jan 5th. On the end of hostilities that finally occurred that day.. " I walked back to my HQ in the late afternoon hardly able to believe it. It was this silence that was so odd. It made it seem like some awful nightmare from which you are just waking up. The sun was shining on the hills . The birds were singing. But there on the pavement was the body of a dead girl and there were the crators of those two mortar bombs which just missed the Colonel and I, and there in the garden a soldier's grave." Maj.Phillip Arthur Zorab MD FRCPAt our Parish Requiem Mass with Act of Remembrance next Sunday the prayers will be led by the young members of our Sunday School where we with thousands upon thousand will pray for those who died and were injured, those who fought and those who suffer. We will pray for peace and hope for ... peace, knowing that through His death on the cross Jesus overcomes all death, for all time.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
http://www.sancarlo.pcn.net/argomenti_inglese/pagina0.html and be sure to visit the Your questions bar on the left. I commend it to you. Buona Sera!!
Sunday, 1 November 2009
If I one day have to lose the recitation of the Divine Office (which is RC but used by many Anglicans) for my daily prayers I think I'm going to experience quite a bereavement. It has seen me through thick and thin in sickness and in health over the years both as layman and after Ordination. It feeds me, nourishes me, guides me and helps me. Most importantly it opens the door and enables me to live in the same household with the living God on a daily basis. It also joins me with the rest of the 'family', both of catholic Anglicans and Roman Catholics where we seek to live together and serve the Father in prayer. Although we may not meet in the same houses of prayer at the same moment to say the Offices, we are joined together by the knowledge that we are all following the same pages all over the world and uniting as Christians of the same family praying to the same God roughly at the same time. If we are ill we know that if we miss these prayers and readings they are still being prayed and read for us by our brothers and sisters in Christ on our behalf. I hope that this rich treasury of daily prayers each different for the Calendar and seasons of the church year will not be lost because of a direction to use an Anglican book of common prayer as part of a more general 'Patrimony' that we may be taking with us. Where would be the wisdom in that I wonder? Many of us left the BCP in private offices as a result of Vatican Two years ago. Also would this be wisdom at the very time that the fruits of united prayer for unity in the daily Office are bearing such fruit at this time? We could still continue to use the BCP in sung and public services. Of Wisdom... " Her, then I would take to myself, to share my home; to be my counsellor in prosperity, my solace in anxiety and grief."( Book of Wisdom ch. 8)