Saturday, 29 January 2011

Confirmation and Chrismation

Blessing the Holy Muron(Chrism) Armenian Orthodox 
Regarding a current blog theme on the sacrament of Holy Confirmation I can't but help agreeing with the way our sister churches of the Oriental Orthodox and Orthodox Churches administer this according to very ancient holy tradition which is to administer Holy Baptism, Chrismation and Holy Communion to the children all as infants. I remember well assisting as an honorary Deacon at an Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church initiation rite which included the admission of the infant to full membership of the church of Christ. There was no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit having been invoked presided at the holy annointings at this most early age and of course Holy Communion was administered to the infant on a spoon where Jesus Christ entered and sanctified the newly initiated there and then. Having been anointed by Holy Muron(Chrism) the whole body was thereby made one with Christ. Here is what has been written;

“Confirmation is thus the personal Pentecost of man, his entrance into the life of the Holy Spirit…his ordination as truly and fully man…His whole body is anointed, sealed, sanctified, dedicated to the new life: ‘the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit,’ says the priest as he anoints the newly baptized ‘on the brow, and on the eyes, and the nostrils, and the lips, and on both arms, and the breast and on the hands, and the feet’…The whole man is now made the temple of God…”

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Wales to Westminster

You will find far better photos and coverage than mine from the Ordinations today. However, if you want a flavour of the day of the priestly ordinations of the three PEV's, one of whom was kind enough to give Welsh traditionalists a home and two Chrism Masses after our orphanage after the Provincial Assistant Bishop's abolition by the Bench of Welsh Bishops; here it is! Remember here in Wales we knew exactly where the then Bishop Andrew's caravan was leading, I am surprised at  some being so dismissive of the Ordinariate so early before it's hardly started. Intelligent discernment requires at least a period of reception of the idea of the offer from Rome doesn't it? Especially as there is no time limit or pressure being applied. I have been  quite shocked by the speed of some leading Anglo-Catholic's in Wales and elsewhere to declare it's not for them. Why ever not?  Where is the maybe, or what might God be saying to us in all this? It's patently clear that there's no future in Wales for things as they were before, imperfect as they may have been. If you had been in Westminster Cathedral today you would have seen before you that no denial of any previous ministry was either sought or made. To the contrary the leader of Roman Catholics in Wales and England made specific reference to the grace of  the candidates previous ministry and paid tribute to their courage to take charge of the new Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (where many of us Welsh traditionalists have learnt our branch of the faith and calling).
The Alarm was set for 5.30am this morning. Morning Prayer office and away! I was in the train at 7.00 in Paddington at 8.40 and after the tube to Victoria, in Starbucks in Victoria St. having a small Americano by 9.20! As the crowds started passing by early for the 10.30 start I moved over to the Piazza earlier than I had planned. Just as well the place would be standing room only and heaving! With a good seat close to the front time to pray and to think and to soak up history in the making. At first it looked as though the altar had been arranged for an Eastward facing rite for which the huge space is well suited. But no, never mind! The frontal was lovely, the lighting and sound system high quality and the place abuzz with expectation. Looking around there we loads of Anglicans; those departing, those thinking about a ticket and those not sure but perhaps later (when one more boot is put in by General Synod perhaps). At 10.30 exactly the huge procession of Bishops, Priests and Deacons entered quietly (the long way round!) the Hymn strikes up "Thy hand O God has guided.." just like home! Archbishop Nichols' lovely welcome and the messages from Cardinal Levada and Pope Benedict himself read out, then the penitential rite the Kyrie and Gloria by Victoria (1548-1611) sung by the Westminster Cathedral Choir who sit high up behind the Baldachino and were not in the procession. They were in excellent form throughout the rite, well done to all, bless them! After the ministry of the word the pulpit was vacated by the proclaiming Deacon of the Word and was immediately invaded by vultures (of the noisy media camera variety you understand!) The calling of the candidates, the ir presentation by Bp. Alan Hopes the election by the Archbishop and consent of the people. Then the longish Homily which you can read elsewhere, then the examination, promises of obedience. Here then came the sung litany of the saints always a moving part of the ceremony but especially as OLOWalsingham and Blessed John Henry Newman were invoked. Then the laying on of hands, the Ordination prayer. The investiture of stoles and chasubles (by their wives..that's definately a first!) The oil of Holy Chrism was then used for the anointing with the "Veni Creator" (home from home again). Then the Eucharist with concelebrants and a chance to receive a first blessing at the communion. The Lord's Prayer sung by all and a very beautiful account of the Ave Verum by Sir Edward Elgar. Much joy and acclamation after the dismissal and then it had to be "Praise to the Holiest in the height .." by Newman as the recessional. Handshakes with Archbishop Vincent on our way out and a chance to chatter with the large crowds down the steps. Then off for refreshments in town, a quick visit to the art gallery and home on the train in time for Evening Prayer office in Wales again! Wow what a day! "Lord I an not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed" ....and there was healing on this day in abundance, pray God it will continue.