BVM BLOG

Service for the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary – 15th August 2021

Anglican Church in Greece – St Paul’s Athens

 

Fr. Leonard will lead the worship and preach. The deacon is Deacon Christine.   Before our worship begins the organ will play.

 

Opening Hymn: 185   (tune Abbot’s Leigh)

 

Priest:                Blessed be the kingdom of God.

All:                     Now and for ever. 

Priest:                The Lord be with you

All:                      and also with you

Priest:                Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women

and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.

All:                      Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of

                            our death.

 

The deacon invites us into a short time of silence and stillness

 

All:        Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be: that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

Priest:   Almighty God, who forgives all those who truly repent, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,  and keep you in life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord .   Amen.

 

Gloria:  Glory in the highest to the God of heavens:

              Peace to all your people through the earth be given.

              Mighty God and Father, thanks and praise we bring,

              Singing Alleluia! To the heavenly King.

              Jesus Christ is risen, God the Father’s Son;

              With the Holy Spirit, you are Lord alone.

              Lamb once killed for sinners, all our guilt to bear,

              Show us now your mercy, now receive our prayer

             

             Christ the world’s true Saviour, high and holy one,

              Seated now and reigning from your Father’s throne:

              Lord and God, we praise you! Highest heaven adores:

              In the Father’s glory, all the praise be yours!

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Sermon for the second Sunday in Lent – 28th Marach 2021: Romans 4, 13 – end; Mark 8, 31 – end

Fr Leonard Doolan – St Paul’s Athens

 

Lent 2021.  Readings: Romans 4, 13-end; Mark 8, 31-end

We begin by recognizing a few current factors. First of all, congratulations to the Greek nation and people on the 200th Anniversary of Independence from Ottoman rule. Καλή Επανάσταση – Happy Revolution. I notice that part of that second word ‘epanastasi’ incorporates the word Greek uses for  resurrection.

We note also that in the Latin, or Western Calendar, today is Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week – even though Anglicans in Greece are observing the Orthodox date for this year only, so our Holy Week is some time off yet.

Thirdly we offer our prayerful solidarity with our Jewish friends, in particular the Jewish Community here in Athens. This week is the Passover Week. The Chief Rabbi, Gabriel Negron, preached in St. Paul’s Church in January 2020, and he preached so well, and was so popular that I will make sure he does NOT get a second invitation! I spoke with him last week, and he reminded me that we have an outstanding invitation for me to preach at the Athens Synagogue, and that we agreed our congregation would have a visit to the Synagogue when the lifting of restrictions will permit it.  Kosher and joyous Passover.

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Bishop Robert’s Christmas Message 2020

The Bishop in Europe:

The Right Reverend Dr. Robert Innes

In one of our best-loved carols, Christina Rossetti situates the birth of Jesus ‘in the bleak midwinter’. She paints a severe and freezing manger scene, with howling wind and deep snow. She represents the frosted earth and water with iron and stone.

 

From the biblical narrative, it seems unlikely that Jesus was born in the bleak mid-winter, as the shepherds would not be putting their sheep out to pasture in freezing conditions. But that does not stop us gladly enjoying Rossetti’s romantic poetic licence and reminding ourselves that the conditions of the first Christmas were hard, extraordinarily hard by modern standards.

 

Mary was a young girl giving birth a long way from home. The town of Bethlehem was crowded with strangers registering with the tax authorities of the occupying powers. Mary laid her new-born baby in an animal’s stone feeding trough. And the first visitors were not close family but rough men from the fields.

 

It is extremely difficult to recover this first Christmas. The festival has become overlaid with medieval nativity scenes and Romantic or Dickensian winter scenes. In the twentieth century, Christmas became the setting of the perfect family gathering. Most significantly, the run up to the commercial Christmas – the ‘golden quarter’ – is a now a vital part of the retail industry’s overall wellbeing so that vasts sums are expended on advertising to persuade us to acquire more goods and more debt.

 

But not in 2020. This year it will be very different. Travel bans, lockdowns and quarantines mean it will be harder and perhaps impossible to get together with our loved ones. People are poorer. High streets, at least at the time of writing, are closed in many countries. And even when they re-open, shopping isn’t quite the same when you have to physically distance and wear a mask.

 

Christmas will be simpler this year. And for many it will be sadder. As Covid-19 has progressed, more and more families have been affected by the virus and its frightening and sometimes long-term symptoms. Some of us have a relative who has been in intensive care, struggling to breathe. Many of us know someone who has very sadly lost their life, and some of us face the first Christmas without someone close to us. This year, perhaps we more intuitively sense the harshness of the manger scene, the cruelty of death, the pain of a bleak mid-winter.

 

Another well-known – and much older – carol speaks to us about ‘tidings of comfort and joy’. In 2020 we need to hear these tidings. For Christmas is at heart the story of a God who draws near to us in Jesus, sharing the sorrows and joys of human experience. In the mystery of the incarnation, the eternal God wonderfully condescends to be born as a human baby, in the roughest conditions. He is ‘Immanuel’ – the God who is with us.

 

Whatever conditions you face this Christmas, I hope you will be able to reach out and find the God who is with us. I hope you will take comfort from the presence of God with you, and perhaps also find opportunity to comfort others.

 

‘God rest you merry’ in modern English means ‘may God grant you peace and happiness’. The unknown author continued:

 

‘Let nothing you dismay

for Jesus Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day.

To save us all from Satan’s power

when we had gone astray

Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.’

 

I wish each of you and your families comfort and joy as we approach this Christmas season.

Robert Signature

 

+Robert Gibraltar in Europe

Comfort & Joy

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Maundy Thursday Sermon 2019 – First of Three sermons preached by Revd. Canon Colin Williams – ex Archdeacon of the Diocese in Europe

It happened on a winter’s Sunday afternoon about fifteen years ago.  Quite a long time ago.  But still an occasion which I recall with relish.  At the time I was living and working in the NW of England.  I was an Archdeacon then too. But in those days my title was Archdeacon of Lancaster

 

In my official capacity as Archdeacon of Lancaster, I had  been invited to a special service at our local cathedral One of the privilege that I had been given for that afternoon was a parking space marked ‘Archdeacon of Lancaster’ So I drove round the car park until I: could find it . and then I moved into the space

Now my car wasn’t anything special  in fact it was small, it was a few years old  and certainly in need of a good wash.   The car park was being patrolled by a woman who turned out to be rather officious. And when she saw this dirty beaten up old car being driven into this special place she obviously thought I was some sort of yokel up from the sticks, trying to steal a place which wasn’t rightfully mine.

As I got out of the car she came to me and wagged her finer ‘You can’t park there she said, that’s reserved for the Archdeacon.

Well, the chance was too good to miss.  I took my time.  I turned away, locked the car, got my stuff out of the boot and then drew my self up to my full five feet 11 and a half, looked her in the eye and said something I had been dying to have the chance to say for years.  Madam, I said, Madam,  I am the Archdeacon.

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Trinity 25, 18th November 2018: Daniel 12: 1-3; Hebrews 10: 11-14, 19-25; Mark 13: 1-8

Fr James Harris

 

I want to take you on a journey of the imagination this morning. So, if you’re sitting comfortably, we will begin…

 

Our imagined scene takes place somewhere on the shores of the Sea of Galilee in the province of Judea in what today would be called the year 30 AD or what the Jews of the time might have calculated as something like the 3,791st year of the Era of the World – i.e. since Creation.

 

It’s a fertile place, not like the deserts down south; sheep and goats are bleating, the whiff of fresh fish coming on the breeze from the shoreline where the fishermen sort their catch. The small town of white, low rise buildings nestles on the hillside and this is where you, a faithful Jew, have grown up.

 

In the centre of the town is a small synagogue where, week by week, for as long as you can remember, you have seen the great scrolls unrolled and the scriptures read – wonderful, ancient, inspiring histories recounting God’s faithfulness to his people, and prophecies of the time when he will send his chosen one, his Messiah to save and to set free. Prophecies like that of Daniel who talks so powerfully of this moment when a new age will dawn for God’s people here on earth. It won’t be without drama – when is it otherwise with God? – but it will mean blessing for the faithful who endure. Daniel even talks about people rising from the dead on that day. Now that’s really weird; no other scriptures talk about that possibility. Earthly life – work, family, harvest – is where you hope for God’s blessing, not once you’re dead.

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