October 2021 #2 – Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome

News in brief.

The Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome. The Archbishop of Canterbury was in Rome this week. He met with the Italian president to discuss the recognition of the Church of England in Italy; and with the pope, mainly to discuss cooperation on environmental concerns, particularly in light of the forthcoming COP26. He and the pope underlined the role of churches in influencing public opinion on environmental stewardship. The Archbishop of Canterbury also met with Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch and Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, where environmental issues were also the main focus of discussions. During his visit, the Archbishop of Canterbury was wearing a ring that Pope Paul VI had given to Archbishop Michael Ramsey on his historic visit to Rome in 1966, the first visit by a head of the Anglican Communion since the beginning of the English Reformation. You can read the full interview the Archbishop of Canterbury gave to the Vatican News here

Anniversary of the Porvoo Agreement. This week saw the 25th anniversary of the Porvoo Agreement. The Porvoo Agreement links 50 million Christians in Northwestern Europe – the members of the Nordic and Baltic Evangelical Lutheran churches, and the Anglican Churches of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. The signatory churches agree to view baptised members of each other’s churches as members of their own. A recent example of the close relationship between the Lutheran and Anglican churches was reflected in the ordination of a new Anglican priest in Bergen, Norway. The Anglican suffragan bishop in Europe, David Hamid, said: “Several priests from the Church of Norway assisted me with the laying on of hands, in a very visible sign of the communion between the Church of Norway and the Church of England, brought about by the Porvoo Agreement, which is 25 years old this year, and also a testimony to the esteem with which his ministry is held by our sister Church.”

New exhibition at the Luther Museum, Amsterdam. Last week saw the opening of an exhibition at the Luther Museum in Amsterdam looking at the history of Lutheranism in connection with the Dutch royal family. The Luther Museum, located in the original Evangelical-Lutheran Diaconal House, is devoted to the history of the Lutheran community in Amsterdam since the sixteenth century.

Image of Amsterdam canal and houses

Spotlight on Amsterdam

The main Roman Catholic church in Amsterdam is the Basilica of Saint Nicholas (Prins Hendrikkade 73). Designed by Adrianus Bleijs, the basilica is predominantly neo-baroque and neo-renaissance styles. The basilica was built in the nineteenth century when Roman Catholics were once again free to worship in Protestant Netherlands. The interior features work by Flemish sculptor Perre van den Bossche, and paintings by Jan Dunselman. There are regular masses in Dutch, English and Spanish, and every Saturday from September to June there is an Anglican evening song, performed in English by members of the Cappella Nicolai from the basilica. 

Oudekerk (Oudekerksplein 23). Originally consecrated in 1306 by the bishop of Utrecht, it became a Protestant church during the Reformation and the building was sacked and stripped of its religious art and icons.

All of the painter Rembrant’s children were christened in the Oudekerk, and ​​the church houses a shrine to his wife Saskia van Uylenburgh who was buried here in 1642. Each year on 9 March at 8:39 am, the morning sun briefly illuminates her tomb, and a small celebration is held.

English Reformed Church (Begijnhof 48). Amsterdam’s municipality confiscated this small chapel from a Beguinage during the Reformation. In 1607, the church was given to the city’s English-speaking Protestants, and the church continues to serve the English-speaking community of Amsterdam, now as a Church of Scotland church. The painter, Vincent van Gogh is recorded as having visited the church: ““Tomorrow morning I am going to the English church; it lies there so peaceful in the evening in that silent Begijnhof among the thorn hedges, and seems to say: In loco isto dabo pacem: In this place I shall give peace, says the Lord. Amen, so be it.”

Saint of the week: Edith Cavell

Image of Edith Cavell with dog, on gold background with text "Patriotism is not enough"

Edith Cavell is remembered in the Anglican Calendar of Saints on 12 October. Cavell was a nurse who had trained and worked in England, and in 1907 moved to Brussels to become matron of the newly established nursing school, L’École Belge d’Infirmières Diplômées in Ixelles, Brussels. Her nursing school was taken over by the Red Cross when World War I broke out. When the German forces occupied Brussels, Cavell became involved in smuggling British and French soldiers to safety in the Netherlands. She was arrested in August 1915 and under interrogation admitted to helping 175 soldiers and civilians to escape. She was sentenced to death by firing squad. On the night before her execution, she is reported to have told the Anglican chaplain in Brussels, “Standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” She was initially buried in Brussels, but her remains were returned to Britain in 1919 and reinterred at Norwich Cathedral.

Looking ahead.

On 13 October at 12.00 CET, there is a short organ recital at Helsinki Cathedral. 

The Church of England’s Diocese in Europe is holding an Eco event on “Caring for our Climate” on 29 October at 17.15 CET. The event will be livestreamed on the Diocesan YouTube channel with a link on their Facebook page. 

Picture credits. Photo of Edith Louisa Cavell, Wellcome Collection, United Kingdom, CC BY | Photo of Amsterdam by Javier M | Graphic design by European Churches Chronicle.

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