Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Holy Relics - Sign of the Incarnation

Dear N.:

Irony of ironies, it seems modernist C of E Anglicans have in the last decade rediscovered, at Saint Alban's Shrine at least, that most anciently catholic and yet controverted practice of the enshrining of holy Relics. Now if only they could reappropriate to themselves the dogmatic tradition of the ancient Church! I hope I do not disappoint you by telling you that in fact I find the veneration of Relics, if done according to the strictest canons and traditions of the Church, to be a perfectly orthodox and spiritually salutary practice. Indeed the enshrinement of the Relics of the Saints and their veneration is older than the canonised New Testament, older than the original Creed of Nicea, older than the organisation of the undivided Church into Patriarchates. The practice harkens back to the earliest Fathers and Saints of the sub-apostolic period.

Authentic relics can be a wondrous treasure of catholic faith and liturgical tradition, if used correctly:

It is often the case in Apostolic Churches that the Altar dedicated in a chapel to a particular Saint contains at least one Relic of the Saint so commemorated, but, strictly speaking, Altar stones in the Catholic tradition must contain the Relic of a Martyr, one who died for Christ and the Church and who has been officially canonised as such. This tradition harkens back to the passion and commemoration of the second-century Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, whose bones were entombed and venerated in a Christian Altar, the first such recorded case of the use of a Martyr's Relics to hallow and consecrate the mensa on which the Holy Mysteries are offered. Christians 'gathered the bones of Saint Polycarp as a treasure more precious than precious stones and purer than gold, and placed them for the celebration of the day of his heavenly birth, and for the instruction and confirmation of future Christians.' In turn the ancient catholic practice echoes the Book of Revelation 6.9ff, in which we see the Martyrs under the heavenly Altar awaiting the judgement and the general resurrection. An Eucharistic Altar in a Catholic Church may contain many Relics, including those of a patron Saint, but always by tradition contain the relic of an holy Martyr. On the Altar of Saint Alban's Cathedral we use an antimension, a Byzantine Rite 'Altar,' which is actually a cloth into which the bone fragment of a Martyr is sown and which is used as a portable Altar. The cloth bears an iconic portrayal of Our Lord's Burial. Our particular antimension, very oddly, is Uniate and contains a Relic of Saint Josaphat, a seventeenth century papalist Greek Rite bishop martyred by the Orthodox. Some Anglo-Catholics restored the use of Relics in Altars for the celebration of Mass in the nineteenth century. The sale of Relics is forbidden canonically and morally. However, one may make a donation or financial gift to the church or person who possesses the Relic in order to compensate for the reliquary used in housing a Relic. Under no circumstances are Relics broken up, destroyed or discarded - that would be a sin of blasphemy. They must be treated with the greatest care and with the utmost reverence. In the Anglican Church they are displayed or processed liturgically only in the extremely rarest of circumstances, and their use is normally regulated by the Bishop of the local Diocese.

Anglicans are not obliged to venerate the Relics of the Saints, just as they are not obliged to solicit the gracious prayers of the Saints on our behalf, but, just as they are not compelled so to venerate or to request, so they would be wrong to say that such practices are contrary to Scripture and Tradition. For Anglicans, the practice of the invocation of the Saints is limited in the main to private devotions and extraliturgical services which are not part of the usual public Liturgy. However, I ever say veneration is certainly to be encouraged and has never been rejected by the Anglican Church, which counts herself a true Apostolic Church practicing the fullness of the Catholic Faith, of which the Communion of Saints is a supreme article. Please note that Article of Religion XXII does not condemn the ancient or patristic or biblical doctrine concerning the Invocation of Saints and the veneration of their Relics, but only the Romish, the Doctrina Romanensium, that is, the popularly-believed late medieval and thus erroneous view of the same. The Anglican teaching is the reformed Catholic view, anchored in the Holy Scriptures and the Tradition of the Primitive Church. Only that which is contained in Holy Scripture is reckoned by Anglicans to be necessary for salvation, and therefore only that doctrine of the state and prayers of the Saints which accords with Scripture is believed to be necessary for all Christians.

At the heart of the matter it is vital to maintain the doctrine of worship and honour presented by Saint John of Damascus and codified at the Seventh Ecumenical Council when dealing with Saints (and their Icons and Relics), which doctrine forcefully distinguishes adoration of God and the honour of the Saints. Latria, adoratio, adoration, is divine worship offered to the Godhead alone. Only God the Holy Trinity is worshipped and adored. The worship of God, the Divine Essence, is absolute, offered to God Himself because He is and the rewarder of them that seek Him. The honour given to the Saints is dulia, proskunesis, timeo, veneration, reverence, respect. It is not worship - for we do not worship the Saints, we only honour and revere them. Such honour is strictly relative and passes from the Saint to God, Who is blessed and glorified in His Saints, His human heavenly friends and children. The distinction between the Creator and His creatures is strenuously maintained and asserted. From later tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary, because she is Mother of God, has been given the highest form of relative honour and reverence, called hyperdulia or super-veneration, the highest praise rendered to a creature. Our Lady and the Saints are, after all, creatures, human beings who have become by God's grace truly and ultimately human, for that is the very reality of Sainthood, to be restored to the fullest image and likeness of God, to once again become fully man. The Saints, by becoming by grace what God is by nature, by partaking of the divine nature (II Saint Peter 1.4), fulfil the human vocation and become, through theosis or divinisation, 'God-like.'

The veneration of the Relics of the Saints is actually based on the same theological principle on which the Holy Icons are venerated, and as are the honourable memories of the Saints themselves, the axiomatic principle of the Incarnation of the Word of God. In a nutshell, because God Himself was made Man for our sake and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary to redeem and divinise human nature, and because the glorified human nature of the Risen Lord communicates the Holy Ghost to the members of the redeemed human family, the communio sanctorum, and thus makes the bodies of the Saints to be temples, dwelling-places of the Holy Spirit, the bodies of those who are acknowledged to have possessed heroic sanctity in this life are honoured, venerated as holy possessions of God and dwelling places of the Holy Spirit. A sober, healthy, balanced, sane, biblical theology of the Saints and of their earthly Relics is intensely incarnational and sacramental - the flesh is honoured as the vehicle of the Spirit. By honouring the bodies of the Saints, and by honouring their holy Images, we are taught to honour each other and to recognise in the human body, redeemed and sanctified in Christ, the locus of the Spirit of God.

Clearly, as any objective student will confess, the medieval western cult of the Saints and of their Relics was subject to the grossest abuse and perversion. But again here we have another case of 'baby and bathwater.' The later abuses connected to the Relics and veneration of the Saints do not of themselves render the original primitive and patristic tradition regarding Saints and Relics invalid. A practice of such Christian veneration, scrupulously governed and preserved from abuse, can be an overwhelmingly profound reminder of the sanctity of the whole creation itself, the sanctity of the human person incorporated into Christ, the intrinsic holiness of the human body as the sacrament of the Holy Spirit and the image and likeness of God, the power, grace and efficacy of the Sacraments, and of the ultimate future destiny of the redeemed human person in the New Man of the Resurrection, the second Man Who is the Lord from Heaven.

Historically the Holy Catholic Church, East and West, has honoured Relics in at least the following ways:

1. The preservation of the Saints' bodies and their places of burial.
2. The discovery and translation of Relics to Churches and Shrines.
3. The construction of Altars and Churches on the sites of Relics.
4. The canonisation of feast days in honour of Relic translations.
5. The making of pilgrimages to and the decoration of Relic Shrines.
6. The enshrining of Relics in Altars for the celebration of Mass.
7. The association of miraculous signs and wonders with Relics.

Anciently, the Catholic Church did not distinguish between venerating the souls of the Saints in heaven and the bodies of the Saints on earth. Both forms of veneration were (and are) given. The Old Testament people considered the bodies of the dead ritually unclean because their deliverance in the Incarnation had not yet arrived. The enfleshment of the Saviour would change everything. Man in Christ becomes holy, the body of man is restored as the temple of the Spirit. The Eternal Word forever united a human body to His Divinity in His Divine Person; the human bodies of Christians, regenerated by Holy Baptism, now become the receptacles of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and thus become living temples of the Holy Ghost. By extension, the bodies of those acknowledged to have lived lives of supernatural charity and holiness, or who have died for the sake of Christ, are understood to be worthy of special honour.

We see from the Old Testament that the bodies of the Saints would, in Christ, possess a special sanctity. God used the bodies and property of the righteous in the Old Covenant to perform miracles of grace and healing. The miraculous mantle of the Prophet Elijah, who was assumed into heaven bodily without dying, parted the Jordan River when used by the Prophet Elisha to touch the water. The body of a dead man was raised to life again miraculously upon the touch of the Relics of the Prophet Elisha - II Kings 13.21. In the New Covenant, cloths and articles of clothing applied to the body of Saint Paul miraculously healed the sick and exorcised evil spirits from the possessed - Acts of the Apostles 19.11-12. The great Fathers of the golden conciliar age of the Church universally testify to the power and supernatural grace and influence of the Relics of the Saints. In the Western Church, both Saint Ambrose of Milan and Saint Augustine of Hippo deliver many homilies on the legitimacy of the cult of the Saints, and particularly on the importance of the Relics of Saint Gervasius and Saint Protasius. In the East, the Cappadocian Fathers dwell on the sanctity of the Relics of Saints frequently in their orations and sermons. The Relics of Saint Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) were taken from Rome to Antioch and preserved as 'an invaluable treasure of the grace which dwelt in the martyr, a treasure left to the holy church.'

It should be vigorously emphasised as well that what is most important, to the Church of catholic history, about Relics is not some supposed inherent power or energy located in Relic itself as though such were separated from the person and life of the Saint - it is precisely from such an artificial and stilted separation of grace and person that abuses and errors arose in the medieval West - what is most important is that the Relics represent to our minds, hearts and souls the intercessions of the Saints, our heavenly brothers and sisters, before God for us. The Relics are, in this respect, very much like sacramentals: they stir up in us faith that we may more beneficially receive the grace of God. Orthodox Christians believe, not in any inherent power in a Relic like a talisman or charm, but in the prayers of the Saints in heaven for our sake. Relics bring us closer to the Saints and deepen our love, reverence and honour for those whose mortal remains continue to pledge the hope of our future resurrection.

We Anglicans tend to look at Relics from our deeply-conditioned western perspective, a viewpoint effected and affected by our common western ancestry of pre-reformation, reformation, and counter-reformation experiences. On the positive side, and on the other side of the historical divide, the Eastern Orthodox maintain a very natural, very earthy and organic reverence for the Relics of the Saints which has never been allowed entirely to fall into the sort of superstition and mistreatment prevalent in the pre-Reformation Latin Church. The Orthodox, and I think they are here indubitably correct, insist that the Relics of the Saints enforce the dogmas of the Incarnation and of human redemption and glorification, and, are therefore, as essential a component of orthodox Christology as are Icons. For them, as for the earliest Church, the two plainly go together.

I know someone who possesses Vatican-issued Relics of several Church Fathers, ossuary first-class Relics of Saints John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen, and the great Augustine of Hippo. His reliquary rests in a discreet place of prayer where, with Icons, they are used as aids to prayer and devotion. They are really no different from the cherished photographs of one's parents or beloved personal effects of family members long gone, physical reminders which stimulate the memory and reawaken the heart and soul. Icons and Relics, however, stimulate and reawaken on a far more profound and transformative level, the level of faith!

I hope this dreadfully long thesis is of some use to you, and I do hope and pray I have not frightened you senseless with my ramblings about a subject which confronts with horror most protestant sensibilities. Please keep asking these marvellous questions...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Anglican-Orthodox Agreed Statement on the Mass

Here follows the text of the only official Anglican-Orthodox agreement which has ever been accomplished on the subject of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, established in 1935 in Bucharest, Romania. The Anglican-Orthodox Dublin Agreed Statement of 1984 states, 'nor have we considered how far the Eucharist may be regarded as a sacrifice.' That is, 'we have not discussed [the Bucharest Statement of 1935] in detail, nor, acting as a Joint Commission, have we yet expressed our agreement or otherwise with the six points that it contains.' Because later dialogues at Moscow and Dublin did not address the subject, the 1935 agreement remains the only official agreement between the two Churches to date:

A Report of the Conference held from Saturday, June 1st, to Saturday, June 8th, 1935, in the Patriarchal Palace of Bucarest, between the Commission of the Rumanian Church upon Relations with the Anglican Communion and the Church of England Delegation appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to confer with the same.

We, the Members of the aforesaid Rumanian Commission and Church of England Delegation, report to the Holy Synod of the Church of Rumania, and to His Grace, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as follows:


A statement was submitted by the Rumanian Commission to the Anglican Delegation, concerning the Holy Eucharist and was accepted unanimously by the latter in the following form:

1. At the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus Christ anticipated the sacrifice of His death by giving Himself to the Apostles in the form of bread blessed by Him as meat and in the form of wine blessed by Him as drink.

2. The sacrifice offered (prosenechtheisa) by our Lord on Calvary was offered once for all, expiates the sins as well of the living as of the dead, and reconciles us with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ does not need to sacrifice Himself again.

3. The sacrifice on Calvary is perpetually presented in the Holy Eucharist in a bloodless fashion (anaimaktos) under the form (Rumanian, sub chipul) of bread and wine through the consecrating priest and through the work of the Holy Ghost in order that the fruits of the sacrifice of the Cross may be partaken of by those who offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by those for whom it is offered, and by those who receive worthily the Body and Blood of the Lord.

4. In the Eucharist the bread and wine become by consecration (metabole) the Body and Blood of our Lord. How? This is a mystery.

5. The Eucharistic bread and wine remain the Body and Blood of our Lord as long as these Eucharistic elements exist.

6. Those who receive the Eucharistic bread and wine truly partake of the Body and Blood of Our Lord.

It was stated by the Anglican Bishops that in the Sacrament of the Eucharist 'the Body and Blood of Christ are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord's Supper,' and that 'the Body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner,' and that after Communion the consecrated elements remaining are regarded sacramentally as the Body and Blood of Christ; further, that the Anglican Church teaches the doctrine of Eucharistic Sacrifice as explained in the Answer of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to Pope Leo XIII on Anglican Ordinations; and also that in the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice the Anglican Church prays that 'by the merits and death of Thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His blood, we and all Thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of His passion,' as including the whole company of faithful people, living and departed.

Again, we have the Catholic Faith of the Anglican Tradition on the Eucharist unambiguously asserted in an ecumenical agreement with the Eastern Orthodox Churches. In 1935, the Church of England and the Romanian Orthodox Church achieved substantial agreement on the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist.

Anglican-Roman Catholic Agreed Statement on the Mass

An extremely helpful and more clearly stated explanation of the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist is the 1971 Agreed Statement on the Eucharist from the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, which was developed at Windsor. Personally, I would prefer the APA/REC Statement simply to borrow the following carefully-worded phraseology:

Eucharistic Doctrine, Windsor 1971

Christ's redeeming death and resurrection took place once and for all in history. Christ's death on the cross, the culmination of his whole life of obedience, was the one, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world. There can be no repetition of or addition to what was then accomplished once for all by Christ. Any attempt to express a nexus between the sacrifice of Christ and the eucharist must not obscure this fundamental fact of the Christian faith.(1) Yet God has given the eucharist to his Church as a means through which the atoning work of Christ on the cross is proclaimed and made effective in the life of the Church. The notion of memorial as understood in the passover celebration at the time of Christ - i.e. the making effective in the present of an event in the past - has opened the way to a clearer understanding of the relationship between Christ's sacrifice and the eucharist. The eucharistic memorial is no mere calling to mind of a past event or of its significance, but the Church's effectual proclamation of God's mighty acts. Christ instituted the eucharist as a memorial (anamnesis) of the totality of God's reconciling action in him. In the eucharistic prayer the church continues to make a perpetual memorial of Christ's death, and his members, united with God and one another, give thanks for all his mercies, entreat the benefits of his passion on behalf of the whole Church, participate in these benefits and enter into the movement of his self-offering.

(1.) The early Church in expressing the meaning of Christ's death and resurrection often used the language of sacrifice. For the Hebrew sacrifice was a traditional means of communication with God. The passover, for example, was a communal meal; the day of atonement was essentially expiatory; and the covenant established communion between God and man.

The 1979 Elucidation of ARCIC I again clarifies the meaning of the word anamnesis:

The Commission has been criticised for its use of the term anamnesis. It chose the word used in New Testament accounts of the institution of the eucharist at the last supper:
'Do this as a memorial (anamnesin) of me' (1 Corinthians 11.24-25; Saint Luke 22.19).

The word is also to be found in Justin Martyr in the second century. Recalling the last supper he writes: 'Jesus, taking bread and having given thanks said, "Do this for my memorial (anamnesin): This is my Body"; and likewise, taking the cup, and giving thanks, he said, "This is my blood"' (First Apology 66; Dialogue with Trypho 117).

From this time onwards the term is found at the very heart of the eucharistic prayers of both East and West, not only in the institution narrative but also in the prayer which follows and elsewhere: The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom; Eucharistic Prayer I - The Roman Missal; The Order of the Administration of the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion - The Book of Common Prayer (1662); and Rites A and B of the Church of England Alternative Service Book (1980).

The word is also found in patristic and later theology. The Council of Trent in explaining the relation between the sacrifice of the cross and the eucharist uses the words commemoratio and memoria (Session 22.1); and in the Book of Common Prayer (1662) the Catechism states that the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was ordained 'for the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of death of Christ, and of the benefits which we receive thereby'. The frequent use of the term in contemporary theology is illustrated by One Baptism One Eucharist and a Mutually Recognised Ministry (Faith and Order Commission Paper No. 73), as well as by the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (1970). The Commission believes that the traditional understanding of sacramental reality, in which the once-for-all event of salvation becomes effective in the present through the action of the Holy Spirit, is well expressed by the word anamnesis. We accept this use of the word which seems to do full justice to the semitic background. Furthermore it enables us to affirm a strong conviction of sacramental realism and to reject mere symbolism.

However the selection of this word by the Commission does not mean that our common eucharistic faith may not be expressed in other terms. In the exposition of the Christian doctrine of redemption the word sacrifice has been used in two intimately associated ways. In the New Testament, sacrificial language refers primarily to the historical events of Christ's saving work for us. The tradition of the Church, as evidenced for example in its liturgies, used similar language to designate in the eucharistic celebration the anamnesis of this historical event. Therefore it is possible to say at the same time that there is only one unrepeatable sacrifice in the historical sense, but that the eucharist is a sacrifice in the sacramental sense, provided that it is clear that this is not a repetition of the historical sacrifice.

There is therefore one historical, unrepeatable sacrifice, offered once for all by Christ and accepted once for all by the Father. In the celebration of the memorial, Christ in the Holy Spirit unites his people with himself in a sacramental way so that the Church enters into the movement of his self-offering. In consequence, even though the Church is active in this celebration, this adds nothing to the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice upon the cross, because the action is itself the fruit of this sacrifice. The Church in celebrating the eucharist gives thanks for the gift of Christ's sacrifice and identifies itself with the will of Christ who has offered himself to the Father on behalf of all mankind.

All I can say is 'Amen!'

Isn't it wonderful not to have to re-invent the theological wheel!

The Eucharistic Sacrifice: Old Catholic Style

What does our sister Church, the Old Catholic Church, say about the Eucharistic Sacrifice? The Declaration of Utrecht 1889 states the following:

'Considering that the Holy Eucharist has always been the true central point of Catholic worship, we consider it our duty to declare that we maintain with perfect fidelity the ancient Catholic doctrine concerning the Sacrament of the Altar, by believing that we receive the Body and Blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ under the species of bread and wine. The Eucharistic celebration in the Church is neither a continual repetition nor a renewal of the expiatory sacrifice which Jesus offered once for all upon the Cross; but it is a sacrifice because it is the perpetual commemoration of the sacrifice offered upon the Cross, and it is the act by which we represent on earth and appropriate to ourselves the one offering which Jesus Christ makes in heaven, according to the Epistle to the Hebrews (9.11-12), for the salvation of redeemed humanity, by appearing for us in the presence of God (Hebrews 9.24). The character of the Holy Eucharist being thus understood, it is, at the same time, a sacrificial feast, by means of which the faithful, in receiving the Body and Blood of our Saviour, enter into communion with one another (I Corinthians 10.17).'

The Old Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but shun technical definitions of the Mystery. The celebration of the Eucharist is considered sacrificial insofar as it is an anamnesis, a re-presentation of the once for all time Sacrifice of Christ upon the Cross. The Mass, then, is central to the worship of the Old Catholic Communion.

It was on the basis of this doctrine that the Church of England (1931) and the Episcopal Church (1946) entered into communcatio in sacris with the Old Catholic Churches.

Thus I would say that the doctrine expressed above is word-for-word the doctrine of the Anglican Church!

The Sacrifice of the Mass


Jeff Steele's excellent and stimulating blog Meam Commemorationem proposes for our contemplation an essay on the Joint Reformed Episcopal/APA Statement on the Eucharist, which statement appears at first glance to deny a propitiatory nature to the Mass. I offer for you, the reader, a few meagre reflections of my own.

E.L. Mascall remarks in his many works that Anglican priests and theologians tend to teach their people the Eucharistic Real Presence to the neglect of instruction on the Eucharistic Sacrifice, because it is easier to convey the meaning of the Real Presence; the sacrificial aspect of the Mass is more difficult to grasp and is liable more easily to misunderstanding. No doubt Dr Mascall, a theological genius, was right, and so I tread cautiously with that which I here attempt feebly to articulate.

The Anglican Province of America, in accordance with the Book of Common Prayer Communion Office (see the Canon, pages 80-81, 1928 BCP) and Catechism (1928 BCP page 582) and the theological paradosis of Anglican divines, unquestionably believes the Eucharist to be a sacrifice. In the American Eucharistic rite, the Holy Gifts, elements of bread and wine consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ, are plainly offered to the Father: 'with these thy holy gifts which we now offer unto thee.' In the official rite of Priestly Ordination used in our Diocese of the Eastern United States, the Bishop, after the formula of Ordination, delivers to the ordained a paten and chalice and addresses the neo-presbyter with the phrase 'Take thou authority to offer sacrifice to God and to celebrate the Eucharist for the living and the dead in the Name of the Lord. Amen.' This is the traditional porrectio instrumentorum taken directly from the Roman and Sarum Pontificals. Lex orandi, lex credendi. Whatever Eucharistic Sacrifice is intended by Our Lord, the New Testament and the ancient undivided Church is unswervingly intended by the Eucharistic Liturgy and Ordinal of the Anglican Church. The Joint REC/APA Statement must be interpreted through the lens of the praxis of the Churches involved, and clearly the APA understands the Eucharist to possess a fundamentally sacrificial character.

The Mass 'cannot be said to be a propitiatory sacrifice to God the Father' in the sense that the Eucharist is never an additional, supplemental or collaborative sacrifice independent of the One Sacrifice of Our Lord offered once for all upon the Cross. The Mass adds nothing to Calvary and has no value or merit independent of the self-oblation of Jesus Christ for our redemption. The Mass is propitiatory, that is, it achieves reconciliation with God the Father, insofar as it is the unique anamnetic and sacramental re-presentation of the Sacrifice offered on the Altar of the Cross once in space and time. Our Saviour's Death and Passion, to paraphrase Saint Cyprian of Carthage, are the Sacrifice pleaded in the Eucharist, and therefore in that sense alone one can affirm (and should) that the Mass is a propitiatory offering of Christ in His Church to God. The Mass is Christ's offering of Himself to His Father, not a work performed separately from Christ. The Eucharist is most certainly offered for both the living and the dead, an undeniably propitiatory act, as the Prayer Book makes clear. The Divine Liturgy is nothing else but Our Lord's own personal Eternal Heavenly High Priesthood exercised in a sacramental expression on earth. The Celebrant and Consecrator of every Eucharist is Our Lord. The One who offers and is offered is Jesus Christ, so in heaven after the Ascension, so on earth in the Mass, in and through His Mystical Body, of which He is the Head and Priest.

Or elucidated deductively...

The Sacrifice of Our Lord on the Cross is the one only propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.

The Eucharist makes present under the sacramental signs of bread and wine the One Sacrifice of Calvary. 'Do this in anamnesin of me.'

Therefore, the Eucharist is a propitiatory Sacrifice, not because it is new, additional, or independent of the Cross, but specifically because it makes Calvary sacramentally present.

The Mass is an applicative, appropriative Sacrifice, for it applies and appropriates to the faithful the merits and benefits of Our Lord's One Offering of Himself once offered.

The language of the Statement on Anglican Belief and Practice carefully avoids any strict scholastic or rationalistic definition of the Eucharistic Sacrifice (as did the ancient Church) while reaffirming the historical Anglican critique of the popular medieval theology and practice corrected at the English Reformation. The Sacrifice of the Mass, just as in Article of Religion XXXI, is not here denied or impugned. The biblical and patristic teaching is affirmed; the liturgical abuses of the medieval Roman Church are roundly condemned.

Perhaps the following will be a helpful guide: the sacrificial character and nature of the Eucharist was, for the Eastern Orthodox, defined in an especial way by the Council of Constantinople, May 1157, which rejected the heretical teaching of the Patriarch-elect of Antioch, who at that time maintained that the oblation offered in the Eucharist was not a real sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Christ, but one that he described as 'fantastic and iconic.' By saying that that offering rendered to God in the Mass is not an actual re-presentation of the One Sacrifice Once Offered, but an image or a symbol of the One Sacrifice, he anticipated precisely the errors of the 16th century magisterial continental reformers. The Orthodox Church responded to this heretical teaching by asserting the following:

1. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is not a mere mental or psychological remembering, a bare memorial of a past event. The word anamnesis is not be interpreted in a weak, but a strong sense. The Eucharist is not just an empty symbol or a nude sign. We do not only remember a past event or person by eating bread and drinking wine.

2. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is not a repetition of the One Sacrifice of the Cross offered once for all. Calvary can never be repeated - and the Mass does not repeat the immolation or death of the Lord. Christ's death can never be repeated. There is no re-immolation or re-crucifixion in the Mass.

3. The Eucharistic Sacrifice is no new Sacrifice: the Mass is no supplemental or additional Sacrifice to the one offered by Our Lord on the Cross once for all. There can only be One Sacrifice in the Christian Mystery, and that is the Sacrifice of Golgotha. The Mass cannot be a separate thing or reality.

4. Therefore, the Eucharistic Sacrifice is identical to the Sacrifice of the Cross. It is the same One Sacrifice made present, re-presented to God the Father. Our Lord presents to the Father in the Eucharistic Sacrifice the same offering He made to the Father on the Cross. The Eucharist is the same Sacrifice, but offered in a sacramental mode and manner, an unbloody Sacrifice, supernatural and heavenly. Anamnesis means re-presentation as Real Objective Presence, not 'representation' in the modern sense of absence.

Our Lord does on earth in the Eucharist what he does forever in Heaven now as our Great High Priest. The Mass is the Action of Christ, the very Intercession of Jesus Christ our only Mediator and Advocate. It is Christ Himself, actualising and exercising His Priesthood in His Church on earth under sacramental form, according to His own institution and promise. For this cause He instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper, to be celebrated on Apostolic Altars until the end of time.

The acceptable all-sufficient Sacrifice of Jesus Christ consists in His Body and Blood, His glorious human nature united to His divine nature in One Person. The same glorified Body and Blood which He presents to the Father in Heaven are the same glorified Body and Blood which he presents to the Father under the sacramental veils in the Holy Mysteries. Wherever the True Body and Blood of Christ are present, there His Sacrifice is to be found in all of its fullness and redemptive power: thus the Mass is THE Sacrifice. (It is this truth regarding the Real Presence which has always puzzled me when it comes to Lutheran teaching - if the Body and Blood are substantially present in the Eucharist, then Christ's Sacrifice is present, because Christ's Sacrifice is His Body and Blood. The Lutheran view, which denies any integral Sacrifice offered by Christ in the Eucharist, on these lines breaks down).

The one Sacrifice of the Cross is made present on the earthly Altar of the Eucharist exactly because Our Lord exhibits, pleads, presents, actualises Himself as Priest and Victim, crucified and risen, before the Father in Heaven. Ascended and glorified in his immortal divinised human nature, Our Lord offers for ever at the heavenly Altar the same Sacrifice he offered once on the Cross and continues to re-present in the Eucharist, Himself.

The 'missing' link between the efficaciously sacrificial character of the Eucharist and the Death and Passion of Christ two thousand years ago is the heavenly session and glorification of Our Lord. 'He ever liveth to make intercession for us.'

To quote the 19th century evangelical writer Thomas Carlyle:

'Christ's offering of Himself is the great central and all-determining act in heaven. For this reason, because the Church is His Body, she should manifest on earth the reflection of that heavenly act. But this reflection is no mere shadow, like the acts of worship of the Old Testament, neither is it a sort of dramatic representation, but it is a living action, wrought by Christ Himself through the Holy Ghost. The relation of this reflected act to its archetype in heaven is the same as the relation in which the Church herself stands to her Head, the Lord Jesus. As she is not the Lord Himself and yet is one with Him and filled with His life, ever so is her celebration of His offering one with it and filled with His energy. The offering in heaven is the personal act of Christ... the celebration of the memorial of the same on earth is the same act... fulfilled by the Church in whom the Holy Ghost dwells and Christ works' (Concerning the Right Order of Worship, 2-3).

And another quote:

'For that which by His minister He doeth on earth, He is engaged in fulfilling in heaven: and His Body and Blood, which after the manner of material substances are in the presence of God, where He Himself pleads His sacrifice on the Cross and offers His intercession, are also here... where we, in His Name, plead the same sacrifice, and seek acceptance only through His intercession.'

Whereas in the other Sacraments, the grace of Christ and the Holy Ghost is communicated and conferred to the recipients, in the Eucharist, Christ Himself is contained and is offered to us and for us. In essence, the Mass is Christ. Thanks to be God!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Mother of God

Since I have most recently written about Walsingham in my travelogue, here is the Joint Orthodox-Old Catholic Theological Statement on, of all things, Our Lady... 27 August 1977.

The Church believes that the divine and human natures are hypostatically united in Jesus Christ. It accordingly believes also that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth not to a human being merely but to the God-Man Jesus Christ and that she is therefore truly Mother of God as the Third Ecumenical Council defined and the Fifth Ecumenical Coun­cil confirmed. According to Saint John of Damascus, the name Mother of God (Theotokos) 'embraces the whole mystery of the divine plan of salvation' (Orthodox Faith, 56).

1. In the Virgin Mary, the Son of God assumed human nature in its entirety, body and soul, in virtue of the divine omnipotence, for the power of the Most High overshadowed her and the Holy Spirit came upon her (Saint Luke 1.35). In this way the Word was made flesh (Saint John 1.14). By the true and real motherhood of the Virgin Mary, the Redeemer was united with the human race.

There is an intrinsic connection between the truth of the one Christ and the truth of the divine motherhood of Mary. '... for a union of two natures took place; therefore we confess one Christ, one Son, one Lord. According to this understanding of the unconfused union, we confess the Holy Virgin to be Theotokos because God the Word was made flesh and lived as a human being and from the very conception united to himself the temple taken from her' (Third Ecumenical Coun­cil, Formula of Union). '...we teach with one voice that the Son of God and our Lord, Jesus Christ, is to be confessed as one and the same person ... begotten of his Father before the worlds ac­cording to his Godhead but in these last days born for us and for our salvation of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, according to his hu­manity' (Fourth Ecumenical Council, Definition of Faith).

2. Venerating the Virgin Mary as Mother of God, whose child-bear­ing Saint Ignatius of Antioch called 'a mystery to be cried aloud' (Ephesians 19.1), the Church also glorifies her perpetual virginity. The Mother of God is ever-Virgin, since, while remaining a maiden, she bore Christ in an ineffable and inexplicable manner. In their address to the Emperor Marcian, the Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council declared: '...the fathers ... have expounded the meaning of faith for all and proclaimed accurately the blessing of the incarnation: how the mystery of the plan of salvation was prepared from on high and from the maternal womb, how the Virgin was named Mother of God for the sake of him who granted her virginity even after her pregnancy and kept her body sealed in a glorious manner, and how she is truly called Mother because of the flesh of the Lord of all things, which came from her and which she gave to him'. And in its deci­sion the Seventh Ecumenical Council declared: 'We confess that he who was incarnate of the immaculate Mother of God and ever-Virgin Mary has two natures' (Definition). As Saint Augustine says: 'He was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. And even the birth as human being is itself lowly and lofty. Why lowly? Because as human being he is born of a human being. Why lofty? Because he was born of a virgin. A virgin conceived, a virgin gave birth, and after the birth she remained a virgin' (Symbolus 1.3/6). (See also Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem, ep. syn.; Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 87 ; Saint Maximus the Confessor, ambig. 31 and others).

3. Accordingly the Church venerates in a very special way the Vir­gin Mother of God, though 'not as divine but as Mother of God ac­cording to the flesh' (Saint John of Damascus, On the Holy Icons 2.5). If, because of the redemption in Christ and its blessings, the Church glorifies God above all and offers him the worship of true adoration due to the divine nature alone, at the same time it venerates the Mother of God as chosen vessel of the work of salvation, as she who accepted the word of God in faith, humility and obedience, as the gate­way through which God entered the world. It calls her the Blessed One, the first of the Saints and the pure handmaid of the Lord, and thereby ascribes to her a relative sinlessness by grace, from the time the Holy Spirit descended upon her, for our Saviour Jesus Christ alone is sinless by nature and absolutely. The Church does not recognize the recent dogmas of an immaculate conception and bodily assumption of the Mother of God. But it cele­brates the entry of the Mother of God into eternal life and solemnly observes the festival of her dormition.

4. The Church venerates the Mother of God also in her role as inter­cessor for human beings before God, which is hers in particular be­cause of her outstanding place in the work of salvation. But it distin­guishes between the intercession of the Mother of God and the quite unique mediatorship of Jesus Christ: 'For there is one mediator be­tween God and men - the man Jesus Christ' (1 Timothy 2.5). 'O Merciful One, show your love to mankind; accept the Mother of God who bore you, who intercedes for us, and save your helpless people, O our Sav­iour' (Saturday Vespers, Tone 8, Theotokion). 'O God, grant us all to share the life of your Son in fellowship with the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother of our Lord and God and of all your saints. Look upon their life and death and answer their intercessions for your Church on earth' (Eucharistic Liturgy of the Old Catholic Church of Switzerland). Although the Mother of God is also called 'mediatrix' (mesitria) in the hymns of the Church, this is never anywhere in the sense of co-me­diatrix or co-redemptrix but only in the sense of intercessor.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Most Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ

While on the subejct of salvation and the sacramental economy, I here publish the Joint Orthodox-Old Catholic Theological Commission Statement on the Holy Eucharist, 3 October 1985, a brilliant summation of catholic eucharistic doctrine and praxis. I particularly love the references to the Damascene and Nicea II, which teach that the Blessed Sacrament is not an icon of Christ because It is Christ Himself, His true Body and Blood...

1. The sacrament of Holy Eucharist is the focal point of the entire life of the Church. In this sacrament Christ is present in reality and essence: He offers himself in a bloodless way and shares himself with the faithful in an ever new and real representation of his bloody sacrifice on the cross offered once and for all. So the Eucharist is at the same time sacrament and real sacrifice. In this sacrament the faithful receive the Body and Blood of Christ and by it are united with him and through him with one another and take part in the power of his work of salvation that has its climax in his sacrifice on the cross and in his resurrection.

2. The Lord himself instituted the Eucharist. Before the Passover during the meal, the Lord took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to the disciples saying: 'This is my body.' And he took the cup, gave thanks and gave it to them saying: 'Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood, the blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me' (Saint Matthew 26.26-29; Saint Mark 14.22-25; Saint Luke 22.14-23; 1 Corinthians 11.23-25).

3. In bread and wine, which are consecrated and changed in the Eu­charist, the Lord himself is really and truly present in a supernatural way and imparts himself to the faithful. Bread and wine are, after the consecration, the Body and Blood of Christ and not mere symbols of his body and blood. 'The bread and the wine are not images of the Body and Blood of the Lord - certainly not! - but the deified Body of the Lord himself; the Lord himself said: "This is not the image of my body but 'my body' and not the image of my blood, but 'my blood'"'. (Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 86). According to the proclam­ation of the Seventh Ecumenical Synod 'neither the Lord nor the Apostles and Fathers have called the bloodless sacrifice offered by the priest an image, but the Body and the Blood themselves ... before the consecra­tion they were called images, after the consecration they are called, in an actual sense, Body and Blood of Christ; this is what they are and believed to be'.

4. The Eucharist represents the whole work of the divine economy in Christ that has its climax in his sacrifice on the cross and in his re­surrection. The eucharistic sacrifice stands in direct relationship to the sacrifice on the cross. The sacrifice of Calvary is certainly not repeatable. It happened once and for all (Hebrews 7.27). But the Eucharist is much more than a symbolic image or an image that reminds us of that sacrifice. It is the same sacrifice celebrated sacramentally. It is cele­brated as a commemoration of the Lord ('Do this in remembrance of me') and is not a mere, but a true and real commemoration and re­presentation of Christ's sacrifice. Before us are the Body and Blood of the Lord themselves. 'That sacrifice we now also offer, namely the one once offered, the inexhaustible one. This happens to commemo­rate that which once happened; for he says "Do this in remembrance of me". Not an ever different sacrifice as the Jewish high priest of those times, but we always offer the same one; or rather we effect a memorial of the sacrifice' (Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 17.3 in Hebrews). 'And as we commemorate his suffering in all our celebrations of the sacrifice - for the suffering of the Lord is the sacrifice that we offer - we may not do anything else than what he has done' (Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 63.17).

5. The priest officiating at each Eucharist is the Lord himself. 'You are the one who offers and is offered, who accepts and is imparted, Christ, our God' (Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn). 'He is the priest; it is he himself who offers, and he himself is the offered gift" (Saint Augus­tine, City of God 10.20; Saint Ambrose of Milan, enarr. 25 in Psalm 38; 9/38). The whole eucharistic community, clergy and people, has an organic part in the performance of the eucharistic celebration. The liturgists of the sacra­ment are bishop and priest. The practice of the Church and the canons forbid deacons 'to offer' (First Ecumenical Synod, Canon 18).

6. According to apostolic tradition and practice, leavened bread is used in the Eucharist. The use of unleavened bread in the West is a la­ter practice. In addition wine is used - 'the fruit of the vine' (Saint Mark 14. 25) - that from ancient times is mixed with water (Saint Irenaeus of Ly­ons, Against Heresies 5.2.3; Saint Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 63).

7. The consecration of bread and wine in the Eucharist takes place through the entire eucharistic prayer. The words of the Lord 'Take, eat... drink ye all of it' in the eucharistic prayer, which has a consecratory character as a whole, do not themselves effect the transforma­tion of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. The transformation is effected by the Holy Spirit whose descending is be­ing prayed for in the epiclesis.

8. After appropriate preparation all believers take part in the Eu­charist; for who does not take part at the table of the Lord does not take part in the life in Christ: 'unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you' (Saint John 6.53). Accord­ing to the practice of the Church prevailing since ancient times not even infants and much less children are kept away from the Eucharist. Only the unbaptized, heretics, those separated from the Church and those restrained by Church discipline for any reason are excluded from the partaking of the sacrament (Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 86). The faithful communicate under both kinds as was the case at the Last Supper.

9. In the Eucharist the faithful are united with their Lord and with one another by the communion in his Body and Blood and together form one body. 'Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread' (1 Corinthians 10.17). 'Because we partake in the one bread, we all become one body of Christ and one blood and members amongst each other and are thus united with Christ in one body' (Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 86). In union with Christ, the believer is filled with grace and with all spiri­tual gifts and blessings that union with Christ involves. He makes pro­gress in spiritual life, grows in perfection and thus has the hope of re­surrection to eternal life and the full participation in the glorious and blessed Kingdom of Christ.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Is Man Saved?

Recently an evangelical enquirer, a member of the Episcopal Church/Anglican Communion Network, informed me that Holy Baptism is unnecessary to salvation and that all that is necessary for salvation is decisionism, 'trust and believe in the Lord as your Saviour and that is all that is needed.' The solafidanist comment was unsurprising, considering its origin, but flatly contradicts Anglicanism: the Book of Common Prayer Catechism, the Prayer Book Baptismal Office and the Anglican Tradition as a whole. So how is man saved, or more properly said, how are the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and the Life of the Holy Ghost appropriated to the Christian?

The consensus fidelium of the Catholic Church, the unanimous consent of the Fathers, is the doctrinal standard for Anglican, and therefore Catholic, belief and practice. Where the Apostolic Churches of East and West historically agree, there the deposit of Faith is found and the matter is settled dogmatically and practically: otherwise a profession of belief in the indefectibility of the ancient Undivided Church means virtually nothing. To go a step further, I sumbit that where traditional Western Catholics (Old Catholic and Anglican) and Eastern Orthodox agree, there we have the mind and teaching tradition, the consensus ecclesiae, of the First Millennium Church. To contravene that is to reject the authoritative teaching of the Body of Christ.

With that axiom working in the background, I present the Joint Orthodox-Old Catholic Theological Commission Statement entitled 'The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Church and the Appropriation of Salvation' 7 October 1983. This is an excellent and concise explanation of how man is saved...

Out of love for sinful man (Saint John 3.16), God our Lord sent his Son into the world, who reconciled all things in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1.20) and renewed creation by his resurrection (2 Corinthians 5. 15-18). Jesus Christ commanded his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations (Saint Matthew 28.19f) so that his salvation may give light to all who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Saint Luke 1.79). The appropriation of salvation by individual human beings takes place in the Church through the work of the Holy Spirit who grants his grace. The Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and rests in the Son and is given and has appeared through the Son to the faithful (Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 8), always remains in the Church, fills it and builds it up, renews and sanctfies it and makes it into an 'ark of salvation' for the whole world. He is the Paraclete who is sent by the Lord to lead the Church into all truth (Saint John 16. 13). All that the Saviour brings about in the Church for the well-being of men is, according to the holy Fathers, 'fulfilled by the grace of the Spirit' (Saint Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit 16/39). The Holy Spirit is as it were the soul of the Church, the life-giving, sanctifying and unify­ing power of its body. The Holy Spirit and the Church are insepar­able: 'for where the Church is, there the Spirit of God is also, and where the Spirit of God is, there the Church is and all grace' (Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3.24.1). The Holy Spirit is fundamen­tal for the new existence of man in the Church whose rebirth occurs by water and the Spirit (Saint John 3.5). We humans receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in the Church through Christ, and thus become children of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8.15-17); we are brought back into communion with God, for which he has created us. The spirit of sonship lives in our hearts and cries: 'Abba, Father' (Romans 8.15; Galatians 4.6). He 'helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words' (Romans 8.26). The Spirit lives in the body of the faithful as in a temple (1 Corinthians 6.19). He unites them in the celebration of Holy Eucharist to the one body in the fellowship of the Church. He allows Christians to take part in his holiness; they become 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1.4), i.e. 'deified through the partaking of the divine shining of the light and not changed into the divine being' (Saint John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 26). He imparts to each individual his gift of grace for the building up of the Body of Christ: the gift of speaking wisdom, the gift of speaking knowledge, the gift of healing, the gift of discerning spirits, and especially the gift of ordained ministry as an organ for building up this Body (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

God saves man without violating his free will. 'He wants all to be saved but he forces nobody. God is willing ... to save man not against his will and determination, but with his will and freely-made decision' (Saint John Chrysostom, Homily 3.6). The appropria­tion of salvation in Christ by man occurs by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit and man. The Holy Spirit effects the vocation, the illumi­nation, the conversion, the justification, the rebirth in Baptism and the sanctification in the Church; man, for his part, accepts the grace of­fered and participates freely by faith and his good works, in other words, by 'faith working through love' (Galatians 5.6). This cooperation is not to be understood as if God alone achieves one part of the work and man alone another; rather all things are achieved by God, without whose help man can do nothing for his salvation. But man also parti­cipates in all things, he is moved to act himself and not to remain inac­tive (Saint Augustine, corrept. 2/4: aguntur ut agant, non ut ipsi nihil agant). 'From the God of the universe, who works all in all, we must believe that he does it in the manner that he awakens, pro­tects and strengthens the free will which he himself once granted and not in such a way that he nullifies it' (Saint John Cassian, coll. 13.18; Saint Augustine, Spir. et litt 34/60). This cooperation of God and man embraces the entire new life in Christ. One cannot say that man behaves passively in any act of faith - and were it even the first one - and that God alone works in him. Correspondingly, the Church rejects any teaching according to which God alone grants his saving grace to some but not to others, thus by his decree predestinating some to salvation, others to damna­tion. God is not the originator of evil but the source of life and salva­tion. That is why he desires 'all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth' (1 Timothy 2.4). The rebirth and sanctification of men is the special work of the Holy Spirit. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit expected at the end of time has already occurred in the Church since the day of Pentecost (Acts 2.16-18). The glory of the end time is no longer merely a hope but already a present reality. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church offers certain guarantee for this. If we have in our hearts the part, which is the pledge of the Spirit, we will not doubt the whole, which is the perfection of the gift in the blessedness of eternal life (Romans 8.23; 2 Corinthians 1:22f; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13f; 4:30; Titus 3:6f; Saint John Chrysostom, res. mort. 8).

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Republished Travelogue

With infinite thanks to the Reverend Father James Gordon Anderson for originally publishing my account of the April 2005 Stand Up For Jesus conference of the Society of the Holy Cross in England, I have decided to republish the to-date full content on my own blog for the sake of interested readers. In the coming weeks I shall complete this autobiographical tale which documents the glories of one of greatest Anglo-Catholic experiences of our generation. God bless you!

Stand Up For Jesus

Tuesday 5th April 2005

I rose on the morning of Tuesday 5th April in my room in the Royal National Hotel to discover a note under my door. My luggage had finally arrived and was downstairs in the concierge office. 24 hours ago American Airlines had managed to leave my bags in Orlando while it flew me first to Raleigh and then to Gatwick. What a day yesterday had been: after discovering that my luggage had been 'left behind,' I finally managed to escape the Monday-morning panic at Gatwick by taking the number 6 Gatwick Express train to Victoria Station. By the time I arrived at Victoria, the morning hub-bub had settled down a bit. A moment's visit to the cashpoint for some desperately needed British Pounds, and the next thing you know I am in a taxi on my way to East London. Upon arrival in Holborn, I realise that I am mere seconds from the Senate House of the University of London and the British Museum. Naturally, the front desk cannot locate my name and registration. Why? My name has been listed as 'Holder-Jones' in the British way, not simply Jones. I rather like the affectation. Mercifully, I had managed to place my toothbrush and toiletries into my carry-on bag, so I could at least freshen-up before launching out for a London adventure. Clad in a raincoat and water-proof shoes, I spent that whole typically and gorgeously grey, rainy, damp, cool British Monday afternoon on my own in the British Museum. It is my first trip to the Museum, and I am simply and unabashedly awestruck. Its sheer size is enormous, and the treasures to be found within it are, to succinctly describe it, beyond imagination. Although haze and blurriness of jet-lag begin to set-in during my tour, I still remember now most distinctly the vast array of Egyptian mummies and artefacts, the massive Assyrian wall bas-relief images, the seemingly endless collection of ancient Greek vases, Roman military gear, Celtic artwork, the Rosetta Stone, the original statues of the Athenian Parthenon, an original cuneiform tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest Christian mosaic in Britain, dozens of Christian vestments, images, and vessels from the 2nd century forward, and the oldest artefact in the Museum, an idol over 30,000 years old. And all this having been seen, I believe I actually visited about 1/4 of the entire facility. My next trip to the UK is going to be a solid week spent just in the British Museum! After a short nap, I caught up with my dear friends Father John and Mary Klein of Baltimore for a splendid Greek dinner at a local spot across the street from the Hotel. And then Tuesday arrived...

It might help to remind the reader what my trip was all about: the Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) was founded as an institute for Anglican parish clergy in London on 28 February 1855, and was based upon a model organised by Saint Vincent de Paul in France in the 17th century. Many priests of Anglicanism's Catholic Revival have been members, and the parish work of many of its clergy has been well known. Many parishes in Britain have had nothing but SSC clergy for much of the past one hundred and fifty years, and would thus insist on the 'SSC standard' of worship, doctrine, and teaching. The SSC is the greatest legacy of the Oxford Movement, and the lasting bequest of the Catholic Movement to the Anglican Tradition.

The week of 5th April was a truly amazing week in our lives, and in world history. Pope John Paul II grew more and more ill and died three days before the Synod began. In the United Kingdom, a General Election approached and the Prime Minister went to the Palace to ask the Queen to dissolve Parliament. Millions crowded into Rome to pay homage to the Pope as world leaders rushed to his funeral on Friday. The wedding of Britain's most infamous couple, the Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker-Bowles, was postponed at Saint George' s Windsor, just around the corner from our hotel, until Saturday. Just as mourning for the Pope was beginning, Prince Rainier of Monaco died. And through it all, much of Anglo-Catholicism's priestly leadership converged on a humble parish church in London. It seemed that God had designed a truly providential week for our time in old Albion.

On Tuesday morning, my luggage was swiftly recovered from the Hotel office, and once into a black suit I was straight out the door and directly headed for... a bookstore. For a little detour on the way to the parish church, which was only minutes from our Hotel by foot, two fellow American priests and I decided to take a side-tour of some lovely out-of-way shops and stores in Holborn. One bookstore proffered many theological titles too expensive and too tempting for me to buy. I believe one of us did happen to buy a book or two. In a hardware shop, one bought some simple items while another bought an authentic sign for his parish's WC. Our Holborn detour carried us through streets lined with many modern flat buildings and business complexes all built after WWII. This area of London was devastated by bombing during the War. Finally we happened upon our destination, the modest parish church nestled amongst the 60's-looking school buildings and flats of East London.

Saint Alban’s Church, Holborn, in London, was the parish church of Blessed Alexander Mackonochie, one of the first and most famous Masters of SSC and one of the pioneers of the liturgical, sacramental, and pastoral implementation of the Catholic Revival. Saint Alban’s, like much else in this section of the city, was remodelled by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War, and the only part of the Victorian neo-gothic church remaining as it was from the 19th century is the Mackonochie Chapel itself, outside the main body of the new faithfully-reconstructed church. Today the new church houses a dramatic and very modern painting portraying the glorified Christ with saints of the ancient and Anglican Churches behind the restored high Altar. Devotion to Blessed Charles Lowder, the founder of the Society of the Holy Cross, as well as to Father Mackonochie, is alive and well in that place of mystic prayer and communion, a place aptly described as one in which the veil between heaven and earth is strangely thin. People still venerate the effigy of Father Mackonochie in the Chapel, light candles of votive intention, and remain in silent reverence before the memory of that great Anglo-Catholic lover of souls. The Shrine of Father Mackonochie is surprisingly separated from the nave, found at the rear of the Church and opposite its main entrance; without some guidance, it would be easy to miss the entrance to it. I only learned upon my pilgrimage to Saint Alban's that Father Lowder, Father Mackonochie, and Father Stanton, amongst others, are buried in a parish cemetery several miles outside of the city of London. The memorial of Father Arthur Stanton, possibly the holiest curate in history of the Church of England, lies before the sanctuary on the epistle side of the nave. I was tickled and delighted to see a representation of his pet dog with him on the effigy. The church itself, so lovely and so graceful, so filled with the prayers, sacrifices and sufferings of dedicated and unwavering conscience-bound Catholics for so many years, mostly destroyed in World War II and rebuilt with costly devotion, can easily bring a person to tears. Next to Walsingham it should be regarded as the Anglo-Catholic 'mecca.' If Saint Alban's may be seen as an accurate indicator, it is certain that real Anglo-Catholicism (as opposed to the 'Affirming' variety) is living and healthy in the Church of England. Some of our readers will be pleased to know that Saint Alban's continues unabated a strong, vibrant, active, very orthodox Anglo-Catholic tradition. Although the parish, with typical British Anglo-Catholic curiosity, uses the modern Roman Rite, its liturgy is splendid: beautiful and reverent with the highest calibre of music and vesture imaginable. All in all, Saint Alban's Holborn is Christocentric, incarnational, sacramental, organic, transcendent, mystical, grace-bearing Religion at its very best. It's really Catholic.

Upon our arrival, we slowly made our way through the church to the parish hall, collected our registration packets, and found our way back into the church in time for the proceedings to begin. Hundreds of priests packed the parish church to begin the Synod - there was very little room for comfortable seating so all of us had to be quick to find a good spot. At 12 Noon the Synod programme officially began and all stood. We began to sing the Marian Anthem for Easter, the Regina Caeli, 'Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven,' sung beautifully to the tune of 'Jesus Christ is risen today.' Imagine the thrill one instantly has upon hearing six hundred male voices all singing together with proper pitch and energetic joy. It was truly remarkable. Following the Anthem, all the Brothers of the Society present sat to hear both the Registrar and Secretary General report on the Roll, or membership, of the Society. We were first greeted by Father Howard Levett, the Vicar of Saint Alban the Martyr, Holborn. We then learned that there are currently over 1200 priests of the Society of the Holy Cross worldwide. Following the Roll and a financial report, the Synod moved to its most vital function, worship. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament of Our Lord's Body and Blood ensued, with a meditation by Father Martin Warner, now Canon Pastor of Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was a supreme privilege for me to get to know Father Warner during my 2000 pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, when he was Administrator of the Shrine. One powerfully personal moment in the meditation came when I realised that I was kneeling next to a man so deeply absorbed in prayer that he began to cry in the midst of the love and beauty that surrounded us - it turned out that the man was the former Bishop of Papua New Guinea, who had just retired to England. At the end of Exposition, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament was given by the Bishop of Beverley, Martyn Jarrett, a member of our Society. Bag lunches were provided for all of us as we processed outside to a sunny, warm, beautiful, spring day to enjoy our repast on the church lawn. My break was spent sitting on the ground, lunch in hand, conversing with Father Graham Canham, the Master of the Province of Wales. We discovered both our families originated from the same region of Cymru.

After lunch, the Synod proper, the Ordo ad Synodem, began. The Master-General of SSC, the Society’s head throughout the world, Prebendary David Houlding, gave a tremendous address. Then the Provincial Masters, from the USA, Wales, and Australia, addressed the Synod. These speeches were followed by the Right Reverend Geoffrey Rowell, Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe, who gave an address on the Society’s past and future entitled 'In This Sign Conquer'. Bishop Rowell is arguably the greatest living historian on Anglo-Catholicism and gave a fascinating and compelling presentation. Many expected it to be a bit 'dry' or academic, but its power made it quite dynamic and stirring. The Bishop of Gibraltar has consented to become the new Visitor of the Society consequent to the resignation of the former Archbishop of York David Hope, who has returned to parish work. After the special address, a service of Veneration of the Relic of the True Cross followed. Then at 4 PM the piece de resistance occurred: the Synodal High Mass. It was truly magnificent liturgy. Imagine all of the prelates, in silken purple and tall mitres, arrayed in flowing copes and other pontifical regalia. The music was a combination of classical sacred style and inventive (if not kitsch) contemporary settings. The Mass was celebrated with stunning red vestments according to the modern Roman Rite. The only way one could distinguish our celebration from that typically found in parishes across the Tiber was that ours was more reverent, more tasteful, and closer to the rubrics of the Missal! The Mass was concelebrated by the Master General, the Provincial Masters, and all Local Vicars of the Society. Our preacher was the Right Reverend Keith Newton, SSC, the Bishop of Richborough, and successor of my friend Bishop Edwin Barnes, whom I first met in 1992 while studying at Oxford. The celebration of the Mass was profound and incredibly moving - the deepest emotions, gratitude, wonder, peace, thanksgiving, welled-up as I approached the Blessed Sacrament at Communion and received a holy card commemorating the event. 150 years of love, dedication, priestly self-sacrifice and devotion were perfectly expressed in the postcommunion hymn:

In our day of thanksgiving one psalm let us offer
for the saints who before us have found their reward;
When the shadow of death fell upon them, we sorrowed,
But now we rejoice that they rest in the Lord.

In the morning of life, and at noon, and at even,
He called them away from our worship below
But not till his love, at the font and the altar,
Had girt them with grace for the way they should go.

These stones that have echoed their praises are holy;
And dear is the ground where their feet have once trod;
Yet here they confessed they were strangers and pilgrims,
And still they were seeking the city of God.

Sing praise then, for all who have here sought and here found him
Whose journey is ended, whose perils are past:
They believed in the Light; and its glory is round them,
Where the clouds of earth's sorrows are lifted at last.

The official 150th Anniversary Banquet of SSC was held at the Imperial Hotel, just down the street from the Royal National. The facility, named the 'Elizabeth Room,' was spacious and yet packed to capacity as we socialised and conversed for a solid hour or more before dinner. The champagne was excellent and abundant. At the dinner table I was privileged to enjoy the company of several priests from all over the world: to my left was an American priest from Denver, Colorado, on my right, an English priest from Devonshire. Most of our dinner conversation addressed the recent history of the SSC, the abortive effort in the mid-1990's to erect a Roman Province of the Society, the ongoing dilemma regarding the effort to introduce bishopesses into the Church of England, and the seemingly-hopeless divisions of the Continuing Church in the USA. My English and Australian dinner companions were visibly amused by my description of our American liturgical practice centred on the Book of Common Prayer, which thing they find very quaint and antiquarian - you see, most Anglo-Catholics worldwide use either modern alternative service books issued by the various provinces of the Anglican Communion or the modern Novus Ordo Missae of the Roman Rite. They seemed fascinated yet befuddled by our insistence on using the BCP! My English colleague suggested that we should strike up an arrangement for altar and pulpit exchange - he recommended that I should come back to the UK and serve in his parish with him for a duration, and then he should come to Oviedo to serve with me at Saint Alban's Cathedral. His was a brilliant idea. Perhaps we may still make those plans someday. Dinner concluded with toasts to the Queen, the Archbishops, the Church, our respective nations, and detailed stories about them all. By the way, the food was actually delicious, contrary to what many expect of English food. It was one of the most memorable meals of my life, and all for the most positive of reasons.

After dinner, two Britons, an Australian, a Canadian and myself all trekked off for a walk and then a pint at the local pub. Pimms and lemonade (real UK lemonade) followed beer. After more conversation lasting at least another hour, I finally made it back to my room - exhausted. As I lie on my bed, I can't help but think: 'so much has happened, and it's only the first day - how tired will I be by this time tomorrow?!'

Wednesday 6th April 2005

It seemed like a very short night indeed. I rose by 7.30 AM in order to join the rest of the brethren on a quick walk down the street to Gordon Square, only a few blocks away. I shall never forget entering the neo-Gothic church building which resides on a busy and very elegant corner in east central London. The Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square is the official headquarters of Forward in Faith United Kingdom and of Bishop John Broadhurst, replete with its own offices, library, and meeting spaces. It is a truly impressive building, but what is most remarkable about it is its architecture. I have never seen such complex and beautifully interwoven arches and columns in a church. The building is a 19th century Victorian creation erected by a strange sect that has long since disappeared - the 'Catholic Apostolic Church' founded by the Rev'd Edward Irving. This colourful charismatic sect established an amazingly elaborate liturgical and sacramental life, which in turn gave rise to the truly magnificent church building on Gordon Square. The Irvingites also created another familiar phenomenon - the dispensationalist doctrine of the Rapture. LaHaye and Jenkins of Left Behind fame owe their religion and their livelihood to a defrocked Presbyterian minister and his eccentric liturgical community. If one happens to find oneself in London at any given time, a trip over to see Christ the King is a must. To this day, the Anglican Catholics still rent the building from an Irvingite trust which owns and maintains the property. Upon arriving in the dimly-lit church with its incredibly ancient feel, all found their places in the pews and knelt before the Most Blessed Sacrament exposed on the simple Altar beneath the great canopy of windows, columns, and arches which comprise such a unique temple. It was truly breath-taking. After half an hour of silent Eucharistic adoration, Morning Prayer was sung according to the modern Common Worship rite of the Church of England. Father Barry Swain of Resurrection Church, New York City, gave a moving and very thoughtful address on the 'Architecture of the Priesthood,' combining his verbal images with those of the stunning building surrounding us. After Mattins and a short break, we assembled in the lecture hall of the University of London, just across the street the Royal National Hotel, for our first academic exercise of the Synod: the Society of the Holy Cross is very keen to combine prayer and spiritual formation with serious theological training and study. After all, the Anglican ideal of priestly ministry has always been that of the pastor-scholar. And so Wednesday and Thursday of our meeting were devoted to a conference on Christology, the Person of our Blessed Lord. Entitled, 'Who Is This Son of Man?', the conference began with an introduction by Father Houlding, the Master of the Society, and an excellent exposition of the Church's faith in Our Lord's Person by Father Jonathan Baker, Principal of Pusey House, Oxford. Father Baker was joined in a discussion session by my friend Father Martin Warner, Canon Pastor of Saint Paul's Cathedral, London. It was an illuminating conversation which dealt with the fact that the crisis currently swirling in the Anglican Communion and in western society in general is a direct result of error, Christological error regarding the Incarnation of Our Lord and Saviour. Everything from the innovation of women's ordination to the election of an unchaste man to the episcopate to the breakdown in the structure of societies at large can surely be traced to a faulty understanding of the nature of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. To summarise the discussion: in short, if we misapprehend the Incarnation, we get the Gospel and its application wrong. After another short break, we returned to the Church of Christ the King, Gordon Square, for the Noon Mass. The liturgy was celebrated with reverent dignity and solemnity according to the Common Worship rite: I was struck by the way in which the modern rite was offered with such great decorum and beauty, so unlike what we often see in modern-rite American parishes. The celebration was impeccable and the music was grand. Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, one of the English Church's 'flying bishops,' gave a powerful and well-articulated sermon on the Resurrection. Never before had I seen a bishop preach with a purple biretta firmly planted on his head. After Mass, luncheon followed back in the University hall. In the afternoon, a group of pilgrims, including myself, decided to take a walking tour of the old city of London. Off the Underground at The Strand in central London, we made our way first to the National Gallery for the once-in-a-lifetime Caravaggio exhibit. After our tour of the Gallery, we started off on foot towards London Bridge. Our band of pilgrims shared a break at Saint Paul's Cathedral for a photo-op. Eventually we worked our way down the streets of old London to the eminent Anglo-Catholic Church of Saint Magnus Martyr, where we enjoyed the fantastic conflation of architectures old and new. Saint Magnus Martyr is an Wren building refurbished by that quintessential English artist Martin Travers in the early 20th century, under the auspices of the famous Catholic priest Father Fynes-Clinton. After our memorable stop, we slowly made our way back to the Hotel. At 5 PM we enjoyed Evensong again in the glowing evening light of Christ the King, Gordon Square. The incense formed a cloud which filled the entire Church - my mind was filled with the images of Isaiah 6, of the Lord in His holy Temple. Following Evensong, a special treat was held at the Church of Saint Mary-le-Strand in central London. The Society of King Charles the Martyr sponsored a Solemn High Mass according to the rite of the Laudian Liturgy, the 1637 Scottish Book of Common Prayer, celebrated by Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy, Illinois. The Mass in the traditional rite, in honour of Anglicanism's Royal Martyr, was moving beyond description. At the conclusion of the Mass, the relics of King Charles Stuart I of England, including the shirt and gloves he wore at his decollation, were brought out for the veneration of the faithful. The event brought to the fore the unquestioned and unbroken Catholicity of the English Church, and of our heritage as members of the living Body of Christ. Dinner and bed followed - another incredible day in the journey which was to be unlike any other...

Thursday 7th April 2005

More groggily than before I rose on Thursday morning with a half-start and rushed down the street to Gordon Square at attend the beginning liturgy of the day. After Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament beneath the yawning fan-vaulted ceiling of Christ the King Church, and Matins sung with an intense beauty, Father Barry Swain presented another very stirring meditation on the 'architecture of the priesthood,' reminding us all of the need continually to awaken and deepen the sense of vocation to serve Our Lord in priestly life. Thursday brought a great deal more excitement for the British participants, admittedly, than for some of us from the Colonies. Perhaps it was less exciting still for those of us who are proud 'Non-Jurors' of the orthodox Continuing Church tradition. For, you see, Thursday was devoted largely to the visit to the Society of the Holy Cross of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. In reality, for me at least, this was a bitter-sweet experience. On one hand, Archbishop Rowan, an astoundingly brilliant theologian, philosopher, teacher, and preacher, is one of the most intellectually gifted men ever to sit in the Chair of Saint Augustine. Additionally, the Archbishop is a Welshman, a true Celtic Archbishop of the British Church, the first Welshman to hold the Archiepiscopate of Canterbury for a thousand years - which thing gladdens the heart of every Welshman like myself. On the other hand, however, Archbishop Rowan has renounced Catholic Faith and Order by accepting and promoting the innovation of women's 'ordination.' More troubling, the Archbishop was once a thorough-going Anglo-Catholic, committed to the fullness of the Catholic Faith as received and practised in the Church of England, a clear sometime exponent of the theology of the Great Tradition. Some brothers of the SSC see his former allegiance to Catholic orthodoxy as a means by which he may more personally and sympathetically understand the plight of traditional Anglicans in a modernist-laden communion. Others see his abandonment of historic Catholicism as a devastating and painful betrayal. Needless to say, I greeted the occasion with very mixed feelings indeed.

From the Church on Gordon Square the long line of becassocked priests and bishops filed down the street to the conference centre at the University of London where the Archbishop was to address us. As we made our way into the auditorium a palpable sense of energy and anticipation began to fill the room. A friend and I seized front row seats, next to those reserved for high-ranking dignitaries and representatives of the SSC. I noticed once we were seated that we strategically positioned next to the only religious sisters present for the SSC gathering, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Rempstone. Once everyone was seated, a hush fell over the crowd. Then, when all was ready, the Master General briefly addressed the group, and, a few seconds later, a tall man with incredibly bushy white hair and a thick unruly beard wearing a simple black cassock with a red cincture very briskly made his way down a side aisle and onto the stage: the audience burst into applause. Introductory remarks from the Master followed, and the Archbishop proceeded to give one of the most eloquent and engaging presentations I have ever heard in my life. A more admirable character one will never meet. Being a preacher myself, I noticed immediately the Archbishop's smooth, rich, deep basso voice which continued for over 45 minutes to give a penetrating and understandable explanation of the meaning of worship as explicated in the Epistle to the Hebrews. He tied his subject to the life and ministry of the Catholic priest with love and devotional attentiveness. +Rowan never made one verbal mistake or gaffe; his speech was absolutely flawless, his grammar perfect. He neither stumbled nor uttered a single 'er' or 'uh.' And I know the presentation had to be good because I still remember what he said. In a chameleon-like way (from the perspective of a strictly traditional Anglican), the Archbishop gave an exposition of the nature of worship and the Incarnation that could have been delivered by an Eastern Orthodox Bishop or the Pope himself - it was perfectly orthodox. The Archbishop had certainly tried to connect with his Anglo-Catholic audience, and he succeeded ingeniously. After an extensive question-and-answer period, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury was whisked away to his awaiting car to be flown directly from our meeting to Rome in order to attend the funeral of the late John Paul II. But the Archbishop could not get away before a certain priest from Oviedo, Florida presumptuously introduced himself and shook the archiepiscopal hand. He was most gracious, impeccably kind and polite. And with that the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion disappeared as briskly as he arrived. It appears the group as a whole was genuinely and profoundly touched by the Archbishop's generosity and grace. Some English priests after the meeting explained to me their enthusiasm by saying that Anglican Catholics in the Church of England still hold the Archbishop in the highest veneration because he is second only to the Monarch as a personification and representative of the Nation. To meet the Archbishop of Canterbury, they contended, is to meet the Ecclesial Person, the Man of the Church, just as to meet the Queen is to meet the Royal Person, the embodiment of the State. I must confess that, in the face of the Archbishop's known problems with Holy Order and other moral questions, I was not fully convinced. Perhaps that feeling naturally arises in the heart of an American whose own Church has been autocephalous from the 18th century - it more definitely arises in the heart of one whose Church's commitment to uncompromising orthodoxy caused a necessary breach with Canterbury only thirty years ago in defence of the Catholic priesthood. Having met both Archbishop George Carey and Archbishop Rowan Williams, I should assert that +Rowan is the far more formidable of the two, but I still remain unconvinced that one must be in full communio in sacris with either of them to be a genuine Anglican. If anything, my personal conviction that the measure of one's Anglicanism is determined by one's fidelity to the faith and order of the Seven Ecumenical Councils and the Undivided Catholic Church of the first millennium was only reinforced in a new and positive way by the experience on 7th April 2005. No doubt the SSC owes the Archbishop of Canterbury a debt of gratitude for his willingness to visit us, as his schedule was far more complex than he had originally thought. He left us in that government car to board an aircraft of The Queen’s Flight with the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales to fly to the Vatican. As a result, the Archbishop was unable to sing High Mass that day and preach to us, which he had originally intended to do; but the address he gave and subsequent questions entertained for nearly two hours were a thoughtful gift to the Society of the Holy Cross, which he has known for many years. In his speech, he attempted to assure us of the importance of our vocation as Catholics in the Anglican Communion. It can safely be said that the current successor to Saint Augustine is a talented and creative theologian whose understanding of the Faith originated in time past from the Catholic milieu.

Thursday’s Noon Mass was sung at Christ the King, Gordon Square, and Father Jeremy Sheehy, SSC, Principal of Saint Stephen’s House, Oxford, preached to us in place of the Archbishop. The sermon was stimulating and given with care and concentration.

We were in for far more than we bargained in the afternoon, as our programme resumed with a symposium and conversation entitled 'The Church of Christ: Principles of Ecumenism.' Our presenters were two outspoken modernist ecumenists in the Church of England. These choices, as it was to turn out, were indeed rather curious considering the character of those participants who were seated in the audience. The Bishop of Guildford, Christopher Hill, co-chairman of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, spoke first; as this reflection goes to press, Bishop Hill is currently involved in creating the official legislation in the C of E which will permit the purported consecration of women to the Sacred Episcopate. His liberal views are well-known and unambiguous. The second presenter, Dr Mary Tanner, former secretary for the Council for Christian Unity, spoke on the matter of relations between the Anglican Communion and the Church of Rome. Bishop Hill's presentation was very academic; he clearly intended to avoid ruffling the feathers of the Anglo-Catholic constituency before him. Dr Tanner was less nebulous and sought to be outright politically-correct in her remarks. Speaking on ARCIC and the remarkable progress made between the Anglican and Roman Churches over the last four decades, she unwisely decided to give the revisionist rationale for the 'ordination' of women. She went so far as to attempt to justify the irreparable damage in ecumenical relations with Rome done in favour of the innovation. She could not have had a more unsympathetic and delicate audience before which to make such insensitive claims. As the question-and-answer period began and continued, the good priests of SSC became more and more agitated and more and more pointed in their comments and questions. The atmosphere in the auditorium grew thick with anxiety and irritation. It was most uncomfortable. Finally, exasperated and having taken quite an unanswerable theological critique from the assembly, our undaunted revisionist clamoured, 'the ordination of women is still in the 'process of reception' - it is going to continue, it is going to happen and we might as well accept that fact now!' She might as well have thrown a bomb into the room. Priests in significant numbers rose from their seats in a dignified huff and exited the hall quietly and quickly. Some decided to stay and listen to what else was said. Still others began to protest in that quintessentially fabulous British way... some began to murmur, some began to boo, and others began to shout such succinct summaries as 'heresy!' and 'nonsense!' Eventually I discreetly rose and silently joined the rest of the recessional which made its way solemnly out into the street. That afternoon conference is one of the most unforgettable of my life. It was both amazingly humorous and terribly disappointing. To this day I still do not know how such persons so wholly incompatible with the Society's vision of the Faith found their way into our 150th anniversary celebration. It seems in the Church of England one can never avoid or escape controversy, even if one tries.

In the evening came the magnificent Solemn Evensong and Benediction held at Saint Alban's Church, Holborn in celebration of our SSC anniversary. Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Roman Church in England and Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, was scheduled to preach. Sadly, of course, this was not to be as the Cardinal had already arrived in the Vatican to take his rightful place in the funeral ceremonies for the deceased Pope. The Bishop of Guildford, curiously enough again, was asked to preach in the Cardinal's place and addressed the congregation on the subject of John Paul II and his ministry and legacy. The liturgy was celebrated with tremendous reverence. At the lovely champagne reception that followed Evensong and preceded Benediction, I enjoyed a thoroughly delightful encounter with Bishop Ewen Ratteray of Bermuda and his charming wife. After a rather lengthy conversation and an invitation to visit the island, I pledged that I would somehow make my way to Bermuda at some point to visit the Diocese. I am still trying to figure out how to fulfil that pledge! Then the day ended as it began, before Our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament. The highlight of the day for me was Solemn Benediction, replete with a dozen servers and two deacons, given by my friend Bishop Edwin Barnes, the retired Bishop of Richborough. Father Daniel Clarke of Charleston, South Carolina and I knelt next to each other in the heavenly glow of the church as seemingly hundreds of candles burned around the Most Holy on the Altar. It was one of the most riveting and powerful sights I have ever been privileged to witness. I have never seen so many servers and candles in my life as I did on the evening of 7th April - the scene was so otherworldly and so profound that I believe the most hardened opponent of Benediction could not help but be moved by the great love and adoration for Our Blessed Lord manifested in that most dignified of services. We beheld the Throne and the Lamb in the midst of the Throne. I was helplessly moved to tears as I contemplated the love of God tangible in that place, shown in sacramental sign, in the history of the parish in which I knelt and the witness for the Faith, through trial and suffering, which had been prophetically maintained there for decades upon decades. My mind floated to the great saints and confessors whose lives in that very spot had been caught up in love of the same Lord adored on that same Altar. The response that welled up in me, gratitude, was the only right one I could imagine. The next day would bring the best experience of all, the ultimate Anglican pilgrimage... Walsingham.

Friday 8th April 2005...

will ever remain one of the most wonderful days of my life. Our official Society of the Holy Cross pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham had finally arrived. There are 1100 plus members of the Society throughout the world, with over 700 in the United Kingdom. Large numbers are also present in the United States, Canada, the West Indies, and Australia, with a few in Africa and other places. A significant collection from North America and from Australia was present for the SSC event, most of whom had never been to Our Lady’s Shrine at Walsingham. For this reason, and to acknowledge the prominent place of Walsingham in the Catholic Revival, we made a pilgrimage to Walsingham on Friday. Several coaches of priests made their way to distant Norfolk on that cold blustery day. Father Hope Patten, the Restorer of the Shrine, was a brother of the SSC, like so many other famous Anglo-Catholic priests throughout history. The morning was, as the BBC predicted the night before, surprisingly cold, sharply so. The dark swirl of grey and white clouds above, the wind so sharp it felt like it would cut through you, the pelting droplets of rain all combined to create an almost surreal atmosphere for a day that would be indeed unlike any other. The condition of the weather seemed a fitting commentary on the fact that the Pope would be buried that very morning in Rome. John Paul II had only died less than a week before. In fact, as it turned out, probably 200 of our brethren decided not to join us for the Walsingham pilgrimage because they were glued to the television to watch the proceedings from the Vatican. However, nothing on earth could have stopped me from going to England's Nazareth that day! After a hurried breakfast we all made our way onto the coach omnibuses that would drive us three hours northeast to the county of Norfolk and the ancient Shrine of Our Lady. Behind me was Canon Charles Hough of Fort Worth, Texas and his lovely wife. As I sat down, donning cassock, biretta, and bag, I was joined by a elderly English priest who made his acquaintance and politely asked if he could sit next to me. I of course said 'yes' - it was one of the best yeses of my life. For six hours that day I enjoyed the unique privilege of being graced by the company of a Catholic priest's priest, the retired Archdeacon of Croydon, a former missionary, parish vicar, teacher, theologian, a living embodiment of the Oxford Movement. All the way up to Walsingham and back we talked and talked (not an unnatural activity for me, as anyone who knows me will testify!); we discussed politics American and British, the Churches of England and Rome, the controversies in the Church, immigration in Europe, Anglo-Catholicism past and present, and on and on. It was one of the most illuminating times I have ever spent with anyone, and additionally, it certainly helped to pass the time quickly as we made our way north and south. The beauty of the English countryside itself is a mesmerising and enchanting experience, and so I must confess I kept one eye on my companion and the other out the window upon the clash of rolling hills and big sky, grey clouds and bright green grass, and the seemingly endless steeples peaking above the horizon as we made our way through 'England's mountains green.'

I should pause here for a moment and describe exactly what is the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. It is the national Shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary in England, the spiritual epicentre of world Anglo-Catholicism. In AD 1061 the Holy Mother of God appeared in a vision to a Saxon noblewoman, Richeldis de Faverches, and commanded that a Shrine in honour of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Family be built on her land. Our Lady revealed the design she desired to be built, a small house, a replica of the Holy House in which the Annunciation from the Archangel Gabriel took place and in which the Holy Family dwelt at Nazareth. A miraculous well sprung up in the place chosen by the Mother of God for the erection of the Shrine, and so the original Holy House was built thereon. Eventually the small chapel consisting of the House itself was transformed first into a great pilgrimage Church, and later an entire Augustinian Priory surrounded and protected the little House of England's Nazareth. Augustinian Canons governed and administered the largest centre of Marian pilgrimage in all of Europe dating from 1146. The most popular place of Marian pilgrimage in the country, it closely rivalled the Shrine of Saint Thomas of Canterbury for overall celebrity. Over the centuries the Kings of England offered their royal patronage to the Shrine and endowed it with gifts of all kinds: Henry III, Edward II, Edward III, Henry IV, Edward IV, Henry VII, and Henry VIII all made pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Mother of God in Walsingham. The wicked King Henry VIII, at the dissolution of the monasteries, brought about the destruction of Our Lady's House and Shrine in 1538. The devotion lay in abeyance until a young Anglican vicar, Father Alfred Hope Patten, moved to Walsingham in 1921 with the hope of restoring the ancient Shrine as well as the ancient Faith. A leader of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England, the energetic Father Patten restored the fullness of Catholic doctrine and practice to the parish Church of Saint Mary's, Little Walsingham, and in 1922 he restored the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham inside the parish Church at the north side of the building. It was his idea to base the new statue of Our Lady of Walsingham on the Image depicted on the seal of the medieval Priory. Regular pilgrimage and devotion was returned to Walsingham. From the first night the Image was restored, people gathered to offer their intercessions in union with the prayers of Our Lady, and the ministry of prayer, intercession, and devotion has gone on unbroken every day since. Father Patten firmly believed that if the Church of England were truly a Catholic Church, it must have a living centre of devotion to the Mother of the Lord. The Restoration of the Shrine was for him a proof of Anglicanism's Catholicity and a vital connexion with her pre-reformation Faith and history. Throughout the 1920's, the trickle of pilgrims became a flood of large numbers, for whom eventually a Pilgrim Hospice was opened (a hospice is technically the name of a place of hospitality for pilgrims) and in 1931, a new Holy House encased in a small pilgrimage church was dedicated, and the Image translated there with great solemnity. In 1938 that church was enlarged to form the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady, more or less as we know it today. Catholic Anglicans around the world continue to flock to England's Nazareth to worship and adore the Divine Son of Mary, Jesus Christ, and to venerate God's lowly Mother. Devotion to Our Lady under the title of Walsingham has become an undoubted defining characteristic of the Anglican Catholic. 15 October 1931 is today commemorated as the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. Last year, in 2005, the Anglican Shrine was ranked by the BBC as Britain's most popular and loved site of Christian pilgrimage and prayer: the dream of Father Patten has been realised and Walsingham is once again the centre of English Catholic life and devotion!

Now to pick up my narrative. Once we arrived in Norfolk the weather had turned colder and brisker, and for the first time snowflakes appeared dancing in air. The atmosphere on the bus was one of palpable excitement, the air was electric with joy and anticipation. Everyone was so excited that they chatted vigorously. Once we arrived at the Holy Mile, an authoritative voice came over the speaker and commanded us to keep a prayerful silence, and we did. The Holy Mile tracks the ancient route along the River Stiffkey from the Slipper Chapel to the Anglican Shrine: the Slipper Chapel, which now serves as the national Romanist Shrine of Walsingham, was in the medieval period that place at which pilgrims removed their shoes or slippers and from which they walked barefoot to the Shrine a mile distant. It is the last leg and holiest stretch of the old pilgrimage route to Walsingham. I recall vividly the scene in the cold of that frosty spring morning as we pulled up to the front of the Shrine Church and our entourage quietly departed the buses and made its way into that venerable and loved Church for our opening devotion and prayers. There are 15 Altars in the Shrine Church in honour of the 15 Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. After our prayers before the first Altar of the Annunciation and some time in the Holy House in prayer before the sacred Image, we walked en masse from the Shrine in the village up the hill to the parish Church of Saint Mary's for an utterly unique treat, my first Mass celebrated in the parish of Father Alfred Hope Patten. As we darted up the small incline to the church, the sky opened from its grey shell and a burst of sunlight poured out on the group. The Lord Jesus seemed personally to welcome us to this holy place in honour of His wondrous Incarnation, to which we had come from such great distances. As other priests hurriedly scooted into the church I could not help but stop motionless before the small and very humble grave of Father Patten, which is located just outside the west door of the church building. In silence I recounted all the wonderful works he had accomplished in his long life, offered a prayer for his repose, and joined the rest of the eager band as they made their way inside. The Church of Saint Mary's is a new beautifully-reconstructed building of radiant white interior and clear glass, bright and happy. A beautiful stained-glass window on the east wall behind the Altar clearly depicts Henry VIII, Father Patten, and a church on fire. The burning church in the original Saint Mary's, which was gutted by fire in 1961, during the ministry of the famous Father Colin Stephenson. The ancient church building's interior had been almost entirely destroyed; precious little of the original design remained afterwards - but what did remain was carefully incorporated into a faithful and handsome replacement.

Since I had paused outside I was late, and many priests were already vested and had hungrily seized their seats up in the chancel on either side of the 'Cranmerian Holy Table' which was set up in the middle of the church crossing. Oddly enough the lovely red and gold High Altar and reredos had been obscured the large freestanding table plopped in front of it. You see, this was to be a concelebrated Mass in the modern Rite, typical of British Anglo-Catholicism. As much as I admire and respect the faith and courage of my British brothers, I still cannot acclimate myself to the liturgical modernity expressed there. 'When Rome sneezes, Anglo-Catholics get the 'flu.' I confess I find this particular 'Rome-aping' not only unnecessary, but theologically and aesthetically undesirable. Anyway, I rushed over to a grand piano hidden on the north side of the nave, concealed by bag, vested as fast as I could in alb and concelebration stole (very mod), put my biretta on my head and flung myself at the chancel. It was full. Several American priests chuckled at my biretta; one snobbishly remarked that the English would think I was crazy or eccentric or both. I ignored the comment and started looking for a seat. Things looked dire - all my life I had been looking forward to having the privilege of celebrating Mass in this Church and it appeared I was to be relegated to a seat in the congregation. All of a sudden, as things usually happen at Walsingham, a little gift mysteriously materialised. My new friend, the retired Archdeacon, had saved me a seat, a seat on the front row right next to the Altar. He and I would stand adjacent to the concelebrating Bishops for the Mass. It was an indescribable blessing. I took my seat and minutes later the Mass began. We sang the Angelus as the sacred ministers stood before the parish shrine of the Virgin Mother. Offered with careful and loving reverence, the Mass unfolded flawlessly. The sight was a vision to behold, the four-hundred priests and 15 or so bishops all vested in white, Bishop Keith Ackerman of Quincy celebrating in a modern chasuble with an image of Our Lady emblazoned on the front. A religious sister with a strong cockney accent read one of the lessons. The Vicar of Walsingham, Father Patten's successor, preached a carefully-prepared and timely sermon. Then came the Liturgy of the Eucharist itself - this was the first time I had ever publicly concelebrated the Mass since my own ordination to the Priesthood. I shall never forget as long as I live standing in that beautiful church alive with spiritual power, extending my right arm and hand and saying over the sacred gifts the words of consecration: 'This is my Body...' 'This is the Cup of my Blood...' The Eternal Sacrifice of the Son of God and Son of Mary was pleaded to the heavenly Father in the praise and worship of God and the honour of His Incarnation. Once again in the mystery of the Mass, the Word was in mystic form made flesh, under bread and wine. The very Incarnation of God, celebrated in image, symbol, paint, wood, building, shrine, sacred place, was extended, made-present, once again in time and space, by Sacrament, under the veil of earthly food. Walsingham means Incarnation, God made Man, God with us. The Reality pointed to at Walsingham became our Reality once again. At Communion, a ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament was passed very gingerly from priest to priest as each removed a fragment of a broken host and held It until all received together. At that moment I recall adoring the Lord of Glory, the Body of Mary's Child, present in my hands, the hands of an unworthy sinner who was, in spite of his innumerable sins, a priest, an alter Christus, another Christ. Like Mary, the Catholic priest is a Theotokos, a God-Bearer. The Catholic priest is himself in a mysterious way the Incarnation prolonged in history, the icon or image of the Incarnate Lord. The Church, the Mass, the Priesthood - Our Lord, Our Lady - all unites in one amazing gift of God's disclosure of Himself to and in us. Walsingham's truth came surging forth again. The chalice was passed priest to priest and all received the Precious Blood.

As the Mass concluded with all of its splendour and solemnity, that old familiar sense came flooding back once more, gratitude, gratitude to God for His many gifts, for His love which from our birth surrounds and sustains us, for the gift of Himself in becoming Man for our salvation and in forming His Church, His Mystical Body, in which we have come to live, love, and delight, and for the grace of pilgrimage to that place, England's Nazareth, where the veil between heaven and earth is thinnest - Walsingham is as close to heaven as one comes on earth. After the pontifical blessing, the coterie of priests began to form a procession which would wind through the village streets, bearing in its midst the Image of Our Lady to her Holy House. The next great Walsingham tradition was about to begin...

As soon as the Mass was completed, Father Brandie, our Master of Ceremonies for the week chock full of activity, instructed us as to how the hundreds of priests present were to process with the Image of Our Lady. Shortly thereafter, the energetic and lively music began and row after row of priests slowly and solemnly exited Saint Mary's Church through the west door. I stood in place probably for ten minutes with a secret thrill, a thoroughly conatined but child-like exuberance, looking forward to my turn to join the great throng in the procession of Our Lady. Twice before, in 1992 and 2000, I had participated in the beautiful ceremony of the procession of the Image; but never before had I processed fully vested in the company of hundreds of other priests down the high street of the village of Little Walsingham towards the Shrine from the parish Church. My imagination fired within me as I considered the thousands of pilgrims who had traversed the exact same path through the centuries, the many kings, princes, bishops, noblemen, peasants, merchants, workers, farmers, fathers, mothers, and children who had made the same devotional gesture. My mind's eye could see the priests of the English Church, hundreds of thousands of them since AD 1061, who had, through the course of time, under every imaginable difficulty or strain or blessing or suffering, taken the same holy path to the same place where God's Mother is honoured. The Communion of Saints, in that moment, was so palpable, so tangible, one could almost reach out and touch the presence of one of those saints who lived long before those uneven streets could ever have been paved or before the quaint shops could ever have been built. Finally our time came, and my friend and I gently and gradually made our way into our proper row: we walked, singing and praying the familiar tones of the Walsingham Pilgrim Hymn:

Sing the praises of Mary, the Mother of God, whose Walsingham Way countless pilgrims have trod. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!

Our particular group of priests was some hundreds of feet in front of the Image, borne on its special bier by the Guardians of the Shrine of Our Lady. Ironically, as we made our procession through the small and winding streets of the village, I suddenly noticed I was surrounded by priests wearing birettas, that venerable symbol of Anglo-Catholicism. It appears I was not being so terribly unfashionable or gosh after all. With great reverence the priests so hatted uncovered at the Sacred Name of Jesus and at the mention of the name of Mary. There is a certain unreal almost surreal quality about everything that happens at Walsingham - it was as though I had been transported back in time to a different, more Christly, more religious, more sensitive and reverent age. As the procession wound its way and its songs and praises were sung, the ecclesiastical, moral and spiritual crises of our modern beleaguered Anglicanism evaporated before us as we penetrated the mystery of the Almighty Word Who leapt down from heaven and entered this world through His Immaculate Mother's womb. One was truly 'lost in wonder, love, and praise,' in the most sincere meaning of the familiar phrase. The Catholic Faith, the Faith of the Saints, the Faith Once Delivered, believed by all those who had preceded us at Walsingham for a thousand years, was before us and in us through the stillness and cool of that gorgeous Friday morning in April. The day had started off overcast, rainy and shrill, seeming to mourn and weep on the day of the Pope's funeral. By the time the procession began, the spring sun burst out of his hiding place and poured a pale soft light onto the pilgrim band, surely a sign of joy from the Risen Jesus Christ Who has been magnified in His Mother. It was cold, very cold, the sharp breeze from the North Sea cutting into us as we made our way to the Shrine. For me it was invigorating beyond belief. (Anyone who knows me knows I love Florida winters but find the heat of Florida summers unbearable).

Finally, we arrived at our destination, the Anglican Shrine. All of us made our way as best we could into the Shrine Church itself, packed to capacity as each successive row arrived. We continued to sing until the Holy Image was finally brought into the Holy House and returned to its place of rest. After a brief prayer, all were dismissed for, of all things, lunch. The invitation to luncheon, was, I confess, not particularly appealing. I thought to myself that I could always eat later in the evening after our return to London. I did not want to waste the precious few hours in Walsingham in the refectory, although the brand-new refectory is a truly beautiful and impressive addition to the campus of the Anglican Shrine. I resolved with characteristic determination to remain in the Holy House, in prayer within the holiest place in the Church of England or perhaps in England herself. The Holy House, we recall, is the inner sanctum of the Shrine of Our Lady, a reproduction of the Holy House of Nazareth in which Our Lord lived with Our Lady and Saint Joseph and in which is enshrined the Image of Our Lady of Walsingham: the Holy House is the supreme memorial to the Incarnation of Our Blessed Lord and the Holy Family. The current Holy House was restored in 1931 and is based upon the dimensions of the original Holy House constructed in 1061. Within the House one finds the Image of the Ever-Virgin and Child placed within a niche in the west wall, which itself rests above a gorgeous baroque Altar designed by Ninian Comper, the famous early 20th century church designer. The whole Altar and niche is covered by a overarching canopy. The ethereal glow of large and small votive candles and lights fills the House whose bricks have turned black with soot over the past 75 years. For a solid hour I was able to sit in a small chair at the back of the House, rosary clutched firmly in hand, and spent some desperately-desired and needed time in meditation and prayer in the very devotional heart of God's 'other Catholic Church,' the Ecclesia Anglicana. You, the dear reader, were in my prayers as I asked for blessings of our Incarnate Lord and the intercessions of His Blessed Mother.

After my time in the Holy House, I ran down the street in what little free time remained, to attack the Shrine Shop and purchase a few sacred mementos of my pilgrimage - no pilgrimage to Walsingham is complete without a journey to the world-famous Shrine Shop! I found a couple of colouring books for Aidan, some rosaries and medals, and other goodies. Then I hurried back into the grounds of the Anglican Shrine in order to have the chance to see the inside of the brand-new refectory, a tasteful and modern-looking building adjacent to the Shrine Church. After jumping into the end of the lunch buffet line, I realised I actually did not have enough time to eat (as I anticipated), so I managed to grab a glass of white wine, and sat down with some unacquainted brothers for a very short respite. Moments later we were all summoned back to the Shrine for the highlight of the afternoon, the liturgy of Sprinkling at the Holy Well and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

By the time I returned to the Shrine Church, package of must-have sacramentals in tow, I discovered, being at the back of the pack, that the church was absolutely full. Every spare seat appeared to be taken. I quietly tip-toed my way round the north transept of the church and found a narrow seat in the back corner. I sat down and noticed that I had a perfect view of the lectern from which the address would be given, but otherwise I was jammed into a very tight spot. Father Philip North, the remarkably young and talented Administrator of the Shrine, welcomed the assembly and preached a succinct and entertaining sermon on the Holy Virgin in which he mentioned the history of the Walsingham devotion and the relationship of the Society of the Holy Cross to it. After the sermon we were invited to receive the blessing and sprinkling with water from the Holy Well which is located just inside the Shrine Church on the north side of the Holy House. The water which flows from the ancient Saxon well inside the restored Shrine Church is held to be the very self-same well which originally marked the site for the construction of the House in the eleventh century. Our Lady caused the waters there to flow to indicate where she desired the House to be built: mysteriously and providentially, the well was rediscovered during the excavation on the site on which the current restored Shrine was built. Many miracles, especially cures, have through the centuries been attributed to Our Lady's intercession made manifest in the healing waters of Walsingham. (This phenomenon is in fact common in Marian Shrines - in many places where the Mother of God has appeared in an apparition, a miraculous spring or well has followed). Getting up from my spot, I followed the section of the congregation in which I was placed to an outside station where a priest awaited us. At my turn, the priest anointed my forehead with the water, poured it into my hands, and offered it to me from a ladle to drink. After receiving the water, I ventured back into the church for Benediction. The Church being crammed to capacity, I only made it round the back of the church to the south transept and there knelt on the floor next to the Holy House behind a wall, where I could hear the Benediction being given at the ringing of the sanctus bell but could see nothing. Nevertheless, it was an overwhelming experience. Kneeling there on the hard stone floor surrounded by hundreds of other people in a deafening silence, it was truly profound to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eucharistic Lord, Who, although I could not behold Him in the Host, was as truly present on the Altar in the Sacred Mysteries as He was in Galilee and Jerusalem two millennia ago. Although I could not see, I was blessed to believe and adore. And in truth that simple experience was a microcosm of the whole Christian life, for every single Christian - 'blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.'

As I made my way from the Shrine Church up the village high street to the bus, I felt grateful to be wrapped up in a cassock, biretta and heavy sweater. As afternoon moved into evening, and the sun began to creep lower in the Norfolk sky, the cold wind from the Sea whipped itself into a frenzy. It was freezing! The beautiful sun cast rich deep shadows on the ancient walls and gates of the buildings which littered our path. Once in the bus with my travelling companion, I rejoiced to relax and contemplate the spiritual and emotional overload of the day. On the way back to London, I saw something I had never before seen in England... it began to snow. The bright lime green spring grass and the rolling hills soon found themselves covered in a carpet of white as snowflakes danced in the air. The absolutely otherworldly beauty of that scene was a fitting close to one of the most wonderful days of my life, one for which I shall always remain inexpressibly thankful.

The next day would see the largest, most unabashed demonstration of Anglo-Catholicism I have ever seen - Stand Up For Jesus would change the Royal Albert Hall in a great cathedral, a spectacle impossible to rival...

May 2024 Comprovincial Newsletter

The Comprovincial Newsletter for May 2024 - https://tinyurl.com/comprovincial-2024may