Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 9th September, 4pm

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.
To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.
The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

"It's Now or Never: The Return of the Eastern Christians to Iraq and Syria" - John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need gives the annual Christopher Morris Lecture in the Society's 90th year. Monday 27th November at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family. 6-15 pm Divine Liturgy, 7-15 pm Lecture, 8-15 pm Reception. £10 donation requested. RSVP to johnchrysostom@btinternet.com







Thursday, 30 November 2006

East-West Monastic Meeting VIIa, Turvey Abbey, October 2006


The East-West Monastic Meeting at Minster Abbey this year having little opportunity for the usual more open participation, the community of nuns belonging to the Vita et Pax Foundation within the Olivetan family of Benedictines at Turvey Abbey in Bedfordshire hosted a special East-West meeting for the wider audience wishing to tkae forward the agenda set by the Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen.

The theme was The Church - Evolving or Devolving. The principal contributions were:
  • Bishop Basil of Sergievo, Ruling Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church of Great Britain, Dicoese of Sourozh
  • Beginning and end time in the Church, Iman Riad Janet Arsang, Coptic Orthodox Church
  • Canon Hugh Wybrew, Anglican scholar on Orthodoxy
  • Mother Joanna of the Holy Myrrhbearers Skete, Cambridge
  • Fr Robert Gibbons OSB, assistant chaplain to the Melkite Greek Orthodox Parish in London

Monday, 2 October 2006

East-West Monastic Meeting VII, Minster Abbey, October 2006

The seventh UK Christian Monastic East-West Meeting in response to the Apostolic Letter Orientale Lumen took place at Minster Abbey, Kent, 15-18 September 2006, with the theme Chalcedon: A Council of Unity or Division?

It focused on the relation between the non-Chalcedonian Eastern and Chalcedonian Western traditions.

Monday, 6 February 2006

Lecture reproduced by kind permission of Professor Nicholas Lossky and the Very Revd Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark. Fr Deacon Nicholas was delivered the Lecture at the November 2005 celebration at Southwark Anglican Cathedral to commemorate the 450th Anniversary of Lancelot Andrewes' consecration as a Bishop in the Church of England.




Lancelot Andrewes, bishop, theologian, liturgist

 

I must begin with a confession. Although I have worked most of my life on Lancelot Andrewes, this is my very first visit to this Cathedral which contains his tomb and it is all the more memorable for me as this Cathedral celebrates the centenary of the Diocese of Southwark. It is a great honour to be here.

       It seems appropriate, in celebrating the four hundredth anniversary of the Episcopal consecration of the Right Reverend Father in God Lancelot Andrewes, to begin with recollecting his conception of episcopacy, (also in view of this coincidence with the centenary of the diocese).  The first thing to bear in mind is Andrewes’s conviction that episcopacy is of divine origin. Jesus Christ appointed the Apostles and the Apostles appointed Bishops. Given the context, it is not surprising that Lancelot Andrewes reacts vigorously against those of his contemporaries who held an egalitarian view of the clergy. In his view, Bishops are successors of the Apostles and priests (he does not hesitate to use the word) are successors of the seventy disciples.

Bishops concentrate in their hands the responsibility for ordination to all forms of ministry. Andrewes is severe with regard to those who denied the necessity of ordination and who were self-appointed preachers (“the voluntaries of our age” as he calls them in one of his Whitsun sermons). He clearly suggests that ordination may well be considered to be a sacrament. In this, as we see, he does not exactly follow Article XXV of the 39! In view of Andrewes’s conviction concerning the divine origin of episcopacy, it is obvious that as far as he is concerned, bishops are of the esse of the Church and not the bene esse. Bishops are part of the very nature of the Church. Of course, we all remember that he did not wish to unchurch the continental reformed communities that had no bishops. Yet as Canon Welsby quite rightly writes: “The refusal to unchurch non-episcopal bodies on charitable grounds is not the same thing as saying that it is a matter of complete indifference whether a body has episcopacy or not” (Lancelot Andrewes, p. 187, n. 2).

The divine origin of episcopacy is, for Andrewes, to be found in John 20, 22-23: “He breathed on them and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them…”. Two points deserve to be emphasized concerning the use of this quotation. One is the fact that the breath of Christ is the “matter” which will be replaced by the laying on of hands, a change which tempts some to refuse the sacramental character of ordination. Yet, says Andrewes, we say these words about the Holy Ghost in our ordination service, however not in our name but in the name of Christ. Andrewes clearly distinguishes between this particular “johanine” gift of the Holy Spirit which confers ecclesial authority on ordinands and the tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost which represent the gift of the Spirit to all human beings for growing in sanctity.

We remember of course the famous “scandalous” sermon preached by Andrewes at Whitehall on the Sunday after Easter 1600. “Scandalous”, because it was on Jn 20, 23 “whose soever sins…” and it was all about absolution. In a letter of Rowland White to Sir Robert Sydney we read that “he was with Mr Secretary about it, it may be to satisfy him” (Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology, vol. 11, p. lxii) “Mr Secretary” was Lord Burleigh. The Queen quite obviously was not shocked: Andrewes was invited to preach after the “scandal”. Bishop Kenneth Stevenson who unfortunately is unable to be with us tonight, has written about this sermon (‘”Human Nature Honoured”: Absolution in Lancelot Andrewes’ in Martin Dudley (ed.), Like a Two-edged Sword: The Word of God in Liturgy and History: Essays in Honour of Canon Donald Gray, Norwich: Canterbury Press, 1995, pp. 113-137). What seems clear is that confession-absolution for Andrewes is undoubtably a sacrament. As for the number of sacraments, we know what Andrewes wrote in his Answers to Cardinal du Perron : “it is nothing but a logomakhia  (logomaci¢a) “. We Orthodox share this view, except those of us who are scolastically minded  and insist on the “sacred “ number seven, forgetting that this was brought back from the Council of Ferrara-Florence! The council was rejected by the Orthodox, but the number has been kept by many. In authentic Orthodoxy, that is faithful to itself, there is one Sacrament : Baptism-chrismation/confirmation-Eucharist, and a vast number of others all related to the one.

 To come back to ordination, it is obviously understood as a sacramental act when Lancelot Andrewes says about Christ’s institution of it :

 

“An outward ceremony He would have, for an outward calling He would have. For if nothing outward had been in His, we should have had nothing but enthusiasts -- as them we have notwithstanding; but then we should have had no rule with them; all by divine revelation: into that they resolve. For sending, breathing, laying on of hands, have they none. But if they be of Christ, some must say, mitto vos ; sent by some, not run of their own heads. Some say accipite ; receive it from some, not find it about themselves; have an outward calling, and an outward accipite , a testimony of it” (Whitsun, Sermon 9, p. 273).

 

Here there is no doubt that “breathing” and “laying on of hands” are placed on one and the same level. Through the ceremony, priests and bishops receive the authority of their ministry from the Church. They thus become guarantors of the grace of sacraments performed by the Holy Spirit, not by the minister.

Lancelot Andrewes is firmly attached to the threefold ecclesiastical ministry and he remains faithful to the early church conception of the bishop as the minister who presides in every sense of the word. He presides over his diocese, the local Church, naturally in communion with all the other dioceses or local churches and with all the presbyters and faithful. This communion is of immense importance because the bishop should not be understood as a man of power placed as it were “above” his diocese. Authority, yes, but not power which is a category of this world. The authority is that of the Holy Spirit to whom the bishop is constantly accountable. We should never forget the terms in which Andrewes describes the ecclesial community : “What is then to be done that Christ be not neglected and His call? That everyone betake himself to some calling or other. In the Ministry, all: all Ministers; Ministers either of the Church, or of the state and commonwealth; but all Ministers” (Whitsun, Sermon 15, p. 389). Just before, our preacher says about Priests, Deacons and Bishops: “All these three here go under the name of Diakoniai (Diakoni¢ai), the proper term of the lowest of the three” (ibid. p. 388). Thus the Bishop, in his ministry, is a deacon who “serves” in the image of the Good Shepherd and not in the sense of the categories of this world which unfortunately, so often tend to infiltrate the Church.

One more word about ordination. Andrewes insists that it is a grace and yet : “none is either the holier, or the learneder, by his ordination” (Whitsun, Sermon 9, p. 277) and a little further he adds “Good it were, and much to be wished, they were holy and learned all; but if they be not, their office holds good though. He that is a sinner himself, may remit sins for all that, and save others he may, though himself be not saved” (ibid.). Consequently, one who has been ordained in particular to preach, must work hard to deepen his learning in biblical and patristic studies.

According to Lancelot Andrewes, preaching is the duty of both priests and bishops. However bishops are particularly responsible for preaching since their primary task is to watch over the purity of doctrine. That is why they must study and be theologians. Not necessarily in the academic sense of “systematic” theologians but rather in the Evagrian sense : “If you are a theologian, you will pray truly; if you pray truly, you are a theologian” (Evagrius Pontikos, On Prayer, text n° 61). This is particularly emphasized by Andrewes in the sermon he preached in Latin to the bishops of the Province of Canterbury for Convocation in 1593. It is interesting to remember that he preached to bishops about their duties with regard to preaching good theology when he himself was not a bishop. His text was Acts 20, 28. In the English version the word “overseers” is used, but in Latin (and of course in Greek) it is “in quo vos Spiritus Sanctus posuit episcopos”. It is also interesting to remember that, although Andrewes’s conception of the Church is as profoundly episcopal as that of Metropolitan John Zizioulas’s, and most probably because of this conception, he refused the sees of Salisbury in 1596 and of Ely in 1599 on account of the alienation of revenues demanded by Queen Elizabeth. Andrewes accepted when, with King James, such practise was abandoned. He was consecrated bishop of Chichester on 3 November 1605, exactly 400 years ago.

We must now consider why preaching is the first duty of the bishop, and by delegation that of the priest. The reason is clearly expressed in the sermons for Pentecost, “Of the sending of the Holy Ghost”. Through the hearing of a sermon, and the active hearing, for there should be no passive members of the Church, the Christian is invited to “acquire” the Holy Spirit. (This notion of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit in terms of the Stock Exchange is common to Lancelot Andrewes and Saint Seraphim of Sarov. Naturally, the two men could not have known each other, but both were sons of merchants and used this commercial language about the Holy Spirit.) Here is one example of how a sermon offers the Holy Spirit:

 

“The Holy Ghost is ‘Christ’s Spirit’ [Rom. 8, 9], and Christ is ‘the Word’. And of that Word, ‘the word that is preached’ to us [1 Peter 1, 25] is an abstract. There must then needs be a nearness and alliance between the one and the other. And indeed, but by our default, ‘the word and the Spirit’, saith Esay [Isa. 59, 21], shall never fail or ever part, but one be received when the other is. We have a plain example of it this day, in St. Peter’s auditory [Acts 2, 37-38], and another in Cornelius and his family; even in the sermon-time, ‘the Holy Ghost fell upon them’ [Acts 10, 44], and they so received Him” (Whitsun, sermon 5, p. 198).

 

This is about the reception or “acquisition” of the Holy Spirit. But as far as the preacher’s duty is concerned, Andrewes denounces the temptation to substitute one’s own “private” spirit for the Holy Spirit. Here is an example :

 

“’There came a sound’ [Acts 2, 2], and not any sound. It will not be amiss to weigh what kind of sound is expressed in the word here used, ή̉̉̉́coV. You know what sound an echo is; a sound at the second hand, a sound at the rebound. Verbum Domini venit ad nos ; ‘The Word of the Lord cometh to us’ [cf. Isa. 2, 1, LXX  and Vulgate]: there is the first sound, to us; and ours is but the echo, the reflection of it to you. God’s first, and then ours second. For if it come from us directly, and not from Him to us first, and from us then to you, echowise, it is to be suspected. A sound it may be, the Holy Ghost cometh not with it; His forerunner it is not, for that is ή̉̉̉́coV.” (Whitsun, Sermon 1, p. 117).                                    

 

Thus, we are made aware of what true theology in preaching is to be. It is profound attention paid to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the preacher. Therefore the preacher must necessarily lead a truly spiritual life in the etymological sense of “spiritual” (spiritualiter), attentive to the Holy Spirit, inseparable from the Word, that is Christ, to the glory of the Father. The preacher’s inspiration is therefore trinitarian. This trinitarian character is also to be found in Lancelot Anrdewes’s insistence on the necessity to be called to any ministry by the Church with the three indispensable conditions: the gift of the Holy Spirit, the vocation or call of Christ and the capacity given by the Father (see Whitsun Sermon 15, one of the very best of Andrewes’s sermons).

Preaching, as we see, is one of the most important vehicles of grace, provided of course that it proceeds from the calling of the Church and a life of asceticism in constant attention paid to the Holy Spirit. And yet, Andrewes also insists on the limit of preaching as a vehicle of grace. Preaching for him is by no means an end in itself, far from it. In 1618, preaching on Saint Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, in which Peter quotes Joel, Andrewes grows vehement about his contemporaries :

 

“For what ? is the pouring of the Spirit to end in preaching ? and preaching to end in itself, as it doth with us ? a circle of preaching, and in effect nothing else, -- but pour in prophesying enough, and then all is safe ? No; there is another yet as needful, nay, more needful to be called on, as the current of our age runs, and that is, ‘calling on the Name of the Lord’.

 

And then Lancelot Andrewes continues more severely :

 

“This, it grieveth me to see how light it is set; nay, to see how busy the devil hath been, to pour contempt on it, to bring it in disgrace with disgraceful terms; to make nothing of Divine service, as if it might be well spared, and invocaverit here be stricken out.

But mark this text well, and in this invocation we make so slight account of sticks close, is so locked fast to salvabitur, closer and faster than we are aware of.”

 

Andrewes now introduces one of his witty expressions of his sense of humour :

 

“Two errors there be, and I wish them reformed: one, as if prophesying [that is preaching] were all we had to do, we might dispense with invocation, let it go, leave it to the choir. That is an error. Prophesying is not all, invocaverit is to come in too; we to join them, and jointly to observe them, to make a conscience of both. It is the oratory of prayer poured out of our hearts shall save us, no less than the oratory of preaching poured in at our ears.

The other is, of them that do not wholly reject it, yet so depress it, as if in comparison of prophesying it were little worth. Yet we see, by the frame of this text, it is the higher end; the calling on us by prophesy, is but that we should call on the name of the Lord. All prophesying, all preaching, is but to this end.” (Whitsun, Sermon 11, p. 318).

 

When Andrewes says “leave it to the choir”, and a little further that it is “the stream of our times […] to make religion nothing but an auricular profession, a matter of ease, a mere sedentary thing, and ourselves merely passive in it; sit still, and hear a sermon and two Anthems and be saved; as if by the act of the choir, or of the preacher, we should so be” (Ibid. p. 319), we should bear in mind that he is addressing the people who are in front of him : the King and the court and, as we can see, he is very severe with them. We must remember that the court at the time was not limited to the nobility and the intellectuals. The members of the households were present too.

Preaching, not being an end in itself must needs lead to prayer and prayer is to be active. It demands an effort on the part of every Christian. This active prayer leads to the very summit of prayer which Lancelot Andrewes, together with many Fathers of the Church, believes to be the Eucharistic prayer. The Eucharist, inseparable from Baptism, is the climax of the Sacraments which are all related to the one Sacrament of the Eucharist.  Andrewes unites the three main vehicles of grace and presents them as absolutely inseparable from one another when he says :

 

 “To the final attainment whereof [=salvation], by His holy word of prophecy [=preaching], by calling on His name [=prayer], by this Sacrament of His blood poured out, and of His Spirit poured out with it, He bring us.” (Ibid. p. 322)

 

Anyone who has read what Bishop Buckeridge at Lancelot Andrewes’s funeral called his “solemn Sermons” will have noticed how insistently the Preacher invites his congregation to partake of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Here again we find the close relation between the word preached and the Sacrament. The Word (Logos) “was made flesh” and therefore, edified by the word preached, necessarily leading to prayer, the climax of which is the Eucharistic prayer, the actualizing memorial (“anamnesis”) of the Passion-Resurrection by which, as Canon Donald Allchin often says, we are made contemporaries of these events, it is impossible not to partake of communion to the Body and Blood of Christ. This is where we encounter Andrewes the liturgist.

We know that when he celebrated the Eucharist in his private chapel, he used a rite which corrected or completed what he thought was missing in the 1559 Book of Common Prayer. Also, when we use his Private Devotions (Preces Privatae) we cannot miss the numerous quotations and additions to the Eucharistic prayers, particularly the liturgies of St Basil, St John Chrysostom, St James, also books of Hours, Greek and Latin, quotations from the Fathers, also Eastern and Western. This is where we see that he puts into practise the fact, as he says in one of his sermons, that the authority of the Church is still there sixteen centuries after the Apostles, and so his conception of “primitivity” is certainly not limited to the first five centuries. In this sense, the great liturgist F.E. Brightman’s translation of the Preces Privatae of 1903 is invaluable with all its marginal notes identifying the sources. We note that Andrewes takes the source as a model and continues in the same vein.

This brings us to a point which in my opinion deserves to be mentioned. We remember that Lancelot Andrewes was consecrated on 3 November 1605, two days before the discovery of the Gun Powder Plot. This impressed him deeply and each year he preached on 5 November (as well as on 5 August, the day of the Gowries’ Plot). I have called these “Political Sermons” and “Political Festivals”. Many people dislike these sermons because they deem them to be too subservient to the King. However, they present two qualities which redeem them in my view. One is the reason why the Plot seemed so horrible to Lancelot Andrewes: in his view, this unexpected mass-murder through an explosion – which we today are unfortunately so familiar with – meant for Andrewes that people were going to die without being prepared for death through repentance and prayer. In a war, you know that you may die at any time and so you are prepared. This is not the case when you are sitting in the Houses of Prliament and are suddenly killed by the explosion of gun powder.

The second quality of these “Political Sermons” is the fact that in them we find Andrewes the liturgist at work: he composes prayers, starting from Psalms or other existing prayers and composing exactly in the same manner as that which he uses in his Private Devotions. In this manner, it seems to me that he succeded in transforming these clearly political festivals into festivals of the Church, in his time at least. The Gun Powder Plot, he did not denounce as a Roman Catholic act. He was not anti-Catholic theologically or ecclesiologically speaking. His reproach was “political” : the transformation of the dove into an eagle (Peter, son of Jona, which is dove, St Gregory the Great, Andrewes’s favourite pope and Pope Gregory VII). But spiritually, he was clearly a precursor of the Ecumenical Movement and in his Private Devotions, he prayed for all. Sir John Harington, in his “Memoir of Bishop Andrewes” written in 1608, was quite right in aying that “this reverend prelate will be found one of the ablest […] to set the course for composing the controversies” (LACT, vol. 11, pp xxxvii-xxxviii). It seems to me that this is particularly true today, when we, in the Ecumenical Movement, in bi-lateral as well as multi-lateral dialogues, are all concerned with ecclesiology at various levels, espacially the question af “authority”, episcopacy and the practice of “episcopé”.

                                       deacon Nicholas Lossky