There was a good presence of ESBVM members and other ecumenical guests at the celebration in Spanish Place of Solemn Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary & Hymn of the Annunciation of the Mother of God to mark forty years of Common Statements between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches and to pray for Unity on the feast of St Nicholas on 6th December 2012 . We know ESBVM members would not feel misled in the promotion of the occasion in our recent ESBVM Newsletter and on our website and will be very content to know that if Our Lady is duly and ecumenically honoured, that fulfils the task and purpose of ESBVM. New friends were made and outreach was achieved.
The original request was for the possibility of using the Ecumenical Office of the Society to better promote attendance and an invitation to make it a joint occasion with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Coptic Orthodox Church to which the Ecumenical Society of the BVM readily agreed. In the event that use of the ESBVM Office did not happen.
Despite that change, ESBVM had its best publicity of the year for its 45th Anniversary of Foundation outside our own vehicles of news since it featured, prior to the change, on http://beta.rcdow.org.uk/events/ and so ESBVM’s anniversary was noted and some coverage of our existence and purpose secured. The Hon Gen Secretary is not aware of other publicity about the ESBVM’s jubilee but members are urged to let us know of any that they have noticed.
A notable and much appreciated sermon was given by His Grace Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark and Catholic Co-Chairman of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum with a response by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom & Oriental Orthodox Co-Chairman of the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum, together with the presence of HG Bishop Vahan Hovhannesian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Great Britain, President of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches and HE Abba Seraphim, Metropolitan of Glastonbury, the British Orthodox Church. Archbishop Kevin conveyed his good wishes and congratulations to the ESBVM on its anniversary. He was a speaker at one of our earlier international congresses. Bishop Angaelos, one of our patrons, also wished to have his good wishes conveyed.
The Catholic- Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum expressed thanks to Father Christopher Colven, Rector of the Church of St James, Spanish Place and a member of ESBVM for his welcome and for the hospitality of the Catholic Church of St James, Spanish Place, London W1 in hosting this Celebration of Vespers to mark more than forty years of theological dialogue towards unity between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
The Choir of St James’ Catholic Church, Spanish Place and the Choir of St Gregorios’ Indian Orthodox Church, Brockley supported the occasion beautifully and Pontifical Blessing was given by His Grace Bishop Vahan.
The respective websites of the two sponsoring bodies are given here for those not aware of them www.cbcew.org.uk and www.orientalcounciluk.org
The kind footnote mention of the ESBVM [in the Order of Service actually used] expressing a greeting to the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary which read:
We congratulate the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which marks its Forty-Fifth Anniversary in 2012, and we warmly acknowledge its support in making this Ecumenical Vespers the concluding event in their year of celebrations.www.esbvm.org.uk
was deeply appreciated by the society and has been duly acknowledged, though in fact our anniversary year has a little longer to run concluding in the WOPFCU in January 2013.