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Cardinal Welcomes Russian Orthodox Vespers at the Cathedral

posted on 16 January 2004
'Worshipping together brings us closer to Unity in Christ's Church'

Speaking at the start of Christian Unity week, which is being marked by a series of events - including Russian Orthodox Vespers in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 17th January, a Homily by Greek Orthodox Archbishop Gregorios at 10.30 am Mass at the Cathedral on Sunday 18th January and a joint Ecumenical Vespers with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and the Bishop of London, the Rt. Rev. Richard Chartres on Monday 19th January at the Tower of London - Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales, said:

' I am delighted that this weekend Westminster Cathedral will be hosting two significant events as part of this year's Christian Unity week, with Bishop Basil of Sergievo leading Russian Orthodox vespers on Saturday and Archbishop Gregorios of the Greek Orthodox church delivering the homily at 10.30 am Mass on Sunday.

' Pope John Paul II has often reminded us that the Church must again 'breathe with both her lungs' - the East and the West. This weekend, through prayer and shared worship, we will be taking a small but I hope significant step towards this goal - the unity which Christ gave to His Church and which stands at the heart of our Christian mission.

Monsignor Mark Langham, Administrator of Westminster Cathedral added:

'Westminster Cathedral is a building whose origins lie in the rich collaboration between East and West in the Church. We are therefore especially delighted to welcome members of the Orthodox Churches this weekend to celebrate our common faith.

'The celebration of Vespers by Bishop Sergievo, and the preaching of Archbishop Gregorios, give witness to our common faith, embodied in the ancient liturgies of East and West, and remind us that our historical diversity embodies a deeper spiritual unity.'

Reflecting on Monday evening's service, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor concluded:

' On Monday I will be joining the Bishop of London, at another historic service at the Tower of London, where together we will be dedicating a plaque to St John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, an English martyr and one of hundreds who died in the struggles that divided Western Christianity in the 16th century.

' The road on which we are embarked namely, the road of ecumenism whose end is unity, has been long and sometimes difficult, but it is one way. As this weekend's events show, there is no exit, only completion.

Contact Details:
Austen Ivereigh
Telephone: 020 7798 9045 or 07905 224860
posted on 16 January 2004

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