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Westminster Cathedral Vespers mark the retirement of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as President of Churches Together in England

posted on 23 January 2009

A Service of Vespers was held to mark the retirement of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as President of Churches Together in England (CTE)on Thursday 22nd January 2009 at Westminster Cathedral.

The Service was attended by the Cardinal’s fellow co-presidents of CTE: the Most Reverend Doctor Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, Commissioner Elizabeth Matear, Free Churches Moderator and Bishop Nathan Hovhannisian, Primate of the Armenian Church of Great Britain.


Archbishop Rowan Williams gave the sermon during the service saying: “We are gathered here today to listen to each other and to the voice of God. Unity comes when we all listen to the voice of Christ together. We are also gathered here today to give thanks for the wonderful ministry of Cardinal Cormac. Because he listens to the voice of Christ he has been able to echo that in his ministry. He has been so great, largely because of his listening and has made ecumenical dialogue more than just noise.”


The service took place during the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Speaking at the end of the Service, the Cardinal said, “I have been delighted to be a President of Churches Together in England over the last nine years and am proud of the work we have done to bring Christians of all denominations together.”


Reflecting on a past sermon in which he said that the three enemies of ecumenism were  suspicion, inertia and impatience, he said: “If you were to say to me what was one of the gifts that has happened to all Christians here in England over these past 30-40 years, I think I would say that it has been the overcoming between Christians of suspicion, inertia and impatience.”


The Cardinal has been a President of CTE since he became Archbishop of Westminster in March 2000. His previous ecumenical work included serving as Joint Chairman of ARCIC II (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, Second Phase) from 1983-2000.


You can listen to extracts from Vespers and the Archbishop of Canterbury's sermon by clicking on the link below.

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posted on 23 January 2009

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