Monday, 14 January 2013

Then we will be lifted up with no decent.

"As Christ has been lifted up, we always lift up our eyes to where Christ sits on the right hand of his Father, till he comes back once more on the clouds, to take us to Him. Then we will be lifted up with no decent."
- HH Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria

Saturday, 5 January 2013

You must be crucified with the Crucified One

"Very many wish to be vouchsafed the Kingdom without labours, without struggles, without sweat; but this is impossible. If you love the glories of men, and desire to be worshipped, and seek comfort, you are going off the path. You must be crucified with the Crucified One, suffer with Him that suffered, that you may be glorified with Him that is glorified."
- Saint Macarius

Thursday, 3 January 2013

We should love the Lord as we do our friends


"We should love the Lord as we do our friends. Many times I have seen people bring grief to God, without being bothered about it, and I have seen these very same people resort to every device, plan, pressure, plea from themselves and their friends, and every gift, simply to restore an old relationship upset by some minor grievance."

 - Saint John Climacus

Historic Churches on Holborn and City

So, today I went on an adventure around Holborn and the City of London to look at the lesser known historic Churches in the area. Here is what I found.

1. The Church of the Holy Sepulche, Holborn. (Aka; St Sepulchre-without-Newgate) 
Originally built in Saxon times but destroyed in the Fire of London and rebuilt 1878

St Sepulchre's Church covers the site of an Original Saxon Church which was rebuilt when it was destroyed in the great Fire of London. The Church itself is renowned as "The Musician's Church" due to its Choir and use for musical events. It holds the largest Parish in the city of London. 

St Bride's Church, Fleet Street

St Brides Church is a beautiful little Parish Church with a long history. The site dates back to Roman times and has been known as a Church site since, at latest, the Saxon period. Underneath the Parish Church itself is a museum with the original foundation and information on the Church's history as well as the a chapel on the site of the Saxon Church and a Separate Crypt Chapel (which was my favourite section and pictured here.)

St Dunstans-in-the-West, Fleet Street

St Dunstan's is also an old Church which has been restored. originally founded some time between 900-1070 and lasted for the most part until the 1800's, even surviving the great fire of London. Between 1800 and 1870 it was completely restored. An interesting feature of this Church is tdat it is only one in England to share the building with a Romanian Orthodox community to the point of having two Altars (see 3rd picture). The Iconostasis is  originally from Antim monastery, Bucharest.

Temple Church, City of London

Sadly, Temple Church was closed. The Church dates back to the 12th Century and was originally built as the English Headquarters of the Knights Templar. The Photo I took is of the Round Church, which is the oldest section, based upon the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

St Clement Danes Church, Fleet Street

St Clement Danes Church is the dedicated Chapel of the Royal Air Force. The Church was built by Sir Christopher Wren and finished in 1682. During the Blitz the Church was almost destroyed though the tower, steeple and outer walls survived.

St Anselm and St Cecilia Church

 Saint Anselm and St Cecelia's Church is a small Roman Catholic Church in the City of London, down Kingsway. The Church contains two Altars and a small mosaic altar at the side. The Church was built in 1909 over an old Sardinian Church which had been there before. It contains some striking mosaic art and architecture which gives it a unique feel in the area.

The Church of St Alban the Martyr, Holborn

The Church of St Alban the martyr was built in 1863 and largely renovated after the Blitz in 1941. The Church courtyard was the most impressive feature I saw with a number of beautiful examples of Architecture resembling a more rural Church setting (The Crucifix pictured being an example.) The Fresco behind the Altar was another interesting piece, fitting in well with the light theme of the Church.

St Etheldreda's Church, Ely

St Etheldreda's Church is the oldest Catholic Church in England, dating back to 1250. It was previously the seat of the Bishops of Ely. The Church consists of a large Chapel and a large crypt area with a small chapel and room for conferencing. Every week the Church holds a Solemn Latin Mass, which demonstrates the importance of tradition in this small community.

St Andrew Holborn Church

St Andrew's Holborn Church is another Sir Christopher Wren design, built on the foundations of a medieval Church which was in a bad state of repair in the 17th Century. This restored Church was gutted during the Blitz, leaving only its exterior walls. In 1961 it was completely restored by the original plans and stands that way today. As well as the traditional Gothic and traditional architecture the contains a large amount of Byzantine style iconography, such as the resurrection icon and Icons of the Theotokos and Christ behind the altar.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new.

by Father Shenouda Anba Bishoy

Wishing you all peace, joy and blessings, "Old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)

As we prepare for the coming new year, and start to make New Year's resolutions, we forget the most important resolution of all - our spiritual lives. A New Year is not a mere change in the calendar. A New Year is not a mere exchange of congratulations between us, whether by sending cards or inviting friends to our gatherings. It is not a night to spend with God spiritually, only to forget all about it and forget all the promises we have made Him.
A New Year is none other than a new way of life. It is a change in our behaviour, and our way of living to a better life. A New Year is a serious moment in which we stand and look where we are and where we should be. It is an opportunity to reflect on whatever changes need to be made in our lives. These changes can be made with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Let your motto this year be, "Old things are passed away, behold, all things have become new." (2 Cor. 5:17)At the beginning of a New Year, let each one of us have his own spiritual program, chosen and arranged with the help of our Fathers of Confession, so as to start a new life.We can predict how the New Year will turn out for us.
Our hearts are the mirrors of the future. The faint and weak heart is an indicator of a weak future. Conversely, a pure heart is an indicator of a pure future. We can shape the New Year the way we would like it to be, a year full of love and good deeds according to God's commandments."No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other." (Matt. 6:24)Our way of life is not something imposed upon us. It is we who shape and form it, with our own free will, which God has granted us.
The grace of God is willing to perform miracles with us and within us on the condition that we do not hinder His work or resist the Holy Spirit. God's will is our holiness, and as soon as our will is the same as God's, then our life will be quiet and peaceful.
Though we may meet problems or tribulations in our lives, they will all be for our own benefit.
“It is our duty, therefore, to be faithful to God, pure in heart, merciful and kind, just and holy; for these things imprint in us the outlines of the Divine likeness, and perfect us as heirs of eternal life.” - St Cyril of Alexandria

On Pope Kyrillos VI.

"There is no man in all the history of the church like Pope Kyrillos VI, who was able to pray so many liturgies. He prayed more than 12,000 liturgies. This matter never happened before in the history of the Popes of Alexandria or the world, or even among the monks. He was wondrous in his prayers."
(Pope Shenouda III speaking about his Predecessor, Cyril VI)

He cannot become a true Christian

“Unless a man gives himself entirely to the Cross, in a spirit of humility and self-abasement; unless he casts himself down to be trampled underfoot by all and despised, accepting injustice, contempt and mockery; unless he undergoes all these things with joy for the sake of the Lord, not claiming any kind of human reward whatsoever – glory or honor or earthly pleasures – he cannot become a true Christian”
St Mark the monk