Celebrating Michelmass and reflecting on the Suffering Church

On Saturday, the feast of the Dedication of St Michael the Archangelby gracious invitation of Bishop Damien Mead, Ordinary of the Diocese of Great Britain for the Anglican Catholic ChurchHis Grace Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJV accompanied by the Revd Andrew Scurr,  attended the diaconal ordination of the Revd Dr Jonathan Munn. Celebrating a significant anniversary himself as a cleric, His Grace was delighted to be able to share the day with and for his friend Dr Munn.

On Sunday, the feast of St Jerome, Confessor and Doctor of the Church, His Grace Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJV celebrated his “onomastico” (name day) offering Mass at the Oratory of St Cuthman & St Wilfrid, Brighton in the morning. In the evening, His Grace gave a presentation on “The Suffering Church” for an ecumenical service raising awareness of the work of the charity “Open Doors” with and for persecuted Christians, at Dorset Gardens Methodist Church in Brighton.

Remembering that his namesake had spent his last years in Bethlehem. His Grace invited the congregation to close their eyes and imagine as he described the conclusion of a Midnight Mass, whilst all were imagining the warm glow of the church and seasonal greetings being shared by the congregation a recording of a bomb blast and screams was played. His Grace then described the events of the Coptic Church bombing in Alexandria in 2011 when, following a New Year’s Eve vigil service, a car bomb exploded outside the church as the people were leaving, causing 23 fatalities and seriously injuring 96 worshipers.

Focusing on the statistics of Christian martyrdom in the 20th and 21st Centuries, the Archbishop went on to note that a staggering 45 million Christians had died for the Faith in the former century and a further 1 million since 2000AD in the first decade of the present century. Reminding the congregation of the theology of the Communion of Saints and the Church Militant as the “Body of Christ” on earth, he went on to exhort all to remember the power of prayer and to pray for the suffering parts of the whole Church of Christ.

Dr Mariz Tadros of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, a specialist in democratisation, Islamist politics, gender, sectarianism, human security and religion and development and herself an Egyptian Coptic Christian, also spoke about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Dr Tadros has extensive experience as a development practitioner and worked as a consultant for many international organisations including the Ford Foundation and has begun working in Brighton supporting asylum seeking Coptic and Syrian Christians. With Archbishop Lloyd, Dr Tadros hopes to establish closer cooperation and resourcing between local Churches in offering Christian hospitality to those forced to flee their homes for their Faith.

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