Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, the Apostle
It’s been a long week. Been finding that my Anglo-Catholicism (that is a big part of who I am as an “evangelical”) has begun to reassert itself quite strongly. Going for Eucharist at St. John’s (SJC) is helping to keep it in check and after today, I may very well attend Low Mass at All Saints Anglican (ASAC) on Wickham Terrace (the first Anglican church I’ve come across to be using the Anglican Missal instead of the local prayerbook, A Prayer Book For Australia) during lunchtimes on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday. That leaves SJC for Wednesday and Friday lunchtime Eucharist (so that I don’t have to wake up ridiculously early to attend the 7:45AM Mass at ASAC then).
Fr. David at ASAC was very welcoming after Mass was over and it was good to extend my Christian network within Brisbane just a wee bit more. Given that ASAC is supposedly the “highest” of the high-church churches within the Brisbane diocese, it was a change at seeing the priest vested in not a colored, plain chasuble over an alb, like at SJC, but what I would call “traditional” ecclesia Anglicana vestments (which, imho, are as colorful and beautiful as the vestments found in Eastern Orthodox churches).
I never thought that ASAC was actually still going along. I thought it was just a heritage listed church that wasn’t open until I Googled the “Society of Mary” last night and ASAC came up as one of the hits. It’s on the other end of the spectrum re: women’s ordination in comparison to SJC (its a member of Forward In Faith, a “complementarian” group when it comes to holy orders) and liturgically, it’s got more in common with traditional Anglicanism prior to the revisions in liturgy in the late 1960’s (including such things as the altar’s remaining affixed to the wall so that the priest is facing towards it during the Eucharist/Mass).
Glad that I now have a third “church home” that I can walk into within the CBD if I’m wanting some quiet time.
Now, here’s the interesting bit of history here. This last trip back to Malaysia, my grandmother asked me to take back some of my grandfather’s books (I’ve picked up Ah Kong’s penchant for reading all things theologically related). In it was a a pocket sized Methodist Church ritual from the 1960s but also a New Testament edition of The New English Bible.
The leather binding on it has stood the test of time. But what has intrigued me is the list of names in the back of the NT.
Now I’m pretty sure that my grandfather back in the 60s and 70s did attend some World Council of Churches (WCC) meetings (my grandma has told me that he has gone to a couple). So I have a feeling that he obtained this NT from the above people during one of those meetings (more than likely during the 1970s given that the NEB wasn’t published until the mid-60s and for other reasons as well outlined below).
The names above are interesting. My grandfather might have been one of the early promoters of ecumenical activity between Protestants, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics (not to mention the Polish Catholic Church too).
The first name is that of Bishop Tadeusz R. Majewski of the Polish Catholic Church (PCC, which is a member of the Union of Utrecht and Old Catholic movement). He was the superior (bishop) of the PCC from 1975 to 1994.
The next name should be recognizable by Roman Catholics as that of Cardinal Antonio Javierre from Spain (he has signed off as just being a professor). That would have been before 1976 when he was elevated to the archbishopric by Pope Paul VI after Vatican II was over and put in charge of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Prior to that he was a lecturer on fundamental theology at a number of European universities as well as being an ecumenical specialist at Vatican II.
The last name is that of Bishop Antonie of the Romanian Patriarchate. This immediately set off alarm bells that he was either an Eastern Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox Christian. After a quick Google, I have a feeling that signature belongs to Bishop Antonie Ploiesteanul, Patriarchal Vicar of the Romanian Orthodox Church back in the 1970s to Patriarch Iustinian Marina (the website is here).
The last name is harder to read. I kept scratching my head until I noticed that on the right hand side is the Latin word, “Cantuar”. The last time I checked, Cantuar can only be used in a signature format by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the CoE. Taking a look at the list of Archbishop’s of Canterbury and there can only be one of two people that the signature belonged to: either Archbishop Michael Ramsey (1961-1974) or Archbishop Donald Coggan (1974-1980). As you can see above, the first word does not look like a Michael at all. So it has to be the Rgt. Revd. Donald Coggan’s signature (for a comparison of his signature, take a look here). And that was the mid-1970s to 1980. Having said that, Archbishop Coggan also was a strong supporter of women’s ordination in the CoE. In a sense, he probably was one of the people that started the snowball rolling on this whole issue which has led to groups like Forward In Faith forming once women priests started to be ordained.
Were there any WCC meetings then? I think so. Kenya, November to December 1975 if my memory serves me correctly. I think all these churches might have sent delegates to that WCC meeting. Looks like I have a piece of living history here with me. The five of them might have even shared this NT during a prayer session or talk over scripture.
Feeling mighty honored that I have this with me. Given that it’s been in episcopal hands before, will be taking good care of it (unlike some of my other partial or complete portions of Holy Scripture which are already breaking). And using it too. I have a sneaking suspicion that all four people who signed their names in here would be smacking me upside my head if I never got around to opening up the pages and reading again about our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.
A post from Merton’s journals should be up next (prolly tomorrow or Sunday). Feeling beat now. Need sleep.