Malkhaz Songulashvili – Tales of Canterbury – 3 – A Funny Experience in Rome

Canterbury-cathedral-crypt-st-gabriels-chapel-mural
Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. Mural from St Gabriel’s Chapel

The enthronement was a truly amazing occasion. Millions of people watched the event both in the UK and the world over. But I ought to tell you more of what only a few saw and experienced before the enthronement in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. The crypt is the most prayerful place one could imagine. Under the Romanesque arches you could feel that this is a place where thousands of people have prayed in the course of centuries. The crypt can tell you almost everything about the main historical developments in the history of Western Christianity. Here you can see a French Huguenot chapel which was kindly given to French Protestants when they fled Catholic persecution in France. This chapel should be considered as the earliest expression of British ecumenism, long before the ecumenical movement was even conceived. There is also St. Gabriel’s Chapel – my favourite. Much to my amazement it gets very little if any publicity. It is the only place in the cathedral with frescos that survived the Reformation simply because the chapel entrance had been sealed off in the Middle Ages and was reopened only in the 19th century. I have spent hours in this chapel admiring the incredible beauty of 12th century masterpieces. This is the place where I really feel at home. You will not find any reproductions or books of those frescos, either in the Cathedral shops or anywhere else. I cannot understand how these frescos can be ignored in England. Continue reading “Malkhaz Songulashvili – Tales of Canterbury – 3 – A Funny Experience in Rome”

Salim Munayer – Beyond Bells and Smells. The Gap between Eastern and Western Christianity – 2

The Early Church Schisms

Contrary to popular belief, the early church schisms in the fourth and fifth centuries were not exclusively, or even primarily, a result of doctrinal differences, but occurred to some extent as a consequence of political struggles for territory, governance and authority. These political struggles were then couched in theological language at a time when the early church was attempting to combat heresy and articulate a basic statement of core beliefs for the faithful. Imperial and ecclesiastical agendas became somewhat intertwined. Continue reading “Salim Munayer – Beyond Bells and Smells. The Gap between Eastern and Western Christianity – 2”