Sunday, 4 December 2016
His Beatitude visited the Melkite parish in London, where he served the Divine Liturgy. Concelebrating were the parish priest, Father Shafiq Abouzayd, the assistant priest Father Robert Gibbons, together with Deacon Richard Downer.
His Beatitude preached on the need to remain faithful to the Eastern Christian heritage, as light comes from the East. He also congratulated clergy of the Melkite Church and members of the congregation whose name day falls on this day or in succeeding days: so all those named for St John of Damascus, St Barbara and St Nicholas.
At the close of the Liturgy, His Beatitude presented the patriarchal Cross of Jerusalem to Father Robert, in recognition of his service to the Melkite Church as Ecumenical Canon for the Diocese of Edmonton, Canada and for his work in Oxford and London at various institutes of learning.
Also receiving the patriarchal Cross during this visit was Valerie Chamberlain, who has worked for some years translating and editing His Beatitude’s writings, such as appeals, reports on relief work, pastoral letters and so forth.
Visit to Heythrop College, University of London
Earlier, on Friday 2 December, shortly after arriving in London from Dublin, Ireland, His Beatitude visited the Centre for Eastern Christianity at Heythrop College at the invitation of Mr Anthony O’Mahony. There His Beatitude gave a guest lecture to a circle of Oriental scholars, representatives of Catholic charities and members of the press about the situation in Syria today. After speaking for over an hour about the crisis and the suffering of Syrians in the conflict that has been taking place for more than five years, His Beatitude took questions and gave specific answers on a variety of topics relating to the crisis and asked for more action for peace on the part of Bishops’ Conferences and political leaders in Europe.