“Ecumenism is in the heart of the Christian church”

His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III had a message of unity and cooperation on his visit to the UK.

The head of the Malankaran Orthodox Syrian Church (abbreviated to MOSC and also known as the Indian Orthodox Church) has been visiting the Diocese of UK, Europe and Africa at the invitation of the Bishop, Metropolitan ⁦HG Abraham Mar Stephanos.

During his visit, His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III met and worshipped with many brothers and sisters from other denominations. One such ecumenical event took place at Westminster Abbey where he was hosted by the Dean and met with the Bishop of Southwark and other Christian leaders.

HH Baselios Marthoma Mathews III in the centre of the picture next to the Bishop of Southwark.

His Holiness presided over ecumenical Vespers at the Coptic Orthodox Church’s centre in central London. He was joined by the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Archbishop Angaelos; Bishop Hovakim Manukyan of Armenian Orthodox Church and Mar Awraham Youkhanis from the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East (ACOTE).

From L to R: Bishop Hovakim, Archbishop Angaelos, HH Baselios Marthoma Mathews III, HG Abraham Mar Stephanos, Mar Awraham Youkhanis

“Ecumenism is in the heart of the Christian church,” said His Holiness. “Christian witness will be more effective only if all the Christians – no matter whether they are in England or in India or other places – they must believe in Jesus Christ and participate together in the one body and blood of Christ. Of course, culturally they may have different ways of worship, different ways of believing, but the faith should be made one so that everyone can participate from the same table…That is the challenge for the Christian church today.”

MOSC is enjoying a period of growth in England. There are now 10 parishes in the Diocese and more than 50 separate worshipping congregations. Some of the groups have their own premises, others worship in Methodist, Catholic or Church of England churches.

St George’s Indian Orthodox Church worships at the Anglican Guild Church St Margaret Pattens in the City of London. The Vicar, Rev Andrew Keep, was an honoured guest during the visit of His Holiness to the parish.

Rev Andrew Keep at Vespers with HG Abraham Mar Stephanos and His Holiness Baselios Marthoma Mathews III

MOSC’s Diocesan Bishop HG Abraham Mar Stephanos said the church members had been buoyed by their leader’s visit. He said: “I have already started seeing an added momentum because it’s brought people together. He is our spiritual father. It’s a great source of encouragement as he is our teacher.”

Find out more about the Indian Orthodox Church in England.

Photo credits © Indian Orthodox Church Diocese of UK, Europe and Africa.