Church of Ireland notes

The recent barbarous murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in France has, in a shockingly dramatic fashion, increased growing concerns about the persecution of Christians.

At the end of June, the General Synod’s Council for Mission launched a prayer appeal to support persecuted Christians around the world.

The appeal followed a resolution by the General Synod in May which expressed solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith and committed to supporting them in prayer.

The council's Honorary Secretary, the Rev Patrick Burke, said: "The time has come for Christians in the safety and comfort of the West to speak out about what their brothers and sisters are facing in other parts of the world – and to speak out strongly and keep speaking out until the violence ends. The suffering of Christians around the world is truly shocking.


“The Open Doors watch list for 2016 says that over 100 million Christians are being persecuted globally. Open Doors estimates the ‘very minimum’ killed in 2015 at 7,100 and that over 2,000 churches were attacked, burned, bombed, or confiscated.

“Given that these crimes take place in countries either ravaged by war, or under the control of an oppressive regime, the true figure could be much higher.”

The council’s approach is to begin with prayer and its members are asking all clergy to include this issue in their intercession at public worship every Sunday, and all Christian people to include it in their daily private devotions.


The council plans to launch other initiatives to publicise this issue more in the coming months and is encouraging Christians to become more informed about the persecuted Church. Helpful resources can be found through the work of the Church of Ireland's associated missionary societies and on the Open Doors website:

Last month, representatives of the Irish Council of Churches, of which the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John |McDowell, is president, and the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference welcomed His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan of the Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, on his first pastoral visit to the Antiochian Orthodox community in Belfast. Metropolitan Silouan emphasised the importance of cooperation and dialogue between Christians of different traditions, illustrated by the positive experiences of the Antiochian Orthodox Church in Britain and Ireland.

Born in Syria and having recently returned from a visit to the exiled Syrian community in Lebanon, the Archbishop said: "The Christians of Syria are frightened for their future, and particularly for their children's future. At this time, the Christians of Syria need their fellow Christians to pray for them, to listen to them and feel their pain."

Tomorrow, at 11.45am, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra will broadcast a bi-lingual celebration of the Eucharist from St Nicholas' Collegiate church, Galway.

The celebrant will be the Rector of Galway and Archdeacon of Tuam, the Ven Gary Hastings. In Dublin, the Cathedral Consort will sing at the Eucharist in Christ Church Cathedral while, in St Patrick's Cathedral, the services will be sung by Peregryne, directed by Dr Stuart Kinsella. On Thursday evening in Castletownshend, Co Cork, pianist Therese Fahy will play Debussy's Preludes at the 36th St Barrahane's Festival of Church Music and, on Friday, pianist Carmel Comiskey will be the lunchtime recitalist in the Summer Music at Sandford series in Sandford parish church.