This weekend saw the end of the Old Catholic Church of Germany Synod. In German, "Die Alt-Katholische Kirche," also presented as "Alternative Katholische." In a sense, the German equivalent of the Anglican churches. We have a single Bishop for the whole of Germany, +Matthias Ring, and his 'seat' is in Bonn, in a church recently 'given up' by the Roman Catholic diocese.
The "Old Catholics" do not acknowledge the 'authority' of the Popes, but, like the Anglicans, they acknowledge his seniority as a Bishop. So it is interesting that the Archbishop of Mainz, Cardinal Lehmann, allows them to use the Augustinian Monastic church, now the home of the Mainz Theological College, for their Synod and for the final Eucharist of the Synod. The Cardinal is, it seems, more inclined to ecumenical activity than Rome is. Long may it continue so.
The photos show the interior of the Augustinian Church, a somewhat subdued Baroque style the pictures hardly do credit to. The accoustics here are fabulous, especially for the unaccomapnied voice, so a "Licht Vesper" for evening worship of Friday was stunningly set to music by Rachmaninov and sung by some really good vocalists. Today's Eucharist had a packed congregation with our Bishop presiding and a good organist who put the restored Baroque instrument through its paces with a vengeance.
The final hymn was Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" in German - which several members of the congregation laughlingly declared one of the best things Britain has produced. All in all, a wonderful experience.
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