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‘An inspiration to all peoples’ – the Diocese pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth

From Gibraltar and Tangiers to Rome, Corfu and Moscow – the Diocese in Europe has been paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth following her death yesterday afternoon - and beginning preparations for services of commemoration.

Pictured: St Boniface, Antwerp

At Holy Trinity Cathedral in Gibraltar, the bells tolled for 20 minutes at midday local time and then again at midday UK time to mark the Queen’s death. A special service will take place in the coming week and will be live-streamed. Local dignitaries will be invited and ministers from Roman Catholic, Church of Scotland and the Methodist Church have already said they will attend.

Across the continent in Moscow, a service is taking place at St Andrew’s this evening. People will gather in church to watch a live stream of the funeral.

The chaplain at St Andrew’s, Revd Malcolm Rogers, wrote in a book of condolence of his immense sadness at the Queen’s death and recalled the importance of her visit to the city.

‘You have been a constant source of stability in a changing world and an inspiration to your peoples and to all peoples, an example of faith in Christ, of love, service and duty. We are deeply grateful for the personal support you have given this community since your visit here in 1994. It is because of you that we are able to worship here.’

In Belgium, the Anglican Central Committee noted the special connection between Her Majesty and Anglicans in the country. In a statement, issued in English, French and Dutch, the committee spoke of its, and the people of Belgium’s, complete admiration for the Queen’s life, work and service.

‘Queen Elizabeth was universally known for her sincere Christian faith, her tireless service to nation and Commonwealth, her absolute charm and dedication, and her refusal to take a well-deserved retirement. To say that she will be missed does not do justice to the kindly influence she has had throughout her reign on world events and leaders.

‘Queen Elizabeth was the third-cousin-once-removed of King Philippe of Belgium, and this, together with the fact that Queen Elizabeth, as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, had a constitutional role in those parishes in Belgium which are attached to the Church of England, has always made Belgian Anglicans her special admirers.’

A commemorative service is being planned to be held at the Pro Cathedral, Holy Trinity, Brussels.

At All Saints in Rome, Revd Robert Warren spoke of a life well lived, and a contribution to the world which was beyond reproach. And he noted that Queen Elizabeth ‘belonged’ to more than just the UK.

‘This congregation – an Anglican congregation in the heart of Rome has members from throughout the Commonwealth – from Africa and Asia, from Great Britain, from Australia and New Zealand and elsewhere. And like myself, growing up in Canada, I grew up with a picture of the Queen on the wall and she was not the Queen of England. She was ours. The Queen of Canada.’

At St Andrew’s in Tangiers, a book of condolence has been opened, candles will be lit, and the church will stay open to allow people to come for a time of quiet contemplation, prayers and to pay their respects.

It will be a similar story in Helsinki where the chapel will open tomorrow. The all-age service on Sunday has been changed to regular Sung Eucharist with prayers and texts appropriate for this time. There's also Choral Evensong on Sunday. A Commemoration Service is expected to take place in Helsinki Cathedral next Friday.

In Corfu there will be a service of prayer and commemoration on Thursday with readings, prayers, poems, music and hymns. The church will remain open every morning until then. A book of condolence has been set up in the garden and a space set aside for floral tributes.

Sunday morning’s Communion Service at the Anglican church in Freiburg will include a time of remembrance and there will be opportunities for the congregation to pray, grieve and remember throughout the period of mourning. On its website the church said, ‘Our congregation is made up of people from all over the globe and not everyone will have had an emotional connection to (the Queen). Yet, it is important for us to provide opportunities to talk and mourn, and to encourage all who have so far not felt close to her, to learn about and be inspired by the extraordinary life of Queen Elizabeth II.’

As well as serving their communities and making preparations for services, clergy around the diocese have found themselves in the media spotlight.

In Denmark, Revd Canon Smitha Prasadam has been approached by newspapers, television and digital media. It is a similar story in Rome, where Revd Robert Warren has been fielding calls from several television stations and media outlets. Revd Canon Carolyn Cooke appeared on national radio in Switzerland speaking in French about the death of The Queen and about King Charles.

Many more chaplaincies will be planning events in the coming days and news of these will be posted here and shared on the Diocese in Europe’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds.