Christian Unity Is Bigger Than Porvoo

Rev Tuomas Mäkipää, Chaplain in Helsinki, writes “The Finnish Ecumenical Council is very active and important body in brining together different denominations in this country. It is notable that both of the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox church are members of the Council. At the moment the Chair is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Helsinki and the Sercretary General is an Orthodox priest. Almost all Christian churches are represented; atleast as observers if not as full members.

“The Anglican Chaplaincy was asked to lead the service on Sunday of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. We immediately agreed and offered to arrange a Choral Evensong. Not only that but the YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company had agreed to broadcast it live on Radio One. Even this was all very good news and we were honoured to do this, it caused a minor problem. The audience is mainly Finnish speakers and the YLE's policy is to send programmes in Finnish. After some consideration we decided to have a bilingual service; texts read in Finnish, a Finnish hymn, an address in Finnish and the Blessing. As someone would have dubbed the Introduction for the radio; I decided to translate it into Finnish.

“So there was a Pentacostal pastor and a Lutheran Bishop. Readers were a Roman Catholic and a Finnish Free Church, and the second choir was the Youth Choir of the Orthodox Parish in Helsinki. As a result we had a beautiful, ecumenical service which can be found online here It will go offline on this coming Sunday.

“Choirs: The English Vocal Consort of Helsinki, The Youth Choir of the Orthodox Parish in Helsinki. Address: Mika Yrjölä, pastor of the Salem Pentacostal Church. Blessing: Bishop Irja Askola of Helsinki. Cantor: Edward Ananian-Cooper. Organist: Julia Tamminen.”

Pictured are The Lutheran Cathedral of Helsinki, pastor Mika Yrjölä, Bishop Irja Askola of Helsinki and the Chaplain.