On the evening of Saturday, 9th March 2024, His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain attended Evensong at the historic Durham Cathedral. Accompanied by Archdeacon Dr George Tsourous and Reverend Presbyter Professor Nikita Banev, they were warmly received by the Dean of Durham, the Very Reverend Dr Philip Plyming, and Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Vice-Dean and Precentor.

Following the Evensong, a guided tour of the Cathedral allowed His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas and his clergy to explore its architectural splendour and deep Christian heritage.

A highlight of the visit was the veneration of St Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede’s tombs, reflecting the deep devotion the Orthodox Church has for these venerable saints from before the schism. Their lives, marked by devotion and scholarship, continue to inspire across Christian traditions.

Saint Bede, venerated as the Venerable Bede, is particularly esteemed for his monumental contributions to Christian scholarship and historiography. His magnum opus, “The Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” offers an unparalleled insight into the spiritual and secular dynamics of early medieval England. Bede’s dedication to the monastic life, combined with his intellectual pursuits at the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, underscores his role as a luminary of Christian learning and devotion.

Saint Cuthbert, whose life was marked by devotion to prayer, solitude, and pastoral care, remains one of the most revered saints in the British Isles. His journey from a hermit to the Bishop of Lindisfarne exemplifies his commitment to serving the spiritual needs of the people of God. The miracles surrounding his life and afterlife, and the incorruptibility of his relics, continue to inspire faith and devotion among Christians. The pilgrimage by devout Christians to his shrine at Durham Cathedral, initiated centuries ago, remains a testament to his enduring legacy as a shepherd of the Christian faith.

This visit, fostering dialogue and friendship between the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and the Church of England, highlights a mutual commitment to ecumenical engagement and the nurturing of faith in our contemporary world.

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