Rome Study Tour 2015
Added on Wednesday 14th October 2015
August a group from the Church of Ireland Theological Institute joined together with the Methodist Training College in Edgehill on a trip to the key Christian sites in Rome. In recent years there has been a consistent effort to strengthen ties between the colleges, in the light of the Covenant, and this trip was a part of that process. It was an opportunity to explore and reflect upon our shared Christian heritage, and to see the ecumenical work happening between the Anglican Centre in Rome and the Holy See.
For all involved the trip provided a welcome change from the heavy academic schedule of college, with time in the afternoons to wander the streets of Rome, and evenings to catch up on the summer’s events. After months spent journeying to and from Trinity under grey Dublin skies, the 38 degree weather too was more than welcome.
Despite the change of pace from our regular course of study, the trip was deeply impactful for our Christian formation. Our group was led by Archbishop Sir David Moxon, whose intimate knowledge of the ‘Eternal City’ and deep personal spirituality was a guiding force as we were led through sites that spanned two millennia of Christian tradition. He made accessible to us a world of Caravaggios, baroque churches and archaeological treasures that might otherwise have remained simply dry markers on the tourist trail, and helped us to engage with them in our personal faith. A sense of connection with the very foundations of the Church was unavoidable, whether standing beside the tomb of St. Paul, or descending the steps to the 4th century church of St. Clement.
The modern city of Rome rests upon the foundations of innumerable generations of believers who lived and died and left their mark upon the place, whether in the etched grave–stones of the catacombs or in the cells of the Colosseum, reminding us of both our heritage and our mortality. As the Archbishop outlined for us the recent progress and remaining challenges in Anglican–Roman Catholic Dialogue, a sense of the responsibility in guarding, preserving and passing on a gospel so hard–fought was inevitable. And yet there was incredible joy: joy in praying a Jesuit prayer beside St. Ignatius’ tomb, hearing of the Pope’s visit to Waldensian Evangelical Christians, singing Wesleyan hymns alongside Italian believers, and hearing the gospel read from a balcony above the obelisk that St. Peter would have looked upon as he was executed.
Most of all there was joy in seeing the progress of ecumenical relations, both between our churches, and in the work of the Anglican Centre. All, as the Jesuits say, ad maiorem Dei gloriam.
The authors of the article are Rebecca Guildea and Rev Christopher MacBruithin
The names for the academic photo are as follows:
Back row: Rev Dr Richard Clutterbuck (Edgehill Theological College), Rev Dr Janet Unsworth (Edgehill Theological College ) Louise Hettiche (Anglican Centre ) missing Jan Hague (Assistant to Director of Anglican Centre)
Front row: Dr Katie Heffelfinger (CITI), Archbishop Sir David Moxon (Director, Anglican Centre ), Rev Canon Dr Maurice Elliott (CITI )