Yesterday the Archbishop of Birmingham visited the Oxford Oratory to celebrate the 11am Mass and bless the recently completed parish centre, library and new accommodationblock. In an ecumenical gesture he was accompanied by Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, and the Archbishop stressed the closeness of relations with the Orthodox community, describing them as the closed with any other ecclesial group.
Following the Mass at which he preached, and presided from the recently constructed throne which was used by the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta on his visit in July, the Archbishop and the Metropolitan blessed all the new rooms and buildings. Although this all seemed a quite lengthy procedure Metropolitan Kallistos joked that by Orthodox standards it had been a short occasion ...
There are now two sets of photographs on the Oratory website of the morning's ceremonies. The first New building blessed by Archbishop Longley also includes the text of the Archbishop's sermon. The second set can be viewed at More Photographs of the Blessing of the New Building.
The visit was a celebration of what has been achieved by the Oxford Oratory Appeal and an acknowledgement of the wider success of the Oratorians in Oxford. Furthermore there were hopes for the completion of the second phase of building and for the new work the Oratory is going to undertake in York.