29 March 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
41, Rethymnon Cathedral

The Cathedral in Rethymnon was rebuilt after World War II and is modelled on the Church of Evangelistria on Tinos (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During Lent and Easter this year, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, a photograph of a church or place of worship that has been significant in my spiritual life;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel).

This is Monday in Holy Week (29 March 2021), the last week in Lent. This week I am offering photographs from seven churches that I think of as places of pilgrimage and spiritual refreshment (I have reflected earlier this Lent on the place of the chapel of Saint John’s Hospital, Lichfield, and of Lichfield Cathedral, in my spiritual life).

My photographs this morning (29 March 2021) are from the Cathedral of the Presentation in Rethymnon. I first visited Rethymnon in the 1980s, and immediately felt at home. I have returned almost every year ever since, not just for holidays but for time for personal prayer and reflection.

Although Rethymnon is centuries old as a city, with classical, Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman buildings around every corner, I know of no surviving remains of Rethymnon’s mediaeval cathedral, which was destroyed in a raid by Algerian corsairs in 1571. The Cathedral of the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple is a relatively new building. It occupies most of Mitropolis Square and was first built in 1834 on the site of an earlier church. It was rebuilt after World War II and is modelled on the Church of Evangelistria on Tinos.

Inside the Cathedral of Rethymnon on a recent Good Friday (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 12: 1-11 (NRSVA):

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 ‘Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?’ 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.’

9 When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came not only because of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 since it was on account of him that many of the Jews were deserting and were believing in Jesus.

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (29 March 2021), Monday in Holy Week, prays:

Let us pray that during this Holy Week we might journey toward Easter with a hope that will enliven our communities with the presence of Christ.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Inside the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the centre of Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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