Sunday, 1 August 2021

The grave in Kilmallock
of the ‘last White Knight’
and a Comerford family link

When the last White Knight died in 1608, he was buried in the choir of the Dominican Priory in Kilmallock, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Patrick Comerford

I recently joined an afternoon walking tour of the churches, castles and mediaeval walls of Kilmallock in Co Limerick. The mediaeval ruins of Kilmallock are so extensive that it has been described as ‘the Baalbek of Ireland.’

In the centre of the choir of the ruined Dominican priory church, I was pointed to the grave of Edmund Fitzgibbon, the last ‘White Knight,’ who died in 1608.

Edmund Fitzgibbon was the head of a branch of the FitzGerald dynasty and was known as the 11th White Knight. During his lifetime he fell in and out of favour with the Crown.

When the White Knight died at Castletown, Co Limerick, on 23 April 1608, he was buried in the choir of Saint Saviour’s Dominican Priory in Kilmallock. The top of his tomb is broken in two and there is a small hollow in the tomb, caused by dripping water.

The title of White Knight was one of three mediaeval hereditary knighthoods in branches of the FitzGerald family. The title was first conferred upon Maurice Fitzgibbon in the early 14th century.

There were other two similar titles in the Fitzgerald family. The title of Knight of Glin, also known as the ‘Black Knight,’ became dormant ten years ago after 700 years after the death of Desmond John Villiers FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, on 14 September 2011. The title of Knight of Kerry, also known as the ‘Green Knight,’ is held by Sir Adrian FitzGerald, 6th Baronet and 24th Knight of Kerry.

The grave of the last White Knight and his son in Kilmallock Priory (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

The first White Knight, Maurice FitzGibbon, was knighted in the field by Edward III in 1333, immediately after the defeat of Scottish forces at the Battle of Halidon Hill. The family of the White Knight was regarded as the second branch of the FitzGerald dynasty, after the Earls of Desmond.

After Edmund Fitzgibbon, the 11th White Knight, died in 1608, his estates passed to his daughter Margery, contrary to the rules of descent in Ireland at the time. The male heir was David Fitzgibbon of Kilmore, but Edmund Fitzgibbon had made a special arrangement with the government as one of the conditions for capturing his kinsman, James FitzThomas FitzGerald, 16th Earl of Desmond, during the Desmond rebellion.

Much of Fitzgibbon’s military and political conduct was driven by his desire to recover his family’s properties in Munster. But he was regularly outwitted and betrayed by government officials. When he was arrested in 1587, Sir Anthony St Leger advised he should be made ‘shorter by the length of his head.’

Fitzgibbon became sheriff of Co Cork in 1596, and in this role he attacked and almost destroyed Saint Carthage’s Cathedral in Lismore, Co Waterford.

Doubts about his loyalty were raised at the height of the Desmond Rebellion, when he failed to capture the Súgan Earl of Desmond, James FitzThomas FitzGerald, as he passed through Fitzgibbon’s territory in May 1601.

The ‘Sugan’ Earl had gathered an 8,000-strong force and engaged in a three-year struggle. He took Desmond Hall and Castle in Newcastle West in 1598, but lost them the following year. In 1599, the Earl of Essex also brought to an end the 147-day siege of Askeaton Castle by the ‘Sugan’ Earl. After escaping from Kilmallock, he was finally captured by Fitzgibbon on 29 May 1601 while he was hiding in the caves near Mitchelstown.

FitzGerald was placed in irons and taken to Shandon Castle, where he was found guilty of treason. He was then brought to England, and he was made a prisoner in the Tower of London. Historians suggest he died sometime in 1608, and was buried in the chapel of the Tower.

His younger brother, John FitzThomas FitzGerald, fled to Spain in 1603 with his wife, a daughter of Richard Comerford of Danganmore, Co Kilkenny. In Spain, he was known as the Conde de Desmond, and he died a few years later in Barcelona, probably after 1615.

Meanwhile, Edmund Fitzgibbon was rewarded by the crown and parliament with the full restoration of his lands and title. Fitzgibbon was jailed in 1606 on suspicion of disloyalty, but was released when he promised to fight for the Crown.

King James I made him Baron of Clangibbon, but he died at Castletown, Co Limerick, on 23 April 1608, without statutory confirmation of his lands and titles. He died the day after the death of his son Maurice, and the two were buried together in the choir of the Dominican Priory church in Kilmallock.

The title of the White Knight then passed to Maurice’s son and Edmund’s grandson, Maurice Oge Fitzgibbon, as the 12th White Knight. But he never inherited what remained of the old Fitzgibbon estate, and instead the lands passed to Edmund’s daughter, Margaret. When Maurice Fitzgibbon, the 12th White Knight, died in 1611, he had no sons as immediate heirs, and so his grandfather Edmund Fitzgibbon is often known as the last White Knight.

A mediaeval monument in Kilmallock thought to mark the grave of an earlier White Knight (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

George King (1771-1831), 3rd Earl of Kingston, tried to claim the title of the White Knight in 1821. He claimed the title through descent from Margaret (1602-1666), the granddaughter of Edmond Fitzgibbon, the 11th White Knight. But his claim was successfully contested and was refused by the crown.

The last known claimant to title of the White Knight was Maurice Fitzgibbon of Crohana, Kilkenny, who assumed the title in 1858. This Maurice Fitzgibbon was also a descendant of the Comerford family of Ballybur Castle, Co Kilkenny.

Richard Comerford ‘fitzThomas’ (1564-1637) was 24 when he inherited Ballybur Castle and other family estates in Co Kilkenny, following the death of father, Thomas Comerford, in 1589. He was also a first cousin of the Comerford from Danganmore who married the Sugan Earl’s younger brother, John FitzThomas FitzGerald, and fled into exile in Spain.

This Richard Comerford is reputed to be the builder of Ballybur Castle. In October 1601, he was a Justice of the Queen’s Bench, then the highest court in Ireland. He was also one of the figures involved in securing the title to of the Earls of Ormond to large tracts of land in Co Mayo, including Achill Island and Burrishoole.

Richard was married twice. His first wife, Joanna Sweetman, was the daughter of John Sweetman of Castle Eve, Co Kilkenny. They had no children, and Richard’s second wife Mary was a daughter of Thomas Purcell of Loughmoe and Crannagh Castle, Co Tipperary.

Richard and Mary Comerford were the parents of three sons and 11 daughters. Their eldest surviving son, John Comerford (1598-1667), who inherited Ballybur and the other family estates, and was the director ancestor of the Comerford family of Bunclody, Co Wexford.

The youngest surviving daughter of Richard and Mary Comerford, Ellen, married Theobald Butler of Rouskagh, Co Tipperary, and of Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, in 1640. Their children included a daughter Joanna who married David FitzGibbon, who was the Governor of Ardfinnan Castle, Co Tipperary, when Cromwell besieged Clonmel.

Joanna and David FitzGibbon were the direct ancestors of Maurice FitzGibbon (1818-1881), of Crohana, near Stoneyford, Co Kilkenny. He was born in Kilworth, Co Cork, and in 1858 he assumed the title of the White Knight.

Although the Kilkenny branch of the Fitzgibbon family has since died out, there is a still a Limerick branch with many members, and some members of the Fitzgibbon family of Limerick held the title of Earls of Clare from 1794 until 1864.

The remains of the cloisters in Kilmallock Priory (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2021)

Sunday intercessions on
1 August 2021, Trinity IX

‘I am the Bread of Life’ (John 6: 35) … an image from Saint Luke’s Episcopal Cathedral, Orlando (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Let us pray:

‘The bread of God … comes down from heaven and gives life to the world’ (John 6: 33)

Heavenly Father,
we pray for the nations of the world,
and for all who hunger for mercy, peace and justice.

We pray especially for those nations suffering
through famine and poverty, and nations suffering because of climate change, violence, racism and oppression.

We pray for Ireland, north and south,
We give thanks for all who are responding
to the pandemic crisis …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (John 6: 35):

Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray for the Church,
that we may be faithful in the ministry of word and sacrament,
and in response to the spiritual and physical hunger of the world.

We pray for our Bishop, Kenneth, as he prepares to retire,
we pray for our neighbouring churches and parishes,
and people of faith everywhere,
that we may be blessed in our variety and diversity.

In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer,
we pray this week for the Anglican Church of the Province of South East Asia,
and the Primate, the Most Revd Melter Tais,
Archbishop of South East Asia and Bishop of Sabah.

In the Church of Ireland this month,
we pray for the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough
and Archbishop Michael Jackson.

In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer,
we pray for the vulnerable and anxious,
that they may experience the peace of Christ.

We pray too for our own parishes and people …
and we pray for ourselves …

Christ have mercy,
Christ have mercy.

‘Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life’ (John 6: 27):

Holy Spirit,
we pray for one another …

We pray for those we love and those who love us …
we pray for our families, friends and neighbours …
we pray for all on holidays …
and we pray for those we promised to pray for …

We prayer for those preparing for baptism and for marriage.

We pray for those who feel rejected and discouraged …
we pray for all in need and those who seek healing …

We pray for those who are sick or isolated,
at home, in hospital …

Ruby … Ann … Daphne … Sylvia …
Ajay … Adam … Pat … Trixie …

We pray for all who grieve and mourn at this time …
for all who are broken-hearted,
trying to come to terms with the loss of loved ones,
including the Killick, Gilliard and Blennerhassett families …
We remember and give thanks for those who have died …
giving thanks for the lives of Gill Killick … Arthur Gilliard …
Yvonne Blennerhassett …
May their memories be a blessing …

Lord have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

The Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) in its Prayer Diary this morning, the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, invites us to pray:

Loving Lord Jesus,
We thank you for the gift of peace.
Fill us with that peace,
And help us learn to share it with others.

Merciful Father …

‘The bread of God … gives life to the world’ (John 6: 33) … fresh bread in the window of Hindley’s Bakery in Lichfield (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Jesus says, ‘I am the Bread of Life’
But, who do you think you are?

‘I am the Bread of Life’ (John 6: 35) … preparing bread for the Eucharist in the Rectory, Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Sunday 1 August 2021

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity.

9.30:
The Parish Eucharist, Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick

11.30: Morning Prayer, Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry

The Readings: II Samuel 11: 26 to 12: 13a; Psalm 51: 1-13; John 6: 24-35

There is a link to readings HERE.

‘My Father … gives you the true bread from heaven’ (John 6: 32) … a mosaic in Saint Matthew’s Church, Great Peter Street, Westminster (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

May I speak to you in the name of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen

Some years ago, I took part in the popular television series, Who Do You Think You Are?

I did some of the research on Dervla Kirwan, famous for her roles from Ballykissangel to Smother. The show is still popular, and I still get messages from America and England from friends and family who have just seen repeats.

But that question, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, goes much deeper than the details that programme unearths about Victorian great-grandparents.

‘Who are you?’

When most of us are asked this question in normal chit-chat, we probably first answer by our name, the name we like to be known by.

Given a second chance, even when we ask ourselves that question, we usually reply in ways that show our most important, our deepest, relationships: Mother/Daughter, Father/Son, Wife/Husband, Sister/Brother, Uncle/Aunt, Niece/Nephew, Grandparent/Grandchild …

Relationships define us, relationships shape us, relationships place us in family and society … and relationships can sometimes even destroy us, yet they still continue to define us.

But that is how we see ourselves, usually, when we are asked casually, ‘Who are you?’

But there is also a third way of asking and answering that question.

In my previous roles, in media and academic life, I noticed quite often when people asked one another these questions, and exchanged cards, they spent little time looking at each other’s names on the cards, and more time figuring out their roles.

The questions that are being really asked at these receptions and conferences are not ‘Are you Patrick?’ or ‘Are you a parent/partner?’

The questions being asked, deep down, are ‘What do you do?’ and ‘Are you useful in my network?’

Can you get me more business, more sales, more votes, more media attention?

And then, there is another, perhaps fourth question, when it comes to identity: ‘Where are you from?’

Since Thursday morning’s gold medal win for the Skibbereen rowers, I cannot count the number of people on my Facebook feed who claim West Cork connections.

Where am I from?

The answer connects me with so many shared connections, friends, family members, schoolfriends, memories … why, we might even find we are related!

These are the sort of questions the crowd are asking Jesus in our Gospel reading this morning:

Where are you from? (verse 24)

When did you come here? (verse 25)

What do you work at? (verse 30)

What can you do for me? (verse 30)

Why, like scriptwriters for that television series, they even recall their ancestors and what they did in the past (verse 31).

But, like those people exchanging business cards at a reception, there are few questions about relationship or relationships. They try to define him (‘rabbi’, verse 25), so they can box him in.

Instead, Jesus tries to answer them in term of relationships.

Set aside all those wonders and miracles, he tells them (verse 26). Stop playing the status-seeking game (verse 29).

What iss more important than all these is what is in your heart (verse 29).

And did you notice how he insists on speaking of himself in relationship to God the Father, who has sent him?

And then Jesus uses the first of his seven ‘I AM’ sayings in Saint John’s Gospel, ‘I am the bread of life’ (John 6: 35).

These seven ‘I AM’ sayings are traditionally listed as:

1, I am the Bread of Life (John 6: 35, 48)
2, I am the Light of the World (John 8: 12)
3, I am the gate (or the door) (John 10: 7)
4, I am the Good Shepherd (John 10: 11 and 14)
5, I am the Resurrection and the Life (John 11: 25)
6, I am the way, the truth and the life (John 14: 6)
7, I am the true vine (John 15: 1, 5)

These ‘I AM’ sayings echo the divine name revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai, ‘I AM’ (Exodus 3: 14).

If I am made in the image and likeness of God, how could I possibly say who I am in the ways Jesus says who he is?

Bread: when did I last help to feed the hungry … those who are physically and spiritually hungry?

The Light of the World … when did I last speak out against prejudice, bigotry, hatred and scaremongering, and shine a light into these dark shadows of the world?

The gate or the door … am I welcoming, hospitable, open, an advocate of pluralism, diversity and tolerance in our society?

The Good Shepherd … do I look after people, care for them, especially those people no-one else seems to think is worth bothering about?

I could go down through all seven ‘I AM’ sayings and find they are a very good checklist not just for me as a priest but for any Christian, indeed for any person.

Christ is the bread of life and the light of the world. We must also offer that light and life that Christ offers us to the world.

Would it make any difference if the Church not only preached what it believes, but worked actively to see these beliefs put into practice?

Our response to the love we receive from God – a risky outpouring that is beyond all human understanding of generosity – can only be to love. In the Epistle reading provided for today (Ephesians 4: 1-16), the Apostle Paul begs us to lead a life worthy of the calling to which we have been called, bearing with one another in love (verse 2).

That call to love is not just to love those who are easy to love. It is a call to love those who are difficult to love too, to love all in the world … and to love beyond words. And that should be a good enough definition of who I am.

And so, may all we think, say and do be to the praise, honour and glory of God, + Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.

‘Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness’ (John 6: 31) … in the mountain passes above Preveli on the south coast of Crete (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 6: 24-35 (NRSVA):

24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat”.’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

‘They found him on the other side of the lake’ (John 6: 25) … a summer scene on the Lakes of Killarney (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Liturgical Colour: Green

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty God,
who sent your Holy Spirit
to be the life and light of your Church:
Open our hearts to the riches of his grace,
that we may bring forth the fruit of the Spirit
in love and joy and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect of the Word:

Living God,
whose Son Jesus fed the hungry
with the bread of his life
and the word of his kingdom:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us with your true and living bread,
Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Post-Communion Prayer:

Holy Father,
who gathered us here around the table of your Son
to share this meal with the whole household of God:
In that new world where you reveal the fulness of your peace,
gather people of every race and language
to share in the eternal banquet
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

‘Bread of the world in mercy broken’ (Hymn 403) … bread marked with crosses in the Rectory in Askeaton, Co Limerick (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Hymns:

403, Bread of the world in mercy broken (Askeaton), CD 24
425, Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts (Tarbert), CD 25
418, Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face (CD 25)

‘I am the Bread of Life’ … a modern icon of the Communion of the Apostles

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

Material from the Book of Common Prayer is copyright © 2004, Representative Body of the Church of Ireland.



Praying in Ordinary Time 2021:
64, the Cathedral, Corfu

The Cathedral of the Virgin Spiliotissas and Saint Vlassis and Saint Theodora stands on a small square at the top of marble steps near the harbour of Corfu (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

This is the Ninth Sunday after Trinity, and later this morning I am presiding at the Parish Eucharist in Saint Mary’s Church, Askeaton, Co Limerick, and taking part in Morning Prayer in Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

Before the day gets busy, I am taking a little time this morning for prayer, reflection and reading.

During this time in the Church Calendar known as Ordinary Time, I am taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs of a church or place of worship;

2, the day’s Gospel reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

This week’s theme is seven churches on the Greek island of Corfu, and my images this morning (1 August 2021) are of the Cathedral of the Virgin Spiliotissas and Saint Vlassis and Saint Theodora.

Inside Corfu Cathedral … built in 1577 and a cathedral since 1841 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

The cathedral in Corfu stands on a small square facing out onto the harbour of Corfu and the Ionian Sea. It was built in 1577 and has served the Diocese of Corfu, Paxos and the Diapontian Islands since 1841.

The cathedral is often difficult for visitors to find in the labyrinth of narrow streets and side alleys. The marble stairway and the purple façade with a decorative sunburst surrounding the rose window are only appreciated by stepping out of the cathedral and down into Mitropolis Square.

The Diocese of Corfu traces its history to two disciples of Saint Paul, Jason of Tarsus and Sosipatrus of Achaea (see (see Acts 17: 5-9 and Romans 16: 21). The Bishops of Corfu took part in ecumenical councils from 325 to 787, originally as suffragans of Nicopolis and later of Kephalonia.

The cathedral was built as a church in 1577 on the site of an older church dedicated to Agios Vlassis or Saint Blaise, an Armenian miracle worker and martyr whose feast is celebrated on 11 February. The new church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary Spiliotissas after the destruction of an older church with the same name. The name Spiliotissa is derived from spilia (cave), referring to an older church in a cave at the foot of the New Fortress.

The cathedral is a three-aisled church built in a Baroque style, with many Renaissance details and features.

The cathedral is filled with icons, treasures and large chandeliers, there is a carved wooden iconostasis or icon screen, paintings from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, Byzantine icons like the Panagia Dimossiana, painted in the 15th century on both sides, icons by Mikhailis Damaskinos from Crete, Emmanouil Tzanes and Panayiotis Paramythiotis, and three remarkable but dark paintings of Old Testament scenes.

The most celebrated relic is the shroud-wrapped body of the Empress Theodora, in a lined silver sarcophagus in a shrine on the right-hand side of the iconostasis.

Saint Theodora (815-867) was the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Theophilos. She lived during the conflicts and divisions of the iconoclastic heresy, and brought the conflict to an end in the Great Church of Aghia Sophia in Constantinople on 11 March 843, celebrated in the Orthodox Church as ‘the Triumph of Orthodoxy.’

Her body and the body of Corfu’s patron saint, Saint Spyridon, were moved to Corfu after the Fall of Constantinople. Her feast day is 11 February – the same day as feast of Saint Vlassis, and they both share the dedication of the cathedral. Her relics are carried in procession through the streets of Corfu on the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

The bust at the foot of the cathedral steps depicts the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I. While still a deacon, he was elected the Metropolitan of Corfu in 1922. He was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 1960. The meeting between Patriarch Athenagoras and Pope Paul VI in Jerusalem in 1964 led to rescinding the excommunications of 1054. He died in 1972.

Inside Corfu’s cathedral, with the shrine of Saint Theodora to the right, behind the iconostasis (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 6: 24-35 (NRSVA):

24 So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.

25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ 26 Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.’ 28 Then they said to him, ‘What must we do to perform the works of God?’ 29 Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ 30 So they said to him, ‘What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat”.’ 32 Then Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ 34 They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’

35 Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’

Looking out to the harbour and the Ionian Sea from the steps in front of the cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

This week, the USPG Prayer Diary is recalling the 76th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and reflecting on how this commemorated by the Anglican Churh (Nippon Sei Ko Kai) and other faith groups in Japan.

Writing in the Prayer Diary this morning, the Right Revd Augustine N Kobayashi, Bishop of the Diocese of Kobe in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, writes:

On August 6th 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, instantly killing over 70,000 people. Many more died from their injuries and radiation poisoning caused by the bombing.

In 1950, the Anglican church in Hiroshima, which had been destroyed, was rebuilt and re-dedicated as the Church of the Resurrection.

In 1998, I was appointed as Priest at the Church of the Resurrection. To my surprise, there was no specific church service to commemorate the bombing of Hiroshima. The bombing had become a taboo subject.

On the 60th anniversary of the bombing, a group of church leaders from Hiroshima initiated the Hiroshima Peace Worship. This is an ecumenical initiative where we gather to remember the past and look to the future.

The Hiroshima Peace Worship is held every year on 6th August, with around 200 attendees. We believe that the initiative helps to communicate the reality of war to younger generations and emphasises the need for humankind to work together to achieve peace.

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (1 August 2021, Trinity IX) invites us to pray:

Loving Lord Jesus,
We thank you for the gift of peace.
Fill us with that peace,
And help us learn to share it with others.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The gallery at the west end of the cathedral (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

The bust of Patriarch Athenagoras outside Corfu Cathedral … he was Metropolitan of Corfu in 1922-1930 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)