04 May 2021

Praying in Lent and Easter 2021:
77, the Cathedral, Rethymnon

The Cathedral in Mitropolis Square, Rethymnon, was rebuilt after World War II … dedicated to the Eisodia Theotokou (Presentation of the Virgin Mary) and modelled on the Church of Evangelistria on Tinos (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

During the Season of Easter this year, I am continuing my theme from Lent, taking some time each morning to reflect in these ways:

1, photographs 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).

Sunday (2 May 2021) was Easter Day in the Calendar of the Orthodox Church, and this week is Easter Week. I miss the opportunity of being in Greece at this special time of year, so my photographs this week are from churches in Crete.

Until the pandemic lockdown, I have been visiting Rethymnon almost every year since the 1980s. My photographs this morning (4 May 2021) are from the Cathedral in Mitropolis Square, the first church I visited in Rethymnon four decades ago. The cathedral is dedicated to the Eisodia Theotokou or Presentation of the Virgin Mary.

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 Mary is a relatively new building. It occupies most of Mitropolis Square was first built in 1834 on the site of an earlier church.

The second cathedral was badly damaged during World War II and was rebuilt as a miniature of Evangelistria, the great basilica on the island of Tinos, so that the present cathedral is refreshingly modern in appearance, both inside and outside.

The tall bell tower beside the cathedral was built in 1899 as a response by the Christians of Rethymnon to the tall minaret built beside the nearby Nerantzes Mosque. The money to build the bell tower was raised through selling postage stamps and a fundraising drive by the wine merchants of the town.

Inside Rethymnon Cathedral at dusk on a summer’s evening (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

John 14: 27-31a (NRSVA):

[Jesus said:] 27 ‘Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I am coming to you.” If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.’

The Cathedral occupies most of Mitropolis Square in Rethymnon (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary:

The Prayer in the USPG Prayer Diary today (4 May 2021) invites us to pray:

We pray for the work done at Bollobhpur Hospital, run by the Church of Bangladesh. May we continue to offer our support to initiatives which not only heal people, but to teach them to heal others.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

The icon screen in the Cathedral in 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

The bell tower, seen from the porch of the cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

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