Earlier this summer my long suffering wife and I took a cruise in the Baltic visiting a number of locations and cities before arriving at our most easterly destination of St. Petersburg; the Venice of the North. Amongst the many beautiful sights we saw in Estonia and Russia were cathedrals which equal, if not exceed, the excesses found in Baroque churches in European regions such as Bavaria in southern Germany.
|Church of the Spilled Blood|
Conversely in Northern Germany where Lutheranism is predominant the austerity of their churches we visited was stark. Perhaps a view of the future of Catholic churches in the U.K. where some Bishops and priests seem driven to strip our churches of our patrimony in the name of "the spirit of Vatican II", ecumenism and modernism.
Whatever your preference there is always a constant - the Universality of the Church and our Christian belief.
In St Petersburg I had the great privilege in handing over to Oleg-Michael Martynov, the chairman of Una Voce Russia, a complete set of Low Mass Requiem Vestments including Cope, a small altar stone complete with a saint's relic, ideal for a small travelling altar, birettas and a Missale Defunctorum. This was a gift from Una Voce Scotland to our Catholic brethren in Russia. We are both part of the FIUV world wide organisation.
I received an email from Oleg-Michael last week stating that the Altar stone had already been used during their four day 100km St Olaf Pilgrimage walk (see picture below).
|Fr Paolo Giancinti IVE offers Mass during the Pilgrimage|
Perhaps Ian Fleming will forgive me but rather than "From Russia with Love" I will say "To Russia with Love" from all of us in Scotland.