Riches come unforeseen to brethren (and friends) as we live the round of prayer at Mirfield. Among these riches are those people who ask to share our life for an extended period of time. On Sunday 24th September, we said farewell to Bogdan Branza, a young and friendly Romanian who is the most recent of a series of students to stay with us from the Theological Institute in Iasi. Bogdan is clearly used to being around monks; he helped unobtrusively, engaged us in stimulating conversation about the faith, attended the Romanian parish of St Macarius in Leeds, and used his time here, sheltering from the heats of the Romanian summer, to study and write on St Maximus the Confessor.
Those who have been at the daily mass with us in this period may well have heard Bogdan contribute a hymn of praise during the administration of communion, and felt their own faith become just that little more deeply rooted. There is an atmosphere in the Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe which breeds suspicion of Western Christianity, tinged as we are with secularism. In such an atmosphere, the willingness of Bogdan and others to open themselves to the fellowship of Christians of a different stamp is a significant and welcome anticipation of our unity in Christ.
And next? We are set to welcome our first (ever?) Intern this coming November. Perhaps we’re not yet sure what an intern is or should be but, when a Masters student from Trinity Theological College, Singapore, contacted us wanting to pursue this as a placement which would help him ground the pastoral theology he’s been studying in practices of daily prayer and worship, we were glad to invite him. Please remember Gilbert Lok in your prayers as he prepares to come to Mirfield this Autumn.