|Fr Patrick and Lucille Curran|
The Synod of the Archdeaconry of the East was held in Zabreb, Croatia, at the end of last week. Clergy and lay representatives come together from what is geographically the most extensive archdeaconry in the diocese, covering central Europe, the Balkans, Turkey, the Caucasus and all of Russia.
It is a tradition at this synod for members to bring an item from their own country or area to be auctioned to other members, with the proceeds going to a designated project. (There are usually some tempting items on the auction block - I bid for and won a very good bottle of Ouzo, one year, I recall).
After the traditional auction that ends the Synod of the Eastern Archdeaconry, Archdeacon Patrick Curran was presented with an icon of St Cyril and St Methodius as an expression of thanks from the congregations of the Archdeaconry for his long and dedicated service to them. Fr Patrick has been Archdeacon of this area for longer than I have been a bishop in this diocese, and was key to my own orientation back in 2002!
The icon is a fitting gift for Fr Patrick, given the area he has served as Archdeacon. St Cyril and St Methodius were brothers in the 9th century, from Thessalonica. Although Byzantine Greeks, it is clear that they also learned the tongue of the neighbouring Slavs, they translated much of the scriptures and the liturgy into what is now called Slavonic and evangelised many of the Slavic peoples of Europe. They are venerated by the Churches of the East and the West (in the Church of England, their Feast Day is 14 February). During Archdeacon Patrick's, new congregations were established, or dormant congregations revitalised, in Turkey, Armenia, Croatia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Poland and Crete. He leaves a legacy of a united and enthusiastic Archdeaconry, despite the challenges of geography and scant resources.
Father Patrick continues as Chaplain of Christ Church Vienna, but now steps down as Archdeacon of the East, and hands over this responsibility to Archdeacon Colin Williams. Archdeacon Patrick also received a framed map of Europe as a thank you from the Diocese.