This Sunday comes at the end of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity when the online Eucharist from Southwark Cathedral will include Lutheran and Roman Catholic participation from Bergen and Rouen cathedrals.
Southwark’s link with Rouen has several resonances.
Rouen Cathedral is where in 1014 St Olaf was baptised after pulling down London Bridge to defeat a Viking invasion.
Olaf became King of Norway and friends from Bergen and Southwark have travelled together to Rouen.
Having just observed the 850th anniversary of Thomas Becket’s murder, which took place just after his visit to Southwark, it is maybe the moment to recall that Becket’s father was from Rouen.
Also, it was in Rouen during the last year of his life that Thomas Becket was given money to enable him to return from exile to England. The vital assistance came from the Archbishop of Rouen after Henry II broke his promise to meet the Becket in Rouen.
In 2018 a party from Southwark visited Rouen Cathedral during the Week of Prayer and joined in local unity events.
But for the virus, friends from Rouen would been in Southwark last month when Thomas Becket’s 1170 visit was recalled with a choral evensong. 850 years later the preacher was Archbishop Justin Welby.
Southwark’s St George’s Cathedral brought its Becket relic to the anniversary service and their congregation will also be represented at the Eucharist.
The Eucharist this Sunday can be followed on the Southwark Cathedral website at 11am.