The Revd Canon Leonard Doolan will be soon leaving his ministry in Cirencester and taking on a new role as Senior Chaplain of the Greater Athens Chaplaincy. Our question to him was ‘what does that involve?’ Here Leonard tells us more:
Since announcing that I had been appointed as Senior Chaplain of the Greater Athens Chaplaincy there has been some interest in what exactly I will be doing there. Here is a quick summary of the key components of the role.
- There is a lovely Anglican church, dedicated to St. Paul, in Philellinou St. in Athens. This is in central Athens, just off Syntagma Square. The church has been there since the mid 1800s. There is of course a congregation of English speaking Christians there, which is a mix of British or American people who have worked or are working in Athens; an increasing number of English speaking Africans; and a number of Greeks who have ceased worshipping in the Orthodox church.
- In the ‘greater’ Athens chaplaincy there is a church in Crete with a part time Asst Chaplain; a church in Patras which is lay led; a small congregation house church in the very north of Athens; and a congregation that meets in a Lutheran school in the north of Greece in Thessaloniki. The Senior Chaplain has the oversight of all of these. In addition, it is possible to have one of the chaplains to ‘bless’ a UK marriage on any of the popular tourist islands.
- Working alongside the Greek Orthodox Church and the Salvation Army, the Chaplain is involved in the work of feeding some 800 people in central Athens every day. The social wing of the Orthodox Church is called These meals are not really aimed at migrants and refugees, but Greeks who have been adversely hit by the Greek financial crisis.
- The Anglican Church in Greece has had a deep commitment to respond to the refugee challenges. The present Senior Chaplain, Fr. Malcolm, was recently decorated with a CBE for his work in this field. The Asst. Curate, Deacon Christine, is now being funded by the United Society for the Propogation of the Gospel (USPG) to work 20 hours a week with refugees, and the Senior Chaplain has developed good links with other relief agencies and UNHCR.
- The Senior Chaplain, in a separate appointment, is Apokrisiarios of The Archbishop of Canterbury to the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. This is a diplomatic role and includes the planning of visits between the two Archbishops or their Delegations, the sharing of correspondence at appropriate times of the year, and a presence at some key events in the life of the Greek church.
- I am also to be appointed as Area Dean. It used to be called the Deanery of the Aegean, but I’m not sure what they call it now. Anyway, the Deanery includes the four chaplaincies in Turkey, the Chaplaincy in Corfu, and those chaplaincies in the Balkan countries to the north of Greece.
So, very briefly, that is what I will be doing for up to the next ten years. It should be interesting, to say the least!