Hidden behind an ancient church on one of the seven hills of Rome, a new secret garden has been brought to life by members of the different English speaking churches in the Eternal City.
On Wednesday October 5th, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of
Canterbury Justin Welby will pray together at Vespers in the church of
St Gregory on the Caelian hill to celebrate the significant progress
that has been made in Anglican-Catholic relations over the past half
The church and monastery, run by the Benedictine Camaldoli community,
have a special place in the history of Christianity in England and it’s
here that the new garden has been developed, next door to a home for
the elderly run by sisters of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
The ecumenical garden project (ecumenicalgarden.blogspot.com) was the
brainchild of Rev Dana English, assistant chaplain at All Saints
Anglican church in Rome.
recalls the legend of Pope Gregory seeing the young English slave boys
being sold in the market and being moved to send a delegation of monks
to re-evangelise the country.
Since it was from the monastery of St
Gregory that Augustine and his monks were sent out on mission to
England, the church has become a focal point for meetings between popes
and archbishops of Canterbury over recent decades.
She says this latest encounter of Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin
Welby, for the celebration of Vespers on October 5th, is a “timely
meeting and a joyful occasion” as they will jointly commission Anglican
and Catholic bishops from around the world to go out and share the
Alongside the architectural treasures of the church on the Caelian
hill with its ancient Roman artefacts, Rev Dana says the monastery
garden now provides “an oasis of peace” and a practical symbol of
Christians “working side by side to further a cause they hold in