Earlier this month, a visit from the Bishop and his staff from the Diocese of Porvoo (Borgå) in the Church of Finland to Cork, Cloyne and Ross was a valuable opportunity to strengthen links, friendships and mutual understanding between the two dioceses within the Porvoo Communion of Churches.
The Right Reverend Dr Björn Vikström, Bishop of Porvoo, led the delegation of clergy and lay people from the Diocese on a visit to Cork between 9th to 12th June. The Diocese of Porvoo (Borgå) is an extra-territorial diocese within the Church of Finland made up of Swedish speaking congregations and parishes, some inland, but mostly located along the Finnish coast, with the Diocesan Cathedral at Porvoo (known in Swedish as Borgå).
Following their journey from Dublin, and a visit en route to the ancient ecclesiastical site at the Rock of Cashel, the visitors were given a presentation by the Bishop of Cork, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, about Ireland and the Church of Ireland in general, and the United Dioceses of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, in particular. Bishop Colton and Mrs Susan Colton were entertained to dinner by Bishop Vikström and the Finnish party. The following day started with a visit to the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Office for dialogue.
At the heart of the visit was the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Synod when Bishop Vikström addressed the annual gathering of clergy and laity, and the two bishops exchanged gifts. On Sunday morning, 12th June, the entire group attended the Sunday Eucharist at Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, at which the Bishop of Porvoo preached, and Bishop Colton presided. Afterwards a number of people from the Diocese of Cork together with the Finnish visitors were entertained by Dr Paul and Mrs Susan Colton to lunch at the Bishop’s Palace.
The Porvoo Communion of Churches is a fellowship of Anglican and Lutheran Churches in Great Britain and Ireland, the Nordic region, Iberia and the Baltic countries. Porvoo is the name of the cathedral city in Finland where the representatives of the participating Churches celebrated the Eucharist following the conclusion of their ground breaking dialogue. Bishop Paul Colton was present on that occasion and represented the Church of Ireland in the conversations that brought about the agreement. He has preached twice in Porvoo Cathedral since and been on a number of exchange visits to the Church of Finland.