Another terrorist attack has happened - this time in London at Parliament. Apparently a single attacker wrought a considerable amount of destruction and mayhem. Since we are at an unprecedented time of peace in the western world, such an attack is all the more visible.
Amidst all the cowardly violence, however, the light of valor managed to show through. Tobias Ellwood, a former soldier who is currently the Minister for Counter-Terrorism, rushed to the aid of a fatally-wounded police officer.
Less nobly, the broken record continues of weak and trite responses declaring one or another emotional yet vapid comments in response to terrorist attacks. That stands in stark contrast to the bold and strong words of Sir Winston Churchill and others like him (though there truly is no one quite like Churchill). What is painfully absent is a strong sense of resolve that good and decent people of the world will fight to stop those who wish them harm and will resolve to die rather than live as slaves or live in fear. That and that alone is the only rhetoric for a free people. That is the legacy of our ancestors in the armies of the Holy Cross. That is the legacy of the pilots in the Battle of Britain and of those who crossed the Channel to Normandy and who landed on the shores of Italy to lift the shadow of bigoted oppression.
In the past, the United Kingdom knew how to deal with terrorists when faced with regular, cowardly attacks by the IRA. Now, however, we can only hope that the British people have not forgotten that the nose of the British bulldog slopes backward so that it may breathe without letting go. The tenacity so associated with the spirit of the British Isles is the legacy brought by the Romans and by the Normans. It is their historic nature - unless they themselves choose to abdicate and abandon their birthright, and knuckle under and crawl in the face of the enemy.
The unique and special patrimony of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen includes both Anglican and Roman - both English and Italian. The Patriarchal household of the See of St. Stephen is centered in Florence, but called the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham. The ties between Italy and England, however, are neither new nor unusual. It is an old relationship. Saint Augustine of Canterbury, founder of the Catholic Anglican Church, was himself an Italian. Saint Anselmo, an important Archbishop of Canterbury, was born in the Italian lands of Aosta, then in the Kingdom of Arles, which at one time ruled both Tuscany and the entire Kingdom of Italy in the Holy Roman Empire. The list continues. Our Patriarchate is forever linked not only to the holy land of Italy, but to the British Isles. We therefore feel this attack no differently than if it were done to us directly. Let us pray that the people of Britain will remember their true heritage of faith and strength and that the government will act appropriately. Those who refuse to fight when the battle is easy to win and victory may even be possible without bloodshed will so often find themselves in a bloody conflict of great difficulty and uncertainty. It is a lesson that history teaches, but one that many refuse to learn.