To mark forty years of Common Statements between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches, Solemn Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated at St. James’s Catholic Church, Spanish Place, on 6 December, the Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra. Sponsored jointly by the Catholic-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum (COORF) and the Ecumenical Society of the Blessed Virgin, it was presided over by The Most Rev’d Archbishop Kevin McDonald. The service, much of which was in Latin (and included settings by Monteverdi and Palestrina), was sung by the Choir of St. James’ Church, directed by Mr. Terry Worroll, with Mr. Simon Lloyd, Director of Music of the Carmelite Church in Kensington, as organist. It concluded with a Malankara Orthodox Syrian Hymn of the Annunciation of the Mother of God, sung by the choir of St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church at Brockley, directed by Dr. Thomas Jacob.
Abba Seraphim read the lesson and Archbishop Kevin spoke about the growing manifestation of unity among the churches and the work of the Forum, to which His Grace Bishop Angaelos responded. At the conclusion everyone present was invited to light refreshments, generously provided by St. James’s Church.