The 2010 Oriental Orthodox festival was held at St. George’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral at Stevenage on 8 May with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Grace Bishop Angaelos and His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim with priests of the British, Coptic, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Church, supported by many deacons of these churches. The British Orthodox clergy who attended were Fathers Simon Smyth, Seraphim Mina and Peter Farrington with Archdeacon Alexander Astill, Deacon Mark Saunders and Deacon Theodore de Quincey. They were supported by faithful from the British Orthodox parishes and communities at Babingley, Bournemouth, Charlton, Chatham, Cusworth and Portsmouth.
At the conclusion of the Liturgy the Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox clergy and choirs performed traditional Paschal songs and dances which never fail to delight their listeners. His Grace Bishop Angaelos spoke of the sense of unity always felt at such occasions whilst Abba Seraphim emphasised the rich diversity of the Oriental Orthodox traditions. This was followed by a buffet lunch, comprising exotic Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Keralan foods with traditional British cold meats, cheeses and salads, followed by home baked cakes and syrupy Egyptian deserts. The choir of St. Gregorious Indian Orthodox Church at Brockley, south-east London, performed a medley of traditional religious songs ending with a very lively folk song to which devotional words had been set.
It was a happy and memorable day with good fellowship, and the warm hospitality always shown by Bishop Angaelos and the staff of the Coptic Church Centre at Stevenage was appreciated by everyone. The Oriental Orthodox Festival is an annual event sponsored by the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK and provides an opportunity for expressing our unity by a common celebration of the Divine Liturgy and a time of sharing of traditions through informal fellowship together afterwards. It is truly a family gathering.
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