NEWS FROM THE BRITISH ORTHODOX CHURCH
On 23 April 2006, being Holy Pascha, James Anthony KELLY was ordained Reader at the Church of Christ the Saviour, Winton, Bournemouth, at the hands of Abba Seraphim.
On 11 November 2006, Seraphim MINA was ordained to the Sacred Order of the Priesthood at St. Thomas’s Church, Old Charlton, London, SE7, at the hands of Abba Seraphim.
Abba Seraphim in Glastonbury
Assisted by Fathers Simon Smyth and Martin Lee, with Deacon John Stuart, Abba celebrated the Divine Liturgy in St. Patrick’s Chapel in Glastonbury Abbey on 11 March for British Orthodox members in the West of England.
Abba Seraphim in Manchester and Wales
Accompanied by Deacon Seraphim, Abba Seraphim visited Manchester and North Wales 10-13 April. Upon arrival in Manchester they were met by Archimandrite Deiniol of the Wales Orthodox Mission under the Ukrainian Orthodox diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarch and Father Bishoy Michael Naguib, Priest of St. Mary & St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church in Stockport, Manchester. After visiting the Coptic Church and Fr. Bishoy’s family, they travelled to Cheetham Hill for an Ecumenical Meeting with the local Eritrean Orthodox community to discuss the establishment of an Eritrean Parish in Manchester. The meeting began with Coptic Evening Prayer and ended with a traditional Eritrean supper.
Later that evening Abba Seraphim and Deacon Seraphim travelled to Blaenau Ffestiniog, where they were guests of the Wales Orthodox Mission. During their stay they were able to visit and pray at the Shrine of Saint Melangell at Pennant Melangell and to take tea with Evelyn Davies, whose late husband (The Rev’d Paul Davies) had led the shrine’s restoration.
Syrian Patriarch at Stevenage
During a recent visit to England, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Zaka I Iwas, Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, was entertained to lunch at the Coptic Orthodox Centre at Stevenage on 4 April by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, on behalf of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. The British Orthodox Church was represented by Father Anthony Clements and Deacon Mark Saunders.
Holy Week and Holy Pascha
Holy Week services were held at the Churches of Christ the Saviour, Bournemouth (Dorset); St. Felix at Babingley ( Norfolk); St. Alban at Chatham ( Kent) and St. Mark & St. Hubert, Cusworth, Doncaster ( South Yorkshire). In accordance with his usual tradition, Abba Seraphim celebrated the Paschal Feast at Bournemouth and led the commemorations of the faithful departed at the Wimborne Road Cemetery the next morning.
Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches
New officers were elected for the Council of Oriental Churches in the United Kingdom at its meeting on 16 May. His Grace Bishop Angaelos was elected as President; Father Antonious Thabet Shenouda was re-elected as Chairman; Father Abraham Thomas was elected as Secretary and Fr. Eldhose Koungampillil was elected as Treasurer. Bishop Nathan Hovhanissian and Abba Seraphim are both ex officio Vice Presidents of the Council.
Abba Seraphim in Sweden
Abba Seraphim visited Sweden from 4-10 May, during which he was present at a celebration of the ‘Desert Mass’ in the Svenska Kyrkan Högalids Församling in Stockholm and attended a Conference on the ‘Desert Mass’ at the Marielund Retreat House on the island of Ekerö (4-6 May) before visiting St. Mary & St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church in Midsommerkransen as the guest of Abuna Bachomios Demetry. Abba Seraphim prayed the Saturday evening Vespers and the Sunday morning Liturgy as well as assisting at the celebration for St. Mark’s Feast on Sunday evening. During his stay, Abba Seraphim visited several homes of the faithful, where he was warmly received.
Pentecost in Cairo
Abba Seraphim attended the plenary session of the Holy Synod in Cairo on 10 June and assisted at the Pentecost Feast in Saint Mark’s, Cathedral, where he joined His Holiness Pope Shenouda III and the Metropolitans and Bishops in consecrating to the Sacred Order of the Episcopate three new bishops: Abba Mina as Abbot of St. George’s Monastery, El Khatatba; Abba Aghathon as Bishop of Brazil and Abba Youssef as Bishop of Bolivia.
On 12 June Abba Seraphim made a number of pastoral visits as well as calling at St. Mina’s Church, Abagia to greet Father Kyrillos. Whilst there he also visited the churches of St. George at Bekhit and St. Moses the Black at Mansheyet Nasr.
Preserving Manuscripts from the Syrian Monastery
On 7 June Abba Seraphim attended an illustrated lecture at the Arts Club in London by Professor Lucas Van Rompay of Duke University, North Carolina, entitled “Greek Fathers in the Egyptian Desert”. This was followed by a reception hosted by the Levantine Foundation in aid of their project of preserving and recording Christian Manuscripts from the Deir al-Saurian Monastery in Egypt. Also present, as guest of honour, was Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira. Following the reception Abba Seraphim was invited to dine with the President and Trustees of the Foundation.
Abba Seraphim in East Anglia
On 15 July Abba Seraphim gave the first of a series of talks on Orthodox Tradition at St. Andrew’s Church at Mickfield in Suffolk. The following morning he celebrated the Divine Liturgy at St. Mary & St. Felix Orthodox Church at Babingly. As it was the joint birthdays of Subdeacons Roger and Christopher, afterwards the congregation were entertained to lunch at Castle Rising Golf Club. On 22 September he returned to Mickfield and spoke on “Worship in the Orthodox Tradition” (when he was joined by Father Makary from Norwich and Father Anthony Clements from Babingly) and on 24 November on “The Fathers and the Saints”
New Priest Ordained
The ordination to the priesthood on 11 November of Father Seraphim Mina, who has served for the past few years as Deacon attached to St. Thomas’s Parish, Charlton, was a popular act and the ceremony was supported by many ecumenical friends as well as representatives of all the British Orthodox parishes and communities. Among messages received from Coptic hierarchs were those from Metropolitan Pachomious of Beheira, Bishop Andraos of Abu Tieg, Estaphanos of Beba, Faam of Tema and General Bishops Tawadros ( Damanhur) and Boutros ( Patmos). Greetings were also received from Bishop Edwin Barnes (formerly of Richborough), Christopher Hill of Guildford, Geoffrey Rowell of Europe, Dominic Walker of Monmouth, Michael Marshall (Assistant in London).
Abba Seraphim’s Thirtieth visit to Egypt
Abba Seraphim flew into Cairo, unaccompanied, late on 12 November, where he was met by Shenouda Mamdouh and conducted to St. Mark’s Centre in Nasr City. The following morning he drove to St. Bishoy’s Monastery in the Wadi N’atrun, where he participated in a plenary meeting of the Holy Synod. During the afternoon he visited the Syrian Monastery, where he was received by the Abbot, His Grace Bishop Mattheous. In the evening he attended the Banquet at St. Bishoy’s Monastery to celebrate the 35 th anniversary of Pope Shenouda’s Enthronement, before returning to Cairo.
On 14 November, accompanied by Shenouda Mandouh and Father Arsanious Amba Boula, he visited St. Theodore’s Convent (Amir Tadros) at Hậrat ar Rûm, where they were greeted by the Abbess, Mother Adrosios and stayed for lunch. They also called at St. Mina’s Church, Abagia to greet Father Kyrillos. In the evening he attended Vespers at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo and assisted at the ceremonies related to the elevation of Father Daniel Amba Boula as the new Abbot and Bishop of Saint Paul’s Monastery. On 15 November he participated in the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral, during which H.H. Pope Shenouda, assisted by the members of the Holy Synod, consecrated Father Daniel to the episcopate. Later in the day Abba Seraphim made a number of pastoral visits, to Miss Haifa and Dr. Soad.
On 15 November Abba Seraphim’s party visited the re-opened Coptic Museum in Old Cairo and, it being the Birthday of Saint George, visited St. George’s Convent to greet Bishop Silwanos and the nuns of St. George. In the evening Abba Seraphim dined with friends at the home of Shenouda Mamdouh in Zeitoun.
On 16 November he visited a number of Museums in Cairo including the Museum of Islamic Ceramics and the Mr. & Mrs. Mahmoud Khalil Museum, famous for its fine collection of French Impressionists. In the evening he dined at St. Mark’s Centre with Metropolitan Marcos and Bishopo Athanasios of the French Coptic Orthodox Church. On 17 November, accompanied by the archaeologist, Miss Monica Hanna, and with a group of university students, they visited the Collapsed Pyramid of Maidum, ascribed to Snofru, the first king of the IV Dynasty (c. 2613-2494 BC and the Pyramid of Amenemhat III (1842-1797 BC) at Hawara. In addition they viewed the site of an ancient Labyrinth, recorded by Strabo and Herodotus. They then drove to Archangel Mikhail Monastery near Fayoum, where they were greeted by the monks. After this they lunched beside the lake at Fayoum before returning to Cairo.
On Sunday, 19 they visited the Fine Arts Museum and Zamalek and the Cairo Great Library before visiting Bishop Boutros at the Patmos Centre where they discussed the different projects of Patmos and congratulated him on the great success of Aghapy TV. In the evening
H.H. Pope Shenouda received Abba Seraphim accompanied by Shenouda Mamdouh at the Patriarchate in Anba Ruiss, where they stayed for aboutr an hour. Here Abba Seraphim was able to convey personally the love and greetings of the British Orthodox clergy and people for His Holiness and express their thanks to God for his remarkable recovery from surgery. They were also able to discuss the ministry of the British Orthodox Church and other ecclesiastical issues.
Sarkis, the survivor of Abba Seraphim’s original pair of Van Cats, died on 18 April 2006 aged 17 years. He is survived by his great-nephew, Gregory II.
Abba Seraphim preached at the Ascension Day Liturgy at St. Alban’s, Holborn, on 25 May. Also present among the guests were Archimandrite Deiniol of the Wales Orthodox Mission and Fr. Sergius Scott. Following the service they were entertained to dinner by the Venerable Howard Levett.
Shenouda Mamdouh was present in London on business at the end of the month and dined with Abba Seraphim on 29 and 30 May.
Abba Seraphim, assisted by Subdeacons Paul Ashdown and Alan de Quincy, was an official guest at the annual Glastonbury Pilgrimage on 17 June 2006 where they took party in the Procession of Witness and attended the Mass celebrated by the Bishop of Blackburn (The Right Rev’d Nicholas Reade).
Abba Seraphim and Father Sergius Scott were among the guests at St. Alban’s, Holborn, for its Patronal Festival on 22 June when the Archbishop of Canterbury celebrated the Eucharist and preached.
At the end of September Father Sergius Scott moved from the Church Secretariat, where he has lived for the past eleven years, and taken up residence nearby. His address is 24 St. Joseph’s Court, Bramhope Lane, Charlton, London, SE7 7HP.
Abba Seraphim, accompanied by Father Sergius Scott, attended the annual Constantinople Lecture at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 23 November, which was given by Mor Matta Roham, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jazirah & the Euphrates on the topic, “Syriac-Aramaic Heritage: Past and Present.”
Abba Seraphim gave an interview on Premier Christian Radio on 29 November concerning the significance of Pope Benedict’s visit to Turkey.