On 25 September, the Archbishop of Canterbury (the Most Reverend & Right Hon. Justrin Welby), assisted by the Bishops of London and Rochester, with the College of Bishops, consecrated two new bishops at Westminster Abbey. These were the Venerable Martyn Snow, Archdeacon of Sheffield & Rotherham, to be Suffragen Bishop of Tewkesbury in the Diocese of Canterbury, and the Reverend Canon Jonathan Goodall, the Archbishop’s Ecumenical Secretary, to be Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Diocese of Canterbury.
Abba Seraphim was among the many ecumenical guests invited to the service and to the reception at Lambeth Palace following the consecration service. Canon Jonathan Goodall’s work with both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches meant that they were well represented at the service. Among those attending were Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira (Ecumenical Patriarchate); Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations & Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate); Bishop Dositej of Great Britain & Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia); Archbishop Iossif of Western & Southern Europe (Patriarchate of Roumania); Bishop Youhanna of Laodikea (Patriarchate of Antioch) and Archbishop Nikiphoros of Askalon (Patriarchate of Jerusalem). Others representing the Oriental Orthodox Churches were Bishop Angaelos and Fathers Shnork Bagdassarian and Garegin Hambardzumyan.
It was a particular pleasure that the Sermon on this auspicious day was preached by The Right Rev’d & Right Hon. the Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury.
Abba Seraphim has signed an E-petition recently placed on H.M. Goverment website, which is especially aimed at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The petition, which was drafted by Nicholas Crampton, founder of Eastern Christian Links, states:
“Noting with dismay the attacks on Coptic Churches in Egypt, and in Syria the kidnapping of the Syrian and Greek Orthodox Archbishops in Aleppo while working on humanitarian relief and of Father Paolo Dall’Oglio in Raqqa while working for Islamic/Christian dialogue and understanding,
We call on the UK Government
(i) To commit publicly to the promotion of toleration of and protection for religious minorities in the Middle East as an important part of UK foreign policy,
(ii) To demand of, and make a condition of diplomatic or any material assistance for, (a) the authorities in and any new Government of Egypt and (b) the members of the Syrian National Coalition, especially the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army, that they publicly promise, enact and energetically enforce the protection of the practice of peaceful religious activities by all their citizens whether Muslim or non-Muslim.”
Abba Seraphim noted that H.H. Pope Tawadros II had recently called upon the Committee responsible for drafting the new Egyptian Constitution to extend its toleration to all non-Muslim religions and not merely to the “three heavenly religions” (Christianity, Islam & Judaism) and believed that religious toleration cannot be limited but should be open to all faiths. He commended the petition to all who respect freedom, justice and toleration: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/54532
Abba Seraphim and Father Peter Farrington were among clergy assisting in the special Service commemorating the Coptic Feast of Nayrouz, hosted for the second year in succession at St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster. His Grace Bishop Angaelos presided and preached. Messages of welcome were made by the Rev’d Canon Andrew Tremlett, Rector of St. Margaret’s; The Archbishop of Canterbury (read in his absence by the Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe) and H.M. The Queen (read by the Countess of Verulam, Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire). At the conclusion, addresses were given by Baroness Cox of Queensbury; the Right Hon. Alistair Burt, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Right Hon. John Bercow, MP, Speaker of the House of Commons. The Church was full and a large number of clergy from other churches joined the procession as ecumenical guests.
The recent visit of His Holiness Mar Basilius Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, to England, was not only a great blessing for the Indian (Malankara) Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom but also a significant ecumenical event. His visit marked a number of historic anniversaries: 80 years since the first celebration of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Qurbana in the Chapel of King’s College, London; 75 years since H.H.The Catholicos, Mar Baselios Geeverghese II visited the UK in 1937; 60 years since the Malayalee migration to the UK and 40 years since the formation of the St. Gregorios Congregation in London.
Abba Seraphim, accompanied by Subdeacon Daniel Malyon and Reader Trevor Maskery, attended the Divine Liturgy celebrated by the Catholicos at St. Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church in Brockley on Sunday, 8 September, and assisted in the liturgical celebration and the parochial speeches and festivities which followed.
On Monday, 9 September a Banquet of some 90 guests was held to honour the Catholicos at Lambeth Palace. In the absence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishops of Gibraltar in Europe (The Right Rev. Geoffrey Rowell) and Southwark (The Right Rev. Christopher Chessum) acted as hosts. Representatives of all the major churches were present as well as many leading members of the Malayalee community in the UK and friends of the Indian Orthodox Church. The British Orthodox Church was represented by Abba Seraphim, Father Peter Farrington and Father & Mrs. Simon Smyth.
Accompanied by his wife Tasoni Sheila, Father Simon Smyth represented Abba Seraphim at the consecration of the new Indian Orthodox Church of Saint Mary in Pilning, Bristol, on Saturday 7 September. The building in Bank Road, Pilning, BS35 4JG was formerly St. Peter’s Primary School. The consecration and first liturgy was celebrated by His Holiness Baselius Mar Thoma Paulose II, Catholicos of the East, supported by the diocesan bishop, His Grace Metropolitan Doctor Mathew Mar Thimothius and His Grace Metropolitan Thomas Mar Athanasius, Bishop of Chengannur, together with seven Indian Orthodox priests and an enthusiastic congregation of several hundred. The whole day typified Oriental Orthodoxy at its best, filled with love, warmth and joy.
Although the Indian Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom & Ireland has twenty-three congregations, this is their third freehold church building. The Bristol parish was founded in October 2002 with only 25 families, but began growing rapidly, so that it was constituted a parish in August 2003 and now has 95 families. Plans to erect a traditional Malankara Church facade received support from the local council as likely to enhance the building’s appearance but is being opposed by the County Council as the building falls within the Green belt. Your prayers are invited for a successful outcome to the church’s appeal. Donations to the building fund can be made via the parish website: http://www.stmarysindianorthodoxchurchbristol.com/new-church-project/
- 7 December 2013
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: Shadwell9.30 am Raising of Incense
10.00 am Liturgy of St. James
11.45 am Refreshments
- 8 December 2013
- Morning Incense & Divine Liturgy: BournemouthWorship commences 09.30
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Morning Prayers: ChathamMorning Prayer: 10:30 am
Led by the Subdeacons
- Morning Prayer: Babingley10.30am Morning Prayer