Although the Church in Cusworth Village, near Doncaster, Yorkshire, was opened in 1965, it wasn’t until 1988 that it became Orthodox. It was consecrated by Abba Seraphim on 30 April 1988 and celebrated its Silver Jubilee as an Orthodox Church over the weekend 18-19 May.
The celebration began on Saturday morning with the arrival of Abba Seraphim and the Raising of Morning Incense, during which he spoke about the significance of the Jubilee and the fact that it was not simply looking back, but also looking forward to the future. In addition to Father David Seeds, the parish priest, and Archdeacon Alexander Astill, they were joined by Father Simon Smyth and representatives of the BOC South Coast congregations, Deacon Christopher Barnes representing the Babingley Church, as well as Fathers Habtom Ftuwi, the Eritrean Orthodox priest in Manchester; Fr. Yonas Tesheme, the Eritrean Orthodox priest in Sheffield, along with Eritrean Orthodox faithful; as well as our good friend, Archimandrite Deiniol of the Wales Orthodox Mission and friends from other parts of the country. Among the many messages of greetings received and read out were those from His Grace Bishop Makarios, overseer of the Eritrean Church in the diaspora, the Catholic Bishop of Hallam and the Anglican Vicar of Doncaster.
After a buffet lunch, traditional Eritrean hymns were sung in Tigrinyan and English in the churchyard and Abba Seraphim gave a talk on “The State of Christians in Ancient Bible Lands”. The day concluded with the Raising of Evening Incense.
On Sunday, 19 May, Father David Seeds celebrated the special Thanksgiving Liturgy for the Jubilee and Father Simon Smyth preached the homily.
Abba Seraphim added his voice to the many people concerned for the safety of two Syrian bishops who were kidnapped yesterday and asked for prayers for their early and safe release.
On 22 April, the village of Kfar Dael, a terrorist group ambushed the car containing the Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Aleppo, Mar Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Paul Yazigi of Aleppo & Alexandretta, who were returning to Aleppo from a humanitarian visit. Some reports say that they had been negotiating the release of priests who had been kidnapped earlier. Their driver, a deacon of the church, was killed. It is understood that they were returning from the rebel-held Bab al Hawa crossing with Turkey and that Mar Gregorios had gone to collect Metropolitan Paul because he had crossed there several times before and was familiar with the route. Metropolitan Paul is the brother of the recently elected Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, John X.
Abba Seraphim has repeatedly expressed the view that the deteriorating situation in Syria and the uprising leading to a vicious and brutal war, which is now entering its third year, has been mishandled by the Western powers and media and Her Majesty’s government bears a heavy responsibility for this. Only by bringing all sides together can a solution be found, but by excluding representatives of the Syrian government, whose prolonged survival clearly shows that it still has significant support in the country, we have helped to prolong the conflict.
The recognition of the so-called National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the “sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people” is irresponsible and short-sighted whilst the appointment of Walid Safur as their ‘ambassador’ to the United Kingdom is a political gesture rather than an effective way of promoting dialogue with both sides.
The loose federation of opponents of the Syrian government is not representative of all the Syrian people. Indeed the Foreign Secretary has stated that part of the resolution of this conflict requires Syria’s opposition groups to win the trust of the Syrian people and provide a united and viable political alternative. The rebels do not represent all sunni Syrians, let alone the significant minorities of the Alawites, Kurds and Christians as well as Druze and others. These minorities alone make up more than one third of the Syrian population.
There are serious concerns that the armed rebel groups contain many foreign mercenaries acting for foreign interests and have a high number of active Jihadists in their ranks. Their Islamicist agenda is clearly visible, and they have already targeted Christian, Kurdish as well as Alawite communities for purely sectarian reasons.
The Free Syrian Army looks to the spiritual leadership of Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour, a Syrian exile in Saudi Arabia, who divides Syrians into three categories; those who support the revolution, those who ignore it, and those who oppose it. He insists the judgement against those who are against the revolution will be great. He speaks of the Alawites in particular, saying that any Alawites who stand with “us” will be protected, but “those that stand against us will have their flesh ground in meat grinders and fed to the dogs.”
There is no question of the scale and extent of the atrocities being committed on a daily basis but too often the international media and the British government draw on reports issued by the so-called “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, a UK based mouthpiece of anti-Assad activists demonstrating a partisan view of events, aimed at blaming the Syrian government for every atrocity committed.
The two bishops have both been active in calling for a peaceful solution and have vigorously eschewed any recourse to violence. Despite the obvious dangers they have preferred to remain with their flocks through some of the worse times and have both been at the forefront of organising humanitarian support and maintaining the constructive inter-faith dialogue and co-operation which they have promoted throughout their ministries. Even the circumstances of their kidnapping, both selflessly engaged in helping others and working together as true brothers in Christ, commends them to all those who seek peace and harmony in a troubled world.
The new series of the BOC London Mission Study Evenings at Shadwell will be on the theme of “Understanding the Liturgy” and will be led by Abba Seraphim. They will focus on the Liturgies of St. James as used in the British Orthodox Church and St. Basil, as used in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Apart from improving understanding of liturgical worship, they will focus on the symbolism of certain liturgical actions and will make comparisons between the two ancient rites. The first session will be on 18 April and deals with ‘The Enarxis or Preparation’; this will be followed on 16 May with ‘Processions & Entrances’ and the series will conclude on 13 June with ‘Fraction & Consecration’.
All Study Sessions begin with a short Evening Prayer at 7.,30 p.m. followed by the Study Session between 7.45 – 9.00 p.m. when light refreshments are served.
Abba Seraphim attended Solemn Evensong at the Guild Church of St. Dunstan-in-the-West, London, on 17 April for the ceremony of Licensing the Right Rev’d Jonathan Baker, Suffragen Bishop of Fulham, as Guild Vicar of St. Dunstans. Bishop Baker is a former Principal of Pusey House, who was consecrated as Bishop of Ebbsfleet in 2011 and translated to Fulham in February this year. Presiding at the service was The Bishop of London (The Right Rev’d Richard Chartres), who preached an engaging and inspiring sermon. Among the guests present was His Eminence Metropolitan Iosif, of the Roumanian Orthodox Diocese of Western and Southern Europe, with whom Abba Seraphim discussed the Joint Commission between the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. A reception followed afterwards at Hoare’s Bank in Fleet Street.
London Liturgy to pray for the Church in Egypt
On Saturday, 13th April, 9:30 am. His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate will celebrate the Liturgy and invites all who wish to pray for the peace of Egypt and the safety of the Coptic Orthodox Church to unite with us in prayer.
The Liturgy will take place at St George in the East, Cannon Street Road, Shadwell, London, E1 0BH, beginning at 9:30 am with the Raising of Incense, and at 10:00 am with the Liturgy itself.
All interested and faithful Christians who are able to pray with us on this occasion are most warmly invited to do so.
Our worship will be in the English language.
The Church of St George in the East is only 4 minutes walk from Shadwell DLR station.
- 26 May 2013
- Morning Incense & Divine Liturgy: BournemouthWorship commences 09.30
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Morning Prayer: Babingley10.00am Morning Prayer
- Morning Prayer: ChathamOrthodox Morning Prayer: 10:30 am
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: CharltonRaising of Incense 2.00 p.m.
Divine Liturgy 2.30 p.m.