On 2 February Abba Seraphim chaired a well attended day seminar on “Glastonbury Abbey – Influence and Legacy” organised by the British Orthodox Church. It was held at the Abbey House in Glastonbury, across the lawns of which the impressive ruins of the mediaeval abbey stand. It was a crisp and sunny day and both the abbey and the town were bathed in sunlight. It was universally agreed that all four lectures were both informative and engaging and during the intervals in the proceedings, there was a relaxed and sociable interchange between lecturers and ‘seminarians’.
Dr. Cheryl Green opened proceedings by talking about the Glastonbury Abbey Excavation Archive Project, which has been analysing and reinterpreting the records of previous excavations made between 1908-1979. Her enthusiasm was matched by her helpful plans and matching slides as she explained some of the exciting discoveries and possibilities opened up by the project. Professor Michelle Brown, who engaged her audience with her brilliant knowledge and command of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, showed how the wider cultural context impinged on Glastonbury Abbey and introduced documents known to have emanated or been kept at the Abbey before its Dissolution. Dr. Tim Hopkinson-Ball, whose previous studies on Glastonbury have dealt with its more recent history, showed a facile command of its mediaeval history and concentrated on the pre-eminence of the Marian cultus at Glastonbury. Dr. Adam Stout, who has previously dealt with Glastonbury’s little known 18th century history traced the development of the traditions concerning St. Joseph of Arimathea and how they were used as religious propaganda by both Catholic and Protestants. The last two speakers have both made notable contributions and original research to much neglected aspects of Glastonbury’s rich history.
It is hoped to publish some of the papers in the Glastonbury Review.
Among British Orthodox clergy present were Father Simon Smyth, Father Martin Lee (Sidmouth) and Deacon John Stuart (Exeter).
Following the conclusion of the seminar, Father Thomas Cook, a priest of the Western Rite Vicariate of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, led Vespers at St. Margaret’s Church in Glastonbury.
The Annual Lecture & Service at St. Felix, Babingley, which traditionally conclude the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which was scheduled for Saturday, 19, January, has had to be cancelled as a result of the sudden cold spell, bringing with it heavy snow and serious disruption on the roads. Nicolas Crampton, founder of Eastern Christian Links, was due to speak on ”Nicaea Revisited.” Abba Seraphim said that this was the first occasion in 12 years that the annual lecture had not been held. He stated that the lecture would be re-scheduled for a later date, but he would arrange this for a time when it would not be a hostage to the weather. “We have just installed new heaters at St Felix, so we could have managed with the low outside temperatures, but I am anxious not to put people at risk of accidents or being unable to return home safely and I do agree with the advice not to make unnecessary journeys if they can be avoided.” For the same reason, there will be no Sunday service at St. Felix on 20 January.
Glastonbury Abbey – Influence and Legacy
A seminar at
Abbey House, Chilkwell Street, Glastonbury
Saturday 2 February 2013, 10 am – 4.30 pm.
The last few years have been and exciting time for Glastonbury archaeology and history, with the rediscovery and reinterpretation of material from historic excavations, new surveys of the Abbey grounds and architectural remains, and the exploration of new directions in historical understanding. Here a group of distinguished scholars at the cutting edge of Glastonbury research present an overview of the Abbey’s role in national life from its shadowy beginnings to the dawn of the Romantic era.
Registration: £15, payable by cheque to ‘British Orthodox Church’
BOC Secretariat, 10 HeathwoodGardens, Charlton, London, SE7 8EP
Welcome and Introduction: H.E. Abba Seraphim, Metropolitan of Glastonbury.
New archaeological perspectives from the Historic Excavations of Glastonbury Abbey
Dr. Cheryl Green
The Glastonbury Abbey Excavation Archive Project is analysing, reinterpreting and making available the entire unpublished archaeological archive from the excavations conducted between 1908 and 1979. The paper outlines the historic excavations and the scope of this project before introducing some of the new discoveries and re-evaluations in relation to the mid- to late Saxon period.
Glastonbury‘s Role in Late Saxon England
Prof. Michelle Brown
Michelle P. Brown, Professor Emerita, University of London, and former Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library will speak about Glastonbury Abbey in the Anglo-Saxon period and its contribution towards the material culture of the reform movement of the tenth century.
IESVS: MARIA: The Late Medieval Cultus of the Virgin at Glastonbury.
Dr. Tim Hopkinson Ball
Through the story of its foundation, a church explained its existence and proclaimed its sanctity, both to itself and to the wider world. This paper explores the Virgin’s centrality to Glastonbury’s self identity in the high Middle Ages, especially in relation to lived spirituality at the abbey and the monastery’s putative founder, St Joseph of Arimathea.
Dr. Adam Stout
Joseph of Arimathea, lionised as a proto-Protestant in Elizabethan England, was consequently put firmly in his place by Catholics keen to assert the primacy of Rome. Adam Stout looks at how the political and religious changes of the next century or so saw this potent figure re-adopted by the Catholic cause amid Jacobite claims to speak for the whole nation
Summary: Paul Ashdown.
Although the Oriental Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom share a common faith, they do not share a common calendar, so the Nativity Feast was celebrated on 25 December for the British, Indian and Syrian Orthodox, on 6 January for the Armenian Orthodox and 0n 7 January for the Coptic, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox.
On 6 January Abba Seraphim presided at the Blessing of the Waters and Divine Liturgy at St. Mary & St. Felix Church at Babingley, Norfolk, where he preached on the meaning of the Holy Theophany, one of the seven great feasts of the Church. Having blessed all those present with the newly sanctified water, they afterwards took away bottles of the holy water for use in their homes. That same evening, Abba Seraphim presided at the Nativity Vigil of the canonical Eritrean Orthodox Church (recognising Patriarch Antonios) in London meeting in Archway, Highgate, where he was warmly welcomed by Father Shenouda Haile and his congregation. Also assisting in the sanctuary was Subdeacon Daniel Malyon from the British Orthodox Church. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy clergy and people sat together to enjoy a festive meal and Abba Seraphim blessed two birthday cakes as well as the traditional enjera, hambasha and wat.
The Discovering Orthodoxy online catechesis has now been launched by the London School of Orthodox Christian Studies, and the course website can be visited at www.discoveringorthodoxy.org
The first two units available to any visitors to the site, but a user account system will be implemented over the course of this week and so that only registered students will be able to access future units. This is to allow the provision of proper support to those engaged in catechesis. Registered students will receive their account details before the next unit is published.
Several other units are already in production. The next unit to be published will be Beginning with Church History which will be presented by H.E. Metropolitan Seraphim. Father Peter Farrington is producing a unit looking at the evidence for our faith in God.
There are over 800 students registered for the Discovering Orthodox online catechesis from around the world. This is truly a global and pan-Orthodox and ecumenical project. The long term target throughout 2013 is to produce 50 interesting units of study, and to have registered 2000 students.
Each of the units will contain a short written introduction which will include some important references from the Fathers of the Church relevant to the topic. The main content will be a video/audio presentation by one of the course contributors. Followed by a short Bible study on the topic. There will be a few simple questions just to allow us to make sure that the learning material is working and you have understood the topic.
There are over 200 topics for which we material is being planned, and this phase of the project will take several years to complete. It is hoped to produce a serious and useful library of resources that will remain helpful to Orthodox Christians and those interested in the Orthodox Faith.
H.E Metropolitan Seraphim says of this project..
Catechesis is an essential component of the church’s ministry and I warmly support this latest initiative of the London School of Orthodox Studies. A commitment to sharing the Apostolic faith and tradition is not only a witness to the catholicity of the Orthodox Church but also a precious token of love to those of other Christian traditions or none. In each generation our fathers have faced the challenges of their Age but this inexhaustible spiritual nourishment has never failed to sustain and strengthen those who feast on it.
- 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.