To mark the Coptic Feast of Nayrouz and the start of the new Coptic Year 1729, the service of Offering of Evening Incense was held at St. Margaret’s Westminster on 30 October. Presided over by Bishop Angaelos, assisted by Abba Seraphim, it was also attended by priests from the Coptic Orthodox, British Orthodox, Eritrean Orthodox, Indian Orthodox and Syrian Orthodox Churches. Representing the Byzantine family of Orthodox Church were Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira, Archimandrite Deiniol (Ukrainian Orthodox – Ecumenical Patriarchate)and Father Joseph Skinner (director of Inter Orthodox Relations – Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh). The Catholic Church was represented by Bishop Alan Hopes, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, and Father Robert Byrne, National Ecumenical Officer. The Anglican Church was represented by the Bishop of Southwark (Right Rev’d Christopher Chessun), the Right Rev’d John Stroyan (Suffragan Bishop of Warwick) and Right Rev’d David Hamid (Suffragan Bishop of Europe). Before the service commenced Canon Jonathan Goodall, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Personal Chaplain & Ecumenical Secretary, read a message from the Archbishop, who is currently in New Zealand and everyone present was welcomed by Canon Andrew Tremlett, Rector of St. Margaret’s.
At the end of the service the Right Hon. Alistair Burt, M.P., Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and the Right Hon. John Bercow, M.P. Speaker of the House of Commons, both gave short addresses welcoming the celebration and speaking of the increasingly significant contribution made in the UK by the Coptic community. A drinks reception concluded the evening.
On 1 August Father Peter Farrington represented Abba Seraphim (who was out of the country at the time) at a Festive Reception to mark the fiftieth birthday of His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh, the diocesan of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain. This was held at The Cavalry & Guards Club in Piccadilly, London, and was hosted by the Trustees of the Diocese of Sourozh.
A Chopin Recital by Nelly Akopian-Tamarina, the distinguished Russian pianist, who studied at the Moscow Conservatoire under the legendary Alexander Boroisovich Goldenweise was followed by a celebratory dinner. Among the distinguished guests were H.R.H. Prince Michael of Kent, Archbishop Innokenty, the previous hierarch responsible for the Russian Orthodox Church in the British Isles, His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and the Ambassadors of Belorussia and the Ukraine.
Father Peter offered congratulations to Archbishop Elisey on behalf of Abba Seraphim and the British Orthodox Church, and was especially pleased to be able to meet Father John Chapman, the Bishop of London’s Chaplain for International Churches, and Father Benedict Ramsden of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Image source: http://www.sourozh.org/photogallery/01082012/