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.
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.
4 November. At 9.40 GMT Metropolitan Bakhomios, the locum tenens, performed his last duty in that office by unwrapping the glass ball handed to him by the blindfolded altar boy, Bishoi Mossaed (himself chosen by lot from among twelve other altar servers), and announcing the name of the 118th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria. The Divine choice had fallen on the General Bishop serving in his own diocese, Bishop Tawadros, it being coincidentally the new Pope’s sixtieth birthday. Bishop Tawadros had been consecrated at the hands of the late Pope Shenouda on 15 June 1997, at which Abba Seraphim had been privileged to assist as a co-consecrator.
Abba Seraphim was himself travelling to Babingley when he received a message from his Egyptian secretary, Shenouda Mamdouh, which meant that in the Liturgy that morning he not only announced the joyful result of the Papal election but was able to pray for Pope Tawadros for the first time. He will travel to Cairo for the enthronement ceremony on 18 November.
The new Pope was staying at his monastery of St. Bishoy in the Wadi El N’atrun when the Lot was drawn and on being told the news, replied, “I thank the Lord for His grace; I am undeserving.” He then joined the monks at the monastery in prayers and doxologies before the shrine of Saint Bishoy. A stream of visitors, led by Metropolitan Bakhomios, soon appeared at the monastery to offer their congratulations.
His predecessor, Pope Tawadros (Theodore) I [731-742] was the 45th Pope of Alexandria.
The British Orthodox Church has marked the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. The Queen with a special thanksgiving prayer used in all its churches and missions,
“Almighty God, who rulest over all the kingdoms of the world, and dost order them according to thy good pleasure: We yield Thee unfeigned thanks, for that Thou wast pleased, as at this time, to set Thy Servant our Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, upon the Throne of this Realm. Let Thy wisdom be her guide, and let Thine arm strengthen her; let truth and justice, holiness and righteousness, peace and charity, abound in her days; direct all her counsels and endeavours to Thy glory, and the welfare of her subjects; give us grace to obey her cheerfully for conscience sake, and let her always possess the hearts of her people; let her reign be long and prosperous, and crown her with everlasting life in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
At its recent meeting, the Synod of the British Orthodox Church also sent a Loyal Address to Her Majesty:
“We, Your Majesty’s faithful subjects, the Metropolitan and Priests, together with the officers of the British Orthodox Church, assembled in Synod in London on this thirtieth day of May, in the Year of our Lord 2012, desire to assure Your Majesty of our loyalty and devotion to Your Person and to Your Throne on the occasion of the national celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Your Majesty’s Accession.
Throughout these sixty years Your Majesty has maintained a steadfast witness to the Christian Faith as well as setting us all an admirable example of fidelity to the precepts of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The support and encouragement shown by Your Majesty for the diverse pastoral and charitable activities undertaken by the churches has provided a constant and powerful witness in a changing society which has edified and encouraged us all.
Your Majesty’s example of self-sacrifice, lifelong commitment to the service of the common good and unwavering witness to the abiding significance of spiritual values has strengthened the witness of all Christians as they endeavour to show the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world in which they live.
The British Orthodox Church, having the privilege to worship in St. Felix Chapel at Babingley, a property on the Sandringham Estate, which Your Majesty has graciously permitted us to use for our worship since 2001, has an especial reason to be grateful for Your Majesty’s support and munificence.
In all the liturgical services of the British Orthodox Church it has been our joyful duty to pray for Your Majesty and all the Reigning House but it is with heartfelt devotion that our congregations throughout the United Kingdom now celebrate with special thanksgiving this auspicious anniversary, continuing to beseech Almighty God to grant health, happiness and Many Years to Your Majesty, to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and all the Royal Family.
Metropolitan of Glastonbury
Hegoumenos Simon Smyth
Chairman of the Priests’ Council
Father Peter Farrington
Secretary of the British Orthodox Synod”
On 5 May, during the regular monthly celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the British Orthodox London Mission of SS. George & Paul the Hermit at St. George-in-the-East, Shadwell, Abba Seraphim ordained Daniel Malyon as a Subdeacon. Daniel is a member of the BOC Portsmouth Parish but whilst teaching near St. Albans, has been serving as a Reader attached to the Secretariat staff, so has been serving with Abba Seraphim at Babingley, Charlton and Shadwell. A graduate in theology, he is currently studying for his Master’s degree in Orthodox Theology at the University of Winchester.
Assisting Abba Seraphim at the Liturgy were Fathers Simon Smyth and Peter Farrington as well as Deacon Theodore de Quincey. They were joined by two of Daniel’s fellow Readers from Portsmouth, James Kelly and Anthony-Paul Holland.