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.
The traditional services of Holy Week and Pascha were observed by the British Orthodox churches and missions during the past week and reports indicate that they were all well supported. Father Simon Smyth reported that services were held in the three South Coast communities of Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth from Palm Sunday evening to Holy Wednesday but thereafter came together at the Church in Bournemouth for Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Pascha Eve. Representing the local ‘Churches Together’ Father Robin Nash, priest in charge of St. Luke Winton, joined the local congregation for the Paschal Liturgy when he read the Pauline Epistle. On Holy Pascha, Father Simon held a forenoon service and administered Holy Communion to those who had been unable to attend the late night Liturgy, before conducting the usual Memorial prayers around the Orthodox graves in Winton Cemetery.
Abba Seraphim visited the Chatham Church on Holy Thursday, where he performed the Laquan Footwashing and celebrated the Liturgy before travelling to Babingley to preside at the Good Friday prayer and the Paschal Vigil and Liturgy, which took place at sunset, earlier than at Bournemouth, Chatham and Cusworth, which all began at 10.00 p.m. Before the Paschal Vigil Abba Seraphim baptised and chrismated Richard Tawn at St. Felix Church and, dressed in his white chrisom robe and having been given the new name of George, he was joyfully able to receive his first communion and warmly welcomed to fellowship. Abba Seraphim returned to London early on Pascha morning where he took the sacrament to Father Michael Robson at Morden College and to other elderly and sick members who had been unable to attend a liturgy the previous night.
Abba Seraphim, Father Simon Smyth, Father David Seeds and Father Peter all preached on the Resurrection during their respective liturgies but in Bournemouth and Portsmouth the local deacons also took responsibility for preaching during Holy Week. Always popular is the Good Friday Burial Service, where rose petals, herbs and spices are reverently offered by the women, who assist the clergy in preparing the cross for ‘burial’ and its transfer into the sanctuary.
The services at Chatham and Cusworth were also well supported by their local congregations and all churches reported that they were joined by other ethnic Orthodox who were unable to attend their own churches. Although refreshments were provided in all churches following the Paschal Liturgy, many also brought baskets with traditional paschal dishes to have them blessed before returning with them to their homes. Dyed and chocolate eggs were distributed among all the worshippers and always prove very popular with the children.
The fact that Holy Pascha falls within the forty days of mourning for the death of Pope Shenouda undoubtedly contributed to a reflective spirit in all the churches, and the prayers which are normally made for his life were now changed to those for his repose, but also for many this highlighted the common hope of the Resurrection which we all share and the deep joy we feel in proclaiming that Christ is Risen.
- 13 March 2014
- Evening Prayer & Discussion: Shadwell7.30pm Evening Prayer
7.45pm Talk and discussion
- 16 March 2014
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: Babingley10.30 a.m. Morning Incense
11.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
- 23 March 2014
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Morning Prayer: Babingley10.30am Morning Prayer