Following the ordination of Archdeacon James Maskery to the Priesthood, the office of Archdeacon of the British Orthodox Church became vacant, so on Sunday, 6 August Abba Seraphim blessed Deacon Mark Saunders as the new Archdeacon. Abba Seraphim observed, “The choice of Deacon Mark will be very popular because of the high level of affection and respect in which he is held throughout the church and also because of his long service, having been ordained a deacon in February 2000. His commitment and loyalty to the Church has been outstanding and he serves as a role model for future generations.”
Although he recently returned to his home after a long spell in hospital, a small infection resulted in his being re-admitted last week as a precaution and the simple service of ordination actually took place in the hospital when Abba Seraphim and the clergy went straight from the morning Liturgy at St. Felix Church at Babingley, bearing the Reserved Sacrament.
The office of Archdeacon in the British Orthodox Church is unusual in that it has passed to successive holders without interruption for the past forty years, since the appointment by the late Metropolitan Georgius of Father Paulos Lawson-Wood (1906-1990) as the last priest to hold that office. On the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1986 Fr. Paulos named Deacon James Goddard as his coadjutor with right of succession. Archdeacon James Goddard served from 1990 until his death in 1993, in turn naming Deacon Alexander Astill as his coadjutor. He served from 1993-2015 and was succeeded by Archdeacon James Maskery 2015-2017, who in term named Deacon Mark as his coadjutor with right of succession.
We wish Archdeacon Mark: Many Years !