On New Year’s Day, at the Church of St. Mary and St. Felix at Babingley, Norfolk, during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, Abba Seraphim ordained Monk Alexis Raphael to the Order of Subdeacon. Father Alexis assists at the Cusworth Church under Father David Seeds but will now also establish a British Orthodox Mission in Lincoln, under the patronage of Saint Guthlac (674-714), a Mercian nobleman’s son, who was professed as a monk at Repton but later settled at Croyland (now Crowland in Lincolnshire).
St. Felix, writing of Guthlac shortly after his death, described his ascetic life style and ministry of prayer; “Now there was in the said island a mound built of clods of earth which greedy comers to the waste had dug open, in the hope of finding treasure there; in the side of this there seemed to be a sort of cistern, and in this Guthlac the man of blessed memory began to dwell, after building a hut over it. From the time when he first inhabited this hermitage this was his unalterable rule of life: namely to wear neither wool nor linen garments nor any other sort of soft material, but he spent the whole of his solitary life wearing garments made of skins. So great indeed was the abstinence of his daily life that from the time when he began to inhabit the desert he ate no food of any kind except that after sunset he took a scrap of barley bread and a small cup of muddy water. For when the sun reached its western limits, then he thankfully tasted some little provision for the needs of this mortal life.”
Father Alexis will inaugurate St. Guthlac’s British Orthodox Mission in Lincoln with a series of weekly services of prayer and intercession during Great Lent.