The first Oriental Orthodox Education Day took place on Saturday, October 9th at St Sarkis Church, Kensington, London. It took place under the sponsorship of the Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches in the UK, and had been organised by Father Vahan Hovhanessian, the primate of the Armenian Orthodox Church in the UK, and Father Peter Farrington, the Secretary of the Council, and a priest of the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
The day began with Armenian morning prayers led by Father Vahan, and Father Shnork Bagdassarian, and then those attending the day were invited to the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall where a light breakfast had been prepared. After breakfast a message of introduction and welcome by His Grace Bishop Angaelos was read and then two presentation were given during the morning in the St Sarkis Church.
The first was concerned with the Septuagint in the Orthodox Tradition and was presented by His Eminence Abba Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church. This interesting lecture began with a consideration of the origin of the Septuagint, and then explored its use as the version of the Old Testament used by the early Church. Abba Seraphim produced and spoke about several editions of the Septuagint in English.
The second presentation was given by Father Vahan and considered the role of the Bible in the Armenian Church. It was very illuminating to hear so many passages from the Armenian spiritual tradition read in English. Father Vahan explained how the Armenian people had taken the Bible to themselves when it was translated into their own language, and he provided many moving examples of Armenian prayers in which the author placed himself into the narrative of many Biblical passages as though he were participating in them himself.
There were only a few minutes for questions before lunch in the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall. The participants were very pleased to be able to sample authentic Armenian food and it was difficult to call everyone away from the warm fellowship which was enjoyed.
The final presentation of the day was given by Father Peter, and he spoke on the Bible as the source of Christology in the Orthodox Church. He described how the Bible was essentially a Christological document itself, and needed to be received as authoritative before it could be explained. Then he used several examples from the Fathers to show how they relied entirely on the Bible for their Christological insights. Father Peter stressed the need for such study to be conducted in the context of prayer, rather than as an intellectual exercise.
Father Vahan closed the day asking those who had attended if they had enjoyed the day, and would come to another, and then called on Abba Seraphim to dismiss everyone with prayer and a blessing. Afterwards many retired to the Nevart Gulbenkian Hall again for tea and coffee and to continue conversations.
There was a wide variety of attendance from many different Church backgrounds. Over 30 people had gathered together for the event. During the various breaks for refreshment many new friendships and contacts were made. It is planned to hold the next Orthodox Education Day in January, and then on a regular basis afterwards.
Abba Seraphim, accompanied by Fathers Simon Smyth & Peter Farrington attended an ecumenical service of Evening Prayer at Westminster Abbey on 17 September as part of the programme of events linked to the State Visit to the United Kingdom of H.H. Pope Benedict XVI.
The Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches, of which Abba Seraphim is a Vice-President, was well represented during the papal visit: H. G. Bishop Angaelos, as President of the Council, attended the reception for Pope Benedict at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on 16 September and joined in the procession of church leaders at Westminster Abbey. Also present at the Abbey were H.E. Archbishop Athanasios of the Syrian Orthodox Church and His Grace Bishop Mathews Mar Timotheos of the Malankara Orthodox Church, as well as priests from the Coptic and Syrian Orthodox Church.
Commenting on the Papal visit, Abba Seraphim said, “Pope Benedict’s visit is very important for all Christian communities in the United Kingdom as it emphasises the deep significance of our Christian heritage in shaping our culture and the values which underpin the fabric of the British way of life. Like many other European countries, in recent decades we have become a more multi-faith society but our tolerant and hospitable ethos has enabled us to welcome and respect other religious cultures. Pope Benedict’s message is no narrow or sectarian view, but encompasses all people of faith as well as respect for those with none; but it is uncompromising in upholding the dignity of each human being, created in the divine image. His warning of the dangers of an aggressively secular agenda, which marginalises religious faith, are timely and address the concerns of many religious people who feel that they have been neglected, ignored or patronised.
I hope Christians will read and digest carefully what the Pope has said during this visit, as it is supportive of Christian principles and addressses our role in contemporary society in a challenging but realistic way and I commend it to our Orthodox faithful. The eloquent comments of the Archbishop of Canterbury were totally consistent with Pope Benedict’s message, which appeared to resonate with church leaders of all mainstream denominations.”
A meeting of the Anglican-Oriental Orthodox Regional Forum took place at Lambeth Palace on 15 June 2010.
This forum exists to promote contacts between the Anglican and Oriental Orthodox communities in the UK, and to provide a context in which discussions about the practical and spiritual challenges facing both communions can take place.
At this last meeting His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church was nominated as the Oriental Orthodox co-chairman, and Father Peter Farrington of the British Orthodox Church within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate was nominated the Oriental Orthodox co-secretary.
Other Orthodox bishops present were His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of the British Orthodox Church, and His Grace Archbishop Athanasios of the Syrian Orthodox Church, together with Bishop Geoffrey Rowell of Gibraltar in Europe, the Anglican co-chairman. Other Oriental Orthodox clergy represented their churches while the Anglican participation included a number of priests, including Canon Jonathan Goodall, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain and ecumenical officer.
A fruitful conversation took place among the representative Anglican and Oriental Orthodox bishops and priests, and plans were discussed for the future direction and membership of the Forum. The forum usually meets trwice a year.
H.Pope Shenouda III presided over the annual meeting of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the Eve of Pentecost, Saturday, 22 May 2010 with eighty-seven members personally present.
The Synod meets in the Church of St. Antony on the second floor of the Papal Residence at Anba Rueis in Abbesaya, Cairo. From the United Kingdom the bishops attending were Metropolitan Seraphim, Bishop Antony and Bishop Angaelos. The meeting lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 pm and discussed the reports of the synodal sub committees for pastoral care, monasticism, the church rites, diocesan affairs and ecumenism. At the conclusion H.H. Pope Shenouda posed for a group photograph with the Synod members before entertaining them to lunch at the Patriarchate.
In the later afternoon Abba Seraphim, accompanied by Shenouda Mandouh and his wife, Mary, visited the Convent of Prince Theodore (Amir Tadros) in Haret-ar-Rum, where they were received by the Abbess, Tamev Adrosios, before returning to Heliopoils to dine with Mr. Mamdouh Abdou and his family.
The 2010 Oriental Orthodox festival was held at St. George’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral at Stevenage on 8 May with the Divine Liturgy celebrated by His Grace Bishop Angaelos and His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim with priests of the British, Coptic, Eritrean and Ethiopian Orthodox Church, supported by many deacons of these churches. The British Orthodox clergy who attended were Fathers Simon Smyth, Seraphim Mina and Peter Farrington with Archdeacon Alexander Astill, Deacon Mark Saunders and Deacon Theodore de Quincey. They were supported by faithful from the British Orthodox parishes and communities at Babingley, Bournemouth, Charlton, Chatham, Cusworth and Portsmouth.
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- 22 June 2013
- Orthodox Liturgy: Windsor MissionOrthodox Liturgy at St Andrews
Raising of Incense: 9:30 am
Liturgy of St James: 10:00 am
Refreshments and shared lunch to follow
- 23 June 2013
- Morning Incense & Divine Liturgy: BournemouthWorship commences 09.30
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
- Feast of Pentecost : Babingley10.00am Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy
- Raising of Incense and Liturgy: ChathamRaising of Incense: 10:00 am
Liturgy of St James: 10:30 am
Refreshments to follow