On 7 August Gabriel and Maria, members of the British Orthodox congregation of St. Felix at Babingley, became United Kingdom citizens. The ceremony, which took place in the Council Chamber of County Hall in Norwich, was presided over by Mrs. Hilary Cox, Chairman of Norfolk County Council 2013-14 supported by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant.
Gabriel was born in Lisbon in Portugal and Maria was born in Novgorod in Russia, but their two children, Daniel & Stephanie were both born in Norfolk. Abba Seraphim and Trevor Maskery both attended the Citizenship Ceremony in support of the family.
Abba Seraphim was present at the Town Hall in Woolwich on 15 March when Michel Wahba and his wife Marynet Bassily received their Certificates of Naturalisation from the Deputy Lieutenant for Greater London & Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Greenwich (Colonel Cyril Young, TD, DL, FRCOG). During the Citizenship Ceremony those seeking naturalisation swear allegiance to H.M. The Queen and promise to uphold the laws and values of the United Kingdom. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the National Anthem.
Both Michel and Marynet are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church, although neither was born in Egypt, Marynet having been born in Abu Dhabi and Michel in Kuwait. They now live in Thamesmead, so regularly attend the services at Charlton.
In conversation after the ceremony, Colonel Young spoke warmly of his visits to Egypt and his respect for the Coptic Orthodox Church. Since 1984 he has served as trustee of the Bible Lands Fellowship, giving as one of his reasons for being involved “is that I feel as Western Christians we need to understand that we are not the ‘original’ Christians and learn from those who still live in the Middle East.”
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am
Divine Liturgy 2.30 p.m.