On the evening of Thursday 11 October, Fr. Peter Farrington and Subdeacon Daniel Malyon represented the British Orthodox Church at an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. This was held at Heythrop College and organised by the Society for Ecumenical Studies. The event involved talks by the Most Rev’d Kevin McDonald, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, and the Rev’d Dr James Hawkey, a Minor Canon of Westminster Abbey, on the state of ecumenism in the fifty years following the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church.
Archbishop Kevin Mcdonald looked at his experiences working with the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (later renamed The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity). He covered key parts of the development of Rome’s Ecumenical relationships with the Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans as well as a number of protestant groups. He then went on to discuss the Roman Catholic policy towards other religions, especially Judaism. The talk was well received due to its in-depth detail and the relevance of his experience in the field.
This was followed by Rev’d Dr James Hawkey, who responded to the talk by highlighting the gains and challenges to be faced in the future of the movement. This talk also looked at the social challenges we are facing as Christian communities, such as the varying approaches to secularism and the vastly changing modern society.
The two talks were followed by observations from Methodist and United reformed Church ministers and some very well thought out questions from the audience which tackled the issues of the role of women in Roman Catholicism, inter-faith dialogue and grass-roots responses to the Ecumenical movement. These reminded us again of the many issues facing all Christian communities in the modern world.
Altogether, the night was extremely educational and informative for all there, from those who have been involved in ecumenical relations for decades to those who are new to the concept. It also demonstrated the willingness of the Christian Community to come together and work to understand each other and our shared Christian faith without compromising on their own values and practices, which is the key value of the movement itself.
31 August and 1 September were significant dates in the history of the Oriental Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom, as His Grace Dr. Mathews Mar Timotheos, Bishop of the Indian Orthodox Diocese of Europe & Africa, consecrated the second Indian Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom. The new church, dedicated to Saint Thomas, which is to serve the growing Indian Orthodox community in North London – now estimated at some 130 families, is situated just north of the M25 at St. Agnells Lane, Hemel Hemstead, HP2 7AY. The building is a redundant Church which had fallen into disrepair but had undergone extensive renovation, including the construction of a new Western entrance in the style of Malankara churches.
On the Eve of the consecration, Mar Timotheos laid the foundation stone for the altar, which was then solemnly consecrated the next morning. A large congregation attended as well as a number of ecumenical visitors. From the British Orthodox Church, Abba Seraphim, Father Peter Farrington and subdeacon Daniel Malyon assisted in the sanctuary, whilst Father Mina from St. Mary & Archangel Michael Church at Golders Green, represented H.G. Bishop Angaelos and Father Haile Meskel Samuels represented the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Father George Joy, the parish priest, and his congregation provided a warm welcome and added to the general celebratory nature of the occasion.
Abba Seraphim and Subdeacon Daniel Malyon attended the British Museum Colloquium, “Pagans, Christians and Muslims: Egypt in the First Millennium AD”, held on Monday & Tuesday, 9 & 10 July. On Monday evening Dr. Gawdat Gabra, former director of Cairo’s Coptic Museum, delivered the Raymond & Beverly Sackler Foundation Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology on “New Insights into Christian Egypt”, followed by a reception in the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery.
During his recent visit to the Bournemouth Parish of Christ the Saviour on 1 July, Abba Seraphim ordained two new subdeacons for the Portsmouth Parish, James Anthony Kelly and Anthony-Paul Holland. During the Liturgy Abba Seraphim was assisted by Father Simon Smyth and Subdeacon Daniel Malyon. Preaching to a full church on the Sunday Gospel (Luke X: 1-20) he draw parallels between our Lord’s commission to the LXX and the present mission of the church. Following the Liturgy Abba Seraphim chaired a parish meeting to explain the electoral process for choosing a new Pope & Patriarch, answered questions from the congregation and passed on Metropolitan Bakhomios’s invitation to all church members to express their opinion on the selection of the future patriarch.
Abba Seraphim was pleased to welcome to Bournemouth, Archimandrite Deiniol of the Wales Orthodox Mission of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, who attended the Divine Liturgy. Afterwards Fr. Deiniol was able to chat to most of the people present.
After a pause last year, the Glastonbury Pilgrimage resumed its annual commemoration at Glastonbury Abbey this year on 16 June. Abba Seraphim was the Orthodox celebrant in the morning in the abbey’s undercroft, assisted by Father Simon Smyth, Deacon John Stuart, Subdeacons Paul Ashdown and Daniel Malyon and Readers Anthony-Paul Holland and James Kelly.
Although the weather was blustery and threatening, the rain providentially held off and did not disrupt any of the pilgrimage. The Anglican Liturgy followed the Orthodox Liturgy at noon. The principal celebrant was the Bishop of Beverley (The Right Rev’d Martyn Jarrett) and the preacher was the Bishop of Ebbsfleet (The Right Rev’d Jonathan Baker) who preached an eirenic sermon about our Lord’s kingship, rich in patristic as well as historical references to St. Dunstan and the English coronation service. At its conclusion the Bishop of Plymouth (The Right Revd John Ford), who is also of the Glastonbury Pilgrimage Association, specifically welcomed Abba Seraphim and his clergy. After lunch Abba Seraphim and his clergy joined in the Procession of Witness through the centre of Glastonbury.