The opening service of the British Orthodox Mission of Saint Polycarp, Southampton, was celebrated on Saturday 17th December in the Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity, Weston. Father Simon Smyth led the celebration of the Divine Liturgy supported by Subdeacon John Morgan from Bournemouth and Readers James Kelly, Daniel Malyon and Antony-Paul Holland all from Portsmouth – all four of them enthusiastic in their support for the small but committed Southampton Mission congregation.
Taking his cue from the enforced silence of Zacharias up until the naming of his son John and the Gospel reference to the future John the Baptist being “in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” Father Simon preached on silence and withdrawing in stillness alone with God. He referred to other examples through the history of the Church: Saint Antony who had withdrawn into the deserts of Egypt before becoming a spiritual guide to so very many, Saint Seraphim of Sarov who similarly spent many years in the forests as monk and hermit before becoming a spiritual doctor to Russia and the Indian Orthodox Saint Gregorius Paramula who again underwent years of preparation and isolation alone with God before his mighty ministry. The sermon also recalled Saint John the Baptist’s great predecessor the Prophet Elijah who heard God not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire but in the “still small voice” that followed. Others might have greater numbers and more spectacular and popular ministries but, at least for now, the new Saint Polycarp Mission would meet quietly praying month by month the Monastic Office of Morning Prayer. They would also do well to recall God’s message to Elijah that though he thought he was the only one left there were in fact seven thousand in Israel still faithful to God. Who could say who else or how many else might be in Southampton already looking for just such a Mission?
The carols sung by the congregation and led by the Subdeacon and Readers reflected this theme: “Silent Night” and “O Liitle Town of Bethlehem” with it’s “how still we see thee lie” and “how silently the wondrous gift is given…”
Following the Divine Liturgy Father Simon joined the local Fellowship members for some excellent Lenten refreshments at the home of catechumen Bridget McConnachie.
The monthly meetings will take the form of Morning Prayer at 10.00 a.m. on the third Saturday each month at Holy Trinity, Weston, Southampton, with studies in the Epistle of Saint Polycarp. It is planned for different members of the clergy to lead the service different months. There is also to be an annual Divine Liturgy on or about the Feast of Saint Polycarp. The Southampton Fellowship Co-ordinator is Mary Goodchild 07586633275
At the invitation of Abba Seraphim, Reader Daniel Malyon from the British Orthodox Parish at Portsmouth, was invited to St. Felix, Babingley, to preach the homily on the Gospel for the second Sunday in Kiakh (Luke XII: 20-28). This was Daniel’s first opportunity to preach and it was very well received by the local congregation, who made him very welcome.
On Saturday, 12 March, the regular British Orthodox congregation at Portsmouth was swelled by many family members attending for the baptism and chrismation of Daniel, son of Michael and Nujat Lloyd. The baptism was performed by Father Simon Smyth. Among the godparents was our recently ordained Reader, Daniel Malyon. Following the chrismation young Daniel Lloyd was dressed in accordance with Coptic custom in miniature priest’s vestments emphasising the church’s high theology of baptism and chrismation and reminding us that through these sacraments all Christians become kings and priests.
Abba Seraphim visited the British Orthodox Church of Christ the Saviour on 13 February to ordain three new Readers for the Bournemouth and Portsmouth congregations. Despite the heavy and almost incessant rain throughout the day, the morning Liturgy was well attended and those present were delighted to witness Daniel Malyon, Anthony-Paul Holland and Roger-John Morgan receive the clerical tonsure and to be ordained as readers. Assisting Abba Seraphim were Fathers Simon Smyth and Seraphim Mina as well as Nicolae Popa and James-Antony Kelly, two long standing Readers.
Whilst presenting them to Abba Seraphim for ordination Father Simon read letters of support including one from Mina Riwes of Washington DC, who had attended British Orthodox services at Bournemouth and Portsmouth whilst he was working in Britain last year and another from Father Marcos A. Marcos of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Scarborough, Toronto, who had received Roger-John into the Orthodox Church in Canada, who wrote, “Indeed they are worthy to join in the sacramental celebrations of our holy Church. On Sunday I will announce this news to our congregation and we will be sharing your joys singing ‘Axios,Axios,Axios’ ”. Another message came from Negati & Safaa Banayoty, through whom Roger-John had come to know the British Orthodox Church in Bournemouth and who were later to be his godparents. Daniel and Anthony Paul will largely serve at Portsmouth and Roger-John at Bournemouth, but as the two congregations are both under Father Simon’s pastoral care, they will often support both churches.
In his address Abba Seraphim spoke of the importance of the minor orders and their place in the ministry of the church and highlighted St. Paul’s injunction that “it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful”(1 Corinthians IV: 1-2) as well as the Lord’s promise to those who are faithful over a few things, “I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew XXV: 21).
A happy time of fellowship followed after the service and a buffet lunch was shared by those present.
- 10 December 2013
- Divine Liturgy: Morden College, LondonDivine Liturgy: 9.45am
- 12 December 2013
- Evening Prayer & Discussion: Shadwell7.30pm Evening Prayer
7.45pm Talk and discussion
- 14 December 2013
- Morning Incense & Divine Liturgy: PortsmouthMorning Incense & Divine Liturgy 10am
- 15 December 2013
- Morning Prayer: BournemouthMorning Prayer: 9.30am
- Raising of Incense & Divine Liturgy: DoncasterRaising of Incense – 9:45am
Divine Liturgy – 10:30am