In response to a congratulatory message sent to H.M. The Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee, Her Majesty sent the following reply to Abba Seraphim:
I send my grateful thanks to the Metropolitan, Priests and Officers of the British Orthodox Church, for their kind message of congratulations, sent on the occasion of the Sixtieth Anniversary of my Accession to the Throne.
In return, please accept my good wishes for a most memorable and enjoyable Diamond Jubilee Year.
5 July 2012
The British Orthodox Church has marked the Diamond Jubilee of H.M. The Queen with a special thanksgiving prayer used in all its churches and missions,
“Almighty God, who rulest over all the kingdoms of the world, and dost order them according to thy good pleasure: We yield Thee unfeigned thanks, for that Thou wast pleased, as at this time, to set Thy Servant our Sovereign Lady, Queen ELIZABETH, upon the Throne of this Realm. Let Thy wisdom be her guide, and let Thine arm strengthen her; let truth and justice, holiness and righteousness, peace and charity, abound in her days; direct all her counsels and endeavours to Thy glory, and the welfare of her subjects; give us grace to obey her cheerfully for conscience sake, and let her always possess the hearts of her people; let her reign be long and prosperous, and crown her with everlasting life in the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
At its recent meeting, the Synod of the British Orthodox Church also sent a Loyal Address to Her Majesty:
“We, Your Majesty’s faithful subjects, the Metropolitan and Priests, together with the officers of the British Orthodox Church, assembled in Synod in London on this thirtieth day of May, in the Year of our Lord 2012, desire to assure Your Majesty of our loyalty and devotion to Your Person and to Your Throne on the occasion of the national celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Your Majesty’s Accession.
Throughout these sixty years Your Majesty has maintained a steadfast witness to the Christian Faith as well as setting us all an admirable example of fidelity to the precepts of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
The support and encouragement shown by Your Majesty for the diverse pastoral and charitable activities undertaken by the churches has provided a constant and powerful witness in a changing society which has edified and encouraged us all.
Your Majesty’s example of self-sacrifice, lifelong commitment to the service of the common good and unwavering witness to the abiding significance of spiritual values has strengthened the witness of all Christians as they endeavour to show the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to the world in which they live.
The British Orthodox Church, having the privilege to worship in St. Felix Chapel at Babingley, a property on the Sandringham Estate, which Your Majesty has graciously permitted us to use for our worship since 2001, has an especial reason to be grateful for Your Majesty’s support and munificence.
In all the liturgical services of the British Orthodox Church it has been our joyful duty to pray for Your Majesty and all the Reigning House but it is with heartfelt devotion that our congregations throughout the United Kingdom now celebrate with special thanksgiving this auspicious anniversary, continuing to beseech Almighty God to grant health, happiness and Many Years to Your Majesty, to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and all the Royal Family.
Metropolitan of Glastonbury
Hegoumenos Simon Smyth
Chairman of the Priests’ Council
Father Peter Farrington
Secretary of the British Orthodox Synod”
Abba Seraphim joined the congregation of the Guild Church of St. Dunstan’s-in-the-West on 14 March for the service of The Solemn Consecration of the New Ring of Ten Bells, which was performed by the Lord Bishop of London (The Rt. Revd & Rt Hon Richard Chartres). Although the ceremony is quite a rarity, the Bishop of London admitted that this was the third set of bells he had consecrated in the City of London in recent years (St. Magnus the Martyr in 2009 & St. Michael’s, Cornhill in 2011).
Although it took place within the Lenten season, the ceremony had a festive feel to it, with Psalm 150 sung in Grandsire Triples and a newly composed Festal Te Deum by Stuart Murray Turnbull. The bells, decorated with white ribbons and trailing ivy, were displayed in the sanctuary as the bishop and clergy, in gold vestments processed into the church to the strains of J.M. Neale’s “Christ in Made the Sure Foundation”. Following the old Pontificale Romanum the bells were each sprinkled with Holy Water, before being named by their sponsors, anointed with Oil of Catechesius, consecrated with Chrism and solemnly censed. Not only were they censed on the outside but a long-handled chafing dish was used to incense the interiors. The bells will now be hung and it is intended that they will first ring on 5 June when H.M. The Queen enters the City of London on her way to St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Service of Thanksgiving.
The service was followed by a reception generously hosted by Hoare’s Bank in Fleet Street.
Apart from being one of the ecumenical guests, Abba Seraphim’s had a number of reasons for his interest in the service: St. Dunstan was Abbot of Glastonbury; Abba Seraphim is a direct male descendant of the celebrated thirteenth century Kentish bellfounder, Stephen Norton; whilst another of his ancestors, Samuel Hugh Newman, was baptised in old St. Dunstan’s on 25 October 1798.