On 25 September, the Archbishop of Canterbury (the Most Reverend & Right Hon. Justrin Welby), assisted by the Bishops of London and Rochester, with the College of Bishops, consecrated two new bishops at Westminster Abbey. These were the Venerable Martyn Snow, Archdeacon of Sheffield & Rotherham, to be Suffragen Bishop of Tewkesbury in the Diocese of Canterbury, and the Reverend Canon Jonathan Goodall, the Archbishop’s Ecumenical Secretary, to be Bishop of Ebbsfleet in the Diocese of Canterbury.
Abba Seraphim was among the many ecumenical guests invited to the service and to the reception at Lambeth Palace following the consecration service. Canon Jonathan Goodall’s work with both the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches meant that they were well represented at the service. Among those attending were Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira (Ecumenical Patriarchate); Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations & Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate); Bishop Dositej of Great Britain & Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia); Archbishop Iossif of Western & Southern Europe (Patriarchate of Roumania); Bishop Youhanna of Laodikea (Patriarchate of Antioch) and Archbishop Nikiphoros of Askalon (Patriarchate of Jerusalem). Others representing the Oriental Orthodox Churches were Bishop Angaelos and Fathers Shnork Bagdassarian and Garegin Hambardzumyan.
It was a particular pleasure that the Sermon on this auspicious day was preached by The Right Rev’d & Right Hon. the Lord Williams of Oystermouth, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury.
The celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh was marked with two festive events on 21 October. His Excellency Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of the Russian Federation, hosted a Reception at his residence in Kensington Palace Gardens in the afternoon. As this also coincided with the 5th anniversary of the reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (ROCOR) and the Moscow Patriarchate, as well as hosting of the Conference of Russian Orthodox Bishops Serving in the Diaspora, a large number of Russian Hierarchs were present. Heading these were Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, Chairman for External Church Relations, and Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York, Primate of ROCOR. The gathering was honoured with the presence of Their Royal Highnesses Prince & Princess Michael of Kent as well as ecumenical visitors, including the Apostolic Nuncio (Archbishop Antonio Mennini) and the Archbishop of Westminster. Bishop Athanasius of Tropaion represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate and Abba Seraphim the Oriental Orthodox Churches.
Later in the afternoon, Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh hosted a festive ceremony at Cadogan Hall, Chelsea, where a number of awards were given to clergy and laity in recognition of their service to the diocese followed by a programme of religious, folk and classical music and a preview of Alexey Mikhalev’s documentary film: “Sourozh. Blurring out the boundaries”.