On 2 October Abba Seraphim was delighted to join the 14th annual pilgrimage in honour of St. Fursey, an Irish monk who evangelised East Anglia in the seventh century, which is held at Burgh Castle near Great Yarmouth, where it is believed the saint established his monastery. Apart from celebrating St. Fursey in services and pilgrimages, the Fursey Pilgrims have sponsored a number of lectures on the saint’s life and have published impressive and scholarly booklets on the saint and related topics.
Abba Seraphim joined a goodly gathering of the pilgrims for lunch and fellowship, where much of the conversation revealed an enthusiasm and knowledge about East Anglia’s ancient Christian heritage. Following this, a service was held at St. Peter and Paul’s Church at Burgh Castle at which Abba Seraphim was the guest preacher. He spoke of the vitality of the Irish monastic tradition and the profound influence of St. Antony and Egyptian monasticism and suggested ways we might understand the balance between monasticism and evangelism & mission. Following the service in the church, Abba Seraphim joined the pilgrims in the short walk to the area within the substantial remains of the Roman fortress walls, where St. Fursey’s community settled and the pilgrims joined in further prayers and hymns. The day concluded with tea in the parish hall and the opportunity to purchase some of the excellent publications including the latest booklet, a translation of the 8th century manuscript Life of St. Fursey,Transitus Beati Fursei, by Professor Oliver Rackham. (For details see the website: www.furseypilgrims.co.uk)
The following day, Sunday, 3 October, was the Dedication Festival of St. Felix’s Church at Babingley as an Orthodox Church, this being the ninth anniversary. Abba Seraphim spoke of his experience as a Fursey Pilgrim and said he had been struck by a prayer used which spoke of “footsteps in the sand.” This reminded him of the impact of the early British and English missionaries, including St. Felix and their contribution and lasting impact on the local Christian community. We value their legacy and hope that our ministry in Norfolk will keep faith with the past but also ensure its vitality for the future, so that our footsteps might also appear in the sand. Although we give thanks for the fine church where we worship and receive so any blessings, we need also to be conscious of the footsteps which led us there, especially the former chapel at the African Violet Centre at Terrington St. Clements. We must never lose sight of the fact that the Church is not the building but the people, and today’s lessons reminded us of this when St. Paul referred to the Christians of Corinth as an “epistle of Christ … written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God” and St. Peter spoke of us as “living stones … built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood.”
The Bournemouth Weekend of Worship and Orthodox Spirituality is scheduled for Friday evening 24th to Sunday 26th September 2010. The weekend will introduce and explore various aspects of Orthodox Christian spirituality such as the Jesus Prayer, fasting, humility, using a variety of approaches including talks, handouts and even watching a movie! (Don’t panic though – it’s a thoroughly Orthodox Christian film). We will also spend time in worship and prayer together as a congregation, praying several of the monastic hours of prayer together and also Morning and Evening Incense and the Divine Liturgy.
Advance notice of Bournemouth Weekend of Worship and Orthodox Spirituality: Friday evening 24th to Sunday 26th September 2010. Following various discussions over several years on how best to help the spiritual growth of new church members and members of the British Orthodox Fellowship, it has been agreed to hold two weekend retreats each year in spring and autumn. The general idea of the first one is to give people a taste of congregational worship involving some of the monastic hours of prayer as well as both Evening and Morning Incense and the Divine Liturgy and also to provide a general introduction to several areas of Orthodox spirituality.
Further information on this weekend, including booking forms, should be available in approximately two weeks’ time from: Fr.Simon.Smyth@copticmail.com
H.Pope Shenouda III presided over the annual meeting of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the Eve of Pentecost, Saturday, 22 May 2010 with eighty-seven members personally present.
The Synod meets in the Church of St. Antony on the second floor of the Papal Residence at Anba Rueis in Abbesaya, Cairo. From the United Kingdom the bishops attending were Metropolitan Seraphim, Bishop Antony and Bishop Angaelos. The meeting lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 pm and discussed the reports of the synodal sub committees for pastoral care, monasticism, the church rites, diocesan affairs and ecumenism. At the conclusion H.H. Pope Shenouda posed for a group photograph with the Synod members before entertaining them to lunch at the Patriarchate.
In the later afternoon Abba Seraphim, accompanied by Shenouda Mandouh and his wife, Mary, visited the Convent of Prince Theodore (Amir Tadros) in Haret-ar-Rum, where they were received by the Abbess, Tamev Adrosios, before returning to Heliopoils to dine with Mr. Mamdouh Abdou and his family.