Archdeacon Mark laid to rest at Babingley

Following the repose of Archdeacon Mark Saunders on 27 November, a Requiem Liturgy was celebrated at the Church of St. Mary & St. Felix at Babingley, Norfolk by Metropolitan Seraphim on Sunday, 2 December and his funeral took place at noon on 10 December.  The service was conducted by Metropolitan Seraphim, assisted by Abba David, Bishop of Priddy, and Father James and the church was filled with family, friends, neighbours and regular worshippers.

As with all services, it began with the ‘Prayer of Thanksgiving’ followed by the hymn, “Now Thank we all our God”. His grandson, Nick Chapman, read a short poem by Linda Ellis about leading a meaningful life. Following this the lesson from St. Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians was read by Valeria, Viscountess Coke. In his address, Abba Seraphim gave a brief outline of Archdeacon Mark’s long and full life and spiritual commitment to God and the Orthodox Church; before preaching on the Christian Hope of the Resurrection, drawing on the message enshrined in the ‘Russian Kontakion of the Departed’, which was also chanted, after which all present sang the Paschal hymn, “The Day of Resurrection.” Father James led the Litany of the Departed and Abba David offered further prayers, including the ‘Prayer for Deacons’ which included the phrase, “As he was a minister of Thine altar upon earth, let him minister at Thy heavenly altar wherein is neither spot nor blemish, taking delight in Thy holy and blessed will.”  Abba Seraphim then pronounced the Absolution,  and the congregation sang the hymn, “O Jesus, I have promised/To serve Thee to the end” in recognition of Archdeacon Mark’s profound commitment to God and the Church. The Psali Adam was then chanted as the congregation filed outside and followed the coffin and clergy into the churchyard, where Abba David pronounced the committal as Archdeacon Mark was laid to rest next to Sybil, his beloved wife of seventy years, and all present chanted “Memory Eternal!”