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Our Sobor & Church life in London UK

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesru/novosti2005/london.html (Russian) His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Leads the Consecration of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 5, 2005
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      http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesru/novosti2005/london.html
      (Russian)

      His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus Leads the Consecration of the Lower Chapel
      of Dormition Cathedral


      photo-report


      The London parish is one of our oldest in Western Europe. It dates back to
      the end of the 17th century, when Peter the Great visited England in
      January 1698 and lived in Deptford, on the Thames, for four months,
      learning the art of shipbuilding at the King's docks. The church
      established then was called the "Greek-Russian Church." The location of the
      first church is impossible to ascertain because of the construction of the
      growing city. The church was attached to the Russian Embassy and most of
      the church items were provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


      From 1919 through the 1920's, the church was located at 31 Welbeek Street
      under a long-term lease. The Russian colony was small then, and the house
      chapel suited their needs. But during World War I, in connection with the
      establishment in England of various Russian offices relating to providing
      military equipment for the Russian Army, the Russian colony in England
      began to grow. By the end of the war and the onset of the Revolution, a
      stream of refugees from all over Russia began arriving. The defeat of the
      White Army, beginning with the Northern Front, caused this stream to become
      significant. The house church under these circumstances could not
      accommodate the masses of worshipers. The lease for that space was coming
      to an end, and the house was destined for demolishing. The Church of
      England came to the rescue and provided the parish temporary use of a
      large, historic church. But the location of the church, in the business
      district of London, limited its attendance by Russian people. Services,
      however, continued. The use of this church continued until the Church of
      England provided another church built by the Duke of Westminster on his own
      property and given to the people of England. The church was very large, in
      the center of the city and could easily be adapted to Orthodox needs. It
      was consecrated to Holy Apostle Philip, and, preserving its name, also
      became known as Holy Dormition Church, as had all earlier Russian churches
      in London.


      In 1927, ecclesiastical unity of the Russian colony in London was rent
      asunder as a result of Metropolitan Eulogius' departure from the Council of
      Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. As a result of
      disputes for and against this division, the London parish almost split in
      half. An agreement was reached on the further use of the church: services
      were performed by the groups on alternating weeks.


      In 1928, 38-year-old Archimandrite Nicholas (Karpov) was assigned to
      London. The 5th tome of The Life of Metropolitan Anthony, by Archbishop
      Nikon (Rklitsky, +1976), contains the following account: "Archimandrite
      Nicholas at this time was 38 years old; he graduated Moscow Theological
      Academy in 1915 and was a teacher in theological schools in Russia and a
      sermonizer in a monastery in Oboyan, in the Kursk Diocese. In Serbia he
      served in Serbian parishes, and then taught at Bitol Theological Seminary,
      where he enjoyed the adoration of the entire staff and student body. He was
      appointed rector of the London parish, which was being torn apart by church
      strife. Archimandrite Nicholas managed this difficult task and with his
      piety won over the sympathies of the parishioners, and reintroduced peace
      in parish life."


      Fr Nicholas' character was ebullient, energetic and gregarious, he always
      served with genuine prayerfulness and piety. It is remarkable that, despite
      his liveliness, upon entering the church, he seemed to undergo a
      transformation. His reading of the Gospel was moving. Unforgettable were
      his performance of the Paschal service and reading of the Gospel in four
      languages: Slavonic, Greek, Latin and ancient Hebrew. The midnight Paschal
      service drew many people, not only Orthodox Christians but the heterodox
      and even a few Jews who did not wish to miss it and the joyful mood it
      created. Many Englishmen asked to have the date and time of the Paschal
      service published in the press in advance. Most of the parishioners
      remained until the end of Divine Liturgy, when many would partake of the
      Holy Mysteries. Chartered buses then took the worshipers to various points
      in the city of London.


      "Upon Archimandrite Nicholas," continues the book on Metropolitan Anthony,
      "fell the honor of being the first Orthodox bishop of London. Taking into
      consideration the political importance of London, the ecclesiastical
      troubles among the people of England and the tendency within the Church of
      England towards drawing nearer to Orthodoxy, this Russian Orthodox bishop's
      cathedra was especially important."


      On the Sunday of All Saints, June 30, 1929, Archimandrite Nicholas was
      consecrated as the first bishop of London since the division of the
      Churches in 1054. Metropolitan Anthony of blessed memory came from distant
      Serbia for the consecration, as did Archbishop Seraphim of Western Europe
      and Archbishop Feofan of Kursk and Oboyan, Bishop Tikhon of Berlin and
      Germany, Hieromonk Feodosii, the cell-attendant of the First Hierarch;
      Mitred Protopriest Vasily Vinogradov from Brussels, Protopriest V. Timofeev
      of Paris and Hierodeacon Ioannikii of Bulgaria.


      Vladyka Feofan brought with him the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God.
      The solemn service of the gathered bishops before the miracle-working icon,
      and the rare event?the consecration of a bishop?drew a great number of
      Orthodox faithful, clergymen from the Church of England and others. The
      large cathedral was filled to capacity. Reading on the kliros was a
      psalm-reader from Tsarist Russia, Foka Feodorovich Volkovsky. Present in
      the church was Grand Duchess Ksenia Aleksandrovna, sister of Tsar-Martyr
      Nicholas II.


      Upon the entrusting to Bishop Nicholas of the episcopal staff, Vladyka
      Anthony said: "The instructions are given to you from above on this day of
      your consecration that you must be in this life not only an Orthodox
      servant of God, but a servant of Russia, sharing the highest sympathies
      with our Russian people, her pious love for the saints, something the
      Protestants do not understand, saying that Russians, by venerating saints,
      diminish thereby the glory of Christ. For Christ Himself gave this firm
      foundation for this, saying, 'And the glory which thou gavest me I have
      given them' (John 17:22). Yet being a Christian and a Russian patriot, you
      are of course far from that sinful chauvinism being committed by all the
      nations now calling themselves Christian, even, alas, Orthodox peoples. We
      can boldly state that only the Russian people, in their finest individuals,
      can accommodate universal love with patriotism and looks upon these two
      lofty concepts as not being mutually exclusive, but mutually infused in
      each other.


      "..The Lord sent you the fate to begin your archpastoral service in the
      country of a people who have many educated sons among them who possess
      heartfelt love for our people and our faith. I have become convinced of the
      latter having spent several days in the newly-established Anglican Abbey
      'Our House.' There I was consoled to see the profound and fervent piety of
      young monks and became persuaded that for them, prayer is not simply an
      assumed ceremony, but a burning cry of the soul, heatedly striving towards
      God and towards spiritual cleansing. We are also convinced of this by the
      establishment in recent years of Anglican monasteries while in other
      countries, even in Orthodox ones, monasteries and monasticism are quickly
      diminishing. And so, you must show special pastoral attention to those
      souls, especially the young souls in the Anglican Church who might wish to
      become closer acquainted with the Orthodox faith and the Orthodox Church.
      Fit them into your archpastoral heart and pray to God for the salvation,
      and for that of your own Russian people, and for those English people who
      are approaching the Orthodox Church, so that you can say that to the degree
      God granted, you were "all things to all men.


      "ЙIn this holy deed may the holy saints of God strengthen you, those who
      are glorified in the entire universe, and piously venerated by you, as a
      true Russian person and a truly believing Orthodox pastor, the new saint,
      John of Tobolsk, in whose canonization you were fortunate to participate."
      (Life of Metropolitan Anthony).


      In 1958, after many travails and difficulties, hope arrived that an
      entirely usable church would become available for rent. This was a church
      once belonging to Scottish Presbyterians, closed for services and adapted
      for use as a furniture warehouse. Its owner, an Anglican parish, rented the
      church to a commercial firm. Through the joint effort of the parishioners,
      work was done to bring the church into what proved magnificent shape. At
      the beginning of 1959, the solemn consecration of the Church of St John
      (Maximovich) took place, conducted by Bishop Nikodim of Richmond, his vicar
      and the rector of the London parish, along with representatives of all the
      Orthodox Churches in England.


      Having purchased a house with a large yard in Western London at the end of
      the 1990's, the parish began to build a splendid cathedral dedicated to the
      Holy Dormition of the Mother of God and the Holy Passion-bearers
      Tsar-Martyr Nicholas and His August Family, to whom the lower chapel was
      dedicated and consecrated this May 29. In February of this year, the parish
      council and building committee decided to begin work on the upper church
      immediately after the consecration of the lower sanctuary.


      On May 27, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus arrived in London. Greeted by
      the Rector of Holy Dormition Cathedral, Priest Vadim Zakrevsky and the
      parishioners, His Eminence headed for the Cathedral, where he venerated the
      holy icons and addressed those who gathered.


      The following morning, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, along with
      Archbishop Mark, Bishop Michael and Bishop Agapit, Fr Alexander, Fr Peter
      and Fr Serafim Gan, Protodeacon Victor and Subdeacon Nicholas, the
      Cathedral's Rector and parishioners visited Westminster Abbey and other
      historical sites of the city. Later that day, His Eminence officiated at
      all-night vigil at the Cathedral. During the festal polyeleos, besides the
      aforementioned bishops and clergymen, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco
      and Western America and clergymen of the Diocese of Great Britain also
      participated: Archimandrite Alexis; Priest Thomas Hardy; Priest Andew
      Phillips; Priest Peter Baulk and Priest Paul Elliot and Hierodeacon Savva.
      At the end of service, the sisterhood offered a trapeza in honor of His
      Eminence the First Hierarch.


      On May 29, His Eminence performed the great consecration of the lower
      church in honor of the Royal New Martyrs along with the archpastors and
      clergymen who participated in the vigil, and then Divine Liturgy in the
      upper church, during which His Eminence Vladyka elevated Fr Thomas Hardy to
      the rank of protopriest; Fr Thomas has been a clergyman of the Diocese of
      Great Britain for many years. Archbishop Mark interceded for this award
      before the Synod of Bishops because Fr Thomas provides invaluable support
      to the rector of the parish in providing for its spiritual needs. Fr Vadim
      is burdened with ministering to small communities all over England,
      visiting prisons and refugee camps, and also tends to the Russian flock in
      Ireland, which he visits once a month. All this would be impossible without
      Fr Thomas' help in spiritually nourishing the London parish.


      Participating in Divine Liturgy were Stavrophor Protopriest Milun Kostic, a
      clergyman of the Serbian Orthodox Church. As during all-night vigil, so
      during Divine Liturgy, a great multitude of people were present, and many
      communed of the Holy Gifts. At the end of liturgy, His Eminence addressed
      the worshipers with an archpastoral sermon, saying, in part:


      "Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!


      "I am happy to greet all of you with this happy Paschal greeting, heralding
      for us the joy of the Resurrected Lord.


      "In these days we rejoice, for we hope, we pray that someday we will be
      resurrected for eternal blessed life with the Lord in the Kingdom of
      Heaven.


      "Today's Gospel reading tells us that during His earthly life, the Lord
      Jesus Christ revealed His divinity in various ways, and rarely spoke
      directly of it. Even to His disciples, the apostles, He revealed the
      mystery of His Divinity only during the final days of His social work.


      "But this woman of Samarian, despite her sinfulness, was deemed worthy to
      hear from the Lord the direct confirmation that He is the Messiah: 'I that
      speak unto thee am he.'


      "The Samaritan woman, speaking with the Lord at the well of Jacob,
      recognized in the Lord an uncommon person, and so decided to ask of Him a
      response, clarification of the question which troubled the Samaritans and
      led to quarrels with the Jews. The Jews had said that one must only pray
      and bring sacrifice in Jerusalem, in the Temple. But the Lord Jesus Christ
      said to her: 'Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in
      this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.'


      "The woman replied: 'I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ:
      when he is come, he will tell us all things.' To which the Lord said: 'I
      that speak unto thee am he.'


      "The woman was alarmed by this news and immediately went to the city and
      told the men of this.


      "And so the woman of Samaria came to Jacob's well for plain water, and
      found the Lord, from Whom she received the blessed water.


      "She went to Samaria with the teaching of Christ, and to other countries,
      and became a martyr for Christ. May the Lord illumine us with His grace
      through the prayers of Holy Martyr Photinia.


      "Today we consecrated your lower church. In this way, we invoked God's
      grace upon your labors, the church dedicated to the Holy New Martyrs and
      all the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia.


      "The New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia suffered for the Orthodox faith,
      for the truth of Christ, at the hands of the atheists. They gained thereby
      the grace-filled gifts from Christ our God. The New Martyrs now help the
      Russian Orthodox people return to the path of the church and to live
      according to the teachings of Christ, they help us in the path to
      salvation.


      "Russian people scattered throughout the world, in building holy churches
      and in living their lives must become preachers-missionaries of the Holy
      Orthodox faith. Your church, which we consecrated today, and the upper
      church, which, God willing, you will complete, preach Holy Orthodoxy with
      their magnificent cupola and cross, which can be seen from afar.


      "I wish you, brothers and sisters, to finish the construction of the upper
      church as well, so that it would be painted with holy icons and
      consecrated. Then your church, honoring the feast day of the Holy Dormition
      of the Mother of God, will not only be an adornment of this city, but would
      be a source of gracious gifts for all who gather here.


      "May God help you, brothers and sisters. Amen."


      At the end of services, Archbishop Anatoly of Kerchensk (ROC/MP) arrived
      along with Protopriest Mikhail Gogolev, a clergyman of the London Cathedral
      of the Moscow Patriarchate; Archdeacon Makary of Moscow's Sretensky
      Stavropighial Monastery; and Archimandrite Emelian, a clergyman of
      Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain (Patriarchate of
      Constantinople).


      Before the kissing of the cross, Archbishop Mark greeted His Eminence
      Vladyka Laurus, expressing on behalf of the clergymen and parishioners of
      the London Cathedral deep gratitude that His Eminence found the time to
      visit London and perform the great consecration and Divine Liturgy, after
      which he turned to the parish rector and parishioners with a word of
      greeting, wishing them God's help and the speedy completion of the
      construction project. Then His Eminence Vladyka Laurus granted gramatas
      [decrees of blessing] from the Synod of Bishops to Priest Vadim Zakrevsky
      and a series of parishioners and benefactors. During the trapeza that
      followed, delivering speeches were Archbishop Mark, who welcomed the
      visitors from the other Local Churches; Bishop Agapit, Protopriest
      Alexander Lebedeff and Priest Vadim Zakrevsky. For the first time in a long
      time, all the priests of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in
      England were able to meet with His Eminence the First Hierarch and with
      each other. This opportunity was appreciated and welcomed by all. The
      clergymen and worshipers parted ways with an elevated spirit.


      Later that evening, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus visited St Edward's
      Brotherhood, dedicated to the Martyr King Edward, whose relics abide in the
      monastery church. Here, His Eminence was warmly welcomed by the Abbot,
      Archimandrite Alexis and the brethren.


      His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, donning the minor hierarchal vestments,
      performed a moleben at the cross erected on the site where the new monastic
      residence will be built. During the service, besides the above-named
      bishops and clergymen, representatives of other Local Orthodox Churches,
      local civil leaders and an enormous number of faithful were in attendance.


      On May 30, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus and those with him, visited
      Annunciation Convent in London, founded in 1954 with the blessing of St
      John (Maximovich) for spiritual-educational purposes.


      Then, through the efforts of A and N Samarenko and other parishioners, a
      festal reception was offered to honor His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus.
      Here His Eminence was given the opportunity to speak with the parishioners
      and worshipers of Holy Dormition Parish on various ecclesiastical and
      spiritual matters. At the reception, His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus,
      Archbishop Mark, Protopriest Peter Holodny, Priest Vadim Zakrevsky, PM
      Lisitsyn and others spoke.


      In his address, His Eminence Metropolitan again congratulated the rector
      and parishioners, calling upon them all to make good use of the
      newly-consecrated church, to become part of the church, and, taking in the
      salvific mysteries of the Church, to lead their spiritual lives, for "I
      have prepared my dinner" (Matthew 22:4), says the Lord. And so, "Let us
      accept Him," writes St Macarius the Great, "and lead Him into ourselves;
      because for us He is food, and drink, and eternal life."


      On May 31, after thanking Archbishop Mark, the Parish Rector, Fr Vadim
      Zakrevsky and the parishioners, who welcomed him so warmly, His Eminence
      Metropolitan Laurus and his co-travelers left for home.


      We wish His Eminence Archbishop Mark and his God-protected flock further
      successes in the work of the Church, and may the Cathedral being
      constructed be a beacon of Orthodoxy placed on high, illuminating with
      Divine Truth the hearts of the faithful in Great Britain.
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