It was a great joy to be able to serve at the Liturgy on Saturday 5th December 2020, presided by our Archbishop Nikitas, during which took place the ordination of Deacon Stephen Ireland, who has been assigned to serve with us at the parish of Saint Peter & Saint Paul in Clapham. Archimandrite Nephon who serves at the Cathedral as well as our own Father Alexander and Father Stefan together with Deacon Panteleimon from the parish in Shrewsbury took part in the service. At the end of the Liturgy Gabriel Keenes, who will assist Father Constantine in our Guildford community, was ordained Reader.
The circumstances were certainly far different than anyone could have predicted a year ago. Having been deprived of the Liturgy by a second period of lockdown, it was particularly good to be gathered together again. I had only been inside the Cathedral of The Divine Wisdom in Bayswater once before, some years ago when the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visited London. This time, I entered it with a sense that it is our ‘mother church’ in London. Above all, on that day the Church was manifest in its fullness, gathered eucharistically around its Bishop. Throughout the liturgy, our Parish choir sang beautifully from the balcony, despite the difficulty of having to sing in masks in a ‘socially distanced’ way.
The occasion left me with a strong impression that, together, we are emerging from a difficult and discouraging time with a sense of hope and are moving forward purposefully with God’s blessing. This was expressed in a most ‘concrete’ and practical way by the ordinations of Deacon Stephen and Reader Gabriel.
AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!