On Saturday, 22nd December 2019 / 4th January 2020 a session of the Diocesan Council was held in the Diocesan Cathedral of the Mother of God in London, chaired by His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe. Present at the meeting were Archpriest Andrew Phillips of the Parish of St John, Colchester; Archpriest Paul Elliot of St Elizabeth Parish, Wallasey and Diocesan Chancellor; Archpriests Vitaly Serapinas and Yaroslav Hudymenko of the Diocesan Cathedral, London; Hieromonk Mark (Underwood) of the Kazan Parish, Cardiff; Priest Sergei Mironenko of St Coleman’s Parish in Stradbally, Ireland; Deacon Mark Tattum-Smith of the Parish of the ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ in Mettingham; Deacon Mark Fisher of the Cardiff Parish; Reader Phillip Hicks of the St Vladimir Mission in Cheltenham; and Mr Gregory Alexandrovich Wolcough and Mrs Olga Smirnova, parishioners of the Diocesan Cathedral in London.
The day began with the Divine Liturgy in honour of the Great-martyr Anastasia, headed by Bishop Irenei and concelebrated by several of the clergy members of the Council, after which a brief meal prefaced the formal meeting of the Council, which was held in the Cathedral House.
Upon the merging of the former Diocese of Western Europe with the former Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland this past year, the existing Diocesan Councils of both previously-separate Dioceses have continued to exist side-by-side in the necessary a period of transition that has accompanied the consolidation of two such notable territories and administrations. As this interim period draws to a close, final preparations are underway for the normal singular administration of the fully-merged Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe to operate fully. While a new Diocesan Council will be nominated in due course when the first Diocesan Assembly of the merged Diocese is held, the former Diocesan Councils of the separate regions will continue, after a fashion, as regional councils tied to the unique pastoral and missionary concerns of the two broad geographies of the Diocese.
This weekend’s meeting in London afforded the Diocesan Bishop the opportunity to discuss these broad matters with his councillors of the previously-separate Diocese of Great Britain, as well as consider together with them matters of the pastoral life and missionary works presently being undertaken in the British Isles. These included the recent opening of a new mission parish in Telford, England, as well as the ordinations over the past year of a priest, four deacons, three subdeacons and four readers, and the missionary ideals set out for the year ahead. The meeting also addressed the advent of the first Diocesan Youth Conference, to be held in 2020 and other youth-related activities, as well as the Diocese’s work in advancing the veneration of the saints of the British Isles, its engagement in fostering support of the sanctity of life in society, and various other matters of pastoral and administrative nature.
After concluding with prayer and mutual good wishes for the forthcoming Feast of the Nativity of Christ, the councillors departed homeward to their parishes. A similar meeting of the Diocesan Council of the formerly-separate Diocese of Western Europe will take place in the near future.