On Saturday 27th January 2018 a LITURGICAL SERVICE WORKSHOP took place in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition, Harvard Road, London. The day was led by His Grace Bishop Irenei of Sacramento and Schema-Subdeacon Antony from the Holy Virgin Cathedral, San Francisco. The day was dedicated to learning the liturgical customs of the ROCOR tradition, in order to foster unity of practice and beauty in the Divine Services across the Diocese. The day was tailor-suited to all: especially Readers and Subdeacons (or those who serve in these roles, without being ordained; or who are thinking of being tonsured in future), and Deacons and Priests, for whom there was a special session with Bishop Irenei.
The workshop was open to all clergy and those with a blessing for Altar service, throughout the Diocese. In attendance were 7 Priests from across the Diocese and 24 Subdeacons, Readers and servers. There were 2 representatives of the Diocse of Sourozh. The day began with a quiet Hierarchal Liturgy which was served in its simplest form. Fr Vitaly served with Vladika with only tonsured Subdeacons and Readers in the Altar. The Priests prayed in the Altar, vested just before the Lord’s Prayer and then communed. All those who attended went across to the Cathedral Parish Hall for a most welcome working breakfast kindly provided by the Sisterhood of the Cathedral. After breakfast, 33 of us gathered in the Cathedral to hear about how to conduct ourselves in the Altar, about liturgical gestures, preparing the incense and other very detailed traditions. Vladika Irenei emphasised the particular traditions of the ROCOR and some of our specific differences from other jurisdictions. Many of these are derived from the old Imperial Russian Orthodox Typikon which has been preserved in ROCOR practice. After an excellent working lunch, again kindly provided by the Sisterhood, we all returned to the Cathedral for a “hands on” session: the Priests in the Altar with Vladika Irenei and the Subdeacons, Readers and servers with Fr Antony in the nave of the Cathedral. We all had a wonderful day growing closer to God, and serving together. We all look forward to many more sessions like this in the future.
There were representatives from the London Cathedal Parish, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Colchester, Mettingham, Wallasey and Stradbally as well as Swindon and Luton (Diocese of Sourozh). Details of the matters discussed at the workshop will appear in the Question and Answer section of this website under Liturgical Life and Prayer, Liturgics and Serving.