SUNDAY 30 AUGUST / 12 SEPTEMBER 2021: On the feastday of the translation of the relics of St Alexander Nevsky, the Very Reverend Archpriest Paul Elliott, Chancellor of the Diocese, made a pastoral visit to the Parish of St Alexander in Norwich, in the East of England.
Archpriest Paul, visiting the parish on behalf of His Grace Bishop Irenei (who over the same weekend was himself visiting the parish in Florence, Italy and ordaining a new Deacon there) arrived in Norwich to celebrate one of the feastdays of the parish’s heavenly patron. The Parish Rector, Priest Spasimir Ivanov, who was abroad for the weekend for necessary family matters, sent his warm welcome to Fr Paul, who served the Divine Liturgy in his stead in the parish’s beautiful temple in the heart of the ancient city. A great many faithful partook of the Holy Mysteries on this joyful day, with the Divine Services sung by the parish’s faithful choir.
Met at the railway station by the parish’s Reader Sergei Dorofeev, Archpriest Paul celebrated the Divine Services for a considerable congregation, during which many confessed and communed.
Addressing the faithful in his homily, Fr Paul spoke on the Gospel of the saint’s feastday, and especially the words of the Saviour, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest’ (Matthew 11.28). The ‘rest’ that Christ gives, the refreshment of the soul, the preacher pointed out, comes not from self-determination and self-will, but from being Christ-like, gentle and lowly of heart.
A festive meal was prepared by the parish, and Fr Paul remained amongst the faithful for most of the afternoon, visiting and engaging in long conversations with the parishioners, encouraging them in their faithful spiritual lives during trying times in the world around us.
The faithful expressed their gratitude to Fr Paul for his visit, as well as their love for their Rector, Priest Spasimir, whose return they await with happiness.