Notwithstanding the challenges of the present moment, in which restrictions on movements and gatherings in all the countries of our Dicoese affect the ability of the faithful to travel to our temples, the clergy of the Diocese continue to ensure that the Divine Services of the Church are served with piety and reference, on behalf of all the faithful and for the sake of the whole world.

On Tuesday 25th March / 7th April 2020, across the Diocese the Festal Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation of the Theotokos was served, most often in churches where only the Clergy could be present due to the restrictions on group gatherings and travel. In the absence of choirs the priests shared the roles of chanters and celebrants, lifting up thusly mankind prayers to God and His mother on the day of her joyful receipt of the news of her Son’s forthcoming birth in the flesh. At the Liturgies, the Holy Gifts were consecrated and specially preserved at the conclusion, in accordance with the Ruling Bishop’s directives during this period, so that the faithful can receive Holy Communion in the manner appropriate to the restrictions of each region — either by coming to the temples one-by-one, or by receiving the Gifts as special ministrations of the priests at home.

In the Diocesan Cathedral in London, His Grace Bishop Irenei followed the Divine Liturgy with a solemn singing of the Megalynarion of St Tikhon of Moscow before the saintly Confessor-Patriarch’s fresco on the cathedral’s walls. The memory of St Tikhon, in many ways the ‘founder’ of our Church Abroad, is kept on the same day as the Annunciation, and in this centenary year of the Church Abroad his heavenly intercession is especially cherished.