A Subdeacon of the Diocesan Cathedral in London and historian of many aspects of our Diocesan life, Nicolas Mabin, has had a new article published on the Historical Studies of the Church Abroad web site, dealing with a unique moment in the Diocese’s musical history.

Subdeacon Nicolas’ text, The Belgrade Nightingales, traces a portion of the legacy of Archimandrite Nicholas (Gibbes, 1876-1953), an Englishman who had been tutor to the children of the Royal Martyr St Nicholas II and later received Orthodoxy and in due course became both a monastic and priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (as it is now known). In 1936, the Ruling Bishop of our Diocese, Metropolitan Seraphim (Lukianov) of Paris and Western Europe, assigned him to the London Parish; and when, from 1939 onwards, Fr Nicholas began to hold services also in the Chapel of the Ascension, near Marble Arch, he found himself in need of a choir.

The Belgrade Nightingales examines the history of the response to that need, as Archimandrite Nicholas was able to bring to London ten students from a hostel in Serbia — daughters of Russian noble families in exile — who arrived to form a choir and make an imprint upon a notable period in the history of the Orthodox Church in England.

The full text of the article is available on the Historical Studies of the Church Abroad web site, at the following link: