On the Forefeast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple (Tuesday 3rd December), Archpriest Thomas Hardy reposed in the Lord, aged 93. Father Thomas was a Priest of the Diocesan Cathedral of Nativity of the Mother of God and the Royal Martyrs in London, who in the most recent years had been in retirement and yet still in closest prayerful communion with the clergy and faithful of the Cathedral, to whom he was a much-loved confessor and image of stability and faithfulness.

Details on Funeral Services: The final schedule of arrangements for the Funeral of Father Thomas is now as follows. Vespers and Matins on Monday the 16th December at 6.15 p.m. Hours and Divine Liturgy on Tuesday 17th December at 6.40 a.m. The Funeral Service at 9.00 a.m. At 12.00 noon there is the departure to the cemetery for the burial. Metropolitan Mark will serve all the services with the Cathedral Clergy and visiting priests. Details can be found at http://www.russianchurchlondon.org 

A photograph of the newly-reposed Archpriest Thomas Hardy, taken in 2014.

About Archpriest Thomas Hardy

Father Thomas, who with his customary humour often pointed out that he wasn’t directly related to his literary namesake, was born in Canada where he attended university and theological college, after which he was ordained as an Anglican clergyman. He served in a number of parishes in rural Canada before coming to London with his wife, with whom he had four children. Fr Thomas was appointed Vicar of the parish of St Augustine in Fulham, which was close to what was at that time the London Podvoria of our Diocese. It was there that he began to attend Saturday evening Vigil services, and later joined the choir, drawing ever closer to the Orthodox Church. After the repose of his wife, Fr Thomas became Orthodox and was ordained a Deacon on 16th September 1991 and a priest 16th October 1994 by Archbishop Mark of Berlin, then the Diocesan Hierarch.

Archpriest Thomas served through momentous changes in the life of the 300-year-old Cathedral parish, including its move from Emperors Gate, via the Podvoria where he had discovered Orthodoxy, to its present grounds in Chiswick. He served the Cathedral parish ever faithfully, while around him others were appointed as rectors — a role he never sought to take on himself, saying he was too old. He gained a reputation for faithfulness, dedication to the parish and the Church, and a warm and wise heart as a confessor.

Father Thomas was mentally active to the end of his earthly life, although failing eyesight prevented him from reading the Gospel and Apostle in Greek and Hebrew as he had done before. When Archpriest Peter Baulk was ordained Deacon, Fr Thomas played the Northumbrian pipes during the trapeza at Brookwood — truly, he was a man of many abilities. 

Perhaps Fr Thomas’s greatest contribution to the parish was that of stability: he remained a rock during a season of changes, and was a much-loved confessor throughout.

Upon this conclusion of his earthly labours, may his soul rest in peace among the saints, and may his memory be eternal!

—Remembrance by Archpriest Peter Baulk