His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion visited Great Britain and Ireland from 21st to the 31st of January 2017.
After having tonsured Sr Margaret (Smythe) in little St Elisabeth’s, Vladika travelled to the Shrine of St Winefride in Holywell, North Wales en route to Mettingham. Here he drank some of the waters and poured some over his head. He then took a few bottles of St Winefride water to distribute to the parishes and churches of East Anglia.
Vladika Hilarion and Fr Paul then drove on to Mettingham. Vladika enjoyed seeing the British countryside but likes the fog a little less. He stayed with Deacon Andrew Bond in Mettingham, joining the parishioners for prayers in the church there. In the morning he ordained Reader Mark to the Subdiaconate for the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God, Joy of All who Sorrow during the Sixth Hour. At the Little entrance he awarded the Nabedrennik to Fr Antony for his service to the church and gave Deacon Andrew the double orarion. After a beautiful liturgy, Vladika served a lity of the departed at the graves of Mary Bond and Fr Elias and Matushka Barbara just near the Church. After a festive lunch and lovely time with the parishioners, Vladika was driven to Norwich by Fr Andrew to visit the Parish of St Alexander Nevsky.
Vladika then had a whole day with Fr Andrew and parishioners from East Anglia and London. He then visited Fr Sergei in the Monastery of St Panteleimon in Clacton on Sea where he also met Fr Patrick Ramsey who serves there. On Thursday 26th January, Vladika served a beautiful Hierachal Liturgy in the Parish Church of St John of Shanghai, the Wonderworker, in Colchester. Even though it was a weekday, parishioners made the effort to come, some taking time off work. During the Sixth Hour, Vladika ordained Spasimir Ivanov to the Subdiaconate to serve in the parishes of East Anglia. After the Liturgy, Vladika joined a very happy group of parishioners for a lovely meal in the church hall. He was very impressed with the strength of faith that he encountered and with the facilities of the parish which can be used to further the mission of the Diocese as it is renewed.
Vladika then moved on to London to reside at the Cathedral in Chiswick. On Saturday morning he served a Hierarchal Liturgy with as many of the clergy as could serve with him. He was joined by Bishop Irinei of Sacramento, Fr Andrew, Fr Peter, Fr Vitaly, Fr Paul, Protodeacon Denis, Deacon Ioan, Subdeacon Nicolas, Subdeacon Pavel. Subdeacon Silouan, Subdeacon Chad, Subdeacon Spasimir and praying in the Altar were Fr Goradz and Fr Patrick. During the Sixth Hour, Andrei Borisas was tonsured as a Reader to serve in the Cathedral and Fr Patrick was awarded the Nabedrennik. After the Liturgy, the Clergy had a meeting in with the Metropolitan. Joining them was Fr Antony and a number of invited guests.
On Sunday, 16/29 January, Zacchæus Sunday, His Eminence presided at Divine Liturgy, together with Bishop Irenei and the Cathedral clergy, at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God and the Holy Royal Martyrs. Metropolitan Hilarion gave a thought-provoking sermon on the significance of Zacchæus for all Orthodox Christians, especially as we prepare for the Great Lent. He also spoke movingly about the witness of the Holy Apostle Peter, it being also the feast of the Veneration of the precious Chains of St Peter. At the end of Divine Liturgy, the younger members of the Sisterhood presented gifts to Metropolitan Hilarion and Bishop Irenei. In the afternoon, the Metropolitan presided at the Annual General Meeting of the Cathedral Parish. (This meeting, to receive the audited accounts of 2015, had been postponed from April, 2016.)
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