On Tuesday 24th October / 6th November, the Parish of the Icon of the Mother of God, ‘Joy of All Who Sorrow’ in Mettingham, Suffolk celebrated their patronal feastday on a crisp and bright Autumn day. During the Divine Liturgy of the Feast, at the litany for the departed, the parish’s new deacon,  Fr Mark, commemorated Priest Elias Jones, Mary Bond (who had founded the church) and Matushka Barbara Jones (wife of the reposed Priest Elias), all of whom are buried in the churchyard. At the communion of the clergy, the Synaxarion of the Feast was read along with a short extract from an article by Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) (+1982) on the icon, which spoke of the way in which the Mother of God again and again brings us the Joy of Christ amidst the profound sorrows of this world. After communion, there was a festal procession around the Church with the icon whilst the troparion and kontakion were sung repeatedly by the choir and people followed by a prayer for all members of the parish, as well as its friends, benefactors and hierarchy.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, Priest Antony read a special epistle from Bishop Irenei, who congratulated the parish on their patronal feast and reminded them of the many blessings that the Mother of God had given them over the past year, from the visitation of the Bishop with the Myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Icon to the ordination of a new Deacon, as well as the positive start that has been made to develop the College into a place of education and retreat for the Diocese and wider Orthodox Church in this country.

After Deacon Mark had intoned many years for the hierarchy, clergy and people of the parish, a festal lunch was held before the icon of the Feast in the college dining room in front of a roaring fire. The parish is grateful to all those who contributed flowers and food for the feast, those who travelled especially to be present, as well as the many kind messages of support it has received from clergy and lay people near and far who were unable to be with us in person.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us!

All are welcomed to visit this parish, situated in the heart of the Waveney Valley between the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The church is set in the grounds of a large country house named the College of Our Lady of Mettingham and attracts parishioners from a wide rural area between the Norwich in the north to Ipswich in the south as well as Cambridge in the west and Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth in the east.