FRIDAY 1 / 14 JULY 2023: With the blessing of His Grace Bishop Irenei, the Cathedral Youth Group led by Reader Nikolai Kuprianov made a visit to the Parish of St Elisabeth Parish in Wallasey, in the north of England.
The group arrived Friday morning at Liverpool Limestreet Station, where they were met by Archpriest Paul Elliott and Priest Justin Venn. After exchanging greetings at the station they travelled to St Elisabeth’s for a lovely breakfast organised by the parish Sisterhood, and were joined by some of the young people from St Elisabeth’s.
Reports Father Paul: ‘We sang grace and then all introduced ourselves. Listening to the introductions, we discovered there were young people present from Estonia, China, Ukraine, the United States, Russia, Romania and Britain. The Priests likewise introduced themselves: they were from South Africa, Ukraine and Britain.’
After a hearty breakfast the young people listened to a talk on the preparation and painting of icons by Father Justin, who himself works as an iconographer. Then all had an open discussion with questions and answers, mainly in Russian, chaired by Archpriest Vyacheslav Dyachenko, visiting from Ukraine, who provided thought provoking things to consider about the spiritual life.
The Cathedral Youth Group then undertook a period of labour in service to the parish: their hard work to move many boxes of books to a loft above the parish’s kitchen which was an enormous help to Father Paul. After yet another break for tea and coffee, the young people listened to seminarian Aiden Harrington from Jordanville, who spoke to them about life in the Seminary and why he had chosen to study there. The day concluded with Father Paul saying a little about the history of the ROCOR in the UK, and pointing out some of the historical treasures kept and used in St Elisabeth’s.
‘At the end of the afternoon’, reports Father Paul, ‘we all sang an Akathist and the Cathedral Youth Group and St Elisabeth’s parishioners left Wallasey to explore Liverpool together. A number will spend the night at the parish rectory and will regroup on Saturday to explore some of North Wales together. All have had a wonderful time together and have made new friends between both parishes.’