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A Letter from Fr. Peter

18 March 2020

Turn not away Thy face from Thy servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily and : hearken unto my soul and deliver it”(Prokimenon, Sunday vespers in Lent)

Dearest parishioners and friends,

The depth of the crisis which confronts us these days, and in the weeks ahead cannot be over-exaggerated.

Many will without doubt fall ill, and with God’s help, will recover. But many of our community are extremely vulnerable, whether through age or by having underlying conditions that make the virus potentially lethal.

The word ‘crisis’ in Greek means judgement. We are called to live our Christian lives to the full, to love our neighbours, to care for the sick and those in need. We have to make sacrifices in our lives, even if this means refraining from going to public services in our churches, where we can unwittingly pass on the virus.

In view of this, there will be no more services in St Anne’s church for the foreseeable future. We will discuss the possibility of having the church open on Sunday mornings for private prayer, to light a candle. I will let you know if this can be arranged.

Irina and I have decided to isolate ourselves. But we do not want to lose contact with any of you.

If I can be of any help, or give any spiritual guidance insofar as I am capable, or want to ask for special prayers, or if you just want to chat, please do not hesitate to phone me, or write by email or any other social media:

01392 278585, 07811 128275, peterscorer@hotmail.co.uk

When you have time, spend a few minutes in prayer. Pray for each other. Don’t forget the lenten prayer of St Ephrem. Read the Gospels. Keep yourselves and others safe.

I ask our Good Lord, the Father of Love, to bless you all.

Father Peter

Grant us, Lord, Thy peace and fill our hearts with steadfast faith in Thy protection, hope in Thy help and love for Thee and for our neighbour. For it is Thine to have mercy and to save us, O our God, and we give glory to Thee: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and always and in to the ages of ages. Amen

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’. (Luke 12:32)

Visit of Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain and ordination of Protodeacon Peter Scorer to the priesthood

Archbishop Nikitas of Thyateira and Great Britain is to visit St Anne’s on Saturday 1 February to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, during which he will ordain Protodeacon Peter Scorer to the priesthood.  This is a great day for our parish as well as for Peter and his family, and we are looking forward to welcoming a good number of our parishioners, together with friends from further afield.  

After the service there will be a buffet lunch in the Heritage Lounge at St James’s Park, the headquarters of Exeter City Football Club.  This is only 2 or 3 minutes’ walk from the church, and we will be able to use the on-site car park and toilets from 10.00am (the Liturgy is scheduled to begin at 10.30).

Thanks to a very generous donation the main part of the meal (a choice of savoury dishes together with wine/soft drinks) is being provided from outside sources, but for the sweet course we will be following our long-established parish tradition of ‘bring and share’.  Contributions for this may be delivered to the Heritage Lounge before the service — the entrance is clearly marked, and someone should be on hand to make sure they end up in the right place.

Parish AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the parish will be held at Jury’s Inn, Western Way, Exeter, on Sunday 10 November at approximately 1.00pm, following the Divine Liturgy at the usual time at St Anne’s.  As none of the present parish officers (Parish Warden, Secretary, Lay Representatives &c) are due for re-election this time there should be no need for elections.  Minutes of the 2018 AGM (actually held earlier this year) and the Agenda for this meeting will be circulated nearer the time.

A significant item will be discussion of the present position of our parish with regards to the effectual closure of the Archdiocese of which we have been a part for many years.  We need to decide whether the parish wishes to follow Archbishop John and join the Moscow Patriarchate, or to remain under the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Nikitas, Archbishop of Thyateira.

All whose names are on the Parish Electoral Roll are entitled to vote at the Meeting. You may wish to bring sandwiches; coffee and tea will be provided.

Important Notice – EGA in Paris

On 7 September an Extraordinary General Assembly will be held in Paris.  This meeting has been called by our Archbishop John of Charioupolis, the head of the Churches of Russian Tradition under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to which our parish belongs.

Representatives, both clergy and lay, from about 130 parishes throughout Europe will gather to discuss and vote on the future of our Archdiocese.

In November 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew informed our Archbishop John of the decision to disband the existing structure of our Archdiocese, and for all parishes simply to merge with existing dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in each country. 

This means that the Archdiocese which has existed in Western Europe as a self governing body under the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1931 would cease to exist.  This is deeply upsetting for members of the Archdiocese who regard themselves as free from all national prejudices, and have followed closely the decisions taken at the famous Russian Sobor (Council) of 1917-8, which allowed for the free election of their bishops and full participation by the laity in all decision making.  Many have seen the Archdiocese as laying the foundations for an independent Orthodox Church in Western Europe.

In February this year, the General Assembly of the Archdiocese voted almost unanimously not to disband, but to preserve the unity of the Archdiocese and support our Archbishop.

Since then, many attempts have been made to find some way of keeping the Archdiocese united and intact.  Appeals have been made to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reverse its decision.  Other Churches have been approached and been asked to take us under their protection.

The only Church which has so far offered to accept the Archdiocese has been the Moscow Patriarchate.  Our Archbishop John has been negotiating with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has come up with a detailed plan, which they say will guarantee our complete independence and preservation of our current statutes.  However, the final choice for the selection of any bishops would lie with Moscow, and we would be required to commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow at all our services.

Reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate is for very many people not an acceptable option.  This is especially the case for most of our parishes in Britain, which have in the past suffered deeply at the hands of Moscow.  Apart from anything else, if our parish were to join the Moscow Patriarchate, it would mean that we would find ourselves out of communion with other parishes under Constantinople, following the decision by the  Moscow Patriarchate to break Eucharistic communion with Constantinople! 

Our clergy and delegates from this parish will be asked to vote at the forthcoming Assembly on whether to join the  Moscow Patriarchate, or to seek some other solution. One of these would be to remain as an independent church group, temporarily not attached to any of the Patriarchates. 

The clergy representing our parish will be Father Patrick Hodson and myself. Our two lay delegates are Celia Olsson and Martin Olsson.  If you have any thoughts or questions about the future of our Archdiocese, or about our parish, please contact them, or write or phone me.

Protodeacon Peter  (Scorer)

celia.olsson.art@gmail.com

martinolsson827@btinternet.com

peterscorer@hotmail.co.uk   01392 278585 / 07811128275

More Service Updates

Please note that the Liturgy planned for 8th June in Coombe Martin will now be on June 22nd.

Vespers for St Brannock of Braunton will be served at 6 pm at St Brannock’s Church, Braunton. There will be no vespers served at St Anne’s Chapel that evening.

 

Service Updates

The schedule of services for June has now been added. Please note that there will be a liturgy at the chapel in Coombe Martin on Saturday 8th June.

Please  also note the following changes to the upcoming schedule to services in and around the time of the Deanery Conference:

Wednesday 22 Mid-Feast of Pentecost:No Vespers

Deanery Conference Friday 24-Monday 27 May

Saturday 25 May: No Vespers

Sunday 26 May Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: No Liturgy

Wednesday 29 May :No Vespers

Holy Week 2019

Dear all,

Please take note of the following arrangements for the rest of Holy Week and Paskha in St Anne’s Church:
Great and Holy Tuesday  23 April: Bridegroom Matins at 6.30 pm
Great and Holy Wednesday 24 April:  Bridegroom Matins at 6.30 pm, followed by the service of Holy Unction.
Great and Holy Thursday 25 April:  Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9.30 am.    Reading of the Twelve Gospels  6.30 pm.
Great and Holy Friday 26 April:  Vespers and bringing out of the Epitaphion, 3.30 pm.  Matins and procession with the Epitaphion 6.30 pm.
 (Refreshments will be available in St James’ Church Hall between the two services.)
Please do bring flowers for the Epitaphion and for decorating the church for Paskha.
Great and Holy Saturday 27 April:  Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil with Old Testament readings at 9.30 am.
28 April:  Matins of the Resurrection at Midnight, followed by Divine Liturgy.  (No feast in St James’ Church Hall)
Day of the Resurrection, 28 April, Paschal Vespers at 6.30, followed by a bring-and-share Feast in St James’ Church Hall.
Father Patrick Hodson, our Dean, will be coming  to take services on Great and Holy Friday, Great and Holy Saturday, and the Midnight service of the Resurrection.
Wishing everyone a Holy and Blessed Paskha – Christ is Risen!

Church Closed this Saturday and Sunday (December 15th and 16th)

Just a reminder that as announced last Sunday, there will not be any services in St Anne’s Chapel this weekend due to the meeting called by Archbishop Jean in Paris, which Fr Porphyrios and Dn Peter will be attending.

For those wishing to attend a liturgy in Exeter, you can find details about the
service times at the local Romanian parish in Whipton through

Update on the Archdiocese

As a result of a decision of the Holy Synod of Constantinople arrived at in November, the parishes of the Exarchate for Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, to which our parish of the Holy Prophet Elias in Devon has belonged for the past 10 years or so, are likely to be reorganised. At this stage it appears that we will be included in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and that therefore HE Archbishop Gregorios will become our bishop.

However, HE Archbishop John, who made a pastoral visit to the parish in July, has asked the priests of the Exarchate to join him Paris on 15thDecember to consider this development. Our parish priest, Father Porphyrios, intends is to take part in this meeting. He asks your prayers. The Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland website (http://www.exarchate.org.uk/) is a useful source of further information.’

A communique from the Council of the Archdiocese about this matter may be found here: http://www.exarchate.org.uk/communiqu%C3%A9-council-archdiocese-30th-november-2018 .

Christmas Cards Now On Sale

This year, as usual, we are selling Christmas cards in support of the St Gregory’s Foundation (http://stgregorysfoundation.org.uk/)  an Orthodox charity working in Russia and other former Soviet territories.  Set up in the early 1990s, its first task was to bring food, clothing and other forms of aid to communities experiencing shortages in the wake of the collapse of the USSR.  Since then it has taken on a variety of humanitarian and educational projects, working in partnership with local parishes and other organisations in the following areas:
  • Helping disabled children and teenagers with communication difficulties to connect to the world so they can become as independent as possible.
  • Providing education, training and skills to graduates from orphanages to give them a good start in life.
  • Helping young parents who grew up in orphanages to bond with their children and keep their family.
  • Empowering children and families living with impaired hearing to take a full part in their communities.
  • Giving security, care and food aid to disadvantaged children.
  • Offering legal support, security and training to street children and teenagers to help them integrate into a wider society.
The cards are attractive and well produced, and carry greetings in Russian and English.  Prices are £5.50 per pack of 10 for most designs and £4.50 for the smaller Theotokos icon card; these include envelopes and the cost of postage from SGF headquarters to our parish.
For Christmas 2018 a colourful new design has been introduced; it is entitled ‘Provincial Russia’.
Cards are available at St Anne’s Chapel when the church is open for its usual services. For more information, contact us hpeliasdevon@gmail.com.

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