A deacon is ordained at the Parish of St John of Shanghai in Colchester, England

On April 11, 2021, the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent, dedicated to the memory of St John of Mt Sinai, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London made an archpastoral visit to the Parish of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, the Wonderworker, in Colchester, England.

Arriving on Saturday, Vladyka Irenei was welcomed by Archpriest Andrew Phillips, Rector of the Parish, together with Priest Ioan Iana and Deacon Timothy Phillips, clergymen of the Parish. All-night vigil was served by the Bishop together with the clergy, after which Bishop Irenei and the parish clergy had the opportunity to speak together about the life of the parish, which, like most in the Diocese, has grown dramatically over the past year.

On Sunday morning, the Bishop was greeted at the door of the temple by parish representatives with the traditional greetings of bread, salt and flowers, after which the clergy greeted His Grace. The Cross was presented by the Rector, Fr Andrew, who was joined by Priest Ioan, Priest Georgy Petrovsky, and Deacon Timothy, all clerics of the Parish, together with invited guest Archpriest Leonid from the Church of Moldova, and Reader George Sultan who had accompanied His Grace from London.

During the reading of the Third Hour, Bishop Irenei tonsured as Readers two faithful sons of the Parish: Christopher Dive and Alban Phillips, charging them to read from the Apostle and bear tapers for the beginning of the Liturgy. After the consecration of the Holy Gifts, His Grace ordained Subdeacon Sergiu Smantana to the Holy Diaconate, appointing him to serve in Colchester as the Parishs second Deacon.

In his homily, Vladyka made reference to the ordination that had been performed: Today we have witnessed a sacred event, he said, Today, just after the consecration of the Holy Gifts, we ordained a new Deacon for the Church. An ordination is amongst the most sacred moments we experience in our liturgical life: we witness the laying on of hands, in direct succession to the Holy Apostles, and we behold the Holy Spirit, descending as once He did at Pentecost, upon the head of a man, bestowing upon him a unique grace and charism for the redemption of mankind. It is a sacred event; it is, in a very real way, a miracle.

At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, the parish Rector again welcomed His Grace to the parish and thanked him for his pastoral visit, and Bishop Irenei in turn greeted Fr Andrew and all the clergy, congratulating them and the whole parish with their receipt of the Holy Mysteries and the days tonsures and diaconal ordination. The faithful then came forward to kiss the precious Cross and speak with the Bishop, after which he held a short meeting with a group of parishioners about missionary works in the broader region.

His Grace departed Colchester after a small lunch with the clergy. He will next serve the Great Canon of St Andrew in London on Wednesday, before travelling to Cardiff in Wales, where this coming weekend he will serve in the Parish of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God.



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