WESTERN EUROPEAN DIOCESE: November 4, 2021
Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe blesses the cornerstone of a new chapel in England
On the feast day of SS Ethelred and Ethelbert of Kent and St Ethelreda of Ely, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe made a visit to St Leonards-on-Sea on the southern coast of England, near Hastings, to bless the foundation stone of a new chapel to be constructed for the faithful of the region.
Departing in the early morning from London, Bishop Irenei arrived at St Leonards by car and performed the rite of the blessing of a new temple, chanted by faithful from the area that had assembled for the occasion, as well as others who had come from greater London and elsewhere. The relics of St Justin the Philosopher and Martyr and St Clement of Rome were specially prepared, according to the traditional custom, for insertion into the foundation stone of what will become an Orthodox chapel dedicated to The All-Merciful Saviour.
The rite was sung by a choir that had been especially formed for the occasion, and sang piously and zealously, despite the autumnal weather that poured with morning rains and winds. The elements did not deter the faithful, however, as a group of some 45 prayed that the work now begun, with the blessing of the cornerstone, Cross and foundations, would swiftly come to completion.
Following the rite, Vladyka Irenei gave a talk to the faithful on the nature of Orthodox mission and conversion, which was then followed by a beautiful lunch served under a marquee in the nearby garden.
The chapel is intended to be an initial liturgical home for the growing community of faithful already gathering for regular communal prayers in the area, as a mission parish of the Diocese. In his remarks, His Grace noted his deep joy that so many people were already committed to the new life of a new parish - laboring in spiritual as well as practical ways - and that he prayed that their zeal of spirit and piety would lead to the full life of a community, and temple, to stand as a beacon for the glory of Almighty God.