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Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland

Registered Charity Number: 1175538

Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East

'... And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch'

Acts 11:26

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Conference 2019 details

All You Need to Know

Yarnfield Park Conference Centre

The venue is Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, Yarnfield, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 0NL. https://www.yarnfieldpark.com/aboutIt is only about 12 miles from M6 J14 or J15, and the nearest railway stations are Stafford and Stoke. The Centre and bedrooms are fully accessible to wheelchair users.  Yarnfield Park has a bar and coffee shop, and is set in pleasant grounds.

Final Conference Programme

Visit to Poole, Ordination of Fr Alexander

Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!

On Thomas Sunday, 5th May, 2019, Metropolitan Silouan visited our Church of St Dunstan in Poole to make a pastoral visit and to ordain four men to different orders.   His visit started on Saturday afternoon where he presided over Vespers from the Throne and met with the clergy of the parish along with various other parishoners.

Sunday started with Matins served by Fr Filip Lommaert and Dcn Alexander Haig.  After the Great Doxology Michael Ambrose and Nikolai, the latter from our community in Athelhampton, were ordained as Readers.

Concelebrating the Divine Liturgy with Sayedna were the parish priest, Fr Chrysostom MacDonnell, Fr Alexander Haig from the Church of St Helen, Colchester and assistant priest Fr Filip Lommaert: he was assisted by Deacons Alexander and Sebastian Zicu; also present was Fr David Harris, parish priest at St Edward’s in Athelhampton.  At the Little Entrance, Fr Filip was elevated to the rank of Confessor and bestowed the Epigonation.  Then, after the Great Entrance Deacon Alexander was ordained Presbyter by the laying on of hands.

In his remarks at the end of the Liturgy, Sayedna told the new priest that his ordination is to serve the people and is a co-crucifixion with Christ.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy, the newly-ordained Fr Alexander distributed the antidoron for the first time.

Following the service, the Church gathered for a joyful celebration meal together with her bishop.

March clergy meeting

On the Saturday of Cheesefare Week, 9th March 2019, the clergy of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of the British Isles and Ireland, under the presidency of His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan, met at the Cathedral of St George for their meeting.

After prayer in honour of St Theodore of Tarsus, patron of our Archdiocese, various topics affecting the life of of the Archdiocese, as well as the wider life of the Church of Antioch and the whole Orthodox Church, were discussed.  Of particular note was to hear more on the development of our new monastic community in Shropshire, headed by Archimandrite Philip, and the forthcoming publication of a prayer book for the people of our Archdiocese.

Before the beginning of the Great Fast, Sayedna Silouan led the clergy in asking mutual forgiveness.

Visit of Sayedna to the Parish of Saint Botolph, London

Report by Fr Alexander Tefft

On the Sunday of Zacchaeus, 27 January, Metropolitan Silouan visited St. Botolph’s in London in order to ordain Alexandru Radu Pop to the rank of subdeacon. A bishop’s visit to our parish, even within the same city, is challenging to a far-flung congregation of mostly young adults. Proportionally the poorest parish in our archdiocese, we struggle month by month to pay an exorbitant rent with no life savings to support us. Our limited rental hours, 9 am to 3 pm, restrict the length of certain services and place a strain on both the clergy and chanters. As always, however, His Eminence rejoiced in the bosom of a family and in turn increased our joy. His homily on how to increase our spiritual ‘stature’ through generosity touched many hearts.

Alexandru, a former officer in the Romanian armed forces, was eminently suited to the role of subdeacon and already holds a higher qualification in Orthodox doctrine. As a prominent member of the Romanian community in London, he invited his many family members and friends. These guests filled our parish hall, where every Sunday we offer a bring-and-share lunch with wine. Alexandru catered with delectable foods imported from Romania. Sayidna and I agreed that we could barely manage the portions!

As planned, Sayidna met with all members of our board of trustees that handles legal and financial matters and the appointed priest’s council with duties in parish life. Sayidna was clearly impressed at how responsible our young people are, as well as the serious, probing questions from the children under ten in our church school. The smallest children seemed emboldened to ask about everything from weekly attendance to monastic life. A number of former parishioners and friends who now attend other Orthodox parishes in London also joined the feast. Poor as we are, we always offer home-cooked food and wine or coffee to those who have attended the Divine Liturgy with us.

The ordination of Subdeacon Alexandru has increased the number of Romanians in our already vastly diverse community. They have begun to come not simply because of him but because the services are chanted clearly in English, the homily is robust and compelling, and the congregation is lively, welcoming, and grounded in the teachings of the Orthodox Church. Sayidna’s visit, like all special occasions, reminded us that this Lazarus at the rich man’s gate (Luke 16.19-21) already lives in the bosom of Abraham. We are poor in pocket but rich in faith. We serve no tribal interests, like many parishes in London. We serve only the Gospel of Christ.

Many years to the newly ordained servant of God, Subdeacon Alexandru.

Pastoral visit to Colchester

Over this past weekend, 2nd-3rd March 2019, Sayedna Silouan made a pastoral visit to Colchester and the Parish of St Helen.  This coincided with two happy events, the renewal of the community’s appeal to raise funds to buy larger premises in the centre of the town for their growing parish and the 80th birthday of their parish priest, Fr Alexander Haig: many years!

Ordination of George Harrison as Reader

Sayedna presided over the Vespers and Mattins from the throne where he ordained George Harrison as Reader in the parish.  Sayedna served the Divine Liturgy, assisted by Fr Alexander and Dcn Alexander Haig who had joined the celebrations from our Church in Poole; members of the Mosaic Choir sang the liturgical responses.  During his homily, Sayedna encouraged all to come to God through prayer and to make use of the coming Great Fast as a means to deepen our faith.

Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Nick Cope, Fr Alexander Haig and Metropolitan Silouan

The Liturgy was followed by a lunch attended in large numbers in honour of Sayedna’s visit and to renew the appeal to raise £200,000 for the purchase of St Martin’s Church and convert it for use as an Orthodox place of worship.  The community were joined by the Deputy Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Nick Cope and his wife along with one of the members for the local ward, Cllr Darius Laws: both councillors gave speeches in support of the parish purchasing St Martin’s.  Sayedna, too, gave words of support and strongly encouraged all to give in order to realise this goal.

Deputy Mayor of Colchester gives speech in support of the purchase of St Martin’s Church.

The meal was followed by the Mosaic Choir giving an excellent concert of songs from around Europe and beyond.  Then an Akathist to St Martin was celebrated in the churchyard of his Church as a supplication to him to help in restoring his house of prayer as a living place of worship.



Can you support our Colchester community in their goal?  Please pray for them as they raise this large amount of money, and listen to the Lord’s answer of what he wants you to do.  Already more than £110,000 has been raised, can you help?  Please visit the appeal website, orthodoxcolchesterappeal.org.uk, and click the “Donate” button to make an offering via PayPal.



Doncaster Ordinations


On 23rd December in Doncaster, His Eminence Metropolitan Silouan ordained the servant of God Michael Cerghit to the diaconate and the servant of God James Shipgood to the subdiaconate.

Both will serve the parish of St Columba and St Kentigern, Doncaster.

An album of the ordination pictures is available here.

Peace in the Middle East Conference

Press Release No:18/41
17 December 2018

Mutual respect is crucial to the peaceful co-existence of religions in the Middle East

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

From 14th to 16th December, the Conference of European Churches and Cumberland Lodge held a conference titled “Towards Peaceful co-existence in the Middle East: challenges and opportunities,” which took place at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, United Kingdom, and was co-hosted by the Churches Together in Britain and Ireland.

Participants from a broad range of Middle Eastern and European Churches discussed issues such as religious and cultural diversity. A central issue was how states treat people of different religious affiliation, respecting the rights of every person, including their Freedom of Religion or Belief. They emphasised that states need to implement equal status for and treatment of all its citizens, instead of continuing with a system of a majority granting certain minority rights. In order to achieve this, a principle of “moderate secularism” – that is moving towards secular laws and state institutions, not society – might be a way forward, establishing state neutrality towards people and communities of all religions and beliefs.

The President of CEC, Rev. Christian Krieger, stated: “We are aware that in Europe, when we talk about justice for minorities, we also look for everyone to have the status of equal citizens. This point, as our partners in the Middle East have stressed, requires more attention and clarification.”

The conference also addressed other concrete challenges and opportunities in countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Participants expressed a need for churches to continue a peaceful and constructive dialogue amongst themselves and with other faiths. In two days, they reflected on a variety of issues relevant to dialogue, such as language differences and different understandings and concepts.

The contribution of a living Christian presence in the Middle East is important to counter religious hatred, violence and terrorism. Participants stressed that education is one of the key elements in overcoming prejudices. The need to become advocates for each other’s human rights remains a common task for all Christians and people of good will. While the notion of tolerance has different interpretations, an agreement could be reached that people should try to move from mere tolerance to respect, valuing the contribution of everybody.

In his greetings, His Beatitude John X Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, read by Metropolitan Silouan, said, “By the grace of God, we, as Christians, have been living in the East for two thousand years, and we have coexisted with our Muslim brothers and sisters for many centuries. The actions happening today in the East, from intimidation to kidnapping and desacralizing, affects both Muslims and Christians, sheikhs, priests and bishops alike. Differences of religion do not separate us, but rather enrich us in many areas of life.”  Full text here: from the Patriarch to the Conference.

The Conference of European Churches will continue its advocacy work to support the needs of Churches in the Middle East, including interfaith dialogue.