LONDON: 23 September 2021
The feast day of the Diocesan Cathedral in London is concelebrated by Bishop Irenei and Bishop Alexander
The great feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God at the Diocesan Cathedral in London, England, was concelebrated by the two hierarchs of the diocese: His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe and His Grace Bishop Alexander of Vevey. Co-serving the bishops at the festal divine services were the clergy of the Cathedral, Archpriest Peter Baulk, Archpriest Vitaly Serapinas and Archprist Yaroslav Hudymenko, together with Deacon Andrei Borisas and Deacon Alexander Groves. The local clergy were joined by clerics from elsewhere in the diocese’s UK territories, including Archpriest Paul Elliott, Rector of St Elisabeth’s Parish in Wallasey and Chancellor of the Diocese, Hieromonk Mark (Underwood), Rector of the Kazan Icon Parish in Cardiff, Wales, and priest of the St Vladimir Parish in Cheltenham, England, and Deacon Mark Fisher of the same Cardiff parish — together with a host of subdeacons and readers.
The Cathedral grounds, and the temple itself, having been beautifully prepared in advance by the parish sisterhood and many parishioner volunteers, the divine services of the feast began on Monday evening with the greeting of Bishop Alexander at the beginning of the all-night vigil. Welcomed with flowers by the Cathedral Warden, His Grace headed the vespers of the vigil and blessing of the five loaves; and from the Polyelei of Matins was joined by Bishop Irenei as the two hierarchs together led the faithful and clergy in the veneration of the birth of the Theotokos.
On the feast day itself, which by God’s mercy was a beautiful and sunny day in London, Bishop Irenei was greeted at the porch of the Cathedral and the Divine Liturgy of the Feast undertaken in a solemn and joyful spirit by the large collection of clergy and servers standing amidst a full church. The large gathering of believers included not only the faithful of the Cathedral parish itself, but visiting faithful from London, Manchester, Wales, Colchester, and even Switzerland and the Netherlands. The Divine Services were sung beautifully by the Cathedral’s mixed choir, which included also voices from the visiting faithful eager to sing to the glory of the Mother of God.
Following a homily at the end of the Liturgy by Vladyka Irenei, a festive procession of the cross was held in the bright sunlight, and a moleben served in honour of the Theotokos, all the faithful kneeling in prayerful supplication before her holy icon.
At the conclusion of the services, Bishop Irenei fraternally welcomed his Vicar with words of gratitude for Bishop Alexander’s ministry and love, and presented him with a travelling case of liturgical items, to aid him in visiting parishes. In turn, the Diocese’s Vicar Bishop greeted Bishop Irenei and thanked him for the opportunity to celebrate together, and reflected upon his previous visits to the London Cathedral.
The day concluded with a beautifully-prepared luncheon in the Cathedral Hall, organised by the Sisterhood, at which a bountiful meal was served and many words exchanged amongst the faithful and clergy who remained to visit for many hours.