LONDON: 11 September 2022
Statement from the Chancery of the Diocese of London and Western Europe on the repose of Her Highness Queen Elizabeth II and the ascent to the Throne of King Charles III
The news of the death of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by the hierarchy, clergy and faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia with the Christian admixture of sorrow and joy that ever accompanies the mystery of death. We sorrow, for we have lost the Sovereign of realms in which our Church has lived, in her peace, for more than seventy years - in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other territories of Holy Orthodoxy in the Diaspora where our Church exercises her mission. In all the decades of Her Majesty’s happy reign, we have known the peaceful existence of Church life in these lands, and have, as is the Orthodox custom, prayed throughout her reign for the long life and and health of the Monarch who has been pivotal in ensuring that stability. The life of our Orthodox Church Abroad in the Diaspora began only a few years before Her Majesty’s birth, and was, like her, shaped by the experience of war in the pivotal founding years of its life. Through the labours of The Queen, it has been blessed to discover peace and support in the many decades since. No religious community can ask more of its Head of State than to receive the blessing of such peace; few in history have been able to do so for so long. For this gift, we shall remain ever grateful.
Yet civil reign is not the sole memorial left by the late Queen. We grieve the loss not only of a Reigning Monarch who demonstrated, in deed, word and life a selfless devotion to duty and to her fellow man, but who also consistently bore witness to the power of Christ to inspire a heart to a nobility of service. We shall remain ever grateful to Her Majesty, that from her lips came so often the name of Christ and the words of His Gospel, at times when these have become ever rarer in the mouths of world leaders.
To the whole of her August Family - intermingled in so many ways with the history of our Church Abroad, in which the precious relics of their ancestor, canonised as St Elisabeth the Grand Duchess and New-Martyr, remain in constant veneration by our faithful and the Royal Family on its visits to our communities in the Holy Land - we express our shared sorrow at the departure into the next life of The Queen, and we join you and her many nations in mourning the Sovereign’s passing from this life.
Yet we rejoice, also, for a Christian’s sorrow at the end of life is always intermingled with the joy of the resurrection which is the foundation of our hope. We rejoice, further, that in the seamless continuity desired and worked for by Her Late Majesty, a right succession has now taken place and The Queen’s heir, His Majesty King Charles III, now ascends the throne. Already His Majesty is commemorated in our churches, in the same place where so recently, and for so long, his mother was remembered. The Ruling Bishop of our most local Diocese to the Sovereign, His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe, has written to His Majesty personally, conveying our sentiments, condolences, and hopes for the future of his reign.
May the merciful and grace-bestowing Lord grant The King the same dutiful heart as his mother, a fervent piety to inspire his rule, the wisdom to reign in God-pleasing manner, and the strength to sit upon his throne unto many fruitful and blessed years.
May the merciful Lord grant rest to The Queen! God save the King!