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Bishop Nicholai
Bishop Nicholai
Bishop Nicholai
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
The Diocese of Great Britain

There has been a Russian Church in London for about 300 years, After the Russian Revolution the Imperial Embassy Chapel was closed and a new home was sought for the parish. It became a diocese in 1929 when Archmandrite Nicholas Karpov was consecrated as Bishop of London and took up residence in the UK.In 1932 he reposed in the Lord whilst visiting the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad (Karlovtsi Synod) in the then Kingdom of Serbia. The next bishop to reside in London and have oversight of the parishes in the United Kingdom was the ever-memorable Archbishop Nikodem (Nagaieff), who was bishop in London from 1954 until his death in 1976, at the age of 93. Initially, Bishop Nikodem was a suffragan bishop under the ompohor of Archbishop John (glorified in 1994 as Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco) who, from 1953 to 1962, was Archbishop of Brussels and Western Europe. The next bishop to reside in London was Bishop Constantine (Jessensky) of blessed memory who retired in 1986. In the same year, Archbishop Mark was appointed as ruling hierarch for London and Great Britain. The Cathedral parish moved to its present location in Chiswick, West London, in 1990, having previously been at Emperor's Gate, London SW7. For a more detailed history see "Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen" by Fr Christopher Birchall, published by Holy Trinity Press, Jordanville in 2014.

The two parts of the Russian Church remained divided for many decades but came together in the Act of Canonical Communion in May 2007. ROCOR remains self governing with its own Synod of Bishops which normally meets in New York. Its First Hierarch is Metropolitan Hilarion. ROCOR has witnessed to the traditions it inherited from before the Russian Revolution. It has, and continues to have, a vibrant missionary spirit, and seeks to both support Russian Orthodox Christians outside Russia and to spread the Gospel of Christ to the peoples of a wide range of countries.

 

 

News from around the diocese

Our Cathedral serves 2 Liturgies each Sunday
Our Cathedral serves 2 Liturgies each Sunday
Our Cathedral serves 2 Liturgies each Sunday
News

 

Advanced notices...please let Fr Paul know of any news on frpaulelliott@aol.com

  • The Cathedral now has two liturgies on a Sunday, an early one at 07:30 in the lower church and a later one in the main church. at the usual time. For details please check the Cathedral Website.
  • His Eminence, Archbishop Mark will be visiting the Cathedral from the 19th to the 21st of February. This year is the 30th year of his being Ruling Bishop of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland (ROCOR).
  • Congratulations have been sent to his Eminence Archbishop Mark on his 75thBirthday http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/90195.htm
  • A draft of the Statutes of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland (ROCOR) was passed by the Synod of Bishops and will be recieved at the Diocesan Assembly in the Cathedral on 16th April 2016 before the Great Unction Service. An agenda and invitation has been published by Archbishop Mark and will be sent out to parishes on February 8th. The Draft has been published on the website  and a draft translated into Russian which is currently being revised. Both the English and the Russian versions are subject to corrections and are very much in draft.
  • Next Liturgy at the Parish of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, Cardiff will be 13th of February at 09:30. For details please see here.
  • The next Liturgy at the Parish of St Vladimir in Cheltenham will be Saturday 20th February at 10:00. For details please see here.
  • For services at the Parish of St John of Shanghai, Belfast check on the Belfast Parish Website.
  • Russian Orthodox Parish to open in Norwich. For an update please see http://www.events.orthodoxengland.org.uk/our-hope-for-a-russian-orthodox-church-in-norwich-update-9/
  • The Parish of St Elisabeth the New Martyr, Wallasey. An interview with Father Paul and two of his parishioners which went out on Bay TV can be watched by going on the parish website.  It is on UTube. Type in Faith Matters 32. There is also a broadcast of parts of the Divine Liturgy out now on UTube orginally filmed by A1R TV. Father Paul now records the Sunday readings and sermons. These can be listened to here.

 

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Bishop Constantine's Grave is blessed in Jordanville

New Headstone For Bishop Constantine
 
In December, 2015, the Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY., the Very Reverend Archimandrite Luke, blessed the new headstone which marks the grave of Bishop Constantine.
 
Bishop Constantine (1907 - 1996) - memory eternal! - was our Bishop of Richmond & Great Britain from 1981 to 1986, when he retired. In 2014, his incorrupt remains were transferred from where he had died in Texas to be re-interred at Holy Trinity Monastery at Jordanville in upstate New York.
 
For more information, see:
 
 

 More photos of the event can be found by following the link below. The grave was funded by the generosity and efforts of the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

http://www.jordanville.org/public/sv/gallery.php?ssid=717

Thank you to Subdeacon Nicolas for providing this information.

Pannikhida at the Grave of Fr Eugene Smirnoff and Fr James Smirnove

At Fr Eugene's grave
At Fr Eugene's grave
At Fr Eugene's grave
At Fr James' grave
At Fr James' grave
At Fr James' grave

The Grave of Mitred Archpriest Eugene Smirnoff  by Nicolas Mabin

When I was helping Protodeacon Christopher Birchall to prepare for publication his manuscript of Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen, (Jordanville, 2014) I learned that the last chaplain of the Russian Imperial Embassy in London was Mitred Archpriest Eugene (Evgeniy) Smirnoff, who died on 4 January, 1923, at the age of 77. In fact, he had been priest at the Embassy Church in Welbeck Street, London for a remarkable 46 years. I also learned that Fr Eugene had been buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

In the autumn of 2015, Deacon Andrei Psarev, Instructor at Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary, Jordanville, asked me to send him a photograph of the grave of Fr Eugene, which he might use in connection with a paper that Fr Andrei was delivering to an upcoming conference at Jordanville. Accordingly, I contacted Kensal Green cemetery and asked them for the plot number and location of the grave of Fr Eugene and I then visited the cemetery to take the photograph.

It should be mentioned here that Kensal Green cemetery occupies a 72-acre plot in the northern (rather poor) part of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. It was opened as a cemetery in 1833 and today contains the last remains of more than 250,00 people in 65,000 graves.[1] On my first visit, I enquired at the cemetery office for help and was immediately directed to a grave quite near to the main entrance of the cemetery. Having heard me mention that I was looking for the grave of a Russian priest, the helpful office staff assumed that I was looking for the grave of Priest James Smirnove, who died in 1840, having been the rector of the Russian Imperial Embassy chapel in London for forty years. The grave of Fr James has a stone tomb built on top of it, perhaps eight-feet tall. It is no longer perpendicular, leaning to one side somewhat precariously. In 2012, the Russian Embassy and the London parish of the Moscow Patriarchate fixed a plaque in Russian and English to the structure. It reads:

Revd James Smirnove; 1754-1840; Russian Orthodox priest; Diplomat; Community leader; Sophia Smirnove +1852; Elizabeth Smirnove +1869; Catherine Smirnove +1873[2]

Interesting as it was to find the grave of Fr James Smirnove, I explained that it was the grave of Fr Eugene Smirnoff that I was seeking. After another examination of the cemetery records, the officials sent me off in another direction, armed with rather poor photocopies of maps. After several misdirections and much searching amid the 65,000 graves, I eventually determined, with not a little shock and surprise, that an unmarked plot of grass was the earthly resting place of the mortal remains of Father Eugene – no cross, no headstone, no gravestone – nothing marked the plot.

If there was ever any sort of memorial to Fr Eugene, it had long disappeared. There was no grave to photograph. On another day, I contacted the cemetery office again. I explained that I was puzzled as to why there was no gravestone, nor, indeed, anything to indicate that I had found the right place. I asked them to check their records again. This they did and, indeed, helpfully sent to me a photocopy of the entry in their records. This confirms that Fr Eugene is buried in plot number 47637 located at Square 123, row 3. The ledger states that there is “no monument.” The plot was “granted on 8 January, 1923 for 16 guineas to Zenedie Smirnoff of 32 Welbeck Street, Marylebone” with a subsequent note of the fact that she also had died. The owner of the plot is then recorded as Nicholas Smirnoff[3], who was the elder son of Fr Eugene and Matushka Zenedie. Zenedie Smirnoff died on 20 March, 1929 and was buried with her husband. Then, on 23 January, 1930, their younger son, Alexander, also died and was buried with his parents.

Nevertheless, this information did not give me comfort to know that I had found the correct piece of earth. However, the cemetery office was able to confirm that the adjacent grave was in the name of ‘Ivanoff’. I returned to the cemetery and found that, indeed, next to what I thought might be the grave of Fr Eugene was a quite well preserved gravestone, recording the fact that Olga Ivanoff and also Justina Ivanoff were buried there. I had found the grave!

I wondered whether the poverty of many of the Russian exiles in London prevented them from marking the grave of the priest who had so faithfully served the Russian community in London for more than forty years. Upon his death, naturally his wife inherited the estate of her husband, which was valued at £1,791-17-7: in today’s values, I estimate that to be about £80,000. It is curious that the Smirnoff family were unable to erect some sort of memorial at the grave. Perhaps they did; perhaps it was a simple wooden cross that has long since vanished.

At my request, on the anniversary of the death of Fr Eugene, 4 January, 2016, Archpriest Vladimir Vilgerts, Deputy Rector of the London Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God and Holy Royal Martyrs, served a panikhida at the graveside. He prayed for the repose of the souls of Archpriest Eugene, his wife Zenedie, their son Alexander, and of Olga, another Olga, Justina (all buried nearby), and for all Orthodox Christians buried in that place. Afterwards, we visited the grave of Fr James Smirnove and offered prayers for the repose of the Smirnove family.

Nicolas Mabin

London

January, 2016

Nicolas Mabin is Subdeacon at the London Cathedral parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. He has a degree in theology (B.A. Hons.) from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, and the degree of Diploma in Orthodox Theological Studies, awarded by the Center for Traditionalist Studies, Etna, USA.

[1] Since 1998, one part of the Kensal Green Cemetery has been owned by the Greek Orthodox in London and is dedicated to the burial of Greek Cypriots and their families.

[2] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=36050527 [accessed January 2016] It is not clear from the plaque if the wife of Fr James is buried here. Fr Christopher writes, “Father James Smirnove had five children, all born in England: Constantine, born in 1782; Elizabeth, born in 1788; Sophia, born in 1791; Ivan, born in 1794; and Catherine, born in 1798.” (Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen. Jordanville. 2015. p. 28)

[3] Nicholas Smirnoff was born in Brussels in 1875. He married in London in 1927 Martha, whose maiden name was either Moranne or Pirotte: the records are not clear. Nicholas died in 1955 in Kensington at the age of 80. I have not been able to determine yet where he is buried.

Some ROCOR international news

Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Archbishop Mark
Vladika is awarded the Medal of the Kursk - Root Icon
Vladika is awarded the Medal of the Kursk - Root Icon
Vladika is awarded the Medal of the Kursk - Root Icon

 

 

December 8-9 2015
On December 8-9, 2015, the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia met at the residence of the First Hierarch in New York City.

His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York opened the session by greeting the archpastors, wishing them Divine aid in their labors, and paid special attention to His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, congratulating him on the 35th anniversary of his episcopal consecration and selfless service to the Holy Church of Christ. In response, Vladyka Mark thanked the First Hierarch and beseeched the holy prayers of the member bishops of the Synod.

He then proceeded to report on the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem and on the work of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly preparing for the Pan-Orthodox Council scheduled for 2016. He also presented to Synod the Draft Statutes of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland (ROCOR) to be recieved by the Diocesan Assembly in April before the Great Unction Service at the Cathedral.

 

After Divine Liturgy on Thursday, December 10, Archbishop Mark was awarded the Medal of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God “of the Sign,” First Order.

 

The next session of the Synod of Bishops will be held in Moscow, Russia, in February, 2016, when the member bishops will attend the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, to coincide with the anniversary of the enthronement of His Holiness.

 

 

The Diocesan conference this year will be held at Munich in Germany as usual December 24-26 2015.

This year, the annual Orthodox Seminar will be held at the Cathedral of the German Diocese in Munich, Germany, from December 24-26, 2015, and will focus on the men’s Monastery of St Job of Pochaev, which will mark its seventieth anniversary this year. It was at this monastery that the tradition of annual seminars originated. His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany will speak on the male monastic tradition, and other invited guests will speak on contemporary monasticism. More details can be found here.

 

 

Today's Calendar

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