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Blessing of the Thames and the Mersey

As is the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Great Blessing of Waters served during the Divine Services of the Theophany (Baptism) of Christ traditionally include not only the blessing of water in the Temple during the services themselves, but also the blessing of nearby natural bodies of water — be they lakes, rivers or oceans — in order to invoke God's blessing upon the waters that He fashioned; for on this day He entered into the water, sanctifying it and all creation with it.

This year, during the Archpastoral visit of His Grace Bishop Irenei during the seaon of the Feast, the waters of both the Thames and the Mersey will be blessed in Theophany Services. On the day of the Feast itself, Friday, 19th January 2018, the Divine Services of the Feast at the Diocesan Cathedral in London will be followed by a procession to the Thames, where the waters will be blessed there.

The followoing weekend, on Sunday, 21st January, the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at the Church of St Elizabeth the New Martyr in Wallasey (near Liverpool) will be followed by a procession to the River Mersey, which will be blessed as well.

These services of blessing the waters of creation are a beautiful part of our Orthodox heritage, involving the casting of the Lord's Precious Cross into the waters, just as Christ himself entered into the waters of the River Jordan, and the sanctifcation of that which is 'ordinary' into that which bears the grace of the Incarnate Saviour, Whose nativity in the flesh we have so recently celebrated.

All are invited to join us for these celebratory events at the waters' edge.

July Archpastoral Visitation

The next Archpastoral visitation of His Grace Bishop Irenei will be from 4th - 23rd July. Below is an outline confirmed visitations on that stay. 

  • 6th-8th: Commemorative Festivities of the Holy Royal Martyrs on the Isle of Wight.
  • Thursday 12th: Feast of Sts Peter & Paul:Venue to be announced.
  • Saturday 14th: DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE: To the miraculous well of St Margaret and St Frideswide in Binsey (near Oxford), with Divine Liturgy in the ancient church at 9.45 a.m. followed by moleben at the Holy Well. His Grace will chair a meeting of the Diocesan Council this day as well. At 5.00 p.m., Vigil at the Diocesan Cathedral.
  • Sunday 15th: 9.45 a.m.: Greeting and Hierarchical Divine Liturgy (10.00) at Dicoesan Cathedral.
  • Monday 16th: 6.00 p.m.: Vigil of the Feast (Diocesan Cathedral, lower Church).
  • Tuesday 17th: Feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs (Altar Feast of Cathedral lower Church): 9.00 a.m. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast, followed by a luncheon in Cathedral Hall in honour of Feast and the 100th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Royal Family.
  • Wednesday 18th: Royal Martyrs Sts Elisabeth & Barbara: Hierarchical Divine Liturgy in Cathedral.
  • Saturday 21st: Kazan Icon of the Theotokos, the Altar Feast of the Cardiff Parish: 9.00 a.m. Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast in Cardiff.  Reception to follow Liturgy.
  • Sunday 22nd:Altar Feast of St Elisabeth, Wallasey: 9.45 greeting of the Bishop, 10:00 Hierarchical Divine Liturgy of the Feast in Wallasey, with Cross Procession and veneration of relics of St Elisabeth and St Barbara. A Garden Party will follow the Liturgy.

Spiritual talks will be scheduled during the visit. As ever, those wishing to meet formally with the Bishop are invited to contact the Diocesan Chancellor, Archpriest Paul Elliott, to have a meeting added to the calendar, or to approach Bishop Irenei directly during his visit to speak personally.


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