…preserving thy people on the island from the deadly wind and storm by thy prayer and the sign of the Cross.
Rejoice, thou who preservest from lies and slander.
Rejoice, destroyer of lies and exalter of truth.
Rejoice, thou who didst keep Thy faith and courage in the midst of unjust persecution.
…thou wast called to the New World to offer there thy witness of ancient Christianity and to suffer persecution for thy righteousness, thus perfecting thy soul for heaven.
From the Akathist to St John, composed by Blessed Hieromonk Seraphim of Platina
The very large new icon (see above) which protects our multinational group of parishes within the Romanian Patriarchate, is unique. We ordered it from the Ukraine in January 2022 and would have received it months ago but for the conflict there. It was painted while under attack. The iconographer, who now lives just outside Kiev but comes from Mariupol, fled when she saw a missile flying overhead last March. We had hoped to receive this icon of the 1962 prophecy of St John of Shanghai in time for our patronal feast on 2 July, but we received it a month later.
This prophecy was given to Mother Elizabeth (Ampenova) (+ 1999), Abbess of the Annunciation Convent in London, in November 1962. Archbishop John told her (word for word, as she related to me in June 1994, when I was serving at the Convent): ‘I am leaving now and you will not see me again. I am entrusting you to St Alban, your First-Martyr’.
Our Colchester church, dedicated to St John, was as a military church formerly dedicated to St Alban. The icon, not just for our parish, but for all our parishes, depicts St John handing our church to St Alban.
We shall shortly be making prints of the icon to be distributed.
Glory to Divine Providence which has brought us here despite all the persecutions!