Tag Archives: Appeal

An Appeal: Thirteen Eastern Churches

A Dream of Thirteen Churches in the Eleven Counties of Eastern England

(Only the first two exist so far)

1. Colchester (north Essex and so looking after east Suffolk) – dedicated to our former Archbishop, St John the Wonderworker, who revived Orthodoxy in Western Europe. The secondary patron is St Helen, Equal-to-the-Apostles, who is said to have walked the streets of this town in Roman times. There is also a chapel dedicated to All the Saints who have shone forth in these Isles. The secondary patron here is St Alban the First Martyr, appropriate for this ex-military church.

2. Norwich (east Norfolk) – dedicated to St Alexander Nevsky, the Saint of the North and so of ‘North-wich’, he who resisted both Islamism and Secularism, the present scourges of the world, and so maintained Orthodoxy against all odds. The secondary patron (the icon to the right of the Mother of God) is St Xenia of Saint Petersburg, who intercedes in cases of homelessness, a problem which many of our parishioners here have had to face.

3. Exning (west Suffolk, near Cambridge), a church is now available for £350,000 – dedicated to St Audrey, as Exning was her birthplace and she became a saint in nearby Ely. The secondary patron could be St Edmund, who was venerated in nearby Bury St Edmunds.
This covers the three eastern counties. However, other churches are needed both here and in the six counties of the East of England region:

4. Romford (south Essex), to cover the eastern suburbs of London (two churches already cover those in the western suburbs of London), a perfect church, with hall, a priest’s house and plenty of parking, just over a mile from Romford Station and the future Crossrail, is now available for £1.25 million – dedicated to the Resurrection of Christ. He will help the teeming thousands of Orthodox immigrants who have arrived at the railway station in Stratford nearby and live around it, seeking housing, work and happiness after their homelands have been ravaged and look for hope. The secondary patron could be St John of Kronstadt, who looked after those who lived in poor suburbs like the East End of London.

5. Peterborough (north Cambridgeshire), to cover the fens and south-west Lincolnshire – dedicated to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, as this city was named after the Apostle Peter. The secondary patron could be St Olga, who is already venerated locally.

6. St Albans (Hertfordshire) – dedicated to St Alban the First Martyr, a church which would also cover those in the north of London. The secondary patron could be St Stephen the First Martyr.

7. Bedford (Bedfordshire) – dedicated to the Holy Trinity, in rejection of the heresy of the local Cromwell, who had no understanding of the Incarnation and the Holy Spirit and so became an iconoclast. The secondary patron could be St Fremund of Dunstable, the locally venerated hermit.

8. Kings Lynn (west Norfolk and covering those in south-east Lincolnshire) – dedicated to St Nicholas the Wonderworker, as Kings Lynn was of old an important port trading through the Baltic and with Russia. The secondary patron could be St Guthlac, the English St Antony and Saint of the Fens.

Beyond the above eight churches for the six counties of the East of England region given above, churches are needed in the other five counties of Eastern England:

9. Canterbury (Kent) – dedicated to Christ the Saviour, as in the sixth century. The secondary patron could be St Augustine of Canterbury, who made Canterbury his Church capital.

10. York (Yorkshire) – dedicated to Sts Constantine and Helen, since St Constantine was proclaimed Emperor here over 1,700 years ago. The secondary patron could be St John of Beverley, the wonderworker who is so venerated in Yorkshire and was once Bishop of York.

11. Brighton (Sussex) – dedicated to the Nativity of the Mother of God, in memory of her purity in this city of impurity. The secondary patron could be St Wilfrid, the Apostle of Sussex.

12. Lincoln (Lincolnshire) – dedicated to the twelve Apostles, as this is the twelfth church. The secondary patron could be St Paulinus, the first Bishop of Lincoln.

13. Walton on Thames (Surrey) – dedicated to the Royal Martyrs, since the future Tsar Nicholas and Tsarina Alexandra stayed here in June 1894. This church would also cater for those in the southern suburbs of London. The secondary patron could be the Grand Duchess St Elizabeth, sister of the Tsarina and who is also venerated in Sussex.

Those who read the above will say ‘fantasy’. But, think, all it would take is one Russian oligarch to donate a quarter of the cost of one player for Chelsea Football Club and this dream would become reality. And a quarter of England would be covered by a network of churches.

An Appeal to Buy a Russian Orthodox Church for Norwich

In the East of England there is at present only one multinational and multilingual church faithful to Russian Orthodoxy with its own urban premises. This is St John’s Church in Colchester. God willing and with your support, we may now be able to buy a second one, in Norwich, exactly 60 miles, 100 kilometres, to the north of Colchester.

Why Norwich? For the last four years I have been visiting Norwich and some of the 200 Russian Orthodox there, mainly recent immigrants from the Baltic States, especially from Estonia. I have baptized several in their homes, married couples in Colchester, buried, blessed houses, listened to confessions, visiting every few weeks, sometimes twice a month.

We have thought of dedicating our community to St Alexander Nevsky. We attempted to begin liturgies using the Greek Orthodox church building in Norwich, but were impeded. How are our people and English people and others interested in the witness of the Russian Orthodox Church, to be cared for pastorally? Only from a church building.

Now we have found such a suitable building. At present offices, it is a single-storey building near the town centre, so with free parking, about 10 metres (30 feet) long by 6 metres (15 feet) wide. It has heating, lighting, a kitchenette and toilet, all in good condition. Although small, it seems ideal as a basis for starting Russian Orthodox life in Norwich.

And such life is required not only by Russian speakers, but also by Romanian, Bulgarian and English Orthodox. Most of our regular parishioners, only one of whom has a car, live within easy walking distance of this building. With our low offer of £42,500 miraculously accepted, this building, we estimate, would cost a total of £55,000 to buy and convert.

Within 24 hours of viewing the building, eight parishioners had already pledged £5,000. For those for whom £50 is a lot of money, this is a considerable sum. Archbishop Mark has enthusiastically blessed us to start public fund-raising. And so we are launching a campaign to gain pledges to raise the extra £50,000 required.

Perhaps you know someone who is wealthy? Perhaps we can find ten people who can each donate £5,000? Perhaps we can find 250 people who can each donate £200? Can you help us by making pledges? May God bless you for considering the Russian Orthodox Community in Norwich in your alms.

All donations, when required later this year in August or September, will be made to our charitable trust: East of England Orthodox Church (Registered Charity No 1081707). But please remember that we do not want donations now, only pledges. To make a pledge, please inform us at this address: frandrew_anglorus@yahoo.co.uk

Archpriest Andrew Phillips

2 June 2015