Every day we commemorate saints. Some we feel a closeness to, others we recognise as saints but are less familiar to us. Some touch us in a particular way, we have a fondness for them, we ask their intercessions before the Throne of God for us.
This week, on Sunday, we will commemorate someone who lived in this country, walked this land and has left us with a great treasury of teachings: but perhaps his greatest achievement was the foundation of the Monastery of St John the Baptist in the village of Tolleshunt Knights in Essex: our Father among the saints, Sophrony of Essex.
Much has been said about St Sophrony, and I highly recommend reading his life and the writings he has left us—much is easily accessible online with a quick search. But I would like to focus on one part of his legacy: if the Orthodox Church is to have a future in these Islands we need prayer, we need monasteries.
Monasteries are our bastions of prayer, monks and nuns pray for us and they pray for the world. Monasteries are where we can go to learn that prayer, to be a part of that prayer. But there is more: if the Church is to have a future in these Islands we need to participate in that prayer too. If you want your children and grandchildren to have a future inside the Church you and I need to pray. It is not enough to rely on our monastic brothers and sisters, we must join them in prayer too.
We hope and pray for more monasteries: our Archdiocese has founded a new brotherhood in Shropshire in recent years but we need more—perhaps even in Hampshire!
May the prayers of our Father among the Saints, Sophrony of Essex, guide us in prayer to the Almighty God that we may take up the great calling we have been given.
Services this week
Friday 9th July
Discussion on the book of Genesis, 8 pm
Saturday 10th July
Vespers, 3.30 pm
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
Sunday 11th July
Liturgy, 9.30 am
At St Francis’ Hall, Eastleigh
You must register in advance before attending services because of Covid regulations, we are presently limited to 10 families (bubbles) being present for each service (see below).
Online session is via Google Meet, please get in contact for the details.
We will be meeting at St Francis’ Hall, Nightingale Avenue, Eastleigh, SO50 9JA. You must register beforehand. This is for two reasons, we must limit the number of people in the hall and this will facilitate NHS Track and Trace. We will restrict attendance at any service to 10 families (bubbles) and ask that you stay together in the service. Registration by email to email@example.com (please state to which services you would like to go and the names of those in your family). I will send confirmation of your registration by email: regretfully it is possible some may not be able to attend if we have reached the maximum number.
There will be a signed one-way system, entrance by the car park. You must wear a mask at all times when inside unless you are exempt. We may socialise inside in groups of no more than six (or only two bubbles) though outside may be in larger groups (of up to 30).
With love in Christ