Being immersed in the Beauty of Slavonic Church services, especially the awesome beauty of the Eucharist- the Divine Liturgy has everything we need. Overpoweringly beautiful and haunting. Such Beauty seems to sum up Christianity. We Christians should be first and foremost Eucharistic creatures.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints (Ennismore Gardens, London)
Coming here has been a dream from my youth. Metropolitan Anthony’s of Sourozh books, especially Living Prayer, School for Prayer, God and man, and Courage to Pray, have sealed my conversion to Christ:
“I met Christ as a Person at a moment when I needed him in order to live, and at a moment when I was not in search of him. I was found; I did not find him.
I was a teenager then. Life had been difficult in the early years and now it had of a sudden become easier. All the years when life had been hard I had found it natural, if not easy, to fight; but when life became easy and happy I was faced quite unexpectedly with a problem: I could not accept aimless happiness. Hardships and suffering had to be overcome, there was something beyond them. Happiness seemed to be stale if it had no further meaning.
As it often happens when you are young and when you act with passion, bent to possess either everything or nothing, I decided that I would give myself a year to see whether life had a meaning, and if I discovered it had none I would not live beyond the year…”(continue)
Metropolitan Anthony’s presence is so alive here! You can feel him still serving, from Heaven, at the Altar, especially during the Divine Liturgy.
So many Russian Saints relics here! St Seraphim Sarov, St Silouan the Athonite, Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, Ignatius Bryanchaninov, John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Xenia of Saint Petersburg, just to name a few ...
Praise the name of the Lord Byzantine Chant
At the homily, the priest spoke about the Feast of the day: the Synaxis of the Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of the Russian Church
More than 1700 names are commemorated in the Synaxis. Here is just one of them:
Martyr Catherine Arsky, laywoman
Commemoration date December, 17 (December, 4 old calendar)
Born into a merchant family in St. Petersburg. In 1920, she survived a tragedy. First, her husband, an officer of the Tsar’s Army and warden of the Smolny cathedral, died of cholera, then all five of their children. Seeking the Lord’s succour, Catherine joined the brotherhood of St. Alexander Nevsky, founded at the cathedral of the Fedorovskaya Icon in Petrograd, and became the spiritual child of Hieromartyr Leo (Egorov).
Catherine was arrested in 1932 with the other members of the brotherhood (ninety in total). She was sentenced to three years of labour camp “as a member of a counter-revolutionary organisation.” Upon release, she settled in Borovichi, like Martyr Keira Obolensky. In 1937, she was arrested and charged with the clergy of Borovichi. She refused to plead guilty of “counter-revolutionary activity” even under torture. Was executed by firing squad on the same day as Keira Obolensky.
At the time of execution, she was sixty-two.
For other martyrs and confessors commemorated today, go to Pravmir