His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany and Great Britain made one of his regular visits to his Cathedral parish at Harvard Road, west London from 22nd to 25th October, 2015. On Friday, 23rd October, Vladyka Mark hosted in the Cathedral Hall a regular meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly of Britain and Ireland. The ten archbishops, bishops, and priests who attended the meeting were afterwards invited to inspect progress with the painting of frescoes inside the Cathedral. (See photos.)
While in London, Vladyka Mark held a series of meetings with different members of the parish. He chaired a regular joint meeting of the Trustees and Church Council, and was the honoured guest at a dinner held for the Sisterhood of Saint Xenia and the Brotherhood which supports the Sisters.
On Saturday, 11/24 October, the feast of the Holy Apostle Philip of the Seventy, Vladyka Mark concelebrated Divine Liturgy with Cathedral clergy in the lower church, dedicated to the Holy Royal Martyrs. In the evening he served, together with the Cathedral clergy, the All-Night Vigil in the upper church, dedicated to the Holy Dormition of the Mother of God.
On 12/25 October, the 21st Sunday after Pentecost and the Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Œcumenical Council, Vladyka Mark served Divine Liturgy together with Archimandrite Irenei Steenberg, Archpriest Peter Baulk, Archpriest Vladimir Vilgerts, Priest Vitaly Serapinas, and Hierodeacon Kornily Litvichenko. At the Little Entrance Vladyka Mark awarded Archpriest Vladimir the right to wear the palitsa and he awarded Priest Vitaly the right to wear the gold cross. At the end of Divine Liturgy His Eminence proclaimed “Many Years” for the two honoured priests, and spoke warmly of their faithful service, both at the London Cathedral of the Holy Dormition and also at parishes outside London.
At the following trapeza, Vladyka Mark spoke to the parishioners about the proposal to serve Divine Liturgy at Harvard Road on a Sunday twice – an early Liturgy in the lower church and a later Liturgy in the upper church, in order to accommodate the overwhelming numbers of people who worship at the Cathedral on a Sunday. He also welcomed Archimandrite Irenei Steenberg, who then spoke to the parish about his involvement in preparatory meetings in connection with the proposed Pan-Orthodox Council to be held in 2016. Fr Vladimir warmly thanked Fr Irenei for being with the parish during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy and for speaking afterwards at the trapeza, and presented Fr Irenei with a gift, a copy of the parish history, Embassy, Emigrants, and Englishmen.
Biographical Note: Archimandrite Irenei Steenberg is the Director of the San Francisco Institute for Orthodox Studies. Fr Irenei is an established scholar of patristics and the early Church, and an Archimandrite of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia. Formerly a fellow in patristics and early Church history at the University of Oxford and sometime Chair of Theology at Leeds Trinity University, he is an active speaker and lecturer around the world on Orthodox theology and practice, and has also been heavily involved in bringing patristic study into wider access through the internet. He is was recently visiting professor in Orthodox theology at Santa Clara University, Professorial Research Fellow of Leeds Trinity (UK), and is currently a member of the Committee for Education of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and Dean of Monastic Life for the Western American Diocese (ROCOR).