The Sisterhood of Saint Xenia exists to support to the day-to-day running of all activities of the parish. Currently comprising more than 16 members, the Sisterhood’s activities include:
• Visiting the sick • Helping the poor • Baking prosphoras • Repairing and cleaning the vestments • Keeping the Cathedral and churchyard clean • Preparing meals for Church festivals, and a meal which is served after every Sunday Divine Liturgy
At regular Sisterhood meetings, members are encouraged to discuss current activities and make proposals for future events and activities.
All profits from Sisterhood activities are used for the needs of the parish and for helping the poor. Each year the Auditing Committee conducts an audit of the Sisterhood accounts.
The Sisterhood of St. Xenia was established in 1922, with the Grand Duchess Xenia, sister of the Tsar, as honorary patron. The Sisterhood was dedicated to her patron saint, St. Xenia the Roman. While in charge of the parishes in England, Archbishop John (Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco) provided the Sisterhood with a written constitution, dated 1954, a framed copy of which is displayed in the Church Hall. The constitution specifies that the principal functions of the Sisterhood are taking care of the church, looking after the vestments, and visiting the sick.
In 1959 Russian Orthodox Church in Exile took over a new church building at Emperor’s Gate, London SW7 and this became the Cathedral. There was a hall in the crypt of the building. Here the parishioners could meet on a social basis. At first, meals were held on feast days but soon, with the active encouragement of Archbishop Nikodem, the Sisterhood provided a light meal after every Sunday service. Archbishop Nikodem saw it as providential that the church was able to provide such a meeting place, which also gave an opportunity for the parishioners to meet the clergy informally. From the early 1960’s onwards, the Sisterhood of Saint Xenia assumed greater responsibilities in the parish, raising funds to help with the beautification of the new Cathedral and the increased cost of rent and maintenance. The Sisterhood organised a fund-raising Easter Bazaar which, for more than 30 years, was held annually at Chelsea Town Hall. The Sisterhood also participated in the annual Christmas Bazaar which was organized by the Russian Red Cross.
Become a member of the Sisterhood
All women members of the parish are welcome to join the Sisterhood. Please speak to one of the sisters at the trapeza after Sunday Divine Liturgy.
For more information on the Charter of the Sisterhood please click here.