To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy Together with the Subdeacons and Readers of the UK Diocese
Dear in Christ, Reverend Fathers and Brethren!
My greetings to you from Munich, where the meetings of the Holy Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia — which took place over the past week in the beautiful surroundings of the Convent of St Elisabeth the New-Martyr — have recently concluded.
I write to share the news that the Holy Council, by a decision taken during these sessions, has appointed me, despite my unworthiness, as the Administrator of the British Diocese. His Eminence the Metropolitan will continue as diocesan locum tenens, with me now being directly responsible for the Diocese’s day-to-day operation, together with the development of its structure and mission, care for its pastoral life, clergy and faithful, etc.; as well as direct care over the Diocesan Cathedral. I shall continue to reside in Sacramento and remain a Vicar of the Western American Diocese, but will be travelling to the United Kingdom ever more frequently in order to fulfil this new charge.
News of this appointment brings me a personal happiness, despite the vivid sense of my unworthiness, grounded in my love for the British Isles and their host of Godly Saints, for whom I have the deepest devotion; and also in the spiritual fellowship I have already begun to feel with you during my recent visits in January and May 2017, on the latter occasion bringing the miraculous ‘Hawaii-Iveron’ icon to England and Wales for the first time. In that bond of spiritual fellowship, I beseech now your especially fervent prayers, Reverend Fathers and brethren, that God may bless my service to the Church, and to you and all the faithful; and also that He bless the many and great works that lie ahead of us in the Diocese.
With the blessing of His Eminence, from this date you should begin to communicate directly with me with matters relating to Diocesan life, your pastoral works and so forth, without need to copy him in on such correspondence as a routine matter. I will of course be in continuous communication with His Eminence about all major decisions relating to Diocesan life; but with this decision of the Holy Council we shall begin to proceed in a more direct way with the development of our work in a singular, prayerful and focussed manner. Attached to the end of this letter is a Circular Notice indicating the form of commemorations to be employed in Divine Services of the Diocese henceforth, and I will be corresponding with all of you — both as the whole body of Diocesan clergy, as well as individually and in smaller groups relating to regions, etc.— over the weeks ahead; and I hope to convene a Diocesan-wide convocation of all our clergy at the soonest possible moment (perhaps during my visit in August), so that we may pray and concelebrate together, and set our hearts and thoughts upon the missionary works ahead of us. In the meantime, I welcome all of you, as close servants of the Church, to write to me directly on any occasion that you so wish, or to telephone me as my be preferred.
My beloved and reverend Fathers: we learn from our holy Saints, and above all from Christ our Saviour Himself, that in our love and humility we gain the Kingdom, and that through repentance the gates of Paradise are opened to every heart. Through strictest fidelity to the Russian Orthodox Church which is our Mother and Protector, wandering lives are brought into conformity to Christ and His light made to shine in new and brighter ways in a world that dwells, today, in the greatest darkness. This will be, for us, the only sure path ahead, and we must cling to it with all our hearts. Moreover, it is the path that creates not only hope, but joy; and it is in joy that our lives will be made steadfast together.
I beseech you all, therefore, to dwell in love for one another, to encourage your flocks and fellow faithful to be at peace and seek the Life in Christ above all else, and to approach with eagerness all that God shall place before us. Assuring you of my daily prayers for all of you, I remain unworthily the ready servant of the Lord’s Church in the holy lands of Britain.
Administrator of the UK Diocese Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia The Bishop of Sacramento
By the decision of the Council of Bishops on 27th May / 9th June 2017, His Grace Bishop Irenei of Sacramento is appointed Administrator of the British Diocese, of which the First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, is Locum tenens. Bishop Irenei is charged with care for the operation and organisation of the Diocese and its pastoral oversight, and all clergy and laity shall seek him out in the first instance for customary blessings, guidance and instruction according to the canonical norms of the Church.
From this date, in the Divine Services of all parishes, monasteries, chapels and communities of the British Diocese, petitions for the Hierarchy shall take the following form (with no additional titles or attributions included):
In the litanies: “For our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; for Our Lord the Most Reverend Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; and for Our Lord the Right Reverend Bishop Irenei; for the venerable priesthood… etc.”
“О великомъ господинѣ и отцѣ нашемъ, святѣйшемъ патріарсѣ Кириллѣ, и о господинѣ нашемъ высокопреосвященнѣйшемъ митрополитѣ Иларіонѣ, первоіерарсѣ Русскiя зарубежныя церкве, и о господинѣ нашемъ преосвященнѣйшемъ епископѣ Иринеѣ, честнемъ пресвитерствѣ… и т.д.”
At the Great Entrance: “Our Great Lord and Father, His Holiness Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia; Our Lord the Most Reverend Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern-America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad; and Our Lord the Right Reverend Irenei, Bishop of Sacramento, may the Lord God remember in His Kingdom… etc.”
“Великаго господина и отца нашего Кирилла, Святѣйшаго Патріарха Московскаго и всея Руси, и господина нашего высокопреосвященнѣйшаго Иларіона, первоиерарха Русскія зарубежныя церкве, и господина нашего преосвященнѣйшаго Иринея, епископа Сакраментскаго, да помянетъ Господь Богъ во Царствіи Своемъ… и т.д.”
Any questions of a particular nature relating to the administrative functioning of the Diocese should be directed in the first instance to the Chancellor of the Diocese, the Very Reverend Archpriest Paul Elliott, 58 Shrewsbury Road, Prenton Birkenhead, CH43 2HY (tel. 0151 653 7768).