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Important Notice – EGA in Paris

On 7 September an Extraordinary General Assembly will be held in Paris.  This meeting has been called by our Archbishop John of Charioupolis, the head of the Churches of Russian Tradition under the Ecumenical Patriarchate, to which our parish belongs.

Representatives, both clergy and lay, from about 130 parishes throughout Europe will gather to discuss and vote on the future of our Archdiocese.

In November 2018 the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew informed our Archbishop John of the decision to disband the existing structure of our Archdiocese, and for all parishes simply to merge with existing dioceses of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in each country. 

This means that the Archdiocese which has existed in Western Europe as a self governing body under the Ecumenical Patriarchate since 1931 would cease to exist.  This is deeply upsetting for members of the Archdiocese who regard themselves as free from all national prejudices, and have followed closely the decisions taken at the famous Russian Sobor (Council) of 1917-8, which allowed for the free election of their bishops and full participation by the laity in all decision making.  Many have seen the Archdiocese as laying the foundations for an independent Orthodox Church in Western Europe.

In February this year, the General Assembly of the Archdiocese voted almost unanimously not to disband, but to preserve the unity of the Archdiocese and support our Archbishop.

Since then, many attempts have been made to find some way of keeping the Archdiocese united and intact.  Appeals have been made to the Ecumenical Patriarchate to reverse its decision.  Other Churches have been approached and been asked to take us under their protection.

The only Church which has so far offered to accept the Archdiocese has been the Moscow Patriarchate.  Our Archbishop John has been negotiating with representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate, which has come up with a detailed plan, which they say will guarantee our complete independence and preservation of our current statutes.  However, the final choice for the selection of any bishops would lie with Moscow, and we would be required to commemorate the Patriarch of Moscow at all our services.

Reunification with the Moscow Patriarchate is for very many people not an acceptable option.  This is especially the case for most of our parishes in Britain, which have in the past suffered deeply at the hands of Moscow.  Apart from anything else, if our parish were to join the Moscow Patriarchate, it would mean that we would find ourselves out of communion with other parishes under Constantinople, following the decision by the  Moscow Patriarchate to break Eucharistic communion with Constantinople! 

Our clergy and delegates from this parish will be asked to vote at the forthcoming Assembly on whether to join the  Moscow Patriarchate, or to seek some other solution. One of these would be to remain as an independent church group, temporarily not attached to any of the Patriarchates. 

The clergy representing our parish will be Father Patrick Hodson and myself. Our two lay delegates are Celia Olsson and Martin Olsson.  If you have any thoughts or questions about the future of our Archdiocese, or about our parish, please contact them, or write or phone me.

Protodeacon Peter  (Scorer)   01392 278585 / 07811128275

More Service Updates

Please note that the Liturgy planned for 8th June in Coombe Martin will now be on June 22nd.

Vespers for St Brannock of Braunton will be served at 6 pm at St Brannock’s Church, Braunton. There will be no vespers served at St Anne’s Chapel that evening.


Service Updates

The schedule of services for June has now been added. Please note that there will be a liturgy at the chapel in Coombe Martin on Saturday 8th June.

Please  also note the following changes to the upcoming schedule to services in and around the time of the Deanery Conference:

Wednesday 22 Mid-Feast of Pentecost:No Vespers

Deanery Conference Friday 24-Monday 27 May

Saturday 25 May: No Vespers

Sunday 26 May Sunday of the Samaritan Woman: No Liturgy

Wednesday 29 May :No Vespers

Holy Week 2019

Dear all,

Please take note of the following arrangements for the rest of Holy Week and Paskha in St Anne’s Church:
Great and Holy Tuesday  23 April: Bridegroom Matins at 6.30 pm
Great and Holy Wednesday 24 April:  Bridegroom Matins at 6.30 pm, followed by the service of Holy Unction.
Great and Holy Thursday 25 April:  Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 9.30 am.    Reading of the Twelve Gospels  6.30 pm.
Great and Holy Friday 26 April:  Vespers and bringing out of the Epitaphion, 3.30 pm.  Matins and procession with the Epitaphion 6.30 pm.
 (Refreshments will be available in St James’ Church Hall between the two services.)
Please do bring flowers for the Epitaphion and for decorating the church for Paskha.
Great and Holy Saturday 27 April:  Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil with Old Testament readings at 9.30 am.
28 April:  Matins of the Resurrection at Midnight, followed by Divine Liturgy.  (No feast in St James’ Church Hall)
Day of the Resurrection, 28 April, Paschal Vespers at 6.30, followed by a bring-and-share Feast in St James’ Church Hall.
Father Patrick Hodson, our Dean, will be coming  to take services on Great and Holy Friday, Great and Holy Saturday, and the Midnight service of the Resurrection.
Wishing everyone a Holy and Blessed Paskha – Christ is Risen!

Church Closed this Saturday and Sunday (December 15th and 16th)

Just a reminder that as announced last Sunday, there will not be any services in St Anne’s Chapel this weekend due to the meeting called by Archbishop Jean in Paris, which Fr Porphyrios and Dn Peter will be attending.

For those wishing to attend a liturgy in Exeter, you can find details about the
service times at the local Romanian parish in Whipton through

Update on the Archdiocese

As a result of a decision of the Holy Synod of Constantinople arrived at in November, the parishes of the Exarchate for Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe, to which our parish of the Holy Prophet Elias in Devon has belonged for the past 10 years or so, are likely to be reorganised. At this stage it appears that we will be included in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain and that therefore HE Archbishop Gregorios will become our bishop.

However, HE Archbishop John, who made a pastoral visit to the parish in July, has asked the priests of the Exarchate to join him Paris on 15thDecember to consider this development. Our parish priest, Father Porphyrios, intends is to take part in this meeting. He asks your prayers. The Deanery of Great Britain and Ireland website ( is a useful source of further information.’

A communique from the Council of the Archdiocese about this matter may be found here: .

Christmas Cards Now On Sale

This year, as usual, we are selling Christmas cards in support of the St Gregory’s Foundation (  an Orthodox charity working in Russia and other former Soviet territories.  Set up in the early 1990s, its first task was to bring food, clothing and other forms of aid to communities experiencing shortages in the wake of the collapse of the USSR.  Since then it has taken on a variety of humanitarian and educational projects, working in partnership with local parishes and other organisations in the following areas:
  • Helping disabled children and teenagers with communication difficulties to connect to the world so they can become as independent as possible.
  • Providing education, training and skills to graduates from orphanages to give them a good start in life.
  • Helping young parents who grew up in orphanages to bond with their children and keep their family.
  • Empowering children and families living with impaired hearing to take a full part in their communities.
  • Giving security, care and food aid to disadvantaged children.
  • Offering legal support, security and training to street children and teenagers to help them integrate into a wider society.
The cards are attractive and well produced, and carry greetings in Russian and English.  Prices are £5.50 per pack of 10 for most designs and £4.50 for the smaller Theotokos icon card; these include envelopes and the cost of postage from SGF headquarters to our parish.
For Christmas 2018 a colourful new design has been introduced; it is entitled ‘Provincial Russia’.
Cards are available at St Anne’s Chapel when the church is open for its usual services. For more information, contact us

Church Closed Oct 20/21/24

Just a reminder that the church will be closed this weekend  (October 20/21) and there will also be no Vespers service on Wednesday October 24th, but services will resume as usual from Saturday, October 27th.

Archpriest John Marks

On Sunday 15th July, during his pastoral visit to the parish, His Eminence Archbishop John of Charioupolis visited Archpriest John Marks and his wife, Dawn Marks, at their home in Combe Martin. His Eminence spoke appreciatively of Fr John’s many years of service to the parish and Deanery. Fr John remains a priest within the Archdiocese but is now retired and relieved of all responsibility for pastoral care and will not be taking services. His Eminence cited Fr John’s ill health for his decision and urged Fr John to rest.  The church in Fr John’s house will continue as a private chapel but will no longer serve as a public church within the parish.

HE Archbishop John’s visit to our parish

HE Archbishop John visited our parish last weekend, 14-15th July 2018.

Our patronal feast of the Holy Prophet Elias was especially significant this year as we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the beginnings of the parish. Fifty years ago the monastery church at Willand outside of Exeter was dedicated and fifty years ago Fr Nicanor was made a deacon.

Archimandrite Barnabas had been advised to come to the South West by Metropolitan Anthony. He put Archimandrite Barnabas in touch with Father Nicanor, who helped him settle in this area.

On Saturday evening, HE Archbishop John clothed Sister Sarah in the Riassa and Kamilavka. Sarah became a nun in the late 1950’s and she has lived as a solitary for the past 30 years or so, most recently on the edge of Dartmoor. She joined the Holy Orthodox Church and comes to our church for the Divine Liturgy each Sunday. It is a special joy for me to welcome her into our monastic fellowship.

On Sunday, HE Archbishop John served the Divine Liturgy and ordained Brandon Gallaher a deacon. Fr Patrick Hodson, Fr John Behr (St Vladimir’s Seminary, New York State), Fr Nicanor Wilkins, Fr Stephan Maikovsky, Fr Timothy Curtis and Hieromonk Porphyrios concelebrated. Protodeacon Peter Scorer and Deacon Alexey Kostyanovsky served and brought Brandon forward for ordination.

At the end of the Liturgy, HE Archbishop John gave Fr Nicanor the honour of having the Liturgy served with open doors up to the Lord’s Prayer, if he is participating in its celebration. He gave a gramota to Mrs Irina Scorer in recognition of her devoted service to the church over many years, as Director of the Choir.

HE Archbishop John then joined parishioners for lunch.

Later, Hieromonk Porphyrios took His Eminence to Combe Martin to meet Fr John Marks and his wife, Dawn. It was a very cordial meeting and a highlight of the weekend. His Eminence paid tribute to Fr John’s long and devoted service as a priest and visited the house chapel. Michelle Gallaher came and was on hand to translate.

Next day, Hieromonk Porphyrios and Deacon Brandon took His Eminence Archbishop John to Exeter airport for his return flight to Paris.

There is a short history of the parish for sale. Copies are available at St Anne’s Church and from Protodeacon Peter.

Hieromonk Porphyrios, Rector

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