The life of our parish began with Thursday evening meetings in the Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God and All Saints of the Diocese of Sourozh in 2005. The meetings took place as part of the Russian Christian Movement in Great Britain lead by Father Michael Fortunatto, and organized with the blessing of both, Bishop Basil (Osborne) and Archpriest John (Lee), Rector of the Cathedral at that time. More information about the early days of the Movement is available via this link.
Unfortunately, at that time, there were certain political forces existed within the Cathedral that prevented the emergence of Russian-speaking groups loyal to the English ruling bishop, so in order to avoid confrontation it was decided to move our meetings to a private property based in London. Meanwhile, another Bible study group was organised in Guildford for those who had difficulties travelling to London. These two groups gradually evolved into our parish.
The group meetings have always been very positive and brought the participants closer in joint prayers. (In more recent times these meetings have moved on-line and so that we all can still meet together, despite the fact that some of us live in different cities and even different countries). The idea to hold our first Liturgy in Guildford emerged naturally during one of the meetings. This took place at St John’s Stoke Church (Guildford) in the early spring 2006. Father Alexander Fostiropoulos came to celebrate this first Liturgy and since then, services have been held regularly. Father Alexander Fostiropoulos, Father Patrick Hodson, and, on few occasions, Bishop Basil helped us to celebrate the Liturgies at St John’s Church and then later at the Lady Chapel of the Guildford Cathedral.
In the summer of 2006, Father Constantine was ordained a Deacon and was assigned first to the parish of St. John the Theologian in Norwich and then later to the parish of the Dormition of the Mother of God in London (Holborn). At the same time, Liturgies continued regularly in Guildford, until ultimately in the summer of 2009, at the request of parishioners, Bishop Basil ordained Deacon Constantine to become a priest and to be responsible for the Guildford Parish, which is now officially recognised as the Holy Trinity Eucharistic Community within the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Since 2008 the parish has also been blessed with the service of Deacon Alexei Nesteruk, a Doctor of Philosophy, a renowned scientist and theologian, and the author of many religious books.
Since Christmas 2009, parish services have been held regularly at Guildford oldest church – St Mary’s Church (Quarry Street, Guildford). Our parish is small but multinational. Built on love and care for each other, it belongs to Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain of one of the oldest Orthodox Patriarchates, the Patriarchate of Constantinople. It consists of English, Scots, Irish, Greeks, Canadians, Germans, Romanians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Moldovans, people from the Baltic countries, Georgians, Azerbaijanis, Russians and others. After the Liturgy, there is always an opportunity to talk with each other and with Father Constantine during a small lunch prepared by the parishioners. The service is usually held in English, Church Slavonic and a little bit in Greek. In addition to services, our parish holds various interesting activities: meetings, lectures, Bible study group meetings, festive fairs and pilgrimages.
We are always very happy to welcome new people to our congregation.