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A Unique Opportunity: A Chance to live in an Orthodox Village near London

Once the Roman Capital of the country, the Essex University town of Colchester is the oldest recorded town in Britain. With the two highest-achieving State schools in England, it is 50 located minutes north-east of Liverpool Street Station in London. Chelmsford, Ipswich and the seaside are 30 minutes away and the cities of Cambridge and Norwich are just over one hour away.

St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester is not a temporary rented building, but belongs in perpetuity to the Russian Orthodox Church and is run by a charitable trust. The largest wooden Church in the British Isles and a historic monument over 150 years old, this white Church is the natural parish home for over 500 people who follow the Orthodox Tradition in Colchester and all over Essex and Suffolk. These are made up of 22 nationalities, among them Russian, English, Syrian, Latvian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Greek.

Dedicated to St John of Shanghai, this is the largest Russian Orthodox Church in the country, larger than the Dormition Cathedral in Ennismore Gardens in London. It also has the widest iconostasis in the UK and an excellent choir, the core of which has been singing together for forty years. Most parishioners are young and many are in mixed marriages. In a typical year there are about twenty baptisms, four weddings and zero funerals. Services are conducted 50% in the common language of English and 50% in other languages, mainly Slavonic, in such a way that virtually the whole Sunday Liturgy is celebrated in English and Slavonic every two weeks.

The Church is well-heated, with a large hall with kitchen and toilets, a meeting room and a baby-changing facility. A Russian School runs on Saturdays, a Church School on Sundays and there is a sisterhood. It is served by a priest, who was born and went to school in Colchester, and he is helped by a second priest. Both are bilingual. Unusually for such a large Church which also has two altars (there is a chapel dedicated to All the Saints of the Isles), there is at present no deacon, although there are four readers. God willing, from early 2014 we will at last be able to have daily services.

Several Orthodox already live within walking distance of the Church. However, at this moment some 100 two-, three- and four-bedroom houses are being built opposite the Church. They are part of a scheme to build 435 houses on vacant land opposite the Church by early 2016. Four of these houses, though not even built yet, have already been reserved by Orthodox families, at a discount.

Here is a unique opportunity for more Orthodox to gather together over the coming years and live next door to what is probably the only permanent, multinational, Russian Orthodox church in the land. For further information, please contact frandrew_anglorus @, having first viewed:

this link

Archpriest Andrew Phillips,
August 2012

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