The Five Churches Fete. 2017

The Fete this year will be held on August 28th in the grounds of Athelhampton House ouseHouse

St Edward’s is one of the Five, and our church will be open during the day between 12.00 and 4.00, when we normally expect a good number of visitors.

Fr David would be grateful for volunteers to be present in the church to welcome visitors so that he does not need to spend the entire day there.

The church will need cleaning, please contact Lesley.  Any flowers for decorating the church could be brought on Sunday 27th  Many thanks.

Thought for the month

“If we make every effort to avoid the death of the body, still more should it be our endeavour to avoid the death of the soul.  There is no obstacle for a man who wants to be saved other than negligence and laziness of soul.”

St Anthony the Great (d.356)

Saint of the month  St. Sigfried, Abbot of Wearmouth

Sigfried was a disciple of St Benedict Biscop, and was noted for his knowledge of Scripture, his temperance, and his obedience.  During the fifth visit of Benedict to Rome the Abbot of Wearmouth, Esterwine died and the monks elected Sigfried to serve in his place in 686.

Sigfried fell seriously ill with a lung disease during the absence of Benedict and shortly after Benedict’s return from Rome Sigfried was carried to his cell to report on the situation at the monastery.  One outcome of this meeting was that Benedict appointed a replacement for Sigfried as abbot.

Benedict died in 688, and Sigfried later in the same year, being buried next to his master in the Abbey church.

Orthodoxy in Britain

Over recent months we have been addressing the subject of the coming of Orthodoxy to Britain.  We have seen how, for the first thousand years, possibly from late New Testament times or shortly afterwards the Orthodox faith had been established in Britain as a part of the Western Patriarchate and how, in the year 1054, the Eastern Orthodox and the Western churches, including Britain, separated and went on their own separate ways.

We now look at the question of how Orthodoxy gradually returned to these shores. but first it is necessary to look at the background of the Reformation and how England finally broke away from Rome.

Five hundred years after the Great Schism, the Western Church was challenged in 1520 by a German monk, Martin Luther, who published three “Theses” challenging some of the accepted beliefs and practices of the Roman Church.  The movement that these initiated became known as the “Reformation”.  A more radical form of Protestantism was initiated by John Calvin, a Frenchman who eventually settled in Geneva.  Calvin had no place for bishops or priests, and where deacons were retained these were elected by the congregation for a limited time, usually seven years,  These were administrators and had no liturgical function.

There is said to have been some interest in Orthodoxy among a few Anglican groups following the Reformation, when England had broken away from the Rome.  It was perhaps seen as a catholic alternative to Romanism.  But the progress of the Reformation in England was complicated, and many could see little difference between Romanism and Orthodoxy.

In England,under HenryVIII, (died 1547) there was a break with Rome because the Pope refused Henry’s request for an annulment of his first marriage.  Henry proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England but, apart from dissolving the monasteries and taking their considerable wealth for his own purposes there was very little change in services and teaching.  After divorcing his first queen he married a further five in succession.

Under Henry’s successor, Edward VI (1547 – 53) the Church of England became distinctively protestant, with much plainer forms of service.  Following Edward’s death at the age of only 16, his sister Mary, a Catholic, came to the throne. Communion with Rome was restored along with the old services, but she died just five years later and the religious position was put into reverse by her sister, Elizabeth.

Protestant services similar to those of the second book of her brother, Edward VI were re-established.  Throughout the reign of Elizabeth and her successor, James I the Church became and remained distinctly protestant under the influence of Calvinist forces, although retaining the traditional orders of bishop’s and priests.  (James I on one occasion when challenged on this matter said “No bishop, no king”.  However, there was little interest in Orthodoxy apart from, possibly, in scholarly circles.  It is said that there were some who may have wished to enter into communion with the Orthodox Church, but these almost certainly had a limited understanding of Orthodox faith and practice.

James’s son and successor, Charles I, was what came to be known as a “high churchman”.  However, Charles stirred up forces that he was unable to control.  This lead to civil war between the King and his allies and Parliament.  In 1648 the king was defeated.  He was executed in 1649 and his son, also Charles, fled across the Channel to France.  England then came under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, a Calvinist, as Lord Protector, and the Prayer Book and bishops were abolished, as James I had foreseen

England soon became disenchanted with the gloomy Puritans and, following the death of Cromwell, Charles II was invited back to Britain.  A revised Prayer Book was published in 1662 and, at least in some academic circles, research was going on into non-Roman Catholicism, that is Orthodoxy.  However, the majority of clergy and laity in Britain remained staunchly protestant

In 1712 the Alexandrian Patriarchate was in considerable financial difficulties.  An attempt was made to appeal to pro-Greek, and pro-Orthodox sympathise that Patriarch Samuel believed existed in England,  He sent a delegation to Queen Anne consisting of Metropolitan Arsenios of Thebes and a large group of clergy.  These also visited the Bishop of London, who gave permission for them to hold Orthodox services within his diocese, so for the first time the Divine Liturgy was served in England, though for the benefit of Greek visitors and, for a time, Greek clergy were to be seen on the streets of London in full clerical dress.

However, it was to be some years before the first Orthodox church was opened in London.  The date is uncertain, but its earliest known records date from 1721 and it was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Church.

Jars Needed

Lesley would appreciate any small or medium sized clean jam jars as the preserving season draws near.

Also, if you have a glut of any fruit or vegetable that might be turned into jellies, pickles, or preserves, she would be very grateful for these

In anticipation – Many thanks



Every Sunday:

THE DIVINE LITURGY                10.00 a.m.

Other services on Festivals etc., as announced.

Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals by arrangement with Fr David.

Confessions before the Liturgy (a telephone call would be appreciated), or by appointment.

Father David Harris, Parish Priest

42, High Street, Puddletown, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8RY,

Tel:  01305 849 410