LONDON: 7 March 2023
The Rite of Orthodoxy at London’s Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God
On 5 March, 2023, the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy, the Rite of Orthodoxy was solemnly celebrated in the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Mother of God and Holy Royal Martyrs in London by His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe.
Following the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, and having shared the pastoral words of Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky) on the nature and importance of this special rite, the Bishop and concelebrating clergy gathered in the center of the temple, before the Cross and Gospel, relics, and an array of holy icons — in recognition of the restoration of the icons, from which historical event the Sunday of Orthodoxy takes its origins — and proceeded to celebrate the rite after the long-held custom of the Church Abroad. The special “Moleben for the Conversion of Those Who Have Gone Astray” was served, into which was inserted the Rite of Orthodoxy itself: the proclamation of the ancient and unchanging faith of the Church, the confession of faithful obedience and adherence to the teachings of the Holy Fathers enshrined in the Councils, and the annual memorial of those who have dedicated their lives, across the centuries, to preserving the proclamation of the True Faith in the face of heresy, schism and renovationism — both in the past and in the present.
A particularly potent element of the rite is the episcopal proclamation of the “Anathemas,” by which the Ruling Hierarch annually confirms the proclamations of the Holy Councils, which describe the limits of right belief and action, beyond which the faithful must never tread, instead resting ever secure in the true teaching of the Church.
This year, in light of the preponderance of schism and heresy in the present day, Bishop Irenei blessed a shorter version of the rite to be served in parishes across the Diocese. This rite, which does not include the proclamation of the anathemas (which is a strictly episcopal prerogative), contains the Creed (Symbol of Faith) as the common confession of Faith of the entire Orthodox Church, and the ancient indication, proclaimed by the Deacon on behalf of all the pious faithful of the Church: “This is the Faith of the Apostles! This is the Faith of the Fathers! This is the Orthodox Faith. This Faith confirmeth the universe!”