By the Grace of God, on Saturday the 2nd of December our community visited the Orthodox monastery of St John in Maldon- Essex, and the Greek Orthodox community of St Barbara in Southend-on-sea. We arrived at the monastery about midday. We were allowed into the church where we venerated the holy relics of St Silouan the Athonite. Fr Vissarion sung several hymns at the request of the pilgrims and some of the nuns. Afterwards we visited the grave of the elder Sofronios. Later we had lunch with the monks, nuns and other visitors of the monastery. Before we left, coffee and tea was offered to us.
At 5 pm we arrived at the church of St Barbara in Southend. His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios was already preparing for the Vespers and the consecration of the Church. The Archbishop presided over Vespers and addressing the congregation he explained everything about the Sanctification of the Altar.
At the end of the Vespers we venerated the Holy relics His Eminence brought to lay in the Altar, as well as the relic of St Barbara that Fr Vissarion brought with him. Fr Vissarion kindly donated the relic to the Church of St Barbara and the Archbishop congratulated and thanked him for his donation.
After Vespers His Eminence gave us his blessing and we travelled back home. It was really a great day and everyone agreed that this pilgrimage was well worth doing.
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