The mission which led to the establishment of St John’s Orthodox Church in Colchester (Registered Charity No 1081707) began in 1997, the fourteen hundredth anniversary of the coming to England of St Augustine of Canterbury, Apostle of the English. The Church is dedicated to St John the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Western Europe (+ 1966). It exists in accordance with the definition of the Orthodox Church given in the original Christian Creed, as ‘One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic’. This definition describes four concentric circles of Orthodox life, centred on the Person of the Son of God, spreading out to the world at large:
1. As witnesses to the Oneness of the Church, we strive to observe the teachings of the Orthodox Church, in faithfulness to the liturgical and pastoral traditions of the Orthodox Church, which are little known in their integrity in these islands. Thus, we exist in obedience to the canonical authority of His Grace Joseph, Metropolitan of Western and Southern Europe of the Patriarchate of Romania
2. As witnesses to Holy Orthodoxy we act as a local centre for Orthodox Christians of all nationalities and backgrounds, welcoming them and striving to meet their sacramental and spiritual needs.
3. As witnesses to the Catholicity of the Church, we strive to express the Truth of Christ’s Church to Non-Orthodox Christian communities. In so doing we refer to our spiritual unity with the English and Western European Orthodox heritage of the Church of the First Millennium, to which unity the Saints of the Orthodox world urge all Christians. It is our belief that any Reconversion of Western Europe in the Third Millennium, however partial, can only take place with reference to its Conversion in the First Millennium.
4. As witnesses to the Apostolicity of the Church, we strive to express our Apostolic Faith to the wider Non-Orthodox world through living an Orthodox life, embodying the truths and values of Orthodox Christianity, in the firm belief that conversion can only come from example. Apart from our patron-saint, we also place ourselves under the particular patronage of three ancient local saints who lived in England. These are Felix, Apostle of East Anglia (+ 647), St Cedd, Apostle of Essex (+ 664), and the holy right-believing King of East Anglia and Martyr, Edmund, Patron-Saint of England (+ 869). We also have a particular veneration for all the New Martyrs and Confessors of Eastern Europe. By their holy prayers and the intercessions of the Most Holy Mother of God, may the Lord have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
Archpriest Andrew Phillips