Parish History

In 1973, the Metropolitan Anthony came to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge. During his visit, Metropolitan Anthony also served the Divine Liturgy for the small number of Russian Orthodox Christians living here, in Cambridge. This, as far as we know, was the first occasion on which the Liturgy was celebrated in Cambridge and we regard Vladyka Anthony's visit as the founding event in the life of our parish.

Following this event, a priest was sent from London to celebrate the Liturgy every month. By June 1978, Metropolitan Anthony gave the Community its own antimension. The community was placed in the care of Archpriest Basil Osborne who came to Cambridge from Oxford one Saturday a month, for over 20 years, to serve the Liturgy and care for our community.

Fr John Jillions became the priest of our parish in 1998 but we still had no permanent home; not until December 2000, when our community began to worship in the Chapel of Westcott House, an Anglican Theological College. This arrangement was only intended to last until the end of 2001, but in fact we worshipped there for another 17 years before moving to St Clement's Church on Bridge Street!

Fr Raphael Armour was ordained to serve as a second priest to the Community in July 2001. In 2002, the community was received as a Parish of the Sourozh Diocese. Fr Raphael succeeded Fr John as Rector of the Parish the following year.

Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Saint Ephraim, our patron Saint, lived in the 4th century AD and though a very young man at the time, was among the 318 Fathers at the first Ecumenical Council in the year 325.

In his childhood, St Ephraim was wayward and impetuous but came to embark on a path of asceticism, repentance and salvation. He became a renowned teacher of repentance.

St Ephraim was a prolific writer of hymns and prayers in his native ancient Syriac language. For this reason, some translations of his works may differ slightly. He is most well known for his Lenten Prayer of Repentance, which is recited during Great Lent ...

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to me, Thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto the ages of ages. Amen.

He also wrote this beautiful quote, which gives hope to us all,

''If the Son of God is within you, then His Kingdom is also within you. Thus, the Kingdom of God is within you, a sinner. Enter into yourself, search diligently and without toil you shall find it. Outside of you is death, and the door to it is sin. Enter into yourself, dwell within your heart, for God is there.''

The Feast of Saint Ephraim the Syrian is 28th January and is joyfully celebrated in our Parish.

For more information on Saint Ephraim please visit: