The Saints unite us

Thought for the Month

— Tidings, November 2019 —

Saint Philothea, the Holy Martyr

St Mary’s church in Gillingham has Saxon foundations, dating back to the 10th century AD, a time when all Christian churches were united in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, stretching from Jerusalem to Africa, to Asia and to Europe and the British Isles.

In many ways, Eastern Orthodoxy resembles the medieval Church of Britain with its monasteries and saints. That is why the Romanian Orthodox community, today worshipping at St Mary’s, chose the Venerable Bede of Jarrow as its patron saint along with St Philothea, a holy martyr from the East. Centuries apart and geographically distant, in their own way they each represent one and the same spirituality. Together they come under the ‘veil’ of the Virgin Mary, to whom the church in Gillingham is dedicated, and who is especially revered and celebrated in the Orthodox tradition. Those three holy figures, I believe, unite us and take us back to our ancient and shared Christian roots.

Among our prayers at every service for the people of Gillingham, we remember fondly the founders of this holy church and other benefactors; and we pray for the souls of those at rest, awaiting the Lord’s glorious Second Coming. The chain of prayer continues unbroken at St Mary’s church, on behalf of, and together with, the people of Gillingham.

Revd Dr Liviu Barbu

The Romanian Orthodox congregation
of SS. Bede and Philothea

St. Mary’s Church, Gillingham