Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 9th September, 4pm

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

To purchase the Divine Praises, the Divine Office of the Byzantine-Slav rite (in English), order from the Eparchy of Parma here.

The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.




Sunday, 8 April 2012

Eternal Memory: Mother Thekla

Father John Salter writes in Chrysostom, Pascha 2012:



Mother Thekla was born Marina Sharf into a family of Jewish descent in the Caucasian town of Kislovodsk, just as the Russian Revolution was beginning, in 1918. Her parents, fearing for the safety of the family, fled to England. She studied alongside another Russian, the Oxford historian Prince Dmitri Obolensky. After a time in the Royal Air Force Intelligence Service (1941-46) she took up a post at Kettering High School in 1952, becoming Head of the English Department . In 1965 Marina was on her way to a Retreat at the Anglican Benedictine Abbey at West Malling in Kent, when she stopped off to attend the Divine Liturgy at the Russian Cathedral of the Assumption and All Saints in Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge. There she met Mother Maria, who had been professed as a Russian nun by Bishop Anthony (Bloom) of Sergievo. Mother Maria lived in the enclosure of the Anglican nuns at West Malling, and was professed as an Orthodox nun retaining her baptismal name of Marina. She and Mother Maria moved from West Malling and set up a convent at Filgrave in Buckinghamshire. They were later joined by Dame Mary Thomas, O.S.B., the Novice Mistress at West Malling Abbey. With the death of His Holiness the very aged Patriarch Alexis I of Moscow and All the Russias, the nuns felt that their link with Russia had been severed and they petitioned the Ecumenical Patriarch to receive them under the omophorion of the Great Church of Constantinople. The nuns then changed their names to Thekla in the case of Marina, and Katherine in Dame Mary‟s case. Mother Maria died in 1977 and the nuns eventually moved to Normanby in Yorkshire. The new monastery was set up in 1975.

Sister Katherine died in 1986. In that same year the Very Reverend Archimandrite Ephrem (Lash) returned to England from Mount Athos and became chaplain to a community that was now reduced to only Mother Thekla.

Whilst in Yorkshire Mother Thekla became friendly with the young composer John Tavener and became the inspiration for his famous work The Protecting Veil (of Our Lady) . As old age and infirmity began to take their toll, Mother Thekla was taken into the care of the local Anglican nuns of the Order of the Holy Paraclete at their infirmary of St. Hilda in Whitby. She was buried in Whitby on 16th August having died on 7th August 2011. She was 93 years of age. At her funeral, several of Sir John Taverner's works were performed, including a newly composed work: They are Gone into the World of Light.

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