There are 3 Romanian nuns maybe 5 now and Fr Zacharias can speak Romanian at conversational level.
St John the Baptist Monastery, Essex
Posted 15 July 2015 - 06:52 PM
Planning to visit the UK in September and would like to schedule a visit to the monastery. Am currently booked into London, then Cambridge and subsequently a loop through the Cottswalds back to London. Cambridge seems the closest point when we'll have a car, and that's the middle of the week. With most of the travel schedule is already set, am trying to add another day in Cambridge to make this happen. Maybe this isn't ideal... but it still seems very do-able. Time permits a half day to make this happen, but not much beyond that. Blessed are they who have had more!
Best as I can tell from these posts, morning services are 7:00 and the drive from Cambridge is about 1-1/2 hours (Google Maps). Could be too tight to make by 6:30 for the 7 a.m service (which I believe runs 1-hour?), and of course this suggests there's be no traffic issues or driver navigation errors (mine... 'cause I do make some) or the like. GPS helps, but I'd still be driving on the opposite side of the road... and last time we did this, after an initial adjustment where my wife rode leaning into the middle of the car to compensate for my hugging the far left to dodge the on-coming trucks that seemed to consider dividing lines as "mere suggestions" rather than as rules of the road, we were fine. Evening services look to begin after 4:00pm tea and run for two hours if I have that right (and there are no midday services?).
So am wondering what to do both about which service to try to make as well as how best to get there. If I were unable to worship, that might be a disappointment, but it would still be worthwhile.
Have looked at trains, but times indicate about 2 hours and I wonder whether this means I'd be running back into London before off to Witham? Allowing for traffic, potential navigation issues, and happenstance by car may argue the evening, but then there's the matter of whether they'd understand bustling back to Cambridge before it got too dark. Though a decent return-journey navigator, night in a foreign country driving on a different side of the road... well... I don't want to overload the possibilities.
Would love to hear your thoughts and/or recommendations. Thanks you.
Posted 17 July 2015 - 08:03 AM
I recommend trying to attend the Divine Liturgy at the monastery, and this is celebrated midweek usually on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The Hours begin at 7am and the Liturgy itself at 7.30am so that could help. If you were able to go on 24 September, then, being the Feast Day of St Silouan, the Liturgy begins at 8.30am after the Hours.
Please be aware that road traffic in most parts of England is heavy, especially at the beginning and end of the working day. Driving in the morning from Cambridge to Tolleshunt Knights could involve heavy traffic and perhaps delays on the M11 to the junction with the A120 but it's hard to say.
You are right that there are no midday services at the monastery, and the evening service at 5.30pm is the Jesus Prayer for two hours in darkness in St Silouan''s church.
I presume you intend to get to the Cotswolds by excursion rather than driving yourself.
Edited by Reader Andreas, 17 July 2015 - 08:04 AM.
Posted 17 July 2015 - 01:13 PM
Reader Andreas: THanks for your reply. Well... turns out we don't arrive in Cambridge until Friday, then pick up the car in Cambridge on Saturday, before leaving for "Chipping Cambden" on Sunday afternoon. Maybe hard to manage more than a short stop over at the monastery on this trip? Have to mull that one over. Last trip was actually to Edinbrugh for a conference... and afterward I drove the two of us over to the Isle of Mull for a few days to stay in a family friend's "castle" (B&B). Maybe my experience and expectations are over-optimistic on that basis...? Your comment regarding "excursion rather than driving yourself" for the Cotswolds now has me a bit worried. Did I miss something?
Posted 17 July 2015 - 07:06 PM
Dear James, I would avoid the monastery on Sunday unless you can't do otherwise - Sundays, it is very busy with people visiting from London. The Saturday evening vigil service is beautiful and starts at 5pm. The drive from Cambridge ought to be easy on a Saturday afternoon, and you can arrive about 4.30pm, and relax with tea and cakes which are served to visitors from 4pm to 5pm. You could leave after the Matins Gospel about 7pm and get back to Cambridge that evening. Sunday morning, you could attend the Divine Liturgy at the Russian church of St Ephraim in Cambridge. You will see from Google maps that the drive from Cambridge to Chipping Camden is very do-able in 2 1/2 hours or so. There's no need to be alarmed about driving yourself everywhere, and seeing the Cotswolds independently is far better than being 'processed' through a tourist excursion. What you can manage in the Cotswolds depends on when you have to leave there.
Posted 21 August 2015 - 02:14 AM
Reader Andreas: Thanks for you reply. I've been busy getting ready for the trip... in myriad ways. Wonder whether the services are in English? Imagine it is Greek (Byzantine) chant rather than Russian-style Kievan? Looking forward to a visit! Should I write them in advance? or "just show up" ?Thanks! for your help.
Posted 21 August 2015 - 10:29 AM
Services can be in English, Church Slavonic, or Greek though often the Divine Liturgy in the week and on Saturdays is in English (KJV style). The Saturday evening vigil includes parts in all three languages. There is no need to write in advance if you are only attending services.
Posted 24 August 2015 - 09:12 AM
I assume by 'pants', you mean 'trousers' - 'pants' means something else in England! Yes, some women visitors do wear trousers and nothing will be said. Please note that in church, women stand on the left/north side and men on the other side. Women and men also sit separately in the refectory should you have a meal there but may sit together for afternoon tea. There are seats in church for those who need them. Photographs/videos should not be taken without permission.
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