With the blessing of His Grace Luke, Bishop of Syracuse, abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, staffers of Holy Trinity Publications (the monastery’s publishing arm) paid a visit to the United Kingdom from October 9-21. Since mid-2019, Holy Trinity Publications titles have been widely available in the UK and Europe through Oxbow Books, an Oxford-based book distributor. Among the aims of the trip was to publicize this arrangement and increase the visibility of these books in the UK, in particular the works of some of their recently published British authors.
Upon arriving in England, Reader Nicholas Chapman, Director of HTP, attended Divine Liturgy at the parish of St Elizabeth in Wallasey and then went on to meet Protodeacon Peter Markevich (Sales & Marketing manager) in Esher, Surrey, on the outskirts of London. Here they displayed and promoted a selection of HTP titles at the Christian Resources Exhibition, which was held from October 12-14. The exhibition was well attended by believers from a broad range of Christian denominations, many of whom were exposed to Orthodox Christian books and teachings for the first time.
The HTP stand also drew several baptized Orthodox Christians who, for one reason or another, had drifted away from the Church. In addition to promoting the monastery’s publishing work, the staff were able to converse frankly with interested attendees about the fulfillment of Christ’s teachings and divine economy within the Orthodox Church. In this way, Holy Trinity Publications continued in the path of its Heavenly patron, Venerable Job of Pochaev, whose printing and publishing work spread the Orthodox Faith throughout Western Rus’ and preserved the Orthodox Church where She found Herself under duress.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the first of two events celebrating the publication of a new book was held on Wednesday, October 13. Dr. Nicholas Fennell, author of Russian Monks on Mount Athos: The Thousand Year History of St Panteleimon, joined Reader Nicholas for an hour-long discussion, followed by questions, about his research into the Russian presence on Mount Athos, which culminated in the publication of the new book this fall. Dr. Fennell described his upbringing in the Russian Diaspora in the United Kingdom, his interest in the subject of Russian monasticism on the Holy Mountain, and its significance for Orthodox Christian studies more generally. Attendees were treated to coffee and light refreshments.
At the weekend, Fr. Peter and Reader Nicholas visited with parishioners and clergy of several Orthodox parishes in England. On Saturday evening, they attended Vespers at Twelve Apostles’ Church in Eastleigh, a new mission begun this year under the Antiochian Archdiocese of the British Isles & Ireland. The following day, they attended Divine Liturgy at the Parish of St. Silouan (Diocese of Sourozh, Moscow Patriarchate), located in Southampton. After Liturgy, parishioners had an opportunity to purchase books left over from the previous week’s exhibition. On Monday, the travelers met with Nun Magdalen of the Community of St. John the Baptist in Essex. Sister Magdalen manages the monastery’s bookshop.
On Tuesday, October 19, Reader Nicholas and Fr. Peter were in Oxford. The morning included a visit to St. Nicholas Church (Diocese of Sourozh, Moscow Patriarchate) and a wide ranging conversation with its rector, Archpriest Stephen Platt, who also serves as the General Secretary of the Fellowship of St. Alban & St. Sergius, and Simon Jennings, who manages the parish’s impressive bookshop. That evening, a second event took place marking the publication of Dr. Fennell’s new book. The book launch was held in conjunction with the Friends of Mount Athos (FOMA) at Pusey House, a center of Anglo-Catholic thought and worship at Oxford University. Dr. Fennell shared anecdotes from his early travels to Mount Athos and some of the challenges and difficulties in researching the topic for his new book. The event was well attended by local Orthodox faithful, FOMA members, students of the University of Oxford, and other guests from further afield. Copies of Russian Monks on Mount Athos and other HTP titles were made available for purchase.
Fr. Peter returned to the USA on October 20 whilst Reader Nicholas spent two more days in London filled with further meetings and bookshop visits.
Holy Trinity Publications expresses its gratitude to Archpriest Paul Elliott, Archpriest Joseph Skinner, Archpriest Stephen Platt, Priest Alexander Haig, Nun Magdalen, their respective communities, and many others too numerous to name here for their hospitality and fellowship throughout the trip.