Ecumenical Patriarchate
Archdiocese of Orthodox Parishes of Russian Tradition in Western Europe
ORTHODOX PARISH OF THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST
Worshipping at St Thomas a Becket’s Church
Cliffe High Street, LEWES BN7 2AW


The Apostolic Tradition: MISSION

·         Mission as martyrdom: our English word ‘martyr’ comes from a Greek word that means ‘witness’, and the Parish has been (and continues to be) a witness by its prayerful presence in the church of St Thomas a Becket in Cliffe, Lewes.  There has been a place of Christian worship in this part of Lewes since at least the 12th Century, and the church is a living part of the long root of Catholic tradition in Britain.  The Parish is committed to giving regularly to support Cliffe Parish Church, and we believe ourselves to be especially blessed in being able to worship there.  Our humble belief is that we as Orthodox Catholics, are in a communion with the living Father, mediated to us through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, and through those who have drunk the Lord’s cup, and been baptized with his baptism (‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church’).  We are in that communion, and we receive that communion, for the life of the World. 

·         Mission as Liturgy: when we bring our ikons into the church, put up lights before them, greet them, and honour them with incense, there is a continuation of the practice of our ancestors, as well as a witness to our belief in the communion of saints as anamnesis (which means the ‘not-forgetting’ or re-membrance) not only of the recognised Saints, but also of those departed members of the parish, who were known to us (and dear to us) as well as the departed members of our own families and friends.  The Liturgy (our service of the Eucharist or Holy Communion) is our act of remembrance par excellence; and the anamnesis in the Liturgy is the core experience of what we believe to be a living tradition of Christ and the saints, in the communion of the Holy Spirit: a creative and collective reality, which is the Church’s true treasure.  In the Liturgy, each of us offers that part of the world which is ours, to God, and receives back from God the gifts that God wants to give to our world: we are to give those gifts to our families, our friends, our neighbours, our world. 

·         Mission to the world: The bread that is offered in the Liturgy is given by the Parish, and everyone has the opportunity to contribute to it, but there is a Liturgy beyond the Liturgy: we should live the Liturgy every day of our lives, and we should give to God every day of our lives.  The Parish asks its members to give into its bank account by means of Standing Order, on a regular basis, a proportion of what they have received from the ‘Father of lights’ (Jas 1,17).  This is as much a part of our ‘living sacrifice’ and ‘reasonable service’ to God (Rom 12,1) as what is offered at the services in church.  Our giving in support of the Parish is an expression of our communion with one another, and a means ‘for building up the body of Christ’ (Eph 4,12).  We have been born again through baptism into a family-like relationship with one another (a new covenant) in Christ, and we rejoice that we are being saved together, with the help of one another, living and departed; and that through us the world around us might be saved.