Monday 31 August 2015

Indian Orthodox Family Conference

I was very pleased to have been invited to participate in the annual Indian Orthodox family conference, which took place this year at Yarnfield Park Conference Centre, near Stafford. I had been given permission to attend by H.E. Metropolitan Seraphim, and then by H.G. Bishop Angaelos, and this was a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends such as Father George Joy, of the Hemel Hempstead congregation, and to receive the blessing of H.E. Mor Thimothios, the bishop of the Indian Orthodox Church in the UK with responsibility for much of Europe and Africa as well.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Status Update - A New Beginning

Today I was blessed to have a warm and fruitful meeting with His Grace Bishop Angaelos at the Coptic Centre, Stevenage. During the meeting I was able to discuss His Holiness' intention for my future service within the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I am very pleased that it has been decided that I will serve as a priest of the Patriarchal Diocese of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and that I will report to His Grace Bishop Angaelos, who will have the care and supervision of my ministry.

It has been agreed with Metropolitan Seraphim that I will continue to develop the three missions in Swindon, Windsor and Stoke, and these will now be English language mission communities within the Patriarchal Diocese.

Over the next few days I hope to begin to plan the renewed schedule of services and activities in these places, and will continue to be in regular contact with His Grace Bishop Angaelos so that he can advice and direct this missionary ministry within the Coptic Orthodox Church.

I hope to have other things to report in due course. But this is certainly a new beginning for myself, and for the mission communities I have been serving. Please continue to pray for me, for my family, and for all those entrusted to my care.

Saturday 22 August 2015

A New Life of St Mark for Youth - The Last Blessing - Part 1

This is the first chapter of a Life of St Mark which I am writing with the youth in mind. I hope to be able to describe the lives of our great saints in language which is accessible to many and which communicates the rich history of our Church in a memorable manner.

I am still waiting patiently for my service to the Church to be defined by His Holiness, and for permission to serve the spiritual children God has placed in my care, and to discover how the Church might choose to provide for the needs of my family while I commit myself to the Gospel. This time of obedient  anticipation has been a blessing since I have been able to spend much time in study and in writing, and I offer this first chapter of this Life of St Mark as the fruit of some of that effort. Please remember me in your prayers and support. Your encouragement sustains me.


I had taken my brother on an errand down to the harbour. I think we had been sent by my mother to fetch some fish for the family meal that day. It was a long time ago and I am remembering as best I can. We had run all the way down to where the fishermen landed their catches, on the furthest quays. Far enough away from the great palaces of the rich and noble that the harvest of the sea did not disturb their refined sensibilities. Far enough away from the fortress on the sea wall that the little boats were no obstruction to the passage of the galleys that would often be seen transporting troops and imperial officials.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Spending the precious gift of time wisely?

Every day that God gives us has 24 hours in it, 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. How we use those precious moments should matter to us. They matter to God. There is a real sense in which he created the whole world, and entered into it himself as Jesus Christ, and suffered, died and rose again, so that you might enjoy the gift of this day.

If we were training for an elite athletics competition our coach would have determined how we were to spend each minute. There would be time for relaxation of course, because the human mind and body needs to relax to be able to operate at peak efficiency. But there would be no wasted time. An athlete training for an Olympic race has only one chance to get it right. And St Paul tells us that were are training to compete in an altogether more significant race, truly the race of our life.

Monday 17 August 2015

Overcoming Loneliness - the Video

I hope that this video recording of the Overcoming Loneliness homily I published here a little while ago will be of use to a few people.

Loneliness is one of the great interior burdens that so many are carrying in the 21st century, often unable to share their feelings with others. Our age of technological wonder has not solved the most basic and serious of our inner hurts and pains.

Perhaps these few thoughts will help someone.

A Musical Distraction

I was in the car yesterday evening taking my son to his guitar lesson. He turned the radio on and switched between channels, trying to find something he liked. We had the usual conversation about how much modern popular music is derivative and not as good as the music of 40 years ago. It generally isn't! But I had to ask him to turn the radio off. I was finding it so disturbing of my spiritual peace.

I don't mean that it was presenting horrible lyrics, indeed I can't remember what was on. But the music was affecting me at some inner level of my heart that was preventing me finding stillness in prayer. I find this often. There is a time when I listen to great popular music, but it is not usually compatible with prayer. Prayer usually requires an inner stillness. We can pray in desperate circumstances, but if we choose to place ourselves in the middle of noise then we should not be surprised that our experience of prayer suffers.

Sunday 16 August 2015

Wasting time, wasting life

From the earliest ages people have valued leisure time as a relief from work and business. Indeed the Greeks spoke of leisure time and not leisure time, promoting the importance of what could be done during leisure. For the Greeks the time of leisure was to be spent in the most important pursuit of understanding, in serious discussion and in the contemplation of beauty and the divine. It is interesting that the Greek word for leisure is scholei, which became our own word school. We might think that school is the opposite of leisure, but for the Greeks, and then for the Romans, the proper purpose of life, of effort and work, was to provide time for the pursuit of personal growth, of the experience of truth and beauty, and of seeking after God.

Until recently the little time that people had away from business and the world of work would be spent in serious pursuits. Time was too precious to be wasted. Those who valued such leisure as was available would spend much of it in reading, study, religious activities and in other forms of self improvement such as visiting museums or even venturing into the countryside.

Thursday 13 August 2015

St Timothy of Alexandria - Part II

Just as the death of Marcian had allowed the election and consecration of St Timothy, so the death of Emperor Leo in 474 AD allowed an opportunity for St Timothy to be restored to Alexandria after eighteen years of exile. Zeno, who had risen to become the commander of the army, the magister militum, succeeded to the imperial throne, and immediately the clergy and people of Alexandria sent representatives to Constantinople requesting the return of St Timothy from his exile in far off Cherson. Zeno was of Isaurian origin however, and had taken the Greek name of Zeno on his marriage to the Emperor Leo’s daughter, Ariadne. He was not popular among many of the Greek court, who especially resented the presence of Isaurian soldiers and officers in the city.

St Timothy of Alexandria - Part I

There are few of the fathers of the Oriental Orthodox communion who escape uncritical censure on the part of the Eastern Orthodox. Uncritical, because based on a few polemical comments deriving from the period of the Christological controversies and failing entirely to take into account any of the writings and historical records deriving from the Oriental Orthodox communities in which they were active.

St. Timothy falls into this category of unreasonably maligned figures. Condemned as both a murderer and Eutychian, he has passed into the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox histories as a figure entirely without any redeeming features.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Orthodoxy and Culture

The relationship between Orthodoxy and Culture is a significant and interesting subject which has been much on my mind for some time. It is important for the present experience of our Coptic Orthodox Church because it has relevance to the integrity of our spiritual tradition, to the pastoral needs and ministries of the Church, and for the expression and commitment to missionary activity in accordance with the Lord's command.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

The Fast of the Virgin Mary - II

It is significant that the Virgin Mary is present and active at the first miracle which our Lord Jesus Christ performed. We may remember the account of the Wedding at Cana. Jesus and his disciples were guests, and at some point in the event it was discovered that the host was running out of wine. What a disaster at a time and place when generous hospitality was everything!

We should make a careful note of the words which his mother, the Virgin Mary spoke. They are not accidentally recorded for us by St John. On the contrary they were filled with spiritual meaning which became clear as the ministry of the Lord unfolded. St John writes...

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. John 2:3-5

Saturday 8 August 2015

Orthodox Videos by Father Peter Farrington

This is an up to date collection of videos I have produced for Coptic Youth Channel, and on my own Youtube Channel. I hope to be able to add the programmes I produced with Aghapy TV and CTV when links to stream them are available.

I hope to produce many more of these videos as God wills. If you find these videos helpful and useful then please consider that I'm without financial support at the moment, except from a few dear friends, while I am waiting for the Church to determine how I can best be of service. My household bills have not, unfortunately, gone away. Indeed they are mounting up and cannot be paid at present. So I am waiting, trusting in the Lord for his provision by your prayers. Please continue to pray for me and with me. I always need your prayers in every situation. There is a link to provide support at the bottom of this page.

Coptic Youth Channel

Friday 7 August 2015

Overcoming Habitual Sin

This is a first draft of a lengthy piece of writing about overcoming habitual sin. I hope that those who find it useful will help me to improve it by asking questions or raising issues that I have neglected or treated in a confusing manner. My email address is I look forward to suggestions about how it can be made a more useful text.
I am always happy to receive correspondence from people around the world. Almost every day I receive messages on Facebook or by email, and much of my time is taken up in responding to the spiritual needs of those who have taken the time to contact me. Very often those who want to talk with me are facing the challenge of overcoming habitual sin. 

If you find this writing helpful and useful then please consider that I'm without financial support at the moment, except from a few dear friends, while I am waiting for the Church to determine how I can best be of service. My household bills have not, unfortunately, gone away. Indeed they are mounting up and cannot be paid at present. So I am waiting, trusting in the Lord for his provision by your prayers. Please continue to pray for me and with me. I always need your prayers in every situation.

If you are able, and moved, to provide some support at this rather testing time, then your financial support is most gratefully received as if from God himself.

The Fast of the Virgin Mary - I

Each of the seasons of fasting in the Church has a purpose. We are invited to reflect and to act for our salvation as we consider and imitate those who have experienced the life in Christ before us. Most recently we kept the fast and the feast of the Apostles, seeking to prepare ourselves by spiritual effort for our own share in the mission of the Church to the world. Today, as we begin the fast of the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos, we seek to benefit from an extended period of prayerful concentration on her life and experience.

Monday 3 August 2015

All things work together for good

The Pauline Epistle for the Liturgy today is very short. Just a single verse. But it is a verse that we should all have kept safe in our heart, ready to bring to mind when we suffer difficulties of various kinds. It says...

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28