Vespers at St Sergius
Last night we went to Vespers and Matins at St Sergius Church in Midrand. It marked the tenth anniversary of the starting of the parish, and the fifth anniversary of the consecration of the church. Bishop Kirill of Smolensk, who had consecrated the church, was visiting, and the local Archbishop, Metropolitan Seraphim of Johannesburg and Pretoria, also attended.
To mark the occasion there was also the choir of the Moscow Theological Schools, which in the preceding week gave concerts in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Someone who had attended one of the concerts said it was very nice, but the music could only be fully appreciated in its proper context, in the services of the Church. And, as Prince Vladimir’s envoys are reported to have said when he sent them out to investigate various religion, “we did not know whether we were on earth or in heaven”.
The parish began ten years ago in an ordinary house where the priest lived with his family, and we used to go there fairly regularly. We were there one Sunday when after the Divine Liturgy the whole congregation went to look at the proposed site for the church, on the edge of Noordwyk, with a view over the N1 freeway. We were there when the site was blessed, and prayers were held when the foundations were dug. And when the floor slab was laid, a service was held with a tent, and people realised that the church would be too small for the congregation, so there was a delay while the architect redesigned it.
Now most of the interior ikons have been completed, and last night was the first time we had seen them.
When the church was consecrated, there were only the main ikons on the ikonostasis.