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The chapel

In the early months of 2009, the Friends worked with Father Paul of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.  Father Paul and his parish took responsibility for the chapel on a twenty five year lease.  They soon raised 42,300, which includes 5,000 from Wirral Partnership Homes.  This money was used to renovate the chapel and provide a kitchen and disabled facilities.

On Saturday, 18th July, 2009, the church was dedicated to St Elisabeth the New Martyr.  St Elisabeth was the grand daughter of Queen Victoria who married into the Russian Royal Family.  Her husband, the Grand Duke Serge, was assassinated in 1905.  She then became a nun, founding a convent which supported the poor of Moscow. Elisabeth was arrested in 1917 and murdered by the Bolsheviks at Alpaevsk on July 6th (July 18th in the modern calendar) 1918.   She was made a saint in 1981 and is buried in the Russian Orthodox convent in Jerusalem.

 

Part of the ceremony, at the eastern end of the new church

 

Father Paul allows the church to be used by the local community.  Walks & Talks usually start and end at the church and some of the Friends meetings have taken place there.  In addition, it is available for weddings, funerals and memorial services.  The church has also been used for choir and chamber concerts.  Sunday Liturgy (Mass) at 9.30 am, almost every Sunday and vespers most Saturday evenings at about 5.30 pm and there are occasional weekday services such as Good Friday (afternoon) or Orthodox Christmas (January 7th) and a midnight service for Pascha (Easter).  The congregation fluctuates between 15 and 20 people, although for special services, such as Pascha, or a visiting Archbishop, there are as many as 60 in attendance.  The parishioners are mainly Russian, Ukranian and Lithuanian people from all over Merseyside, plus British converts.

 

 

The chapel before renovation 

 

 

The new interior