The Orthodox Chapel That Could Have Been

Though I have never seen photographs, some of the elders within our diocese recall the apse that was started in Walsingham, remaining incomplete – never to be part of an Orthodox Chapel that was conceived and planned to adjoin the south aisle of the Anglican shrine church, in the garden of St Augustine’s, where the confessional rooms now stand.

The ground had been blessed by Metropolitan Seraphim of the Russian Church in Exile (as our ROCOR was then called), though I am still searching in ‘Our Lady’s Mirror’ from the 1930’s to find when.

It would be wonderful to see drawings and plans of the intended chapel, whose construction was prevented by the outbreak of war.

The ‘temporary’ chapel within the shrine church – in which we are still celebrating – adjoins the proposed site, and has been in use since 1941, when it was used by both Eastern European prisoners of war from a nearby camp, and the Free-Polish armed forces.

It was consecrated by Archbishop Sava of Grodno on Trinity-Pentecost 1945) not 1944 as incorrectly repeated on the internet), and St Nikolaj Velimirovic served in this little chapel during his Walsingham convalescence, after the Second World War.

The original dedication of the chapel was in honour of the icon of ‘The Mother of God, of Perpetual Succour’, as can be seen on the foundation document. It was much later that the dedication was changed to the ‘Life-Giving Spring’, and this seems to have had no canonical sanction or official status.

Having celebrated the feast of the Holy Equal to the Apostles, St Vladimir in the ‘temporary’ chapel, yesterday, on the very hand-drawn antimension that was placed on the Holy Table on that day, we are aware of how blessed Orthodox pilgrims are to be continuing as part of the ‘Orthodox story’ of Walsingham, treading where holy men have gone before them.

A Prayer against Passions, Torments, Despair and Distress

A Prayer of Saint Nikolaj (Velimirovic) to the Most-Holy Theotokos


Waves of passion disturb my spirit, great sadness and anguish have overwhelmed my soul. Embalm my soul with Thy Son’s peace, O Most Holy One, and by His Grace drive away every doubt and despair. Calm the storm of my sins that, like a fiery worm, burn me, and quench its flame. Fill my heart with joy, O Most Pure One, and disperse the fog of my iniquities before me, for it confuses me. Illumine me with the light of Thy Son. Helpless is my soul, and everything is cumbersome, even prayer. Here I am, cold as a stone, my lips whispering prayers, while my heart remains immovable, for it is smothered in anguish. Melt the ice which envelops my soul and warm my heart with Thy love.

I rely not on human protection, but fall down before Thee, O Most Pure Sovereign Mother of God; reject me not, but hearken unto the prayer of Thy servant. Sadness has overcome me; I can endure the demonic attack no more. I have no protection; there is no shelter for this poor man, and in this battle, I am ever being wounded. I have no consolation, but in Thee, O Holy Sovereign. O Hope and Protection of all who believe, reject not my prayer.

O Most Holy Mother of Christ, Most Pure, Most Blessed Theotokos, Satan is pounding at me like the waves of the sea against a ship, pursuing me by day and tormenting me at night. I have no peace; turbulent is my soul, my spirit trembles. Hearken, O Most Holy One and help me. Intercede before the dear Lord that He may have mercy on me and forgive the sins I have committed. O Most Holy Mother of Jesus, Thy grace is great, and the mightiest opponent to the powers of Hades. Thou art able to save even the greatest of sinners who, having been cast into the depths of hell by unclean powers, should call upon Thee. So too, save me, for lo, Satan will have me stumble and will destroy my faith, but I trust in the Lord. I magnify Thee, Who art more holy than the Cherubim and the Seraphim. Amen.

Prayer against Passions, Torments, Despair and Distress

Prayer of St Nikolaj (Velimirovic) to the Most-Holy Theotokos

Petrovskaya Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God: Cell of Hieromonk Mark.