The residents of London and Dublin enjoyed the beauty of the Orthodox faith and its rich cultural and spiritual heritage in the spring of 2017.
The Heart 2 Heart Orthodox Festival was held in London on May 4 – 7 and in Dublin on May 11 – 14 with the blessings of Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh and Metropolitan Pavel of Minsk and Zaslavl, the Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.
It is not the first time that the Convent organises an event like this. For instance, we had held an exhibition of icons in a private gallery in London. With that said, it was the first time that the Convent offered such a diverse and event-heavy programme of this scope abroad.
The guests learned about the outreach activities of the Convent and had the opportunity to see and buy some products made in the workshops of St Elisabeth Convent. The visitors could also participate in creative work directly thanks to workshop sessions on icon painting and making icons with ground gemstones. Batleika Folk Theatre shows and dedicated expositions allowed them to get an insight into the history and the culture of the Belarusians.
Charitable concerts of the Monastic Choir of St Elisabeth Convent in support of the social ministry of the Convent in Minsk were central to the spring festival in Great Britain and Ireland. The two European capitals heard Orthodox liturgical chants, traditional spiritual songs, and canticles.
The Festival introduced its guests to the creative work of children with special needs. Their perception of the world is different from ours. It is unique, colourful, and straightforward. Pictures and animation films created by the kids who live in the Boarding Home No. 3 for children with special needs were exhibited at the Festival. Every visitor of the Festival could take part in the charitable project and make a contribution to the construction of a summer house for these children on the grounds of the Rehabilitation Centre of St Elisabeth Convent.
An exhibition and sale of products made in St Elisabeth Convent has become a tradition at the Festival. The Festival was exciting not only for adults but also for young visitors who were invited to participate in a lot of fun activities.
Nickolai Storozhenko, one of the organisers of the Heart 2 Heart Festival, says, “London and Dublin are big cities where myriads of fascinating and thrilling events occur every day. What can we bring to these huge cities? What can our contribution be? We just want people to have fun and to see the beauty of living with God. Our hearts and our eyes are our contribution. If people can see light and goodness in our eyes, we’ll view our mission as a success.”
Dormition Cathedral (67 Ennismore Gardens, London, SW7 1NH) was the main venue of the Heart 2 Heart Festival in London. Peter and Paul Church in Dublin (Harold’s Cross Rd Dublin 6) was the primary venue of Heart 2 Heart Festival in Dublin.