Ambassador Andrei Kelin's message of congratulations on the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Wilton

*read out by Philip Matthews, Chairman of the Soviet War Memorial Trust Fund

Dear Rector Wood,

Dear congregation,

On behalf of myself and everyone at the Russian Embassy in London please accept our most sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of the St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Wilton.

On this momentous day it is an honourable pleasure to remember that our Russian compatriots have played a decisive role in building the Church, as it was done upon the initiative of Catherine Woronzow, Countess of Pembroke. It is a vivid demonstration of how powerful we can be when we join the efforts of all the faithful and those compassionate toward the present and the future of the church.

St Mary and St Nicholas Church is unique in terms of history, architecture and location, and for many years it has united people with their values, serving in the interests of good and justice. To a great deal all of this is possible thanks to your, Rector Wood, wisdom and due attention to the congregation, thus bringing people closer to the customs and traditions of the church.

Fostering the ideals of good, love and tolerance in society, the church contributes towards strengthening peace, friendship and mutual understanding between members of different confessions. St Mary and St Nicholas Church in Wilton is a great example of cultural and interfaith cooperation between Russia and the UK. It is a pleasure to note that the long-established friendly relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, having enjoyed numerous contacts and a fruitful cooperation, continue to develop.

I am convinced that today’s celebrations shall become a noteworthy event in the spiritual and cultural life in Wilton and its surroundings, despite all the restrictions in place due to the coronavirus.

On the occasion of the Church’s Anniversary I would like to wish you God’s help and prosperity in all your efforts.

Ambassador Andrei Kelin

11 October 2020