On Saturday 28th April 2012 we met at the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Felixstowe to celebrate the arrival of Felix and Fursey in East Anglia. Our aim was to help us all think afresh about Felix and the joint work that both he and Fursey were able to do as co-founders of East Anglian Christianity.
The afternoon began with 'Setting the Scene', two short historical introductions to the two saints. For the first we were pleased to welcome Archpriest Andrew Phillips, a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church outside Russia who spoke about Felix. His talk addessed the questions
'Who was St. Felix? Where did he come from? Why did he come to East Anglia?' and
was based on his book 'The Story of St. Felix, Apostle of East Anglia', published by The English Orthodox Trust. In this book Father Andrew devotes a chapter to 'Felix and Ireland' and develops the ground on which Felix may well have had connections with the Irish Church and his work with Fursey in East Anglia.
In the second talk Fursey Pilgrim, the Revd Canon David Abrahams, spoke on Fursey's life from when he was born in Ireland in 597, his welcoming to East Anglia by the new Christian King Sigebert and his being received in France by King Clovis II. The Revd David's talk is available to read here.
A Service of Celebration followed the talks and we were delighted to welcome the Bishop of Dunwich, the Rt Revd Clive Young, to share in the service and preach. The Service included the reading of extracts from Bede's 'A history of the English Church and People' on Felix and on Fursey, the 'Collects for Felix and Fursey' and 'A Litany of the saints of East Anglia'. Bishop Clive's Address is available to read here.
Worthy of note in St. John's is the Lady Chapel east window shown below and which depicts the Suffolk triumverate of Edmund, Felix and Fursey. St. Edmund is on the left, St. Fursey on the right and St. Felix in the centre. St. John's original dedication in 1895 had been 'St. John and St. Felix' but St. Felix was dropped from the Dedication when the Roman Catholic church in Felixstowe was Dedicated to St. Felix. Our meeting in St. John's was by courtesy of the Priest-in-charge, Fr Robert Hinsley, and our afternoon concluded with a buffet tea provided by the congregation.