The Diocese welcomes the Revd George Vidiakin, licensed by Archbishop Michael as an Associate Priest at St Helena Larnaca, and Clive Lawford, licensed as Reader at St John Deryneia, in October.
Fr George was born in Russia and grew up in the Russian Orthodox Church, where he was ordained deacon in 2013 and priest in 2014. While ministering in Cyprus, he left the Russian Orthodox Church and began worshipping at St Helena’s as a lay person with his wife, Regina.
George and Regina found a warm welcome there, and in March 2020 he was received by Archbishop Michael into the Anglican Communion.
“As I was getting more and more familiar with Anglicanism it struck me that actually the Anglican tradition is the one I was looking for,” says George. “I was excited by its open-mindedness, inclusivity and comprehensiveness. The Anglican tradition is simultaneously catholic and reformed—this is a very important part of Anglican identity.”
At the same time, George brings to his Anglican ministry treasures from Orthodoxy. “An appreciation of patristic writings,” he says, “are a real treasure of Christian philosophy and thought. I also love the fact that Orthodox tradition pays a lot of attention to the spiritual life, to the inner conditions of a human’s soul.”
Alongside his contribution to ministry at St Helena’s as an SSM (self-supporting minister), George continues his theological studies through the Queen’s College Exploring Faith course. He also works as a Greek/Russian translator. In his free time, George enjoys reading, listening to audiobooks, cycling and cooking. “My wife says that I am good at it,” he says, “so I have to trust her.”
Clive Lawford was admitted and licensed as a Diocesan Reader at St John Deryneia. He settled in Cyprus with his wife Anna five years ago, after working in the UK as an engineering project manager. They quickly found a home in St John’s.
Like George, Clive has also come to Anglicanism from another Christian tradition, having attended and been in leadership in independent evangelical churches for many years. He brings from that past experience an enthusiasm to lead believers into a closer sense of fellowship with God as disciples of Jesus Christ. Clive contributes often to church music, playing guitar and singing.
“I think the gift of music and praise within worship are a key element of our gatherings,” he says. “We have the examples in the Old Testament of musicians being used in worship to lead and support the praise of the worshippers. I see strong exhortations in the New Testament to rejoice with praise towards God. I note that the whole of heaven is filled with the worship of its inhabitants towards God, so in that sense we are preparing ourselves for an eternity of praise.”
Clive leads worship at St John’s twice a month. He feels, he says, blessed by the comprehensiveness and rhythm of the liturgy, and is particularly drawn to the congregational responsive elements of Anglican worship.
Clive and George continue their theological studies in the same learning group—to which each brings rich insights from their different Christian backgrounds.
Alongside his studies and preparation for leading worship, Clive joins in many parts of church life at St John’s. In his free time, he and Anna enjoy swimming, walking and exploring the coastline and countryside of Cyprus. They have children and grandchildren in the UK and the US, and enjoy travelling to catch up with family and friends.
(Pictured: Clive Lawson and Revd Peter Day)