OBITUARY

Priest Elias Jones

 

Saturday 26 March was the 40th day since the repose of Presbytera Barbara. That evening Fr Elias retired to bed. In the morning it was found that he had died peacefully in his sleep. He was 72 and had served in the priesthood for more than a quarter of a century.

 

As one of the clergymen attached to the College of Our Lady of Mettingham, Fr Elias was laid to rest in the churchyard of Joy of All Who Sorrow Church. His last resting place is beside that of his presbytera. His body, vested in his white and silver Paschal vestments, was brought into church on the afternoon of Tuesday 5 April. After evening service, the Gospel reading continued throughout the evening. On Wednesday afternoon the funeral service, attended by his family and many old friends, was sung in church. Archpriest Philip Steer (Walsingham), Archpriest Raphael Armour (Cambridge) and Fr Alexander Haig (Colchester) served the last rites together with Fr Antony Bardsley, Fr Liviu Barbu and Fr Dn Andrew Bond. Before the Last Kiss, Fr Philip spoke movingly about our dear departed friend and brother in Christ. The day had been punctuated by seasonal showers, including a very heavy one during the funeral service. However, as the procession with the coffin came out of church, the sun shone, the rain having conveniently stopped. Thus, we made our way to the grave site.    

 

Fr Elias (Trefor Jones in the world) was received into the Orthodox Church by Fr Mark Meyrick (later Archimandrite David) in Walsingham in 1974. He was essentially more an academic, with numerous qualifications, than a practical man. Having spent some of his childhood in Wales, he was a Welsh speaker. As a historian, he was skilled in Medieval Latin which was invaluable for understanding hagiographical texts. He studied at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge and London University and had degrees in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic History and in Economic History. Archaeology was another interest which he shared with his wife, Barbara.

 

His research into early ecclesiastical history led to the publication of The English Saints – East Anglia in 1999 and church services in honour various local saints such as St Walstan of Taverham and St Guthlac of Croyland. Fr Elias had a liturgical mind and this gave him a firm grasp of the structure of Orthodox Church services.

 

With such interests, it seems difficult to imagine that, in his earlier years, he spent some time in the Police Force but, as a career, this didn’t really suit him and so he took up teaching. Sadly his later years were badly affected by increasingly poor health. This resulted in various research projects, including translating the Latin life of St Botolph, being put on hold.

 

Fr Elias was very much a family man and is survived by daughter Rosemary and sons Christopher and Antony. Principally our dear friend and colleague will be remembered as a kind and gentle soul, made patient by his acquaintance with human frailty.

 

 In the mercy of God, may the priest Elias rest in peace and may he be granted Eternal Memory.