March 30, 2015
Washington, DC: Historic Presanctified Liturgy using Ludwell Translation of 1761 performed at St. John the Baptist Cathedral

With the blessing of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York, an historic Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts was served at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Washington, DC on Friday, March 20. In the presence of the myrrh-streaming Icon of the Mother of God "Softener of Evil Hearts," Priest John Johnson (cathedral cleric) and Deacon Herman Ricketts (cleric of Holy Apostles Church in Beltsville, MD) concelebrated the Liturgy. Reader Peter Gardner, who set Reader Nicholas Chapman’s transcription of the English translation made by Colonel Philip Ludwell III to music, directed the choir.

Ludwell’s translation of The Divine & Holy Liturgy of St. Gregory the Dialogist as it is Performed without a Deacon was most probably made in the summer of 1761, when he had again travelled to London with his three daughters from Virginia. His three daughters were received into the Church there before the Presanctified Liturgy of Holy Wednesday, 1762. It is reasonably believed that this is the first-ever use of this translation in North America, and perhaps anywhere.

Colonel Ludwell was a prominent Virginia plantation owner of the mid-18th century and a top official in the Virginia colonial government who procured for a young George Washington his officer’s commission in the Virginia militia. Ludwell travelled to England in the summer of 1738 to be received into Holy Orthodoxy at the parish in London under the authority of the Holy Governing Synod of the Russian Church. His reception took place on December 31, 1738, three days after his twenty-second birthday.

Colonel Ludwell’s translation has recently been transcribed from the original handwritten text by Reader Nicholas Chapman and prepared for use with a deacon by Reader Peter Gardner. It has also been updated to conform to contemporary usage, and a short historical introduction added. This edition was published at the end of February by St. Polycarp Press, Alexandria, VA and can be purchased here.

Following the Liturgy, memorial prayers were led by Archpriest Victor Potapov to commemorate the Ludwell family. It is hoped that other parishes will follow suit and perhaps also serve memorial prayers for Colonel Ludwell (who reposed on March 14/27, 1767), following the blessing given for this by His Eminence, Metropolitan Hilarion, in December 2011.

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese