A Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Anna Politkovskaya, Russian journalist, author and human rights activist, was held at St Bride’ s on 7th October 2009, the third anniversary of her assassination in Moscow. Download Order of Service (pdf)
She was called the voice of truth: and she did indeed speak truth to power, fearlessly and persistently. On 7th October 2006 that courage, commitment and persistence cost Anna Politkovskaya her life. Three years on we gather in this the journalists’ church to honour her memory and to celebrate her life.
She was an acclaimed investigative journalist, a staunch defender and campaigner for human rights, for whom writing and journalism was more than a mere job of work: it was a moral obligation. But she was also a wife and mother, who loved her children Vera and Ilya and cared for her parents.
Her courage and self-discipline were underpinned by a strong faith which made her speak up for the value of the individual. She once said “My heroes are those people who want to be individuals but are being forced to be cogs again.” By her brutal and untimely death she herself has become a hero for journalists across the world.
It is right that we honour her today and commend her to the love and mercy of the God in whom she so devoutly trusted during her life on earth. May she rest in peace and may her memory be a blessing. Amen.
Lord Judd, Rapporteur to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Chechnya
Christopher MacLehose, Anna's first publisher
Sheila Dillon read 1 Corinthians 15: 50-58
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Mariana Katzarova, founder of the Anna Politkovskaya Prize, read an extract from Anna’s ‘Courage in Journalism’ Award Acceptance Speech in New York, 2002.
Elena Cook read ‘A Sick Dog In A Big City’ by Anna Politkovskaya.
Glen Sheldon, violinist, performed Rachmaninov’s Vocalise and two of Prokofiev’s Five Melodies.
The choir & organist of St Bride’s performed the following anthems and songs:
Psalm 121 – Walford Davies Bogoroditse Djevo – Arvo Pärt ‘O come and worship’ from Vespers – Rachmaninov Russian Kontakion for the Departed – Traditional
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
The Lord’s my shepherd
Immortal, invisible, God only wise