Dear brothers and sisters,
It was wonderful to have such a well-attended Liturgy for the feast of “All the Saints who have shone forth in the lands of Rus’ ”, and good to have so many new faces.
As I said in my homily, this feast is no doubt one which could be misrepresented by some, as some sort of representation of a ‘Russkiy Mir’ approach to the Church, holiness and the saints – but we are clear that this feast has nothing to do with ethnicity, politics or nationhood, but rather a celebration of the holiness of those whom GOD has glorified in all of the Rus’ lands: in the territory of the modern states of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and the Carpatho-Russian region which overlaps several modern European states – and the lands of the Empire
Among the saints of Rus’, in addition to East Slavs (among whom we must not forget the Rusyn peoples of Carpatho-Russia), we celebrate the saints of the early Varangian (Norse) ruling class, Greeks, Mongol-Tartars, Germans, Finns, Latvians, Lithuanian’s, Estonians, Hungarians, Romans, native Siberian peoples and countless other nationalities – all linked by their holiness and their glorification by God in the Rus’ lands and the territory of the Empire (however we may view it).
As we celebrate this feast, we make no differentiation between Slav, Greek of Mongol, but celebrate the memory of all of the saints who have been God-pleasing and glorified by Him.
Beyond the Rus lands, saints such as St John (Maximovich) the Wonder Worker and St Maria of Paris laboured in the spiritual-care of the exiles of the Revolution, and they together with the likes of St Seraphim of Sarov and St Silouan of Mount Athos have gained a place in the loving-hearts of people of all nations and languages, not just Orthodox faithful, but Christians from many backgrounds.
The saints we have celebrated are not just OUR saints, but EVERYBODY’S saints; the Greek saints celebrated in Greek parishes the last Sunday, Romanian saints in Romanian parishes, Serbian saints in Serbian parishes are equally OUR saints. There are no passports, borders and ethno-linguistic divisions in Heaven – and we are meant to reflect that reality here and now!
At a time of division and fragmentation, this feast must be one of unity, and a sign of hope for the Orthodox faithful across borders and battle zones, and we look to the saints as our example in these difficult and painful times.
This coming Sunday will see the celebration of All the Saints who have shone forth in the Isles of Britain, again with no differentiation according to nation, tribe and language, but a celebration of holiness and God’s grace.
In preparation for Sunday, confessions will be heard on Friday, and you are asked – as usual – to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, message me via Facebook or send a text. Requests by Wednesday night please.
Following confessions, we will have a catechism discussion on the Eucharist this Friday at 19:00 in the parish room at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, in Butetown. Thanks, as always, to Father Dean, and Georgina for making this possible.
To echo Deacon Mark’s comments at the end of Sunday Liturgy, any children who need to eat due to the very late time of Holy Communion should eat something simple before coming to Church on Sundays. We understand that from bedtime on Saturday to communion time on Sunday is a very long time, and we recognise pastoral necessity for some of our very young parishioners. Food can easily be postny/fasting and should be plain and functional – no animal products and no chocolate cereals are needed.
Our children need to realise that days for Holy Communion are different and should understand that mum and dad, older children and adults are fasting, and they must be helped to grow into this discipline.
Also, children over seven should be confessing before communion, and children’s clothing (like their parents) should be appropriate for Church, with head-coverings for our little girls during Liturgy. This is how children learn that we do things differently in Church to honour God.
They cannot learn Orthopraxis without the input of their parents and elders, and sacred Tradition is in adult hands of to pass on. Without transmission there is no Tradition, and we see the sad results of this in other Orthodox communities where confession before communion, fasting, modest dress, and even reverent silence and behaviour in Church seem optional.
We continue the Apostles’ Fast throughout this week…
Monday June 27 N.S. – Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Tuesday June 28 N.S. – Fast. Fish, wine and oil. St. Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow (1461).
Wednesday June 29 N.S. – Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Thursday June 30 N.S. – Fast. Wine and oil.
Friday July 1 N.S. – Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Saturday July 2 N.S. – Fast. Fish, wine and oil.
Sunday July 3 N.S. – Fast. Fish, wine and oil.
… and we look forward to the Feast of St Peter and St Paul.
Finally, your prayers are asked for Archpriest Luke, Ruth-Silouana, and Isaiah of our Swansea-Llanelli parish as they self-isolate with covid.
Wishing you a blessed week.
May God bless you.
In Christ – Fr Mark