Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!
Today was an especially joyful Liturgy in Cardiff, as we welcomed back Hierodeacon Avraamy after a three week absence, with him returning to us as a cleric of the Diocese of London and Western Europe of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, having transferred from the Diocese of Dnipropetrovsk. This is a cause for great celebration and we are so happy that his absence, whilst serving in London, afforded fr Avraamy and Bishop Irenei the time to formally conclude this matter. Praising God, we extend congratulations to our Hierodeacon. Axios!
Having two deacons, once again, and a fuller kliros made for a joyful celebration of the Divine Liturgy, though I look forward to us having more space to arrange the altar in a more spacious and Orthodox manner with the removal of seasonal statuary after western Ascension, on Thursday.
I was very happy that our youngest oltarnik could be at Nazareth House so early, today, and was able to observe the whole of the proskomedia, assisting with the commemorations, later standing close to the Holy Table to see the liturgical actions at close quarters. This was a great joy, especially after the involvement of our Cheltenham young people, yesterday, with Isaac having helped his mum to bake the prosphora, and Anastasia and Timofey assisting their mother on the kliros. Glory to God!
I have also been greatly encouraged by the dedication of children within our extended spiritual family. Some brothers and sisters from other parishes come regularly for confession and children who have seen their parents do so have insisted that they should do the same, even though they are younger than the customary age of seven years, and the canonical age of ten years. This is humbling for us adults, especially given that the youngest child who insists on coming to confession is still a toddler! We can see why our Blessed Saviour tells us that we need to be like these little ones.
As anticipated, today was the last Liturgy – for a while – for our journeyman-oltarnik. Oswald, whose apprenticeship sees him depart for Austria tomorrow, on the first leg of the year of journeys which lie before him. Commending him to the Lord’s care and protection, our Liturgy ended with a litia to St Stephen, the patron saint of stone-masons, before the chanting of many years to Oswald and Hierodeacon Avraamy.
Oswald has left a supply of icons, which will be put out for sale on Sundays, though this will be the last batch for a considerable time, as he treads the highways and byways of Europe!
Among our first-time visitors, today, we were pleased to welcome Magdalena and her daughters, visiting from Moscow, and look forward to welcoming them to our Llanelli mission later in the week.
As always, it was wonderful to see the warmth and generosity with which our various visitors were welcomed into the community.
This Friday sees the beginning of a fortnightly discussion group in the parish room of the church of St Mary, North Church St, Butetown, at 19:00, and the subject will be prayer. I will hear confessions in the church before the meeting. Would anyone wishing to arrange a confession please email me by 18:00 on Wednesday?
On Saturday, a group of parishioners will be making a pilgrimage to Glastonbury, where the intention is for us to begin our day with prayers at Bride’s Mound in Beckery, where we will meet at 10:00. This ancient monastic former island in the levels is connected with St Brigid, and was the site of a monastery excavated in the 1980’s. After our stop at Beckery, we will visit the abbey and town, before continuing to Chalice Well and the Tor. En route, we greatly look forward to visiting the Rose Garden bookshop, a source of Orthodox books and icons.
Our June pilgrimage, on Saturday 10th June will be to the shrine and church of Pennant Melangell, where – with Vladika’s blessing – we hope and currently intend to serve the Divine Liturgy. Any one interested should contact our pilgrimage secretary Tracy: firstname.lastname@example.org
As you know, July will see a group of parishioners heading to Walsingham, joining the South Wales Anglican pilgrims from 24-27th of the month. For those travelling independently, the cost is £225. The cost including a place on the coach is £370. Again, any more interested parties should contact me as soon as possible
Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Paschal season, with the Hours and Liturgy at 10:45, and is also the feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. The variables of the Liturgy may be found at:
Following on form announcements at Liturgy, may I remind all parishioners that antidoron, cut from the loaves remaining from the preparation of the Holy Gifts during the proskomedia should be treated with the utmost reverence, and not casually. It is eaten with prayer and fasting, and we should not be finding crumbs on the church floor. Children should be supervised and made to understand that this is not everyday bread, but is blessed and holy, even if not the Holy Gifts. The amount of crumbs on the floor has been raised by cleaning staff, who were concerned for spiritual reasons.
Please, make the most of the remaining days of Pascha, as we enter the last full week of the season. May the joyful hymns of the resurrection ring out as we approach the feast of the Lord’s the Ascension, which we will celebrate in Nazareth House with the Hours and Divine Liturgy at 11:00 on Thursday 25th May.
The feast of Mid-Pentecost continues until its Leave-Taking on Wednesday. Please try to pray the canon, as posted on our blog and Facebook page.
May God bless you all and give you good strength!
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark