Parish News: the Sunday of Orthodoxy


Sunday 11/24 March

Dear brothers and sisters,

Whilst every weekend is a celebration of the Faith, this first weekend felt especially festive after the first week of the Great Fast.

After a week of quiet services, with compline and the Great Canon of Repentance chanted in the Oratory Church from Monday to Thursday, and the first portion of the Akathist Hymn in Llanelli on Friday evening, Saturday brought the blessing of our Pilgrimage-Liturgy in Margam Abbey, and today our enthusiastic celebration of the Triumph of Orthodoxy in St John’s, Canton. It has been a great blessing to have services every day for the last nine days and the shared joy of this weekend’s Liturgies was the crown.

It was heartening to know that a group of our Wessex parishioners were meeting to chant Great Compline and the Canon of Repentance in the first week of Lent, with the akathist to the Mother of God on Friday, demonstrating that communal prayer is not always reliant on the presence of clergy, especially given the excellent on-line resources we now have for reader services – largely due to the good offices of Father John Whiteford in this Lenten period. See also:

Given the immense geographical dispersion of our faithful, reader services can and hopefully will form common bonds of prayer and worship between our Liturgies, whether in Cardiff or further afield.

Tomorrow will see our end of month gathering for an evening service and supper on Porphyrios’s narrow boat: a much anticipated event, with wonderful fellowship. It is incredible that a narrow-boat has become a place of prayer and one of the hubs of our Wessex mission.

As already reported on Facebook, Saturday’s Divine Liturgy for the Saturday of St Theodore was celebrated at Margam Abbey, where the restored nave of the pre-reformation abbey serves as the parish church, just a stone’s throw from the ‘castle’, the former home of the Talbot family through whose benefaction the church was restored in the 19th century.

The stately sanctuary was an imposing place in which to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, especially when we were such a little pilgrimage group which appreciated the majesty of the setting (which feels more like somewhere in the south of France than industrial South Wales), blessing kolyvo at the end of the service, and then enjoying a lovely bring-and-share lunch in the church hall.

We were very happy to have had Father Mark Greenaway-Robins and members of his warm and friendly congregation with us, and enjoyed chatting with them after the Liturgy and during the afternoon. We must thank Anastasia for singing, George for reading and Stefan for serving. Thanks also to our parish brothers and sisters for the lovely lunch.

Today saw our first Lenten Liturgy of St Basil in Cardiff, and we are grateful for our much reduced kliros for chanting our longer Lenten melodies and for the extra musical labours with the Synodikon of Orthodoxy, in which the essence of the celebration was summed up as our Deacons boldly proclaimed, “This is the Apostolic Faith! This is the Faith of the Fathers! This is the Orthodox Faith! This Faith confirmeth the Universe!”

Having prayed for the conversion of those in error, we remembered the departed teachers of the Faith, Hierarchs and Christian Sovereigns, chanting “Eternal Memory”, before beseeching “Many Years” for our living hierarchs, pastors and Christian leaders.

Even though the day had already been long, by popular request, we still added a krestny khod / procession to the end of our celebration, bringing joy to both young and old.

Congratulations to all who partook of the Holy Mysteries and thanks to everyone for such a wonderful celebration, including those who contributed to a hearty lunch, which was very much enjoyed at the end of a long, tiring and austere week.

There will be evening services in Llanelli at 19:00 on Wednesday and Friday, and confessions will be in St Alban’s Church, in Splott, on Thursday, as Nazareth House in unavailable during Western Holy Week. The akathist to the Saviour’s Passion will be chanted at 15:00, and confessions will be arranged around this devotion.

Please communicate confession requests by 18:00 on Wednesday, please.

I know that parishioners are currently discussing participating in the Mystery of Holy Unction in our cathedral at 14:00 on Saturday 20 April, and we hope that car pooling will make it possible for as many as possible to partake of this Holy Mystery. If anyone is interested and without transport please communicate with me or Tracy, so that we may explore group transport options.

Next Sunday, the second Sunday of the Great Fast is the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica, and the variable portions of the Liturgy may be found here:

May God bless you, and give you good strength for the ongoing lenten Fast.

Asking your prayers.

In Christ – Fr Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.