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Dear brothers and sisters,

This coming weekend we will celebrate Troitsa – Trinity-Pentecost – with vespers at 16:30 on Saturday and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning at 11:00.

Again, I would like to remind you that Sunday morning confession time will be challenging, given our late entrance into St John’s and there only being one priest celebrating. So, may I ask those who are able to confess on Friday and Saturday to ensure they do so.

It will be a great help if people are able to confess at Newman Hall on Friday. I will be there arranging the packing and ‘exodus of some of our parish articles, so this will be a good time. There will be time for confessions after Saturday vespers, but this will not be on an appointment basis.

As it is Pentecost, we will be also celebrating vespers on Sunday afternoon, and you are invited to bring a picnic lunch to eat between Liturgy and vespers.

Remember, this is a special form of vespers on Troitsa, with ancient prayers by the Holy Fathers beseeching the Lord to send the gift of the Holy Spirit interpolated between the litanies of the service.

You may wish to bring something to cushion your knees during the Pentecost kneeling prayers, as the parquet floor of St John’s is quite unforgiving.

It is customary to hold birch, greenery and flowers on this day, and I have asked Deacon Mark to coordinate this via the sisterhood page. It would be lovely to see St John’s ‘greened’ for the feast. If you are able to help with greenery and flowers, please contact Deacon Mark:

To request confessions on Friday, please email me – – indicating the time of day you will be able to attend. Please do so as soon as possible, and by Wednesday night at the latest.

For Sunday confessions, please email me by Friday. It may not be possible to confess everyone before Liturgy, and you may have to confess and commune after the service, if numbers make this necessary.

Thank you to those who have already requested Sunday confessions.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Троица – парадигма человеческой личности

Preparing for Pentecost

ascension icon - for website.jpgDear brothers and sisters, greetings, as we continue to celebrate the after-feast of the Lord’s Ascension.

We now find ourselves in that waiting period between Ascension and Pentecost, remembering the contemplative days in which the Holy Apostles awaited the revelation of the meaning of the Saviour’s words: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…” (John 14:16) and “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7)Continue reading

Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord

May be an image of 3 people

Thus did the One ascend to Heaven Who held heaven within Himself. He who carries hell within himself will end up in hell, but he who bears heaven within his soul will ascend to heaven.  And truly, no one can ascend to heaven other than those who have heaven within; and no one can end up in hell besides those who have hell within. The familiar is drawn to what is familiar and unites with the familiar; but it rejects what is not familiar. Matter submits to the spirit to the extent that the human soul is filled with the Divine Spirit; and the laws of nature are obedient to moral laws, which govern the world. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the perfection of moral law, to Him is subject all matter—the entire physical world, with all the laws of nature.

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This canon, which is to be found the Greek Great Book of Needs, is also chanted at Tuesday Compline in the week of tone six of the Octoechos. Whilst we are having confessions during Saturday Compline, this may be pertinent to be chanted at that time, and would certainly be valuable for parishioners as they prepare for confession and Holy Communion. In the Euchologion (Book of Needs) it is followed by a prayer of absolution by St John of Damascus, making it clear that it is intended for use in this context.

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When the faithful confess in church, it is interesting to observe the slightly different ways in which the pentitents approach the Lord in the manner in which they confess. Some speak very personally to the Lord, whilst after the opening of their confession, others address the priest in great detail. Others rhetorically ask whether they have failed in various ways, and confess their shortcomings. I sometimes have to reassure people in saying that there is a very personal diversity here, but that in confessing with sincerity, the ‘style’ of their confession matters little.

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