Sunday – the Feast of the All-Merciful Saviour and the Life-Giving Cross

Sunday 14 August: 11:00 Hours and Liturgy

St John’s Church, St Johns Crescent, Canton, Cardiff. CF5 1NX

Dear brothers and sisters

This Sunday, we will celebrate the feast of the All-Merciful Saviour and the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross, so although it is the beginning of the Dormition Fast, we start ‘Post’ with a feast on the very first day!

For some of our parishioners, this will be their first Dormition Fast, as we prepare for the Feast of the Dormition and Assumption of the Mother of God with fourteen days without meat, fish, eggs and dairy food (though we eat fish on the feast of the Transfiguration).

Sunday will be the first of August’s feasts of the Saviour, “Medoviy Spas”, with the blessing of honey at the end of the Liturgy. So… please remember to bring your honey or baked goods (honey cakes, poppy-seed cakes or biscuits etc.) for the blessing at the end of the Liturgy, after we have venerated the Life-Giving Cross and the icon of the All-Merciful Saviour.

We wil lalso venerate the relics of St Panteleimon, whose feast fell on Tuesday, this week.

As always, I encourage you to support your LOCAL beekeepers. Pay extra and buy a jar of local honey! 

Help our LOCAL bees by supporting our LOCAL beekeepers.

“This feast was instituted by a mutual agreement of the Greeks and Russians at the time of the Greek Emperor Manuel and the Russian Prince Andrew in commemoration of the simultaneous victories of the Russians over the Bulgarians and the Greeks over the Saracens [in 1164]. In both of these battles, crosses were carried by the armies from which heavenly rays shone. It was therefore instituted that, on August 1, the Cross be carried first to the middle of the Church of the Divine Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) and after that, along the streets for the people to venerate as a commemoration of the miraculous help of the Cross in previous battles. This was not an ordinary cross but the true Honorable Cross which was kept in the church of the imperial court. On July 31, the Honorable Cross was carried from the imperial court to the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God and from there it was carried along the streets for the consecration of the earth and the air. Finally, on August 14, it was again returned to the church of the imperial palace.”

St Nikolai Velimirovic in the Prologue from Ochrid

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Fr Mark

Returning from Wessex and Looking Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Apologies for posting later than intended, after a few busy days with parishioners in Wiltshire and Somerset, and a late arrival home. 

Our Cardiff parish has been blessed to have gained devoted parishioners in Wessex, initially due to their resistance to local attacks on Orthodox Eucharistic praxis, and their refusal to compromise the Holy Mysteries or doubt the healing efficacy of the Saviour’s Body and Blood. 

It was a blessing to be able to recognise their many journeys and great effort to support our services by travelling in the opposite direction to pray with them in Wiltshire and Somerset, making a few home visits – with Margarita’s home being blessed in the process – and to celebrate the feast of St Panteleimon with a pilgrimage visit to the beautiful church of St Laurence, at Bradford on Avon. As announced after Liturgy, this was a reconnaissance-visit prior to a parish pilgrimage, to hopefully be led by Bishop Irenei. 

It was wonderful to gather in the small chancel and serve a moleben to the Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Laurence of Rome and the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon, before a festal lunch and a time of fellowship and conversation. 

The short visit has galvanised our resolve to pray and worship on the other side of the Severn, recognising the constant travels to Cardiff on the part of our Wessex parishioners. 

Later this week and the beginning of the following week, I hope to visit some holy places with Cardiff parishioners. To maximise the opportunities on this front, I would like to hear confessions on Saturday, rather than Friday. I know that this may be problematic for a few people and will endeavour to work around this. Please email by Thursday 18:00 to arrange confessions.

Sunday is the Feast of the All-Merciful Saviour and the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross, and we will have the traditional blessing of honey at the end of Liturgy, so remember to bring your new honey, so that you can taste and see that the Lord is good!.

Following on from the feast of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer, Panteleimon, our small portion of his sacred relics will be available to venerate alongside the Life-Giving Cross. 

Service variables may be found here: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TmFLB3h_6gG6MhHKQJyIHu2EAtkGI0Wi/view 

Remember that Sunday marks the beginning of the Dormition Fast, and food for trapeza should be vegan, with wine and oil permitted. 

May God bless you, and your week. 

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark 

Canons to the Holy and Glorious Prophet Elias

Canon I, in Tone II:

Ode I, Irmos: Let us chant a hymn of victory unto the Lord, * Who of old guided the people in the midst of the sea, * and drowned Pharaoh and all his army therein, * for He hath been glorified.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Desiring to behold the fiery power of the miracles of Elias, his fiery and honoured tongue and strength of spirit, we have assembled as is meet.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

O God-bearer, our lips and the muteness and lack of skill of our tongue do thou open through the activity of the Spirit which is within thee, and illumine us, that we may hymn thy wonders.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou dost grant that which transcendeth nature unto those who have submitted to Thine honoured precepts, O Word, and Thou dost make the portals of the rain subject to them through the Spirit, confirming their word.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

To the Lord Who was born of the Virgin and Who hath renewed the world, and Who for her sake hath bestowed upon us divine life, we chant a hymn of victory, for He hath been glorified.

Canon II, the acrostic whereof is: “I sing praise to the great Elias,” the composition of Hieromonk Pachomius, in Tone VIII:

Ode I, Irmos: Having passed through the water as upon dry land, * and having escaped the malice of the Egyptians, * the Israelites cried aloud: * Unto our God and Redeemer let us sing.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been shown to be an instrument struck by the divine plectrum, O most wondrous prophet, hymning the omniscient God Who doth visit retribution upon all according to their deeds.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

O wondrous prophet, unable to endure deception, thou didst denounce the unrighteous king for his iniquity. Wherefore, thou didst impose God’s judgment of condemnation, full of wrath, upon him.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

O divine Elias, prophet and forerunner of grace, having denounced Ahab, the iniquitous king, as a transgressor of the Law, thou didst destroy the shameful prophets as impious.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Ye faithful, let us make haste to praise in hymns as is meet the Mother of Christ, for she gaveth birth unto the Saviour of all, Who is the Master of life and death.

Ode III, Irmos: Thou hast established me on the rock of faith, * and my mouth hath been emboldened against mine enemies. * For my spirit rejoiceth when I sing: * There is none as holy as our God * and none more righteous than Thee, O Lord.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

He, that alone sustaineth every living thing by His good will, through a raven provided thee with a banquet as a chosen guest, O Prophet. To Him do we all cry aloud: Thou art our God, and there is none holy save Thee, O Lord!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Grace be to the Benefactor and Guardian Who, in His ineffable providence, nourished the widow and the prophet. To Him do we all cry out: Thou art our God, and none is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

O thou who didst forbid the rain-laden clouds to pour forth, when the widow of Zarephath was deprived of food, thou didst cause the remnant of her food to increase continually; and didst cry aloud: None is holy save Thee, O Lord!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou alone, surpassing all of ages past; hast been deemed worthy of great things transcending nature, for thou didst receive the infinite God of all creation within thy womb and gave Him flesh. Wherefore, we all honour thee as the Theotokos.

Another Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of Heaven * and Builder of the Church, * do Thou strengthen me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, * O Support of the faithful, * O only Lover of mankind.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

With mercy dost thou chastise all, taking pity on all who with faith have recourse to thee in thy temple. And in asking help of thee they have in no wise sinned.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou didst denounce Ahab, the impious king, O divine prophet, and judge him with the judgment of God as a violator of the Law.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

The shameless Queen Jezebel sought to slay thee, O most divine prophet, for thou didst pronounce the sentence of death upon her unholy priests, as was meet.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Lady, we hymn thee as a palace of the priesthood of glory and the altar which held Christ, the Bread of life, O pure one.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Sessional Hymn, Tone VIII:  Ye faithful, with hymns let us all praise Elias the Tishbite, the wellspring of miracles and adornment of prophets; for, being immortal while yet in the flesh, as a mortal he assured us of the resurrection of the dead. Wherefore, having boldness before God, he granteth healing to those who ask with faith, and earnestly beseecheth Christ to bestow forgiveness of sins upon those who with love celebrate his holy memory. (Twice)

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion, Tone VIII: From the snares of enemies visible and invisible, * we have been overcome by the storms of our uncountable sins, * and fleeing unto the safe harbour of thy goodness O pure one, * we have thee as our rampart and sure protection. * Wherefore we thy servants beseech thee * to ceaselessly make fervent supplication, O most pure one, * unto Him who seedlessly became incarnate from thee, * that those who worthily hymn thee ** may be granted the remission of their sins.

Ode IV, Irmos: I have heard report of Thy dispensation, O Lord, * and have glorified Thee * Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou art shown to be one that cutteth down evil at its root and a planter of virtue, O wise prophet. Wherefore, we bless thee.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

With words the widow who fed thee upbraided thee for the death of her son, compelling thee to raise him from the dead.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou didst clearly signify the glory of the Trinity with thy threefold breathing, and didst hand back alive the child to his mother.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

How thou didst burn, aflame with divine fire and zeal, O prophet, denouncing the king who wrought iniquities!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O pure one, who without seed didst conceive God, we entreat thee ever to pray for thy servants.

Another Irmos: I have heard report of Thee O Lord, * and I was afraid, * for thy counsel is ineffable, * being the ever-existent God, * Thou didst come forth from the Virgin, * wherefore I hymn Thee: * glory to Thy condescension, O Christ, * glory to Thy power.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The Lord crowned thee a prophet, O most wise one, granting thee the grace to foretell things of the future as though they were of the present. Wherefore, beholding now the fulfilment of thy words, we bless thee ever with praises as a true prophet.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

As the soul of Thy prophet hath been most greatly adorned with humble-mindedness, O Christ God, so, aflame with zeal which surpasseth fire, he destroyed the shameful priests.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Reflecting like a mirror with thy countenance, the face of Christ before Whom thou dost stand, O most wondrous prophet; from whence do thou mercifully visit us, that with praises we may all bless thee as a prophet.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Having acquired thee as our hope and confirmation, an impregnable rampart of salvation, O all-hymned one, we are delivered from every evil circumstance.

Ode V, Irmos: O Lord, Bestower of light and Creator of the ages: * guide us in the light of Thy commandments, * for we know none other God than Thee.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The Law of thy fathers hath shown thee to be a true man of prayer, O Elias, a wonderworker who transformed the nature of the elements and utterly consumed the righteous sacrifice with water.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

As thou art a true minister of God, thou didst utterly put to shame the prophets of abominable ignominy, O venerable and all-blessed Elias, clearly marking the power of the Trinity.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Rendering priestly service through the word of grace, O Elias, thou didst slay the shameful priests with thy blameless hands, consumed with zeal as with fire.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

To thee who hast given birth unto Christ, the Creator of all, we cry aloud: Rejoice, O pure one! Rejoice, thou who hast shone forth the Light upon us! Rejoice, thou who didst contain the infinite God!

Another Irmos: O Light never-waning, * why hast Thou turned Thy face from me * and why hath the alien darkness surrounded me, * wretched though I be? * But do Thou guide my steps I implore Thee * and turn me back towards the light of Thy commandments.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

O prophet Elias, whom the unwaning splendour of divine grace hath revealed: having diligently acquired a most divine mind, thou dost rouse the pious to song.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Who doth not marvel at thy divine zeal, O wondrous prophet? And who doth not hymn Christ Who hath given thee such great might?

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

With prophecy wast thou adorned by God, O Elias, thou most wondrous prophet; hence, having wholly united thyself to God, and denouncing deception, thou didst lead the Israelites to the knowledge of God.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos, who hast given birth to the never-setting Sun, enlighten me who am utterly darkened by the passions, and fill me with the divine light.

Ode VI, Irmos: The deep abyss of offenses hath surrounded me, O Lord, * but do Thou lead up my life from corruption, * as Thou didst the Prophet Jonah, O Lord.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

A pillar of piety and of a pure life, an instiller of purity, and an emulator of the angels wast thou, O wondrous God-bearer Elias.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The wrath of the prophet-slaying woman, having frightened thee who had received the power to bind and loose the flow of the rains, O wondrous Elias, caused thee to flee.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Having knelt down, thou didst raise on high the supremely exalted eye of thy mind, and by thine eminent entreaty didst cause the rains to be loosed; and with showers, watered the furrows of the earth.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

The bush on Sinai, which drew nigh to the Fire without being consumed, prefigured thee, the Ever-virgin Mother, O all-hymned Theotokos Mary.

Another Irmos: Cleanse me, O Saviour, * for many are mine iniquities; * lead me up from the abyss of evils I pray Thee, * for unto Thee have I cried, * and Thou hast hearkened unto me, * O God of my salvation.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

A hymn of supplication do thou offer unto God, O most honoured prophet, on behalf of all who have recourse to thy divine temple, that we may honour thee as a great helper.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The mortal mind doth not suffice to praise thy life as is meet, O prophet; for, beholding the transfiguration of Christ, thou wast exalted far above the noetic ranks.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

He who is the Lord and Creator of all hath appeared to us in accordance with thy prophecy, O blessed Elias, calling all to the knowledge of Him, for He is the Lover of mankind.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Mary, pure vessel of virginity: cleanse thou my mind of the gloom of the passions, and fill my heart with righteousness, O all-immaculate one.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion, Tone II: O prophet, foreseer of the mighty works of our God, * Elias of great renown, * who by thy voice didst restrain the cloud of rain: * on our behalf entreat thou Him ** who alone is the Lover of mankind.

Ikos: Beholding the great iniquity of mankind and the great love of God for them, the prophet Elias was troubled and grew wroth; and he addressed pitiless words to the Merciful One, crying aloud: Be Thou angered against those who deny Thee, O righteous Judge! But he could not move the compassion of the Good One to torment those who deny Him, for He who alone is the Lover of mankind doth ever await the repentance of all.

Ode VII, Irmos: The bush which burned with fire on the mountain * and the dew-bearing furnace of the Chaldeans * clearly prefigured thee, O Bride of God; * for, without being consumed, * thou didst receive the divine and immaterial Fire * within thy material womb. * Wherefore, we chant unto Him Who was born of thee: * O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Most gloriously vested with divine and formidable power, thou didst undertake a long journey, having eaten of food that sufficed thee for forty days, O wondrous Elias. Wherefore, thou didst say on Horeb: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The mild and gentle breeze showed the Lord to thee, O Elias, who wast zealous for God Almighty: not the wind of the tempest, nor the earthquake, nor yet the fearsome fire. Wherefore, to meek Jesus thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Like the great Moses, thou wast deemed worthy of the vision of God and prophecy, O wondrous Elias, anointing prophets and kings with the Spirit. And having borne witness to the glory of Christ on Tabor, thou didst chant: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

In times past thou didst supra-naturally and without seed give birth in the flesh to the beginningless and pre-eternal Lord, the Son, Power and Wisdom of the Father, O most pure one, unto the renovation of mortals. Wherefore, we cry out to Him who was born of thee: O God of our fathers, Blessed art Thou!

Another Irmos: The Children of Judaea, * who of old came to dwell in Babylon, * trampled underfoot the flame of the furnace * through their faith in the Trinity, * as they sang: ‘O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.’

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The people of Israel that came to thee with a captain of fifty thou didst utterly consume with fire from heaven as unworthy, O divine Elias.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou wast a most divine prophet who wast rightly illumined with the vision of God, O most honoured Elias; and didst straightway put an end to the sacrifices made to Baal.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Inasmuch as the most holy Spirit gave thee the gift to prophesy, O most honoured prophet Elias, thou didst foretell the coming of the Son of God and didst not sin, O all-blessed one. To Him do we chant: ‘O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Truly, as was meet, the poison of death was poured forth through the judgment of God and the hand of the prophet upon the shameful priests that ate unrighteously at the table of Jezebel.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Mother of God, save me who am held fast by the abyss of sins, and rescue me from all the malice of the foe, that, saved by thee, I may magnify thine aid.

Ode VIII, Irmos: The relentless fire, fed with endless fuel, * drew back in fear before the pious Children, * pure in body and in soul; * and as the flame waned in strength, * they sang an everlasting song: * O all ye works, praise ye the Lord * and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Well did Ahab find the just destruction of his house, through the prophet’s condemnation, to be the dread retribution for his vile commission of murder. And with fiery mind the Tishbite chanted a hymn unto the Bestower of life: All ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Fire rained down from heaven for thee, O Elias, twice consuming captains of fifty, in that thou art God’s chosen minister; for to Him who controlleth everlasting life didst thou in a godly manner hymn: All ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

On Tabor Christ showed thee to be an initiate of the mystery of His divine incarnation, as thou wast an instiller of purity and a most divine offshoot of virginity, showing the unapproachable light of the Godhead in His Body to thee who dost cry aloud: All ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Most rich was the womb of the Mother of God; for, having received the Word in the coarseness of the flesh and wrought therefrom an earthly form according to His hypostasis, it was shown to be the city of God wherein the Most High was well-pleased to dwell. To Him do we chant: All ye works of the Lord, hymn and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Another Irmos: The King of heaven, * Who is glorified by the hosts of angels, * let us praise and supremely exalt throughout all ages.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

He who, as God, knoweth all things, entrusted to thee, O Elias, in that thou art faithful, the knowledge of things to come and of things that shall come to pass; and He showed thee things which are afar off as though they were near.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Having strengthened thy mind with pious boldness, O blessed prophet, thou dost foretell those things that are far off as though they were near, O most honoured prophet.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Having cleansed thy mind of all defilement, O divine prophet, thou didst become completely holy, guiding all to the divine Light.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Word, to Whom thou didst give birth indescribably, do thou entreat on behalf of those who faithfully honour thee, O pure Birthgiver of God.

Ode IX, Irmos: Thee do we magnify, O blessed and most pure Theotokos, * who through thy virginal womb ineffably brought forth * God incarnate, * the Luminary Who shone forth before the sun * and hath come to us in the flesh.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Having lived on earth the course which man cannot change, and crossed the Jordan’s stream by means of his mantle, the Tishbite, that air-borne charioteer, made a strange and heaven-traversing journey in the Spirit.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The Tishbite, aflame with the zeal of piety, was taken up on a fiery chariot; and he let drop his mantle; and Eliseus, robed therein, received divine grace which could not be concealed.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

The Tishbite and Moses the God-seer beheld in a revelation on Tabor what eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and what hath not entered into the hearts of earth-born men: the Lord Almighty, incarnate.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Theotokos, we magnify thee, who removed the severe condemnation which was of old the correction of our first mother, and who art ever the reconciliation of our race to God, thou bridge to the Creator.

Another Irmos: Saved by thee, O pure Virgin, * we confess thee to be truly the Theotokos, * and together with the choirs of the bodiless hosts * thee do we magnify.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou hast been deified by the immaterial splendour of the life-creating Trinity, O prophet Elias; wherefore, we all appoint thee as an intercessor to God for the world, O blessed one.

Holy and glorious Prophet, Elias, pray to God for us.

Thou wast known as an angel on earth, O divine prophet, and in heaven as a man of God; for the Lord Himself said: Because thou art an austere man, O Elias, thou canst not endure iniquitous Israel. Come thou up to Me, that I may come down!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Thou didst live on earth as one of the bodiless ones, O divine prophet, and now, borne up to heaven, thou dost join chorus with the angelic choirs. From on high watch over us who hymn thee, O blessed one.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou didst bear in thine arms God Who beareth all things, and thou hast fed the Nourisher Who became like unto us, O pure one. Him do thou beseech, that He grant to thy people deliverance from all oppressors.

Troparion, Tone IV: The angel in the flesh, and foundation of the prophets, * the second forerunner of the Coming of Christ, * the glorious Elias from on High * sent down grace upon Eliseus * to dispel infirmities and to cleanse lepers. * Wherefore, he poureth forth healings ** upon those who honour him.

The Holy and Glorious Prophet Elijah

Commemorated on July 20 / August 2

The Holy Prophet Elijah (Elias) is one of the greatest of the prophets and the first dedicated to virginity in the Old Testament. He was born in Tishba of Gilead into the Levite tribe 900 years before the Incarnation of the Word of God.

Saint Epiphanius of Cyprus gives the following account about the birth of the Prophet Elijah: “When Elijah was born, his father Sobach saw in a vision angels of God around him. They swaddled him with fire and fed him with flames.” The name Elijah (the Lord’s strength) given to the infant defined his whole life. From the years of his youth he dedicated himself to the One God, settled in the wilderness and spent his whole life in strict fasting, meditation and prayer. Called to prophetic service, which put him in conflict with the Israelite king Ahab, the prophet became a fiery zealot of true faith and piety.

During this time the Israelite nation had fallen away from the faith of their Fathers, they abandoned the One God and worshipped pagan idols, the worship of which was introduced by the impious king Jereboam. Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab, was devoted to idol worship. She persuaded her husband to build a temple to the pagan god Baal, which led many Israelites away from the worship of the true God. Beholding the ruin of his nation, the Prophet Elijah began to denounce King Ahab for impiety, and exhorted him to repent and turn to the God of Israel. The king would not listen to him. The Prophet Elijah then declared to him, that as punishment there would be neither rain nor dew upon the ground, and the drought would cease only by his prayer. Indeed, the word of Elijah was a torch (Eccles. 48: 1). The heavens were closed for three and a half years, and there was drought and famine throughout all the land.

During this time of tribulation, the Lord sent him to a cave beyond the Jordan. There he was miraculously fed by ravens. When the stream Horath dried up, the Lord sent the Prophet Elijah to Sarephta to a poor widow, a Sidonian Gentile who suffered together with her children, awaiting death by starvation. At the request of the prophet, she prepared him a bread with the last measure of flour and the remainder of the oil. Through the prayer of the Prophet Elijah, flour and oil were not depleted in the home of the widow for the duration of the famine. By the power of his prayer the prophet also performed another miracle: he raised the dead son of the widow.

After the end of three years of drought the Merciful Lord sent the prophet to appear before King Ahab, and promised to send rain upon the earth. The Prophet Elijah told the king to order all of Israel to gather upon Mount Carmel, and also the priests of Baal. When the nation had gathered, the Prophet Elijah proposed that two sacrificial altars be built: one for the priests of Baal, and the other for the Prophet Elijah who served the True God.

The Prophet Elijah told them to call on their gods to consume the sacrificial animals with fire, and he would call on his. Whichever was first to send fire on the sacrifice would be acknowledged as the true God. The prophets of Baal called out to their idol from morning till evening, but the heavens were silent. Towards evening the holy Prophet Elijah built his sacrificial altar from twelve stones, the number of the tribes of Israel. He placed the sacrifice upon the wood, gave orders to dig a ditch around the altar and commanded that the sacrifice and the wood be soaked with water. When the ditch had filled with water, the prophet turned to God in prayer. Through the prayer of the prophet fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, and even the water. The people fell down to the ground, crying out: “Truly, the Lord is God!” Then the Prophet Elijah had all the pagan-priests of Baal put to death, and he began to pray for rain. Through his prayer the heavens opened and an abundant rain fell, soaking the parched earth.

King Ahab acknowledged his error and repented of his sins, but his wife Jezebel threatened to kill the prophet of God. The Prophet Elijah fled into the Kingdom of Judea and, grieving over his failure to eradicate idol worship, he asked God to let him die. An angel of the Lord came before him, strengthened him with food and commanded him to go upon a long journey. The Prophet Elijah traveled for forty days and nights and, having arrived at Mount Horeb, he settled in a cave.

The Lord told him that the next day Elijah would stand in His presence.There was a strong wind that crushed the rocks of the mountain, then an earthquake, and a fire, but the Lord was not in them. The Lord was in “a gentle breeze” (3 Kings 19: 12). He revealed to the prophet, that He would preserve seven thousand faithful servants who had not worshipped Baal.

Later, the Lord commanded Elijah to anoint Elisha into prophetic service. Because of his fiery zeal for the Glory of God the Prophet Elijah was taken up alive into Heaven in a fiery chariot. The Prophet Elisha received Elijah’s mantle, and a double portion of his prophetic spirit.

According to the Tradition of Holy Church, the Prophet Elijah will be the Forerunner of the Dread Second Coming of Christ. He will proclaim the truth of Christ, urge all to repentance, and will be slain by the Antichrist. This will be a sign of the end of the world.

The life of the holy Prophet Elijah is recorded in the Old Testament books (3 Kings; 4 Kings; Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 48: 1-15; 1 Maccabees 2: 58). At the time of the Transfiguration, the Prophet Elijah conversed with the Savior upon Mount Tabor (Mt. 17: 3; Mark 9: 4; Luke. 9: 30).

Orthodox Christians of all times, and in all places, have venerated the Prophet Elijah for centuries. The first church in Russia, built at Kiev under Prince Igor, was named for the Prophet Elijah. After her Baptism Saint Olga (July 11) built a temple of the holy Prophet Elijah in her native region, at the village of Vibuta.

In iconography the Prophet Elijah is depicted ascending to Heaven in a fiery chariot, surrounded with flames, and harnessed to four winged horses. We pray to him for deliverance from drought, and to ask for seasonable weather.

AKATHIST HYMN TO ALMIGHTY GOD IN TIME OF TROUBLE

Dear brothers and sisters – I know that many members of our community regularly supplement their prayers with canons and akathist hymns, and share texts with one another.

Some of us first discovered the following akathist through Father Deacon Andrew’s SGOIS book service, and I would encourage you to buy a printed copy to have at hand, as this akathist is a great spiritual help when life is challenging and we are beset by troubles and temptations.

http://sgois.co.uk/index.php/store_test/item/akathist_to_almighty_god_for_help_in_trouble

KONTAKION I: O champion Leader and Lord, Thou joy and gladness of Thy servants! Wherever Thou art, all grief is set at nought; wherever Thou art not, all joy is in vain. Look down upon me, a sinner who am perishing in this misfortune, and with the revelation of Thy salvation visit me who cry out: O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!

IKOS I: O Creator of the angels and Lord of hosts, for the sake of the salvation of fallen man Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb; and afterwards, O Word of God, didst endure spitting, mockery and a disgraceful death, in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Mindful of this, I dare to approach Thee and to pray with tears:
O Lord, my Lord, my merciful Savior, save me who am perishing;
O Lord, my Lord, Who camest not to save the righteous, but sinners, deliver me from this temptation!
O Lord, my Lord, Who acceptest our infirmities and bearest our afflictions, send down Thy peace upon my troubled soul;
O Lord, my Lord, Who by Thy death hast abolished death, set at nought the wiles of the devil which are against me!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION II: Seeing the many manifestations of Thy love for mankind shown forth upon sinners before me, I also dare to lift up mine eyes to Thee Who dwellest in heaven. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak. Deliver me from this bitter grief and account me worthy of chanting to Thee with joy and gladness: Alleluia!
IKOS II: Thou didst create me a rational creature, O my Creator, but wretch that I am, I have allowed myself to become like unto irrational beasts and have likened myself to them, and have angered Thy goodness, O Savior. Wherefore, Thou hast justly afflicted me with this sorrow. This I acknowledge, and repenting I flee to Thee, praying thus:
O Lord, my Lord, Who preserved me in my youth, protect me from the enemies which assail me;
O Lord, my Lord, strengthening of my body in old age, strengthen me who am ailing in soul and body!
O Lord, my Lord, consolation of my soul, console me who am troubled;
O Lord, my Lord, my Guide, direct me to the path of salvation!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION III: O Lord Who art mighty in battle, come to the aid of mine
afflicted soul, and be Thou my helper against enemies visible and invisible, for my father and my mother have forsaken me, and my friends and neighbors have stood far away from me. But be Thou, O Father of orphans and Judge of widows, the helper of me who am helpless but who chant to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS III: O Thou Who hast heaven for Thy throne and earth for Thy footstool, O Dread One Who takest away the spirit of princes, reject me not who am dust and ashes, yet who dares say to Thee Who art everywhere present and knowest all things:
O Lord, my Lord, lift up Thy might and come to save me from the hands of the mighty who oppress me;
O Lord, my Lord, Whom all fear and before Whom all tremble, take pity on me, for the darkness of death hath covered me because of my sins!
O Lord, my Lord, Who clothest Thyself with light as with a garment, enlighten me who am benighted by the griefs of life;
O Lord, my Lord, Who stretchest out the heavens as a tent, extend to me the shelter of Thy help!
O Lord, my Lord, grant Thy peace to my lowly soul;
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION IV: Drowning in the tempest of this most turbulent life, I stretch out my hand to Thee, O Word of God. As Thou didst save drowning
Peter, so also stretch forth to me Thy mighty hand, and deliver me from this misfortune, that with joy and thankful heart I may cry to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS IV: O Lord, I have heard Thy most sweet voice, for Thou didst say Call upon me in the day of thy tribulation, and I will rescue thee, and thou shalt glorify Me. And from the depths of my despair, I dare to approach Thee with boldness, saying:
O Lord, my Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee; accept me as Thou didst accept the prodigal son;
O Lord, my Lord, Who didst justify the publican rather than the pharisee, enter not into judgment with Thy servant, for there is none living who is justified before Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, Instructor of wisdom, instruct me Thy servant;
O Lord, my Lord, Bestower of understanding, grant me understanding, that I may be able to escape the cunning wiles and wicked treachery of them that hate me!
O Lord, my Lord, Who lookest down upon the humble, behold also my tribulation and my difficulty, and reveal Thy mercy to me;
O Lord, my Lord, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION V: Through the divinely flowing blood of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ have we been reconciled to Thee, O heavenly Father; yet, lo! I have returned again to sin, like a dog to its vomit, for which cause Thou art justly chastising me with this grievous misfortune. But hearken unto me, O Lord my God, on this day of my grief; show forth Thy mercy and salvation upon me, and grant me ever to cry out to Thee amid chastisement: Alleluia!
IKOS V: The prophet David, seeing the prophet Nathan denouncing him
for what he had done, came to his senses and confessed his sin, and said: I have sinned before the Lord, and the Lord hearkened unto me, and took away mine offenses. But wretch that I am, I have sinned more than he, and have in no-wise acquired the fruit of repentance. Wherefore, these evil things have come upon me. But be merciful unto me who pray thus: O Lord, my Lord, strengthen me with power from on high, that I may not fall under the weight of this tribulation;
O Lord, my Lord, Who mercifully regarded the tears of Hezekiah, look with the eye of Thy kindness also upon the shedding of my tears before Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, Who hearkened unto the sighs of Mannasseh, hearken unto the sighing of my heart;
O Lord, my Lord, Who dwellest in the highest and lookest down upon the lowly, look upon me a sinner!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VI: Thy Forerunner, the preacher of repentance, O Word of God, crieth repeatedly to my conscience, that I repent of my evil deeds. But, wretch that I am, I have paid him no heed. Wherefore, Thy righteous wrath hath overtaken me, for misfortunes and sorrows have befallen me, a sinner. But before Thou visitest me, O Lord God my Savior, grant me time, that I
may lament my evil deeds and cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS VI: O my Savior, amid my sorrow Thy comforting words have shone forth, which Thou didst utter, saying: Forgive, and it shall be forgiven you. And straightway escaping the snares of despair, with trust in Thy love for mankind I have fled to Thee, praying:
O Lord, my Lord, my consolation, comfort me who am grieved;
O Lord, my Lord, my helper, help me against them that rise up against me!
O Lord, my Lord, mine aid, help me for my soul hath grow weak because of this sorrow;
O Lord, my Lord, pre-eternal memory, grant that I may ever have Thy benefactions in mind and may never despair of Thy mercy!
O Lord, my Lord, my strength, strengthen me that without temerity I may ask help of Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VII: The infamous King Nebuchadnezzar, desiring to destroy the three children, once commanded that they be cast into the fiery furnace. But Thou, O heavenly Father, didst send Thine Angel, that He might cool the burning flame. And do Thou now also, O Lord, send consolation to Thy servant, and save me for the sake of Thy mercy. For even though I have sinned, yet have I not departed from Thee, and I worship Thee, the one true God,
chanting: Alleluia!
IKOS VII: Wondrously wast Thou glorified before Pharaoh and all his host,
O God of Israel, for Thou didst not disdain the misery of Thy people, but hearkened to their cry. Wherefore, hearken also to my supplication and save me who cry to Thee thus: O Lord, my Lord, Who delivered Thy people out of the hands of their enemies, rescue me also from the hands of them that hate me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who led Thy chosen ones out of the land of Egypt, lead my soul out of this sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Who bringest warfare to nought, bring to nought the assaults of them that devise evils against me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who drowned Pharaoh’s chosen riders in the Red Sea, drown the multitude of my misdeeds in the sea of Thy lovingkindness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION VIII: I have made myself a stranger to Thy mercy, O heavenly Father; by mine evil deeds I have estranged myself from Thee and have
enslaved myself to this vain world. Wherefore, I am aflame with grievous sorrow, I am drowning in the profound depths of despair. But as Thou art merciful and the Lover of mankind, accept me, who am perishing, and from this tribulation save me who cry out to Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS VIII: Wholly polluted with the impurity of sin, plunged in the depths
of evil, I lift up mine eyes unto Thee Who dwellest in heaven. Hearken unto my cry of lamentation: O Lord, my Lord, Who hast illumined the day with the light
of the sun, illumine my soul which hath been benighted with the darkness of the vanities of this world;
O Lord, my Lord, All-good Comforter, fill my sinful soul with divine consolation!
O Lord, my Lord, by Whose word the heavens have been established, confirm me in the confession of Thy holy name;
O Lord, my Lord, Who art upborne upon the cherubim and art hymned by the seraphim, accept from me, a sinner, this entreaty which I offer unto Thee!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION IX: O source of all mercy and Bestower of understanding, O All-Good Comforter, teach me to say worthy things in Thy presence, and with Thy divine consolation fill Thou my soul, which hath been darkened by the passions, and my mind, which is troubled by the grief of this world, that with gladness I may chant unto Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS IX: The most eloquent of orators cannot recount the extent of Thy
goodness and Thy love for mankind, O Son of God; for Thou didst humble Thyself even to take on the guise of a servant. Wherefore, do not reject even me who have committed sins without number, yet who stand before Thee with fear and pray thus:
O Lord, my Lord, good Shepherd Who layest down Thy life for Thy sheep, deliver me, Thy lost sheep, from the jaws of the soul-destroying wolf which raveneth to devour me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who for our sake wast mocked, slain and nailed to the Cross, keep me from the mockery of mine, enemies, visible and invisible, for the sake of Thy sufferings!
O Lord, my Lord, Thou sinless One Who wast numbered among transgressors, rescue me from the hands of them that hate me;
O Lord, my Lord, by Whose stripes all are healed, heal my heart which hath been afflicted with bitterness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION X: Wishing to save Israel Thy chosen from the oppression of
Egypt, Thou didst call Moses Thy servant from the burning bush, and didst say to him: I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and have hearkened to their cry. Wherefore look now upon mine affliction, O Lord, and heal the pangs of my heart, that I may cry to Thee in thanksgiving: Alleluia!
IKOS X: O heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of truth, show forth Thy
lovingkindness upon me, Thy servant, and visit my soul which is plunged in grief and strengthen me who pray to Thee: O Lord, my Lord, Who taughtest Thine apostles to speak in different tongues, teach me the fear of Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, Who filled the martyrs with boldness when they stood before the tribunals, grant me boldly to stand against sin, the world and the devil!
O Lord, my Lord, holy Sanctifier of Thy faithful, hallow my soul, that it may be worthy to be called Thy habitation;
O Lord, my Lord, Light and Bestower of light, illumine me who am benighted in the darkness of sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Treasury of good things, do not deprive me of the gifts of Thy goodness!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XI: O All-Good Master, do not disdain one who offereth most
compunctionate hymnody unto Thee, and prayeth to Thee with contrite heart. Rather, turn Thy face away from my sins, but do not avert Thy countenance from Thy servant, for I am afflicted. Quickly hearken unto me who chant unto Thee: Alleluia!
IKOS XI: O Christ God, true Light, illumine with the light of Thy grace my soul which hath been benighted by the passions, that with reverence I may pray to Thee, saying:
O Lord, my Lord, do not destroy me, wretch that I am, who am bereft of correction of life, yet dare to stand before Thee;
O Lord, my Lord, Fervor which createst life, warm me who am withering away amid this sorrow!
O Lord, my Lord, Splendor of the glory of the Father, shine the light of Thine aid upon me;
O Lord, my Lord, Who makest Thine angels spirits and Thy minsters a flame of fire, send Thine angel to keep me from all evil!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XII: For the sake of Thy love for the human race, O heavenly Father, Thou didst send Thine only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who appeared on earth and dwelt among men; and afterwards, though He is sinless, He was numbered among transgressors and by His blood renewed our nature which had become corrupted by sin, and He taught the whole world to chant: Alleluia!
IKOS XII: Hymning Thine ineffable love for mankind, O Christ God, in
that for our salvation Thou didst will to endure the Cross and death, I confess also Thy just judgment, for in truth and justice Thou hast brought this sorrow upon me for the sake of my sins. But, O Thou Who camest not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, hearken unto me, who have sinned more than the most sinful of men, for I pray to Thee thus:
O Lord, my Lord, Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, take from me the heavy burden of my sins;
O Lord, my Lord, Who like a lamb led to the slaughter opened not Thy mouth, teach me to endure the evils which befall me without murmuring!
O Lord, my Lord, Who rent asunder the handwriting of Adam, rend asunder the handwriting of my countless sins;
O Lord, my Lord, Who accepted the repentance of the thief, accept also the repentance of me a sinner!
O Lord, my Lord, Who raised up the dead, resurrect my soul which hath been mortified by sins;
O Lord, my Lord, upraising of the fallen, raise me up who have also fallen!
O Lord, my Lord, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION XIII: O most loving and all-good Lord my God, Helper of the
oppressed and hope of the hopeless: look Thou with the eye of Thy compassion upon mine affliction and sorrow, and for the sake of Thy mercy, save me who chant to Thee: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Thrice.
IKOS I: O Creator of the angels and Lord of hosts, for the sake of the
salvation of fallen man Thou didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb; and afterwards, O Word of God, didst endure spitting, mockery and a disgraceful death, in that Thou art good and the Lover of mankind. Mindful of this, I dare to approach Thee and to pray with tears:
O Lord, my Lord, my merciful Savior, save me who am perishing;
O Lord, my Lord, Who camest not to save the righteous, but sinners, deliver me from this temptation!
O Lord, my Lord, Who acceptest our infirmities and bearest our afflictions, send down Thy peace upon my troubled soul;
O Lord, my Lord, Who by Thy death hast abolished death, set at nought the wiles of the devil which are against me!
O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
KONTAKION I: O champion Leader and Lord, Thou joy and gladness of Thy
servants! Wherever Thou art, all grief is set at nought; wherever Thou art not, all joy is in vain. Look down upon me, a sinner who am perishing in this misfortune, and with the revelation of Thy salvation visit me who cry out: O Lord, my Lord, my joy, grant that I may rejoice in Thy mercy!
FIRST PRAYER: Save me, O Lord, for I am perishing! Behold, my ship is endangered by the battering of the waves of life and is nigh unto sinking! But as Thou art full of loving kindness and sympathetic to our weakness, do Thou with Thine almighty authority rebuke the turbulence of tribulations which threaten to inundate me and drag me down into the depths of evil. And let there be calm, for even the winds and the sea are obedient to Thee. Amen.
SECOND PRAYER:  Save me, O my Savior, according to Thy mercy, not according to my deeds. It is Thy wish that I be saved. Thou knowest how
to accomplish my salvation. Wherefore, save me as Thou desirest, as Thou canst, as Thou knowest. Save me by the judgements which Thou knowest. I trust in Thee, my Lord, and entrust myself to Thy holy will. Deal with me as Thou wishest: if Thou desirest to have me in light, be Thou blessed; if Thou
desirest to have me in darkness, be Thou likewise blessed. If Thou openest unto me the portals of Thy lovingkindness, be Thou blessed, O Lord, Who hast opened unto me in accordance with Thy righteousness. If Thou destroyest me not with mine iniquities, glory to Thy righteous judgment. Deal with me as
Thou wishest. Amen.

Canons to Our Venerable Father, Seraphim of Sarov.

Канон преподобному Серафиму Саровскому: https://azbyka.ru/molitvoslov/kanon-prepodobnomu-serafimu-sarovskomu.html

Канон преподобному Серафиму Саровскому (2‑й): https://azbyka.ru/molitvoslov/kanon-prepodobnomu-serafimu-sarovskomu-2-j.html

Canon I to the Venerable Seraphim, in Tone VI:

Ode I, Irmos: When Israel walked on foot in the sea as on dry land, * on seeing their pursuer Pharaoh drowned, * they cried: * Let us sing to God * a song of victory.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

O Lord, open mine unworthy lips and grant me a word of understanding, that I may worthily hymn the memory of the blessed Seraphim, who with the angels doth now beseech Thee to deliver us from every grievous circumstance.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Thou wast a great intercessor before the Theotokos, O venerable one, and wast deemed worthy to behold her with the apostles. And now, cease not to visit thy children by thine intercessions.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

From thy youth, O venerable one, thou didst surrender thyself in mind unto the Lord, and having subdued the passions of thy body through rigorous abstinence, thou wast adorned with every virtue, O most wise one.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

 O most blessed Sovereign Lady, who hast given birth unto the supremely good God in the flesh, cleanse thou my heart which is tormented by passions, that I may magnify thee with faith and love.

Canon II to the Venerable Seraphim, in Tone VIII:

Irmos: Having passed through the water as upon dry land, * and having escaped the malice of the Egyptians, * the Israelites cried aloud: * Unto our God and Redeemer let us now sing.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Thou didst tread the straight and narrow path to the heavenly kingdom in accordance with the commandment of Christ the Master, disdaining the broad and spacious path. And now do thou pray for us that keep thy most radiant memory.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Having ascended the mount of dispassion and taken up thy cross from thy youth, thou didst unfalteringly follow after Christ. And having acquired spiritual wisdom, thou didst attain the heavenly Jerusalem, O venerable one. Pray thou to the Lover of mankind on our behalf.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Standing now before the throne of God, O venerable one, intercede thou for the suffering Russian land; and by thy prayers, O venerable one, entreat salvation for the Christ-loving people of Russia.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Hearken, O Lady, unto those who flee to thee with faith and love, and who hymn thee with fear.

Ode III, Irmos: There is none as holy as Thou, * O Lord my God, * who hast exalted the horn of The faithful O good One, * and strengthened us upon the rock * of Thy confession.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Standing before God with the angels in thy prayer, O venerable one, pray thou for the whole world, that the assaults of the enemy be overcome and that Orthodox Christians be granted victory over their adversaries.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

From thy youth thou didst cleave with faith and love unto the Master of the hosts on high, O venerable Seraphim; and, shining forth like the sun in the wilderness of Sarov, thou wast a comfort to those who approached thee in sorrow. Pray thou that we be saved!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

To those who pray unto thee, thou hast been revealed to be an unshakeable pillar and a refuge for those who have recourse unto the Monastery of Sarov, and abundant grace for those who receive healings.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Our first mother Eve heard: In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children. And thou, O pure Virgin, hearing: The Lord is with thee! Rejoice! didst put to flight the grief of our first mother with this cry of joy!

Another Irmos: O Lord, Creator of the vault of Heaven * and Builder of the Church, * do Thou strengthen me in Thy love, O Summit of desire, * O Support of the faithful, * O only Lover of mankind.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Beseech Christ God, O blessed one, to deliver us from famine and plagues, from sudden death, from secret transgressions and wicked thoughts, that with a pure heart we may cry out to Christ: O Lord, save us by the supplications of the venerable one!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Following after Christ the Master in meekness and humility, thou wast all things to all mankind; tirelessly instructing both rich and poor in piety, thou didst foresee the future as though it were the present. Beseech Christ God, O venerable one, to grant us forgiveness of our sins!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Deliver thy monastery from every assault of the enemy, O venerable one, and fill it with love and grace, that it heed not the cares of this life, but attain unto the goodness and beauty which save the soul.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our trust and hope art thou, O most holy Sovereign Lady. Save the suffering Russian land and thy people that pray and call upon thy holy name!

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Sessional Hymn of the venerable one, Tone IV: Having utterly overcome the passions of the sea of life by abstinence, and attained unto the haven of dispassion, thou wast revealed as a vessel of abstinence, O venerable Seraphim. Beseech Christ God to grant us great mercy!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Theotokion, Tone IV: When thou dost stand before the face of my Creator on the day of His righteous Judgment, O Lady, intercede for me, and deliver me from eternal torment, that I go not down into Hades, but that I be saved by thy defence, O most holy Theotokos.

Ode IV, Irmos: Christ is my power, * my God and my Lord, * the holy Church divinely singeth, * crying with a pure mind, * keeping festival in the Lord.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Today the Monastery of Sarov doth radiantly celebrate thy memory, O venerable one, beseeching thee: Ask of the Lord peace for the whole world and great mercy for our souls!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

In thy great struggles didst thou flourish like a palm tree, O venerable one, sweetening the hearts of those who have recourse unto thee with fruitful words and a blameless life: Wherefore, do thou now pray that we obtain mercy from Christ our Saviour!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

By thy prayers entreat God for us, O venerable Seraphim, and drive away the sinful darkness of our grief. Adorn with dispassion, faith and love all who honour thy most glorious memory!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Rejoice, O Virgin Sovereign Lady, thou beauty of the Churches, might and boast of the suffering Russian land! Pray to Christ God without ceasing, that He preserve us from misfortunes by thy prayers.

Another Irmos: I have heard report of Thy dispensation, O Lord, * and have glorified Thee * Who alone art the Lover of mankind.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

It is not the Monastery of Sarov alone, but the whole land of Russia which hath thee, O blessed one, as a fervent intercessor and speedy helper, almighty and invincible defender and mediator for our souls.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Be thou an intercessor and mediator for us before the most holy Trinity, and move thou to pray with thee the choirs of the saints whose life thou didst emulate, O venerable one. With them pray for peace and the good estate of the whole world, that in this age we may live a peaceful and quiet life, and in the future inherit eternal life.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Being great among fasters, O venerable one, thou didst lead an arduous monastic life in the wilderness, and didst end it in compunctionate prayer. Pray that we be saved!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou art our refuge and confirmation, O most pure Theotokos. Beseech thy Son and our God, that He grant us salvation and forgiveness of sins.

Ode V, Irmos: Illumine with Thy divine light, I pray, O Good One, * the souls of those who with love rise early to pray to Thee, * that they may know Thee, O Word of God, * as the true God, * Who recalleth us from the darkness of sin.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Unto all who come to thee thou hast been a true teacher and a great intercessor before the Theotokos. And now, O venerable one, cease not to pray for thy children, for thou hast great boldness.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Let the Christian people now enter into the temple of the Monastery of Sarov, bowing down before thy precious relics, O venerable Seraphim, and, glorifying Christ, let them ask of thee healing and salvation.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

The invisible enemy desired to affright thee when thou wast praying to God at night, O venerable one. But, put to shame by thy prayer, the most wicked one vanished.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.: O most pure Mary, beseech God Who was born of thee, that He grant forgiveness of transgressions unto thy servants.

Another Irmos: Illumine us O Lord with Thy commandments, * and with Thine arm raised on high * grant us Thy peace, * O Lover of mankind!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Thou didst glorify the Monastery of Sarov with fasting and unceasing prayer, O venerable one, anointing the infirm with oil from the icon of the Theotokos and granting them healing in abundance. Pray thou now that our souls be saved!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

O ye hierarchs and priests, rejoice with the monks of Sarov, and ye people, hymn together the blessed father, the calm haven of those who are tempest-tossed by sorrows, the ready healer of infirmities of body and soul.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Offer up thy prayers, O venerable one, as an acceptable and unblemished sacrifice unto the most holy Trinity, and forget not us who now keep thy memory. Beg mercy for those who hate, wrong and are angered against us, and deliver all from every sorrow.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Guide my mind which is tempest-tossed by many passions, O Sovereign Lady. Save us who have recourse unto thee, O Theotokos, for apart from thee we know none other help, O pure one.

Ode VI, Irmos: Beholding the sea of life surging with the tempest of temptations, * I run to Thy calm haven, and cry to Thee: * Raise up my life from corruption, * O greatly Merciful One.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Thy holy soul was an abode of God, wherein the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit dwelt. Wherefore, we pray thee, O venerable one, dispel the slanders of the enemy from those who honour thee, and grant peace to the suffering land of Russia.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

O venerable Seraphim, we honour thy great struggles and labours in the wilderness and the sweetness of thy teaching, whereby thou hast enlightened many who came to thee, teaching them to hymn the consubstantial Trinity.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Following after Christ the Master in purity of life, thou didst complete the good race, O venerable one. Having ascended to the eternal mansions, thou dost behold there what the angels see. Wherefore, honouring thy memory, we glorify Christ.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

I now flee unto thee, O most pure one. Save and preserve me by thy supplications. For whatsoever thou desirest, that thou canst do, in that thou art the Mother of the Almighty.

Another Irmos: I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, * and to Him will I proclaim my grief; * for my soul is filled with evils, * and my life unto Hades hath drawn nigh, * and like Jonah I pray unto Thee: * Raise me up from corruption, O my God.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

We are all full of sin, but thy prayers, O venerable Seraphim, ascend unto the Lord like fragrant incense. We now pray thee: Calm thou the raging storm of evil impiety in the land of Russia, and entreat the Lord for the salvation of our souls.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Truly blessed wast thou, O venerable Seraphim, having acquired riches through poverty, and through tears, joy, which thou didst abundantly bestow upon those who came to thee. And now emitting rays of miracles, thou dost heal all who have recourse unto thee in faith.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Having dug with thine own hands a well in the wilderness, O venerable one, thou didst give drink unto the thirsty that came unto thee. And now thou healest the diseases of the sick with the water of this well. Truly, the Master hath shown thee forth unto all as a miraculous intercessor and wonderworker, O venerable one.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

We confess thee to be indeed the Mother of God, the true Theotokos, for by thy birthgiving we have been delivered from the curse of corruption, by the tender compassion of God, the Lover of mankind, and have been called to life incorruptible.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Kontakion of the Venerable One, Tone II: Having forsaken the beauty of the world and the corruption therein, * thou didst take up thine abode in the Monastery of Sarov. * And having lived there as an angel, thou didst become a path for many to salvation. * Wherefore, Christ hath glorified thee, O father Seraphim, * enriching thee with the gift of healings and miracles. ** Therefore, we cry out to thee: Rejoice, O our venerable father Seraphim!

Ikos: Having forsaken family and friends, and regarding riches as but dust, thou didst take up thine abode in the wilderness of Sarov; and having struggled against the passions like one of the bodiless hosts, thou wast deemed worthy to stand in the angelic choir. Wherefore, having received spiritual knowledge, grant even us, O venerable one, to chant this unto thee with understanding, saying: Rejoice, O blessed Seraphim, heavenly man and earthly angel! Rejoice, emulator of Christ in thy love! Rejoice, abode of the Holy Spirit! Rejoice, great joy of the despondent! Rejoice, source of healing! Rejoice, sweet consolation for sorrowful souls! Rejoice, calm haven for monks and most wise instructor! Rejoice, boast of the land of Russia! Rejoice, O our venerable father Seraphim!

Ode VII, Irmos: An Angel made the furnace bedew the holy Children. * But the command of God consumed the Chaldeans * and prevailed upon the tyrant to cry: * O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Wondrously was thy life shown to be full of the grace of the divine Spirit, O venerable one. Truly thou didst receive the blessed end of the righteous, rejoicing in Christ. And we cry out to Him who hath glorified thee: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Gathering together at thy holy monastery today, a multitude of people doth bow down before thy precious relics, O venerable Seraphim, and we all draw forth healings therefrom, crying out unceasingly: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

This report hath gone out into all the world, that a most glorious wonderworker hath appeared in Sarov, pouring forth a multitude of healings upon all who with faith approach and cry out: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Virgin Theotokos, who ineffably didst give birth unto the Word, thy Creator: With the venerable Seraphim beseech Him to have mercy upon our souls!

Another Irmos: The Children of Judaea, * who of old came to dwell in Babylon, * trampled underfoot the flame of the furnace * through their faith in the Trinity, * as they sang: ‘O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou.’

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Have mercy on us, O Lord, and through the prayers of him who pleased Thee, the venerable Seraphim, preserve us from every soul-corrupting evil, that we may all cry out with compunction: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Who is not astounded, who doth not glorify the unfathomable abyss of Thy tender compassion, O Lord? For Thou hast revealed to the whole world him that pleased Thee, the venerable Seraphim, the fervent intercessor before Thee for us who cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Accept this hymn of thanksgiving which we offer unto thee, O venerable Seraphim, and grant healing unto all of us who keep thy holy memory, and who bow down before the shrine of thy relics and cry aloud: O God of our fathers, blessed art Thou!

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Thou art our refuge and confirmation, O most holy Theotokos. Entreat thy Son and our God to grant us salvation and forgiveness of sins.

Ode VIII, Irmos: Thou didst make flame bedew the holy children, * and didst burn the sacrifice of a righteous man with water. * For Thou alone, O Christ, dost do all as Thou willest, * Thee do we supremely exalt throughout all ages.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Having subdued the passions of the flesh and died to the world, thou didst receive the words of eternal life in thy heart, O blessed one, teaching all who had recourse unto thee to cry aloud: O ye works, praise ye the Lord, and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

At the glorification of thy precious relics, O venerable one, the Monastery of Sarov was filled with joy. And all the people cried out unto God Who is wondrous in His saints: O ye works, praise ye the Lord, and supremely exalt Him for ever!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Being filled with the grace of the divine Spirit, O venerable Seraphim, through thy prayers beg forgiveness of sins for the faithful people that keep thy holy memory and cry out: Ye children, bless; ye priests, praise; ye people, and supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

O Theotokos, who hast given birth unto the Saviour and Master of all, thou hast been shown forth to us as the mediatrix of salvation; wherefore, we pray thee: Grant salvation unto all who faithfully hymn thee throughout the ages.

Another Irmos: The King of heaven, * Who is glorified by the hosts of angels, * let us praise and supremely exalt throughout all ages.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

The most evil enemy, hating thy virtuous life, desired to cause thee to falter, O venerable one. But having put him to shame by the grace of God and the prayers of the Theotokos, thou didst glorify God, singing: O ye works, praise ye the Lord and supremely exalt Him throughout all ages!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

As flashing lightning illumineth the firmament, so have the reports of thy wonders gone forth throughout all the world, O venerable one. And marvelling at thy glory, we cry out: O ye children, bless; ye priests, praise; ye people, supremely exalt the Lord throughout all ages!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Heal thou our minds which are disquieted by vain and passionate imaginings, O venerable one; quell thou the waves of evil disbelief in our land, and strengthen our hearts, which are crippled by worldly cares, that we may glorify Christ the Creator throughout all ages.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Rejoice, O fiery throne of the Lord! Rejoice, O ray of immaterial splendour! Rejoice, thou cloud of the radiant Sun of righteousness, Christ our Saviour, Whom we supremely exalt throughout all ages!

Ode IX, Irmos: It is impossible for mankind to see God * upon Whom the orders of Angels dare not gaze; * but through thee, O all-pure one, * did the Word Incarnate become a man * and with the Heavenly Hosts * Him we magnify and thee we call blessed.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Accept, and disdain not, our small tribute, offered unto thee from unworthy lips, O venerable one. Sanctify all who glorify thee, and deliver us from misfortunes, dangers and eternal torments, that we may hymn thee throughout the ages.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Manfully enduring the heat of the day and the cold of night in the solitude of the wilderness, thou wast an abode of the Wisdom of God, and didst hasten toward the unwaning radiance. Pray thou that we be saved!

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

This day is the monastery glorified, wherein thou didst consent to take upon thyself the yoke of Christ; for there didst thou spend thy days in the wilderness; and, enlightening by thy teachings the many who came unto thee, thou didst teach them to be children of the Church of Christ.

Most Holy Mother of God, save us.

Thou art our strength, thou art our boast and joy, our protectress, help, refuge and invincible intercessor. O most pure Theotokos, save thou thy servants!

Another Irmos: Saved by thee, O pure Virgin, * we truly confess thee to be the Theotokos, * and with the choirs of bodiless hosts we magnify thee.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

Emulating the great fathers who of old shone forth in fasting and ascetic struggle, O venerable one, thou didst spend all the days of thy life in prayer, tears and labour, until thou didst attain unto the heavenly mansions. Wherefore as is meet, we bless thee.

Venerable Father, Seraphim, pray to God for us.

With mighty power did Christ God gird thee about and strengthen thee to overcome the wiles of the demons, O venerable one. Wherefore, we now pray thee: Entreat God, the Lover of mankind, to deliver us all from the assaults and temptations of the enemies, and to save our souls.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

In our pain and sorrow, we flee to thee, O venerable one, and cry out from the depths of our souls: Be thou a calm haven and ready healer for the sick, and deliver us from every ill and want, that we may unceasingly magnify thee.

Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O most pure Virgin, thou didst give birth unto One of the Holy Trinity, the Son and Word, Whom do thou entreat with the saints and the righteous on behalf of thy servants who with faith ask forgiveness of sins.

Troparion, Tone IV: From thy youth didst thou love Christ, O blessed one; * and, aflame with the desire to serve Him alone, * thou didst struggle in the wilderness in unceasing prayer and labour; * and with compunction of heart, having acquired the love of Christ, * thou wast shown to be the beloved favourite of the Mother of God. * Wherefore, we cry unto thee: ** Save us by thy prayers, O our venerable father Seraphim.

Celebrating the Church’s Feasts

Dear brothers and sisters,

Having celebrated the memory of the Holy Great Princess, Olga last Sunday, and St Vladimir’s Day with a lovely Liturgy in Walsingham, on Thursday, it was a joy to celebrate the Baptism of Rus’ today, when we could be together as a community.

Thanks to all who made today’s well-attended Liturgy such a joyful occasion, continuing into such a lovely lunch celebrating not only the feast, but also Margarita’s nameday, yesterday.

Our kliros and oltarniky performed their obediences very ably, and we were blessed to have Father Luke with us, with his assistance with confessions being a tremendous help, given the number of communicants.

It also allowed clergy participation in lunch whilst I celebrated a memorial service for the servant of God, Nikolai, whose anniversary falls at this time, and for whose repose we ask your prayers. Memory Eternal! Вѣчная память!

As those in church are aware, we are trying to slow down Holy Communion, so that those communing have consumed the Holy Gifts before their mouths are wiped and they kiss the chalice.

None of us should be consuming the Holy Gifts whilst moving away from the chalice, but we often do so, having formed bad habits in crowded Liturgies, where we are not given sufficient time to consume the Gifts and are ushered on. We have no need to rush in St John’s and will not be doing so, since this is our meeting with the Saviour, who offers Himself to us in the Holy Mysteries and comes to dwell in us.

Again. May I remind all who have communicated that they should not leave the body of the church until the thanksgiving prayers are complete, unless their obediences require them to do so.

Our ‘holiday’ from catechesis continues, but we look forward to forthcoming baptisms, when James will be baptised in honour of St James the Faster and Tracey with the name Mary, for the Mother of God, whose Dormition we will be celebrating at the time of the baptism. We also look forward to Thomas’s baptism around the feast of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God – a wonderful and beautiful feast.

May I ask those wishing to confess, on Friday to email me by Wednesday evening, and thanks to all who have been so prompt in their requests: otetzmark@hotmail.com

I wish you all a happy feast of St Seraphim, tomorrow, and encourage you all to pray the canons or akathist in his honour! We also celebrate other important feasts in the week ahead:

  • Tuesday – the Holy and Glorious Prophet Elias
  • Wednesday – the Holy and Glorious Prophet Ezekiel and St. Symeon of Emesa, the fool-for-Christ
  • Thursday – the Holy Myrrh-bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles, Mary Magdalene
  • Friday – the Icons of the Most Holy Theotokos of Pochaev and “The Joy of All Who Sorrow” (with coins) of St. Petersburg
  • Saturday – the Holy Martyrs and Passion-bearers Boris and Gleb
  • Sunday – the The Dormition of the Righteous Anna, Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos – Liturgy variables: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18si1-PvB1kO1M3lcT3sMUBgb9rDmWlEa/view

Having enjoyed tea and pirozhky with Father Luke, on returning home, I will now settle down with a cup of tea and enjoy ‘Wimbledon in a cake’, as one of the desserts was described.

Thank you all for your constant labours and many kindnesses.

May God bless you all. S prazdnikom –

Hieromonk Mark

Celebrating St Margarita: Nameday Greetings

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr, Margarita of Antioch (Marina), we send our greetings to our Margaritas in Cheltenham and Warminster, wishing them both a happy nameday and praying that God will grant them many, blessed years! Многая и благая лтѣа!

The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, the father angrily disowned her. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), when she was fifteen years old, Saint Marina was arrested and locked up in prison. With firm trust in the will of God and His help, the young prisoner prepared for her impending fate.

The governor Olymbrios, charmed with the beautiful girl, tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But the saint, unswayed, refused his offers. The vexed governor gave the holy martyr over to torture. Having beaten her fiercely, they fastened the saint with nails to a board and tore at her body with tridents. The governor himself, unable to bear the horror of these tortures, hid his face in his hands. But the holy martyr remained unyielding. Thrown for the night into prison, she was granted heavenly aid and healed of her wounds. They stripped her and tied her to a tree, then burned the martyr with fire. Barely alive, the martyr prayed: “Lord, You have granted me to go through fire for Your Name, grant me also to go through the water of holy Baptism.”

Hearing the word “water”, the governor gave orders to drown the saint in a large cauldron. The martyr besought the Lord that this manner of execution should become for her holy Baptism. When they plunged her into the water, there suddenly shone a light, and a snow-white dove came down from Heaven, bearing in its beak a golden crown. The fetters put upon Saint Marina came apart by themselves. The martyr stood up in the fount of Baptism glorifying the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Saint Marina emerged from the fount completely healed, without any trace of burns. Amazed at this miracle, the people glorified the True God, and many came to believe. This brought the governor into a rage, and he gave orders to kill anyone who might confess the Name of Christ. 15,000 Christians perished there, and the holy Martyr Marina was beheaded. The sufferings of the Great Martyr Marina were described by an eyewitness of the event, named Theotimos.

Up until the taking of Constantinople by Western crusaders in the year 1204, the relics of the Great Martyr Marina were in the Panteponteia monastery. According to other sources, they were located in Antioch until the year 908 and from there transferred to Italy. Now they are in Athens, in a church dedicated to the holy Virgin Martyr. Her venerable hand was transferred to Mount Athos, to the Vatopedi monastery.

Troparion, Tone 4: Thy ewe-lamb Marina crieth out to Thee with a loud voice, O Jesus:/ “I love Thee, O my Bridegroom,/ and, seeking Thee, I pass through many strug­gles:/ I am crucified and buried with Thee in Thy baptism,/ and suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee;/ I die for Thee that I might live with Thee./ As an unblemished sacrifice accept me,/ who sacrifice myself with love for Thee// By her supplications save Thou our souls, in that Thou art merciful.

Kontakion, Tone 3: Arrayed in the beauties of virginity, O Virgin Marina,/ thou wast crowned with imperishable crowns;/ and stained with the blood of thy martyrdom, O martyr,/ thou hast received the trophy of victory for thy suffering,// piously shining forth miracles of healing.

The Orthodox Chapel That Could Have Been

Though I have never seen photographs, some of the elders within our diocese recall the apse that was started in Walsingham, remaining incomplete – never to be part of an Orthodox Chapel that was conceived and planned to adjoin the south aisle of the Anglican shrine church, in the garden of St Augustine’s, where the confessional rooms now stand.

The ground had been blessed by Metropolitan Seraphim of the Russian Church in Exile (as our ROCOR was then called), though I am still searching in ‘Our Lady’s Mirror’ from the 1930’s to find when.

It would be wonderful to see drawings and plans of the intended chapel, whose construction was prevented by the outbreak of war.

The ‘temporary’ chapel within the shrine church – in which we are still celebrating – adjoins the proposed site, and has been in use since 1941, when it was used by both Eastern European prisoners of war from a nearby camp, and the Free-Polish armed forces.

It was consecrated by Archbishop Sava of Grodno on Trinity-Pentecost 1945) not 1944 as incorrectly repeated on the internet), and St Nikolaj Velimirovic served in this little chapel during his Walsingham convalescence, after the Second World War.

The original dedication of the chapel was in honour of the icon of ‘The Mother of God, of Perpetual Succour’, as can be seen on the foundation document. It was much later that the dedication was changed to the ‘Life-Giving Spring’, and this seems to have had no canonical sanction or official status.

Having celebrated the feast of the Holy Equal to the Apostles, St Vladimir in the ‘temporary’ chapel, yesterday, on the very hand-drawn antimension that was placed on the Holy Table on that day, we are aware of how blessed Orthodox pilgrims are to be continuing as part of the ‘Orthodox story’ of Walsingham, treading where holy men have gone before them.

Visiting the Holy House of Walsingham

Dear brothers and sisters,

In the ‘pilgrim language’ of Walsingham, I have just made my ‘last visit’ of the day to the Holy House, which is at the centre of prayer and devotion in the Anglican Shrine, in which the Orthodox have maintained a chapel and spiritual presence since 1941 (having being involved in Walsingham pilgrim life since 1931), with the chapel being consecrated on Troitsa 1945.

I have previously written of the origin of the Holy House, and will simply quote from a past posting:

“The Mother of God appeared to Richeldis (Rychold), Lady of the Manor of Walsingham in the 11th century, commanding her to build a replica of the original Holy House of Nazareth, later dismantled and rebuilt in Loreto, in Italy, after the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land.

The great shrine and priory, which developed around the chapel of the Holy House was endowed through royal patronage and was renowned throughout Europe, but despite its sanctity and fame it fell victim to the ravages of the reformation and the destruction of the holy places by King Henry VIII and his henchmen.

The 20th century saw the restoration of Anglican religious life around a newly built Holy House and shrine complex.”

The current Holy House, to which the image of Our Lady of Walsingham was translated in 1931, is a very plain structure, echoing the humble simplicity of the Holy House of Loreto, and the mediaeval recreation in the priory a few hundred metres from the current site.

It stands within the Anglican Shrine Church, just inside the ‘west’ door, towards which it is liturgically oriented. The chapel of the Annunciation and shrine of St Vincent of Saragossa are located behind it, between the Holy House and the door and, to its ‘liturgical north’, a Saxon well is accessed by north-south steps (not the original Holy Well, but nevertheless a constant source of healing and blessing from the Mother of God).

The second day of the consecration of the extended church, in 1938, saw the celebration of the Hierarchical Liturgy on the high altar by Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka, and the memorials of the Walsingham ‘greats’ who welcomed him and the Orthodox pilgrims stand near the Holy House and the west door.

Above the well, in the north aisle of the church, the effigy of Fr Alfred Hope Paten (1885-1958), a great friend and benefactor of the Orthodox Church in Britain reposes, tomb-like.

Immediately next to the Holy House, a  similar memorial to the sometime Bishop of Acra, Mowbray Stephen O’Rorke (1869-1953) – another friend and supporter of exiled Russian Orthodox Christians is to be found, with a figure of the Lady Richeldis kneeling on the west wall of the Holy House, just above the feet of his effigy. Thanks to Dr David Woolf, for pointing out that Bishop O’Rorke’s mortal remains rest beneath this stately memorial.

Lamps and candles burn in the Holy House day and night, for the intentions of parishes, families, pilgrims and their many intentions, and intercessory prayers are offered there every day of the year. Small paper shields, like zapisky, proclaim the intentions, and give the names of parishes and associations for which lamps burn, both inside and outside the Holy House.

Pilgrims pass through its doors from morning till night, and are struck by the peace and prayerfulness of this very special place in which the pilgrim feels the merciful care and loving solicitude of the Mother of God, ‘Our Lady of Walsingham,’ in its profound and hushed peace, amidst the flames of candles and lamps, gently flickering, blue and red.

Most Holy Mother of God, Our Lady of Walsingham, pray to God for us!