On the feast of St Vladimir and the Baptism of Rus

Dear brothers and sisters, a happy feast to you all as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Equal to the Apostles, St Vladimir, and the Baptism of Rus.

We especially send our greetings to the faithful of our Cheltenham Mission on their patronal feast.

We wish them every blessing and strength as a community.

May God grant you all many, blessed years!

The coming weekend: the feast of St Seraphim of Sarov

Dear brothers and sisters, 

A thankyou to all who made Sunday such a sociable gathering, as we congratulated our two Olga’s on their nameday. Thank you to each of our Olgas for the refreshments served in the churchyard. I hope that, weather permitting, we can organise some refreshments each week, as the late start to Liturgy means that it is quite late when we break our communion fast. Continue reading

Humility: the door opening up the heart…

At the moment, I’m reading “Women of the Catacombs”, an account of underground Orthodox life centred on a catacomb parish in Sergiev Posad from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. In this simply written and engaging memoir, the  second-cousin and mother of the late Father Alexander Men speak of their spiritual lives, initially under the spiritual direction of their dukhovnik, the Archimandrite Serafim.

In one letter to Vera Iakovlevna Vasilevskaia – Men’s second cousin – Archimandrite Serafim describes humility with great spiritual clarity…

 “Humility is the door opening up the heart and giving it the means to a spiritual existence. Humility gives the heart graceful rest, to the mind it gives peace, to one’s thoughts – concreteness. Humility is strength, encompassing the heart, separating it from all that is earthly, giving it understanding about the existence of eternal life, which cannot enter the heart of the carnal person. Humility gives the mind its original purity. It begins to see clearly the difference between good and evil in everything. And to each spiritual situation and movement it knows their name, as the primordial Adam named the animals according to the characteristics he perceived in them. With humility, silence proposes to be imprinted on everything that is in each person, and, in this silence, the spirit of human beings, submitting to the Lord in prayer, hears his prophesies. Until the sensation of humility resides in one’s heart, there cannot be pure prayer…”

“Women of the Catacombs” – edited and translated by Wallace L. Daniel, Northern Illinois University Press, 2021.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Prayer against Passions, Torments, Despair and Distress

Prayer of St Nikolaj (Velimirovic) to the Most-Holy Theotokos

Petrovskaya Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God: Cell of Hieromonk Mark.

Holy Royal-Martyrs, pray to God for us!

When thou, O martyred Tsar, wast imprisoned by those who contend against God, thou didst have great joy with thy Tsaritsa and children when the minister of God visited thee to perform the divine services. Such a pious Tsar and anointed one of God did a great many of the people reject, for they were not mindful of the word of God which calleth upon all to honour the ruler; and the wrath of God came upon us all. Wherefore, in repentance we cry out: O Lord, through the intercession of the great passion-bearer, the martyred Tsar, grant Thou to the suffering Russian land deliverance from those who contend against God and the restoration of the throne of our Orthodox tsars.Continue reading

The Feast of the Royal-Martyrs

“Why was Tsar Nicholas II persecuted, slandered and killed? Because he was Tsar, Tsar by the Grace of God. He was the bearer and incarnation of the Orthodox world view that the Tsar is the servant of God, the Anointed of God, and that to Him he must give an account for the people entrusted to him by destiny, for all his deeds and actions, not only those done personally, but also as Tsar. . . Thus did the Orthodox Russian people believe, thus has the Orthodox Church taught, and this did Tsar Nicholas acknowledge and sense. He was thoroughly penetrated by this awareness; he viewed his bearing of the Imperial crown as a service to God. He kept this in mind during all his important decisions, during all the responsible questions that arose. This is why he was so firm and unwavering in those questions about which he was convinced that such was the will of God; he stood firmly for that which seemed to him necessary for the good of the realm of which he was head.”Continue reading