Greetings to you all as we continue to celebrate the after-feast of the Meeting of the Lord. S prazdnikom!
As the feast fell on a Thursday, when St John’s is unavailable, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated in Llanelli, and I was pleased to be able to assist Father Luke by singing on the kliros. Unfortunately, the afternoon journey to Cardiff was severely disrupted by problems with the railway line beyond Llanelli, so a number of confessions had to be cancelled, though I still managed to see a few people in the early evening before joining our young people to congratulate Kalina on her birthday. Many years!
Despite half-term, road closures, car-troubles and parishioners’ commitments, we were heartened by attendance at today’s Liturgy, and despite the dent in numbers we were still comfortably in excess of forty souls once the children were factored in.
It was good to welcome brothers from Swansea, and it was lovely to be joined by our former parishioner, Monika, visiting from Leicester with her children. In my homily on the saving curiosity of Zacchaeus, I referenced her film “Finding Faith”, and anyone who would like the link and sign-in details should contact me or Father Deacon Mark.
Many thanks to the kliros, operating on holiday numbers, and to Sasha for lone-serving, and thanks to those who brought flowers and refreshments for our celebration.
We greeted Yuriy at the end of our service, congratulating him on his sixth birthday and chanting many years before singing happy birthday after grace at trapeza, during which it was lovely to see so much conversation, warmth and fellowship.
I must admit to being rather slow today after a lovely but busy week and lots of travelling, last Sunday having seen me head over the Severn, taking the opportunity to not only have a prayerful quiet-day in Glastonbury, but also to perform several house-blessings and be in Chippenham for a singing practice with our Wessex gentleman before returning to Llanelli for the feast. Masha has also spent time working on vocal technique and chants with our local ladies, and we are very grateful for this preparation for the liturgical life of our Wessex mission.
We are extremely encouraged by the support being given by the feoffees of the Chapel of St Laurence in Warminster, who, as trustees, govern the extra-parochial chapel, which is classed as a non-royal peculiar, having being acquired by the townspeople of Warminster at the reformation.
We greatly look forward to our Liturgies on the second Saturday of each month, commencing on 9th March with the Hours and Liturgy at 10:30, confessions being heard from 10:00. The generosity of spirit that we have already received is heartening, with help offered in notifying the local Orthodox that we will be serving in the town.
We already hold a Wessex prayer meeting on the last Monday of the month, currently meeting ‘afloat’ on Porphyrios’s narrowboat – now christened the “porphyrion”. Last month’s initial gathering saw the blessing of the boat and a mission-supper, following several house-blessings, a pilgrimage to Whitchurch Canonicorum and the blessing of the River Wylye. We shall be certainly trying to maximise what we fit into clergy visits.
Our Cheltenham Liturgies will be moving to the third Saturday of the month, and our pilgrimages will be on the fourth Saturday.
Returning to the principality – this week’s confessions in Nazareth House will follow the Thursday pattern, for which emails would be appreciated by 18:00 on Wednesday. I shall also be able to hear some shorter confessions before and after our moleben in St Alban’s., and have already mentioned this to a few people.
We look forward to our protomartyrs pilgrimage on Saturday, and pilgrims should assemble at the Oratory Church of St Alban-on-the-Moors for our 10:30 moleben to St Alban and the reading of his life, before the veneration of a portion of his sacred relics and icon. We are very grateful to Father Sebastian and his confrères for their characteristically warm hospitality, which includes use of the church-hall for a bring and share lunch, for which all food-offerings will be very gratefully accepted.
Weather permitting, we shall head to Caerleon after lunch, visiting the Roman remains of the ‘city of legions’, where the protomartyrs of Wales, Julius and Aaron were garrisoned as soldiers of the Imperial army, before their arrest and martyrdom.
Thanks to those who have already offered lifts to our non-drivers. This is much appreciated.
Echoing Deacon Mark’s announcement, would parishioner please refrain from parking vehicles on the grass on the right hand far end of the drive, next to the church vestries, this has been planted with bulbs and seeded with wild flowers and is not a parking area.
Our prayers are with our very dear sister, Despina, as she makes her way across Europe to Greece, before the last leg to life in Cyprus, and we wish her a safe journey, happy that Catalin is accompanying her on a long and challenging drive for the land bound portion across the continent. She occupies a very special place in our hearts and is greatly loved in our ROCOR and Romanian Orthodox communities in which she has been a faithful presence and a help to many. Kalo taxidhi! May God bless your journey and protect your every mile!
Whilst we were celebrating in Cardiff, our diocese was blessed by the ordination of Deacon Alban Illingworth to the sacred priesthood in our London Cathedral, and he will serve in our Durham mission. We are greatly blessed that despite mischievous schismatic ‘defrocked’ whispering about the state of our God-preserved diocese, we go from strength to strength, with the establishment of new missions, the ordination of new clergy, and growth within our parishes. We congratulate Father Alban, as well as newly-ordained Deacon Antonio in Geneva, and the priest Georgi who has transferred from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to serve in Zurich. Many, blessed years to you all, dear fathers. Axios! Axios! Axios!
Please remember the clergy in your prayers.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark