The Sunday After Ascension

Dear brothers and sisters,

Despite parishioners being away for half-term, it was good to have a fairly well attended Liturgy, with faces that we haven’t seen since our move from St John’s – some of our Ukrainian faithful having been home for family reasons, before returning to the safety of Cardiff and the Valleys. It was a joy to see them, and especially to see so many confess and commune. We congratulate all who partook of the Holy Mysteries.

We also congratulated oltarnik Alexander on his nameday, the feast of St Alexander of Rome on Thursday, and sang mnogaya leta for him, and for Norman and Anne who have celebrated milestone birthdays. We also congratulate Nataliya on her birthday, which I did not realise was yesterday.

Following Liturgy and trapeza, we were very happy to welcome baby Stylian and his family, for the celebration of his baptism, which was a joyful and blessed British-Bulgarian-Romanian celebration. We look forward to his first reception of the Holy Mysteries, and pray that God will grant him, his godfather Cristian and his family many blessed years. We now look forward to a double baptism on Sunday 11 June.

Last Thursday saw a handful of us celebrate the Lord’s Ascension, and the texts of today’s Liturgy reminded us that it iss the after-feast, on which we celebrated the memory of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, at Nicea in 325.

This coming Wednesday, we will also commemorate the Fathers of the other Ecumenical Councils, and in my homily, I reflected on how the conciliar understanding of the Saviour’s divinity and humanity are celebrated in the feast of the Ascension, in which Christ as God returns to the glory which He possessed in eternity before creation, and yet put aside in the Divine Humility and selfless-love of the Incarnation, but also ascending into this glory with the humanity He shares with us, and which is now worshipped by the angels and saints in heaven – to which He calls us in the fullness of our humanity in the life of the age to come.

Next Sunday will bring the celebration of Pentecost-Trinity, in which we will mark the birthday of the Church, and pray on bended-knee in vespers, for the gift of the All-Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. I know that our sisterhood will be making posies for our worshippers to hold during vespers, according to our tradition, but we also encourage you all to bring branches and greenery for this wonderful feast.

Sadly, train strikes at the end of the week affect my travels using public transport. This will mean that our discussion group on prayer will not happen this Friday.

I will hear confessions on Thursday in Nazareth House, and around vespers on the eve of Pentecost-Trinity, on Saturday. Vespers will be at 17:00 and I would prefer to hear confessions before the service, as I am yet unsure of my travel method.

Would those requiring confessions please email me as soon as possible, and most definitely by noon on Wednesday.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Sunday and Week of the Paralytic

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen!

Happy St Mark’s Day!

On this feast of the Holy, All-Praised Apostle and Evangelist Mark, we congratulate our devoted Deacon, Father Mark, on his nameday. May God give him strength in his labours, and grant him many, blessed years!

After a rather minimal congregation, last Sunday, we were glad that the second bank-holiday weekend did not affect numbers, so that things were a little more normal, with forty adults in addition to the clergy, plus our parish children.

This was our oltarnik Oswald’s penultimate Cardiff Liturgy before leaving for the continent, on the first leg of the journeyman year of his apprenticeship.

We were very glad that after the considerable tidy-up – that we face every week – we were able to have social-time across the road in Brodie’s with him and our other young people. We will miss his icon stall in church, and I was glad that I finally remembered which icon I wanted last week, when Oswald had a bank-holiday event, at Woodchester Mansion, the home of his workshop and master.

And so, I returned home with the icon “Noli me tangere” (Do not touch me), showing the Risen Lord appearing to the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles, St Mary Magdalene. Though it was too late for the Sunday of the Myrrh-Baring Women, this icon will be ready for St Mary’s feast in July.

I have already encouraged anyone with spare or loose euros to bring them to church, as these would be most useful and welcome for our young parishioner as he starts his journey. So, please find your change and currency left-overs for Oswald.

As announced in church, we will be making a parish pilgrimage to Glastonbury on Saturday 20th May, hopefully beginning our day with a moleben to St Brigid and the saints of Glastonbury on Bride’s Mound, in Beckery, the site of an early monastic site, with Irish associations. We will then visit the abbey, before heading to the Tor and Chalice Well, possibly visiting the rural-life museum in the abbey barn, if time permits and pilgrims are so inclined! Anyone interested should email Tracy:

Today brought additions to the summer Walsingham Pilgrimage, from 24 – 27th July, and anyone others interested should contact me, Norman or Georgina asap, as I believe there are still some places left. We would love to see more parishioners join those of us who are taking advantage of Fr Dean’s kind invitation to join him and Butetown parishioners, once again.

I also announced that, unfortunately, we will be unable to celebrate our Ascension Day Liturgy in St Mary Butetown, as hoped, so I will check the possibility of celebrating in Nazareth House and make an announcement in the next few days. However, I am very glad to announce that we are able to return to St Mary’s for Friday Study Group, looking to commence on Friday 19th May at 19:00, meeting every fortnight. On these Fridays, confessions will be heard in St Mary’s before and after the sessions if needed.

This week will see confessions on Thursday, as I would like a quiet Friday before the monthly Liturgy for our Cheltenham Mission.

Those requiring confessions on Thursday should email me before noon on Wednesday.

The Cheltenham Liturgy will be celebrated in Prestbury United Reformed Church, as usual, with confessions from 09:15, and the Hours and Liturgy commencing at 10:00. Everyone is most welcome, and there will be a bring-and-share lunch after the service. We will call at Nazareth House on the way home, and any remaining confessions may be heard at that time. Email me please.

Please continue to make the celebration of the Paschal season a reality in your homes, with the joy of the season’s prayers and hymns in your daily spiritual-life. Some new parishioners are unaware of the glory of the Paschal Canon, which I encourage the faithful to continue to use throughout the season. However, the Paschal Canon in our prayerbooks is as used on the night of Pascha only, whereas after that night we also add Theotokia (troparia to the Mother of God). This full text, with the Theotokia may be found here:—Preparing-for-Holy-Communionb.pdf  

… an excellent ongoing addition to our prayers during Pascha.

Atgyfododd Crist!

Hieromonk Mark

From Palm Sunday to Holy Week and Pascha

Dear brothers and sisters,

It was an great blessing to follow yesterday’s celebration of the raising of St Lazarus the Four-Days-Dead with that of the Saviour’s short journey from Bethany to Jerusalemand the Lord’s Entrance into the Holy City.

After a rather rushed set-up, due to lack of access to Nazareth House last night and a later Mass today, everything came together very well, with confessions finished and the covering of the Gifts and completion of the Hours leading seamlessly into our Liturgy, with the faithful standing ready with their willows and palms.

It was lovely to see our deacons censing the church bearing bunches of willows, palms and flowers, and the festal feel to the Liturgy echoed that of yesterday’s humbler but equally jubilant celebration in Cheltenham.

Parishioners with none-Orthodox spouses and some of our students were unable to be with us due to western Easter, but we were to happy to welcome new Ukrainian and Georgian visitors on this happy day, and hope that they will be with us for Pascha. So… all in all, numbers were hardly dented by western celebrations.

We are very grateful to our choir and oltarniky, and to the sisters who prepared food to celebrate the feast before the austerities of Holy Week. We are also grateful to those who brought flowers. May God bless you all!

We now look forward to a busy week of services and confessions, and as Deacon Mark reminded the faithful, if confessing during the ‘open’ times before and after services, we should endeavour to be mindful of others and the shear number of confessions to be heard.

This may be very pertinent on Wednesday, when we will celebrate ‘soborovanie’ – the Holy Unction.

Those approaching the Mystery should have made a recent confession. If confessing before the service of the Holy Oil, please try to keep your confession to five minutes. I will be in Nazareth House during the afternoon, and may hear longer confessions before 17:00, when I will be more generally available for those needing to confess.

We have many new people in the parish, so I recommend them to read a very good articles on Holy Unction on orthochristian – reminding all that this is a Holy Mystery, so only Orthodox Christians may partake of it.

I am very pleased that will have Archpriest Luke with us for this service, and greatly value his help with confessions. Fr Luke will be with us from 18:00, and I know that there will be those who will wish take advantage of being able to make their confession to him. But… again, please be mindful of the time.

Parishioners who are NOT able to be with us on Wednesday should be reassured that anointing with the oil from the service is possible after all of the evening services during Holy Week for those who have prepared.

In addition to the previously advertised services, the Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Thursday will now be celebrated in Nazareth House (like all of the services from Wednesday to Friday) and will commence at 11:00, after the daily Mass.

Unfortunately, due to the use of the chapel on Friday morning, it will not be possible to celebrate the Royal Hours in our Cardiff home.

Having celebrated the Lord’s Entry into Jerusalem today, the matins of the coming days will look forward to His return as the judge of the world and Bridegroom of His Church, and the beginning of Holy Week calls us to vigilance, so that we may be ready and waiting for His return – like the wise virgins, who tended their lamps and took care that they were vigilant and watching.

At the beginning of this Great Week, let us be like them as we keep vigil, remembering the last week of the Saviour’s earthly life before His crucifixion, life-giving Cross, and the wonder of His resurrection.

Let us endeavour to watch and pray, and to not fall asleep as we spiritually journey to the upper room, the Mount of Olives, the praetorium and thence to Golgotha and the sepulchre.

“Behold the Bridegroom cometh in the midst of the night, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be borne down with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and lest thou be shut out from the Kingdom.”

May God bless you all, and give you strength and grace in this Holy and Great Week.

Asking your forgiveness for Christ’s sake.

Hieromonk Mark

Annunciation in Llanelli – Lazarus Saturday in Cheltenham

The Chapel of St David and St Nicholas / часовня святых Давида и Николая:  11 New Rd, Llanelli, Carmartheshire SA14 8LS

Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы: 10:00 – Часы 3, 6, 9, Изобразительны, Вечерня с Литургией Св. Иоанна Златоустого

The Annunciation of the Most Holy Mother of God: 10:00 – 3rd, 6th and 9th Hours, Typika, Vesperal Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Dear brothers and sisters,

May I remind you that the Liturgy for Annunciation will be in Llanelli, and NOT in Cardiff, as the convent chapel Nazareth House will in use for Latin Good Friday.

We will chant the Hours at 10:00, followed by the Vesperal Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.

the variables of the service may be found at:

A bring and share lunch will follow. Remember, this is a fish day.

The following day, Lazarus Saturday, we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham, with the Hours and Liturgy celebrated from 10:00 in Prestbury United Reformed Church, 5 Deep St, Cheltenham GL52 3AW.

Confessions will be heard from 09:15, and a bring and share lunch will follow – as usual. The variables may be found at:

May God bless you!

Hieromonk Mark

Our Cardiff Parish’s Approaching Twelfth Birthday.

Our wonderful, growing and busy Cardiff parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia was founded in Bright Week 2011, so as we approach Pascha, we are coming to the end of our twelfth year!

So, our community will soon be a teenager, though hopefully without the more-challenging traits of teenage life.

What change has occurred during these twelve years, from the starting point of only having a monthly Saturday Liturgy celebrated by one of the cathedral clergy; the congregation almost exclusively 100% Slav; and the services only using English for the creed and Lord’s Prayer.

When we moved to Nazareth House and services became weekly, we saw an immediate change, and discovered the difference between those who thirsted for spiritual life and seized every chance for prayer, worship and the Holy Mysteries, and those who enjoyed the monthly Liturgies and sociable meal as an opportunity for Russians, Moldovans and Ukrainians to come together.

Our numbers initially fell, as the parish identity evolved with the changes in clergy and the initial blessing of services three or four times a week, in Nazareth House and Newman Hall.

And now…

Including our assistant priest, Archpriest Luke, we now have four parish clergy, services at least three times a week across our South Wales mission, and have made a spiritual impact on local people exploring Holy Orthodoxy – as attested to by our baptisms – with Patrick, Brigid and Mary baptised a little over a week ago; the enrolment of another catechumen last Sunday; two or three more baptisms later in the year; and the constant enquiries and arrival of students and other new people who feel welcome and at home in our friendly traditional community.

All of this is despite the fact that we still have no place of our own in the city; moving around due to covid (and even administered the Holy Mysteries in Cardiff after Liturgy in Llanelli); having to set up and put away every time we have a service; and whilst the clergy have to travel to and fro across South Wales, also serving in other places, with only the rector as a salaried priest.

Father Luke, of course, is retired from secular employment, but Deacon Mark and Hierodeacon Avraamy show great dedication, receiving no income from the parish!

Weekly services now see parishioners travel from Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire each week, as well as those who live on this side of the River Severn, and our services are now in English with a little bit of Welsh (hopefully to grow) as well as Church Slavonic.

We have worshipped in the Greek Church, Nazareth House, Llanelli during lockdown Newman Hall, St John’s, St Mary Butetown, and again in Nazareth House. And… despite nomadic life, the parish flourishes and grows!

Our congregation is still relatively small, usually having thirty-five to forty-five adults each Sunday, but given the vast geographical area in which parishioners live, we seldom have everyone in church at the same time.

We are heartened that those who come – with some more occasional friends of the parish driving for the midlands and west country – seeking maximalism and faithfulness to Sacred Tradition, and are not interested in diluted, liberal, renovationist alternatives to the fulness of the Church’s teaching and praxis.

Our Slav parishioners have shown great warmth, generosity and openness in embracing British people who have become such a dedicated part of our parish, as well as in their support of the three British clergy, and show the missionary spirit of ROCOR – particularly in this multi-national diocese.

We look forward to the next baptisms, to the task of teaching and nurturing those totally new to Orthodoxy, of Fr Avraamy’s hopefully permannent transferal to our diocese, to developing English and Welsh in our services – and above all to finding a building as an Orthodox temple, when God sees fit. Perhaps the parish’s teenage years will see this great and much needed development in our Welsh capital city!

Poday Gospodi! Grant this, O Lord.

The Sunday of St Mary of Egypt – Looking Ahead Through the Week…

Dear brothers and sisters,

Sunday numbers were a bit low in Cardiff, with the beginning of the Easter school holiday and illness impacting on parish attendance.

However, we still had thirty-five adults, including half a dozen crossing the border from England, as well as a few children.

It was a great joy to have Father Hierodeacon Avraamy back with us, after his assistance in the cathedral last weekend, and I very much appreciated the return to our now ‘normal’ celebration with two deacons!

Despite the slightly later end to Mass, our morning confessions progressed at a goodly pace, and it was possible to accommodate eight penitents during the hours.

It was a busy week of confessions, with Wednesday and Thursday dedicated to them, and on Wednesday we also chanted a moleben for the Brotherhood of the Holy Kiev Caves Lavra, as well as the four hour long matins with the Great Canon and life of St Mary of Egypt, whose Sunday was celebrated today.

Yesterday, was the penultimate Liturgy for the newly-baptised Mary (Germaine), soon to move to Pamplona with husband José, and we treated the day as an anticipated name-day for her, as it was the Lenten Sunday dedicated to her ‘angel’ – St Mary of Egypt.

It was a quiet and prayerful Liturgy, with the choir continuing to sing the prolonged Lenten melodies for the Liturgy of St Basil, with its longer priestly prayers. We are very grateful to our singers for their labours, especially as they rehearse for Pascha – with their singing sounding wonderful as we socialised at the back of the church.

The number of confessions for the week was reflected in the goodly number of those receiving the Holy Mysteries, and in a repeat of last week, it was wonderful to see those who had communed assembled on the left kliros after communion.

Worshippers enjoyed socialising over a ‘picnic’ after the service, and after spending some pastoral time with a few parishioners, it was my great joy to admit student, Joe, as a catechumen – so that his friend and fellow student, Kyle, is no longer the only one for whom we are praying in the Litany of the Catechemens! We look forward to the day when they will enter the fulness of Orthodoxy, through the Mystery of Holy Baptism.

Our three clergy and a group of Bridge-crossing parishioners relaxed in our nearby café after finishing the packing away and car-loading, and it was a welcome change for all three clergy to be part of the weekly café visit. I look forward to this social relaxation every week: a valuable time with our students and young people, as well as those needing coffee before their return to England.

The coming week is, of course, Holy Week for the Nazareth House community, so the chapel is very much in use at the end of the week, necessitating the hearing of confessions before 17:00 on Thursday, as the Mass of Maundy Thursday will be celebrated at 18:00. It will also be possible for us to hear confessions (if necessary) in Deacon Mark’s office in Morganstown at Saturday tea-time, on our return journey from celebrating Liturgy in Cheltenham for Lazarus Saturday.

Will those requiring confession please email me by noon on Wednesday?

Good Friday services in Nazareth House preclude the Orthodox celebration of the feast of the Annunciation, so our Divine Liturgy will now be celebrated in Llanelli in the Chapel of St David and St Nicholas at 10:30. I will post details separately.

Our Lazarus Saturday Liturgy will be celebrated in Cheltenham, in Prestbury United Reformed Church, where confessions will be heard from 09:15. The Hours will be chanted at 10:00 and the Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:30. We eagerly look forward to the celebration of this wonderful feast before Holy Week.

The Catholic Easter Vigil, next Saturday, will make it impossible for us to set up in the evening – hence confessions in Morganstown – and the Easter Sunday Mass will not commence until 10:00. Therefore, we will not have access to the chapel until around 10:35/10:40.

The Hours will be read during the proskomedia, and we will begin our celebration of the Palm Sunday Liturgy – the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem – as close to 11:00 as possible. There will be very little chance to hear confessions before the Liturgy, so it may be necessary to confess and commune parishioners AFTER the Liturgy. This is unfortunate, but unavoidable.

Finally, for those who do not use Facebook, yesterday, we sadly announced the repose of Eileen, mother of our dear friend Father Sebastian of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, and ask you to remember her in your prayers, together with the newly departed Ronald, father of Father Alexander.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to Father Sebastian and his sisters, Alison and Helen, and – of course – to Father Alexander. May the Lord remember the souls of the newly-departed in His Kingdom. Memory Eternal!

I hope that, if your spiritual labours have flagged during the latter part of the Great Fast, the week ahead may be one of refocussing and regaining momentum before Holy Week!

Please continue to keep Metropolitan Pavel, the Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Caves Lavra, and all of its persecuted Brotherhood in your prayers.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Fr Mark

The Voice of the Persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church

The speech of His Eminence, Metropolitan Pavel – Abbot of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves Lavra on 29th March: the day on which the persecuting government set for the withdrawal or eviction of the sacred brotherhood who rebuilt the monastery from ruins and rubble.

Persecution is a daily reality, and the age of the martyrs and confessors has returned.

“ We, dear brothers and sisters, are at the baptismal font of Holy Rus, a 1000 year old place, where we still are in communion with those who inhabit Heaven, with the testimony of their Holy Relics abiding in this greatest holy place.

The first martyrs here were Ioann and Fyodor, his father, the Varangian Christians who were sacrificed to the idols. Then martyrs Theodor, Lukian, Vasiliy and others who are resting in this sacred place. The last martyr – hieromartyr Vladimir who was fighting the godless authorities, renovationism and all those passions and sins devouring our Fatherland.

Today unfortunately history is repeated. Instead of uniting people around defending the country we (the country) are killing our own, driving them out of our sacred places, OUR holy places, built by OUR people, built by ourselves. I testify of that as a person who knows, who built many churches. We are interceding before all the saints so they would not abandon us, and the faithful.

“Again Herodias is raving, again she is dancing and again she is trying to have John the Baptist beheaded by Herod. Again Jezebel is going around trying to seize the vineyard of Naboth and chase Elijah into the hills”- for this sermon the Holy Hierarch was sent into exile.

Today these kinds of things are happening in our country. Today we received correspondence from the director of the “ museum” signed by the minister of culture informing us we are being evicted from this place of 1000 years of prayer.  I want to warn the President and all his gang- our tears will not fall onto the ground but they will fall on your head to your woe.

Today you think that having climbed to power on our backs and with our blessing you can treat us like this. God will not forgive you or your kin for this evil act – today two hundred and twenty monks are being made homeless; because you could not receive Metropolitan Onufriy with the Synod to hear him out; you could not control your Minister of Culture consumed by the spirit of godlessness an demonic hate towards us. Therefore, he acts with your permission. Woe to you!  

We informed the above mentioned authorities that we will not leave the Lavra until the decision of the Court. We have turned to all the Ukrainian courts with all our documents, but now the third judge has declined our case, because the pressure on the judges to expel us from the Lavra is too great.

Today we are appealing to the United Nations, to UNESCO and other human rights organisations. We are appealing to the other churches to pray for us so truth would win.

We know that Truth is crucified in the world. When the Hieromartyr Petro Polyansky was judged by a “ troika” tribunal, one of the three said: “ Ours is the truth, we are finishing with you, priests, we have won” to which Fr Petro replied-“ You are right, yours is the TIME, the time of lies, untruth and deceit.

There is also another Judgement- the Judgement of Christ. You will not win that trial because Christ the Judge and Defender never makes mistakes.

Mr President and you Cabinet – woe to you! We are not the enemies of Ukraine. We are not bandits or “ the fifth column”, we are citizens of our country. You came to us in your election campaign, you asked for the blessing from Metropolitan Onufriy to win this election. And today, as president, you could not even receive and hear out the elderly hierarch who represents millions of your citizens.

We have seen the lawlessness that has happened in Ivano-Frankivsk Region. In the city the last cathedral has been taken away. The cathedral which the Lavra rebuilt. Tear gas with pepper spray….they shut the doors and smoked people out like rats…have a look at the videos- get closer to your people.

We saw what the state police has been doing in the region of Vinnitsa- a priest serving the sacrament of anointing with oil, was beaten by the police, and dragged through the church. Those who take the sword will perish by the sword.

A word about us to the international community- we preach love, overcoming of hatred, patience, we support the human rights…so what is this eviction about? How can we trust or believe our authorities? We ask and demand justice but not only for ourselves, but for our Holy Church ( the people)

I address the police. You are coming for us on the 30th, but be mindful people. Do not carry out instructions of the mad tormentors. The synod of so-called Orthodox Church of Ukraine already said they will be serving the Feast of the Annunciation in the Lower church in the Lavra. They also had the plan of taking the Pochaev Lavra approved. And now, dear brothers and sisters, look at this so called New Church in Ukraine, which deprives people of the real sacraments, which acts by bullying, which takes away salvation from people. Whose supporters take away churches by force and then don’t attend. There is a saying “Сам не гам- та иншому не дам» describing this. 

The tears of the monks will also fall on someone else – Patriarch Bartholomew, who is doing lawlessness in Ukraine today. I don’t understand the man- he is 80 years old, soon he will be standing at the judgement seat of Christ…does he think himself immortal.

Having lost a lot of his folk he is today stealing sheep from someone else’s yard. Woe to you and shame on you, because all that is happening today is with  your miserable and deceitful blessing.

I am addressing you, dear brothers and sisters with a plea, please come to the services to support us all as the journalists of the Rada told us that disorder may happen on the 30th and the 31st of March.

We call on you not to respond to haters with hate. We ask you to be faithful to the Holy Mother Church. We know that even if we have to leave we will come back. Khrushchev promised that by 1970 he will show the last priest on TV but how mistaken he was.

The Church was resurrected and he is probably enduring the torments of hell. On the 10th of March 1961 the Lavra was shut by him. In 1988 in the Soviet Union the Lavra opened again and the faithful monks returned, making more disciples. Sixty two  years later, the grandchildren of the persecutors of the Church come again to shut us down. The desires of the world and the passions are winning over you. Think of it now, because you will have to give answer for everything. 

Dear pilgrims, brothers and sisters, who came to us for spiritual renewal and the blessing from the saints- again, we are enduring times of persecution, by the people who are casting out the Mother of God herself, who said to the Greek architects “ I want to dwell in the city of Kiev”.

She provided the funds for the building of the Holy Dormition cathedral and She appeared in an uncreated icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God.

The presence of the Mother of God is the highest treasure for the monastics. The Monk Alipiy, with the other iconographers, frescoed the wonderful church. The church was desolated and deconsecrated several times and destroyed by the bolsheviks. It was fully rebuilt by the brethren and the small donation from the government in 2000. With many tears of people who prayed and donated so they would see the church rebuilt before they died. 

Since then, the brothers have invested everything into the interior decor, the royal doors, the icons over the last 22 years.

This church was taken away from us. You saw the darkened crosses since it happened, you saw darkened icons…people are probably working on the destruction of the Holy places.

Why do I say this? Because I read and hear threats in the internet, on the news…yesterday I went to the passport office because my passport is lost or has been stolen, but the news has started spreading lies that I am emigrating, abandoning my brethren. This is how slander works. 

I will not leave unless I have to bury everyone of you. 

Today I am addressing all countries which have protection of human rights observed, I am addressing the faithful, of whom some say this is coming to us for our sins. Maybe it is better for all of us to look deeper into our hearts and look closely at our own lives and our sins? 

The minister of culture said in public this is for the sins for the Ukrainian Church. If you decided to pronounce a verdict on us without an epitrachil, maybe you can ask yourself if your wife could have died because of your sins? Maybe you can take the plank out of your eye instead of seeing the specks in the eyes of our brothers, martyrs and confessors?

We never thought that in the 21st century we would be oppressed by our own people. But if we read the elders who prophesied in Stalin’s times about the times of Khrushchev, about our times, we are awe-struck at how they saw what would happen?

Dear Rulers, what has the Church done to you? Or maybe you are running away from your conscience? None of us is going to avoid the judgement of God, not a single person. 

Again, dear Brothers and Sisters, please, I beg you, pray for us, for me, because I as an abbot have a very heavy heart.

Yesterday the security services had their meeting with me and they I said, “I am not compromising.” If I have to give my life for Christ, for the Church, then I have to. There can be no compromises with God. And you are temporary. Like dew in the sun you will evaporate. Again and again I say, those who raise the sword shall perish by it. 

I am addressing those people who slander us. We do not have the Moscow Church here. Our church is Christ’s Church. We do not sing songs or poems hate against anyone, we exist to praise Christ and his Mother. We wish everyone peace and health, at the time when the enemies are attacking our country from all sides.

Instead of being grateful for the prayer that is ascending to God, here you are killing our priests! Some of you said- when we are finished dealing with the Lavra we will sort out the womens monastery of the Protection of the Mother of God. 

“Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned” ( Psalm 33)

The Daily Reading of the Psalter in the Parish

One of the joys of the Great Fast has been knowing that a group of parishioners and friends of the community have been reading the entire Psalter of the Holy, Righteous King and Prophet David each day, joining prayers for the parish and for their personal intentions to this spiritual-offering.

In our East Slavic tradition, each of the twenty kathismas  of the Psalter has appended penitential troparia and a prayer for use in the monastic cell or Christian home, as well as introductory and concluding prayers – so, with this in mind, our parishioners praying the psalms in English have taken advantage of the Jordanville ‘Psalter for Prayer’, which has these additional spiritual-materials.

Whilst Sequential Psalters printed in Russia and Ukraine have such hymns and prayers, English language translations which follow the Greek tradition usually do not, though troparia and prayers are used in Byzantine monastic praxis – but with differing hymns and prayers. Those of Old Rite Slavonic Psalters also differ from those used in the New Rite.

With some flexibility, some of our parishioners and friends have incorporated the Psalter-readings into their morning or evening prayers, but however the psalms have been read, they have brought spiritual strength and encouragement to those sharing the task.

The psalms, of course, are at the heart of Orthodox Christian worship, and their challenging moral and spiritual lessons call us to repentance, attentiveness and action: to turn to God and His abiding presence with those who trust in Him, live in Him and hope in Him.

How wonderful to know that the entire Psalter is read in our scattered community every day, and I hope that this might continue after the Fast!

Holy, Righteous King and Prophet David, pray to God for us!

The Sunday of St Climacus in Cardiff

How wonderful it was to welcome our newly-baptised parishioners into the eucharistic fellowship of the Church this morning, with Patrick, Brigid and Mary being quietly ‘churched’ during the chanting of 6th Hour, then leading the faithful in the reception of the Holy Gifts, at communion time.

We offer them our warmest congratulations on their reception of the Holy Mystery of the Saviour’s Body and Blood, and rejoice that in the last few days they have been able to partake of four of the seven Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Church: confession/penance; baptism; chrismation; and the Holy Eucharist. Glory to God!

In our parish, it is our custom for those who have received the Holy Mysteries to remain on the left kliros until the Holy Gifts have been translated to the proskomedia table after Communion, and having turned to pronounce, “O God save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance” towards the end of today’s Liturgy, it was a joy to see our many communicants standing there after having zapivka, with the baptismal candles of the newly-enlightened burning bright.

I know that our neophytes have been greatly touched and encouraged by the amount of support they have received from their fellow parishioners, with this reflected in messages, greetings and gifts.

The warm fellowship during our ‘pop-up trapeza’ was wonderful, offering the chance for our visitors and new people to chat with parishioners, and for the community to greet the newly-baptised. Thanks to all who were so kind and generous in their offerings. Parishioners particularly enjoyed Serbian baked goods, which proved very popular today!

As most parishioners knew, Deacon Mark and I were rather tired and brain-fogged, this morning, having been stranded on the motorway until 03:00, due to car problems. Operating on two hours sleep (one for our deacon) meant that I was rather forgetful and negligent regarding announcements.

Further to the  email sent out a few days ago, I should have reminded parishioners of services on Wednesday. As I am still rather vague and bleary, I shall just quote the previous communication.

Next Thursday is the ‘Thursday of the Great Canon’, so we will gather in Nazareth House on Wednesday evening at 19:00 to chant Thursday Matins with the whole of the Canon of St Andrew of Crete, and hear the life of St Mary of Egypt – for which reason we call Thursday ‘Maryino Stoyanie / Марьино стояние’: ‘Mary’s Standing’.

The complete text may be found at orthodoxaustin:…/1NesFiJDHXeGjKVeTUxBpVZ…/view

Earlier in the day, at 16:30, a moleben will be offered for the sacred brotherhood of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Caves Lavra. I will then hear confessions before matins, as well as after the service. Confessions will also be heard on Thursday for those not able to attend matins.”

I would appreciate an email from those requiring confessions on Wednesday or Thursday, as soon as possible (indicating which day). Thank you in advance!

We missed our hierodeacon today, though our loss was the cathedral’s gain, and Father Avraamy’s prayerful and precise serving at the hierarchical Liturgy was greatly appreciated. This makes us very happy, though we look forward to regaining this prayerfulness and precision in Cardiff when we celebrate the Sunday of St Mary of Egypt!

As the newly-baptised Mary will have moved to Pamplona with her husband, Jose, by the time of her nameday on 1/14 April (which is also Orthodox Good Friday), we will very much us the Sunday of St Mary as an alternative nameday, to celebrate the memory of her heavenly patron with her, also celebrating the fact that it will have been Patrick’s nameday on Thursday. So… another celebration for two of our newly-baptised parishioners.

We will celebrate the Saturday of the Akathist Hymn with a service in Llanelli on the eve – Friday night – at 19:00, then on Saturday, we will celebrate vespers after setting up the convent church at 17:00, on Saturday, and the Hours and Liturgy on Sunday at 10:40. The variables for vespers may be found at:

… and for the Liturgy:

I will send a further email regarding Holy Week, during which His Grace, Bishop Irenei, has blessed the public, liturgical celebration of Holy Unction, though next year will see this reserved as a purely conciliar rite in the cathedral (on a Saturday), according to ancient tradition, by which it is celebrated by a hierarch with six of the priests of his diocese.

I must end by thanking the parish sisters, who seem to have sent me home with enough food for a week. The love shown to the parish clergy is incredible, and we are so very grateful for the love and support we receive. Dear sisters, may God bless you and reward your mercy and charity.

With love in Christ  – Hieromonk Mark

A Triple Baptism at St Nicholas-in-the-Vale

Our heartfelt congratulations go the newly-enlightened servants of God Mary, Brigid and Patrick, who received the Holy Mysteries of baptism and chrismation this afternoon at the Old Church Hall in St Nicholas-in-the-Vale.

Though we completed the service in the house, in Menna’s little oratory, the rain didn’t dampen our spirits during the exorcism prayers, the consecration of the baptismal waters, the blessing of the oil of the catechumens and their anointing, and the baptism and chrismation, which were performed outside.

The last service celebrated in the oratory was before the Wonderworking Kursk-Root icon of the Mother of God, and our neophytes appreciated this blessing from the Theotokos.

It was the first multiple baptism that we have celebrated in the parish, and we were so happy that there should be such a strong bond of love and friendship between those who received this Holy Mystery together, supporting one another in the close bonds of a Christian parish family.

With all three of those baptised, it has felt like we have always known them, though Patrick (Dan) was the only we already knew! They all came hungry for the Truth and the uncompromising fulness of Orthodox Tradition, and have been steadfast in this.

We rejoice that they will be able to participate in the fulness of our Paschal celebrations, with the added joy of Pascha being the first anniversary of George’s baptism.

We look forward to their churching before tomorrow’s Liturgy, and their communing of the Holy Mysteries of the Lord’s Body and Blood.

Many thanks to our Senior Sister Melangell for welcoming us to her home once again. We have now celebrated five baptisms there.

We pray for the Lord to grant the newly-enlightened many, blessed years!