A Busy Weekend in Cardiff and Cheltenham

Here we are at the end of another busy weekend of services and fellowship in Cheltenham and Cardiff, having been blessed to hear confessions, serve the Liturgy, enjoy meals with parishioners and to spend plenty of time with our students and young people.

Yesterday was a long one, but we were very glad to have been able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the Parental Saturday, also offering a panikhida for “the souls of all our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters who from the ages have fallen asleep in the true faith, and in hope of resurrection and life eternal…”, especially remembering the newly-departed priests Stephen and John, the warrior Ioann, and Viktoria, who was laid to rest on Friday.

As usual, we shared a sociable and joyful trapeza before a local house-blessing and a visit to All Saints, Pittville, to collect parish belongings remaining since we last worshipped there in summer 2021. It was lovely to see Father Robert, who will be moving to the parish of St Agnes, Kennington, in April.

The need to set up the chapel at Nazareth House and an hour and a half of confessions saw a stop-off in Cardiff, finally arriving home fourteen hours after the morning departure – fifteen for Father Deacon Mark, for whom the driving on such a long day and in such awful weather must have been tiring and challenging.

Praise God that we see such dedication and such a profound understanding of diakonia – driving, setting up the church, leading the kliros as our usual singers were away, putting everything away again, more driving, setting up another church, and yet even more driving. And then… we started again today!

Such dedication and labour is indicative of the character of the clergy and idea of service in our diocese. We most certainly do not become clergy in ROCOR for an easy, comfortable life, with regularity, and routine, or with a sense of entitlement – especially given that all but three of us in the British part of the diocese have secular work in addition to serving parishes! Or clergy live to serve, however tiring and challenging that service might be.

How blessed we are!

Today was blessed with the Hours and Liturgy for the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas in Nazareth House, and we were pleased to welcome new visitors as well as returning visitors who have discovered us in the last few weeks. Trapeza allowed friendly social interaction, and the chance to welcome new faces, and social time was extended when a group of us made our way to the nearest café, enjoying time together, with much musical talk between some of our musicians, largely about traditional chant systems – and we have so much musical expertise within the community!

I was very pleased that our oltarnik Oswald’s icon-stall continues to receive lots of support from parishioners, and was very glad that my ordered “Weep Not For Me O Mother” was ready, as well as wonderful icons of St Brigid being added to those on sale.

This week will see confessions on Thursday, before compline at 18:00, and I would like those needing to confess to email me by 12:00 on Wednesday.

Saturday will see our pilgrimage to Capel-y-ffin slightly higher up the valley of the Honddu from the site of St David’s Celtic foundation at Llanthony. We will assemble there at 10:30 to  set up for the Hours and Liturgy at 11:00. It looks like we will fill the little church, given the numbers who have indicated their intention to join us.

We are very grateful to Fr Richard for the warm hospitality extended to us in allowing the use of Little St Mary’s at Capel-y-ffin, and hope to visit to St Mary’s Church in Hay-on-Wye, part of the same ministry area to which Capel-y-ffin belongs, as well as enjoying the bookshops and cafés.

Unbelievably, Sunday will mark the middle of Lent, with the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, and the following weekend will be a baptismal one, when we will welcome Dan, Mo and Germaine into the Church – thanks be to God!

Many thanks to all who made the weekend’s celebrations so joyful and warm, especially our singers – who have started preparing for Pascha – and our parish sisters who fed so many people, and also supported the clergy with food. It was a joy to share some of this with students this evening – with Serbian cooking going down very well!

I pray that you will maintain the impetus of the Great Fast, and continue to struggle for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you to all who supported Sunday’s celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, with our joyful Liturgy and moleben. It was a wonderful celebration of the Faith.

I am happy that Sister Anna has agreed to the use of the chapel for a Lenten service at 18:00 each Thursday, following confessions. We will gather again this week, and for evening prayers with the canon/akathist of repentance. May I ask those wishing to make their confession to email me by noon on Wednesday, indicating whether staying for the service as well.

Deacon Mark and I will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham on Saturday, with our service at Prestbury United Reformed Church commencing with the Hours at 10:00, followed by the Liturgy at 10:30 and a panikhida for the Memorial Saturday.

Deacon Mark and I will return home via Nazareth House to set up for Sunday, and confessions may also be heard at 18:00, for those unable to confess on Thursday.

Without wishing to sound like a school-master, may I reinforce what was said after Liturgy?

There should be NO casual conversation or unnecessary talking during services, and it is not appropriate to go and verbally greet or chat with friends at this time. We can smile, nod and mouth a hello and enjoy the ample chance to catch up after the service.

As soon as the blessing has been pronounced for the Hours, this is liturgical time and the prayer of the Church, not free time for conversations or even private prayers and devotions.

The same goes for the thanksgiving prayers after Liturgy. Despite what was said at the end of Sunday’s service, there were still those who chatted audibly during those prayers.

There should most definitely be no talking during Holy Communion, let alone sitting down to chat. Unless age or health deems it necessary, we do not sit in the Lord’s Presence in the Holy Gifts!

We need to be careful that we do not adopt a casual attitude to being in church, but need to be mindful that even though Nazareth House is not an Orthodox temple, it nevertheless becomes the sacred-place in which the Lord comes to give Himself to us in the Holy Mysteries, where the Church offers the greatest sacrifice of prayer and praise to the Lord in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

We wish our services to be prayerful, and without unnecessary noise, movement or distraction, so let us all work together to ensure this.

Looking forward to next Sunday, we will be celebrating the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas, and the variables may be found at –


May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Celebrating the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Dear brothers and sisters,

We were blessed with a triumphant celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy in Cardiff, yesterday, and affirmed the fullness and glory of the Orthodox Christian Faith and our obedience to the Sacred Tradition of the Church: an inheritance not of our making, but the deposit of Faith handed down to us by our pious and God-fearing forebears, for us to hand on to the next generation represented by the children and young people of our parish. We know this not to be the case in some places, and this is first hand knowledge given the parishioners who have taken refuge in our parish because of the renovationism, modernism and liberalism they have encountered elsewhere.

Some of those who have joined the parish, despite living far away, have made this clear in conversation over the last few days. However, this is not an occasion to gloat and feel pleased with ourselves, as though we are somehow superior. Our tenacious defence of Othodox dogma and tradition is what the Church demands of us, simply as Orthodox Christians – and from all Orthodox Christians.

Every Orthodox parish – as indeed every diocese and patriarchate – should be an ark of refuge and salvation, as the local manifestation of Christ’s Church, preserving and defending her Faith and sacred Tradition. 

It is precisely on account of the swelling tide of schism, heresy and persecution confronting the Church in our present sorrowful times that our Ruling Hierarch wished the faithful to be strengthened and confirmed in the fullness of the Church’s teaching by the solemnity our moleben on the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy – a radiant feast even in these early days of the Great Fast. So, a solemn and comprehensive order of service was blessed for parish use, lacking only the anathemas pronounced by our bishops and some other episcopal parts.

With the addition of the icons the faithful had brought to hold during the service, candles burning before the icons on the high windowsills and additional icons on the shrines that form our temporary ikonostas, their importance in our celebration as a sign of Orthodoxy was clear, and it was a joy to look out from the sanctuary and see parishioners bearing the sacred images of the saints as we started our moleben.

In the Great Litany, our deacons asked the Lord to “look upon His holy Church with a merciful eye, and preserve her safe and unconquered by heresies and superstitions, and keep her in His peace”; to “calm dissensions within her, and by the power of the Holy Spirit convert to a knowledge of the truth all who have apostatised and join them to His chosen flock”; and to “enlighten the minds of those darkened by unbelief with the light of His divine wisdom, and strengthen His faithful and preserve them steadfast in Orthodoxy.”

After the symbol of Faith – the Creed – our deacons solemnly intoned:

“This is the Apostolic Faith!

This is the Faith of the Fathers!

This is the Orthodox Faith!

This Faith confirmeth the universe.”

Commemorating the Holy Equals of the Apostles the Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena, the pious sovereigns of Byzantium, Kieven Rus’ and Russia who defended and upheld the Faith, and the great saints and wonder-workers who struggled in holiness, we chanted Vechnaya pamiat’ / Eternal memory again and again, recognising the debt that we owe to them for the preservation and defence of the Orthodox Faith; for teaching and upholding Orthodox, Catholic and Apostolic dogmas; for their steadfastness suffering and endurance in defending the Faith against heresy and schism.

Among the great names, we heard mention of Athanasius the Great; the great ecumenical teachers, Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom; Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria; Leo the Great and Flavian the Confessor; the Fathers of the Seven Ecumenical Councils; Maximus the Confessor; Methodius, Patriarch of Constantinople; Theodore the Studite; and the Holy Hierarch Mark, Metropolitan of Ephesus.

After the names of the Holy Equals of the Apostles, the Great Prince Vladimir and Great Princess Olga, we responded to the  commemorations of the Great Princes Yaroslav the Wise, Vladimir Monomakh, Alexander Nevsky and Dimitry Donskoy; the first Romanov Tsar, Michael Feodorovich; the martyred Tsar Alexander II; Tsar Alexander III; the Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II and the martyred Imperial Family; also the martyred King Alexander of Serbia. For them all, we prayed “Memory eternal!”

Then, having commemorated the departed Patriarchs of the ancient Orthodox Patriarchates, we remembered Patriarchs of Rus’ and Serbia, New-Martyrs and Confessors and finally the First-Hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the past hierarchs of our diocese of Western Europe and those who ruled the British Diocese when it was a separate eparchy: Archbishop Nikodem, Bishop Nikolai and Bishop Konstantin, of blessed memory.

Completing the commemoration of the departed, our hierodeacon prayed,

“To those who suffered and were slain in various ways for the Orthodox Faith and Fatherland: princes, nobles, and Christian forces, and all Orthodox Christians who have piously reposed in true Faith and in the hope of resurrection unto everlasting life: Memory eternal!”

Our deacons then led our prayers for the living – for the Patriarch and Hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, for all patriarchs “who stand fast in God’s righteousness, rightly defining the word of truth”, for right-believing hierarchs, for the members of the Imperial House and Orthodox Royal houses,  for the Orthodox faithful of the lands of Rus’ and of our God preserved diocese. After each petition the choir and faithful joyfully and enthusiastically chanted “Mnogaya leta!”

Ending with the Te Deum, the moleben was a very special combination of prayer for those who departed into error, and a celebration of the Orthodox Faith and those who have defended it and preserved it.

It was a joyful and festal Triumph of Orthodoxy, strengthening us and encouraging us at the end of the first week of the Fast.

What a contrast to the previous Sunday, when we chanted the stikhira of repentance, prostrating in the Rite of Forgiveness.

Our profound thanks go to all who contributed to our wonderful celebration, especially our choir, who laboured hard, and to our hierodeacon and deacon who were so central to the liturgical rites of the day.

To all Orthodox archpastors and sovereigns, our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, who have departed this life, defending and preserving the Faith: memory eternal!

To our archpastors and pastors, those who struggle in the monastic-life and all of the pious faithful, steadfast in the Faith: many years!

I pray that the festive joy of the Triumph of Orthodoxy may strengthen us and encourage us in our parish life, and as individuals during this season of the Fast.

Asking your forgiveness for Christ’s sake.

Hieromonk Mark

The Sunday of the Prodigal Son in Cardiff

Dear brothers and sisters,

With the Sunday of the Prodigal Son signalling the approach of the Great Fast, our service heralded our entry into meatfare week and the last seven days of meat before the Sunday of Pascha.

We were blessed to sustain a congregation of around forty-five adults plus children, including Yuriy, whose fifth birthday was celebrated with the chanting of Many Years and the sharing of very nice Medovnik / Honey Cake, made by matushka Alla.

I was very happy that we were able to meet and welcome new Ukrainian faces today, and Father Hierodeacon Avraamy will be working on publicity and advertising among his fellow Ukrainians, some of whom are struggling to find us in Cardiff. He lives in Swansea and is also aware of Ukrainian faithful seeking a canonical Orthodox community not involved in supporting the schism in their suffering homeland.

As you will be aware, although still a cleric of the Dnipropetrovsk Diocese, Hierodeacon Avraamy is now temporarily a cleric of our parish, having been blessed to serve here by both Metropilitan Irenei of Dnipropetrovsk and our own Bishop Irenei.

With the resumption of his ministrations, it was a joy to celebrate the Liturgy with the solemnity of two deacons, and several people commented on how Hierodeacon Avraamy and Deacon Mark work so well together: censing the church in tandem, during the more solemn entrances and alternating the litanies. Far from being more complicated, the Liturgy flows better and without pause. May God bless our deacons and their service as ministers of the Divine Mysteries and sacred services!

It was a relief that the confession arrangements worked pretty smoothly, with a couple of remaining confessions and communion during he thanksgiving prayers. This greatly helped the flow of the Liturgy and management of time.

Having completed the sacramental ministrations of the day, a new icon of St Luke of Simferopol was blessed, having been commissioned by Deacon Mark from the iconographer in our midst, as well as icons purchased fro Oswald’s ‘lavka’.

Following the Liturgy, it was lovely to see parishioners socialising so warmly and catching up with one another, with Oswald having customers at his icon stall, and the sharing of post-Liturgy snacks. Thank you to all who generously provided food and drinks for the faithful – and thank you to all who made the clear up and packing away so much smoother today.

I was very happy that the young men of the parish were able to spend time together over a cup of coffee and some lunch in a nearby café in the afternoon, and was glad to be able to join them and have some social time and conversation about the details of our Liturgy. We are so incredibly blessed to have such a band of pious and spiritually focussed young men, including those baptised over the last fourteen or fifteen months. Having received a blessing from Bishop Irenei to establish a parish brotherhood, dedicated to St David, I look forward to seeing it’s development once we have passed the First Week of the Great Fast. This will unite the brethren of the parish across the generations and the miles, given the geographical dispersion of the parish.

Having continued house-blessings last week, I hope to do a few more in the week ahead, though I will need to be in Llanelli for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Meeting the Lord on Wednesday.

I wish to hear confessions on Thursday, and ask for requests by 12:00 on Wednesday, to allow arrangements to be confirmed.

Saturday will see the Divine Liturgy, a Litia for the Departed and a baptism in Cheltenham, before the return to Cardiff where we will set up the church and celebrate Small Compline at 17:00.

As well as celebrating the Liturgy on Sunday, we shall also have our Annual General Meeting, with feedback from the clergy and parish officers and discussion of the items on our agenda. Again, if you have any matters which you would like to add to the agenda, please email Deacon Mark – rmfisher@ntlworld.com

Finally, as we approach the Great Fast, I would like to encourage you all to have some spiritual reading ready, to be spiritual food and drink to nourish your souls and help sustain the journey to Pascha through the days of Lent. If you haven’t ordered/bought anything, now is the time to do so!

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Local Orthodox Devotion to the Mother of God, ‘Our Lady of Walsingham’

Walsingham, a quintessentially English place of pilgrimage in honour of the Mother of God, has paradoxically been the place of many people’s first encounter with the Orthodox Church.

For some, this encounter has been the first step, or else a stepping stone, on their personal pilgrimage to the Orthodox Christian Faith, as we know from our own community and its friends – including our very own starosta and our friend, Schema-Hierodeacon Antony

In that sacred place, the Mother of God appeared in a dream to Richold de Faverches, the Lady of the Manor, in 1056, instructing her to build a chapel according to the dimensions of the Holy House of Nazareth – measurements proved to be correct in the course of history with the translation of the Holy House to Loreto in Italy.

The shrine became a place of countless miracles and throughout the Middle Ages the Holy House and priory at Walsingham were the most important shrine in England, known as England’s Nazareth, benefitting from royal patronage, including that of Henry VIII: tragically the author of its desecration and spoliation.

But, Walsingham’s story is one of resurrection, proving that the veneration of the Mother of God could not be obliterated in these islands, with both restored Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines becoming places of prayer and pilgrimage, and the amazing legacy of Father Alfred Hope Paten continuing to touch the lives of Orthodox Christian pilgrims year after year.

Our Russian Orthodox forebears, exiles with a great love for the Mother of God, became part of this story of renewal in 1938 when the extended Anglican shrine was consecrated, and Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka celebrated the Hierarchical Liturgy at the church’s high altar.

In the next decade, after the war, St Nikolai Velimirovic served in the shrine church whilst living in the College and convalescing after his liberation from Dachau.

Though the intended Orthodox Church was never built adjacent to the shrine church, pilgrims will be familiar with the little upstairs Orthodox Chapel consecrated on Pentecost-Trinity 1945.

The former monastery of St Seraphim, now sadly little more than a museum, played a pivotal role in the development of the veneration of the saints of Britain through the iconographic labours of Archimandrite David and his spiritual son and successor, Leon Liddament of blessed memory.

For some of us, Walsingham has a very special place in our lives and we greatly look forward to pilgrimages, despite its distance from South Wales. When we are there, we feel the reality of the Mother of God’s maternal care, protection and intercession.

With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Irenei, I have been able to make pilgrimages and celebrate services in the Chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, in the Anglican shrine-church three or four times a year – usually with the support and good-ministrations of Norman and Georgina, but also through our inclusion in local pilgrimage by Father Dean, and also on parish pilgrimage with members of our South Wales communities.

Whilst worshipping and meeting in the chaplaincy, at Newman Hall, we sustained our ‘Walsingham devotions’ to the Mother of God in the Little Oratory of Newman Hall, with its beautiful Walsingham Icon of the Mother of God. But, that ceased when we were no longer able to worship there with the change of chaplain.

Our local Anglican friends sustain their devotions through their Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham, and I very much hope that – in a similar way – those in our community who love Walsingham and its shrine to the Mother of God (and those who simply wish to deepen their devotion to the Mother of God) may wish to come together regularly to offer devotions and intercessions for the needs of the Church, of our community and the world.

We have not come together to chant the akathist to the Mother of God in honour of her Walsingham Icon since our exodus from Newman Hall in 2020, and my hope and prayer is that we may soon remedy this, as well as looking forward to a parish pilgrimage, introducing new pilgrims to ‘England’s Nazareth.’

As I look forward to serving in Walsingham in Cheese-Fair week, I hope that discussions over the next few weeks may prove fruitful and find others who wish to share in local devotions.

Weekly News: Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

Today saw the celebration of the Sunday of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, as well as the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, marking the approach of the Great Fast. 

It was good to sustain our usual number of forty to forty-five worshippers, but it was evident that many in the congregation arrived during the early part of the Liturgy. Admittedly, confessions have made our start rather slow of late, but those communing of the Holy Mysteries should be in church for the Hours, as well as the Liturgy.  

Having settled back into Nazareth House and discovered how best to make things work, the Hours will commence at 10:40 and the Liturgy at 11:00 each Sunday. 

We expected to have Father Hierodeacon Avraamy celebrating with us, but he was unable to join us due to family sickness. We look forward to next week’s Liturgy and the blessing of two deacons for our Liturgy. Last week’s Sunday service was so imposing with two deacons serving in our celebration. 

We are grateful to our chancellor, Archpriest Paul, for sending vestments for Hierodeacon Avraamy, who is one of several Ukrainian clergy blessed to serve in our diocese, bringing great experience and liturgical knowledge. 

CONFESSIONS This was the first week in which no confessions were heard during the preparation of the chalice for Holy Communion, so a few confessions were heard after Liturgy, at which time Holy Communion was also administered.  

We need to be clear that this should really be for those living a distance from the church, and those who are at the mercy of public transport – such as our Ukrainian ladies (living in Ogmore Vale), whose train was cancelled, and who walked for an hour in order to ensure they were able to use alternative transport and attend Liturgy: determination!  

Whilst, confessions/communion worked well, this time after Liturgy – when clergy are tired and need to sit down –  cannot and must not become the default confession and communion time for late-arrivers, especially when there is only one priest. So… this post-Liturgy time will be monitored. 

Last week saw confessions on Thursday and Friday, with a house-blessing on Friday, as well. But, so far, there have been hardly any requests for house-blessings, at least from our parishioners in Wales. So, please do not forget that this is a Theophany tradition each year. We had several requests today, and will make arrangements to visit parish homes. As some of these visits may be on Saturdays, there may not be a public service in the evenings of those days, but rather vespers being celebrated across the parish, in the homes of the faithful, with the possibility of compline being celebrated after setting up the convent-church for Liturgy. 


Looking forward to the latter this week, I will hear confessions on Thursday and Saturday, so may I ask for requests as soon as possible, but by 14:00 on Wednesday at the latest.  

Prior to pre-Lenten preparations, this week is fast-free. 

There will be no public celebration of vespers this Saturday. 


Though our Cheltenham mission Liturgy is usually on the second Saturday of the month, the February Liturgy will be on Saturday 18th February (the third Saturday). As this coming Saturday will see the celebratory anticipation Yuriy’s 5th birthday, Deacon Mark will be otherwise engaged. 

However, for some years, it has actually been our tradition to celebrate the February Cheltenham Liturgy on the afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas). I’m pleased to say that we will be doing the same this year, and will also have a baptism on this day. 

As usual, our Liturgy will be in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL52 3AW. Cardiff friends would be extremely welcome! 

Confessions will be heard from 09:15, with the Hours at 10:00 and the Divine Liturgy at 10:30. 


As announced at Liturgy, Father Dean of St Mary Butetown has once more extended an invitation for our parishioners to join the July South Wales Pilgrimage to Walsingham, as Norman and I did, last year – making a rather small Orthodox contingent. 

However, whilst there, we were able to join our dear friends who keep the Orthodox lamp burning in Walsingham and celebrated services in the Orthodox Chapel of the Anglican shrine, as well as praying in Mother Melangell’s house-chapel.  

A handful of parishioners have expressed interest in joining the pilgrimage, and I would be very pleased to have faithful from our South Wales communities travelling to Walsingham as a group – as it is already three and a half years since we previously did so, in November 2019. 

The pilgrimage will be from July 24-27. 


  • Full Board and travel by coach £370 (£270 under 16 years) 
  • Full Board only (no coach) £225 (£140 under 16 years) 
  • Children under 5 yrs: FREE 

I will post details on our parish Facebook Page, but any queries may be sent in Georgina’s direction:  georgie.partridge12@gmail.com 

I’m happy to hear that interested parties have already been in touch! 

Additionally, given the place of Walsingham in the spiritual lives of some of our South Wales Orthodox faithful we are discussing the formation of a local Orthodox group akin to the various ‘cells’ of Our Lady of Walsingham, supporting the shrine and the historic Orthodox presence by prayer and pilgrimage, and encouraging devotion to the Mother of God. More to come! 

We discussed this whilst we met at Newman Hall, where we periodically chanted the akathist in honour of the Walsingham Icon of the Mother of God. 

Whilst on this pilgrimage theme – I would like to remind parishioners that I will be in Walsingham for the customary February visit, maintaining the historical links between the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia and the Anglican Shrine. I greatly look forward to celebrating the Liturgy with our friend, the newly-ordained Priest Mark (Tattum-Smith) from Mettingham, whom I hope to see become increasingly involved in ROCOR ministrations in the shrine. 


Just to remind you that we will be meeting in Llandaff Cathedral for a moleben before the relics of St Teilo, at 10:00 on Saturday 25th February, with time to explore the cathedral and visit St Teilo’s Well before those who wish to do so repair to the Black Lion for lunch. 

Confessions will be heard in Nazareth House that afternoon, when the church is set up for Sunday Liturgy. 


We will be holding our parish annual general meeting on Sunday 19th February after the Divine Liturgy, and anyone wishing to raise subjects for our agenda should email our deacon and parish administrator, Father Deacon Mark: rmfisher@ntlworld.com 

No elections are due at this meeting, but the requirement for us us to form an electoral role though the establishment of a parish subscription will be discussed. 


Your prayers are asked for the newly departed servants of God, the priests Father John Musther (in Keswick) and Father Stephen Fretwell (Oxford); the newly-departed Nikolai; Irina, whose fortieth day fell a few days ago; and Joanna (Mary Joy), whose funeral will take place this week. May their memory be eternal.

Parish Newsletter: 30 January 2023

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday’s Liturgy brought a great contrast to our Hierarchical Liturgy, the previous weekend, most notably in the drop to our more usual Liturgy numbers of just over forty – though Nazareth House Chapel swallows that up in its vastness.

We were glad to welcome visitors, who mostly (though coincidently) travelled from Pontypridd. We hope that they will return to share Liturgy with us soon.

The parish was greatly blessed to have two deacons for the Divine Liturgy, with Father Avraamy’s ministrations greatly enriching our celebration. Having served as a deacon for twenty years, with thirteen of those being in the Svyatogorsk-Dormition Lavra, he brings great and very welcome experience to our parish.

I was also greatly appreciative of his pastoral help yesterday, spending time with refugees facing many challenges in their new life in the valleys. It was a blessing that his first Liturgy serving as an assistant cleric of the parish coincided with the visit of a family who hopefully benefitted from a long talk with him (as a fellow refugee), helped by his words and prayers. To Hierodeacon Avraamy – many years!

This is a prompt to point out that there have been problems with the door from the street – the family in question having arrived just as Mass ended and our final set up began, but not being able to get into the building they returned later, when the latch worked and the door fortunately opened! This has happened quite a few times over the last three or four weeks, with some first time visitors going to reception or giving up. The door is always unlocked for the 9:30 Mass and the handle may need turning several times. We have reported this, but the problem continues, so Deacon Mark will attack the latch with WD40 before next Liturgy to ensure the handle turns properly and the latch raises.

As announced at the end of Liturgy, there will be a local pilgrimage to Llandaff Cathedral on Saturday 25thFebruary, to pray before the relics of St Teilo, whose feast falls a few days earlier, whilst I am serving in Walsingham.

A moleben will be served at 10:00 in the Chapel of St Teilo, at the end of the righthand South Aisle, with time to explore the cathedral and a visit to St Teilo’s Well around the corner after the service. It has been suggested that those able to stay may wish to retreat to the Black Lion pub at midday. Tracy has kindly agreed to take on the role of pilgrimage coordinator, as we get pilgrimages under way. It would be useful for us to know how many people are able to join us for this small beginning to our pilgrimage-year, so parishioners are invited to email Tracy: t_sbrain@icloud.com

Having discussed the use of Capel-y-ffin, the smallest church in the principality, with Father Richard Williams at Hay-on-Wye, we intend to make a pilgrimage to the Black Mountains, in honour of St David, on Saturday 18th March.

St David’s foundation at Llanthony, nearby, has been a place of March pilgrimage for many years. However, the darkness, intense cold and dampness of the virtually disused parish church make it an inhospitable place for Liturgy. Capel-y-ffin slightly further up the the Afon Honddu and the valley promises a lighter and more liturgically-hospitable place of worship: a very special place, close to the site of the monastery founded by the eccentric romantic, Father Ignatius of Llanthony in the 19th century.

Father Richard has suggested that we visit Hay-on-Wye after Liturgy, as he would be glad to welcome us at St Mary’s where I hope he will tell us about the early saints Eigen and Eigion who vie for the dedication of one of the churches of the benefice at Llanigon. Details will be confirmed after the pilgrimage has been discussed with Vladika Irenei.

The final pilgrimage note, is to point out that there are still places available for the diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Bishop Irenei, and taking place between 31st July and 12th August. Details may be found at:


I am very happy that some parishioners have registered for the pilgrimage, and I greatly look forward to visiting the shrines of the Holy Land – God-willing – not only with our bishop, but with brothers and sisters of the parish.

In Cardiff, we need to hold a parish AGM, and given the length of Liturgies during the Great Fast, Sunday 19th February will allow us to give three weeks notice, as per the statutes of parishes of the ROCOR. On that Sunday we will hold our parish general meeting after Liturgy, and will ensure that we have refreshments available to see us through to the end of the AGM. No elections are due during this meeting, but the matter of subscription is a priority, so that an electoral-roll is in place for any future voting. If you have any items for the agenda, please email Deacon Mark who acts as the parish administrator: rmfisher@ntlworld.com

This week, I will hear confessions on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, so may I ask for requests by 13:00 Wednesday lunchtime to allow time to contact those requiring a slot?

I wish to keep Saturday as free as possible, so that we can concentrate on the celebration of Great Vespers at 17:00. Church will be open for set up from 16:00.

Please don’t be shy in requesting house blessings, as I hope to get around some of the Cardiff homes of the parish this week, and next weekend, as well as heading further afield and venturing into England – at the ‘eastern end’ of the parish! Also, please remember that there is Theophany Water in Church, so if you have not yet taken any, please bring bottles to collect it.

I continue to ask your prayers for my health. Though the concerns of last autumn are happily behind me, I continue to suffer from oedema and continuing fatigue. Your prayers, in union with those of the saints and angelic-hosts, make an immense difference. We must never be tempted to think otherwise, however dysfunctional our spiritual lives may seem. Joined with the voices of the saints and bodiless powers of heaven, and with one another, even our feeble requests have power and force. Is not even the greatest and most powerful flood anything other than hundreds of thousands of single drops of rain!

In your prayers, we also ask for the remembrance of the newly departed servants of God, the Priest Stephen, Nikolai and Aleksandr, as well as for Stuart-Michael whose fortieth day has just passed, and for the Reader Paul and Joanna who reposed at the turning of the year. May their memories be eternal.

We also ask your prayers for Mirela, whose baby is very obviously imminently due. Having partaken of the Holy Mysteries at yesterday’s Liturgy, may the grace of the Lord’s Most Pure and Holy Body and Blood fortify her in the days ahead!

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk MarK

Christmastide News

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is Born! S prazdnikom!

I hope that you are all maintaining the joy and momentum of the feast.

On Saturday, we will celebrate our Christmastide service in Cheltenham, with the Liturgy in the United Reformed Church, Deep Street, GL52 3AW. Confessions will be heard from 09:15, and the Hours and Liturgy will commence at 10:00.

Saturday is the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and of St Basil, so we will celebrate the longer Liturgy of St Basil, rather than that of St John Chrysostom. The variables may be found at orthodoxaustin: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YIpcyDDp3HzIusCyVlYsKFmSxd2TSPXG/view

We resume parish life in Nazareth House on Sunday, with the Hours, followed by the Liturgy at 10:40. This will be the feast of St Seraphim of Sarov, one of our most loved saints, and being together for the feast will be a great blessing. Variables: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ssx9ksPehNn0o4Wm5xRbkP_WGxmyKAez/view

Remember that we are in a fast free period until 18 January, when we fast for the Forefeast of the Theophany. As soon as I have confirmation for the Theophany Liturgy time, I will share it with you. The vesperal Liturgy and first blessing of Jordan will take place in Father Luke’s home chapel at 10:00 on 18 January.

As announced, His Grace, Bishop Irenei will be making a hierarchical visitation to Cardiff on 21 and 22 January, and plans are underway regarding ‘practicalities’, with Menna having agreed to coordinate sisterhood activities, especially arranging a reception in St John’s, where we now hope to also celebrate the Sunday Liturgy during Vladika’s visit. We will be in touch over the next few days regarding catering and coordinating food.

Deacon Mark has set up a new Whatsapp group just for the parish, rather than the wider ROCOR presence in South Wales, and anyone wishing to be added to it should contact him or Menna. After the splendour of the Christmas table, it is clear that there is no need for concern regarding having enough food for the faithful!

This week, I am hoping to have a quiet time, as I’m not feeling too well, but I shall come to Cardiff to hear confessions on Thursday. If you wish to make your confession, please email me by midday on Wednesday. As Norman and Georgina will be in St Mary’s on Thursday, we shall have confessions there, as its centrality makes in more convenient for many parishioners.

Please maintain the joy of the Nativity through your prayers and spiritual celebration, not simply through the welcome festive fare after the Nativity Fast. The icon corner should be our favoured place in these festive days, not the larder, the kitchen or the dining table! Please feast on spiritual food first.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters,

As usual, our Sunday Liturgy was a joyous gathering, bringing people from yet further away from Cardiff, with new faces from Bourton-on-the-Water – adding Oxfordshire to the English counties from which worshippers ‘commuted’ across the Bridge to Wales.

We were also very pleased to have some of the faithful from our Romanian sister parish join us, sharing the communion of the Lord’s Body and Blood. Congratulations to all who partook of the Holy Mysteries!

Trapeza was a lively gathering, and it was lovely to see such animated conversation and so many happy faces, with new visitors being welcomed and engaged by our parish regulars.

Having discussed the arrangements for the brother of one of our young Hereford parishioners, we can now look forward to our next baptism, and hope that this will be in Nazareth House, where the Sisters look forward to welcoming us back: praise God! I look forward to discussing practicalities with Sister Anna later in the week.

This Friday is the feast of the Kazan Icon, and we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in the Church of St Mary, North Church Street, Butetown, commencing the Hours at 10:30 and the Liturgy at 11:00. We will have a bring and share lunch after the Liturgy, so you are invited to bring food to share in the community hall.

We will continue our celebration of the Kazan Icon when we are all together on Sunday 6th November, when we will serve a special moleben at the end of Liturgy, praying especially for the parish as we prepare to move back to Nazareth House and resume parish life in Cathays. As usual, the Hours and Liturgy will commence at 11:00.

As explained by Deacon Mark, it is important that even those requiring Sunday confession give notification, as time is so limited. Once we are back in Cathays, this will be less of a problem, though time will always be something of a challenge, given the vast areas from which the faithful travel.

As for this week, may I have requests for confessions by Wednesday? Those who have confessed for this weekend may commune this Friday.

If needed, I shall hear some confessions in St Alban’s on Thursday, and I will be able to hear some brief confessions on Friday before Liturgy.

I shall depart for a few days in Somerset after next Sunday’s Liturgy, hoping to spend some time with some of our Wessex faithful in their own part of the world.

I ask you to continue to remember me in your prayers, as medications causes a few unwelcome side-effects and complications in an otherwise vastly improving situation!

In Christ – Fr Mark


The Election of Bishop Nicholas as First-Hierarch

Dear brothers and sisters,

It was with great joy that we greeted the news of the election of His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan, as First-Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and as Metropolitan of New-York and Eastern America.

At the very beginning of the life of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia – then known as the Russian Church in Exile – the presidency of His Eminence, Metropolitan Anthony of Kiev and Galych initiated a glorious succession of men of deep faith, asceticism and prayer as First-Hierarchs of the Church in the diaspora.

During the rule of the ever-memorable Metropolitans Anthony, Anastasy, Philaret, Vitaly, Lavr and Hilarion, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia has been a defender of sacred Tradition and of the freedom of the Church, and – as a bastion of holiness – has produced men and women of great sanctity, some of whom we look to as the saints of tomorrow, yet to be glorified by the Church, though already glorified by God.

Even as the godless Soviets sought to control and destroy the much-suffering Church in the Soviet Union, the First-Hierarchs of the exiled Church led and defended free Church life in exile, and prayed fervently for those who suffered under atheist Bolshevism. But, such was God’s sovereign-will, that there was no short-lived communist junta and the hoped-for return from exile – no going home, and no freedom for the Church behind the Iron Curtain for nigh on seventy years.

As exiles became reconciled to life in the new lands in which they had settled, and as the Holy Synod moved from Constantinople to Sremski Karlovtsi, and thence to Vienna, Munich and New York, our Church Abroad settled, grew and flourished in the Americas, Europe and Australasia, with non-Slav faithful finding Orthodox Christianity in its temples and communities.

As the children of the successive waves of exiles shared their Orthodox Christian Faith and welcomed local peoples, our Church grew and developed, no longer an ethnic and predominantly Slavic Church of exiles, but a multi-national, multi-lingual and multi-cultural Church embracing people of all nations, yet cherishing the enduring spiritual inheritance and legacy of Holy Rus’.

This is wonderfully illustrated by the make-up of our own parish, with its mixture of peoples, languages and nationalities, and this is very much the inheritance that Vladika Nicholas understands as the identity of our beloved ROCOR.

Just over a hundred years after the beginning of organised Church life in the diaspora, we shall soon hear his name, as Metropolitan and First-Hierarch, knowing that with his integrity and Faith, he will develop, defend and preserve the legacy that will be handed over to him when he is enthroned this coming Sunday.

We may be joyfully confident that his rule as First-Hierarch of our Church will be one in which the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia will spiritually prosper in holiness and truth, and in which the rights and freedoms of our Church will be defended and preserved.

We pray for God’s blessing upon Bishop Nicholas, that his rule may be long, spiritually-fruitful and blessed.

Many years to His Grace, and glory to God!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark