Weekly News – Afterfeast of the Exaltation

Dear brothers and sisters,

Though I have only just walked through the door, and tea is still brewing, I thought I should type this week’s news whilst I am still buoyed by today’s lovely Liturgy in Nazareth House, reasonably well attended despite the road closures.

Though the road closures dissuaded some parishioners from Penarth and Barry, and made logistics totally impossible for a few others, visitors more than took the place of those unable to be with us, and we had a goodly Wessex contingent from across the Severn.

We are grateful for our trio on the rather reduced kliros for increasing the chanting in English, with Hierodeacon Avraamy being coopted from the sanctuary to help today. Having experienced church-singers, who can adapt to the various challenges of the seasons is a great advantage. Our visitors expressed their appreciation for the kliros, complimenting us on the quality of chanting.

Our flowers were beautiful again, though I wish someone had photographed them in situ, adorning the icons, especially the festal icon of the Exaltation of the Cross. I was quite serious in suggesting that the flowers are not just a task for the parish sisterhood, but that with some assistance, the gentlemen of the parish could help. Those of us who are monks are used to sewing and embroidery, baking, cooking and flower-arranging, and doing every other task that might wrongly be seen as work for the ladies. Some of the parish brothers might surprise themselves!

Being the Sunday after the Exultation of the Cross, the Cross and the bed of flowers from the feast-day celebration were brought from Llanelli, so that the faithful could venerate the Life-Giving Cross at the end of Liturgy. Before that, we were able to greet our sisters, Ludmilla and Jessica Anne on their recent name-days and sing ‘Many Years’ to them. Congratulations, dear sisters!

Given the amount of tidying necessitated by refreshments, today’s informal trapeza was the last for the foreseeable future. Those travelling fair distances may wish to bring a packed lunch for the car, and we have the excellent café across the road – a very welcoming refuge where I and parishioners spend many hours talking, discussing spiritual matters, and doing ‘office’ work.

Having been the Vale and city for a couple of days for funeral arrangements and a baptism in the middle of the week, I will hear confessions on Friday afternoon/early-evening and we will have a further talk on prayer at 19:00 – focussing on petitionary/ intercessory prayer. Confession requests would be appreciated by noon on Thursday, thank you.

Our Saturday evening service will be at 16:00 (rather than 17:00), just to allow more travel time for my return to Llanelli. As you know, this can be rather unpredictable, to say the least. I would prefer that any Saturday confessions are before the service, to allow for a timely departure.

I am happy to be able to announce that having heard from Father Michael at Llancarfan, we will be celebrating a pilgrimage Divine Liturgy in the wonderful medieval church at on Saturday 28th October, with the Hours and Divine Liturgy at 10:00. The church, with its medieval wall-paintings, is on the side of St Cadoc’s community. Please contact Tracy if you are interested in attending: t_sbrain@yahoo.co.uk

October service times may be found below.

Your prayers are asked for: SICK – Paul (non-O), Ludmilla, Brigid, the priest Anthony; TRAVELLERS – Olga & Valentina, Galina & Natalya, Maria and Nikolai (travelling on Sunday); DEPARTED – Irina (newly-departed), Nina (ninth anniversary of repose).

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark


Sunday 1 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00 (confessions from 10:15).

Friday 6 October: Nazareth House, afternoon/evening confessions time tbc depending on requests. 19:00 Discussion Group on prayer.

Saturday 7 October: Great Vespers 16:00, confessions by arrangement.

Sunday 8 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00 (confessions from 10:15).

Monday 9 October (September 26 Old-Style): Repose of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian – Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00

Thursday 12 October: Nazareth House, afternoon/ evening confessions time tbc depending on requests. 

Saturday 14 October: The Protecting Veil of the Mother of God (Pokrov), Hours and Divine Liturgy, Cheltenham, 10:00.

Sunday 15 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00 (confessions from 10:15).

Friday 20 October: Nazareth House, afternoon/evening confessions time tbc depending on requests. 19:00 Discussion Group on prayer.

Saturday 21 October: Great Vespers 16:00, confessions by arrangement.

Sunday 22 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00 (confessions from 10:15).

Thursday 26 October: Nazareth House, afternoon/evening confessions time tbc depending on requests.

Saturday 28 October: Pilgrimage to Llancarfan – Hours and Divine Liturgy, 10:00.

Sunday 29 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00 (confessions from 10:15).

News as September comes to a close…

Dear brothers and sisters,

How wonderful it has been to start the season with some beautiful autumnal days under blue skies and in the September sun (despite the rather wet interludes), and such a day blessed our celebration of the Nativity of the Mother of God in the cathedral, on Thursday. 

The altar-feast is always a very welcome occasion on which clergy are united in the celebration of the Liturgy with our bishop, and for those of us who are far from Chiswick and other parishes within the diocese, it is good to come together and share such an important feast.

The Nativity of the Mother of God – and previous to that, the Dormition – is part of the cement that holds the parishes and clergy of a scattered diocese together, and an embodiment of common life in Christ, united around our hierarch.

Our return from London was followed by a busy few days, with confessions in Nazareth House on Friday, and our lovely local pilgrimage to St Illtud Fawr on Saturday – another day blessed by lovely autumn weather, which was made all the more pleasurable by being in the surroundings of the Vale of Glamorgan.

Though we conceived of the day as a rather low-key and ad hoc substitution for Llancarfan, it turned out to be a wonderful occasion, with Father Luke enthusiastically sharing insights on Roman-British Christianity, St Illtud and his great college, the ‘university’ of Wales in the Age of the Saints. Our time in the remarkable church was followed by a moleben to St Illtud in the church yard and a meal in the Old Swan Inn.

We are grateful to Father Luke for sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm for this important chapter in the Orthodox legacy of our God-preserved Welsh land, so blessed by places of sanctity and hallowed by the countless men and women who shaped the Church in its early, formative centuries.

Many thanks to Tracy and Menna for their input, and to Rhydian for taking Father Luke and I in his car. Diolch!

Sunday saw the celebration of the after-feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God in Nazareth House, and the colours of autumn entered the church in the lovely icon adornments, with fragrant herbs and autumn berries, as well as flowers bringing a seasonal offering to the Lord, the Mother of God and the saints.

Again, thanks to our choir for their prayerful chanting, and the return of English as well as Slavonic hymns. I hope that we will see a steady progress in this.

I would also like to express my gratitude to parishioners for making confessions work so well on Sunday mornings, despite the time pressure. Having people ready and waiting to confess at 10:15 has made a vast difference, and rendered it possible to have an hour of confessions before the end of the Hours. Thank you, everyone!

One issue that I must raise is the supervision of children during the Liturgy.

All childen MUST be supervised at all times, and that means that parents/responsible adults MUST be able to see their charges at all times. After several occasions on which children have tried to leave the church via the staircase, I cannot stress this enough.

Looking forward in this week, our plan had been to celebrate the Exultation of the Cross in Cardiff, but I received a message a few days ago to say that the church is not available on Wednesday, due to a funeral.

This has made it necessary to cancel services in Cardiff, and the Divine Liturgy for the feast will now be celebrated in Llanelli, in the Chapel of St David and St Nicholas, at 11 New Rd, Dafen, Llanelli SA14 8LS. The Hours and Liturgy will be celebrated at 10:00.

Thanks to Father Luke for making this possible and to the Partridges who had an unscheduled visit from me today, and supplied prosphora for the celebration. 

At the end of the week, I will hear confessions on Friday afternoon/evening, and would appreciate requests by noon on Thursday.

I had planned a prayer discussion session for Friday, but as the following day’s rail strike may already see cancellations of services already on the previous evening, I feel caution must see this postponed until the following week. 

The following day – Saturday – as there is a rail strike, I will be unable to travel to Cardiff and hear confessions or celebrate vespers.

I would like to remind that the Cardiff half-marathon will see some road closures on Sunday morning. Please check your journey and allow extra time, if necessary.

We will endeavour to start the Sunday service at 11:00, although the new later Sunday Mass and narrow time-space between services has pushed this to 11:05 thus far. Confessions will be heard from 10:15, at the back of the church. Please enter quietly, as Mass is still being celebrated at that time.

In your prayers, please pray for Thérèse (non-O) Brigid and Liudmilla among the sick and infirm, for Catalin, Nataliya and Galina as they travel abroad, for the newly departed servant of God, Alexey, and for Vladimir, whose anniversary of repose falls at this time.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Today’s Pilgrimage to Llanilltud Fawr

It had originally been our intention and hope that today would have seen a pilgrimage Liturgy in Llancarfan, but crossed-wires mean that was put on hold, and instead we made a rather less formal pilgrimage to Llanilltud Fawr (Llantwit Major), nearby, in the beautiful Vale of Glamorgan.

Father Luke – our very own historian-archeologist – spoke to our little band of pilgrims about St Illtud, the legacy of Romano-British Christianity, and the shear importance of Llanilltud Fawr as a great and celebrated seat of learning and education in Insular Britain, in its day.

Though Father Luke and some of our South Wales parishioners visited around six years ago, I hadn’t been for something like a dozen years, and I had forgotten the scale of the church that developed over the centuries on the original Celtic site.

Seeing the church from different angles and also beginning to understand the landscape and very close proximity to the coast and the sea-roads of the saints between different parts of insular Britain, Ireland and Brittany, helped to make sense of this site, and how it was so ideal as a place central to the propagation of the Faith and Christian learning in early Christian Britain.

We were interested in the material legacy of the many the layers of history, piety, Christian culture and life that succeeded the Orthodox centuries of Llanilltud Fawr, knowing that those commemorated by tombs and memorials have been part of the life of this remarkable place, whether during the Catholic or Protestant centuries.

Also, we were very happy to see such a loved, cherished and well tended place of Christian identity and heritage, with the Celtic memorial stones preserved in the restored Raglan Chapel at the west end, remnants of medieval wall painting, wonderful devotional-liturgical stonework features from the Middle-Ages – including a arched stone surround representing the Tree of Jesse, sprouting from the recumbent forefather of Christ – later wall paintings and furnishings from Tudor and Stuart times, and mercifully no obvious Victorian ‘improvement’ disfiguring the remarkable and large building.

After having time to explore the church and its surroundings, we chanted a moleben at the foot of the medieval cross in the churchyard, and then had a wonderful social time over lunch in one of the hostelries in the medieval heart of the village.

Many thanks to those who were able to be part of a rather ad hoc pilgrimage, and praise to god for the fellowship, friendship and warmth that always characterises these occasions.

Diolch yn fawr iawn pawb!

Troparion of St Illtyd tone 6: O wise Illtud, thou wast noble by birth and noble in mind * and didst train many saints in the way of holiness. * Pray to Christ our God to raise up saints in our days *  to His glory and for our salvation.

Weekly News: Monday 4th September

Dear brothers and sisters,

As we look forward to next weekend, the important news for everyone to note is that with the new chaplains taking over duties at Nazareth House, Sunday Mass will now be beginning at the later time of 10:00.

Unfortunately, this pushes our start-time later. However, we have no alternative.

This has a massive impact on our worship, which has already been starting at a very late hour for an Orthodox Liturgy. We have been able to set up the church for Orthodox worship and hear Sunday confessions from 10:10, and losing thirty minutes every Sunday will make it impossible to begin the Hours before 11:00.

Confession time will be limited, so it is especially important that those requiring confession on Sundays inform me and that all who can confess in the week do so. On whichever day I am confessing, there will be time for confessions in the evening as well as the day time.

Given the pressures which we now face, I will endeavour to be in Cardiff on Saturdays, as well, unless there is rail industrial action. Please feel free to discuss any specific limitations in your opportunity to confess, so that we can endeavour to make things work.

I will hear confessions on Thursday of this week from around 15:00 (according to need), and will be available for the afternoon and the evening. It will not be possible to be in Nazareth House this Saturday as we will be in Cheltenham, but as always, any Cardiff parishioners supporting the Cheltenham Liturgy can be confessed on Saturday.

Further to the notice of September dates, a few services may need to be relocated due to maintenance, and community choir practices recommencing at Nazareth House on Wednesday evenings.

So… just to be absolutely clear:

The Hours and Liturgy will now (hopefully) start at 11:00 in Nazareth House, and confessions will begin as soon after 10:30 as is possible.

Please be mindful of time constraints if you are confessing and understand that timings will be approximate and experimental until we experience Sunday with the new chaplains.

If you arrive before the end of Mass – probably around 10:25 – please remain at the back of the church until the residents leave the church.

Finally, thanks to all who have contributed to our services during the octave of the Dormition, which ends tomorrow.

We appreciate each contributors gift: musical, liturgical, floral and culinary – or in any other way in which our parishioners made this Dormition such a glorious and wonderful celebration!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

September Dates

Sadly, the rail strike yesterday and today, rendered planned activities impossible, so the list of dates and activities starts with tomorrow’s Liturgy.

Again, may I stress that confessions on days when there is no service or talk following them continue till whatever time the last confession finishes.

They are not day-time confessions only, but can and continue until the end, and we have been clear that confessions can be heard after evening services or talks, also.

I would like to be able to do the same on Saturday, with confessions – vespers – confessions, but as I have been relying on public transport over the summer, this has not been possible due to the three hour journey each way (if transport runs according to plan) and repeated cancellations of services beyond Swansea.

We always stress that Sunday morning is the only chance for West of England parishioners, we have also made clear that as confessions begin at 10:10 we can arrange things to accommodate those who may not have been able to come during the week. This continues to work as people have not left confession till last minute, have arrived in good time, and have taken advantage of the time slot.

If the parish is willing to pay for accommodation each Saturday when public transport is my only option, the present very imperfect situation can easily be resolved.

Sunday 3rd September, After-feast of the Dormition: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 10:45 (confessions from 10:10).

Thursday 7th September: Nazareth House, afternoon confessions time tbc depending on requests

Saturday 9th September, Holy Great Martyr Phanourios: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Cheltenham, 10:00.

Sunday 10th September, Uncovering of the relics of Venerable Job of Pochaev (1651): Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 10:45 (confessions from 10:10).

Monday 11th September, Beheading of St John the Forerunner: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00.

Wednesday 13th September, Eve of Church New Year: Vespers and Water Blessing, Nazareth House 18:00.

Thursday 14th September (1st September Old Style), Church New Year: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00. Confessions heard in the afternoon, depending on requests.

Friday 15th September: Nazareth House, afternoon confessions time tbc depending on requests, 19:00 Discussion Group on prayer.

Sunday 17th September, Translation of the relics of Saints Peter and Febronia, Wonderworkers of Murom: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 10:45 (confessions from 10:10).

Thursday 21st September, Nativity of the Mother of God: Altar-feast of our cathedral – clergy to attend and concelebrate. We hope that some of our parishioners will also join us in this celebration.

Friday 22nd September: Nazareth House, afternoon confessions time tbc depending on requests.

Saturday 23rd September: Pilgrimage to Llancarfan, details tbc.

Sunday 24th September, After Feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 10:45 (confessions from 10:10).

Tuesday 26th September, Eve of the Exultation: Great Vespers, Nazareth House, 18:00.

Wednesday 27th September, The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 11:00.

Friday 29th September: Nazareth House, afternoon confessions time tbc depending on requests, 19:00 Discussion Group on prayer.


Sunday 1 October: Hours and Divine Liturgy, Nazareth House, Cardiff, 10:45 (confessions from 10:10).

This Week’s News: Monday 21 August

Dear brothers and sisters,

Happy feast. S prazdnikom!

After the joy of celebrating the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration in Cheltenham, the second day of the feast saw our celebration in Cardiff.

As the summer has advanced, our numbers have petered out, but despite more of our parishioners having departed on their travels, thirty or so – plus the children – participated in a joyous and festive Liturgy, with the blessing of fruit and honey at the end of the service… and what a splendid gathering of the fruits of creation! Thank you to our sisters for the lovely little individual baskets of grapes, which were inspired!

Our small choir chanted beautifully, and our solitary but extremely competent oltarnik ably coped with one hieromonk, a hierodeacon and a deacon, and we now have little Yuriy lined up to help in the altar, under papa’s watchful eye! We very much look forward to the return of our other oltarniky.

It has been wonderful to welcome our pilgrims back after their extremely busy and intense trip to the Holy Land, and there are many stories and experiences yet to be shared.

Next Sunday will be the fore-feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, and the following day – bank holiday Monday – we will celebrate the Liturgy for the Dormition in the convent church at 11:00, through the good offices and generosity of the Sisters.

Sunday’s Liturgy variables may be found here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/10BR2bjgGeA_ScKbWqAKpvoy9XU8ibL-d/view

…and Monday’s variables here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G4IgN-3sja9LiTTe6UzYrnyRfknBn7iP/view

I will also celebrate Great Vespers at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon with the variables here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JA8S2Xds9mIRxTJl9Df8jtzbHhy-d868/view

As announced in last week’s news email, I will be joining Mother Frances and  pilgrims from Germany on Wednesday and will give an Orthodox reflection on reconciliation, so – having stayed in Cardiff overnight – I will hear confessions on Thursday, with an obvious preference to hearing them earlier in the day, if possible. Please send any confession requests by noon on Wednesday.

The March for Life, on Saturday 2nd September, is only a few weeks away, so Karen needs to know of any unbooked attendees asap as the seats on the bus from St Alban on the Moors are limited. The cost is £25, which is very reasonable, given the distance. Pilgrims will meet at the Emmanuel Centre, in Westminster, where Father Mark Tattum-Smith will lead an Orthodox service before the march. Details from Karen.

Our next Cheltenham Mission Liturgy, on the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr Phanourios, will be celebrated in Prestbury United Reformed Church on Saturday 9th September.

May I remind you that there will be a parish meeting on Sunday 17th September, for the election of a new starosta, and a new senior sister – should the former election make this necessary. Your nominations of parishioners to occupy these offices are requested by Sunday 2nd September.

Our intended September pilgrimage, on Saturday 23rd September, is to Llancarfan and Barry, to honour Saints Cadoc and Barrwg, though I am awaiting confirmation from Llancarfan.

The fast continues, with its Great Lenten strictness, though we will soon be celebrating the feast of the Dormition. As I reminded parishioners in Liturgy, we should ensure that we celebrate the whole of the festal periods of our Great Feasts, praying the hymns of the feast in our icon-corners, at home, and try to ensure that we have icons of the feasts to be the centre of home prayers and the focus of our devotions.

The feast of the Transfiguration is ‘given up’ on Saturday, with the one day fore-feast of the Dormition leading us into the feast itself, which will last until Tuesday 5th September (new-style), with the honouring of the Icon of the Mother of God “Pribavlenie Uma – the Giver of Reason” being celebrated on Sunday 3rd September. Originally having coincided with the Dormition, this is now kept as a moveable feast and falls on the Sunday after the Dormition.

Let us continue to honour the Mother of God in these pre-festive days.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Weekly News – Sunday 13th August

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today saw the celebration of the forefeast of the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross and the All-Merciful Saviour, and our Liturgy for the feast will be celebrated in Nazareth House at 11:00 tomorrow morning.

Though a good number of parishioners are still away, it was good to welcome Deacon Mark, matushka Alla and Yuriy back from holidays in Turkey, where they enjoyed valuable time with mama and papa who travelled from Ukraine to meet them.

Having two deacons for Liturgy was a blessing, even if our kliros and servers are on skeleton staff! Thank you to all who contributed to our Liturgy, including baking and flowers!

We now look forward to being reunited with our pilgrims from the Holy Land and hearing the details of their blessed travels in the footsteps of the Lord, the Mother of God, the apostles and the saints. Welcome home, dear brothers and sisters!

After tomorrow’s first August feast of the Saviour with its honey blessing, we will celebrate Transfiguration in Cheltenham on Saturday, with the second day of the feast (and the blessing of fruit) in Cardiff on Sunday. As there will be only a few parishioners able to attend tomorrow’s Liturgy, we will also bless honey at our weekend Liturgies.

Next Wednesday, through the good offices of Mother Frances, I look forward to speaking to a group of pilgrims from Germany on the subject of reconciliation, and bidding farewell to Mother, who will be taking up the wonderful position of Warden of Lindisfarne in September. We wish her well, and are so grateful for the incredible kindness and support shown to our community when we were homeless and needful. She was endless in her generosity and we will remember her friendship with fondness and warmth.

This week’s confessions will be heard in Nazareth House on Thursday, so requests by noon on Wednesday, please. Ordinarily, study group would have met on Friday, but given Cheltenham Liturgy on Saturday, I fear this will be too much for me. Apologies!

Some of you are very much aware that, recently, Norman’s health has impacted upon his ability to not only serve, but also to undertake his duties as starosta. He has made no secret of his wish to take more of a ‘back seat’ role in parish  life, to be able to enjoy his faith without the pressures of office, and to pass on the baton of wardenship sooner than initially expected.

With this in mind, I would like to call a General Parish Meeting for Sunday 17th September, the first Sunday of the new ecclesiastical year, so that we may elect a new starosta, for which position I ask for nominations. If the scenario requires, nominations for the position of senior-sister will also be requested.

Qualifications for office are the same as for voting: to have been a parishioner for a minimum of six months, to be a baptised parishioner of good standing (regular attendance, confession and communion, and not under a penance or ban from communion), to not formally be a member of another parish, and to be of or above the age of eighteen years.

We mentioned the 2nd September ‘March for Life’ in today’s announcements, having announced that Dr Clare Jackson of St Alban’s Parish – mum of Daniel (remembered by many as Brother Ambrose) – is organising a coach from Cardiff. Karen will be speaking to Dr Jackson and Daniel also messaged me during the day. Anyone interested should speak to Karen, who will hopefully find places for Orthodox parishioners on the St Alban’s bus. Our parish had an excellent number of attendees last year, and it would be good to see this expand.

Finally, remember that the Dormition Fast begins tomorrow, and be aware that it’s quite a strict fortnight. If you do not have a calendar, please make use of those online at Orthochristian and https://www.holytrinityorthodox.com/htc/orthodox-calendar/

We look forward to feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God on 15/28 August, with a Liturgy on that Bank Holiday morning.

May God bless you and give you all good strength for the Fast.

Asking your forgiveness for Christ’s sake.

Hieromonk Mark

Preparing For Our Summer Feasts

From our senior-sister, Menna…

At the Transfiguration Liturgy on Sunday August 20th, there will be little baskets of grapes available to be blessed for taking home by the congregation (members of the congregation are also invited/encouraged to bring their own fruit for blessing also during the Liturgy).

The little baskets are to be decorated with ribbon in preparation for this, so the plan is that there will be a basket-decorating activity after Liturgy on Sunday August 13th (ie. at the same time as the Trapeza social/refreshments time) for the children (and any adults who wish to get involved too!). All the materials are provided so no-one needs to bring anything, so if you have children who you think will enjoy this, then bring them along on August 13th.

Two weeks later on Sunday August 27th, we will have another little craft activity after Liturgy to make Dormition items ready for the following week’s Liturgy, so another date to note for any craft-loving children (and adults) in the parish (again, all materials will be provided).

Parish News – Monday 31 July

Dear brothers and sisters,

As we come to last day of July, the summer holidays, as well as the pilgrimage season have most definitely arrived, and we keep parishioners in our prayers: Deacon Mark, Alla and Yuriy as they head to Turkey, where they will meet mama and papa, who are travelling from Crimea; Archpriest Luke to Cornwall; Branka, Stefan and Tara, as they travel to Croatia and Serbia; and Aldhelm, Alexander, Nikolai, Maria and Anne, as they join the diocesan pilgrimage in the Holy Land.

We hold them all in our prayers, and hope that our pilgrims will hold us in their prayers in the holy places.

A group of us have, of course, just returned from a rather more local pilgrimage, in Walsingham, where we prayed for the members of our community, and for our parish as it develops in so many new and wonderful ways.

It was a joy to be able to return to Cardiff and celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the Holy Equal to the Apostles, St Vladimir, with the blessing of ancient Russian chants and some Byzantine melodies chanted by Aldhelm and Alexander. Our thanks go to them, as well as to Despina for chanting at Saturday vespers.

Being able to set up church maximally – due to the lack of Sunday morning mass – was a great blessing, allowing the sanctuary and church to be arranged far more fully than is usually possible.

Our sisters are ensuring that the icons are adorned with flowers every week, and this brings so much colour to the service, as well as honouring the Lord, the Mother of God and the saints.

With the holiday departure of Father Deacon Mark, our Hierodeacon, Father Avraamy, very capably served much of the Liturgy in English – something that I most certainly didn’t expect. We are very grateful to him for his devoted labours and his insistence on recognising the importance of English in our parish as the number of British parishioners grows.

This will be a quiet week, as the departure of some of our singers leaves no-one to sing at weekday services.

Though I will be making visits and spending pastoral time with some of our parishioners, there will be no parish activities in Nazareth House until Friday, when I will her confessions in the late afternoon, before our talk on prayer in church at 19:00. As usual, please email confession requests, and by 12:00 on Thursday.

Saturday – 5th August – will see our local(ish) pilgrimage to St Anthony’s Well in the Forest of Dean, before lunch at a parishioner’s home, and our trip to St Mary’s Church, in Kempley. We will gather at St Anthony’s Well near Mitcheldean (GL14 3LQ) at 11:00, and anyone who has not yet expressed interest and would like to take part is invited to contact our parish pilgrimage coordinator Tracy: t_sbrain@icloud.com

Next Sunday will be the feast of the Holy Passion-Bearers, Boris and Gleb, the first canonised saints of our Church, and the variables may be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1EuRvf_Uhe3FsL9KXeMKlq628CZ76I0W9/view

I was very happy to hear the announcements regarding planning for our summer feasts from our senior-sister, Menna, and will post them on Facebook separately.

My God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Parish News: 10/23 July

Dear brothers and Cardiff,

Today’s celebration in Cardiff saw us celebrate the Appearance of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and Venerable Anthony of the Kiev Caves, and even though the beginning of school holidays impacted upon us, we still had a little over thirty adults gathered in Nazareth House to honour the Mother of God and the Father of Rus’ Monasticism and founder of what became today’s much-suffering and persecuted Kiev-Caves Brotherhood and Lavra.

We commend the brothers, with their abbot, Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshhorod and Chornobyl to the care of the Mother of God and the intercession of their spiritual-father and ancestor, St Anthony Pechersky.

We were very happy to greet our twins, Stefan and Tara on their 13th birthday and to be able to sing ‘Many Years’ and share birthday cake with them.

As already posted, I am very happy to have been able to spend time with the faithful in Wiltshire, having visited Chippenham and Lacock at the beginning of the week, and I am very happy that the autumn will see us hold a local Liturgy in the pilgrimage chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea, one of the ancient wayside chapels en route for Glastonbury, between Corsham and Box in Wiltshire. It will be lovely to celebrate a Liturgy in the doorstep of our Wiltshire and Somerset parishioners – Chapel Plaister being within the designation of our mission of St Vladimir, in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds. Once a date has been agreed we will post details of our ‘pilgrimage Liturgy’.

The more immediate pilgrimage will commence in the morning as some of us make our way to Walsingham – England’s Nazareth – with some of the young brothers travelling on the coach with fellow pilgrims from South Wales Anglican Parishes. We are very grateful to Fr Dean Atkins for extending the invitation to us once again, and the seasoned Walsinghamites are very much looking to introducing the first-timers to a place that has been part of our spiritual consciousness for the greater part of our lives!

Sadly, this will preclude the celebration for the feast of St Olga in the morning, but we will honour both Saints Vladimir and Olga at the end of next Sunday’s Liturgy.

Having returned from Norfolk on Thursday, Friday will see the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the feast of St Vladimir in Nazareth House Chapel at 11:00, after which we will repair to the local cafe.

I hope to hear the bulk of confessions before and after Great Vespers, which will be celebrated in Nazareth House at 17:00 on Saturday. Please email regarding Saturday confessions before 18:00 Thursday.

As announced, on 5th August, our August pilgrimage will see us visit St Anthony’s Well in the Forest of Dean before visiting St Mary’s Church at Kempley, with its extensive Romanesque frescoes and Norman roof. We will gather at St Anthony’s Well near Micheldean at 11:00 before a bring and share lunch at the home of a local parishioner, and then the onward journey to Kempley. Interested parties should email Tracy, our pilgrimage coordinator: t_sbrain@icloud.com

After a well attended discussion group on Friday, our next meeting – continuing to discuss prayer – will be on Friday 4th August, at 19:00 in Nazareth House.

As I wrote a few days ago, please only contact me with requests for prayers/intercessions and confessions over he nexts few days, and in case of emergencies, contact Fr Luke, whose contact details are to be found on our parish web-page: https://russianorthodoxchurchcardiff.com

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark