Weekly News: 4/17 Ju

Most noble and sublime was your life and death, O Sovereigns; wise Nicholas and blest Alexandra, we praise you, acclaiming your piety, meekness, faith, and humility, whereby you attained to crowns of glory in Christ our God, with your five renowned and godly children of blessed fame. O passion-bearers decked in purple, intercede for us.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings on the feast of the Holy Royal Martyrs. Please ensure that you mark this feast with prayers and hymns, especially for our Russian Church Abroad, for whom the Royal Martyrs are a pillar of its spiritual identity, and for our own local community and its brothers and sisters.

Those who often know nothing of their lives and who are often indoctrinated with a perverted Soviet version of Russian history, sadly, continue to belittle and malign the Imperial family, who not only possessed deep and immovable Faith, but lived it in deeply and martyrically in  their everyday lives up to their bloody and satanic martyrdom in the hours between 16th and 17th July 1918, according to new calendar reckoning. For us, they remain an inspiration and source of spiritual strength. May they pray for us and protect us by their prayers!

Considering the time of year, we were quite astounded at the number of faithful at yesterday’s Liturgy on the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Rus’, and I was so happy that we were able to celebrate the feast of this great wonder-worker together.

It was a joy to welcome back those who had been away on holiday, to share our service with new visitors, as well as seeing more recent faithful who are only able to be in Cardiff occasionally.

The previous four days saw many confessions, and this was reflected in the number of those communing on this festal day. We congratulate all of them on their confession and communion, and encourage all to struggle to preserve the Grace of Christ’s gift and foretaste of the resurrection!

Many thanks to our choir for their joyful singing and also to our oltarniky, among whom Stefan marked his six months serving in church. The posies made by Matushka Alla for the principal icons were much appreciated, as were Branka’s lovely small prosphory for the congregation, and the ‘Partridge prosphory’ for our proskomedia.

Thanks to our sisters for providing refreshments with which the faithful could break what is always a pretty long fast, given the late hour of communion.

A number of us were extremely interested to see the mementos that Margarita was able to bring from the Convent of the Annunciation, which having refused ROCOR’s union with the Moscow Patriarchate and its decline within an Old Calendar Greek jurisdiction is sadly being sold. Having been founded with the blessing of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, this sacred place was once a pillar of our Church Abroad. Some parishioners have been greatly saddened by this, given their fond memories of the convent, of Abbess Elizabeth – of blessed memory – and of the important place of the convent in their own lives. To the Abbess Elizabeth and all of the sisters, Memory Eternal!

As announced in church, I was unable to confirm the venue for Friday’s prayer talk, since our starosta was not in church yesterday, due to health issues. I will confirm whether our prayer talk is in Nazareth House or St Mary Butetown over the next day or two, but either way, we will meet this coming Friday at 19:00.

Making the most of my presence in the city on Friday, I will hear confessions in Nazareth House in the afternoon, with confessions for those attending the talk from 18:00. I would appreciate emails requesting confessions to reach me by 18:00 on Wednesday. Please indicate if you will stay for the talk, so that I can distribute confessions between the afternoon and early evening.

As next weekend will see me preparing to serve in Walsingham, I will not be in Cardiff for vespers on Saturday.

I and a number of parishioners will depart on our Norfolk Pilgrimage on Monday 24th July, making it impossible to celebrate the Liturgy for the feast of St Olga that day, but we return in time for the feast of St Vladimir on Friday, when the Divine Liturgy will be served in Nazareth House at 11:00. Sunday will see us honour the Holy Equals to the Apostles in the Convent Church, when we will greet our Olgas, serving moleben and chanting Many Years!

Looking forward to next month, may I remind parishioners that, on Saturday 5th August, we will make a pilgrimage to St Anthony’s Well in the Forest, before visiting St Mary’s Church at Kempley, with its remarkable series of Romanesque frescoes. We will meet at the well at 11:00, serving a moleben to St Anthony, and have received a kind invitation to Zoe’s home for lunch, before we go to Kempley.

A number of our usual pilgrims will be away, but anyone interested and perhaps seeking a lift should email Tracy: t_sbrain@icloud.com

As requested at Liturgy, may I ask all who wish to remain on our very out of date mailing list to send a short email making this clear, as the email address list is hopelessly out of date. Next week’s news will only be sent to addresses on the updated list.

Again, we ask your prayers for the sick and suffering servants of God, the Priest Anthony, the Reader David, Maxim, Phoevos, Andrey, Brigid (Mo) and Ludmilla; for Svetlana, Anna and Sofia, travelling in Russia; for Nataliya, who is visiting family in the USA; for Maria, who will be travelling on Wednesday; for the newly departed servants of God the Archpriest Alexander and the Nun Mina, and for Presbytera Cacilia, who’s Years Mind falls at this time: Memory Eternal!

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Weekly News: 10 July

Dear brothers and sisters,

The last four or five days have been busy, though not all has gone according to plan.

Thursday was the eve of the Nativity of St John the Forerunner, with the celebration of Vespers between confessions, for which I am grateful to George for acting as reader, and Friday morning saw a dozen of us assemble and celebrate a simple but prayerful Divine Liturgy, for which we are indebted to Margarita and Alexander for chanting on the kliros.

We were glad to be able to share Norman John’s name-day with him, and wished him “Many Years”.

I was greatly looking forward to celebrating the Divine Liturgy for Saints Peter and Fevronia in Cheltenham the following day, but, sadly a tyre blow-out on the motorway ended our journey before we had even reached Port Talbot, mercifully with no dire consequences.

Happily, Sunday saw a uneventful journey to Cardiff for the feast of the Tikhvinskaya Icon of the Mother of God, and – despite the impact of holidays and the end of term – saw forty of us gather for Liturgy. The boisterousness of our children was a reminder that mums and dads need to keep an eye on our young ones, and try and diffuse a little of the energy which was rather too audible, at times. Can we please make sure that EVERYONE, regardless of age is still during the readings, especially the Gospel, and that the children are with parents from the beginning of the anaphora until after Holy Communion? They need to grow into the Liturgy, even if it initially remains more of a mystery to them than for the adults, and they need to become accustomed to being quiet and prayerful.

With regard to discussions among parishioners over the last week, or so, I would like to address a pertinent question:


Given the distances that some of our folks are travelling and problems with traffic and transport, a late arrival does not automatically cause parishioners to point a finger of blame at those who arrive late after the beginning of Liturgy, and we will always be understanding.

However, for those living in Cardiff, even if using public transport, things should be easier and more straight forward, though this may well mean that, in order to play, safe we start out earlier than might be necessary if all goes according to plan. As you know, apart from Sundays I usually have the joys and sorrows of public transport each and every day on which I am travelling into Cardiff – and I have to make compensatory allowances for the vicissitudes of our transport system.

So… what happens when – for whatever reason – we arrive after the beginning of Liturgy?

•     It is important to be quiet and unobtrusive and to not distract anyone, endeavouring to make no noise and minimise any movement.

•     Though it may sound harsh and prescriptive, the time for the initial veneration of icons and lighting candles is BEFORE Liturgy and not during the service – at least with regard to the icons and candle-stands at the front of the church. 

This may not be the norm in other places or in large temples with a solea at the front and a sanctuary raising the liturgical eye-line above the nave and congregation. However, our setting is very different because of the physical “geography” of the church, pretty much all on one level.

With no raised pavement before the iconostasis and everything outside the sanctuary on the same level, people walking around the front of the church can be distracting and obtrusive once the Liturgy is under way.

•     If you arrive late, please do not approach the front of the church during the deacons’ litanies/eketenias, but venerate the icons and light any candles quickly and quietly during the antiphons, and please DO NOT cross the church from one side to the other at the front of the church before the Holy Doors once the Liturgy has begun.

•     As during the deacons’ ektenias, when the Little Entrance is made, there should be nobody venerating the icons or lighting candles – as at other times when the priests or deacons come out from the sanctuary.

•     If you arrive during readings DO NOT MOVE from the entrance, and stop and wait wherever you happen to be. Before the readings we hear the exclamation “Let us attend” i.e. let us be attentive, so we need to stand, listen and allow others to be attentive as well as being so ourselves.

•     After the Gospel, no one should venerate icons or light candles at the front of the church. The post-Gospel ektenias lead to the Cherubic Hymn, followed by the creed and the anaphora – so the deacons are constantly serving before the iconostasis. There should be no movement or distraction anywhere in church during the anaphora. 

•     There has been a convention that nobody who arrives after the Gospel is permitted to receive Holy Communion, but as Bishop Irenei has made clear, this is already a concession that undermines the integrity of the Liturgy and our participation in it. 

In our ROCOR liturgical handbook Vladika makes it very clear that those who commune are to be at the Liturgy from the very beginning: the blessing, “Blessed is the Kingdom…”, and that this needs to be enforced and observed within our communities (with some possible economia for those of our parishioners travelling great distances).

•     If you arrive late for Liturgy – for whatever reason – do not simply join the communion queue without a blessing. Those who commune do so with the blessing of their spiritual fathers and the agreement of the priest, if he is not their dukhovnik.

•     Please, do not to ask for confession before Holy Communion, and that includes confessions for your children. I often spend five or six hours hearing confessions on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as for close to an hour before Liturgy. Please make the most of the opportunities given.

•     Confessions for those who wish to commune will not be heard after Liturgy, and no one will receive Holy Communion then, apart from in the most exceptional circumstances. Once the chalice is returned to the altar, Holy Communion is over and one of the deacons consumes the Holy Gifts and cleanses the Holy Vessels.

Given that Liturgy does not begin until 11:00 travelling time is plentiful, and there is usually little reason for lateness if we plan accordingly and allow for the unexpected. Sometimes, things go wrong, and in those circumstances we certainly want to know, so that allowances might be made if extreme circumstances warrant economia – but this is an exception and not the norm.

In addition to these observations, may I remind ALL who commune that they should not venerate icons once the Holy Gifts have been brought out, that they should already be lined up for Communion and that they should not ordinarily leave before the Thanksgiving Prayers, which are usually shared between English and Slavonic readers and offered on behalf of all who have communed. There should not be conversations during the prayers.

Also, we do not kiss anything until we have had zapivka after communion, and even then, though we kiss the cross at the end of Liturgy we do not kiss the priest’s hand (or more correctly, the cross on the right cuff of his vestments).

Thank you in advance for your understanding, and I hope that we can all work together to preserve the sanctity, reverence and solemnity of the Liturgy and teach our customs to those who are new and are perhaps not used to our strictness around Communion and may be accustomed to rather more individualism and movement in church.

Our expectations of behaviour during Liturgy set our liturgical culture apart from places where conversation, constant movement, dropping in at any time and equally leaving according to whim are tolerated or entirely normal – and many of us have been shocked by the free-for-all in some other parishes, where the Liturgy is far from prayerful and bad behaviour goes unchallenged.

The earthly Liturgy is a concelebration with the heavenly Liturgy, and we join with the saints and angels as Christ our Great High Priest offers Himself in each and every Liturgy, on behalf of all and for all: united to the Upper Room and Last Supper, and to the redemptive Mystery of His Cross and Resurrection.

How can we possibly do or allow anything which undermines this awesome and wonderful Mystery and foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven?

Looking forward to the week ahead, the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Wednesday, the Feast of the Hoy Apostles Peter and Paul, commencing in Nazareth House at 11:00. Like last Friday’s Liturgy, it will be simple, given the lack of singers and servers, but we greatly look forward to celebrating the feast. Those who confessed before last Sunday’s Liturgy are blessed to receive the Holy Gifts.

I will hear confessions on Thursday afternoon in Nazareth House, and would appreciate requests by noon on Wednesday, please. Anyone attending the Liturgy for the Holy Apostles is welcome to confess after lunch.

In your prayers, we ask for remembrance of the sick and suffering servants of God, the Priest Anthony, the Subdeacon Peter, the Reader David, Maxim, Phoevos, Andrey, Brigid (Mo) and Ludmilla.

Also, of you charity, please pray for the newly departed servants of God the Archpriest Alexander and the Nun Mina.

Thank you all who continue to labour for our parish, especially to our prosphora bakers, who provide the central offering for our Liturgy every week. Thank you also to Patrick (Dan) for so generously sharing surplus books and objects of piety with members of the community. We are so pleased to hear that he has finally found a new home in West Wales and pray for a successful completion.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Weekend and the Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters,

It was certainly as busy weekend, with our clergy serving in both Cardiff and Cheltenham, and in such warm surroundings.

As in past years, our Sunday Liturgy was dented by Fathers’ Day, but we carried on regardless, celebrating the memory of all saints who shone forth in the lands of Rus’, happy to see new faces and welcome first-timers to our Liturgy. We look forward to getting to know one another, and sharing Church life.

Many thanks to our trio on the kliros, to our servers and the parish sisters who offered refreshments to our worshippers. 

We were greatly blessed to commune the newly baptised Stylian, whose parents and Godfather brought him from Hereford to partake of the Most Pure Mysteries. Many Years to them all! We also congratulate all who confessed and communed!

We continue to keep the Apostles’ Fast, and after the blessing of enjoying fish at the weekend, this week returns to the same pattern as last week, and we should fast as strictly as possible, with the fasting rules as our ideal:

Monday: By monastic charter, strict fast (bread, vegetables, fruits)

Tuesday: Food with oil, wine permitted.

Wednesday: By monastic charter, strict fast (bread, vegetables, fruits)

Thursday: Food with oil, wine permitted.

Friday: By monastic charter, strict fast (bread, vegetables, fruits)

Saturday: Fish wine and oil permitted

Sunday: Fish wine and oil permitted

Next Sunday will see us celebrate the memory of the saints who have shone forth in the Isles of Britain, including those whom we venerate locally and have honoured in pilgrimages over the years – St David, St Teilo, St Cadog, St Melangell, St Non, St Tewdrig, and so many others. As some time Archbishop of Western Europe, the memory of the western saints was incredibly important to our great hierarch St John the Wonderworker, and – as a diocese – our local saints are an integral part of our spiritual identity, with our parishes actively promoting their veneration and visiting their holy places, as we do locally, month by month.

As you are all uncomfortably aware, the temperature in Nazareth House continues to be a challenge, with staff telling us how much they are also struggling, with the temperature regulator of the ancient and vast system seemingly not working – meaning on or off is the only choice, apart from a £40k investment. Even with the radiators turned off, the vast Victorian pipes give off an incredible amount of heat, as we know from experience, and as clergy in Russian-style vestments, we are finding the temperature very difficult, hence celebrating at the high-altar, to at least have a cross current from the sacristy window. Air conditioners will be ordered over the next week.

Once more, may I remind you that it is our tradition to offer small prosphory as part of our eucharistic praxis, with the priest removing commemorative particles in memory of the living and departed. The covid-period, with some temporary changes to the way we celebrated saw this forgotten, so please remember that this is our ancient and pious custom, and should be an automatic part of parish life. When prosphory are on the candle-desk, please take the opportunity to present them.

Finally, given the number of enquirers and new parishioners, the following article may be of interest, especially as so many are asking about the rather divergent attitudes of different jurisdictions to the Sacred Tradition of the Church – with some of them trampling it with energy and terrifying thoroughness. I have posted the link to our parish Facebook page, so it may be read there

A Conversation About Modernism, from the Orthodox Christian Information Center (sic!), and written by the much respected Archpriest Alexander Lebedeff, of our Western American Archdiocese.


As already emailed, please get in touch with me by Wednesday noonday, regarding confessions this week.

May God bless you all, and thank you to all who continue to show such immense kindness in little ways, bringing and sharing refreshments for train journeys, meals for clergy, gifts of tea and coffee, flowers and so many other tokens of Christian love.

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Celebrating the Kursk-Root Icon in Cheltenham

A day after the Church celebrated the summer feast of the Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God, we belatedly kept the feast in Cheltenham, celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Prestbury, mindful of the wonderful visits the Wonder-Working icon has made to our little community over the years.

Though we only had our customary small congregation, most of those present were with us in the same chapel the last time the icon visited us in March 2021. We also remember the very special visit of the icon with our late Metropolitan Hilarion, of blessed memory.

Rather than preach a homily, at the end of Liturgy, a little time was spent talking to the children about the icon, its pictorial scheme and how miracles have been granted through its physical presence at the heart of our Church and in our scattered communities.

Given that we only have one Liturgy a month, we are generally starting late, as nearly all worshippers wish to confess and commune, so we will discuss amending the service time – though I worry that this will simply result in people coming for confession later. I will discuss this with parishioners when making home visits over the next few weeks.

We would like to thank our devoted parishioners who had been busy before the Liturgy, as always: prosphora-baking, cooking and cutting flowers, and then fulfilling the various obediences for our monthly mission Liturgy, with a wonderful Lenten lunch, with mama Galyna’s pickles and mama Lyuba’s baking!

Pentecost-Trinity Week

Dear brothers and sisters: greetings for the feast – s prazdnikom! 

Though half-term holidays slightly dented attendance for the feast of Pentecost-Trinity, we nevertheless had in excess of forty souls – including the children – for our celebration, with vespers on Saturday evening, the Hours and Liturgy on Sunday, and the culmination of the feast in vespers with the kneeling-prayers. This made for long, but blessed hours of prayer in church, and it was wonderful that so many confessed and communed. We congratulate them all on their reception of the Most Pure Mysteries. 

Though I thanked those who laboured for the feast in my pastoral greetings, I will, nevertheless, repeat our gratitude for all who contributed to our first Troitsa in Nazareth House since 2020. 

As parishioners are now uncomfortably aware, the heat in the chapel is both uncomfortable and problematic. It has been made clear that the heating and radiators will not be turned off during the summer, and the incursion of pigeons makes it impossible to open the side-windows, which lack bird-grills. We are looking at ways to mitigate the heat, and have to be open in saying that if the heat becomes impossible – especially for clergy in layers of vestments – we will regrettably have to rethink our liturgical arrangements. 

This coming Saturday will see our parish pilgrimage to Pennant Melangell, the day after St Melangell’s feast-day, and we greatly look forward to celebrating the Divine Liturgy at her shrine. We will celebrate the Liturgy at 11:00, and having celebrated the proskomedia around 10:00, I will hear confessions before the service. Those who confessed on Sunday will be blessed to commune at the pilgrimage Liturgy. 

Confessions will also be heard in Cardiff earlier in the week, as I shall be in Nazareth House on Thursday, as usual. Please email me by noon on Wednesday to arrange a slot.  

Given journey-time back from Pennant Melangell, there will be no evening service or confessions in Cardiff on Saturday. 

As Deacon Mark reminded parishioners at Liturgy, confessions may be heard in Cardiff from just after 10:00 on Sundays, and we need to try and avoid a “pile up” of parishioners in the twenty to twenty-five minutes before Liturgy – so please plan journeys to try and arrive before 10:30 to avoid congestion. To be clear, I will not hear confessions just before Communion, as this inevitably results in the sudden appearance of a queue of individuals. Our parish has far more time for confessions than most parishes – on Thursday, Saturday AND Sunday, with some arranged confessions on Friday mornings some weeks. By the time we come to Holy Communion, there really should be no need for outstanding confessions. Also, confession and communion after Liturgy is an economia, and should not be taken for granted or thought of as normal. 

Many of you know, our undergraduate students are now at the end of their present academic year, and for Aldhelm and George the end of their undergraduate degrees. Our masters students have dissertations to complete, so the summer will not be a time of leisure for them. Our prayers are with them all as they seek work or look forward to further studies in the autumn. Prayers are also asked for our oltarnik Alexander “the Younger” as he prepares for his remaining exams. 

We congratulate Kyle on his job success and forthcoming employment and life in Cheltenham, and we continue to follow Toby’s journeyman travels in central Europe – greatly missing him in the parish. 

At this time, we also keep Nataliya and Mike in our prayers on their Kazakh and Uzbek travels, and we also pray for God’s blessing upon Germaine’s search for employment in Southern Spain, after having moved south from Pamplona. 

Remember that this week is a fast free week, but that Monday of the following week will see the beginning of the Apostles’ Fast, which will last from 12th June till after Liturgy on 12th July (28th June on the Patristic Calendar) – the Feast of the Chief Apostles, Peter and Paul. Please check your calendars for fasting rules during month-long fast. 

We look forward to celebrating the Sunday of All Saints, next weekend, with the variables for the Liturgy at:


May God bless you all in the week ahead, and remember to continue to celebrate the feast and to pray its hymns and prayers in your icon corners. 

With love in Christ – Hieromonk Mark 

From Pascha to Ascension

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!

Here we are in the last days of the Pascha after a very busy few days in the parish.

After Friday’s confessions in the church of St Mary Butetown, we recommenced our  discussion group, beginning a series of talks/discussions on prayer. It was wonderful to be back in St Mary’s with some new faces at our first session highlighting that, at its apogee, prayer is our entire life in God, but more than that, it is the connection that opens the Christian – body and soul, mind and heart – so that the life of God can flow into us.

The quoted beginning of Elder Sophrony’s book “On Prayer” expressed this with eloquence and power:

“Prayer is infinite creation, far superior to any form of art or science. Through prayer we enter into communion with Him that was before all worlds. Or, to put it in another way, the life of the Self-existing God flows into us through the channel of prayer.”

As the planned date of the next fortnightly session falls on a day plagued by rail strikes, I hope that we might meet on Wednesday 31st May.

After Friday’s meeting, Saturday brought our wonderful pilgrimage day to Glastonbury, beginning – once everyone had found Bride’s Mound – with a moleben in honour of St Bride on the site of the ancient monastery at Beckery (Becc-Eriu – Little Ireland), followed by a visit to the abbey, where we enjoyed a wonderfully eclectic Russo-Serbian-British picnic on the green lawns at the west end of the abbey ruins. The more energetic then climbed the Tor, whilst the less adventurous enjoyed the peaceful, flower-filled environs of Chalice Well.

We’re all very appreciative of Tracy’s organisational gymnastics in pulling everything together and coordinating yet another very successful and enjoyable pilgrimage. Diolch yn fawr!

We now look forward to our June pilgrimage to Pennant-Melangell, where we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy on Saturday 10th June  the day after St Melangell’s feast-day on the Patristic Calendar. Celebrating the Liturgy next to her relics in their canopied stone shrine will be a wonderful blessing and privilege.

Sunday was the feast of St John the Theologian, and it was a blessing to celebrate on a day when the community came together in Cardiff, with the joy of welcoming our brother Lazarus from Paul, and having our visitors from Moscow with us again for Liturgy, after also sharing our time in Glastonbury with them. We pray for God’s blessing and protection as their travels continue.

I hope that our faithful will make the most of today, Tuesday and Wednesday, celebrating the remaining time of the Paschal season, praying the Paschal Canon and chanting the hymns before the leave-taking and the feast of the Lord’s Ascension.

After preparing the church for Ascension, I will celebrate Great Vespers at 16:00 on Wednesday, and we will celebrate the Hours and Divine Liturgy in Nazareth House the following morning, at 11:00.

The variables may be found here:


Those who confessed at the weekend are blessed to commune on the feast, and I will have time to hear short confessions before Thursday’s Liturgy. Additionally, anyone wishing to confess after Wednesday’s vespers should email me so that I can be available.

On Thursday afternoon, I will also be available to hear confessions of those preparing to commune at the weekend. Alternatively, there will be time for confessions on Saturday, when we will set up church ready for Sunday Liturgy at 16:00. Vespers will be celebrated at 17:00, with confessions before and after the service, as needed, as I know that some parishioners will be working till 17:00.

We look forward to being together again on Sunday, when there will also be a baptism in the afternoon, after trapeza. The Hours will commence at 10:45, followed by the Divine Liturgy.

The variables for our services may be found at Orthodox Austin, as usual…

Vespers: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aQsgpHKuw0SeauXRtGMTEsI4PBHGWjCp/view

Liturgy: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vTxBALQrykXC4psdwAyQEu164oKdrUbw/view

Wishing you a blessed end to the Paschal season.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

May, June and July Parish Pilgrimage

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!

This Saturday – 20th May –  will see a band of pilgrims head to Glastonbury, meeting at Bride’s Mount in Beckery, on the edge of the town, at 10:00, celebrating a moleben to St Brigid.

Before the drainage of the Somerset Levels, Beckery – this area on the edge of Glastonbury – was an island in the tidal marshes along the River Brue, and Bride’s Mound was crowned with a monastic house. This monastic dwelling, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene,  was associated with Irish monastics travelling to Glastonbury – the primary monastery of ancient Britain – and Glastonbury lore and tradition, lists St Brigid as one of the Irish saints who visited and stayed here.

After the moleben at Bride’s Mound, we will head into town to the abbey, with the ruins of the once great religious foundation in its green acres of gardens. This will be an excellent place to refresh ourselves physically as well as spiritually, and the visitors’ centre has excellent educational resources.

The abbey grounds once contained the women’s alms-houses that were associated with St Patrick’s Chapel, and St Margaret’s Hospital with its men’s alms-houses nearby in Magdalen St, is another place for pilgrims to visit.

Our parish’s seasoned Glastonbury pilgrims enjoy visiting the Rose Garden – a wonderful little shop next to the parish church – from which we usually emerge with books, icons and Orthodox supplies.

As we head towards Chalice Well and the Tor, we can visit the fine neighbouring medieval church, which has been decluttered and restored over the last few years, so that we can now appreciate the beauty of the building, without the Victorian clutter that once made it difficult to see.

Chalice Well is very much a product of romance and legend, with its very creative association between St Joseph of Arimathea and the medieval well from which the iron-rich waters flow. Regardless of the new-age and alternative activities that happen within its environs, it remains a place of peace, relaxation, beauty and tranquillity – with a spring with beneficial waters.

Chalice Hill, from which the well flows is nestled next to Glastonbury Tor, the dramatic conical hill on which an ancient monastery stood – in whose excavation Fr Luke was involved in its excavation in the late 1960’s. In the middle-ages, the church of St Michael was built, with its surviving tower crowning the Tor.

The rural-life museum in the abbey barn is close by, and pilgrims may also wish to make a visit.

We look forward to our day in Avalon!

Looking forward to June, we shall be making a pilgrimage to Pennant Melangell on June 10th (the day after the feast of St Melangell). Given its distance from Cardiff, several parishioners having arranged to camp nearby. On the night of Friday June 9th.

The church in Pennant Melangell is built on the ancient site of the ancient monastery over which St Melangell presided as abbess, and houses her relics in the shrine where we will celebrate our pilgrim Liturgy.

This will be a very special pilgrimage, given the shrine and relics of St Melangell at the heart of the church, and we look forward to it.

Any potential pilgrims should contact Tracy: t_sbrain@icloud.com

From July 24-27th, group of ROCOR parishioners will be travelling to Walsingham, ‘England’s Nazareth’, enjoying the hospitality of  the South Wales Anglican Pilgrimage, after Fr Dean’s invitation to join the pilgrimage once more.

The accommodation cost is £225, and the cost for those wishing to travel on the coach is £370. Any more interested parties should contact me, Norman or Georgina as soon as possible

On a non-pilgrimage note, please remember that our Ascension Day Liturgy will be celebrated in Nazareth House at 11:00 on Thursday May 25th.

In Christ – Fr Mark

The Sunday of the Samaritan Woman

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Today was an especially joyful Liturgy in Cardiff, as we welcomed back Hierodeacon Avraamy after a three week absence, with him returning to us as a cleric of the Diocese of London and Western Europe of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, having transferred from the Diocese of Dnipropetrovsk. This is a cause for great celebration and we are so happy that his absence, whilst serving in London, afforded fr Avraamy and Bishop Irenei the time to formally conclude this matter. Praising God, we extend congratulations to our Hierodeacon. Axios!

Having two deacons, once again, and a fuller kliros made for a joyful celebration of the Divine Liturgy, though I look forward to us having more space to arrange the altar in a more spacious and Orthodox manner with the removal of seasonal statuary after western Ascension, on Thursday.

I was very happy that our youngest oltarnik could be at Nazareth House so early, today, and was able to observe the whole of the proskomedia, assisting with the commemorations, later standing close to the Holy Table to see the liturgical actions at close quarters. This was a great joy, especially after the involvement of our Cheltenham young people, yesterday, with Isaac having helped his mum to bake the prosphora, and Anastasia and Timofey assisting their mother on the kliros. Glory to God!

I have also been greatly encouraged by the dedication of children within our extended spiritual family. Some brothers and sisters from other parishes come regularly for confession and children who have seen their parents do so have insisted that they should do the same, even though they are younger than the customary age of seven years, and the canonical age of ten years. This is humbling for us adults, especially given that the youngest child who insists on coming to confession is still a toddler! We can see why our Blessed Saviour tells us that we need to be like these little ones.

As anticipated, today was the last Liturgy – for a while – for our journeyman-oltarnik. Oswald, whose apprenticeship sees him depart for Austria tomorrow, on the first leg of the year of journeys which lie before him. Commending him to the Lord’s care and protection, our Liturgy ended with a litia to St Stephen, the patron saint of stone-masons, before the chanting of many years to Oswald and Hierodeacon Avraamy.

Oswald has left a supply of icons, which will be put out for sale on Sundays, though this will be the last batch for a considerable time, as he treads the highways and byways of Europe!

Among our first-time visitors, today, we were pleased to welcome Magdalena and her daughters, visiting from Moscow, and look forward to welcoming them to our Llanelli mission later in the week.

As always, it was wonderful to see the warmth and generosity with which our various visitors were welcomed into the community.

This Friday sees the beginning of a fortnightly discussion group in the parish room of the church of St Mary, North Church St, Butetown, at 19:00, and the subject will be prayer. I will hear confessions in the church before the meeting. Would anyone wishing to arrange a confession please email me by 18:00 on Wednesday?

On Saturday, a group of parishioners will be making a pilgrimage to Glastonbury, where the intention is for us to begin our day with prayers at Bride’s Mound in Beckery, where we will meet at 10:00. This ancient monastic former island in the levels is connected with St Brigid, and was the site of a monastery excavated in the 1980’s. After our stop at Beckery, we will visit the abbey and town, before continuing to Chalice Well and the Tor. En route, we greatly look forward to visiting the Rose Garden bookshop, a source of Orthodox books and icons.

Our June pilgrimage, on Saturday 10th June will be to the shrine and church of Pennant Melangell, where – with Vladika’s blessing – we hope and currently intend to serve the Divine Liturgy. Any one interested should contact our pilgrimage secretary Tracy: t_sbrain@icloud.com

As you know, July will see a group of parishioners heading to Walsingham, joining the South Wales Anglican pilgrims from 24-27th of the month. For those travelling independently, the cost is £225. The cost including a place on the coach is £370. Again, any more interested parties should contact me as soon as possible

Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Paschal season, with the Hours and Liturgy at 10:45, and is also the feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian. The variables of the Liturgy may be found at:


Following on form announcements at Liturgy, may I remind all parishioners that antidoron, cut from the loaves remaining from the preparation of the Holy Gifts during the proskomedia should be treated with the utmost reverence, and not casually. It is eaten with prayer and fasting, and we should not be finding crumbs on the church floor. Children should be supervised and made to understand that this is not everyday bread, but is blessed and holy, even if not the Holy Gifts. The amount of crumbs on the floor has been raised by cleaning staff, who were concerned for spiritual reasons.

Please, make the most of the remaining days of Pascha, as we enter the last full week of the season. May the joyful hymns of the resurrection ring out as we approach the feast of the Lord’s the Ascension, which we will celebrate in Nazareth House with the Hours and Divine Liturgy at 11:00 on Thursday 25th May.

The feast of Mid-Pentecost continues until its Leave-Taking on Wednesday. Please try to pray the canon, as posted on our blog and Facebook page.

May God bless you all and give you good strength!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Parish Pilgrimage to Mathern and Tintern

Dear brothers and sisters,

I have just entered the house and boiled the kettle for a cup of tea at the end of a very long but very blessed day of pilgrimage, with our senior sister and seven of the brothers of the parish, having greatly enjoyed our spiritual-journey to Mathern and Tintern.

After chanting the Paschal Hours at Nazareth House, our eastward journey took us to Mathern, the place where St Tewdrig died from his battle wounds after leading the Welsh army against the invading Saxons.

His hope was to be buried on Ynys Echni (Flat Holm), but divine intervention took him only as far as Mathern, where a miraculous spring gushed forth – though today the waters in it are choked with autumn leaves and decaying vegetation.

However, the brothers of the parish have suggested that cleaning the well is something they would very much like to do.

Three of the brothers from Bath and Chippenham met us, having already explored the churchyard.

Our first stop, however, was neither the well nor the church – a graceful and imposing building despite its stark protestant interior – but the lovely little green area around the statue of St Tewdrig, where the instant-appearance of a table from Menna’s Land-rover (in which I greatly enjoyed travelling!) and the assembly of parishioners’ offerings conjured up a much appreciated picnic lunch.

After visiting the church, enclosing the site where St Tewdrig’s coffin and relics were found, and subsequently reburied in the 17th century, we made our way to the Holy Well, where we chanted the Paschal moleben, with the Paschal Canon and hymns to the saint.

We then made our way through the beautiful Wye Valley to Tintern, with its ruins of the great abbey.

It was here, Din-Teyryn, long before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of the Cistercians, that St Tewdrig retired from kingly-rule to live as a hermit, until an angelic messenger commanded him to emerge from his seclusion and lead the warriors of the local kingdom against the invading Saxons, and despite their victory, a blow to the head by a spear thrown by one of the fleeing Saxons mortally wounded the king.

To quote his hagiography,

“…Tewdrig, fully harnessed, mounted his horse and stood at the head of the troops to defend the ford over the Wye. The Saxons were put to flight, but one of them hurled a lance across the water and wounded the old king.

When it was perceived that the wound was mortal, his men were for removing him, but he forbade them to do so, and said that he would die there, and that he had desired his body to rest in the Isle of Echni, the Flat Holm, in the Severn Sea.

On the morrow, however, appeared two stags harnessed to a wagon, and Tewdrig, recognising that they were sent by the will of God, allowed himself to be lifted into the conveyance. The wagon carried him to the bank of the Severn and there stayed, and on the spot a sparkling spring began to flow. Then suddenly the wagon dissolved, and Tewdrig gave up the ghost.

Meurig erected an oratory on the spot, which was blessed by S. Oudoceus. The spot was Mathern, below Chepstow; there the old king was laid, and not conveyed, as he had desired, to Echni.”

The beautiful village that has grown in the more than a thousand years since the death and burial of St Tewdrig, with its centuries old cottages and gardens full of spring flowers and trees in bud and blossom, was a wonderful place in which to honour our martyred hermit-king and saint, and whilst the drama of Tintern was so impressive, and the social time spent there after exploring was a blessing, the spiritual heart and climax of our day was in the little village by the Severn, sacred to St Tewdrig.

I would partcularly like to thank our drivers, Peter, Porphyrios and Menna – and also Aldhelm for playing the accordion and bringing such cheer during our picnic lunch.

Dioch yn fawr!

Troparion to St Tewdrig, King and Hermit, Tone VI:
O Holy and Right-Believing King and Champion of the Faith, having resigned thine office thou didst retire to Tintern and the silence of the eremitical life; * but, upon the invasion of the pagans, * was prompted by an angel of God * to return and lead the victorious Christian host; * and grievously wounded, didst consecrate the Welsh soil with thy blood; * and borne to Mathern didst leave the mortal world * and wast born again in heaven. * Wherefore, O Holy Tewdrig, * intercede to Christ the High King of Heaven, * to bless our land, * and have mercy on our souls!

Venerable Hermit-King and Martyr, Tewdrig, pray to God for us!

Holy Week and Pascha in Cardiff

Dear brothers and sisters,

Please see the following times for Holy Week and Pacha services, noting that Wednesday-Friday will be in Nazareth House, Pascha night in St John’s, and the back to Nazareth House for Paschal Vespers on Sunday afternoon.

Given ongoing leg-problems, I will sadly not be celebrating the Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday.

I hope that parishioners will take full advantage of the chance to confess on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so that Saturday night confessions may be reserved for those travelling from afar.

All approaching the Mystery of Holy Unction (Orthodox Christians above the age of seven years), must make their confession as part of the preparation for this Holy Mystery.

May God bless you all.

Hieromonk Mark

Wednesday: Holy Unction at 19:00

There will be the opportunity for confessions before the service from 17:00, and all partaking of the Mystery of Holy Unction should have made a recent confession.

Thursday: Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 11:00 

Holy Friday Matins (12 Gospels) at 19:00 confessions before and after the service.

Friday: The Burial Service of the Lord (Vespers) 16:00, followed by confessions.

Matins of Holy Saturday 19:00 – followed by confessions.

Pascha night will be in St John’s, Canton.

Confessions for non-locals from 10:30 – no long confessions given possible numbers.

Saturday: Midnight Office at 23:30.

Sunday: Procession at 00:00, followed by the Paschal Liturgy and blessing of baskets.

So that we have a Paschal service in Nazareth House, we will celebrate the Agape Vespers on Sunday afternoon, at 14:00.