Ending the First Week of Lent – Pilgrimage to Margam

Dear brothers and sisters, I hope that this week is going well for you, and that its simplicity is reminding you of the joy we can take in the simplest things, with fresh bread, some olives, nuts and fruit seeming like a wonderful feast, overflowing with the love and bounty of God.

I hope that parishioners are remembering that this is a season in which we eat according to need, and not according to appetite. As I keep saying, there’s nothing wrong with a rumbling tummy during Lent, and if it never rumbles you’re doing it wrong!

Many thanks to the few that have been able to attend the chanting of Great Compline and the Great Canon at the shrine of St Alban in the Oratory Church, and thanks to Father Sebastian for his limitless generosity.

I know that the very early time of 16:00 was impossible for all but a few parishioners, but we had to fit our Lenten service into the oroarium of the Oratorian Fathers who have prayers at 17:30 each day, before the church is locked for the night. This is yet another reminder of the limitations placed upon us as guests perpetually under someone else’s roof, and as you know, St John’s is used during the week.

It’s been heartening to hear that our Wessex parishioners have come together to pray the Great Canon in Bishopstrow, just outside Warminster ( where the ash staff that St Aldehelm drove into the ground, budded and grew into the ‘bishop’s tree’).

In private prayer, I would very much recommend parishioners continue to pray the portions of the canon whenever possible during the coming weeks of Lent, as part of the penitential praxis of the season, and to follow up the Biblical references that may evade memory or knowledge.

Those who pray the canon, know that it shows the skill of St Andrew of Crete not only as a hymnographer, but also as a Biblical exegete in the patristic tradition. His words can lead is into Biblical discoveries as we plug the gaps in our Old Testament knowledge.

Tomorrow night will see the chanting of the first portion of the Akahist Hymn, according to the custom established in Llanelli from its many years as a parish of the Greek archdiocese.

Compline and the akathist will be chanted at 19:00, in the chapel of St David and St Nicholas in Llanelli.

The Saturday of St Theodore will be marked by our pilgrimage Liturgy in Margam Abbey, (Port Talbot SA13 2TA), where we will bless kolyvo in honour of the Holy Great-Martyr at the end of the service.

We will have a bring-and-share lunch in the church hall, and look forward to exploring the part of the abbey still used as the parish church, as well as the ruins and the ancient carved stones collected from around the area, and testifying to its significance as an ancient Christian site.

If anyone can offer lifts to our young people, this will be appreciated. We currently have five people, who will otherwise travel by train.

At the end of Sunday’s Liturgy, we will serve the moleben for the conversion of those who have departed into error, which is more widely a celebration of the Triumph of the Orthodoxy and the restoration of the holy icons. This service is celebrated across our diocese, and in the cathedral our bishop will solemnly pronounce the anathemas, thereby declaring Orthodox Truth and liturgically declaring the condemnation of those who reject the Faith of the Orthodox Church and who were anathematised by the God-Bearing Fathers of the Holy Ecumenical Councils and Synods.

During the chanting of the ‘Te Deum’ – the Hymn of St Ambrose of Milan – we will venerate the Holy Icons, and you are asked to bring an icon to hold during this service, so that we form an ikonastasis of the faithful bearing the Holy Icons for the celebration of their own restoration.

Please join us if you are able, to celebrate the end of our first week in Lent.


Posted in Parish News, Pilgrimage.