It was a joy for us to celebrate the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in Llanelli today, and though there was only a handful of us, the Liturgy was full of joyful chanting and fervent prayers, bringing together parishioners from Llanelli, Swansea, Cardiff and Gwlad yr Haf beyond the Bridge (Somerset for the uninitiated).
Our thanks go to Father Luke for celebrating, to Rhydian-Nicholas for serving and to Ruth-Silouana for sharing the kliros with me. It was lovely to sing together, with the support of the faithful – particularly in the spirited Athonite Kyrie eleisons of the Fervent Litany!
Following the service, we enjoyed a shared lunch and were introduced to vegan Pastizio, which went down very well. Despina may well be getting orders and requests during Great Lent!
As we look to more long-term planning, I envisage weekday Liturgies will ordinarily be celebrated in the chapel in Llanelli, unless we have guaranteed singers for the kliros in Cardiff.
Health problems have made it impossible for me to plan weekday Cardiff Liturgies more than a week or two in advance, as things have been unpredictable – but, Llanelli Liturgies can always be managed given the short distance door to door – and having just paced it, I can tell you that the journey is fifty-five steps!
The Chapel of St David and St Nicholas has greatly evolved over the last quarter of a century, starting as a very small oratory/chasovnia in a summer-house, used for reader-services, consequently growing upwards, sideways and lengthways over the decades, through the labours of Father Luke, his sons and son-in-law, members of his family, and the faithful from Llanelli and Swansea.
Recently, the chapel has been blessed with the addition of new icons painted by our Cardiff parishioner, Mikhail Bulashov, who sealed them with their final varnish last week.
Liturgy is celebrated there on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, vespers or compline (depending on the season) on Wednesdays each week as well as weekday services for feasts and during fasts.
In its garden setting, the chapel is an oasis of peace and quiet, and in the spring and summer is surrounded by scented flowers, bees and birdsong, with the feline doyen of the house following the faithful and pleading for attention.
Many of our Cardiff faithful love the chapel and make occasional journeys for services, and I hope that the establishment of weekday festal Liturgies will beckon more parishioners to drive westwards for our festal celebrations.