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…



Wishing you a blessed end to the Paschal season.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Parish News, Pilgrimage.