Parish News: 11 March 2024

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings on the feast of Blessed Nikolai of Pskov, the Holy Fool who dared challenge Tsar Ivan the Terrible, and was glorified by the Lord in his poverty and seeming foolishness.

Our weekend was marked by a double-celebration with the Divine Liturgy ‘going out’ of Cardiff and across the Severn, with the first of our mission Liturgies celebrated in Warminster on Saturday, in addition to our Canton-St John’s Liturgy on Sunday.

After having celebrated evening services in Wiltshire on the final Monday of the last two months, and having had singing lessons / practices for our local ladies and gents, celebrating the Liturgy was a source of grace and strength for our faithful living such a distance from our parish base in Cardiff. Thanks to the parishioners and to Ian at the chapel of St Lawrence. 

A litia for the departed was celebrated in each location after our Liturgies, withthe blessing of kutia in Warminster – though it was also enjoyed in Cardiff. It would be good if more parishioners could contribute to cooking memorial-wheat for our services for the departed, and we will post some recipes in Facebook and WhatsApp.

We continue to remember the newly departed Archbishop Anatoly and Nikolai, and prayed for the servant of God Vladimir to mark the anniversary of his repose. Memory Eternal!

Thanks to all who contributed to our Cardiff Liturgy, especially with the expansion of English language chanting, and over the next few weeks I hope that we will also see a variation of readers, as other young men in the parish fulfil this obedience and become accustomed to chanting the readings and thanksgiving prayers.

With the able assistance of our students and young people, the last few Thursdays have seen the chanting of compline, with the akathist after confessions in Nazareth House, and we will pray the night-office of the Church again this week at 19:00, but with a supplicatory canon to the Mother of God and the Canon to St David, the Apostle of Wales, whose feast falls that day. I will hear confessions in the afternoon, and would appreciate requests – as usual – by 18:00 on Wednesday, please.

This Saturday will see the clergy to head to Cheltenham to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for the Saturday of maslenitsa, on which we commemorate all of the venerable fathers and mothers who have shone forth in the monastic life. As usual, we will worship in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Cheltenham GL52 3AN.

Confessions will be heard from around 09:30, with the Hours and Liturgy commencing at 10:30. The usual bring-and-share lunch will follow the service, and we know that our matriarchs will be in maximalist mode for blini-week.

The following Saturday, 23rd March, our parish-pilgrimage will be to Margam Abbey, where we look forward to celebrating the Hours and Liturgy at 10:30. Please let me know if you can join us, especially as we may need to arrange lifts from Port Talbot Parkway Station for those without cars.

The mystery of Holy Unction / Soborovanie will be served in our London cathedral on Saturday 20th April at 14:00, and I hope that parishioners who are able to attend may share cars and work together so that as many as possible are able to be part of this diocesan celebration. Only Orthodox Christians above the age of seven years may be blessed to receive this Holy Mystery, and must prepare with confession.

Next Sunday will, of course, be Forgiveness Sunday, and the Liturgy will immediately be followed by the Vespers of Forgiveness, with the rite of mutual forgiveness at the end. This reminds us of the absolute necessity of seeking reconciliation with anyone who we have hurt or offended, even if unintended, asking their forgiveness and forgiving the offence that anyone has caused us. To begin Great Lent otherwise, will see the Great Fast lead us no-where: a spiritual cul-de-sac! We cannot journey towards the Lord’s Pascha with unresolved conflict, or with resentment in our hearts and minds. We must at least have made the first step towards peace and reconciliation, even if we have a considerable way to go on the journey.

After Liturgy and Vespers, we shall then share our last non-Lenten trapeza, though meat has already been given up, yesterday.

The variables for Liturgy may be found here… …and vespers here…

On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in the the first week of the Great Fast, Compline and the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete will be anticipated by an early celebration at 16:00 at the shrine of the Holy Protomartyr Alban in the Oratory Church, in Swinton Street. As always, many thanks to Father Sebastian and the brethren. We are most grateful.

A bilingual text of the Great Canon may be found at orthodoxaustin, though parishioners might chant it in the general order for chanting the canons, in small compline as an economia, or in evening prayers.

Please make sure you have the things you need for the Great Fast, and be ready for the Lenten journey to Pascha.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.