Parish Newsletter – the Week of the Myrrh-Bearing Women

The godly-wise women with myrrh followed after Thee in haste; but Him Whom they sought with tears as dead, they worshipped joyfully as the living God, and they brought unto Thy disciples, O Christ, the good tidings of the mystical Pascha.


Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христосъ воскресе!

In greeting you all with the continuing Paschal season, our greetings go beyond South Wales and the west of England, to our parishioners who are abroad at the moment – in Morocco, Russia, Montenegro and wherever else our faithful are in these Paschal days.

The joy and triumph of the resurrection continues to resound through our services, with the recurring words of Christ is Risen echoing as we approach the victory of the resurrection from different perspectives… from that of the apostles and St Thomas, the late comer; then through the experience of the Myrrh-Bearing women, whom we remembered yesterday, together with the Noble Joseph and the Righteous Nicodemus.

What a perfect example of Christian discipleship and devotion we see in their enduring witness: supporting the Lord and the twelve during His earthly ministry; following Christ as He carried the Cross; standing by the Cross as all but one of the disciples fled; and then coming to the garden Tomb at the break of day bearing sweet-smelling ointments. Such was their love, devotion and sense of duty to the Lord, that despite the darkness, confusion and fear that had descended on them as they saw the Light go out in their lives. They never gave up on the Lord, despite seeing His death on the Cross and His lifeless body laid in the Tomb.

Their enduring devotion led them through their darkness, and in the dawn of the first Pascha their faithfulness led them to the rising of the Sun Who never sets. Despite the confusion and fear that must have gripped their lives in that short time after the Saviour’s death on the Cross, they did not hide behind locked door like the twelve, and as a result discovered that Christ their hope had trampled down death by death and was risen. Devotion and faithfulness led them from darkness to light, and in the place of death and corruption they discovered the Unwaning Light.

Let us all emulate their devotion and fulfilment of duty in their unwavering love for the Saviour, and trust that this will lead us through the uncertainties and fears of life, for with them, we know that “from the tomb today, as from a bridal chamber, Christ hath shone forth…”.

Thanks to all who contributed to our Liturgy, and thanks also to our Cheltenham faithful who gathered in Prestbury for Liturgy and a panikhida on Saturday. As we celebrate the Myrrh-Bearing Women, our thanks especially go to our devoted parish-sisters, who work tirelessly for our communities.

Tomorrow, will see the ninth hour and vespers chanted at the shrine of St Alban, in Swinton Street, marking the eve of the feast of the translation of the relics of St Nicholas the Wonderworker from Myra to Bari. The office will be chanted at 14:30, and I will be very happy if any of you are able to join me, but remind you that services are celebrated on behalf of the whole community, wherever the faithful are at times of worship.

Vespers will also be celebrated in St Alban’s at the same time on Thursday, and I will be available to hear confessions before and immediately after the service. If anyone requires a later confession, which will need to be in Nazareth House, please contact me immediately, so that I can arrange to visit in the evening. Requests for confessions in St Alban’s by Wednesday at 18:00, please.

Saturday, being the fourth in the month will see a quite informal local pilgrimage-visit to the holy well at Penrhys, in the Rhondda, with midday prayers at the statue on the site of the former Cistercian monastic grange, and a moleben at the holy well, which sadly sounds like it is in need of some tlc and attention. This may be a prompt for a follow-up visit, in which we offer the Mother of God our time and energy in caring for a place that was so important in the spiritual consciousness of Welsh Christianity in the Middle-Ages.

For information regarding the location, please see:,-3.4433783,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x47805798f145f061?sa=X&ved=1t:2428&ictx=111

The nearest station is Ystrad, with trains from Queen St. The walk from there to Penrhys takes around thirty minutes, and should in itself be part of the pilgrimage-experience for anyone availing themselves of this route.

I hope that at least a few souls will join me in honouring the Mother of God at the site of her ancient shrine.

Those of you who were at Liturgy will have heard the now official news, after Vladyka’s edict, that Deacon Mark will be ordained to the sacred priesthood in our cathedral on Wednesday 17 July, the feast of Royal Martyrs, the altar-feast of the lower church.

We very much hope that as many parishioners as possible will be able to be in the cathedral that day, supporting their devoted deacon as he submits to our need for a second priest, and offers himself to serve our Great-High priest in ministering to His flock. A bus will carry those wishing to make the journey to London for this very special day, and we would appreciate indications of those who wish to attend the feast as soon as possible, so that the size of bus can be confirmed. Once the bus is booked we will not be able to change plans. So… so please communicate your interest.

As you know, we will hold our General Meeting the Sunday after next, 2nd June, and in the course of the meeting will elect parishioners to the office of starosta and senior-sister. We have had nominations for both positions, with several individuals actually having been nominated for both posts.

Any further nominations should be received by next Sunday. Thanks to those who have taken the time to do so, and for having spoken with those whom they consider to be worthy, and capable candidates for these obediences. We would also welcome items for the agenda.

Before we know it, the summer will have passed and the March for Life will be held in London. An increasing number of parishioners have attended over the last few years, and the considerable Orthodox presence was clearly valued and appreciated last year.

This year’s march is on Saturday 7th September. I hope Karen doesn’t mind me directing those interested in her direction without having checked with her. Last year’s Cardiff attendees travelled with our friends from St Alban’s, in Splott, and it would be good if this could be repeated.

Please endeavour to keep the Pascal season and the feasts, wherever you are in the wide diaspora of our parish, and if you are able to gather together for prayer, this is a great blessing and sign of community in the Risen Lord.

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

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