Paschal Newsletter

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христосъ воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

I hope that today has brought a brief rest for those who laboured greatly for the services of the Great and Holy Week and the Lord’s Pascha. For some, the labour was to sing, for others to read or serve, for others to give their time to cooking, baking, arranging flowers, sewing, and for some the tasks of setting up and putting away – the last seemingly menial, but necessary above most other things.

The first half of the week saw services in Llanelli, where the vesperal Liturgy of Great and Holy Thursday was celebrated in Father Luke’s home chapel, with the matins of Holy and Great Friday and the reading of the twelve passion Gospels in St Mary Butetown. We are very grateful to Father Dean and Georgina for the hospitality offered to us as St John’s was in use all evening.

Our choir and readers worked hard to make this a very beautiful service, as it was, despite the very minimal set up in the nave of St Mary’s.

Holy Friday saw our return to Canton, with the celebration of Vespers and the bringing out of the Shroud of the Saviour. Thanks to our reduced choir for again singing so well, as also in the evening Burial Service. We must also thank those who provided plain and simple fasting food for those needing a little sustenance before the long service and long journeys home for our Wessex parishioners.

On Holy Saturday, I was fortunate that matushka Alla brought me to Cardiff, where she and Svetlana arranged the flowers for the Paschal services, and the arrangements were plentiful and beautiful, with vases of flowers – some brought by parishioners and their offering at the Lord’s Tomb.

I was very blessed that Stefan and Mark gave hours of assistance setting up the church for the night service, allowing me to hear periodic confessions, including those of new visitors from Bristol and the west of England.

The service itself brought lots of new faces, as did the two services celebrated on Sunday morning and afternoon, after which Holy Communion was administered to those unable to be in church during the night for very good reason.

Our night services – with the triple procession around the church, matins with the Paschal Canon, many censings in different coloured vestments, the wonderfully encouraging Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom, then our wonderful Liturgy – overflowed with the joy and triumph of the Lord’s Resurrection.

Sunday morning saw the chanting of the Paschal Hours, and the communing of young children, with communion also administered after our Paschal Vespers.

This week will be relatively quiet, with confessions on Thursday (requests by 18:00 on Wednesday pleased). As indicated before, we do not have access to Nazareth House chapel until 17:00. If anyone is able to attend I will make myself available to hear confessions on Friday morning, but will do so in St Alban’s Church. For those who are unaware, the Oratory Church contains relics of the Holy Protomartyr of Britain, St Alban, and is a place where some of us often go to pray before his relics and icon.

Friday afternoon will see my departure to Warminster, where our Bright Saturday Hours and Liturgy will be celebrated in the Chapel of St Lawrence at 10:30, with a bring-and-share lunch after our service. It was lovely to welcome Cardiff parishioners last month, and I hope the coming months will see others make the journey across the Severn from South Wales.

Thomas Sunday Liturgy will be in St John’s at 11:00, as usual, with a litia to St George and St Alexandra, giving us the opportunity to greet and congratulate our young parishioners George, Yuriy and Sasha (Alexandra), who celebrated their nameday, today. We wish them Many Years!

In Bright Week, it is a custom to replace our home prayers with the Paschal Hours, and I encourage you to pray the Paschal Canon each day, if you are able, echoing with the radiant joy of the Resurrection.

Christ is Risen!

Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.