This Weekend and the Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters,

Despite the extreme morning weather, and the awful journeys that some faced on their way to Cardiff, the Liturgy saw parishioners come from far and wide, from England as well as South Wales, with exactly fifty – including the youngest parishioners – come together for the celebration of the Holy Mysteries.

All will agree that it was a very beautiful and joyful service, made all the more celebratory by the number of the faithful who confessed and communed – led by such devout and focused children.

Parishioners expressed their joy and relief at the news that His Eminence Metropolitan Jean of Dubna has annulled his anti-canonical decrees which sought to legitimize the actions of schismatics within our diocese in the summer, though we recognise that this is only the first step to reconciliation and in no way guarantees repentance. It is, however, a beginning – praise God!

At the end of Liturgy, we were pleased to ask God’s blessing for the servants of God Anatoly and Georgiy, on the occasion of their birthday – the former a stately eightieth, and the latter a lively fourth. May God grant them many years.

I was then pleased to bless three recently completed icons: of the Saviour, of the Vatopedskaya icon of the Mother of God, and of Saint John of Kronstadt.

Many thanks to all who worked so hard to ensure a wonderful Liturgy and extremely sociable lunch. We are particularly grateful to our singers and three readers.

Those requiring confession in the coming week are asked to email, as usual: otetzmark@hotmail.com

Having performed two house-blessing this afternoon, I would like to remind the faithful that we are still blessing homes, following the Great Blessing of the Waters at Theophany.

Finally – remember that this is a fast-free week!

May God bless you.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Events this week:

Tuesday 2/15 February, in the Lady Chapel of St John’s Church, Canton:

09:30 Hours and Liturgy for the feast of the Meeting of the Lord and blessing of candles.

Friday 18 February, in the church of St Mary, Butetown:

18:00 confessions, followed at 19:00 by our catechetical study group, to which all are welcome. Eleven gathered in the parish room last week, for what was an interesting and enjoyable session, with lively discussion.

Saturday 19 February, Cheltenham Liturgy in Prestbury United Reformed Church, 5 Deep St, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL52 3AW:

09:15 confessions, 10:00 Hours, 10:30 Liturgy, followed by a bring-and-share lunch. Any visiting Cardiff parishioners preparing for communion on Sunday may be confessed after the Liturgy.

Depending on the need for Cardiff confessions, the clergy will be available at Deacon Mark’s office in Morganstown.

Sunday 20 February, in St John’s Church, Canton:

10:15 confessions, 11:00 Hours and Liturgy, followed by a bring-and-share lunch.

News from Parish Life

Dear brothers and sisters, 

This is a week of significant celebrations in the life of the Church, having been the feast of the Burial of St Alexander Nevsky on Monday, the Great-Martyr Katherine yesterday, the Leave-Taking of the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God today, and the feast of the Novgorod and Kursk Icons of the Theotokos on Friday. 

I particularly hope that our parishioners are taking special notice of the commemorations and feasts on their Advent journey, so that the saints are our companions as we make the spiritual journey to the Lord’s Nativity. 

These feasts are all way-side markers, and the lives of the saints and sacred events celebrated point the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. 

We journey through this week, having been buoyed and filled with joy by the celebrations of the past weekend, and what a wonderful and grace-filled weekend it was. 

Saturday – the feast of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple – saw our student Elliot enter the icy waters of the River Ewenny, in which he was baptised and named in honour of the Holy Hierarch Aldhelm of Sherborne, in his native Dorset.  

The newly-enlightened Aldhelm emerged from the river shivering but smiling radiantly, and the late afternoon sun offered a little warmth during his chrismation and tonsure.  

The parishioners from our local ROCOR and Romanian parishes who gathered to support him and welcome him into the Church were filled with great joy and heartily sang ‘mnogaya leta’ before heading for a hot meal to celebrate the feast, to warm up, and to spend time together. 

Sunday began with Aldhelm’s churching before the Hours and a well-attended Liturgy, with his baptism, first-communion, and his excellent chanting of the Thanksgiving Prayers bringing a very special joy to our service.

We pray for God’s blessing on our newly-enlightened brother, that the Lord may grant him many years! 

Later this week, on Friday, we will chant an Advent Moleben before a seasonal reflection in the parish hall at St Mary Butetown, in Greek Church Street, our theme being ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ 

We will gather at 19:00 and expect that the prayers and Advent reflection will last around an hour, with time for refreshments and a chat. We are extremely grateful to Father Dean for his characteristic warmth and hospitality. I would appreciate a quick email or text from those joining us and look forward to our slightly delayed first Advent gathering. Email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

On a similar note, may I ask that those confessing on Saturday and Sunday also get in touch with us. We will be stopping off at Deacon Mark’s office on the way home from our Cheltenham Liturgy on Saturday and will look to begin confessions at 16:00. Please email me by Thursday night, as Friday will be a busy day and I will need to make arrangements for confessions before heading to Cardiff in the late-morning. 

In Cheltenham, on Saturday, confessions will be heard from our arrival at 09:15, and we will begin the Hours as close to 10:00 as possible, knowing that there are always lots for confession and communions, which is wonderful, given the recent schismatic-assault against our Gloucestershire community.  

Back in Cardiff on Sunday, the Hours and Liturgy will be at the usual time of 11:00, and I must remind parishioners that confessions are BEFORE the Hours, whilst Deacon Mark directs the setting up of the church. Confessions begin at 10:15. 

A bring-and-share lunch will follow both of our Liturgies, with the typicon allowing us fish, wine and oil.  

I would like to give advance notice that there will be a baptism at 14:00, on Sunday 19th December, and parishioners will need to be mindful of this with regard to post-Liturgy refreshments and food.

May God bless you, and give you good strength, and thank you all for your support over the last few weeks – especially to our ‘baptismal-team’!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

 

Cheltenham Liturgy: Saturday 13th November

Cheltenham: Saturday 13th November – Confessions 09:15, Hours and Divine Liturgy 10:00 

Address: Prestbury United Reformed Church, 5 Deep St, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL52 3AW. 

Dear brothers and sisters,

Our Gloucestershire community will celebrate the Divine Liturgy tomorrow, honouring the Venerable Fathers of the Kiev Caves, Saints Spyridon and Nikodim the Prosphora Bakers, also remembering our departed Hierarch, Archbishop Nikodem of Richmond and Great Britain on his nameday.

We will chant the litia for the departed after our Liturgy, which will be celebrated just a few weeks after the 45th anniversary of his repose on 4th / 17th October 1976,  at the age of 93. Eternal Memory!

We look forward to celebrating the Holy Mysteries together, and spending time socialising after the service, when there will be a bring-and-share lunch and confession time for Cardiff and Wiltshire visitors.

May God bless you. Venerable Fathers Spyridon and Nikodim, pray to God for us!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Icon courtesy of parishioner Mikhail Bulashov: https://www.facebook.com/Icons.GuardianAngel

Cheltenham and Cardiff Services This Weekend

Dear brothers and sisters, 

The coming weekend will see the resumption of normal parish life with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham on Saturday, and Cardiff on Sunday. 

Our Gloucestershire mission will meet for the Divine Liturgy in Prestbury United Reformed Church, with confessions from 09:15 and the Hours and Liturgy as close to 10:00 as possible, though the number of confessing communicants meant an unavoidably late start last month. There will be a bring-and-share lunch after Liturgy, and our Cardiff faithful who will be communing on Sunday are welcome to make their confessions before their homeward journeys.

Our ROCOR parish continues as the canonical Russian Orthodox presence in Cheltenham, and our parishioners remain committed to the diocese and the Russian Church Outside of Russia. We pray that God may sustain them and give them strength. 

On our return to Cardiff, confessions will be heard at Deacon Mark’s office in Morganstown, and we will appreciate notification from those requiring confession as soon as possible. Confessions will also be heard in St John’s from around 10:15 on Sunday morning, and I again ask for an indication of those wishing to do so. Email: otetzmark@hotmail.com

Thank you, all who have already made arrangements. 

I look forward to our celebration of the Hours and Liturgy, and remind you that we are very much seeking to re-establish our bring-and-share lunch, as it is so good to see parishioners catching up with one another after Liturgy. So, please think about bringing offerings for the table. 

The variable parts of Sunday’s Liturgy may be found at ‘Orthodox Austin’ –

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GZAIFRd1iRYrLSHwhsuKiSPVZWvjMtuS/view

As Advent and December, and the end of my secular-employment approach, we look forward to increased parish prayer and services, formalised catechism, and pilgrimage. I hope that we may begin to discuss these important aspects of the development of parish-life on Sunday – especially the celebration of a weekly Advent Moleben around the parish.

Many thanks to all who continue to have been in touch over the last week and to those who have sent ‘care parcels’. The kindness, care and generosity of our parishioners is both exemplary and inspiring. 

May God bless you all! 

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark 

Cheltenham  Saturday 13th November: Confessions 09:15, Hours and Divine Liturgy 10:00 

Address: Prestbury United Reformed Church, 5 Deep St, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL52 3AW. 

Cardiff – Saturday 13th November: Confessions 16:30 

Cardiff – Sunday 14th November: Confessions 10:15, Hours and Divine Liturgy 11:00 

Cardiff-London-Cheltenham-Cardiff… the week so far!

Dear parishioners and friends,

Here we are on the eve of our next Cardiff Liturgy, after a busy week for the clergy serving our mission in Wales and Gloucestershire.

Monday saw Deacon Mark and I journey to London to celebrate the altar-feast of our cathedral – the Nativity of the Mother of God – and we were pleased to have Cardiff parishioners join in our cathedral celebrations on Monday evening and on Tuesday. It was a joy to share the celebration with our bishops and cathedral-clergy and to have time with our many friends in Chiswick.

From the cathedral, we returned to a busy week of secular work, looking forward to visiting Cheltenham today, where Deacon Mark and I were pleased to be able to serve the Liturgy for the Leave-Taking of the Nativity of the Mother of God. Though it was only at a few days’ notice, we were able to arrange the use of the United Reformed Church in Prestbury. Thanks to Deacon Mark and Cheltenham parishioners for their efforts in searching for an alternative Liturgy venue to All Saints, Pittville.

The simplicity and bareness of the old chapel was in marked contrast to the Gothic Revival splendour of All Saints, but though we very much missed our usual surroundings, we were grateful to have somewhere to temporarily celebrate the Liturgy, and enjoy time together over lunch before returning to Cardiff.

We will be organising our next Cheltenham Liturgy over the next few days and will give ample notice, as some of our Cardiff and Wiltshire faithful wish to support the Cheltenham mission, with the hope to expand its life to embrace our parishioners in Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath.

Back in Cardiff, having unloaded the car, confessions were heard during compline in St John’s in Canton this evening, with added entertainment by the church-mouse’s active perambulations during the evening office.

We look forward to returning to Cardiff for Liturgy in the morning, when we will celebrate the Forefeast of the Exultation of the Life-Giving Cross.

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark