Dear brothers and sisters,
Christ is Born! S prazdnikom!
I hope that you are all maintaining the joy and momentum of the feast.
On Saturday, we will celebrate our Christmastide service in Cheltenham, with the Liturgy in the United Reformed Church, Deep Street, GL52 3AW. Confessions will be heard from 09:15, and the Hours and Liturgy will commence at 10:00.
Saturday is the feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and of St Basil, so we will celebrate the longer Liturgy of St Basil, rather than that of St John Chrysostom. The variables may be found at orthodoxaustin: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YIpcyDDp3HzIusCyVlYsKFmSxd2TSPXG/view
We resume parish life in Nazareth House on Sunday, with the Hours, followed by the Liturgy at 10:40. This will be the feast of St Seraphim of Sarov, one of our most loved saints, and being together for the feast will be a great blessing. Variables: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ssx9ksPehNn0o4Wm5xRbkP_WGxmyKAez/view
Remember that we are in a fast free period until 18 January, when we fast for the Forefeast of the Theophany. As soon as I have confirmation for the Theophany Liturgy time, I will share it with you. The vesperal Liturgy and first blessing of Jordan will take place in Father Luke’s home chapel at 10:00 on 18 January.
As announced, His Grace, Bishop Irenei will be making a hierarchical visitation to Cardiff on 21 and 22 January, and plans are underway regarding ‘practicalities’, with Menna having agreed to coordinate sisterhood activities, especially arranging a reception in St John’s, where we now hope to also celebrate the Sunday Liturgy during Vladika’s visit. We will be in touch over the next few days regarding catering and coordinating food.
Deacon Mark has set up a new Whatsapp group just for the parish, rather than the wider ROCOR presence in South Wales, and anyone wishing to be added to it should contact him or Menna. After the splendour of the Christmas table, it is clear that there is no need for concern regarding having enough food for the faithful!
This week, I am hoping to have a quiet time, as I’m not feeling too well, but I shall come to Cardiff to hear confessions on Thursday. If you wish to make your confession, please email me by midday on Wednesday. As Norman and Georgina will be in St Mary’s on Thursday, we shall have confessions there, as its centrality makes in more convenient for many parishioners.
Please maintain the joy of the Nativity through your prayers and spiritual celebration, not simply through the welcome festive fare after the Nativity Fast. The icon corner should be our favoured place in these festive days, not the larder, the kitchen or the dining table! Please feast on spiritual food first.
May God bless you all.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark