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.

Friday Events: Moleben to St Alban Before His Relics

Dear brothers and sisters,

Through the good offices of the fathers and brethren of the Cardiff Oratory, I will celebrate a moleben before the relics of the Holy Protomartyr, Alban, in the Church of St Alban-on-the-Moors, on Friday, and should very much welcome parishioners to join me.

This is the first liturgical-visit to the shrine, but the brethren of the Oratory have indicated that we would be most welcome for regular prayers and devotions before the relics.

After the moleben, we will be able to venerate the relics of the Holy Protomartyr, who became an unofficial patron of our diocese through our joyful pilgrimages to St Alban’s Abbey in Hertfordshire.

The Fathers have asked that we offer the moleben at 14:30, to ensure that we are undisturbed, though I will hear confessions in the church before the service (and after, if needed), with several parishioners having indicated that afternoon confessions will be easier for them than going to St Mary Butetown in the evening.

I repeat – this will be the first of regular visits to the shrine, to which some of us already go quietly, for personal prayer, mindful that it is such a great blessing to have the relics in the city.

Confessions in St Mary Butetown will commence at 18:00, and will be followed by our catechesis cum refresher session in the parish room in North Church Street.

Our thanks go to Fathers Sebastian and Dean, for their warmth and generosity, and to Brother David-Lewis Barker for his support and enthusiasm in building parish links with our local shrine of St Alban.

Holy Protomartyr, Alban, pray to God for us!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Addresses:

Church of St Alban-on-the-Moors, Swinton St, Splott, Cardiff CF24 2NX.

Church of St Mary the Virgin, North Church St, Butetown, Cardiff CF10 5HB.

 

The Week Ahead

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Further to our announcement after Sunday Liturgy, we will be holding our next catechesis session this week, welcoming parishioners who would like to treat our sessions as a refresher, in addition to those new to Orthodoxy.

However, due to diaconal commitments, the meeting will be on Thursday, not on Friday, as hoped. We intend to return to meeting on Fridays in future weeks, as we did during Advent. 

We will meet at 19:00 in the parish room at the church of St Mary, Butetown, entering through the garden side-gate and east door (at the Bute Street end of the church).  

Address: St Mary the Virgin, North Church St, Cardiff, CF10 5HB. We are indebted, once again, to Father Dean and the parish for their generous hospitality.

Again, repeating news from Sunday, we will be making a mini-pilgrimage to Llancarfan Church on Saturday, anticipating the feast of St Cadoc, on Sunday.

We will gather in the church at noon, and will be welcomed with a tour, before holding a moleben to St Cadoc. 

I will hear confessions on Thursday, before and after the catechism session, continuing on Saturday, as needed. So, would all those requiring confession email me in the next day or two: otetzmark@hotmail.com

We also invite requests for house-blessings, following Theophany, though I cannot guarantee the presence of Yuriy my trainee-assistant, who ably assisted me last weekend.

We will endeavour to organise house-blessings for Cheltenham parishioners over the next few days, and will discuss logistics after Sunday Liturgy.

The Hours and Liturgy will be celebrated in St John’s, Canton, at 11:00 on Sunday, when we will have the joy of celebrating the Sunday of the New-Martyrs and Confessors.

The Liturgy variables may be found here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CisdFJaJvoCGN12xKMyEHWTljKbCApKI/view

May God bless you. 

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark 

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

 

Tomorrow: Saturday Events

13:00 Elliot’s baptism in the River Ewenny, Ogmore Castle – ALL WELCOME.
 
14:00-16:00 St John’s Christmas Fair, in the church.
 
17:00 Community celebration with a short Advent Moleben, the blessing of the Christmas tree,  and lighting up St John’s Crescent – mulled wine, street-food (Advent-friendly available) and mince-pies kindly provided by sponsors.
Confessions following the Moleben, and assistance tidying the church will be greatly appreciated.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Tomorrow, the feast of the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple, will see the baptism of our catechumen, Elliot, in the River Ewenny, at Ogmore Castle at 13:00.
In baptism, he will take the name of the Holy Hierarch Aldhelm, a musician-bishop, and fellow-native of Dorset.
We look forward to welcoming Elliot into the Ark of the Church with joy and anticipation, and anyone wishing to support him on this momentous day is most welcome to join us near the stepping-stones for the service.

As you are already aware, tomorrow’s confessions have to be accommodated around the community Advent celebration and turning on of the Christmas lights in the Crescent starting at 17:00.

Orthodox Advent prayers will bless this occasion, and this provides is a wonderful opportunity for the St John’s community and the local residents to encounter our Orthodox parish. We have been asked to be there for the beginning of the proceedings at 17:00, but I have been offered little detail regarding timings, making it impossible to give a confession timetable.

As it is a Fast, there are more people communing than usual and there are thirteen confessions tomorrow, so may I ask you to be succinct and sensitive to time when you are confessing, and be useful whilst you are waiting! I know that Mother Frances is worrying about the clean-up in St John’s and Orthodox hands will be appreciated in assisting her and the Anglican parishioners so that we have a nice clean and tidy church for Sunday worship.

I very much hope that I may be able to hear some confessions before the evening festivities and thereby ease the pressure a little, and allow parishioners more time, and that next week may see me hearing confessions over several days.

Please remember Elliot in your prayers, and support as many the events of the weekend as you are able.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

The Coming Weekend

The coming weekend will again see confessions heard in Deacon Mark’s office on Saturday, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, which is the first day of the Nativity Fast, the feast of Saints Guriy, Samon and Aviv – the preservers of the Christian family – and the feast of the great monastic father, St. Paisiy (Velichkovsky) of Moldavia and Mt. Athos.
As always, I ask those wishing to confess on Saturday and Sunday to email me at otetzmark@hotmail.com as soon as possible.
The variable parts of Sunday’s Liturgy may be found at ‘Orthodox Austin’ –
If bringing food for the bring-and-share lunch after the Liturgy, please remember that the food must be Lenten – meat, egg and dairy free, though fish will be permitted.
I am delighted to announce that through the generosity of Father Dean, of St Mary Butetown, we will be able to use the small parish-hall attached to the church for our Friday Advent Reflection, with the first gathering on 3 December at 19:00. We will be reflecting upon the presence of the Saviour in the Old Testament and the ‘Christophanies’ that lead the way to His Incarnation.
As we are only permitted twenty attendees, due to the size of the room, we ask that you let us know if you wish to attend.
May God bless you all!
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

This weekend in Cardiff

Cardiff – Saturday 20th November: Confessions 16:30

Cardiff – Sunday 21st November: Confessions 10:15,

Hours and Divine Liturgy 11:00

Dear brothers and sisters,

The coming weekend confessions will be heard in Deacon Mark’s office in Morganstown on Saturday, and the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Synaxis of the Holy Archangel Michael will be celebrated in St John’s on Sunday. On this day, we also celebrate the Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenary Healers.

As always, I ask those wishing to confess on Saturday and Sunday to email me at otetzmark@hotmail.com as soon as possible.

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

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16D8YuTL01vUpubzEQWn0Lj0nUUpnBB8S/view

Please consider bringing something for the bring-and-share lunch after the Liturgy.

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

 

Services in Cardiff this weekend: 9/10 October.

Despite it being the second Saturday of the month, there will be no Cheltenham Liturgy, as the United Reformed Church is unavailable. Cheltenham Liturgy will be on Saturday 16 October.

Compline will be celebrated at St John’s, as usual, at 16:30 with confessions being heard during the service.

The Divine Liturgy and Hours will be celebrated on Sunday at 11:00.

Would those requiring Sunday confession please contact me – otetzmark@hotmail.com – so that we have some idea of how many are confessing. We need to consider how we manage this, as there is presently insufficient time for everything that needs to be done before the beginning of Liturgy.

Please consider preparing food for our post-Liturgy ‘social’, being mindful that some of our faithful have a very early start and long journeys to and from the Liturgy.

Liturgy variables:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iheXDdQHfvzlTpMuJzqVn7gXKn5gbuF_/view

The Leave-Taking of the Dormition

Dear brothers, sisters and friends of our Cardiff and Cheltenham parishes,

The Liturgy in Cardiff today was greatly blessed by the addition of Father Luke to the celebrating clergy, much to the joy of those who have not seen him for a considerable time, with parishioners from deepest Wiltshire thinking they might drive all the way to West Wales to see him.

Father Luke was a very great help today, given parishioners had travelled from Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Swansea, and all required confession.

We congratulate all who partook of the Holy Mysteries on this Leave-Taking of the feast of the Dormition, when at the end of Liturgy, after the chanting of the encomia and velichanie for the Dormition, the plashchanitsa of the Mother of God was returned to the sanctuary.

Sunday was also the feast of St Irenaeus of Lyons and Bishop Irenei was greeted for his nameday by telephone yesterday evening, as he was leaving church after the vigil in our parish in Lyons. After the dismissal today’s Liturgy, we chanted Mnogaya Leta for our bishop, with an icon of St Irenaeus, written within the parish, being blessed before presentation to His Grace when the clergy visit the cathedral for its altar-feast: the Nativity of the Mother of God.

I was also very pleased to bless an icon of St Andrei Ufimsky by the hand of the same iconographer, and will be cherishing this in my cell.

The parish received a wonderful blessing this week, as our Chancellor, Archpriest Paul, commended the old candlestands from ROCOR‘s former Bradford parish the care of our community, and we were able to put them into use, knowing that these humble stands had been used in the worship of the Russian Church Outside of Russia since 1946. We sincerely hope they will still be in use in another seventy-five years.

In addition to visiting Wallasey and the Parish of St Elizabeth this week, Father Deacon Mark and I have also had the pleasure of visiting Vladika Irenei in London and the Cheltenham parish yesterday, so it has been a very busy week with significant mileage. To add to this, Deacon Mark is driving to Heathrow to meet matushka Alla and Yuriy who are on their return journey from Crimea at this very moment.

Though matushka and Yuriy are still in transit, other parishioners have arrived home, and it was lovely to have faithful back from Ukraine and Russia and to celebrate the Liturgy and the end of our ‘Summer Pascha’ with them.

As I explained at Liturgy, a very difficult work rota for me will make confessions a challenge this week, but I hope that it will be possible to hear confessions on Thursday. Given the challenges of the week, may I ask all requiring confession, and who are able to do so on Thursday to contact me by Wednesday lunchtime (indicating any time that you would NOT be available that day), so that I may endeavour to make arrangements: otetzmark@hotmail.com 

Given that next Sunday’s Liturgy is followed by a General Parish Meeting, it will only be possible to hear a few confessions before Liturgy, and there will be no possibility to hear either long confessions, or confessions after Liturgy. I am sorry, but on top of my work rota, the meeting makes this unavoidable. Also, there will be no Saturday evening service.

As always, our thanks go to everyone who made our celebrations in Cardiff and Cheltenham possible this weekend, particularly our servers and singers, and our sisters who prepared the food enjoyed by our hungry and appreciative faithful.

May God bless you all.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Services and confessions this weekend.

Dear brothers and sisters,  

May I remind you that this coming Sunday of the Dormition, God willing, our Liturgy will be at the unusually early time of 06:00, due to Anglican use of St John’s around noon. 

The Liturgy itself, NOT the hours, will start at this time, and we must vacate the church by 08:30, as there is an Anglican service at 09:00. Please arrive promptly. Although this is an extra early start, especially as we usually begin the Liturgy three hours later, all (especially communicants) should be in church for the initial blessing of the Liturgy. We understand that those travelling distances may be unable to be there for 6:00, but those living in Cardiff should be in church for this early start. Remember, this is what our Romanian sister-parish has to do EVERY week! 

The early start will make it impossible to hear confessions before Liturgy, but although it cannot be guaranteed, there may be time for confessions for those travelling from Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, afterwards. In this case, confessions will need to be brief, as there is no leeway regarding our departure time. Anyone hoping to confess on Sunday should email me: otetzmark@hotmail.com 

Parishioners have suggested a post-Liturgy gathering for ‘coffee and cake’ (or something more substantial in the café, perhaps) in Canton’s Victoria Park, which seems an excellent idea. So, those who would like to join this gathering should bring their flasks and supplies, or we could stage an Orthodox takeover of the park café. It should open at 08:30 and provide shelter, should the weather be inclement… which would be traditional for our Welsh summer. 

Should anyone feel so inclined, the remaining day could possibly accommodate a visit to a local holy place. Suggestions please! 

Confessions for local parishioners will be heard on Saturday, when – God willing – we will celebrate compline at 16:30. Sadly, although Saturday is the feast of the Dormition, I was unable to take the day off from my secular employment and will have to work until 14:30.

Sunday, the second day of the Dormition, will be the feast of the Icon of the Saviour ‘Not Made by Human Hands’ (the Mandilion / Holy Face) and the Icon of the Mother of God the Giver of Reason (Pribavlenie Uma). 

The variables may be found, as usual, at the Orthodox Austin website: 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zkb0J92JqJjw6fsYni7ln5hx9br-RNw4/view 

I look forward to celebrating with all who are able to gather on Sunday.

Asking your forgiveness for Christ’s sake. 

Spasi Gospodi – Fr Mark