Parish News: 5th February

Dear brothers and sisters, 

Our week begins after a characteristically busy Sunday, with a well attended Liturgy in St John’s, and a larger than usual number of the faithful confessing and communing, though the number of communicants has been significantly growing over the last five or six weeks. I am grateful for the patience of our parishioners as confessions were concluded during the preparation of the chalice with the Holy Gifts.

It was wonderful to look out of the altar at the beginning of the Liturgy and see all of our children assembled to join in the chanting of the litanies before the Gospel. It was equally wonderful to see so many flowers in vases and adorning the icons.

I was very happy to see so many people enjoying trapeza after Sunday Liturgy, and particularly to see so many young people enjoying one another’s company, with students from Cardiff, Bristol and Bath joining other young people from our South Wales parishes.

A thank you to all who have been helping in the setting up and rearrangement of the church before and after Liturgy, and remind all that everyone’s aid makes these movements considerably quicker and easier.

With the growing numbers of worshippers, with more people staying for this bring-and-share lunch, I hope that we may ensure that there is enough food to at least offer some simple refreshment to all who join us.

Again I would like to thank parishioners for their greetings and gifts for the feast of St Mark of Ephesus. Having a Torte Napoleon to share with our students was very much appreciated and made for a festive student gathering.


As we begin our week, the news is dominated by the cancer-diagnosis of His Majesty the King, and we offer our prayers for his health and treatment during his illness, and for a swift and speedy recovery, turning to the Mother of God ‘the Queen of All’ before whose icon we pray for all of those – including our own loved ones and parishioners – affected by cancer.

Among those who are sick, we also pray for Ludmilla, Brigid, and for Steven, Martin, Nigel and Jacky among the friends a family members of our parishioners.

Having chanted a post-Liturgy memorial service for the newly-departed Alexey, we continue to pray for the repose of his soul, also remembering His Grace Archbishop Anatoly, Yulia and Barnabas. Memory Eternal!

Confessions in Nazareth House this week

Given the limited time we have before Liturgy, if you know that a confession lasting more than five minutes is required, we will need to hear such longer confessions and commune the faithful after Liturgy. We must be firm in starting the Hours and proskomedia at 11:00, but will find appropriate ways to meet the pastoral and sacramental needs of the faithful.

Of course, we very much hope that those living in Cardiff will avail themselves of the opportunity to make their confession on Thursdays, when they may do so in the afternoon or evening, according to circumstance and need. Please email by 18:00 on Wednesday to arrange a Thursday confession, and by Saturday midday to notify us of Sunday confessions, purely to give me an idea of number.

Thursday confessions continue to be heard in Nazareth House!

Cheltenham Liturgy: 10 February

Next Saturday will be our February Liturgy in Cheltenham, when we will celebrate the feast of Saints Ephrem and Isaac the Syrian in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Cheltenham GL52 3AN.

Due to the pastoral needs for confession, as well as setting up the church for Liturgy, from Saturday, the Hours and Liturgy will now start at 10:30: half an hour later than previously. However, confession will still begin around 9:20, and will end at 10:20. We will have our customary bring-and-share lunch after the Liturgy, and look forward to spending time with both parishioners and visitors.

Llanelli Liturgy for the Meeting of the Lord: 15 February

As the coming feast of the Meeting of the Lord on 2/15 February falls on a Thursday, we are unable to celebrate in St John’s, due to weekly use in the morning. Therefore, the Divine Liturgy of the feast will be celebrated in the chapel at Father Luke’s home in Llanelli, with the Hours and Liturgy commencing at 10:00.

Pilgrimage to the Oratory Church and Caerleon: 24 February

Looking forward to the coming months, we will recommence our pilgrimages on the fourth Sunday of each month, and will begin with a local pilgrimage in honour of the protomartyr of Britain, St Alban, and the protomartyrs of Wales, Julius and Aaron. Through the good offices of Father Sebastian and the Cardiff Oratory, we will head to the Oratory Church in Swinton Street, Splott, where we will offer a moleben before the sacred relics of St Alban at 10:30, before heading to Caerleon for lunch and a visit to the amphitheatre and Roman excavations, offering prayers to Saints Julius and Aaron,

Pilgrimage to Margam Abbey: 23 March

Our pilgrimage on Saturday 23 March, in honour of the Mother of God, will be to Margam Abbey, near Port Talbot, where we hope to celebrate the Divine Liturgy, share a picnic lunch and explore the church and neighbouring abbey ruins, returning to church for devotions to the Theotokos, whose shrine in the abbey was destroyed during the reformation. We will announce details after further discussions with the Margam clergy.

Food Bank

Thank you to all who contributed to St John’s Food Bank on Sunday. I hope that those parishioners who are able might make Sunday contributions of non-perishable foodstuffs part of their weekend routine.


May we remind everyone to turn off their telephones before the beginning of Sunday worship, and stress that it is not appropriate for children to be using smart phones for entertainment/occupation during the Liturgy. We have some very young children who need occupying during the service, and recognise this, but ask that they play in the children’s corner, so that there is are no distractions for the clergy and faithful at the front of church during our worship.

I look forward to being with our Cheltenham parishioners on Saturday, and Cardiff parishioner on Sunday, which is the feast of the Translation of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer.

The variable of the day may be found here:

May God bless you.

Hieromonk Mark

Confessions This Week

Dear brothers and sisters, 

As announced at Liturgy on Sunday, confessions will be heard on Thursday and Saturday this week. 

Those who confessed last weekend are blessed to commune at the Theophany Liturgy, and those preparing for communion on Sunday may confess after the Great Blessing of the Waters. 

There will be limited time before our 11:00 Liturgy, so I would appreciate an idea of how many confessions are expected. I have already received several requests, and will confess those respective parishioners first. If needed, parishioners may be confessed and communed after the service. Please let us know if you would like to confess on Thursday. 

On Saturday, we will celebrate Great Vespers with Vladika at 17:00, and I and Father Luke will be available to confess people before and after the service. 

There will be confessions before the Sunday service, but these must end by 10:55, as Vladika will be greeted at 11:00. Those confessing should be mindful of the time, and long confessions will NOT be possible. 

Whatever day works best for you, please drop us a line. 

May God bless you all! 

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Confessions This Week

Dear brothers and sisters,

May I ask those requiring confessions this weekend to email me by Thursday evening. I shall hear local confessions on Saturday afternoon in St Mary’s, and the timing will depend on the number of those confessing.

As some of the faithful are in London on the March for Life, on Saturday, I will arrange an alternative time for their confessions. Anyone else not free on Saturday should also email me (realistically needed by Wednesday lunchtime to allow weekday arrangements to be made).

Several Sundays each month will see Father Luke celebrating in Llanelli, so please do not presume that it will simply be possible to turn up to church on Sundays and join the confession queue. On these Sundays, once the  proskomedia begins, there will be no confession queue, as the only priest will be celebrating Liturgy.

Also, I will be limiting confessions after Liturgy, as the parish priest MUST be able to spend time with the faithful. Once again, this is becoming difficult, as shown by the Sunday before last, when I did not finish till 15:30, by which time everything was packed away and parishioners gone.

This coming Sunday, with no deacon, as per last Sunday, I must lay the prokomedia table and arrange the altar, limiting my time to hear confessions. I already have four confessions to hear, with the possibility of a few more. However, these should be confessions for non-locals, who travel a significant distance to Liturgy or our older parishioners.

As this Sunday will be the Sunday after Dormition, we will celebrate the icon of the Mother of God ‘Прибавление ума / Pribavlenie Uma’, known in English as the ‘Giver of Reason’ or ‘Addition of Mind’. A short moleben to the Mother of God in honour of her icon will be offered at the end of the Liturgy.

May God bless you, and may your week continue in the joy of the Dormition.

In Christ – Fr Mark

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:

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


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:

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:

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:

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 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 as soon as possible.

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

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

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark