Being the feast of St Teilo, today saw a visit to Llandaff Cathedral, where we quietly prayed a short moleben to St Teilo before the reliquary in the Lady Chapel, commending our community, the Ukrainian land and the sick to God in our prayers.
At the time we were travelling, members of our parish joined the faithful in Ukraine and Russia in prayers for peace. and we especially ask St Teilo to intercede for Ukraine, for those who live in fear, and for those already affected by war and civil strife.
Troparion, Tone 4: As a fountain of the true Faith, thou didst issue forth the life-giving waters of salvation, O Hierarch Teilo. Wherefore, we implore thee, intercede with Christ our God that our souls may be saved.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 1: O teacher of pure doctrine, joy of monastics and St David’s fellow pilgrim to Jerusalem, where thou wast elevated to the episcopate, most pious Father Teilo, we keep festival in thy honour, praying for grace to follow in thy footsteps.
Pray to God for us, O Holy Hierarch Teilo, for we fervently flee unto thee, the speedy helper and intercessor for our souls.
It was wonderful for a small group of parishioners to be given the opportunity to gather at the shrine of St Alban in the Oratory Church in Splott, yesterday afternoon, offering a moleben to the Holy Protomartyr with the biographical canon telling the story of his passion.
This was the first liturgical visit to the shrine, and though a number of parishioners have been quietly visiting the relics to seek the intercession and help of St Alban, the public celebration in English and Church Slavonic brought Orthodox chant to the church, as we prayed for our communities, for the Church and for the world.
It was a great blessing for the faithful to be able to venerate a relic of St Alban after the dismissal of the moleben, having prayed before the relic enshrined in the feretory.
We extend our thanks to the Fathers and brethren of the Oratory, who have been supporters and benefactors of our Russian Orthodox parish over the last four years, and look forward to regular Orthodox prayers at the shrine.
Holy Protomartyr Alban, pray to God for us!
Troparion, Tone 3: With faith, piety and devotion let us hasten to the sacred shrine of the wondrous martyr Alban, the first in Britain to shed his blood for Christ the Lord, for Whom he willingly laid down his life; and let us pray that through his supplications our souls may find mercy and salvation.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Kontakion, Tone 2: Spec: Imbued with courage and bravery from on high, the glorious martyr Alban stood undaunted before the tyrant and boldly confessed Christ as the only God of all; and he utterly refused to offer sacrifice to false deities. Wherefore, having laid down his life for the Lord, he maketh earnest entreaty in behalf of our souls.
It has been wonderful to receive calls and messages from our faithful, during the course, of Sunday afternoon, confirming how well the parish coped without a priest, due to my isolation, which sadly precluded the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
This was the first time that the congregation had assembled for public worship without a priest, and a valuable (if unplanned) lesson in prayer and worship
However, the parish proved itself capable of coping in such circumstances, with the chanting of the Hours, the sung Typika and moleben to the Mother of God in honour of her Kazan Icon, demonstrating that when the unexpected happens, worship can continue with beauty and solemnity.
As I have already said in communication with parishioners, reader-services or services according to the lay-order (Богослужение мирянским чином), are very much part of the liturgical history of the Orthodox Church, latterly in the vastness of Russia, where some outlying settlements and hermitages, only had priestly services very rarely.
Between the visits of priests, the services were led by non-ordained monastics and lay elders. As in the desert of Africa, where the early monasteries and hermitages usually lacked clergy, lay liturgical practice was firmly established and was well known in each religious community.
I previously wrote on Facebook
“With the acquisition of some familiarity and knowledge of the order of the services and the sources for their parts, liturgical prayer without a priest is possible. This, perhaps, is the cue for us to start studying the liturgical cycle and to learn how to pray liturgically in the absence of clergy.
Many of us, have at some time in our lives, discovered this Tradition, largely through our physical distance from Orthodox parishes and services…”
I hope that we will be able to share the knowledge of reader-services in our Cardiff and Cheltenham communities, giving parishioners the confidence to come together for common worship without clergy.
I would like to thank our Deacon for taking the reins on this occasion.
We are, as always, indebted to our kliros and readers for their devoted service, and owe great thanks to matushka Alla for the flowers that adorned the icons bringing so much joyful colour to the celebration.
I look forward to returning from my enforced retreat, adding that I am in good spirits, despite fatigue, tinitus and headaches. I look forward to serving our Cheltenham and Cardiff faithful next weekend.
Reader Typica and Moleben in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos. followed by a bring-and-share lunch.
Unfortunately, it will not be possible to celebrate in the Liturgy in Cardiff on this day. Please see below.
Dear brothers and sisters,
Already regretting that we are unable to be together to celebrate the feast of the Kazan Icon tomorrow, I now have the added sorrow of being in isolation due to the unwelcome arrival of covid in the support-setting in which I work.
I am pleased to say that my daily tests have been clear until this morning, when the fateful line appeared next to the t on my lateral-flow test. Having posted a PCR test yesterday, when my daily lateral flow was negative, I have just ordered a second PCR and will remain in isolation awaiting concrete results.
To be clear, my daily-results were negative until today.
I have already spoken to Deacon Mark to indicate that my isolation will not affect the liturgical-gathering of our parish on what, for us, is a particularly celebratory Sunday. However, it will obviously not be possible to celebrate the Liturgy.
With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Irenei, and the leadership of our deacon and choir, the typica and a festal moleben in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Theotokos will take the place of our usual Liturgy, and our hope is for the faithful to share a buffet-lunch after the service.
With this in mind, would those wishing to provide food/refreshments contact Deacon Mark, so that offerings for the table may be coordinated – firstname.lastname@example.org ?
Sadly, my isolation will also not allow me to serve in Walsingham, next week, where I was very much looking forward to catching up with our Orthodox brothers and sisters in ‘England’s Nazareth’. I look forward to journeying to Norfolk as soon as possible.
Though there will be Sunday Liturgy in Swansea, I would very much like the parishioners to celebrate together in Cardiff, so that those without transport and who have other commitments and demands may be part of the service to honour the Mother of God.
In the meantime, I ask your prayers, principally for the people I support, but also for my swift recovery!
Dear brothers and sisters, on this feast of the Lord’s Ascension, I encourage you to pray the canons of the feast in your daily prayers, and to try to do the same whenever we celebrate Great Feasts, and the feasts of our most beloved saints.