Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday’s Liturgy brought a great contrast to our Hierarchical Liturgy, the previous weekend, most notably in the drop to our more usual Liturgy numbers of just over forty – though Nazareth House Chapel swallows that up in its vastness.
We were glad to welcome visitors, who mostly (though coincidently) travelled from Pontypridd. We hope that they will return to share Liturgy with us soon.
The parish was greatly blessed to have two deacons for the Divine Liturgy, with Father Avraamy’s ministrations greatly enriching our celebration. Having served as a deacon for twenty years, with thirteen of those being in the Svyatogorsk-Dormition Lavra, he brings great and very welcome experience to our parish.
I was also greatly appreciative of his pastoral help yesterday, spending time with refugees facing many challenges in their new life in the valleys. It was a blessing that his first Liturgy serving as an assistant cleric of the parish coincided with the visit of a family who hopefully benefitted from a long talk with him (as a fellow refugee), helped by his words and prayers. To Hierodeacon Avraamy – many years!
This is a prompt to point out that there have been problems with the door from the street – the family in question having arrived just as Mass ended and our final set up began, but not being able to get into the building they returned later, when the latch worked and the door fortunately opened! This has happened quite a few times over the last three or four weeks, with some first time visitors going to reception or giving up. The door is always unlocked for the 9:30 Mass and the handle may need turning several times. We have reported this, but the problem continues, so Deacon Mark will attack the latch with WD40 before next Liturgy to ensure the handle turns properly and the latch raises.
As announced at the end of Liturgy, there will be a local pilgrimage to Llandaff Cathedral on Saturday 25thFebruary, to pray before the relics of St Teilo, whose feast falls a few days earlier, whilst I am serving in Walsingham.
A moleben will be served at 10:00 in the Chapel of St Teilo, at the end of the righthand South Aisle, with time to explore the cathedral and a visit to St Teilo’s Well around the corner after the service. It has been suggested that those able to stay may wish to retreat to the Black Lion pub at midday. Tracy has kindly agreed to take on the role of pilgrimage coordinator, as we get pilgrimages under way. It would be useful for us to know how many people are able to join us for this small beginning to our pilgrimage-year, so parishioners are invited to email Tracy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Having discussed the use of Capel-y-ffin, the smallest church in the principality, with Father Richard Williams at Hay-on-Wye, we intend to make a pilgrimage to the Black Mountains, in honour of St David, on Saturday 18th March.
St David’s foundation at Llanthony, nearby, has been a place of March pilgrimage for many years. However, the darkness, intense cold and dampness of the virtually disused parish church make it an inhospitable place for Liturgy. Capel-y-ffin slightly further up the the Afon Honddu and the valley promises a lighter and more liturgically-hospitable place of worship: a very special place, close to the site of the monastery founded by the eccentric romantic, Father Ignatius of Llanthony in the 19th century.
Father Richard has suggested that we visit Hay-on-Wye after Liturgy, as he would be glad to welcome us at St Mary’s where I hope he will tell us about the early saints Eigen and Eigion who vie for the dedication of one of the churches of the benefice at Llanigon. Details will be confirmed after the pilgrimage has been discussed with Vladika Irenei.
The final pilgrimage note, is to point out that there are still places available for the diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land, led by Bishop Irenei, and taking place between 31st July and 12th August. Details may be found at:
I am very happy that some parishioners have registered for the pilgrimage, and I greatly look forward to visiting the shrines of the Holy Land – God-willing – not only with our bishop, but with brothers and sisters of the parish.
In Cardiff, we need to hold a parish AGM, and given the length of Liturgies during the Great Fast, Sunday 19th February will allow us to give three weeks notice, as per the statutes of parishes of the ROCOR. On that Sunday we will hold our parish general meeting after Liturgy, and will ensure that we have refreshments available to see us through to the end of the AGM. No elections are due during this meeting, but the matter of subscription is a priority, so that an electoral-roll is in place for any future voting. If you have any items for the agenda, please email Deacon Mark who acts as the parish administrator: email@example.com
This week, I will hear confessions on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, so may I ask for requests by 13:00 Wednesday lunchtime to allow time to contact those requiring a slot?
I wish to keep Saturday as free as possible, so that we can concentrate on the celebration of Great Vespers at 17:00. Church will be open for set up from 16:00.
Please don’t be shy in requesting house blessings, as I hope to get around some of the Cardiff homes of the parish this week, and next weekend, as well as heading further afield and venturing into England – at the ‘eastern end’ of the parish! Also, please remember that there is Theophany Water in Church, so if you have not yet taken any, please bring bottles to collect it.
I continue to ask your prayers for my health. Though the concerns of last autumn are happily behind me, I continue to suffer from oedema and continuing fatigue. Your prayers, in union with those of the saints and angelic-hosts, make an immense difference. We must never be tempted to think otherwise, however dysfunctional our spiritual lives may seem. Joined with the voices of the saints and bodiless powers of heaven, and with one another, even our feeble requests have power and force. Is not even the greatest and most powerful flood anything other than hundreds of thousands of single drops of rain!
In your prayers, we also ask for the remembrance of the newly departed servants of God, the Priest Stephen, Nikolai and Aleksandr, as well as for Stuart-Michael whose fortieth day has just passed, and for the Reader Paul and Joanna who reposed at the turning of the year. May their memories be eternal.
We also ask your prayers for Mirela, whose baby is very obviously imminently due. Having partaken of the Holy Mysteries at yesterday’s Liturgy, may the grace of the Lord’s Most Pure and Holy Body and Blood fortify her in the days ahead!
May God bless you all!
In Christ – Hieromonk MarK