A Joyful Sunday After the Exultation of the Cross

Dear brothers and sisters,

Even though today only saw the celebration of the Hours, Typika/Obednitsa with Holy Communion, and a moleben before the veneration of the Cross, and no Divine Liturgy, I must admit that it felt so different to last week’s similar liturgical scheme and was such a joyous gathering.

The festal nature of the Sunday after Exultation shone through our aggregate of services, with the chanting of ‘Krestu Tvoyemu’, the veneration and ‘krestotselovanie’ and anointing with oil from Godenovo giving our services a profound spiritual focus.

Thanks are particularly due to matushka Alla for arranging the floral frame for the Cross at very short notice, and to our singers and readers. Thanks are also due to our sisters who provided such excellent home cooked food for trapeza.

We were very happy to congratulate Ludmilla Borisevna on her recent nameday, and I know that her sharlotka was greatly enjoyed by parishioners, and a wonderful autumnal addition to the celebration!

The half-marathon clearly failed to dissuade parishioners from getting to church today, and even though we were without our young pilgrims and a few other parishioners who have commitments elsewhere, there was still a good number of worshippers, and it was lovely to see such a social gathering during trapeza.

It was lovely to have Father Luke and Swansea parishioners with us, and we are very grateful for help with confessions. This made a tremendous difference, and we always value this assistance with the Holy Mysteries.

The appearance of Oswald, fresh from the coach from London, after his return journey from Greece was most welcome, and he has now reactivated his eBay icon-shop, after our having the stock at St John’s and selling icons after Liturgy for the last few weeks.

As I sit typing this greeting, in Glastonbury, the Saviour of the Burning-Eye, bought from his lavka today is the focus of my prayers and a most welcome and powerful addition to my ‘travelling icon-corner’.

Anyone wishing to look for his icons on eBay should go to https://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/tobwri53/ , and on etsy, please go to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/OrthodoxIconsGB

 I hope that icons will continue to be available after Liturgy.

The afternoon saw the baptism of Maxim, who was our first child to desperately want to go back into the font, though last Sunday it was clear at little Pavel’s baptism that four years after his own, Yuriy would have happily done the same! We pray for the newly enlightened Maxim, and for Yevgeniy and Maria his sponsors. May God grant them many blessed years.

I shall be in Glastonbury for a few days of prayer and quiet, having already felt the benefit in just four hours. This is, of course, a place central to the coming of the Gospel to Britain and was the first and most important monastery of these islands. Despite the nonsense and sinister practices that go on here now, it is important that we value the local sacred sights and pray and worship here as Christians grounded in the continuance of the apostolic Church. Saints of Glastonbury, pray to God for us!

Thanks to Father Deacon Mark for dropping me here on his journey to Devon, and thanks to Nataliya for dispatching me with a box of pirozhky for tea.

Again, we will schedule confessions for Saturday, and we greatly look forward to the resumption of the Divine Liturgy. As I said before Holy Communion, remembering the impossibility of Liturgy for so many people during the Soviet period, let us never take it for granted, and thank God for every day that is blessed by the celebration of the Holy Mysteries.

Please email requests for confession by 22:00 on Wednesday, please.

May God bless you all, and I ask you to continue to remember me in your prayers, rejoicing that they are being answered by the All-Merciful Lord.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark