The first ROCOR Liturgy in Swansea was celebrated in the Vivian Hall in Blackpill, this morning, and the village hall will be the home of the local Russian Orthodox Parish for the foreseeable future.
Though minimalist in set-up, the furnishings of Orthodox worship provided all that was needed for the Liturgy, celebrated by Father Luke, whilst I joined those on the kliros, where we mainly chanted in English, but with a few Slavonic chants. We hope that Romanian parishioners will share in the chanting in future weeks.
The Liturgy was well attended, welcoming a mixed congregation of Welsh, Romanian and Russian parishioners from both of our South Wales parishes, and there was ample time to catch up, socialise and spend time together after Liturgy
It was good that parishioners organised car-shares, and I hope this will become an automatic part of parish-life, making it possible for as many of the faithful as possible to attend Liturgy, wherever it is celebrated.
Swansea and Llanelli parishioners have been reminded of the sheer effort required to set up a building for Liturgy, and I hope that in the weeks ahead as many people as possible will offer their labours and assist Father Luke as much as possible. There is much lifting, carrying and unpacking to be done before the hall is ready for worship, and this must be performed in reverse at the end of the day. Parishioners now need to work together to support their parish-priest in this very physical and tiring task.
Father Luke will celebrate the Liturgy in Swansea again next Sunday, with set-up at 09:00, the Hours at 10:00 and the Liturgy at 10:30. Those wishing to communicate should ideally make arrangement to make their confession to Father Luke in the week, to ease Sunday morning, when there is so much to be done.
After a week without Liturgy in Cardiff, the Russian Orthodox Parish will return to St John’s this coming weekend, and I will post details of our services in the next few days.
Every Liturgy is an occasion for rejoicing, and each week we leave Cardiff buoyed by the joy of our celebration, no matter how physically tired we feel. However, today was an especially joyful Sunday, beginning with Elliot being made a catechumen and formally beginning the journey to the waters of baptism, after being an active member of our community for the greater part of the year. It was wonderful to see the joy on the faces of our parishioners – particularly on the kliros – when Elliot recited the creed, and during the final prayer:
O Master, Lord our God, call Thy servant Elliot to Thy holy Enlightenment and count him worthy of the great grace of Thy holy Baptism. Put off his old self and renew him for eternal life and fill him with the power of Thy Holy Spirit for union with Thy Christ, that he may no longer be a child of the body, but a child of Thy kingdom. Through the good pleasure and grace of Thine Only-begotten Son, with whom Thou art blessed, together with Thine all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.
A wonderfully affirmative Amenresounded from the kliros.
I was greatly heartened to know that in baptism, he will take the name of his local sainted-hierarch, St Aldhelm of Sherborne: an apt name for a Dorset musician.
May St Aldhelm pray for him, protect and bless him!
The triumphal joy was sustained by the choir, lifted by the return of Aleksandra, after her period of rest following a fall, with the added blessing of Byzantine chants, in addition to the usual Russian melodies.
It was good to have an army of oltarniky today, and a blessing to have them helping with our commemoration after a busy time of confessing the faithful. When they bowed to the high-place and turned to the west behind the Holy Table for the creed, it was a wonderful sight. As always, they coped with the unexpected, as a blessing of our new travelling holy-vessels and icons crept into the dismissal of the Liturgy.
We were very happy to congratulate Peter on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, and to sing Mnogaya Leta with conviction and hwyl (Welsh gusto!). Again, dear Peter, we pray that God will grant you many, blessed years!
Our social time after Liturgy, allowed us to welcome visitors and catch up over a glass of wine, super-strong coffee for the rector and some lunch. This is one of the aspects of parish-life that we missed so much under stringent covid-regulations, and to return to this fellowship is a blessing and relief.
It was wonderful to have parishioners come to Liturgy to receive a blessing before travelling abroad, and we also hold our student Marina in our prayers, as she completes her M.A. dissertation at home in Moscow. It was strange not to have her with us, but the consolation was to see the friendship between our young parishioners.
Anglican use of St John’s, coupled with my work commitments see us relocate to Swansea, next week, to support Father Luke with the first public Russian Orthodox Liturgy in Swansea, in the Vivian Hall, 82 Mumbles Rd, Black Pill, Swansea SA3 5AS. We hope the weather will be fine, so that we might enjoy relaxing in the lido gardens after Liturgy. All are encouraged to bring food and refreshments for a bring-and-share lunch.
The Hours will be celebrated at 10:00, followed by the Divine Liturgy at 10:30. Confessions will be heard before and during the Hours. Parishioners from Wiltshire and Cardiff have already pledged their support, and our ‘mobile singers’ will be prepped in the next day or two.
Father-Deacon Mark, Alla and Yuriy will not be with us, but will be enjoying a well-deserved break in Corfu, charged with bringing the prayers of our parishes to the shrine of St Spyridon the Wonderworker, and when they return, we will hopefully chant a moleben to St Spyridon, who is greatly loved in the Cardiff parish.
Thank you to all who contributed to today’s Liturgy and lunch, making the parish a prayerful, warm and welcoming place for those who came through the church doors for the first time. Thanks are also due to parishioners who supported Liturgy in Cheltenham Liturgy, yesterday, building the spiritual bonds between our communities.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments…”
This coming weekend, we look forward to welcoming you to our services in Cheltenham and Cardiff.
On Saturday, the Parish of the Holy Great Prince, Vladimir, will celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Prestbury United Reformed Church at 10:00, with confessions being heard from 09:15. A bring-and-share lunch will follow the service. For details, see:
As we are unable to celebrate the Protecting Veil – the feast of Pokrov – with a Liturgy tomorrow, we will celebrate the Protection on Saturday, blessing the little chapel in Prestbury with another feast of the Mother of God.
On the clergy’s return to Cardiff, we will chant compline in Cardiff at 16:30, with the canon to the Protection of the Mother of God, and we will then celebrate the Hours and Liturgy on Sunday morning at 11:00. As usual, confessions will begin as soon as we have entry to the Church, around 10:15.
The following weekend 23/24 St John’s is unavailable on either Saturday afternoon, or Sunday at the usual time. Though we would be able to celebrate the Liturgy at 06:00 (as I had previously hoped), there will be no chance to hear confessions, given the Saturday situation.
Given this combination of difficulties, we will – regrettably – be unable to celebrate in Cardiff, but will join Father Luke for his first public Swansea Liturgy, in the Vivian Hall, 82 Mumbles Rd, Black Pill, Swansea SA3 5AS.
So… those who would like a seaside Liturgy, are encouraged to journey to Swansea Bay and be a part of the ROCOR celebration for Swansea, Llanelli and West Wales. If you are able to support the Swansea-Llanelli parish, please try to ensure that spare seats in your car are offered to other parishioners who do not have their own transport. May we also ask the same of anyone who is able to support the Cheltenham Liturgy?
I will post details of the Swansea Liturgy once I have spoken to Father Luke.
Finally – I encourage you all to celebrate the feast of the Protecting Veil / Pokrov in your homes tomorrow, and celebrate the Protection of the Mother of God with joy and hope!