May, June and July Parish Pilgrimage

Dear brothers and sisters: Christ is Risen!

This Saturday – 20th May –  will see a band of pilgrims head to Glastonbury, meeting at Bride’s Mount in Beckery, on the edge of the town, at 10:00, celebrating a moleben to St Brigid.

Before the drainage of the Somerset Levels, Beckery – this area on the edge of Glastonbury – was an island in the tidal marshes along the River Brue, and Bride’s Mound was crowned with a monastic house. This monastic dwelling, dedicated to St Mary Magdalene,  was associated with Irish monastics travelling to Glastonbury – the primary monastery of ancient Britain – and Glastonbury lore and tradition, lists St Brigid as one of the Irish saints who visited and stayed here.

After the moleben at Bride’s Mound, we will head into town to the abbey, with the ruins of the once great religious foundation in its green acres of gardens. This will be an excellent place to refresh ourselves physically as well as spiritually, and the visitors’ centre has excellent educational resources.

The abbey grounds once contained the women’s alms-houses that were associated with St Patrick’s Chapel, and St Margaret’s Hospital with its men’s alms-houses nearby in Magdalen St, is another place for pilgrims to visit.

Our parish’s seasoned Glastonbury pilgrims enjoy visiting the Rose Garden – a wonderful little shop next to the parish church – from which we usually emerge with books, icons and Orthodox supplies.

As we head towards Chalice Well and the Tor, we can visit the fine neighbouring medieval church, which has been decluttered and restored over the last few years, so that we can now appreciate the beauty of the building, without the Victorian clutter that once made it difficult to see.

Chalice Well is very much a product of romance and legend, with its very creative association between St Joseph of Arimathea and the medieval well from which the iron-rich waters flow. Regardless of the new-age and alternative activities that happen within its environs, it remains a place of peace, relaxation, beauty and tranquillity – with a spring with beneficial waters.

Chalice Hill, from which the well flows is nestled next to Glastonbury Tor, the dramatic conical hill on which an ancient monastery stood – in whose excavation Fr Luke was involved in its excavation in the late 1960’s. In the middle-ages, the church of St Michael was built, with its surviving tower crowning the Tor.

The rural-life museum in the abbey barn is close by, and pilgrims may also wish to make a visit.

We look forward to our day in Avalon!

Looking forward to June, we shall be making a pilgrimage to Pennant Melangell on June 10th (the day after the feast of St Melangell). Given its distance from Cardiff, several parishioners having arranged to camp nearby. On the night of Friday June 9th.

The church in Pennant Melangell is built on the ancient site of the ancient monastery over which St Melangell presided as abbess, and houses her relics in the shrine where we will celebrate our pilgrim Liturgy.

This will be a very special pilgrimage, given the shrine and relics of St Melangell at the heart of the church, and we look forward to it.

Any potential pilgrims should contact Tracy:

From July 24-27th, group of ROCOR parishioners will be travelling to Walsingham, ‘England’s Nazareth’, enjoying the hospitality of  the South Wales Anglican Pilgrimage, after Fr Dean’s invitation to join the pilgrimage once more.

The accommodation cost is £225, and the cost for those wishing to travel on the coach is £370. Any more interested parties should contact me, Norman or Georgina as soon as possible

On a non-pilgrimage note, please remember that our Ascension Day Liturgy will be celebrated in Nazareth House at 11:00 on Thursday May 25th.

In Christ – Fr Mark

Local Orthodox Devotion to the Mother of God, ‘Our Lady of Walsingham’

Walsingham, a quintessentially English place of pilgrimage in honour of the Mother of God, has paradoxically been the place of many people’s first encounter with the Orthodox Church.

For some, this encounter has been the first step, or else a stepping stone, on their personal pilgrimage to the Orthodox Christian Faith, as we know from our own community and its friends – including our very own starosta and our friend, Schema-Hierodeacon Antony

In that sacred place, the Mother of God appeared in a dream to Richold de Faverches, the Lady of the Manor, in 1056, instructing her to build a chapel according to the dimensions of the Holy House of Nazareth – measurements proved to be correct in the course of history with the translation of the Holy House to Loreto in Italy.

The shrine became a place of countless miracles and throughout the Middle Ages the Holy House and priory at Walsingham were the most important shrine in England, known as England’s Nazareth, benefitting from royal patronage, including that of Henry VIII: tragically the author of its desecration and spoliation.

But, Walsingham’s story is one of resurrection, proving that the veneration of the Mother of God could not be obliterated in these islands, with both restored Anglican and Roman Catholic shrines becoming places of prayer and pilgrimage, and the amazing legacy of Father Alfred Hope Paten continuing to touch the lives of Orthodox Christian pilgrims year after year.

Our Russian Orthodox forebears, exiles with a great love for the Mother of God, became part of this story of renewal in 1938 when the extended Anglican shrine was consecrated, and Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka celebrated the Hierarchical Liturgy at the church’s high altar.

In the next decade, after the war, St Nikolai Velimirovic served in the shrine church whilst living in the College and convalescing after his liberation from Dachau.

Though the intended Orthodox Church was never built adjacent to the shrine church, pilgrims will be familiar with the little upstairs Orthodox Chapel consecrated on Pentecost-Trinity 1945.

The former monastery of St Seraphim, now sadly little more than a museum, played a pivotal role in the development of the veneration of the saints of Britain through the iconographic labours of Archimandrite David and his spiritual son and successor, Leon Liddament of blessed memory.

For some of us, Walsingham has a very special place in our lives and we greatly look forward to pilgrimages, despite its distance from South Wales. When we are there, we feel the reality of the Mother of God’s maternal care, protection and intercession.

With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Irenei, I have been able to make pilgrimages and celebrate services in the Chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, in the Anglican shrine-church three or four times a year – usually with the support and good-ministrations of Norman and Georgina, but also through our inclusion in local pilgrimage by Father Dean, and also on parish pilgrimage with members of our South Wales communities.

Whilst worshipping and meeting in the chaplaincy, at Newman Hall, we sustained our ‘Walsingham devotions’ to the Mother of God in the Little Oratory of Newman Hall, with its beautiful Walsingham Icon of the Mother of God. But, that ceased when we were no longer able to worship there with the change of chaplain.

Our local Anglican friends sustain their devotions through their Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham, and I very much hope that – in a similar way – those in our community who love Walsingham and its shrine to the Mother of God (and those who simply wish to deepen their devotion to the Mother of God) may wish to come together regularly to offer devotions and intercessions for the needs of the Church, of our community and the world.

We have not come together to chant the akathist to the Mother of God in honour of her Walsingham Icon since our exodus from Newman Hall in 2020, and my hope and prayer is that we may soon remedy this, as well as looking forward to a parish pilgrimage, introducing new pilgrims to ‘England’s Nazareth.’

As I look forward to serving in Walsingham in Cheese-Fair week, I hope that discussions over the next few weeks may prove fruitful and find others who wish to share in local devotions.

The Orthodox Chapel That Could Have Been

Though I have never seen photographs, some of the elders within our diocese recall the apse that was started in Walsingham, remaining incomplete – never to be part of an Orthodox Chapel that was conceived and planned to adjoin the south aisle of the Anglican shrine church, in the garden of St Augustine’s, where the confessional rooms now stand.

The ground had been blessed by Metropolitan Seraphim of the Russian Church in Exile (as our ROCOR was then called), though I am still searching in ‘Our Lady’s Mirror’ from the 1930’s to find when.

It would be wonderful to see drawings and plans of the intended chapel, whose construction was prevented by the outbreak of war.

The ‘temporary’ chapel within the shrine church – in which we are still celebrating – adjoins the proposed site, and has been in use since 1941, when it was used by both Eastern European prisoners of war from a nearby camp, and the Free-Polish armed forces.

It was consecrated by Archbishop Sava of Grodno on Trinity-Pentecost 1945) not 1944 as incorrectly repeated on the internet), and St Nikolaj Velimirovic served in this little chapel during his Walsingham convalescence, after the Second World War.

The original dedication of the chapel was in honour of the icon of ‘The Mother of God, of Perpetual Succour’, as can be seen on the foundation document. It was much later that the dedication was changed to the ‘Life-Giving Spring’, and this seems to have had no canonical sanction or official status.

Having celebrated the feast of the Holy Equal to the Apostles, St Vladimir in the ‘temporary’ chapel, yesterday, on the very hand-drawn antimension that was placed on the Holy Table on that day, we are aware of how blessed Orthodox pilgrims are to be continuing as part of the ‘Orthodox story’ of Walsingham, treading where holy men have gone before them.

A Paschal Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

I have been very fortunate to make a pilgrimage to Walsingham for a few days, celebrating the altar-feast of the Orthodox chapel of the Life-Giving Spring.

The Mother of God appeared to Richeldis (Rychold), Lady of the Manor of Walsingham in the 11th century, commanding her to build a replica of the original Holy House of Nazareth, later dismantled and rebuilt in Loreto, in Italy, after the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land.

The great shrine and priory, which developed around the chapel of the Holy House was endowed through royal patronage and was renowned throughout Europe, but despite its sanctity and fame it fell victim to the ravages of the reformation and the destruction of the holy places by King Henry VIII and his henchmen.

The 19th century saw the restoration of Roman Catholic pilgrimage to Walsingham, based in the Slipper Chapel, and the 20th century saw the restoration of Anglican religious life around a newly built Holy House and shrine complex.

The founder of the restored Anglican shrine, Father Alfred Hope Paten, was encouraged to engage with the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile by Father Henry Joy Fynes-Clinton, vicar of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, who had travelled in Russia before the revolution, visiting holy places and holding theological discussions with some of the leading churchmen of the time. Despite his advanced Papalist Anglo-Catholicism, he was a great admirer of Orthodoxy and a friend and supporter of the exiled faithful, including the first hierarch of the Church in Exile, Metropolitan Antoniy of Kiev and Galych.

The Orthodox presence in the shrine has been developed over the years by a series of remarkable Orthodox figures, including Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes (former tutor to the Tsarevich Alexei), Archbishop Nestor of Kamchatka, Archbishop Sava of Grodno, St Nikolai Velimirovich, Archbishop Nikodem, and the pioneer of iconography of British saints, Archimandrite David.

Our diocese and its clergy have been involved in spiritual life here since the earliest years of the Anglican shrine, when emigré Russians made pilgrimages to this corner of Norfolk to honour the Mother of God.

The intended free-standing Russian Orthodox chapel was never built, but the little chapel in use since 1941 and consecrated by Archbishop Sava on the Sunday of Pentecost in 1944, remains a place of Orthodox prayer and worship, occupying a landing on above the south aisle of the Anglican shrine church.

Now that Father Philip Steer is unable to serve in the chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, the Orthodox presence is maintained by Mother Melangell, who has a house-skete in the village. There is a Russian-tradition parish of the Patriarchate of Constantinople a short distance away, based in the Church of the Transfiguration in Great Walsingham, and the former monastic-brotherhood church of St Seraphim survives, though sadly bereft of services for most of the year.

We are greatly blessed that Orthodox prayer is offered in Walsingham EVERY day, even if the Liturgy is not celebrated in the shrine very often.

It is a joy to celebrate and pray in the shrine, especially in the evenings, when the church is quiet. The Holy House, dedicated to the Annunciation and built to replace that destroyed by the reformers of the 16th century is a special place to pray the akathist hymn to the Mother of God.

There were many intentions for which to pray during the short pilgrimage, and the culmination of this prayer was our Liturgy for the feast of the Mother of God, the Life-Giving Spring, a short distance from her holy well within the shrine-church.

It was a privilege to be with our local friends, including parishioners from Walsingham, Cambridge and Norwich, to meet local supporters of the Martha and Mary Convent in Moscow, and to share a Paschal lunch in the orangery after the Liturgy – welcoming two Ukrainian pilgrims who visited that day, not knowing that there would be an Orthodox presence.

We very much look forward to returning in the summer and autumn, knowing that the Mother of God continues to pour out her grace on this shrine and the many pilgrims who honour her in England’s Nazareth.

Bright Week – Christ is Risen!

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

On this Feast of the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, I am travelling to Walsingham to celebrate the altar-feast of the Orthodox shrine chapel of the Life-Giving Spring, on Friday.

The last week has been one that has left us exhausted, but full of the joy of the resurrection after the mourning of Holy Friday and the stillness of Holy Saturday, as we contemplated the Saviour’s Body in Gethsemane, in the tomb.

I now look forward to a few days in Walsingham and praying in the Holy House and sepulchre, and serving in the shrine chapel, continuing the link that our diocese has had with the shrine and village since the 1930’s, when the pioneering Father Alfred Hope Paten championed the restored devotion to the Mother of God in this little Norfolk village, once the greatest centre of pilgrimage in pre-reformation Britain: England’s Nazareth.

After the week’s pilgrimage, I shall celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Thomas Sunday in Cheltenham on Saturday morning – hearing confessions from 09:15, before the Paschal Hours and Liturgy at 10:30.

We will begin the Hours later than usual, as the Paschal format is very short in comparison to the normal Hours.

We will celebrate in the United Reformed Church, Deep St, Prestbury, GL52 3AW.

To accommodate confessions, I would appreciate emails by Thursday please) and will stop in Cardiff on the way home from Cheltenham. I know that we have a few Cardiff parishioners that work on Saturdays, and we will make it possible for them to confess on Sunday, in addition to our parishioners from the other side of the Severn. Please email:

I would like to thank everyone who worked so incredibly hard for the success of Holy Week and Pascha, and express our profound gratitude to Father Dean and Georgina for the warmth with which we were welcomed to St Mary’s, which proved to be a wonderful place to celebrate, with its beautiful sanctuary and resonant acoustic.

I encourage everyone to pray the Paschal Canon everyday this week, preserving the joy of the Resurrection, and making the Paschal hymns part of each day’s prayer and devotion.

With love in the Risen Lord.

Hieromonk Mark