The Past Weekend

Dear brothers and sisters, the weekend and days before it have been rather different to our normal parish routine, given the unavailability of St John’s at the weekend.

After an early return from Glastonbury for a medical appointment, I was able to use the time at the end of the week to catch up with a few of our young parishioners, who are a joyful antidote to the ageing and aches and pains of the more ‘mature’ among us. Praise God for our young parishioners!

Confessions on Friday afternoon and evening preceded compline in St Mary’s, and I was glad to be able to spend the night in Cardiff before travelling to Cheltenham with Deacon Mark on Saturday.

Our Cheltenham Liturgies are always a great blessing and a source of joy, and the past Saturday was no different. Having not had a weekday Liturgy for St Demetrios, we ‘caught up’ and honoured the Holy Great-Martyr by our celebration, mindful that three of our young parishioners had venerated his sacred, myrrh-flowing relics in Thessaloniki only weeks before.

The sun shone through the chapel windows and bathed our Liturgy with great light and warmth, though the warmth of trapeza was just as great, as we gathered round the table welcoming those for whom the Liturgy was a first in Cheltenham. Our sisters provided a wonderful lunch, prepared with great care and love – introducing our non-Slavs to wonderful home made Ukrainain and Russian food. It was a blessing to have such a social and convivial time, extending the fellowship of the Liturgy to our agape meal, which is such an important part of community life.

With no Cardiff Liturgy on Sunday, some of our parishioners took the opportunity to worship with Father Sorin and our Romanian sister-parish, where they were welcomed with great warmth and were happy to share the Liturgy with friends, experiencing the Romanian spiritual tradition. Thanks go to Laura-Elena who translated Father’s sermon for our ROCORites. We thank all in the Romanian parish for their love in Christ: la mulți ani!

Here in Llanelli, Father Deacon Mark served the Liturgy with Father Luke, whilst I took to the kliros, quite enjoying a change of role, for once.

On such a sunny, warm day it was a joy to be in the little garden chapel with the small but friendly congregation, and to then enjoy a very warm and sociable meal together. I must admit that having a little free-time on a Sunday afternoon, praying and walking through a carpet of fallen leaves, was a rare and very welcome treat!

Today is the feast of the Holy Unmercenary Healers, Cosmas and Damian, and I encourage you to ask the intercessions of the Holy Healers for the sick – especially for the servants of God Nikolai, Vyacheslav, Aleksey, Vadim, Angela, Mary-Louisa, the child Sergei, the child Kyrill, and for the non-Orthodox relatives of our parishioners, Celine and Paul.

Given my ongoing health problems and the possibility of the arising need for unplanned appointments, we will not meet on Friday evening, though I will make myself available for confessions this week, and will be making some parish visits.

May I ask for confession requests by 22:00 on Wednesday, and I will communicate with parishioners to make arrangements on a suitable day and time.

May God bless you all, and I ask for your continued prayers.

In Christ – Fr Mark

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