The Sunday After Ascension

Dear brothers and sisters,

Despite parishioners being away for half-term, it was good to have a fairly well attended Liturgy, with faces that we haven’t seen since our move from St John’s – some of our Ukrainian faithful having been home for family reasons, before returning to the safety of Cardiff and the Valleys. It was a joy to see them, and especially to see so many confess and commune. We congratulate all who partook of the Holy Mysteries.

We also congratulated oltarnik Alexander on his nameday, the feast of St Alexander of Rome on Thursday, and sang mnogaya leta for him, and for Norman and Anne who have celebrated milestone birthdays. We also congratulate Nataliya on her birthday, which I did not realise was yesterday.

Following Liturgy and trapeza, we were very happy to welcome baby Stylian and his family, for the celebration of his baptism, which was a joyful and blessed British-Bulgarian-Romanian celebration. We look forward to his first reception of the Holy Mysteries, and pray that God will grant him, his godfather Cristian and his family many blessed years. We now look forward to a double baptism on Sunday 11 June.

Last Thursday saw a handful of us celebrate the Lord’s Ascension, and the texts of today’s Liturgy reminded us that it iss the after-feast, on which we celebrated the memory of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council, at Nicea in 325.

This coming Wednesday, we will also commemorate the Fathers of the other Ecumenical Councils, and in my homily, I reflected on how the conciliar understanding of the Saviour’s divinity and humanity are celebrated in the feast of the Ascension, in which Christ as God returns to the glory which He possessed in eternity before creation, and yet put aside in the Divine Humility and selfless-love of the Incarnation, but also ascending into this glory with the humanity He shares with us, and which is now worshipped by the angels and saints in heaven – to which He calls us in the fullness of our humanity in the life of the age to come.

Next Sunday will bring the celebration of Pentecost-Trinity, in which we will mark the birthday of the Church, and pray on bended-knee in vespers, for the gift of the All-Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. I know that our sisterhood will be making posies for our worshippers to hold during vespers, according to our tradition, but we also encourage you all to bring branches and greenery for this wonderful feast.

Sadly, train strikes at the end of the week affect my travels using public transport. This will mean that our discussion group on prayer will not happen this Friday.

I will hear confessions on Thursday in Nazareth House, and around vespers on the eve of Pentecost-Trinity, on Saturday. Vespers will be at 17:00 and I would prefer to hear confessions before the service, as I am yet unsure of my travel method.

Would those requiring confessions please email me as soon as possible, and most definitely by noon on Wednesday.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

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