The Sunday of the Prodigal Son in Cardiff

Dear brothers and sisters,

With the Sunday of the Prodigal Son signalling the approach of the Great Fast, our service heralded our entry into meatfare week and the last seven days of meat before the Sunday of Pascha.

We were blessed to sustain a congregation of around forty-five adults plus children, including Yuriy, whose fifth birthday was celebrated with the chanting of Many Years and the sharing of very nice Medovnik / Honey Cake, made by matushka Alla.

I was very happy that we were able to meet and welcome new Ukrainian faces today, and Father Hierodeacon Avraamy will be working on publicity and advertising among his fellow Ukrainians, some of whom are struggling to find us in Cardiff. He lives in Swansea and is also aware of Ukrainian faithful seeking a canonical Orthodox community not involved in supporting the schism in their suffering homeland.

As you will be aware, although still a cleric of the Dnipropetrovsk Diocese, Hierodeacon Avraamy is now temporarily a cleric of our parish, having been blessed to serve here by both Metropilitan Irenei of Dnipropetrovsk and our own Bishop Irenei.

With the resumption of his ministrations, it was a joy to celebrate the Liturgy with the solemnity of two deacons, and several people commented on how Hierodeacon Avraamy and Deacon Mark work so well together: censing the church in tandem, during the more solemn entrances and alternating the litanies. Far from being more complicated, the Liturgy flows better and without pause. May God bless our deacons and their service as ministers of the Divine Mysteries and sacred services!

It was a relief that the confession arrangements worked pretty smoothly, with a couple of remaining confessions and communion during he thanksgiving prayers. This greatly helped the flow of the Liturgy and management of time.

Having completed the sacramental ministrations of the day, a new icon of St Luke of Simferopol was blessed, having been commissioned by Deacon Mark from the iconographer in our midst, as well as icons purchased fro Oswald’s ‘lavka’.

Following the Liturgy, it was lovely to see parishioners socialising so warmly and catching up with one another, with Oswald having customers at his icon stall, and the sharing of post-Liturgy snacks. Thank you to all who generously provided food and drinks for the faithful – and thank you to all who made the clear up and packing away so much smoother today.

I was very happy that the young men of the parish were able to spend time together over a cup of coffee and some lunch in a nearby café in the afternoon, and was glad to be able to join them and have some social time and conversation about the details of our Liturgy. We are so incredibly blessed to have such a band of pious and spiritually focussed young men, including those baptised over the last fourteen or fifteen months. Having received a blessing from Bishop Irenei to establish a parish brotherhood, dedicated to St David, I look forward to seeing it’s development once we have passed the First Week of the Great Fast. This will unite the brethren of the parish across the generations and the miles, given the geographical dispersion of the parish.

Having continued house-blessings last week, I hope to do a few more in the week ahead, though I will need to be in Llanelli for the celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Meeting the Lord on Wednesday.

I wish to hear confessions on Thursday, and ask for requests by 12:00 on Wednesday, to allow arrangements to be confirmed.

Saturday will see the Divine Liturgy, a Litia for the Departed and a baptism in Cheltenham, before the return to Cardiff where we will set up the church and celebrate Small Compline at 17:00.

As well as celebrating the Liturgy on Sunday, we shall also have our Annual General Meeting, with feedback from the clergy and parish officers and discussion of the items on our agenda. Again, if you have any matters which you would like to add to the agenda, please email Deacon Mark –

Finally, as we approach the Great Fast, I would like to encourage you all to have some spiritual reading ready, to be spiritual food and drink to nourish your souls and help sustain the journey to Pascha through the days of Lent. If you haven’t ordered/bought anything, now is the time to do so!

May God bless you all!

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter.