The Third Week of the Great Fast

Dear brothers and sisters,

Greetings as we begin the third week of the Great Fast.

With people away on vacation and student holidays, yesterday saw a smaller congregation than usual, though it was a warm Liturgy, aptly described by one of our singers as feeling ‘en famille’, and the warmth of our gathering was reflected in the time for which our worshippers lingered and chatted, amply fed on a day of many Lenten pies. Thank you to all who baked and cooked, feeding our faithful on what turned out to be a rather cold church, with all feeling the physical chill: clergy included.

The week began with our end of month service and supper in Wiltshire, and we are grateful to Porphyrios for welcoming us, once again, to his narrow-boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and to our sisters who provided Lenten -fare for our gathering and for clergy-hospitality. We are now looking forward to our next Wessex Liturgy in the Chapel of St Laurence, in Warminster, on Saturday 13 April.

Last week saw Nazareth House out of use, so confessions were heard in the Oratory Church, with the akathist to the Divine Passion chanted  between them. We are very grateful to the Oratorian Fathers for their continued kindness and hospitality. Their unwished-for departure from the chaplaincy did nothing to lessen the great friendship that was established between our communities, and they continue to take an interest in parish life and news, and support us through their great hospitality.

This week will see our return to Nazareth House for confessions on Thursday, and the akathist will again be chanted, but at 18:00, after confessions. Those requiring confession are asked to email me by 18:00 on Wednesday.

The akathist to the Lord’s Passion has been published on our blog, and can be found in the first volume of the excellent akathist books printed by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, and available from on-line book sellers. These are an excellent resource, and are a worth while resource: Volume 1: ISBN 9780884650591 and Volume 2: ISBN 9780884651413.

Our parishioners continue to read the Psalter in its entirety each day during this fast, and those interested interested in acquiring a Psalter with the traditional troparia and prayers at the end of the kathismas are encouraged to purchase one from White Horse Wares…

… who also stock the translated writings of St Pasisios the Hagiorite, as well as excellent candles suitable for use in your icon-corner. If you have never visited their website, please do!

Sunday was Anastasia’s last, and having completed her musical studies in the Royal College she will spend some time in Greece before returning to university in the States. It has been a great privilege and blessing having her as part of the parish. We thank her for her contribution to parish life and wish her a safe journey and a good celebration of the Lord’s Pascha… Καλό ταξίδι αγαπητή Αναστασία, και καλή Ανάσταση!

Looking forward to Holy Unction / Soborovanie in the cathedral on Saturday 20 April, I am glad to say that we are getting close to having enough attending parishioners to hire a minibus. If you wish to attend, please let Tracy know, but only if you are able to commit, as we do not want to see people dropping out last minute and finding that resources have been wasted.

Next Sunday sees the coincidence of the feast of the Annunciation and the Sunday of the Cross, with the Liturgy celebrating both celebrations, and the Cross venerated at the centre of the church. This is one of the two fish days of the Great Fast, so fish is welcome in trapeza after the service.

The variables for the Liturgy are to be found on the usual website, at…

Wishing you a continued prayerful and penitential struggle, as we approach the midpoint on the Fast.

In Christ – Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.