Dear brothers and sisters,
Thank you to all who supported Sunday’s celebration of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, with our joyful Liturgy and moleben. It was a wonderful celebration of the Faith.
I am happy that Sister Anna has agreed to the use of the chapel for a Lenten service at 18:00 each Thursday, following confessions. We will gather again this week, and for evening prayers with the canon/akathist of repentance. May I ask those wishing to make their confession to email me by noon on Wednesday, indicating whether staying for the service as well.
Deacon Mark and I will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy in Cheltenham on Saturday, with our service at Prestbury United Reformed Church commencing with the Hours at 10:00, followed by the Liturgy at 10:30 and a panikhida for the Memorial Saturday.
Deacon Mark and I will return home via Nazareth House to set up for Sunday, and confessions may also be heard at 18:00, for those unable to confess on Thursday.
Without wishing to sound like a school-master, may I reinforce what was said after Liturgy?
There should be NO casual conversation or unnecessary talking during services, and it is not appropriate to go and verbally greet or chat with friends at this time. We can smile, nod and mouth a hello and enjoy the ample chance to catch up after the service.
As soon as the blessing has been pronounced for the Hours, this is liturgical time and the prayer of the Church, not free time for conversations or even private prayers and devotions.
The same goes for the thanksgiving prayers after Liturgy. Despite what was said at the end of Sunday’s service, there were still those who chatted audibly during those prayers.
There should most definitely be no talking during Holy Communion, let alone sitting down to chat. Unless age or health deems it necessary, we do not sit in the Lord’s Presence in the Holy Gifts!
We need to be careful that we do not adopt a casual attitude to being in church, but need to be mindful that even though Nazareth House is not an Orthodox temple, it nevertheless becomes the sacred-place in which the Lord comes to give Himself to us in the Holy Mysteries, where the Church offers the greatest sacrifice of prayer and praise to the Lord in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
We wish our services to be prayerful, and without unnecessary noise, movement or distraction, so let us all work together to ensure this.
Looking forward to next Sunday, we will be celebrating the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas, and the variables may be found at –
May God bless you all.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark