Dear brothers and sisters,
Happy feast. S prazdnikom!
After the joy of celebrating the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration in Cheltenham, the second day of the feast saw our celebration in Cardiff.
As the summer has advanced, our numbers have petered out, but despite more of our parishioners having departed on their travels, thirty or so – plus the children – participated in a joyous and festive Liturgy, with the blessing of fruit and honey at the end of the service… and what a splendid gathering of the fruits of creation! Thank you to our sisters for the lovely little individual baskets of grapes, which were inspired!
Our small choir chanted beautifully, and our solitary but extremely competent oltarnik ably coped with one hieromonk, a hierodeacon and a deacon, and we now have little Yuriy lined up to help in the altar, under papa’s watchful eye! We very much look forward to the return of our other oltarniky.
It has been wonderful to welcome our pilgrims back after their extremely busy and intense trip to the Holy Land, and there are many stories and experiences yet to be shared.
Next Sunday will be the fore-feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, and the following day – bank holiday Monday – we will celebrate the Liturgy for the Dormition in the convent church at 11:00, through the good offices and generosity of the Sisters.
Sunday’s Liturgy variables may be found here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/10BR2bjgGeA_ScKbWqAKpvoy9XU8ibL-d/view
…and Monday’s variables here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G4IgN-3sja9LiTTe6UzYrnyRfknBn7iP/view
I will also celebrate Great Vespers at 15:00 on Sunday afternoon with the variables here – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JA8S2Xds9mIRxTJl9Df8jtzbHhy-d868/view
As announced in last week’s news email, I will be joining Mother Frances and pilgrims from Germany on Wednesday and will give an Orthodox reflection on reconciliation, so – having stayed in Cardiff overnight – I will hear confessions on Thursday, with an obvious preference to hearing them earlier in the day, if possible. Please send any confession requests by noon on Wednesday.
The March for Life, on Saturday 2nd September, is only a few weeks away, so Karen needs to know of any unbooked attendees asap as the seats on the bus from St Alban on the Moors are limited. The cost is £25, which is very reasonable, given the distance. Pilgrims will meet at the Emmanuel Centre, in Westminster, where Father Mark Tattum-Smith will lead an Orthodox service before the march. Details from Karen.
Our next Cheltenham Mission Liturgy, on the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr Phanourios, will be celebrated in Prestbury United Reformed Church on Saturday 9th September.
May I remind you that there will be a parish meeting on Sunday 17th September, for the election of a new starosta, and a new senior sister – should the former election make this necessary. Your nominations of parishioners to occupy these offices are requested by Sunday 2nd September.
Our intended September pilgrimage, on Saturday 23rd September, is to Llancarfan and Barry, to honour Saints Cadoc and Barrwg, though I am awaiting confirmation from Llancarfan.
The fast continues, with its Great Lenten strictness, though we will soon be celebrating the feast of the Dormition. As I reminded parishioners in Liturgy, we should ensure that we celebrate the whole of the festal periods of our Great Feasts, praying the hymns of the feast in our icon-corners, at home, and try to ensure that we have icons of the feasts to be the centre of home prayers and the focus of our devotions.
The feast of the Transfiguration is ‘given up’ on Saturday, with the one day fore-feast of the Dormition leading us into the feast itself, which will last until Tuesday 5th September (new-style), with the honouring of the Icon of the Mother of God “Pribavlenie Uma – the Giver of Reason” being celebrated on Sunday 3rd September. Originally having coincided with the Dormition, this is now kept as a moveable feast and falls on the Sunday after the Dormition.
Let us continue to honour the Mother of God in these pre-festive days.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark