Thomas Week Newsletter

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is Risen! Христосъ воскресе! Hristos a înviat! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

After the joy of Bright Week and our celebration of Thomas Sunday, we now enter the second week of Pascha, with the need to maintain the joy of the Resurrection each day of this season.

Saturday saw a wonderful Liturgy in Warminster, and though we were few in number, our celebration was joyful and prayerful, and the day was blessed with beautiful weather and sun blazing through the windows of the Chapel of St Lawrence.

It was lovely to be in Wiltshire on such a glorious spring weekend, beginning with a lovely evening beneath apple-blossom and surrounded by birdsong. Thanks to our Wessex brothers and sisters for their hospitality, kindness and dedication.

Our Sunday congregation was small compared to our numbers for Pascha, but we had a wonderful Liturgy, with a great sense of peace and joy. Thanks to all who contributed in every way.

Were able to congratulate Deacon Mark, George and Yuriy on their recent name-days, with Many Years being chanted after a litia to St Mark the Evangelist and the Holy Great-Martyr George.

In future weeks, it would be appreciated if we could streamline the setting up and putting away in St John’s, with the lack of help before the Liturgy sometimes creating pressure. I hope that our younger brothers can be rather more involved in this initial part of our Sundays.

Might we also suggest that our younger people need to be rather more involved on the domestic side of Sundays in St John’s: cleaning, sweeping, washing up and drying up would be a good start. I’m afraid some of our seasoned sisters are taken for granted, and after cooking, baking, preparing trapeza, and driving very long distances in some cases… never getting to sit down to eat or drink. I would like to see them getting to the table and having a rest, whilst energetic youth takes to the kitchen for a welcome change. Let’s share the labours of parish life and make things a little more fair and reasonable, and not be shy to ask if anything needs doing.



Further to announcements in church, our General Parish Meeting will be held after Liturgy on Sunday 2 June. Elections will be held for the offices of starosta and senior-sister, and nominations for these positions are requested, and candidates should be communicant members of the parish and in good standing within the community. Before nominating candidates, please ascertain their willingness to stand for office. Over the course of the coming week, we will clarify the duties of each respective parish office, so that prospective officers can be sure that these can be fulfilled.

Some confusion has been caused by the initial announcement, and I would like to clarify that until the forthcoming election, it is only the position of starosta / warden that is vacant. The position of senior sister remains occupied by virtue of election by the parishioners, and our present senior remains the only elected officer within the parish.

After nominations for each position, the parish meeting will see the election of both starosta and senior sister, so that terms of office commence at the same time.


I am happy to announce that Father Sebastian has welcomed us to use the Oratory Church in Swinton Street on weekdays, and this week will see the chanting of a memorial service for radonitsa tomorrow (Tuesday) at 14:30 and Thursday will see the celebration of the 9th Hour, Vespers and litia for the departed at 14:30 on Thursday. I hope that we may begin with these extra services, as well as on the first Saturday of the month – the only free Saturday at the moment, given the Liturgies in our missions and our pilgrimages.

Some of our young brothers have already used the Oratory as a place of prayer, with the enshrined relics of St Alban being a welcome place for Orthodox prayer when St John’s is inaccessible due to weekday use.

I know that the time may only allow a few parishioners who are free in the day to attend, but the need is for conciliar parish prayer as often as possible, and part of the initial possibility is “when and where”. Services are always celebrated on behalf of all members of the parish, whether they can be present or not, and prayers are offered for the whole community, whether this is at Liturgy, the services of the Horologion, molebens or memorials.

We can hopefully build up more regular common prayer throughout the week, whether in Cardiff or in the Wessex part of our community, and will investigate the possibilities for evening worship, possibly in parish homes. This will be greatly aided by the presence of capable readers in our community, and we will be concentrating on their training and development in the months ahead.



On Saturday 25 May, this month’s rather low-key and informal pilgrimage will see a visit to Penrhys in the Rhondda. It was once an important centre of Welsh pilgrimage, with origins in the Celtic Age of Saints, before becoming a major medieval shrine to the Mother of God , before post-reformation obscurity, neglect and deprivation and 20th century revival.

In our younger days, Father Luke and I were involved with the annual three day walking “Cistercian Way” pilgrimage that once made its way from Llantarnam Abbey to Penrhys, stopping at local places of worship and of Christian significance in the Valleys.

We very much want to reconnect with this holy place, and hope that we can make a beginning with a simple visit – meeting at the statue of Our Lady of Penrhys on the site of the former Franciscan monastic house at midday. We will say prayers there and hope that the weather allows for a picnic, before walking down the hillside to the well-chapel, where it would be wonderful to celebrate vespers. Please get in touch with me if you can make it, and would like to be part of this initial connection with our local shrine of the Mother of God.


May I ask requests for this week’s Thursday confession by 18:00, on Wednesday, please, with the intention to hear confessions before and after the service in St Alban’s Church, though I will happily head to Nazareth House for any confessions required in the evening.

Please remember our students and scholars Alexander, Stefan, Tara, Kalina, Henry, Ambrose and Jelena in your prayers at what is a demanding time of the year, with assignments, assessments and exams – and remember George, who has interviews coming up. Prayers for travellers are offered for Alla, and for her parents, and for Marina, who is visiting family in Ukraine. Among the sick we pray for Metropolitan Longin, Bishop Alexander, the priests Spyridon and Anthony, Ludmilla, Brigid, Annamieke, Dymphna, Yiannis and Foevos. Please remember them all in your home commemorations.

Christ is Risen!

Hieromonk Mark

Posted in Newsletter, Parish News.