Dear brothers and sisters,
S prazdnikom – greetings for the Transfiguration of the Saviour!
It was a a great blessing to visit our Cheltenham mission today and to celebrate the feast with our Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire faithful, and though we are few in number the zeal and devotion of our parishioners always make our celebrations joyful and inspiring, especially on feasts.
We are grateful to Masha and Margarita for chanting, especially given the festal chants unfamiliar to our usual singers, of whom several are away on holiday. Our Gloucestershire faithful were very enthusiastic in expressing their thanks, and were very happy to be joined by our ‘Wessex’ pilgrims for this wonderful feast.
As is usual in Cheltenham, virtually everyone confessed and communed, which is always a source of great joy, and one of the children reminded us that he needs a stikhar so that he can serve for the next Liturgy. We look forward to having him serve in the altar.
At the end of the Liturgy, we blessed fruit and honey, as there was no local Liturgy or honey blessing for the feast of the All-Merciful Saviour, and we then enjoyed time together as we shared our customary lunch, for which we thank the sisters who contributed so generously, and also for the floral arrangements which graced our icons.
Our next Cheltenham Liturgy, will be in Prestbury, on 9th September – just before the end of the present ecclesiastical year – and I greatly look forward to celebrating the feast of the Holy Great-Martyr, Phanourios, hoping that some of our South Wales parishioners might join us to honour this greatly loved saint. This will occasion the introduction of our Cheltenham sisterhood to making Phanouropita!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to such a lovely feast. We look forward to the second day of the Transfiguration, in Cardiff, tomorrow, when we shall once again bless fruit and produce at the end of the Liturgy.
Encouraged by the vision of the Saviour’s glory on Mount Tabor, and the strength it gave the disciples in enduring His passion and their own sufferings, let us struggle to climb our own spiritual mountains, leaving behind the fallen things of the world, to attain to the high calling of our baptism, as children of the Light and heirs of the resurrection. Leaving behind the darkness of the world, let us hasten to the Light of Christ, glimpsed in the world, but a foretaste of the glory and divine vision of the age to come.
May God bless you all.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark