Dear brothers and sisters,
It was – as always – a great joy to gather today for the Divine Liturgy, followed by the veneration of the Precious Cross and the blessing of honey.
Though yesterday was the feast of the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross and the All-Merciful Saviour, we were unable to have Liturgy, so we ‘caught up’ with August’s first feast of the Saviour at compline yesterday evening and today, after Liturgy.
At compline, we chanted the canons to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Mother of God standing before the icon of the Romanov-Borisoglebsky Saviour, noting that our icon is rather small compared to the orginal in Tutaev!
Matushka Alla (sadly unable to be with us as little Yuriy had a temperature) decorated the Cross and made floral decorations for the analoys, with the bright colours matched by late summer garden flowers – yellow, orange, red and bronze. Thanks to matushka, and to Alan and Olga for the flowers.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the choir sang the hymns for the Cross-veneration and the troparia for the All-Merciful Saviour and the Cross, before the honey and baked offerings were blessed.
The faithful venerated the Precious Cross at the end of Liturgy and received anointing with myron from the shrine of the Life-Giving Cross at Godenovo.
With the Cross and icons adorned with in bright fiery colours, and the blessing of honey, poppy-seed bread and honey-cakes, the Liturgy had a very festive feel, with the honey cakes being enjoyed with tea and coffee after Liturgy, when parishioners also enjoyed Lenten chebureki – reminding us that we are in the Dormition Fast.
Thank you to all who worked hard for Liturgy, for which attandance was (sadly) quite spartan. I know that we have parishioners abroad, and students at home until the new university term, but there are many people whom we have hardly seen at Liturgy since the first lockdown. We all need to give them encouragement, reminding them that Liturgy and Church life and services never ceased over the last year. Orthodox Christian life requires commitment and dedication.
On that note, remember that we are fasting until the Dormition of the Most Holy Mother of God on 15/28 August. Some parishioners have specific dispensations for health reasons, but all others should be fasting in obedience to the rules of the Church, not according to self-appointed rules.
Be forewarned that because of later use of St John’s, the Liturgy on the second day of the Dormition (Sunday 29 August, new-style) is only possible if we celebrate at 06:00, vacating the church by 08:30. This is the Sunday timetable of our Romanian sister-parish every week!
Please endeavour to pray the Supplicatory Canons to the Mother of God each evening during the Fast, and dedicate this short penitential season to the Theotokos and the celebration of her Dormition and bodily Assumption into Heaven.
At the moment, I have nowhere to celebrate the Transfiguration Liturgy, but will inform parishioners of developments. If I am able to celebrate in Llanelli, the diminutive size of the Fr Luke’s chapel will limit numbers. We will, of course, celebate the afterfeast, with the blessing of grapes and other fruits on Sunday, in St John’s.
As I have a fifteen-hour work-day on Saturday, there will be no evening/afternoon service, and confessions will be heard on Thursday and Friday, this week. So, would those who require confession and have not already confirmed this with me email as soon as possible: firstname.lastname@example.org
Would parishioners travelling from beyond the Severn and requiring Sunday confessions please email Deacon Mark: email@example.com
May God bless you all.
In Christ – Hieromonk Mark