Weekly News: Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

Today saw the celebration of the Sunday of the Holy New-Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, as well as the Sunday of the Pharisee and the Publican, marking the approach of the Great Fast. 

It was good to sustain our usual number of forty to forty-five worshippers, but it was evident that many in the congregation arrived during the early part of the Liturgy. Admittedly, confessions have made our start rather slow of late, but those communing of the Holy Mysteries should be in church for the Hours, as well as the Liturgy.  

Having settled back into Nazareth House and discovered how best to make things work, the Hours will commence at 10:40 and the Liturgy at 11:00 each Sunday. 

We expected to have Father Hierodeacon Avraamy celebrating with us, but he was unable to join us due to family sickness. We look forward to next week’s Liturgy and the blessing of two deacons for our Liturgy. Last week’s Sunday service was so imposing with two deacons serving in our celebration. 

We are grateful to our chancellor, Archpriest Paul, for sending vestments for Hierodeacon Avraamy, who is one of several Ukrainian clergy blessed to serve in our diocese, bringing great experience and liturgical knowledge. 

CONFESSIONS This was the first week in which no confessions were heard during the preparation of the chalice for Holy Communion, so a few confessions were heard after Liturgy, at which time Holy Communion was also administered.  

We need to be clear that this should really be for those living a distance from the church, and those who are at the mercy of public transport – such as our Ukrainian ladies (living in Ogmore Vale), whose train was cancelled, and who walked for an hour in order to ensure they were able to use alternative transport and attend Liturgy: determination!  

Whilst, confessions/communion worked well, this time after Liturgy – when clergy are tired and need to sit down –  cannot and must not become the default confession and communion time for late-arrivers, especially when there is only one priest. So… this post-Liturgy time will be monitored. 

Last week saw confessions on Thursday and Friday, with a house-blessing on Friday, as well. But, so far, there have been hardly any requests for house-blessings, at least from our parishioners in Wales. So, please do not forget that this is a Theophany tradition each year. We had several requests today, and will make arrangements to visit parish homes. As some of these visits may be on Saturdays, there may not be a public service in the evenings of those days, but rather vespers being celebrated across the parish, in the homes of the faithful, with the possibility of compline being celebrated after setting up the convent-church for Liturgy. 


Looking forward to the latter this week, I will hear confessions on Thursday and Saturday, so may I ask for requests as soon as possible, but by 14:00 on Wednesday at the latest.  

Prior to pre-Lenten preparations, this week is fast-free. 

There will be no public celebration of vespers this Saturday. 


Though our Cheltenham mission Liturgy is usually on the second Saturday of the month, the February Liturgy will be on Saturday 18th February (the third Saturday). As this coming Saturday will see the celebratory anticipation Yuriy’s 5th birthday, Deacon Mark will be otherwise engaged. 

However, for some years, it has actually been our tradition to celebrate the February Cheltenham Liturgy on the afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple (Candlemas). I’m pleased to say that we will be doing the same this year, and will also have a baptism on this day. 

As usual, our Liturgy will be in Prestbury United Reformed Church, Deep St, Prestbury, Cheltenham GL52 3AW. Cardiff friends would be extremely welcome! 

Confessions will be heard from 09:15, with the Hours at 10:00 and the Divine Liturgy at 10:30. 


As announced at Liturgy, Father Dean of St Mary Butetown has once more extended an invitation for our parishioners to join the July South Wales Pilgrimage to Walsingham, as Norman and I did, last year – making a rather small Orthodox contingent. 

However, whilst there, we were able to join our dear friends who keep the Orthodox lamp burning in Walsingham and celebrated services in the Orthodox Chapel of the Anglican shrine, as well as praying in Mother Melangell’s house-chapel.  

A handful of parishioners have expressed interest in joining the pilgrimage, and I would be very pleased to have faithful from our South Wales communities travelling to Walsingham as a group – as it is already three and a half years since we previously did so, in November 2019. 

The pilgrimage will be from July 24-27. 


  • Full Board and travel by coach £370 (£270 under 16 years) 
  • Full Board only (no coach) £225 (£140 under 16 years) 
  • Children under 5 yrs: FREE 

I will post details on our parish Facebook Page, but any queries may be sent in Georgina’s direction:  georgie.partridge12@gmail.com 

I’m happy to hear that interested parties have already been in touch! 

Additionally, given the place of Walsingham in the spiritual lives of some of our South Wales Orthodox faithful we are discussing the formation of a local Orthodox group akin to the various ‘cells’ of Our Lady of Walsingham, supporting the shrine and the historic Orthodox presence by prayer and pilgrimage, and encouraging devotion to the Mother of God. More to come! 

We discussed this whilst we met at Newman Hall, where we periodically chanted the akathist in honour of the Walsingham Icon of the Mother of God. 

Whilst on this pilgrimage theme – I would like to remind parishioners that I will be in Walsingham for the customary February visit, maintaining the historical links between the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia and the Anglican Shrine. I greatly look forward to celebrating the Liturgy with our friend, the newly-ordained Priest Mark (Tattum-Smith) from Mettingham, whom I hope to see become increasingly involved in ROCOR ministrations in the shrine. 


Just to remind you that we will be meeting in Llandaff Cathedral for a moleben before the relics of St Teilo, at 10:00 on Saturday 25th February, with time to explore the cathedral and visit St Teilo’s Well before those who wish to do so repair to the Black Lion for lunch. 

Confessions will be heard in Nazareth House that afternoon, when the church is set up for Sunday Liturgy. 


We will be holding our parish annual general meeting on Sunday 19th February after the Divine Liturgy, and anyone wishing to raise subjects for our agenda should email our deacon and parish administrator, Father Deacon Mark: rmfisher@ntlworld.com 

No elections are due at this meeting, but the requirement for us us to form an electoral role though the establishment of a parish subscription will be discussed. 


Your prayers are asked for the newly departed servants of God, the priests Father John Musther (in Keswick) and Father Stephen Fretwell (Oxford); the newly-departed Nikolai; Irina, whose fortieth day fell a few days ago; and Joanna (Mary Joy), whose funeral will take place this week. May their memory be eternal.
Posted in Newsletter.