Monday, 28 December 2009

Services for January 2010

Fri 1 11am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil

Sat 2 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 3 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Tues 5 6.30pm Vesperal Divine Liturgy
And indoor Great Blessing of the Waters

Wed 6 11am Theophany Liturgy
And Outdoor Great Blessing of the Waters

Sat 9 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 10 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 11 7pm Church Council Meeting

Sat 16 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 17 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 23 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 24 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Fast-free week
Sat 30 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 31 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Mon 1 6.30pm Great Vespers
Tues 2 11am Divine Liturgy

Please book House Blessings between Thursday 7th January
and the beginning of Great Lent on Monday 15th February

Namedays in January

1st Vasiliki
7th Cristian Bostan; Jan; Oana
14th Nino; Nina
17th Antonis


14th Mary Carter 2005
18th Priest John 2001

Feasts celebrated on January 1st

This year we are celebrating a Liturgy
of St Basil on 1st January – the feast of
the Circumcision of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ and the day on
which St Basil the Great is also
In submitting to the Law of
Circumcision, Our Lord signifies that He
is the fullness and the completion of
the Old Covenant. St. Paul says, in the
Epistle read on the Feast: For in [Jesus]
the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily
and you have come to fullness of life in
Him, Who is the head of all rule and
authority. In Him also you were
circumcised with a circumcision made
without hands, by putting off the body
of flesh in the circumcision of Christ.

The Church Fathers explain that the Lord, the Creator of the Law, underwent
circumcision in order to give people an example of how faithfully the divine
ordinances ought to be fulfilled. The Lord was circumcised so that later no one
would doubt that he had truly assumed human flesh, and that his
Incarnation was not merely an illusion, as certain heretics taught.
Additionally, he received the name Jesus (Saviour) on this day. These two
events, the Lord's Circumcision and Naming, remind Christians that they have
entered into a New Covenant with God.

Our father among the saints Basil the Great is shown in the icon on the front
page above the icon of the Circumcision
Basil the Great (c330 - January 1, 379), was bishop of Caesarea, a leading
churchman in the 4th century. The Church considers him a saint and one of
the Three Holy Hierarchs, together with Saints Gregory the Theologian (Gregory
Nazianzus) and John Chrysostom.
Basil, Gregory the Theologian, and Basil's brother Saint Gregory of Nyssa are
called the Cappadocian Fathers. The Roman Catholic Church also considers him
a saint and calls him a Doctor of the Church.

Basil's memory is celebrated on January 1; he is also remembered on January
30 with the Three Holy Hierarchs. In Greek tradition, he is supposed to visit
children and give presents every January 1. This festival is also marked by the
baking of Saint Basil's bread (Vasilópita), a sweetbread with a coin hidden

He should not be confused with Saint Basil the Blessed, Fool-for-Christ, a
Russian saint, after whom St. Basil's Cathedral, on Red Square in Moscow, is

Great Lent and Memorials

The fasting period leading to Great Week and Holy Pascha will soon be upon us.
It begins on Monday 15th February.
One of the characteristics of the period is the provision of “Memorial Saturdays”.
Sat 6th February is the first one.
Saturday is the right day to remember the anniversaries of our departed loved ones.
Sunday is the day of Resurrection and should not be used for Memorials. I have
tried to encourage the use of Saturdays for Memorials so that we do not detract
from the joyful, triumphal celebration of the Resurrection of our Saviour.
So stick to Saturdays for Memorials please. We have a beautiful little church,
let’s be in it as often as we can, not just a quick visit on Sundays.
Our Church Calendar provides many occasions when we are asked to
face up to the fact of death, and at this time of year there are "Saturdays
of the Souls
". We pray for the dead especially on Saturdays because it was
on the Sabbath day (Saturday) that Christ lay dead in the tomb, "resting
from all His works and trampling down death by death".

Praying for the dead is an expression of love. We ask God to remember our
departed loved ones because we love them. The relationship of love
survives, and even transcends, death. There is an inner need to continue to
express our relationship with a loved one even after death. Often even more
so after a loved one has died since physical communication is no longer
possible. The Church encourages us to express our love for our departed
brethren through memorial services and prayers.

The Orthodox Church prays for the dead to express her faith that all who
have fallen asleep in the Lord, live in the Lord; their lives are "hidden with
Christ in God" (COL.3:3). Whether on earth or in heaven, the Church is one
family, one body in Christ. Death changes the location but it cannot sever the
bond of love.

Just as we pray for the dead, so we believe they continue to love us,
remember us and pray for us now that they are closer to God. Death can only
be properly understood in the light of Christ's Resurrection from the dead.


Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Services for December 2009

Sat 5th Great Vespers
Sun 6th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 12th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 13th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 14th Meeting of Trustees 7pm

Sat 19th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 23rd 6.30pm Great Vespers
Thur 24th 11am Vesperal Liturgy
11pm Matins
24th/25th Midnight: Divine Liturgy of the Nativity of our Lord and God
and Saviour Jesus Christ

-----Fast Free until 5th January-----

Sat 26th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 27th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy


9th Hannah Gandy
19th Nicholas Joseph
27th Joseph (Clive); Stephan (Ron); Stephanie (Giselle)
28th Simon Stone


7th Deacon John Mark (2007)

Deanery Patronal Feasts:

20th St Ignatios of Antioch - Belfast

Commemorated on December 20
The Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer, was a disciple of the holy Apostle and
Evangelist John the Theologian, as was also St
Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna (February 23). St Ignatius
was the second bishop of Antioch, and successor to
Bishop Euodius, Apostle of the Seventy (September
Tradition suggests that when St Ignatius was a little
boy, the Saviour hugged him and said: "Unless you
turn and become as little children, you shall not enter
into the Kingdom of Heaven" (Mt. 18:3). The saint
was called "God-Bearer" (Theophoros), because he
bore God in his heart and prayed unceasingly to Him.
He also had this name because he was held in the
arms of Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
St Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John the
Theologian, together with St Polycarp of Smyrna. As
Bishop of Antioch, St Ignatius was zealous and spared
no effort to build up the church of Christ. To him is attributed the practice of
antiphonal singing (by two choirs) during church services. He had seen a vision of the
angels in heaven alternately singing praises to God, and divided his church choir to
follow this example. In the time of persecution he was a source of strength to the
souls of his flock, and was eager to suffer for Christ.
In the year 106 the emperor Trajan (98-117), after his victory over the Scythians,
ordered everyone to give thanks to the pagan gods, and to put to death any
Christians who refused to worship the idols. In the year 107, Trajan happened to pass
through Antioch. Here they told him that Bishop Ignatius openly confessed Christ,
and taught people to scorn riches, to lead a virtuous life, and preserve their virginity.
St Ignatius came voluntarily before the emperor, so as to avert persecution of the
Christians in Antioch. St Ignatius rejected the persistent requests of the emperor
Trajan to sacrifice to the idols. The emperor then decided to send him to Rome to be
thrown to the wild beasts. St Ignatius joyfully accepted the sentence imposed upon
him. His readiness for martyrdom was attested to by eyewitnesses, who
accompanied St Ignatius from Antioch to Rome.
On the way to Rome, the ship sailed from Seleucia stopped at Smyrna, where St
Ignatius met with his friend Bishop
Polycarp. Clergy and believers from
other cities and towns thronged to
see St Ignatius. He exhorted
everyone not to fear death and not
to grieve for him. In his Epistle to
the Roman Christians, he asked
them to assist him with their
prayers, and to pray that God
would strengthen him in his
impending martyrdom for Christ: "I
seek Him Who died for us; I desire
Him Who rose for our salvation... In
me, desire has been nailed to the
cross, and no flame of material
longing is left. Only the living water
speaks within me, saying, 'Hasten
to the Father.'"
From Smyrna, St Ignatius went to
Troas. Here he heard the happy
news of the end of the persecution
against Christians in Antioch. From
Troas, St Ignatius sailed to Neapolis (in Macedonia) and then to Philippi.
On the way to Rome St Ignatius visited several churches, teaching and guiding the
Christians there. He also wrote seven epistles: to the churches of Ephesus, Magnesia,
Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna. He also addressed a letter to St Polycarp,
who mentions a collection of the letters of St Ignatius in his letter to the Philippians
(Ch. 13). St Irenaeus of Lyons quotes from St Ignatius's letter to the Romans (AGAINST
HERESIES 5:28:4). All these letters have survived to the present day. The Roman
Christians met St Ignatius with great joy and profound sorrow. Some of them hoped
to prevent his execution, but St Ignatius implored them not to do this. Kneeling
down, he prayed together with the believers for the Church, for love between the
brethren, and for an end to the persecution against Christians.
On December 20, the day of a pagan festival, they led St Ignatius into the arena, and
he turned to the people: "Men of Rome, you know that I am sentenced to death, not
because of any crime, but because of my love for God, by Whose love I am embraced.
I long to be with Him, and offer myself to him as a pure loaf, made of fine wheat
ground fine by the teeth of wild beasts."
After this the lions were released and tore him to pieces, leaving only his heart and a
few bones. Tradition says that on his way to execution, St Ignatius unceasingly
repeated the name of Jesus Christ. When they asked him why he was doing this, St
Ignatius answered that this Name was written in his heart, and that he confessed
with his lips Him Whom he always carried within. When the saint was devoured by
the lions, his heart was not touched. When they cut open the heart, the pagans saw
an inscription in gold letters: "Jesus Christ." After his execution St Ignatius appeared
to many of the faithful in their sleep to comfort them, and some saw him at prayer
for the city of Rome.
Hearing of the saint's great courage, Trajan thought well of him and stopped the
persecution against the Christians. The relics of St Ignatius were transferred to
Antioch (January 29), and on February 1, 637 were returned to Rome and placed in
the church of Saint Clement.
With acknowledgement to the Orthodox Church in America:

The icon of the Lord’s Nativity

We can identify at least eight elements depicted in the icon of the Lord’s Nativity as it
shows the whole of the Gospel story.
(1) The focus of the icon is the Christ-child and His mother, the Theotokos and Mother of
Light. Mary is seen reclining on a red blanket (symbolising the colour of life) and looks
not at her newborn Son but rather at Joseph. She prays so that his struggles of
disbelief might be overcome.
(2) The star of course represents the heavens rejoicing at the glorious birth of our Lord
Jesus Christ. It is shown as the brightest star in the sky and is what guided the magi
(6) to the new-born King.
(3) The backdrop of the scene is the dark cave which immediately reminds us of Christ’s
tomb. The infant Christ’s swaddling bands prefigure too the burial shroud of our
Lord. In the cave are the ox and the ass – participants not mentioned in the Gospels
but shown in fulfilment of the words of the Prophet Isaiah “The ox knoweth his
owner, and the ass his master’s crib, but
Israel doth not know, my people doth not
(4) The angels are shown sometimes in
two groups – one, a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God, and saying
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will toward men”. The
second announces the news of great joy
to the shepherds (5).
(5) The fact that Jewish shepherds and
heathen magi (6) were among the first to
worship our Lord shows us the
universality of this great event, meant for
the salvation of all mankind.
(6) Bringing gold, frankincense and
myrrh, the three magi were led by the
heavenly star to the manger in which our
Lord lay.
(7) Joseph is seen apart from the main
scene of the icon – showing that he was not directly involved in the miracle of the
Incarnation of the Son of God but was the protector of Mary and Jesus. The old man
speaking to him represents Satan tempting him with doubts. St Joseph loves his wife,
and through her prayers he overcomes this struggle.
(8) The washing of Christ by the midwife is sometimes seen in the icon and sometimes
not. In some churches on Mount Athos the scene has been removed from frescoes as
the opinion was that Christ had no need of washing, being born in a miraculous
manner from a pure virgin. The image is largely retained in our icons as part of holy
tradition passed down to us – showing that the birth of Christ was a real birth and
that the body He assumed was a real, human body requiring customary care and
nurture. The water also represents the water of life and Baptism.
The icon seen as a whole is gloriously bright and colourful. Against the background of an
inhospitable world, the mountains, plants, animals and mankind, the joyful scene unfolds –
represented most perfectly in the figure of the new Eve, the most pure Mother of God.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Thank you

Father Samuel thanks all of you for gifts,
cards and best wishes on his recent
Birthday and for a happy Feast of St.
Michael the following week.
May we all have a blessed and peaceful
Christmas sharing in the real joy of the
Incarnation of God, the Divine One
becoming human flesh that we might share
in His Divinity!

Troparion of the Nativity of our Lord and
God and Saviour Jesus Christ

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, dawned
upon the world the light of knowledge,
For by it those who worshipped the stars
were taught by a star
To adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
And to know Thee, the Dayspring from on
O Lord, glory to Thee

Commemorated on December 4

Saint John of Damascus was born about the year 680 at Damascus, Syria into a
Christian family. His father, Sergius Mansur, was a treasurer at the court of the caliph.
John had also a foster brother, the orphaned child Cosmas (October 14), whom
Sergius had taken into his own home. When the children were growing up, Sergius
saw that they received a good education. At the Damascus slave market he ransomed
the learned monk Cosmas of Calabria from captivity and entrusted to him the
teaching of his children. The boys displayed uncommon ability and readily mastered
their courses of the secular and spiritual sciences. After the death of his father, John
occupied ministerial posts at court and became the city prefect.
In Constantinople at that time, the heresy of
Iconoclasm had arisen and quickly spread,
supported by the emperor Leo III the Isaurian
(717-741). Rising up in defence of the Orthodox
veneration of icons [Iconodoulia], St John
wrote three treatises entitled, "Against Those
who Revile the Holy Icons." The wise and Godinspired
writings of St John enraged the
emperor. But since the author was not a
Byzantine subject, the emperor was unable to
lock him up in prison, or to execute him. The
emperor then resorted to slander. A forged
letter to the emperor was produced,
supposedly from John, in which the Damascus
official was supposed to have offered his help
to Leo in conquering the Syrian capital.
This letter and another hypocritically flattering note were sent to the Saracen caliph
by Leo the Isaurian. The caliph immediately ordered that St John be removed from his
post, that his right hand be cut off, and that he be led through the city in chains.
That same evening, they returned the severed hand to St John. The saint pressed it to
his wrist and prayed to the Most Holy Theotokos to heal him so that he could defend
the Orthodox Faith and write once again in praise of the Most Pure Virgin and her
Son. After a time, he fell asleep before the icon of the Mother of God. He heard her
voice telling him that he had been healed, and commanding him to toil unceasingly
with his restored hand. Upon awakening, he found that his hand had been attached
to his arm once more. Only a small red mark around his wrist remained as a sign of
the miracle.
Later, in thanksgiving for being healed, St John had a silver model of his hand
attached to the icon, which became known as "Of the Three Hands." Some unlearned
painters have given the Mother of God three hands instead of depicting the silver
model of St John's hand. The Icon "Of the Three Hands" is commemorated on June 28
and July 12. (Sayedna John gave a copy of this Icon to St. Michael’s when he
consecrated the church.)
When he learned of the miracle, which demonstrated John's innocence, the caliph
asked his forgiveness and wanted to restore him to his former office, but the saint
refused. He gave away his riches to the
poor, and went to Jerusalem with his
stepbrother and fellow-student, Cosmas.
There he entered the monastery of St Sava
the Sanctified as a simple novice.
It was not easy for him to find a spiritual
guide, because all the monks were daunted
by his great learning and by his former rank.
Only one very experienced Elder, who had
the skill to foster the spirit of obedience and
humility in a student, would consent to do
this. The Elder forbade John to do anything
at all according to his own will. He also
instructed him to offer to God all his labours
and supplications as a perfect sacrifice, and
to shed tears which would wash away the
sins of his former life.
Once, he sent the novice to Damascus to sell baskets made at the monastery, and
commanded him to sell them at a certain inflated price, far above their actual value.
He undertook the long journey under the searing sun, dressed in rags. No one in the
city recognized the former official of Damascus, for his appearance had been changed
by prolonged fasting and ascetic labours. However, St John was recognized by his
former house steward, who bought all the baskets at the asking price, showing
compassion on him for his apparent poverty.
One of the monks happened to die, and his brother begged St John to compose
something consoling for the burial service. St John refused for a long time, but out of
pity he yielded to the petition of the grief-stricken monk, and wrote his renowned
funeral troparia ("What earthly delight," "All human vanity," and others). For this
disobedience the Elder banished him from his cell. John fell at his feet and asked to
be forgiven, but the Elder remained unyielding. All the monks began to plead for him
to allow John to return, but he refused.
Then one of the monks asked the Elder to impose a penance on John, and to forgive
him if he fulfilled it. The Elder said, "If John wishes to be forgiven, let him wash out all
the chamber pots in the lavra, and clean the monastery latrines with his bare hands."
John rejoiced and eagerly ran to accomplish his shameful task. After a certain while,
the Elder was commanded in a vision by the All-Pure and Most Holy Theotokos to
allow St John to write again. When the Patriarch of Jerusalem heard of St John, he
ordained him priest and made him a preacher at his cathedral. But St John soon
returned to the Lavra of St Sava, where he spent the rest of his life writing spiritual
books and church hymns. He left the monastery only to denounce the iconoclasts at
the Constantinople Council of 754. They subjected him to imprisonment and torture,
but he endured everything, and through the mercy of God he remained alive. He died
in about the year 780, more than 100 years old.
St John of Damascus was a theologian and a zealous defender of Orthodoxy. His most
important book is the Fount of Knowledge. The third section of this work, "On the
Orthodox Faith," is a summary of Orthodox doctrine and a refutation of heresy. Since
he was known as a hymnographer, we pray to St John for help in the study of church
With acknowledgement to the Orthodox Church in America :

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Services for November 2009

Sun 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 7th 6pm Memorial for the Founders and Benefactors of
St. Michael’s and Great Vespers
Sun 8th Patronal Feast of St. Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of
Heaven (see note on a previous page regarding our celebrations)

10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 14th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 15th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Beginning of the Nativity Fast
Fri 20th 6.30pm Great Vespers for the Feast of the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos
into the Temple
Sat 21st 11am Divine Liturgy of the Feast. 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 22nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 28th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 29th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Namedays in November
3rd Winifred
8th Gabriella
11th Martin Shorthose
13th Ioannes
14th Philip
16th Matthew Carson = Matthew Cooke
20th Edmund
30th Andre Ayoub = Ruslan Davidchack = Andrew Onofrei

Friday, 30 October 2009


Church Doors
Thank you Alban (Robert) for doing a wonderful job of repairing and decorating
our church doors and the entrance porch. They really do look wonderful.
The toilet is next!

First church council meeting
John (Hugh) Maxfield was elected as the minutes secretary.
We discussed our Parish Feast and other possible social events for next year,
including the possibility of occasional Sunday after-Liturgy refreshments in
parishioners’ homes.
We discussed the need for a notice board now that the doors have been
repaired and decorated and the raising of the Cross on the side of the church so
that it is visible above the fence.
The next meeting will be on Monday 10th January at Isaac’s home.

Sihastria Monastery
Father Samuel spent four days at this monastery last month.
It was wonderful and a very blessed time. Here is some information and some

Sihastria Monastery

Dedication Day: “Birth of the Virgin” 8th September

The holy establishment is situated at a distance of 22km from the town of Targu-Neamt, standing in a Sub Carpathian Valley, on a location that was formerly called “Atanasie’s Meadow”. The monastery derives its name from
the name of an anchorite who constructed a skete around which there were living several other anchorites.
The founder of the monastery was Ghedeon, Bishop of Husi, who completed the construction of a church (which was built of wood), a group of monastic cells and a belfry in 1655. In 1734 Ghedeon had a bigger church erected and placed it under the direction of the Secu Monastery. It was also through his persevering efforts that the monastery received a Royal Authorization from Grigore Ghica Viovode, which conferred upon it certain special privileges and tax-exemptions.
In 1799, at the time that the Neamt Monastery was headed by Paisie Velicikovski, the Sihastria Monastery became subordinated to it.
In 1821, the Turks set fire to the monastery. Three years later in 1824, the church was reconstructed of bricks and river-stones. At the same time, there
were erected four tall walls on all four sides of the church, as well as two towers – which made it look like a fortress.
A wooden chapel and several monastic cells were also constructed within the
monastery. Between 1870 and 1910, the monastic establishment remained in a state of total dereliction; afterwards, under the earnest care of some of the
residences, the church, the monastic cells and the chapel underwent extensive repairs and restoration. In 1941, a devastating fire caused great damage to the church.

Due to the fact that it was set on fire twice and remained deserted for a period of forty years, the holy establishment does not shelter any precious ecclesiastical objects or sacerdotal attire, with the exception of the icons that were painted by monk Irineu Protcenco and that were remarkably executed.
In the Sihastria Monastery lived and served Archimandrite Cleopa Ilie (deceased in December 1998), celebrated for his exemplary monastic life. Out of the monastic residents, there is the name of Father Ioanichie Balan, who authored several outstanding studies on Orthodox monasticism, among which we can enumerate The Romanian Paterikon, The Romanian Hermitic Sites, and Spiritual Dialogues.
Since 2000, repairs and restoration have been made and the main church has been repainted by Archimandrite Vartolomeu Florea. Also, a new church has been erected; its patron saint is “Venerable Mother Teodora of Sihla”; the church was consecrated by Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch, and by Patriarch Teoctist on October 12th, 1997.

The following sketes have been affiliated to the Sihastria Monastery:

Sihla Skete – convent for monks, situated at a distance of 4 km from the Sihastria Monastery, Neamt county. The monastic establishment was founded at 1730. The church was constructed of wood in 1813. Its dedication day is the “Nativity of Saint John the Baptizer”. In the immediate vicinity of the church of the skete, under a cliff, there stands a small fir-tree church, whose dedication day is “The Transfiguration”, and which was constructed during the reign of Ionita Cantacuzino Voivode in 1763. Not far from this church there is the cave of Mother Teodora, who lived as a hermit in these parts towards the end of the 17th century and at the beginning of the 18th century. She was born around the year 1650, and was the daughter of the boyar Joltea (the provost marshal of the Neamt Fortress at the time). In her youth she was married, then she retired to the Varzaresti Monastery (which was situated in the Vrancea Mountains) and took religious vows there. Later, together with the abbess, she left the monastery and led an anchoritic life for fear of the impending Turkish invasion. After the death of the abbess, Teodora continued to live as a hermit, this time in a cave of the Sihla forests, feeding on sorrel and wild berries. In the immediate vicinity of the cave, there still exists the hole wherefrom she was carrying water; the hole was miraculously discovered by two monks, who, observing that several birds kept picking up breadcrumbs from the refectory and were flying away with them, resolved to follow those birds. They searched and found Venerable Teodora, who was praying and whose bodily posture was identical with Mary of Egypt, that is, she was raised
way above the ground and was wrapped in a divine light.

Teodora’s inimitable faith, as well as her outstanding moral and spiritual strength deeply impressed her contemporaries, prompting a special veneration of her, which in time, would spread out all over Moldavia and Eastern Transylvania.
In memory of her overpowering spirit and in pious homage to her extraordinary life and strong faith, the Sihla Skete was constructed in 1725. Her holy relics, which lay in the cave for a while, healed a lot of sick people. Now, the relics are located inside the Pecerska Monastery of Kiev, and have been called “The Holy Relics of the Venerable Teodora of the Carpathian Mountains”. Her holy relics have been in this holy establishment since 1852.
In June 1992 the Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized Venerable Teodora, adding her to the saints in the Orthodox Christian Calendar and to the Romanian Orthodox Synaxarion. Her dedication day is
celebrated on August 7th.

Skete of Venerable Daniel the Hermit – Coroi’s Precipice – Vanatori commune, Neamt county. Convent for monks, dedication days: “Venerable Daniel the Hermit”, “Prophet Elijah the Tishbite”, and “Protection of the Mother of God”. Between 1936 and 1937, several monks from the Sihastria Monastery retired for some months to a location that was called “Coroi’s Precipice” and built a cottage there. In 1955, long after the monks had left that place; two nuns from the Old Agapia Skete retired there having Father Cleopa’s blessing, and led an anchoritic life for thirty years.
For five years the cottage remained uninhabited. Thereafter, about 1990, a few monks also retired to the same cottage located in Coroi’s Precipice. Then, with the blessing of Metropolitan Daniel Ciobotea, they had the place consecrated with a view to building a church on the premises.
The skete was founded in 1996 and was consecrated by Metropolitan Daniel on August 4, 1996.

Lifting of the Holy Cross Skete – Poiana lui Ioan (Ioan’s Meadow) – Vanatori commune, Neamt county. Convent for monks, it was founded in 1990.

Skete of the Equals to the Apostles Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena – Boureni commune, Neamt county. Convent for monks. The former monastic life of the holy establishment was revived in 1991.

Skete of Venerable Teodora of Sihla – The Pascani Forest – Motca commune, Neamt county. Convent for monks. The monastic establishment was founded in 1990.

Skete of Martyr Meneas at Dumbrava – Dumbrava village, Neamt county. Convent

Feast of St Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven

Feast of St Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven

Admin Notice:

We shall use the Audley Community Centre for our Feast.
The hall will be open from 9.30am to 10.45am for food to be taken in.
It will not be open again until 12.30 – and then to 3.30pm.
Please bear in mind that the Remembrance Day Service at the Audley Cenotaph (10.45 to 11.15) will make it impossible to bring cars along the main road to church.

Chester Road will be open of course.

See the list in the refreshment room at church to make offers of food for the Feast.

Michael, Captain and leader of the armies of heaven,
Unworthy as we are, we beseech thee without cease to surround us with
thine intercessions,
And cover us beneath the shelter of the wings of thine ethereal glory.
We bend our knee, and cry out with perseverance;
Deliver us from danger, O Prince of the Powers on high.

The Nativity Fast | Presentation of the Theotokos 20th

The Nativity Fast

The cycle of the celebration of the Nativity starts with a fast of forty days that precedes the feast. It is called the Nativity Fast or Advent. For the faithful, it is a time to purify both soul and body to enter properly into and partake of the great spiritual reality of Christ's Coming, much like the preparation for the fast of the Lord's Resurrection, that is Great Lent.
The beginning of the fast on November 15 is not liturgically marked by any hymns, but five days later, on the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos, we hear the first announcement from the nine "Irmoi" of the Christmas Canon: "Christ is born, glorify Him!"
This period includes other special preparatory days announcing the approaching Nativity: St Andrew's Day on November 30; St Nicholas Day on December 6; the Sunday of the Forefathers; and the Sunday of the Fathers.
December 20th begins the Forefeast of the Nativity. The liturgical structure is similar to the Holy Week preceding Pascha.
The Orthodox Church sees the birth of the Son of God as the beginning of the saving ministry which will lead Him, for the sake of man’s salvation, to the ultimate sacrifice of the

Presentation of the Theotokos 20th

According to Tradition, the Virgin Mary was taken — presented — by her parents Joachim and Anna into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she lived and served as a Temple virgin until her betrothal to St. Joseph.
One of the earliest sources of this tradition is the non-canonical Protoevangelion of James, also called the Infancy Gospel of James.
Mary was solemnly received by the temple community which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist.
She was led to the holy place to become herself the "holy of holies" of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine child who was to be born in her.
The Church also sees this feast as a feast which marks the end of the physical temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God.

The holy, glorious and all-laudable Apostle Andrew the First-Called - 30th November

Andrew was a fisherman by trade, born in Bethsaida. A disciple of John the Forerunner, he left St. John to follow Jesus Christ following his baptism and brought along his brother, the Apostle Peter. Both are numbered among the Twelve Great Apostles.
After Pentecost, the lot fell to St. Andrew to preach in:
-Byzantium where he appointed St. Stachys as its
first bishop.
-Thrace, Peloponnese, Greece, and Epirus where
he converted many to the Faith
and ordained bishops and priests for them.
-Georgia: he entered Georgia from Ajara, preached
Christianity in Atsquri, built a small church there and left
the miracle-working icon of Theotokos.
-Russian lands: in Kiev he planted a cross on one of the
high hills of Kiev, and he prophesied a city that would have many golden-domed churches, and a bright Christian future for the Russian people.

St. Andrew was martyred in Peloponnese, in the city of Patras. The Proconsul Aegeates' family believed in the miracles and preaching of St. Andrew, and the enraged Proconsul tortured and crucified St. Andrew.
The new converts wanted to remove him from his cross, but the saint would not allow them. Instead, he comforted them from the cross and as he prayed an extraordinary light encompassed him for about a half hour. When it left, he gave up his soul.
It was the year 62 AD.

St. Andrew's relics were taken to Constantinople, his head to Rome and a hand to Moscow.

Kontakion (Tone 2)

Let us praise Andrew, the herald of God,
the namesake of courage,
the first-called of the Saviour's disciples
and the brother of Peter.
As he once called to his brother, he now cries out to us:
"Come, for we have found the One whom the world desires!"

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Services at St. Michael’s, Audley, October 2009

Sat. 3rd Holywell Pilgrimage. NO SERVICE TODAY AT AUDLEY
Sun. 4th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 10th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 11th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 17th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 18th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 24th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun. 25th 10am Matins;11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 31st 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 1st October 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in October.

9th Fr. Dennis. 12th Wilfred.
16th Denise. 18th Dr. Luke Joy.
23rd Jacovos Harvey. 28th Terence.


19th Metropolitan Gabriel 2007.

The Communion of Children

{This is from the Vatopaidi Wordpress, Mount Athos.}
The anonymous writer at the marvelous French-language blog Moinillon au quotidien offers the following points of reflection on children and Holy Communion, which I here translate for your consideration:
• -Communion is not a magical act; its action is related to a certain preparation and to a certain interior disposition.
-Communion is communion with Christ and with the other faithful in Christ; it must therefore take place within the context of communal Liturgy.
-The entire Liturgy is a preparation for Communion; all people who commune must therefore be present at least from the beginning of the Liturgy of the faithful.
-It is important to teach children from their youngest age to behave themselves in church; even if they do not understand the words and action of the Liturgy, they are impregnated with the spiritual atmosphere and benefit from the prayers of the priest and of the community, and receive the grace of the Holy Liturgy.
The Life of the New Confessor Valeriu Gafencu
An orthodox Christian from the US asked me a few things about who Valeriu Gafencu was and I realised there were no English resources about him. So I decided to translate a little information about his life from the book called Din temnite spre sinaxare (From prisons to synaxaria - about the martyrs of the communist persecution).

Valeriu Gafencu was born on the 24th of December 1921, in the Northern part of Romania, near the Russian border of that time. His parents were both active Orthodox Christians. His father was to be deported to Siberia by the Russians in 1940 for his pro-Romanian activity. When he was in high-school, Valeriu joined an Orthodox youth organization called the Cross Brotherhoods, and, when this became illegal during the second World War, he was arrested and condemned to 25 years of hard labour. He was only 20 and, at his trial, his fellow students and teachers would come and defend him, pointing out his innocence and wonderful human qualities. At first he was sent to a prison called Aiud.
The first years were a time to reflect upon his Christian legacy. He would soon become engaged in a life of prayer, while avidly reading the Fathers of the Church. During the war, although Romania had a dictatorial regime, prison life was not so strict and some fundamental human rights were still considered: the prisoners could go to the prison's church, confess to a priest and receive the Holy Communion and also meet with each other and read books of their own choice. So Valeriu read a lot: the Holy Bible, the first 4 volumes of the Philokalia (which were then just being translated into Romanian by another holy figure of the church, Father Dumitru Staniloaie, who would also encounter the communist prisons some years
later) and other Church Fathers.

His last photograph before being imprisoned

During the time of the war a lot of priests and monks were arrested for various political reasons (and many more would follow under the communist regime) and the one who wanted to live a religious life had plenty of people to turn to for guidance. Under their guidance, Valeriu thought a lot about salvation in his first years. In a letter from 1942 he says: "In life faith is everything. Without it a man is like dead." He tried to live among his fellow prisoners in humility and practise Christian charity.

As he was followed by the idea of sin, he wanted to enter a monastery when he would be liberated. He would confess often and also pray a lot in his cell. With a group of other dedicated prisoners he made a prayer schedule that would go along uninterrupted day and night. They prayed together, as if in a church, and also separately in their cells.

By his deep Orthodox feeling, kindness and rich life of prayer he managed to influence a huge number of people, many of which he never met, but knew him from stories that were on everybody's lips even before he passed away.
His first 8 years of prison were the learning years when he became stronger in faith (he would need this for what was about to come). When the political regime changed in Romania, the prison conditions also changed dramatically: all the previous facilities were denied and the prisoners started to be persecuted for their faith (as well as for their participation in the Cross Brotherhoods). In this incredible hard period Valeriu's word would be like a burning flame heating and comforting the ones around him. When he was in Aiud, Valeriu once encountered a poor man and gave him his student jacket. This recalls the life of Saint Martin of Tours, but it wasn’t his only generous deed. A priest from Paris (Vasile Boldeanu) remembered years later that when he was transferred to Aiud only in shirt and pants, almost frozen, he was saved by his younger brother of suffering, who gave him his warm coat.
Valeriu and his mother in the working colony of Galda
Between the years 1946-1948 Valeriu and other older prisoners were sent to labour in some fields near Galda. There it was a milder regime, the prisoners would work, but they had time for praying and they lived in open spaces, and could meet daily.
In 1948 this working colony was closed, and the prisoners were sent back to Aiud where the communist regime would confront them with its official atheist propaganda. After some time the majority of imprisoned students were sent to a special prison called Pitesti, were they were to be re-educated (here took place the horrific and famous Pitesti experiment). There are many things to be told about this horrific phenomenon, and the remarkable Christian resistance that took place here.

Valeriu was held in Pitesti only for a short period of time because from all the torturing, the cold and terrible hunger he became very sick with tuberculosis (a very contagious disease) and was sent to a penitentiary TBC hospital called Targu Ocna. He saw this as the mercy of God Who saved him from the most abominable tortures that were ever conceived by a human mind and that took place in Pitesti soon after his departure.

An ex colleague of detention remembers about Targu Ocna: "His arrival in this penitentiary hospital was felt by the other prisoners (who knew his reputation) like a miracle. Valeriu would transform this sordid jail living into a truly Christian life. He is the blue-eyed angel who obliges, by his very presence and prayer, to think about repentance and start praying, who would strengthen the ones around him and transform them inside for the rest of their life."
The people that met him during the horrific re-education, comforting, encouraging, raising spiritually his fellow prisoners, compared him with another Apostle Paul of our days. That is way the sick from other rooms of the sanatorium would gather near his bed and listen to him, and receive strength to bear the powerful ordeal they lived. The power of his love would shine not only in the hours of the programmed extermination but also in the everyday life of the sanatorium, when death was so close to everyone.

Valeriu’s power of sacrifice was proverbial: it did not take account of person, ethnic origin, religion or political opinions. At Targu Ocna Valeriu was very ill because of his tuberculosis. In this state, when the sick usually cling to the tiniest hope for survival, he was capable of a supreme gesture. A friend of his was allowed by the wardens to receive some antibiotics for treatment (this kind of medicine was rarely allowed in the hospital, although it was vital for their recovery from TBC), but as he was recovering, he thought to give it to Valeriu who was near his death. But Valeriu donated the medicine to the also dying Richard Wurembrand (a converted Jew who in freedom would become a well known protestant pastor), saying he needed it more. Because of this medicine he recovered and, when liberated, wrote several books in which he gratefully remembers the one who saved his life.

The ones that stood by him along the years remember other extraordinary things about him. For example in Targu Ocna, he was to undertake an appendicitis surgery. When it was finished, Valeriu told the doctor he felt everything, because the anaesthesia did not work. However, he didn’t utter a word during the surgery, only his forehead was full of a cold sweat.

Valeriu died on the 18th of February 1952, at Targu Ocna. His last words were: “Don’t forget to pray to God that we all meet there! Lord, give me the servitude that sets the soul free and take away the freedom that enslaves my soul!” His grave remains unknown for at that time all the prisoners were buried in a common pit and their head was smashed so that it would be beyond recognition. However, he asked to be buried with a small silver cross in his mouth and if God allows his holy relics may be found.

Valeriu remained in the memory of all who knew him for the rest of their life. There is not one Christian book that recalls the ordeals of the communist prisons that doesn’t mention his name. His deeds and words were passed on from prisoner to prisoner and helped many to survive the communist hell, until the general liberation in 1964. Since Romania has become a free country many of its prison saints come to light and are being honoured by the faithful. Valeriu Gafencu is perhaps one of the most representative examples, and many call him the Saint of Prisons (this name was actually give by his fellow prisoners who knew him during his short life).

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Services for September 2009

Sat. 5th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 7th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 7th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Nativity of the Theotokos.
Tues. 8th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Nativity of the Theotokos.

Sat. 12th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 13th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 14th 11am Divine Liturgy and Elevation of the Holy Cross.

Sat. 19th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
(Father Samuel in Romania 21st to 29th Sept.)

Sat. 26th 6pm Vespers without a priest.
Sun. 27th 11am Divine Liturgy, served by Fr. Dennis from Doncaster.

Namedays in September.

5th Elizabeth (Emma Louise) Bostan.
17th Sofia Bartholomew.
24th Thekla Read.
26th Metropolitan John; John Roger Makings; John Martin Chadwick.


10th George Harry Fearns 2005.

Deanery Parish Feasts.

14th Holy Cross, Lancaster.
19th St. Theodore of Canterbury, Macclesfield.


Father Samuel’s Report for the AGM 2009.

St. Michael’s 2005 to 2008.

Holy Baptism 10
Holy Chrismation 2
Holy Matrimony 2
Funerals 5

Annual Pilgrimages:
July: Crowland (Saint Theodore and Saint Guthlac).
Organised by Doncaster Parish.
August: Ilam (Saint Bertram). Organised by St. Michael’s Parish.
October: Holywell (Saint Winifred ). Organised by Chester Parish.

Bamburgh and North Eastern Saints.
Walsingham and Norfolk Saints.

Social Outings:
Matlock; Peak District; Macon Mill; Crich.
Llandudno; Penmon; Beaumaris.
Various venues for the Patronal Feast of Saint Michael.

Major works:
Two opening windows.
Side pathway to refreshment room and toilet.
Removal of steps to refreshment room and dropping of the floor level.
Repairs to broken roof tiles.
Purchase of Burial Ground, fencing and erection of Cemetery Cross.

Search for larger additional church:
Holy Resurrection Dresden: We began looking at possibilities in July/August 2008.
Present position …. Stale-mate …. Due to the poor state of the building.
We have been able, through the faithfulness of our singers and servers, to keep all the major Feast days with Vespers and Liturgy along with the full round of Lent, Holy Week and Paschal Services.
Saturday Great Vespers is still poorly attended and Confession is not as frequent as it should be.
With a congregation of several nationalities and a varied age-range we have retained the warm and friendly atmosphere which has always been our characteristic trait.
God grant it may always be so as we seek together to be pilgrims on the pathway to the glory of God.
Glory to God for all things!

Election of four members to the first Church Council of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church, Audley.

Ex officio: Fr. Samuel (chairman); Veronica Warden (treasurer of Trustees);
two Trustees, Winifred Carson and Isaac Davies.

Duly elected with number of votes:

Joseph Clive Amson [11] Prop: J. Warrilow Sec: R. M. Grace

John Hugh Maxfield [14] Prop: S. R. Kinnersley Sec: M. Shorthose

Martin Shorthose [16] Prop: M. McAtominey Sec: V. Warden

Jan Warrilow [12] Prop: V. Dobson Sec: W. Carson

Eighteen people were eligible to vote and twenty-two were present for the meeting.
Councillors serve for four years.
The Trustees continue to be legally responsible for St. Michael’s and its finances as outlined in the parish Trust Deed.
May God give us strength and grace to work together for the good of St. Michael’s and the spread of the Gospel.

St. Michael’s, Audley, September 2009

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Services for August 2009

Beginning of the Dormition fast.
Sat 1st 10am Divine Liturgy and veneration of the relics of St. Elizabeth and St. Barbara at Wallasey
6pm Great Vespers (in Audley)
Sun 2nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 5th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Holy Transfiguration
Thu 6th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Transfiguration and Blessing of First Fruits

Sat 8th Pilgrimage to Ilam (No services today at Audley.)
11am Divine Liturgy (Preacher: Archpriest Daniel) followed by picnic lunch
2pm Ascent to the spring and Blessing of the Waters
4pm Great Vespers
Sun 9th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Fri 14th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos.
Sat 15th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Dormition and blessing of herbs
After a break AGM with election of church council
6pm Great Vespers
Sun 16th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat 22nd 1pm Holy Baptism of Edward and Alexandra Elena Bendo.
6pm Great Vespers.
Sun 23rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat 29th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun 30th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in August.
1st Jonathan
16th Radu
20th Fr. Samuel

1st Tsinara (mother of Nino)

Patronal Feasts
9th Lincoln: St. Matthias
31st Levenshulme: St. Aidan

Burial Ground

Martin is doing an excellent job of keeping our parish burial ground at Sandon in very good order, taking a most arduous task from Fr. Samuel who now only needs to go there to pray.
The graves of Jean Grace and Arthur James Carter have now had their grave crosses erected and blessed. This beautiful white marble trefoil cross is the pattern for all future gravestones in our burial ground. Jean's children have also installed a wooden seat in her memory.

Three-day meeting with Metropolitan John

Metropolitan Gabriel, of blessed memory, unable to give us much guidance and training due to his ill health, nevertheless kept us deep in his heart and prayers. We have prayed over the years for a bishop who would be in good health and who would give the priests much needed training and encouragement.
Our good God has answered our prayers in the person of Metropolitan John.
For three days in mid-July, Martin Shorthose, Matthew Carson and I went to Whirlow Grange near Sheffield, along with around forty others from our Antiochian Deanery. Sayedna John was joined by Metropolitan Saba of Bosra-Hauran in Syria and Monk Parthenios to give clear and definitive guidance on how we should serve the liturgies of the Church.

Metropolitan Saba presides over Vespers with Metropolitan John

We have, over the last fifteen years, been helped greatly by Orthodox priests from other jurisdictions. Now our archbishop has given us his guidance so that the whole archdiocese will be serving the liturgies in the same way.
We belong to the Antiochian Orthodox Church and our way of serving the liturgies will reflect this.
This does not say "this is the only right way" but rather this is our way, as Antiochians.
For us, at St. Michael's, the changes are very few and obedience to our archbishop will be easy. Let us pray for all our churches that the Holy Spirit will bring to us the blessing of unity and love as we obey our beloved archbishop, to whom may God grant Many Years.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Services for July 2009

Sat. 4th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.5th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 11th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.12th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 18th Pilgrimage to Croyland: 11am Divine Liturgy and picnic;
2pm Akathist to Saint Guthlac and Veneration of the relic of St. Theodore, martyred abbot of Croyland.
6pm Priestless Vespers at St. Michael's..
Sun.19th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 25th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in July.

10th Alexandra Joy; Alexandra Warden.
12th Veronica Dobson; Veronica Warden.
17th Rita.
18th Elizabeth Nash; Dara Elizabeth Davidchack
20th Monk Elias; Ghassan Ayoub.
22nd Magdalene.
24th Anca.


26th James Arthur.

Patronal Feasts .

17th St. Marina : Longton and Grimsby.

Advance notices.

Saturday 8th August : Pilgrimage to Ilam.
11am Divine Liturgy and picnic. 2.30pm Blessing of the Waters. 4pm Great Vespers.

Saturday 15th August:
Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary.
11am Divine Liturgy followed by Parish AGM with election of Parish Council.


This is a sermon from St John the Wonderworker in 1962. He was referring specifically, at that time, to the construction of the "Joy of All Who Sorrow" Cathedral in San Francisco, yet his words are timeless. It is always a time to build.Some people are saying: "The time is not come to build the Lord's house". Among them are many who are buying houses for themselves, who live in their own houses in full satisfaction of their material needs, or who are selling their homes to move into better and better dwellings, increasing their assets. It is understandable when such words are heard from unbelievers. But how can they be repeated by believers who themselves go to church? A church is a place that is consecrated, holy, in which there always dwells the grace of God. At the consecration of Solomon's temple, the glory of the Lord in the appearance of a cloud filled the house of God. So it was in the Old Testament temple. How much more powerfully does the grace of God act in the temples of the New Testament, where there is offered a true cleansing from sin, where we partake of the true Body and Blood of Christ, where, during the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Spirit continually descends upon the Gifts being consecrated and upon the people present? One can pray anywhere, and God hears prayers from anywhere. But it's much easier to pray in a church where everything is conducive to prayer. From there our prayers ascend to God, and the mercies of God are sent down upon us.The construction of a church is a sacrifice to God; to allocate a parcel of land for church services is to sacrifice to God part of your personal possessions, but most of all it is a gift of your love, your zeal.Churches are not needed by God Whose throne is heaven and Whose footstool is the earth; it is we who need them. It is we who benefit from donating towards the building of churches, although the Lord accepts not so much the substance of our alms, as much as He does our zeal; the quality of our effort. Christ approved the widow's mite, saying that she had given more than anybody else, for the rich cast in a great deal from their abundance, but she gave all she had, all her livelihood. Those alms we give in the name of God are received by God Himself. Spiritually, our alms are laid up in the treasuries of heaven, God's treasuries, from which nobody can steal them away. If someone steals any church possession, he steals from God Himself and the Lord God Himself punishes him.At each Liturgy, those who contributed to the building of the church are commemorated. In building churches here on earth, we create for ourselves eternal habitations in heaven. Decades will pass, our bodies will decay, perhaps our very bones will turn to dust, but our souls will live eternally. Happy will they be who prepare for their souls a dwelling in the heavenly mansions. Even if the churches, which are built, fall into ruins, the names of those who contributed to their construction will be written in God's eternal books, and the prayers that arose from within these churches will be sealed.

Copied from the Website of St. George Orthodox Information Service (

Parish AGM in August

This will be after the Liturgy of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos on Saturday 15th August. At this meeting we shall elect four members of our parish to serve on the church council for four years.
Our Trustees have done a marvellous job over the last fifteen years and their hard work, generosity and prayerful support have helped in the establishing of a vigorous and friendly family at St. Michael's.
Fr. Samuel, as chairman, the treasurer of the Trustees and two others will be ex officio members of the Council, leaving four others to be elected to serve on the Council. A notice will be posted in the refreshment room on Sunday 28th June and taken down on Sunday 26th July. If you would like to be considered for election, find a proposer and seconder and put up your name indicating your willingness to stand. If more than four names are put up, then there will be an election by ballot at the AGM on 15th August.
To be eligible for election you must be a member of St. Michael's church, twenty-one years of age, a "believer and a devout church-goer, known for his moral conduct and good behaviour" and able to perform effective service to the Parish. We should expect to meet quarterly. The Trustees are still legally responsible for St. Michael's, but, I am sure, will be grateful for extra help.

May God the Holy Spirit guide and protect us all.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Services for June 2009.

Sat. 6th Memorial Saturday
6pm Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun. 7th Holy Pentecost
10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy; 6pm Great Vespers with the Kneeling Prayers.

Sat. 13th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. All Saints. 14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 15th Beginning of the Apostles’ Fast.
Meeting of Trustees 7pm at Sparch Hollow.

Sat. 20th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 21st All Saints of Britain and Romania. 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 27th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 28th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 29th Holy, Glorious and All-praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul.
11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in June.

14th Monica.
22nd Alban.
29th Pavlos.

Patronal Feasts .

9th St. Columba,Doncaster.
17th St. Botolph, London.

Pilgrimage to Croyland Abbey

S. Columba & Kentigern Orthodox Church, Doncaster invites you to join its pilgrimage to Croyland Abbey on Saturday, 18th July 2009.

11.00a.m. The Divine Liturgy
in the ruins. (In church if the weather is inclement.)

Picnic Lunch
(Tea and coffee available in the Church Coffee Lounge)

2.00p.m. Akathist to St. Guthlac

Veneration of the Relic of St. Theodore
(Abbot of Croyland, Martyred in 870 by the Danes)

With grateful thanks to the Vicar and Churchwardens
for their kind hospitality.

Youth Activities

1. GOYGB Youth Camp.

Fr. Philip ( Lincoln ) has been the Chaplain for this camp for about a decade now and recommends it to very highly. They have room this year for about 50 participants and twenty adult helpers. There is lots to see on the internet site and all the relevant application forms etc.

What are the benefits for the Participants?
It is fun.
They get to meet other young Orthodox from many Dioceses from all over the world.
There are daily “lessons” about the faith.
There are interesting activities: I don’t yet know what is planned for this year but previously we have had:
Camping in the woods; Making fires; Woodcarving; Making prosphora; Music workshops; Saints plays;
Orienteering; Falconry; “The Snake man”; Party; Pilgrimage; Visits from various clergy; Barbeque;
Arts and crafts; Kite making; Iconography; Komboskini making; Sports day;
“Camp fete” - no money changes hands! Morning and evening prayers; Visit to Victorian Farm;
Archery; Regular “reunions”;
Time off etc etc etc

However “The best times are when we are just going for a walk or having time off to chat” to quote a participant of many years.

What benefits are there for the Adult Helpers?
Potential marriage bureau!
They arrive early and leave late and get to know each other very well.
It is enormous fun.
Lots of musical opportunities.
Very regular reunions, which lead on to the Youth Festival, Young Parents’ camp etc.

2. Other Youth Activities.

Annual Youth Festival.
Next year it will be on Bank Holiday weekend 30th April to 3rd May 2010 in Ilam Derbyshire.

Facebook Group
Youth Festival (18 – 35yrs!)

Yahoo Group
There is a messaging group to keep people up to date with what’s going on, we also have a weekly bulletin of saints lives and the readings for the day.

Orthodox Youth Choir Group
There is a mailing group for choir related events which you can subscribe to here:

Google Calendar
If you want to subscribe to the combined calendar of events (embedded on the above website) the address is:
This is a public calendar with masses of events across UK and Europe

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Services for May 2009

Sat. 2nd 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 3rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat. 9th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 10th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 16th 6pm Great Vespers without a priest. (Fr. Samuel in Ireland until 23rd May.)
Sun. 17th 11am Divine Liturgy served by Fr. Dennis from Doncaster.

Sat. 23rd 6pm Great Vespers without a priest.
Sun. 24th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
5pm Vespers at Pennant Melangell led by Shrewsbury parish of the Holy Fathers of Nicaea.
Wed. 27th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Ascension.
Thurs. 28th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Ascension.

Sat. 30th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 31st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in May.

8th Metropolitan John; John Warden; Hugh Maxfield.
10th Simon Harvey.
11th Cyril Macatominey.
21st Fr. Constantin; Helen Carson; Elena Batkin.
27th Bede.
29th Lucas Joy.
30th Isaac.


20th Jean Grace 2008.

Patronal Feasts

12th St. Aethelhard, Louth.
21st St. Constantine, York; St. Helen, Colchester.

Pennant Melangell

The church dedicated to St. Melangell lies in a remote and beautiful spot at the head of the Tanat Valley. It is set in a circular churchyard, possibly once a Bronze Age burial site, ringed by some of the country’s finest ancient yews which may also predate the Christian era. In its location and atmosphere it typifies the special qualities of a Welsh country church.
The first church on the site is said to have been founded in the 7th Century by Melangell, the daughter of an Irish king, who dwelt here as a hermit. One day the Prince of Powys came hunting, and a hare took refuge under Melangell’s cloak. The Prince’s dogs fled howling and, deeply impressed, he gave her the valley as a sanctuary. Ever since Pennant Melangell has been a place of pilgrimage.
There has been a Christian Church here for over 1200 years. Its setting, in a place of great beauty deep in the Berwyn Mountains, is peaceful and unspoilt. Parts of the building date from the 12th Century though the most recent, a rebuilding of the apse on its original foundations, was completed only in 1990. The church contains a fine 15th Century oak screen with carvings that tell the story of Saint Melangell and Prince Brochwel.
The church’s greatest treasure is the 12th Century shrine of Saint Melangell, containing the bones of the saint. This was dismantled after the Reformation and its stones, carved with a strange blend of Romanesque and Celtic motifs, were built into the walls of the church and lych-gate. They were reassembled in the last century and have now been re-erected in the chancel. It is unparalleled in Northern Europe and is visited by pilgrims from all over Britain and beyond. The feastday of Saint Melangell is 27th May.

Holy Mother Melangell, pray to God for us.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Services at St. Michael’s, Audley - April 2009

Wed. 1st 6.30pm Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete and Life of St. Mary of Egypt.
Fri. 3rd 6.30pm Full Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos.

Sat. 4th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 5th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed. 8th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts.
Fri. 10th. 6.30pm Great Vespers.

Sat. 11th Lazarus Saturday 10.30am Divine Liturgy.
Sun. 12th Palm Sunday 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Procession.
2pm Matins of the Bridegroom.
Great and Holy Monday 13th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom.
Great and Holy Tuesday 14th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom.
Great and Holy Wednesday 15th 6.30pm Anointing Service.
( Make your confession before this service of Holy Anointing!)
Great and Holy Thursday 16th 11am Vesperal Liturgy.
6.30pm Matins with the Twelve Passion Gospels.
Great and Holy Friday 17th 10.30am Royal Hours; 2pm Vespers and Epitaphios Procession;
6.30pm Matins and Bier Procession.

Great and Holy Saturday 18th 11am Vesperal Liturgy;
11.30pm Midnight Office; Paschal Light; Christos Anesti and Liturgy of Pascha.
Pascha . Sun. 19th 2pm Paschal Vespers.
Tues. 22nd 6.30pm Great Vespers.
Wed. 23rd 10.30am Divine Liturgy of St. George’s Feastday.

Sat. 25th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in April.

23rd George Dobson; George Gandy;
Alexandra Davidchack; Georgia Winter;
Georgia Williams; Georgina Chiurlea.


16th John Yeomans. (2002)

22nd Chad Makings.( 1999)

Patronal Feasts

23rd Our Cathedral of St. George in London .


We have already begun to clean things !!!

EPITAPHIOS AND OTHER FLOWERS: Please remember that we have to buy lots of flowers for the Great Week and Pascha services. There are the back of the church for donations, or you can bring your own envelope marked “Flowers for Pascha”, or you can bring extra flowers.

For Great Friday help will be needed to decorate the Epitaphios canopy after the Royal Hours, around 12.30pm. This is for everyone to do, but is not a social occasion and is done fasting and in silence. The crucified Saviour is hanging in our presence.

For Great Saturday bay leaves and rose petals are needed for scattering and after the Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil on Great Saturday morning there is a lot to do. If everybody who comes to the morning liturgy stayed behind for half an hour after the liturgy to help we would get the whole thing done, instead of a small handful of people having to spend the whole afternoon at it!

For Pascha we need to dye red eggs (dye is available in the refreshment room during Great Week) and prepare food for the Feast.

John and Veronica Warden have again offered their home for the Feast after the Paschal Liturgy.
Cyril and Magdalene have offered their home to us for the feast after the Sunday Vespers of Love.
Bring something to share with everyone.


This is an invaluable source of income for the church, so please use it for your cards, gifts, books, CDs, DVDs and icons.

Great and Holy Week

We have an invitation (from the Aposticha of Holy Tuesday Matins) :

“Thou art more beautiful than all men, O Bridegroom.
Thou hast invited us to the spiritual banquet of Thy bridal chamber.
Strip me of the ugly garment of my sins as I participate in Thy Passion.
Adorn me in the glorious robe of Thy beauty that proclaims me a guest in Thy Kingdom, O merciful Lord.”

“Come, O faithful, let us work zealously for the Master, for He distributes wealth to His servants.
Let each of us according to his ability increase his talent of grace:
Let one be adorned in wisdom through good works:
Let another celebrate a service in splendour.
The one distributes his wealth to the poor; the other communicates the word to those untaught.
Thus we shall increase what has been entrusted to us, and, as faithful stewards of grace, we shall be accounted worthy of the Master’s joy.
Make us worthy of this, O Christ our God, in Thy love for mankind.”

In worship we encounter the living God, Who makes Himself present and active, drawing us into the realm of salvation. We do much more than remember the past events of the Passion and Resurrection and recall the promises for the future. We experience for ourselves the Risen Christ, making all that is past and all that is future present now in our liturgical celebrations.
We stand in the Garden of Gethsemane, having been there when Lazarus came out of his tomb at the call of the Saviour; having shouted “Hosanna” with the crowds at the entry into Jerusalem of our Lord and King.
We witness the arrest; we loiter in the courtyard of the high priest; we weep at the humiliation of our Lord God at the hands of the Roman soldiers; we follow Him to Golgotha and wait to see Him die.
We cry out ecstatically after the long night of His descent into the realms of the dead at His glorious resurrection.
The Church has made it easy for us to be there with the many services … let us not be found too busy, or worse still careless of what is happening.
Pascha, which is the climax of the whole of our salvation history, is the oldest, most venerable and
pre-eminent feast of the Church, the very centre and heart of the liturgical year.

Christ is risen …….. He is risen indeed! English

Al-Maseeh qam … Haqqan qam! Arabic

Christos anesti … Alithos anesti! Greek

Hristos a inviat … Adeverat a inviat! Romanian

Kriste agsdga … C’esmarit’ad agsdga! Georgian

Christos voskrese … Voistinu voskrese! Slavonic

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Services for March 2009

Services at St. Michael’s, Audley for March 2009

Sun. 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Forgiveness ceremony.
7pm Forgiveness Vespers at The Church of the Holy Three Hierarchs, Leeds.
Mon. 2nd 6.30pm Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. ( First day of Great Lent.)
Tues. 3rd 6.30pm Great Canon.
Wed. 4th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Thurs.5th 6.30pm Great Canon.
Fri. 6th 6.30pm Akathist to the Theotokos.

Sat.7th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.8th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Procession with the Holy Icons.
Wed. 11th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Fri. 13th 6.30pm Akathist.

Sat. 14th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun. 15th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Wed. 18th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
Fri. 20th 6.30pm Akathist.

Sat. 21st 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun. 22nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Veneration of the Holy Cross. Please note that we shall NOT go to the Sandbach crosses this year.
Tues. 24th 6.30pm Great Vespers for the Feast of the Annunciation.
Wed. 25th 10.30am Divine Liturgy.
Fri. 27th 6.30pm Akathist.

Sat. 28th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun. 29th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Namedays in March

25th Mary Makings and Despina Harrison.


23rd Elizabeth Boothby 2007.
28th Priest Patrick 2008.
29th Barbara Worth 2008.

Deanery Patronal Feasts

18th St. Edward’s, Aethelhampton.

Advance Notices

Our Annual pilgrimage to St. Bertram’s tomb at Ilam: Saturday 8th August


Iona is unique in the British Isles: it is the cradle of Scottish Christianity, the legacy of St Columba, where the veil between heaven and earth grows very thin; whose white sands were once stained with the blood of martyrs. This September there will be on Iona a temporary Orthodox community. You can be part of it, worshipping in St Oran’s Chapel, where Scottish kings were buried. At Clachanach, a traditional Iona house, two volunteers will care for six guests each week, offering Orthodox worship, food, accommodation, and a simple way of life. Talks on Iona, its history and guided tours will also be available. The cost is £250pw, with £50 discount for bookings before Palm Sunday, or £25 discount for bookings between 18th May and Pentecost. (No bookings please between12th April and 17th May.) A few bursaries may also be possible, where there is need. Places are limited - please apply a.s.a.p. Pilgrims looking for a traditional, hotel-based experience of Iona should join the 2010 Friends of Orthodoxy Iona (FOI) Pilgrimage (see their website-click here). The 2009 Iona Orthodox House (not F.O.I.) is like staying in a scete.

Enquiries should be made to Reader Ignatios, Roseholm, Kilchuimen PH32 4DG; telephone 01320 366 457.

There are considerable discounts for applying early.
For more information contact Hugh and Imogen Maxfield.


Sunday, 25 January 2009

Services at St. Michael’s, Audley

Services at St. Michael’s, Audley.
February 2009.

Sun. 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon.2nd 10.30am Divine Liturgy: Meeting of the Lord in the Temple.

Sat. 7th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 8th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 14th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 15th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 21st 6pm Memorial and Hierarchical Great Vespers.
Sun. 22nd 10am Matins; 11am Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 28th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. March 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Forgiveness Ceremony.


3rd Archimandrite Simeon; Nicholas Chapman.
7th Richard.
19th Philothei.


10th Photini 2006

Visit of Metropolitan John

Visit of Metropolitan John

Our beloved father and Metropolitan John will come to us at St. Michael’s on Saturday 21st February and stay for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday 22nd February. Sayedna John will be accompanied by Archimandrite Athanasios.

They will be with us for Memorial and Great Vespers at 6pm and will then rest.

On the Sunday, after the Divine Liturgy, we shall move to the Audley Community Centre for a shared buffet-style lunch, but they must leave early Sunday evening in order to be back in Cambridge for English classes on Monday morning.

When sayedna John came to consecrate St. Michael’s we arranged fish and chips for lunch. This time let us show our hospitality with some excellent “special dishes”.
Please sign up for this, indicating what you will provide. Whatever you can do well is a “special dish”. Remember that monastics do not eat meat so some dishes should be fish or vegetarian.

Whilst it is correct to address our Metropolitan as “your eminence”, and liturgically as “Master”, the more informal form of address is “sayedna”, like “vladyka” for the Slavs. We greet him, of course, by kissing his hand and asking for his blessing.

Why all the fuss?

The Orthodox Christian Church is not like any other kind of religious society, and we cannot find outside of Holy Orthodoxy anything which properly parallels our God-given concept of true Bishops.

Luke 9: 1&2 “ He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

Matthew 10: 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him Who sent Me.”
These are the very words of our Saviour Christ and the Church has always taken them literally.

St. Ignatios of Antioch, writing in 107A.D., “ The Bishop in each church presides in the place of God … Wherever the Bishop appears, there let the people be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

At the consecration of a Bishop, he is given a threefold power: to rule, to teach and to celebrate the Mysteries.
The first Bishops, the Holy Apostles, and those consecrated by them formed an assembly.
The priests were the helpers of each individual Bishop in instructing the faithful and in performing liturgical services. Whenever a priest serves the Liturgy he represents the Bishop and the Bishop represents, or “stands in the place of” Christ Himself.

1 Timothy 5: 12 & 13 “We urge you, brethren to recognise those who labour among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.”

Whenever there is a clergy-meeting in London, I invariably thank Fr. Samir for his hospitality to us … very polite and very English! Fr. Samir, my dear brother, always points out that he has not offered “hospitality” which is for strangers, but rather he has welcomed us as “family”. We have been “at home” together.
It was such a shock to our English system when we first saw Orthodox men and women kissing each other in greeting, as instructed by the Holy Scriptures, rather than the somewhat cold and formal handshake.
When our beloved Metropolitan comes to us let us be excited and full of love, for he represents Christ and he is “family”.