Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Services for April 2010

Thurs. 1st 11am Vesperal Liturgy;
6.30pm Matins of the Twelve Gospels

Fri. 2nd 10.30am Royal Hours/decoration of the Bier;
2pm Vespers and Epitaphios Procession;
6.30pm Matins and Bier Procession.

Sat. 3rd 11am Vesperal Liturgy; Decorate church.
11.30pm Midnight Office; Paschal Light; Christos Anesti; Matins and Liturgy of Pascha.
Sun.4th 2pm Paschal Vespers of Love.

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

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

Thurs. 22nd 6.30pm Great Vespers of St. George’s Feast.
Fri. 23rd 11am Divine Liturgy for St. George’s Feast.
Sat. 24th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 25th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Name Days in April.

Pascha (4th) Anastasia.
23rd George Dobson; George Gandy; Georgina Chiurlea; Georgia Winter; Alexandra Davidchack; Alexandra Bendo


16th John Yeomans.
22nd Chad Makings.

Parish feasts.

23rd Our Cathedral of St. George in London.

Great and Holy Week: What does it all mean?

This is the week before Pascha (Easter) when we walk in the footsteps of our Saviour Christ to His voluntary death and glorious Resurrection.

Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday introduce us to Holy Week and Christ’s journey to the Cross.
Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, had been dead for four days when Jesus went to his tomb and called him out alive. Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, shows His authority over life and death. This wonderful miracle brought many to faith, but caused the chief priests to decide to kill Jesus.

Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus’ triumphal, yet humble, entry into Jerusalem.

After the Liturgy we carry blessed palm-fronds and candles in procession showing our willingness and joy to welcome Christ and to follow Him to the Cross.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings we serve the Bridegroom Matins.

The icon of Christ the Bridegroom is in the centre of the church. Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church, bears the marks of humility and suffering while preparing a marriage feast for us in God’s Kingdom. We are exhorted to be always ready for “the Bridegroom comes at midnight”. We must not only hear God’s word, but also obey it and produce in ourselves fruits worthy of repentance. “Thy Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Saviour, but I have no wedding garment that I may enter. O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul, and save me”.

In the Sacrament of the Holy Oil, on Wednesday evening, prepared for by confession and reconciliation to God, we are anointed to be healed both physically and spiritually. (As a Sacrament of the Church it is only available to those who belong to the Orthodox Church.)

Holy Thursday is when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and it is at this Liturgy that the Lamb is consecrated which will be used throughout the year to Communicate those too ill to come to church.

“ Of Thy Mystical Supper, O Son of God, accept me today as a communicant, for I will not speak of Thy Mystery to Thine enemies, neither like Judas will I give Thee a kiss, but like the thief will I confess Thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy Kingdom.”

Holy Friday begins, as do all liturgical days, the evening before. So, on Thursday evening we begin the day of mourning, fasting and prayer, for on this day our Lord and Saviour went to the Cross and died for us. The Twelve Gospel readings relate the events of Jesus’ Holy Passion and Death and His last instructions to His disciples. After the Fifth Gospel, the Crucifix is adorned with a wreath of flowers and carried in procession to the centre of the church. This symbolises Christ’s journey to Golgotha to offer Himself willingly as the sacrifice for the sins of the world ... mine and yours.

How can we go home to the television or trivial things when our Lord is crucified in our midst? Let us keep quiet and be prayerful, inside the church, outside the church and at home. The following morning we come to church, some to pray the Royal Hours and some to quietly and prayerfully prepare Christ’s tomb. Those who prepare the Tomb/Bier are not chatting and arranging flowers but rather offering a fitting worship to the dead body of the Lord Himself, which is, so soon, to be laid therein. Everyone is welcome to perform this loving task to honour Christ’s Body.
If we are able, we keep a total fast, so that we may hunger and cry out with Christ: “I thirst”.
In the afternoon service the Body of Christ is taken down from the Cross, wrapped in fine white linen and placed on the altar table. A cloth icon or shroud depicting Christ’s Sacred Body, called the Epitaphios, is carried in funeral procession, placed in the decorated bier and the Lamentations are sung, with both sorrow and joy. “In a tomb they laid Thee, O Christ, the Life. The angelic hosts were overcome with awe, and glorified Thy condescension.”

Straightaway, on Saturday morning, we begin to anticipate the descent into hell and the Resurrection. We sing “Arise, O God, and judge the earth, for to Thee belong all nations”. Rose petals and bay leaves are scattered throughout the church in joyful exaltation. At midnight we receive the “Light of Christ”.
“Come, receive ye light from the Unwaning Light, and glorify Christ, Who is arisen from the dead.”

In procession we sing:

“Thy Resurrection, O Christ our Saviour, the angels in heaven sing.
Enable us on earth to glorify Thee in purity of heart.”

In the afternoon we celebrate the Agape Vespers, when we embrace and forgive each other, sharing with others Christ’s gift of new life.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Services for March 2010

Wed 3rd 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts
Fri 5th 6.30pm Compline and Akathist to the Theotokos
Sat 6th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 7th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy & Veneration of the Cross

Wed 10th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts
Fri 12th 6.30pm Compline and Akathist to the Theotokos
Sat 13th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 17th 6.30pm Compline and Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Fri 19th 6.30pm Compline and Akathist to the Theotokos
Sat 20th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 21st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 24th 6.30pm Great Vespers
Thu 25th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation
Sat 27th 11am Divine Liturgy of Lazarus Saturday; 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 28th 10am Matins & Palm Blessing; 11am Divine Liturgy & Procession for Palm Sunday; 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom

Mon 29th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom
Tue 30th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom
Wed 31st 6.30pm Service of Anointing

Namedays in March

18th Edward Bendo
25th Mary Makings; Despina


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

Deanery Parish Feasts

18th St Edwards, Athelhampton

Great and Holy Week

This is the time when we should “put ourselves out” to experience the great mercy of God in His emptying of Himself to suffer humiliation and to die. The Son of God dies as man so that the Son of Man may rise again as God. It would seem to be of little consequence if the times don't fit, or the services are too long, or there is something else to be done. If you really cannot manage to be in church for the whole of a service, come quietly and be a small part and leave quietly.

Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
and blessed is the servant
whom He shall find watching,
and again, unworthy is the servant
whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul,
do not be weighed down with sleep,
lest thou be given up to death
and lest thou be shut out of the Kingdom.
But rouse thyself, crying
Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O our God!
Through the intercessions of the heavenly hosts,
have mercy on us.

(From Matins of the Bridegroom)

If you hop from Palm Sunday to Easter Day you will miss the whole meaning of life, death and resurrection. Become a partaker in the sufferings and death of our Saviour Christ, be thirsty, be hungry, be tired, descend to the depths and be brought up into the New Life of the Resurrection. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you”. (1 Peter 5 vs. 6 & 7)