Saturday, 31 December 2011

February and beyond.

Father George and his family will be returning to Australia in early February. They have been a great blessing to us in the transition period while beginning to move our Saturday and Sunday worship to our new church at Dresden.
When we first bought our church building at Audley it was in a terribly derelict state. We set to with fundraising and hard work and gradually it has, by the grace of God become a beautiful little church. We will continue to use this church for weekday services because we love it dearly and have been deeply involved in its repair and equipping for Orthodox worship. I will serve a weekly Liturgy in Audley on Wednesdays throughout the year, Pre-sanctified Liturgies during Great Lent. Great Feasts will be shared between the two buildings, as we did for the Feast of our parish Patron, the Holy Archangel Michael.
After much prayer and very slow negotiating, we have now begun to do the same for our new church building at Dresden. There will need to be much prayer, fundraising and hard work to make it a suitable place for Orthodox worship. By the grace of God this is possible! We all need to be totally committed to both of our churches in our prayers, our attendance and our giving of time, talents and finances. The help for the process at Dresden has, so far, been minimal from most, but exceptional from the few who have begun this great work and we owe them our grateful thanks. Don’t leave it to someone else but rather be at the very heart of the godly labour yourself.
I will reiterate that we are one parish , Saint Michael’s, with one congregation and two churches. We have been greatly blessed by our good God, let us try to be worthy of His beneficence and work together with the love and sense of family which has always been the characteristic of our parish.

May God bless us all!
Fr. Samuel.

Church Fathers on Baptism

...It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes… St Irenaeus
We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins…The Nicene Creed
For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table. St John Chrysostom
Today He is baptized by John that He might cleanse him who was defiled, that He might bring the Spirit from above, and exalt man to heaven, that he who had fallen might be raised up… St Gregory of Nyssa
Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred, and, lo, the body is pure. St Justin Martyr


The word Theophany comes from the Greek word Τheophaneia meaning “appearance of God”. Christ’s baptism is a theophany and it is one of the Great Feasts of the Church. It is one of the clear Biblical references to the Trinity. God the son is baptized, the Spirit of God descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father speaks from Heaven. As in the Troparion:
When you O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word…
An interesting element of most Theophany icons is the tree in the corner with an axe in it. This is showing the words of the scripture Therefore any tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… (Matthew 3:10b).

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


December 2011 at Audley and Dresden

Sat. 3rd 6pm Great Vespers at Audley.

(6pm Reader Vespers at Dresden, Fr. Samuel away.)
Sun. 4th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat.10th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 11th 10am Matins;11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 12th Meeting of Trustees 7.30pm at Dresden.

Wed. 14th 10.30am Divine Liturgy at Audley.

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

Sat. 24th 8pm Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, at Audley..

Sun. 25th 10am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, at Dresden.(No Matins)

Sat.31st 6pm Great Vespers.

Sun. 1st January 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.


9th Hannah Gandy. 18th Joseph Clive. 27th Stefan Ron.


7th Deacon John Mark 2007.

Parish Feasts.

20th St. Ignatios, Belfast.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Services: November 2011 at Audley and Dresden

Sat. 5th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 6th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon.7th 6.30pm Great Vespers of Saint Michael at Dresden.
Tues. 8th 10.30am Divine Liturgy of Saint Michael at Audley.
Fri. 11th 11am Memorial at the Dresden Church War Memorial.

Sat.12th 12.30 Saint Michael’s Feast at St. Marina’s Hall, Longton. A bring and share meal with a collection for the church.6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 13th 10am Matins;
11am Divine Liturgy. Audley
10.30am Baptism of Dylan Edward Jai Jones;
11am Divine Liturgy. Dresden
Mon. 15th Beginning of the Nativity Fast.

Sat. 19th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 21st 10.30am Divine Liturgy: Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple: Liturgy at Dresden.
Fri. 25th 11am Akathist at Audley

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

Being one parish.

As one parish of the Holy Archangel Michael, with two churches and two priests, Great Feasts will be shared between the two churches. So, both churches having as their Patron the Holy Archangel Michael, Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia will be served at Dresden and the Divine Liturgy with Panikhida at Audley on 7th and 8th November. The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple being on a Monday, there will be no Great Vespers, but the Divine Liturgy will be served at Dresden. We welcomed Edwin, Maurice, into the Holy Orthodox Church and our parish of Saint Michael at Dresden. I should have invited all of you to be there but left it to your own perception. Dylan Edward Jai Jones, the son of Paul Dominic and Jayne, will be baptised at Dresden on Sunday 13th November as indicated on the service listing for November. The day before we will have celebrated our Parish Feast with a “bring and share” lunch at Saint Marina’s hall in Longton. I hope that there will be many occasions when we will all be together at Audley and at Dresden, for worship, fellowship, study, fundraising and many other things.

Study Group

An evening study group has formed and meets at Hugh and Imogen Maxfield’s house every Thursday.Time: 8pm—9:30pmAddress: 1 Cappers Lane, Betchton, Sandbach, CW11 2TWContact: Fr. George 07551456454

Congratulations to Matthew and Kayleigh who have got engaged!

Name Days in November.

3rd Winifred Carson
8th Gabriella Bostan; Victor’s Gabriella
11th Martin Shorthose
13th Ioannes Harvey
14th Philip Boothby
16th Matthew Carson; Matthew Cooke
20th Edmund Maxfield
30th Andrew Ayoub; Andrew Davidchack; Andrew Onofrei; Andrew Robinson

Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and All the Bodiless Powers—8th November

On this day we celebrate the archangels and these are:

Michael: "Who is like God"
Gabriel: "Power of God" or "man of God"
Raphael: "God’s Healing" or "God the Healer"
Uriel: "Fire" or "Light of God"
Salathiel: "One who prays to God"
Jegudiel: "One who glorifies God"
Barachiel: "The blessing of God"
Jeremiel: "God’s Exaltation"
We celebrate all the angelic hosts in November because it follows nine months after March, in which month the world was created. Nine months for the nine orders of angels as outlined by Saint Dionysius the Areopagite. These orders are: six-winged Seraphim, many-eyed Cherubim, Godly Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels.
It was Saint Michael who first cried out "Let us attend! Let us stand aright; let us stand with fear". This is heard every Sunday and the response is the same one given by the Angelic host, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth: heaven and earth are full of Your Glory."
Saints of Britain: Saint Winifride—3rd November

Winifride (or Gwenfrewi in Welsh) was the niece of Saint Beuno the Wonderworker and she lived further up the valley from his cell.Caradoc, the son of a local chieftain attempted to seduce her but she repelled him and ran towards her uncle’s chapel for sanctuary. Caradoc flew into a rage, pursued her and cut off her head. Her uncle came to her and through fervent prayer, replaced her head and she was brought back to life.After this, Winifride entered the monastic life under the spiritual guidance of Saint Eleri. Eventually, Saint Winifride travelled west to the hills above the Conwy valley and founded there a monastery of nuns in the village of Gwytherin. She left this world in the year 650 and was laid to rest by Saint Eleri.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Services for October 2011 at Audley and Dresden.

Services for October 2011 at Audley and Dresden.

Sat. 1st Pilgrimage to Holywell. No local services.
Sun. 2nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 8th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 9th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 15th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 16th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Wed. 19th 9am Divine Liturgy at Audley
Sat. 22nd 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 23rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Fri. 28th 9am Divine Liturgy at Audley.
Sat. 29th 6pm Saint Demetrios Commemoration of the Dead and Great Vespers.
Sun. 30th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Name Days in October

Name Days in October.
12th Wilfred Maxfield. 18th Dr. Lucas Joy.
23rd Jacovos Harvey. 26th Claudiu
28th Terence.

19th Metropolitan Gabriel (2007).

Future Dates.
November: Parish Feast Meal will be a “bring and share” on Saturday 12th November at 12.30pm at Saint Marina’s Parish Hall in Longton.

Now that we have two churches and two priests, it is time for all of us to look at our giving to the Church in order to make the work of the Church possible.
In these difficult times, we need, more than ever, to remind ourselves that we put our trust in God, not in our own ability to supply our needs. Give freely and God will abundantly supply your needs. Be sensible and thrifty, and sparing in your giving, and you show your lack of trust in God.

Swanwick Deanery Conference 2012.
Father Gregory has booked Swanwick on the same basis as last time.... 80 places (expandable) at £130 with usual concessions and day attending rates, Monday 30th April (4pm) to Wednesday 2nd May (Lunch)... a non-fasting Paschal time.
The theme will be “Christian discipleship” and the following areas will be covered by quality speakers:-
Personal Vocations; Family Life and the Single State;
The Ascetical Life; The Kingdom of God and the World.

Saints of Britain

Saints of Britain: Wilfrid of York—October 12th
Saint Wilfrid was born in Northumberland in 634 and was educated at Lindisfarne and then spent time in Lyons and Rome. He returned to England and was elected abbot of Ripon in 658 and introduced the Roman rules and practices and was the architect of the definitive victory of the Roman party at the Conference of Whitby in 664.
He was appointed Bishop of York and took possession of his See in 669. He laboured zealously and founded many monasteries, though he had to appeal to Rome in order to prevent the subdivision of his diocese by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Theodore. While waiting for the outcome of the case, he was forced to go into exile. This did little to shake his zeal and he worked hard and long to evangelize the pagan south Saxons until his recall in 686. In 691 he had to retire again to the Midlands until Rome vindicated him once again. He was reconciled to his fellow bishops at the Council of Nidd in 706.
He went to his rest in 709 and is remembered for his courage and zeal.

Saint Paulinus of York—October 10
A monk in Saint Andrew’s monastery in Rome, he was sent to England in 601 by Saint Gregory the Great to assist Saint Augustine of Canterbury. He laboured in Kent until 625 when he accompanied Ethelburga to Northumbria where she married King (later saint) Edwin. Paulinus was successful in converting Edwin and large numbers of his people to the Christian faith. Edwin was defeated in 633 by pagan Mercians and Paulinus was forced to leave his See in York and return to Kent. There he took up the See of Rochester which he held until his death in 644.

Holy Fathers Spyridon and Nicodemus, Prosphora-bakers of the Caves—October 31

Saint Spyridon was a Godly man born in the early twelfth century. He was ignorant of book learning and his speech was rustic. Nevertheless, he was wise in spirit and his fear of God led him to the Monastery of the Caves where he became a monk and learned to read, committing all the Psalms to memory. He would chant the entire psalter once a day during his work.
His job became to bake the prosphora for the services, a work which Spyridon enjoyed. One day, while he was going about his work, he lit the oven to bake prosphora, and flames burst out and began to burn the roof of the building. Saint Spyridon took off his mantia and covered the mouth of the oven. Then he ran to the well, drew together the sleeves of his hair shirt, and filled it with water. He quickly returned to the fire calling for the brothers to come and help him put out the fire. When they arrived they were amazed that Spyridon’s shirt had held all the water for extinguishing the flames, and his mantia had not caught fire.

Saint Spyridon’s helper was St Nicodemus. They were very close friends and prayed and laboured together. They baked prosphora for thirty years before reposing peacefully .
of Canterbury. He laboured in Kent until 625 when he accompanied Ethelburga to Northumbria where she married King (later saint) Edwin. Paulinus was successful in converting Edwin and large numbers of his people to the Christian faith. Edwin was defeated in 633 by pagan Mercians and Paulinus was forced to leave his See in York and return to Kent. There he took up the See of Rochester which he held until his death in 644.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Services for September 2011

Sat. 3rd 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.4th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Wed. 7th 6.30pm Great Vespers: Nativity of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary.
Thurs.8th 10.30am Divine Liturgy.

Sat.10th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.11th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy. 6pm Anglican Service at The Church of Holy Resurrec-tion, Dresden, led by the Bishop of Stafford as a hand-over ceremony for our leasing of the church building.

Tues.13th 6.30pm Great Vespers.
Wed. 14th 10am Divine Liturgy; Elevation of the Holy Cross.

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

Sat.24th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.25th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Fri.30th 11am Akathist

Name Days in September.
5th Emma Louise Elizabeth Bostan. 8th Francesca Joy.
9th Anna Oshkereli. 17th Sofia Bartholomew.
24th Thekla Read. 26th John Roger Makings; John Martin Chadwick.

3rd Leon Liddament (2010)
10th George Fearns (2005)
24th Father Dennis (2010)

Deanery Parish Patronals.
14th Holy Cross, Lancaster.
19th Saint Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, Maccles-field.

Future Dates.
3rd September: Lastingham Pilgrimage.
3rd September: “It’s good to live in Audley Day”.
1st October: Holywell Pilgrimage.

The Church of the Holy Resurrection, Dresden.
On Monday 12th September the Anglicans will begin to put in store the things which we shall not need. As soon as possible, we shall begin to make the church suitable for Orthodox worship. This will take some time, but we shall begin to use the church in its temporary state of refurbishment as soon as possible. We shall then have the same services as at Audley on Saturdays and Sundays in Dresden.

Happy New Year

Our Community of the Holy Archangel Michael began in 1994 with eight people.
Sixteen of us were Chrismated by Frs. Gregory, Jonathan and Stephen in September 1995.
In 1996 we took possession of a very small Wesleyan chapel in Audley
several miles outside Stoke on Trent. Metropolitan John, at the re-quest of
Metropolitan Gabriel, consecrated the church, now fully paid for, in August 2002. By this time we had grown considerably and had to ask people not to come to the service of Consecration. We have continued to grow to around forty families, making our church in Audley uncomfortably cramped.
Sometime in mid-September we shall begin a ten year lease , from the C of E, for the Church of the Holy Resurrection, Dresden, Stoke on Trent (ST3 4PP).
Father George Robinson, a former resident in Audley, has returned to England from Australia with his wife and two of his sons. This will make it possible to serve both churches fully while maintaining one parish identity.
The New Year will bring with it, therefore, great blessings and great new responsibilities. We ask your prayers as we unworthy servants of God seek to witness to His great love for mankind and faithfully serve the liturgical offices.

Saints of Britain

Deiniol – September 11

St Deinol was born the son of a Celtic chieftain in the early 6th cen-tury and was an important figure in Christianity’s development in North Wales. He founded two monasteries, both named Bangor, one of which was close to the modern town of that name.
These monasteries had over 2000 monks, though many were to perish near Chester at the hands of a pagan king of Northumbria.
Deiniol is regarded as the first bishop of Bangor. There are numerous dedications to him in North Wales including the famous library which Prime Minister Gladstone established at Hawarden near Chester.
In 545, he and St. Dyfrig took part in a synod with St David, which settled many matters regarding the discipline of penance. Deinol’s presence there suggests that he was regarded as David’s equal. He died about the year 584.

Edith of Wilton – September 16

Born at Kensing in 961 to King Edgar of England, Edith was brought as a young child to Wilton Abbey by her mother Wulfrida, who lat-
er became a nun there and abbess.
Saint Edith became a nun at the age of fifteen and she refused to leave the convent to become queen as many of the nobles re-quested, when her half-brother, King Edward the Martyr was mur-dered.
She built St Denis Church at Wilton. Saint Dunstan was invited to the dedication and wept during the Mass, when asked why, he said it was because Edith would die in three weeks. This came true, and Edith went to her rest on 16 September AD 984.

Theodore of Canterbury – September 19

Theodore was born about the year 602 and was a native of Tarsus in Cilicia. Having studied at Athens, he visited Rome and whilst there was appointed to the See of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian. The See had been vacant for four years when Theodore arrived in England in 669. He was well received and was (as Bede distinctly tells us) the first Archbishop whose authority the whole English Church was willing to acknowledge.
Theodore aimed to organize the Church and encourage learning, he therefore consecrated Bishops to fill the vacant Sees and subdi-vided the existing dioceses.
The diocesan system which Theodore sought to establish was ac-cepted by a synod of the united English Church held at Hertford in 673. Another synod, held at Hatfield in 680, affirmed the adher-ence of the English Church to the Catholic faith. It was his inter-vention that prevented an escalation of war between the two kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.
Learning flourished in England under the zeal of Theodore, under his direction and with the help of others such as Benedict Biscop,
seminaries were founded at many of the monasteries.
Theodore died in the year 690 at the age of 88 having been archbish-op for 22 years.

Finbar – September 25

Finbar was the son of an artisan and a lady of the Irish royal court. He was born in Connaught, Ireland and was baptized Lochan. He was educated by monks at Kilmaca-hil, Kilkenny, where he was named Fionnbharr which meant white head because of his light hair.
He may have preached in Scotland but definitely in southern Ireland.
On the River Lee, at an Corcach Mór (in the area now known as Munster), he founded a monastery that be-came famous, attracting numerous disciples and visi-tors. As it’s fame grew, the monastery became the city of Cork, of which Finbar was the first bishop. The motto for the University College in Cork is “Where Finbar taught let Munster learn”. He died in Cloyne about the year 633 and after he died the sun did not set for two weeks.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Services for August 2011

Monday 1st beginning of the Dormition Fast.

Sat. 6th 11am Divine Liturgy; picnic; Blessing of the Spring and Great Vespers at Saint Bertram’s Shrine in Ilam, Derbyshire.
Sun.7th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy;

Sat.13th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon.15th 10.30am Matins followed by Divine Liturgy.

Sat.20th 4pm Parish Meeting; 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.21st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat.27th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.28th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Name Days in August.
NB 1st is not Jonathan’s Name day, but the Sunday before Christmas with the OT Righteous
16th Radu.
20th Father Samuel.

Deanery Parish Patronals.
9th Lincoln, Saint Matthias.
31st Levenshulme, Saint Aidan.

Future Dates.
3rd September Lastingham Pilgrimage.
1st October Holywell Pilgrimage.

Saints of Britain

St Aidan of Lindisfarne— 1st August

St Aidan was an Irish bishop of the 7th century and was based at Lindisfarne after St Oswald the king called for help to evangelise his lands. From here Aidan travelled on foot around his diocese and many churches and monasteries were founded in the area. St Aidan shunned worldly riches and things of the world. He was often invited to feasts as a friend of the king’s. These he rarely attended and when he did he would always bring other monks with him and always left as soon as he could to return to his work. St Aidan was a very approachable person and whenever he met another traveller on the road would always stop to talk to him. St Bede describes him as being, “a man of remarkable gentleness, goodness,

St Oswald Martyr King of Northumbria—5th August

A very righteous man, St Oswald did much work for the furthering of the Christian faith. He raised a wooden cross as his standard in a great bat-tle against pagan Britons, a battle in which he won a great victory against an old enemy. He established churches and monasteries throughout his kingdom with the help of many missionaries and monks including St Aidan of Lindisfarne. He was martyred in a battle against a pagan army in the year 642.
One Easter, when St Aidan was dining with St Oswald, a servant en-tered to say that there were many poor outside the gate seeking alms, Oswald took up a great silver dish and filled it with all sorts of foods from the royal table, and gave it to the steward. He told him to give out the food and then break the silver plate into pieces to hand out to the crowd as well. Aidan took the king’s right hand and said, “May this hand never decay”, his blessing was fulfilled, for after St Oswald’s death, his incorrupt hand was kept as a sacred relic.

Saints of Britain: St Hilda of Whitby— August 25th

St Hilda lived the life of a noblewomen until she joined her sister (Saint Hereswitha ) as a nun in the Chelles Monastery in France. At St Aidan of Lindisfarne’s request, she went to the double monastery in Hartlepool by the River Wear where there were both monks and nuns in separate areas. Here she became the abbess for a few years before becoming the abbess of the monastery of Whitby at Streaneshalch. There she had amongst her subject monks the Bishop Saint John of Beverly, the herdsman Caedmon (the first English religious poet), Bishop St Wilfrid of York, and three other bishops. It was her influence that was a decisive factor in se-curing the unity of the English church.
In 664 she convened a conference at Whitby abbey to decide whether the Roman or Celtic ecclesiastical customs should be observed. The decision was that the Roman rule would be-come the norm. Though St Hilda and her followers were adherents of the Celtic tradition, they followed the decision of the conference.
St Bede speaks highly of St Hilda, saying among other things that “all who knew her called her Mother, such were her wonderful godliness and grace”. St Hilda died at Whitby in the year 680.

Three Auxiliary Bishops Elected for Antiochian Archdiocese of Europe

During the 47th session of the Holy Antiochian Synod held in June, it was decided to elect twelve auxiliary bishops, three of these to serve in the Arch-diocese of Europe. Those elected were:

Archimandrite Ignatius Al Houshi
Born in Damasucus in 1970, he entered the St George’s monastery as a nov-ice in 1994 and became a monk in 1995. In 2001 he moved to Greece where he acquired a Diploma in Byzantine music from the National institute in Athens, and in 2006, the Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from the Theological College in Athens. He was ordained deacon in 2007 and was ordained priest in 2010 at the holy monastery of Penteli, Athens. Pres-ently he is preparing his doctoral thesis on Byzantine Music. He is skilled in Ancient and Modern Greek as well as French. He has been very active in translating liturgical services, teach-ing of ecclesiastical chant, and in the Orthodox Youth Move-ment in Damascus. His induction will be in Paris.

Archimandrite Hanna (Shafic) Haikal
Born in Jouret Arsoun in Mount Lebanon in 1967, Archimandrite Hanna finished secondary school education in Balamnd in 1986 and then continued his study of Theology at the Aristotle Univer-sity in Thessalonica gaining a Bachelor Degree in Theology in 1993. He was ordained deacon in 1995 and a priest in 1997. In 2001 he gained a Doctoral Degree in Theology from the Aristotle University. He is well versed in Greek and German, and he also speaks French. He is skilled in many ecclesiastical and pastoral matters. His induction will be in Berlin where he was entrusted with the service of Saint George’s parish in 1999.

Archimandrite Ephraim (Abdouh) Maalouli
Born in the Damascus countryside in 1978, he finished his secondry school edu-cation and 1996 and joined the college of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at Damascus University in 1997. He entered St George’s Patriachal Monastery as a novice and became a monk in 2001. He then moved to Greece where he acquired a Bachelor’s degree in Theology from the Theological Col-lege in Athens in 2006. In 2007 he was ordained a deacon and then a priest in the Al Hosn diocese. In 2009 he gained a Masters degree from the faculty of Greek Literature at Athens University and a Masters degree in Patristic studies at the College of Theolo-gy in Athen’s University. He is skilled in Ancient and Modern Greek as well as English. His induction will be in Cologne.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Services for July 2011

Sat 2nd 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 3rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 4th 7.30pm Meeting of the Trustees

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

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

Sat 23rd 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 24th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 30th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 31st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 1st August - Beginning of the Dormition Fast

Name Days in July
10th Alexander Joy; Alex Meek (Warden)
11th Matushka Olga
12th Veronica Irene Dobson; Veronica Warden
18th Dara Elizabeth Davidchack; Elizabeth Nash
20th Fr. Elia; Ghassan Ayoub
22nd Magdalen
24th Anca Bostan

26th James Arthur Carter (2008)
31st Tsinara (Nino’s mother)

Deanery Parish Patronal Feasts
17th Saint Marina Grimsby and Longton

Future Dates
2nd July Pilgrimage to Crowland (Baptism at Audley)
16th July 9am Archbishop Mark to visit Saint Elizabeth, Wallasey to serve the
Liturgy and bless the Iconostasis
30th July 11am Liturgy at Saint Martin’s Stony Middleton (see p3)
6th August Pilgrimage to Ilam
20th August 4pm Parish Meeting with Accounts and Reports

On the kitchen bookstall:
Kim has asked that your attention be drawn to an excellent new book translated by
our own John Warden and published in the US. Copies are available for purchase

Orthodox Divine Liturgy and Blessing of the Spring At Stoney Middleton

Come and join us again for the popular and much talked about Orthodox
Liturgy and blessing of the warm water spring during Stoney Middleton’s Well Dressing week. Refreshments available
Come and enjoy the delights of this village.
St. Martin’s Church, The Nook, Stoney Middleton S32 4TT
Date: 30th July 2011 Time: 11:00am Chris: 07912 361440

Saints of Britain: Saint Swithun of Winchester (15th July)

Saint Swithun was born in the reign of Egbert of Wessex, and was ordained priest
by Helmstan, bishop of Winchester (838-c. 852). His fame reached the king's ears, and heappointed him tutor of his son, Æthelwulf (alias Adulphus), and considered him one of hischief friends.

Under Æthelwulf, Swithun was appointed bishop of Winchester, to which see he was
consecrated by Archbishop Ceolnoth. In his new office he was known for his piety and his zeal in building new churches or restoring old ones. At his request
Æthelwulf gave the tenth of his royal lands to the Church. Swithun made his diocesan journeys on foot; when he gave a banquet he invited the poor and not the rich. William of Malmesbury adds that, if Bishop Ealhstan of Sherborne was Æthelwulf's minister for temporal matters, Swithun was the minister for spiritual matters.
Swithun's best known miracle was his restoration on a bridge of a basket of eggs that workmen had maliciously broken. Of other stories connected with Swithun the two most famous are those of the Winchester egg-woman and Queen Emma's ordeal. The former is to be found in Goscelin's Life (c. 1100), the latter in Thomas
Rudborne's Historia major (15th century), a work which is also responsible for the not improbable legend that Swithun accompanied Alfred on his visit to Rome in 856. He died on 2 July 862, and gave orders that he was not to be buried within the church, but outside in a vile and unworthy place.

Pastoral Letter from Metropolitan John 28/06/2011

Our beloved sons in the Lord,
The Reverend Clergy and the God-beloved people,
In our Orthodox Antiochian Archdiocese in Europe,
Christ’s peace be with you.

After invoking God’s grace richly upon you…
We inform you that our Holy Antiochian Synod in its 47th session held in the
Patriarchal Holy Monastery of Our Lady of Balamand, on 21st of June 2001, has
elected twelve auxiliary bishops (not diocesan Bishops) for the Patriarchate
and for some dioceses. Three of them are for our Archdiocese and these are the
Most Reverend:

- The elected Bishop Ignatius Al Houshi
- The elected Bishop Hanna Haikal
- The elected Bishop Ephraim Maalouli

The induction of Bishop Ignatius will be for the time being in Paris, of Bishop
Hanna in Berlin, and of Bishop Ephraim in Cologne.
They will be helping us in every task that is assigned to them in pastoral work,
teaching and administration all around the Archdiocese.
We inform you that they will receive episcopal ordination by the hand of His
Beatitude, Patriarch Ignatius IV in the Patriarchate in Damascus and we will
inform you about the ordination arrangements after agreeing them with the
In this unique occasion which brings happiness to our hearts, we send you this
message so that this joy may be for the whole family. We rejoice in your love,
the assurance of our unity, as side by side we carry each other in prayer so that
together we may carry out the service entrusted to us in these lands in Jesus’
love and peace.

May Christ’s peace be with you
Your fervent supplicant before God,
Metropolitan John

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Services for June 2011

Wed 1st 6.30pm Great Vespers for the Ascension
Thurs 2nd 11am Divine Liturgy

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

Sat 11th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 12th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
6pm Kneeling Vespers

Mon 13th 7pm Meeting of the Trustees

Sat 18th 10am-4pm Pisani Chapel; 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 19th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Monday 20th beginning of the Apostles’ Fast

Sat 25th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Tues 28th 6.30pm Great Vespers
Wed 29th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Feast of the Holy, Glorious and All-
Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul

Name Days in June

22nd Alban
29th Pauline Joan Baiasu; Pavlos Harvey; Paul Dominic Jai Jones

Deanery Parish Patronals

9th Saint Columba, Doncaster
17th Saint Botolph, London

Future Dates

22nd to 24th June Deanery Conference at Swanwick
2nd July Pilgrimage to Crowland
6th August Pilgrimage to Ilam

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Saints of Britain: Saint Nectan of Hartland (c468-c510 AD) – 17th June

A 12th-century manuscript found in Gotha is the fullest remaining account of the Life of Nectan.
This account holds that Nectan was the eldest of the 24 children of
King Brychan of Brycheiniog (now Brecknock in Wales). Having received a vocation to become a monk earlier in his life, he and many of his relatives
sailed to north Devon where Nectan settled by a spring (now St Nectan's
Well) at Stoke, in the then dense forest of Hartland. Here, in this
solitude, he lived as a hermit. He is also associated with St Nectan's
Glen and Waterfall (or Kieve) at Trethevy, nr Tintagel, in Cornwall,
where it is claimed he spent some time as a hermit.
At Hartland, Nectan lived in the solitude of a remote valley where he
helped a swineherd recover his lost pigs and in turn was given a gift of
two cows. Nectan's cows were stolen and after finding them he attempted
to convert the robbers to the Christian faith. In return he was attacked by robbers who cut off his head. The same authority says that he picked his head up and walked back to his well before collapsing and dying.
According to tradition, one of the thieves died and the other went blind. Upon
realising what he had done, it is claimed that the thief later returned to bury
Monthly Newsletter of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church Audley, Staffordshire ~ June 2011 Nectan's body. Tradition also says that wherever Nectan's blood fell, foxgloves grew. After Nectan’s death a shrine was set up and a cult grew up around him, supported by both Saxon kings and Norman lords. Lyfing, Bishop of Crediton
approved the translation of Nectan’s body and provided bells, lead for the roof
and a sculptured reliquary for the church. Nectan’s staff was decorated with
gold, silver and jewels. A number of churches in Devon are dedicated to St
Nectan and there is also a medieval chapel of Saint Nectan near St Winnow in
His feast day is 17th June – the supposed day of his death – and the feast was
kept in Launceston, Exeter and Wells. There is still a tradition of taking foxgloves
to Saint Nectan’s well on that day.

The Apostles Fast (20th June to 28th June)

Having rejoiced for fifty days following Pascha, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ,
the Apostles began to prepare for their departure from Jerusalem to spread
Christ's message. According to Sacred Tradition, as part of their preparation, they began a fast with prayer to ask God to strengthen their resolve and to be with them in their missionary undertakings. The scriptural foundation for the Fast is found in the Synoptic Gospels, when the Pharisees criticized the apostles for not fasting, Jesus said to them, "Can the children of the bridal chamber mourn, as long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." In the immediate sense, Christ was referring to his being taken to be crucified; but in the wider sense it is understood in terms of his Ascension into heaven, and his commission to the Apostles to preach the Gospel, which can only be accomplished with prayer and fasting.
The tradition of the Fast has existed at least since Pope Leo I (461 AD), as is
evidenced by his homilies, though it has subsequently been forgotten in the
West. The Fast is thought to have been instituted out of thanksgiving to God for
the witness of the apostles of Christ. With this Fast, believers express their
thanks for the Apostles' endurance of persecution during their mission.
The Feast of the Holy Apostles, Peter and Paul is on June 29th.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

O Foremost of the Apostles and teachers of the world, intercede ye with
the Master of all that He grant peace to the world and great mercy to
our souls.

Kontakion in the Second Tone

O Lord, receive unto the enjoyment of Your good things and Your rest,
the steadfast preachers of Godly words, the pinnacle of Your Disciples.
Receive their pain and death above every sacrifice, for You alone know
the hearts of men.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Services for May 2011

Sun 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
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 Great Vespers
Sun 22nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Sat 28th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 29th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Name Days in May

8th Metropolitan John; Hugh Maxfield; John Warden
10th Simon Harvey
11th Cyril MacAttominey
21st Fr Constantin; Illeana Badin; Elena Batkin; Helena Bendo; Helena
Carson; Ileana Grigoriu
29th Lucas Joy
30th Isaac Davies


20th Jean Grace (2008)

Deanery Parish Patronal Feasts

12th Saint Aethelheard’s, Louth
19th Saint Dunstan’s, Poole
21st Saint Helen’s, Colchester and York

Future Dates for your Diary:

May 6th to 20th Fr Samuel away – All services as usual thanks to Fr George
Thu Jun 2nd Feast of the Ascension of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Mon Jun 13th Meeting of the Trustees
Sat Jun 18th Pisani Chapel Open Day at Cromford
Jun 22nd to 29th Deanery Conference at Swanwick
Mon Jun 20th Beginning of the Apostles Fast
Wed Jun 29th Feast of the Holy Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the
Apostles, Peter and Paul
Sat Jul 2nd Pilgrimage to Crowland
Mon Jul 4th Meeting of the Church Council
Mon Aug 1st Beginning of the Dormition Fast
Sat Aug 6th Pilgrimage to Ilam
Mon Aug 15th Feast of the Dormition of our Most Holy Lady the Theotokos
Sat Sep 3rd “It’s Good to Live in Audley” Day 2011 (10am to 4pm)
Sat Oct 1st Pilgrimage to Holywell
Tue Nov 15th Beginning of the Nativity Fast

In addition, the Feast Day of St Marina is celebrated on 17th July which is a
Sunday so we will advise once we know when the Patronal Festival Liturgy will
be held if it is not on 17th itself.

On 28th April, the Church Council discussed possibilities for a Parish Outing.
A possible trip to Llangollen was suggested – perhaps in September.
If you would like to offer alternative suggestions or approve/disapprove of the Llangollen idea, please make your feelings known for discussion with a Council member before the meeting on July 4th.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Services for April 2011

Sat 2nd 3pm Memorial at our burial ground at Sandon
6pm Great Vespers
Sun 3rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 6th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
Thu 7th 6.30pm Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete (Full Canon)
Fri 8th 6.30pm Full Akathist of the Most Holy Theotokos

Sat 9th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 10th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 13th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
Fri 15th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

Sat 16th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 17th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy & Palm Procession
6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom
Mon 18th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom
Tue 19th 6.30pm Matins of the Bridegroom
Wed 20th 6.30pm Service of Holy Annointing
Thu 21st 11am Vesperal Liturgy
6.30pm Passion Gospels
Fri 22nd 10am Royal Hours during which the Bier will be decorated
2pm Vespers and Epitaphion
6pm Lamentations and Bier Procession

Sat 23rd 11am Vesperal Liturgy
11pm Christos Anesti and Paschal Divine Liturgy
Sun 24th 3pm Vespers of Pascha
Mon 25th 11am Divine Liturgy of Saint George (transferred from 23rd)

Sat 30th 6.00pm Great Vespers

Saint George

We celebrate the name days of a number of Georges on April 23rd. But since Pascha this year also falls on April 23rd, the Divine Liturgy for Saint George is celebrated on the 25th.
According to Tradition, George was born to a Christian
family during the late 3rd century. His father was from
Cappadocia and served as an officer of the army. His
mother was from Lydda, Palestine. She returned to her
native city as a widow along with her young son after
the martyrdom of George's father, where she provided
him with a respectable education and raised him in
The youth, it would seem, followed his father's
example in joining the army soon after his coming of
age. He proved to be a charismatic soldier and
consequently rose quickly through the military ranks of
the time. By his late twenties he had gained the titles
of tribunus (tribune) and later comes (count). By that
time George had been stationed in Nicomedia as a
member of the personal guard attached to Roman
Emperor Diocletian (reign 284–305).
In 303, Diocletian issued an edict authorising the
systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire.
His caesar, Galerius, was supposedly responsible for
this decision and would continue the persecution
during his own reign (305–311). It is believed that
George was ordered to take part in the persecution
but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and
criticised the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian
proceeded in ordering the torture of this apparent traitor and his execution.
Then, after innumerable forms of torture, George was executed by decapitation in front of Nicomedia's defensive wall on April 23, 303. The witness of his suffering convinced Monthly Newsletter of St. Michael’s Orthodox
Church Audley, Staffordshire ~ April 2011
Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to also become Christians, and so they also joined George in martyrdom as consequence. George's body was then returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour George as a martyr.
And what about the dragon? St. George is often depicted with a dragon or
some other serpentine creature under his feet. This comes from a legend whose details may vary according to local tradition. The tale begins with a
dragon making its nest at the spring (or lake) that provided a town (either near Beirut or Silena, Libya, often) with water. Consequently, the
citizens had to temporarily remove the dragon from its nest in order to collect water. To do so, they offered the dragon a daily human sacrifice.
The victim of the day was chosen by drawing lots. Eventually, the "winner" of this lottery happened to be the local princess. The local monarch is occasionally depicted begging for her life with no result. She is offered to the dragon, but at this point a travelling George arrives. He faces the dragon, and, after invoking the name of the Holy Trinity, slays it and saves the princess. The grateful citizens then abandon their ancestral paganism and convert to Christianity.

Ephrem the Syrian

We continue to use the Prayer of Saint Ephrem in prayer during the fast: O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power, and idle talk. But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Ephrem was born around the year 306 in the city of Nisibis (the modern Turkish town of Nusaybin, on the border with Syria). St James (Mar Jacob), the first Bishop of Nisibis, was appointed in 308 and Ephrem grew up under his leadership of the community. He was baptised as a youth and James appointed him as a teacher. He was ordained as a deacon and began to compose hymns and write biblical commentaries as part of his educational office. Though St. Ephrem was probably not formally a monk, he was known to have practiced a severe ascetical life, ever increasing in holiness. In Ephrem's day, monasticism was in its infancy in Egypt. He seems to have been a part of a closeknit, urban community of Christians that had "covenanted" themselves to service and refrained from sexual activity. Some of the Syriac terms that Ephrem used to describe his community were later used to describe monastic communities, but the assertion that he was monk is probably anachronistic. Ephrem is popularly believed to have taken certain legendary journeys. In one of these he visits St. Basil the Great. This links the Syrian Ephrem with the Cappadocian Fathers, and is an important theological bridge between the spiritual view of the two, who held much in common. Ephrem is also supposed to have visited Abba Bishoi (Pisoes) in the monasteries of the Wadi Natrun, Egypt. As with the legendary visit with Basil, this visit is a theological bridge between the origins of monasticism and its spread throughout the church. The most popular title for Ephrem is Harp of the Spirit (Syriac Kenârâ d-Rûhâ). He is also referred to as the Deacon of Edessa, the Sun of the Syrians and a Pillar of the Church. With the Tradition of the Church, Ephrem also shows that poetry is not only a valid vehicle for theology, but in many ways superior to philosophical discourse. He also encourages a way of reading the Holy Scripture that is rooted in faith more than critical analysis. Ephrem displays a deep sense of the interconnectedness of all created things, which leads some to see him as a "saint of ecology." Over four hundred hymns composed by Ephrem still exist and the church historian Sozomen credits Ephrem with having written over three million lines.

Saint Beuno, Abbot of Clynnog (21st April)

Continuing our series on British Saints we visit Wales. Beuno was born in Powys in the 7th Century, supposedly at Berriew, the grandson of a prince of that realm. After education and ordination in the monastery of Bangor-on-Dee in north-east Wales, he became an active missionary, Cadfan, King of Gwynedd, being his generous benefactor. Cadwallon, Cadfan's son and successor, deceived Beuno about some land and, when the saint demanded justice, proved unsympathetic. Thereupon, Cadwallon's cousin Gwyddaint, in reparation, "gave to God and Beuno forever his township" of Clynnog Fawr in the Llŷn peninsula, where the saint founded a famous abbey. Beuno became the guardian and restorer to life of his niece, the virgin Saint Gwenffrewi (Winefride). He was relentless with hardened sinners, but full of compassion to those in distress. Before his death at Clynnog "on the seventh day of Easter" he had a wondrous vision.

Saint Egbert of Lindisfarne (24th April)

Saint Ecgberht (or Egbert) (died 729) was an Anglo-Saxon monk of Northumbria and Bishop of Lindisfarne. As a youth he went on a perigrinatio, or pilgrimage far from home, traveling to Ireland. One of his acquaintances at this time was Chad. He settled at the monastery of Rathelmigisi (Rathmelsigi), identified with Mellifont in County Louth or else in Connaught. His Northumbrian travelling companions, including Æthelhun, died of the plague, and he contracted it as well. Thinking he would die, Ecgberht wept in repentance as he recalled his past sins, and he prayed that God spare him long enough to allow him to atone for the ill deeds of his youth, and he also vowed to remain on perpetual pilgrimage from his homeland of Britain, reciting the Psalter daily and fasting frequently. He miraculously recovered, and kept his vow until his death at age 90. While in Ireland, Ecgberht was one of those present at the Synod of Birr in 697, when the Cáin Adomnáin was guaranteed.
He began to organize monks in Ireland to proselytize in Frisia; many other high-born
notables were associated with his work: Saint Adalbert, Saint Swithbert, and Saint Chad.
Ecgberht arranged the mission of Saint Willibrord, Saint Wigbert and others to the
pagans. He was dissuaded from this by a vision related to him by a monk who had been a disciple of Saint Boisil (the Prior of Melrose under Abbot Eata). In 684, he tried to dissuade King Ecgfrith of Northumbria from sending an expedition to Ireland under his general Berht, but he was unsuccessful. Ecgberht eventually become a monk on the island of Iona, where he resided from 716 and gently persuaded the monks there to adhere to the Roman form of computing Easter, which had been adopted at the Synod of Whitby (664). He died on the first day that the Easter feast was observed by this manner in the monastery, on 24 April 729.
His feast day in the Eastern Orthodox Church, April 24, is found in both the Roman, Irish, and Slavic martyrologies and in the metrical calendar of York. Though he is now honoured simply as a confessor, it is probable that St. Ecgberht was a bishop.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Services for March 2011

Services for March 2011

Sat 5th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 6th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
6pm Forgiveness Vespers
Beginning of Great Lent
Mon 7th 6.30pm Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete
Tue 8th 6.30pm Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete
Wed 9th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
Thu 10th 6.30pm Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete
Fri 11th 6.30pm Akathist of the Most Holy Theotokos
Sat 12th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 13th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Procession with the Holy Icons

Wed 16th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
Fri 18th 6.30pm Akathist of the Most Holy Theotokos
Sat 19th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 23rd 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts
Thu 24th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Annunciation
Fri 25th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation
Sat 26th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 27th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy & Veneration of the Holy Cross

Wed 30th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts

Name Days in March
18th Edward Bendo
25th Mary Makings; Despina
23rd Elizabeth Boothby (2007)
28th Priest Patrick of Walsingham (2008)
29th Barbara Worth (2008)
Deanery Parish Patronal Feasts
18th Saint Edward’s, Aethelhampton

Memorial Saturdays in Great Lent

Memorial Saturdays in Great Lent
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.

Saint Chad

Saint Chad
St Chad, the Apostle of the Midlands, was born in Northumbria, one of four brothers, all of whom became priests. He was educated partly at Lindisfarne under St Aidan and partly in Ireland.
He succeeded his brother St Cedd as Abbot of Lastingham in Yorkshire in 664. He became Bishop of Mercia in 669 and Wulfhere, first Christian king of Mercia, gave him land to establish his see at Lichfield.
Chad was outstanding for his humility and simplicity of life. He died of the plague on 2 March 672. He was at once venerated as a saint and his Shrine in the Cathedral of Lichfield was a place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages.
For hundreds of years pilgrims visited the Shrine of St Chad in Lichfield to pray to him and many miracles were recorded as a result. In 1538 the Shrine was dismantled under the orders of King Henry VIII and the bones of St Chad either destroyed or buried in an unknown location.
One of the priests at the Cathedral, Prebendary Arthur Dudley, rescued a box containing some of St Chad’s bones which was kept in St Chad’s Head Chapel. He asked two female relatives, probably his nieces who lived at Russells Hall, Dudley, to look after them. They in turn passed them on to two brothers, Henry and William Hodgetts, who lived at Woodsetton Farm at Sedgley near Wolverhampton. They divided the bones between them. William died in 1649 and his widow gave his share of the bones to Henry who reputedly kept them hidden on the top of his four-poster bed.
When Henry was dying in 1651 he received the Last Rites from a Jesuit priest, Fr Anthony Turner. During the Litany of the Saints Henry began adding ‘St Chad, pray for me’. Fr Turner enquired why he was so devoted to St Chad and he explained that he had some of St Chad’s bones in his possession. He handed them over to Fr Turner who wrote down all that Henry had told him about the relics and how they had come to him through the Dudley family. Fr Turner had his statement witnessed by two other Jesuits and they had a new casket made, covered in red velvet and with silver hinges and locks, made for the relics.
The Jesuits eventually handed the bones over to Basil Fitzherbert of Swynnerton Hall, near Stoke-on-Trent, for safe-keeping. Basil died in 1797 and his widow and eight-year old son moved to a smaller house at Aston by Stone. Here a chapel was built and served as Mass centre for the surrounding district. The family eventually moved back to Swynnerton, and Aston Hall and its chapel was closed up.
In 1839 the chapel was reopened by Fr Benjamin Hulme and he discovered a chest underneath the altar in which was a velvet-covered box containing a collection of relics, including six bones wrapped in silk with Fr Turner’s document. The bones were taken to Oscott and examined by Bishop Thomas Walsh, the Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, and his coadjutor, Bishop Nicholas Wiseman. After careful perusal of all the evidence a report was sent to Rome and Pope Gregory XVI confirmed that these were the bones of St Chad and instructed that they be enshrined in the new cathedral in Birmingham which was in the process of construction. They were placed in a shrine designed by Pugin above the High Altar on the day of its consecration on 21 June 1841. The shrine, which Pugin based on the Venerable Bede’s description of the original at Lichfield, was further embellished by Hardmans in 1931.
In 1995 Archbishop Maurice Couve de Murville arranged for a fresh examination of the bones by the University of Oxford Archaeology Unit. The report concluded that one of the bones is eighth century (and therefore cannot have belonged to St Chad) but the other five are all of the mid-seventh century. Two of the bones are left femurs and so are of different individuals. It is therefore reasonably certain that at least one and possibly three of the bones are those of St Chad. The evidence from the scientific examination was published in a Decree issued in 1997 by Archbishop Couve de Murville which required that the bones are kept together and venerated collectively.
(This account is taken from the website of Saint Chad’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.)

We plan to go again, as some of us did last year, on March 2nd, to venerate the relics of Saint Chad in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Saint Chad in Birmingham.

Services for Great Lent

Services for Great Lent
There are so many opportunities during Great Lent to experience the most wonderful and rich prayers of our Holy Orthodox Church within the beautiful and ancient services set for this holy season.

We begin on Sunday 6th March at 6pm with Vespers and the forgiveness prayers. We should not dare to enter into the warfare of Great Lent without first asking forgiveness of each other and giving forgiveness in return. We are not beginning a “diet”, but rather we are embarking upon a battle with the spiritual forces which are determined to keep us in submission. The Victory is already won by the Death and Resurrection of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, but we have the battles to fight against pride, jealousy, lust, idle talk, curiosity, idleness and self-will. Unless we are armed with forgiveness, love, prayer, generosity and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, we cannot help but fail.

During the first week, the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete is divided into daily sections within the service of Great Compline. This Canon is a wonderful examination of our own sinful tendencies in prayerful consideration of the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. It is served fully with Matins on the Thursday of the fifth week of Lent.

The Great Canon is interrupted on the first Wednesday by the Divine Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts. The Holy Gifts, the Very Body and Blood of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ, sanctified at the Sunday Liturgy by the descent of the Holy Spirit have been kept to be received today. This is a very intense, quiet and moving service. At the Great Entrance today we kneel, and only at this service of the Pre-Sanctified, because it is not bread and wine which is being carried by the priest but Jesus Himself. We should fast and pray in order to partake of the Holy Gifts; fasting from noon onwards and saying the Canon of Preparation for Holy Communion.

On the Fridays of Great Lent we sing the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos, divided into parts for the first four weeks, then as a whole on the fifth Friday. This year interrupted on March 25th by the Feast of the Annunciation. Akathist means “not sitting” because we honour the Mother of God by standing for the whole of the Akathist. During this service, set within the service of Little Compline, the priest remembers the names of all those given to him for intercession.

Please write legibly and hand in names well in advance of the beginning of the service

At the end of the first week comes the first Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of Holy Orthodoxy, when we celebrate the return of the Holy Icons after the long and violent periods of persecution and iconoclasm. We bring our home icons to church and carry them prayerfully in procession after the Liturgy. We welcome all the saints, in the Holy Icons, as they share the Liturgy with us and walk triumphantly into our parish.

The Synodicon: The Affirmation of the Orthodox Faith.

As the Prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers have dogmatized, as the universe has agreed, as Grace has shown forth, as Truth has revealed, as falsehood has been dissolved, as Wisdom has presented, as Christ has awarded: thus we declare, thus we assert, thus we preach Christ our true God, and honour His saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshipping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honouring as true servants of the same Lord of all, and accordingly offering them veneration.
This is the Faith of the Apostles; this is the Faith of the Fathers; this is the Faith of the Orthodox; this is the Faith which has established the universe!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Services for February 2011

Services for February 2011

Meeting of our Lord in the Temple
Tue 1st 6.30pm Great Vespers
Wed 2nd 11am Divine Liturgy

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

Sat 12th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 13th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Beginning of the Triodion
Sat 19th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 26th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 27th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
This is Meatfare Sunday and the last time we eat meat until Pascha

Name Days in February3rd Archimandrite Simeon Piers
7th Richard Grace
16th Nicholas Chapman (OS)
19th Philothei (Imogen) Maxfield

Reposed2nd Protopresbyter Alban Barter (2009)
10th Photini (Philippa) Pearce (2006)

The Triodion (Greek: Τριῴδιον; Romanian: Triodul) is the liturgical book used
during Great Lent and the preparatory weeks leading up to it. Many canons in
the Triodion contain only three canticles or odes, hence the name. The period the
book covers extends from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (the tenth
before Pascha) and concludes with Great and Holy Saturday

Recipes from Afaf

Recipes from Afaf!
Makhloutah (Mixed Pulses Soup)
The name of the soup derives from the
verb khalata which means, mix things together.
In this instance, it refers to the mixing of
different pulses or beans together to produce
an earthy nourishing soup, great for vegans.
The amount given in this recipe is a suggestion,
you can vary it according to your liking, you can
even omit one of them if you don’t like it and
increase the amount of the one you like or substitute it with lentils. Before mixing the
beans, I tend to boil them separately because each type takes a different time to
soften, especially haricot beans. Alternatively, you can speed up this recipe by using
tinned beans, they work well.
The dried broad beans I use here are the Lebanese ones which I believe have more
flavour than others. They have a brownish colour and tend to be plumper but smaller
in size than the ones that are usually available in general supermarkets. Tinned broad
beans (or Foul Medammas) are also available in Lebanese grocers.
Serves: 4 - 6
 75 g / 3oz chickpeas soaked overnight in water which is three times their volume,
stir into that ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
 75 g / 3 oz haricot beans soaked overnight in water with ¼ tsp bicarbonate of
 75 g / 3 oz dried broad beans soaked overnight in water with ¼ tsp bicarbonate of
 2.25 litres / 4 pints stock made up from the juices of the beans and added water.
 75 g / 3 oz green or brown lentils (optional)
 20 g / ¾ oz rice
 1 large or 2 medium onions thinly sliced
 85 ml / 3 fl oz good brand olive oil
 Salt to taste and freshly milled black pepper
 1tbsp ground cumin
 1 tsp allspice
 30 g / 1oz fresh coriander chopped, you could also substitute it with parsley,
chives or freshly chopped spring onions
 Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle (optional)
1. Rinse chickpeas, haricot beans and broad beans then place in separate saucepans
with three times their volume of water, add 1 tsp salt and bring to boil. Remove
the scum, then cover and let them simmer until they begin to feel tender.
2. When they are ready, drain them but reserve the liquid in a measuring jug, you
may need to top it up with water to make up the quantity required.
3. Heat up the oil in a deep saucepan (preferably non-stick), wide enough to mix all
the ingredients, fry the onions for about three minutes, then add the three
beans, sauté for a couple of minutes to give them a good coating, season. If you
want lentils, you could add them to the mixture at this stage, do likewise if using
tinned beans. Pour in the stock (or water if using tinned beans) and bring to the
boil then reduce the heat, cover and let the whole mixture simmer for 45
minutes, stirring occasionally, the beans should be really soft, otherwise cook for
4. Next, stir in the rice, check again whether you need topping up with hot water.
Give the whole thing a good stir, simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the rice
is cooked, taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5. Serve hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, scatter generously with chopped
coriander or parsley or any herbs of your choice. Delicious with freshly baked
crusty bread!
Yakhnet Bazella maa Jazar (Fresh Peas and Carrot stew)
This is one of my favourite dishes for the
sweetness of fresh peas and carrots mixed with
the juices from the meat and flavoured with
orange peel, gives this wintery dish a
distinguished taste. If you can’t find fresh peas,
substitute with frozen ones. The other good
thing is that this dish works well for vegetarians
and vegans, simply, omit the meat and for more
flavour add garlic. This dish is usually served with
plain rice, another tip is that it shouldn’t come out too ‘saucy’, the amount of water I
recommend is fine, however, if using tinned tomatoes which tend to be more watery,
reduce the amount.
Serves: 4
 1tbsp vegetable oil
 1 large onion finely chopped
 300g / 11oz lean lamb meat cut into small cubes
 300g / 11oz carrots peeled and diced into small cubes
 4 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed (optional)
 Peel of 1 small orange
 150ml / 5fl oz water (or vegetable stock if omitting meat)
 450g / 1lb fresh ripe tomatoes skinned or the equivalent of tinned chopped
 Seasoning: salt to taste, freshly milled black pepper plus ½ tsp ground allspice
 500g / 1lb 2oz fresh or frozen peas
1. To skin the fresh tomatoes, simply drop them in boiling water, leave them for
one minute for the large ones, and 30 seconds for the smaller ones, then
remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate, to cool slightly. Slip off the skin and
2. Heat up the oil in a deep medium sized pan. Stir fry the chopped onion for 1
minute then add meat, season with and cook until it is lightly browned. Mix in
the carrots, garlic if using, orange peel and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring
occasionally. After that, add chopped tomatoes followed by the water or
vegetable stock (if omitting the meat), and bring to the boil, cover and simmer
for about 15 minutes, after which you mix in the peas. If you are cooking
frozen peas, you may need to increase the heat to boiling point before
dropping them in. Simmer for another 15 minutes or until the peas are cooked.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
3. Discard orange peel and serve hot with plain rice.
Falafel (Bean Patties)
Falafel is eaten throughout the Middle East usually
wrapped in bread as a sandwich. It makes an ideal
meal for vegetarians and vegans, it can also be
served as a starter. The main ingredients are dried
broad beans and chickpeas, the rest can be varied to
suit your taste, for instance, if you don’t like
coriander, you could substitute it with parsley or if
you like your Falafel spicier you could add chillies. One more thing, it is important
that the ingredients are dried thoroughly, otherwise the mixture will be too wet and
mushy. In the end, we will be looking for a tasty mixture that binds firmly when you
shape it.
A great advantage is that once cooked, it freezes well. Once defrosted, it and can be
reheated in a hot oven or microwave.
Makes about 20
 200g/ 7oz skinless dried split broad beans soaked overnight in water with ½ tsp
of bicarbonate of soda
 75g/ 3oz chickpeas, preferably split chickpeas, soaked overnight in water with
¼ tsp of bicarbonate of soda
 1 medium sized leek washed, drained from excess water trimmed and chopped
 5 fat cloves of garlic peeled and smashed to a paste
 1 sweet red pepper washed and chopped
 about 5 spring onions washed and finely chopped
 50g / 2oz coriander, rough stalks discarded, washed dried and chopped.
 1 or 2 chillies (optional)
 1 slice of bread (optional)
 About 4 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
 Bicarbonate of soda
 Salt & freshly milled black pepper
 2 rounded tsp cumin
 1 tsp allspice
To serve
 Lebanese bread, allow 1 bread per person
 Mixture of sliced radishes, chopped parsley, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickled
 Tahini sauce or Taratoor (See recipe in Sauces)
1. Soak broad beans and chickpeas separately in water, adding bicarbonate soda
to each, leave them for several hours, ideally overnight.
2. When you are ready to cook, rinse the broad beans, drain then and spread
them on a tea towel to dry. Next, rinse the chickpeas, for the split ones, add
fresh water and using your fingers rub the skins off and discard, rinse again the
skinless chickpeas, drain and dry thoroughly. If you have whole ones, rinse and
drain them then take whatever you can fit on a large chopping board, cover
with a tea towel then bash them gently with a rolling pin. You will see that the
skins come off, discard the skins, pick up the skinless ones and keep them to
one side, it does not matter if they are broken because we need to grind them
later. Repeat the process with the rest of the chickpeas, then rinse drain and
3. Now, put broad beans, chick peas, along with the rest of the ingredients adding
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda in a food processor. Process until you reach a
mixture that binds together firmly. If it is too moist, shred the bread, add it to
the mixture and process again. Taste and adjust taste if necessary, then cover
and leave it to rest for an hour.
4. Take a piece of the mixture the size of a golf ball, shape it into a patty about 4-
5 cm/ 1½ -2 inches diameter and place it on a plate, continue likewise with the
rest until the mixture is finished. Let the patties rest for 20 minutes.
5. Heat the oil to about 190°C/ 375°F, dust each patty in the sesame seeds (this is
optional) before dropping it into the hot oil, do likewise with the rest. Deep fry
for about 3 minutes turning them once or twice until they reach a deep golden
brown colour. Drain on a kitchen paper and keep warm until you finish deep
6. To serve: Open up the bread, leaving the other half attached, put the patties
creating one row in the middle, top it with the salad of your choice then drizzle
with the tahini sauce, flip the other half of the bread to cover, roll it up, wrap
the bottom side with greaseproof or kitchen paper (to catch the excess juice)
and eat. Alternatively, serve the falafel on a plate with a little salad, bread and
sauce on the side.

The Meeting of our Lord in the Temple
This feast, celebrated on February 2, is known in the Orthodox Church as The
Presentation of Christ in the Temple. Another
name for the feast is The Meeting of our
Lord. Roman Catholic and Protestant
Christians call the feast, The Purification of
the Holy Virgin. About 450 AD in Jerusalem,
people began the custom of holding lighted
candles during the Divine Liturgy of this feast
day. Therefore, some churches in the West
refer to this holy day as Candlemas. The Feast
of the Presentation concludes the
observances related to the Nativity of Christ,
a period that opened on November 15 with
the beginning of the Nativity fast.
The Icon of the Feast
The Holy Icon shows that the meeting takes
place inside the Temple and in front of the
altar. The altar has a book or a scroll on it and
is covered by a canopy. The Theotokos stands
to the left and is holding out her hands in a
gesture of offering. The one hand of the
Theotokos is covered by her cloak or as it is known, the maphorion. She has just
handed her Son to Simeon.
Christ is shown as a child, but He is not in swaddling clothes. He is clothed in a small
dress and his legs are bare. Jesus appears to be giving a blessing. Simeon holds Jesus
with both hands which are covered. This shows the reverence Simeon had for the
Messiah. Simeon is bare headed and there is nothing to show that he is a priest.
Some biblical scholars say that Simeon was probably a priest of the Temple or a
Doctor of the Law.
Joseph is behind the Theotokos. He is carrying the two turtle doves for the sacrifice.
Anna the Prophetess is also standing behind the Theotokos and is pointing to the
Christ child.
The words Simeon spoke when he saw the Christ Child are known as "St. Simeon's
Prayer." This prayer is sung daily at the evening Vespers services of the Orthodox
In the Orthodox Church, both baby boys and baby girls are taken to the Church on
the fortieth day after their birth. This is done in remembrance of the Theotokos and
Joseph taking the infant Jesus to the Temple.

Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops

Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops
The 2nd Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the
British Isles:
14th December 2010 at Thyateira House, London
The following bishops were present:
His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira & Great Britain (Ecumenical
The Most Revd Metropolitan John of Western and Central Europe (Patriarchate of
His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Patriarchate of Moscow)
The Rt Revd Bishop Dositej of Great Britain & Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia)
The Most Revd Archbishop Iossif of Western & Southern Europe (Patriarchate of
The Most Revd Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany & Great Britain (Russian
Orthodox Church Outside of Russia)
The Most Revd Archbishop Anatoly of Kerch (Diocese of Sourozh)
The Most Revd Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia (Archdiocese of Thyateira)
The Rt Revd Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou (Archdiocese of Thyateira)
The Rt Revd Bishop Zenon of Dmanisi & Great Britain (Patriarchate of Georgia), the
Most Revd Metropolitan Simeon of Central and Western Europe (Patriarchate of
Bulgaria) the Rt Revd Bishop Ioan of Parnassos (Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Ukranian
Orthodox Diocese in Great Britain) and the Rt Revd Bishop Chrysostomos of Kyanea
(Archdiocese of Thyateira) were unable to attend.
According to the decision made at the Inaugural Meeting of the Assembly (21.06.10),
the Presidents of the three Committees set up by the Assembly (Theological, Pastoral
and Educational) were to each chair a meeting to propose to the Bishops matters for
A meeting of the Theological Committee has yet to be held.
The Educational Committee met at Thyateira House on 2nd December. It proposed
that the bishops discuss the following:
1) The organisation of a Pan-Orthodox Clergy Conference.
2) A Pan-Orthodox Newsletter
3) The preparation of Pan-Orthodox catechetical material, such as pamphlets on
liturgical topics, a catechetical book and teaching resources.
A Meeting of the Pastoral Committee was held on 16th November 2010 at the Russian
Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition, London. The Committee proposed for
1) Christian Orthodox mission and the reception of converts
2) Practices about Holy Communion and Confession
3) Mixed marriages
4) Social service: hospital, cemetery and prison chaplaincy
5) Youth activity (Pan-Orthodox Youth Camps)
6) Procedures regulating Inter-Orthodox clergy relations
The Episcopal Assembly decided:
1) That the Educational Committee should gather together existing catechetical
material such as diocesan and parochial pamphlets on the Orthodox Faith both
from within and from outside of the United Kingdom for the Theological
Committee to examine. The Theological Committee is also to examine the
catechetical book ‘The Living God’ (SVS Press) to determine whether it can be
used as a standard catechism by all of the dioceses in the British Isles.
2) To set up a fund for the Pan-Orthodox Assembly, under the name “Pan-
Orthodox Assembly Fund” for the purposes of publications and other actions of
the Assembly which will require money. Each diocese will pay an annual
contribution toward the fund.
3) The annual celebration of Pan-Orthodox Vespers in London on the Sunday of
Orthodoxy will henceforth be organised and publicised by the Pastoral
Committee of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly. The Bishops also decided that the
Georgian and Romanian Communities should also begin hosting this event. The
Assembly also hopes for such Pan-Orthodox services to be held in Manchester,
Birmingham, Glasgow and Dublin.
4) On 13th March 2011, the Service of Pan-Orthodox Vespers will be held at the
Georgian Orthodox Church of St George: The Ark of the Covenant, Rookwood
Road, London N16 6SS, at 5.00 p.m.
5) To begin planning a Pan-Orthodox Clergy Conference to be held in the near
In addition to these decisions, the Bishops also discussed the problems of mixed
marriages, the reception of converts into the Orthodox Church, the prospect of a
shared English translation of the Divine Liturgy, and the need for improved
communication between the Orthodox dioceses.
The next Episcopal Meeting will be held on 30th June 2011 at the Greek Orthodox
Church of the Twelve Apostles in Hertfordshire.
The Meeting concluded with lunch provided by Archbishop Gregorios at Thyateira
London, 17th December 2011

Saints of Britain – St Werburgh of Chester
Werburga or Werburgh, as she is more commonly known in modern English, was
born at Stone sometime early in the seventh century which makes her a very local
saint indeed. Her father was Wulfhere king of Mercia whilst her mother
was Ermenilda who was herself a daughter of Ercombert, king of Kent and Sexburga who was herself the daughter of a king of East Anglia.
Not a great deal is actually known about Werburga as such. There are no real contemporary records of her activities and the earliest account of her life was written by a Flemish monk named Goscelin towards the end of the 10th century, whose
account was used by later
writers such as William of
The traditional tale is that despite her beauty and her obvious attractions as a very
well connected royal princess, she rejected all suitors and
resolved to dedicate her life to God. Therefore, with her father's consent, she took
holy orders and entered the Abbey of Ely, which lay within the borders of the
kingdom of East Anglia, and which had been founded by her great
aunt Etheldreda and who was the current abbess at the time.
In due course her uncle Aethelred became ruler of Mercia and invited her to return
home and assume control of all the convents within the kingdom. Werburga was
therefore to dedicate the rest of her life to the business of reforming the
existing Mercian establishments and founding new religious houses including those
at Trentham, Hanbury and Weedon.
After a life of service to the religious administration of Mercia, Werburga died on the
3rd February in either 699 or 700. She had apparently already decided on Hanbury as
her final resting but happened to be at Trentham when she died. The nuns
at Trentham refused to give up the body and even instituted security arrangements
to prevent its removal. Despite this an expedition from Hanbury succeeded in
recovering her remains. (It is said that all the bolts and bars sprang open once
touched and that all the guards were overpowered
by sleep and remained oblivious to the theft.)
The Miracle of the Geese
The most noted miracle attributed to Werburga
relates to an incident at a farm in Weedon close
to Chester which was being plagued by flock of wild
geese, who were feasting on the farm's cornfields
much to the detriment of its overall productivity.
Werburga dealt with the problem by ordering the
geese to be shut up for the night (the geese meekly
obeyed her command); the next day she scolded
them for ravaging the fields and told them to go
The geese however refused to leave, as the
previous night,
one of their number had been caught, killed and
eaten by the farm's steward. Werburga ordered
the steward to bring forth the bird's remains, at
which point Weburga restored the bird to life. The
flock, including the now reconstituted goose, then
departed and in gratitude never returned again.
The tale explains why Werburga is often depicted
in iconography with a goose somewhere nearby.
By the year 708 her brother Coenred had
succeeded Aethelred as king of Mercia and
decided to move her body to a more conspicuous
place within the church at Hanbury.
Her body was found to be miraculously intact
despite the passage of some eight or nine years
since her death, which was naturally considered to be a sign of divine favour and her
tomb therefore became an object of veneration and a centre for
pilgrimage. Coenred himself is said to have to have been so effected by this miracle
that he decided to abdicate and enter holy orders himself.
The shrine remained at Hanbury for the next 160 years or so but due to the threat
from Viking raiders it was decided, in the year 875, to relocate the shrine to Chester.
Troparion (Tone 4)
Thine illustrious life filled the angels with awe
and put the demons to flight in terror,
while it adorneth the congregations of the faithful with the splendour of grace,
O venerable mother Werburga!
As in thy charity thou didst extend thy love to all thy fellow creatures,
intercede with God in our behalf, that our souls may be saved!