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!