Friday, 31 January 2014

Services in February 2014 at Audley

We apologise for any inconvenience

Sat 1st 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 2nd 10am Matins; 10:45am Chrismation of Frances Anna Chadwick, followed by
the Divine Liturgy

Wed 5th 11am Divine Liturgy or Akathist
Sat 8th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 9th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 12th 11am Divine Liturgy or Akathist
Sat 15th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 16th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 19th 11am Divine Liturgy or Akathist
Sat 22nd 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 23rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wed 26th No service this Wednesday

Name Days
3rd Archimandrite Simeon; Newly Chrismated Anna Chadwick
16th Nicholas Chapman (OS)
19th Philothei Maxfield

2nd Fr Alban Barter (2009)
10th Photini (2006)

Saint Thekla

We continue to hear little in our news programmes of the plight of our brothers and sisters
in Syria. As I compile this newsletter, the news corporations have all but ceased to report
even on the talks known as “Geneva II” taking place this week. We continue to pray for
them all, but in particular for the two Bishops who are still missing and the kidnapped nuns
of the convent of Saint Thekla in Malloula. One story not reported on TV this month, but
which appeared on the internet told of the desecration of more churches and religious sites
in the town of Malloula. The convent of Saint Thekla was attacked, its iconostasis was
torched and even the grave of Saint Thekla herself was dug up and the relics stolen.
I was moved to read about Saint Thekla. It helps to know a little about a particular saint if
you are going to ask for their prayers.
According to ancient Syrian and Greek manuscripts,
Saint Thekla was born into a prosperous pagan family
in the Lycaonian city of Iconium (present-day Konya in
south-central Turkey) in A.D. 16. When she was 18
years old and betrothed to a young man named
Thamyris, Saint Paul the Apostle and Saint Barnabas
arrived in Iconium from Antioch (Acts 14). Thekla’s
mother Theokleia prohibited her from joining the
crowds which gathered to hear Paul preach. But Thekla
found that if she sat near her bedroom window she
could hear his every word. Thekla sat there for three
days and three nights listening to Paul preach the word
of God. She was particularly touched by his call to
chastity. As it became apparent that Thekla was
becoming interested in the new Faith, Theokleia and
Thamyris went to the governor of the city and
complained about Paul and his preaching. To pacify
them and the other outraged citizens of Iconium, the
governor had Paul imprisoned to await trial.
When Thekla learned of Paul’s arrest she secretly went
to the prison, and using her golden bracelets to bribe the guard, gained admittance to hicell. When she saw the Apostle she knelt before him and kissed the chains which bound his
hands and feet. She remained there a long time listening to his message of the Good News
of Jesus Christ.
Being concerned at Thekla’s prolonged absence, Theokleia and Thamyris asked her servant
if she knew where she was. The servant said that Thekla had gone to visit an imprisoned
stranger. Theokleia and Thamyris knew at once that she was with Paul. They decided to go
again to the governor, this time demanding immediate judgement for the Apostle. After the
governor chastened Paul for the disturbances he had caused in the city, he had him stoned
and expelled from Iconium. The governor then admonished Thekla for her foolishness and
commanded her to return home with her mother and fiancé. When Thekla announced that
she had vowed to remain a virgin for the sake of Christ, her mother became enraged and
asked the governor to threaten Thekla with severe punishment. The governor complied
with this wish and ruled that Thekla was to be burned at the stake unless she renounced
her faith in Christ.
When Thekla refused to renounce her Heavenly Bridegroom, she was taken to the arena for
punishment. As she was tied to the stake she saw a vision of Jesus Christ which gave her
strength to face the flames. The fire was lit, but as the flames came near Thekla a
thunderstorm suddenly arose and a great torrent of rain and hail came down from heaven
and extinguished the flames. Embarrassed because his plan had failed, the angry governor
released Thekla but commanded that she must leave Iconium at once.
Upon her release, Thekla went to the outskirts of the city where she rejoined Paul. She told
him of her trial and miraculous escape from punishment and asked for baptism. Paul
refused to baptise Thekla, saying that this would be accomplished in God’s own way and
time. Paul and Thekla then departed from the region of Iconium and travelled to Antioch in
Syria. As they were entering the city a young nobleman named Alexander saw Thekla. Being
entranced by her beauty he rushed forward and tried to seduce her, but Thekla fought him
off, thus disgracing him in front of his crowd of friends. Alexander went to the governor of
Antioch and complained that this wandering girl had disgraced him, a nobleman, in public.
He demanded that she be punished with death. The governor complied and ruled that
Thekla would face the wild beasts in the arena. Thekla’s only reply was that she be allowed
to preserve her virginity unto death. Her wish was granted and she was given into the care
of the noblewoman Tryphaena, a relative of Caesar, until the time of punishment.
When Thekla was taken to the arena, a lioness was set free to attack her. But to the
astonishment of the crowd, the lioness approached the Saint and sat tamely at her feet. A
bear was then released, but as it came close to Thekla the lioness rose up to defend her and
killed the bear. A large lion was then released. The lioness again came to Thekla’s defence
killing the lion, but losing her own life also. Then all the cages were opened and a large
number of wild animals charged at the defenceless Thekla. After crossing herself andspraying for courage, the Saint noticed a large tank of water which was nearby, containing
the aquatic animals. She climbed into the water, asking that she might be baptised by Christ
as she did so. Seeing that the beasts were unable to harm Thekla, Alexander asked that the
Saint be given over to him for punishment. He tied her to two large bulls in the hopes that
they would pull her asunder. But when the bulls charged off in opposite directions, the
ropes which held Thekla to them were miraculously loosened and she was spared. Seeing
that no harm could be done to Thekla, the authorities released her. She went to the home
of Tryphaena where she remained for eight days preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ
and converting Tryphaena and her entire household. When she departed from Antioch,
Tryphaena gave her a treasure in gold and precious jewels.
After she left Antioch, Thekla journeyed to Myra where she rejoined Paul. She informed
him of all that had occurred, including her baptism and asked that she might be permitted
to spend the remainder of her life as an ascetic. Paul gave her his blessing and she
departed, leaving with Paul all the gold and jewels that Tryphaena had given her so that he
might distribute them among the poor and needy.
Thekla then travelled again to Syria where she went up into the mountains for a life of
prayer and solitude. Many years later a young pagan found her praying in an isolated
canyon and resolved to harass her and spoil her virginity. As he approached her and
blocked her only exit to safety, she prayed that her Bridegroom would protect her as He
had so many times in the past. At that moment the canyon wall was miraculously split
allowing her to escape through a narrow crack in the rock.
Saint Thekla continued her life of asceticism and then peacefully fell asleep in Christ at the
age of 90. Shortly after her death a community of virgins went to live in her mountain cell,
building a small chapel to enshrine her body. This Convent of Saint Thekla still exists today
near the village of Ma‘loula, Syria.

Because of her many sufferings for the Faith the Church counts her as a “Protomartyr”, and
because she converted so many people to Christianity she is also known as an “Equal-tothe-
Holy Saint Thekla, pray to God for us! From the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America website

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Services in January 2014 at Audley and Dresden

Please note that the next two weekends, 18/19th and 25/26th , we shall be using our church at Audley for our services.
This is while Alban (Robert) and his friends prepare and repaint the north aisle at our church in Dresden.

At St. Michael’s, Audley, ST7 8EN
Every Wednesday 11 am Divine Liturgy or Akathist.
(Except 8th)

Wed 1st 11am Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil and Blessing of Vassilopitta.

Mon. 6th 11am Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil and Outdoor Blessing of the Waters.

At the Church of the Holy Resurrection,
Red Bank, Dresden, ST3 4PD

Every Saturday 6pm Great Vespers.
Every Sunday 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sun. 5th after 11am Divine Liturgy the Indoor Great Blessing of the Waters.

Name Days
1st Vasiliki Harvey.
7th Cristian Bostan; Oana Onofrei; Afaf Sanders; Jan Penn Jones.
14th Nino Bartholomew.
17th Antonis Harvey.
27th Nina Chapman (OS).

6th Archpriest Michael (2010).
14th Mary Carter (2005).
18th Fr. John Nield (2001).

Parish Feasts
13th  Doncaster : Saint Kentigern (Mungo).
16th  Sutton, Norfolk: Saint Fursey.