Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Services in January 2015

at Audley and Dresden

Sat 3rd 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 4th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 5th 7pm Vesperal Liturgy and Great Blessing of the Waters
Tue 6th 11am Divine Liturgy of Theophany
Wed 7th No Divine Liturgy Today

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

Sat 17th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 18th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 21st 11am Divine Liturgy
Sat 24th 2pm Holy Baptism of Michael Aurel Aldea
6pm Great Vespers

Sun 25th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 28th 11am Divine Liturgy
Sat 31st 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 1st Feb 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Name Days
1st Vasiliki Harvey
3rd Genevieve
7th Afaf; Cristian; Jan; Oana
14th Nino
17th Antonis; Antony; Anthony Jones
27th Nina (OS)

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

Parish Feasts
13th Saint Kentigern, Doncaster
16th Saint Fursey, Sutton

Dates for the diary
23rd February – Beginning of Great Lent
5th April – Palm Sunday
12th April – Pascha Sunday
21st May – Ascension Day
31st May – Pentecost

Read the full January 2015 Newsletter

Monday, 1 December 2014

Services in December 2014

at Audley and Dresden

Wed 3rd 11am Divine Liturgy

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

Sat 13th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 17th 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 20th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 21st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 24th 9:30am Royal Hours
11am Vesperal Liturgy of Saint Basil

Note: The Fast Finishes Tomorrow!

Thu 25th10am Divine Liturgy of the Nativity of Our Lord

Sat 27th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 28th10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 31st 11am Divine Liturgy

Name Days
Sunday before Nativity: Jonathan Bartholomew; Sarah Griffiths
27th Stephanie Giselle; Stefan Kinnersley
28th Simon Stone
Sunday after Nativity: David (Mehdad); Joseph Clive

5th Patriarch Ignatios (2012)
7th Deacon John Mark (2007)
8th Archimandrite David (1993)

Parish Feasts
20th Saint Ignatios, Belfast

Here’s a First! A Book Review...

Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain – Spiritual Counsels Volume 1:
With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man.
Elder Paisios (1924-1994) was a Greek monk born in Cappadocia. He entered the monastic
life as soon as he could after finishing his military service in 1949, and spent his monastic
life on Mount Athos, and in the Holy Monastery of Stomion in Konitsa, and on Mount Sinai
in Egypt.
In the late 1960s Elder Paisios founded the Holy
Monastery of St John the Theologian in Souroti of
Thessaloniki, Greece. This women’s monastery was
under his spiritual guidance from 1967 to his death
in 1994.

It is from this relationship with the Monastery of St
John the Theologian that we get these ‘spiritual
counsels’. The nuns painstakingly wrote down their
conversations with the Elder, both private and
public, and collected and edited the material into
themed chapters. The style is conversational –
questions posed by a nun and the Elder’s response,
and the translation is lively, talkative and, for the
most part, realistically rendered without the clunky
phrasing you sometimes find in translated works of
this kind. Thus it is a very easy book to read (don’t
be put off by its dry and scholarly appearance!), if not always easy to assimilate.
What do I mean by that?
The themes are huge – for example a glance at the headings gives some idea what you’ll be
getting into:

Part I Sin and the Devil
Part II Modern Civilization
Part III The Spirit of God and the spirit of the world
Part IV The Church in our time
Each part is divided into between 4 and 6 themed chapters, though, which makes it an easy
book to dissect, and perfect for ‘dipping’.

Some might object that this is a book of teachings by a monastic for monastics, and can
only therefore have limited relevance to Orthodox living in the world. However, the vast
majority of the book is easily transferred from the monastic to the lay setting – indeed, in
many of his teachings he specifically speaks of laity and their struggles. For example, I was
tempted to skip the chapter (p197 and following) entitled ‘External Noise and Internal
Tranquillity’ – the first pages deal with the extreme importance of internal tranquillity if
cultivating the life of prayer: ‘Oh Yeah!’ I thought, listening as I was to my children singing
off key at the top of their voices, and the morning rush hour zooming past just feet from
where I sat: ‘Oh Yeah!’ But, a few pages on, a subsection entitled ‘Good Thoughts are the
Antidote to Noise Pollution’ describes the process of reclaiming ones ‘shattered thoughts’
and ends with the knockout claim, relevant, I would guess, to each one of us living in the
world: ‘Thinking good thoughts is the best form of ascesis; there is no greater help than
good thoughts’ (p209). He earlier advises: ‘bring good thoughts to mind and your heart will
be filled with a doxology to God’ (p207-8).

The simplicity of this advice – and its directness – exemplifies everything in the book, and
here’s the problem: it would be possible for us ‘cool intellectuals’ to be cynical about some
of his utterances, and write them off as under-educated: but the advice IS very simple,
rooted in, and springing from a lifetime of prayer and spiritual struggle, and if we can turn
off our sophistication and humbly accept these spiritual teachings we will find many
blessings and challenges in this book. But not if we think it’s beneath our dignity!
‘Everything that you observe or hear in this world, you should use to reach up to Heaven.
Let everything transport you on high. This is how one raises himself from creatures to the
Creator’ (p143).
Count me in! I’m looking forward to reading volume II. There are 4 in the series.

Imogen Maxfield


As with Pascha, or Easter, the Feast of the Nativity begins with a period of preparation. It is
preceded by a fast corresponding to Lent and lasting for forty days. The fast begins on
November 15.

On the Sundays immediately before
December 25, special
commemorations emphasise the
link between the Old Covenant and
the New. On December 20 the
Forefeast of the Nativity is
commemorated, and the daily
liturgical texts are directed toward
the Feast itself. On Christmas Eve,
services include the Great or Royal
Hours, the Great Vespers, and the
Liturgy of Saint Basil.
On The Feast of the Nativity itself
the service commemorates the birth
of Christ in Bethlehem, the
adoration of the Shepherds, and the
arrival of the Wise Men with their
gifts. The service held on this day is
the Liturgy of Saint John

The days following Christmas are associated with the Theotokos and Joseph. December 26
is the Synaxis of the Mother of God, and the first Sunday after the Feast commemorates
“Joseph the Betrothed.” December 29 commemorates the Massacre of the Innocents, and
January 1 the Circumcision of our Lord. The Nativity season concludes on December 31, but
the spirit of the festival extends to the celebration of Theophany (Epiphany), the feast
commemorating the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan River.

The virgin cometh today to the cave to give birth, ineffably to bring forth the
Word Eternal. Wherefore, rejoice, O earth, at the message; with the angels
and shepherds give glory to Him, Who shall appear by His own will, as a
young child, He Who is from eternity, God.

Kontakion Preparatory to Nativity