Thursday, 2 December 2010

Services for December 2010

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

Sat 11th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 12th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 13th Meeting of Trustees 7.30pm

Sat 18th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 19th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Mon 20th 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Tues 21st 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Wed 22nd 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Thurs 23rd 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Fri 24/25th 11am Vesperal Liturgy
11pm Matins; Midnight Nativity Liturgy
Fast-free until 5th January

Sat 25th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wishing you all strength and blessing to continue the Nativity Fast and then a very Happy and Blessed Christmas!

Name Days in December

9th Hannah Gandy
19th Nicholas Joseph; Jonathan Bartholomew
26th Joseph Clive Amson; Simon Stone
27th Stefan Ron Kinnersley; Stephanie Giselle Ayoub

Parish Feasts

20th St Ignatios, Belfast


7th Deacon John Mark

Commemoration of the Shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks and went to see the Lord

On December 25th, not only do we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we also commemorate the Shepherds who went to see the Lord.
The Monastery at the Shepherds’ Field is located in the village of Beit-Sahour, about 1km to the east of Bethlehem and tradition indicates that this was the spot where the Shepherds kept watch (Luke 2:18-20) and where they heard the angelic proclamation “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will toward men”. Ancient olive trees on the site date back over 2000 years and it is said that two of these trees mark the location where King David wrote many of the psalms.
Locally, the place is known as Kaniseter Rawat, which means ‘Place of the Shepherds’ Shelter’ and the cave in which shelter was taken is now a church – one of many built by Saint Helena in the year 325 AD and dedicated to the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos which we celebrate on 26th December. This is the only remaining ‘original’ church of St Helena as all the others have been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries.
By the end of the 4th century, pious traditions also associated the Shepherds’ Field with the place where Jacob pastured his flock and built the Mignal Eder (Tower of the Flocks) referred to in Genesis 35:14. The remains of the base of this tower are still visible today.

Let us, like the Shepherds, keep watch and receive the joyful news of Christ’s birth.

Troparion of the Nativity (Tone 4)

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined upon the world the light of knowledge; for thereby, they that worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.

St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, and reposed on December 6th 330 – the day on which the Orthodox Church commemorates him (as well as May 9th – the transfer of his relics – and July 29th – his nativity).
Born of well-to-do parents, Nicholas inherited his parents’ estate and became known for his generous gifts to those in need. This probably explains his basis for the Santa Claus legends. As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made pilgrimages to Palestine and Egypt and to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many. He returned to Myra, and was ordained bishop. He continued to be known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth. He was reputedly present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him, since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety. He is the patron saint of many countries – notably Greece and Russia - of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular; he is one of the best known and best loved Saints of all time.

Apolytikion for St Nicholas (Tone 4)

The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith,
an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance;
for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty.
O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Words of Wisdom

In death the soul that has come to know God through the Holy Spirit experiences a measure of dread when the angels bring her before the Lord, since while living in the world she was guilty of sin. But when the soul beholds the Lord, she rejoices in His meek and merciful countenance, and the Lord in the abundance of His gentleness and love remembereth not her sins. One glance at the Lord, and love of Him will take up its abode in the soul, and from love of God and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit she will be completely transformed.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Services for November 2010

Sat 6th 6pm Great Vespers; 7pm (for 7:30pm) Parish Dinner at Alsager Golf Club
Sun 7th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 8th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven ; 7.30pm Church Council Meeting

Sat 13th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 15th Nativity Fast begins

Sat 20th 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 November

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

Parish Feasts

8th Saint Michael’s, Audley

Parish Meal

Our own gathering together for a meal in celebration of the Feast of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers takes place on Saturday 6th November.
Although the deadline has already passed for the handing in of menu choices for this event, if you have simply forgotten about it then bring it on Sunday 31st October and pass it to Martin Shorthose. Copies are still located in the kitchen.

Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers

The Synaxis of the Chief of the Heavenly Hosts, Archangel Michael and the Other Heavenly Bodiless Powers: Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jehudiel, Barachiel, and Jeremiel was established at the beginning of the fourth century at the Council of Laodicea, which met several years before the First Ecumenical Council. The 35th Canon of the Council of Laodicea condemned and denounced as heretical the worship of angels as gods and rulers of the world, but affirmed their proper veneration.
A Feastday was established in November, the ninth month after March (with which the year began in ancient times) since there are Nine Ranks of Angels. The eighth day of the month was chosen for the Synaxis of all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven since the Day of the Dread Last Judgment is called the Eighth Day by the holy Fathers. After the end of this age (characterized by its seven days of Creation) will come the Eighth Day, and then "the Son of Man shall come in His Glory and all the holy Angels with Him" (Mt. 25:31)

Synaxis: a “gathering together”

Words of Wisdom

"God made all things exceedingly beautiful as the Genesis story of creation testifies. Among such exceedingly beautiful things is man; rather, he was adorned with a beauty better than other created beings. What can be better than the image of incorruptible beauty? If everything is exceedingly beautiful, and man was among them and created above them, death certainly was not present in him. Man would not have been beautiful if the sullen stamp of death were in him. However, man was the image and likeness of eternal life, truly beautiful and exceedingly good, adorned with the radiant form of life."

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Donations to needy Charities on your behalf

The “parking meter” in our refreshment room, which takes your tea and coffee donations, is used to make donations to “Cyprus Donkeys” and “No Tears” dog and cat refuge.
At the December meeting of the Trustees of Saint Michael’s we allocate donations to other charities, some local, some national and some overseas in Orthodox countries.
In today’s climate of “belt-tightening” and recession, we would do well to remember that all good things come from God. When we give away to others God blesses us richly
and supplies our needs.
One of the charities we support is SPUC (Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child) which lobbies MPs and seeks to help mothers to see that abortion is wrong and is not the answer. The following passage was sent to me earlier this year:

The wise gynaecologist

A worried woman went to her gynaecologist and said: ‘Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even one year old and I’m pregnant again. I don’t want kids so close together.’

So the doctor said: ‘Ok, and what do you want me to do?’
She said: ‘I want you to end my pregnancy, and I’m counting on your help with this.’
The doctor thought for a little, and after some silence, he said to the woman: ‘I think I have a better solution for your problem. It’s less dangerous for you, too.’
She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request.
Then he continued: ‘You see, in order for you not to have to take care of 2 babies at the same time, let’s kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest for some time before the other one is born. If we’re going to kill one of them, it doesn’t matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms.
The woman was horrified and said: ‘No doctor! How terrible! It’s a crime to kill a child!
‘I agree’, the doctor replied. ‘But you seemed to be ok with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.’
The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point. He convinced the mother that there is no difference in killing a child that’s already been born and one that’s still in the womb. The crime is the same!

Save precious lives

Friday, 1 October 2010

Services for October 2010

Sat.2nd Pilgrimage: St. Winifred’s Shrine, Holywell ; 6pm Priestless Vespers.
Sun.3rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

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 Memorial and Great Vespers.
Sun.24th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat. 30th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 31st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Name Days in October.

2nd David Cyprian Badin.
12th Wilfrid.
18th Dr. Lucas Joy.
23rd Jacovos Harvey.
26th Claudiu.
28th Terence.


9th Fr. Dennis. (Memory eternal)
19th Metropolitan Gabriel ... 2007.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Services for September 2010

Sat.4th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun.5th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Tues. 7th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Birth of the Theotokos.
Wed. 8th 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat.11th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun. 12th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.
Mon. 13th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
Tues. 14th 11am Divine Liturgy and Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Sat. 18th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.19th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Sat.25th 6pm Great Vespers.
Sun.26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy.

Name Days in September.

5th Emma Louise Elizabeth Bostan.
8th Francesca Joy.
9th Anna Oshkhereli.
17th Sofia Maria Bartholomew.
24th Thecla Read.
26th Metropolitan John; John Martin Chadwick; John Roger Makings.

10th George Fearns 2005.

Parish feasts.
14th Holy Cross, Lancaster.
19th St. Theodore, Macclesfield.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Services for August 2010

Sun 1st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Thurs 5th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Transfiguration
Fri 6th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Holy Transfiguration
Sat 7th Pilgrimage to Saint Bertram at Ilam - No services at Audley
Sun 8th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 14th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 15th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy; 1pm Baptism of Pauline Joan Baiasu

Sat 21st 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 22nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

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

Namedays in August
1st Jonathan
16th Radu
20th Father Samuel

1st Tsinara (2008)

Deanery Parish Feasts
9th St Matthias: Lincoln
31st St Aidan: Levenshulme



You will see from the list of services that we have another Baptism in August.
The word baptise derives from baptizo, the transliterated form of the Greek word βάπτειν or baptivzw. In a historical context, it means "to dip, plunge, or immerse" something entirely, e.g. into water. Although commonly associated with Christian baptism, the word is known to have been used in other contexts. For instance, a 2nd century author named Nicander wrote down a pickle recipe which illustrates the common use of the word. He first says that the pickle should be dipped (bapto) into boiling water, followed by a complete submersion (baptizo) in a vinegar solution. The word was also used to explain the process of submerging cloth into a coloured dye. The Christian ritual of water baptism traces back to Saint John the Forerunner, who the Bible says baptised many, including Jesus.

It is surely one a most joyous occasion when we can welcome a new member into the Church.
Set the timer on your oven a little later on August 15th and join in the celebrations at 1pm, after the Divine Liturgy for the Baptism – not the pickling – of Pauline Joan!

Pilgimage to Ilam 2010Please remember to arrange your transport for the 2010 Pilgrimage to Ilam – Saturday 7th August

Advance notice of Saint Michael’s Feast 2010

Preparations are underway for the celebrations of the Feast of St Michael which this year falls on Monday 8th November on which day there will be a Divine Liturgy.
The Parish Council decided on the date of 6th November for the feast as it is the closest Saturday to the event.
We have made a provisional booking at Alsager Golf and Country Club for the event.

Not only does the club have all the facilities we require – private function room, bar etc – it also has the benefit of all these facilities on the ground floor.
The council felt this to be main disadvantage of the pub in Audley where the meal was held two years ago.

Martin partnered Carolyn to the Barthomley Parish Church Choir Christmas meal at the club two years ago and recommends the standard of catering and service wholeheartedly.

Menus will be posted in the church kitchen a little nearer the date for you to choose your meal in advance.

The price will be £12.50 per head for three courses plus Tea/Coffee with after dinner mints.
Alsager Golf and Country Club is on the Audley side of the town just as the Welcome to Alsager sign is reached. It is therefore only a few minutes drive from the church.
The booking has been made for 7:30pm which is timed to allow everyone to come to Great Vespers first!

Words of Wisdom

You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives. All condemnation is from the devil. Never condemn each other. We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others. Instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace. Keep silent, refrain from judgement. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.
(St Seraphim of Sarov)

...more Words of Wisdom

When we see sinners we must always weep for ourselves first over their failure.
Perhaps we have fallen in the same way; or we can fall, if we haven't yet.
And if the judgment of the teaching office must always eradicate vices by the power of discipline, we must nevertheless make careful distinctions: we should be uncompromising about vice, but compassionate to human nature.
If a sinner has to be punished, a neighbour has to be supported.
When he has nullified what he has done by his repentance,
our neighbour is no longer a sinner.
With the righteousness of God he turns against himself,
and what the divine righteousness reproves he punishes in himself.

(Saint Gregory the Great)

Magdalen Wants!...

The “Art Cafe” is a voluntary group initially set up by the Stroke Association.
We meet once a fortnight in a community centre on Fegg Hayes Road. It is run for people who have had a stroke and for whom the hospital can do no more. As the Day Centres have been closed there is little or no support for any activity to maintain circulation, hand and eye co-ordination and mobility.
This group affords members a place to meet to discuss problems; we have a qualified and a trainee clinical psychologist in the team and yours truly who is qualified in Art Creative Skill and Sewing.
But, money for resources is tight and we need sewing and knitting needles, material of every description including card (coloured and plain), fabrics, paper, water colour pallets, water colour pencils, brushes - in fact all art materials.
We have a particular need for sewing machines and hand/electric food processers.
I am hoping that we can put on an exhibition at Christmas to raise money so we can become self funding.
Any questions or to have donations collected, please ring Magdalen McAtominey on 01782 723873.
Volunteers welcome too of course!



If you would like to stay this Autumn at the IONA ORTHODOX CENTRE ON THE SACRED ISLE OF IONA ... where the veil between Heaven and Earth grows very thin ... to make a private retreat or an individual pilgrimage, or simply to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Iona, and to become, for a week, part of a temporary Orthodox Community on Iona, from Saturday 25th September to Saturday 2nd October 2010 then please contact, a.s.a.p. (only 7 guest places available)
Reader Ignatios Bacon, Email:

The temporary IONA ORTHODOX CENTRE will be located as before at CLACHANACH - only 5 minutes from the Abbey and from St. Oran's Chapel, where Orthodox worship will be served daily, this week.

THE ISLE OF IONA - a beautiful, tranquil and sacred place.
Colum Cille - St. Columba - came to Iona from his native Ireland about 563AD.
From Iona Columba and his monks evangelised North Britain with Celtic Christianity.

Tatton Park Outing on Saturday 16th October

Christmas Gift Fair

With a wide range of exhibitors including traditional crafts plus gifts, retailers and food producers there are lots of ideas for early Christmas shopping.

Open 10.30am - 5pm. Admission to the fair is free of charge. Car entry charges apply.
Tatton Park, Cheshire’s Large Visitor attraction of the year in 2004 and 2005, is one of the North West’s most popular heritage attractions. Over 750,000 visits are made each year to the 1,000 acres of deer park, Mansion, Gardens, Old Hall, rare breeds Farm and events. It has a history dating back to Bronze Age farming and has been home to herds of deer since the 13th century. In the late Tudor period Tatton was acquired by the Egerton family who owned the estate until the last Lord Egerton died without heirs in 1958. Maurice Egerton bequeathed the estate to the National Trust.
Please contact Winifred as soon as possible if you would like to go.

Throwing this open to friends and relatives who do not belong to St. Michael’s might reach our full-coach target. So far we have only 25. We need 20 more for this to happen and we must book the coach before the end of August.

Pilgimage to Ilam 2010
Please remember to arrange your transport for the 2010 Pilgrimage to Ilam – Saturday 7th August

Visit of Metropolitan John to London; 10-23 June 2010

His Eminence Metropolitan John has made a pastoral visit to our people in London. This visit included (as usual) a varied programme and activities. His Eminence celebrated the Divine Liturgy on Sundays 13th and 20th June at St George’s Cathedral in London, which was an occasion to meet the people of the parish, young and old, as well as to meet with the Parish Council and discuss with them the latest developments and topics.

At the invitation of the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge, His Eminence gave a lecture entitled “Christianity in the Middle East”, at St Botolph’s Church in London, in which he spoke of the importance of the Middle East from the historical, geographical and spiritual point of view, and also of the rise of the Church and its spread. He then turned to the coming of Islam and the cohabitation of Christianity and Islam. He ended his lecture by talking about the position of Christians now present in the Middle East and their effective role, despite harsh difficulties.

His Eminence also attended the regular meeting of the Priests and Deacons of our Deanery in Great Britain and Ireland, discussing with them the present position and how to go forward in these parishes in accordance with the collective plan. At this meeting His Eminence elevated Father Gregory Hallam to Archpriest.

On Sunday 20 June the service was enhanced by the blessing of Dunstan Commander as Reader and Christopher Porritt as Sub-Deacon, and the ordination of Deacon Paul Totten as Priest to assist Father Irenaeus in the service of the parish in Belfast in Ireland, and also the elevation of Father Samir Gholam to Archpriest.

On Monday 21 June the Orthodox Metropolitans who have parishes in Great Britain met together: His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople); the Most Revd Metropolitan Youhanna of Western and Central Europe (Patriarchate of Antioch); His Eminence Archbishop Elisey of Sourozh (Patriarchate of Moscow); The Rt Revd Bishop Dositej of Great Britain and Scandinavia (Patriarchate of Serbia); The Most Revd Archbishop Iossif of Western and Southern Europe (Patriarchate of Romania); The Rt Revd Bishop Zenon of Dmanisi and Great Britain (Patriarchate of Georgia); His Eminence Archbishop Mark (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia); His Eminence Anatoly of Sourozh; and Their Eminences Kallistos, Chrysostemous and Athanasius (Ecumenical Patriarchate). This was the constitutive meeting of the Council of Orthodox Bishops in Great Britain.
The visit of His Eminence ended on Tuesday 22 June when the Council of Orthodox Bishops (referred to above) met with the Rt Revd Archbishop Dr Rowan Williams and the Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres. The meeting was extremely useful and amicable. The attendees considered the relationship between the Orthodox and Anglican Churches, and how to consolidate their relationship and the joint Christian witness of the Church in Great Britain.
Web site for more details:

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Services for July 2010

Sat 3rd 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 4th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

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

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

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

Sat 31st 6pm Great Vespers (Liturgy at Stoney Middleton)
Sun 1st Aug 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Beginning of the Dormition Fast

Advance Notice: 7th August: Pilgrimage to Ilam

Namedays in July

10th Alexander Oliver Joy; Alexandra Meek (Warden)
12th Veronica Irene Dobson; Veronica Warden
17th Marina Rita Guiness
18th Dara Elizabeth Davidchack; Elizabeth Nash
20th Monk Elia; Ghassan Ayoub
22nd Magdalen McAtominey
24th Anca Bostan

26th James Arthur Carter

Deanery Parish Feasts

17th St Marina: Grimsby (and Longton)

Pilgrimage to Ilam 2009

Please remember to arrange your transport for the 2010 Pilgrimage to Ilam – Saturday 7th August.

O holy Bertram, ascetic of the Mercian woods, forsaking worldly wealth, thou didst give thyself to God. Through fasting and prayers by the Manifold, thou didst acquire the riches of the age to come. Pray to Christ for us, that we too may be found worthy of His Kingdom.

This is always a fabulous day out in beautiful surroundings.

Pilgrimage to Croyland 2010

The sun beat down upon the gathering at Croyland again this year and much to the consternation of Fr Elia; Englishmen (and many others) again went out in it – with neither sun cream nor hats!
Welcomed warmly by the Vicar of the Abbey and his staff, a Divine Liturgy was served and then lunch before an Akathist to Saint Guthlac and the veneration of the relics of St Theodore.

Troparion to St Guthlac
Dwelling from thy youth amid trackless and watery wastes, O divinely wise father, with holy zeal thou didst strive to follow the commandments of Christ.
Wherefore, the ranks of angels were amazed, beholding thee, a man of flesh and blood, contending valiantly against the passions, O all-wise one, and prevailing over all the hordes of the demons.
On earth thou wast a peer of the angels, and in heaven thou art ever an intercessor for mankind. O venerable Guthlac, entreat Christ God, that He save our souls.

The Future of Orthodoxy in England: a Report from Bishop John

Eleven Orthodox Bishops take historic step towards the future of Orthodoxy in England
Under the chairmanship of Archbishop Gregorios, eleven Orthodox Bishops serving parishes in the British Isles met in London on 21st June.
They set up the first Pan-Orthodox Episcopal Assembly for this region.
Our own Metropolitan John (Youhanna) was present as one of the founding fathers in this first step towards the creation of one united jurisdiction......... “The Orthodox Church of Great Britain and Ireland.”

Communiqué of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Pan-Orthodox Assembly of Bishops with Churches in the British Isles was held on 21st June 2010 at Thyateira House, the centre of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The Assembly operates in accordance with the Decision reached at the 4th Pre-conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference Meeting at Chambésy (Switzerland) on 13th June 2009.

The following bishops were present:

His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira & Great Britain (Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople)
The Most Revd Metropolitan Youhanna of Western & Central Europe (Patriarchate of Antioch)
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 Romania)
The Rt Revd Bishop Zenon of Dmanisi & Great Britain (Patriarchate of Georgia)
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 Chrysostomos of Kyanea (Archdiocese of Thyateira)
The Rt Revd Bishop Athanasios of Tropaeou (Archdiocese of Thyateira)

The Most Revd Metropolitan Simeon of Central and Western Europe (Patriarchate of Bulgaria) and the Rt Revd Ioan of Parnassos (Ecumenical Patriarchate’s Ukrainian Orthodox Diocese in Great Britain) were unable to attend.

All those present noted the importance of this Meeting: until now in the British Isles there has been no kind of Inter-Orthodox Episcopal Committee. The bishops discussed the future organisation of their work.

An Executive Committee was set up, with Archbishop Gregorios as President, Metropolitan Youhanna and Archbishop Elisey as Vice-presidents, Bishop Dositej as Treasurer, and Archbishop Iossif as General Secretary.
Bishop Zenon, Archbishop Mark and Metropolitan Kallistos were also appointed Members of the Executive Committee.
The Secretariat of the Committee is made up of Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou and Protopresbyter Samir Gholam.

Three Committees were set up:
1) Theological Committee,
Chairman: Metropolitan Kallistos

(For the time-being, this will also deal with liturgical, canonical and ecumenical questions, and with the preparation of an agreed list of Saints of the British Isles)

2) Pastoral Committee,
Chairman: Archbishop Elisey

(This will also deal with inter-Orthodox relations and with the organisation of Pan-Orthodox events)

3) Educational Committee,
Chairman: Archbishop Gregorios

(This will be concerned, among other things, with chaplains to universities, catechetical work and publications)
In the case of each committee, each Orthodox diocese will appoint a representative from either the clergy or the laity.

Our Archbishop, Metropolitan John; Vice-President of the Assembly

It was decided that a further Meeting would be held in December 2010.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Services for June 2010

Sat 5th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 6th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 7th 7pm Meeting of the Trustees

Sat 12th 6pm Priestless Vespers (Crowland Pilgrimage)
Sun 13th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 15th 6pm Priestless Vespers
Sun 16th 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 19th 6pm Priestless Vespers (Clergy Meeting in London)
Sun 20th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 26th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 27th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 28th 6:30pm Great Vespers for the Feast of the Holy, Glorious and
All-praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul
Tue 29th 11am Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Holy, Glorious and
All-praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul

Namedays in June

15th Monica
22nd Alban (Robert)
29th Fr. Aethelwine (Elwin); Pavlos; Paul Dominic


3rd Bede

Deanery Parish Feasts

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

Saint Edward the Martyr

Edward the Martyr (Old English: Eadweard) (c. 962 – 18 March 978), was king of the English from 975 until he was murdered in 978. Edward was the eldest son of King Edgar, but not his father's acknowledged heir. On Edgar's death, the leadership of the England was divided, some supporting Edward's claim to be king and others supporting his much younger half-brother Æthelred the Unready. Edward was chosen as king and was crowned by his main clerical supporters, Archbishops Dunstan and Oswald of Worcester.
Edward's short reign was brought to an end by his murder at Corfe Castle in circumstances which are not altogether clear. His murder is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: No worse deed for the English race was done than this was, since they first sought out the land of Britain. Men murdered him, but God exalted him. In life he was an earthly king; after death he is now a heavenly saint. His earthly relatives would not avenge him, but his Heavenly Father has much avenged him.
Edward's body lay at Wareham for a year before being disinterred. This was initiated by Ælfhere, perhaps as a gesture of reconciliation. According to the life of Oswald, Edward's body was found to be incorrupt when it was disinterred. The body was taken to the Shaftesbury Abbey, a nunnery with royal connections which had been endowed by King Alfred the Great and where Edward and Æthelred's grandmother Ælfgifu had spent her latter years. Edward's remains were reburied with lavish public ceremony. In 1001, Edward's relics, for by now he was reckoned a saint, were translated to a more prominent place within the nunnery at Shaftesbury. A 13th century calendar of saints gives the date of this translation as 20 June.

Saint Edward’s, Athelhampton

Our Antiochian parish at Athelhampton in Dorset is dedicated to Saint Edward, king and passion-bearer. He was killed at nearby Corfe Castle in 987 and his relics lie in the monastery at Brookwood.
We went to the Divine Liturgy at Athelhampton on the Sunday of our holiday. The day before, we served a panikhida for Fr. John Nield at his grave in the churchyard.
Remember in your prayers Fr. David Harris and his congregation at Saint Edward’s.
During Martin’s visit to the parish in 2009, he was shown an interesting headstone which since the adoption of the church by the Orthodox appears to be growing its own icon of the Theotokos through the medium of a Lichen!
It is clearer in actuality than it appears in this photograph.

Saint Wite

At Whitchurch Canonicorum in Dorset lie the relics of Saint Wite, a local anchoress and martyr of the ninth century (Martyred by the Danes). King Alfred the Great had a church erected, where the present church stands, in 851, perhaps replacing an earlier wooden church housing the relics of the saint. Her Feast Day is on 1st June.

Holy Mother and Martyr Wite pray to God for us!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Services for May 2010

Sat 1st 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 2nd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 8th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 9th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Wed 12th 6.30pm Great Vespers of the Ascension
Thu 13th 11am Divine Liturgy of the Ascension

Fr. Samuel is away 14th to 21st May
Fr. Dennis will serve the Liturgy on Sunday 16th May

Sat 15th 6pm Priestless Vespers
Sun 16th 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 22nd 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 23rd 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
6pm Vespers and the Kneeling Prayers of Pentecost

Sat 29th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 30th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Namedays in May
8th Metropolitan John; John (Hugh) Maxfield; John Warden
10th Simon Harvey
11th Cyril McAtominey
21st Fr. Constantin; Adelina Ileana Badin; Elena Batkin; Helene Bendo;
Helena (Emma) Carson; Ileana Grigoriu
29th Lucas Joy
30th Isaac (Norman) Davies; Sorin and Roxana Baiasu (All Saints)


20th Jean Grace 2008

Deanery Parish Feasts

12th Saint Aethelheard, Louth
19th Saint Dunstan, Poole
21st Saint Constantine, York
Saint Helen, Colchester

The Ascension of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and Pentecost

The Ascension of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated forty days after Pascha (and thus always falling on a Thursday).
The first account of the Ascension found in the Bible is in the Gospel of Mark (16:14-19). The description is brief. Jesus and the remaining eleven disciples are seated at a table, presumably in a room in or near Jerusalem. Jesus commands his followers to spread the Gospel, and that those who believe will be known by their invulnerability to poison, ability to heal the sick, and the like. After delivering these final words, Jesus is received into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. No description of the Ascension itself is given; Mark simply states that it happened.
The Gospel of Luke is even more brief in its description (24:50-51). Jesus led the eleven to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. While in the act of blessing them, Jesus was carried up to heaven.
The third, and most celebrated account of the Ascension is in the Acts of the Apostles (1:9-12). For forty days after the Resurrection, Jesus continued to preach the Gospel. Jesus and the eleven were gathered near Mt. Olivet (or the Mount of Olives), to the northeast of Bethany. Jesus tells his disciples that they will receive the power of the Holy Spirit and that they will spread his message the world over. Jesus is taken up and received by a cloud. Some traditions say that he was taken up in a fiery chariot, much like the Prophet Elijah. Two men clothed in white appear and tell the disciples that Jesus will return in the same manner as he was taken. They say: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven" (Acts 1:11). Afterwards, the disciples return to Jerusalem rejoicing, remaining continually in the Temple.
The Gospel of Matthew ends at a mountain in Galilee, with Jesus commanding the disciples to spread the Gospel. No mention of the Ascension is made.
The Ascension of Christ shows the last stage in God's plan for mankind: total union with Himself upon one's departure from the world. In the Ascension resides the meaning and the fullness of Christ's Resurrection....and with Christ, man's nature ascends also.

O Christ God, Thou hast ascended in Glory,
Granting joy to Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Through the blessing they were assured
That Thou art the Son of God,
The Redeemer of the world!

Fifty days after the Resurrection, on the excising Jewish feast of Pentecost, while the disciples and many other followers of Jesus Christ were gathered together to pray, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in the form of "cloven tongues of fire," with the sound of a mighty rushing wind, and they began to speak in languages that they did not know. There were many visitors from the Jewish Diaspora to Jerusalem at that time for the Jewish observance of the feast, and they were astonished to hear these untaught fishermen speaking praises to God in their alien tongues. The number fifty, as in the fiftieth day after Pascha, stands for eternal and heavenly fulfilment, seven times seven, plus one.
The Orthodox Church sees Pentecost as the final fulfilment of the mission of Jesus Christ and the first beginning of the messianic age of the Kingdom of God, mystically present in his Church. It is traditionally called the beginning of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Besides celebrating the coming of the Holy Spirit, the feast also celebrates the full revelation of the divine Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Hymns of the Church, celebrate the sign of the final act of God's self-disclosure to the world of His creation.
To Orthodox Christians, the feast of Pentecost is not just a celebration of an event in history. It is also a celebration their membership in the Church. They have lived Pentecost and received "the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit" in the sacrament of chrismation.

Blessed art Thou O Christ Our God.
Thou hast revealed the fishermen as most wise,
By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit.
Through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net.
O Lover of Man, Glory to Thee!

Advance Notices for your Diaries:

Saturday 12th June
Pilgrimage to Crowland (Croyland) Abbey Veneration of the relics of Saint Theodore the Martyr

Saturday 26th June
Visit of the miraculous Kursk Root Icon to Wallasey Celebrations start at 10am ending with the Ninth Hour and Vespers at 3pm ‘bring ‘n’ share’ lunch


27th July to 5th August
G.O.Y.G.B. Summer Camp at St Milburga’s Field, Church Preen Near Much Wenlock, Shropshire.
Limited places for 9 – 17yrs so early application is advisable Contact Olga Papadopoulos:

Saturday 7th August
Pilgrimage to the Tomb of Saint Bertram at Ilam


Friday 20th to Monday 23rd August
Family Camp for families with young children Cefn Lea, Nr Newtown, Powys Contact Hugh & Imogen Maxfield on 01270 875608


Saturday 11th September
Pilgrimage to St Mary’s Church, Lastingham in North Yorkshire Nearby monastery founded by St Cedd of Lindisfarne in AD654

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Services for April 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Name Days in April.

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


16th John Yeomans.
22nd Chad Makings.

Parish feasts.

23rd Our Cathedral of St. George in London.

Great and Holy Week: What does it all mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In procession we sing:

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

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

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Services for March 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Namedays in March

18th Edward Bendo
25th Mary Makings; Despina


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

Deanery Parish Feasts

18th St Edwards, Athelhampton

Great and Holy Week

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

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

(From Matins of the Bridegroom)

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

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Services for February 2010

Mon 1st 6.30pm Great Vespers
Tues 2nd 11am Divine Liturgy for the Presentation of Our Lord and Saviour in the Temple
Sat 6th 6pm Memorial and Great Vespers
Sun 7th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Meat fast until Pascha

Sat 13th 4pm Wedding of Edward and Elena Bendo followed at 6pm by Great Vespers
Sun 14th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy. 6.30pm Forgiveness Vespers

First Week of the Great Fast

Mon 15th 6.30pm Compline and Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Tue 16th 6.30pm Compline and Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Wed 17th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts
Thu 18th 6.30pm Compline and Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete
Fri 19th 6.30pm Compline and Akathist to the Theotokos

Sat 20th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 21st 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy and Icon Procession
(including at 10:45am – Reception of Paul Dominic into the Holy Orthodox Church)
Wed 24th 6.30pm Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts
Fri 26th 6.30pm Compline and Akathist to the Theotokos

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

Choir leader’s note:
There are few services more moving than those in the first week of Great Lent – save of course those
in Great and Holy Week itself.
Last year the only ones present for most of these services were Fr Samuel and members of the choir
(with one or two exceptions - those who always come; despite cold, snow, advancing years or
As Father Samuel has pointed out before; each Sunday we celebrate the Resurrection, even though
we might be in the midst of Great Lent. Those who miss the services between effectively miss Lent,
or at least the services which make apparent the point of it all.
Please come – if only for part of the service as some are quite long – not to listen to us, but to
immerse yourself in what Great Lent is all about.
Although many of these services are very penitential, I always find myself uplifted by them and so
look forward to them every year.
Come ye, and see for yourself! Martin

Namedays in February

3rd Archimandrite Simeon; Edward Bendo
7th Richard
16th Nicholas Chapman (O.S.)
19th Philothei


2nd Protopresbyter Alban 2009
10th Photini 2006

Donations from St. Michael’s to Charitable Causes

Donations from tea and coffee amounted to £74. This was made up to £100 by an
anonymous donation and divided equally between “Many Tears” cat and dog charity
and “Cyprus Donkeys”.
We continue to support Monk Elias in his excellent work; the Archdiocese and the
£200 each have been sent to:
The Donna Louise Trust for very sick children;
St. Elisabeth Monastery, Minsk, for work
amongst all ages and conditions;
“ARCH” for their work in Stoke on Trent with
the homeless and abused;
A Romanian Monastery for work with orphans;
Lebanon for the needs of those still suffering
through aggression;
The Society for the Protection of the Unborn
Child (SPUC).
“Freely ye have received … freely give!”
Thanks be to God for His great provision and mercy to us all.

The Great Fast

Do not concentrate so much on your “belly” that you forget your “heart” and don’t
forget to rein in the “tongue”.
Faithful fasting should be accompanied by much prayer and generous giving to those
in need.
“Much prayer” is made easier by the extra services in church. These services are of
great beauty and lead us into thanksgiving and repentance and so a closer
relationship with God. Most of our congregation miss many, if not all, of these
services and so deprive themselves of blessing.
We are surrounded by very desperate need, brought closer through television and
other media, and so “giving” should be really easy.


The last twenty years or so has seen a marked rise in the idea and practice of
pilgrimage. There have been a large number of publications about sacred sites around
the country. Old pilgrimage routes, such as the paths along the North Wales coast to
Bardsey are being walked again and new pilgrimage routes, such as St Cuthbert's
Way from Melrose to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, have been established.
Now plans are underway to create a new
pilgrimage route of approximately 75 miles
between the cathedral cities of Chester and
Lichfield. The footpath will be called St Chad's
Way after the Saxon saint who brought
Christianity from Northumbria to the ancient
kingdom of Mercia in the seventh century. His
shrine at Lichfield was a popular destination
for pilgrims in medieval times. Chester also
attracted pilgrims to the Holy Rood at St
John’s (the former cathedral) and to St
Werburga’s shrine at the present cathedral.
The proposed route from Chester will begin
along the Shropshire Union Canal and proceed
to Nantwich via Beeston Castle. The route will
continue eastwards across the M6 via Apedale
to the Saxon Cross at Stoke Minster in Stokeon-
Trent. From thence it will take a southerly
direction via the Trentham Estate, Stone and
Stafford before joining the Heart of England
Way across Cannock Chase to Lichfield.

St Chad’s Way ~ Special Features

The footpath will be the first waymarked pilgrimage route in the area.

Modern pilgrims on St Chad's Way will have the opportunity to be resourced so
that they can make a journey of discovery and reconnection and find health in
body, mind and soul. The project will link with the NHS, faith groups and other
organisations with a concern for healing and wholeness.

As well as attracting pilgrims from UK and overseas, the project will be socially
inclusive, such as seeking to provide special pilgrimage opportunities for those
with mental health or addictions issues.

Early pilgrimage was especially associated with storytelling, such as those told
in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The path will include a story trail between Stoke
and Stafford centred on Stone, whose foundational story of the Saxon princes
Wulfad and Rufin, also features St Chad.

The footpath will be a rich educational resource, providing a range of cross
curricular opportunities and the chance for students to experience pilgrimage
for themselves.

Pilgrimage – Medieval and Contemporary

Of Lichfield... “The shrine of St Chad was a
wooden coffin in the shape of a little house with an
aperture in the side through which the devout
can...take out some of the dust, which they put
into water and give to sick cattle or men to drink,
upon which they are presently eased of their
infirmity and restored to health”. (Bede)

Of Stone... The venerable queen (Ermenild,
mother of Wulfad & Rufin) had a finely constructed
church built of stones in the same place... After
this, a multitude of the infirm and those suffering
from diverse weaknesses and of others seeking
God ... was accustomed to visit the place and to
carry stones thither to the building. Whence that
place is called Stanes.” (Hugh Candidus)

Website leads for further information

St Chad:
Legend of Stone Princes and sites on story trail:

The idea for the footpath is the brainchild of experienced long distance walker David
Pott. The former head teacher has also been deeply involved in various reconciliation
initiatives including leading the Lifeline Expedition, a response to the legacies of the
Atlantic slave trade which has received widespread media attention. See

For more information contact David Pott at or by mobile phone
07932 790525