PARISH NEWS for week beginning 17/6/18



This newsletter is published weekly on the website as well as on our Facebook page. Search for ‘Orthodox Church of The Nativity of the Mother of God, Bristol’ (please view and ‘like’ us).

DID YOU KNOW that the parish also has a YouTube channel? Search on YouTube for ‘Orthodox Church of The Nativity of the Mother of God, Bristol’. You will find sermons and service clips from our church.


Plenty to read this week! Please do scroll down and read it all.

Calendar for June

Saints’ Days of the week

Parish News (including Sunday School update)

Supporting your parish


Food Bank Update

Short lives of saints of the British Isles for the current week


Sunday, June 17th.

(Fish, wine and oil)

9.30 a.m. Baptism of Alexander McKett

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Tone 2. Third Sunday after Pentecost.

St Nectan of Hartland 6th c)
St Botolph (7th c)

Tuesday, June 19th.

(Fish, wine and oil)


Holy Apostle Jude

Friday, June 22nd.


St Alban, Protomartyr of Britain (c209 A.D.)

Saturday, June 23rd.

6.30 p.m. Vespers

Eve of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

Sunday, June 24th.

(Fish, wine and oil)

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Tone 3. Fourth Sunday after Pentecost.

Nativity of St John the Baptist

Friday, June 29th.

(Fish, wine and oil)

(End of the fast)

(no service)

Holy Glorious Apostles Peter and Paul

Sunday, July 1st.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Tone 4. Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. Wonder-working Unmercenary Physicians Ss Cosmas and Damian (3rd c)

Sunday, July 8th.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Tone 5. Sixth Sunday after Pentecost.

Great Martyr Procopius in Palestine (303)

Some Saints’ Days this week:
Sunday: New Martyrs under the Turkish Yoke; New martyrs and confessors of Bulgaria; St Nectan of Hartland (Devon) (6th c); St Botolph (Lincolnshire) (7th c)
Tuesday: St Jude, brother of the Lord. St Paisios the Great (5th c). St Paisy of Chilandar (18th c)
Wednesday: St Nicholas Kabasilas, theologian (c1391)
Thursday: St Terence, martyr at Iconium (1st c). Martyr Julian of Tarsus (3rd c)
Friday: St Alban, Protomartyr of Britain (see below)
Saturday: St Æthelthryth (or Æðelþryð), or Etheldreda, founder abbess of Ely monastery (Cambridgeshire). (679)
See below, at the end if this newsletter, the lives of four of our British Isles saints in the list above.


BAPTISM We shall baptize Alexander, new-born son of Raluca and Neill McKett, on Sunday 17th June. Beginning 09.30 a.m.


It is, of course, our Orthodox tradition and custom to stand to pray, as has been the case for Christians from the earliest times, and this should be the norm for each of us. Nevertheless, the Church allows seats for those who through age or infirmity are unable to stand continuously. We have a small number of chairs in church. Recently we have lost the battle with the woodworm in the oldest et and these have now been removed and new chairs bought. We do not have a ‘chair fund’, but contributions are welcome, especially if you find a chair necessary!


Once in a while our diocese organizes a conference for the communities of the diocese. The recent meeting was attended by Archimandrite Kyril and our President, Kate Hearn. Several topics were discussed, but the main focus was on a revised Constitution for the Archdiocese. The draft as presented has a number of difficulties and though passed by the meeting it has been referred for further modification.


Your Parish Councillors meet regularly. Currently four times a year, but there is a lot going on in our parish currently and at the last meeting (last Sunday) they decided to meet two-monthly. The next meeting will be on 29th. July.


Thank you to everyone who has newly given us their details. The new system is up and running.


1. Children’s Catechism Class

The Children’s class has finished for this school year. Christina is leaving Bristol this summer and we owe her a huge debt of thanks for all the work she has put into our parish life, and especially the children’s classes. We hope to have news of the autumn arrangements soon.

(Reminder) 2. Adults

Henry (Cuthbert) McGrath is running a group for teenagers and adults, teaching about aspects of our Church and its faith. If you would like to join in with this just ask him in church on a Sunday or email him (henrymcgrath67@gmail.com). NB new email address.

N.B. This group is open to anyone from 12 years upwards.



Singing in the choir is an important ministry and service to the church. But it is not a closed shop! If you can sing, have some knowledge of reading notes and would like to try out singing in the choir, we would very much like to hear from you. Come and talk to Reader Anthony (Hearn) after any service.



Here’s a new way to give painlessly to your parish:

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/290747-0

That link will allow Amazon users to set up Amazon Smile, through which money from all eligible purchases can be donated to the church. Unlike Easy Giving, it works directly through your Amazon account.

Earn triple donations from 15 to 29 June: To celebrate the successful launch of AmazonSmile UK just six months ago, Amazon is tripling donations from 15 – 29 June on all qualifying purchases*.

Only 2 weeks left – Spread the word to increase your AmazonSmile donations


1) This year we have successfully bid for funding to cover most of the cost of upgrading the stonework of the porch, and been nominated to receive charity donations from Clifton Village Co-op. If you live within 15 miles of Clifton Co-op and have a blue Co-op membership card, you can vote for more of their charity donation to come our way whenever you visit Clifton Co-op.

2) Use https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ for your online shopping – Amazon, John Lewis and hundreds of others. You just access your usual site via the easyfundraising link, selecting our church as your chosen charity, and they give a percentage of your purchase money to the church. It’s easy once you have done it once. And it all adds up.


“God loves a cheerful giver.” “Faith, hope and charity, these three abide, but the greatest of them is charity”.

We cannot live by bread alone. Sadly, there are an increasing number of our fellow citizens who have not even got bread. If you can spare anything, please do make a donation. The food bank can also accept toiletries, such as toothpaste and sanitary towels.

Please continue to give suitable dry and tinned goods. The number of people having to rely on Food Banks is rising.

REMEMBER: If anyone in our own community is is real need, Fr Kyril and Robert can both sign the vouchers needed to receive a food parcel. They can be approached in the strictest confidence.

Update from the Bristol North-west Food Bank:

We are delighted to let you know that we now have our own generalist advisor, employed by us and working for our Foodbank in our four centres in Avonmouth, Lawrence Weston, Henbury and Hotwells at every session.

Our advisor is able to help with form filling, benefit advice, applying for grants for items such as white goods, debt, housing and so on.

Foodbank clients referred can gain access to her services when they come to redeem their food voucher. Other people can access her services through pre-bookable appointments.

We hope this service will be of huge benefit for those coming into our Foodbank.


Kate Hearn has always got a selection of home-produced jams, chutneys, etc. – even honey sometimes – for sale after the services.


Do keep an eye on the icons that Raluca mounts and puts on sale in church. Perhaps you have room for one in your home? Have you seen her Facebook page (Raluca Ortodox Icons) yet ?


“The Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins again to venerate her own Saints”     (Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877)
This week we celebrate:
1) St Nectan of Hartland:
For a number of years the ‘parishes of the West Country’ used to make a joint pilgrimage over a weekend to the saints of Devon, specifically St Urith (Turith) of Chittlehampton, Saint Brannock at Braunton and St Nectan at Hartland. The first two are quite likely still buried in their churches. St Nectan has a holy well and Hartland has a fine church dedicated to him. “ [He] decided to become a hermit after hearing the story of St Anthony in the Egyptian desert. He set sail from South Wales landing at Hartland Point in Devon.” [Historic UK]
St Nectan, in common with most early saints, has an edifying legend rather than an historical biography. It is important, however, to understand that these ‘lives’ are meant to emphasize the sanctity of the holy one, not to mislead. In St Nectan’s case we read:

Nectan was born in Ireland but moved to Wales when he was young in 423 AD, the eldest of the 24 children of King Brychan of Brycheiniog (now Brecknock in Wales). Nectan heard of the great hermit of the Egyptian desert, St. Anthony, and was inspired to imitate his way of life. Seeking greater solitude, St. Nectan and his companions left Wales, intending to settle wherever their boat happened to land. Nectan and his companions wound up on the northern coast of Devon at Hartland, where they lived for several years in a dense forest. The saint’s family would visit him there on the last day of the year. Later, he relocated to a remote valley with a spring.

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. Seeing this, the man who killed St Nectan went out of his mind, but the other thief buried him. From that time, miracles began to take place at St Nectan’s tomb. Tradition also says that wherever Nectan’s blood fell, foxgloves grew.”

(There were always foxgloves growing by his well at pilgrimage-tide! As in so many places, a hermit settled by a source of water. Wells were sacred places before Christianity and that continued.)

There are some interesting historical points in his ‘legend’, for all that it dates from 700 years after his life! (Note that it was still needed.) The name is certainly Irish not Welsh. His association with King Brychan (also an Irish name) is interesting too. Much of South Wales in this periode was subject to Irish raiding and settlement. At this time both Ireland and Wales were Christian lands, at least in name. The ruling families provided not only secular, but also church leadership, so it is notable that Nectan had both Irish and royal connexions.
2) St Botolph
Botwulf (Botolph) of Thorney in Lincolnshire (died around 680) was an English abbot and saint. He is the patron saint of travellers and the various aspects of farming. He also happens to be the name saint in the Church of our very own Reader Botolph!
As with many early saints, historical information is scant, but what is evidenced is the strength of the saint’s cult and memory. “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records for the year 653: ‘The Middle Angles, under Earldorman Peada, received the true faith. King Anna was killed and Botulf began to build the church at Ikanho’. Botolph founded the monastery of Ikanhoe in Suffolk [in 654; destroyed by Danes 870]. Icanho, which means ‘ox hill’, has been identified as Iken, located by the estuary of the River Alde in Suffolk; a church still remains on top of an isolated hill in the parish. The Life of St Ceolfrith, written around the time of Bede [8th century] by an unknown author, mentions an abbot named Botolphus in East Anglia, ‘a man of remarkable life and learning, full of the grace of the Holy Spirit’.

Botwulf is supposed to have been buried originally at his foundation of Icanho, but in 970 Edgar I of England gave permission for Botwulf’s remains to be transferred to Burgh, near Woodbridge, where they remained for some fifty years before being transferred to their own tomb at Bury St Edmunds Abbey on the instructions of [King] Cnut. The saint’s relics were later transferred again, along with those of his brother Adulf, to Thorney Abbey, although his head was transferred to Ely Cathedral and various body parts to other houses, including Westminster Abbey.”

3) SAINT ALBAN, Protomartyr of Britain, June 22nd.

Saint Alban is venerated as the first-recorded British Christian martyr, and he is considered to be the British protomartyr. Along with fellow Saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three named martyrs recorded at an early date from Roman Britain (“Amphibalus” was the name given much later to the priest he was said to have been protecting). He is traditionally believed to have been beheaded in the Roman city of Verulamium (modern St Albans) sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, and his cult has been celebrated there since ancient times.


In a chapel east of the crossing and high altar are remains of the 14th-century marble shrine of St Alban. In June 2002 a scapula (shoulder blade), believed to be a relic of St Alban, was presented to St Albans Cathedral and placed inside the saint’s restored 13th-century shrine. The bone was given by the Church of St Pantaleon in Cologne, Germany. St Pantaleon’s, like St Albans Cathedral a former Benedictine abbey church that had a shrine dedicated to St Alban, has possessed remains believed to be those of St Alban since the 10th century. It is entirely possible that further relics were acquired by the church in the 16th century at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, when many such relics were smuggled abroad to prevent their destruction. St Albans Abbey was dissolved in 1539.

The largest relic of St Alban in England is the thigh of the protomartyr preserved at St Michael’s Benedictine Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, which was removed from the St Pantaleon’s reliquary in the 1950s.


4) St St Æthelthryth (or Æðelþryð), or Etheldreda

She was one of the major saints of the early English Church. Here is her story:

Etheldreda (Æthelthryth, Ediltrudis, Audrey) (d.679), queen, foundress and abbess of Ely. She was the daughter of Anna, king of East Anglia, and was born, probably, at Exning, near Newmarket in Suffolk. At an early age she was married (c.652) to Tondberht, ealdorman of the South Gyrwas, but she remained a virgin. On his death, c.655, she retired to the Isle of Ely, her dowry. In 660, for political reasons, she was married to Egfrith, the young king of Northumbria who was then only 15 years old, and several years younger than her. He agreed that she should remain a virgin, as in her previous marriage, but 12 years later he wished their marital relationship to be normal. Etheldreda, advised and aided by Wilfred, bishop of Northumbria, refused. Egfrith offered bribes in vain. Etheldreda left him and became a nun at Coldingham under her aunt Ebbe (672) and founded a double monastery at Ely in 673. (from FARMER, David: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 3rd ed. OUP, 1992.)

Etheldreda restored an old church at Ely, reputedly destroyed by Penda, pagan king of the Mercians, and built her monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral. After its restoration in 970 by Ethelwold it became the richest abbey in England except for Glastonbury.

Etheldreda’s monastery flourished for 200 years until it was destroyed by the Danes. It was refounded as a Benedictine community in 970.

17 years after her death her body was found to be incorrupt: Wilfred and her physician Cynefrid were among the witnesses. The tumour on her neck, cut by her doctor, was found to be healed. The linen cloths in which her body was wrapped were as fresh as the day she had been buried. Her body was placed in a stone sarcophagus of Roman origin, found at Grantchester and reburied.”

When the Normans began building the present Cathedral at Ely and moved her body in 1106, it was again reported to be still incorrupt. That was nearly 450 years after her death.” (https://orthodoxwiki.org/Etheldreda_of_Ely)


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The Eastern Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God, University Rd, Bristol BS8 1SP, registered Charity No. 290747, is a member Parish of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

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