Orthodox Parish of the Nativity of the Mother of God


PARISH NEWS for week beginning 25/3/18



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.



Saturday, March 24th.

(Oil and Wine allowed)

6.30 p.m. Vespers of the Feast

Fifth Saturday of the Great Fast.

Eve of the Annunciation


Sunday, March 25th.

(Fish, wine and oil)

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Memorial service for our former Parish Priest Fr David (Payne)

Parish Council Meeting

Tone 7. Fifth Sunday of the Great Fast.


Благовещение Пресвятой Богородицы.

Buna Vestire

Monday, March 26th.

(Oil and Wine)

Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel

Friday, March 30th.

Last day of the Great Fast

Saturday, March 31st.

(Oil and Wine)

9.00 a.m. Divine Liturgy

6.30 p.m. Vespers for the Feast with Blessing of Palms

Saturday of the Raising of Lazarus

**Remember to collect up last year’s palms in your house. Burn them and put the ashes in the earth.**

Sunday, April 1st.

(Fish, wine and oil)

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

6.30 p.m. Great Monday Mattins of the Bridegroom




Monday, April 2nd.

(Fast day)

6.30 p.m. Great Tuesday Mattins of the Bridegroom

Great and Holy Tuesday

Tuesday, April 3rd.

(Fast day)

6.30 p.m. Great Wednesday Mattins of the Bridegroom

Great and Holy Monday

Wednesday, April 4th.

(Fast day)

6.30 p.m. Mattins of Holy Thursday

Great and Holy Wednesday

Thursday, April 5th.

(Oil and Wine)

4.00 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St Basil

6.30 p.m. Passion Service. (Mattins of the 12 Gospels for Great Friday)

Great and Holy Thursday

Friday, April 6th.

(Strict fast day)

11.00 a.m. Royal Hours

4.00 p.m. Vespers (Service of the Winding Sheet)

6.30 p.m. Holy Saturday Mattins (Burial Service of Christ)

Great and Holy Friday.


Saturday, April 7th.

(Fast Day: Wine allowed, but no oil)

12.00 noon Vespers and Divine Liturgy of St Basil for the Eve of Pascha

11.00 p.m. Midnight Service, followed at once by:

Great and Holy Saturday.

Sunday, April 8th.

12 midnight Procession and Paschal Mattins;

then Blessing of Paschal Foods

followed around 1.15 by the Paschal Hour and

Paschal Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

4.00 p.m. Paschal Vespers

followed by festive tea


Светлое Христово Воскресение ПАСХА

Învierea Domnului SFINTELE PAŞTI

Monday – Friday

Fast-free week


Sunday, April 15th

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Second Sunday of Pascha. Sunday of Thomas

Fifth Sunday of the Great fast

This year the Fifth, and last, Sunday of the Fast is also the Feast of the Annunciation. The texts for the feast are combined with those for the day. So, just as we begin the last week of the Great Fast, we are reminded that Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ became a little babe to bring us the Good News of the salvation of us and of the whole cosmos, but only through his own death; only by entering with him into that death can our salvation be realized in the Resurrection. By placing the Annunciation at this time, always in close proximity to the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, the Church forcefully brings home to us the totality of the reality of his Incarnation. This was what Mary acceded to when she said ‘Let it be done to me according to your word.’ If we worshipped the babe in the manger at the Feast of the Nativity, this is the inevitable consequence for us too: the Cross, Death and Resurrection.

Sixth week

Next (the sixth) week is the last week of the Fast (though not of fasting: we renew our fasting through Great and Holy Week to Pascha). In this last week we prepare for the Feast of Palms and the focus each day in the texts of the services is on Jesus and Lazarus: how Lazarus each day is sicker till he dies and Jesus begins his journey to Bethany to raise him from the dead. This last we celebrate on Lazarus Saturday, the eve of Palm Sunday.

First, on Sunday at Vespers, we sing:

Beginning with zeal the sixth week of the Fast,

we shall bring to the Lord hymns

announcing the feast of palms;

to him who comes in glory and divine power to Jerusalem to be put to death.”

Then on Monday we hear: “Today the sickness of Lazarus appears to Christ as he walks on the other side of the Jordan…”

On Tuesday: “Yesterday and today Lazarus is sick…”

On Wednesday: “Today the dead Lazarus is being buried and his kinsfolk weep…”

On Thursday: “For two days now Lazarus has been dead….”

Then, on Friday: “ Tomorrow Christ comes to raise the dead brother (of Martha and Mary)…”

And on Saturday at the Divine Liturgy we hear of the raising of Lazarus.

Why does any of this matter? Fr Schmemann (in Great Lent) explains beautifully the way the Church uses “Today…” in the liturgical texts. “The Church is the remembrance of Christ”, not as some sentimental recalling, but the actual realization of his living, saving presence here, now, TODAY. So liturgically we are present at the raising of Lazarus, and one week later we shall be present in the Today of Christ’s Resurrection, but only if we truly allow ourselves to step from this world of time into the eternal Today of the Resurrection. That above all is the goal of our Lenten fasting and effort.

Throughout the Fast Saturday, the Sabbath, has been a commemoration of the dead. On Lazarus Saturday we witness the pre-echo of Christ’s triumph over death, but not before we have, with him, endured the Passion and his death on the Holy and Great Sabbath, but also our own death, both our death to this world and ultimately our own physical death.

Lazarus Saturday is beyond Lent: it is its own festival. From this day we cease to use the cycle of the Eight Tones in the services. Fr Schmemann writes: “To anyone who has tasted of the true liturgical life – be it once and however imperfectly – it is almost self-evident that from the moment we hear, “Rejoice, O Bethany, home of Lazarus…” and then, “…tomorrow Christ is coming…”, the external world becomes slightly unreal, and one almost experiences pain in entering into the necessary daily contact with it. “Reality” is what is going on in the Church, in that celebration which day after day makes us realize what it means to expect , and why Christianity is above everything else expectation and preparation. Thus when that Friday comes and we sing, “having completed the edifying forty days…”, we have not only fulfilled our annual ‘obligation’; we are ready to make ours the words we will sing the next day:

In Lazarus Christ is already destroying you, O death, and where, Hades, is your victory…?”

Then at last we are ready to welcome Our Saviour as he triumphantly enters Jerusalem as the children shout Hosanna! But we know well what this is leading to within the week to come,

Reader Anthony

Prayer behind the Ambo’ (after Communion) for the Annunciation to the Theotokos

March 25

Lord our God and Ruler of all, You were pleased Your only-begotten Son took flesh from a Virgin, and became man for our salvation. You sent Your archangel Gabriel to the holy Virgin Mary, to break the good news of this conception without seed. Before all ages You chose her to be the vessel of such a fearful mystery, foreknown to You and to Your Word, glorified with You. Through her prayers, and the prayers of all the saints,1 now break the good news to us, of the forgiveness of sins through Your grace, and of the joy that has appeared [today]. Speak peace to Your people, and make known to us the way to journey into Your heavenly kingdom.

Through the mercies of Your Christ, with Whom You are blessed, together with Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Prayer ‘Behind the Ambo for Lazarus Saturday:

O Christ our God, by your voice you loosed Lazarus from the chains of death, and brought him to life. Bring to life us who have been killed by our sins, and give us a life that cannot be taken away; give unending life to those who hope in you, and make us your heirs, for you are our life and resurrection, and to you is due glory, together with your Father, who is without beginning, and your all-holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages.

Prayer behind the Ambo’ (after Communion) for Palm Sunday

Christ our God, we sing of Your humility beyond our understanding, for though You sat upon a throne in heaven, and had the earth for a footstool, You did not think it beneath You to take flesh from a holy virgin, to be made like man and to lie unnoticed as a newborn babe in the manger. Indeed, You sat upon a colt and by Your own will endured suffering for us. Before, by inspiration, the heavenly powers sang hymns to You worthy of Your Godhead, but now a new hymn is sung to You on earth. You taught the troublesome mob by perfecting praise from the mouths of infants and children. To stammerers You taught how to tell of glory in heaven and peace on earth. With these accept the songs of Your unworthy servants, who sing to Your victory over death. Bless those who proclaim: “You come in the Name of God, yet not entirely abandoning the glory of the Father, for You will come again to judge the whole world in justice.” Make us worthy to receive You as You come, arm us for a victorious struggle against passions, and crown us with virtue in return for our palms and branches, that with joy we may meet You as You come upon the clouds in glory and that we may become heirs of Your kingdom.

For You are the Lover of mankind, and are glorified together with Your eternal Father, and Your all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.



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 easyfundraising, selecting our church as your chosen charity, and they give a percentage to the church. It’s easy once you have done it once. And it all adds up.


1. Children’s Catechism Class

If you are registering your child/children for the first time, please e-mail Christina (vice-president@bristol-orthodox-church.co.uk) their names and their ages or inform her about them on a Sunday.

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 (secretary@bristol-orthodox-church). NB new email address.

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


Lent is a time to remember that we cannot live by bread alone. Sadly, there are some who have not even got bread. After a cold spell, the food bank’s reserves will need to be topped up. 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.

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.


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 ?