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Oecumenical Patriarchate
Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain
University Road, Bristol BS8 1SP

PARISH NEWS for week beginning 18/2/18


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.


Sunday, February 18th.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

12 noon Vespers of Mutual Forgiveness

Tone 4. Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare Sunday)

The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise

Monday, February 19th.

6.30 p.m. Great Compline with the first part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Clean Monday.

Beginning of the Great Fast.

Strict fast this week.

From today we abstain from all animal products until Pascha

Tuesday, February 20th

6.30 p.m. Great Compline with the second part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Wednesday, February 21st.

12 noon. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

6.30 p.m. Great Compline with the third part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Thursday, February 22nd.

6.30 p.m. Great Compline with the fourth part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

Saturday, February 24th.

6.30 p.m. Vespers

First Saturday of the Great Fast. Commemoration of St Theodore the Recruit. Feast of the First and Second Findings of the Head of St John the Baptist.

Sunday, February 25th.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great

Tone 5. First Sunday of the Great Fast. Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.

Wednesday, February 28th.

6.30 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

Thursday, March 1st.

St David, Patron of Wales, abbot, bishop of Mynyw (St David’s), (d 589/601)

Saturday, March 3rd.

11.00 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

Saturday of Souls.

Pilgrimage to St David’s Church, Llanthony, Monmouthshire. (*See News)

St Non, mother of St David.

Sunday, March 4th.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great

Tone 6. Second Sunday of the Great Fast. St Gregory Palamas.


The Great Fast begins this Monday (19th) – Clean Monday. There are special services from Sunday – Thursday. It is really worth ‘setting the tone’ for the season of the Fast by attending the Vespers of Forgiveness on Sunday after the Divine Liturgy and at least one of the evening services at which we sing the four sections of the Great Penitential Canon of St Andrew of Crete. If you are free at lunchtime on Wednesday we shall celebrate the first Vesperal Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (Vespers with Communion) of the Fast. To receive the Holy Gifts we fast from midnight.

Note: on the five Sundays of the Great Fast (beginning with the Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy) we celebrate the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, rather than that of St John Chrysostom (except this year on the Fifth Sunday, as it is also the Annunciation.) This tends to make the service last about ten minutes or so longer.


This service characterizes and belongs to the fasting seasons and above all to the Great Fast. On Weekdays in the fast the Church does not celebrate the Divine Liturgy. Instead, extra ‘lambs’ for communion are consecrated on the Sundays for the following days. On Wednesdays (and Fridays, though we do not) we celebrate Vespers (εσπερινός, вечерняя) with the receiving of Communion at the end. In practice we celebrate Vespers up to the Readings for the day, then sing a hymn as the (already consecrated, hence ‘pre-sanctified’, that is ‘fore-hallowed’) Gifts are brought in procession, then we say the Prayer of St Ephrem, sing the Lord’s Prayer and receive Communion. This has come to be called the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.


Lord and Master of my life, do not give me a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, love of power, and useless chatter. (Prostration)

Rather accord to me, your servant, a spirit of sobriety, humility, patience and love. (Prostration)

Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to condemn my brother; for you are blessed to the ages of ages. (Prostration)]”

This prayer above all is the prayer of the Great Fast. It is said at all services Monday to Friday in the Great Fast and on the first three days of Holy Week. We also add it at the end of our own prayers each weekday. It tells us exactly why we fast: what we essentially fast from and what we wish with God’s help to put in its place. Our dietary fast is solely directed to this end, to realign ourselves to the divine Way.

Note: the ‘Do not give’ of the first petition is a Hebraism meaning ‘Deliver me from’, or ‘Keep me from…’. It is similar to the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer:’Do not lead us into…’.

Prayer after Communion (Prayer ‘behind the Ambo’) for Cheesefare Sunday

Blessed are You, O Lord, highly exalted, glorified and good. In Your divine providence You set the length of the year, and have anchored us in these days of inner peace. To Your servants give the good fruit of righteousness in all their works. Give them might and power for the destruction of sin, and for the renewal of soul and mind, that during the forty days of the Fast, we might overcome the crafty contrivances of the Intruder, for You are our God. Through prayer and fasting You have made men equal to angels, and the fasting Moses You entrusted with the tablets of the Law written by Your divine hand. Now, O Lord, return us to the safe harbor of the honorable passion of Your Christ, that with the wood of the Cross as our weapon, we may be victors over sin and worthy of Your joyful Resurrection on the third day.

Through the prayers and supplications of the most-holy and pure Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary and of all Your saints, now and ever and unto ages of ages.



Each year for at least forty years our parish has organised a pilgrimage to St David’s Church, Llanthony, Monmouthshire, in honour of St David, patron of Wales (feast: 1st March). This year it will be on Saturday 3rd March with Divine Liturgy 11.00 a.m. This celebration is usually shared with other parishes. Fr Luke brings a group from Llanelli, and the Romanians in Cardiff with their priest also frequently come.

It takes about an hour and a half to drive to Llanthony. Allow a little more for parking (there is plenty) and especially if it is your first time. The Llanthony road from the A465 at Llanfihangel Crucornau is perfectly all right, but is a country road. The village is situated very beautifully in the Ewias valley in the Black Mountains. The church itself, St David’s, reputedly incorporates the remains of an earlier cell built by Dewi (the Welsh form of David), and this is usually taken to be the great St David. The church is often chilly, so dress for warmth!

The church is right next to the sad but beautiful remains of the Augustinian Order’s Llanthony Priory.

Allow time to stay on a little afterwards. Food and refreshment are available in the Priory Hotel next door, or you can bring a packed lunch. The walks on the surrounding hills are worth the effort too!

Google map: search for Llanthony, either the hotel or the campsite will get you there.


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 for your online shopping – Amazon, John Lewis and hundreds of others. You just access your usual site via easyfunding, 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 ( 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 ( NB new email address.

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

Posted 19th February 2018

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