PARISH NEWS for week beginning 10/3/19

WEBSITE: http://www.bristol-orthodox-church.co.uk/

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.


Have you got/ do you have knowledge of a one room flat/ studio in Bristol? A single Greek Orthodox lady is looking for one. Can you help?  Please contact George on 07951 882654.


The need for contributions to the Foodbank is as great as ever. Please continue giving.


Last Sunday, drawing on the gospel of the Last Judgment, Fr Kyril made it clear: the Fast is a fast first of all from sin: to support us in our struggle the Church customarily has evolved the fast: we spend less time cooking in order to have more time to prayer. Christ says “by prayer and fasting…” But it is also a time to remind us to look outward from ourselves and to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in need: “I was hungry and you gave me food, naked and you clothed me, in prison and you visited me….”

So in a strange way in the Fast we draw away from the world in order to be closer to it; to withdraw from distractions so that we can see it – and ourselves as they really are. To this end the Church also gives us the weekday services with their special tone and mood. Our Fast cannot be fully understood until we enter the mind of the Church which is the mind of Christ. That is why we need to make the extra effort to share in these weekday services. Then, once we have “crossed the great sea of the Fast” we shall be ready to enter with Christ into his Passion, Death and Resurrection.


1) Vespers of Forgiveness

The service of Vespers marks the tradition from one Liturgical day to the next, so on the Cheesefare Sunday evening we pass into the First Day of the Great Fast. After the Divine Liturgy we celebrate this Vespers. At the end of it the custom is for each of us to make a prostration and ask forgiveness for any wrong we have done one another. Then, owning our sins and mutually forgiven, we begin the journey together to Pascha.

2) Great Compline with Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete

On each evening of the first four days of the Fast we celebrate Great Compline with a singing of part of the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. This wonderful penitential hymn sets the scene. It allows us to see how our sins, our choosing of self, sets a gulf between us and our God. It brings before us many examples from the Scriptures of sin and repentance and shows us that all that we each need to do is just that, turn back to God, own our sin and ask forgiveness and restoration of our relationship. This is our task for the Forty Days, to be cleansed of self and open again to God.

3) Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts

On weekdays in the Fast we do not celebrate the Eucharist, The Divine Liturgy. But we still need the sustenance that the Communion in our Risen Lord provides. So, on Sundays the priest consecrates extra ‘Lambs’ (communion bread) and in the week, usually on Wednesday and Friday, we celebrate the evening service of Vespers, which then leads into Communion. It feels a bit like a Liturgy, hence its popular name, but really it isn’t. For one thing, the Divine Liturgy is always joyful, a celebration of the Resurrection. This service is penitential, the melodies are those of fasting days, there is no consecration of the Gifts. It reminds us, rather, that even in the midst of our sinful lives the presence of Christ in the Communion Bread and Wine is still there, the promise of New Life remains always open through the doors of repentance.

4) The Prayer of St Ephrem

If we only come to church on a Sunday we miss out wholly on the experience of the special quality of the services of the Fast. At every weekday service we say the Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian. It is an aspect of our worship that own that we are all sinners and there is nowhere to hide. This is most evident in the prayer:

Lord and Master of my life,

Do not give me a spirit of sloth, idle curiosity, love of power and useless chatter;

Rather accord to your servant a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love.

Yes, my Lord and king, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother;

for you are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen.


Sunday, March 10th.
Last day for eating fish, eggs and dairy. From midnight tonight we keep a strict fast till Pascha.
10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

12 noon Vespers of Forgiveness: the first service of the Great Fast (Lent) And so we begin our journey to Pascha.
Tone 8. Sunday of Forgiveness (Cheesefare)
Monday, March 11th. 6.30 p.m. Great Compline with Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete Clean Monday. Beginning of the Great Fast.
Tuesday, March 12th
6.30 p.m. Great Compline with Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete Clean Tuesday.
Wednesday, March 13th.

12 noon. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
6.30 p.m. Great Compline with Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete
Clean Wednesday.
Thursday, March 14th.
6.30 p.m. Great Compline with Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete Clean Thursday.
Friday, March 15th.
6.30 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts Clean Friday
Saturday, March 16th.
Commemoration of St Thedore the Recruit and the Miracle of the Boiled Wheat
Sunday, March 17th.
10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy Tone 1. First Sunday of the Great Fast. Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy.
Wednesday, March 20th.

6.30 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Sunday, March 24th.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy Tone 2. Second Sunday of the Great Fast. Commemoration of St Gregory Palamas
Monday, March 25th. Fish, oil and wine allowed 6.30 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy followed by a Memorial Service for Fr David (Payne) Annunciation to the Mother of God
Wednesday, March 27th.

6.30 p.m. Vespers and Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Saturday, March 30th. 6.30 p.m. Vespers
Sunday, March 31st.

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy and Veneration of the Cross Tone 3. Third Sunday of the Great Fast. Veneration of the Cross. Mid-Lent.

Prayer ‘Behind the Ambo’ after Communion 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 harbour of the honourable 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.
SOME SAINTS’ DAYS this week:
Sunday: Martyr Quadratus Monday:St Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem Tuesday:St Theophanes the Confessor. St Gregory ‘the Dialogist’, pope of Rome. St Symeon the New Theologian. Wednesday: St Nicephorus the Confessor Thursday: StBenedict of Nursia, abbot, Father of monasticism in the West

Friday: Apostle of the Seventy Aristoboulos.  St Christodoulos of Patmos.

Saturday:  Alexander, Bishop of Rome, martyr. “The Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when she begins to venerate her own saints again”     (Saint Arsenios of Paros †1877)
So, this week we celebrate:
Sunday: Monday: Tuesday: St Alphege, bishop of Winchester Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: St Finnan of Iona


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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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