University Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1SP


To message Archimandrite Kyril or to arrange a baptism or wedding please email the Parish  (Tel. 01179706302 or 07944 860 955).

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REGULAR:  (please see our Calendar for all services)

Saturdays: Vespers 5.30pm in English.

Sundays: Divine Liturgy 10.30am in English with some Slavonic and Romanian.  We recite the Lord’s Prayer in the languages of those present.


The Paralysed Man.

St Pachomius the Great (346)

10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, 18th: MID-PENTECOST

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life.



Sunday 15th: St Isaiah bishop of Rostov (1090)

Monday 16th: St Theodore the Sanctified (368)

St Brendan the Voyager, abbot (Ireland, 575)

Tuesday 17th: Apostle Andronicus and St Junia (1st c)

Wednesday, 18th: Martyr Theodotus of Ancyra (303)

Thursday, 19th: Bishop martyr Patrick of Prussa (2/3 c)

St Alcuin of York (804)

St Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (988)

St Dimitriy Donskoy, Prince of Moscow (1389)

Friday, 20th: Martyr Thallelaios (284)

St Æthelberht (Ethelbert), King of the East Angles, martyr in battle) (793)

Saturday, 21st: Emperor Constantine (337)and his mother Helena (330)


Sunday of the Paralysed Man

On the Fourth Sunday of Pascha, the Church remembers the man who lay paralysed at the Sheep Pool in Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, waiting for someone to put him into the pool. The first person to enter the pool after an Angel troubled the water would be healed of his infirmities, but someone always entered the pool before him. Seeing the man, the Lord felt compassion for him and healed him.

The Lord healed the paralysed man during the days of the Passover, when He had gone to Jerusalem for the Feast, and He remained there teaching and working miracles. According to Saint John the Theologian, this miracle took place on the Sabbath.

Like some Old Testament miracles, many of Christ’s miracles also involved water, and they prefigure the Church’s Baptism, which cleanses us of every sin. In the Sheep Pool, once a year, only one person was healed, but Christ saves endless multitudes by divine Baptism. Sometimes, as in the case of Saint Vladimir (July 15), Baptism can also heal our bodily infirmities.

In the Canon for the Paralysed Man, the Angel who stirred the water in the Sheep Pool is identified as the Archangel Michael. Some of the Troparia call him “Leader of the Angels,” and “Supreme Commander” (Ode 1). In Ode 3 we ask him to “protect us from falling into the passions of life.” In Ode 6, we ask Saint Michael to guide us on the paths of life.” In Ode 8, we ask him to pray with all the Bodiless Hosts, that we may be granted deliverance from our offences, correction of our life, and the enjoyment of eternal blessings.

As we remember the paralytic, let us ask Christ to “raise up our souls, paralysed by sins and thoughtless acts.” (Kontakion of the day).

(Text: OCA)


The male choir group Armonia will give a concert ‘Pray for Peace’  in the Romanian church, St Thomas’ Church, 1 Thomas Lane, Bristol, BS1 6JG, on SATURDAY 21st May at 19.30.  Admission free, donations welcome.




Sermon for the Sunday of the Paralysed Man

Archimandrite Kyril Jenner

John 5:1-15

Christ is risen!

Today we have read the Gospel story of the healing of a paralysed man, which happened in Jerusalem. This is clearly an event which is different from the healing of the paralysed man who was carried by his friends to Christ in Capernaum, which we find in the other Gospels.

We are told that this event took place on a festival day. Which particular feast seems not to be important. Even the fact of it being on a feast is omitted from the text as read, which starts half-way through the first verse of the chapter. Later we see that the day was also a Sabbath.

The place in Jerusalem cannot now be identified with certainty, so we must rely on the description that we are given. The pool, according to Saint Theophylact, was used for washing the entrails of the lambs that were used in the sacrifices in the Temple. Being on a festival there would have been many sacrifices offered. After the festival there was each time apparently a disturbance of the water, attributed to an angel, more likely, perhaps, explained as a small earth tremor. This gave healing power to the water, so that the first person who got into the water would be healed of whatever disease they were suffering from.

Being washed in the blood of a sacrificial lamb should make us think of this as a type or image of baptism. In baptism sin is washed away, we are healed of our spiritual diseases, and then raised up as a new person. This should be contrasted with the Jewish ritual bath, which was only concerned with washing away the traces of superficial breaches of ritual, such as coming in contact with a dead body, or with blood, or with a person suffering from a skin disease like leprosy. The healing in the pool was much greater than just the removal of ritual impediments. Likewise baptism is much more than just a ritual washing away of sin.

We are told that beside the pool there were five porches. The number five should make us think instinctively of the five books of Moses, the books of the Law, that governed the life of the Jewish community. The porches sheltered those waiting for healing. But to receive healing they had to leave that shelter and move to the pool. For the fullness of spiritual healing we have to move on from the restrictions of the old Law to the freedom that is given in Christ.

We are also told that the man had been waiting for thirty-eight years. That was the length of time that the Israelites of old had wandered, after leaving Egypt, and before reaching the freedom of the promised land of Canaan. They had waited thirty-eight years for God’s promise to them to be fulfilled. The paralysed man had waited thirty-eight years in the hope of receiving healing from God.

When the man encountered Christ he was healed. He was made whole. He could now move freely. He could pick up his pallet and walk away in freedom, even on a Sabbath day. In Christ we have that same opportunity for freedom. Our sins are washed away through our Baptism, through Confession, and through sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. The Blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, gives us healing of body and of soul.

This healing is given to us freely through Christ’s great love for us. Like the paralysed man we have to want this healing. We have to accept this healing. We have to get up from our sins and walk in the freedom given to us by the love of God. But we also need to keep working at truly following Christ. When Christ met the man for the second time he said “Sin no more.” (John 5:14) Our life in the freedom of Christ should be focussed on doing what God wants us to do.

Let us pray that we may work at following that instruction of our Lord, trusting in his power to help us along the way, and trusting in his love and compassion to forgive us and restore us when we fall away but then repent of our sins. God is loving, God is merciful, and no matter how long it takes us to find the way, God is always there to fill us with his love and restore us to the place intended for us in his heavenly kingdom.


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