To message Archimandrite Kyril or to arrange a baptism or wedding please email the Parish Priest@bristol-orthodox-church.co.uk (Tel. 01179706302 or 07944 860 955).
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Every Saturday: 5.30 p.m. Vespers
Every Sunday: 10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy
WEEKLY SERVICES & INFORMATION (Note: our Parish follows the “New” (Revised Julian) Calendar.)
Sunday 3rd March. Sunday of the Prodigal Son
10.30 a.m. Divine Liturgy and Monthly Parish Lunch
I Cor. 6:12-20
Luke 15: 11-32
REMINDER – FOOD BANK:
As we reduce our food intake in Lent we increase our prayer -and also refocus our charity. DON’T FORGET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS. Bring contributions please. Can we fill the box twice over during Lent?
Saturday, 2nd March. PILGRIMAGE TO ST DAVID’S CHURCH, LLANTHONY, MONMOUTHSHIRE
11.00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
WHERE? Llanthony (Llanddewi Nant Honddu), Monmouthshire (Black Mountains). The little church is reputedly on the site of an original cell of St David of Wales and is situated close to the ruins of Llanthony Priory amid the splendid Black Mountains.
Our parish has organized this annual pilgrimage here for nearly forty years. It is about an hour and a half’s drive from Bristol. Parking in the adjacent Priory carpark is free. Bring a packed lunch or join several of us in the Abbey Hotel bar for lunch. Visitors will be coming from other parishes as well.
At Matins on the three Sundays before the Great Fast we sing the Psalm of Exile, Psalm 136: By the Streams of Babylon. This reminds us that, like the Prodigal Son, we are exiles from our true home and the Fast gives us the time to renew our repentance in order to return to our homeland in Christ in his glorious resurrection.
SECOND PRE-LENTEN SUNDAY:
Return from Exile (The Sunday of the Prodigal Son)
The Following is an excerpt from Great Lent, by Alexander Schmemann
On the third Sunday of preparation for Lent, we hear the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). Together with the hymns on this day, the parable reveals to us the time of repentance as man’s return from exile. The prodigal son, we are told, went to a far country and there spent all that he had. A far country! It is this unique definition of our human condition that we must assume and make ours as we begin our approach to God. A man who has never had that experience, be it only very briefly, who has never felt that he is exiled from God and from real life, will never understand what Christianity is about. And the one who is perfectly “at home” in this world and its life, who has never been wounded by the nostalgic desire for another Reality, will not understand what is repentance.
Repentance is often simply identified as a cool and “objective” enumeration of sins and transgressions, as the act of “pleading guilty” to a legal indictment. Confession and absolution are seen as being of a juridical nature. But something very essential is overlooked– without which neither confession nor absolution have any real meaning or power. This “something” is precisely the feeling of alienation from God, from the joy of communion with Him, from the real life as created and given by God. It is easy indeed to confess that I have not fasted on prescribed days, or missed my prayers, or become angry. It is quite a different thing, however, to realize suddenly that I have defiled and lost my spiritual beauty, that I am far away from my real home, my real life, and that something precious and pure and beautiful has been hopelessly broken in the very texture of my existence. Yet this, and only this, is repentance, and therefore it is also a deep desire to return, to go back, to recover that lost home….
One liturgical peculiarity of this “Sunday of the Prodigal Son” must be especially mentioned here. At Sunday Matins, following the solemn and joyful Psalms of the Polyeleion, we sing the sad and nostalgic Psalm 136/7:
It is the Psalm of exile. It was sung by the Jews in their Babylonian captivity as they thought of their holy city of Jerusalem. It has become forever the song of man as he realizes his exile form God, and realizing it, becomes man again: the one who can never be fully satisfied by anything in this fallen world, for by nature and vocation he is a pilgrim of the Absolute. This Psalm will be sung twice more: on the last two Sundays before Lent. It reveals Lent itself as pilgrimage and repentance– as return.
The masons have finished the restoration work in the Church Altar (Sanctuary). The stained glass window has been cleaned! Thank you all for your generosity to the building fund,. We have spent the money we had in hand for this project, but there is more to do: The lower walls need to be re-plastered and repainted, so please continue to give generously to the building Fund!
It is good practice to have phones turned off or in aeroplane mode during services .
Some selected saints (AND FEASTS) of the coming days):-
For those who wish to donate to our Parish online, our Facebook fundraiser can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/donate/453504039824339/?fundraiser_source=external_url
Sermon for the Sunday of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee
Archimandrite Kyril Jenner
2 Timothy 3:10-15
In today’s reading from the Saint Paul’s Second Epistle to Timothy, he reminds his former assistant and companion of what he had learned and witnessed during their many years together. Saint Timothy had not only learned from Saint Paul’s words, but also from his way of life. “You have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness.” (II Timothy 3:10) The word translated as “observed” means more than just “looking at”. It means “followed” or “conformed to”. Saint Timothy’s teaching and way of life had become closely modelled on Saint Paul’s.
We too need to follow that example. We need to know the basics of Christian teaching, and we need to follow a way of life that is consistent with our faith. Saint Paul’s list: conduct, aim in life, faith, patience, love, and steadfastness, are all part of how we should live. If we start with those we shall do well.
Saint Paul then goes on with a rather more negative list of what is involved in living a Christian life: “my persecutions, my sufferings, what befell me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra, what persecutions I endured.” (II Timothy 3:11) These are more specific to Saint Paul. We must be prepared to suffer for our faith. For Saint Paul these included physical attacks, imprisonment, and judicial beatings, as well as purely verbal attacks. Most of us will expect to suffer a great deal less – the odd insult, an occasional argument. Mostly our faith will simply be ignored.
While we may not suffer greatly we should remember that around the world the twentieth century saw a greater number of those who died for their Christian faith than any previous century.
Whatever we are required to endure we need to remember that God is there with us. In his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, he suffered the worst that the human race could inflict on him. He shares in our suffering. Through his suffering he brings us a message of hope. He was raised from the dead. We too can be raised up with him. Saint Paul saw that. Christ brought him through his suffering in this world: “from them all the Lord rescued me.” (II Timothy 3:11) He is there to sustain us in times of trouble.
Saint Paul goes on to remind Saint Timothy of the prevalence of evil around us. The wars and other conflicts going on in different parts of the world show that this problem is still there, and we have to live with it. We do this by holding fast to our faith, and nourishing our faith by reading as well as by prayer. Saint Timothy was given the instruction: “as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (II Timothy 3:14-15)
Saint Timothy had the scriptures. We have a much greater range of writings from which we can learn. We are now three weeks away from the beginning of Lent, the Great and Holy Forty-day Fast. It is a useful exercise during Lent to spend less time being entertained by television, or surfing the internet, or staring at a phone, and to spend more time in reading, to learn more of the faith, to learn more about Christ, and to learn more about how we should live out our faith. To do this well needs preparation during the next weeks.
Similarly, observing the Fast also needs preparation, to make sure that we have the right foods in stock both to observe the Fast and to sustain us physically. In this we should aim for simplicity. Elaborate “fasting” meals to compensate for our normally over rich diet is not the way to go. Keep it simple. Cut down the time required for food preparation so that you have more time for prayer and reading.
We should be looking for spiritual goods, for things that will endure, not just in this life but in the age to come. Prayer, fasting, repentance, and good reading are all part of our journey along the right way. Sharing in the worship that the Church provides should also be part of our journey. Remember that the weekday services in the Lenten Triodion are a treasure house of hymns and prayers to help us along the way.
These good things of God are what we should pursue. Saint John Chrysostom says: “Let us attach ourselves to these stable and enduring goods.” (Homily 8 on Second Timothy) Let us use these three weeks of preparation well so that the time of Lent may be a time of spiritual refreshment and of growth in our love for God and for one another.
Like all small communities we rely on the generosity of friends and well-wishers. If you would like to contribute to the continuation of our parish and the upkeep of our historic church building, you can make a donation here: