Forthcoming visit of Metropolitan Silouan to St Edwards

We now have a date for the Metropolitan’s visit.  I t will be on the 26th March, when he will be serving the Divine Liturgy with us, and meeting people afterwards.

 

Please note that on that Sunday only the Liturgy will commence at 10.30 a.m., and NOT at 10.00, our usual time, as Sayedna will be driving down from London

 

This will be a very important occasion for St Edward’s.  Not only will it be the first time that we will be visited by a bishop, but by our own Metropolitan.

 

As readers will be aware, I originally suggested that the 26th would not be a suitable date because we would not have the use of the meeting room at Athelhampton House.  However, Sayedna thought that this would not be a problem as we could have a buffet lunch in the church.

 

Perhaps those of you who come to St Edward’s occasionally could make a note of this important date so as to be with us on morning.  It would be good to greet Sayedna with a full church.

 

If any men would be available to assist in the altar, in processions etc., please contact Fr David.

 

The coming Great Lent

As I write, we have just served the first Divine Liturgy in the Triodion, the Book which contains all the services for pre-Lent, Great Lent itself, and Great and Holy Week.

 

On 12th Feb. we have the Sunday of the Prodigal Son, followed by Sunday (19th) the Last Judgement (Meatfare) beginning a week of fasting from meat.

 

The following Sunday, the Sunday of Cheesefare, begins a week of fasting from dairy products leading into Great Lent on Sunday March 5th, But wine and oil are permitted on 4th and 5th.

 

So far this may all seem rather negative, all about giving up things.  However. there are two areas in which it ought to be possible to be positive these are Prayer, and Bible reading.  Time can be set aside for prayer.  In a busy household it might be a good idea to, say, get up half an hour before everyone else when it is possible to be quiet without distractions.

 

During this time, some like to begin by reading a psalm, or part of a long psalm, then to remember before God family, friends, particularly any sick or in particular need and finally our own needs.

 

Some Orthodox Saints of Britain – St Ethelbert 552 – 616

Although Christianity arrived in Britain during the first century there is no reliable history of those early times but there are many legends.  For several generations before the pagan Saxon and later Danish invasions, the British Church appears to have become well established.  However, the heathen invaders, as they settled in England, drove many of the Christian Britons, but not all of them, to the Western extremes.

 

In June 597 Augustine landed in England, sent by the Pope with some companions, to bring the Gospel to our country.  The following Pentecost Ethelbert, the King of Kent was baptised.  Christianity was not new to Ethelbert.  His wife, Bertha, a daughter of the King of the Franks was a Christian and Ethelbert gave her the old church of St Martin in Canterbury, where she was given every opportunity to observe her religion.  Ethelbert was, by this time supreme ruler throughout southern Britain.

 

He founded a number of churches, including Canterbury Cathedral and the nearby Abbey.  Although helping Augustine to convert a heathen temple into a church, he never compelled his subjects to convert to Christianity. However, some 10,000 are said to have been baptised during the months following Ethelbert’s own baptism..

 

When Ethelbert died in 616 his only son, Eadbald succeeded him.  Although he lived and died a pagan, he appears to have made no attempt to reverse the work of his father and others in establishing Christianty.

 

An Appeal

About two weeks ago, as I was listening to the official radio of  the Greek Orthodox Church, an announcement was made about a total disaster of one of the oldest and most important Nunneries on the mainland!

 

The Nunnery of the Assumption of the Virgin in Varnakova, Dorida, was established by monk Arsenios in 1077 AD in the era of Patriarch Kosmas. The graves of the Byzantine Komninos family lie in the Nunnery. The Nunnery has suffered a major fire but, thank God, no one was injured.  Although all the buildings and the cells were totally burnt, the nuns managed to escape just with the clothes they were wearing, the Icon of the Theotokos, and holy Relics they were keeping in the Nunnery. Nothing else!
They are calling for help because they have been left homeless and the restoration of the Nunnery is an important priority. It would be really helpful if you could let people know in case anyone would like to help. The details given for anyone who is interested in even minor help that would be really important for them are given below:           Sofia  Mastoropoulou

 

St Edward’s will be sending a contribution towards this worthy cause in due course, and there will be a box at the back of the church for individuals to add their contributions.

 

Cheques, made out to St Edward’s Orthodox Church, may be sent to Fr David.  Please write “Varnakova appeal” on the back of the cheque.