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The Church of St Colman of Oughaval

A Parish of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia



Holy Colman, pray to God for us!

St Colman's church is a parish of the Orthodox Church in Stradbally, Ireland.  We are a part of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, and we welcome you to join us.


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St Colman

The Vita of Saint Colman


Saint Colman was a disciple of St Columba, Abbot of Iona and St Fintan, Abbot of Clonenangh. In the Martyrology of Tallagh he is included as Colman Mac h Laighsi on 15 May. He was of the family (clan) of Laoighsigh Ceannmoir, son of Conall Cearnach, a celebrated Ultonian hero who lived in the first century. His father was Lugna and his grandfather was Eugene. Their tribe-name was Mac Ua Loighse.

The first mention of St Colman, a pious youth and native of the Portlaoise area in the Province of Leinster, is in the Life of St Fintan of Clonenagh. He desired to dedicate his whole life to the service of Christ in prayer and ascetic labour. To this end he made a pilgrimage to Iona to seek spiritual counsel from the renowned abbot of that holy island, St Columba. He remained at Iona for several years as a novice learning the disciplines of the monastic life.

Later Colman felt the call to return to Ireland and he asked St Columba how it would be possible to live there without being able to confess his sins to his abbot. St Colman said, 'Go to that pious man whom I see standing among the Angels and before the tribunal of Christ, on each Sunday night.' Colman asked, 'Who and what sort of man is he?' and the holy Abbot answered, 'There is a certain saintly and handsome man, in your part of the country, whose complexion is florid, whose eyes are brightly sparkling, and whose white locks of hair are thinly scattered on his head.' To this Colman replied, 'I know of no man answering this description, in my country, except Abbot Fintan.' Then St Columba confirmed, 'He it is, my son, whom I see before the tribunal of Christ, as I have already told you. Go to him, for he is a true shepherd of Christ’s flock and he shall bring many souls with him to the kingdom of Christ.'

Colman received the blessing of St Columba and set out on the journey to his native land. Comimg to St Fintan, Colman told him all that the holy Abbot of Iona had said. On hearing these things the elderly abbot blushed deeply so it seemed as though his face was on fire. He cautioned Colman not to report these things to anyone, at least, during his own lifetime.



Colman selected Oughaval, a town land within the present-day Parish of Stradbally in county Laois, as the site of his monastic settlement. The exact date of the founding of the monastery is unknown but it was shortly before the repose of Saint Fintan in about the year 595. The place can still be identified and the burial ground is still be use. However it is impossible recognise the actual church or monastic building since the stone was reused at the beginning of the 18th century to build a mausoleum. It was a mediaeval church until 18th century. The Mick walls and Tower at West End are very, very old.

Colman is very popular name in Ireland. The Martyrology of Donegal lists 96 saints of this name and the Book of Leinster records no less than 209. In addition there seems to be some confusion in ancient texts between Colman (Colmanus in Latin) and Columbanus. Not long before his own death, St Columba of Iona foresaw the death of a certain holy man named Columbanus, a bishop in the Province of Leinster and some hagiographers have identied this saint with St Colman of Oughaval. However, there seems to be no serious historical foundation for this assumption, and indeed we have no evidence that our patron was a bishop. As is well known, Celtic lands in general and Ireland in particular, during this period had few large settlements that could be described as cities or towns. Thus church administration was based more on the local monastery than on a diocesan structure. The abbot of a large monastery therefore had greater influence than most bishops whose basic function was to ordain.

The fate of St Colman’s monastic foundation is something of a mystery. It had ceased to function long before the Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII. The history of the monastery subsequent to the repose of St Colman is the subject of current research.

Saint Colman of Oughaval, pray to God for us!

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Regular and Occasional Services



The parish is served by Fr Peter Baulk of the cathedral parish of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Holy Royal Martyrs.

To make arrangements for baptisms, weddings, pannikhidas, and funerals, please contact Fr Peter or Mr Adrian Crosby.



Regular services are held on the last weekend of each month unless otherwise announced.  Vespers is served on Saturday evening at 6p.m. and the Divine Liturgy is served on Sunday morning at 10a.m.

Those wishing to receive Communion may approach Fr Peter for Confession either after Saturday Vespers or before the Sunday Liturgy.  Please allow sufficient time.


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The Church of St Colman is located on the Abbeyleix Road, approximately 1km from Stradbally, Co. Laois.

Enquiries may be made to Mr Adrian Crosby, Stradbally Hall, Co. Laois. Ireland.
Tel: +353 502 251 60




Father Peter Baulk may be contacted at 15 Suffolk Close, Boreham Wood, Hertfordshire. WD6 2SY
Tel: +44 208 953 5764
e-mail: FatherPeter@rocor.org.uk




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Saints, feasts, and readings for today.

Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 9:2-12

Gospel Reading: Matthew 18:23-35

Holy Martyr Lawrence; Laurence the Holy Martyr & Archdeacon of Rome; Chitus of Athens, Bishop of Rome; Hippolytus the Martyr of Rome; Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Holy Week and Easter Services

Palm Sunday - 8th April (26th March by the Church calendar)

Festal Divine Liturgy at 9.45 a.m

The usual Sunday Divine Liturgy today will be in honour of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem to face his Passion.  This is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the church year.  Please bring palm, box, pussy willow, or other greenery to be blessed.

Great and Holy Wednesday - 11th April (29th March by the Church calendar)

Holy Unction at 7 p.m.

The service of Holy Unction consists of a number of Epistle and Gospel readings, each reminding us of the healing brought to us by Christ.  In his general Epistle, St James, the Brother of the Lord, exhorts the local churches, saying 'Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord' (James 5:14).  Acknowledging our physical and spiritual sickness, we come to God in prayer, asking for healing of our souls and bodies, for the sake of our salvation.
 
Because Holy Unction is intrinsically bound to the physical and spiritual healing that we receive in the life of the Church, we must approach this Mystery as we would Holy Communion, and seek to free ourselves of the sins that separate us from the fullness of life in Christ.  Therefore, it is proper that we should confess our sins and be absolved before we are anointed.

Great and Holy Thursday - 12th April (30th March by the Church calendar)

The Divine Liturgy at 9.45 a.m.

On this day, we commemorate the Mystical Supper, at which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist, the centre of the Church's life.

Matins of Good Friday at 7 p.m.

This is the first service of Good Friday, performed on Thursday evening in anticipation.  It is a quiet, reflective service, taking the form of a solemn meditation on the twelve Gospel readings of the Lord's Passion.  The Cross of the Saviour is solemnly carried into the midst of the church as a focus for our devotion.  In some places, it is customary to kneel for the Gospel readings.

Great and Holy Friday - 13th April (31st March by the Church calendar)

The Royal Hours at 9.45 a.m.

On Good Friday, it is customary to serve the Little Hours (The First, Third, Sixth, and Ninth hours) together as a single service.  On this day, the hours take a special form, with additional hymns and readings of the Passion.

Vespers with the Burial of the Lord at 4.30 p.m.

This service marks the pivot between Good Friday and the Holy Sabbath on which Christ rested in the tomb.  Having meditated on the Crucifixion of the Lord, we turn our minds to the devotion with which those who loved the Saviour attended and buried his Body.  The burial shroud of the Saviour is placed in the middle of the church, where it remains for veneration by the people until the Easter Vigil.

Great and Holy Saturday - 14th April (1st April by the Church calendar) - Confessions will be heard throughout today.

The Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil at 1 p.m.

This is the old Easter Vigil, moved to the afternoon of Holy Saturday.  Vespers leads into fifteen Old Testament readings, illustrating God's work of salvation in human history, culminating with the Resurrection of Christ.  The vestments and church hangings are changed from dark to light, and we are reminded that this is the time when new Christians were baptised in ancient times.

This rather long service is ideal especially for those who would like to celebrate the Resurrection but who would find it difficult to come to the night vigil services.

The Acts of the Apostles at 9 p.m.

We read the Acts of the Apostles, listening to the spread of the Church in the early days after the Resurrection of the Saviour.

The Midnight Office at 11 p.m.

This service is a beautiful meditation on the Body of the buried Saviour by candlelight, with the focus shifting to hope in the Resurrection.  Near the end, the burial shroud of the Saviour is solemnly removed from the church and the church is cast into darkness.

The Radiant Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Easter Day) - 15th April (2nd April by the Church calendar)

The Great Vigil of Easter at 12 o' clock in the night.

This follows immediately from the Midnight Office on the Saturday night.  The people go in procession around the outside of the church, carrying candles, and remembering the Myrrh-bearing women, who travelled to the tomb of the Saviour while it was still dark, to find that the Lord was not there but had risen.  The people re-enter the church to find that it has been transformed to reflect the glorious Resurrection of Christ, and Matins of Easter Day is served. After the Paschal Hours, the Divine Liturgy is served.

For those who need to arrange transportation or accommodation, it may be useful to know that the services usually end at between 3 and 4 o' clock in the morning.

The Paschal Vigil is followed by a bring-and-share party.  Please bring food and drink.  All are welcome.

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

Metropolitan Hilarion's Visitation

On Tuesday, the 10th of November, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside Russia, will visit our parish.  He plans to serve a moleben to St Elisabeth at about 4 o' clock in the afternoon, and then will be available to speak with us afterwards.  It would be good for as many as possible to be there to greet our metropolitan, who is taking time out of his schedule to be with us.
Pilgrimage to St Melangell's Shrine

Pilgrimage to Pennant Melangell - 22/08/2013

On the 22nd of August, 2013, a small group of parishioners made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St Melangell in Powys.

Our Venerable Mother Melangell was an Irish princess in the 6th century.  Having fled to avoid her father's plans of forced marriage, she settled in the Welsh countryside, and there lived a life of prayer.

During her prayers, a hare took refuge beneath her cloak while fleeing from its hunter, the prince Brochwel, who, upon hearing Melangell's story, was so impressed by her piety that he gave her land on which to build a church.  This she did, and formed a community of nuns.  The monastery became a place of prayer and solace for many and, after Melangell's repose, her shrine became a place of pilgrimage.  Many healing miracles were attributed to her prayers.  This devotion continued long after the Schism of the western church, right up until the Protestant reformation.

When many of the holy places were being destroyed at the hands of the reformers, St Melangell's relics were removed from the shrine and concealed in the wall of the church by pious people.  Here, they faded from memory until the 20th century, when they were rediscovered.  The shrine was rebuilt, the relics were restored to their place of honour, and once again a stream of pilgrims make their way to ask the prayers of St Melangell.

The hospitality that we received from the shrine guardian crowned the day, and there was a true sense of spiritual kinship among us.  Here are a few photographs from the day.

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Visitation of the Kursk Root Icon

Visitation of the Kursk Icon of the Mother of God (Our Lady of the Sign) - 11/05/2012

On Friday the 11th of May, being the 28th of April by the Church calendar, His Eminence Archbishop Mark made a pastoral visitation to our parish, bringing with him the wonder-working Kursk Icon of Our Lady of the Sign.  This second visit of the icon to our parish since we moved into our new church was indeed a great blessing to us, as many people gathered from across the North and Northwest of England to ask the prayers of the Mother of God before her holy image.

We were pleased to welcome Fr Vladimir and Reader Nicolas from our cathedral in London, as well as Fr Gennady from the Manchester stavropegial parish of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God.  We were also delighted to have with us Fr Iakovos of the parish of St Nicholas in Liverpool, and Fr Pancratios from the parish of St Barbara in Chester, both representing the Greek Archdiocese.

Many thanks to all who helped to clean and beautify the church, who sang, took photographs, served, and travelled to make pilgrimage to venerate the Mother of God in her holy icon.  Through her intercessions, may Christ our God have mercy on us.

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Archiepiscopal Visitation

Archbishop Mark's first visit to our new church - 16/07/2011

On the 16th of July, being the weekend before our patronal feast, our archbishop Mark visited our parish.  This was his first visit since we moved into the new church. He served the Divine Liturgy, blessed our iconostas and gave the parish a gift of some relics of Ss Elisabeth and Barbara, the New-Martyrs.  A Moleben was served before the parish icon and relics after the Liturgy (indoors, due to the rainy weather), and was followed by a festal parish meal.

We were pleased to welcome clergy from our sister diocese of Sourozh and friends from other ROCOR parishes, both in the Great Britain diocese and abroad, as well as Orthodox clergy and faithful from across the Northwest and Midlands.

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New Mission in Liverpool

First Divine Liturgy of the St Nicholas Mission, Liverpool - 21/05/2011

The mission of St Nicholas was launched on Saturday, the 21st of May, 2010, being the 8th of May in the Church calendar and the feast of St John the Theologian.  The Hours and Divine Liturgy were served at the Anglican church of Our Lady and St Nicholas by kind permission of the clergy and parochial church council.

We were pleased to welcome regulars and newcomers, and delighted to see faces we had not seen for a while.  It is our hope that this mission will be a means of reaching out to enquirers and dispersed Orthodox residents and students in the Liverpool area.  This first Liturgy was very encouraging indeed and we pray that more people may come to find us through this effort.

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Great and Holy Week & Pascha, 2011

Great and Holy Week, 2011

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Blessing the new Cross 19th December

Blessing of a new Cross for the spire - 11/19/10

On the Feast of St Nicholas, Fr Paul blessed the New Cross which has been made for the little tower on the top of St Elisabeth's. It is a copy of the ornate cross which had to be taken down as it was so corroded. The service of blessing was attended by some of The Friends of Rake Lane Cemetery and local Councillors Karen and Paul who are such a support to our little community. The cross was made at Cheshire Forge on the Argyle Industrial Estate and put in place by Mark Joynson and Steve Smith. It should be able to be seen as it is in a very prominant position overlooking the main road.

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First Wedding in our New Church

Paul and Ludmilla's Wedding - 11/04/2010

Paul and Ludmilla were the first couple to be joined in Holy Matrimony in our new church.  It was a joyous occasion when they were surrounded by family, friends, and their parish family, on a bright, sunny day. May God grant them many, many years.

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Subdiaconal Ordination

Michael Astley ordained Subdeacon - 20/03/2010

On Saturday the 7th (20th) March, 2010, Archbishop Mark ordained Reader Michael Astley to the rank of subdeacon at the Cathedral of the Dormition of the Mother of God, Chiswick, London.

Videos of the event may be viewed here.

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Archpastoral Visitation of Metropolitan Hilarion

Metropolitan Hilarion of New York visits our parish - 10/11/2009

Our parish received a great blessing in the visitation of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the First Hierarch of our Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.  Approximately 25 parishioners and friends of the parish came to greet the Metropolitan, who served a moleben at church.  Here are a few photographs that were taken on the day. More may be found in the diocesan gallery.

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First Liturgy in our New Church

Patronal Festival - 18/07/2009

We moved into our new church on Saturday, the 5th (18th) of July, 2009, being the Feast of the Holy New Martyr Elisabeth. The church was still very much a work in progress but had begun to have the look and atmosphere of an Orthodox church. The day included the Blessing of the Waters, the Hours & Divine Liturgy, the outdoor Cross Procession, the showing of a DVD of the life of St Elisabeth, and Vespers.Here are some photographs of the day's events.

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Final Sunday at St Elisabeth's Chapel

A handful of photographs from the final Sunday at our Birkenhead chapel - 12/07/09

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Cleaning Party at the New Church

Final preparations for the move - 11/07/09

As the day fast approaches for the move into our new church, parishioners gather to make final preparations.  Throughout the day, a number of visitors came in to say hello and find out what was happening, and some even helped with the cleaning.The gallery cover picture is a photograph of our new sign, with an icon used by kind permission of Olga Ivkin, whose work may be seen here.

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Vesperal Liturgy of the Resurrection

The Paschal Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil - 18/04/09

The Paschal Vigil, when we watch and wait for the Resurrection of Christ is one of the most beautiful and well-attended services of the Church's entire year, when the people of God shine with the radiance of the risen Christ.  However, what we know as the Paschal Vigil today actually replaced a more ancient vigil many centuries ago.  This "old" vigil consisted of a number of readings from the Old Testament, tracing God's work of salvation throughout the history of mankind, fulfilled in Christ's Resurrection.  The vestments and hangings would change from dark to light and it was the traditional time for the baptism of new Christians, who, after much preparation throughout Great Lent, would receive Communion for the first time at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection.

This service is still done today in most Orthodox Churches but has been transferred to the late afternoon of Great and Holy Saturday, taking on the character of Vespers. It is often a quiet service, with only a handful of people present - usually those who, through infirmity, responsibility of care to the young or vulnerable, or living some distance from church, would be unable to come to the night vigil.  This is their way of joining in the liturgical celebration of the bright Resurrection of Christ.  Here are some photographs from our celebration of this Liturgy at our chapel in Birkenhead.

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Archpastoral Visitation of His Eminence Archbishop Mark

Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - 21/02/09

On Saturday, the 21st of February, 2009, being the 8th of February in the Church calendar and the Commemoration of the Departed, His Eminence Archbishop Mark of Berlin, Germany, and Great Britain visited our parish and served the Liturgy among his people.

The parish had gathered the evening before and served Vespers and a Pannykhida for the departed.  Vladyka arrived on Saturday morning and was warmly greeted by members of the parish.

During the Hours, Michael Astley was ordained as a Reader to serve in the parish.  The Divine Liturgy followed.  It was the first Hierarchical Liturgy at our little chapel of St Elisabeth and it saw approximately sixty people come to worship, including some visitors and some who learnt of us for the first time due to news of the visitation, and who have faithfully remained with us since.  Trapeza followed the Liturgy, and we sang many years for Vladyka.

Our parish is somewhat geographically isolated from the rest of the diocese and it was a great blessing indeed to have our bishop come to visit us, especially at this turning point in the life of our parish as we seek to move to a new building.  We offer our thanks to the All-holy Trinity, and pray that Vladyka Mark be granted many, many years.

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A Pilgrimage to St Winefride's well, Holywell

Parish Pilgrimage to St Winefride's well in Holywell - 26/05/2007

On the morning before Pentecost, a small group of parishioners and visitors met at the chapel of St Elisabeth for a Pannikhida, where we offered prayers and hymns for the repose of our departed loved ones, in the hope that God would show His mercy upon them and draw them to Himself.

Afterwards, we set off for the town of Holywell in North Wales where we were joined by more of our parish family and extended family to make pilgrimage to the holy well of St Winefride. At the generous hospitality of the custodian of the well, we shared lunch in the nave of the shrine church, before moving to the shrine shop and display, where we learnt more about the life of St Winefride.

We then moved to the well itself, which spring up on the site of the miraculous restoration to life of St Winefride after her beheading, by God's grace and at the hands of her uncle, St Beuno, at whose faith and intercession her head was restored to her. It was very moving indeed to learn of her faithfulness to God, even in the face of death. At the well, we sang Great Vespers of the Eve of Pentecost, and were sprinkled with water from the well. Some of the faithful drank of the water while others filled buckets and yet others bathed their feet in the pool which is fed by the well and which contains the very stone where St Winefride was beheaded.

The whole afternoon was spent in Christian love as we gathered in one place with one accord, as did the Apostles on the day of Pentecost so many years ago.

Holy Winefride, pray to God for us!

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A Pilgrimage with His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill

Parish Pilgrimage to St Werburgh's Shrine - 13/02/2007

On the second day of his visitation to the parish, Vladyka led some clergy and a small group of the faithful in a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St Werburgh in Chester Cathedral. St Werburgh was an Abbess at Ely and foundress of other monastic communities in the British Isles when these lands were still Orthodox.

We were treated to the generous hospitality of the Dean and staff at Chester Cathedral, who permitted us to use the Lady Chapel in the retro-choir for a Moleben service. We were then treated to a guided tour of the cathedral, and took a walk around Chester, visiting the ancient city walls, before returning to the cathedral refectory for a delicious lunch.

Some memories were captured in photograph and are reproduced here.

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Archpastoral Visitation of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill

An evening with Archbishop Kyrill - 12/02/2007

The parish is very grateful to the Synod and to Archbishop Kyrill of the Diocese of San Francisco and Western America for the opportunity to discuss some of the issues surrounding the pending restoration of normal relations with the Church in Russia, scheduled to reach completion on the 17th of May this year. There have been some difficult times, especially with the recent schism in the Diocese of Great Britain and the departure of some of our beloved fellow parishioners, so it was good to have the chance to speak about this, face-to-face, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Vladika was helpfully clear and heart-warmingly candid about the situation and his own experiences, and many of us walked away feeling much more hopeful about our future as a church and a diocese.

This gathering also gave us the chance to see people whom we don't see very often and to welcome one of our friends from the Moscow Patriarchate, and, as is usually the case when Orthodox people get together, there was food aplenty. Also with us were Fr Andrew Phillips from the Parish of St John the Wonderworker in Felixstowe, and Fr Michael from the St Petroc Monastery in Tasmania.

Here are a few photographs of the evening.

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Emma Melangell is received into the Holy Orthodox Church

Emma Melagell Dale was received into the Orthodox Church on Saturday 8th April. She made her first holy communion on Lazarus Saturday. We welcome her as a full member of the church and pray that her Christian life may be most blessed. Many years!

Tuesday 16th May...A BIG Day for the parish

Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God
Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God
Hawaiian Icon of the Mother of God
Bishop Irinei of Sacramento
Bishop Irinei of Sacramento
Bishop Irinei of Sacramento
Visit of His Grace Irinei of Sacramento

On Tuesday 16th May Vladika Irinei is coming to our parish. He is accompanying the Myrrh Streaming Icon of the Mother of God of Hawaii and will be attending the concert which Lyra, a small professional choral quartet from St Petersburg at 19:30 that evening. The outline of the day is below.

Akathist of the Mother of God    18:15

Veneration of the icon         19:00

Concert of traditional Russian music 19:30

Please tell everyone to come that evening. As visitors come to the concert, this is an important opportunity to witness to our faith, so as many of you as possible should attempt to attend the veneration of the icon.

There will be lots to do so all hands on deck please!

On Wednesday 17th May Vladika Irinei will serve a quiet Hierarchal Liturgy in  St Elisabeth's at 07:30. The Icon will be present at the service

After the Liturgy, there will be a light breakfast and then Vladika will leave for Wales.

There will be a service in Holywell at about 11:00 before Vladika leaves for Cardiff.

 

Great Week and Pascha

The Pascha of the Lord
The Pascha of the Lord
The Pascha of the Lord

Christ is risen! Христосъ воскресе!

 

Christ is risen from the dead,Trampling down death by death, And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

 

Хрїстосъ воскресе изъ мертвыхъ, Смертїю смерть поправъ, И сѹщымъ во гробѣхъживотъ даровавъ!

 

Paschal Services. Sunday of the Blind Man 

Sunday 21st May:  Holy Liturgy. Last Sunday of Pascha

Fr Thomas visiting 

 

 

 

Holy Pentecost

Holy Pentecost
Holy Pentecost
Holy Pentecost

Holy Unction at 19:00 in St Elisabeth's  Tuesday 30th May.

We will prepare the church for Pentecost on Tuesday evening. 

Holy Pentecost: Holy Liturgy and kneeling prayers. Sunday 4th June: 10:00 followed by baptism and cake!

This website is published with the blessing of His Eminence Metropiltan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad and Ruling Hierarch of the Diocese of Great Britain and Ireland (ROCOR)

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