A Parish of the
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
The Vita of Saint Colman
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.
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.
Our Patron Saint
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
Our Patron Saints
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
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.
Visitation of the Kursk Icon of the Mother of God (Our Lady of the Sign) - 11/05/2012On 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.
Archbishop Mark's first visit to our new church - 16/07/2011On 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.
First Divine Liturgy of the St Nicholas Mission, Liverpool - 21/05/2011The 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.
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.
Paul and Ludmilla's Wedding - 11/04/2010Paul 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.
Metropolitan Hilarion of New York visits our parish - 10/11/2009Our 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.
Patronal Festival - 18/07/2009We 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.
Final preparations for the move - 11/07/09As 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.
The Paschal Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil - 18/04/09The 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.
Hierarchical Divine Liturgy - 21/02/09On 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.
Parish Pilgrimage to St Winefride's well in Holywell - 26/05/2007On 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!
Parish Pilgrimage to St Werburgh's Shrine - 13/02/2007On 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.
An evening with Archbishop Kyrill - 12/02/2007The 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.
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.
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
On the Feast of St Longinus the Centurion, 29th October 1993, Father Alexis blessed a tiny wooden church in the drive of Fr Paul's house in Westbank Road, Birkenhead. He then served there from time to time until Fr Paul and Matushka moved to Shrewsbury Road in Oxton in August 1995. The parish continued to be served by Fr Alexis or Fr Peter until Fr Paul was ordained priest in July 1998. Today, in thanksgiving for many blessings, a new reliquery icon of St John Maximovich will be blessed at the Divine Liturgy. It contains the relic of St John given to the parish by Vladika Kyrill, Archbishop of San Francisco, last May. The workers of the Holy Protection Workshop in Alaska gave the icon as a gift to the parish as they were so moved that their icon would be used to carry the relic.
Lizzie Elliott and a group of her friends from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester put on a concert in St Elisabeth's on Friday 8th December at 7:30 p.m. The concert raised over £400 for the Fund for Assistance in support of the ROCOR parishes in Haiti. You can still support this venture by visiting firstname.lastname@example.org / 07860649979. A big thank you to all the musicians.
This year, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ falls on a Sunday. There will be therefore only one main service on the Sunday morning with the Divine Liturgy at 10:00 followed by a contribution Christmas Dinner. On the evening before there will be Great Vespers followed by Great Compline at 17:00. This service begins outside the front porch.
Saturday 6th January Cleaning and decoration of the Church 14:00
Great Vespers and Great Compline 17:00
Sunday 7th January Holy Liturgy of Christmas Day 10:00
Contribution Christmas Dinner 12:00
Wednesday 17th January 14:00 Cleaning and polishing afternoon to prepare for Theophany and the Bishop's visit.
Friday 19th January 09:30 Completion of Baptism and Chrismation for Joseph and Sarah
10:00 Hours and Divine Liturgy of Theophany
followed by the Blessing of the Waters (bring bottles!)
Sunday 21st January 10:00 Meeting of Vladika Irenei and Hierarchal Divine Liturgy **
12:30 Snack and coffee
13:30 Blessing of the Mersey at New Brighton
Extra services and events
Monday 22nd January 08:30 Hierarchal Liturgy in St Elisabeth's, Wallase followed by breakfast at 58 Shrewsbury Road, Oxton, CH43 2HY and Pilgrimage to Shrine of St Werburgh, Chester. Vladika and Fr Antony and pilgrims will have lunch in the Cathedral.
Tuesday 23rd January 08:30 Hierarchal Liturgy in St Elisabeth's, Wallasey followed by breakfast at 58 Shrewsbury Road, Oxton, CH43 2HY
18:30 Bring and Share Supper at 58 Shrewsbury Road, Oxton, CH43 2HY followed by a spiritual talk on the Jesus Prayer at 19:30...all welcome
Wednesday 24th January 08:30 Hierarchal Liturgy in Little St Elisabeth's at 58 Shrewsbury Road, Oxton, CH43 2HY followed by breakfast and departure of Vladika Irenei.
** Please note that there will be no confessions after 09:55 on Sunday 21st January. Please try to arrive for the greeting of Vladika Irenei. You may receive Holy Communion at the Sunday Hierarchal Liturgy if you have been to confession recently.
Palm Sunday - 1st April
Blessing of Palms and Festal Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.
Palms are blessed and distributed just before the Divine Liturgy of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem. Please try to arrive early and bring palms, pussy willow or other greenery to be blessed.
Great and Holy Wednesday - 4th April
Holy Unction at 7:00 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). The faithful should have been to confession during Great Lent.
Great and Holy Thursday - 5th April
On this day, we commemorate the Mystical Supper, at which Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist.
Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil at 08:45 a.m.
12 Gospels Service 7:00 p.m.
This is the first service of Good Friday, traditionally served on Thursday evening. 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 mist of the church as a focus for our devotion.
Great and Holy Friday - 6th April
The Royal Hours at 9:45 a.m.
On Good Friday, it is customary to serve the Royal 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 4:00 p.m.
This traditional and beautiful service is a transition between Good Friday and Holy Saturday when the Savour rested in the tomb. We meditate upon the suffering and death of the Lord as we enter into the devotion with which those who loved the Saviour buried His Body. The burial shroud of the Saviour is placed in the centre of the church, covered in flowers and rose water. It remains there for veneration by the faithful until the Midnight Office.
Great and Holy Saturday - 7th April
Father Paul will be in Church from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. to prepare for Pascha. Confessions will be heard from 7:30 p.m. Paschal foods may be blessed during the day
The reading of the Acts of the Apostles at 9:30 p.m. in many languages
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 11:30 p.m.
This service is a beautiful meditation on the Body of the buried Saviour by candlelight, with the focus shifting to the hope of the Resurrection. Towards the end, the burial shroud of the Saviour is solemnly lifted and placed on the Holy Table where it remains until the Feast of the Ascension. All lights are then put out as we prepare for the New Fire of Pascha.
The Radiant Resurrection of our Lord and God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ - 7/8th April
Paschal Matins, Procession and Liturgy at Midnight
This follows immediately from the Midnight Office on the Saturday night. The faithful light their candles from the Paschal Candle held by the Priest then they go in procession around the outside of the church, representing the Myrrh-bearing women, who came to the tomb of the Saviour while it was still dark, to find that the Lord 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 Midnight Paschal service is followed by a bring-and-share party. Please bring food and drink. All are welcome.
Sunday Paschal Vespers and blessing of Paschal Foods 9:45 a.m. - 8th April
This service is brief and joyful. Paschal foods are blessed at the end. The church is normally closed by about 11:30 a.m.
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and on those in the tombs bestowing life!
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)