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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

St. Edward's Autumn Feast

SAINT EDWARD’S MARTYRDOM falls during Great Lent - he was slain at that time lest he should marry and beget an heir -  and so we keep as his principal festival the anniversary of the deposition of his sacred relics here at Brookwood on 3rd / 16th September, 1984. On that occasion, the Ever-Memorable Bishop Gregory (Grabbe) presided at the ceremonies.  This year we were blessed to have His Grace, Bishop Ambrose of Methoni with us for the celebration.  He had been leading a pilgrimage to Constantinople, and arrived on a flight from Istanbul at Heathrow on the afternoon of Friday, 13th September.  He was met by members of the Brotherhood, and stayed with us overnight.  Though he had had a 26-hour day the day before just after six on the Saturday morning, we set out for the Convent of the Annunciation in Willesden, where His Grace celebrated the Divine Liturgy assisted by the Brotherhood clergy and Father Stephen Fretwell and Father Deacon Borislav Popov.  In his sermon Bishop Ambrose spoke of the significance of the Church New Year, which fell on that day, and of the witness of Saint Simeon the Stylite, whose feast day it was, showing how it instructed us not to judge others by outward appearance.  In doing this he told us of an edifying example of a God-fearing lady whom he personally knew in contemporary Greece.  After the service, Mother Vikentia and her sisters  invited everyone who attended to breakfast in their trapeza.   

            Naturally the services for Saint Edward’s day, the Saturday evening Vigil and the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy, were celebrated at Brookwood, and the sacred relics of the Martyr were brought out for the veneration of the faithful.  At both services we were joined by friends from other Orthodox parishes, some from the North of England and even from abroad: from France, Bulgaria, and the Russian Federation.  At the Vigil His Grace led the prayers at the liti and at the polyeleos.  On Sunday morning, the church was filled to overflowing.  Four languages were used: English, Slavonic, Romanian and Greek, with the Bishop adding in a little French and Georgian.  At the end of the Divine Liturgy, the Bishop preached on Saint Edward’s support of the monastics and the importance of monastism for the Church, expressing the wish that other monastic communities would be founded in this country.  After the dismissal, we served the Lesser Blessing of Waters and then made a procession around the outside of the church with the sacred relics, while the choir chanted the canon of the Saint.  This canon was composed by a pious Greek layman, Panagiotes Somalis, a few years ago, approved by the Bishops, and translated into English for us by Archimandrite Patapios of the St Gregory Palamas Monastery in California.  The original service to St Edward, which we chant at the March feast, was composed by the late Valerie Hoecke in Church Slavonic and translated into English by Reader Isaac Lambertsen of New York City.  So Orthodox of several traditions have worked together to honour the Saint. After the procession, when the faithful had re-entered the church, they venerated the sacred relics, kissed the Cross, and were sprinkled with the newly blessed holy water.  Thereafter, we had our usual buffet breakfast, and we owe a debt of gratitude to all who brought foods for that and helped us to feed so many people.  Despite having had a long day, His Grace circulated among the people and spoke to them and heard their concerns.  At about tea-time, he took his leave of us to stay in London over the Monday and prepare for his flight to Russia very early on the Tuesday morning.  We are indebted to His Grace for the archpastoral love he thus showed our community and the blessing which his celebrating with us brought to our feast.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Saint Edward's Day

            THIS YEAR, the day of the Enshrinement of the Sacred Relics of Saint Edward the Martyr falls on a Monday, 16th September n.s.  His Grace Bishop Ambrose of Methoni is coming to be with us for the celebration, but both because His Grace has a tight travelling schedule (having to leave immediately for Russia) and because Mondays are difficult for most people, we have the Bishop’s blessing to keep the feast on the previous day.  Therefore, the Bishop will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Convent of the Annunciation on the Saturday morning, 1st /14th September, the Church New Year.  

            At Brookwood our schedule will be:-

            Saturday, 1st / 14th September: VIGIL service for the Resurrection and St Edward at 6 p.m, Bishop Ambrose presiding, and the Sacred Relics opened for veneration.

            Sunday, 2nd / 15th September: HIERARCHAL DIVINE LITURGY at 10 a.m., Bishop Ambrose presiding, followed by Lesser Blessing of Waters.  Then Parish Breakfast for all who attend.

            On the Monday we will have the Liturgy according to our normal weekday schedule, immediately after Mattins. 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Coming Month

JULY, as we have remarked in previous years, is one of the two months in the Church Year, when there are no Great Feasts and no fasting periods, although, of course, we maintain the Wednesday and Friday fasts throughout the month. It is, however, almost exactly wedged between the Apostles’ Fast and that of the Dormition, which begins on 1st / 14th August. It also rejoices in the feast days of some of the most beloved saints of the Orthodox. 

The Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon (27th July / 9th August) was martyred as a youth in the year 304 in Nicomedia, which at that time was the residence of the Emperor Maximian, a persecutor of the Christians. The saint’s father was a pagan, but his mother Evbulla was a Christian, and is now numbered among the Saints. Called Pantaleon before his conversion, the saint was studying medicine under imperial auspices. He made the acquaintance of a Christian priest, Hermolaus, one of the few Christian survivors after the martyrdom of the Twenty-Thousand Martyrs of Nicomedia at Christmas the previous year (commemorated 28th December). St Panteleimon would visit the priest and receive instruction from him on his way to and from his studies. When asked at home by his pagan father, why he was not home on time, he would reply, “I was detained in the service of the Emperor.’ By this he meant Christ, but his father understood him to mean Maximian. When asked why he was often late for his studies, he would reply: “I was required at my Father’s house,” by which he meant God, but which they understood to mean his earthly father, and so he managed to keep his instruction in the Christian Faith secret from the enemies of the Faith. He was baptized by St Hermolaus, and his Christian confession was revealed when, in the name of Christ, he miraculously healed a blind man, whom the physicians had been unable to help. Out of envy they denounced him as a Christian, whereupon he boldly confessed his new-found Faith, and was put to a series of tortures. Hermolaus and two other priests, Hermippus and Hermocrates, were also apprehended, tortured and died as martyrs. St Panteleimon was eventually sentenced to be beheaded, and knelt to pray before he was executed. He was not permitted to finish his prayer before the swordsmen struck him. However, rather than killing him, the executioner simply broke his sword. When the Saint had finished his prayer, the executioner was then, and only then, able to strike off his head. When he did so, two further miracles happened: the olive tree under which he had been beheaded was suddenly seen to be laden with fruit, and instead of blood flowing from the saint milk came forth. St Panteleimon is honoured by the Church, as one of the great Unmercenary Healers. On the icon in our church, painted for us by the sisters of the St Elizabeth Convent in Etna, California, there are depictions of the three hieromartyrs, the priests Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates (commemorated on 26th July) and of Saint Panteleimon’s mother, St Evbulla (commemorated 30th March) in the margin.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Repose of His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle

We wish to announce that, after a long illness, His Eminence, Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Phyle, President of the Holy Synod in Resistance of the Old Calendar Orthodox Church of Greece and Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, reposed peacefully in the Lord today, Thursday, May 17/30, 2013, at 78 years of age and at rest in his monastic cell.
May the Lord God give him rest among the Righteous in the Land of the Living.
The funeral Service will take place at the headquarters of the Metropolis of Oropos and Phyle, in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Monastery of Sts. Cyprian and Justina, Phyle, Attica, Greece, on Saturday, May 19 (Old Style)/June 1(New Style), 2013, 10:00 a.m., at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy.
On behalf of the Holy Syenod

† His Grace, Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi,
Acting President of the Holy Synod

† His Grace, Bishop Klemes of Gardikion
Secretary of the Holy Synod

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Saint Edward Brotherhood Orthodox Incense

We supply Orthodox incense made in the traditional manner by the monks of the brotherhood. The incense is available by the pound or in small sachets.

The incense is made by grinding pure Frankincense to a fine powder and adding fragrant oils to produce a strongly perfumed incense. As many as twenty different fragrances are added to make each incense, many of which are natural flower extracts.
The incense is then rolled out by hand and cut into small pieces. A small amount of talcum powder is used to keep the grains separate.

Orthodox incense is traditionally fragrant but does not produce copious amounts of thick smoke. As a result, many customers use our incense as it does not cause choking or coughing. Also, as the fragrance is completely incorporated into the incense rather than simply sprayed on, the incense lasts longer both in storage and in use. Only four or five grains are needed to cense a church, but more can be added if dense clouds of incense are required.

Due to the large recent increase in postage costs we have altered our postage and packing charges from a flat 15% to a sliding scale based on the total cost of the order. The new charges will be significantly cheaper for many customers, especially those ordering 3 or 4 pounds by weight.  The cost of some raw materials has also increased, hence the increase in the price of some of the fragrances whilst others remain at the 2011 prices.

Click here to download our price list in PDF format. 

Friday, 10 May 2013

A Big Thank You!

                                                    Christ is Risen!

    A big thank you to all our parishioners and friends who helped us over Great Week and the Pascha feast: to those who through Great Week, knowing we had long services, brought meals daily for those that had attended church, to those who chauffeured His Grace Bishop Ambrose from Heathrow and between the Convent and the Brotherhood here, to those who decorated the epitaphios and the church, who helped prepare the vestments and clean the church, to those who prepared dishes for the paschal breakfast around the bonfire, and those who helped build the bonfire, to all who helped with the daily chores, and to those who cleared up after the paschal midnight feast.  We owe you and those that chanted, served and read during the services a debt of gratitude. 

    Many thanks also to those who contributed to the Palm Sunday collection to help our Synod in Greece run its soup kitchens for the poor there during this period of austerity. The collection came to £1,146.00 (in addition to that in the regular freewill offering box), and with donations given by others who we not able to be at church here on that day, we were able to give Bishop Ambrose £1,720 for this cause.  Since then, in fact, some more donations have come in, which we will keep for his next visit in July.

    God bless you all for your help and support.  May your hearts and minds be filled with the joy of His Pascha, and may that lighten your way in the months ahead.

    With love in our Risen Saviour,

        Fr Alexis, sinner

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Miracle Working Icon of Saint Edward

News, in Russian, of a miracle working icon of Saint Edward together with an audio clip with  hymns in English and Slavonic.

Icon of Saint Edward

Monday, 8 April 2013

Ordination at Brookwood

ON THE EVE of the Great Feast of the Annunciation, Saturday 24th March / 6th April, His Grace Bishop Ambrose of Methoni celebrated the Divine Liturgy at Saint Edward’s Church, Brookwood. During the divine service His Grace ordained Subdeacon Borislav Popov to the diaconate. When Borislav was presented for ordination, the Bishop gave an edifying and uplifting address on the significance of the ordination, for Borislav, for his family, and for the church community. He spoke at some length on this, and also on the responsibility he himself was taking in ordaining a new clergyman for our Church.

In the evening Father Deacon Borislav assisted at the Vigil Service at the Convent of the Annunciation, and on the next day he also assisted with the other clergymen attached to Saint Edward’s, at the dedication festival Liturgy at the Convent. Fr Borislav, who in his native Bulgaria, was a faithful member of the Traditionalist Orthodox Church under the omophorion of His Grace, Bishop Photii of Triaditsa, started attending services at Brookwood when he settled in this country. He and his wife, Diaconissa Marina, have four children: Marina, Sophia, Paul and Anna. The youngest, Anna, was baptized at Saint Edward’s. Fr Borislav’s sister, Kalina, is married to Father Deacon Nikolai Petrov, who serves in Sofia, and she came to England, with some of the other faithful from Bulgaria, to be at the ordination. To Fr Deacon Borislav, Diaconissa Marina and their family: Many Years!

Fr. Deacon Borislav, Diaconissa Marina and family

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Holy and Great Fast

Fully Bathed in the Light of the Resurrection
“Walk as children of light” • “he that loveth his brother abideth in the light”
(Ephesians 5:8; I St. John 2:19)
Let us rediscover the true meaning of of asceticism:
• a joyous rejection of what is beyond what one needs • the sharing of what
is excess with the poor • the continuous glorification and appreciation of God
a Godly orientation “towards the Other”—towards our Lord, our brother,
towards all creation—with reverence and dutifully.
Let us not forget
: • without love, no act of asceticism will lead us
to the Great Encounter, to the Nuptial Mystery of our union with Christ. . .!
• We will be brought to judgment first and foremost “for negligence in things virtuous
and for not having loved our neighbor.”
The Holy Ascetic Saint Theodore
dwelled atop a pillar (as a Stylite) for forty-eight years.
• To his naive question about is “future recompense,” a Holy Angel informed him:
“It will be the same as the recompense of a certain actor in Damascus,
who gave away all of his possessions to a poor woman. . .!”

“The Devil does not eat, drink, or marry. . . .!
• And he, who is technically the greatest ascetic,
is not, for all that, any less a demon”!
Let us constantly direct our asceticism towards its main purpose:
• purity of the heart and its • receptivity to love, that it might be
filled with the Light of the Resurrection!
March 4, 2013 (Old Style), Sunday of Cheesefare
† Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi
Acting President of the Holy Synod in Resistance

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Funeral of Mother Vasilia

On Tuesday, 26th February n.s, the feast of St Martinian of Palestine, His Grace Bishop Ambrose of Methoni will celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Convent of the Annunciation in London at 8.30 a.m. This will be followed at 10.30 by the monastic funeral service for Mother Vasilia, and she will be laid to rest next to Abbesses Elisabeth and Seraphima in Gunnersbury Cemetery at 2 p.m.

May her memory be eternal and her rest with the Saints. 

Please pray for her.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Mother Vasilia's repose

Mother Vasilia of the Convent of the Annunciation in London reposed today, 6th / 19th February, at about one o'clock in the afternoon.  She reposed just as we finished reading the canon and prayers for the departure of the soul for her.  Please remember her in your holy prayers.  Bishop Ambrose is hoping that he will be able to come for the funeral.

May Mother Vasilia's rest be with the saints and her memory eternal.

Monday, 11 February 2013

New on the bookstall

We now stock a life of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco written especially for children. The illustrations are in full colour and include a drawing of St. John blessing the central heating boiler at the convent!

The book is available on the bookstall priced at £7.00 or £9.00 including postage to addresses within the U.K.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Theophany Snowmen

Despite the wintery conditions a large number of parishioners joined us for the celebration of the Great Feast of Theophany. After the Divine Liturgy and the Great Blessing of the Waters, the children enjoyed themselves building a family of snowmen in the grounds of the Brotherhood.