Author Archives: frkosmas

Prayers on Sunday 29th March

Even if we cannot by physically together in church, we can still be united with one another in prayer and worship. The Order for Reader’s Typika / Obednitsa / Обедница for Sunday 29th March is available on the Choir page, so that all of us who wish to do so can pray the service together in our own homes.

If possible, begin the service at around 10.30 am on Sunday morning, so that we can say or sing the prayers at around the same time. But if it is better to pray at a different time, we will still be united in faith and in love: God is not bound by time!

Sermons for Sunday 29th March, in English and Greek, may be found here.

Urgent call to pray tonight: Friday 27th March

On this coming night of Friday 27th March to Saturday 28th March, beginning at 7 pm UK time (9 pm Greek time), all Mount Athos monasteries and their dependencies are to serve an All-Night Vigil to the Most Holy Theotokos, the Guardian of the Holy Mountain, and to the Martyr Charalambos, known as the healer of infectious diseases. They will thus entreat God’s mercy and grace, and especially the Most Holy Virgin’s intercessions and Protecting Veil, and Saint Charalambos’ prayers.

The monasteries are also to hold Cross processions with relics and wonder-working icons according to our Holy Tradition. The Sacred Community expresses the need to join them especially on this night in their prayers, and expresses the need to strengthen prayers and the celebration of the Sacraments during Great Lent; and calls on all to repent “with all the power of the Spirit of the Lord, the Life-giving Source overcoming death.”


The Vigil will be served simultaneously in all monasteries and their dependencies. We can pray together with them using the Akathist to the Most Holy Theotokos, or to Saint Charalambos, by reading the Psalter, by saying Vespers and Matins, the Typika, or the Jesus Prayer. These are just suggestions, and are not meant to be exhaustive!

Please share this message, so that it reaches as many Orthodox Christians as possible before the coming night.


One translation of Small Compline and Salutations to the Theotokos may be found here. Many other translations are available online!

The Akathist to Saint Charalambos may be found here. (Link to external site)

 

Wednesday 25th March: The Annunciation to Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

We had planned to serve Vespers and the Divine Liturgy on the evening of Wednesday 25th March to celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, services cannot take place as planned, so – with great sadness – we will not be able to celebrate the Liturgy together on the Feast.

So that all of us who wish to do so can be united with one another in prayer and worship in our own homes, an Order for Reader’s Vespers is available on the Choir page. If possible, begin the service at around 7 pm on Wednesday evening, so that we can say or sing the prayers at around the same time. But don’t worry if it is better for you to pray at a different time: God is not bound by time. In the words of the Psalm: “The darkness hideth not from Thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to Thee.”

If your circumstances do not allow you to pray the whole service – if you are unwell, or overstretched, or working, or if you have caring responsibilities – you may still be able to use part of the service in your daily prayers. In any case, let us celebrate the Feast prayerfully in whatever way we can, so that we can be united in faith and in love, even if we cannot be together physically.

May God give us all great joy in the keeping of the Feast!

007-Annunciation-icon

Praying together during the Coronavirus pandemic

Even if we cannot by physically together in church, we can still be united with one another in prayer and worship. The Order for Reader’s Typika / Obednitsa / Обедница for Sunday 22nd March is available on the Choir page, so that all of us who wish to do so can pray the service together in our own homes.

If possible, begin the service at around 10.30 am on Sunday morning, so that we can say or sing the prayers at around the same time. But if it is better to pray at a different time, we will still be united in faith and in love: God is not bound by time!

The Holy Cross

Before Thy Cross we bow down in worship, O Master,
and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify!

Coronavirus: Cancellation of Services

The Ecumenical Patriarchate has issued the following Communiqué setting out the response of the Church of Constantinople to the Coronavirus pandemic:


ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE

Communiqué

As this Coronavirus crisis continues to spread and intensify on a global scale, the Ecumenical Patriarchate is monitoring the situation with an urgent sense of responsibility towards its faithful and all people without exception, and, following the Communiqué of 11 March 2020, upon deliberation of its Hierarchs in the City, announces the following:

1) The Ecumenical Patriarchate emphatically reiterates its appeal to everyone to limit their outings and travels to what is necessary, remaining in their homes for their own safety and the protection of the general public.

2) It commends the spirit of self-sacrifice demonstrated by those working in the field of healthcare and expresses its gratitude for their extraordinary and exhaustive efforts to assist those in need, as well as for the danger they knowingly risk by coming in contact with those infected by Covid-19.

3) It underlines the need for everyone to follow the decisions and instructions of the responsible health authorities for the sake of the common good.

4) In light of decisions already taken by some eparchies of the Ecumenical Throne, today we universally declare our ecclesiastical resolution and mandate to cease all divine services, events, and rites, with the exception of private prayer in churches that will remain open, until the end of March. This restriction will be later reassessed, in accordance with the development of the pandemic caused by the virus.

5) All Patriarchal and Stavropegial Monasteries will continue to hold regular divine services for their monastic communities, but outside pilgrims and visitors will not be permitted entry.

6) In the same framework, the Patriarchal Offices at the Phanar will remain closed until further notice, while the Ecumenical Patriarch and clergy of the Patriarchal Court will perform the prescribed divine services and pray for the whole world and for its speedy relief from this trial.

From the Chief Secretariat of the Holy and Sacred Synod

Phanar, 18 March 2020


Following this direction of our Mother Church, all services in the Church of the Ascension have been cancelled, with immediate effect.


A message from Father Kosmas

This decision to cease all divine services does not mean that we must stop worshipping and praying as a Community. Indeed, the spread of Coronavirus presents us with a call to unite ourselves more closely to one another in prayer and in love, even if we cannot be physically close to one another.

So that we can continue our common life of prayer and worship, I plan each week to make available the Order for Reader’s Typika (Обедница) for the coming Sunday, so that all who wish to do so can pray the service together. In this way, we can be united with one another in prayer and worship, even if we are not physically together in church.

I suggest that, if possible, all of us begin the service at around 10.30 am on Sunday morning, so that we can say or sing the prayers at around the same time. But if it is better to pray at a different time, we will still be united in faith and in love: God is not bound by time. If we can, we should stand in front of our icons, and light a lamp (or candle), and incense, if we have it. We should be reverent, and as far as possible behave as if we were in church – e.g. by standing for the reading of the Gospel. In these circumstances, it is perfectly appropriate for the Gospel to be read by someone who is not a priest or deacon.

If we are praying with our families or with other members of our household, we may need to be cautious about the spread of the virus, and to take appropriate precautions, especially if anyone appears to be unwell.

We will also try to make sure that the church is open for private prayer at some times each week. By direction of our Archbishop, only the narthex will be open, but people will still be able to light candles and to pray. Those who wish to take Holy Water from the church for use at home will be able to do so. Times when the church will be open for public prayer will be posted on the website.

It is possible that the Divine Liturgy may still be served publicly in churches of other Orthodox jurisdictions. If so, some of us may wish to attend the Divine Liturgy there, until it is possible for services to be resumed in Rugby. This is a matter for your own judgement and common sense; there is nothing to prevent you from going to another Orthodox church (provided that it is genuinely an Orthodox church) if you wish to do so. If you are in any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact me.

If anyone wishes me to visit them at home (especially if they are unwell) to bring them the Holy Gifts, or to anoint them with Holy Oil, I will do my best to arrange this. However, my long-term health condition means that I am on the Government list of those who are at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus, so if I am able to visit you because you are ill, we will need to make careful preparations to ensure that both of us remain as safe as possible.

I hope and pray that all of us will be given strength during these troubling times: may God help us to lift up our hands which hang down, and strengthen our faltering steps. Remember that the Mother of God and all the Saints go with us as we follow in the way of Christ’s Cross, so that we might come to know the joy of His glorious Resurrection.

Through the intercession of the Mother of God and of all the Saints, may God bring courage to the fearful, healing to all who are afflicted, eternal rest to those who have died, and comfort to all those who mourn. We ask Christ, the Physician of our souls and bodies, to heal our fallen world, and all of us.

Please pray for me, as I do for all of you

Father Kosmas

Services this week

FRIDAY 13th MARCH
Second Friday of Lent

7.00 pm: Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts


SATURDAY 14th MARCH
Second Saturday of Lent

10.00 am: The Hours
10.20 am: Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom 

7.00 pm: Vespers of Sunday


SUNDAY 15th MARCH 2020
Second Sunday of Lent
Saint Gregory Palamas

9.30 am: Matins
10.15 am: Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil

6.00 pm: Lenten Vespers and visit of the Relics of Saint George
Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God and the Holy Apostle Andrew
8 Arthur Place, Summer Hill, Birmingham B1 3DA
His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas will preside

A map showing the location of the church may be found here.

Advice about Coronavirus

The Office of the Archdiocese has issued the following advice and guidance:

“Our world and our lives are being challenged by the issues surrounding the spread of the Coronavirus. In response to the many questions and requests received, the Archdiocese offers the following information:

1. The NHS and government have offered guidelines concerning the virus. The faithful are asked to place close heed to these, as to protect themselves and the community.

2. In the Church, we are called to worship in the spirit of free will. We express this firstly by choosing to attend Church, reverencing the icons, kissing the hand of the clergy, and so many other actions. Each person must choose how to act and how to express himself/herself in the Church and in life, in general.

3. As Orthodox Christians, we believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Body and Blood of the Resurrected Christ. We also believe that germs, viruses, and other diseases are not transmitted through the Eucharist. The 2,000 year old history of the church affirms this, as no clergy or faithful have ever fallen ill because of Holy Communion.

The Church is a place of sanctification and healing of the body and the soul and we ask Christ, the Physician, to heal our fallen world and all of us.”

The official text from the Archdiocese may be found here.