In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — Churches reopening
Create an online forum?
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 2nd–9th July
Offer of help
From the 4th July churches, along with other places of worship, will be allowed to reopen. This is a great joy and reflects that we are starting to lift the lockdown. The situation will not, however, be a return to church-going from before the lockdown but will be substantially different. Our bishop, Metropolitan Silouan, has given the following instructions for churches in his archdiocese:
Concerning the Opening of Churches
[pdf download, 106 kB]
I strongly recommend, whichever church you plan to attend, you contact the priest beforehand so you may know what to expect.
I have written about our situation elsewhere:
Church services, in parishes opening from Saturday, will be significantly different from before the lockdown. Some parishes will choose to remain closed.
It is a long time since the lockdown started. We need to remain patient, this will pass – but for the moment, if you want to be close to the Lord and be joined to him:
• increase your life of prayer,
• read spiritual writings, in particular the Bible,
• give to the poor.
When churches are able to reopen fully, will you be reuniting yourself to Christ as someone who has remained in contact or as a relative stranger? As someone who has been angry that he cannot receive communion or as someone who has fed the poor and clothed the naked?
So, we may rejoice at the reopening of churches while still lamenting the continuing restrictions.
Yet, this lament should not be, directly, about the restrictions: rather it should be about our own sin. How many of us, when the priest turns and says “With the fear of God, with faith and love, draw near,” ignore this invitation? How many of us want to receive communion but only on our own terms, our own rules? How many of us encourage our friends in the faith, our own brothers and sisters, to also go forward for Communion? I hope the present instructions, while painful, may bring us to see how we may improve our own lives of faith when we are able to return to “normal.”
This, too, raises the question of us starting our own services here in Eastleigh: I hope and pray this will be soon. Please think about this but, more importantly, please pray about this. This is an area of the country under-served: just over 750,000 live either in Eastleigh or one of the surrounding boroughs. We are working towards realising the Lord’s command for us but we need your help. Please pray.
Archimandrite Andreas Konanos speaks beautifully in this video on the raising of children. Fr Andreas reminds us they are, above all else, free: they are not our slaves to control but rather we help them, support them and — above all else — love them. The video is in Greek with English subtitles.
Create an online forum?
Would you be interested in meeting online? One-to-one or as a group? We could make use of technology to create an online community, ask questions, read together, pray together?
Let me know! Email email@example.com.
We should follow government advice whenever we can. We are not being asked to give up or deny our Faith, but many are being told to stay socially isolated and this will last, perhaps, for many months.
How can you respond? Pray. We pray because we love and because we know the power of prayer. We pray not as a last resort but as a first response.
Is there anything you need or anything you can offer? Let me know — my telephone number and email address are on each of the emails: please get in contact if you are feeling isolated: I am here for you.
Are you willing to contact isolated people via email or phone? Let me know! It would be good to match up those who need help with those who can offer it.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
We want to start to hold services together: things are difficult now but they remind us that we can do nothing by our own power. Only when we place our hope in the Lord — and not in our own skills, talents, ideas, imaginations — will we be able to build a house for the Lord.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
Saints and Feasts
Thursday 2nd July — Deposition of the Honourable Robe of the Most-Holy Theotokos at Blachernae (5th). St Stephen the Great, Prince of Moldavia, Defender of Orthodoxy (1504). St John (Maximovitch), Bishop of Shanghai and Archbishop of San Francisco (1966).
Friday 3rd — St Germanus, Bishop of the Isle of Man (c 474).
Saturday 4th — St Andrew, Archbishop of Crete (740).
Sunday 5th — 4th Sunday after Pentecost. St Athanasios, Founder of the Great Lavra on Mount Athos, and his disciples (1000). St Morwenna, Patron of Morwenstow (6th).
Monday 6th — St Sisoes the Great (429). St Sexburga, Abbess of Ely (c 700).
Tuesday 7th — Great Martyr Kyriaki (c 303). St Hedda, Bishop of the West Saxons (705).
Wednesday 8th — Great Martyr Procopios of Caesarea in Palestine (303). St Edgar “the Peaceful,” King of England (975).
Thursday 9th — St Everilda, Abbess of Everingham (c 700).
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in Christ