In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — God’s Church
Stay connected to the Church — Calendars
How to “Give Thanks in All Circumstances” — Be the Bee video
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 26th November–3rd December
Offer of help
It is easy to think of Orthodoxy as an esoteric or mystical religion, as something strange and eastern—indeed, many refer to us as the “Eastern Orthodox Church.” Unfortunately even we Orthodox sometimes refer to ourselves as such, is it any wonder that those outside the Church do the same?
The Orthodox Church is the Church of God, she is founded on Jesus Christ who is both our chief cornerstone (Psalm 117:22 lxx) and our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14f); she preaches the Faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) with neither addition nor subtraction (Revelation 22:18f, also Deuteronomy 4:2). She is not an option for those of a certain heritage, nor culture, nor beliefs, nor inclinations: she offers Christ to all.
For those who seek the Way through life, not just one possible path but the only Way: she offers Christ.
For those who seek the Truth, the only objective truth of our world: she offers Christ.
For those who seek the Life, not the mere existence of a human lifespan but true Life and abundant Life: she offers Christ.
The Orthodox Church is regular, ordinary, everyday Christianity. She offers Christ to all who are seeking and, looking around us, there are many who are seeking. Seeking love, comfort, peace. Seeking hope and meaning; seeking joy. The Church will only be founded here by our prayers and work: placing all our trust and hope in God that he will bless it.
Our being established here in southern Hampshire, albeit without yet a home for us to worship God together, is then not a nice addition to our religious life but an expression that Christ has come, in you and in me, and we have the opportunity and blessing from God to establish his Church here. This is another victory of Christ, another death of Death, another sign of the Kingdom.
Pray that this work may be done. Ask the intercessions of the Holy Twelve Apostles to whom we are dedicated, of our local intercessors the hierarchs St Swithun of Winchester and St Birinus of Dorcester, of the holy abbesses of Romsey St Elfleda and St Ethelfleda, of the great wonderworker of all the Church St Nicholas of Myra, and most especially of the blessed Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary whose prayers have worked countless miracles for Christians throughout history.
Pray. Then consider if God is calling you to be one of those through whom the prayer is answered.
Stay connected to the Church
Our Archdiocese publishes an annual calendar for you to put up on your wall. It can be part of keeping you in contact with the Church every day of the week. I now have copies in stock for 2021 and they would make an excellent addition to your home and a beautiful gift for a friend.
This year’s features pictures from our monastery in Shropshire. There are the saints and the Bible readings for each day of the year as well as a guide to fasting.
Contact me for details, email@example.com: £6 per copy.
How to “Give Thanks in All Circumstances”
Giving thanks is for all occasions.
Worries are increasing on the possible increase in the spread of the disease. Yet there is a division: one side is accused of scare-mongering while the other of irresponsibility. The situation is becoming fractious and each side’s position is becoming more entrenched.
Our duty as Christians is to stand for truth and to bring about unity. But to stand for truth does not mean to ridicule nor deride those who are wrong, it is to act patiently, humbly, lovingly: in other words to be Christ-like. We do not shy away from the truth nor do we separate ourselves from others.
The Church has a clear position as given by our bishops: we are to obey the civil authorities on these matters. We follow the law while maintaining our Faith and thus provide a witness—a martyrdom—of the Gospel. And then, by trusting in the power of God and not our own, we may become an icon of unity and concord.
Would you like help? Advice? Support? Then let me know.
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 26th November — St Stylianos of Paphlogonia, protector of children (4th–6th).
Friday 27th — Great Martyr James the Persian (421).
Saturday 28th — Martyr Stephen the New, monk of Mt St Auxentios (764).
Sunday 29th — 25th after Pentecost (Luke 13). Martyr Paramon in Bithynia (250). St Brendan of Birr (573). Hieromartyr Philoumenos, custodian of Jacob’s Well (Samaria, 1979).
Monday 30th — Holy and Glorious Apostle Andrew the First-called (62). St Tudwal, Bishop in Wales and Brittany (6th). St Sebastian (Dabovich) of San Francisco and Jackson (1940).
Tuesday 1st December — Prophet Nahum (7th BC).
Wednesday 2nd — Prophet Habakkuk (Avvacum, Avakkum, 7th BC). St Porthyrios of Kavsokalyvia (M Athos, 1991).
Thursday 3rd — Prophet Zephaniah (Sophonias) (635–605 BC). St Birinus, Bishop of Dorcester (649–50).
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