The annual Pan-Orthodox Pilgrimage to the Shrine and Holy Well of St. Winifride is held on the first Saturday in October, with the blessing of His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain.
The Shrine is well signposted from the A55 trunk road; and it is recommended that pilgrims use this road, leaving it by the A5026, which leads directly into the centre of Holywell. Then, pilgrims should follow the brown signs for the Shrine, which is situated on the B%121.
The nearest Railway Station is Flint, from where there is a bus service onwards to Holywell.
Saint Winifrede was a nun in the seventh century, famed for her sanctity of life. The Holy Well near which she lived has been a place of pilgrimage ever since and the scene of many miracles of healing. Holywell is also the only place of Pilgrimage in Britain where Christian pilgrimage has continued uninterrupted for nearly 1400 years.
Account of a talk given by Dr Peter Brooke in Llaneglwys Village Hall, 23rd August 2015
In 787, a Church council was held in Nicaea under the auspices of the Eastern Roman Empire, centred on Constantinople, which authorised the veneration of religious images (‘icons’). The Western Roman Empire, centred on Rome in Italy, had collapsed over two centuries earlier but a new centralised political society was developing under the Frankish King, Charlemagne. In Charlemagne’s court a book was prepared which condemned the canons on the veneration of icons agreed at Nicaea. The book was called the Opus Caroli – ‘Charles’s Work’ – so it was presented as of it had been written by Charlemagne himself. It was an important project, part of the process by which a new Western Empire was being created with its own church, independent of the continuing Roman Empire and its church, centred on Constantinople.
In the event, the project of the Opus Caroli was aborted through the intervention of the Patriarch of Rome, the Pope, still anxious to maintain the connection with ‘New Rome’, Constantinople. Nonetheless a council of the Western Empire was held in 794 – the Council of Frankfurt – which condemned the Eastern council albeit in a much more ambiguous way than had originally been planned.
Obviously what was happening was political. But Peter argues that it also reflects an important cultural difference. The new Empire of Charlemagne was built on the basis of peoples – Irish, Angles, Saxons, Germans, Franks, Visigoths – who had never been subject to the old Roman Empire. Constantinople on the other hand was the continuation of the Empire and therefore heir to the classical tradition of Greece and Rome. The principle writings in defence of the veneration of icons by St John of Damascus and St Theodore the Studite, were never circulated in the West but if they had been, Peter argues, there would have been many people who would have found them quite incomprehensible.
One of their central arguments was that there was an ontological connection between an image (for example of Christ) and its prototype (Christ Himself), so that one could, through the image, venerate the prototype. This was an idea that was well established in the classical tradition but was quite alien to the artist-monks working in what is called the ‘insular’ tradition – the art, sometimes called ‘Celtic art’, that was being produced in the monasteries of Ireland and of the North of England. Insular art is ‘rhythmic’, it is an art that invites us to contemplate in silence the purely ‘abstract’ interaction of lines and colours. Where there are figurative images they are arbitrary and made to conform to the overall rhythm. Peter showed three examples of ‘portraits’ of Christ, from the Book of Kells – all completely different with no thought of producing a recognisable ‘likeness’.
The contrast between insular art and classical art is striking and insular art was widespread throughout Europe. There were other influences at work, including elements taken from the old Roman classical tradition, but the classical ideal was not sufficiently well established to produce the sort of argument on the relation between image and prototype that developed in the East.
Eventually the West produced the beautiful fusion between rhythm and representation that we call ‘Romanesque’ art. In the East too the classical tradition was modified by the influence of other, non-Roman cultures. Russia inherited its religion and its iconography from Constantinople but not the full pre-Christian classical heritage. The Russian icon (at least until the seventeenth century) is certainly figurative, affirming the relation between image and prototype, but there is a greater emphasis on purely pictorial, or ‘abstract, principles of construction. Round about the fourteenth century – but these would all be topics for other talks – the early Italian ‘Renaissance’ would be heavily influenced by classically trained artists and thinkers going West as the Eastern Roman Empire shrank before the advancing power of Islam. And in the seventeenth century the eastern icon tradition in both the Greek-speaking and Slave worlds, would fall (and what a fall there was!) under the influence of a later, almost photographic, ‘Italianate’ school of painting.
215 mls red wine vinegar
2 whole cloves
6 tablespoons of cold water
5 whole black peppercorns
Half a bay leaf
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
1 lb small, fresh white mushrooms
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Put the red vinegar, whole cloves, water, peppercorns, bay leaf, salt and crushed garlic into a large enamel or stainless steel saucepan.
Bring to the boil on a high heat, drop in the mushrooms and reduce to a low heat.
Simmer uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring the mushrooms occasionally, then cool to room temperature.
Remove the garlic from the marinade and pour the entire contents of the pan into a 1½ pint jar.
Slowly pour the vegetable oil on top.
Marinade the mushrooms in the fridge for at least one week.
From Strata Florida, take the B4340 four miles east to Tynygraig. At Ystrad Meurig take a sharp turn left onto a steep road (signposted ‘Swyddyfynnon’) and after half a mile turn right onto a narrow lane to Llanwnnws.
This porch of this remote church contains a very fine inscribed early Christian monument. The stone reads: XPS Q[U]ICUNQ[UE] EXPLICAU[ER]IT H[OC] NO[MEN] DET BENEDIXIONEM PRO ANIMA HIROIDIL FILIUS CAROTINN: ‘(The Cross) of Jesus Christ. Whoever shall (have) read this name, may he give a blessing for the soul of Hiroidil son of Carotinn’. The formula, lettering, language and cross-from all suggest a ninth-century date.
Latin inscribed stones such as this are our earliest significant remains of the early churches in Wales. This one follows a formula found elsewhere (for example the Pillar of Eiliseg in Llangollen and on monuments in Ireland) which exhorts the viewer to pray for the dedicatee of the monument, Hiroidil son of Carotinn, by saying the name of Jesus, which is the name inscribed in contracted form in Greek capitals XPS, i.e. Christus (with a contraction mark on the middle letter), on the top of the stone.
A monument such as this was likely to have stood in a visible place. At Maen Madog in Glamorgan we find one such stone by the side of a Roman road. Often they were taken into churches for preservation, so we do not really know where this one was originally placed.
Llandre (Llanfihangel Genau Glyn)Church sit in a small village 5 miles north of Aberystwyth. It is more properly named Llanfihangel Genau’r Glyn, but it shortened name was easier on the tongue so is in more common use. There is a persistent legend that the church was originally intended to be sited at Glanfred, on the banks of the Leri about a mile to the north-east, and be dedicated, like the church at Llan-non, to St. Ffraid- or Bridget.
The builders constructed the walls, but each morning when they returned to their work, and the previous day’s work had fallen down. One day apparently a mysterious voice was heard whispering in the wind. It gave instructions that the church was to be dedicated to St. Michael (Mihangel), and built at the mouth of the valley – Genau’r Glyn.
The dedication to Mihangel suggests an early Welsh church. There are about 100 dedications to the Archangel in Wales, and 8 in Ceredigion. The Celtic cult of Mihangel is associated with heights according to Padraig O Riain in the Cardiganshire County History.
The church used to be called Llanfihangel Castell Gwallter, and this name is to be found on the communion cup which is dated as 1573. An antiquity of the area is given by the presence of the “Holy Well” just below the lych gate and recently restored. The tradition in the village is that it was used as a healing well not that long ago.
The present building, a 19th century restoration, stands at the entrance to a steep cwm. The graveyard extends outside the walls so that scattered tombstones poke up through the woodlands on the steep slopes above the church. The slope is unstable in places, and the graves are gradually tumbling down the hill.
A Community service restoration project in the area is slowly helping to rework the nearby walls and re-enforce the church lands.
An introduction to the teachings and practice of the
Orthodox Church in the 21st Century
The Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God
63 Dale Street
West Midlands, WS1 4AN
Who is it for?
For men and women who: wish to serve in a leadership role in the Church and need a foundation for further study; or are involved with choir, serving and catechesis or who would like to be; or are just interested and want to increase their knowledge and understanding.
The aim is to provide students who wish to be more involved in the work of the Church with sufficient instruction for them to take on their various roles, and to provide a foundation for further Orthodox Theological Study
Who awards the Certificate and the Diploma?
The seminary is part of the Archdiocese and His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain will award the certificates.
Those who wish to study, but find the financial commitment difficult, should not be put off, as bursaries of up to 50% may be available in certain circumstances. Potential students should apply in writing to the Principal.
£350 per calendar year (if students do not wish to write the seminar papers and essay, the certificate course would cost £300).
There is also a Diploma course which is a two year course and costs £400 p/year.
There is also an Advanced Diploma course for one year and costs £200 p/year.
There is a bursary of 50% for those who wish to do the course but find the fees difficult.
Payment can be made in full or in instalments. Your parish may wish to sponsor you.
Students will have a good grasp of the English language and will have received a secondary school education.
Date and Time:
Starting September 2015 and then every second Saturday of the month until June 2016. The months of July and August are holidays.
10.00am – 5.00pm divided into 5 sessions
The Certificate Course – a one-year practical course:
i) Church Practice, ii) Church History, iii) Introducing the Church Canons, iv) Faith and Worship, v) The Life in Christ, vi) God, Creation, the Fall and the work of Jesus Christ, vii) Introducing the Old Testament, viii) Introducing the New Testament
Assessment:the Certificate course is examined by one 2000 word essay and a number of 500 word (max) seminar papers presented by the students.
These courses build on the ten years’ experience of the Midlands Orthodox Study Centre, which included a partnership with the University of Wales, Lampeter, who awarded the qualifications until December 2011. The seminary has a growing and reasonably comprehensive library thanks to some important recent bequests.
His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain, has decided that this centre should become the Thyateira Midland Ecclesiastical Seminary, with the object of helping to prepare the faithful for further service in the Church.
Principal: Very Revd Proto-presbyter Fr John Nankivell
Lecturers: Very Revd Proto-presbyter Fr Stephen Maxfield
Dr Nicolai Lipatov
Admin: Xen Serghi
Fr John Nankivell
The Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God
63 Dale Street
Telephone: 07891 903 518
For further information visit the following websites: