St Triduana of Restalrig

Yesterday in the daily Liturgy here in Edinburgh we commemorated the Saint Triduana of Restalrig. She was one of 12 holy people who accompanied St Rule on his journey from Constantinople to Ireland with the relics of St Andrew the First-Called.  A monk on the island of Patras asked him to take the relics "to the end of the world" which in those days was Ireland!  God's providence blew them to thevkingdom of Fife in Scotland, where they were greeted by a very suspicious local chieftain. Their strange clothes & language made him believe these visitors were unfriendly but on seeing St … [Read more...]

Hymns and worms: an aside.

Have you ever heard of an 'ear worm'? It's when you get a tune or a phrase of music stuck in your brain that won't leave. A friend of mine once said that the best way to get rid of them is to sing "Lord have mercy" as we do in the litanies - and it certainly works. Today however, I found myself singing the hymn from the black and white version of The Bishop's Wife - one of my favourite films from many years ago, when I found myself watching television over an interminable Christmas break. I managed to track down the hymn and it is actually very beautiful. One to add to my list of 'happy worms' … [Read more...]

A New Icon: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler

This year I've been blessed with some unique commissions from outside the Orthodox Church - I love the opportunity to talk with Christians from other denominations and share our understanding of icons and the Gospel. One of these is the new icon of "Christ and the Rich Young Ruler" for the Dean of St John's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, the very Rev. Charles LaFond. Most icons are commissioned, discussed and then go onto my waiting list. This one would have to be different and would have to jump the queue to be completed in time. Normally I would have said no straight away, but something … [Read more...]

Is there anybody out there? Why does God not answer?

Today I am very happy to share with you a sermon written by our much loved Archimandrite John Maitland Moir, who died in 2013, which Fr Raphael read out to us a few weeks ago. It touched me so much, and reminded me so much of Fr John, that I've asked permission to share it with you. It will also be available to download from the 'Articles' page. Why PETITIONS are “not answered” And How INTERCESSION Works by Fr John Maitland Moir “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain “Move hence to yonder place”, and it will move” You probably know the story of the … [Read more...]

Dunblane: the Parish of St Nicholas & St Blaine

I am blessed to live in a beautiful country, and in a beautiful city but sometimes, I long for the countryside. In Scotland, we are never too far from quiet green hills or coastal rocky beaches full of memories of the saints. The best way to travel is train, from the glories of the Victorian built Waverley  Station - here is the iron & glass roof, and some rather bonny modern art in the concourse. After only an hour, the train arrives in Dunblane - a city in the country. It has a cathedral and medieval town centre, a babbling river and it's very own Orthodox Church, in a converted … [Read more...]

Prayer: a needful thing.

I am talking on Thursday and Friday at the Abbey summer School  here in Edinburgh and I am facing the challenge of setting down in writing things that I have, over the last twenty years, internalised and absorbed. It is a great deal more challenging than I thought! While doing some research, I found the following site, which I found to be very helpful and thought it would be of use to many others. It does a far better job of saying what I want to say, albeit over many pages and not in a twenty minute discussion. Orthodox Prayer contains both practical and theological guides, with lots of … [Read more...]

From hen to board in less than one hour.

our ex-factory hens are laying beautifully. This morning I collected an egg at 7am and it was on the board by 8am! Glory to God for our chance to have these funny, productive animals in our lives. … [Read more...]

Tidying up

using a very sharp carving tool to just tidy up small areas of gold that have sneaked over the outline, as I restate the drawing a little bolder.    … [Read more...]

Three little birds

One of my favourite songs is Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds":  he sang about the usual things but he wasn't afraid to say "give thanks and praise to the Lord, and it will be alright"! So when in need of some energy or relaxation, I tend to play his greatest hits.  Today our own 'three little birds' arrived - although they are rather large!   Rescue hens from the Wing & a Prayer Rescue charity here in Scotland.  I had no idea they would be so large or indeed white! I assumed they would be typical brown/chestnut coloured.. But I don't mind. As you can see they are … [Read more...]

Useful Things

Very rarely I find something that will be useful to other painters & craftspeople. Here is one little gem.  The egg tempera mixture I use has to be kept in the fridge and I use variable amounts. I know others use small bowls or jars but I like the flexibility of squeezable bottles with dropper tops. Finding them has led me to very obscure websites in the past and I hadn't found any in the shops, until now. This little pack of three 35ml/1.18oz sauce bottles from Sistema, made in New Zealand from BPA free plastic are pretty close to perfect. They are big enough for a large egg mix but … [Read more...]

Abbey Summer School: the Trinity and Prayer

Good morning from a truly beautiful sunny day here in Edinburgh - it feels like summer, and everyone is enjoying this early dash of warmth. The apple trees are blooming and I will share pictures of the Meadows soon, as the trees are in full flower. I wanted to let you know about an exciting event this summer in Newhaven, Edinburgh. The Abbey Summer School is a time for the laity to come together and engage with theology and take time to think and pray more deeply on issues that are central to Christianity. This year, the central theme is "The Holy Trinity". The central speaker is Jeremy … [Read more...]


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Stormy weather

Edinburgh has been buffeted by high winds for two days now. Thankfully we took precautions after the last storm! We are on top of the highest part of Edinburgh, so take the brunt of any stormy winds around. Those who choose to go against the flow of The World can find that this is the same - the more one chooses to stand with Christ and His Gospel of truth and love, the harder life feels. Let us find our tethers to the ground in the Church, our brothers and sisters, and in praying for others. Please keep me in your prayers, as those who've asked me for my poor prayers are in mine. … [Read more...]

Progress, in Lent and Work.

Life in the Church is circular & linear: our lives return around the axis of the Feasts, the cycle of prayers & services, the seasons of fasting and feasting. At the same time, we run this race towards Our Father, praying for "the homeland of our heart's desire". A foretaste of the Kingdom in that moment of receiving the Gifts, in the bright sad joy of a pre-Sanctified Liturgy, the giddy joy of Pascha, these sustain us when our prayers grow ragged and weary. God grants us moments of grace, when He knows "my heart was failing within me, there was none who knew wherein I walked". For me, … [Read more...]