'If it concerns itself with things divine, the soul becomes a light to others, inspiring them to glorify God.'
- St Nikitas Stithatos
St Melangell's is a Christian church, worshipping God according to forms familiar to Christians of western lands.
Cyprian Astley, who had spent ten years in the Russian Orthodox Church, latterly as a reader and then subdeacon, was received into the Orthodox Church of the Gauls in 2016. In the following year, he received a blessing from Bishop Gregory of Arles to explore the feasibility of founding a Western Rite Orthodox mission in the Greater Manchester area.
Our mission was formally founded on the 5th Sunday of Advent, 2018, when a tiny handful of us gathered to pray Lauds at a private home in Oldham. This continued for a number of weeks until we moved to a more public existence in February 2019, praying Vespers each Saturday evening in the Lady Chapel of the Anglican church of St Cross in Clayton in order to be accessible from the city centre.
Since then, we have begun to establish links with other churches locally, and had the great pleasure of making a pilgrimage to the shrine of our patron saint in Powys, Wales - something that we hope will become an annual tradition.
In the summer of 2019, as our numbers began to grow, it became clear that most of our people were from the Oldham area. So we moved to Oldham Parish Church on a temporary basis so as to be more easily accessible to the people who had begun to worship with us, while we tried to find somewhere equally accessible both to Manchester and Oldham.
In the same year, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Bishop Gregory ordained Cyprian as a deacon to serve our growing mission.
While our little community here in Manchester is newly formed, we are part of the wider, ancient Orthodox Church founded by Jesus Christ.
That is to say that we confess the Christian Faith as expressed in the Holy Scriptures, in the writings of the Apostles and the Holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church, in the Creeds and the Canons of the Ecumenical Councils, in the whole ascetic and liturgical tradition of the early, undivided Church.
We aim to be a welcoming community, open to all people who genuinely seek to live in Christ, free from the conservative culture that has often made churches unwelcoming places.
We aim to be a living community, allowing our faith to permeate our actions in our daily lives.
We aim to be a prayerful community, grounded in Orthodox Faith, worship, and life.
Our services are offered in English, and our worship and spiritual life are conducted according forms of prayer, fasting, and spirituality that have their origins in the ancient Orthodox tradition of Western Europe and the British Isles, and which are collectively known as the Western Rite.
We gather regularly to worship, to pray, and to hear the Holy Scriptures. We are currently few in number but, should God bless our efforts, we hope to grow and provide a spiritual home for those who are seeking to work out their salvation in Christ.
If you would like to join us or just come for a visit, we would love to have you with us. You might find the information here to be useful.
If you would like a fuller, more detailed picture of the history of our church, you can find this here.
Western Rite Orthodox