Saturday, 13 Jan 2018
"Serve the Lord with Gladness!"
13 Jan 2018 at 12:00am
The annual Altar Servers Retreat will be convened at Saint Basil's Academy in Garrison NY on 16-18 February 2018. All those who serve at the altar are encouraged to attend along with those interested in doing so in the future. The event is fully sponsored by the diocese! Join Archbishop Michael and others who offer their service to the Lord in liturgical celebrations ... and enjoy fellowship and fun, too!
Saturday, 6 Jan 2018
Theophany of our Lord ~ January 6, 2018
6 Jan 2018 at 12:00am
When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bore witness to You and called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself and have enlightened the world, glory to You! (Troparion Hymn)
Friday, 5 Jan 2018
WATERVLIET NY: Celebration of Saint Basil Day on January 1st
5 Jan 2018 at 12:00am
Saint Basil’s Orthodox Church in Watervliet NY celebrated its Patronal Feast Day on 31 December and 1 January 2018 with the presence of Archbishop Michael for Great Vespers with the Blessing of Loaves and the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great. Children of the parish joyfully greeted Archbishop Michael, presenting him with flowers and receiving his blessing. As is customary on the Feast of Saint Basil, the blessing and distribution of the Vasilopita (Saint Basil’s Bread) took place following the Divine Liturgy.
Thursday, 4 Jan 2018
Gift and Grace: The Spiritual Legacy of Orthodox Christians in America
4 Jan 2018 at 12:00am
A series of insightful interviews (Gift and Grace: The Spiritual Legacy of Orthodox Christians in America) has been produced featuring esteemed clergy and laity of the Orthodox Church in America. Thanks to the efforts of Father John Shimchick, we gain an inspiring look into their lives and work to the glory of God in His Holy Church. Interviews include: Dr. Constantine and Arlene Kallaur, Dr. Albert Rossi, Father Paul and Mary Shafran, Father John and Eugenia Nehrebecki, Father Daniel Skvir, Father Daniel and Dunia Hubiak, Father Stephen Siniari, Father Sergius and Faith Kuharsky, Father Sergei Glagolev, and Father Thomas and Anne Hopko. See the interviews by clicking on the image above (which you will also find permanently displayed among the link icons on this homepage).
Wednesday, 3 Jan 2018
ROCHESTER NY: Baptismal Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day
3 Jan 2018 at 12:00am
The servant of God, Christopher Mayhew, was baptized and Chrismated during the Divine Liturgy on Christmas Day at Saint John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Rochester NY. Using the large adult baptismal font, Christopher was fully immersed and robed with the white garment of holy illumination. "The beauty and significance of celebrating a Baptismal Liturgy was a true joy for all blessed to be in attendance," said Father Ken James Stavrevsky (parish rector).
Thursday, 18 Jan 2018
Metropolitan Tikhon’s Sanctity of Life Message now available
6 hours ago
Sunday, January 21, 2018 will be observed as “Sanctity of Life Sunday” in parishes across the United States. The commemoration marks the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US.
The complete text of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon’s annual Archpastoral Message for Sanctity of Life Sunday appears below and is available for downloading and local distribution in PDF format. Liturgical petitions and prayers for Sanctity of Life Sunday are also available on the Prayers for Orthodox Christians page and in PDF format.
As reported earlier, Metropolitan Tikhon, at the request of His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Chair of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, will lead the Orthodox delegation at the annual March for Life in Washington, DC on Friday, January 19. Metropolitan Tikhon will offer the opening prayer at the pre-March program.Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon
Sanctity of Life Sunday
January 21, 2018
To the honorable Clergy, venerable Monastics, and pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:
From the moment they were born, both Moses and our Lord Jesus Christ faced great danger: as infants someone wanted each of them dead. Moses’s life was saved because the Hebrew midwives feared God more than Pharaoh, so they refused to follow the order to kill the newborn males (Ex. 1:17). And our Savior’s life was spared because of angelic intervention (Mt. 2:13).
But the Holy Innocents were not spared. Herod’s lust for power, or rather his deep-seated insecurity, led to the massacre of a multitude of small children, and the bitter weeping of their inconsolable mothers. We sing of this at the Ninth Royal Hour on Christmas Eve: “Mothers were bereft of their infants, and by an untimely death their babes were bitterly harvested. Breasts grew dry and sources of milk were stopped. Great was this calamity!”
The root of sin and specifically of violence toward our fellow human being has not changed since those times. It has always been our passions: anger, fear, judgment, despair, jealousy, pride, vanity, to name only a few. Moreover, the Fathers of our Church have always taught that the nature of all passions is one and the same: love of the self. This is, in the words of our Lord, “not to think the things of God, but those of man” (Mt. 16:23), or in other words not to think as God does, but as people do. We learn from the Apostle Paul how God thinks. He does not think of His divinity as a thing to hold onto, but empties Himself taking the form of a servant (Phil. 2:6-7). The mind of God is not only not to kill, but to give life to the world through His death (John 6:33, 51).
Locking ourselves within our own minds and setting ourselves as the standard of life, not only do we not see God for what He is, but we don’t see our fellow human beings for what they are. They become objects of our ideas and plans, props in our own life narratives, subjects of our own desires. We hurt others in so many ways just to make them fit us better. The calamities we inflict on each other are not different in nature since the beginning of time, they are only greater. Today we have means to injure others on extraordinarily larger scales. We have the means to hurt others all the way on the other side of the planet with the typing of 280 characters. We have means to execute the condemned by the thousands. We have means to destroy the enemy by the hundreds of thousands. Finally, we have means to kill the unborn by the millions and billions. The only difference between us and the sinners of ancient times is that we have greater means for putting ourselves first and imposing ourselves on others.
Yet, the scariest of all things is not even the scale of our means of violence. Rather it is the fact that our human mind has devolved in its own universe to the point of finding justification for all these terrible violences. At times it even seems that we are drawing near to justifying anything. Human law, established firmly in “the things of men” and not in those of God, follows suit. So many wars have been legal. So many executions have been legal. So many genocides—legal. Christ’s own crucifixion—legal. So much violence has been done in the name of the law and of the good of the human being.
In front of this terrible reality some of us will be drawn to prayer. Others will be drawn to helping all the victims of this terrible violence. Others will be drawn to changing the law. But in front of all of us, regardless of our inclinations, is put forth the only Way and the only conquering of death and victory of life—Christ, the one who “died for the life of the world” (John 6:51). There is a great mystery hidden in this truth, because Christ died for the life of the world at the hands of the world. This is how St. John Chrysostom puts it:
Tell me, what is the goal of the Gospel of grace? Why the revelation of the Son of God in the flesh? So that we bite and devour each other?
...Christ didn’t die only for friends or for His own, but also for His enemies, for tyrants, for impostors, for those who hated and crucified Him…
Throw the net of love, not so that the lame will fall, but rather that he be healed… and thus having searched the hidden depths, pull out from the chasm of perdition the one drowned by his thoughts…
Do not hate! Do not turn away! Do not persecute! Rather, show him pure and true love.
And how Christ died “for the life of the world” at the hands of the world clarifies for us the most crucial thing, namely that life has only one source and only one victory: selfless or self-sacrificial love. Let us be selfless love for all and we—in the one who is Love and Life itself—will conquer death:
Be persecuted, but persecute not.
May the world see our love, receive it from our own cross, and fill itself with life in it!
With love in Christ,
Tuesday, 16 Jan 2018
OCF announces series of Spring regional college student retreats
16 Jan 2018 at 6:30am
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship [OCF] will host a series of regional retreats and events for college students age 18 through 25 during the Spring of 2018.
The first in the series, sponsored by the Indiana District OCF, will be held at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Carmel, IN on January 27. Father Lucas Christensen will speak on “The Law of God: Moral Theology of the Human Person.” The full-day gathering will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. Additional information may be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for the event.
“Presenting Ourselves to Christ: Our Unquenchable Thirst for Communion with God” will be the theme of the Mountain Spring Regional Retreat at the Papadeas Residence, 597 County Road 599, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO February 2-4. Father Jordan Brown will be the keynote speaker. For additional information contact email@example.com. All participants may attend free of charge.
The Mid-Atlantic Spring Regional Retreat will be hosted by Holy Trinity Church [OCA], State College, PA February 9-10. “People of the Book: What Orthodox Christians Should Know About Judaism and Islam” is the retreat theme, which will be developed by Father Alexander Goussetis. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The retreat is free of charge.
Saint Iakovos Retreat Center, Kansasville, WI will be the site of the Midwest Spring Regional Retreat February 16-18. Father Athanasios Papagiannis will speak on “The Physician of Our Souls: More Soothing Than Anointing With Oil.” Further information is available by contacting email@example.com. There is a minimal $25.00 cost for the three-day event.
As the season of Great Lent opens, the Columbus to Lexington District OCF will host a one-day gathering at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Columbus, OH on February 24. The keynote speaker, Father Demetrios Carrellas, will explore the theme “Journey to Pascha: Having a Fruitful Lent on Campus.” Further information may be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no charge for the event.
Online registration is available on the OCF website.
In related news, OCF’s “Real Break” programs, which offer Orthodox Christian college students an alternative to “Spring Break” by traveling to all parts of the world while deepening their faith, serving those in need, and cultivating relationships with like-minded peers, will begin at the end of February. Additional information and registration details also are available online.
The Orthodox Christian Fellowship is the official campus ministry organization of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America.
Monday, 15 Jan 2018
Orthodox Christians to battle hunger on IOCC’s “Souper Bowl of Caring” Sunday
15 Jan 2018 at 3:00pm
Sunday, February 4, 2018, has been designated “Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday” by International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].
This year’s 20th annual Souper Bowl Sunday—it’s name reflects the anticipated Super Bowl on the same day—aims at rallying parish youth to champion feeding the poor and caring for those in need around the world.
A variety of resources—posters, bulletin inserts, and announcements—is available on the IOCC web site to generate a “team spirit” in the weeks leading up to the first Sunday of February.
IOCC offers parishes and youth groups easy, step-by-step tips for organizing a successful parish Souper Bowl Sunday.
Established in March 1992 as the official humanitarian organization of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas—today’s Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America—IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond. By God’s grace, IOCC enables those suffering and in need to continue to improve their own lives and communities and to have the means to live with dignity, respect, and hope. Since its inception, IOCC and its partners have provided over $600 million in relief and self-help programs to people in more than 60 countries. Current programs focus on emergency relief, agriculture and food security, education, health, water and sanitation, and economic opportunity in places including Syria, Greece, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, the Balkans, and the United States. IOCC celebrated it’s 25th anniversary in 2017.
Saturday, 13 Jan 2018
Metropolitan Tikhon celebrates Great Feast of Theophany in Mexico City
13 Jan 2018 at 6:53pm
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, made an archpastoral visit to the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of Mexico for the celebration of the Great Feast of Theophany January 6-9, 2018. His visit also marked the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the construction of Mexico City’s Cathedral of the Ascension and the 45th anniversary of the reception into canonical Orthodoxy of what is today the OCA’s Diocese of Mexico.
After being welcomed upon his arrival in Mexico City by His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo of Mexico, Metropolitan Tikhon met informally with the clergy and faithful at the cathedral. Accompanying Metropolitan Tikhon as translator was Archpriest Antonio Perdomo, Rector of Saint George Church, Pharr, TX.
On Sunday, January 7, Metropolitan Tikhon concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the cathedral with Archbishop Alejo and His Eminence, Metropolitan Ignacio, Archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of Mexico, Venezuela, Central America and the Islands of the Caribbean Sea, and area OCA and Antiochian clergy. Also in attendance were His Eminence, Metropolitan Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Mexico, Central America, Columbia, Venezuela, and the Caribbean Islands of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and his Chancellor, Archimandrite Damian. The Liturgy marked the first time Metropolitan Ignacio had served at the cathedral and Metropolitan Athenagoras’ first visit to the church.
“It is a great joy to be with you again this year, at the invitation of His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo, for the Feast of Holy Theophany and to participate in the Great Blessing of Water here at the beautiful Cathedral of the Ascension in Mexico City,” Metropolitan Tikhon said at the conclusion of the Liturgy. “This feast is one in which we most clearly receive the light of Christ and are filled with the joy of his appearing.
“The joy of the feast is made even greater through the blessing of our concelebration today with His Eminence, Metropolitan Ignacio of the Antiochian Patriarchate, and with the presence with us of His Eminence, Metropolitan Athenagoras of the Ecumenical Patriarchate,” Metropolitan Tikhon continued. “It is wonderful to give concrete and visible expression to the good relations that exist between all the Orthodox Churches, and particularly here in Mexico.
“I have had the honor of concelebrating with His All-Holiness, Patriarch Bartholomew, and with His Beatitude, Patriarch John X, but this is the first time that I have served with His Eminence, Metropolitan Ignacio, who is just beginning his service, following in the great footsteps of His Eminence, Metropolitan Antonio, of blessed memory,” Metropolitan Tikhon said. “It is a great joy to have with us His Eminence, Metropolitan Athenagoras, who has long been known here in Mexico for his many years of pastoral and missionary work. Indeed, the mission of the Church is a single mission, and we all have a share in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as bishops, priests and laypeople.
“I am grateful to His Eminence, Archbishop Alejo, for gathering us all here today, and on his behalf, I would like to present a special gift of an icon and relics of Saint Raphael of Brooklyn, who is a saint shared by both of our Churches, and a saint who is beloved in the universal Church,” Metropolitan Tikhon concluded. “We pray that the intercessions of Saint Raphael will continue to inspire all of us in our shared mission within the Church.”
In response, Metropolitan Ignacio expressed his joy in concelebrating the Divine Liturgy. He recalled how Metropolitan Tikhon’s patron, Saint Tikhon of Moscow, had worked very closely with Saint Raphael in the North American missionary field. “I pray that Saint Raphael will continue to guide all of us in the common work of the Church,” Metropolitan Ignacio concluded. Metropolitan Athenagoras offered similar words, adding that “we are indeed all part of one Church” and that Metropolitan Tikhon’s presence stands as a reminder that “we all take part in the common missionary work of the Church.” After offering his own words of greeting, Archbishop Alejo presented each of the three Metropolitans with silver candelabras as a remembrance of their visit.
Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Alejo then celebrated the Great Blessing of Waters, after which Metropolitan Tikhon blessed the cathedral and faithful. Certificates were presented to several children who had completed catechetical classes before the hierarchs, clergy and faithful left in procession to bless the park adjacent to the cathedral, to the delight of the many people who had gathered there. Prior to the procession, a large cross, which was elevated in the park, and a floral arrangement marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the cathedral’s construction were blessed. Prior to the festive luncheon, which featured homemade tamales and other local delicacies, Archbishop Alejo distributed food baskets to the cathedral’s most elderly members while Metropolitan Tikhon blessed everyone with icons of Saint Tikhon of Moscow.
On Monday, January 8, Metropolitan Athenagoras hosted Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Alejo at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral. After a brief tour of the cathedral, the hierarchs discussed several matters of common importance to the mission in Mexico and world Orthodoxy. The conversation extended into the luncheon that followed. Metropolitan Athenagoras presented a gift from Jerusalem and a commemorative stamp marking the 10th anniversary of the consecration of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Cuba to Metropolitan Tikhon, who in turn presented commemorative gifts to his host. Later the same day, Metropolitan Ignacio welcomed Metropolitan Tikhon and Archbishop Alejo at Saints Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, where similar discussions were held prior to dinner. At both gatherings, the subject of missionary outreach received much attention.
Metropolitan Tikhon returned to the US on Tuesday, January 9.
The Blessing of Water at the Cathedral of the Ascension, Mexico City, Mexico
Sunday, January 7, 2018
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is revealed gloriously in today’s feast, when we participate in a very real way in the revelation of the Holy Trinity. “The Trinity, our God, today has made Itself indivisibly manifest to us, for the Father in a loud voice bore clear witness to His Son, the Spirit in the form of a dove came down from the sky while the Son bent His immaculate head before the Forerunner, and by receiving baptism He delivered us from bondage, in His love for mankind.”
This revelation is more meaningful when we live in a world of change and uncertainty. This city and this country have recently endured some terrible natural disasters, as have many other parts of the world. Often, when we are faced with such disasters, we might wonder where God is during such tragedies. But today’s feast of Theophany, together with the Feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, are a vivid reminder to us that indeed “God is with us.”
He is with us, but it is through the preparation that we make in our own hearts that this presence becomes real and life-giving. It is during times of difficulty that Christians not only show themselves to be true followers of Christ, but also are strengthened in their own faith by active participation in His grace and His love. Today, we bless the waters, but we also bless the Cross that stands outside this cathedral. This means that, just as God is with us, so He asks us to bear our Cross. The Cross is often heavy, but the life we receive today in Holy Communion of His precious Body and Blood, and the regeneration we receive through holy water, are the means by which we are strengthened and filled with our Lord’s divine grace.
May we all continue in our witness on behalf of Christ and His Church. You will always have big challenges in front of you, but as we heard from the Lord, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” May our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom the Father bears witness, and upon Whom the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, continue to bless all of us, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Friday, 12 Jan 2018
New edition of the Divine Liturgy now available from STM Press
12 Jan 2018 at 2:25pm
Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press is pleased to announce the publication of the Hieratikon (Volume 2]: Liturgy Book for Priest and Deacon, edited by Hieromonk Herman [Majkrzak] and Dr. Vitaly Permiakov.
The volume includes the full texts of the Divine Liturgies of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great and the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, together with several explanatory introductions regarding hierarchical, vesperal, and paschal Liturgies; the order of censing; and priestly and diaconal concelebration. Appendices include hymns and verses of the liturgical year, various blessings (palms, artos, fruit, herbs, etc.), and more.
With the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, the 1967 text has been carefully compared to the standard Greek and Slavonic editions, and revised in consultation with the Orthodox Church in America’s Holy Synod of Bishops and Department of Liturgical Music and Translations. Dr. Permiakov explains that the editors’ goal was “for the text of the prayers and litanies to be accurate and understandable, that is, to be both in continuity with the original Greek (and Slavonic) text of the Liturgy and with the accepted style of English-language translations of sacred texts. The editors also sought to make liturgical rubrics both descriptive and prescriptive, so as to reflect the actual liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church in America, while ensuring that the established liturgical use conforms to the broader tradition and practice of the Church.” Hieromonk Herman adds that “the wide expertise of hierarchs, experienced pastors, liturgiologists, and linguists was consulted throughout the editorial process.”
“The Eucharistic Banquet is the summit of man’s life on earth,” writes Metropolitan Tikhon in the volume’s Foreword. “It is, already in this life, a partaking of the life of the age to come. Its celebration has therefore always been adorned with every possible beauty…. In his American sermons, Saint Tikhon [of Moscow]... points to this liturgical splendor as integral to the Church’s apostolic witness. He was himself an early champion of Orthodox liturgical texts in English, and this new edition of the Divine Liturgy builds on the foundation he laid. May it be found pleasing in God’s sight and useful for those who serve at His holy altar.”
“Translations that are faithful to the original meaning are extremely important for the Orthodox, and the editors of the Hieratikon have given us a revised translation of the Liturgies that not only takes into consideration the biblical origins of the texts but also their use in the writings of the Church Fathers,” says Prof. David Drillock, Chair of the OCA Department of Liturgical Music and Translations.
The edition is identical in shape and size to its 2014 companion volume, Hieratikon: Office Book for Priest and Deacon, which contains the services of Vespers, Matins, the Hours, Compline, and so on. It is printed in black and red on high-quality paper and durably bound in leather, with three ribbon markers and gilt edges. According Hieromonk Herman, the book’s designer, “We have made every effort to produce a liturgical book of high esthetic quality as befits any object used in the offering of the Divine Liturgy. At the same time we have striven for a format that is easy to navigate, making it practical to use while celebrating the Liturgy. The book is truly pocket-sized, but the main Liturgy texts are still a comfortable 12-point font, which is larger than in the first volume.”
Hieromonk Herman is a member of the Brotherhood of Saint Tikhon’s Monastery and a lecturer at Saint Tikhon’s Seminary. Previously he had served for several years as the Chapel Music Director at Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Yonkers, NY, where he was also a part-time student in liturgical studies. A 2005 graduate of Saint Tikhon’s Seminary, he has done editorial and design work for Divine Ascent Press, Saint Tikhon’s Press, and Wipf & Stock Publishers.
Dr. Permiakov is Assistant Professor of Dogmatic and Liturgical Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY. Originally from Riga, Latvia, he holds an M.Div. from Saint Vladimir’s Seminary and a Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) from the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgy and of the Society for Oriental Liturgies. He has published with Notre Dame Press, Saint Tikhon’s Press and Holy Trinity Publications.
The 360-page volume may be ordered online for $35.00 from Saint Tikhon’s Monastery Press or by contacting Priest Innocent Neal at 888-454-6678; INNOCENT.NEAL@STSPRESS.COM.