All posts by Fr. Luke Mihaly

Schedule of Services and Events for November 8 – November 15

Tuesday, November 10 8:30 AM – First Hour 6 PM –Stuffed Cabbage Session Wednesday, November 11 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, November 12 9 AM – Akathist 9:30 AM – Tea Cookie Session Friday, November 13 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class Saturday, November 14 8 AM - Roll Baking session 10 AM – Cemetery Clean up 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, November 15 9 AM – Church School 10 AM –Liturgy and blessing of new wooden icon Readers Schedule 11/15 – Stasia Mihaly 11/22 – Nicholas Fong 11/29 – Robert Faubel Coffee Hour 11/15 – Sophia Baroody 11/22 – OPEN 11/29 – Fong 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch Upcoming Events Roll Baking Day - November 14 Cemetery Clean Up – Saturday, November 14 Music on the Mount - Saturday, November 28 St. Nicholas Day Brunch – Sunday, December 6 Christmas Bake Sale – Saturday, December 12 Christmas Eve Holy Supper – Thursday, December 24 Christmas/Nativity of Christ – Friday, December 25 church_front_trinity_vertical

Mother Maria of Paris says “OXI!” to the Nazi Mass Murder Machine

Mother Maria of Paris Mother Maria of Paris
On the occasion of OXI Day, when we commemorate the occasion when a tiny, run down nation had the guts to stand up against the bullying of the Nazi/fascist juggernaut, I want to bring up another underdog who deserves some recognition. No, she isn’t Greek, although she is Orthodox Christian. She isn’t American either. She probably never even stepped foot in Greece. But she is a heroine. She displays the ideal of “philotimo” (or doing the honorable thing for the honorable thing’s sake). She too had the courage to say “NO” to the Nazi murder machine. For her sacrifices to her immigrant community and the poor and the stranger, and ultimately in her ultimate sacrifice of her life, she is recognized as a saint in the Russian Orthodox Church. Her name is Maria Skobtsova or more simply Mother Maria of Paris. I can’t summarize her entire life story in one short article as this would not do justice to the complexities of her thought and her being. (But you can get a more detailed account by reading Jim Forest’s bio of her at http://incommunion.org/2004/10/18/saint-of-the-open-door/). Suffice it to say that she was a character; she, like Dorothy Day, her Catholic counterpart, believed that Christ took the guise of the poor, the wretched, the ill, and that instead of glorious towering temples,the Church could be found “in the streets.” Here are some life notes:
  • she was born in Riga, Latvia, then part of Russia to a family that included politicians and the last governor the Bastille in Paris
  • a socialist sympathizer, she would spend nights writing poetry and arguing about a “just society” with the radical literary groups she frequented, which included symbolist poet Alexander Blok
  • although raised devoutly Orthodox, the death of her beloved father when she was 14 caused her to have a lapse of faith. As a result, she went through several years of her life a sworn atheist.
  • she married a Bolshevik and was a member of the Social Revolutionary Party, much more democratic than the Bolsheviks, but her marriage ended in divorce
  • she published books of poetry in the Symbolist School and later many theological essays
  • she applied to an all-male theology school in St. Petersburg and was accepted as the first female student
  • she escaped execution by a Bolshevik for being in the wrong party but using her gift of gab convinced him that she was a friend of Lenin’s wife
  • she became deputy mayor of her home town of Anapa during the onset of the Russian Civil War in 1918, and was surprisingly able to sustain it with vital services
  • when the opposing side in the civil war, the White Army took over her small town she was put on trial and would have been executed for looking too much a “red” except that her judge at the trial, a former schoolteacher she knew,  fell in love with her and had it dismissed. She fell in love with him and married husband number 2 a few days after the trail
  • she and her family went into exile after the Bolsheviks took over by taking a perilous journey through the Black Sea through the mountains of Georgia, to Turkey through Yugoslavia that finally ended in Paris. Two years and two newborn children later, they arrived as refugees in Paris
  • she lost her daughter to the flu and meningitis, an experience that changed her life forever causing her to take on the calling as a “mother to all”
  • very unconventionally, she smoked and drank beer in a nun’s habit in Parisian coffee shops
  • after her second marriage fell apart, she founded a spiritual/social work house that connected spiritual life to service for the most needy, serving thousands of impoverished refugees, the mentally ill, and the poor of Paris
But what would garner her a golden medal on OXI Day deals with her bravery in smuggling out Jewish children headed for the death camps in an undercover operation aptly titled “The Trash Can Rescue” (the story is described vividly in the children’s book Silent as Stone: Mother Maria of Paris and the Trash Can Rescue, also by her biographer Jim Forest and founder of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship. You can purchase your own copy on Amazon).
Mother Maria and the Trash Can Rescue
Mother Maria and the Trash Can Rescue
The story occurs after Mother Maria had established the house with the blessing and help of her bishop, Metropolitan Evlogy Georgievsky, on rue de Lourmel. Word got out that something was happening at the stadium, not far from the house. “. . .There was a mass arrest of Jews — 12,884, of whom 6,900 (two-thirds of them children) were brought to the Velodrome d’Hiver . . . Held there for five days, the captives in the stadium received water only from a single hydrant, while ten latrines were supposed to serve them all. From there the captives were to be sent via Drancy to Auschwitz. (http://incommunion.org/2004/10/18/saint-of-the-open-door/) Mother Maria of Paris wrote both poetry and religious essays in addition to running a soup kitchen and community center in a ghetto of Paris.
Because Mother Maria was well-known to the police and sanitation crews as she would scour the back alleys of Paris and the central market gathering day old food and recyclables for the poor of her community, she was granted access into the stadium. She quickly sized up the situation. The stadium had become a central transfer and processing hub for the thousands of Jews of Paris. She prayed for assistance. The idea came to her. By employing the confidence of the local sanitation workers in charge of hauling the garbage from the stadium, Mother Maria perpetrated a plot that would at least save the children from the gas chambers: stuff them into the garbage bins, haul them out on the trucks from the stadium, and then under the cover of night, sneak the children to the house on rue de Lourmel where she then could orchestrate their continued passage to the south of France, an area outside of Nazi control, and to safety. As her biographer recounts, “It would have been possible for her to leave Paris when the Germans were advancing toward the city, or even to leave the country to go to America. Her decision was not to budge. “If the Germans take Paris, I shall stay here with my old women. Where else could I send them?”(http://incommunion.org/2004/10/18/saint-of-the-open-door/) No one is sure how many children Mother Maria and her garbage crew saved. But what is certain is that she eventually was found out by the Nazis. The priest, Father Dimitri Klepinin who had served alongside her in the “monasticism in the world” and her son Yuri were arrested. They had been guilty of forging fake baptismal certificates for Jews who came begging for help. Yuri and Father Dimitri eventually died in Buchenwald camp while Mother Maria was sent to Ravensbruck. Even while undergoing unspeakable torment, Mother Maria still saw hope in the smoke stacks that plumed from the crematoria. “But it is only here, immediately above the chimneys, that the billows of smoke are oppressive,” Mother Maria said. “When they rise higher, they turn into light clouds before being dispersed in limitless space. In the same way, our souls, once they have torn themselves away from this sinful earth, move by means of an effortless unearthly flight into eternity, where there is life full of joy.” Even in the camp, she would give away her own meager portion of bread to others more needy. The Russian Orthodox Church took a long time to declare Mother Maria a saint probably because of her unorthodox ways and thinking
She too found escape through the smoke stacks of the gas chambers. It was Good Friday, March 30th, on the eve of the liberation of Paris, 1945, that Mother Maria was one of those chosen for death. According to other accounts, she took the place of another prisoner who was marked for the gas chamber that day.This little-known wayward nun who downed vodka and scribbled poetry had the courage to risk her life to do the Christ-like thing. (When Nazis interrogated her about whether she had seen any Jews, she would point to an icon of the Mother of God or else point to the body of Christ on her crucifix.) To stand up against injustice and hatred, not just in the abstract as she had criticized the early revolutionaries and even the ultra-nationalistic Church leaders, but in the real, the here-and-now. In the shiny-black-boots-ringing-at-the-doorbell-come-to-take-you-away real type of terror and injustice. The monster of barbarism that has mass appeal and seems unstoppable. It is in front of this monster that a tiny woman dressed in black stood up and said “NO!” No, that is not right. And it didn’t matter that those she risked her life for weren’t Russian or Greek or even Orthodox, she did it because it was the right thing to do. It was what Christ would have done. The same way the pathetic, no shoes, no power Greeks did to Hitler and Mussoulini. All they did was stand up and say “NO!” It takes courage to stand up and say “No!” when you are deemed puny and powerless. But it is that act that makes you powerful and makes all the difference; it is small acts of kindness and truth that echo down the annals of history and the alleys of Paris.

greekamericangirl.com

03 / 11 / 2015

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/87325.htm

Sheep Among Wolves

As the summer months have come to a close many young people are heading off to college, some for the very first time. A scripture passage comes to my mind as I think of these wonderful young people preparing to leave home: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16).” College professors almost universally enjoy challenging young college students to question authority, yet are taken aback when their own authority is questioned. They know they are addressing a class of impressionable minds and almost make sport of attacking the positions of their students. My advice to Orthodox students is to refuse to be intimidated and don’t be discouraged. Most of these professors took years to acquire the knowledge and the skill to successfully defend their belief system, or lack thereof, including atheism. These professors usually only ask you to question the authority of those who have instructed you thus far, such as your parents or your religious leaders, but are highly indignant when someone questions their authority. Their pattern of teaching is nothing new, for there have been antagonists like them from before recorded history. Furthermore, their arguments are nothing new, for there were teachers of atheism and other false teachings who confronted the Apostle Paul when he was preaching the gospel in Athens. The arguments may be new to you, but suffice to know these challenges to your faith have been answered by a great many apologists since the beginning of Christianity. Textbooks, be they geared towards history, science, or philosophy, have always tended to expound anti-Christian viewpoints, and it is important to remember that publishing companies produce textbooks that will sell to such academic mindsets. Christianity may be ridiculed as being closed minded and backward looking, but academics can not claim to be insulated from the same unhealthy trait. Some of the most closed minded individuals I have ever known were academics. I find it interesting that Christian writers expounding the Christian Faith are often accused of being biased, while secularists thinkers expose their own arrogance, hypocrisy and narrow mindedness, disallowing others their freedom of opinion. Dismissing the faith of young people, these pompous academics move to crush that which they themselves do not understand. The best advice I can offer the young Orthodox Christian heading off to college is this: know from the moment you enter the classroom that the professor is a better debater than you, so don’t place yourself in his scope. If you do, expect to be blown out of the water. Secondly, don’t be embarrassed by your commitment to your Orthodox faith. My experience teaching on both secular and religious campuses is that most students are secretly wishing to find a spiritual basis for the meaning of life. They may secretly envy you for your faith. My final advice, “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).” Build a support system for yourself by gathering together with other college students to form a chapter of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship. Meet on a weekly basis for worship, study, and networking. Get to know your faith to the degree that you can stand up to the best of them when defending your beliefs. If you do, you may one day be the reason an atheist professor finds Christ, and becomes an Orthodox Christian. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example…in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon

About Abbot Tryphon

The Very Rev. Fr. Tryphon is a priest-monk of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROCOR) and abbot of the All-Merciful Saviour Monastery on Vashon Island, Washington.
http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2015/11/sheep-among-wolves/

Schedule of Services and Events for November 1 -November 8

Sunday, November 1 1 PM Deanery DDD dinner at The Original Vazzy’s, 513 Broadbridge Avenue, Bridgeport  Monday, November 2 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM- Spirituality Class Tuesday, November 3 8:30 AM – First Hour 9 AM –Perogie Session Wednesday, November 4 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, November 5 8:30 AM – Akathist Friday, November 6 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 1 PM to 5 PM – Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 8 Lenox, MA -  St. Nectarios Retreat Sunday, November 8 10 AM – Pro-Liturgy with Protodeacon Anthony Kruge in Danbury Readers Schedule 11/8 – Susan Paltauf 11/15 – Stasia Mihaly 11/22 – Nicholas Fong 11/29 – Robert Faubel Coffee Hour 11/8 – Dugal/Lenox Retreat 11/15 – Sophia Baroody 11/22 – OPEN 11/29 – Fong 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch Upcoming Events Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen – Friday, November 6 Lenox , MA - St. Nectarios Retreat – Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 8 November 14– Roll Baking Day Cemetery Clean Up – Saturday, November 14 Thanksgiving Bake Sale - Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22 Music on the Mount - Saturday, November 28 St. Nicholas Day Brunch – Sunday, December 6

New Chandelier Blessing

On Sunday October 25th, we celebrated the blessing of our new chandelier during liturgy which has been donated in honor and memory of Max Rosenfield. The Kerpchar Family graciously hosted a wonderful dinner after the liturgy. chandelier_2 Here are some quotes that Father Luke mentioned during service about the chandelier with links to the full articles below: “…its ring is embellished with arches, very-slightly horseshoe shaped, which lend a splendid crown-like elegance.”  -  Andrew Gould, “A Chorus Chandelier for a Timber Frame Church”, Orthodox Arts Journal, January 9, 2014 chandelier_3 “Winding through an ever-changing progression of ornamental foliage and beasts is an inscription from Revelation 21:5 “There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This use of this verse on a chandelier has precedent in ancient Romanesque art, and it is fitting to the Orthodox idea of every church as an outpost of the Kingdom of God, shining from within with the light of God’s grace.“ - Andrew Gould, “A Chorus Chandelier for a Timber Frame Church”, Orthodox Arts Journal, January 9, 2014 chandelier_5 “A church interior should give a sense to incomers that this is a special place, a sacred space, not separate from but nevertheless distinct from the world outside. If the lighting inside is as intense as daylight, or is just like a well-lit work place, then we have little reminder that this is a place set side. One can think of low lighting as an evocation of the sepulchre from which the resurrection light breaks forth, or the mouth of a spring from which gushes the water of life to “bring life wherever it flows” (Ezekiel 47:9).” -  Aidan Hart, “Lighting in Orthodox Churches: Liturgical Principles and Practical Ideas” Orthodox Arts Journal, August 27, 2015 chandelier_63And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads. 5And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. 7Behold, I come quickly: blessed [is] he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” - Revelations 22:3-7 chandelier_1 *… because in Orthodoxy the entire temple represents the New Jerusalem. The meaning of the fixture in an Orthodox temple is complex, and can best be understood by examining the word ‘choros’. In ancient Greek, it was the word for a circular clearing in the forest, a meadow. In classical mythology it is the place where lovers gather secretly for trysts, where satyrs and nymphs dance to the pan flute. Churchmen boldly adopted this word to denote the circular liturgical space under the dome, a sunlit clearing in the forest of columns. Here God and man meet for their lover’s dance, and couples hold hands and walk in circles to be married, like the pagans of old. The chandelier is called choros after the circular space that it adorns. It is the wedding crown, an ornament of pure joy to celebrate the union of God and man, like the flowers and birds that ornamented the forest clearing.” - Andrew Gould “Holy Ascension Chorus”, Orthodox Arts Journal, June 14, 2012 chandelier_7 “The surviving Byzantine choroi do not include inscriptions, so for our choros we had to choose a text of our own. In consultation with the donor, we settled upon Revelation 21:5 “There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” This verse is similar to the inscription on the Aachen corona, however it does not describe the architecture of the city, but only the quality of light, and the eternal triumph of the blessed. It is a verse fitting to the role of the Orthodox choros—an instrument of illumination at the center of a temple which is itself the Heavenly City.”  - Andrew Gould “Holy Ascension Chorus”, Orthodox Arts Journal, June 14, 2012 chandelier_4

Schedule of Services and Events for October 25 – November 1

Monday, October 26 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM- Spirituality Class Tuesday, October 27 8:30 AM – Akathist 9 AM –Perogie Session Wednesday, October 28 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, October 29 8:30 AM – First Hour Saturday, October 31 8 AM – Baking Session 5 PM Vespers OCTOBER 31 DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME turn your clocks BACK 1 HOUR  Sunday, November 1 9 AM – Church School – Middle and High School 10 AM – Divine Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School – Elementary Sunday, November 1 1 PM – Deanery DDD dinner at: The Original Vazzy’s 513 Broadbridge Avenue Bridgeport, CT
Readers Schedule 10/25 – Paul Toaso 11/1 – Harry Fong 11/8 – Susan Paltauf 11/15 – Stasia Mihaly
Coffee Hour 10/25 – Kerpchar 11/1 – Budyonny 11/8 – Lenox Retreat
Upcoming Events Chandelier Blessing - Sunday, October 25 Roll Baking Day - Saturday, October 31 & November 14 Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen - Friday, November 6 St. Nectarios Retreat,Lenox, MA - Fri, Nov 6 - Sun, Nov 8 Cemetery Clean Up - Saturday, November 14 Music on the Mount - Saturday, November 28 St. Nicholas Day Brunch - Sunday, December 6

Bless My Enemies

St. Nikolai Velimirovich: Bless My Enemies O Lord Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world. Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance. Bless my enemies, O Lord, Even I bless them and do not curse them. Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf. Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background. Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand. Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep. Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out. Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me: so that my fleeing to You may have no return; so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins, arrogance and anger; so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life. Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends. It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and enemies. A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them. + St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers By the Lake (A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality, Volume 5)  

Schedule of Services and Events for the week October 18 – October 25, 2015

Monday, October 19 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM - Spirituality Class Tuesday, October 20 8:30 AM – Akathist 9 AM –Perogie Session Wednesday, October 21 9:30 AM – New Milford High School visit 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class  Thursday, October 22 10 AM – Liturgy imo for Nancy Franco Friday, October 23 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class Saturday, October 24 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, October 25 9 AM – Church School – Middle and High School 10 AM – Divine Liturgy blessing of Chandelier 11:30 AM – Church School – Elementary 12 noon – Brunch in honor and memory of Max Rosenfield. Blessing and dedication of the new Chandelier

Readers Schedule 10/18 – Susan Paltauf 10/25 – Paul Toaso 11/1 – Harry Fong 11/8 – Susan Paltauf


Coffee Hour 10/18 – Gross 10/25 – Kerpchar 11/1 – Budyonny 11/8 – Lenox Retreat
Upcoming Events Parish Council Meeting – Sunday, October 18 Deanery Corn Maze Family Outing – Sunday, October 18 Sunday, October 25, - Chandelier Blessing Saturday, October 31 – Roll Baking Day Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen – Friday, November 6 Lenox St. Nectarios Retreat – Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 8 Music on the Mount Saturday, November 28 St. Nicholas Day Brunch – Sunday, December 6

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of October 5 – October 11, 2015

Monday, October 5 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PMSpirituality Class

Tuesday, October 6 9 AM– Perogie making session

Sunday, October 11 9 AM – Church School – Middle and High School 10 AM – Divine Liturgy – served by Fr. Sergei Bouteneff 11:30 AM – Church School – Elementary

Thursday, October 15 7 PM – St. Nectarios Service

Friday, October 16 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 6 PM – Weeping Icon from Taylor Pennsylvania at St. John’s Church 384 Mill Hill Avenue, Bridgeport, CT

Saturday, October 17 5 PM – Vespers

Sunday, October 18 9 AM – Chrismation of Roz Mihaylo 9 AM - Church School 10 AM – Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School 12:30 PM – Parish Council

Fr. Luke and Pani along with several others are away in South Dakota from October 6 thru October 14.

For emergencies please contact the rectory so Fr. Luke can be reached


Readers Schedule 10/11 – Paul Sulich 10/18 – Susan Paltauf
Coffee Hour 10/11 – Radcliff 10/18 – Gross 10/25 – Kerpchar 11/1 - Budyonny

Upcoming Events

Lakota Nation Adult Mission Trip October 11 thru October 14

Weeping Icon to visit Bridgeport’s St. John’s Church Friday, October 16, 6 PM

Deanery Corn Maze Family Outing Sunday, October 18

Chandelier Blessing Sunday, October 25

Roll Baking Day Saturday, October 31

Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen Friday, November 6

Lenox St. Nectarios Retreat Friday, November 6 through Sunday, November 8

Bake Sale November 21-22

Music on the Mount Saturday, November 28

St. Nicholas Day Brunch Sunday, December 6

Bake Sale December 13