All posts by Fr. Luke Mihaly

12 Days of Christmas

                  "On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 Drummers Drumming Eleven Pipers Piping Ten Lords a Leaping Nine Ladies Dancing Eight Maids a Milking Seven Swans a Swimming Six Geese a Laying Five Golden Rings Four Calling Birds Three French Hens Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree" The "Twelve Days of Christmas" refer to the eight days of the Christmas Octave from December 25 to New Years Day, and the four additional days up to and including the eve of January 6, the traditional date of the Epiphany.  It contains hidden meanings intended to help children remember lessons of faith.  Instead of referring to an earthly suitor, the “true love” mentioned in the song really refers to God.  The “me” who receives the presents is symbolic of every baptized person. Partridge in a pear tree        Jesus Christ, symbolized as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from helpless nestlings. Two turtle doves                     Old & New Testaments

Three French Hens                 Faith, hope, charity

Four Calling birds                    The Four Gospels

Five Golden Rings                  The Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses   (Genesis through Deuteronomy)

Six geese a laying                   Six days of creation

Seven Swans a swimming     7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit Eight maids a-milking             8 Beatitudes Nine Ladies Dancing               Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit Ten Lords a-leaping                10 Commandments

Eleven pipers piping                The 11 faithful disciples

12 drummers drumming         12 articles of the Apostles Creed

Schedule of Services and Events for the Week of December 20 – December 27

Monday, December 21 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM - Spirituality Class Tuesday, December 22 8:30 AM – First Hour Thursday, December 24 9 AM – Royal Hours 5 PM – Holy Supper at Parish Hall – Lenten Covered dish 7 PM – Christmas Eve Complines and Christmas Carols Friday, December 25 10 AM – Liturgy Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Saturday, December 26 9 AM – Liturgy – Synaxis of the Virgin Mary 5 PM - Vespers Sunday, December 27 10 AM – Liturgy 12:30 AM – Christmas Caroling Tuesday, December 29 9:45 AM – Deanery Bowling Please Note: Christmas Eve is a Day of Strict Fasting. No Meat or Dairy is to be eaten. Also, there is No Fasting between Christmas and the Eve of Theophany. Readers Schedule 12/20 – Luke Mihaylo 12/27 – Sandi Fong Coffee Hour 12/20 – Toaso 12/27 - Suzanne

Our Need For Christ

Without Christ our world is devoid of hope, and for others to know this Christ, they must be able to see Him in us. The light of this very Christ must shine forth through the love of His Church and be made manifest in the works of His people. Without this love there is only darkness upon the face of our world, and the world will remain without hope Others can not know they need Christ if they do not see Him in us. They do not know this Christ fills hearts and transforms lives if they do not see transformation in us. If we are fearful, angry, judgmental, arrogant or aloof, the world will see nothing in our Christian faith worthy seeking. If others do not see in you a forgiving heart, how will they know there is forgiveness in Christ? If others do not see in you a heart filled with joy, how will they know they need the very Christ whom you proclaim as your Lord and Savior? If others see in you a judgmental, narrow minded, unhappy person, why would they be drawn to the Orthodoxy you claim is the true faith? 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.

Services and Events for the Week of December 13 – December 20

Sunday, December 13 – Parish Council Meeting Monday, December 14 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM - Spirituality Class Tuesday, December 15 8:30 AM – First Hour Wednesday, December 16 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, December 17 8:30 AM– Akathist 7 PM – Monthly St. Nectarios Service Friday, December 18 9:30 AM - Old Testament Class Saturday, December 19 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, December 20 9 AM – Church School 10 AM –Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School Readers Schedule 12/13 – Jeff Szymanowicz 12/20 – Luke Mihaylo 12/27 - Sandi Fong Coffee Hour 12/13 – Breakfast to raise funds for St. Nicholas Fund/Syrian relief 12/20 – Toaso 12/27 - Suzanne

Schedule of Services and Events for December 6 – December 13

Sunday, December 6 11:30 AM – St. Nicholas Brunch 3 PMASP Kickoff fundraiser  Monday, December 7 9  AM - Making Stuffed Cabbages 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM- Spirituality Class  Tuesday, December 8 8:30 AM – First Hour 9 AMPerogie Session Wednesday, December 9 7:30 AM – Lions Breakfast Amber Room 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, December 10 8:30 AM– Akathist Friday, December 11 9:30 AM Old Testament Class 7 PM – Ornament Exchange Sulich’s House Saturday, December 12 10 AM to 3 PM – Christmas Bake Sale 11 AM – Advent Youth Day – Ahmal and the Night Visitors 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, December 13 9 AM – Church School 10 AM –Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School 12:30 PM – Parish Council Meeting Readers Schedule 12/6 – Susan Paltauf 12/13 – Jeff Szymanowicz 12/20 – Luke Mihaylo Coffee Hour 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch 12/13 – Breakfast to raise funds for St. Nicholas Fund/Syrian relief 12/20 – Toaso 12/27 - Suzanne

Schedule of Events and Services for November 29 – December 6

WE ARE IN THE ADVENT FAST Today is the Last Day to bring in your used clothes for the Parish Clothing Drive!  Don’t forget your parish Secret Santa and their present for next Sunday!  Tuesday, December 1 9 AM Perogie Session Wednesday, December 2 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, December 3 8:30 AM– Akathist to St. Nicholas Friday, December 4 9:30 AM - Old Testament Class Saturday, December 5 7:30 PM – Vespers Sunday, December 6 9 AM – Church School 10 AM –Liturgy 11:30 AM – St. Nicholas Brunch 3 PM – Fundraising kick-off Readers Schedule 11/29 – Robert Faubel 12/6 – Susan Paltauf 12/13 – Jeff Szymanowicz 12/20 – Luke Mihaylo Coffee Hour 11/29 – Fong 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch 12/13 – Breakfast to raise funds for St. Nicholas Fund/Syrian relief 12/20 – Toaso 12/27 - Suzanne

Schedule of Services and Events for November 22 – November 29

WE ARE IN THE ADVENT FAST Today is our drawing for our parish Secret Santa Monday, November 23 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM – Spirituality Class Tuesday, November 24 8:30 AM - Hours Wednesday, November 25 7 PM – Moleben/Akathist of Thanksgiving Thursday, November 26 Happy Thanksgiving  - NO Fasting/Dispensation from Fasting on Friday Saturday, November 28 7:30 PM – Music on the Mount concert – St. Petersburg Ensemble Sunday, November 29 9 AM – Church School Sunday, November 29 10 AM Liturgy 11:30 AM – Church School Last Day of the Parish Clothing Drive. Bring in your used clothes! Readers Schedule 11/22 – Nicholas Fong 11/29 – Robert Faubel 12/6 – Susan Paltauf 12/13 - Luke Mihaylo 12/20 - Suzanne Molineaux 12/25 - Harry Fong 12/27 - Sandi Fong Coffee Hour 11/22 – Mihaylo 11/29 – Fong 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch

Schedule of Services and Events for November 15 – November 22

Sunday, November 15 ADVENT FAST BEGINS TODAY   Wednesday, November 18 7 PM – Adult Catechism Class Thursday, November 19 8:30 AM – Akathist 7 PM – St. Nectarios Service Friday, November 20 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class Saturday, November 21 10 AM to 3 PM- Thanksgiving Craft & Bake Sale  5 PM – Vespers Sunday, November 22 9 AM – Church School 10 AMLiturgy 11:30 AM – Craft & Bake Sale Continues Readers Schedule 11/15 – Stasia Mihaly 11/22 – Nicholas Fong 11/29 – Robert Faubel 12/6 – Susan Paltauf Coffee Hour 11/15 – Sophia Baroody 11/22 – OPEN 11/29 – Fong 12/6 – St. Nicholas Brunch

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 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. ( 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?”( 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.

03 / 11 / 2015