Category Archives: General

Holy Wednesday afternoon and Evening

The Sacrament of Holy Unction Introduction Unction.GOA On the afternoon or evening of Great and Holy Wednesday, the Sacrament or Mystery of Holy Unction is conducted in Orthodox parishes. The Sacrament of Holy Unction is offered for the healing of soul and body and for forgiveness of sins. At the conclusion of the service of the Sacrament, the body is anointed with oil, and the grace of God, which heals infirmities of soul and body, is called down upon each person. The Sacrament is performed by a gathering of priests, ideally seven in number, however, it can be performed by a lesser number and even by a single priest. When one is ill and in pain, this can very often be a time of life when one feels alone and isolated. The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, or Holy Unction as it is also known, reminds us that when we are ion pain, either physical, emotional, or spiritual, Christ is present with us through the ministry of His Church. He is among us to offer strength to meet the challenges of life, and even the approach of death. As with Chrismation, oil is also used in this Sacrament as a sign of God's presence, strength, and forgiveness. After the reading of seven Epistle lessons, seven Gospel lessons and the offering of seven prayers, which are all devoted to healing, the priest anoints the body with the Holy Oil. Orthodoxy does not view this Sacrament as available only to those who are near death. It is offered to all who are sick in body, mind, or spirit. Christ came to the world to "bear our infirmities." One of the signs of His divine Messiahship was to heal the sick. The power of healing remains in the Church since Christ himself remains in the Church through the Holy Spirit. The Sacrament of the Unction of the sick is the Church's specific prayer for healing. If the faith of the believers is strong enough, and if it is the will of God, there is every reason to believe that the Lord can heal those who are diseased. The biblical basis for the Sacrament is found in James 5:14-16: Is any among you sick, let him call for the presbyters of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. In ancient Christian literature one may find indirect testimonies of the Mystery of Unction in Saint Irenaeus of Lyons and in Origen. Later there are clear testimonies of it in Saints Basil the Great and John Chrysostom, who have left prayers for the healing of the infirm which entered later into the rite of Unction; and likewise in Saint Cyril of Alexandria. In the fifth century, Pope Innocent I answered a series of questions concerning the Mystery of Unction, indicating in his answers that a) it should be performed "upon believers who are sick"; b) it may be performed also by a bishop, since one should not see in the words of the Apostle, let him call for the presbyters, any prohibition for a bishop to participate in the sacred action; c) this anointment may not be performed "on those undergoing ecclesiastical penance,' because it is a "Mystery,' and to those who are forbidden the other Mysteries, how can one allow only one? The express purpose of the Sacrament of Holy Unction is healing and forgiveness. Since it is not always the will of God that there should be physical healing, the prayer of Christ that God's will be done always remains as the proper context of the Sacrament. In addition, it is the clear intention of the Sacrament that through the anointing of the sick body the sufferings of the person should be sanctified and united to the sufferings of Christ. In this way, the wounds of the flesh are consecrated, and strength is given that the suffering of the diseased person may not be unto the death of his soul, but for eternal salvation in the resurrection and life of the Kingdom of God. It is indeed the case that death inevitably comes. All must die, even those who in this life are given a reprieve through healing in order to have more time on the earth. Thus, the healing of the sick is not itself a final goal, but is merely "instrumental" in that it is given by God as a sign of his mercy and as a grace for the further opportunity of man to live for him and for others in the life of this world. In the case where a person is obviously in the final moments of his earthly life, the Church has special prayers for the "separation of soul and body." Thus, it is clear that the Sacrament of Holy Unction is for the sick-both the physically and mentally sick-and is not reserved for the moment of death. The Sacrament of Unction is not the "last rites" as is sometimes thought; the ritual of the anointing itself in no way indicates that it should be administered merely in "extreme" cases. Holy Unction is the Sacrament of the spiritual, physical, and mental healing of a sick person whatever the nature or the gravity of the illness may be. Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Sacrament of Holy unction Unction.2 The Sacrament itself calls for seven priests, seven readings from the Epistles and Gospels, seven prayers and seven anointings with oil specifically blessed during the service. Although it is not always possible to perform the sacrament in this way, the normal procedure is still to gather together as many priests and people as possible. The faithful come forward to be anointed with the Holy Unction "...for the healing of soul and body..." Photos courtesy of John Thomas and used with permission. Experience more of Holy Week in pictures through John Thomas' book "Sacred Light: Following the Paschal Journey" At the end of the service the priest anoints the faithful as he makes the sign of the cross on the forehead and top and palms of the hands saying, "For the healing of soul and body." - See more at: http://lent.goarch.org/holy_wednesday/learn/#sthash.Ox7SygKY.dpuf

The Services of the Bridegroom

Holy Tuesday Wise.Virgins On Holy Tuesday the Church calls to remembrance two parables, which are related to the Second Coming. The one is the parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-3); the other the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). These parables point to the inevitability of the Parousia and deal with such subjects as spiritual vigilance, stewardship, accountability and judgment. From these parables we learn at least two basic things. First, Judgment Day will be like the situation in which the bridesmaids (or virgins) of the parable found themselves: some ready for it, some not ready. The time one decides for God is now and not at some undefined point in the future. If "time and tide waits for no man," certainly the Parousia is no exception. The tragedy of the closed door is that individuals close it, not God. The exclusion from the marriage feast, the kingdom, is of our own making. Second, we are reminded that watchfulness and readiness do not mean a wearisome, spiritless performance of formal and empty obligations. Most certainly it does not mean inactivity and slothfulness. Watchfulness signifies inner stability, soberness, tranquility and joy. It means spiritual alertness, attentiveness and vigilance. Watchfulness is the deep personal resolve to find and do the will of God, embrace every commandment and every virtue, and guard the intellect and heart from evil thoughts and actions. Watchfulness is the intense love of God. - See more at: http://lent.goarch.org/bridegroom_services/learn/#sthash.yzeA0Oio.dpuf

The Services of the Bridegroom

Introduction bridegroom-1[1] Beginning on the evening of Palm Sunday and continuing through the evening of Holy Tuesday, the Orthodox Church observes a special service known as the Service of the Bridegroom. Each evening service is the Matins or Orthros service of the following day (e.g. the service held on Sunday evening is the Orthros service for Holy Monday). The name of the service is from the figure of the Bridegroom in the parable of the Ten Virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13. Background The first part of Holy Week presents us with an array of themes based chiefly on the last days of Jesus' earthly life. The story of the Passion, as told and recorded by the Evangelists, is preceded by a series of incidents located in Jerusalem and a collection of parables, sayings and discourses centered on Jesus' divine sonship, the kingdom of God, the Parousia, and Jesus' castigation of the hypocrisy and dark motives of the religious leaders. The observances of the first three days of Great Week are rooted in these incidents and sayings. The three days constitute a single liturgical unit. They have the same cycle and system of daily prayer. The Scripture lessons, hymns, commemorations, and ceremonials that make up the festal elements in the respective services of the cycle highlight significant aspects of salvation history, by calling to mind the events that anticipated the Passion and by proclaiming the inevitability and significance of the Parousia. The Orthros of each of these days is called the Service of the Bridegroom (Akolouthia tou Nimfiou). The name comes from the central figure in the well-known parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The title Bridegroom suggests the intimacy of love. It is not without significance that the kingdom of God is compared to a bridal feast and a bridal chamber. The Christ of the Passion is the divine Bridegroom of the Church. The imagery connotes the final union of the Lover and the beloved. The title Bridegroom also suggests the Parousia. In the patristic tradition, the aforementioned parable is related to the Second Coming; and is associated with the need for spiritual vigilance and preparedness, by which we are enabled to keep the divine commandments and receive the blessings of the age to come. The troparion "Behold the Bridegroom comes in the middle of the night…", which is sung at the beginning of the Orthros of Great Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, relates the worshiping community to that essential expectation: watching and waiting for the Lord, who will come again to judge the living and the dead. Holy Monday  On Holy Monday we commemorate Joseph the Patriarch, the beloved son of Jacob. A major figure of the Old Testament, Joseph's story is told in the final section of the Book of Genesis (chs. 37-50). Because of his exceptional qualities and remarkable life, our patristic and liturgical tradition portrays Joseph as tipos Christou, i.e., as a prototype, prefigurement or image of Christ. The story of Joseph illustrates the mystery of God's providence, promise and redemption. Innocent, chaste and righteous, his life bears witness to the power of God's love and promise. The lesson to be learned from Joseph's life, as it bears upon the ultimate redemption wrought by the death and resurrection of Christ, is summed up in the words he addressed to his brothers who had previously betrayed him, “’Fear not ... As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he reassured them and comforted them” (Genesis 50:19-21). The commemoration of the noble, blessed and saintly Joseph reminds us that in the great events of the Old Testament, the Church recognizes the realities of the New Testament. Also, on Great and Holy Monday the Church commemorates the event of the cursing of the fig tree (Matthew 21:18-20). In the Gospel narrative this event is said to have occurred on the morrow of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:18 and Mark 11:12). For this reason it found its way into the liturgy of Great Monday. The episode is also quite relevant to Great Week. Together with the event of the cleansing of the Temple this episode is another manifestation of Jesus' divine power and authority and a revelation as well of God's judgment upon the faithlessness of the Jewish religious classes. The fig tree is symbolic of Israel become barren by her failure to recognize and receive Christ and His teachings. The cursing of the fig tree is a parable in action, a symbolic gesture. Its meaning should not be lost on any one in any generation. Christ's judgment on the faithless, unbelieving, unrepentant and unloving will be certain and decisive on the Last Day. This episode makes it clear that nominal Christianity is not only inadequate, it is also despicable and unworthy of God's kingdom. Genuine Christian faith is dynamic and fruitful. It permeates one's whole being and causes a change. Living, true and unadulterated faith makes the Christian conscious of the fact that he is already a citizen of heaven. Therefore, his way of thinking, feeling, acting and being must reflect this reality. Those who belong to Christ ought to live and walk in the Spirit; and the Spirit will bear fruit in them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-25). - See more at: http://lent.goarch.org/bridegroom_services/learn/#sthash.yzeA0Oio.dpuf

Ascetic Struggle

If we embrace Christianity with dedication of heart and mind, we will receive the power to live in this world, filled as it is, with temptations and disappointments, yet remaining true to our vocation as a holy people. Committing ourselves to being full time Christians, empowers us to live our lives in such a way that we give glory and witness to the very Christ Whom we worship. If, however, we avoid ascetic struggle, and choose to keep our Christian faith sidelined, and rejecting real commitment, we will ultimately have  become Christian in name only. For those who, out of laziness or personal selfishness, choose to relegate fasting, private prayer, and even church attendance, as something done only when we feel “in the mood”, we will stand before the Throne of God, in the end, with a darkened heart that can not withstand the power of God, and eternity will be for us, a lake of fire. With love in Christ, Abbot Tryphon From: http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2016/04/holy-week/

Schedule of Services and events for the week of April 24 – May 1

Monday, April 25 9 AM – Bridegroom Matins 6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy Tuesday, April 26 9 AM – Bridegroom Matins 6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy Wednesday, April 27 9 AM – Bridegroom Matins 12 noon – Presanctified Liturgy 6 PM – Holy Unction Service Thursday, April 28 9 AM – Vesperal Liturgy – Institution of the Eucharist 7 PM – Matins and the Reading of the 12 Passion Gospels Friday, April 29 9 AM – Royal Hours 7 PM – Great & Holy Friday Vespers with Procession and Guarding the Tomb Saturday, April 30 9 AM – Vesperal Liturgy 11 PM – Nocturne, Paschal Matins, Paschal Divine Liturgy followed by blessing of the Baskets and Agape Meal Sunday, May 1 12 Noon – Paschal Vespers Monday May 2 9 AM – Liturgy 7 PM – Vespers/ Spirituality Class Readers Schedule 4/24 – Susan Paltauf 5/1- Paul Sulich 5/8 - Suzanne Molineaux Coffee Hour 4/24 – Pot Luck/Lenten Cook Off 5/1 – PASCHA 5/8 – Mother’s Day - see Harry Fong and Paul Sulich

Volunteers Urgently Needed for OCMC Teaching Team to Indonesia at the End of June!

On June 28th, OCMC will be sending a team of Orthodox volunteers to teach the Faith in Medan, Indonesia. This teaching is needed by the Orthodox faithful, especially the youth, in this predominately Muslim country, and volunteers are needed for this team now more than ever. Please consider applying if you are able to give your time to help strengthen the Faith of Orthodox children in Indonesia by visiting http://www.ocmc.org, e-mailing teams@ocmc.org, or by calling 1-877-463-6784 ext. 141. Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC)

Services and Events for the week of April 10 – April 17

Monday, April 11 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM – Spirituality Class   Tuesday, April 12 8:30 AM – Lenten Hours 9 AM – Perogie Session Wednesday, April 13 9 AM - Lenten Hours 6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy followed by Lenten Meal 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, April 14 8:30 AM – Akathist of Repentance 6 PM – Canon of St. Andrew and Life of St. Mary of Egypt Friday, April 15 9 AM – Lenten Hours 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 7 PM – Akathist at St. Georges Saturday, April 16 10 AM – 3 PM – Second Bake and Craft Sale 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, April 17 9 AM – Church School – Youth/Teens 10 AM –Liturgy – St. Mary of Egypt Sunday 11:30 AM – Church School – Children Readers Schedule 4/10 –Bob Faubel 4/17 – Sandi Fong 4/24 – Susan Paltauf 5/1- Paul Sulich Coffee Hour 4/10 Fundraiser OCMC 4/17 – OPEN 4/24 – Pot Luck/Lenten Cook Off 5/1 – PASCHA 5/8 - OPEN

One Person at a Time: Changing the world begins with me

The Elder Sophroni of Essex said he believed in changing the world, one person at a time. These words are in agreement with those of Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who said acquiring inner peace causes a thousand around us to be saved. As long as we concentrate on the failings of others, inner transformation will elude us, and the world will remain in darkness. If we remain stuck in the quagmire of sin, and focused on the failings of others, we will fail in the work of conforming ourselves to the will of God. It is, of course, much more personally comfortable to notice the failings and the sins of others, but if we do not take stock of ourselves, we will do great harm to our soul. Judging others opens wide the gates for evil spirits to enter, whereby laying waste and destroying the grace of baptism that resides within our hearts. We are in a battle against evil forces, and we had better be on guard. Our eternal life depends on it. 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 April 3 – April 10

Monday, April 4 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM – Spirituality Class  Tuesday, April 5 8:30 AM – Lenten Hours 9 AM – Perogie Session Wednesday, April 6, 9 AM - Lenten Hours 6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy followed by Lenten Meal 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, April 7 8:30 AM – Akathist of Repentance Friday, April 8 9 AM – Lenten Hours 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 5:30 PM – Moleben to the Cross 7 PM – Akathist at St. Georges Saturday, April 9 8 AM – Taylor trip to weeping icon. Meet at church parking lot 6 PM – Vespers Sunday, April 10 9 AM – Church School – Youth/Teens 10 AM –Liturgy – St. John Climacus Sunday 11:30 AM – Church School – Children 12:30 PM – Parish Council Meeting 12:30 PM – Knitting group Readers Schedule 4/3 – Harry Fong 4/10 –Bob Faubel 4/17 – Sandi Fong 4/24 – Susan Paltauf 5/1- Paul Sulich Coffee Hour 4/3 – Penny Social 4/10 Fundraiser OCMC 4/17 – OPEN 4/24 – Pot Luck/Lenten Cook Off 5/1 – PASCHA 5/8 - Mother's Day - Fong/Sulich

Services and Events for the week of March 27 – April 3

Monday, March 28 6 PM – Prayer Group 7 PM – Spirituality Class    Tuesday, March 29 8:30 AM – Lenten Hours 9 AM – Perogie Session Wednesday, March 30 9 AM - Lenten Hours 6 PM – Presanctified Liturgy followed by Lenten Meal 7 PM – Catechism Class Thursday, March 31 8:30 AM – Akathist of Repentance Friday, April 1 9 AM – Lenten Hours 9:30 AM – Old Testament Class 7 PM – Deanery Presanctified Liturgy at St. John’s Mill Hill Avenue Saturday, April 2 9 AM – Soul Saturday Liturgy 12 noon – OYMT tool training at St. John’s Church Mill Hill Ave 5 PM – Vespers Sunday, April 3 9 AM – Church School – Youth/Teens 10 AM –Liturgy – Cross Veneration Sunday 11:30 AM – Church School – Children 12 noon – Penny Social Readers Schedule 3/27 – Susan Sulich 4/3 – Harry Fong 4/10 - Bob Faubel 4/17 – Sandi Fong 4/24 – Susan Paltauf 5/1- Paul Sulich Coffee Hour 3/27 – Gross 4/3 – Penny Social 4/10 Fundraiser OCMC 4/17 – OPEN 4/24 – Pot Luck/Lenten Cook Off 5/1 – PASCHA 5/8 - OPEN