Archive for June, 2007

5th and 6th weeks after Pentecost

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Services this week (5th and 6th weeks after Pentecost)

5th Sunday after Pentecost, Holy Martyr Leontius


6th Sunday after Pentecost, Afterfeast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and the Virgin-Martyr Febronia


Announcements

  • Wednesday, July 4th is a Fast Day!
  • We will have choir rehearsal on Monday, July 9th.
  • The next reader class will be on Monday, July 16th.
  • The feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul is coming up on Thursday, July 12th. We will have Vigil on the 11th and Liturgy on the 12th. This will mark the end of the fast.
  • Pravoslavie.ru is an excellent source for church news, edifying reading, and other materials in Russian. In recent news, you can find a photo-report of Metropolitan Laurus' visit to the Ukraine.

This week in the life of the Church

Saturday, June 30th is the commemoration of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco.
Saturday, July 7th is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist .

About the Vigil Service (from the Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)
  
(continued from last week)

During the chanting of the Theotokion the Royal Gates are opened, and the Vespers Entry is made; a candle bearer comes through the north door of the Sanctuary, followed by the deacon with the censer and finally the priest. The priest stops on the ambo facing the Royal Gates and after blessing the entry with the sign of the Cross, and the deacon's intoning of the words "Wisdom, let us attend!" the priest reenters the Altar together with the deacon through the Royal Gates and goes to stand next to the High Place behind the Holy Table.

At this time the choir chants a hymn to the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ: "O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of Life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee."

In this hymn the Son of God is called the Gentle Light that comes from the Heavenly Father, because He came to this earth not in the fullness of divine glory but in the gentle radiance of this glory. This hymn also says that only with reverent voices, and not our sinful mouths, can He be exalted worthily and the necessary glorification be accomplished.

The entry during Vespers reminds the faithful how the Old Testament righteous, in harmony with the promise of God that was manifest in prototypes and prophecies, expected the coming of the Saviour, and how He appeared in the world for the salvation of the human race.

The censer with incense used at the entry signifies that our prayers, by the intercession of our Lord the Saviour, are offered to God like incense. It also signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

The blessing with the sign of the Cross shows that by means of the Cross of the Lord the doors into Paradise are opened again for us.

Following the chanting of the hymn "O Gentle Light…" we sing the prokeimenon, short verses taken from the Holy Scriptures. On Saturday evening, for the Vespers for Sunday, we chant, "The Lord is King; He is clothed with majesty."

After the chanting of the prokeimenon, on the more important feasts there are readings. These are selections from the Scriptures in which there is a prophecy or a prototype which relates to the event being celebrated, or in which edifying teachings are set forth, which relate to the saint commemorated that day.

Following the prokeimenon and readings the deacon intones the Augmented Litany, "Let us all say with our whole soul and with our whole mind, let us say." The prayer, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this evening without sin…" follows, and at the conclusion of this prayer the deacon reads the Supplicatory Litany, "Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord…"

On great feasts after the Augmented and Supplicatory Litanies the Litia, or Blessing of Bread and Wine, is celebrated.

"Litia" is a Greek word meaning "common prayer." The Litia, a series of verses chanted by the choir followed by an enumeration of many saints whose prayers are besought, is celebrated in the western end of the church, near the main entrance doors, or in the Narthex, if the church is so arranged. This part of the service was intended for those who were standing in the Narthex, the catechumens and penitents, so they might be able to take part in the common service on the occasions of the major festivals.

At the end of the Litia is the blessing and sanctification of five loaves of bread, wheat, wine and oil to recall the ancient custom of providing food for those assembled who had come some distance, in order to give them strength during the long divine services. The five loaves are blessed to recall the feeding of the five thousand with five loaves of bread. Later, during the main part of Matins, the priest anoints the faithful with the sanctified oil, after they have venerated the festal icon.

After the Litia, or if it is not served, after the Supplicatory Litany, the Aposticha (Verses with hymns) are chanted. These are a few verses which are specially written in memory of the occasion.

Vespers ends with the reading of the prayer of St. Simeon the God-Receiver, "Now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, O Master, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light of revelation for the gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel." This prayer is followed by the reading of the Trisagion and the Lord's Prayer, and the singing of the salutation of the Theotokos, "O Theotokos and Virgin, Rejoice!…," or the troparion of the feast, and finally the thrice-chanted prayer of the Psalmist: "Blessed be the name of the Lord from henceforth and for evermore." The 33rd Psalm is then read or chanted until the verse, "But they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived o'f any good thing." Then follows the priestly blessing, "The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love for mankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."

The conclusion of Vespers with the prayer of St. Simeon and the angelic salutation of the Theotokos indicates the fulfillment of the divine promise of a Saviour.

Immediately after the conclusion of Vespers during an All-Night Vigil, Matins begins with the reading of the Six Psalms.

(to be continued…)

Prayer Requests

"I was sick and you visited me." We have petitions for the sick, for travellers, and in general for those in need during the Liturgy; so, if you or someone you know needs prayer or would like a visit, please let Father Seraphim know.

Help with the Services

Helping with the services is an important ministry to God and to other members of the parish. We can always use help singing in the choir, reading the prayers and psalms, or assisting in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy. If you wish to help in the Altar, please speak to Father Seraphim. If you wish to help sing or read, please speak to Nicholas Park.

Our Sunday School

Raissa Dudar, Matushka Marina and Christina Newell are teaching a class for our youngest children during the sermon each Sunday. Nicholas Park and David Hawthorne are teaching a class for the older children after Trapeza, at roughly 12:30. If you would like to help with the program, please speak to Raissa, Nicholas, or Father Seraphim.

Our Bookstore

Please see and use our bookstore. We have books, icons, CD's, Pascha and Nativity cards, souveniers and other items. When you buy something, please put the following into the donation box, together with the payment: the item name and the dollar ($) amount of the payment. There are pads for your use for this purpose in the bookstore. If you wish to help maintain the bookstore, please speak to Nicholas Park.
       
Our Parish Library

Our parish library is an opportunity to pool our resources, given each of us access to spiritually profitable books, CD's and other items that we would not otherwise be able to afford. By borrowing from the library, you can have more resources to help you grow in the love of God, and by donating to the library, you can express your love for others by helping them to do the same. When you borrow from the library, please write the name of the book or CD on the clipboard, and return the items within four weeks. If you have materials to donate to the library, or if you wish to help maintain the collection, please speak to Nicholas Park

St. Juliana Sisterhood

All women are welcome to be members of our Sisterhood. To become one, please contact Raisa Dudar.

Mary needs Martha! – Cleaning the Church

An excellent opportunity open to both men and women to help maintain the beauty, warmth and hospitable atmosphere of our parish is to help clean the church. In addition to participating in our periodic clean-up days, you may also sign-up to help with one of the tasks that must be done on a weekly basis. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the kitchen. You may see Matushka Marina or Nicholas Park for more information.

Financial Stewardship

All Orthodox Christians should make financial contributions to the parish of which they are a part. Doing so enables the parish to be sustained financially, puts one in the position of being a benefactor to the Church, and is an important way to put Christ first in our lives. Our Lord says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Our parish needs a larger monthly income; currently we are just able to meet our expenses, despite having cut these back to the bare minimum. May the Lord help us as we prayerfully consider our pledge to our church. Tithing (giving 10%) from one's income is a good foundation for personal giving with ample precedent in the life of the Church.

Our Building Fund

Every Orthodox community should build a temple to God's glory. Given the condition of our current facility, it is important for us to move forward with our building plans. To make a contribution to the Building Fund, you can make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, "Building Fund."

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Newsletter, 4th Week after Pentecost

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Services this week (4th week after Pentecost)

4th Sunday after Pentecost, Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion in China

Events

  • Saturday, June 23: 2:00 PM Church clean-up day. Please come help us clean the church!

Announcements

  • The choir rehearsal scheduled for Monday, June 25th has been postponed to Thursday, July 5th.
  • The next reader class will be on Monday, July 9th.
  • The feast of Sts. Peter and Paul is coming up on Thursday, July 12th.

Name days  

Kyriake (Melian) celebrates her name day on Wednesday. Many years!      

If we miss your name day, let us know, and we'll correct our records.

This week in the life of the Church

The Martyrs of the Boxer Rebellion in China are a wonderful example for us of devotion to Christ in modern times. Follow the link to read more about them.

About the Vigil Service (from the Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)
  
The All-night Vigil is the divine service which is served on the evening prior to the days of specially celebrated feasts. It consists of the combination of Vespers, Matins and First Hour, during which both services are conducted with greater solemnity and with more illumination of the church than on other days.  

This service is given the name "All-night," because in ancient times, it began in the later evening and it continued through the entire night until dawn.  

Later, in condescension to the weakness of the faithful, this service was begun earlier, and certain contractions were made in the readings and chanting, and therefore it now does not last so long as it did. However, the former term "All-night" is preserved.    

Vespers recalls and represents events of the Old Testament: the creation of the world, the fall into sin of the first human beings, their expulsion from Paradise, their repentance and prayer for salvation, the hope of mankind in accordance with the promise of God for a Saviour and finally, the fulfillment of that promise.  

The Vespers of an All-night Vigil begins with the opening of the Royal Gates. The priest and deacon silently cense the Altar Table and the entire sanctuary so that clouds of incense fill the depths of the sanctuary. This silent censing represents the beginning of the creation of the world. In the beginning God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form and void, and the Spirit of God hovered over the original material earth, breathing upon it a life-creating power, but the creating word of God had not yet begun to resound.  

Then the priest stands before the Altar and intones the first exclamation to the glory of the Creator and Founder of the world, the Most-holy Trinity, "Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages."  

Then he four times summons the faithful, "O come, let us worship God our King. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and our God. O come let us worship and fall down before Him." For All things were made by Him; and without him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3).  

In response to this summons, the choir solemnly chants the 103rd Psalm, which describes the creation of the world and glorifies the wisdom of God: Bless the Lord, O my soul. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, O Lord my God, Thou hast been magnified exceedingly… In wisdom hast Thou made them all… Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord… Glory to Thee, O Lord, Who hast made them all.  

During the chanting of this psalm the priest goes forth from the sanctuary and completes the censing of the entire church and the faithful therein, while a deacon precedes him bearing a lit candle in his hand.  

This sacred action not only reminds those praying of the creation of the world, but primarily of the blessed life in Paradise of the first human beings, when the Lord God Himself walked among them. The open Royal Gates signify that at that time the gates of Paradise were open for all people.  

Then man was deceived by the Devil and transgressed against the will of God and fell into sin. Because of their fall, mankind was deprived of blessed life in Paradise. They were driven out of Paradise and the gates were closed to them. To symbolize this expulsion, following the censing of the church and the conclusion of the chanting of the psalm, the Royal Gates are closed.  

Then the deacon comes out from the sanctuary and stands before the closed Royal Gates, as Adam did before the sealed entrance into Paradise, and intones the Great Litany:  

In peace let us pray to the Lord. Let us pray to the Lord when we have been reconciled with all our neighbors, so that we feel no anger or hostility towards them. For the peace from above, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Let us pray that the Lord send down upon us "from on high" the peace of Heaven and that He save our souls.  

After the Great Litany and the exclamation of the priest, certain selected verses are usually sung from the first three psalms of the Psalter:  

Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, that is, he who has not lived or acted on the advice of those who are irreverent and impious. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, and the way of the ungodly shall perish. For the Lord knows the life of the righteous and the life of the impious leads to ruin. The deacon then intones the Little Litany, "Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord…" After this litany the choir chants the verses of certain psalms that express the longing of man for salvation and Paradise: Lord, I have cried unto Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord… Attend to the voice of my supplication, when I cry unto Thee… Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord. During the chanting of these verses the deacon censes the church once more.  

This entire period of the divine service, beginning with the opening of the Royal Gates, through the petitions of the Great Ectenia and the chanting of the psalms, represents the miserable state of mankind to which it was subjected by the fall of our forefathers into sin. With the fall all the deprivations, pains and sufferings we experience came into our lives. We cry out to God, "Lord, have mercy" and request peace and salvation for our souls. We feel contrition that we heeded the ungodly counsel of the Devil. We ask God for the forgiveness of our sins and deliverance from troubles, and we place all our hope in the mercy of God. The censing by the deacon at this time signifies the sacrifices of the Old Testament and our own prayers as well, which we offer to God.  

Alternating with the chanting of the Old Testament verses of these psalms of "Lord, I have cried" are New testament hymns composed in honor of the saint or feast of the day.  

The last verse is called the Theotokion, or Dogmatikon, since it is sung in honor of the Mother of God, and in it is set forth the dogma on the incarnation of the Son of God from the Virgin Mary. On the twelve great feasts, instead of the Theotokion a special verse is chanted in honor of the feast.  During the chanting of the Theotokion the Royal Gates are opened, and the Vespers Entry is made; a candle bearer comes through the north door of the Sanctuary, followed by the deacon with the censer and finally the priest. The priest stops on the ambo facing the Royal Gates and after blessing the entry with the sign of the Cross, and the deacon’s intoning of the words "Wisdom, let us attend!" the priest reenters the Altar together with the deacon through the Royal Gates and goes to stand next to the High Place behind the Holy Table.

(to be continued…)

Prayer Requests

"I was sick and you visited me." We have petitions for the sick, for travellers, and in general for those in need during the Liturgy; so, if you or someone you know needs prayer or would like a visit, please let Father Seraphim know.

Help with the Services

Helping with the services is an important ministry to God and to other members of the parish. We can always use help singing in the choir, reading the prayers and psalms, or assisting in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy. If you wish to help in the Altar, please speak to Father Seraphim. If you wish to help sing or read, please speak to Nicholas Park.

Our Sunday School

Raissa Dudar, Matushka Marina and Christina Newell are teaching a class for our youngest children during the sermon each Sunday. Nicholas Park and David Hawthorne are teaching a class for the older children after Trapeza, at roughly 12:30. If you would like to help with the program, please speak to Raissa, Nicholas, or Father Seraphim.

Our Bookstore

Please see and use our bookstore. We have books, icons, CD's, Pascha and Nativity cards, souveniers and other items. When you buy something, please put the following into the donation box, together with the payment: the item name and the dollar ($) amount of the payment. There are pads for your use for this purpose in the bookstore. If you wish to help maintain the bookstore, please speak to Nicholas Park.
       
Our Parish Library

Our parish library is an opportunity to pool our resources, given each of us access to spiritually profitable books, CD's and other items that we would not otherwise be able to afford. By borrowing from the library, you can have more resources to help you grow in the love of God, and by donating to the library, you can express your love for others by helping them to do the same. When you borrow from the library, please write the name of the book or CD on the clipboard, and return the items within four weeks. If you have materials to donate to the library, or if you wish to help maintain the collection, please speak to Nicholas Park

St. Juliana Sisterhood

All women are welcome to be members of our Sisterhood. To become one, please contact Raisa Dudar.

Mary needs Martha! – Cleaning the Church

An excellent opportunity open to both men and women to help maintain the beauty, warmth and hospitable atmosphere of our parish is to help clean the church. In addition to participating in our periodic clean-up days, you may also sign-up to help with one of the tasks that must be done on a weekly basis. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the kitchen. You may see Matushka Marina or Nicholas Park for more information.

Financial Stewardship

All Orthodox Christians should make financial contributions to the parish of which they are a part. Doing so enables the parish to be sustained financially, puts one in the position of being a benefactor to the Church, and is an important way to put Christ first in our lives. Our Lord says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Our parish needs a larger monthly income; currently we are just able to meet our expenses, despite having cut these back to the bare minimum. May the Lord help us as we prayerfully consider our pledge to our church. Tithing (giving 10%) from one's income is a good foundation for personal giving with ample precedent in the life of the Church.

Our Building Fund

Every Orthodox community should build a temple to God’s glory. Given the condition of our current facility, it is important for us to move forward with our building plans. To make a contribution to the Building Fund, you can make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, "Building Fund."

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Change in Service Times

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

As indicated in the newsletter, we will be changing our regular service schedule, because of the heat of summer. The new schedule is:

  • Saturday Vigil, 6 PM
  • Sunday Liturgy, 9 AM
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Newsletter, 3rd Week after Pentecost

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Services this week (3rd week after Pentecost)

Events

  • Monday, June 11: 6:30 PM 1st Reader/Liturgics class for those interested in learning how to read in church.
  • Saturday, June 16: 4:00 PM Church Council Meeting to discuss our plans for the future – all are welcome!

Announcements

At Saturday's Church Council meeting, we will be discussing our plans for the future of our parish, including options for the use of our land, possibilities for building a church, and related topics. Please join us if you wish to be a part of this discussion.

This week in the life of the Church

Sunday, May 17th is important in a number of ways. We will continue our joyful celebration of the fruits of Pentecost by remembering all the saints who have shown forth in North America. In addition, this day is the commemoration of the New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke.

Remember that on each and every day of the year, the church remembers the saints, and their lives provide inspirational and instructive examples for us, showing us how to live our new life in Christ, and proving that it really is possible to do so. There are links on our blog to the saints lives, as well as readings from Holy Scripture, for each day.

About the All-Night Vigil

On a separate blog post, we are serializing Fr. Victor Potapov's article about the structure and meaning of the All-Night Vigil service, in the hopes that it will help all of use come to better understand and appreciate this wonderful service.

Prayer Requests

"I was sick and you visited me." We have petitions for the sick, for travelers, and in general for those in need during the Liturgy; so, if you or someone you know needs prayer or would like a visit, please let Father Seraphim know.

Help with the Services

Helping with the services is an important ministry to God and to other members of the parish. We can always use help singing in the choir, reading the prayers and psalms, or assisting in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy. If you wish to help in the Altar, please speak to Father Seraphim. If you wish to help sing or read, please speak to Nicholas Park.

We will hold a monthly liturgics class, for those interested in learning more about the structure of the services or how to read in church. Our first meeting will be this Monday, June 11th, at 6:30 PM.

We will be holding monthly choir rehearsals, God willing, beginning on Monday, June 25th at 6:30 PM.

Our Sunday School

Raissa Dudar, Matushka Marina and Christina Newell are teaching a class for our youngest children during the sermon each Sunday. Nicholas Park and David Hawthorne are teaching a class for the older children after Trapeza, at roughly 12:30. If you would like to help with the program, please speak to Raissa, Nicholas, or Father Seraphim.

Our Bookstore

Please see and use our bookstore. We have books, icons, CD's, Pascha and Nativity cards, souveniers and other items. When you buy something, please put the following into the donation box, together with the payment: the item name and the dollar ($) amount of the payment. There are pads for your use for this purpose in the bookstore. If you wish to help maintain the bookstore, please speak to Nicholas Park

Our Parish Library

Our parish library is an opportunity to pool our resources, given each of us access to spiritually profitable books, CD's and other items that we would not otherwise be able to afford. By borrowing from the library, you can have more resources to help you grow in the love of God, and by donating to the library, you can express your love for others by helping them to do the same. When you borrow from the library, please write the name of the book or CD on the clipboard, and return the items within four weeks. If you have materials to donate to the library, or if you wish to help maintain the collection, please speak to Nicholas Park

St. Juliana Sisterhood

All women are welcome to be members of our Sisterhood. To become one, please contact Raisa Dudar.

Mary needs Martha! – Cleaning the Church

An excellent opportunity open to both men and women to help maintain the beauty, warmth and hospitable atmosphere of our parish is to help clean the church. In addition to participating in our periodic clean-up days, you may also sign-up to help with one of the tasks that must be done on a weekly basis. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the kitchen. You may see Matushka Marina or Nicholas Park for more information.

We will have a church clean-up day at 1:30 PM on Saturday, June 23rd. Please come, and help us beautify God's church!

Financial Stewardship

All Orthodox Christians should make financial contributions to the parish of which they are a part. Doing so enables the parish to be sustained financially, puts one in the position of being a benefactor to the Church, and is an important way to put Christ first in our lives. Our Lord says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Our parish needs a larger monthly income; currently we are just able to meet our expenses, despite having cut these back to the bare minimum. May the Lord help us as we prayerfully consider our pledge to our church. Tithing (giving 10%) from one's income is a good foundation for personal giving with ample precedent in the life of the Church.

Our Building Fund

Every Orthodox community should build a temple to God's glory. Given the condition of our current facility, it is important for us to move forward with our building plans. To make a contribution to the Building Fund, you can make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, "Building Fund."

Share

About the All-Night Vigil, Part I (in English and Russian)

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

(see below for Russian)

Preface

CHRIST DENOUNCED THE SCRIBES of His time for elevating rituals and ceremonies to the level of exalted religious virtues, and He taught that only service offered "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24) is appropriate to be offered to God. Denouncing the legalistic attitude toward the Sabbath day, Christ said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27). While the Savior's harshest words were directed against the Pharisaical devotion to traditional ritual form, Christ Himself visited, taught, and prayed in the Temple in Jerusalem, as did His apostles and disciples. 

Not only did Christianity not abandon ritual, but also in time, in the course of its historical development, it established its own complex system of worship. Does this constitute a self-contradiction? Is not private prayer sufficient for a Christian?

Faith expressed only in the soul becomes an abstraction rather than a living faith. For faith to become a living faith, it must be realized in life. Participation in church religious ceremonies is the realization of faith in our lives, and those who not only reflect upon their faith, but also live it, of necessity participate in the liturgical life of the Church of Christ; they attend Church and they know and love the order of Church services. 

In his book Heaven on Earth: Worship in the Eastern Church, Archpriest Alexander Men' explains the need for external forms of worship: "Our life, in all of its most diverse manifestations, is clothed in rituals. In the Russian language the noun "obryad" is derived from the verb that means "to dress in" or "to clothe." Joy and sorrow, daily greetings, approval, delight, and indignation, all assume external forms in human life. So what right do we have to strip these forms from our feelings toward God? What right do we have to reject Christian art and Christian rituals? The words of prayers, and the hymns of thanksgiving and repentance that poured forth from the depths of the hearts of great theologians, great poets, and creators of great melodies are not without benefit for us. Immersion into them schools the soul, educating it in genuine service to the Eternal One. Worship services lead to the enlightenment and elevation of man; they ennoble his soul. Thus, Christianity, serving God 'in spirit and truth' preserves both rituals and ceremonies." 

Christian worship, in the broad sense of the term, is collectively known as liturgy; that is, communal activity and common prayer, while the science of worship is known as liturgics. 

Christ said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I" (Matthew 18:20). One may call divine services the focus of a Christian's entire spiritual life. When a multitude is inspired by common prayer, the people find themselves surrounded by a spiritual atmosphere that enables true prayer. At that point, the faithful enter into a mystical, sacramental communion with God, a state essential to genuine spiritual life. The holy fathers of the Church teach that just as a branch broken from a tree dries up because it is deprived of the sap it needs to live, so a person severed from the Church no longer receives that strength, that grace, which lives in the divine services and mysteries of the Church, and which is essential for man's spiritual life. 

Fr. Pavel Florensky, a famous Russian theologian of the early 20th century, called divine services "the synthesis of the sciences," because within the temple all of the substance of man's being is ennobled. Everything in an Orthodox church is essential: its architecture, the smell of incense, the beauty of the icons, the singing of the choir, the homily, and the actions performed. 

The actions carried out in Orthodox divine services are distinguished by their religious realism; a realism that engenders a sense of immediacy in the faithful to the principal events commemorated in the Gospel by removing the barriers of time and space between the events and those who pray. 

During the Nativity services, we not only remember the birth of Christ, but Christ is actually mystically born, just as He is resurrected on Holy Paskha (Easter). Similar statements can be made about His Transfiguration, His Entry into Jerusalem, the Mystical Supper, His Passion, His Burial, and His Ascension; and about all of the events in the life of the Most Holy Theotokos, from her Nativity to her Dormition. Through its divine services, the life of the Church is revealed to be the mystical accomplishment of God's Incarnation. The Lord continues to live in the Church and in the same human image which, once manifested, continues to exist throughout all time; and to the Church is given the ability to bring to life the commemorations of divine events; to endow them with power, so that we might become their new witnesses and participants. Thus all of the divine services together acquire the meaning: the life of God, and the temple, which is His dwelling place.

This begins a series of commentaries on the meaning and structure of the All-night Vigil. We hope that our work will help our readers to appreciate and love this marvelous divine service of the Orthodox Church.

In the service of the All-night Vigil, the Church conveys to the faithful a sense of the beauty of the setting sun and turns their thoughts toward the spiritual light of Christ. The Church also points the faithful toward prayerful consideration of the coming day and of the eternal light of the Heavenly Kingdom. The All-night Vigil is a service that sets before us the turning point in time between the day now passing and the day now coming. 

St. Basil the Great described the aspirations that guided the ancient composers of evening hymns and prayers as follows: "Our fathers did not wish to receive the grace of evening light in silence; rather, they offered thanks as soon as it appeared." 

In participating in the All-night Vigil, the faithful in a sense prayerfully bid farewell to the past and welcome the future. Moreover, in the All-night Vigil they are prepared for the Divine Liturgy and for the Mystery of the Eucharist.

As its name suggests, the All-night Vigil is a service that in principle lasts all night. True, in our times, such services, lasting all night, are infrequent, and take place for the most part in some monasteries, such as those on Mount Athos. In parish churches, an abbreviated form of the All-night Vigil is served. 

The All-night Vigil transports the faithful into a time long ago, into the services of the earliest Christians. For the earliest Christians, their evening meal, their prayers and commemorations of the martyrs and of the reposed, as well as the Liturgy itself, comprised one whole; traces of these observances have been preserved even to this very day in the various evening services of the Orthodox Church. These traces include the blessing of bread, wine, wheat, and oil, as well as those times in which the Liturgy is combined in one whole with Vespers; for example, the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, celebrated during Great Lent; the liturgies on the eves of the feasts of the Nativity of Christ and of His Baptism; the Liturgies of Great Thursday and Great Saturday, and the midnight Liturgy of the Resurrection of Christ. 

In fact, the All-night Vigil consists of three services: Great Vespers, Matins, and the First Hour. Sometimes the first part of the All-night Vigil consists not of Great Vespers, but of Great Compline. Matins is the central and most substantial part of the All-night Vigil. 

Reflecting on what we hear and see in Vespers, we are transported into the historical Old Testament times of humanity, and we experience in our hearts what those people experienced. 

Knowing what is recounted in Vespers and Matins makes it easy for us to understand and learn the flow of Church services; the order in which they proceed, as well as the hymns, readings, and the religious ceremonies they contain.

(Archpriest Victor Potapov, http://www.stjohndc.org)


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????? ??????? ??????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ?? ??, ??? ??? ????????? ??????? ? ?????? ?? ??????? ?????? ??????????? ??????????? ? ????, ??? ???????????? ????????? ???????? ???? ???? ???????? "? ???? ? ??????" (????. 4:24). ??????? ????????????? ????????? ? ?????????? ???, ??????? ??????, ??? "??????? ??? ????????, ? ?? ??????? ??? ???????" (????. 2:27). ????? ??????? ????? ????????? ???????? ?????? ??????????? ?????????????? ? ???????????? ????????? ??????. ?? ? ?????? ???????, ??? ??????? ??????? ????????????? ????, ???????????? ? ??????? ? ? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ??? ???????? ? ???????.

???????????? ? ????? ???????????? ???????? ?? ?????? ?? ????????? ?????, ?? ?? ???????? ?????????? ???? ??????????? ??????? ????????????? ???????. ??? ?? ????? ?????? ????????????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????????? ???????? ??????? ????????

???? ?????? ? ???? ?????????? ???????????, ?? ????????? ?????. ??? ????, ????? ???? ????? ?????????, ??? ?????? ?????????????? ? ?????. ??????? ? ???????? ???????????????? ? ??? ????????????? ???? ? ????? ?????. ? ?????? ???????, ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ? ????, ? ????? ?????, ??????????? ????? ??????????? ? ????????????? ????? ????????? ??????, ?????? ? ????, ????? ? ?????? ???????????????? ???????????? ??????.

? ????? "???? ?? ?????: ???????????? ????????? ??????" ????. ????????? ???? ??? ????????? ????????????? ??????? ???? ????????????? ? ????? ????????: "??? ???? ????? ? ????? ????????????? ?? ???????????, ???????? ? ??????. ????? "?????" ?????????? ?? "????????", "??????". ??????? ? ????, ???????????? ???????????, ? ?????????, ? ??????????, ? ??????????? ? ??? ??? ????????? ? ???????????? ????? ??????? ?????. ??? ????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ???? ??????? ?? ????????? ? ???? ?????? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ????? ?? ????????? ???????????? ?????????, ???????????? ??????? ????? ??????, ????? ???????????? ? ????????, ??????? ???????? ?? ??????? ?????? ??????? ??????????, ??????? ??????, ??????? ??????????? ?? ?????????? ??? ???. ?????????? ? ??? ? ???? ????? ????, ?????????? ?? ??? ?????????? ???????? ???????. ???????????? ????? ? ????????????, ?????????? ????????, ??? ?????????????? ??? ????. ??????? ????????????, ????? ???? "? ???? ? ??????", ????????? ? ?????? ? ?????".

???????????? ???????????? ? ??????? ?????? ????? ?????????? "?????????", ?? ???? ????? ?????, ????? ????????, ? ????? ? ???????????? ?????????? "??????????".

??????? ???????: "??? ???? ??? ???? ????????? ?? ??? ???, ??? ? ??????? ???" (??. 18:20). ???????????? ????? ??????? ??????????? ???? ???????? ????? ???????????. ????? ????????? ????? ???????????? ????? ????????, ?????? ??? ????????? ???????? ?????????, ?????????????? ????????? ???????. ? ??? ????? ???????? ?????? ? ????????????, ??????????????? ??????? ? ????? ? ??????????? ??? ????????? ???????? ?????. ?????? ???? ?????? ????, ??? ??? ?????, ???????????? ?? ??????, ????????, ?? ??????? ?????, ?????? ??? ?? ??????????? ?????????????, ??? ? ???????, ???????????? ?? ??????, ????????? ???????? ?? ????, ?? ?????????, ??????? ????? ? ????????????? ? ????????? ?????? ? ??????? ?????????? ??? ???????? ????? ????????.

????????? ??????? ???????? ?????? ????, ????????? ????? ??????????, ?????? ???????????? "???????? ????????", ?????? ??? ??? ???????? ???????? ???????????????? ? ?????. ??? ????????????? ????? ????? ???: ? ???????????, ? ?????? ??????, ? ??????? ????, ? ????? ????, ? ????????? ? ????????.

???????? ????????????? ???????????? ?????????? ????? ??????????? ????????? ? ?????? ????????? ? ???????????????? ???????? ? ???????? ????????????? ????????? ? ??? ?? ??????? ???????? ??????? ? ???????????? ????? ?????????? ? ?????????????? ?????????.

? ?????????????? ???????????? ?? ?????? ????????????? ????????? ????????, ?? ? ?????????????, ??????? ??????????? ?????????, ??? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ??????????, – ? ?? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ????????????, ????? ? ?????????, ? ? ????????? ?????? ??????, ? ? ???????? ? ?????????? ? ??????????; ?????? ??????? ? ? ???? ???????? ?? ????? ????????? ?????????? – ?? ????????? ?? ?? ???????. ????? ?????? ? ???????????? ?????? ????? ??????????? ????????????? ??????????????: ??????? ?????????? ???? ? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???????, ??????? ???????????? ???????, ?????????? ???????????? ?? ??? ???????, ? ?????? ???? ???????? ????????? ????????????, ??????? ?? ? ????, ??? ??? ?? ?????????? ?? ?????? ??????????? ? ???????????. ??? ?????? ???????????? ??????????? ??????? ???????? ?????????, ? ???? ? ????? ??? ????.


????? I. ??????? ???????


???????? ????? ?????????? ??????

? ???????????? ?????????? ?????? ??????? ???????? ????????? ???????? ??????? ?????????? ?????? ? ???????? ?? ????? ? ????????? ????? ????????. ??????? ????? ?????????? ???????? ?? ??????????? ??????????? ? ??????????? ??? ? ? ?????? ????? ??????? ?????????. ????????? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ????????????? ????? ????? ????????? ???? ? ???????????.

??. ??????? ??????? ??? ?????? ?? ??????????, ???????? ????????????????? ??????? ??????????? ???????? ?????????? ? ??????: "???? ???? ?? ?????? ? ???????? ????????? ????????? ????????? ?????, ?? ??? ???, ??? ?? ????????, ????????? ????????????".

???????? ?? ????????? ??????, ???????? ??? ?? ?????????? ????????? ? ????????? ? ???????????? ???????????. ?????? ? ???, ????????? ???????? ????? ?????????????? ? ???????????? ????????, ? ???????? ??????????.


????????? ?????????? ??????

????????? ??????, ??? ??????? ???? ???????? ? ??? ????????????, ??????? ? ???????? ???????????? ??? ????. ?????? ? ???? ????? ????? ?????????????? ??? ???? ?????? ?????? ?????, ? ???????? ?????? ? ????????? ??????????, ??? ????????, ?? ?????. ? ?????????? ?? ?????? ????????? ?????? ??????????? ?????? ? ??????????? ????.

????????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ? ????? ????????? ???????? ?????? ???????????? ?????????????. ? ?????? ???????? ???????? ???????, ??????? ? ??????????? ????????? ? ???????, ? ????? ???????? ?????????? ???? ????? ? ????? ???? ? ?????? ??????????? ? ????????? ???????? ??????? ???????????? ??????. ???? ????????? ? ????????? ??????, ????, ??????? ? ????, ? ????? ? ?? ??????, ????? ???????? ??????????? ? ???? ????? ? ????????, ????????, ????????????? ???????? ???????????????? ?????, ???????? ????????? ? ?????? ?????????? ????????? ???????? ? ????????, ???????? ???????? ????????, ??????? ??????? ? ?????? ???????? ??????????? ????????.

??????????, ????????? ?????? ??????? ?? ???? ????????????: ??????? ???????, ?????? ? ??????? ????. ? ????????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ?????? ???????? ?? ??????? ???????, ? ??????? ?????????. ?????? ???? ??????????? ? ????? ???????????? ????? ?????????? ??????.

?????? ? ??, ??? ?? ?????? ? ????? ?? ???????, ?? ??????????? ?? ??????? ?????????????? ???????????? ? ?????????? ? ????? ?????? ??, ??? ???????? ???.

????, ??? ???????????? ?? ??????? (??? ??, ??? ? ?? ??????), ????? ?????? ? ????????? ???? ??? ???????????? ? ??? ???????, ? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ??????? ? ??????????, ? ??????, ? ????????????????.

(????. ?. ???????, http://www.stjohndc.org)

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1st – 2nd Week after Pentecost

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Services this week (1st and 2nd weeks after Pentecost)

  • Friday, June 8: 6:30 PM Molieban at our plot of land in McKinney
  • Saturday, June 9: 5 PM Vigil Service
  • Sunday, June 10: 10 AM Divine Liturgy, Sunday of All Saints of Russia

Map to the land: http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?address=Christian%20St%20%26%20S%20Chestnut%20St&city=Mckinney&state=TX&zipcode=75069&country=US&title=%3cb%20class%3d%22fn%20org%22%3eChristian%20St%20%26amp%3b%20S%20Chestnut%20St%3c%2fb%3e%3cbr%20%2f%3e%20%3cspan%20style%3d%22display%3ainline%3bmargin%2dbottom%3a0px%3b%22%20class%3d%22locality%22%3eMckinney%3c%2fspan%3e%2c%20%3cspan%20style%3d%22display%3ainline%3bmargin%2dbottom%3a0px%3b%22%20class%3d%22region%22%3eTX%3c%2fspan%3e%20%3cspan%20style%3d%22display%3ainline%3bmargin%2dbottom%3a0px%3b%22%20class%3d%22postal%2dcode%22%3e75069%3c%2fspan%3e%2c%20%20%3cspan%20style%3d%22display%3ainline%3bmargin%2dbottom%3a0px%3b%22%20class%3d%22country%2dname%22%3eUS%3c%2fspan%3e%3c%2fspan%3e&cid=lfmaplink2&name=&dtype=s

Announcements

God willing, we will begin choir rehearsals, liturgics classes for readers, and monthly clean-up days soon. These will be either on a weekday evening (probably Monday) or on a Saturday afternoon. If you are interested and have a preference among these times, please write to Nicholas.

On Friday evening, we will hold a Molieban to St. Nicholas for our parish. Everybody should try to attend this service, and add your prayers to ours. The service will be held at our new land in McKinney (see link to map above), and will be followed by "grilled zucchini" (as Father put it) at the rectory.

This week in the life of the Church

  • Wednesday, June 6: St. Symeon of the Wonderful Mountain. In his honor, we may use wine and oil.
  • Thursday, June 7: 3rd Finding of the Head of St. John the Baptist. In his honor, we may eat fish.

Prayer Requests

"I was sick and you visited me." We have petitions for the sick, for travellers, and in general for those in need during the Liturgy; so, if you or someone you know needs prayer or would like a visit, please let Father Seraphim know.

Help with the Services

Helping with the services is an important ministry to God and to other members of the parish. We can always use help singing in the choir, reading the prayers and psalms, or assisting in the Altar during the Divine Liturgy. If you wish to help in the Altar, please speak to Father Seraphim. If you wish to help sing or read, please speak to Nicholas Park.

Our Sunday School

Raissa Dudar, Matushka Marina and Christina Newell are teaching a class for our youngest children during the sermon each Sunday. Nicholas Park and David Hawthorne are teaching a class for the older children after Trapeza, at roughly 12:30. If you would like to help with the program, please speak to Raissa, Nicholas, or Father Seraphim.

Our Bookstore

Please see and use our bookstore. We have books, icons, CD's, Pascha and Nativity cards, souveniers and other items. When you buy something, please put the following into the donation box, together with the payment: the item name and the dollar ($) amount of the payment. There are pads for your use for this purpose in the bookstore.

Our Parish Library

Our parish library is an opportunity to pool our resources, given each of us access to spiritually profitable books, CD's and other items that we would not otherwise be able to afford. By borrowing from the library, you can have more resources to help you grow in the love of God, and by donating to the library, you can express your love for others by helping them to do the same. When you borrow from the library, please write the name of the book or CD on the clipboard, and return the items within four weeks. If you have materials to donate to the library, please speak to Nicholas Park

St. Juliana Sisterhood

All women are welcome to be members of our Sisterhood. To become one, please contact Raisa Dudar.

Mary needs Martha! – Cleaning the Church

An excellent opportunity open to both men and women to help maintain the beauty, warmth and hospitable atmosphere of our parish is to help clean the church. In addition to participating in our periodic clean-up days, you may also sign-up to help with one of the tasks that must be done on a weekly basis. The sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the kitchen. You may see Matushka Marina or Nicholas Park for more information.

Financial Stewardship

All Orthodox Christians should make financial contributions to the parish of which they are a part. Doing so enables the parish to be sustained financially, puts one in the position of being a benefactor to the Church, and is an important way to put Christ first in our lives. Our Lord says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Our parish needs a larger monthly income; currently we are just able to meet our expenses, despite having cut these back to the bare minimum. May the Lord help us as we prayerfully consider our pledge to our church. Tithing (giving 10%) from one's income is a good foundation for personal giving with ample precedent in the life of the Church. At the candle stand, we will soon provide is a booklet containing a pledge form where, after prayerful consideration, one can pledge to give a certain amount every month.

Our Building Fund

Every Orthodox community should build a temple to God's glory. Given the condition of our current facility, it is important for us to move forward with our building plans. We have recently purchased a plot of land, and we will be meeting on June 19th to discuss our plans for the future. To make a contribution to the Building Fund, you can make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, "Building Fund."

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Apostle’s Fast

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

On the Monday after the Sunday of All Saints (tomorrow), we begin a fasting period, in accordance with the Lord's words, "when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then shall they fast." This fast is called the Apostle's Fast because it lasts until the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, on June 29 / July 12.

As is usual, the fast consists of abstinence from meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, olive oil, and wine (alcoholic beverages). On Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Thursday June 7th (in honor  of St. John the Baptist), the fast is relaxed and we may consume fish, wine and oil. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as on Wednesday June 6th (in honor of St. Symeon), we may use wine and oil.

More information about the fasting calendar can be found at http://days.pravoslavie.ru/ (Russian) and http://days.pravoslavie.ru/en/ (English)

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