Services this week (5th and 6th weeks after Pentecost)
5th Sunday after Pentecost, Holy Martyr Leontius
- 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
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…)
"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.
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.
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."