Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, TX

Rector: Priest Seraphim Holland 972-529-2754 cell:972 658-5433 seraphim@orthodox.net

St Nicholas Web Site: http://www.orthodox.net

Redeeming the Time BLOG: http://stnicholasdallas.blogspot.com

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.(Eph. 5:16)

Pentecost 2008

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. . . .Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them . . .this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: . . . This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. . . . Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. . . . Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2).

A Word from the Rector

Dear brothers and sisters, congratulations and greetings on the radiant feast of Pentecost! As we remember the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ’s Apostles, and the beginning of the Church’s activity in the world, we give thanks to God for establishing His Church, whereby we have been taught to know and love Him, and brought into union with Him, unto our sanctification and the inheritance of life eternal!

It behooves us at this time to reflect on our own role in the Church’s mission in the world. Whether by preaching, singing, giving generously financially. cooking, cleaning, or simply showing up and praying, each of us has a role to play in our community that is the Church, the Body of Christ.

Your parish needs your participation and commitment at this critical time more than at any other time in our history. Whether by increasing our financial gifts, helping to find donors, maintaining the land, planting the lavender memorial garden or working on public relations, along with increasing our prayer for one another each of us must contribute to this endeavor.

Through God’s grace, you have purchased a beautiful plot of land near the historic “Chestnut Square” area of downtown McKinney, TX. McKinney is a rapidly expanding community with a significant Slavic population. There is no Orthodox Church in the area, and it is a fantastic place to establish our community. We are the only Russian Church in the entire Dallas area following the traditional Church calendar and holding portions of our services in the Slavonic language. When we have a permanent and beautiful place to worship, our community will grow and become a legacy for your children’s children and be part of ministering the gospel to the “fields that are white for harvest” (John 4:35)

Plans for phase I of our building project are complete, and we are ready to begin construction of a 1700 square foot chapel & parish hall NOW. Phase II will include the building of a 2600 square foot temple on the same property. I plan for this to occur within 10 years.

You are the founders of this temple, are commemorated in every service, and always will be. With this blessing comes a great responsibility. I am asking you to step out in faith, and commit in writing what you are willing to give to on a monthly basis. We need pledges in writing because the bank which is processing our loan has asked for written information about our projected income. They would look most favorably upon us if we presented them with written promises showing a sharp increase in our income.

We need an increase of at least $500 monthly to honor our building commitments. I have pledged to contribute 20% of this total, and give $100.00 above our family’s 10% tithe. I will talk to each of you and present you with a confidential pledge card.

I am asking you to prayerfully consider: Should I do more? Can I do more? As you ponder this, I wish to remind you of something I have been saying for many years, and, if I were to have anything inscibed on my tombstone, this would likely be it, because it sums up most of my pastoral philosophy: “Always do what you can do, so that you will be able in time to do what you cannot”. This principle applies to everything in our life, and our Lord has taught it: “Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21)

The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles – mankind draws its first breath of the Spirit of God

by Saint Theophan the Recluse

from http://www.stjohndc.org

The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles was mankind’s first inspiration of breath from the Spirit of God. Remember Ezekiel’s prophecy about the valley full of human bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14). Remember how, by his word, bone joined to bone, how the bones were then covered with sinews, flesh and skin, but how they as yet had no breath in them. And Ezekiel “prophesied unto the wind.” He prophesied, “and the breath came into them, and they lived” (Ezekiel 37:9-10).

That valley full of bones is fallen mankind, which, estranged from God, did not have life in it. As the prophet said, it did not have breath in it. However, the Lord did not abandon [mankind]. Through a variety of providential actions, He prepared it for life. By the time Our Lord and Savior had appeared, mankind could be described as completely prepared for new life; it resembled a solid body, with bone upon bone, covered with sinew and skin, lacking only breath. The Holy Gospels clearly state that little more was needed, and that the time for it to quicken had arrived. Why was the Holy Spirit yet lacking? Because Jesus had not yet been glorified. But then the Lord was Resurrected and Ascended in glory to Heaven. The Spirit of God descended, and, drawing It in, mankind came alive.

The Apostles, all the Church gathered together in the Upper Room on Mt. Zion, were the lips through which mankind drew its first breath of the Spirit. In ordinary respiration, air is inhaled into the lungs. It passes through a large channel to progressively narrower ones until it has spread throughout. The lungs receive the life-giving air, and the process of respiration, inhaling and exhaling, is the actual means by which its life-giving power is distributed. So it is with the Holy Spirit. Once mankind has inhaled the Spirit of God, it continues to breathe with it.

The Holy Church is the set of lungs where this takes place. The Holy Mysteries of God and other actions of sanctification comprise the channel into the lungs. The rhythmic movement of the chest is the annual rhythm of all of the church’s liturgical actions, e.g. Great Lent and its attendant rites, followed by the celebrations of the Pentecostarion, followed once again by the fast, and then festal days, and so on, just like the rhythmic movement of the chest. The Church of Christ, the Christian faithful – wherever they might be – thus breathe. Because Christianity exists within mankind, all of mankind draws breath from It, but not everyone communes of the quickening action of that Divine Breath. This is because one part of mankind has damaged organs of respiration, while another does not submit itself to the benevolent influence of this respiration.

Full inspiration requires that the pathways in the lungs be neither damaged nor clogged. Likewise, for the Spirit of God to have Its full effect upon man, the organs He Himself had ordered to communicate Himself must be whole. That is to say, all of the Divine Mysteries and liturgical functions, as established by the Holy Apostles under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, must be preserved intact. Where they have been damaged, the breathing of the Spirit of God is incomplete, and, it follows, does not impart Its full effect. …At the same time, let us not exalt ourselves, asserting that we possess the healthy means to breathe with the Spirit of God, true Holy Mysteries and the real structure and organization of the Church. Wherever we do not breathe the Spirit of God, there is no life. The Church breathes with this Spirit, and we must as well. The lips through which the Divine Spirit is received, the heart that opens to receive It, is living faith. Participation in the Mysteries and liturgical actions according to the order of the Holy Church brings one into contact with It. To make It one’s own, one must act upon Its inspiration expressed in the demands of conscience and the Commandments of the Gospel. One who follows that way of life breathes with the Spirit and is enlivened by It. True evidence of spirituality is prayer, that which is justly called the breathing of the Spirit. One who prays well, in a collected manner and fervently, both in church and at home, breathes with the Spirit.

“Preaching the Lamb of God, ye were also slain as lambs…”

On June 11, we celebrate the memory of the New Martyrs of China, slain during the Boxer rebellion. In their honor, we present an excerpt from Stars of the Orient: In Memory of the New Martyrs of China, by Mark Markish (from http://www.orthodox.cn/localchurch/stars/index.html).

The month of June of 1900, when Boxers were soaking Beijing in Christian blood, gave China her first Orthodox martyrs.

“Of the 1,000 flock of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission about 300 have been lost. A few of them renounced the Faith, but most, numbered 222, became holy confessors and martyrs for Christ.”

Archimandrite Innocent, then Chief of the Mission, later Metropolitan, and Archimandrite Abraham, testify of their martyrdom in the following words:

“The day of reckoning for most Orthodox Chinese was June 11, 1900. On the eve of that day leaflets were posted in the streets, calling for the massacre of the Christians and threatening anyone who would dare to shelter them with certain death. In the middle of the night gangs of Boxers with flaming torches spread over Beijing, attacking Christian houses, seizing Christians and forcing them to deny Christ. Some, terrified by torture and death, indeed renounced the Faith in exchange for life and burned incense before idols. Others, undaunted, confessed Christ. Their fate was horrible. They were ripped open, beheaded, burned alive. After that day search for Christians and killings continued: Christian houses were destroyed, people brought out of town to where Boxers’ temples were set up, interrogated and burned at the stake.

“As even the non-Christian bystanders would admit, Orthodox Chinese faced their death with astounding courage. Orthodox catechist Paul Wang died with a prayer on his lips. Ia Wang, a Mission school teacher, suffered martyrdom twice. First time the Boxers slashed her with swords and buried half- dead. An attendant, non-Christian, heard her groaning and carried her to his cabin. There Boxer seized her again, and this time they tortured her to death. In either instance Ia Wang fervently confessed Christ in the face of her tormentors.

“Among those who died for Christ were Albazinians whose ancestors first carried the light of holy Orthodoxy to Beijing in 1685. Their faith has now been crowned with the glory of martyrdom conferred upon their descendants. Albazinians Clement Kui Lin, Matthew Chai Tsuang, his brother Witt, Anna Chui, any many more, fearless of those who kill the body but cannot harm the soul (Matt. 10:28) met agony and death with courage, praying the Savior for their tormentors.

“Of all Chinese Orthodox martyrs, the most famous are priest Mitrophan Tsi-Chung and his family. He was born in 1855, and at the age of 25 was baptized by Bishop [St.] Nicholas of Japan. Mitrophan was a low-profile kind of a man, shy and reticent, peaceful and humble; even in case of a grave insult he would never seek to justify himself. He was unwilling to become a priest, saying: A man of poor talent and little virtue, how dare I accept this great rank? Encouraged by Archimandrite Flavian and the teacher, he finally consented, yet knowing that priesthood will never bring him happiness. He served under Archimandrite Flavian, helping with translation and proofreading of liturgical books [along with the churches, Boxers burned down the print shop and destroyed all plates and types]. For fifteen years he served God tirelessly, suffering much pain and contempt from everyone near and far, and finally was struck with a mental illness. After that he settled outside of the Mission, receiving half of his former salary as a pension. Throughout his life Fr. Mitrophan was always generous, and many took advantage of him.

“On June 1, 1900 (the 17th day of the 5th month, according to the Chinese calendar), in the evening Boxers set the Mission ablaze. A number of Christians, seeking shelter, gathered in the house of Fr. Mitrophan. Among them were those who had done him much harm in the past, but he didn’t mind. Seeing that some were falling in despair, he tried to encourage them, saying that the time of tribulations has come, and it is hard to avoid them. Several times a day he would go out to look at the cinders at the church site. On June 10, at about 10 PM, soldiers and Boxers surrounded his house. There was about 70 people inside; some stronger ones ran away, and those who remained, Fr. Mitrophan and many others, mostly women and children, were all martyred. He was sitting in the front yard; Boxers stabbed his chest like a beehive, and he fell under the date tree.

“Neighbors dragged his body to the site of the Mission’s hospice. Fr. heiromonk Abraham found it later, and in 1903, when the Feast of the New Martyrs was first celebrated, it was placed with other bodies in the church of the Martyrs under the Altar. Today (1920es) there is a Cross standing where he was killed; on the Martyr’s Feast a procession goes there for the memorial service.

“Fr. Mitrophan had a wife Tatiana, born Li, and three sons: Isaiah, the oldest, Serge, who is now an Archpriest, and John. On the 10th of June in the evening Tatiana escaped the Boxers with the help of her son’s bride, but on the next morning she was beheaded among others on the place where now is the hospice for the poor. Isaiah was 23, and he served in the military. He was beheaded on June 7, on the main street near the Ping-tse-Min gates, since it had been known that he was a Christian. His bride Mary, 19, two days before the massacre came to Fr. Mitrophan, willing to die in the house of her bridegroom. Three times tried Isaiah’s brother Serge to convince her to leave and hide, but she refused, saying: I was born near the church of the Mother of God, and I will die right here. When the soldiers and Boxers overtook the place, she found her rest in the horrible death.

“John was 8. On June 10, when his father was killed, Boxers slashed his shoulders and chopped off his nose, ears and toes. Isaiah’s bride helped him escape death by hiding in the outhouse. When people asked him if it hurt, he answered that it does not hurt to suffer for Christ. Children were mocking him… John asked the neighbors to drink, but they didn’t give him and drove him off. Protasios Chang and Irodion Tsui, who had not yet been baptized at that time, testify that they saw John with wounds shoulders and legs: wounds were deeper than an inch, but he didn’t seem to feel pain and, taken again by the Boxers, showed no fear and walked steadily. An old man protested, saying: What is the boy’s fault? Blame the parents for his becoming a devil’s disciple. Others jeered at him, scoffed him, or simply grinned with derision. Thus he was led away, as a lamb to the sacrifice.”

Announcements

  • Thank you to the following florists for donations of Rose Petals for Pascha!

  • In Bloom, 1912 E. Hebron Pkwy, Carrollton TX

  • Shaw Florist, 2710 N. Josey Ln, Carrollton TX

  • C’s Florist, 3108 Old Denton Rd., Carrollton TX

  • Congratulations to our parishioners with recent or upcoming name days!

  • Olena Dudar, Elona Hurt, Elena Mishenev, Elena Witte – May 21 / June 4

  • Dmitri (Jeff) Smith – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

  • Alexandra (Estrella) Smith – July 4 / 18

  • Kyriake Izotova – July 7 / 21

  • Fr. Seraphim asks that everyone would try to read each week’s scripture readings, according to the church calendar. These readings are sent on a weekly email, along with services and fasting rules. They are also available online in various places.

  • One way to support and serve one another is to assist in the preparation of our common meal (Trapeza) after Liturgy. Each team of families prepares the meal one time per month. To join a team, please contact Matushka Marina.

  • Please use our bookstore. We have books, icons, CD’s, Pascha and Nativity cards, souveniers and other items. To make a purchase, 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.

  • We also have a library of books and CDs for your use. 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 Natalia Hawthorne.

  • The sisterhood is always open to new members! To join, please speak to Raisa Dudar.

  • We welcome new choir members! To join, please speak to Genevieve (Jenny) Park.

  • Donations of olive oil are needed.


Regular Service Schedule

Wednesday

6:30 PM

Vespers

Followed by a discussion about the spiritual/dogmatic content of various prayers in the church services.

Thursday

Time Varies

Divine Liturgy

Saturday

4:00 PM

5:00 PM

After Vigil

Confession

Vigil (Vespers, Matins, the First Hour)

Confession

Earlier confessions or confessions on other days by appt.

Sunday

9AM-10AM

9:40 AM

10:00 AM

12 Noon

12:30 PM

Confession (please call before the night before if possible)

Hours

Divine Liturgy

Trapeza (public meal for EVERYONE)

Church School following on most Sundays.


Saint Nicholas

Russian Orthodox Church

Building Campaign

Pledge Form

“The … founders, benefactors, and the brotherhood

of this holy temple … may the Lord God remember

in His kingdom, always, now and ever,

and unto the ages of ages.”

Name(s): _____________________

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