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Redeeming the Time – October 2008

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

 

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

 

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

October 2008

 

This document is also at the link: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=d926dxr_62fphz5bf4. This version includes a Russian version  of the article "ON THE EUCHARIST", by Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller. We cannot publish in Russian on our blog at this time due to technical issues. Is their anyone who publishes in Russian succesfully on a WordPress blog, which is hosted on their own site (not a WordPress site), and wants to help us? Please contact Priest Seraphim at seraphim@orthodox.net.

 

What is the purpose of our life?

The blessed Moses says that God created man in His own image and likeness, and the apostle Paul says that "we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). The purpose of our life is to be like God, to love as He loves and to do good works in His name. But instead, we spend most of our time doing selfish and even wicked works, in rebellion against our Maker. As a result, we make life painful and sorrowful for ourselves and others, and grieve our loving God. This has been true since the most ancient times: "Then the LORD[a] saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart" (Gen 6:5-6). But Christ has redeemed us! Incarnate as a man, Christ has chosen to humble Himself, participating in our nature so that we might once again participate in His blessedness through communion with Him. What an amazing gift! What an awesome sacrifice! How can we receive this gift? How can we attain to this blessedness that is offered?

Christ, through the Holy Church, gives us a number of means of coming closer to Him, of bringing peace to our lives and reconciling ourselves to Him. Among these are:

  • Prayer
  • Reading of the Bible
  • font size="3">Repentance and Confession
  • Holy Communion

Let us take more frequent advantage of these saving remedies, brothers and sisters! Let us flee to hospital more often, and receive the medicine of immortality, the Holy Eucharist! Let us pour out our hearts in prayer more frequently, repent of the sins by which we grieve our loving God, and feed our minds and hearts with His Holy Word by reading the Bible daily!

Reader Nicholas Park

 


 

ON THE EUCHARIST

(The Mystery of Holy Communion)

Archpriest Vsevolod Shpiller

 

The most important place in the body of church services is occupied by the service we call the Liturgy. Liturgy is a Greek word that means communal service. Sometimes it signifies service to our neighbor, charity, and sometimes service in the Altar. Divine Services have as their goal to bring us closer to God, to bring us closer to Him in prayer. However, the greatest manifestation of closeness, the Lord’s presence among the faithful, "Theosis" of man and nature is accomplished in the Mystery of the Eucharist, which is at the center of the life of the Church.


The Eucharist was established by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself during the Mystical Supper He hosted. Jesus Christ assembled His disciples on the night when he was to be betrayed and given over to suffering, torment, crucifixion and death. He assembled His disciples as their head, as the eldest, although in terms of age He was not their elder. He performed the ritual of the meal according to the pattern accepted by the people in the Old Testament Church, but with one unusual difference: when He broke the Bread, and when he elevated the Cup after having read the special prayers of thanksgiving to God for everything, He said to his disciples: Do this in remembrance of Me. The Bread is My Body, and this Wine is my Blood. When you remember Me in this manner, you will be eating of My Body and drinking of My Blood. And whosoever will do that, will abide in Me, and I will abide in him, forever.


During the Eucharist, we remember everything that happened to Christ: His Incarnation, His entire life, Golgotha, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. However, when we remember all of this in the symbolism of the Divine Liturgy, it all happens anew! "My Father works hitherto, and I work" (John 5: 17), and this activity never ends. The Mystery, the Sacrament, of the Holy Eucharist rests in the fact that is does not consist only of our not our commemorations.

 

The Liturgy imparts a real, actual communion with God, illumining each participant, so that in a profound mystery, during each Liturgy the bread and wine that had been brought into the Altar is transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Also, at the moment each of the faithful communing of the Very Body and Very Blood of Christ, is really, actually, not merely intellectually or seemingly, and united with God Himself. During the Liturgy, God’s fulfillment of His promise to be among men accomplishes man’s fullest enlightenment.


Here God’s unique action transpires, bringing Divine power into this world, and each of us partakes of that power. It enters into our hearts and acts through us in everything we do. That power of God imparts to everything you do, however seemingly insignificant, enormous importance, profundity; in this lies the spiritual meaning of Orthodoxy. Through everything that a Christian does in this world, participating worthily in the Eucharist, God’s power enters the world, the power that transforms the world that blesses the world, remakes the world. It does so despite the fact that the world does not understand it. The world does not even know about it. That is what the Eucharist is! That is why from the earliest days the Eucharist – the sacrifice of thanksgiving, the breaking of bread – has been the central fact of Christian life. The Eucharist is the greatest expression of Christian unity, of life in a single Body, the Single Holy Church of Christ. The Mystery is the source of that unity. We are a single Body – His Body. We all – living and dead – are one. In the Altar, the priest reads the words, "And all of us who partake of the one Bread and the one Cup do Thou unite one to another…" Everyone standing here, the living and the dead, the Church on earth and the glorified Church "which hath One Head."


Out of the need, the poverty, the darkness of my ego, I approach the Divine Mystery and come into the light. "Thine light hath entered and illumined my darkness." In those moments, we, still living here on earth, already enter into His grace-filled life, for He comes to us and "make[s] our abode with Him." (John 14: 23).


During the Eucharist, the central, most important event takes place: Christ appears in our midst. Where two or three are gathered together in My Name (and it was just so that Christians gather together during the Eucharist), there I am in their midst. There Christ is in our midst with all the power of His compassionate love, able to decisively grant each of us everything that we need, and so that the seed of God’s word that enters into our soul when we hear the Gospel, the Good News, might not be wasted and perish, but might grow in every heart. Amid the reign of anarchy and chaos in this world, the Mystery of the Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy, is the anticipation of a different world, a different Kingdom, "where is the light of God." The Eucharist is the link connecting the present and the future, our current state with the glorious Transfiguration to come.


In the Eucharist, time disappears, time enters into eternity. And we belong to and experience/take part in eternity. Because everything we remember as having been – Jesus Christ’s embarking on his mission to preach, the Mystical Supper – this in our intellect WAS, but in God IS. Everything that was, is. That is something impossible for the mind to comprehend.


Jesus Christ’s death is a sacrifice. There is His death, Resurrection, and Ascension. It all was and is. For us, it is yet to come, but for the Lord, it already is. And what is yet to come? Our own death, our own resurrection, our own ascension. But it already … is. During the Liturgy, we are in the past, the present and the future, and that is something that is not a concept, not a fantasy, not ideas, but actual reality. Such is the Mystery of the Eucharist.


  

Gleanings from the Fathers

And as in His providence He became man, so He deified us by grace, in this way teaching us not only to cleave to one another naturally and to love others spiritually as ourselves, but also, like God, to be more concerned for others than for ourselves, and as proof of our love for each other readily to choose, as virtue enjoins, to die for others. For as Scripture tells us, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend" (cf. John 15: 13).

Philokalia, Vol. 2, "Fifth Century on Various Texts," No. 12

 

Grace has been given mystically to those who have been baptized into Christ; and it becomes active within them to the extent that they actively observe the commandments. Grace never ceases to help us secretly; but to do good – as far as lies in our power – depends on us.

St. Mark the Ascetic, Philokalia, Vol. 1

 

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14). And just exactly as all who were bitten by the serpents looked upon the bronze serpent which was suspended and were healed, thus also every Christian who believes in our Christ and has recourse to His life-bearing wounds, who eats His Flesh and drinks His all-holy Blood, is cured of the bits of the spiritual serpent of sin and by this most holy nourishment is made to live unto the renewal of a new creation, that is, new life in harmony with His life-giving commandments.

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou Mount Athos, "Counsels from the Holy Mountain




Regular Service Schedule

This is also at http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/regular-service-schedule.html

Wednesday

6:30 PM

Vespers

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

Confession (please call before the night before if possible)

Hours

Divine Liturgy

Trapeza (public meal for EVERYONE)

Church School following on most Sundays.

 

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Redeeming the Time – February 2008

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

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

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

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

February 2008

A Word from the rector

Brothers and sisters:

I am pleased with the response to our Wednesday liturgies and Tuesday evening Vespers and catechetical talks. Let me share with you some more thoughts about our prayer services, because they are at the core of who we are and what we will become.

Christianity is all about “becoming”. Salvation is the untouchable being touched, the invisible being seen, the incomprehensible being comprehended, the impossible being accomplished. But we are straw, and will burn when we touch the fire, and our eyes are too weak to see God, our minds too dull to understand him, and we are so full of infirmities that we can barely do one good thing an hour and yet we are called to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”.

What to do? Pray! Pray in our closets, pray together, support one another in public and private prayer, talk about prayer, aid one another in our daily lives so we are more able to pray. Without prayer, we as a parish will accomplish nothing, and no person can advance in the spiritual life without fervent prayer.

Our problem, our shared human condition, is that we, individually and collectively are weak, ineffectual and inconsistent at prayer. The very thing we need the most we barely know how to do!

Here is where our faith must drive us. Let us be like Nathanael , and “come and see” what the fruits of prayer will be for our community, and ourselves.

We have many needs as a community. Our income is low (and increasing a little since our last journal, by the grace of God and your attention), we have a thousand obstacles to building our new temple, we do not yet have the “critical mass’ necessary for our community to have a continuing legacy for ourselves and or children’s children. We all have our own personal struggles, and we get tired.

I see only one solution to my personal struggles, and yours, and those of our community. It is prayer and the more effectual living of the spiritual life. I cannot figure out almost any of this on my own, and neither can you. We are all too weak apart from one-another, but together, we gather strength.

Do you believe this? I do, and that is why I have instituted Wednesday liturgies.

We cannot fathom the grace that God gives to those who beseech His mercy as one. At the Wednesday liturgies, I mention by name all those in the parish three times. Twice all names are mentioned aloud in the Fervent Ectenia right after the Gospel is read, and I read all names before the altar immediately after the Epiclesis.

I count it a great privilege to pray for all of you before the altar, and in my daily private prayers also. I believe with all my heart that at those moments when I pray for others, I am closest to God, and my soul is warmed and strengthened for the struggle. It is the same with all of you. Don’t you agree that when we pray for another person we are acting without the self-interest that so plagues us in our daily lives in almost every other act during the day? Our prayers for one another help those we pray for and ourselves in invisible, mystical ways.

I beg each one of you to increase your participation in our parish life in any way you can. Some ideas:

  • Select 1 Wednesday liturgy a month to attend faithfully, and pray with us.

  • Attend the Tuesday Vespers and catechetical talks.

  • Confess more often, and receive communion more often.

  • Come to the Saturday Vigil more often, or start coming if you are not in the habit.

  • Print off our parish diptychs, which I previously sent. Pray for portion of the names daily, simple saying “Lord have mercy on ____”

  • ESPECIALLY! Come to church on time. It is disruptive to have people filter in, even after the Gospel has been read. I will be perfectly honest with you – it discourages greatly me to see our church less than half full as Divine Liturgy begins, with the other half arriving sometime before the end of liturgy. “My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:10)

Lent is soon approaching. Please see the schedule; there are lots of services. I will be sending some things about fasting and the Lenten services on the BLOG and mailing list soon.

PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND THE FORGIVENESS VESPERS. This service marks our entry into Great Lent. As a community, we must ask forgiveness of one another and stand in solidarity in prayer before the great fast begins. Forgiveness Sunday is Feb 25/Mar 09. After liturgy, we will enjoy blini, then gather for Vespers at 1 PM.

We will have a moleben and erect a cross on the Land on the Sunday of the Precious Cross (third Sunday in Great Lent). We will go to the land after Trapeza.

May God bless you and help you in all things.

Priest Seraphim, who prays for you and needs your prayers.

Name Days this month

We are not aware of any name days this month. If we have missed you, let us know!

Repentance

Already three weeks before Great Lent begins, a call to repentance sounds, both in the Sunday Gospel readings and in the texts of the Divine Services. We encounter the examples of Zacchaeus and the publican, men who came to recognize the utter baseness of their lives. We hear of the father who joyously forgives and receives the prodigal son, returned from a distant land to his father’s home. During these days, in the church we hear the prayer which begins with the words “Open unto me the doors of repentance, O Giver of Life…” What are these doors? Why, in the sermon which begins with the words “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…” (Matthew 4:17), does Christ specifically choose to begin with a call to repentance?

The Greek word metanoia, rendered in Church Slavonic and Russian as pokayanie and in English as “repentance,” literally means “change of mind.” Its sense lies in the fact that our mind and our will move along a faithless, ruinous path toward a false goal, and that we should change their direction and move along the correct, saving path.

No less profound are the Russian words pokayanie or raskayanie. Like the word okayanstvo [being cursed], these concepts are linked to the name of the murderer Cain, of whom we read near the beginning of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. Not only did he, like his parents Adam and Eve, disobey the will of God and violate His injunction, but he fell even farther, defiling both his conscience and the earth itself by shedding the blood of his brother Abel. Thus, repentance, pokayanie, means one’s personal rejection of the example of Cain, one’s removal of the mark of Cain from one’s heart.

Repentance begins with a clear recognition of the chasm which we, of our own will, have established between our conscience and the perfect radiant truth of God. Until we have come to that recognition, it is possible to utterly fail to recognize our sinfulness, and to be completely imprisoned by it. In this state, man’s soul is as if wrapped in a deep sleep, like unto death; if the soul does not awaken from this bondage, it becomes actual spiritual death. In his pagan blindness, and not wanting to recognize sin in himself, man hates even the very idea of sin and, when he hears the term, is filled with irritation. There is no escape, however, from the evil and untruth which lie within us. We can force ourselves to forget them for a time, but sooner or later our conscience reminds us of them, and the unhealed wound of the spirit leads to new, ever-heavier forms of spiritual illness.

Healing begins when within our darkened soul there begins to burn a light, a light through which man both simultaneously sees himself before the judgment of God’s truth and feels the mercy of God directed to all of us. God sees us through our conscience and bears witness to Himself through the voice of our conscience. The Apostle Paul states that this enormous gift, this capacity to hear the voice of the conscience, is given to each person, not only to the Christian, but also to the pagans. When man ceases to be complacent, that complacency is replaced with shame, embarrassment, and even fear at what has been revealed to him about himself. All experienced teachers of spiritual life talk about this first step as a dangerous one, the hour before the dawn. In it a person may encounter feelings of deep despair, loss of faith in man’s capacity to correct himself and become different from what he had been. Awareness of one’s own sin, without acting upon that awareness, is not yet repentance. In His call to repentance, Christ also indicates the goal to which we are called, and because of which we have been called to move forward, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” In the Gospel according to Mark, we find this same call, expressed in different terms: “Repent and believe on the Gospel.”

Man can truly repent, change, and receive liberation from the burden of sin, if he hears the Word of God, and sees before him the image of incarnate truth and perfect love which was revealed to us in Christ. One cannot help but love that image. It proclaims to the soul of men that will to rebirth which is the true repentance, liberation from the mark of Cain. That is the emanation of the glorious energy of the soul for which no obstacle is insurmountable. Archpriest Victor Potapov. February, 2000.

Gleanings for the Fathers on Repentance

Someone asked Abba Poemen to explain what repentance means exactly? “Not to commit the same sin again in the future,” the Elder replied. Sayings of the Desert Fathers

It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. ‘For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again’ (Prov. 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. ‘For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient,’says St. Paul, ‘…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us’ (Tit. 3:3,5). St. Peter of Damaskos.

…it is impossible for a man to be freed from the habit of sin before he hates it, just as it is impossible to receive forgiveness before confessing his trespasses… Monks Callistus and Ignatius (Directions to Hesychasts no. 28, Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; Faber and Faber pg. 199)

Repentance signifies regret, change of mind. The distinguishing marks of repentance are contrition, tears, aversion towards sin, and love of the good. “Modern Orthodox Saints, St. Nectarios of Aegina”, Dr. Constantine Cavarnos, Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Belmont, Massachusetts., 1981., pp. 154-187

One must condescend to the soul in its infirmities and imperfections, and bear its defects as we bear those of others; one must not, however, become lazy, but should spur oneself to do better. Perhaps one has eaten too much, or done something similar to this which is natural to human weakness – do not be disturbed at this, and do not add injury to injury; but bestir yourself to correction and at the same time strive to preserve peace of soul, according to the word of the Apostle: ‘Blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth’ (Rom. 14:22). St. Seraphim of Sarov, Little Russian Philokalia, Vol. 1

Regular Announcements

  • Fr. Seraphim asks that everyone would try to read each week’s readings, according to the church calendar. We will discuss these on occasion, provide commentaries when possible, and provide a list of these readings each week. Keep an eye on the BLOG, because many of these readings are discussed there. In addition, you can find the readings each day at these web sites:

  • 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 or email to stnatalia (at) hotmail (dot) com

  • 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 or email her at parknj (at) basicisp (dot) net

  • Please remember to support the parish financially.

  • Our building fund is our means of financing our land and building efforts. This fund currently contains $95,790. This is insufficient to pay for our land and building, but our goals are in reach if we put our trust in the Lord and give generously. To make a contribution, make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, “Building Fund.”

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Sunday After Nativity 2008 – How Can We Make Sense Out Of The Senseless

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Sunday After Nativity 2008 – How Can We Make Sense Out Of The Senseless – AUDIO mp3

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Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

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

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

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

January 2008

A Word from the rector

Brothers and sisters:

Please note that we are beginning our weekly Wednesday liturgies this month. The first one is Jan 9, 2 days after Nativity. I believe firmly that the most important work of our parish will be these liturgies, in which we will pray by name for all parish members and people present at the liturgy. We have many needs, and preeminent among them is to be people of prayer. These liturgies will be beneficial to those who attend and those who do not. I am prepared for the “long haul” here. There may be some liturgies where only myself and the volunteer reader for that day attend, but we will press on. Over time, if we are Christian, we must believe that our actions will bear good fruit.

The liturgies are at various times, to allow as many people as possible to attend at least one during the month. Please see the schedule below, and in the calendar, which is part of each month’s printed REDEEMING THE TIME (RTT), and also online (you can reach it from a link on our BLOG).

Every building project has its setbacks, and we recently found out that the city will require us to do steel framing. This will raise the cost of the building. We will probably apply for a $200,000 loan, and this will stretch or resources to the limit (and some might even say: beyond our limits!). Our income has decreased significantly since I stopped working full time. I know this is the right thing to do; I can tell by how busy I have been! I want you to be aware that we are not financially stable right now, and things will need to change. I think the greatest change will come because of our commitment to prayer both at home and together in church; I believe that hearts will be changed, both in our parish family, and in friends of the parish and readers of our web page or BLOG. We all desire an outpouring of God’s grace for our lives and our parish family, and an aspect of that outpouring will be an increase of our income. I ask each one of you to carefully consider if you should increase your regular giving to the parish.

In addition, I am asking all of you to consider five friends that you know, who you would be willing to ask for an extraordinary donation for our building fund. We are in serious need at this time. Our appeal letter is available at http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/building-appeal-letter-er.html or http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/building-appeal-letter-er.rtf It is in English and Russian. I am asking each one of you to print the letter, and send it, with a short cover letter, or better yet, give it to any friend you think might be willing to help us.

Name Days this month

  • Dec 30th: Daniel Holland
  • Jan 3rd: Jill (Juliana) Derkatch
  • Jan 8th: Mary Smith
  • Jan 13th: David Ash
  • Jan 14th: Vasily Newell, Vasyl Hurt
  • Jan 15th: Fr. Seraphim
  • Jan 16th: Genevieve Park

The Wisdom of the Fathers


St. Ignaty Brianchianinov: “All the holy ascetic writers of the recent centuries of Christianity affirm that, with the general diminution of divinely-inspired directors, the study of the Sacred Scriptures, primarily the New Testament, and the writings of the Fathers, and careful and steadfast direction according to them is the only path to spiritual success. The second moral rule proposed by St. Nilus consists of frequent — it possible, daily confession. Those trained according to these two moral rules can be compared to people who have vision and life, while those deprived of this training are blind and dead. These two rules, being introduced in any place whatsoever, can significantly change for the better both the moral and spiritual direction — this is shown by experience — without any change in external conditions. I consider it my sacred duty to pass on the wise advice which I heard from experienced elders worthy of respect. They told both laymen and monks sincerely seeking salvation: ‘In our times, in which temptations have so multiplied, you should especially be attentive to yourself without paying attention to the way of life and actions of your neighbors and without judging those who are tempted, because the corrupting action of temptation is easily transferred from those captured by temptation to those who judge them.’ The holy elders advised laymen to be guided in their lives by the Gospel and those Holy Fathers who wrote directions for Christians in general. One who is guided by the writings of the Fathers will have the possibility of attaining salvation; those lose it who live according to their own will and their own mind, even though they live in the deepest desert.”

St. John Chrysostom: I have always suggested and will not stop suggesting that you not only heed what is said in church, but also constantly occupy yourself in reading the Divine Scriptures at home. I have always suggested this also to those who are with me in private. Let no one say to me those words, cold and worthy of all condemnation: I am busy with public matters, I practice my trade, I have a wife, I am raising children, I manage a household, I am a layman; it is not my job to read the Scriptures, but that of those who have renounced the world. No, it is your job more than theirs; because they do not have as much need of the help the Divine Scriptures as do those who turn to them in the midst of many tasks. Monks, who have distanced themselves from commotions, enjoy great safety, while we, excited as if in the midst of the sea and falling into a multitude of sins, we always need constant and uninterrupted consolation from the Scriptures. It is not possible, it is not possible for anyone to be saved who does not constantly practice spiritual reading; for if, receiving wounds every day, we will not constantly practice spiritual reading, then what hope have we of salvation? Let us begin collecting a treasury of spiritual books for ourselves. Even merely seeing such books makes us more restrained from sin. Physical beauty often arouses lack of control, but spiritual beauty disposes God Himself to love it. Let us develop this beauty through the daily washing away of every impurity by reading the Scriptures.”


The Home as a Little Church:

The Vision of St. John Chrysostom

by Dr. David C. Ford

(continued from November edition)


. . . . One of the most important dimensions of St. John Chrysostom’s exalted vision of the Christian life is his emphasis on Christ-filled marriage and family life. May I ask, how many of you are aware of his emphasis on marriage, and his very high view of Christian marriage? He believed that it is the calling of every Christian married couple to make their home a little church, and he preached with all his heart to inspire the married people in his flock, to fill them with this vision, this ideal, this goal, and to instruct them in how to bring this vision to pass in their own homes.

Let’s look now at some of the most important characteristics of the home as a little church that can be found in St. John Chrysostom’s preaching and writing. I believe six such characteristics stand out: First, we see a great emphasis on the need, indeed the requirement, that husbands love their wives with Christ-like, self-sacrificial love. . . .The second characteristic of the home as a little church is a pattern of order and discipline in the family, with the husband as the servant-head of the family, and his wife as second-in-command, and their children in obedience under them. . . .Thirdly, such a godly home is characterized by careful, attentive, heartfelt instruction and training of the children by the parents. . . . A fourth characteristic of the home as a little church is regular Scripture study, spiritual discussions, and prayer.

Fifth, in a Christian home, the husband and wife will be encouraging and inspiring each other and the children to godliness and virtue through mutual exhortation and through the example of their lives. As Chrysostom says, “Let wives exhort their husbands, and let husbands admonish their wives” (Homily XLVII on St. John; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 172; Women and Men, p. 175). In this spirit, he advises, “Pray together at home and go to Church. When you come back home, let each ask the other the meaning of the readings and the prayers” (Homily XX on Ephesians; Roth, p. 61; Women and Men, p. 175; my emphasis). Notice in these quotations the complete equality of the husband and wife in these matters, and the reciprocity between them that Chrysostom expects.

St. John even suggests that there should be a kind of ‘rivalry’ between the husband and wife in their spiritual endeavors:

    But at home also, let the husband hear of these things [exhortations to virtue] from the wife, and the wife from the husband. Let there be a kind of rivalry among all in endeavoring to gain precedence in the fulfillment of this law. And let the one who is ahead, and has amended his conduct, reproach the one who is still loitering behind (Homily V Concerning the Statues; PG 49.80A; NPNF 1, IX, p. 379; Women and Men, p. 175; my emphasis).

On another occasion, he speaks in a similar way specifically concerning attendance at Church:

    Let them incite and urge one another to the assembly here – the father his son, the son his father, the husbands their wives, and the wives their husbands [again we see the reciprocity between and equality of the husband and wife in Chrysostom’s thought] (To Those Who Had Not Attended the Assembly.3; NPNF 1, IX, p. 225; Women and Men, p. 175, n. 25).

While, as we have seen, Chrysostom was at times very specific in giving advice concerning raising children, still, for him the best way to ensure that one’s children will thoroughly imbibe godly ways is through the day by day example of the parents – for the children, whether they always seem to or not, surely will be closely watching how their parents are living:

    If we seek the things that are perfect, the secondary things will follow. The Lord says, ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you’ (Matt. 6:33). What sort of person do you think the children of such parents will be? . . . For generally the children acquire the character of their parents, they are formed in the mold of their parents’ temperament, they love the same things their parents love, they talk in the same fashion, and they work for the same ends (Homily 20 on Ephesians; Roth, pp. 63-64; my emphasis).

And again:

    The father, if he disciplines himself also, will be far better in teaching the boy [or, of course, the daughter] these precepts; for, if for no other reason, he will improve himself so as not to spoil the example he sets (On Vainglory; Laistner, p. 115; my emphasis).

The sixth characteristic we can glean from Chrysostom’s preaching and writing concerning the home as a little church is regular, generous almsgiving. Almsgiving, as you probably know, is one of Chrysostom’s most favorite themes. He often emphasizes, in the spirit of the 25th chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew (“When I was hungry, you gave Me food . . .”), that when we give to the poor we are giving directly to Christ Himself, which brings us great spiritual rewards:

    Many are our debts – not of money, but of sins. Let us then lend Christ our riches, that we may receive pardon of our sins, for He is the One who will judge us. Let us not neglect Him here when He is hungry, that He may ever feed us there. Here let us clothe Him, that He leave us not bare of the safety which is from Him. . . . if we go to Him in prison, He will free us from our bonds; if we take Him in when He is a stranger, He will not suffer us to be strangers to the Kingdom of Heaven, but will give us a portion in the City which is above; if we visit Him when He is sick, He will quickly deliver us from our infirmities (Homily XXV on St. John; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 89; modified translation).

On another occasion he asked very piercingly,

    when after all this I do not vouchsafe to Him so much as a loaf of bread in His hunger, with what kind of eyes shall I ever again behold Him? (Homily XXIII on St. Matthew; NPNF 1, X, p. 165).

Chrysostom is convinced that, as he says, “You will not do so much good to the poor as to yourself, when you benefit them” (Homily LXXVII on St. John; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 286; modified translation). As he also says, “Do you not know that God enacted almsgiving not so much for the sake of the poor as for the sake of the persons themselves who bestow their goods to the poor?” (Homily XXI on I Corinthians; NPNF 1, XII, p. 124; modified translation).

For Chrysostom, giving to the poor is the greatest way to “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt. 6:20). As he exhorts:

    Let us then transfer our wealth, and remove it thither [i.e., to Heaven]. We shall not need for such a transfer donkeys, or camels, or carriages, or ships (God has relieved us even of this difficulty), but we only need the poor, the lame, the crippled, the infirm [to whom to give our wealth]. These are the ones who are entrusted with this transfer, they convey our riches to Heaven, they introduce the masters of such wealth as this to the inheritance of everlasting good things (Homily XVI on St. John; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 58; modified translation; my emphasis).

So it is completely in character for Chrysostom to advise families:

    Make your house a church, your little almsbox a treasury. Become a guardian of sacred wealth, a self-ordained steward of the poor. Your benevolence gives you this priesthood (Homily XLIII on I Corinthians; PG 61.368D-369A; NPNF 1, XII, p. 259; Women and Men, p. 173; my emphasis).

As he also says,

    Consider to whom you are giving drink, and tremble. Consider, you have become a priest of Christ, giving with your own hand, not [Christ’s] flesh but bread, and not [His] blood, but a cup of cold water (Homily XLVI on St. Matthew; NPNF 1, X, pp. 286-287; my emphasis).

And in a very remarkable passage, he even says that giving alms is offering a sacrifice on an altar more awesome that the altar in the church:

    This altar [in the church] is but a stone by nature, but it becomes holy because it receives Christ’s Body; but that one [the poor man] is holy because it is itself Christ’s Body. So that this beside which you, the layman, stand, is more awesome than that (Homily XX on II Corinthians; NPNF 1, XII, p. 374; Women and Men, p. 214; my emphasis).

Hence we see that almsgiving, understood to be a form of priesthood for the laity, is for Chrysostom a defining characteristic of the home as a little church. A priest I know told me recently that every time he does a house-blessing, he urges the husband to think of himself as the priest of his household. As Chrysostom says elsewhere, referring to an almsbox in one’s home,

    But if you have this little coffer, you have a defense against the devil, you give wings to your prayer, you make your house holy (Homily XLIII on I Corinthians; NPNF 1, XII, p. 262; my emphasis).

And again, after commending Zacchaeus, who, in receiving Christ into his home, said he would give half of his goods to the poor, St. John says:

    In this way let us too adorn our homes, that Christ may enter in unto us also. These are the fair curtains, these are made in Heaven, they are woven there. And where these are, there also is the King of Heaven (Homily LXXXIII on St. Matthew; NPNF 1, X, p. 500; modified translation; my emphasis).

In light of all these benefits of almsgiving, Chrysostom, using some imagery from sailing, urges husbands not to let their almsgiving be restricted out of too much concern for the material welfare of their families:

When we do works of mercy, we have need of intentness, lest by any means,

    thought for our household, and care for children, and anxiety about wife, and fear of poverty entering in, should slacken our sail. For if we put it on the stretch on all sides by the hope of the things to come, it receives well the energy of the Holy Spirit (Homily XXXIX on Hebrews; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 521; my emphasis).

And finally on this very important theme, Chrysostom addresses some strong words to those parents who restrict their almsgiving out of concern for leaving their children a large inheritance:

    ‘But a circle of little ones is round about me,’ one will say, ‘and I am desirous of leaving them with a good fortune.’ Why then do we make them paupers? For if you leave them everything, you are still committing your goods to a trust which may deceive you. But if you leave God their joint-heir and guardian [i.e., by giving your goods to the poor on behalf of your children], you have left them countless treasures. For as when we avenge ourselves God does not assist us, but when we leave it to Him, more than we expect comes about, so in the case of our goods. If we guard them ourselves, God will withdraw His protecting care over them, but if we cast everything upon Him, He will place both them and our children in all safety. . . .

    If then you would leave your children much wealth, leave them in God’s care. For He Who, without your having done anything, gave you a soul, and formed a body for you, and granted you life, when He sees you displaying such munificence and distributing your goods to Himself [i.e., through giving to the poor] as well as to your children, surely He will open to them every kind of riches. For if Elijah, after having been nourished with a little meal, since he saw that the widow honored him more than her children, made threshing-floors and oil-presses to appear in her little hut, consider what loving care the Lord of Elijah will display! Let us, then, not consider how to leave our children rich, but how to leave them virtuous (Homily VII on Romans; NPNF 1, XI, p. 384; modified translation; my emphasis).

Chrysostom even says boldly, “Give this loan to your children: leave God a Debtor to them” (Homily LXVI on St. Matthew; NPNF 1, X, p. 409), for the Lord, as he says, “does not promise to give a hundred percent on the loan, as is customary with us, but a hundred times the amount lent. Nor does He stop at that: this reward comes to us in this present life, and we gain life everlasting in the hereafter” (Homily 3 on Genesis.20; Fathers of the Church, vol. 74, p. 49; modified translation; my emphasis).

With all this in mind, Chrysostom confidently assures the widows of his flock:

    Transfer your wealth, therefore, to heaven, and you will find the burden of widowhood to be tolerable. ‘But,’ you say, ‘what if I have children to succeed to their father’s inheritance?’ Instruct them also to despise riches. Transfer your own possessions, reserving for them just a sufficient amount. Teach them also to be superior to riches. . . .

    If therefore, you cut off this one thing [in yourself] – this desire to accumulate wealth [and store it for your children] – and if you supply to the needy out of your substance, God will hold over you His protecting Hand. And if you are expressing a real concern for your children’s welfare and are not concealing covetousness under this pretext, He Who searches the heart knows how to secure their riches, even He Who ordained for you to bring up children.

    For it is not possible, indeed it is not, that a house established by almsgiving should suffer any calamity. If it should be unfortunate for a time, in the end it will prosper (Homily VII on II Timothy; NPNF 1, XIII, pp. 503-504; my emphasis).

This, then, is St. John Chrysostom’s glorious, magnificent vision of marriage and family life – of the home as a little church. Such a godly home is characterized, as we’ve seen, by 1), the husband loving his wife with Christ-like, self-sacrificial love; 2), a clear pattern of order, with the husband as servant-head, the wife as second-in-command, and then the children; 3), the parents giving the children careful, attentive instruction in godliness and virtue, both by word and by example; 4), regular Scripture reading, spiritual discussions, and prayer – even prayer in the night, besides morning and evening prayers together as a family; 5), the husband and wife exhorting and spurring each other to grow in the spiritual life; and 6), regular, generous almsgiving – giving to the poor as if to Christ Himself.

May we all be granted the desire and the grace to fulfill this vision in our own lives. Surely our All-Gracious LORD will give the strength and patience necessary to those who earnestly ask Him for His help in fulfilling this profoundly beautiful vision of making the home a little church – and hence, by the prayers of St. John Chrysostom, of making our little earthly domain a radiant embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven.


Regular Service Schedule

This is also at http://www.orthodox.net/aboutus/regular-service-schedule.html

Tuesday

6:30 PM

Vespers

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

1st Wed of the month

08:00 AM

Divine Liturgy Reader in charge: Natalia Hawthorne

Most hymns will be in Church Slavonic.

2nd Wed

06:00 AM

Divine Liturgy Reader in charge: Reader Nicholas Park

Most Hymns will be in English.

3rd Wed

09:00 AM

Divine Liturgy Reader in charge: Jelena Djolovic

Most Hymns will be in Church Slavonic, with many Serbian melodies!

4th Wed

09:00 AM

Divine Liturgy Reader in charge: Raissa Dudar

Hymns will be in English and Slavonic

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

Confession (please call before the night before if possible)

Hours

Divine Liturgy

Trapeza (public meal for EVERYONE)

Church School following on most Sundays.

For the exact schedule (including festal and Lenten services):

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church

Regular Announcements

  • Fr. Seraphim asks that everyone would try to read each week’s readings, according to the church calendar. We will discuss these on occasion, provide commentaries when possible, and provide a list of these readings each week. Keep an eye on the BLOG, because many of these readings are discussed there. In addition, you can find the readings each day at these web sites:

  • 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 or email to stnatalia (at) hotmail (dot) com
  • 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 or email her at parknj (at) basicisp (dot) net
  • Please remember to support the parish financially.
  • Our building fund is our means of financing our land and building efforts. This fund currently contains $95,790. This is insufficient to pay for our land and building, but our goals are in reach if we put our trust in the Lord and give generously. To make a contribution, make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, “Building Fund.”

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Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

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

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

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

December 2007

A Word from the rector

Brothers and sisters, we are in the midst of the Nativity fast. I have sent the fasting guidelines to the parish mailing list, and repeat them briefly here. On all days, we do not eat any meat, eggs or dairy products. Monday, Wednesday and Friday are the strictest fast days, when we also should not eat oil or wine. On Tuesday and Thursday the fast is a little relaxed, and we can have oil and wine. On Saturday and Sunday, the fast is the most relaxed and we may have oil, wine and fish. Please check your calendar for variations to these general guidelines.

If there are any questions about fasting, and especially if you have difficulty keeping this rule, please contact me as soon as you can. Although the Lord tells us to fast in secret, we never should fast “alone”. Fasting is something you and your confessor should struggle together with. If you struggle with fasting, please do not do it “alone”. Talk with me, and let’s together work something out that is spiritually profitable for you.

The rules of fasting are beneficial to us only if we also struggle to follow them along with increasing our prayer, reading of scripture, and overall “effort” in the Christian life. May God help us in this.

PLEASE NOTE: We have Vespers and a teaching about the Church’s prayers every Tuesday at 6:30 PM. This would be an excellent commitment to make on your part during the Nativity Fast.

I am no longer working, and plan to concentrate exclusively on pastoral work for at least the next six months. I am therefore more available during most parts of the day, and want to be seeing more of you all (and not only in church!) We hope to have our new facility built within 6 months, and I will be working on that, in conjunction with many others of you who are giving your talents and effort to our community. I also will be writing and teaching a lot more, and you can expect to see more things in your email. Please call or email me at any time for any reason.

I am currently updating my records. Please, everyone who can, send me all your contact information (address, phone, email). I have most of your email addresses, but am missing a few. I am also missing many home addresses and some phone numbers.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER EVERY DAY. I assure you of my unworthy, yet expectant prayers. We will grow as a parish family by caring for each other. Prayer for each other is the most important manifestation of this care. If you need lists of parishioners names, please contact me.

unworthy Priest Seraphim, who prays for you daily and asks for your daily prayers.

News and Announcements

  • By God’s mercy, we are preparing to build a hall and chapel on our land in McKinney, but we still need money to finance the building process! Please consider making an extraordinary donation to the building fund as you are able.
  • We are instituting a group bible reading program. Fr. Seraphim asks thay everyone would try to read each week’s readings, according to the church calendar. We will discuss these on occasion, provide commentaries when possible, and provide a list of these readings each week. In addition, you can find the readings each day at these web sites:

Name Days this month

  • Dec 19th: Nicholas Quillen, Nicholas Quillen Jr., Nikolai Slavine THIS IS OUR PATRONAL FEAST!
  • Dec 26th: Lucy Park

Principles of the Orthodox Faith

by Bishop Alexander (continued from November Edition)

(??-????????? ? ??-??????)

We believe that the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down from heaven for our salvation. He came to earth and took on our flesh by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. Being God from all eternity, He in the time of King Herod took on our human nature, both soul and body, and is therefore truly God and truly man, or the God-man. In one divine Person He combined two natures, divine and human. These two natures will remain with Him always without change, neither blending nor changing from one into the other.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ, while living on earth, enlightened the world by His teaching, His example, and miracles. He taught people what they should believe and how they should live so that they may inherit eternal life. By His prayers to His Father, His complete obedience to the Father’s Will, His sufferings and death, He defeated the devil and redeemed the world from sin and death. By His Resurrection from the dead, He laid the foundation for our resurrection. After His Ascension in the flesh to Heaven, which took place forty days after His Resurrection from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ sat at the right hand of God the Father; that is to say, He received equal power with God the Father and since then together with Him governs the face of the world.

We believe that the Holy Spirit, proceeding from God the Father from the beginning of the world, together with the Father and the Son gives existence to all creation, gives life, and governs all. He is the source of a grace-filled spiritual life, both for angels as well as people, and equally with the Father and the Son is worthy of all glory and worship. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament spoke through the prophets. Then in the beginning of the New Testament, He spoke through the Apostles and now lives in the Church of Christ, guiding her pastors and people in the truth.

We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ founded the Church on earth for the salvation of all who believe in Him. He sent the Holy Spirit to the Apostles on Pentecost. Since that time the Holy Spirit abides in the Church, that grace-filled community or union of believing Orthodox Christians, and preserves her in the purity of Christ’s teaching. The grace of the Holy Spirit abides in the Church, cleanses those who repent of sins, helps the believers grow in good deeds, and sanctifies them.

We believe that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. She is One because all Orthodox Christians, although belonging to different national, local churches, are one family together with the angels and saints in Heaven. The oneness of the Church depends on oneness of Faith and Grace. The Church is Holy because her faithful children are sanctified by the word of God, prayer, and the Sacraments. The Church is Catholic because what we believe is the same teaching held to be true by all Orthodox Christians, always and everywhere. The Church is called Apostolic because it preserves Apostolic teaching and the Apostolic succession. From ancient times, this Apostolic succession passes on without interruption from Bishop to Bishop in the sacrament of Ordination. The Church will remain of our Lord and Savior until the end of time.

We believe that in the sacrament of Baptism the believer is forgiven all sins. The believer becomes a member of the Church. Access to the other sacraments of salvation becomes available to him at this time. In the sacrament of Chrismation the believer receives the grace of the Holy Spirit. In Confession or Repentance, sins are forgiven. In Holy Communion, offered at the Divine Liturgy, the believer receives the very Body and Blood of Christ. In the sacrament of Matrimony, an inseparable union is created between a man and a woman. In the sacrament of Ordination Deacons, Priests, and Bishops are ordained to serve the Church. In Holy Unction, the healing of physical and spiritual illness is offered.

We believe that before the end of the world Jesus Christ, accompanied by angels, will again come to the earth in glory. Every person, according to His Word, will resurrect from the dead. A miracle will occur in which the souls of people who have died will return into the bodies which they possessed during their earthly life. All the dead will come to life. During the General Resurrection, the bodies of the saints, both those resurrecting and those still living will be renewed and become spiritualized in the image of the Resurrected Body of Christ. After the resurrection, everyone will appear before the Judgment of Christ, to receive what he is due, according to what he has done when he lived in his body, good or evil. After the Judgment, unrepentant sinners will enter into eternal torments and the righteous into eternal life. This will begin the Kingdom of Christ, which will have no end.

With the one word “Amen” we witness to the fact that we accept and acknowledge with our whole heart this Creed which we confess to be true.

The Creed is read by a Catechumen (one about to receive Baptism) during the sacrament of Baptism. During the Baptism of an infant, the Creed is read by the Sponsor. The Creed is sung at the Liturgy and should be read daily at Morning Prayers. An attentive reading of the Creed greatly strengthens our faith. This happens because the Creed is not just a formal statement of belief but a prayer. When we say “I believe” in a spirit of prayer, along with the other words of the Creed, we enliven and strengthen our Faith in God and in all those truths which are contained in the Creed. This is why it is so important for the Orthodox Christian to recite the Creed daily or at least regularly.

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ??? ?????, ??????? ??? ????? ???????, ??? ?????? ????????, ????? ? ????? ?? ????? ? ?????????? ?? ??????? ???? ? ???? ?????. ??, ?????? ????? ?? ????????, ?? ??? ???? ????? ????????? ???? ???????????? ???????? — ???? ? ????, ? ??????? ?? ???? ???????????? ???????? ??? ? ???????? ???????, ??? ???????????. ?? ? ????? ???????? ???? ????????? ??? ????????, ???????? ? ????????????. ??? ??? ???????? ???????? ???????? ? ??? ??? ?????????, ?? ???????? ? ?? ??????????? ???? ? ??????.

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ??????? ????? ???????, ???? ?? ?????, ????? ???????, ???????? ? ???????? ????????? ???, ?? ???? ?????? ?????, ?? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ? ??? ?????? ????, ????? ??????????? ????? ??????. ?????? ????????? ? ????, ??????????? ??????????? ???? ???, ??????????? ? ???????? ??????? ?? ??????? ???????, ??????? ??? ?? ????? ? ??????. ????? ???????????? ?? ??????? ?? ??????? ?????? ?????? ???????????. ?????????? ? ?????? ?? ????, ??? ????????? ?? 40-? ???? ????? ??????????? ?? ???????, ??????? ????? ??????? ??? “??????? (?? ?????? ???????) ???? ????,” ?? ???? ?????? ??? ????–??????? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ????? ? ? ??? ??? ?????? ? ??? ????????? ???????? ????.

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

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

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ??????? ???? ??????, ??????, ???????? ? ????????????. ??? ????? ??????, ??? ??? ???????????? ?????????, ???? ? ??????????? ? ?????? ???????????? ????????? ???????, ?? ?????????? ???? ????? ?????? ? ???????? ? ???????????? ?? ????, ???????? ?????? ???????? ?? ???????? ???? ? ?????????. ??????? ????? ??????, ??? ?????? ???? ?? ?????????? ?????? ??????, ???????? ? ?????????? ??????????. ??????? ????????? ???????? ??????, ??? ????????????? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ? ???? ???????????????; ??????? ????????? ???????????? ??????, ??? ??? ?????? ???????????? ?????? ? ???????????? ?????????????? ???????????????, ??????? ? ???????????? ?????? ?????????? ?? ?????? ??????? ?????????? ?? ???????? ? ???????? ? ???????? ?????????????. ???????, ?? ???????? ??????? ?????????, ???????? ?????????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ????????????? ????.

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

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ????? ?????? ???? ????? ???????, ?????????????? ????????, ????? ?????? ?? ????? ? ?????. ????? ???, ?? ??? ?????, ?????????? ?? ???????, ?? ???? ?????????? ????, ? ??????? ???? ??????? ????? ???????? ? ?? ????, ??????? ??? ????? ?? ??????, ? ??? ??????? ??????. ??? ???????? ???????????, ???? ???????????, ??? ??????????, ??? ? ?????, ????????? ? ?????? ??????????????? ?? ?????? ??????????? ???? ????????. ????? ???????????, ??? ???? ?????????? ?? ??? ?????, ????? ??????? ???????? ?????????????? ????, ??? ?? ?????, ????? ??? ? ????? ????, ?????? ??? ?????. ????? ???? ?????? ?????????????? ???????? ? ???? ??????, ? ?????????? — ? ????? ??????. ??? ???????? ??????? ????????, ???????? ?? ????? ?????.

?????????????? ?????? “?????” ?? ??????????????? ? ???, ??? ?? ???? ??????? ????????? ? ???????? ???????? ??? ??????????? ???????????? ????.

?????? ???? ???????? ?????????, ??????????? ???????? (“??????????”) ?? ????? ?????????? ???????? ????????. ??? ???????? ???????? ?????? ???????? ??????????????. ????? ????, ?????? ???? ?????? ? ?????? ?? ????????? ? ??????? ?????? ??? ????????? ?? ????? ???????? ??????. ???????????? ?????? ??????? ????? ??????? ??????? ?? ???? ????. ??? ?????????? ??????, ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ?????????????? ???????, ?? ???? ???????. ?????? ? ??????????? ??????????? ????? “?????” ? ?????? ????? ???????, ?? ???????? ? ????????? ???? ???? ? ???? ? ?? ??? ?? ??????, ??????? ?????????? ? ???????. ??? ?????? ??? ????? ???????????? ?????????? ?????????, ??? ?? ?????? ???? ?????????, ?????? ?????? ????.

The Home as a Little Church:

The Vision of St. John Chrysostom

by Dr. David C. Ford

(continued from November edition)


. . . . One of the most important dimensions of St. John Chrysostom’s exalted vision of the Christian life is his emphasis on Christ-filled marriage and family life. May I ask, how many of you are aware of his emphasis on marriage, and his very high view of Christian marriage? He believed that it is the calling of every Christian married couple to make their home a little church, and he preached with all his heart to inspire the married people in his flock, to fill them with this vision, this ideal, this goal, and to instruct them in how to bring this vision to pass in their own homes.

Let’s look now at some of the most important characteristics of the home as a little church that can be found in St. John Chrysostom’s preaching and writing. I believe six such characteristics stand out: First, we see a great emphasis on the need, indeed the requirement, that husbands love their wives with Christ-like, self-sacrificial love. . . .The second characteristic of the home as a little church is a pattern of order and discipline in the family, with the husband as the servant-head of the family, and his wife as second-in-command, and their children in obedience under them. . . .

    Thirdly, such a godly home is characterized by careful, attentive, heartfelt

instruction and training of the children by the parents. Chrysostom strongly exhorts parents to train their children carefully and diligently in the ways of the Lord. Not to teach them virtue, not to call them to account for their actions, is, as he says, “to trample upon the noble nature of the soul” (Homily III on Philemon; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 557; my emphasis). Concerning those who may become leaders in the Church, he asks, “For he who does not instruct his own children, how should he be the teacher of others?” (Homily II on Titus; NPNF 1, XIII, pp. 524-525).

For Chrysostom, the Christian training of a child begins with the very name he or she is given by the parents:

    Let none of us hasten to call his child after his forebears – his father or mother or grandfather or great-grandfather, but rather after the righteous – martyrs, bishops, apostles. Let this be an incentive to the children. Let one be called Peter, another John; and let another bear the name of one of the other saints.

As we know, this is a strong Orthodox tradition to this day – to give the new child the name of a Saint, and thus to make sure he or she has a patron Saint. Chrysostom believes that this will bring great benefit not only to the children, but also to the parents. As he goes on to say:

    So let the names of the saints enter our homes through the naming of our children, to train not only the child but the father, when he reflects that he is the father of John or Elijah or James. For, if the name be given with forethought . . ., and we emphasize our kinship with the righteous rather than [or, at least, more than] with our forebears, this too will greatly help us and our children (An Address on Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children, in M. L. W. Laistner, Christianity and Pagan Culture [Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1951], pp. 107-109; modified translation; my emphasis).

In this same remarkable essay, St. John tells parents, “thou art raising a philosopher, an athlete, a citizen of Heaven” (p. 102), and he speaks of parents shaping their children into “wondrous statues for God”:

    To each of you fathers and mothers I say, just as we see artists fashioning their paintings and statues with great precision, so we must care for these wondrous statues of ours. Painters, when they have set the canvas on the easel, paint on it day by day to accomplish their purpose. Sculptors, too, working in marble, proceed in a similar manner; they remove what is superfluous and add what is lacking. Even so you must proceed. Like the creators of statues, give all your leisure to fashioning these wondrous statues for God (On Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children; Laistner, p. 96; my emphasis).

Chrysostom goes on in this essay to compare the soul of a child to a city, indwelt by good and bad citizens (i.e., good and bad thoughts, dispositions, and habits). He exhorts parents, “Regard yourself as a king ruling over a city which is the soul of your son [or daughter].” And referring to the necessity for the parents to set firm boundaries and guidelines for their children concerning what kind of behavior is proper and what is unacceptable, he says,

    Draw up laws for this city and its citizens, laws that inspire fear and are strong, and uphold them if they are being transgressed; for it is useless to draw up laws, if their enforcement does not follow. Draw up laws, and pay close attention, for our legislation is for the world, and today we are founding a city” (Ibid., pp. 97-98; modified translation).

Then he addresses in quite some detail the five gates of this city which is the child’s soul – the tongue, hearing, sight, the sense of smell, and the sense of touch – all of which must be carefully guarded lest unwelcome intruders make their way into the child’s mind and heart. If in his day Chrysostom had to strongly warn parents to carefully supervise what things their children were seeing and hearing in the world around them, how much more is this necessary in our own age of radio, TV, movies, MTV, and the Internet?!

If children are given such diligent care and attention in child-raising, St. John is quite confident that they will turn out well:

    For it is not possible, indeed it is not, that one should turn out badly who is brought up with so much care, and has received great attention. Sins are not so prevalent, so deeply rooted, by nature as to overcome so much previous care (Homily II on Titus; NPNF 1, XIII, pp. 524-525).

A fourth characteristic of the home as a little church is regular Scripture study, spiritual discussions, and prayer. Concerning the reading of the Holy Scriptures, in one notable passage Chrysostom suggests that families need this more than monastics do:

    The solitaries do not need the consolation and the help of the Holy Scriptures as much as do those who are in the midst of the whirl of a distracting existence . . . [By the way, is this a pretty good description of how most of us live? – “in the midst of the whirl of a distracting existence”?] The hermits sit far from the struggle; therefore they are not often wounded. But you [speaking to his urban-dwelling parishioners] stand always in the front rank of battle (Homily III on Lazarus; PG 48.992C; Women and Men, p. 88; my emphasis).

So he advises:

    Hearken, I entreat you, all who are involved with the things of this life, and procure books that will be medicines for the soul. . . . get at least from the New Testament the Acts and the Gospels to be your constant teachers (Homily IX on Colossians, PG 62.361D; NPNF 1, XIII, pp. 300-301; Women and Men, p. 88, n. 46; my emphasis).

We may notice here how this passage implies that copies of at least these portions of the New Testament must have been quite readily available to the average parishioners of Chrysostom’s day, at least in the big cities.

Specifically concerning instructing children, he exhorts, “Let us make them from the earliest age apply themselves to the reading of the Scriptures” (Homily XXI on Ephesians; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 154; Women and Men, p. 88, n. 46; my emphasis). He urges fathers to teach their children the Psalms, including memorizing certain ones, and then to lead them to study the Hymns of the Church:

    Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom . . . When in these you have led him on from childhood, little by little you will lead him forward even to higher things. The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns have nothing human. When he has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then understand that the Hymns are even more divine (Homily IX on Colossians; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 301; modified translation).

The Scripture text for this homily is Colossians 3:16-17, which includes the words “teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Don’t these striking words about the Hymns make you wonder which Hymns he was referring to? Perhaps mostly they were the hymns from his own Divine Liturgy, such as the Cherubic Hymn.

St. John goes on in this homily to give a whole list of things to be learned from particular verses from the Psalms. And in his An Address on Vainglory and the Right Way for Parents to Bring Up Their Children, he takes five pages to explain in detail how parents should relate Bible stories to their children, and how to reinforce them so that the children get them virtually memorized. As examples, he uses the story of Cain and Abel, and also the story of Jacob and Esau; and he even gives the specific paraphrasing that the parents should use! (Laistner, pp. 102-107).

We can easily see St. John Chrysostom’s fervent love for the Holy Scriptures shining through all his preaching. On one occasion he cries out:

    If we order our lives in this way and diligently study the Scriptures, we will find the lessons to guide us in everything we need! (Homily 20 on Ephesians; Roth, p. 64; my emphasis).

Concerning fostering spiritual discussions in the home, Chrysostom recommends that the father at the family dinner table repeat, and promote discussion about, the instruction given at the Church:

    When you go home from here, lay out with your meal a spiritual meal as well. The father of the family might repeat something of what was said here; his wife could then hear it, the children too could learn something, and even the servants might be instructed. In short, the household might become a church, so that the devil is driven off and that evil spirit, the enemy of our salvation, takes to flight; the grace of the Holy Spirit would rest there instead, and all peace and harmony would surround the inhabitants (Homily 2 on Genesis.13; Fathers of the Church, vol. 74, Robert C. Hill, trans., p. 37; my emphasis).

(Notice how this passage implies that the father is attending church by himself. We know that Chrysostom often preached every day, such as during Great Lent, either in the morning before people went to work, or in the evenings on their way home from work.)

Chrysostom also says on this point:

    Let us guide the conversation to the kingdom of heaven and to those men of old, pagan or Christian, who were illustrious for their self-restraint (On Vainglory; Laistner, p. 118; my emphasis).

Notice how he freely recognizes (in the spirit of Philippians 4:8) that pagan men (or women) of old can be good examples for Christians too, if they lived virtuously.

Concerning prayer in the Christian home, Chrysostom exclaims,

    Here indeed my discourse is for both men and women. Bend your knees, send forth groans, beseech your Master to be merciful. He is more moved by prayers in the night, when you make the time for rest a time for grieving [for your sins]. . . . Do this, you men, and not the women only. Let the house be a Church, consisting of men and women. For do not think that because you are the only man, or because your wife is the only woman there, that this is any hindrance. ‘For where two,’ He says, ‘are gathered in My Name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matt. 18:20). Where Christ is in the midst, there is a great multitude. Where Christ is, Angels also must be there, and Archangels and the other heavenly Powers. So then you are not alone, seeing you have Him Who is Lord of all. Hear again the prophet also saying, ‘Better is one who does the will of the Lord, than ten thousand transgressors’ (cf. Ecclus. 16:3). . . . Nothing is stronger than one man who lives according to the law of God.

    If you have children, wake them up also, and let your house altogether become a Church through the night.

If I may ask at this point, does this sound quite extreme? St. John’s ideal was that the home would really become like a monastery. Once he even said he wished the whole city would become like a monastery (Homily XXVI on Romans; PG 60.644A; NPNF 1, XI, p. 533; Women and Men, pp. 44-45). But now, to continue with this quotation, we’ll see his pastor’s heart come in, and his compassionate understanding of the practical realities of life:

    But if they are young, and cannot endure the watching, let them stay for the first or second prayer, and then send them to rest. Only stir up yourself; establish yourself in the habit. Nothing is better than the storehouse which receives such prayers as these. . . . Believe me, there is no fire as effectual to burn off rust as night prayer to remove the rust of our sins. . . . [Pray] in your closet, or in your bedroom; bend your knees, and entreat the Lord (Homily XXVI on Acts; NPNF 1, XI, pp. 172-173; modified translation; my emphasis).

While in this passage he has in mind, ideally, midnight vigils, in a later sermon in this same series (on the Acts of the Apostles), he says, with pastoral moderation and compassion,

    I have both before discoursed to you on this, and now repeat it: let us arouse ourselves during the night. And if you do not say many prayers, say one with real attentiveness, and it is enough – I ask no more; and if not at midnight, at any rate at the first light of dawn (Homily XXXVI on Acts; NPNF 1, XI, p. 227; modified translation).

In a similar vein he says elsewhere,

    Thus I would have you always [to be in prayer]; and if not always, at least very often; and if not very often, at least now and then, at least in the morning, at least in the evening prayers (Homily XXII on Hebrews; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 468).

And concerning the power of prayer, he assures his people:

    Let every man and woman among us, whether meeting together at church, or remaining at home, call upon God with much earnestness, and He will doubtless accede to these petitions (Homily III on the Statues; NPNF 1, IX, p. 356; my emphasis).

Not only should the children be included in daily family prayers, but they should also be taught to pray regularly on their own:

    Let the boy be trained to pray with much contrition and to keep vigils as much as he is able, and let the stamp of a saintly man be impressed on the boy in every way (On Vainglory; Laistner, p. 119).

And wives also, if they are able to stay at home during the day – which St. John would certainly strongly favor in our day and age, if this is at all possible – can, in his opinion, use the quiet of the home to foster much spiritual growth for themselves and their families:

    But the woman who sits in her house as in some school of true wisdom, and collects her thoughts within herself, will be enabled to devote herself to prayers, and readings, and other heavenly wisdom (Homily LXI on St. John; PG 59.340C; NPNF 1, XIV, p. 225; Women and Men, p. 187; my emphasis).

Do you ladies think this is possible? Is it at least more possible than your husband making his workplace a “school of true wisdom”?


(to be concluded in the January edition)

Regular Service Schedule

  • Tuesday 6:30 PM – Vespers followed by a discussion about the spiritual/dogmatic content of various prayers in the church services.
  • Saturday 4:00 pm – Confession
  • Saturday 5:00 pm – Vigil
  • Sunday 10:00 am – Divine Liturgy, Trapeza and Church School

Regular Announcements

  • 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 or email to stnatalia (at) hotmail (dot) com
  • 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 or email her at parknj (at) basicisp (dot) net
  • Please remember to support the parish financially.
  • Our building fund is our means of financing our land and building efforts. This fund currently contains $70,000, and is growing slowly. To make a contribution, make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, “Building Fund.”

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

Fr. Seraphim Holland

seraphim@orthodox.net

972-529-2754

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

November 2007

News and Announcements

Building Plans

At long last, our hope to move into a better facility may be turning into a reality! Following discussion at several recent parish council meetings, we are laying plans to construct a building on our land in McKinney. We hope to be able to serve there by Pascha of 2008. May God bless and guide us in this endeavor!

Visit by His Grace, Bishop Peter

On the weekend of November 18th, Bishop Peter will be visiting our parish. The tentative schedule is as follows:

  • ARRIVAL 12:50 pm- American Airlines Flight 2317
  • Early afternoon on Saturday: Lunch and Q&A session with Bishop Peter. Father Seraphim would like everybody to attend!
  • 5PM on Saturday: Hierarchal Vigil Service
  • 9:30 AM on Sunday: Meeting of the Bishop, followed by Hierarchal Divine Liturgy and Festal Trapeza
  • Sunday afternoon: Visit to the land in McKinney, possibly a Molieban
  • DEPARTURE: 4:55 pm – American Airlines Flight 2364

Name Days this month

  • Wednesday, November 21st – Archangel Michael – Michael D., Misha I.

Prayer Requests

“I was sick and you visited me.” Please continue to pray for Dimitry, Olga and Vladimir Maximov, who will be returning to Dallas this fall for Dima’s surgery.

Principles of the Orthodox Faith

by Bishop Alexander

(continued from October Edition)


What do we believe in according to the Creed?

We begin the Creed with “I believe.” This is because the essence of our religious convictions depends not on external experiences but on our acceptance of God-given truths. Surely one cannot prove truths of the spiritual world by any laboratory experiments. These truths belong to the sphere of personal religious experience. The more a person grows in the spiritual life – the more one prays, thinks about God, does good – the more his inner spiritual experience develops, the clearer the religious truths become to him. In this fashion, faith becomes for him a subject of personal experience.

We believe that God is one fullness of perfection; we believe that He is a perfect spirit, timeless, without beginning, all-powerful and all-wise. God is everywhere, sees all, and knows beforehand when something will happen. He is good beyond measure, just and all-holy. He needs nothing and is the reason for everything that exists.

We believe that God is one in Essence and Trinity in Persons (i.e., the one true God has appeared to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Trinity, one in Essence and indivisible. The Father is not born and does not proceed from the others. The Son pre-eternally was born of the Father, and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father.

We believe that all the Persons of the Holy Trinity are equaly in divine perfection, greatness, power, and glory. That is, we believe that the Father is true and perfect God, the Son is true and perfect God, and, the Holy Spirit is true and perfect God. Therefore, in prayers, we simultaneously glorify the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as one God.

We believe that the entire visible and invisible world was created by God. In the beginning God created the invisible, great angelic world, otherwise known as Heaven. As stated in the Bible, God created our material or physical world from nothing. This was not done at once, but gradually during periods of time which in the Bible are called “days.” God created the world not out of necessity or need but out of His all-good desire to do so in order that His other creations might enjoy life. Being Himself endlessly good, God created all things good. Evil appeared in the world from the misuse of free will, with which God has endowed both angels and people. For example, the Devil (Satan) and his demons were at one time angels of God. But they rebelled against their Creator and became demons. They were cast out of Heaven and formed their own kingdom called “hell.” From that moment on, they tempted people to sin and became our enemies and the enemies of our salvation.

We believe that all things are under God’s control; that is, he provides for every creature and guides everything to a good goal. God loves and looks after us as a mother looks after her child. For this reason nothing bad can befall a person who trusts in God.

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

?? ???????? ?????? ?????? “?????” ??????, ??? ?????????? ????? ??????????? ????????? ???????? ?? ?? ??????? ?????, ?? ?? ???????? ???? ????–??????????? ??????. ???? ???????? ? ??????? ????????? ???? ?????? ????????? ???????????? ????? ? ????????? ???????? — ??? ?????? ? ????? ??????? ???????????? ????? ????????. ??????, ??? ?????? ??????? ??????????? ? ???????? ?????, ????????: ??? ?????? ?? ???????, ?????? ? ????, ?????? ?????, ??? ?????? ??????????? ? ??? ?????? ?????????? ???????? ???? ? ??? ????? ? ????????? ???????? ??? ???? ??????????? ??????. ????? ????? ???? ?????????? ??? ????????? ???????? ????????? ??? ??????? ?????.

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

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

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ??? ???? ??? ???????? ???? ????? ????? ????? ?? ???????? ?????????????, ???????, ?????? ? ?????, ? ?????? — ?? ?????, ??? ???? ???? ???????? ?????????????? ???, ? ??? ???? ???????? ?????????????? ???, ? ??? ?????? ???? ???????? ?????????????? ???. ??????? ? ???????? ?? ???????????? ??????????? ????, ? ????, ? ??????? ????, ??? ??????? ????.

?? ????? ? ??, ??? ???? ??????? ? ????????? ??? ???????? ?????. ??????? ??? ???????? ?????????, ??????? ?????????? ??? ??? ??? ?????????? ? ?????? “????,” ????? — ??? ???????????? ??? ?????????? ??? (? ?????? — “?????”). ?????????? ??? ??? ???????? ?? ??????, ?? ?? ?????, ? ?????????? ? ??????? ????????, ????????? ? ?????? “?????.” ??? ???????? ??? ?? ?? ????????????? ??? ????? ? ???, ?? ?? ?????? ?????????? ???????, ????? ? ?????? ????????? ?? ???????? ???????????? ??????. ?????? ?????????? ??????, ??? ??? ???????? ??????. ??? ? ???? ?????????? ?? ??????????????? ????????? ?????, ??????? ??? ??????? ??????? ? ?????. ???, ????????, ?????? ? ???? ?????-?? ???? ??????? ????????, ?? ???????? ?????? ???? ? ??????????? ????? ?????. ??? ?????????? ??????, ??????? ??????, ???? ??????? ?? ??? ? ?????????? ???? ?????? ???????, ????????? ????. ? ??? ??? ??? ??????????? ????? ?? ???? ? ???????? ??????? ?????? ????????.

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

(to be concluded in the December edition)

St. John Chrysostom

This year marks the 1600th anniversary of St. John Chrysostom’s death. St. John, commemorated on November 22nd, was the Patriarch of Constantinople during the late 4th century, during the reign of the Emperor Theodosius the Great. Studying secular philosophy in his youth, St. John turned quickly to the study of sacred scriptures, and entered the monastic life, which he called the “true philosophy,” after the death of his mother. Ordained a priest and then a bishop, St. John was the consumate pastor, preaching and writing prolifically. We present here an excerpt from a talk given by Dr. David C. Ford of St. Tikhon’s Seminary at the 1600th Anniversary Symposium for St. John Chrysostom on September 29th. The topic is St. John’s pastoral work, and particularly his emphasis on the Christian home.

The Home as a Little Church:

The Vision of St. John Chrysostom

by Dr. David C. Ford

As I’m sure nearly every Orthodox Christian realizes, St. John Chrysostom is one of our most revered and beloved Saints. He was a man small in stature, but mighty in faith in God, in love for his people, in eloquence in preaching the Gospel, and in pastoral wisdom in interpreting the Holy Scriptures. He was a great encourager; over and over again he poured out his heart in his sermons, as he ceaselessly urged his flock to overcome earthly distractions and strive to live in virtue and godliness. As you all well know, he deeply loved the Holy Scriptures, and he mined them for every nugget of practical wisdom he could find that would help his flock to really live Christ’s teachings day by day. And in the end, as we know, he literally gave his life for the Truth of the Gospel.

I think just about anyone who begins reading the writings of St. John Chrysostom quickly feels his intense love for his people, and his profound desire for them to make spiritual progress. Once he cried out in the midst of a sermon, “for I vehemently set my heart upon your salvation” (Homily XLIII on I Corinthians; Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first series, vol. XII, p. 260; my emphasis). Do you think he still, even now, has his heart vehemently set on our salvation? I think it could be said that these words summarize his whole life as a priest in Antioch, and then as Archbishop of Constantinople. He is so beloved in our Church, I’m quite sure, in large part because of his tremendous love for his flock.

One of the most important dimensions of St. John Chrysostom’s exalted vision of the Christian life is his emphasis on Christ-filled marriage and family life. May I ask, how many of you are aware of his emphasis on marriage, and his very high view of Christian marriage? He believed that it is the calling of every Christian married couple to make their home a little church, and he preached with all his heart to inspire the married people in his flock, to fill them with this vision, this ideal, this goal, and to instruct them in how to bring this vision to pass in their own homes.

Let’s look now at some of the most important characteristics of the home as a little church that can be found in St. John Chrysostom’s preaching and writing. I believe six such characteristics stand out:

First, we see a great emphasis on the need, indeed the requirement, that husbands love their wives with Christ-like, self-sacrificial love; as St. Paul says to the Ephesians, “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25; my emphasis). In a very memorable passage, Chrysostom speaks of the ceaseless, nurturing, forgiving, protecting love of Christ for His Church using in significant measure the imagery of a good husband’s love for his wife:

    For Christ espoused His Church as a wife, He loves her as a daughter, He provides for her as a handmaid, He guards her as a virgin, He fences her around like a garden, and cherishes her like a part of His own body. As a head He provides for her, as a root He causes her to grow, as a shepherd He feeds her, as a bridegroom He weds her, as a propitiation He pardons her, as a sheep He is sacrificed, as a bridegroom He preserves her in her beauty, as a husband He provides for her support (On Eutropius.II; Patrologiae Graeca 52.410D-411A; NPNF 1, IX, pp. 262-263; quoted in Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom, by David C. Ford [S. Canaan, Pa.: St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 1996], p. 68).

It’s difficult to imagine any wife not responding with great love and gratitude to such solicitous, self-sacrificing love from her husband – would you agree?

St. John speaks of the ineffable unity of husband and wife in the context of such Christ-like love:

    The other party thereafter is yourself, when you love: . . . the lover and the beloved should no longer be two persons divided, but in a manner one single person (??? ???? ????????), something which can never happen except from love (??????) (Homily XXXIII on I Corinthians; PG 61.280A; NPNF 1, XII, p. 197; Women and Men, p. 65; my emphasis).

Emphasizing on another occasion the great unity and love which should be knitting husband and wife together, Chrysostom states,

    Let husbands heed this, let wives heed it: wives, so as to give evidence of such great affection for their husbands, and to put nothing ahead of their welfare; and husbands, that they might show their wives great regard and do everything as though having one soul and being one body.

If I may interject here, it always amazes me that this profound understanding of the almost ontological oneness of husband and wife comes from a man who was never married! And since John’s father died when John was very young, he didn’t even have the visible example of his parents to inspire him. How did he know so much about marriage? Certainly he took St. Paul’s words in Ephesians 5 very seriously about comparing marital unity and love to Christ’s unity with His Body, the Church, and His love for Her. To recall verse 23 in this passage: “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the Church.” Hence each married couple is called to be profoundly united, at least in some degree approaching the ineffable oneness of Christ and His Church. To continue with this quotation:

    This, after all, is true wedlock, when such harmony operates between them, when there is such close relationship, when they are bound together in such love. You see, just as a body would never be at odds with itself nor a soul at odds with itself, so husband and wife should not be at odds, but united (Homily 45 on Genesis.9; Fathers of the Church, vol. 82, Robert C. Hill, trans., p. 474; Women and Men, p. 55; my emphasis).

He has such a high vision of Christian marriage that he asserts that marital love is “a thing that no possession can equal; for nothing, nothing whatever, is more precious than to be thus loved by a wife and to love her” (Homily XLIX on Acts; NPNF 1, XI, p. 296; Women and Men, p. 65; my emphasis). Did you know he said things like this? Isn’t it comforting, if you’re married, to hear a Church Father speaking like this? It is true that of all the Church Fathers, he spoke the most – and the most positively – about marriage.

St. John was often very practical in his advice – for instance, he exhorts the husbands of his flock:

    Never call her merely by her name, but with terms of endearment, with honor, and with much love (??????) (Homily XX on Ephesians; PG 62.148C; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 151; Catharine Roth, ed. and trans., St. John Chrysostom: On Marriage and Family Life [Crestwood, N. Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1986], p. 63; Women and Men, p. 170, note 8).

And again,

    Whenever you give your wife advice, always begin by telling her how much you love her (??????). . . . Tell her that you love her more than your own life, because this present life is nothing, and that your only hope is that the two of you pass through this life in such a way that in the world to come you will be united in perfect love (Homily XX on Ephesians; PG 62.146D; NPNF 1, XIII, pp. 150-151; Women and Men, p. 170; my emphasis).

Here we see St. John Chrysostom’s great overarching perspective – that all of this life is the training ground for eternal life. And we also see expressed here the traditional Orthodox understanding that marriage is meant to last forever – which is a very important part of the Orthodox understanding of and vision for Christian marriage. As the celebrant prays in the marriage service when the crowns are removed: “Receive their crowns into Thy Kingdom, preserving them spotless, blameless, and without reproach, unto ages of ages.” And we also sang last night about St. John’s parents, Secundus and Anthusa, “joining chorus with our heavenly Mistress and the Saints today.”

In another unforgettable passage, the great pastor speaks again to husbands, as he comments on the verses from Ephesians 5 which are the epistle reading for the Orthodox marriage service:

    You have seen the measure of obedience [from v. 22 – “Wives, be in subjection unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord”]; so hear also the measure of love [from v. 25 – “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for Her”]. Do you want to have your wife be obedient to you, as the Church is to Christ? Then take yourself the same provident care for her as Christ takes for the Church. Yes, even if it becomes necessary for you to give your life for her, yes, and to be cut into pieces ten thousand times, yes, and to endure and undergo any suffering whatever, do not refuse it . . . In the same way, then, as He brought to Himself her who turned her back on Him [here St. John is referring to the Lord’s love for His people Israel who so often strayed from Him in Old Testament times] – who hated, and spurned, and disdained Him – not by menaces, or by violence, or by terror, or by anything else of this kind, but by His unwearied affection, so also you must act toward your wife (Homily XX on Ephesians; PG 62.137A; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 144; Women and Men, pp. 172-173; my emphasis).

If I may comment a bit on this passage – I used to think that this talk about being willing to be cut in pieces ten thousand times was mostly just another example of Chrysostom’s typical exaggeration in his preaching rhetoric. But, as probably all of us who are married can attest, isn’t it true that our spouses do sometimes say and do things that hurt us deeply – that can indeed cut us to the heart? Yet Chrysostom says we are to endure such things with love and patience – with “unwearied affection.” Of course, this does not mean that we are not to tell our spouses when they hurt us, since they may not realize how their words and actions are affecting us. But it does mean that we must not hold any hidden resentment against our spouses, and that we must forgive them, no matter what they may do to us.

The second characteristic of the home as a little church is a pattern of order and discipline in the family, with the husband as the servant-head of the family, and his wife as second-in-command, and their children in obedience under them:

    Seek the things of God, and those of man will follow with great ease. Instruct (???????; from this word we get our word ‘rhythm’) your wife, and your whole household will be well-disciplined. . . . If we regulate our households in this way, we will also be fit to oversee the Church, for indeed the household is a little Church. Therefore, it is possible for us to surpass all others [this would include monastics] by becoming good husbands and wives (Homily XX on Ephesians; PG 62.143A; Roth, p. 57; Women and Men, p. 83; my emphasis).

And Chrysostom gives guidance as to how to properly regulate one’s own family:

    True rulers are those who bear rule over themselves. For there are these four things – soul, family, city, world; and these things form a regular progression. He therefore who is to superintend a family, and order it well, must first bring his own soul into order (????????? - again we have the word ‘rhythm’ coming from this word); . . . He who is able to regulate his own soul, and makes the soul to rule and the body to be subject, this man will be able to regulate a family also (Homily LII on Acts; PG 60.366A; NPNF 1, XI, p. 313; Women and Men, p. 170; my emphasis).

Chrysostom also emphasizes that a husband’s headship in his family must be nothing despotic. Rather, it must be centered in self-sacrificing servanthood, flowing from abounding love:

Do not, therefore [he tells husbands], because your wife is subject to you, act like a despot. Likewise, because your husband loves you [he says to the wives], do not be puffed up. Let neither the husband’s love elate the wife, nor the wife’s subjection puff up the husband. For this reason He has subjected her to you, that she may be loved the more (Homily X on Colossians; PG 62.366C; NPNF 1, XIII, p. 304; Women and Men, p. 172; my emphasis).

(to be continued in the December and January editions)

Regular Service Schedule

  • Saturday 4:00 pm – Confession
  • Saturday 5:00 pm – Vigil
  • Sunday 10:00 am – Divine Liturgy, Trapeza and Church School

Regular Announcements

  • 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.
  • Please remember to support the parish financially.
  • Our building fund is our means of financing our land and building efforts. This fund currently contains $70,000, and is growing slowly. To make a contribution, make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, “Building Fund.”

Share

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas TX

Fr. Seraphim Holland

seraphim@orthodox.net

972-529-2754

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

October 2007

Redeeming the Time

10 years ago, in October 1997, the very first issue of Redeeming the Time opened with these words:

Time is a precious gift, of limited duration, given by God to the Christian to work out his salvation. The Apostle Paul, expressing the entire voice and mind of the church, exhorts us to: “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” The purpose of this journal is simply to facilitate our struggles to this end. The life in the church is rich, and full of beneficial places where we can be “redeeming the time”, and struggle towards moral purity and the knowledge of God, which are gained only through the assiduous use of time. Some of these “places” are the community Christian life; immersion in the liturgical cycle, seasons and fasts; reading the lives of the Saints and commemorating them on the day of their memorial; the God-inspired services; and reading the weekly scripture readings and commentaries of the Holy Fathers who accurately express the mind of the church. This journal hopes to emphasize these things, as well as provide local news about and for the St. Nicholas family in Dallas.

After a hiatus of several years, we hope to resume production of Redeeming the Time on a monthly basis. May this journal once again help us all in our Christian life.

News and Announcements

Visit by His Grace, Bishop Peter

On the weekend of November 18th, Bishop Peter will be visiting our parish. He will serve with us that weekend, will a round-table discussion about our plans for the future, and will – God willing – visit and bless our land in McKinney.

Name Days this month

  • Saturday, October 6th – Raisa
  • Monday, October 8th – Sergey
  • Monday, October 15th – Justina (Tracy), Anna (Park)
  • Saturday, October 20th – Patronal feast of our sister parish in Houston, St. Jonah’s.

Prayer Requests

“I was sick and you visited me.” Please continue to pray for Dimitry, Olga and Vladimir Maximov, who will be returning to Dallas this fall for Dima’s surgery.

Homily for the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos

By Metropolitan Philaret (Voznesensky)

As the great Abba of Russia Abroad, His Blessedness Metropolitan Anthony, once pointed out, the festive celebration of the feast of the Protection of the Theotokos by the whole Russian Church testifies that spiritual roots stood above all else for the Russian people. For the feast of the Protection of the Theotokos reminds us of an event that took place long ago, and an event in which our ancestors suffered defeat against the Greeks, who were under the Protection of the Theotokos. It turned out, however, that the Greek Church celebrates this feast very little, hardly marking it at all, while the Russian Church and the Russian celebrate the Protection of the Theotokos so festively, that it reminds us of the celebration of the twelve feasts, the greatest feats in our church year. Of course, the reason for this is the calming and encouraging character of the feast. The Theotokos protects the people praying in church. We know this from the great saint and witness of spiritual mysteries, Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ, who testified that the Queen of the heavens did not separate the bad people from the good and the pious: She covered all those standing in the church with Her goodness. That is what the Russian people believed, that She, the All-good Mother, covers all with Her Protection.

Life is now difficult. It was never easy, but now it is especially confusing and it has in many ways lost its Christian roots. Everywhere man is suffocating in today’s atmosphere. Sometimes it may even seem to him that he is alone, that there is no help, and that spiritual demise inevitably awaits him. But the Church sings in one of its best chants: “To the Theotokos let us run now most earnestly, we sinners all and wretched ones, and fall down in repentance calling from the depths of our souls: O Lady, come unto our aid, have compassion upon us.” Help us, showing compassion unto us!

That is Who stands guarding people from misfortune and from sorrow–She, Who lived through suffering and sorrow more than anyone else. For when She, having already suffered greatly, stood at the Cross of Her Son, then the foretelling of the righteous Simeon the God-Receiver on the day of the Meeting of the Lord rightly came true in reality: Her purest and holiest of souls was pierced through by a weapon. We cannot even imagine what Such a Mother went through seeing the incredible and superhuman sufferings of Such a Son. Her powerful and patient heart would not have withstood this suffering; it would have been torn apart, if the Lord Himself had not strengthened Her with His grace during Her torment at the Cross, which was greater than any other suffering of any mother. So She, who suffered thus Herself, understands human troubles and especially a mother’s sorrow, along with whom She suffers. That is why She is considered the defender of every suffering mother. But She cares for everyone and raises Her hands to the Lord of Glory and to Her Son on everyone’s behalf, and She covers everyone with Her All-Powerful Girdle. When one mother, who had many children, was asked which of them she loves the most and which of them she would grieve over most if she were to lose one, the mother answered: “Whichever finger you cut off, it will hurt.” The Most Pure Virgin could have answered thus, because when the Lord Jesus Christ left Her as the Mother of Saint John the Theologian, She adopted all of mankind, and She is considered the Mother of the Christian race.

Can a mother not hear her children? All the children have to do is not abandon their Mother! One spiritual father told his spiritual daughter, who was sorrowing: Pray to the Theotokos, but pray so that She can hear you! And what Mother will not hear her child and try and help?

Let us remember this. Joyous is the day of the Protection of the Theotokos. It reminds us that we sinners, upon whom the righteous anger of the Lord should come crashing down, are covered by Her saving Protection. And when the Lord, angered by our sins, turns His holiest of eyes, He sees the Girdle of His Mother. She has covered us. Let us never despair, regardless of our sorrows and trials, but always call on the Queen of Heaven and the Mother of the Christian race, that She not take away Her Motherly care. Amen.

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

?????????? ??????? (????????????)

????????????? ???????????? ???? ??????? ???????? ????????? ??????? ?????? ??????, ??? ???????? ? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ?????????, ???????????? ?????????? ???????, ??????????????? ? ???, ??? ? ???????? ???????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ???? ????? ??????????, ??? ???????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ?????????? ??? ???????, ??????? ???? ????? ? ? ??????? ???? ??????, ????????? ????????? ?????, ???????????? ??? ???????? ?????? ??????, ????????? ?????????. ?????? ?? ?????????? ???, ??? ????????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????????? ???? ????????, ????? ??? ?? ??????? ?????, ? ??????? ??????? ? ??????? ????? ???????? ??????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ??? ????????????, ??? ??? ???????????? ?????????? ???????????? ?????????, ????? ??????? ? ????? ????????? ????. ?, ???????, ??????? ????? – ? ???????????? ? ?????????? ????????? ????? ?????????. ????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ?????, ????????? ? ?????. ??? ????? ??????? ????? ??????? ? ??????? ???? ????????, ??. ?????? ?????? ???? ????????, ??????? ???????????????? ? ???, ??? ?????? ???????? ?? ???????? ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ? ?????????????, ? ????????? ???????? ????? ???????? ????, ???????????? ? ?????. ??? ? ??????? ?????? ??????? ?????, ??? ???, ??? ???? ?????????, ???? ????????? ???????? ?????.

????? ?????? ??????. ??? ?????? ??????? ?? ????, ?? ?????? ? ??????????? ??????, ???????? ? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????? ???????????? ??????. ??????? ?????? ? ????? ??????? ?????????? ? ?????????? ????????? ? ??????? ??? ??????, ??? ?? ?????? ??????, ?????? ???, ? ??? ??? ???? ?????????? ???????? ??????. ?? ??? ??????? ???? ? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ??????????: – ? ?????????? ???????? ???? ????????, ??????? ? ????????, ? ???????? ? ????????, ?????? ?? ??????? ????: “?????????, ?????? ?? ?? ??????????????.” ??????, ??????????????? ? ???!

???, ??? ????? ?? ?????? ????????????? ????????? ? ????????????? ???? – ??, ??????? ???????? ????????? ? ?????? ??????, ??? ??? ?? ?? ?? ????. ???, ????? ???, ??? ???? ??????????????, ?????? ? ?????? ???? ??????, ?? ????? ???????? ????????? ??????????? ?????????? ??????? ??????????? ? ???? ????????: ?? ????????? ? ????????? ???? ?????? ????????? ????????. ?? ???? ? ??????????? ?? ?????, ??? ?????????? ????? ??????, ???? ???????????, ????????????????? ????????? ?????? ????. ?? ????????? ?? ?? ??????? ? ?????????? ?????? ? ??????????? ??, ???? ?? ??? ??????? ??????????? ????? ?? ???????? ?? ? ???? ?? ???? ???????????? ??????????? ???? ? ??????. ? ??? ???, ??? ????? ??????????????, ???????? ???????????? ????, ? ??????????? ??????????? ??????, ? ?????????? ??. ?????? ? ????????? ??? ? ??????????? ???????????????? ?????? ????????? ??????. ?? ? ? ???? ??? ?????????, ? ???? ????????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ????? ? ???? ??????, ? ???? ????????? ????????? ???????? ?????. ????? ???????? ???? ????, ? ??????? ???? ????? ?????, ???? ?? ??? ??? ?????? ?????, ? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ????????, ???? ?? ??? ???????? – ??? ???? ????????? ????? – “????? ????? ?? ??????, ??? ????? ??????.” ??? ????? ?? ??????? ????????? ????, ??? ?? ??????? ????? ??????? ? ???? ???????? ?????? ????????? ???????? ???? ??? ????????????, ? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ?????????????.

???? ?? ?? ??????? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ???? ?????? ?? ?????????! ???? ???????? ??????? ????? ???????? ??????, ??????? ???? ? ??????: ?????? ?????? ??????, ?? ??????, ?????? ???, ????? ?????????? ???? ???????! ? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ? ?? ??????????? ??? ???????

????? ?? ??? ???????. ???????? ???? ??????? ?????? ??????. ?? ??? ?????????? ???, ??? ??? ???????, ?? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????????? ?????????? ????? ?????, ????????? ?? ???????????? ??????. ? ????? ???????, ???????????? ?????? ???????, ???????? ?? ??? ???? ????????? ????, ?? ????? ?????? ????? ??????: ??? ??? ??????? … ?? ????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ? ????? ????? ??????? ? ??????????, ? ?????? ????????? ?? ?????? ?????? ???????? – ?????? ???? ?????????????, ????? ??? ??? ?? ????????? ????? ??????????? ??????????. ?????.

The Principles of the Orthodox Faith

Bishop Alexander (Mileant)

Edited by Donald Shufran

What is the Creed?

The word creed comes from the Latin credo, which means “I believe.” In the Orthodox Church the Creed is usually called the Symbol of Faith, which means the “expression” or “confession” of the faith.

A person without faith is like a blind man. Faith gives man spiritual vision by which he can see and understand the essence of all that surrounds him: how and why everything was created, what is the goal of life, what is right and what is not, and ultimately what one must strive towards.

From earliest times, the Apostolic-period Christians have used the Creed to remind themselves of the principles of the Orthodox Faith. In the ancient church there existed various short creeds. But in the 4th century there appeared false teachings about the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. Thus it became necessary to complete these short creeds and more accurately define the Church’s teaching.

A Historical Survey

The Nicean Creed was composed by the Fathers of the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils. The first seven articles of the Creed were drawn up at the 1st Ecumenical Council, and the last five were drawn up at the 2nd Ecumenical Council. The 1st Council met in Nicea in 325 A.D. to confirm the true teachings about the Son of God and to oppose the false teachings of Arius. Arius believed that the Son of God was created by God the Father. The 2nd Council met in Constantinople in 381 A.D. to confirm the true teaching on the Holy Spirit and to oppose the false teachings of Macedonius. He rejected the divine origin of the Holy Spirit. The Creed is named the “Nicean-Constantinopolitan” after the two cities in which the Fathers gathered for the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils. The Creed consists of twelve articles. In the 1st article we speak of God the Father; from the 2nd though 7th articles we speak of God the Son; in the 8th article about God the Holy Spirit; in the 9th about the Church; in the 10th about Baptism; and in the 11th and 12th about the resurrection of the dead and eternal life.

The Creed

I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light: true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made: Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried; And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures; And ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father; And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life; Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the prophets. In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, And the life of the age to come. Amen.

We begin the Creed with “I believe.” This is because the essence of our religious convictions depends not on external experiences but on our acceptance of God-given truths. Surely one cannot prove truths of the spiritual world by any laboratory experiments. These truths belong to the sphere of personal religious experience. The more a person grows in the spiritual life – the more one prays, thinks about God, does good – the more his inner spiritual experience develops, the clearer the religious truths become to him. In this fashion, faith becomes for him a subject of personal experience.

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

??????? ????????? (???????)

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

?????? ???? — ??? ???????, ? ??????? ???????? ? ??????? ? ?????? ?????? ???????? ?????? ???????????? ????.

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

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

????????, ? ???????????? ??????, ????????? ???????????? ??? ??????????? “????????? ????” ??? ????, ????? ?????????? ????? ???? ???????? ?????? ???????????? ????. ? ??????? ?????? ???????????? ????????? ??????? ???????? ????. ? 4-? ????, ????? ????????? ?????? ?????? ? ???? ???? ? ? ???? ??????, ???????? ????????????? ??????? ??????? ????????? ? ????????.

?????? ????, ??????? ?? ????? ????? ?????????, ????????? ?????? ??????? ? ??????? ?????????? ???????. ?? ?????? ?????????? ?????? ???? ???????? ?????? ???? ?????? ???????, ?? ?????? — ????????? ????. ?????? ?????????? ????? ????????? ? ?????? ????? ? 325 ?. ?? ????????? ????????? ??? ??????????? ????????????? ?????? ? ???? ?????? ?????? ????????????? ?????? ????, ??????????, ??? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ????? ? ??????? ?? ???????? ???????? ?????. ?????? ?????????? ????? ????????? ? ??????????????? ? 381 ?. ??? ??????????? ????????????? ?????? ? ?????? ???? ?????? ????????? ?????????, ???????????? ???????????? ??????????? ???? ???????. ?? ???? ???????, ? ??????? ?????????? ??? ?????????? ??????, ?????? ???? ????? ???????? ?????–?????????????.

?????? ???? ??????? ?? 12-?? ??????. 1-?? ???? ??????? ? ???? ????, 2-?? ?? 7-?? ????? ??????? ? ???? ????, 8-?? — ? ???? ???? ??????, 9-?? — ? ??????, 10-?? — ? ????????, 11-?? ? 12-?? — ? ??????????? ??????? ? ? ?????? ?????.

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

?? –???????? –?????????

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

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

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

?? –??????

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

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

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

(to be continued in the November edition)

Regular Service Schedule

  • Saturday 4:00 pm – Confession
  • Saturday 5:00 pm – Vigil
  • Sunday 10:00 am – Divine Liturgy, Trapeza and Church School

Regular Announcements

  • 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.
  • Please remember to support the parish financially.
  • Our building fund is our means of financing our land in McKinney as well as our future building plans. This fund is growing slowly. To make a contribution, make out a check to St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, and write in the memo line, “Building Fund.”

Share

Parish Newsletter for the remainder of September

Saturday, September 15th, 2007

Regular Service Schedule:

Saturday:

  • 4pm – Confessions
  • 5pm – Vigil

 Sunday:

  • 10am – Liturgy
  • 12pm – Trapeza (Lunch)
  • 12:30 – Church School

Other services and events for the remainder of September

There are two great Feasts of the Church in September:

Friday, September 21st – Nativity of the Theotokos: the Church's celebration of the birth of the Mother of God, which (in the words of the festal Troparion) "hath proclaimed joy to all the world, for from [her] hath shown forth the Son of Righteousness, Christ our God, annulling the curse and bestowing the blessing; abolishing death and granting unto us life everlasting!"

  • Thursday, 6:30 pm – Vigil
  • Friday, 8:00 am – Divine Liturgy

Thursday, September 27th – Exaltation of the Cross: the Church's celebration of the finding of the precious Cross of the Lord, three centuries after the Resurrection.

  • Thursday, 6:30 pm – Vigil
  • Friday, 8:00 am – Divine Liturgy

Name Days

  • Wednesday, September 19th – Mykael Enright
  • Sunday, September 30th – Nadezhda (Nadia) Newell, Sophia Park, Sophia T.

Announcements

  • Please continue to pray for Dimitry, Olga and Vladimir Maximov, who will be returning to Dallas this fall for Dima's surgery.
  • Our calendar of services is now available online at the following site: http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=keeahidiiec6pld7f5ut1jr2r0%40group.calendar.google.com .
  • We are trying to develop a bilingual monthly newsletter that will be distributed both in church and online at the start of each month. We will include a copy of the church calendar, announcements, and readings in both English and Russian. If anybody would like to assist with this project, please let us know.
  • Our Sunday school class for older children has resumed after summer break. We are meeting at 12:30 or so each Sunday, after we have had time to get something to eat. This year, we will be using the book The Incarnate God, which uses the cycle of the church's feast days to give a structured presentation of the essentials of our faith. Adults are welcome to participate. There is no homework for the class, but anybody who desires read the book may do so online, or purchase it, by using this link: http://tinyurl.com/2kg8q6.

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 Bookstore

Please see and use our bookstore. We are currently having a 60% off sale on all items! 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 join, please contact Raisa Dudar.

Mary meets 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 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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