Archive for November, 2010

Make your vows and pay them to the Lord our God. A short timely commentary. Audio.

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


Synopsis: Psalm 75:10, "Make your vows and pay them to the Lord our God", was the prokeimenon for today. Reader David Hawthorne shares how this verse is very timely for our community, and reads a portion of a commentary from Blessed Augustine and briefly expounds upon it. The point is: we must make some vow to the Lord, even if it is a "widow's mite", to gain spiritual discipline in our lives.

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One Body, One Spirit, One Hope, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism. Descending,then Ascending Fulfills The Gospel. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, November 15th, 2010

The descent into Hell and the raising of Adam and EveLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: In this longer than usual sermon, the first part of Ephesians chapter 4 is expounded on. This selection not only presents important dogmas that are the bedrock of our faith, it also presents the proper perspective to have regarding our neighbor – a perspective that will help us to fulfill all the commandments. The doctrine of Christ's descent into Hell is discussed, and its moral application to all of our prayer, and indeed, all of our life. This selection contains some of the most important spiritual lessons a pastor can preach.

More homilies on the 25th day after Pentecost are HERE

Ephesians 4:1-6I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (2) With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; (3) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (4) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
(7) But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (8) Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (9) (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

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Parish Newsletter Nov 1/14 2010. Chantus Maximus, Pledge Drive, My Mother and more.

Friday, November 12th, 2010


(Permanent link at:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church
McKinney, Texas
Electronic Newsletter, November 14, 2010 ns


On Sunday November 21st, the Chantus Maximus Men's Choir will visit our parish to sing Vespers at 7pm.

Chantus Maximus was formed at St. Maximus the Confessor Orthodox Church in Denton, Texas, in October 2009. The group explores the traditional male choir music of the Russian Church, as well as its Byzantine counterpart. A large of the group's repertoire is made up of Znamenny and Byzantine chant, as well as 4-part choral music. The group has sung for several services at St. Maximus, including services for Holy Week, Pascha, and parts of the Hierarchical Liturgy.

Currently, Chantus Maximus is performing a small tour of the DFW Metroplex during (or near to, for those who follow the traditional calendar, as in our case) the Nativity Fast, in effort to raise money for the St. Maximus Building Fund.

In addition to singing at several church services during this tour, the group will also be presenting concerts of traditional Orthodox hymns for the feast of the Nativity.

We will host"Chantus Maximus" and the faithful with a small meal after Vespers. In deference to the fast which for those who follow the New Calendar has already begun (our fast will not have begun yet), we will serve fasting food (with wine and oil allowed).

We will also have a collection basket for those who wish to contribute to the building Fund of St Maximus. We have been blessed by God to build a new temple, even though we did not have all the funds, and have benefited greatly from alms given in the DFW area from our brothers and sisters. Currently, at least three other churches are either building or planning to build. Our sympathies and prayers are with them. Building a new temple has been the hardest and the most important thing we have accomplished in our short history.

We are in the midst of our fall stewardship campaign. Please remember to fill out your pledge form (a copy is included at the end of this newsletter) and return it to Dn. Nicholas or place it in the donation box.

From Fr Seraphim: I repeat my earnest pastoral desire for my entire flock: that everyone pledges something. I am not concerned about the amount, but I am concerned with the commitment. Listen to the Apostle Paul; he is saying the same thing I am teaching you:

"For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not." (2Corinthians 8:12)

A Note from Fr Seraphim

My mother is sick and may repose soon (before the end of the year). Her name is Patricia.   She is a lifelong Roman Catholic. Marina and I are going to see her for what probably will be the last time in this life over the Thanksgiving Holiday. All the children (my brother and sister) will also be there. Because of my travel schedule, our usual services during the week of Thanksgiving will be compressed into Sunday evening and Monday morning and evening.

This coming week is a normal schedule.

The week after that is Thanksgiving week, and there will be no services (as we usually have) on Wednesday or Thursday (Thanksgiving), but I will be back in time for all weekend services. See the schedule below, or our online calendar.

I would be grateful if you prayed for my mother, Patricia.

Priest Seraphim

Our new facility brings with it many new maintenance and upkeep tasks. Matushka Marina and Reader David Hawthorne need volunteers to help get all the work done.If you can give a few hours of our time to help care for God's house, please contact Matushka Marina, Reader David or Deacon Nicholas and we'll tell you how you can help.

We have a list of things our parish needs. If you or somebody you know wish to supply one of these items, please contact us.

Commemorations from the past week and the coming weeks:

  • On Sunday, November 11th, Michael Daum celebrates his name day. Many years!

If you have corrections or additions, e-mail Deacon Nicholas. We would love to announce your birthdays and anniversaries as well, but our records are very incomplete, so please give us this information.

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Yuliya Guzman
  • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda.
  • David and Elizabeth Ash.
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire and all the faithful and suffering of Haiti
  • Not Orthodox:Patricia

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list.

If you have prayer requests for the ill, for those with special needs or in difficult circumstance or for the departed, please e-mail Priest Seraphim or Deacon Nicholas

Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday, 11/13/10.

  • Parish Council Meeting, 3:30pm.
  • Confessions, 4pm.
  • Vigil, 5pm.

Sunday, 11/14/10.

  • Divine Liturgy, 10am.
  • Church School (elementary and high school), 12:45pm

Monday, 11/15/10.

  • Molieben, 7:00pm.

Wednesday, 11/17/10.

  • Vespers, 7:30pm.
Thursday, 11/18/10
  • Liturgy, 9am.
Saturday, 11/20/10.

  • Pannykhida for Metropolitan Philaret, 4pm
  • Confessions, 4:30pm.
  • Vigil, 5pm.

Sunday, 11/21/10.

  • Divine Liturgy, 10am.
  • Church School (elementary and adult), 12:45pm
  • Vespers (or St Nektarios) sung by Chantus Maximus Men's Choir, 7pm

Monday, 11/22/10.

  • Divine Liturgy, 9am.
  • Moleben (probably the paraklesis to St Nektarios) 7 PM


  • No services, because Fr Seraphim will be out of town.
Sat Nov 27

  • All services again as usual.
Our ongoing calendar of services is posted here:

Our "Redeeming the Time" blog usually has at least several posts a week –

Fasting in the Coming week:

Wednesday and Friday of this week are fast days as usual.

Pledge Form 2011


Name: ______________________________________________


We would like to pledge the following amount toward St. Nicholas' general operating expenses for 2011:


Amount: _____________         weekly         monthly             (circle one)

                                                            fixed          estimate             (circle one)


(If monthly) We will usually pay our pledge on or about the ____________ Sunday of each month.


Please return this form to the treasurer, Dn. Nicholas,

or place in the donation box at church.

The Rich Man and Lazarus. New text homily.

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The Rich Man and Lazarus

22nd Sunday after Pentecost or 5th Sunday of Luke

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, brothers and sisters, we have a parable with, as usual, two meanings, or a story meant for two audiences. The Lord gave many parables directed towards the Jews that explained to them what they were about to do, that is, crucify Him, reject Him and not even believe in Him after He had risen from the dead. But every single time He spoke a parable, He also spoke it to you and to me, to the soul of the Christian.

Every single one should be evaluated based on your life situation, what kind of person you are, what you do right, what you do wrong. This is how we read the Scripture so that it may teach us, so that it may purify us.

We don’t need to look for any strange, arcane, hidden meanings in the Scripture. Its right there apparent to see. If a person reads the Scripture – and you should – with prayerfulness, with heedfulness, with an investigative way of looking at it — what is wrong with me, what can be changed — then you will find these things quite, quite easily.

This parable about the rich man and Lazarus teaches some realities: about Heaven and hell, and life after death, because after all, they wouldn’t be speaking if they weren’t alive. There is also dogmatic teaching about the judgment that one should take note of.


Much of the world does not believe in these things, even people that call themselves Christians,  even some among the Orthodox, don’t really believe in Heaven and hell. Perhaps they give such things lip service, but they do not believe in their hearts; they do not live their lives in accordance with their supposed belief.

So there is dogma in this parable for you to be careful to remember. And there is also the Lord’s teaching to the Jews that they would reject Him. But the most important part of any parable, the most important part really of any Scripture is : how can it be applied to you? Because after all, what good is the Scripture to your soul unless you understand it, assimilate it, live it? If the words on the page are never read or if they are read but without understanding, how does that help you? Yes, indeed, the Word of God is powerful. And the Word of God does enlighten but not if we don’t make the effort to understand it.

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
             So there is this rich man; he’s clothed in purple and fine linen; he fares sumptuously every day, living a fine life with happiness, as much food and drink as he wishes, fine clothing; he was always warm, didn’t have a problem in the world. Just about anybody would say, “I’d like to have that kind of life”.

And there was a beggar named Lazarus which laid at his gate, full of sores, and he desired to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table and, moreover, dogs came and licked his sores. This is truly a man in a pitiable condition, meaning he wished for the crumbs, so he obviously was hungry, was sick all the time, cold, probably partially naked and ignored. I’m sure the rich man saw him many times, but he was an invisible person to the rich man.

And it came to pass that the beggar died and was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom. And then the Scripture says something quite tersely, as it does so often: the rich man died and was buried.

Have you ever wondered at how things are not how they seem? Many times something which appears very plain is actually very beautiful? Something which appears very wonderful inside is all rotten and corrupt?


Certainly when this rich man had his funeral, there were mourners; there were many, many people making a spectacle and probably speeches about what a fine man he was and how he would be missed and everything else. But as far as God is concerned, he died and was buried.

And if you notice, the rich man doesn’t have a name. This person who was famous in the world, who was well thought of, who people said speeches about, he didn’t have a name in Heaven because he wasn’t in Heaven. He was forgotten.

Lazarus, on the other hand, when he was buried, someone probably noticed, well, he hasn’t moved for a day, and they packed him up, threw him in a hole and that was the end of it. There was no ceremony for his burial. And yet Heaven rejoiced. And the angels were dispatched to carry him up, this one who could not walk. This one who only endured suffering in his life was immediately taken care of and comforted. Not everyone who dies, will have angels escorting them, but Lazarus did.

So the rich man, after his death, is in hell in torments, a terrible place. And so he sees Abraham and says, “Please, send Lazarus.” Oh, now he knows his name. I guess he did know who he was; I guess he didn’t care in his one and only earthly life. “Please, send Lazarus so he can dip his finger in water and cool my tongue.”

And Abraham explained something which was very important. And this is what your soul should understand in your daily life. He said, “Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things and likewise Lazarus evil things, and now he is comforted and thou are tormented.”

And then he explains that there is a gulf between them, meaning that after death you can’t repent of what you had done. The time of being alive in the flesh, this is the time for repentance. This is the time for the doing of good works. You can’t do any more when you’re dead. You can’t change what your judgment will be.

And Lazarus received bad things, and the rich man received good things. There is a principle here. This principle, there has been an attempt to blot out this principle in Christian life over the centuries, but it’s true, nonetheless.

The Lord Jesus Christ came in order to make us capable of eternal life. And the only way to be in Abraham’s bosom is to live as God taught us, using His strength, His power, His ability, His grace, but living good, following the Commandments, struggling for holiness.


There is no Christianity without struggling for holiness. There is no Christianity without good works.

If we want to have our reward here on the earth, then we will have it. And if we want to massage our egos or indulge ourselves in hating someone or be selfish about our money or have bad priorities and be more concerned about our job than about prayer or entertainments, we will have our reward here. All those things, the Lord will allow us to have.


And then when we die, the Lord will look into us and see, have we changed? Have we become like His Son? That’s the yardstick He will use. He will look and see: are we like His Son? We who take the Lord’s Body and Blood into our bodies and who have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, has it changed us? Has it made us more holy? Or are we just like everybody else?


This is a principle you have to live. You MUST understand. Not something that you’re thinking about per se, but a principle which affects all your living. There are consequences to all of our actions, even the smallest one.


Lazarus was completely unknown. Lazarus was an invisible person, completely unimportant in society. Nobody cared. He was so ignored that only the dogs paid attention to him. And yet, what he did in life was a great significance because it saved his soul, enduring the evil things patiently.

Everything that you do in life is remembered by the Lord, everything.


See how Abraham said, he had his evil things. The Lord didn’t forget any of it. He knew it all. The Lord also remembered all the good things the rich man was given. And what did he do with these good things: Nothing except feed his belly and have a bunch of false friends laying around, getting drunk with him.

Everything is remembered. The Lord has said, he who gives a cup of water to these little ones, it is as if giving it to Me. The Lord remembers all good and all evil that we have done in our life.


Now, this is not to say that the Lord takes all the good and all the evil and puts it on a scale and sees which one outweighs the other. Because right now, we should know, you can never do enough good to outweigh the evil that you do. The Lord desires you to struggle, to strive. And He will provide the good, and He will make you good.

This rich man didn’t understand this. This rich man lived a heedless life, and that was his greatest sin. Certainly he was guilty of not being compassionate to Lazarus, a person whom he knew, he certainly knew his name. But the root of his evils was heedlessness, the great killer of souls. Just be bopping through life, not caring about much except about the next thing, the next entertainment, the next meal, the next social encounter, whatever it is that strikes our fancy at the moment, things that are here today and are gone – not tomorrow they are not gone – they are gone the moment we experience them, and they’ve given us no benefit whatsoever.


But the Lord remembers them all.

So the rich man had compassion. He loved his brothers. He wished them to be saved, so he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to tell my brothers. There were  are five brothers. This is not accidental. Does it remind you of any parable in the Scripture such as about the five oxen? How about the five senses? Abraham says, they have Moses and the prophets. And the rich man protests, says, if you send Lazarus they’ll hear. And Abraham says, if they don’t hear Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even from one who rose from the dead.

Now remember, these brothers are the five senses. They represent the way we live our life. But five senses can be thought of as encompassing our being, the things we like, the things we dislike, how we live, what we experience.

Our five senses must be persuaded. Now, if we don’t listen to the Scriptures, we won’t be persuaded even by one who rose from the dead. I think that is very evident in Christians’ lives. People say they believe in Jesus Christ, but they don’t really read much. They don’t really pray much. So it’s just a concept to them. It’s not very important. They don’t go to church much. They don’t fast very frequently. When someone says something evil to them, they are all angry and finding some way to get back at them. They are interested in climbing the ladder, selfish, looking for entertainment. They’re not any different than the rest of the world.


Does that describe anything in you? I think an honest person would say there’s some similarity. Perhaps not in all things but at least in something.


May God help you to live a life that’s heedful and careful. The Lord gives you many opportunities. We have the Scriptures available to read. We have the Services, which, to be honest with you, are often not well—attended. I’m not sure what’s more important. You must find ways to continually convince yourself, to persuade yourself, to follow the Gospel. If you don’t, then on the surface you will be a Christian, but inside you won’t have changed. The Lord gives you all these opportunities.

What a sad, terrible waste it is of this rich man to have gone to hell. The Lord gave him many, many things that he could have given to others, still have abundance for himself and done such good and been compassionate, given people comfort. He could have been, as it were, like Jesus Christ to them. But instead he used it for himself, and they all went away.

May God help you to live a careful life. Amen.



Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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Short summary of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Audio 2010

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Parable of the Rich Man and LazarusLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: A short summary of the main points of the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. This was part of a short after liturgy talk, because the parable was not the subject of the homily after the Gospel at liturgy.

More homilies on the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus are HERE

Luke 16:19-31 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

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He Is Our Peace. Ephesians 2:14-22. 24th Sunday. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, November 8th, 2010


Synopsis: The Gospel is exactly proclained in this passage from Ephesians. The entire passage is discussed, especially "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity…". What is peace accordig to the Gospel? What did Christ do so we can obtain it? What must we do? What two things are at enmity with each other?

Ephesians 2:14-22 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

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Fall Stewardship Campaign, Part 3. Giving our fruits must happen to increase our faith.

Monday, November 8th, 2010


Synopsis: What I want as your pastor is that everyone gives to the church. The amount is not a critical thing to me. What is critical to me, as your pastor, is that you give of your fruits to God and it will increase your faith. I know this to be true in my own lie and the lives of many I have counseled…

2Corinthians 8:12 "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."

Deuteronomy 14:22-23 "Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. (23) And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always."

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St Seraphim bows to the Kursk Root Icon

Friday, November 5th, 2010


A note from a parishioner, whose home was visited and blessed with the Holy Kursk Root icon Friday, Oct 29 (ns). Posted with permission, with very slight editing.

… Something curious happened during the icon's visit  to our apartment… I have a photo of St. Seraphim of Sarov on my bookshelf. I've wanted to have it framed properly for a while, but for now it's just a bare photo standing on a shelf.  After the icon's visit to our apartment I noticed that the photograph  of St. Seraphim was  bent over almost in half.


I even wanted to call  David and say, "Look, St. Seraphim is bowing to the icon!", but then I thought it was kind of silly to make a joke like that and that I had  better take care of that photograph soon… I even tried to straighten it up with my hands, but it wouldn't work – the photo would return to its "bent-over" position.


 Well, the next day (after the icon had left our parish) I finally settled down  at my desk and my glance went up to the bookshelf… and my mouth fell open –  the photo of St. Seraphim was perfectly straight – he straightened up!

 This time I called David and told him what happened. He didn't seem too much surprised and said, "Well, St. Seraphim was healed by that icon, remember?"

So that's my story of St. Seraphim bowing to the Kursk Root Icon.

You could say that it might have been the weather, the open windows, humidity in the air, or whatever… I don't know. (And we've opened our  windows lots of times before). All I know is that the photo of St. Seraphim (that had been standing up straight on that bookshelf for 7  months since I brought it from Russia) bent itself in half on the day the Icon was here, and straightened back up the next day when the icon was gone.



The Icon at our church:

The Icon at "Nash Dom":

Lots of pictures:

Some interesting links

The Wonderworking Kursk Icon of Our Lady of the Sign, with history, information about the icon, and miracles. (Missionary Leaflet # E 13c)

A ton of good things! History, prayers, about St Seraphim, and more. 

Prayer of Evagrios the Solitary – O Good One, grant unto me purification of the passions …

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

O Good One, grant unto me purification of the passions,

deliverance from ignorance and forgetfulness,

deliverance from all temptation, trial and dereliction,

only Thy righteousness, virtue, the spiritual knowledge of Thy kingdom,

and whatsoever else Thou deemest best for me.

Evagrios the Solitary, “On Prayer,” # 38, 39, The Philokalia, Vol. 1, G. E. H. Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Kallistos Ware (trs, eds), p. 60 (adapted as a prayer by David C. Patton).

Photoreport of Visit of Kursk-Root Icon to Holy Protection parish in Austin, Texas

Thursday, November 4th, 2010
The Kursk Root icon in Holy Protection Russian Orthodox Church, Austin, Texas
A photoreport of the Visit of the Kursk-Root Icon to Holy Protection parish in Austin, Texas, with lots of nice pictures, and a description of the events, is available here.
Hmk. Aidan+
Holy Protection Church, Austin, Texas