Archive for April, 2011

Newsletter – April 18 / May 1 – St. Thomas Sunday

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

Electronic Newsletter

April 18 / May 1

St. Thomas Sunday


 Cactus flower, which appeared during Bright Week.

Prayer Requests
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week
Links related to the coming week


"As the disciples were in doubt, the Saviour came on the eighth day to where they were gathered and granted them peace, and cried to Thomas: Come, O Apostle, and feel the palms in which they fastened the nails. O good unbelief of Thomas, which hath lead the hearts of the faithful to knowledge! Hence, he cried out with fear: O my Lord and my God, glory be to Thee."


Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!


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.

Prayer Requests

For the Health and Salvation.

  • Kateryna (Kayla) Bayda. (employment)
  • Natalia and Nicholas (traveling in Ukraine until mid August)
  • David and Elizabeth Ash.
  • Priests Jean and Grégoire and all the faithful and suffering of Haiti.
  • The suffering people of East Japan.

For a more complete listing, please see our parish prayer list. Anyone can make requests.

Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week

Saturday 4/30

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil


  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School for Adults and Children

Monday 5/2

  • 7:30PM Pannykhida for Radonitsa

Wednesday 5/4

  • 7:00PM Vespers

Thursday 5/5

  • 9AM Divine Liturgy

Saturday 5/7

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 5/8 Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing Women

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School for Adults and Children

Fasting in the Coming week

  • We fast from animal products on Wednesday and Friday, but wine and oil are allowed.


Bright Week

The Second Sunday of Pascha
Sunday of St Thomas

Cactus flowers, appropriately, during Bright Week 2011!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011


This cactus was taken from "Little Mount Athos" which is a rock outcropping on Possum Kingdom lake, during the St Peter the Aleut Summer Camp, 2010. I grew it outside for a while, but is was it a place where it got trampled, so I transferred it to one of my favorite pots, a used coffee can from my favorite coffee.

The flower appeared on Bright Week, 2011

"Little Mount Athos, the bluff to the left, on Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas. From!/photo.php?pid=2124132&id=597862077

This little survivor came from here, the rock outcropping to the right we call "Little Mount Athos".  (link below)












St Peter the Aleut Summer Camp 2010. Picture and reflections. (including Little Mount Athos)

A metaphor: cactus, a priest and a little church

Meditations on the Paschal Canon, Ode I

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

The Paschal Canon by St. John Damascene is an amazing mediation on the Resurrection of our Lord, and is (together with the Paschal Stichera) the heart of the services for Pascha and Bright Week. It also plays an important role in the Vigil Services for each of the Sundays after Pascha.

Ode I

The canon as a textual form is closely linked to the Eight biblical odes — songs of prominent Old Testament figures which are recorded in the Bible and which played a role in the daily worship of the early Church. Over time, hymns in honor of New Testament events and people were composed to be sung with these Odes, and today these hymns (called canons) have nearly completely replaced the odes themselves. But the links to the Old Testament themes is still very evident, especially in the first hymn of each Ode, which is called the Irmos ("link").

Ode I is the song of Moses, sung after the people of Israel escaped from Egypt by crossing the Red Sea. As such, it is essentially a hymn of thanksgiving for the Old Testament Passover. Christ, the new Passover lamb who was slain to deliver us from the slavery to sin, is the fulfillment of this Old Testament celebration, as we see in the Irmos of this ode.

It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Pascha! The Lord's Pascha! For from death to life, and from earth to heaven hath Christ God has brought us, as we sing the song of victory!

Here we are called to radiantly rejoice in song because we have been brought over from death to life, just as the Hebrew people were brought over the Red Sea from slavery to freedom. Just as Moses sang a song of victory after the defeat of Pharaoh's forces, so we now sing a song in praise of our Lord's victory over sin and death.

Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with unapproachable light of the Resurrection, and shall clearly hear Him say, "Rejoice!" As we sing the song of victory!

"Blessed are the pure in heart," says our Lord, "for they shall see God." It is only through the Resurrection that we can attain this purity, and it is only through this purity that we can approach in some measure the unapproachable light of the Resurrection. Our salvation, justification, and glorification is a beautiful synergy between our Lord's action and our cooperation. And so as we rejoice in our Lord's victory, let us also not cease to purify our souls from sinful thoughts, deeds and words.

We can also see in this troparion a reminder of our Baptism. As St. Paul teaches us, as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. We died to sin and death and were reborn to freedom and life. The waters of baptism were prefigured by the passage over the Red Sea1, and these waters are at the same time our grave (to sin) and the womb of our mother (to everlasting life). And so through baptism we assimilate for ourselves that victory which Christ accomplished for the world in His death and resurrection.

Let the heavens be glad as is meet, and let the earth rejoice, and let the whole world, both visible and invisible, keep festival. For Christ is risen! O gladness eternal!

The Resurrection brings joy to the entire world, for Christ's Resurrection conquers the power of death. When mankind fell through Adam's voluntary sin, God subjected the whole creation to death and corruption for mankind's sake, that we might be able to repent and be restored to God. Christ's Death and Resurrection destroyed the power of death when His Body rose incorrupt from the grave. This victory is not yet consummated — the whole creation still "groaneth and travaileth" — because God in His mercy is still giving us time to repent and avail ourselves of the proffered salvation, but in the last day death will be no more, and Christ will be all in all!2

The first Ode — and all of the Odes — ends with the threefold singing of the Paschal Troparion:

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

This really says it all, doesn't it?

Dn. Nicholas Park

[] 1 Cor 10:2.

[] Romans 8:19-23: "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body."

Thomas Sunday. Homilies and Questions and Answers.

Friday, April 29th, 2011

10 questions and Answers about St Thomas Sunday.

SYNOPSIS:Of all the resurrection stories, perhaps the one concerning St Thomas is the one we can most relate to. He is the "common man", who was later able to do uncommon things. We are just like him, so our path of life must also be like his, which is the Christian life in microcosm. He, like us, was a complex indivicdual, believing, then faint of heart, couargeous, then full of fear. The one thing that he did that we must do to be saved is to endure, and "believe in the midst of our unbelief". If we do this, we are not far away from the supernatural exploits of St Thomas, the Apostle.

St Thomas Sunday. "My Lord and My God"  (HTML)


There is a theme here that the church is going to be talking about now in the light of the resurrection during the whole Pentecostarion period: the enlightenment of man.  The resurrection is being applied now.  We see it in the Acts that we’re reading for quite some time now.  In the light of the resurrection, we see what's happening.  We see how many people were healed, how many people were converted, and how lives were changed.   In the light of the resurrection, there was activity, there was motion, and there was enlightenment. 

St Thomas, who was no different than you or I, had to be enlightened also.  Everyone has different levels of understanding on various things, even among the apostles, even among the saints. It is fascinating to look and see how our Lord in the forty days that He spent on the earth enlightened so many using different ways to enlighten them, and also throughout the whole of the gospels how He reached people where they needed to be reached.  The final destination is always the same: to follow the commandments and to become purified, so that we can know Christ in an intimate way.  But sometimes Christ teaches certain people a little bit different.  In fact, everyone is treated a little bit differentRead more…

Thomas Sunday 2009. Two Parts to our story. Audio Homily.


St Thomas Sunday – "Believing" Disbelief  – HTML


Today is the second Sunday of Pascha already. It is the Sunday of St. Thomas. Today we read about, as the church calls it, St. Thomas' "believing unbelief." [1] There is a theme here that the church is going to be talking about now in the light of the resurrection during the whole Pentecostarion period: the enlightenment of man. The resurrection is being applied now. We see it in the Acts that we're reading for quite some time now. In the light of the resurrection, we see what's happening. We see how many people were healed, how many people were converted, and how lives were changed. Even the shadow of the apostles healed people of their infirmities.In the light of the resurrection, there was activity, there was motion, and there was enlightenment.  Read More…

Sunday of Pascha Agape Vespers. Paschal instructions

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Sunday of Pascha Agape vespers
Paschal instructions

Christ is risen!             Truly He is risen!

Christos aneste!           Alithos aneste!

Christos Voskrese!      Voistinu voskrese!

I want to tell you a few things about this week. This week is as one day, according to the Typicon. So it is as if Pascha is an entire week. So for that reason we don’t fast today, nor do we fast tomorrow or Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday or Friday or Saturday or Sunday. No fasting for the entire week. All foods are allowed. Tofu is forbidden. Even bean, you know the bean hamburger things, they’re forbidden. Okay? They are like anathema. All foods are allowed for this week.

Also, now, during this week we say Paschal hours for our prayers instead of morning and evening prayers. We don’t read the Psalter at all. If you saw in the service, the only verses of the Psalter that were used were when we were singing the Stichera. The penitential verses of the Psalter are not read. We don’t read Psalm 50 the entire week. We don’t read Psalm 118 which is normally read every day. We don’t read any of the Psalter except the portions that are for the Prokeimena or for the “Lord I have cried.”


So the Paschal hours[1] are in your prayer book whether it is an English one or in Slavonic. Use these Paschal hours; it takes about six minutes to sing them, maybe five and a half minutes to read them; I don’t know, not as long and if you cannot sing, read; that’s fine. There is beautiful theology in these prayers, and they are short and very sweet. So read the Paschal hours in the morning and in the evening for the entire week.

All the serving that’s done for Vespers, for matins, for liturgy in every Orthodox Church in the world for this week is always in full vestments as if I’m serving at liturgy because of the festivity of the season.

The doors are open. The Royal doors and the deaconal doors are open in every Orthodox Church in the world for the entire week. They are only closed after the ninth hour on Saturday according to some, but Bishop Peter has told me about another rubric which we follow – to close them after the Small Entrance in Vespers.


I make a note about this, because this is always a very sad day for me because the doors have to be closed, not because God’s mercy ends for us, but because we being fallen, being people that are easily distracted, we cannot take so much grace. We are not ready for the grace that God wishes to give to us, so when the doors are closed it is a profound theological statement. It is not that God’s mercy is shut off from us – No, not at all, but we, because we are immature, are not able to hold onto all of God’s mercy. So for a time God’s mercy shines especially bright in all of the services and in this week. But if it were like that every week then we would fall away from Him because we do need rigor. We do need fasting. We do need repentance and penitence because of our nature, not because God requires it of us but because without that kind of rigor that we just went through in the fasting of Great Lent we would not be able to become good and know God Who is good.

We have started reading the Gospel of John and the Acts of the Apostles, and they will be read all throughout the Paschal period. And I explained why we read the Gospel of John for Pascha because of course, to know the Resurrection, we have to know Jesus Christ and Saint John more than anyone else ever has explained who Jesus Christ is. There are symbols for the evangelists, and his is the eagle because he soars high above on the wings of theology. Truly, his language, from a grammatical standpoint, is the simplest and, yes, from a theological standpoint it is the deepest.


So we read the Gospel of John during the Paschal period because, as I explained, it is the church’s strategy or the church’s tradition that when we have a feast we explain more about it later. And so this entire Paschal period, Paschal is really being explained to you in all of the services, in all the hymnology and in the Gospel of John.


And then of course we read the Acts of the Apostles. And why would that be? With Pascha, the Church was strengthened. Some people would say that the Church began on Pentecost. I personally don’t think that that’s true because I believe that Joseph and Abraham and Isaac, all those holy fathers are part of the Church. But the strengthening of the Church, to be able to spread to the entire universe was accomplished on Pentecost, but there would be no Pentecost without the Resurrection. So the beginnings of the Church as a universal entity are really with Pascha when the disciples were gathering together in the upper room praying.

Now for this first 50 days after Pascha they were afraid because they didn’t know what was going to happen and as I explained yesterday, the Resurrection comes to us a little bit by little bit, not all in a flash like the Lord resurrected, but a little bit by little bit so the Apostles only with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost really understood all things and had the power to proclaim the Gospel to all of mankind.


It would be a very good exercise for all of you to read from the Gospel of John and the Book of Acts. If you pick one, do the Gospel of John and read it every day. If you can read a paragraph, if you can read a chapter, if you can read the daily readings, that’s fine too. Read the Gospel of John so that you complete it throughout the Paschal period. It is truly a remarkable book, and it’s the kind of book that you must read literally a hundred thousand times to fully understand. So every time you read it, something new will come out to you that is important for your salvation. So read the Gospel of John and read the Acts. But if you have to pick one, you only have so much time or so much energy or so much zeal, read the Gospel of John.

The theme during this period of time is about enlightenment, gradual enlightenment. We see it already with the Gospel here about Thomas[2]. Right now we only hear the first half of the story. The second half will be this coming Sunday, and the first half, as Thomas said, “Unless I see the prints of the nails, the holes in his hand and in his side and unless I put my finger in them, I won’t believe.” And so for eight days he anguished because his fellow friends, the Apostles, the women that had been around Jesus, they believed, but Thomas didn’t. But he was faithful, and his faithfulness would be rewarded. So that on Sunday we will proclaim him as the first to declare unequivocally the two natures of Jesus Christ when he said, My Lord and my God.”

During this entire Paschal period up until Pentecost we do not say “0 Heavenly King. . .“  Why would that be? Why would it be that we do not say “0, Heavenly King. . .“? Anybody know? Well, sometimes the Church speaks about something and teaches us and sometimes they do not speak about something and teach us. “0 Heavenly King, Comforter. . .“, is about the Holy Spirit, and we are asking Him to come and abide in us. Well, what is going to happen in fifty days? The Holy Spirit will come and abide in us, liturgically, at Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. So the lack of this prayer is reminding us of the greatness of the coming of the Holy Spirit. That’s why we omit this prayer and we substitute instead of it “Christ is risen” three times, and then when we get to Ascension, then we substitute the Ascension Troparion for those days until Pentecost. So don’t say “0 Heavenly King. . .“


Oh, by the way, no prostrations either. There are no prostrations until Pentecost also and that is to recall the joy of the season.


See, there’s a rhyme and a reason to the things the church does. There is a deep theological significance to some of these deeply held traditions. Why we prostrate at certain times and why we don’t at others. Why we eat all foods on some occasions and do not eat most foods on others. So we are not prostrating, nor are we saying “0 Heavenly King”.

There’s a few other liturgical things if you really understand the services for instance, I will just say one. In matins we’ll always sing, “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ. . .“ three times on the Sunday vigil, whereas normally it’s sung once. And there is a bunch of other little differences, but the important ones for you are you don’t fast this week, you don’t prostrate until Pentecost. You don’t say “0 Heavenly King. . .“ until Pentecost, and you sing “Christ is risen” every day, and you say the Paschal hours and rejoice.

As is usual, I have to tell you as a pastor, to warn you, that this is a period of time when the devil who is that roaring lion, is looking about for whom he can devour[3], and you know he devours a lot of people with summer sausage and with

bacon and with butter and all of the delicacies that we have not had before. Don’t eat too much of that. Eat them and enjoy them but don’t gorge yourself so that you still can pray.

You don’t pray as much but you should pray consistently the Paschal hours in the morning and in the evening. And rejoice in the Resurrection in that way.

We have services this week. Tuesday vigil for the Annunciation so it will be like a Paschal vigil and sort of mixed in with Annunciation there is a complex service and very joyous so that vespers and matins and the first hour on Tuesday night at seven and then Wednesday morning at nine o’clock. At nine o’clock will be the Annunciation Paschal liturgy. So if you can at all come to the service, you should because it is well worth it to take a few hours off of work to be able to do this.

Also, Thursday evening in the new temple which will be close to done by then[4]. I don’t know if we’ll make it for Thomas
Sunday or not, most likely not. So we are aiming for the Myrrh Bearers, the third Sunday of Pascha. We will have on
Thursday evening as is our custom, at seven o’clock, Moleben.

This time it’s a Paschal Moleben. Everything is different this week; all the services include “Christ is risen.”

So the services this week are Tuesday seven o’clock, the vigil for the Annunciation. If you can come to part of it you should come. If you can come to all of it you should come but come to some of it. And Wednesday at nine o’clock, the liturgy and the Paschal and Annunciation kind of mixed up and then Thursday, the Moleben at seven o’clock.

Do I need to tell you anything else? Oh, yes I need to tell you one other thing. We have a letter here that I’d like each one of you to take and was written with my blessing sort of as a collaborative effort. Mostly Father Nicholas wrote it and as I usually do, I added a couple of things. The gist of it is this. We’re happy to report we have raised as part of our fundraising efforts since June of 2009, 42 thousand dollars, and we were aiming for 40. And we actually at the time naively thought that 40 was enough. Turns out that more like 60 is enough, or something like that. So we need about another 20 thousand dollars.

I want to tell you, we have offered to our benefactors that we would pray for them eternally as long as this parish exists, we will pray. After my death and the next rector, we will pray because they are permanent dyptichs. And we have 391 names that we pray for regularly now and 98 benefactors. And that number changes, continually increases.

So there is good news that although we need about 20 thousand dollars that we don’t have, we have an anonymous donor that has come forward and wishes to sort of get some activity and interest and zeal among our parish family, to raise eight thousand dollars. This donor has pledged eight thousand dollars in matching funds. Okay, the way this works is this. The clergy are not part of the matching funds. So Father Nicholas and I cannot give to this fund in order to have it matched but if you give, you give one hundred dollars, it is matched with one hundred dollars. If you give a thousand it is matched with a thousand dollars, up to eight thousand dollars which means if we are zealous, we would have 16 thousand dollars which is very close to what we need. With some other things coming in, we would probably be able to do it.

So what I would ask you to do is take this letter and give yourself and ask others to give and to designate that it is for the matching funds and we can raise this money then. It’s a lot easier to raise eight thousand dollars than it is to raise 16.


So may God bless you, take this letter and now let’s feast, what do you say? I don’t think there was any tofu in there at all. Okay. Let’s go bless it.



Priest Seraphim Holland 2010.    


This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas



This homily is at:



Archive of commentaries:

Archive of homilies:


To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” ( You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.


Our parish Email list ( also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.


All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.




[3] 1Peter 5:8 KJV  “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”


[4] We actually occupied our temple officially in June of that year. It was a very long, arduous and often disappointing building process, with many extra expenses because of city regulations, and I still do not know how we accomplished it, except that, as was said in one of the Bright week Gospel readings: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8, read on Bright Thursday, John 3:1-15. See homilies about Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus here: )



Bright Thursday. The Encounter with Nicodemus. Two homilies.

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

A new homily about the encounter of Jesus with Nicodemus, which is an exegesis of the entire passage.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:

Another homily on this encounter is available also:

The story of Nicodemus meeting with Christ is our story. We are Nicodemus, and Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and Thomas, and the Blind man, and the Paralytic, and all the rest, whom we have read about or will read about in this season; for them and us, illumination comes over time, and always with great effort and waiting on our part.

There is a constant theme throughout this Paschal period, up to and including Pentecost. It is the sure and certain aspect of everyone’s life – we come to an understanding of holy things slowly, and only if we struggle and endure.

Read more here:"Nicodemus meets Jesus. Illumination by degrees, but only if we stay in the kitchen!"

John 3:1-15 1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:

RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:

Archive of Audio and text homilies:

Bright Monday: Important truths are rarely said absolutely unambiguously. “No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him”, and “Make straight the way of the lord.”

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


Synopsis: The effect of the incarnation and the absolute necessity for a moral life is declared inn the Gospel for Bright Monday. As is the usual case, profound truths about the Christian life are stated, but not with absolute clarity. The fullness of the meaning of Scripture is not apparent to the casual observer, but only to those who struggle foe righteousness. We look at the whole passage, but particularly the two phrases: "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him", and "Make straight the way of the Lord."

More homilies on the ##th day after Pentecost are HERE

John 1:18-28 18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. 19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. 21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? 23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. 24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. 25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? 26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 28 These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.

If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser:

If this file does not work for you, try the direct link to the actual mp3 file:

RSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homiliesRSS feed of Sunday and some weekday homilies:

Archive of Audio and text homilies:

Rocking “Christ is risen” troparion from Africa

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

I am not in favor of changing our tradition regarding musical instruments (and if I could, I would  create a virus that destroyed every organ in every Orthodox church), but I WOULD LIKE TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION HERE:


Christ is risen troparion, sung with drums, in Africa.


Note the priest conducting! It starts out conventionally, then really gets your feet tapping!


I find the African voice to be among the most beautiful I have ever heard.


Thank you to Matushka Elizabeth Perdomo for finding this gem! She has a great email list.


Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Like any parish, we have some local TRADITIONS.

One very dear to my heart is that the youth, and generally my children and grandchildren, read the Psalm 118 parts during the Friday lamentations.




We  throw rose petals before the Gospel is read on Holy Saturday. I was very surprised some time ago to learn that everyone does not do this. It is one of my favorite traditions.


Another tradition, related to the one above, is the the little girls and boys scramble to pick up all the petals




A new FAVORITE tradition is the use of battery candles for the little ones. We instituted this important tradition after a Holy Friday lamentations service that was filled with way too many shrieks and tears because of spilled candle wax on little fingers.


Usually we do not know when a tradition begins. In this case, we have recorded it here:

Pictures and Video from Holy Week, Pascha

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Or go here:



Lots of video too: