Archive for October, 2011

Orthodox Icons related to Abortion

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Icons related to Abortion

Orthodox are pro-life, and the church knows what real life is! Any popular movement needs a good symbol or symbols. I asked recently about “abortion related” icons ( I wanted one for a homily I was published: Sanctity Of Life Sunday. Christians Must Not Accept Abortion and Sexual Immorality Being Redefined 2011 and was DELUGED with answers! I only asked on our parish mailing list and on the Friends of St Sava list (our closest sister parish). What an amazing response! Here are some of the suggestions, starting with the one that is my choice, the Lament of Rachel.


I am presenting these to show the diversity in expression about abortion in Orthodox icons, but if truth be told, I have rather strict criteria for an icon that I would want to use when I write abut abortion. I think it should not be extremely innovative, or gruesome, but at the same time, should speak to the emotional horror of abortion. I think the lament of Rachel fulfills all these criteria.


I am not against “gruesome” in its proper context – no sir! Abortion is often vivisection of a living, breathing human being and I favor billboards on the road with pictures of the effect of abortion on tiny human beings, but these gruesome pictures would not serve well as a symbol.


We live in a world where people deny, deny, deny. We have a culture that does not like to think about death. There is a place for these pictures, but not in front of abortion clinics (where they could actually traumatize and anger mothers who are contemplating abortion), or as a symbol of our struggle, which is to cause healing.


Without further ado, here are some of the icons suggested, sent by perhaps a dozen responders.


The Lament of Rachel

The Lament of Rachel.


“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.  (17)  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,  (18)  In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:16-18 )


See also


I believe that this icon was commissioned by Zoe for Life



The Horror of Abortion


The Horror of Abortion.

See an Explanation of this icon here:


Any good symbol is simple, and there is just too much going on in this icon. Of course, it is not traditional in many ways, but it tells the truth.



The Holy Theotokos and Elizabeth embracing.

The Theotokos and Anna embracing.


“And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;  (40)  And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.  (41)  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:  (42)  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  (43)  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:39-43)


I like this icon, although it may be a tad innovative, but it does not capture the emotion of the loss involved in abortion as the Lament of Rachel does.


See also:


Christ the giver of life.

Christ the Author of Life.

I dunno, just does not grab me, and is a little too innovative for me. It certainly makes a statement though!

"Help in Birth-giving" Icon, commemorated on 26 December / 8 January. 

The Life:

"From time immemorial, it has been known that in moments of the most intense suffering of the birthing process, women run with especially fervent prayer to the Savior and to His Most-pure Mother. In our time as well, pious families keep copies of the Icon of the Mother of God known as the “Help in Birth-giving” Icon. In this Icon, the Most-pure Virgin is depicted full-length, standing with hands upraised, and with the Babe in her arms, as in the “Sign” Icon. Mothers bow down before this Icon, calling in fervent prayer upon the assistance of the Most-blessed Virgin Mary, the one who had painlessly given birth to Christ the Savior. They call out to her in a mother’s awesome, uniquely mysterious and secret moment, in the belief that she is a strong intercessor and helper before God for all who suffer and are heavy-laden. And who, running to the Queen of Heaven, can come away without being comforted by her in times of sorrow and ills?! Her almighty intercession brings a solution to all the illnesses and sufferings from which no earthly power or earthly riches could save us.

There is another very ancient Icon, known as the “Icon of the Most-holy Theotokos, helper to women giving birth to children.” On that Icon, the Mother of God is depicted with head uncovered, her hair flowing down her shoulders, and her arms folded upon her breast. The fingers of the left hand partially cover the fingers of the right. Below the level of her wrists sits the Divine Infant, the fingers of His right hand forming the acronym of His Name (ICXC), and the left resting upon His knee. His feet protrude from below the hem of his garments. The Theotokos’ outer garment is red and gold, with a gold star on each shoulder. Her inner garment is dark green, with flashes of gold and with gold stars, and the same kind of trim on her collar and cuffs. The Theotokos’ head inclines slightly. The Savior’s clothing is yellow and gold, blending on his chest into a dark green color. The entire composition is written on a semi-circle."

Icon courtesy of Life from

There were a few more icons suggested, such as Our Lady of Guadeloupe, and the Annunciation, and I may be forgetting a couple others, but you get the idea.



Priest Seraphim Holland 2011     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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Sanctity Of Life Sunday. Christians Must Not Accept Abortion and Sexual Immorality Being Redefined 2011

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Sanctity Of Life Sunday – Christians Must Not Accept Abortion and Sexual Immorality Being Redefined

The Lament of Rachel From Zoe for life (

 “The Lament of Rachel”

From Zoe for Life


May God bless you. A word about the Moleben that we just served.

Just recently was the 38th  anniversary of the Roe versus Wade decision, that dark day in our country when the idea that murdering a child is a right given to us by the Constitution and is a right that is part of our right of privacy.

Now the idea has come about, and had been nurtured now for 38 years, to rewrite language to talk about being “pro-choice”. There have been fifty million children aborted since the Roe versus Wade decision.

Ironically, the person involved in Roe versus Wade, had lied about her pregnancy, she had said she had been raped; she had not. The pregnancy was from fornication. And she had had the baby, and the baby was already two years old when the decision came down. She has since repented and become a Christian and is very much pro-life, Of course, that is not something that is well known, I think.

Fifty million children!


I want to tell you that as a Christian, you must not allow the times to influence you. Right now we are in the midst of the rewriting of language; even “God” means something different now than it did only a few years ago, and “Christian” means something different.

Now, there are those that say that:

You can be a Christian and be pro choice;

You can be a Christian and abort your child;

You can be a Christian and be a practicing unrepentant homosexual.


These things are not possible, brothers and sisters.

You can be a Christian and be guilty of any sin and repent from it. You can be a Christian and be weak in some area of your life, maybe even for a long period of time, and struggle against this weakness. But you cannot be a Christian and give in wholly to the way of the times and believe: That one can be pro-choice and that it is correct for a woman to take that which is in her womb, a human being created in the image and likeness of God, and kill it.

Now, in any room of people that I may not know well, it is always possible that there are sins that you haven’t even remembered or perhaps that you are ashamed of that I don’t know about. Any sin that you commit, whether it be abortion or any other sin, you can repent from it and God will cleanse you completely. And God will give you healing, but only if you recognize what is right and what is wrong.

Our country does not want to do that anymore. They cloak things in high-sounding language like being pro-choice or having a right to privacy, when actually they are covering up the stench of sin.

Another word used nowadays is “homophobia” as if to believe that what the Gospel teaches, what the Bible teaches about homosexual relations, somehow makes a person a bigot and a phobic person. We’re not afraid of anybody. We just know what is right and what is wrong, that is, what ultimately leads to eternal life or eternal death.


And I want to make it clear to you that these sins, these sexual sins which are inundating our country,(and abortion is really a sexually-related sin), are part and parcel of people wanting to have whatever pleasure they wish without any consequences, without any responsibility for what they do. These sins are polluting our country and polluting us. We must stand against them.


Now, even if we struggle against these sins, perhaps not always successfully, if we recognize that they are wrong, fundamentally wrong, then God will help us.

On this day I believe Is there a march in Washington, D.C., today? Isn’t that right? It’s tomorrow. This march, if you’re careful, you’ll see that this march will be vastly underreported in mainstream media. They will say that there are fifty thousand, a hundred thousand people, when there may be well over a million, because the world does not want to admit what is right and what is wrong. This happens year after year, that this event is underreported, or that they find one kind of crazy person on the fringes of the crowd and says crazy things and try to make that to be what all people who believe in the sanctity of life are like. Don’t believe these things, brothers and sisters.

Believe the truth. Believe that God made life in the womb and that any fetus is made in the image of God.

And if any of you ever had any struggles with this, believed opposite to this, believed what the world says about it, the lie that the world tells, or have submitted and had an abortion; I beg you to speak to me.

This is a terrible tragedy for a woman as well as the child because there are two victims in an abortion. The greater victim, the one that is harmed the most is the woman, because our world tells them: It is your choice, it is your right, it is even sometimes your responsibility, and  it is a good thing, but the heart tells something different, and so there’s this conflict that occurs.

God wants your heart to be right with what you do, what you are. So may God help us and help everyone to find the truth about abortion in the world. So that’s why we served this small Moleben. I can’t go to the march, but at least we can raise up our voices.


And I want to make it clear to you, absolutely positively, killing a child in the womb is abortion or willful abortion and is a sin, and it is something that is very serious; it marks the soul until there is repentance. With repentance, everything can be erased; everything can be made new. Without repentance, it marks a person and makes it very difficult for them to live.

So my heart really goes out on this day for the millions of aborted women. That’s actually the medical term, women who have had an abortion are “aborted women.” This always sounded funny to me, but that is the medical terminology.


So women who had abortions, all of those women who have been told one thing; and their hearts, perhaps quietly, perhaps loudly, is telling them another; my prayer for them is that they would realize that they sinned and repent so that they would be cleansed and their life would begin anew.


Priest Seraphim Holland 2011    

Transcribed by the hand of Helen. May God save her and her loved ones.


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The First Great Catch of Fish Compared with the Second – Luke 5:1-11 & John 21:1-14

Monday, October 10th, 2011


Synopsis: The first great catch of fish, in Luke 5:1-11, occurred at the very beginning of the ministry of Jesus with His apostles. It must be read in conjunction with the second great fish of 153 fishes, which occurred after the resurrection, and was His last earthly meal with His apostles (John 21:1-14). There are many beautiful morsels here! After sampling this beautiful smorgasbord, we must not miss the most important aspect of this story: 1. the command to "let down the nets" applies to everyone, and 2. after the disciples saw the power of the Lord, they left all and followed Him. If we do not learn these two things from these stories, we have learned nothing.

Luke 5:1-11 1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

John 21:1-14 1 After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. 6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. 8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. 9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. 10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught. 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. 12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

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Electronic Newsletter September 26 / October 9 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Saturday, October 8th, 2011


St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas



Electronic Newsletter

September 26 / October 9  17th Sunday after Pentecost


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




There is a ton of stuff this week

1. Fr Seraphim And Deacon Nicholas will be traveling to Des Plaines to the Protection of the Holy Theotokos Cathedral to serve for Pokrov (the Protection of the Theotokos), with Bishop Peter and all the Diocesan clergy. We would appreciate your prayers.

2. Because of 1, above, there will be NO services on Wednesday or Thursday this week. We will have our usual Monday Moleben, where we pray for everyone in the parish, or even associated in a small way with the parish by name.

3. The former "Adrian" is now Hierodeacon Athanasius, in Romania. I am not sure when he was ordained, but just found this out from a parishioner. Axios!

4. "FORTY DAYS for LIFE" is in full swing now. I FULLY SUPPORT our participation in this worthy endeavor, and Fr Nicholas, myself, and Matushka Marina (at least) are participating. ARE YOU? I am asking you to!

We will gather at various hours, from 7 am till 7 pm, October 19th, at the Southwestern Late-term Abortion Facility, 8616 Greenville Ave., Dallas.. If you do not know what to do, not to worry! There will be prayers there for us to use. We will sing akathists, and canons. If you cannto sing, you can just say them! 

Abortion is a cancer which kills much more than an unborn child. We must pray not only for mothers who are contemplating abortion, but also those who have had abortions and are suffering in many ways. The world tells them that they have a "right to choose", but the soul tells them something is wrong. Our society is breaking down in almost every way because of immorality, and abortion rights are one of the lynch pins upon which this disintegration devolves. May we in some way contribute to the saving of untold women and men from the "mouth of the lion" because of immorality, which kills the soul.

See  for information on how to sign up and participate in our Orthodox prayer.

5. There will be a "Forty Days for Life" rally and picnic next Saturday, Oct 1, 12 noon – 1:30 p.m., Harry S. Moss Park, 8000 Greenville Ave., Dallas. I am going, and will hear Fr Seraphim Hipsch, of our sister parish of St Sava speak. Are you? I am asking you to!  See:

6. Fr Nichoals and Genevieve are gone this weekend for soem well desierved rest at an undisclosed location.


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 updated our 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.

  • Alexandra (4 y/o girl wih brain cancer)
  • 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

Monday 10/10

  • 7:30PM Moleben


Saturday 10/15

  • 4PM Confession
  • 5PM  Vigil

Sunday 10/16 

  • 10AM  Divine Liturgy
  • 12:45PM Church School after Trapeza

Fasting in the Coming week

Normal fasting rules apply.Wednesday and Friday are fast days. On Wednesday, please refrain from animal products, fish, wine and oil. On Friday, because it is the Protection of the Mother of God, we will can have wine and oil (but refrain from animal products.) AS ALWAYS, consult Fr Seraphim if you have any questions, problems, etc.


Orthodox Christians Prayer for 40 Days for Life Vigil: October 19th, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

40 Days for Life Dallas Rally (Sat, Oct 15) with Priest Seraphim Hipsch speaking


Because of the The Lukan Jump, we read about the Miraculous draught of fish this Sunday. There are a lot of homilies on this subject.

The Miraculous Draught Of Fish 2000 (Word DOC format)


The First Great Catch Of Fish – 2002 (audio)


The great catch of fish at lake Genesaret – Words to live by: 'Nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.' (audio)
You can watch this sermon on the following video platforms: Yahoo, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, DailyMotion, and Veoh


The Great Catch Of Fish – The Greatest Miracle Was Not The Fish – Audio


The First Great Catch Of Fish – We are not saved by works of the law, but by being with Christ. The second great catch of fish illustrates this.
SYNOPSIS:The first Great catch of fish, read in context with the 2nd great catch (which occurred three years later, 8 days after the resurrection) is truly the "Gospel" – the "Good News", because it is a promise to us that we can change and truly become holy – all we need do is be with Jesus Christ throughout our life. We compare the two great catches, and explore what it means to be with Christ. The Epistle reading is from Galatians, them overall theme of which is that we cannot be saved bu . We are not saved by works, but we cannot be saved unless we stay with Christ throughout our life – we examine what this means.


Next week, we read from Luke 6:31-36, about the “Golden Rule”

"As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." – Audio


The Golden Rule – Ye Shall Be The Children Of The Highest
SYNOPSIS:The "Golden Rule" is explained, including a mention of how the world twists this rule into a sort of magical "law of attraction". The REASON for the golden rule and everything we do is because we are "children of the highest".

 Saint John Of Kronstadt, and The Purpose Of The Incarnation, "Ye shall be children of the Highest" Luke 6:31-36
SYNOPSIS:On this Sunday before Nativity, St John of Kronstadt is also commemorated, and the Gospel for him and his life perfectly describes the purpose of the Incarnation. This Gospel contains our Lord's admonishments to love, using concrete examples, and concludes with the promise "And ye shall be children of the highest". This is the purpose of the incarnation, and examining this Gospel along with St John's life, which struggled to fulfill it illuminates this purpose for us, therefore, on this Sunday when we read the "Begats", it is appropriate to delve into what is means to be children of the highest, and how and why we can attain this high calling. We also suggest another way to describe the "Golden Rule" and what should be our inner motivation for loving our fellow man, and doing anything that is good in this life.

 That oughta keep you busy! 

40 Days for Life Dallas Rally (Sat, Oct 15) with Priest Seraphim Hipsch speaking

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Our parish is participating in the "40 days for life" event in Dallas, by praying at various times during a 12 hour period, October 19th, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. I endorse this event, and am personally participating in it.

I encourage (I am asking) everyone in my parish to try to participate in this event. We will be praying only with Orthodox Christians. I do not recommend or agree with participating in prayer with non-Orthodox, but we can share similar goals and collaborate in activities, such as this worthy cause.

Abortion is a cancer which kills much more than an unborn child. We must pray not only for mothers who are contemplating abortion, but also those who have had abortions and are suffering in many ways. The world tells them that they have a "right to choose", but the soul tells them something is wrong.

I will try to make it to this rally, to hear Fr Seraphim speak. There may be some things there that we are not accustomed to and do not do in our Orthodox Christian way of life, and even some things that we cannot agree with but overall, supporting this event is the right thing to do.

Priest Seraphim Holland

Here is a flyer about the rally



Join us for a day of

Faith, Family & Fellowship
at the
40 Days for Life-Dallas
Midway Rally

Youth Day
October 15, 2011

"Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." – Mark 10:14


40 Days for Life-Dallas Midway Rally
12 noon – 1:30 p.m., Harry S. Moss Park, 8000 Greenville Ave., Dallas

Mark the midpoint of the 40-day campaign with a family picnic (thanks to Holy Smokers who will be grilling out!), great music and pro-life speakers, including:

  • Corinne Kelly with UTD Students for Life! 
  • Reverend Michael Guadagnoli of St. Pius X
  • Joe Baker of Save the Storks Counseling Ministry and
  • Father Seraphim Hipsh of St. Sava Orthodox Church

Be sure to bring a blanket or chairs to enjoy the picnic as you celebrate the miraculous with us – ELEVEN Babies have already been saved from abortion at Southwestern during the first eight days of the 24/7 prayer vigil!  Praise be to God!!

40 Days for Life-Dallas Youth Day
7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Southwestern late-term abortion center, 8616 Greenville Ave., Dallas

Experience the powerful witness of youth standing vigil for their brothers and sisters in the womb (plus a surprise, peaceful, prayerful balloon demonstration!).  To adopt an hour or two of prayer for your students or youth group, email 40days@prolifedallas.orgLearn more.

*All youth under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or safe environment-cleared chaperone.*

If you are unable to read this e-mail, please go to:
Catholic Pro-Life Committee P.O. Box 59852 Dallas Texas 75229








The Rich get sick more because of self-indulgence. Saint John Chrysostom understands medicine!

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

The Rich get sick more because of self-indulgence. Saint John Chrysostom understands medicine! A quote from his homilies and an short explanation about fasting.

The Rich get sick more because of self-indulgence.

Saint John Chrysostom understands medicine!


St John Chrysostom John Chrysostom many times in his sermons remonstrated against the indulgences of the rich. In the following passage, he shows great medical understanding also. In our day, with diabetes and obesity at epidemic levels, and all sorts of cancers and other maladies that are diet related, reputable doctors would certainly agree with him.


Regarding the rich man who indulges himself and is beggarly concerning the poor he says:


And his enjoyment of the earth is no more than yours; for sure he fills not ten stomachs, and thou only one. 'But he partakes of costlier meats?' Truly, this is no mighty superiority; howbeit, even here, we shall find you to have the advantage. For this costliness is therefore thought by you a matter of envy because the pleasure with it is greater. Yet this is greater in the poor man's case; yet not pleasure only, but health also; and in this alone is the advantage with the rich, that he makes his constitution feebler and collects more abundant fountains of disease. For the poor man's diet is all ordered according to nature, but his through its excess results in corruption and disease. (St John Chrysostom, Homily 12 on Second Corinthians)


The lesson here is that self-indulgence kills. It absolutely kills the spirit, and even in this life will usually kills the body, by degrees.


Thank God that we have a remedy for self-indulgence, which leads to so many ills! We have temperate fasting, which, if practiced with dedication, is healthy for the body and the soul.


I encourage you to fast, even if it is only a little. Any departure from unbridled self-indulgence is good for the soul.


If you normally eat meat every day, or whatever is at hand, develop the custom of abstaining from it on Wednesday and Friday, or even, if you feel this is too onerous, eat only chicken or fish on that day. Do everything with the guidance of your confessor. There is a general fasting rule, and it is beneficial to follow, but, as in almost everything, if we are weak we will benefit by approaching our goal by degrees.


Try to fast a little better, and be sure to add a little more prayer on those days. Your spirit and your body will become healthier. Do not do this alone. Talk to your confessor. May God bless you.




Priest Seraphim Holland 2011     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas


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