Friday, February 29, 2008

March 2: Sunday of the Last Judgment
On this coming Sunday, the Gospel reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the Last Judgment. It reminds us that while trusting in Christ's love and mercy, we must not forget His righteous judgment when He comes again in glory. If our hearts remain hardened and unrepentant, we should not expect the Lord to overlook our transgressions simply because He is a good and loving God. Although He does not desire the death of a sinner, He also expects us to turn from our wickedness and live (Ezek. 33:11). This same idea is expressed in the prayer read by the priest after the penitent has confessed his or her sins (Slavic practice).

The time for repentance and forgiveness is now, in the present life. At the Second Coming, Christ will appear as the righteous Judge, Who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:6). Then the time for entreating God's mercy and forgiveness will have passed.

As Father Alexander Schmemann reminds us in his book GREAT LENT (Ch. 1:4), sin is the absence of love, it is separation and isolation. When Christ comes to judge the world, His criterion for judgment will be love. Christian love entails seeing Christ in other people, our family, our friends, and everyone else we may encounter in our lives. We shall be judged on whether we have loved, or not loved, our neighbor. We show Christian love when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick or in prison. If we did such things for the least of Christ's brethren, then we also did them for Christ (Mt.25:40). If we did not do such things for the least of the brethren, neither did we do them for Christ (Mt.25:45).

This Sunday is the last day for eating meat and meat products until Pascha, though eggs and dairy products are permitted every day during the coming week. This limited fasting prepares us gradually for the more intense fasting of Great Lent. - from the menologion at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Our pre-Lenten preparation continues this Saturday evening, February 23, with Vespers at 5:00 PM. On Sunday morning, classes for children and adults will meet at 9:15 AM.

Lenten study resources for the adult class are available at the Church - we're beginning with Saint Innocent's "The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven."

Third Hour prayers begin at 9:15 AM, followed by Typika at 10:00 AM.

Everyone is welcome - Services are in English.

And remember, share the joy of Orthodox Christianity - invite a friend to "Come and See!"

Kontakion from the Lenten Triodion - Tone 3
I have recklessly forgotten Your glory, O Father;
and among sinners I have scattered the riches
which You had given me.

Therefore, I cry to You like the Prodigal:

"I have sinned before You, O compassionate Father;

receive me a penitent
and make me as one of Your hired servants."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 17:
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee

Father Matthew Jackson will serve Typika with Holy Communion this coming Sunday, February 17, at 3:00 PM.

Please join us as we begin to observe these vital pre-Lenten Sundays which teach us the meaning of the Great Fast. As the Fathers of the Church teach us, we must orient the mind and heart towards repentance, otherwise our fasting is in vain.

Also, booklets for our Lenten Adult Catechism study are now available at the Church. We will begin with Saint Innocent's "The Way into the Kingdom of Heaven" on Sunday morning, February 24, at 9:15 AM.

Let us flee from the pride of the Pharisee!
And learn humility from the Publican's tears!
Let us cry to our Savior,
Have mercy on us,
Only merciful One!

- Kontakion from the Lenten Triodion, Tone 4

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy this Weekend

Father Nikolay Miletkov will serve Great Vespers this Saturday evening, February 9, at 5:00 PM and Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, February 10, at 10:00 AM. Also, remember that Adult Catechism meets Sunday morning at 9:15 AM.

We will mark the Sunday of Zacchaeus, which in the Slavic Orthodox Churches indicates the beginning of our preparation for Great Lent.

Just as Great Lent prepares us for our celebration of the Resurrection during the Paschal season, we also "prepare for the Lenten preparation." The first sign of the approach of Great Lent comes five Sundays before its beginning, with the Gospel reading is about Zacchaeus the tax-collector. It tells how Christ brought salvation to the sinful man and how his life was changed simply because he "sought to see who Jesus was" (Luke 19:3). The desire and effort to see Jesus begins the entire movement through Lent towards Pascha. It is the first movement of salvation.

All services are in English. Visitors are always welcome.

Experience the joy of Orthodox Christianity...

"Come and See!"