Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Next Services...

... will be Vespers on Saturday, May 10 at 5:00 PM and a full regular Sunday schedule on Sunday, May 11 (Catechism at 9:15; Hours at 9:45; Typika at 10 AM)

Also, please remember that Father Matthew Jackson will serve Typika with Holy Communion on Sunday, May 18 at 3 PM.

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Holy Week and Pascha 2008
"Let all the earth worship and praise Thee!
Let it praise Thy Name, O Most High!

We celebrated our second Holy Week and Pascha with Father Sergius Clark, who comes to us from Saint Justin Martyr Orthodox Church in Jacksonville, Florida. Services were held from Great and Holy Thursday through Pascha.

The Plaschanitsa, or Shroud of Christ, was adorned with flowers and venerated by the faithful on Holy Friday. On Holy Saturday, the Shroud was removed from the middle of the Church and taken to the Altar, where it will remain throughout the Paschal season.

During the Holy Saturday Vesperal Liturgy, the analogia (icon stands) and the altar were covered in purple. At the time of the Epistle Reading, the purple was stripped away revealing the white hangings for the Paschal season.

Father Sergius was assisted several times during the week by Bandali Akkawi, a graduate student at Louisiana State University.

Father Sergius reads the final dismissal at the end of the Liturgy, before the faithful break forth into another singing of the Paschal Troparion:

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing Life!

After the blessing of the baskets and the distribution of the antidoron and the red eggs, the congregation shared a number of traditional Pascha foods.

Special gift bags with icons and crosses were distributed to the children after the service.

During the time of fellowship, we announced our plans to move to a new location this summer. Our new location at 8775 Jefferson Highway will be much more centrally located and more easily accessible.

Seeing the children at the Liturgy was a wonderful delight. By the end of the services, they were joining in the singing of the Paschal Troparion and responding to the Paschal Greeting:

Christ is Risen!

Indeed He is Risen!

Before the dawn, Mary and the women
came and found the stone rolled away
from the tomb.
They heard the angelic voice:
"Why do you seek among the dead as a man
The One who is everlasting Light?
Behold the clothes in the grave.
Go and proclaim to the world:
The Lord is Risen, He has slain death,
As he is the Son of God,
Saving the race of men!"

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death!
And upon those in the Tombs,
Bestowing Life!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Khristos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Schedule for Holy Week
and Pascha 2008

Great and Holy Thursday, April 24

Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil – 10:00 AM

Matins of Holy Friday with the
Passion Gospels – 6:00 PM

Great and Holy Friday, April 25

Vespers of Holy Friday – 3:00 PM

Matins of Holy Saturday with the
Procession of the Shroud – 6:00 PM

Great and Holy Saturday, April 26

Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil – 10:00 AM

Nocturn and Matins of Pascha – 10:00 PM

Pascha Sunday, April 27

Divine Liturgy of the Resurrection – 10:00 AM

For more information, call 241-2926

or email

All services are in English and visitors are always welcome!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

April 20: Palm Sunday
The Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem

Please remember: Typika at 10:00 AM
Palm Sunday is the celebration of the triumphant entrance of Christ into the royal city of Jerusalem. He rode on a colt for which He Himself had sent, and He permitted the people to hail Him publicly as a king. A large crowd met Him in a manner befitting royalty, waving palm branches and placing their garments in His path. They greeted Him with these words: "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel! (John 12:13).

This day together with the raising of Lazarus are signs pointing beyond themselves to the mighty deeds and events which consummate Christ's earthly ministry. The time of fulfillment was at hand. Christ's raising of Lazarus points to the destruction of death and the joy of resurrection which will be accessible to all through His own death and resurrection. His entrance into Jerusalem is a fulfillment of the messianic prophecies about the king who will enter his holy city to establish a final kingdom. "Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on an ass, and on a colt, the foal of an ass" (Zech 9:9).

Finally, the events of these triumphant two days are but the passage to Holy Week: the "hour" of suffering and death for which Christ came. Thus the triumph in a earthly sense is extremely short-lived. Jesus enters openly into the midst of His enemies, publicly saying and doing those things which most. enrage them. The people themselves will soon reject' Him. They misread His brief earthly triumph as a sign of something else: His emergence as a political. messiah who will lead them to the glories of an earthly kingdom.

The liturgy of the Church is more than meditation or praise concerning past events. It communicates to us the eternal presence and power of the events being celebrated and makes us participants in those events. Thus the services of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday bring us to our own moment of life and death and entrance into the Kingdom of God: a Kingdom not of this world, a Kingdom accessible in the Church through repentance and baptism.

On Palm Sunday palm and willow branches are blessed in the Church. We take them in order to raise them up and greet the King and Ruler of our life: Jesus Christ. We take them in order to reaffirm our baptismal pledges. As the One who raised Lazarus and entered Jerusalem to go to His voluntary Passion stands in our midst, we are faced with the same question addressed to us at baptism: "Do you accept Christ?" We give our answer by daring to take the branch and raise it up: "I accept Him as King and God!"

Thus, on the eve of Christ's Passion, in the /celebration of the joyful cycle of the triumphant days of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, we reunite ourselves to Christ, affirm His Lordship lover the totality of our life and express our :readiness to follow Him to His Kingdom:

"... that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible 1 may attain the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11)

- The Very Rev. Paul Lazor

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Schedule Notes:

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts will be served Wednesday, April 16, at 6:00 PM by Father Matthew Jackson. Please join us as our Lenten pilgrimage continues.

Also, please remember that we will follow our regular morning schedule on Palm Sunday, April 20, with Catechism at 9:15 AM, Third Hour Prayers at 9:45 AM, and Typika at 10:00 AM.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

April 13: The 5th Sunday of Great Lent
Saint Mary of Egypt

On April 1, and again on the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, the Church commemorates Saint Mary of Egypt.

According to her biographer, St. Sophronius of Jerusalem, we know that once, during the Honorable Fast [Lenten Season], a certain priest-monk, the Elder Zosimus, withdrew into the wilderness beyond the Jordan, a twenty-day trek.

Suddenly, he caught sight of a human being with a withered and naked body whose hair was as white as snow and who began to flee from the sight of Zosimus. The elder ran for a long while until this person crouched down in a brook and cried out: "Abba Zosimus forgive me for the sake of the Lord. I cannot face you for I am a naked woman." Zosimus then tossed his outer garment to her which she wrapped around herself and then showed herself to him. The elder was frightened upon hearing his name spoken from the mouth of this woman he did not know. Following his prolonged insistence, the woman related her life story.

She was born in Egypt and at the age of twelve began to live a life of debauchery in Alexandria where she spent seventeen years in this perverted way of life. Driven by the adulterous flame of the flesh, one day she boarded a boat which was sailing for Jerusalem. Arriving at the Holy City, she wanted to enter the church in order to venerate the Honorable Cross but some invisible force restrained her and prevented her from entering the church. In great fear, she gazed upon the icon of the All-Holy Mother of God in the vestibule and prayed that she be allowed to enter the church to venerate the Honorable Cross, all the while confessing her sinfulness and uncleanness and promising that she would go wherever the All-Pure One would direct her. She was then permitted to enter the church. Having venerated the Cross she again entered the vestibule and, before the icon, gave thanks to the Mother of God.

At that very moment she heard a voice saying: "If you cross over Jordan you will find real peace!" Immediately she purchased three loaves of bread and started out for the Jordan where she arrived that same evening. The next day she received Holy Communion in the Monastery of St. John and crossed over the Jordan river. She remained in the wilderness for forty-eight years in great torment, fear and struggle with passionate thoughts as though with wild beasts. She fed on vegetation. Afterward, when she stood for prayer, Zosimus saw her levitate in the air. She begged him to bring her Holy Communion the following year on the shore of the Jordan where she would then come to receive it.

The following year, Zosimus arrived on the shore of the Jordan in the evening with Holy Communion. He wondered how this saint would cross the Jordan. At that moment, in the light of the moon, he saw her as she approached the river, made the sign of the cross over it and walked upon the water as though upon dry land. After Zosimus administered Holy Communion to her, she begged him to come the following year to the same brook where they had first met. Zosimus came and discovered her lifeless body on that spot. Above her head in the sand was written: "Abba Zosimus, bury the body of the humble Mary on this site; render dust to dust. I died on April 1, the same night of the saving-suffering of Christ, after having received Communion of the Divine Mysteries." From this inscription Zosimus first learned her name and the other and awesome miracle was that, she, on that same night the previous year, when she received Holy Communion, arrived at this brook which took him twenty days to travel. Thus, Zosimus buried the body of this wonderful saint, Mary the Egyptian. When he returned to the monastery Zosimus related the entire history of her life and the miracles which he had personally witnessed. Thus, the Lord knows how to glorify penitent sinners.

The Church holds her up as an example to the faithful during these fast days as an incentive for repentance. She died about the year 530 A.D. - adapted from the Prologue of Ochrid

Holy Mary of Egypt, pray unto God for us, that our souls may be saved!