Monday, October 27, 2008

From a recent article in USA Today:

Study finds more U.S. Orthodox Christian converts
By Nicole Neroulias, Religion News Service

A new study of Orthodox Christians in America has found a larger-than-expected number of converts, mostly from Roman Catholic and evangelical Protestant backgrounds.

The report, released by the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, Calif., surveyed 1,000 members of Greek Orthodox or Orthodox Church in America congregations, which represent about 60% of America's estimated 1.2 million Orthodox Christians.

Although Orthodox churches were historically immigrant communities, the study found that nine out of 10 parishioners are now American-born. Thousands of members had converted to the faith as adults: 29% of Greek Orthodox are converts, as are 51% of the OCA.

"I would not have expected this many," said Alexei Krindatch, the Orthodox Institute's research director. "My sense was that in Greek Orthodox, it would be around 15%, and OCA maybe one-third."

The study also found unexpectedly high numbers of converts among clergy — 56% in the OCA, 14% in the Greek Orthodox church. In both cases, the higher OCA numbers reflect that group's use of English in its worship services, he added.

These findings could mean that Orthodox churches are growing in America, assuming there aren't equal or greater numbers of Orthodox Christians leaving for other faiths; researchers won't know until they conduct a 2010 membership census. The findings, however, indicate that other Christians are increasingly seeking a more traditional worship experience, Krindatch said.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

A summary of the study is available on the OCA website here.

The entire study from the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute is here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

October 26:
The Great-Martyr Demetrius

Saturday, October 25
Vespers 5:00 PM

Sunday, October 26
Adult Catechism 9:00 AM

Third Hour Prayers 9:45 AM

Typika 10:00 AM

Troparion - Tone 3
The world has found you to be a great defense against tribulation and a vanquisher of heathens, O Passion-bearer.
As you bolstered the courage of Nestor,
who then humbled the arrogance of Lyaios in battle,
Holy Demetrius, entreat Christ God to grant us great mercy.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

October 18:
Saint Luke the Evangelist

The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself. As one of the Seventy Apostles, St Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior's earthly life (Luke 10:1-3).

After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Sts Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus. Luke accompanied St Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul's coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11).

After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, St Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes. Tradition credits St Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. "Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons," said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. St Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. St Luke's Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), St Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings. By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).

In St Luke's Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance. St Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church "into all truth" John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.

The holy relics of St Luke were taken from Constantinople and brought to Padua, Italy at some point in history. Perhaps this was during the infamous Crusade of 1204. In 1992, Metropolitan Hieronymus (Jerome) of Thebes requested the Roman Catholic bishop in Thebes to obtain a portion of St Luke's relics for the saint's empty sepulchre in the Orthodox cathedral in Thebes.

Troparion-Tone 5
Let us praise with sacred songs the Holy Apostle Luke,
The recorder of the Joyous Gospel of Christ,
And the scribe of the Acts of the Apostles,
For his writings are a testimony of the Church of Christ:
He is the Physician of human weaknesses and infirmities.
He heals the wounds of our souls,
And constantly intercedes for our salvation!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Please Remember:

Father Matthew Jackson will visit this Sunday, October 19, to serve Typika with Holy Communion at 3:00 PM. Persons desiring to make confession should come 30 minutes before the beginning of the service.

There will be no services or classes that morning.

Monday, October 06, 2008

October 6: Glorification of St Innocent the Metropolitan of Moscow and Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas

Troparion - Tone 4

Thou didst evangelize the northern people of America and Asia,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the natives in their own tongues.
Holy Hierarch Father Innocent, enlightener of Alaska and all America,
Thy ways were ordered by the Lord!
Pray to Him for the salvation of our souls in His heavenly Kingdom!

Kontakion - Tone 2

A true celebration of the providence and grace of God
Is thy life, O holy father Innocent, Apostle to our land.
In hardships and dangers thou didst toil for the Gospel's sake
And God delivered and preserved thee unharmed.
From obscurity He highly exalted thee as an example
That the Lord truly guides a man in the way he should go.