Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Schedule for this weekend...

Saturday, December 27

Vespers 5:00 PM

Sunday, December 28

Adult Catechism 9:00 AM
Hours 9:45 AM
Typika 10:00 AM
The Nativity of our Lord

Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude,
Metropolitan JONAH
for the Nativity of Christ 2008

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Lo, the time of our salvation draweth nigh!
Make ready, O Cave!
The Virgin approacheth to give birth!
O Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Adorn thyself and rejoice,
For from thee hath our Lord shone forth!
Hearken, ye mountains and hills,
And ye parts of Judea, which lie round about,
For Christ cometh,
That He might save man whom He created,
In that He loveth mankind!

From of old God worked with the people of Israel, the children of the Covenant, to bring forth Christ. He made the covenants with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; with Moses; with David. He sent the Prophets to announce His will, so that the people might be called to obedience and hence, to life. Finally God sent His Son into the world as the ultimate Mystery of the relationship between Himself and man: the New Covenant, God dwelling in man, and man in God.

Jesus is the revelation of the New Covenant given by God, the revelation of the very goal of creation itself: union, synergy, cooperation, love.

Christ is born! He comes in humility, to show us the way of God. Christ is born! He comes to empty Himself, and reveal God in human form. Christ is born! He became everything that we are, that we might become all that He is. Christ is born! Born in the cave and laid in the manger; yet His glory shone from the manger as from the Mercy Seat. Christ is born! All the angels and the whole creation rejoice! Christ is born! Empty of self in the poverty of humility. Christ is born! Radiant in the glory of His divinity, shining in the obscurity of human darkness. Christ is born! Enlightening with grace all creation. Christ is born! The pledge of the Age to Come: The radiant Coal of the deified New World.

Let us give thanks to God for the gift of salvation, which He has given us so generously by the incarnation of His Son. Let us also empty ourselves of self, so that by embracing His poverty, we might be filled with His life. Let us open our minds and hearts to Him in the persons of the poor and lonely, the destitute and afflicted, and thereby liken ourselves to Him. Let us accept the gift of grace, the deifying gift of the Holy Spirit, and thus being likened to Him by Him, our lives may be fulfilled in that radiant communion of love, which is nothing other than the Kingdom of God.

With joy and gratitude, utterly humbled by the Providence of God, and by your love, I remain faithfully in Christ,

Your servant,


Archbishop of Washington and New York

Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Schedule for this weekend...

Sunday, December 21
Forefeast of the Nativity of our Lord
Adult Catechism 9:00 AM
Third Hour Prayers 9:45 AM
Typika 10:00 AM

Prepare, O Bethlehem, for Eden has been opened to all.
Adorn yourself, O Ephratha,
for the Tree of Life blossoms forth from the Virgin in the cave.
Her womb is a spiritual paradise planted with the fruit divine;
if we eat of it we shall live forever and not die like Adam.
Christ is coming to restore the image which He made in the beginning.
(Troparion, Tone 4)

Today the Virgin comes to the cave
where she will give birth past understanding to the Word from all eternity.
Rejoice, O universe, when the tidings are proclaimed.
Glorify, with the angels and shepherds,
the one Who chose to be manifest as a newborn Child,
while remaining the eternal God.
(Kontakion, Tone 3)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Commemoration of the Repose of
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
A Reflection by His Beatitude, Metropolitan JONAH

Father Alexander Schmemann was one of the towering figures of 20th Century Orthodox Christianity. A former dean of St. Vladimir's Seminary, his writings continue to provoke and inspire a new generation in the Church. The following comments were excerpted from a reflection by Metropolitan JONAH on the 25th anniversary of Father Alexander's repose.

May his Memory be Eternal!


The Only Agenda: The Gospel

If we are really Orthodox, we should be able to preach the Gospel better than anyone else, because we have it in an undistorted form. So what is it?

First and foremost that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, trampling death by death and giving life to those in the tombs. It is the message of the Resurrection, the victory of Jesus Christ over death and hell. It is the Good News that the Kingdom of God is present, here and now, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and you can be baptized into it, commune of its grace, and be filled with new life. It is this that we constantly celebrate in church, in the services, in the cycles of feasts and fasts. And what does it do for us? It heals our souls, and raises us up from despair, and enables us to deal with any obstacle that comes in our way.

The good news of the "Orthodox" Gospel is that we are free from the destructive perversions of the Gospel which pervade the religious presuppositions of our post-Christian ex-Protestant culture. We don't preach that God is a harsh judge waiting to damn us to hell for the least transgression. How often do we say in the Liturgy, "For You are a good God and the lover of mankind," or "You are a God of mercy and compassion and love for mankind." This is Good News. We don't preach that we are inescapably predestined to be saved or damned, and there is not a thing we can do about it, either way. And we don't preach that being a Christian is about going to heaven when we die. What do we say? As St John Chrysostom said, "For You have brought us up to heaven and endowed us with your kingdom which is to come." Here and now, not just when we're dead. And we don't need to forget those who have gone before us, but we have continual remembrance of them, because in Christ they are alive with the same life with which we also live.

We celebrate the Sunday of Orthodoxy, but it needs to be a real celebration of the integrity of the Gospel message. The triumph over iconoclasm has an essential point of faith: by His Incarnation, Jesus Christ sanctified matter. We can paint a picture of God Incarnate, and experience His Presence in and through venerating the icon. We can partake of His life by eating the bread and wine of His Body and Blood; we are immersed into His life in Baptism, anointed with the Holy Spirit in Chrismation, and made part of His Body. The world itself, matter, is sanctified by Christ's Coming, and becomes a means of communion with God. And we ourselves, in this body, in this life, here and now, are sanctified and made holy, partakers of the life of God. Salvation is about life here and now, not "fire insurance" for after death! In Christ, all things are made new. "For He has brought us up to heaven, and endowed us with His Kingdom which is to come."

This is Good News!

Read it all here.

Metropolitan JONAH was present at St. Vladimir's Seminary for the Panikhida (Memorial Service) for Father Alexander. The news story, with photos, is available here.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

This coming weekend...

...we will welcome Father David Rucker, Associate Director of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center (OCMC) located in St. Augustine, Florida. The OCMC is the official international missions agency of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America (SCOBA).

Father David will serve Great Vespers at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 13, followed by a talk on the work of the OCMC.

On Sunday morning, December 14, the adult catechism class will meet at 9:00 AM, followed by Third Hour Prayers at 9:45 AM and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 AM.

Experience the joy of Orthodox Christianity!

Come and See!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Memory Eternal!

His Holiness ALEXY II, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, reposed in the Lord on Friday, December 5. He was elected Patriarch in 1990 and served the Russian Orthodox Church during an amazingly tumultuous period, witnessing the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the widespread renewal of Orthodox faith and practice.

May his soul dwell with the blessed! Memory Eternal!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

December 6: Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker

Icon of Saint Nicholas, lower left panel

Troparion for Saint Nicholas - Tone 4

In truth you were revealed to your flock as a rule of faith,
an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence;
your humility exalted you;
your poverty enriched you.
Hierarch Father Nicholas,
entreat Christ our God
that our souls may be saved.

Schedule for this Weekend:
Sunday, December 7

Adult Catechism 9:00 AM
Hours 9:45 AM
Typika 10:00 AM