Monday, March 30, 2009

The Fifth Sunday of Great Lent:
The Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt

Service Schedule:

Sunday, April 5

Music Workshop - 9:00 AM

Third Hour Prayers - ~9:40 AM

Divine Liturgy - 10:00 AM

Confessions may be made during the Hours before the Liturgy

Troparion - Tone 8

The image of God was truly preserved in you, mother,

for you took up the Cross and followed Christ.

By so doing, you taught us to disregard the flesh, for it passes away,

but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal.

Therefore your spirit, holy mother Mary,

Rejoices with the angels!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Fourth Sunday of Great Lent:
The Sunday of Saint John of the Ladder

Service Schedule:

Saturday, March 28

Great Vespers 5:00 PM

Sunday, March 29

Music Workshop 9:15 AM

Hours ~9:40 AM

Divine Liturgy 10:00 AM

The Fourth Sunday of Lent is dedicated to St John of the Ladder (Climacus), the author of the work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent. The abbot of St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai (6th century) stands as a witness to the violent effort needed for entrance into God's Kingdom (Mt.10: 12). The spiritual struggle of the Christian life is a real one, "not against flesh and blood, but against ... the rulers of the present darkness ... the hosts of wickedness in heavenly places ..." (Eph 6:12). Saint John encourages the faithful in their efforts for, according to the Lord, only "he who endures to the end will be saved" (Mt.24:13).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 25: Feast of the Annunciation
of our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos
and Ever-Virgin Mary

Vesperal Divine Liturgy - 6:00 PM

Monday, March 23, 2009

Archbishop DMITRI Announces his Retirement

The following letter was sent to parishes and missions across the Diocese of the South on Sunday afternoon. Please remember our Diocese - and our beloved Vladyka - in your prayers in the days and weeks ahead.

March 22, 2009

Sunday of the Cross

To the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the South:

I would like to take this opportunity first, to ask for your prayers and forgiveness as we continue our journey to Pascha. May our Lord grant you a blessed and fruitful Lent and Holy Week.

In addition, please know that over the years your tireless efforts in service to Christ have been a tremendous source of inspiration and joy. We have labored together for ‘the Truth that sets man free’: in light of your personal dedication it may be said that, “I have (had) no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). With each conversion, with the start of each new mission I thank the Lord for “revealing Himself unto us,” and for providing His humble servant an opportunity to be a steward of such a flock as we have in the Diocese of the South.

Overseeing a Diocese, however, is a temporary calling by nature. Thus, after fifty five years in the priesthood and forty years as a bishop of the Orthodox Church in America, I have asked for retirement from the active episcopacy, effective March 31, 2009. It is not a decision I make lightly. I feel confident that with our current Synod of Bishops as well as Diocesan leaders (both clergy and laymen) already in place, that the work of the Orthodox Church in the South will continue. Together we have helped to lay the foundation which is Christ, and now it is time for others to build upon our labors (1 Corinthians 3). Again, I ask for your prayers. Be assured of my love and prayers for all of you.

In the love of Christ,


Archbishop of Dallas and the South

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 22: The Third Sunday in Great Lent
The Veneration of the Cross

Service Schedule for Sunday, March 22:
Prayers of the Hours: ~9:40 AM
Veneration of the Cross and Divine Liturgy: 10:00 AM
Troparion of the Cross:
O Lord, save Thy people,
And bless Thine inheritance.
Give victory to Orthodox Christians
Over their adversaries.
And by virtue of Thy Cross,
Preserve Thy habitation!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17: Saint Patrick
Bishop of Armagh & Enlightener of Ireland

Troparion - Tone 3

Holy Bishop Patrick,
Faithful shepherd of Christ's royal flock,
You filled Ireland with the radiance of the Gospel:
The mighty strength of the Trinity!
Now that you stand before the Savior,
Pray that He may preserve us in faith and love!

Kontakion - Tone 4

From slavery you escaped to freedom in Christ's service:
He sent you to deliver Ireland from the devil's bondage.
You planted the Word of the Gospel in pagan hearts.
In your journeys and hardships you rivaled the Apostle Paul!
Having received the reward for your labors in heaven,
Never cease to pray for the flock you have gathered on earth,Holy bishop Patrick!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This Weekend...

Archpriest Ted Pisarchuk will present a workshop on Mission Building and Congregational Growth on Saturday morning, March 14, at 10:00 AM. All members of the congregation (including inquirers and catechumens) are encouraged to attend. We will share a light Lenten lunch and conclude with Vespers around 1:00 PM.

This will be the only service of Vespers for Saturday. Divine Liturgy will be served on Sunday at 10:00 AM, commemorating Saint Gregory Palamas and marking the third anniversary of the founding of our mission in Baton Rouge.

Please make every effort to attend both the Workshop and the Liturgy!

And Glory to God for all things!

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Lenten Prayer of Saint Ephraim

Prayed every weekday throughout Great Lent, this prayer focuses the heart upon the difficult, life-giving work of repentance:

O Lord and Master of my life! Take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk. (prostration)

But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant. (prostration)

Yea, O Lord and King! Grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou unto ages of ages. (prostration)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

March 8:
The First Sunday in Great Lent
The Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy

Prayers of the Hours - 9:40 AM

Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great - 10:00 AM

The Office of the Triumph of Orthodoxy will follow the Liturgy - please bring an icon of your Patron Saint for the Procession. If you do not have one, we will have icons to share.

The Adult Catechism Class will not meet -
we will resume in the near future.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Forgiveness: The Gateway to Great Lent

A Sermon for Forgiveness Sunday
by Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

We have come to the threshold of Lent. We are starting to move along a road that will lead us to Golgotha, to Calvary; so that one day, at the end of Lent, we will find ourselves standing before Christ crucified - crucified for our own sake, for the sake of each of us. We are starting on a journey that must end with God being able to forgive us, and to say, 'Go in peace'. But to achieve this we must begin to forgive one another.

To forgive does not mean to forget what has happened between us, but to shoulder the weight of another person's frailty, or at times of another person's evil. St. Paul says, 'Learn to carry one another's burdens.' And these burdens are very often the failure of each of us to be worthy of our calling; our incapacity to love one another, to accept one another, to serve one another, to help one another on the way that leads to God. And so let us, each of us, pass a judgement on our whole soul, on our whole life; judge ourselves justly and honestly, and ask forgiveness not only from God - this in a sense seems to us so often much easier than to ask forgiveness from our neighbour. But let us ask forgiveness from those whom we have offended in one way or another, but also from all those to whom we have not been a help on their journey to God. We are all frail, we are all in need of support. Do we give this support to one another? Or do we choose those whom we want to support because we like them, because supporting them is a joy, because supporting them means that they also respond to us by gratitude, by friendship?

Let us turn to each of those who will meet us face to face today, and when they say 'forgive' let us ask ourselves, 'What have I got to be forgiven for?' and bow down before the other person and respond in the same way, because who of us has been for others a light on his way to God, a support at moments of frailty?

Let us begin now our road to Calvary, so that when we stand face to face with Christ we should not be like those in the crowd, who hoped that Christ would come down from the cross and that it would be easy to be His disciples. Let us not stand in the crowd otherwise than the Mother of God and St. John. And let us not find good reasons not to forgive.

I remember a man who said to me, 'I can forgive every person who has sinned against me, I can even love them, but I hate the enemies of God.' And I thought of something which is told to us in the life of one of the saints, in which a priest was praying to God to punish those who betrayed Him by their lives if not by their words. And Christ appeared to him and said, 'Never pray for the punishment or the rejection of any one. If there was only one sinner in the world, I would choose to be incarnate again, and again to die upon the cross for this only sinner.'

Is that our attitude to each other? Is that our attitude to the vast world, so tragic, so evil, and so full of pain in its search for completeness, for fullness? God will forgive it - and let ourselves forgive one another. And remember, that if we do not forgive our brother, it is not only he who goes away with pain and tears in his heart, but we are wounded, because if we do not forgive, we are ourselves not healed. The evil that occurred to us at the hands of another person remains with us, damaging our soul, destroying us.

Let us learn to forgive, so that others may be healed; but also that we may be healed ourselves. Let us pray now together, with one soul, with one mind; and when we come and bow down before the icon of Christ and of the Mother of God, turn to one another with the readiness to be forgiven and to forgive, whatever the cost to us. Amen.