Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Holy Week, In Need of Readers, more

Agape Vespers
Agape Vespers
Agape Vespers
April 29, 2013


Dear Parish Faithful,
Holy Week has Begun
The first of the services of Holy Week was served yesterday evening.  This was the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday.  After experiencing a really full church for the Palm Sunday Liturgy earlier in the day, it was striking how few parishioners returned in the evening.  Life goes on, as we say, with work and school demanding our attention.  Yet, I hope that everyone has planned ahead and left room open in your schedules for the beauty and intensity of Holy Week.  (Please go to our parish website for a longer meditation on Holy Week that has been re-posted from last year). As I mentioned yesterday following the Liturgy, the boldly adventurous within the parish may even consider expanding their own traditional observance of Holy Week by coming to a service that they have never been to in the past.  In the Church everyone and anyone can experience what C. S. Lewis described as being “surprised by joy.”
In Need of Readers
Every Holy Week I need to recruit four readers for the four Holy Hours – 1st, 3rd, 6th & 9th – served on Holy and Great Friday at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. & Noon respectively.  Please let me know if you are willing to read and I will supply you with the reading material ahead of time.  If there is no reader that particular Holy Hour will not be served.
The One Gospel in Many Languages
At the Paschal Vespers on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., we will read the appointed passage from the Gospel in different languages to remind ourselves of the universality of the Gospel.  If you are willing to read the Gospel in a language other than English – and can do it with competence and clarity! – please let me know.  Of course, you may have to come up with a copy of the Bible in the language you choose.  We can, however, provide the text in Greek, Spanish, French and German.  I would like to limit this to about a maximum of eight different languages.  The service cannot go on ad infinitum!
What is Wrong With This Sentence?
This week, I am experiencing a case of “bad timing:”  This is finals week at XU and the final slot for my class is Wednesday afternoon.  I have thirty students and the grades are due by next Monday!  And right now I am in the process of reading, correcting and grading the final papers of my thirty students.  I appreciate your sympathy.  I recently graded one of the papers that had as its subject the “perpetual virginity” of the Mother of God.  This poor paper wasn’t of the highest quality.  But there a few interesting sentences.  Here is one of them (remember that the theme of the paper is the ongoing virginity of Mary):
“Even after Jesus’ birth and death she (i.e. Mary) forever refrained from having sex – even with her husband Joseph.”
There is something not quite “right” about this sentence.  What could that be?  What would you write in the margin by way of question or commentary?

A Blessed Weekend, Upcoming Services

Our Thanks to Fr John Behr!
Our Thanks to Fr John Behr!
April 24, 2013


Dear Parish Faithful,
A Blessed Weekend
As we move toward the atmosphere of the upcoming weekend with both Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday to look forward to, I would like to cast a glance back to the full and wonderful weekend we just experienced as a parish family and offer a few pastoral comments.
The first thing to recognize is that the weekend began on Saturday morning with the pre-paschal parish clean-up of the church.  The church is the “bridal chamber” of the Heavenly Bridegroom, so that before it is properly “adorned” for Pascha it is first properly cleaned.  We had a good number of cleaners present and working hard – including some of our Church School students.  Working under the supervision of Mickey Callendar in a spirit of cooperation and mutual help, I believe that our team got to most of the goals that were set for the day.  The schedule worked out well, because we cleaned the church just in time for the arrival of our special guests from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York.  Presvytera Deborah shared with me that one of our cleaners told her that “it was an honor to be able to clean the church.”  That nicely captures the sense of stewardship that expresses itself in the more mundane, but necessary, aspects of parish life.  On behalf of the entire parish, I would like to thank our workers for their ministry to the church.
I believe that the rest of the weekend, revolving around the presence of Fr. John Behr, Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, proved to be a real blessing for the parish.  Fr. John spoke twice about the seminary and this was highly encouraging because it was clear that St. Vladimir’s has a justifiably high international reputation that continues to expand through the years and the dynamic programs that St. Vladimir’s continues to initiate both domestically and abroad.  The future clergy, educators, choir directors, etc. of the Church are being well-prepared to serve when called upon.  In my estimation we had a beautiful Liturgy for the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent and I thoroughly enjoyed con-celebrating with Fr. John.  His homily was an excellent summary of the Lenten journey up to the Fifth Sunday, as well as an inspiring reading of the Gospel passage that prepares us for the upcoming Cross of Holy Week.  But the highlight of the weekend was the profound talk that Fr. John delivered following another beautiful service – the Sunday evening deanery Lenten Vespers for the Fifth Week.  With our deanery clergy, other local clergy, and visitors present together with a good representative group from the parish, Fr. John offered insight after insight about our Christian lives through his theme of “Becoming Human According to the Early Church Fathers.” His thorough command of the Scriptures and Church Fathers is very impressive together with how he integrates everything into an over-all coherent vision of the Gospel.  (We had a lot to talk about when we returned home last Sunday evening!). We were challenged to absorb a great deal, and perhaps you still find yourself thinking about some of the things that he said.  If so, that is good.  Please feel free to contact me with any further questions, comments or points of clarification that you may have.  Only please try and avoid a question such as this:  “Just what was it that Fr. John actually said?” 

[For info on Fr John Behr, including his most readable and accessible book, The Mystery of Christ: Life in Death, and a video of a similar talk he gave last year, visit our Spiritual Retreats page. - webservant]
Our parish hospitality was at its best.  There was a wonderful meal prepared for the clergy of our deanery before the Vespers; and the refreshments that followed Fr. John’s talk were excellent.  Again, on behalf of the entire parish I would like to thank all of those who helped in one capacity or another to create such a hospitable and welcoming environment within the parish that we did for this evening’s “mini-retreat.”  Both Fr. John and Ted Bazil were quite fulsome in their praise of the over-all atmosphere of the parish and thankful for our hospitality.
We presented Fr. John with a stipend for his presentation; and we collected around $768.00 in the basket by the Cross for the seminary that we will soon send in.
Please pass on any further comments, questions or observations that you may have and would like to share concerning this last weekend.
Upcoming Services
Wednesday, April 24:  Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (the last for this Great Lent) at 6:00 p.m.  Lenten fellowship meal to follow the service.
Friday, April 26 – Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 – Lazarus Saturday

  • 9:30am - Divine Liturgy
  • 6:00pm - Vigil for Palm Sunday —  Palms will be blessed and distributed.

Sunday, April 28 – Palm Sunday

  • 9:30am - Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom            
  • 6:00pm - Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday


Upcoming Services & Events, St Vladimir\'s Seminary, more

This Weekend, April 20-21!
This Weekend, April 20-21!
April 18, 2013


Dear Parish Faithful,
Upcoming Services & Parish Events
Thursday (this evening) – A portion of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete;  and the reading of the Life of St. Mary of Egypt at 7:00 p.m.
Friday  – The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos at 7:00 p.m.

  • 8:00am - Pre-paschal parish clean-up beginning. More helpers are wanted and needed!
  • 5:00pm - The Life of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary:  A detailed description of the seminary by Fr. John Behr, dean; and Ted Bazil, Senior Advisor for Advancement
  • 6:00pm - Great Vespers


  • 9:30am - Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (main celebrant and homilist:  Fr. John Behr);
  • Post-Liturgy talk on St. Vladimir’s Seminary by Fr. John Behr, dean, and Ted Bazil, St. Vladimir’s Senior Advisor for Advancement.
  • 3:30pm - Meeting of the Indianapolis Deanery in the church hall with Fr. John Behr.
  • 5:00pm - Deanery Lenten Vespers
  • 6:00pm - Presentation by Fr. John Behr:  Becoming Human According to the Early Church Fathers.  Refreshments & Fellowship in the church hall to follow.

* Supporting Materials: We just received in the mail a box full of The SVS Vine’s Annual Report FY2012.  If you are here for a service or the clean-up please pick one up in the church hall.  I would especially encourage anyone coming to the meeting on Saturday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. to read this ahead of time if possible.

*Please note:  As presvytera and I will be hosting our guests for the weekend, it will be very difficult for me to hear confessions after Great Vespers on Saturday evening.  I could hear a few confessions before the service if you would like to schedule for that time.  Please contact me ahead of time.

Supporting the Work of St. Vladimir’s Seminary

With our visitors from St. Vladimir’s this weekend, I believe that it would be most appropriate to place a basket by the Cross following the Liturgy in order to collect any donations that you would like to make toward the ongoing life of the seminary.   It is St. Vladimir’s that continues to train clergy, educators, choir directors, etc. for the OCA and beyond.  It would be nice to recognize that work for the Church by sending a donation back to the seminary with Fr. John and Ted Bazil.  If your donation is by check, please make the check out to the church, and we will then make out one large check from the church to the seminary.

Belief in Angels, Life of St Mary of Egypt, Confessions, more

April 15, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
Why We Believe in Angels
Approaching my front porch on Friday, I noticed a large box placed outside the door.  The return address was that of our long-time vestment maker, Khouria Krista West.  Not remembering a recent order for altar boy robes, I thought that I was suffering through a “senior moment” of forgetfulness.  After taking the box back to the church and opening it up, I found to my surprise a beautiful set of new Lenten vestments (basically purple in color).  Considering the semi-tattered condition of my current Lenten vestments (made around twenty years ago), my surprise was replaced by the satisfaction of a well-timed and much-needed discovery.  A wonderful note replete with appropriate scriptural passages specifically dealing with priestly vestments (EX. 28:25; NUM. 6:25-27) was signed “The Vestment Angels.”  If you look closely at many icons of angels – especially from the Byzantine tradition – the angels depicted are often adorned in beautiful vestments that further accentuate the glory and dignity of the angelic being.  Thus, our priestly vestments are patterned after the vestments of the angels who perpetually celebrate the heavenly Liturgy made present in our earthly Liturgy.  That the angels charged with the ministry of providing priestly vestments acted on my behalf reinforces my belief in their existence and beneficent care for the beauty of our humble Liturgy meant to represent the celestial Liturgy that knows of no end.  My heartfelt thanks to God’s “Vestment Angels.”
Reading the Life of St. Mary of Egypt
In addition to the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, the entire Life of St. Mary of Egypt is prescribed to be read on the Fifth Thursday of Great Lent.  What I have decided to do for the last few years, is to read one of the four portions of the Canon as divided for the First Week of Great Lent, interspersed with the Life of St. Mary, broken up into three parts.  Would anyone be willing to read one of these three parts of St. Mary’s Life?  That entails about five-six pages and about ten minutes of continuous reading.  Please let me know if you are willing to take on the reading.

Preparing for Confession
I have heard many confessions up to this point in Great Lent.  However (alas), there are many more confessions yet to be heard.  And only two weeks remain in Great Lent.  Holy Week is not the time to come to Confession, since the forty-day Lenten period prepares us for Holy Week.  Please contact me for an appointment.  In preparation for Confession, here are some wise, encouraging, and deeply consoling words from the book Wounded Love, by Elder Porphyrios:
“There is nothing higher than what is called repentance and confession.  This sacrament is the offering of God’s love to mankind.  In this perfect way a person is freed of evil.  We go and confess and we sense our reconciliation with God; joy enters us and guilt departs.
"For the soul to repent it must first awake.  It is in this awakening that the miracle of repentance occurs.  This is where human will plays its role.  The awakening, however, is not something that rests only with the individual man or woman.  The individual on his own is unable to bring it about.  God intervenes.  Then divine grace comes.  Without grace a person cannot repent.  The love of God does everything.  He may use something – an illness, or something else, it depends – in order to bring a person to repentance.  Accordingly repentance is achieved through divine grace.  We simply make a move towards God and from then onwards grace supervenes.” — Wounded by Love, p. 173)


Memorial Saturday Liturgies

[This past Saturday we celebrated the Memorial Saturday Divine Liturgy at 9:30am.]

Explaining why the Second, Third and Fourth Saturdays of Great Lent are observed as “Memorial Saturdays” – meaning days on which we commemorate those who have died – Fr. Alexander Schmemann in his book Great Lent, writes the following:
"This commemoration … prepares and announces the Saturday of Lazarus’s Resurrection and the Great and Holy Sabbath of Passion Week.  It concerns not only an act of love, a 'good deed'; it is also an essential rediscovery of 'this world' as dying and death.  In this world we are condemned to death, as is indeed the world itself.  But in Christ death has been destroyed from within, has, as St. Paul said, lost its 'sting', has itself become an entrance into a more abundant life.  For each one of us, this entrance has begun in our baptismal death which makes dead those of us who are alive ('you are all dead', COL. 3:3), and alive those of us who dead:  for 'death is no more'.
"It is the light of Lazarus Saturday and the joyful peace of Great and Holy Saturday that constitutes the meaning of Christian death and of our prayer for the dead. — Great Lent, p. 72 – 73.


The Presanctified Holy Things, The Light of Christ, more

The Presanctified Holy Gifts...
The Presanctified Holy Gifts...
The Presanctified Holy Gifts...
April 11, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
“The Presanctified Holy Things are for the holy”
We served the fourth of this Great Lent’s Presanctified Liturgies yesterday evening.  We have experienced excellent attendance all through Great Lent so far, and I certainly hope that it continues through the sixth week.  Most of those who are present for the service also stay for the meal and fellowship to follow.  However, have you  been to one of these services yet?  With (only) two remaining, will you be able to work this wonderful Lenten service into your calendar?   Parents, this service is a wonderful opportunity to “introduce” your children to the spirit of Lenten worship.  If it is a matter of effort, isn’t that at least a part of what Great Lent asks of us? As I rejoice in seeing familiar faces from week to week, I hope to further rejoice in seeing  “new faces” as we continue to gather together on the Wednesday evenings of Great Lent in order to receive the presanctified Holy Things to strengthen us in our common Lenten journey.
“The Light of Christ illuminates all!”
At one particularly solemn point in the service of the Presanctified Liturgy, the priest turns from the altar table holding a single lit candle and the censer.  He blesses everyone present with the words: “The Light of Christ illuminates all!”  Everyone makes a prostration in order to receive this powerful blessings in an attitude of great humility and reverence.  I just came across some commentary on this blessing from Fr. Thomas Hopko in the latest issue of Life Transfigured, the journal of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City, PA.  I would like to share his insightful words with all of you:
“The way to see reality in truth is in  the light of God that is revealed to the world in Christ Who illumines all things, Who enlightens everything, and Who is Himself the light of the world. And it is only in that light that we see light and it is only in that light that we see everything the way it is – beginning with our own self.”
Now here is where it gets challenging:
“When you have light, everything is seen clearly – you cannot hide anymore.  You cannot lie anymore – you cannot flee anymore. There is no way you can get away from it.  In fact, the Light of God is the torture to those who hate light.   If you do not want to see, then to see and to be forced to see is a torment.  And so Jesus says this is the judgment – that light has shone  in the darkness and there are those who love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil.  They just do not want light.”
“Now when that light shines, it is painful. A lot of times we do not want to see things as they really are.  We prefer our own version of reality.  And we go around trying to get everybody to agree with us so that they can do things the way that we think they ought to be done.  Too see my own self as I really am is very painful.  But it is a miracle greater than raising the dead.  To see things clearly, to see our neighbor clearly – not to make up our own reality – that is what we want to do.”
“So it is always a certain painful process to repent.  But it is also glorious – what makes life to be life:  a constant changing of our mind as it becomes more and more, deeply and fully, illumined  by the light of God who is Christ Himself.”
Wise and illuminating words!
Getting More Familiar With Fr. John Behr
Our Lenten guest speaker on Sunday evening, April 21, is Fr. John Behr.  I would like to draw your attention to our parish website – – for there Ralph has set up an entire page that will allow you to get more familiar with Fr. John. In addition to some biographical information, and a list of Fr. John’s publications, there is even a youtube talk of Fr. John’s posted (a bit long but you can watch as much as you like).  We expect many guests in addition to our deanery clergy, so we want to be present “in force” as welcoming and hospitable hosts.  If you are thinking of inviting any friends, you could send them an email with a link from the website.
Church Clean Up
A reminder that we will be cleaning the church on Saturday, April 20.  We usually begin at 9:00 a.m. and we will finalize our starting time in the near future.  This will prepare the church – as a bride adorned – for Pascha; and also have the church nice and clean for our weekend with Fr. John Behr and our many guests.


Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, Lenten Film & Fellowship, more

Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center
Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center
March 29, 2013


Dear Parish Faithful,
Next Service
We will chant the second part of the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos this evening,  beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit, Sun. April 7, 1:00pm
This highly-rated exhibit is nearing its final few weeks. I, for one, have yet to see it and would like to before it leaves Cincinnati.  Therefore, Presvytera Deborah and I will be going down to the Museum Center on Sunday, April 7 (the Third Sunday of Great Lent).  Please let one of us know if you would like to join us.  Perhaps we will have enough to form a group.  I discovered that because of heavy demand for tickets, you need to purchase them ahead of time and for a designated time-slot.  We were going to aim for the 1:00 time slot.  For those who are at church and who would not like to return home and then venture out again, I am hoping that this will work for you.  So, again, we are going to visit the exhibit on Sunday, April 7 at 1:00 P.M. following the Liturgy and some refreshments in the church hall.

Related Links:

Lenten Film & Fellowship, Sun. April 14, 6:30pm
Presvytera and I would like to host an evening at our home that will begin with an appropriate film for the Lenten season, followed by discussion and fellowship.  We are aiming for Sunday evening, April 14 (Fourth Sunday of Great Lent) at 6:30 p.m.  Many films to choose from, but we settled on “Babette’s Feast” which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film some years back (1989?).  This is a warm, superbly-acted and beautifully crafted film at the center of which is a meal that is both a “labor of love” and expressive of a sacramental vision of eating and drinking in fellowship.  If you are interested please get  back with me and then we can finalize our plans.
Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
Epistle:  HEB. 1:10-2:3  (The homily will concentrate on HEBREWS, chapters 1 & 2).
Gospel:  MK. 2:1-12
Church School Curriculum
The Crucifixion – MK. 15; MATT. 27; LK. 23; JN. 19

Presanctified Liturgy, Saturdays in Lent

March 27, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
Service This Evening
The Presanctified Liturgy will begin at 6:00 p.m. this evening.  Hopefully, there will be enough Lenten food and drink brought so that we can share a meal of fellowship following the service.  In preparation for receiving the Eucharist at this service, adults must fast at least from lunchtime on following a Lenten meal (outside of any health issues, etc.).  Parents have to make a decision as to how long of a time their children can fast before the time of receiving Holy Communion.   
Saturdays During Great Lent
Here is a schedule of the remaining Saturdays during Great Lent:
I will be open to hearing confessions on the next two Saturdays (March 30 & April 6) from 9:00 a.m. – Noon.  I ask, though, that you schedule a time with me before coming to Confession.  As I wrote earlier, I am not going to “wait around” for someone to drop in.
On the Fourth Saturday of Great Lent, April 13, we will serve a Memorial Liturgy for the departed.  The Liturgy will begin at 9:30 a.m.
On the Fifth Saturday of Great Lent we will do our annual pre-Paschal cleaning of the church.  That usually begins at around 9:00 a.m.  That will have the church also prepared for the deanery Vespers and Fr. Behr’s talk on  the Fifth Sunday evening of Great Lent, April 21.

Springtime of the Soul, Saturday Confessions, Lenten Almsgiving

March 21, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
“The Springtime of the Soul” & “The School of Repentance”
According to the calendar it is already Spring.  However, I presently remain somewhat skeptical when I am outside in the cold.  From what I understand, it may take a few more days before I am fully convinced that Spring has arrived. Be that as it may, we should realize that it is no coincidence that Great Lent falls primarily in the Spring, for we believe that Great Lent is the “springtime of the soul.”  Awakening from the slumber of sin and “the winter of our discontent,” we enjoy the renewal of life that both Great Lent and the paschal mystery promise to our interior lives as that same renewal is manifested outwardly in the world of nature.  It was the Russian philosopher, Nicholas Berdyaev, who said that “the grass grows and the flowers bloom within the Church.”  For it is within the Church that we learn that the cyclical renewal of nature is a “sign” of the once-and-for-all event of the Resurrection of Christ. The Resurrection is a springtime mystery.
The “springtime of the soul” arrives through repentance, so to change our metaphors for the moment, we also refer to Great Lent as the “School of Repentance.”  Our one true Teacher is Christ, but we also learn from the great saints.  The saints were disciples - which means “students” - of the Lord and they learned well and now pass that living Tradition down to us in various forms.  The “classroom” is the church, and the perfect “text” that teaches us about repentance, while simultaneously leading us into the spirit of true repentance, remains the Canon of Repentance by St. Andrew of Crete.  As a saint of the Church, he is also a teacher “certified” by Christ Himself.  (Our “homework” is to put into practice what we have learned in the classroom).  We again had excellent attendance yesterday evening for the third part of the Canon – many who returned for another evening together with some new “students” who came to learn the meaning of repentance from the prescribed text.  No one returns home untouched by this profound meditation on repentance.
One more opportunity yet remains for a final session in this “school of repentance” this evening, as we will chant the fourth and final part of the Canon of Repentance beginning at 7:00 p.m.  Think of taking advantage of a “free education” while it is being offered.  Hopefully for those who are busy during the day, a “night school” class is preferable.
Confession Anyone?
So far, only one person has contacted me and made an appointment for Confession this Saturday morning.  Please let me know if you would like to come or bring your children between the hours of 9:00 a.m. – Noon. If not contacted ahead of time, I am not going to simply wait in the church for someone to come.
Lenten Almsgiving
We always make a collection during Great Lent that allows us to do some almsgiving together with our prayer and fasting.  A basket will be next to the Cross on the Sundays of Lent in order to receive your donation.  The recipient(s) of our almsgiving are yet undetermined, but providentially we always find a “worthy cause” or person(s) by the time the collection is over.


Hoping for a Good Beginning, Confessions, much more

The Mystery of Confession
The Mystery of Confession
The Mystery of Confession
March 19, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
Hoping for a Good Beginning
Today is the second day of Great Lent.   Hopefully it is still a fresh experience and our enthusiasm remains strong for the Lenten season!  Yesterday evening we had a representative body of penitents in the church for the Canon of Repentance, written by St. Andrew of Crete.  The church is large enough to accommodate many more worshippers, though, so I am hoping to see many more of you as the first week of Great Lent progresses.  We had a few children last night, so perhaps we will see more of them also.  These Lenten services can leave a deep and lasting impression on children and young adults so parents can keep that in mind when thinking about making the effort to be present.  The Canon will continue through Thursday evening (7:00 p.m.); and then on Friday, we will serve the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (6:00 p.m.) followed by a Lenten pot-luck meal in the church hall.
Time for Confession
Another reminder that I will be in the church from 9:00 a.m. – Noon this coming Saturday in order to hear confessions.  Children, young adults and adults are all welcome and encouraged to reserve a time slot during those hours in order to confess one’s sins during this Great Lent.  I will try to fit in another Saturday morning for the same purpose as Great Lent progresses.
Jesus the Great High Priest
This year on the Sundays of Great Lent, the homilies will be focused on the Epistle to the Hebrews, the prescribed epistle for the Lenten season.   Actually, this epistle is itself an extended an impressive homily of extraordinary depth and complexity.  I will more-or-less focus on the prescribed reading for each particular Sunday, but also move around in the epistle to bring out its major themes for our reflection.  Since the First Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the reading is from chs. 11 & 12 of Hebrews – not exactly the beginning.  However, I will make some introductory remarks about the major themes of the epistle before turning to the appointed text.     Good preparation would be to look on your church calendars and read from the epistle before the Liturgy.
Festal Interlude
The major Feast of the Annunciation always falls during Great Lent.  This year is no exception, but it comes very early on because of the late beginning of the Lenten season.  Already by this coming Sunday evening, March 24, we will serve the Great Vespers for the Feast at 6:00 p.m. and then (hopefully) the Liturgy on Monday morning at 9:30 a.m.  This is, of course, the wonderful celebration of the great mystery of the virginal conception of Christ.  Visit our Festal Resource page for the Annunciation here.


Beginning Seriously, Book Titles for Lent, Fr John Behr\'s visit, more

A Serious Beginning
A Serious Beginning
March 15, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
To Begin With Forgiveness
As is our parish tradition, we will serve the Vespers of Forgiveness on Sunday following the Divine Liturgy and some refreshments in the church hall.  Great Vespers “officially” begins with this service (the prokeimenon is the transition point).  This service is unique and characterized by the “rite of forgiveness” which is its closing and culminating point.  We seek forgiveness from each other as we offer it to each other in a spirit of humility.  This act of mutual forgiveness is sealed with the “kiss of peace” that we exchange with each person participating in the forgiveness rite.  It is “up close and personal!”  This is our entrance into the Lenten season which will be that challenging journey leading us to the paschal mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Christ.
A Serious Beginning
There is a service each evening during the First Week of Lent.  On Monday – Thursday evenings (7:00 p.m.), we chant the compunctionate Great Canon of Repentance by St. Andrew of Crete.  This service is a “must,” so I would encourage everyone to work at least one of those evenings into your plans as having priority over all other things except the unavoidable.  On Friday evening, we will serve the first of our Presanctified Liturgies (only on Friday in the First Week of Lent).  The service will begin at 6:00 p.m.  We will share a Lenten potluck dinner after the service for some fellowship.  Please bring a food item or beverage to share with the rest of the parish.

[Webservant's Note: Our website has a special page devoted to the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. There are essays considering the main themes, and an overview of the many Biblical persons held up as examples and warnings, plus a direct link to order the Canon, and lnks to read it online.]
A tri-fold – GREAT LENT 2013- Journey to Pascha – is now available for everyone to pick up in the church.  All of the services for both Great Lent and Holy Week are included there.  We would like to thank Ralph Sidway for again preparing this helpful tri-fold.
Lenten Reading
As mentioned last week, our parish bookstore has received some excellent Lenten reading material that is now available for purchase.  Fr. Schmemann’s Great Lent is there, together with Fr. Hopko’s Lenten Spring.  Both are outstanding books that cannot be over recommended.  Warning:  If you read Great Lent, you will definitely want to come to as many Lenten services as possible.
Other excellent titles include:
The Tools of Spiritual Warfare by Joe Corey (Introduction by Fr. Thomas Hopko)
Prayer in the Unseen Warfare by Jack Sparks
Meditations for Great Lent – Reflections on the Triodion by Vasilios Papavassiliou
Turning the Heart to God by St. Theophan the Recluse
Raising Them Right – A Saint’s Advice on Raising Children by St. Theophan the Recluse
When You Fast – A short booklet by Met. Kallistos Ware
Preparing for Confession – by Joseph Letendre
A Hunger for God – The Sacred Discipline of Fasting in the Orthodox Church by Fr. Peter A. Chamberas
The Mystery of Repentance and Confession in the Orthodox Church – by Fr. Peter A. Chamberas
Many good titles to choose from!  While you feed your soul, you will also support the bookstore!
Fr. John Behr to Speak
As announced, Fr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and internationally acclaimed theologian, will be with us for the Fifth weekend of Great Lent, April 20-21.  Fr. John will serve the Liturgy on that Sunday and deliver the homily, and also address the parish in the post-Liturgy discussion.  Then, we are planning an Indianapolis Deanery Vespers to be hosted by our parish on that Sunday evening.  Following the service, Fr.John will deliver his main talk.  Further details will be forthcoming very soon.  And a flier will be prepared for this event.  Please mark your calendars now for Sunday, April 21.  The tentative plan is to begin the Vespers at 5:00 p.m. with the talk to begin at 6:00 p.m.  We want to allow our visitors the opportunity of returning home in a timely manner.
Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy
Epistle:  ROM. 13:11-14:4
Gospel:  MATT. 6:14-21
Church School Curriculum
Last Supper – MATT. 26:17-35; MK. 14:12-31; LK. 22:7-38; JN. 13-17

Meatfare Sunday Supper, Key Dates, Confession Scheduling, more

Fr John Behr of SVS to visit CTS in April
Fr John Behr of SVS to visit CTS in April
Fr John Behr of SVS to visit CTS in April
March 8, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,

Meatfare Sunday Meal

As announced last Sunday in church, our parish Sisterhood is sponsoring a Meatfare Sunday Meal this coming Sunday following the Liturgy.  This meal will serve as a fund-raiser.  The cost of the meal is $5.00 person; and $15.00 per family.  Please stay and enjoy a good meal as we bid “farewell” to the eating of meat until Pascha, and the fellowship of sharing that meal together .

Getting Our Dates Straight

One last reminder about the important upcoming dates on our church calendar and thus, hopefully, in our lives:

  • March 18 – The beginning of Great Lent (a service every evening beginning this day, culminating with the first Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts on Friday, March 22).
  • April 28 – Palm Sunday (Holy Week will begin that evening)
  • May 5 – Pascha

The point of knowing our Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha dates ahead of time is to be able to plan appropriately.  This should help us avoid any avoidable schedule conflicts that would keep us away from the church or unobservant of Great Lent.

Confessing Our Sins

What has developed into perhaps my greatest challenge as the parish priest during Great Lent is hearing everyone’s confession.  As usual, there is always the time before and after Great Vespers on Saturday evenings; or perhaps before the Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesdays.  I also encourage you to make an appointment that would allow you to come down to the church during the week for Confession.   Yet, in addition, I will continue to set aside a large block of time on Saturday mornings in order to hear confessions.  The first such block of time will be from 9:00 a.m. – Noon on the first Saturday of Great Lent, March 23.  This could be a good time to bring your children primarily; but I am willing to work anyone into this time slot – children and adults both.  Tentatively, I will also set aside 9:00 a.m. – Noon on Saturday, April 6.  Please feel perfectly free to start planning your time for Confession now!  Simply contact me with your preferred date and time.

* Included in our Great Lent Resources Section is a special page on preparing for Confession.

Awaiting Another Date

As announced in church, Fr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, and internationally acclaimed theologian, will visit our parish “sometime” in April.  Fr. John will give a Lenten talk on a theme yet to be determined.  The tentative plan would be for him to speak following Great Vespers on Saturday evening.  I hope to have that date finalized by later today.  There will also be a flier that will be made available.  You may think in terms of inviting a guest to the talk.

Have You Chosen Your Lenten Reading Yet?

In addition to the Scriptures, I would like to highly encourage everyone to choose another “good book” to read during Great Lent.  I would further encourage a book that will deepen and enrich your knowledge of our shared Orthodox Christian Faith.  We now have a parish bookstore in plain view in the church hall.  In addition to what is already in the bookstore, we are currently awaiting a shipment of books specifically chosen for the Lenten season.  We hope to see them by next week, and thus in time for the beginning of Great Lent on Monday, March 18.  We also have a fairly extensive collection of excellent books in our parish library.  Everyone is always free to go into the parish library downstairs in our Education Center and browse through our shelves in search of some good reading material.

If I can be of any assistance in helping you choose a good book, please let me know.

Catechism Class

Our next Catechetical Class is scheduled for Wednesday evening, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the parish library.  Anyone is welcome to join us.

Scripture Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy

I COR. 8:8-9:2
MATT. 25:31-46 (Parable of the Last Judgment)

Church School Curriculum

Palm Sunday (MATT. 21:1-12; MK. 11:1-10; LK, 19:29-38; JN. 12:12-18)

He Wrote What?

There was a straightforward bonus question on a test I gave to my students recently:  Name one of the famous novels written by Leo Tolstoy.  (We had been studying 19 c. Russian culture).  Received some interesting answers:

Pride and Prejudice
Love and Pain (my favorite!)
On Love
Discovering Christ

I thought that this was a give-away bonus point (we discussed this in class and it is in the reading), but only eight of my twenty-eight students answered either War and Peace or Anna Karenina.  What is happening to the classics?


New Member Photos, Youth Retreat, Catechetical Class, more

March 1, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,

Here are some photos of some of our new parish participants:
Jacob & Adalia Boehne and their son Elijah are soon-to-be official catechumens.
Greg & Becky Coons and their children Seth and Natalie are new from Middletown.  Greg and the children have already been received into the Orthodox Church and Becky is in the process.
McKensie Kilbane has moved into the Cincinnati area from northern Ohio.
Chris Ramey is an inquirer who has been with us for some time now.

Watching Out for Our Youth
We will finally arrive at our Pan-Orthodox Parish Youth Retreat tomorrow, beginning with registration at 9:30 a.m.  We have about 30 participants now registered, so we are very satisfied with our “numbers” which will include a fair share of visitors from other local Orthodox parishes.  More importantly, we hope that our children and young adults have a wonderful learning and social experience within the context of their life in the Church.
We are looking forward to hosting this youth retreat tomorrow, and we look forward to also hosting the visiting team from Antiochian Village.
Unexpected Guest
I just found out this morning, that Fr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, will be in Cincinnati at a yet-to-be-determined date in mid-April (I believe the fourth or fifth weekend of Great Lent).  He has offered his “services” to our parish for a talk, mini-retreat, etc.  So, hopefully, we will be able to do some unexpected planning and come up with a way to allow the parish to meet and hear Fr. John.  Fr. John Behr has, since his time as dean of St. Vladimir’s, established a growing international reputation as an outstanding scholar and theologian.  It will be a real (re)treat to have him with us.  We will hopefully have something more concrete by next week, and I will get back to the parish then about dates and plans.
Changes in our Current Catechetical Class
As anticipated, we have changed the day of the week on which our newly-formed Catechetical Class will meet.  We have shifted over to Mondays, following our initial meeting this last Wednesday.  The schedule for the immediate future is that the class will meet on both Monday, March 4 & 11.  We will try and form a regular pattern (if possible) after that. If you think that you need some deepening – or perhaps simply some “brushing up” – on your knowledge of the meaning of the Nicene Creed, then please join us! There is always something very uplifting about discussing the Holy Trinity and the Person of Christ!
We now have four “official” catechumens in the parish.  Just last week we added Lee Fenner to our list with the appropriate prayers.
Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy
Epistle:  I COR. 6:12-20
Gospel:   LK. 15:11-32 (Parable of the Prodigal Son)
Church School Curriculum
The Raising of Lazarus – JN. 11:1-45

Baptism, Catechetical Class, Youth Retreat, much more

Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, Feb 24
Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, Feb 24
Feb. 22, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
A New Member Though Water and the Spirit
As announced, tomorrow morning I will baptize and chrismate our granddaughter Genevieve.  The service begins at 10:00 a.m.  Since the pre-baptismal prayers will already have been offered by then, the service should last around 45 minutes.  We hope that many of you will join us.  If you think that you will, it would be appreciated it if you let me know, because we would plan on hosting a light brunch in the church hall following the service, and having some indication as to how many will be in attendance will be of great help in the preparation.   You could simply respond to this email.
Catechetical Class
A new Catechetical Class is scheduled to begin next Wednesday evening, February 27,  in the Education Center beginning at 7:00 p.m.  In addition to our present catechumens the class is open to anyone in the parish.  Orthodox members or inquiring visitors  are equally invited to join us if you would like to deepen and strengthen your already existing Orthodox Faith; or if you would like to be introduced to the Orthodox Christian Faith in a more formal and structured manner.  We will use the first volume – Doctrine – of Fr. Thomas Hopko’s “rainbow” series of books (the blue one) as our basic text.  You may bring your own Bible, but we can also provide one.  
Once the class begins, however, we will probably switch over to Monday evenings.  We will try and meet on an every-other-week basis.
Fast-Free Week
The Week of the Publican and the Pharisee is designated as fast”-free” on the church calendar. There is no fasting whatsoever the entire week, including Wednesdays and Fridays.  Enjoy – Great Lent is not too far off! 

* Visit our Special Resource Page for the Publican and the Pharisee, part of our extensive Pre-Lenten section, and our overall Great Lent Resources area of our parish website!
Still Time to Register
Our Parish Youth Retreat for 3rd – 12th graders is coming up next weekend.  There is still time to register if you would like your child to participate. Full info, with online registration, available here!
Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
Epistle:  II TIM. 3:10-15
Gospel:  LK. 18:10-14 (Parable of the Publican and the Pharisee)
Church School Curriculum
Forgiveness/Paralytic/ Healing/Miracles – MATT. 6:14; 9:1-8

Youth Retreat, What Feast?, Parish Meeting Re-scheduled

Feb 4, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful, 


Upcoming Youth Retreat


Our Pan-Orthodox Youth Retreat is scheduled for Saturday, March 2.  Attached is the flier that has been prepared to announce and promote this parish event.  If you know of anyone who may be interested – from grandchildren to godchildren and others – please make this available to them.  Antiochian Village has a well-earned reputation for excellence in its programs designed for Orthodox youth. Bringing the Village to the parish is a newly-created program and we are really looking forward to hosting this event. 

Parents, even though you have already sent me a “commitment letter” on behalf of your children, please register online as directed on the flier.  Ralph has also posted a full page on our website dedicated to the Retreat that you may want to look at.  The theme is an excellent one, so we are anticipating great parish participation.

We have invited the entire deanery as well as all other parishes in the tri-state area.  We hope to make this a wonderful event on behalf of our children!  These are the types of events that they will remember and that will serve to keep them “close” to the Church.



What Feast?

The Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple was celebrated with Great Vespers this past Friday evening and with the Liturgy on Saturday morning.  The Feast was very poorly attended.  Of course we continued to celebrate the Feast yesterday in church, and we had a wonderful Liturgy.  But I want to make the pastoral point that a non-Sunday trip to the church may take some extra planning and effort on everyone’s part.  It also takes the simple awareness that there even is a Feast day scheduled to be celebrated.  I am aware of the fact that the weather was “challenging” on both of those days, and that may have kept some of you away(?).  My point is to ask everyone in the parish to remain vigilant and committed to maintaining an Orthodox “radar screen” that picks up the “signals” of an approaching Feast Day (this comes in the form of a church calendar and email updates to the parish concerning services and events).  As a parish – and with some effort – we can do better.

Scroll down for more recent news, including info on our Annual Parish Meeting, coming up Sunday, February 17.

Meeting of the Lord, Parish Meeting Re-scheduled, Youth Retreat, Directory

The Meeting of the Lord (Feb 2)
The Meeting of the Lord (Feb 2)
From Jan. 28, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,


Upcoming Great Feast

The Feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on February 2 – forty days after Nativity – is coming up later this week.  On Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. we will have Great Vespers with the Blessing of the Loaves and Anointing.  Then on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. the Divine Liturgy.  It a “good thing” to make a commitment to, and then participate in, the great feasts of the Church.  That joyous possibility is approaching later this week.

Visit our Festal Resource Page for the Feast!


Annual Parish Meeting Re-scheduled

Our annual Parish Meeting has been re-scheduled for Sunday, February 17.  So the meeting is now three weeks away.  Please keep this new date in mind and plan on attending the meeting.  It would be great to have all of this year’s pledges turned in by then.



New Parish Directory Almost Ready

There is a new updated version of our parish directory in the late stages of preparation.  Ellyn Gillette, whose parish ministry is communication, has been working hard on collecting all of the relevant data, from new members to new cell phone numbers, etc.  We hope to have it ready within a few days.



Parish Youth Retreat

We have finalized our plans for an upcoming parish Pan Orthodox Youth Retreat.  It will now be held on Saturday, March 2.  We will host the retreat here in our parish and it will be led and directed by a team from Antiochian Village.  It will be a day-long retreat beginning at 9:30 a.m. and concluding with Vespers later in the afternoon.  The youth retreat includes all children and teens between third and twelfth grades.  Our Retreat Committee chairperson is Presvytera Deborah working with Alexis Callendar and Cynthia Hollister.  A flier should be prepared within the week we hope.  We will be inviting Orthodox youth from the entire tri-state area.  Many of our parish youth have already committed to the Retreat.  If you have yet to do that, please contact Presvytera Deborah at

FEB. 3 UPDATE: A special page with online registration for our Pan-Orthodox Youth Retreat is now live. This has an "Add This" share feature for you to easily share via Facebook, Twitter or any other social media means. If you have not registered with Presvytera Deborah, you may wish to try out the online registration form!

Jan. 25, 2013

SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY - The Church continues to affirm the “sacred gift of life” in the face of the legalized “culture of death” that has arisen in the last few decades.  This new section of our website will help us remain vigilant concerning the legalization of abortion; for this is literally a matter of life or death.

Welcome New Members, Annual Parish Meeting, House Blessings

Welcome Rebekah and Zach!
Welcome Rebekah and Zach!
Welcome Rebekah and Zach!
January 18, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful, 

New Members

We welcome Rebekah Glahn and Zach Mockbee with our "official" New Member Photo treatment! Be sure to get acquainted at coffee hour. More new member photos are available on our Photo Gallery page.

Annual Parish Meeting
The date for our Annual Parish Meeting 2013 is Sunday, February 10.  The meeting is always in the church following the Liturgy and some refreshments in the church hall.  I will be contacting many of you who are in charge of a particular parish ministry to hopefully prepare a very short update on your ministry in time for the meeting.
It is also  very important that you have your pledge in well before the meeting, so that the preparation for the 2013 budget can be based on reliable and realistic financial data.  Please turn your pledge in to Steve Mayhugh, our parish treasurer.
For the most part, the current  members on our parish council are willing to return to the 2013 council.  However, it is also policy to receive any other nominations to positions on the parish council.  Please pass along any nomination that you would like to make of a fellow parishioner for 2013.
House Blessings
There will be a sign-up sheet in the church hall on Sunday for those who would like to have their homes blessed now that we have celebrated the Feast of Theophany.

Sisterhood Meeting

A reminder that there is a Sisterhood Business Meeting Saturday (1/19) at 5:00 p.m. in the church hall.  And then everyone can stay for Great Vespers!

Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
Epistle:  COL. 1:12-18
Gospel:  LK. 18:35-43
Church School Curriculum
The Lord’s Prayer:  MATT. 6:9-13; LK. 11:2-4

Fall Class Concludes Jan. 14, This Week\'s Schedule, more

Recommended Reading!
Recommended Reading!
January 13, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,


Announced today for the upcoming week:


Parish Education

Monday evening, the sixth and final session of our Fall Adult Education Class at 7:30 p.m.  We will be discussing the article entitled “Four Types of ‘Orthopraxy’ among Orthodox Christians in America,” by Anton Vrame.  Our author fist distinguishes between Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy.  The first deals with the content of our faith; and the second with our practice of the faith in today’s society.  Basing himself on the works of sociologists of religion and his own experience as an Orthodox Christian, the author of this essay presents four different expressions of Orthodoxy activity within North American Orthodox parishes:


1)       Ultra-Conservative/Fundamentalist Orthopraxy

2)      Traditionalist Orthopraxy

3)      Reform Orthopraxy

4)      Reconstructionist Orthopraxy


In discussing these various forms of practicing the Orthodox Faith, it is both interesting and challenging to find out where each one of us “fits in” individually in these descriptive categories;  and how we can be described as a parish.  Should make for a lively discussion!


During today’s Post-Liturgy Discussion, I brought up the writings of a certain Evagrius of Pontus (+399), a famous monk of the Egyptian desert considered the great “desert psychologist” whose writings are deeply penetrating into the workings of the temptations and the passions that assail us.  I mentioned a few specific studies of his works that have recently been published by SVS Press.  These deal with the passions of anger and despondency.  The first two works mentioned below were written by Gabriel Bunge, a former Benedictine monk who recently converted to the Orthodox Faith.  He is an outstanding writer and scholar who further illuminates Evagrius by his deep knowledge of the texts and his own monastic experience. and many of you asked me afterwards for the exact titles of these works.  The full titles are:

Despondency:  The Spiritual Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Akedia (SVS Press)

Dragon’s Wine and Angels Bread:  The Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Anger and Meekness (SVS Press)



Another book in which Evagrius teaches us to rebuke temptation with the words of Scripture as they apply to each instance, from gluttony, lust and avarice; to sadness, anger, despondency, vainglory and pride.  The title is:

Talking Back: A Monastic Handbook for Combating Demons (Cistercian Studies)



Vespers on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.

2013 Calendars, Church School Resumes, \'What is Theophany?\', more

January 11, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,


A Worshipping Church

Our next service will be Great Vespers on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.  This is the first service in the Lord’s Day cycle that prepares us for the Liturgy and the Eucharist.



The Church calendars for 2013 are now in and waiting to be purchased.  The calendars are $5.00 apiece.  There are also a few Orthodox pocket planners available, also for $5.00 apiece.  There is a basket to collect your payment right by the calendars in the church hall.



Church School to Resume

Church School classes will resume this Sunday.  So too will our post-Liturgy discussions.


What is Theophany?

Do we know the meaning behind the present Feast of Theophany?  St. John Chrysostom began his famous homily on the Feast in the following manner:

“We shall now say something about the present feast.  Many celebrate the feastdays and know their designations, but the cause for which they were established they know not.  Thus concerning this, that the present feast is called Theophany – everyone knows; but what this is – Theophany, and whether it be one thing or another, they know not.  And this is shameful – every year to celebrate the feastday and know not its reason.”


Scripture Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy

Epistle:  EPH. 4:7-13 (Sunday After Theophany)

Gospel:  MATT. 4:12-17 (Sunday After Theophany)

A Full Church for Theophany, This Week, Birth Announcements, more

Theophany Resources
Theophany Resources
Jan. 7, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,
A Blessed Theophany
The church was filled with worshippers yesterday for the Liturgy and Great Blessing of the Waters on the Feast of Theophany, which made for a wonderful day culminating in the Romanian Heritage Dinner – also well-attended and raising nearly $700.00 for the Sisterhood.
Our parish website has loads of excellent  material concerning the meaning of Theophany that I would highly recommend for reading and study.  The OCA website has posted a remarkable sermon by St. John Chrysostom on Theophany that I would recommend printing out and reading slowly and carefully.  It is a real “classic.”  My parish meditations are now being posted there with some regularity in addition to our parish website.

Upcoming Week
Monday, Jan. 7 – Fall Adult Education Class Session V:  “Honest to God; Confession and Desire.”
Wednesday, Jan. 9  – Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 12 – Parish Council Meeting at 4:15 p.m.

New Life
As announced yesterday, Wayne and Karen Krueger’s daughter, Kisa Koenig, gave birth to a baby boy earlier in the week.  His name is Crosby Benjamin Koenig. Steve & Janet Korach’s daughter-in-law, Marci Korach, gave birth a baby boy also this past week.  His name is Enzo Michael Korach.
Congratulations to the respective parents:  Chris and Kisa Koenig and Michael and Marci Korach, together with their proud grandparents!  Many Years!

I Remain on “Red Alert”
My daughter Sophia’s “due date” has passed, so I am not scheduling anything this week beyond parish events, so as to be “ready to go” in fulfilling my designated role when the time arrives.  I am clearly a secondary figure, but I remain essential to the over-all plan.

Thank you from the Dragonfly Foundation

This year, we supported the Dragonfly Foundation by inviting everyone in the parish to provide gifts for the children off of the Christmas tree in the church hall.  Here is the official letter acknowledging those many generous gifts together with a note of appreciation.
Fr. Steven

Theophany, Romanian Heritage Dinner, Classes Resume, more

Classes resume Mon. Jan 7
Classes resume Mon. Jan 7
January 3, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,

Great Feast of Theophany

Sat. Jan. 5 – Great Vespers on the eve of Theophany at 6:00 p.m.

Sun. Jan. 6 – Divine Liturgy; Great Blessing of the Waters immediately following.


Cultural Event

Sun. Jan 6 — Romanian Heritage Dinner in the church hall following the Liturgy & Great Blessing of the Waters

Requested donation:  $7.00 per person; $20.00 per family

Classes to Resume
Picking up where we left off, we will resume our Fall Adult Education Class on Monday evening, January 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Education Center.  Our six session class was interrupted for a variety of reasons in the Fall, leaving us with two sessions  yet to complete.  For our fifth session we will read and discuss the essay “Honest to God:  Confession and Desire,” by Aristotle Papanikolaou.  This is a very fine study of the practice and meaning of the Sacrament of Confession.  This essay is found in the book, Thinking Through Faith.
For our sixth and final session on Monday, January 14, we will read and discuss “Four Types of ‘Orthopraxy’ among Orthodox Christians in America,” by Anton C. Vrame.
Speaking of Confession …
More than a few of you managed to “miss” coming to Confession during the forty-day Nativity Fast.  I acknowledge that about a week of that time was lost when I was dealing with a couple of bouts of the flu.  Yet, I would also think that there was still sufficient time remaining for arranging one’s Confession. This is not the time and place to remind everyone of the need of periodic Confession; but this is a pastoral reminder for those of you who have not been to Confession for a rather lengthy period of time by now - even well over a year in some cases.  If that is keeping you away from the Chalice, then one good New Year’s resolution would be to return to Communion through repentance and the confession of one’s sins.  Never an “easy” thing to do, but it is not meant to be easy.  If you need to come to Confession, please contact me so that we can work out a date and time.
If you have any questions or concerns about Confession, please contact me for a discussion together.