Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Visit by Bishop Paul - Part 1, Vespers with Q&A

Bishop Paul joined us for Vespers and engaged in a lively Q&A afterwards - 05/28/16

 A VISIT FROM OUR CHIEF SHEPHERD

From Fr. Steven:

 

"The long-anticipated pastoral visit by His Grace, Bishop Paul, and the ordination to the diaconate of Paul Gansle, proved to be a wonderful experience for our parish community this past weekend.

 

"Beginning with Great Vespers on Saturday evening and culminating with a majestic Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, we were blessed with the presence of His Grace for a major parish event - Deacon Paul's ordination. Once again, congratulations to Deacon Paul and his entire family.

 

"As worship is at the heart of parish life, it was only fitting that we celebrated the liturgical cycle of Great Vespers and the Divine Liturgy with great beauty and prayerfulness.  Our parish choir, under the direction of Pat Pride, was in "top form," and our young servers in the sanctuary were very much up to the task of fulfilling their roles in the rubrically-challenging hierarchical Liturgy. We thank God for a wonderful weekend!"

 

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Visit by Bishop Paul - Part 2, Greeting of His Grace, the Vesting

Bishop Paul welcomed by the Parish before Hierarchical Liturgy - 05/29/16

As the prelude to the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, His Grace was formally welcomed at the church entrance by representatives from our Parish Council, our youth, and by Fr. Steven...

 

The traditional offering of bread and salt, and lovely bouquets of flowers from the youth brought big smiles from Bishop Paul. After the greetings at the back of the church, His Grace processed into the nave, venerated the holy icons, and blessed those assembled, before being assisted in being vested by our altar servers. These photos capture some of the highlights...

 

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Visit by Bishop Paul - Part 3, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, Ordination of Deacon Paul

'Where the Bishop is, surrounded by the People, there is the Church!' - 05/29/16

The pinnacle of the visit by His Grace, Bishop Paul, was the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, and the ordination of Deacon Paul...

 

This sequence of photos begins with the ordination of Reader Paul to Sub-Deacon, and essentially follows the course of the Divine Liturgy. Sub-Deacon Paul, according to the liturgical tradition, remained until the Anaphora in front of the icon of Christ holding a bowl and pitcher, with a towel around his shoulders, symbolizing his new life of service in the Church upon his ordination to the Holy Diaconate...

 

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Bishop Paul delivering the homily...
Bishop Paul delivering the homily...
Bishop Paul delivering the homily...

... Following the reading of the Gospel by Deacon Alexander, Bishop Paul gave a homily for the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman, expressing how our Faith in Christ is always something which must be experienced, and exhorting us to so experience our Lord Jesus Christ and reflect His Life in our lives, that we too would witness Him to the world, that others may come to know Him and believe.

 

The Ordination occurs soon after the consecration of the Eucharistic Gifts, and before the Lord's Prayer. In a manner similar to the Orthodox wedding service, the new deacon is led around the altar three times, while the clergy and the choir alternate singing the same hymn as used in the wedding procession, "Rejoice O Isaiah." With each turn around the altar, the new deacon kisses the corners of the altar, and makes a full prostration to the seated Bishop, affirming his vows to faithfully serve Jesus Christ, His Holy Church, Her Bishops and Priests. He is spiritually wedded to the Church, to the Altar, in which is placed relics of the saints.


The laying on of hands...
The laying on of hands...
The laying on of hands...

Following the three processions, the new deacon kneels at the corner of the altar while the Bishop lays his hands upon him and consecrates him. The Bishop then presents the Deacon to the Faithful, vesting him in his new diaconal robes; as he presents each vestment, the Bishop exclaims AXIOS! three times, the faithful responding each time.

 

At Communion, Deacon Paul followed Deacon Alexander in bringing out the Holy Gifts to the People. Following Communion, accompanied by Deacon Alexander, Deacon Paul intoned his first Liturgy as a rightfully ordained clergyman.

 

At the end of the Liturgy, Bishop Paul offered a heartfelt exhortation to both Deacon Paul and Matushka Kris on the meaning of their new role in the Life of the Church. Then, His Grace offered "Many Years!" to the newly ordained Deacon Paul and family, which our wonderful choir joyfully led us in singing. The Gansle family was then greeted and congratulated by the Faithful following the veneration of the Cross.

 

A wonderful festal meal, organized by Presvytera Deborah, followed in the Church Hall, capping off a most special weekend in parish history, especially fitting as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit.

 

 

Church School: Grads, Teachers and more...

Honoring our 2016 Grads and Teachers - 05/15/16

Following the Divine Liturgy on Sunday, May 15, we honored our six high school graduates in the parish this year:

Alexandra Hollister  •  Jasmine Lowrey  •  Miriam Markvan  •  Justin Myers  •  Braden Sauer  •  Alexandra Taylor

We also honored our Church School teachers, who faithfully serve Christ and His Church by building up our youth in our most holy Faith!

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Views from Holy Week - Pascha

Unique perspectives on the Divine Services of Holy Week & Pascha - 05/01/16

This collection of images, with many unique views and closeups, captures the feel of the "mystical torrent" of divine services from Great and Holy Friday, Geat and Holy Saturday, and Holy Pascha. by Mickey Callender.

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Annual Bright Friday Church School Outing

Festive Fellowship for Church School caps Bright Week! - 05/06/16

Our annual Church School Bright Friday Party was a rousing success, with youthful energy in abundance as kids clambered up rock walls, swam, played air-hockey and an abundance of other games and activities. Enjoy the photos!

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Agape Vespers

The Gospel read in Many Languages... - 05/01/16

KHRISTOS VOSKRESE!

We had a large and exuberant turnout for this beautiful Paschal Vespers service, at which is read St. John's Gospel account of Jesus appearing to the disciples at the end of the first day of His Resurrection. Traditionally, the Gospel is read in as many different languages as possible, confirming the universal message of Christ. This year we heard (of course) English, Russian, Greek, Spanish, Romanian, Polish, Swedish, and for the first time, Welsh!

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Pascha Night

The Night 'Brighter than the Day'! - 05/01/16

CHRIST IS RISEN!  INDEED HE IS RISEN!

 

From the darkened church and the vigil at the Tomb, to Fr Steven bringing the Holy Fire of Pascha out from the altar to the faithful, to the great procession and the service at the entrance to the church, and the explosion of light, joy, color and song of Paschal Matins, this gallery captures a bit of the Resurrection Joy which swept us through our divine services of this radiant night! Includes some photos of our Agape meal following, and the breaking of the Fast...

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Holy Friday - Holy Saturday

Highlights of Great and Holy Friday and Saturday - 04/29/16

From the decorated Tomb and Vespers of the Taking Down from the Cross, to the procession with the Burial Shroud (Epitaphios) of Christ and the Lamentations at the Tomb on Great and Holy Friday night, to the Vesperal Liturgy on Great and Holy Saturday morning with the first announcement of the Resurrection, this gallery offers some glimpses into our continued journey to the Empty Tomb and our encounter with the Risen Christ.

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Holy Week 2016

Bridegroom Matins

Bridegroom Matins, Anointing Service, and Holy Thursday - 04/28/16

We hope you enjoy these views of our journey with the Lord through His Great and Holy Passion Week...

This gallery begins with the Bridegroom Matins of Holy Monday (celebrated in anticipation on Palm Sunday evening), and continues through the Matins and Anointing Service on Holy Wednesday evening, and culminates with the Service of the 12 Passion Gospels on Geat and Hly Thursday evening.

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Bridegroom Matins
Procession with the Bridegroom icon into the church...
Anointing Service, Holy Wednesday evening
Matins of Great and Holy Thursday...
Holy Thursday evening,
The service of the 12 Pssion Gospels,
Matins of Great and Holy Friday...
Venerating the Lord on the Cross...
Presanctified Liturgy

O Gladsome Light...

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts - The Christian Life in Microcosm - 04/20/16

On Wednesday, April 20, we celebrated the final Presanctified Liturgy of Great Lent for 2016.

 

These photos hopefully convey a glimpse of the deeply mystical atmosphere which pervades this unique service, which Fr Thomas Hopko called one of the true "masterpieces" of Byzantine liturgical tradition. Of all the Lenten services, the Presanctified Liturgy is the most compelling, giving Lent that unique quality of a "bright sadness."

 

Read Fr Steven's wonderful meditation, The Presanctified Liturgy: 'A Day in Our Life', and 'Our Life in One Day'.

 

Following the Liturgy, we enjoyed a wonderful Lenten pot luck dinner and warm fellowship in the church hall, before departing in peace...

 

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O Gladsome Light...
'Wisdom, O Believers...'
'The Light of Christ...'
'Illumines all!'
'Let my prayer arise...'
'in Thy sight as incense...'
Prayer of St Ephraim
Entrance with the Presanctified Gifts...
'Taste and see that the Lord is good...'
Lenten pot-luck after Liturgy...
Palm Sunday 2016

Festive church celebrates Christ's Entry into Jerusalem - 04/24/16

Hosanna in the Highest! — From our 'modified Vigil' of Saturday evening, with the blessing and distribution of palm fronds, and the blessing of wheat, wine and oil and anointing of the faithful for the Feast, to the full church and great processions of the Divine Liturgy itself on Sunday, our commemoration of the Lord's Entry into Jerusalem before His Passion Week was joyous and colorful. But barely more than six hours after the Liturgy, the votive glasses and altar cloths were changed back to purple for Holy Week. We hope to see you as we follow the Lord to the Upper Room, Gethsemane, Golgotha and the Empty Tomb!

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Guest Speakers for Great Lent 2016

Theologian Fr. Cyril Hovorun and Author Angela Doll Carlson visit Christ the Savior - 04/16/16

Through providential opportunities, we were able to host two unique speakers during Great Lent this year.

 

On Sunday, April 3, following the Divine Liturgy, author Angela Doll Carlson read from her new book, Nearly Orthodox, and engaged with the parish for some lively Q&A discussion after. Her honest and insightful account of her journey to the Orthodox Faith provides a refreshing and artistic, poetic perspective for converts, seekers and strugglers. 

 

For her reading, Angela chose a passage perfect for Great Lent, which reflected on the necessity of taking time to allow the lengthy services (especially of the Great Canon of St Andrew during the First Week) to work their grace in us, and linking that to the need for simple, play time with her children. It was a very thoughtful passage and, coming on the Sunday of the Cross, served as an added encouragement to us to press forward through the course of the Fast.

 

Copies of her book are available online or in the parish bookstore. Angela has family in the area, so we hope to see her often on her repeat visits to Cincinnati!

 

On April 16 & 17, Fr. Cyril Hovorun, distinguished Orthodox priest and theologian who teaches at Kiev and Stockholm, and is a research fellow at Yale and Columbia Universities, led us on an fascinating exploration of the issues surrounding the upcoming Pan-Orthodox Council, as well as of the role and witness of the Orthodox Church in the world in general. We recorded both his talks, and invite you to listen to them here.

 

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Memorial Saturday Liturgy and Parish Cleanup

Parish turns out to commemorate our departed, and 'deep clean' for Holy Week/Pascha. - 04/09/16

There is something special which occurs at the Memorial Saturday liturgies, as we gather to commemorate before the Lord our family and dear ones who have passed on before us. Several wonderful recipes of kollyva (memorial boiled wheat) and wine graced the Memorial Service following Liturgy as many lingered in fellowship.

 

Following a tasty and nourishing brunch and some coffee and tea, we launched into our annual 'deep cleaning' to prepare the church and hall for Holy Week and Pascha. Excellent turnout and many teens and young folk greatly contributed to the wonderful fellowship which always accompanies this parish tradition.

 

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Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

At the Midpoint of the Fast, the Cross refreshes us... - 04/03/16

The hymns of the Church for the Veneration of the Cross at the middle of Great Lent are clear.

 

We begin to turn our attention towards the Lord's Passion Week now approaching more urgently, and if we have been drooping from the Lenten effort, the Cross is placed in the center of the church to refresh and strengthen us for the journey ahead. It is truly the Tree of Life for us in the Paradise of the Church!

 

The cross is first brought out during Great Vespers on Saturday evening, and is venerated with prostrations also on the Sunday of the Cross, and throughout the entire following week remains in the center of the church for the faithful to venerate.

 

"Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship O Master, and Thy Holy Resurrection we glorify!"

 

Our beautiful carved cross, decorated with flowers and fragrant with the blossoms, also contains a relic of St Vladimir, and is much beloved by the parish.

 

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Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers 2016

Our choir team - ready to sing!

St George Serbian Orthodox Church hosts Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers - 03/20/16

Eleven of us from our parish were present March 20 at St. George Serbian Orthodox Church for the Vespers service commemorating the Sunday of Orthodoxy as well as taking us into the Second Week of Great Lent.  Fr Steven served (and was asked to give the homily) with four other Cincinnati area priests and a deacon, and we also made a huge contribution to the choir.  (Those who didn't stay missed an incredible lenten meal that followed the service).

The mixed, pan-Orthodox choir was directed by Kurt Sander, noted Orthodox composer and longtime friend of Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit. In addition to Fr Steven, clergy included:

Perhaps we can host this event next year...

 

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Our choir team - ready to sing!
The mixed choir, directed by Kurt Sander...
... gathered around the kliros
The packed church at St George...
...there were another twenty or so behind the photographer!
Proclaiming the Triumph of Orthodoxy...
...and the Restoration of the Holy Icons!
Fr Petar Petrovic
Fr Steven Kostoff at the conclusion of Vespers
Choir director Kurt Sander
Fr Steven delivers the homily...
Concelebrants of Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers
Fr Daniel Marshall (r.) invites all present...
...to the visit of the Kursk-Root Icon to St George (ROCOR)
Fr Petar thanks all those present and invites us to stay for the meal
The pan-Orthodox choir
Church School Procession with Icons

Church School celebrates Sunday of Orthodoxy with Holy Icons - 03/20/16

Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit was treated to quite a sight, as our several dozen church school students processed with icons into the nave from the back of the church, following the Divine Liturgy on March 20, the Sunday of Orthodoxy. After they had gathered in front of the amvon, Fr Steven went around and had each student describe their icon and the saint. Fr Steven read the stirring proclamation for the Restoration of the Holy Icons.

 

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Church School Lenten Service Project

Students support local ministry to homeless with 2016 Lenten project - 03/20/16

For their 2016 Lenten Service Project, the church school children packed 150 non perishable sack lunches for The Broken Bus Ministry. Special thanks to Terrie Sauer for the great photos. You can learn more about this worthy mission here:

http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/ministrys-mobile-mission-is-helping-homeless/nfJHr/

https://www.facebook.com/The-Broken-Bus-Ministry-636749336389291/

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First Week of Great Lent

The line for Forgiveness Vespers stretched all around the church...

The Parish enters into the 'School of Repentance' - 03/13/16

From Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday afternoon, March 13 (when Great Lent liturgically begins), through the Great Canon of Repentance on Monday through Thursday evenings, to the first Presanctified Liturgy on Friday, March 18, we have entered vigorously into the course of the Fast.

Catch a glimpse of the 'bright sadness' of Great Lent through these images, and be sure to join us for these quiet and transformative services which prepare our hearts to encounter the Lord's Passion Week.

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The line for Forgiveness Vespers stretched all around the church...
"...Forgive me... God forgives..."
...making a good beginning...
The Great Canon...
'Have mercy on me, O God...'
'O Lord and Master of my life...'
Baptism of Olga Leara

Granddaughter of Nolan and Shirley Leara is illumined - 02/21/16

Olga Leara, daughter of Bill and Michelle Leara (who live in Texas), and granddaughter of Nolan and Shirley, was born of water and the Spirit at a baptismal liturgy on Sunday, February 21. Thankfully, Cincinnati was a fairly central location for all travelers, which allowed us to concelebrate this joyous event. It is always wonderful to see Bill and Michelle, and for many of us this was our first opportunity to meet Michelle's family.

God grant Olga, her parents and sponsors Many Years!

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Theophany - The Great Blessing of Waters

Parish celebrates Christ's Baptism in the Jordan, and 'the Worship of the Trinity made manifest!' - 01/10/16

To use its full title, on the evening of January 5 we celebrated a Vesperal Divine Liturgy for THE THEOPHANY OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, a title that we usually summarize as "Theophany" (sometimes "Epiphany"). With just about sixty(!) worshippers in the church for the Feast, we can then truly say that our communal celebration was festal. Truly, an excellent beginning to the New Year.

The photos in this slide show are from the Great Blessing of Waters on the Sunday after Theophany...

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Great Feast of Pentecost 2016

Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit - 06/19/16

Dear Parish Faithful,


"O Heavenly King, the Comforter"

"And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting."  (ACTS 2:2)

We were blessed with a truly festal celebration of Pentecost this past weekend.  At the Great Vespers on Saturday evening, we had at least forty-five(!) "souls" praying and worshipping in the church, at a service that culminated with the blessing of the loaves and an anointing with the "oil of gladness."  In the context of a feast day, that anointing is a manifestation of the joy of receiving the Holy Spirit in the communal act of worship. 

 

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During the 'Kneeling Prayers' of the Vespers of Pentecost
During the 'Kneeling Prayers' of the Vespers of Pentecost
During the 'Kneeling Prayers' of the Vespers of Pentecost

It was at the Great Vespers service that we first sang "O Heavenly King" for the first time in fifty days. Our choir sang all of the festal hymnography beautifully and prayerfully as we gathered on the eve of the Feast in preparation and anticipation of the "great day" of Pentecost.

 

We then enjoyed a wonderful Liturgy for Pentecost on Sunday morning, as we relived and actualized the reception of the Holy Spirit who "descended" into our midst as we assembled together in the presence of the Risen Lord.  The church was decorated in green as the sign of  eternal renewal which is a gift of the Holy Spirit who makes all things new. Unique to the Feast is the immediate celebration of the Vespers of Pentecost following the Liturgy. 

 

At the end of the Vespers service, as we sang the troparion of Pentecost, I tossed walnut leaves - perfectly shaped like  "tongues of fire" - into the air throughout the entire church, that then fell down upon everyone as a sign of our reception of the Holy Spirit.  I discovered this colorful practice in a Bulgarian Orthodox Church some years ago, and we have been doing it here for many years now.  Not only our children, but anyone who has a "childlike" openness to the divine presence, really enjoys that rite.  After what is a long morning, I believe that we then leave with a sense of spiritual renewal.

 

 

Cincinnati 'Cross the Bridge for Life' 2016

Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit well represented at annual Spring Walk for Life - 06/05/16

Several members of the parish turned out for this annual march for life. Special thanks to Andrew Herbst for organizing and encouraging parish participation! Thanks to Chuck Haynes and Melissa Mason for great photos! To learn more about this worthy event, visit http://www.crossthebridgeforlife.com/

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