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

Nov. 19, 2013

ENTRANCE of the THEOTOKOS into the TEMPLE - (NOV 21) Here we encounter the holiness of Mary, a small child separated from the world, brought to live in the Temple a life set apart and in a state of intimacy with God, something that all of us are called to. We also see a comparison between the Temple of stone and Mary, the Living Temple of the Savior. Updated with two new book titles, and a new CD of Hymns to the Theotokos. Visit our Festal Resource Page to learn more.


THANKSGIVING SERVICES - Akathist of Thanksgiving, 'Glory to God For All Things', Wed. Nov 27 at 7pm. Join us in giving thanks at this special service, one of our most beloved services at Chrst the Savior-Holy Spirit!


Oct 8, 2013

NEW PARISH PHOTO - Taken before our annual Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Picnic, this group photo provides a snapshot of our parish in 2013. There were a number of people and families not able to be present, or it would have been an even larger gathering! Also featured on our Welcome page. Click to enlarge...


ST NICHOLAS the WONDERWORKER - (Dec 6) - One of the most widely venerated saints in the Church, the traditions surrounding St Nicholas reveal a life lived for Christ, with boundless charity and care for others, in firm defense of the Orthodox Faith. For a wonderful life of St Nicholas, visit the OCA site. Join us for our annual St Nicholas Play and Charity Dinner:


ST HERMAN of ALASKA - (Dec 13) - Join us in celebrating our beloved patron saint of Orthodoxy in North America on his Winter feast. Our icon of Saints Herman and Innocent with their relics will be presented in the church for veneration. Explore our extensive St Herman Resource Page, updated for 2013 with video, audio, articles, icons, and suggested books.

  • Thu. Dec. 12, 7pm - Vespers (followed by Fall Class)
  • Fri. Dec 13, 9:30am - Liturgy

Dec 9, 2013

ST HERMAN - (Dec 13) The Winter Feast of St Herman is this Friday, December 13, commemorating his repose. Join us Thursday evening, December 12, at 7 o'clock for Vespers, and for Divine Liturgy Friday morning at 9:30am, and be sure to (re)visit our Special St Herman Resource Page, refreshed and expanded for 2013. This remains one of the most extensive collections of materials on St Herman on the internet.

Join us for our St Nicholas Celebration & Charity Dinner, Sun. Dec 15!

December 6, 2013

 

We invite you to join us for our annual

St Nicholas Celebration & Charity Dinner

put on by our Church School!


Sunday, December 15, following the Divine Liturgy.

 

 Dear CTS faithful,


The St. Nicholas Celebration and Charity Dinner will be held this Sunday, December 15th at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Church school children should not leave church after communion but return to their seats until the end of liturgy.  We will begin our celebration after liturgy in the church with a brief reading of the Life of St. Nicholas by 3 of our high school students, followed by a parish procession (children will line up first and then adults) and singing of the Troparian for St. Nicholas that will end in the parish hall.

Please bring your unwrapped gifts for The Giving Tree (Children's Hospital/Dragonfly Foundation) to carry with you in the procession. The gifts can be placed under the pew during liturgy. Church school children are encouraged to bring their gifts in a bag so they are easily carried in the procession.  If you did not get a tag from the Giving Tree but would like to bring a gift, please bring a new release DVD ( any movie, kids-young adults), or a children's board game.

At the completion of the procession and after the visit from St. Nicholas, Father Steven will bless the food we will enjoy our charity dinner that will be served by our high school students.  Donation boxes for the dinner will be located on each table. The suggested donation is $5.00 per person or $ 20.00 per family however the donation amount is up to each person/family. There will be no way to 'make change' so please come prepared with your donation. Cash or checks made payable to the church will be accepted.

Charity Dinner Menu 

  • Pasta with tomato sauce ( limited gluten free pasta available upon request)
  • Salad (Italian & French dressings will be available)
  • Rolls and margarine
  • Wacky Cake Cupcakes
  • Coffee, water and apple juice

 

Looking forward to a wonderful parish celebration in the true spirit of St. Nicholas!

In Christ,

Terrie Sauer


Dec 9, 2013

ST HERMAN (Dec 13) - The Winter Feast of St Herman is this Friday, December 13, commemorating his repose. Join us for Vespers Thursday evening at 7 o'clock, and Liturgy Friday at 9:30am, and be sure to (re)visit our Special St Herman Resource Page, refreshed and expanded for 2013. This remains one of the most extensive collections of materials on St Herman on the internet.


Dec 13, 2013

30th ANNIVERSARY OF FR ALEXANDER SCHMEMANN'S REPOSE - Read Fr Steven's recollections of Fr Schmemann from his years at St Vladimir's Seminary, then click over to the OCA article on this dynamic, beloved and pivotal churchman. Then explore the many additional resources available on Fr Alexander Schmemann. May his memory be eternal!

Christmas Caroling with Christ the Savior!

Updated December 18, 2013

 

Caroling Event
 
 
(Updated 12/18/2013) We've had a nice response for our first annual Christmas Caroling event! For anyone still interested in joining us, please plan to meet at the church at 5:30pm on Sunday 12/22. We'll head out as a group from there. The more the merrier!! Please email Mia Lastra with any questions.

___

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Cincinnati! This year we'll be organizing a caroling group to bring holiday cheer to shut-ins and other members of our parish. Lyric guides will be provided and everyone is welcome. Whether you sing in the choir or from the pews, we hope you can join us for this heartwarming event.

Please email Mia Lastra (Mia.N.Lastra@gmail.com) if you would like to participate and to receive more details. The date we are targeting is the evening of Sunday 12/22.

In Christ,
 
Mia


30th Anniversary of the repose of Fr Alexander Schmemann

December 13, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

Today is the 30th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who died on this date in 1983.  The OCA website has as its lead article today a nice summary of Fr. Alexander's life and accomplishments.  Fr. Alexander was both a brilliant mind and a charismatic personality. 

I had the honor of studying at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York while he was the dean and still a healthy and dynamic presence on campus.  (I graduated in 1981 and Fr. Alexander became sick with the cancer that would take his life in 1982).  I studied Liturgical Theology with Fr. Alexander for, I believe, two years, and I had other courses with him.  My approach toward liturgical theology and the Liturgy more specifically has once and for all been shaped by Fr. Alexander. He was a very great presence in the chapel as he loved to serve as the chief celebrant often during Saturday night vigils, the Liturgy and many of the Feast Days. Serving the paschal Liturgy with Fr. Alexander my last Pascha at the seminary while I was a deacon, was one of the great "highlights" of my three years at St. Vladimir's. When Sophia was born, he made a point of visiting our modest apartment in Yonkers that was off campus, spending some time with us and giving Sophia his blessing. 

Regardless of his flaws and faults, I consider him to have been a great man who had a profound vision of the potential of Orthodox Christianity in North America, and who imparted that vision to his students in a lively and inspiring fashion.  I have never met a person who seemed to enjoy life to the extent that Fr. Alexander did.  But this was always in the context of an Orthodox worldview that he grasped organically and intuitively. He may have been the key figure behind the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970. 

I made a point of returning to New York for Fr. Alexander's funeral at St. Vladimir's.  This, too, was an extraordinary and unique experience.   When I said good-bye to one of his daughters before leaving for my return trip home, and commenting to her on the over-all effect of the funeral service, she smiled as said that it was just like Pascha!  There is a fourteen-minute youtube video of his funeral, as well as many more resources at schmemann.org

I would highly recommend his books to you, if you have yet to read anything  that he has written.  The starting point would be his classic For the Life of the World.  If you would like any further recommendations, please speak with me.

Fr. Steven

 

OCA Article for the 30th Anniversary of Fr Alexander Schmemann's Repose

For a wealth of additional information and links please visit www.schmemann.org.

 


Dec 9, 2013

CHRISTMAS CAROLING @ CTS - Find out how you can join us for a very special parish event, bringing holiday cheer to shut-ins and other parish members. Full info and how to sign up here!


Dec. 20, 2013

NATIVITY CALENDAR - In printable PDF format - View, download and print our Parish Calendar for the Nativity. Covers all services, classes and events up through Theophany on January 6. Copies available in church with a special article and quotes from the Church Fathers.


NATIVITY of CHRIST - (Dec 25)Explore the videos, articles, suggested books and more on our Festal Resource Page on the Great Feast of the Birth of God in the Flesh to enter more fully into the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God. 'God became man that man might become god', the Church teaches us, and the riches of this Feast go far beyond the image of the new-born Christ Child in the manger. Full Nativity Schedule at right, on our pop-up calendar below, and in printable PDF format here.


ST BASIL THE GREAT - (Jan 1) - On this date we commemorate one of the great fathers of the Church, as well as the Circumcision of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, a fulfillment of the Old Covenant, and a reminder of Christ being fully man, as well as fully God.

 

Vespers Tonight, December 31, 6:00PM

December 31, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
A rather late reminder, but the service this evening is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.  That was announced in church on Sunday.  The service will be Great Vespers. 

On January 1, we commemorate the Circumcision of the Lord and St. Basil the Great.  We also add the special petitions for the Civil New Year.  If you have plans for the evening, perhaps you will consider first coming to church and seeking the blessings of God as we are about to embark on a new year opening up to an unknown future.
 
Fr. Steven

 

New Year\'s Day Liturgy

December 31, 2013

 

NOTE: There will not be a service on New Year's Day. Apologies for any confusion!

 

Join us on New Year's Day, as we commemorate St Basil the Great, The Circumcision of Christ, and the Civil New Year!

 

January 1, 2014 - 10:00AM: Divine Liturgy

 

 

A Truly Festal Liturgy, more . . .

December 26, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!

 

A Truly Festal Liturgy

We thank God for a truly festal Liturgy yesterday morning as we celebrated the Nativity in the Flesh of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. The church was both beautifully decorated and filled with worshippers, and this added to the over-all festal nature of the Liturgy. It was good to see the full range of our parish at the Liturgy, from our "senior citizens" to many of our young families and all the children - and everyone in between - who were present. Our choir sang in a lively and joyous manner, and I felt pretty much back to full strength as we, as the local body of Orthodox Christian believers, glorified the Son of God become Son of Man "for our salvation." I hope each and everyone of you had a blessed day with your families and friends.

 

Synaxis of the Theotokos

Today, December 26, is the Second Day of the Nativity, and on this day we liturgically commemorate and proclaim the Virgin Mary as the Theotokos - the one who gave birth to God in the flesh. This is probably the oldest celebration of the Theotokos in the life of the Church. The Virgin Mary did not simply give birth to a human person who was united with the Word of God. Rather, she gave birth to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity - the eternal Word and Wisdom of God - so that as we sing in the Kontakion:

Today the Virgin gives birth to the supersubstantial One ... since for our sake the eternal God is born as a little Child.

For this reason, St. John of Damascus could say that the title Theotokos reveals the whole mystery of the divine oikonomia (dispensation).

 

Liturgy on the Third Day of the Nativity

As announced, we will celebrate the Liturgy on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. In addition to being the third day of the Feast, we also commemorate the Protomartyr Stephen on this date of December 27. Currently, the most commonly-used name in the parish is Stephen/Steven (right on!). I believe that there are now six of us. The Church has been glorified by her martyrs over the centuries, and St. Stephen is the first in that glorious line of men and women who gave their lives in witness to Christ's victory over sin and death.

 

UPDATED NATIVITY SCHEDULE

December 23, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

Nativity Schedule

 

This evening: Prefestal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday:

  • First, Third and Sixth Royal Hours at 9:00, 10:00 & 11:00 a.m.
  • Festal Matins for Nativity at 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday: NATIVITY OF CHRIST - Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

Friday: THIRD DAY OF NATIVITY/ST. STEPHEN THE PROTOMARTYR - Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.

 

Look forward to seeing everyone in church!

Fr. Steven

 

 

Service & Class, Looking for Readers

Prefeast of the Nativity
Prefeast of the Nativity
December 19, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

Service and Class

At 7:00 p.m. this evening we will serve the Vespers of the Prefeast of the Nativity during which we begin to sing and chant the hymnography leading up to the Feast on December 25

Following the service, at 7:45 p.m. we will begin Session V of our Fall Adult Education Class.  We will discuss ch. 9 & 10 from Prof. Kesich's book, respectively "Persecution and Martyrdom:  The Testimony of Blood;" and "Christian Apologists:  The Testimony of the Writings."  The chapter on martyrdom is quite fascinating, inspiring and bit intimidating.  We will discuss the most well-known of the early Church and their willingness to give their lives rather than renounce their faith in Christ when threatened by the Roman authorities. 

Here are a few questions to think over before this evening's class: 

  • What kind of threat did the early Christians pose to the Roman authorities? 
  • What did Tertullian - the 2nd c. North African writer - mean when he said that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church?" 
  • Can we discover a "theology of martyrdom" based on the testimony of these great martyrs? 
  • What is the greatest age of Christian martyrdom in the history of the Church?

In turning to ch. 10, a question or two might be:

  • What, precisely, is an apologist? 
  • What is the aim of an apologetic treatise? 
  • Are there any contemporary Christian apologists?

Another exciting evening awaits us!  Be there or be nowhere!

For more info on our Fall Class, go here

 

 

Looking for Readers 

On Tuesday morning - the eve of Nativity - we will serve the Royal Hours of Nativity at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and Noon. Each service requires a reader for the psalms and epistle.  If you would like to commit to reading one of the Royal Hours, please let me know.  I can give you the book to take home on Sunday in order for you to prepare, if you would like.  If no one "signs up" ahead of time to read a particular Hour, that Hour will not be served.

We have read the Royal Hours for Nativity since I have been here as the parish priest.  That means that this will be about the twenty-fourth consecutive year or so.  If you have never been to one of the Royal Hours in the past twenty-four years, think "outside of the box," and think about adding a new experience to your "Christmas Season" this year.  I can assure you that it will be peaceful and quiet - the one blessing of a near-empty church.

For our full Nativity Schedule, and extensive resources on the Incarnation of God in the Flesh, visit our Nativity Resource Page.


~ Fr Steven

 

 

St Nicholas Celebration, Memory Eternal, Schedule

St Nicholas Celebration Slide Show
St Nicholas Celebration Slide Show
December 16, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
"Through the prayers of our Father among the saints, Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia"
 
Our St. Nicholas Day Program and Charity Dinner went very well yesterday.  I thought that we celebrated a wonderful and "lively" Liturgy which was very well-attended.  Although not everyone stayed for the program and meal, the church hall was still quite filled and we enjoyed a good dinner served "family style" by our high school students.  The procession into the hall by our Church School students led them to the stage where they all offered their gifts that will be distributed to the poor and needy before Nativity.  There were dozens and dozens of gifts, so it was an excellent effort all-around.   "St. Nicholas" greeted everyone and passed out a gift in return to our students.  An initial rough estimate says that we raised about $650.00 at the dinner through everyone's donation. We would like thank our Church School director, Terrie Sauer, for again organizing this year's program.  It was a good day for our parish family and community and we thank God - and the prayers of St. Nicholas - for the worship and fellowship that enlivened and deepened the day.
 
We would also like to thank our chefs, servers, clean-up crew, etc.  for their time, energy and efforts.

View a slideshow of the St Nicholas Celebration on our Photo & Video Gallery page.


 
 
"Memory Eternal"
 
Today is the ninth anniversary of the tragic death of Matthew Krueger, son of Wayne and Karen Krueger, who was killed in a car accident in Northern Michigan on December 16, 2004.  We will serve a memorial service for Matthew today at the cemetery.  For those who did not know Matthew, he was a very outgoing personality with a kind and generous heart.  Matthew was also very talented musically.  For those who knew Matthew, he will always remain sorely missed.  We deeply grieve the loss of our loved ones, but not as those who have no hope as the Apostle Paul teaches (I THESS. 4:13-18), for Christ is our Hope as the Vanquisher of death.
 


 
This Coming Thursday, December 19
 
Vespers for the Nativity Prefeast at 7:00 p.m.
Fall Adult Education Class - Session V at 7:45 p.m.
 

St Herman, Fr Alexander Schmemann, more

Fr Aexander Schmemann (†1983)
Fr Aexander Schmemann (†1983)

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

"O Blessed Father Herman of Alaska"

We completed the Liturgy just a little while ago on this day that we commemorate Blessed Fr. Herman of Alaska.  We were visited by some Orthodox home-schooling families from other parishes, so that filled out our modest numbers a bit more.  On December 13, we commemorate the blessed repose of this "North Star of Christ's holy Church," as St. Herman is referred to in the hymnography.  "Precious in the sight of God is the death of his saints!"

 

30th Anniversary

Today is also the 30th anniversary of the repose of Fr. Alexander Schmemann, who died on this date in 1983.  The OCA website has as its lead article today a nice summary of Fr. Alexander's life and accomplishments.  Fr. Alexander was both a brilliant mind and a charismatic personality.

I had the honor of studying at St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York while he was the dean and still a healthy and dynamic presence on campus.  (I graduated in 1981 and Fr. Alexander became sick with the cancer that would take his life in 1982).  I studied Liturgical Theology with Fr. Alexander for, I believe, two years, and I had other courses with him.  My approach toward liturgical theology and the Liturgy more specifically has once and for all been shaped by Fr. Alexander. He was a very great presence in the chapel as he loved to serve as the chief celebrant often during Saturday night vigils, the Liturgy and many of the Feast Days. Serving the paschal Liturgy with Fr. Alexander my last Pascha at the seminary while I was a deacon, was one of the great "highlights" of my three years at St. Vladimir's.  When Sophia was born, he made a point of visiting our modest apartment in Yonkers that was off campus, spending some time with us and giving Sophia his blessing. 

Regardless of his flaws and faults, I consider him to have been a great man who had a profound vision of the potential of Orthodox Christianity in North America, and who imparted that vision to his students in a lively and inspiring fashion.  I have never met a person who seemed to enjoy life to the extent that Fr. Alexander did.  But this was always in the context of an Orthodox worldview that he grasped organically and intuitively. He may have been the key figure behind the granting of autocephaly to the Orthodox Church in America in 1970.  I made a point of returning to New York for Fr. Alexander's funeral at St. Vladimir's.  This, too, was an extraordinary and unique experience.   When I said good-bye to one of his daughters before leaving for my return trip home, and commenting to her on the over-all effect of the funeral service, she smiled as she said that it was just like Pascha!  There is a fourteen-minute youtube video of his funeral, as well as many more resources at schmemann.org.

I would highly recommend his books to you, if you have yet to read anything  that he has written.  The starting point would be his classic For the Life of the World.  If you would like any further recommendations, please speak with me. 

 

Parish Stewardship Update

As of December 12, 2013, we have received 51 pledges representing 82 parishioners for a total of $142,000.  This represents approximately 71% of the 2014 parish budget.  Everyone is reminded to please return your pledges as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday, December 22.

 

Scriptural Readings for Sunday's Liturgy

Epistle:  COL. 3:4-11 (Forefathers)

Gospel:  LK. 14:16-24 (Forefathers)

 

Altar Boys

Team 2

  

Refreshment/Coffee Hour

On Sunday, we will have our Charity Dinner in honor of St. Nicholas, prepared and served by our high school students.  See here for full details. 

 

St Herman Schedule, St Nicholas Program

December 11, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Commemorating St. Herman of Alaska
 
I apologize for any confusion, but we are back to our  schedule of celebrating the Liturgy for St. Herman of Alaska on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  The Vespers will be served on Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. right before we begin our Fall Adult Education Class at 7:45 p.m.
 
St. Herman is our beloved North American saint who served the various native peoples of Alaska with great care and charity, though he remained a humble monk his entire life.  December 13 is the date of his repose in the Lord.  A good deal of excellent material is available on our parish website about St. Herman.
 

 


 

St Nicholas Celebration and Charity Dinner

Dear CTS faithful,

The St. Nicholas Celebration and Charity Dinner will be held this Sunday, December 15th at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy. Church school children should not leave church after communion but return to their seats until the end of liturgy.  We will begin our celebration after liturgy in the church with a brief reading of the Life of St. Nicholas by 3 of our high school students, followed by a parish procession (children will line up first and then adults) and singing of the Troparian for St. Nicholas that will end in the parish hall.


Please bring your unwrapped gifts for The Giving Tree (Children's Hospital/Dragonfly Foundation) to carry with you in the procession. The gifts can be placed under the pew during liturgy. Church school children are encouraged to bring their gifts in a bag so they are easily carried in the procession.  If you did not get a tag from the Giving Tree but would like to bring a gift, please bring a new release DVD ( any movie, kids-young adults), or a children's board game.

At the completion of the procession and after the visit from St. Nicholas, Father Steven will bless the food we will enjoy our charity dinner that will be served by our high school students.  Donation boxes for the dinner will be located on each table. The suggested donation is $5.00 per person or $ 20.00 per family however the donation amount is up to each person/family. There will be no way to 'make change' so please come prepared with your donation. Cash or checks made payable to the church will be accepted.

Charity Dinner Menu

  • Pasta with tomato sauce ( limited gluten free pasta available upon request)
  • Salad (Italian & French dressings will be available)
  • Rolls and margarine
  • Wacky Cake Cupcakes
  • Coffee, water and apple juice


Looking forward to a wonderful parish celebration in the true spirit of St. Nicholas!

In Christ,

Terrie Sauer


Hopefully, there is something in the above foreveryone!
 
Fr. Steven

 

 

Scheduling Changes Due to Weather

December 7, 2013

 

 Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Here is the plan/schedule for tomorrow:
 
I now feel a great deal better, so the Liturgy will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m.  Due to the threat of some more bad weather hitting our area around noon or so, we will not have our usual refreshment/coffee hour.  This should allow everyone adequate time to return home before any further winter storms make travelling difficult. It has already been announced that we are postponing our St. Nicholas Day Program until the following Sunday (12/15).  Church School classes are also cancelled for tomorrow.
 
The parking around the church is fine and we will have the sidewalks and front walkway cleared by tomorrow.
 
Look forward to  serving the Liturgy and seeing everyone tomorrow morning!
 
Fr. Steven

PS: Great Vespers has been canceled for tonight, December 7!

 

St Nicholas Program Rescheduled, more

December 6, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Postponing St. Nicholas Day Program
 
 
Thinking this over a bit after having spoken with some other parishioners, we will postpone the St. Nicholas Day Program scheduled for this coming Sunday.  I am still not sure as to whether or not I will be present (and I hope to have that figured out by tomorrow morning when I will inform everyone) and able to serve, and I would like to celebrate the full Liturgy as the most appropriate beginning of this significant event in our parish life.  But also, there is the unavoidable issue of very bad weather up to and including Sunday.  This may make travel conditions for many difficult or even dangerous.  Of course, we don't know what awaits us next Sunday (12/15),  but we will "hope for the best," i.e. better weather, that will assure fuller participation.  Our Church School children always look forward to this annual program, and this way we will hopefully have as many there as possible.
 
To summarize: 

  1. On Sunday morning, we will either serve the Liturgy at 9:30 a.m. or, if I am not available to serve, a Reader Service which would also begin at 9:30 a.m.

  2. The St. Nicholas Day Program is postponed until Sunday, December 15.

  3. Church School classes for this coming Sunday (12/8) are cancelled.

  4. We may be able to put out some bagels and coffee on Sunday for those who are present.



Seeking Your Prayers

I am scheduled for a (final) medical procedure this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.  I am supposed to come out of this feeling a good deal better, so please continue to keep me in your prayers.  I am placing some hope in this for getting me to church on Sunday ... but we shall see.

I have received many warm and encouraging emails from many parishioners over the last few days.  I may not be able to answer each one individually, so I would like to assure everyone that they have been well-received, read over carefully and deeply appreciated.   I also received a package in the mail yesterday of get-well cards from one of our Church School classes, and that also meant a good deal. It is of great importance to be connected to a unique community of faithful persons who are concerned for one another.  This is what membership in the Church means for each and every one of us.  Once again, many thanks!


A Fragment for Friday

When able, I am trying to read a new book by the prominent New Testament scholar, Sandra M. Schneiders, entitiled Jesus Risen in our Midst.  It is a detailed study of the Resurrection narratives found in the Gospel According to St. John.  It is proving to be quite a remarkable book. Here is the a very short "sample" of her many insights into Christ's Resurrection and its meaning for us:

 "We do not know in detail what awaits us but some affirmations are perhaps well grounded in what we can know of Jesus' Resurrection.  First, we are destined for personal, bodily (in the sense of  "body" that has been the subject of this essay, namely, personal identity and interpersonal relationship) life in God with Jesus through the Spirit.  Second, because death is not the end, because death is not a descent into nothingness, a disappearance of body into undifferentiated matter and of spirit into impersonal energy signaling the end of personal integrity and interpersonal relationship, what we do in this life really matters.  The relationship that we forge with Jesus, in Jesus with God, and with our sisters and brothers in Christ have a future. Our spiritual lives and ministerial commitments are worth the candle.  Our efforts at world transformation make sense, even if we do not perceive the results in our earthly careers.  We are not howling against the night that will ultimately end it all or killing time here waiting for a completely other existence that has no continuity with this one.  We are building the City of God into which we and our world will be transformed although the manner of this transformation is beyond our imagination. 


"As Paul said long ago, if Christ is not risen, our hope is in vain and we are, of all people, the most deluded (see I COR. 15:12-14).  The one thing the Church has always gotten right is the proclamation, "Jesus Christ is truly risen, Alleluia"!"

 

Update on Fr Steven\'s recovery, related schedule changes

St Nicholas (Dec 6)
St Nicholas (Dec 6)
St Nicholas (Dec 6)
December 4, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful & Friends in Christ,
 
 
I had an appointment with my doctor/surgeon yesterday, and unfortunately I assumed that my recovery time was going to be shorter than it actually will be.  (Not quite sure why I got uncharacteristically optimistic).  The doctor told me that I could set Sunday as a goal, which I will for the moment. I will therefore have to cancel any services or classes that were scheduled for this week.  That would mean the liturgical services for St. Nicholas and the Fall Adult Ed. Class, session IV.  I apologize for that, but there is nothing I can do about it, considering how my recovery is slowly progressing.  I continue to deal with a great deal of pain, so I continue to ask for your prayers.  

If you need to contact me for anything important, please either send me an email or call me at home.
 
Fr. Steven

 

Life of St Nicholas (OCA.org)

Life of St Nicholas, by St Dimitri of Rostov (Mystagogy)

 

Thanksgiving Service, Icons and Russian items

CD and Text to the Akathist of Thanksgiving
CD and Text to the Akathist of Thanksgiving
November 27, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Service of Thanksgiving
 
There will be a service this evening at 7:00 p.m. as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.  Giving thanks to God is appropriate, and that is what we do in the Church.  Not quite decided on the exact service for this evening. One possibility is that we might chant the Akathist hymn "Glory to God for All Things."
 
 
Icons & Other Items
 
Someone brought a few icons that belonged to her deceased parents to the church for use or distribution.  There are a few icons, paintings, religious books and other household items that reflect a distinctively Russian cultural background. These items will be placed on the back table in the church hall and you are free to look through them and choose what you may want to take home with you.
 
 

 

Thanksgiving Schedule, Guatemala Trip Summary, Fasting

Updated November 25, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Thanksgiving Day Liturgy
 
Traditionally, we always serve the Divine Liturgy on Thanksgiving Day.  However, this year we may just not have the personnel to do so.  Hopefully, I will have a definitive answer to announce on Sunday.  We will still have a Service of Thanksgiving on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.  Perhaps I can ask here, though:  Is there anyone in the choir who thinks that they can take us through the Liturgy?  If so, please contact me as soon as possible.  We would serve the Liturgy on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m.

UPDATED: NO LITURGY THANKSGIVING DAY.

Join us Wednesday Evening for the Akathist of Thanksgiving at 7:00pm.
 
Our Adult Education Class will be cancelled on Thursday, and resume on December 5.


 
 
Short Summary of My Trip to Guatemala
 
Within the context of imparting some more important information from our Stewardship Committee, I will first offer a short summary of my recent trip to Guatemala for the blessing of the new dormitory - San Miguel del Lago - for the children of the former Hogar San Rafael Ayau Orphanage.  We realized that we need to provide more background material for some of these important parish ministries to our new(er) members.
 
In terms of our Parish Christian Stewardship Pledge Drive, I can report that more of the pledges for 2014 are coming in.  If you have yet to turn in your pledge, I would like to urge you to do so in the very near future. Our goal was to collect all pledges by the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  Please turn in your pledge to our parish treasurer, Steve Mayhugh.
 


 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday's Liturgy
 
Epistle:  GAL. 6:11-18
Gospel:  LK. 13:10-17
 
The homily will concentrate on the current feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple.


Click to Enlarge!
Click to Enlarge!
Click to Enlarge!

Fasting Time

Lastly, as this is the time of the Nativity Fast, please open the attached image and let  me know if this seems like anyone you may know?
 
Fr. Steven

Safe Return, Entrance of the Theotokos, Fall Class

Entrance of the Theotokos, Festal Resources
Entrance of the Theotokos, Festal Resources
November19, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

 

 "Home Sweet Home"

I arrived home late last night from my trip to Guatemala.  Guatemala and back in four days - with a demanding schedule of events in between - was somewhat of a whirlwind, but the trip proved to be meaningful and memorable.  The blessing of the new dormitory and facilities went extremely well, from the Liturgy to the banquet. I will relate some of this to the parish hopefully in the near future; and make it the focus of next Sunday's post-Liturgy discussion.  For the moment, I would simply like convey the greetings of Madres Ines, Maria and Ivonne to the parish, and their thankfulness for our past and continuing support of their efforts to create a wholesome and healthy environment for the children under their care.  We received a special citation and a gift from the older girls that I will also share next Sunday.  For the moment, it is good to be back home "safe and sound" and I thank God for that! 

As I ascended the escalator toward the baggage carousel last night, I caught sight of the Farison family in the same area.  Catching them by surprise, I approached them and asked if they had come to either greet me or to pick me up.  Alas, not quite. They were there to pick up their daughter Emily who has been abroad studying in Italy since August, and who was now returning home. In a few minutes Emily also appeared and they were able to enjoy a warm reunion.  My presence, in turn, surprised Emily and it was good to greet her - even though by accident. So, I can add here that Emily Farison has returned from abroad also "safe and sound."  As Mother Ines would say, "Big is God!"

 

Celebrating the Next Major Feast

The Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple is celebrated annually on November 21.  We will celebrate the Feast tomorrow evening, November 20, at 6:00 p.m. with the Vesperal Liturgy.  Come, O ye lovers of the Feast!

 Festal Resources for the Feast...

 

Next Fall Adult Education Class

The third session of our class will resume on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m.  We will cover ch. 5 & 6 of Prof. Kesich's book.  We had a lively second session last week, so we are beginning to "warm up."  There is a great deal of fascinating history yet to cover, so please join us even if you haven't been able as of yet.

 

 

Hogar Trip, Nativity Fast, Upcoming Feast, much more

Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov. 21), Schedule & Resources
Entrance of the Theotokos (Nov. 21), Schedule & Resources
November 14, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
One Final Reminder
 
I will leave for Guatemala and the Hogar consecration early tomorrow morning, and return late Monday evening.  I should then be available by Tuesday morning if anyone needs to contact me.  There will be no Great Vespers on Saturday evening; the Liturgy will be served on Sunday morning at our usual time of 9:30 a.m.  The celebrant will be Fr. Dan Rentel from Columbus.  Fr. Dan was the first priest of the parish in the days of its initial organization and inception.  I am sure that everyone will give him a warm welcome.
 
Frances Fowler-Collins, the chairperson of our parish ministry to the elderly and the sick, will share her insights into this important ministry at Sunday's post-Liturgy discussion.  Her talk will be based on the paper that she wrote in fulfillment of the requirements of the St. Stephen's Program for Applied Orthodox Theology.  The paper is entitled "An Orthodox Theological Foundation for Ministry to the Sick and Elderly."  Click on the link to read this in PDF format in a new browser window.


 
 
Nativity Fast to Begin Tomorrow
 
Tomorrow, November 15, is the beginning of the forty-day fasting season that leads us toward the Feast of the Lord's Nativity.  Every year the radical nature of the  Incarnation should startle us by its very mysteriousness and by the depth of the love of God that it so marvelously reveals.

Every household should plan out its own "domestic strategy" of prayerful observance of the fast.  This strategy is one of the tools that we use in the "spiritual warfare" that is always being waged, often under the surface of normal daily life.  Sensitivity to this spiritual warfare means that we are not unduly distracted or lost in the rush of daily affairs to such an extent that we forget about our relationship with God outside of Sunday's Liturgy.  It means that we are concerned about the health and well-being of our souls as much as that of our bodies.  It further means that we do not continually put off or postpone our return to God under the excuse of being overwhelmed with life's problems.

The Nativity Fast is thus an essential tool in reawakening our zeal for God, and a commitment to repent and return to the "one thing needful."  On a more focused level, it will protect us from turning the Christmas season into a whirlwind of shopping, spending, eating and drinking.  We will learn patience and self-discipline as we await the Feast to fully celebrate.  And it will mean that we will be able to identify ourselves as practicing Orthodox Christians.

Nativity Fast Resource Page
 


 
Upcoming Feast Day
 
On Wednesday evening, November 20, we will serve the Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple.

Entrance of the Theotokos Festal Resource Page
 
 


A Death in the Family
 
Emmanuela Blendea lost her father earlier this week and the funeral was yesterday in Detroit, MI.  His name is Leo Amici. Please keep him and the family in your prayers.  If you would like to send Emmanuela a card, her address is in our parish directory.
 


 
Have You Turned in Your Pledge for 2014?
 
We are urging all parishioners to please turn in your completed pledge form by Sunday, November 24.  We have received a good number to date, but there are many more that we are hoping to receive in the near future.  Timely pledge forms are of great assistance for planning the budget for the upcoming year.  Please see our treasurer Steve Mayhugh.
 


 
Scriptural Reading for Sunday's Liturgy
 
Epistle:  GAL. 2:16-20
Gospel:  LK. 12:16-21
 
 
Acolytes
 
Team 1
 
 
Refreshments/Coffee Hour
 
Myers
 
 
Who or What is a Hypocrite?

"A hypocrite is someone who writes a book about atheism, and then prays that it sells."  (Woody Allen)



Hogar News, St George Consecration, Younf Adult Group, more

Some of the Madres and Children at San Miguel del Lago
Some of the Madres and Children at San Miguel del Lago
Some of the Madres and Children at San Miguel del Lago
November 8, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Blessing of the New Dormitory at the Orphanage in Guatemala
 
Next weekend, the big event scheduled at the Hogar San Rafael Orphanage in Guatemala, is the blessing of the new dormitory that will be located on the grounds of the monastery outside of Guatemala City.  I believe it will be named San Miguel Del Lago.

This beautiful new dorm has been many years in the building and is now completed. It brings the children out of the harsh urban environment of downtown Guatemala City and into the beauty and tranquility of the countryside. 

Over the years, through our many mission teams to Guatemala, and through our annual support of the orphanage, we have contributed many thousands of dollars to this new dormitory.  My intention was to make the trip, as we were invited, in order to represent our parish and participate in the blessing.  I then hesitated for a few reasons, including my ill health recently.  However, I am now feeling better, and am in the process of trying to purchase a ticket so as to be present with the madres and the children for the blessing next weekend. If that works out, I will be gone from Friday, November 15 - Monday, November 18.  Having missed a Liturgy recently because I was ill, I certainly would not leave the parish without Liturgy again.  Thankfully, though, we will have Liturgy (and Church School) on Sunday, November 17, served by Fr. Dan Rentel from Columbus.  I will confirm this on Sunday if I am able to purchase a ticket in time.
 
 
Another Local Blessing
 
We were invited to the blessing/consecration of the new St. George Russian Orthodox Church located at 118 N. Lebanon Road, Loveland, OH 45150.  The date is next Saturday, November 16.  The "Meeting of the Metropolitan & Hierarchical Liturgy" is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m.  There is an festal meal and reception to follow.  I believe they would appreciate an online registration if you would stay for the reception:  www.stgeorgeroc.org/anniversary. If I go to Guatemala as planned, I will not be attending this event.

St George Church is providing Live Video Streaming of the events this weekend. Sign up on their website!
 
 
Other Long-Distant Travelers
 
Peter and Di Carter will be traveling  to South Africa and Zimbabwe for a three-week trip to visit there son Robin's family.  We wish them a safe and joyous journey, assuring them of our prayers for both.
 
 
The Lazarus Basket
 
We will have the "Lazarus basket" by the Cross for one more Sunday in order to collect your donation if you haven't been able to make it as of yet.
 
 
Young Adult Group to Meet
 
Our parish young adults will meet at the home of the Taylors on Sunday evening  at 7:00 p.m.  This will be a social gathering.
 
 
Stewardship Committee to Meet/Pledge Drive for 2014
 
Our Parish Stewardship Committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, November 13 at 10:00 a.m.
 
The pledge forms for 2014 were passed out a few weeks ago.  The request made then was that everyone's pledge would be turned in by November 24.  We have received a good solid response to date.  Do you still need to turn in your pledge?  Please do so to our parish treasurer, Steve Mayhugh.
 
 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday's Liturgy
 
Epistle:  GAL. 1:1-19
Gospel:  LK. 10:25-37
 
The homily will focus on the parable of the Good Samaritan from St. Luke's Gospel.
 
 
Sunday Refreshments/Coffee Hour
 
Chesterfield
 
 
Acolytes
 
Team 1
 
Altar boys are urged to be in church in time for the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.  If anyone arrives after the Little Entrance, they must wait until their next scheduled time to serve.
 
 

Fall Adult Class begins Thursday, Nov. 7

November 7, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
This year's Fall Adult Class will begin tomorrow evening following Vespers, which begins at 7:00 p.m.  So the class will begin at around 7:45 p.m.

I was told that many copies of the book have been ordered through our parish bookstore.  Hopefully those orders will be fulfilled soon.  Prof. Kesich begins his book with an excellent summary of Christ's earthly ministry culminating in His death and resurrection. The second chapter will cover the very first years of the Church's existence.  Formulate any questions that you may have concerning those events.  I will concentrate on the historical, cultural and religious setting for both Christ's ministry and the early Church's formation.

Some questions to prepare for:

  • Was first c. Judaism monolithic or diverse?  How did this affect Christ's ministry?

  • Who was responsible for the death of Christ?

  • What is our primary source for the first decades of the Church's existence?

  • Who were the Hellenists?

  • What is meant by the expression "trilingual Palestine?"

  • What were some of the major obstacles that made it difficult for the Gospel to spread?



Looking forward to our first session tomorrow evening!

More info and links to order the book are on our Adult Education Page...

 

 

Sat-Sun Schedule, Fall Class, Lazarus Basket, more

Join us for our Fall Class, Thursdays beginning Nov 7!
Join us for our Fall Class, Thursdays beginning Nov 7!
November 1, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Looking Forward to Sunday
 
I have recovered from the kidney stone that plagued me last weekend.  Or so I believe.  I am hoping that today's doctor's appointment will simply verify that.  However, I had quite a bad reaction to the pain medication - actually a narcotic - that I took for a few days and that set my recovery back a few extra days.  For that reason, I thought it best to cancel Great Vespers on Saturday and start "fresh" at the Lord's Day Liturgy on Sunday morning.  So, the schedule for the weekend is as follows:
 
NO Great Vespers on Saturday
Hours & Divine Liturgy on Sunday at 9:10 and 9:30 a.m.
 
I am very much looking forward to serving the Divine Liturgy this coming Sunday with everyone assembled together in the "communion" of the gathered Body of Christ!


 
 
Fall Adult Class to Begin
 
This year's Fall Adult Education Class will begin on Thursday evening at "around" 7:45 p.m.  We will first serve Vespers at 7:00 p.m. and the first session will follow in the parish library in the Education Center. Hopefully, everyone has already purchased their copy of Formations and Struggles, by Veselin Kesich.  We will cover the first two chapters on Thursday evening.  Even if you will not have read the chapters by then, do not let that keep you away. You can always catch up with the reading. 

I assure you that you will learn a great deal in this class about the earliest formation of the Church and that it will not only be informative, but fascinating and exciting.  Do you have the slightest interest in knowing what we believe and practice and why?  Then this class is for you!

More info and links to order the book online are on our Adult Education page.


 
Lazarus Basket
 
We will resume collecting everyone's donation to our so-called Lazarus basket by the Cross at the end of the Liturgy.  We want to give everyone the opportunity to respond to the Gospel by ignoring the example of the rich man who was indifferent to poor Lazarus outside his gate.  We then "actualize" the Gospel reading of this parable:  Upon kissing the Cross, the basket that is waiting there represents Lazarus.  Each and everyone of us is the "rich man." You can walk past Lazarus, or else stop and put your offering into the basket. Once the collection is complete we will respond to appeals that come to the parish and distribute our collection appropriately.

 

Kairos Prison Ministry
 
Our prison ministry will be present at the Kairos Program at Warren C.I. over the weekend.  Andrew Herbst will be participating this weekend, so please keep him in your prayers.
 
 
Daylight Savings Ends
 
Please remember to set your clocks back one hour Saturday night.  For those who chronically come to church late, perhaps it would be better to wait until after Liturgy on Sunday.  

 
 
Scriptural Readings at Sunday's Liturgy
 
Epistle:  II COR. 11:31 - 12:9
Gospel:  LK. 8:41-56
 
 
Acolyte Schedule
 
Team 2
 
 
Refreshments/Coffee Hour
 
Krueger
 
 

Fall Adult Class begins Thursday, Nov. 7

Join us for our study of the Early Church!
Join us for our study of the Early Church!
October 28, 2013

Dear Parish Faithful,


 
Slow Progress
 
I understand that everything went pretty well Sunday in church, beginning with the Reader Service. And I further learned that there were 35 students in Church School following the service. All things considered, that is an encouraging number.  I am looking forward to getting back on my feet, so to speak, but I continue to contend with a formidable opponent - a 3 mil. kidney stone that is in no hurry to abandon its current residence. The practical effect of that is to limit my mobility and over-all activity. Who would have thought that one of the celebratory moments in life would be a passed kidney stone!  Then again, low expectations can lead to more satisfying results. I would like to thank everyone for the kind notes, greetings, well-wishes and prayers. Hope to see everyone soon!
 
 
Fall Adult Education Class
 
A posting announcing our upcoming Fall Adult Education Class has already appeared on our parish website.  The class will begin on Thursday evening, November 7, at 7:30 p.m.  As further announced we will  be reading the book Formation and Struggles, by Veselin Kesich. This is a comprehensive history of the first two centuries of the Church's history.  I would suggest that all planned participants acquire a copy of the book on their own - SVS Press, amazon.com., etc.  If I recall correctly, the book should divide in such a way that we will cover two chapters in each of our six scheduled sessions.
 


 

Schedule Change II: Readers Service with Church School to Follow

October 26, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,

I made the mistake of taking my doctor's advice by scheduling Liturgy for tomorrow morning. I now realize I cannot serve the Liturgy, because of repeated bouts with kidney stone pain since my appointment. Therefore, here is a revised schedule for tomorrow morning:

  • Reader Service at 9:30AM
  • Church School following the Service
  • Refreshment hour to follow


We would like to maintain the continuity within the Church School curriculum, so I encourage all parents especially to make a point of being present for the service and Church School classes.

I sincerely apologize for the confusion. It is extremely difficult to find a "supply priest" in our area at any time, and virtually impossible at the "eleventh hour."

In Christ,

Fr. Steven

 

 

Schedule Change, Heritage Dinner, Fall Class

Fall Class begins week of Nov 4!
Fall Class begins week of Nov 4!
October 25, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 

Schedule Change — No Vespers Sat. 10/26
 
Since I do feel much better today, I will serve the Liturgy on Sunday.  So, we will have Liturgy on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m.  Great Vespers tomorrow (Saturday, October 26) remains cancelled.
 
Fr. Steven

Heritage Dinner Thank You

We would like to thank everyone for their support of this year's Heritage Dinner. We made a total of $725. Special thanks and appreciation to everyone who helped with set up, cooking, baking, donations and the huge clean up.

With love in Christ,
St. Katherine's Sisterhood

 

Scroll down for more recent parish news...

 

Stewardship Sunday, Heritage Dinner, Fall Adult Class, more

Join us this Sunday for our Annual Heritage Dinner!
Join us this Sunday for our Annual Heritage Dinner!
October 18, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Stewardship Sunday
 
Last Sunday we heard a presentation from Steve Korach and Mickey Callender about some of the future parish projects that we are hoping will materialize in the near future. This presentation was connected to our ongoing project of raising our collective consciousness about practicing Christian Stewardship on a parish-wide basis.  In other words, our projects will only be as successful as the funding behind them, and that, in turn, is dependent upon  our practice of Christian Stewardship. It was further announced that we will pass out the Pledge Form for 2014, in the hope that household will think its pledge through prayerfully and make that pledge by November 17.  You will receive a packet if you are in church that will contain some other material in addition to the Pledge Form.  For those who will be absent this Sunday, the packet will arrive in the mail early next week.
 
 
Heritage Dinner on Sunday
 
Final reminder of our Heritage Dinner scheduled for this coming Sunday immediately after the Liturgy and post-Liturgy discussion.  This year we will be able to enjoy Bulgarian/Macedonian cuisine.  The flier states: "donations welcome."  There is no set price, but in the past the "suggested donation" has always been $5.00 per person and $20.00 per family regardless of your family's size. 

The donations will go to the St. Katherine's Society, as this event is sponsored by the parish Sisterhood.  Please plan on staying and enjoying a fine meal!
 
 
Church School & Adults Study Together
 
This year's upcoming Fall Adult Education Class will have a "curriculum" very similar to that of this year's Church School Program.  As our Church School students are studying Church History at various age-appropriate levels; so shall our Adult Class concentrate with more detail on perhaps the most important era of Church History, and that is the apostolic and post-apostolic era until the end of the second century.  Our parish website of www.christthesavioroca.org now has direct links to the different places from which you can purchase our chosen text of Formation and Struggles by Veselin Kessich.
 
 
Children's Play Day
 
Here is also a reminder of the Children's Play Day scheduled for Saturday, October 26 and hosted by Presvytera Deborah at our home. (I just remembered that I have other plans for that day and time).  Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 23, so that she can plan appropriately.  Mothers (and fathers!) are welcome, as this also offers the opportunity for socializing and getting acquainted with others.  Ages are from birth to 3rd - 4th grade or thereabout.
 
 
Timely Topic This Weekend
 
I hope to see some of you at St. James Orthodox Church tonight and/or Saturday for the retreat led by Fr. Paul Tarazi on the subject of "Science and Religion." (Scroll down for more info and flier...)
 
 
Liturgical Schedule for this Weekend
 
Great Vespers - Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Hours - Sunday at 9:10 a.m.
Divine Liturgy - Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
 
 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday's Liturgy
 
Epistle:  II COR. 6:16-7:1
Gospel:  LK. 16:19-31
 
The homily will concentrate on the Gospel reading of the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man.
 
 
Church School
 
Last Sunday's Attendance - 48 students
Curriculum - Spread of the Gospel
 
 
Acolyte Schedule
 
Team 2
 
 

Fall Adult Education Class, Responding to Lazarus

Available from SVS Press & Amazon
Available from SVS Press & Amazon
October 16, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Upcoming Class in the Fall
 
This year's Fall Adult Education Class will begin the week of 11/4.  However, I am not quite sure on what day of the week we will schedule the class because of the following "dilemma:"  Since I am currently teaching our diaconal students as part of the Midwest Diocesan Diaconal Program, I will have to combine the two classes.  There are only so many evening during the week, and so many books and preparation that I will have the appropriate time for.  So for this year, I am hoping to shift the course to a Wednesday or Thursday evening.
 
The question, therefore, is the following:  If you plan on attending the class, please tell me which evening - Wednesday or Thursday -  would you not be able to come.  My preference is for Thursday, but my main goal is to allow for as much participation as possible.  Please get back to me as soon as possible if one of these two evenings would not work for you.  And please tell me, of course, if neither evening would work.
 
We have an excellent book chosen for this year's class: Formation and Struggles by Veselin Kesich.  Professor Kesich, one of my former teachers at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, has written a wonderfully informative historical study of the Church's first two centuries.  What was so immediately compelling about the Gospel message of Jesus Christ? How and to what extent did the Church expand in its initial days?  What was the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the one Church of Christ? What obstacles had to be overcome?  To what extent did the earliest Christians face persecution? What was the linguistic, social, cultural, religious and political context of early Christianity?  What were the main beliefs and practices of our spiritual ancestors?  Following the apostles, who were some of the great figures of early Christianity? All of these important questions and much more are covered by Prof. Kesich in his highly accessible book.  Formation and Struggles is available from St. Vladimir's Seminary Press and, of course, through amazon.com for under $20.00.
 


 
Responding to Lazarus
 
This Sunday we will hear the Gospel parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (LK. 16:19-31).  It has been our parish tradition for a few years now, to "actualize" the challenge of this parable by having a basket by the Cross following the Liturgy (and probably for a couple of subsequent Sundays to allow for full parish participation).  This basket represents Lazarus and thus we have the choice of walking past him as did the rich man and offering no assistance; or of pausing and placing  our contribution into the basket in order to separate ourselves from the rich man's example.  I certainly like to think that this should be a very clear choice.  We will then determine the recipient(s) of everyone's generosity.

 

 

Science & Religion, Heritage Dinner, Commitment or Convenience?

Science & Religion Retreat Flier - Click to Enlarge!
Science & Religion Retreat Flier - Click to Enlarge!
Science & Religion Retreat Flier - Click to Enlarge!
October 14, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
“Science and Religion”
 
The announcement below and the flier at right to this current “In the Life of the Parish” is FYI.  I would highly recommend considering this retreat with Fr. Paul Tarazi at St. James Orthodox Church in Loveland on Friday & Saturday, October 18-19.  Fr. Paul was my Old Testament professor at St. Vladimir’s Seminary.  He was a very demanding and dynamic teacher who expected total commitment from his students, because the subject was the Holy Scriptures.  He is older now, but “back then,” at least, he always had an inner fire that lent a kind of prophetic tone to his teaching.  His topic, “Science and Religion,” is about as essential as they come in our confused times.  Fr. Paul’s knowledge of the Scriptures is inexhaustible. I will definitely attend the retreat, so please let me know if you also decide to attend. Or register direct by email to ron.skulas@gmail.com.
 
 
Dear Father & Faithful Parishioners,
          
            Christ is in our midst!
 
Our parish "St. James" in Loveland OH is hoping that you will join us this upcoming Retreat with "Fr. Paul Tarazi" on Friday and Saturday, October 18-19.   We ask that you will kindly promote this event in throughout your parish.
 
Yours in Christ
Fr. Amin Houli
 
 


Commitment or Convenience?
 
I would like to further encourage everyone to make more of an effort to arrive at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy on the Lord’s Day. 

The opening doxology – “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” – announces our destination as a community of believers who place the “Kingdom of God” before all else (MATT. 6:33) - if, indeed, we take the Gospel seriously.  Looking at our parish practice, I would estimate that at most only about one-fourth  of our total attendance at a given Sunday Liturgy is there at the beginning.  That is quite low.  I repeat:  once you establish a pattern, that pattern is hard to break, even if your life circumstances have changed in such a way that late arrival at the Liturgy is no longer justifiable or “for a cause worthy of a blessing.”  I would further encourage you to think in terms of commitment, rather than convenience. 

 

St. Katherine’s Heritage Dinner

Sunday, October 20 2013 • Following the Divine Liturgy
Bulgarian / Macedonian Cuisine, Music and Dancing

Fundraiser Dinner for St Katherine's Ladies Society ~ Donations Welcomed!

Menu: Chicken & Rice, Green Salad, Home made rolls & Pita, Yogurt, Feta Cheese & Olives, Grapes, Ravennea Syrup Cake, Pound Cake, Kourabethes, Rice Pudding, Beverages

Flier in PDF formatMore info here.


 

Service Schedule, Treasurer\'s Report, Church School, more

September 20, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Services for the 13th Sunday After Pentecost
 
Great Vespers – Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Hours – Sunday at 9:10 a.m.
Divine Liturgy – Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
 
We will hear a report from our parish treasurer about the delayed budget for 2013 during the post-Liturgy discussion.
 
 
Curriculum to Begin
 
After last Sunday’s Church School orientation and picnic, the students will begin their curriculum this coming Sunday.  The Church School students leave for their respective classes following the reception of Holy Communion.
 
 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
 
Epistle:  I COR. 16:13-24
Gospel:  LK. 5:1-11
 
 
Acolyte Schedule
 
Team #2

 

Elevation of the Cross, Church School, Parish Photo, Picnic

September 13, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
“Before Thy Cross”
 
Having completed our celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, we are today on the eve of the Feast day of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross.  That means that we will serve Great Vespers this evening at 7:00 p.m. culminating with the procession of the Cross into the middle of the church for our veneration. The Liturgy for the Feast on September 14 is tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m.  As this is a Saturday, I am hopeful that there will be more than a few parishioners scattered throughout a near-empty church.  That, of course, is up to you and not up to me.
 
The Feast of the Cross, regardless of what day of the week it falls on is treated as a “strict fast day.”  This simultaneous combination of a feast and a fast perfectly captures the paradox of the Cross, for “through the Cross joy has come into the world.”  A practicing and committed Orthodox Christian would make a point of not ignoring this ecclesial directive.
 
 
Church School – Parish Photo – Picnic
 
One last “umpteenth” reminder of the many things going on this Sunday, beginning with the start of the Church School year. Parents have already received a much more detailed mailing concerning this.  There is then the parish photo immediately following the Liturgy with the picnic to follow.  There is a flier that will be made available in the church with directions for the picnic.
 
As in the past, we now need to return to our practice of allowing the students and their teachers to first receive Holy Communion before everyone else does.  This, of course, allows them more time to get organized for their respective classes.
 
There is no Refreshment/Coffee Hour this Sunday.
 
 
Seminary Appeal Completed
 
We collected $537.00 for the Midwest Diocesan Seminary Appeal.
 
 
A Pastoral Directive
 
A few of my students have already been to the Liturgy and some have written papers about their experience.  One or two have mentioned how parishioners bring them prosphora/blessed bread after having received Holy Communion.  I have repeatedly asked that you do not give my students blessed bread at that point in the Liturgy.  Many believe that you are bringing them Holy Communion and this is very confusing to them, and it may put them in an awkward situation.  I believe that this is a fairly straightforward and fair request.  I inform my students that they are free to approach the Cross at the end of the Liturgy and receive some prosphora.   So, again, as a pastoral directive, please refrain from taking blessed bread back to my students after having received Holy Communion.  They will still like you.  I know this because they tell me how friendly and kind everyone is to them – even without the prosphora.
 
Somewhat on this theme:  Please limit the amount of prosphora that you take following Holy Communion to a piece or two.  A “handful” (a temptation for some of our children from what I am being told) is a bit much, and there are some Sundays when we get perilously close to running out of prosphora before everyone receives a piece at the very end of the Liturgy.  There is a lesson in sharing somewhere in this.
 
 
Treating the Church (Hall) Like Home
 
Now that Church School is beginning, parents and their children need to work together to keep the stage in the church hall clean and in good order.  For more than one reason, but at least because the pre-school children meet on the stage on a regular Sunday basis.  It is not the Church School’s responsibility – or any particular teacher’s – to do that clean-up on behalf of the children/students.  If your child is going to bring food and drink onto the stage after the Liturgy, then it is up to those children – perhaps with the assistance of their parents – to make sure that the stage is left as neat and clean as when they went up there.  Otherwise, in all fairness, the stage will be off limits to eating and drinking.
 
 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
 
Epistles:  I COR. 15:1-11 & GAL. 2:16-20 (Cross)
Gospels:  MATT. 19:16-26 & MK. 8:34-9:1 (Cross)
 
 
Altar Boy Schedule
 
Team #1
 
 

Nativity of the Theotokos, Church School, Parish Photo, more

Nativity of the Theotokos, 16th c, Cretan School
Nativity of the Theotokos, 16th c, Cretan School
September 6, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
First of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Liturgical Year
 
The joyous Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos falls on the upcoming Sunday this year (September 8).  This means that we will be able to celebrate this wonderful feast as a large body of believers assembled together for the Liturgy.  This also means that the festal Great Vespers on the eve of the feast will be served this Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.  At this service we are all anointed with oil and receive a piece of blessed bread. 

Here, again, is an opportunity to begin the Church New Year with a renewed commitment to participate in the services of the Church beyond the Liturgy on Sunday morning.  As a progressive rock band from the past (surprisingly)  sang:  “He (i.e. God) is not the kind you wind up on Sundays.”  From the same band we also once heard the weighty words:  “God is an overwhelming responsibility.”  Our Saturday evening Great Vespers are not well-attended – often rather poorly-attended – so it would be encouraging to witness a good response to this first of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church year.  The Great Vespers on every Saturday evening is the beginning of the Lord’s Day cycle that culminates with the Liturgy and the Eucharist on Sunday morning.  Every weekend we have the opportunity to experience that cycle – to the glory of God and for the nourishment of our souls.

Festal Resource Page for the Nativity of the Theotokos, Updated for 2013!
 
 
Seminary Appeal to Continue for One More Sunday
 
A basket will again be by the Cross this Sunday in order to collect any further donations in response to our Midwest Diocesan Seminary Appeal.
 
 
Church School Beginning & Parish Picnic
 
Next Sunday, September 15, is the date for the beginning of the Church School year 2013-2014.  We expect an excellent start to the Church School year; but that, of course, is dependent upon our parents making sure that their children are present with regularity.  The parish picnic is also scheduled for that day, and further details will be posted soon.
 
 
And a Parish Photo …
 
We also have a large group parish photo scheduled for next Sunday, September 15.  Ralph Sidway will be here to take the photo.  We want to have as many parishioners as possible filling up the space of that photo, so please plan on staying beyond the Liturgy and Church School so as to a part of the parish photo.
 
 
Scriptural Readings for Sunday’s Liturgy
 
To “complicate” things a bit, this coming Sunday is also the “Sunday Before the Elevation of the Cross” which is celebrated next Saturday, September 14.  This means that in addition to the readings prescribed for the Theotokos (one of which is the great Christological hymn of PHIL. 2:5-11), we will also hear two readings that bring the Cross to mind, including the glorious passage of JN. 3:13-17.  A veritable scriptural feast!
 
Epistles:  PHIL. 2:5-11 (Feast) & GAL. 6:11-18 (Sunday Before)
Gospels:  LK. 10:38-42;11:27-28 (Feast) & JN. 3:13-17 (Sunday Before)
 
 
 

Akathist, 'Glory to God for All Things', Nativity of the Theotokos

September 4, 2013

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
Beautiful Akathist this Evening
 
For the beginning of the Church New Year, we will serve the Akathist Hymn, “Glory to God for All Things,” this evening at 7:00 p.m.  This has become a parish tradition for some years now.  For those who have been present for this beautiful work of theological poetry, it has become – and continues to remain – something of a “favorite.” 

The text of this hymn, written in the years of severe persecution of religion in the former Soviet Union, allows us to give thanks to God for all of the “good things” of this world and life with which God has blessed us in Christ by the grace of the Holy Spirit:  the world of nature that surrounds us, artistic achievement, scientific discovery, and our family and friends.  This, of course, combined with our very lives and the gift of salvation, allow us to truly thank God “for all things.”
 
Here is a good way to begin the Church Year with a sense of commitment, together with thanksgiving and joy.

 

Nativity of the Theotokos
 
Our commitment to the life of the Church is “tested” very early in the Church new year with the celebration of the first of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church this coming weekend.  September 8 is the date of the Nativity of the Theotokos – a Sunday this year.  This means that the festal Great Vespers will be served on the eve, Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.  This service, together with the special festal hymnography, features the blessing of the loaves and an anointing with oil in honor of the feast.  We have the wonderful opportunity this weekend to celebrate the Feast together as a community with a liturgical fullness that may prove impossible during the week.  It is up to us to “take advantage” of such opportunities when they arise.  

 


Jan. 3, 2014

FALL ADULT EDUCATION CLASS Join us for our Final Class Session on Thursday, January 9, 7:30pm! We will be discussion the heresy of Gnosticism, which should provoke some lively discussion. Class notes for Final Session here. Full info and links to order the book on our Adult Education page.

IOCC Kits to be completed by Sunday, Sept 29!

September 21, 2013

 

Dear CTS Church School families,

It is that time of year again!  The school supplies sales are in full swing so that means it is time to begin our first church school service project for the 2013-2014 year. We will be collecting school supplies for the IOCC School Kits campaign from now until the end of September. Our goal is to have each student in our church school donate two kits. The kits should include only the following materials...

  • One pair of blunt scissors (rounded tip)
  • Three 70-count spiral or tape-bound pads of 8” x 10-1/2” ruled paper or pads with 200-210 sheets. Please do not provide loose-leaf or filler paper.
  • One 30-centimeter ruler (12”)
  • One hand-held pencil sharpener
  • Six new pencils with erasers
  • One eraser, 2-1/2”
  • One box of 24 crayons (only 24)


Please place all of the items needed for one kit in a large zip lock bag (the two gallon size works best) and place the completed kits in the bin on the stage in the parish hall.

We encourage you to shop and assemble these kits with your children.  The primary purpose of this 'home based service project' is to help the children the IOCC services but also to allow our church school families an opportunity to volunteer together in Christ's service.

". . . as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

In Christ,

Terrie Sauer