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

September 15, 2011


Scroll down for postings from April through early September 2011, in reverse chronological order...

In the Life of the Parish ~ September 9, 2011

Posted September 11, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
This coming Sunday – 09/11/11 – is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington that occurred on 09/11/01.  Following the Liturgy we will hold a memorial service for the victims of that attack.
A reminder that everyone is invited to the home of Dinara and Chynara this coming Sunday (Sept 11).  They are hosting a dinner party, beginning at 4:00 p.m., in honor of the Nativity of the Theotokos.  In anticipation, we would like to express our thanks to them for their generosity; and our admiration for their love and respect for the Mother of God.
We had very good attendance and participation for the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos this last Wednesday evening. The service was joyful, culminating with many parishioners partaking of the Eucharist.  I hope this was a sign of a parish renewal and commitment that has been inspired by the recent beginning of the Church New Year.  A little planning can go a long way when based upon precisely such a commitment that includes the liturgical life of the parish.
We are now already preparing for our next major Feast day this coming week:  The Exaltation of the Cross on September 14.  This time, we will serve Great Vespers with the procession and veneration of the Cross on Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m.  The Divine Liturgy for the Feast will be celebrated on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. An Akathist Hymn in honor of the precious and life-giving Cross will then be chanted on Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. All services posted on our Worship Schedule Page...
Church School will begin next Sunday, September 18.  That also means that our Picnic Parish will occur next Sunday.  A flier should be available with more information in the church this coming Sunday.
As I wrote earlier in the week, Mother Gabriela of the Dormition Monastery in Michigan will be our guest next weekend.  She will be with us – together with another of the monastery’s mothers – for the Liturgy on Sunday, September 18; and she will give a brief talk on the over-all state of the monastery and their building projects following the Liturgy.  We will continue our collection on behalf of the monastery both this coming Sunday and next Sunday.
Important Upcoming Events:
Our next Parish Discussion Forum next Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the education center here at the church.
A household gathering hosted by Paul and Kris Gansle on Sunday, October 2, where we will pray for our children through the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God, “Nurturer of Children.”  More details, including the time, will be announced shortly.
On Tuesday evening, October 11, we will be hosting a presentation by Dr. Daniel P. Buxhoeveden, PhD. entitled “Science and Christianity in Dialogue.”  He will also speak at Miami University in Oxford on Monday evening.  Dr. Buxhoeveden – an Orthodox Christian - is the founder and director of the Religion and Science Initiative at the University of South Carolina.  A flier will be prepared soon and more information about Dr. Buxhoeveden will be provided.  Please mark this date and commit to attending a talk on a very important contemporary issue.

Scroll down for past news from Summer 2011

In the Life of the Parish ~ Stewardship FAQ #, Forum

The Widow's Mites
The Widow's Mites
The Widow's Mites
August 25, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Here is the third installment of the article “Frequently Asked Stewardship Questions.”  We ask  every member of the parish to read “Part Three” with care and then formulate any further questions or concerns based upon the content of the article.  Our Stewardship Committee would be glad to answer any further questions.  The article in its wholeness is meant to anticipate the types of questions that inevitably arise when stewardship is being discussed on a parish level.  By posing and answering these questions in a thorough and open manner, we are hoping to clarify any possible misconceptions that may serve as an obstacle to the practice of responsible stewardship.

For more information on our Parish Stewardship Program, and to read the first two FAQs, pleae proceed to our Stewardship Page. 

Part Three is of particular interest and importance, for you will find  an excellent description of the very concept of Stewardship; followed by an equally clear description of Pledging.  I believe that this part of the article effectively addresses the types of issues/concerns that cause hesitation in the practice of pledging.
Please remember our first Parish Discussion Forum scheduled for Friday, September 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the church.

Fr Steven

In the Life of the Parish ~ Stewardship News

August 18, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
As announced last week, our parish Stewardship Committee has scheduled two upcoming Parish Discussion Forums that will allow all parishioners in attendance to express an open opinion on the future development of parish projects and direction.  The first of these forums is scheduled for Friday, September 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the church.  Please mark that date on your calendars.
In preparation for these discussions, we will continue to send out  further installments of the article entitled “Frequently Asked Stewardship Questions” over the next few weeks in preparation for our first forum.  The first installment went out on August 10.  You are now receiving the second installment attached here for your convenience, with two more yet to be distributed.  Even a cursory glance at this article will reveal that a good deal of time, effort and research has gone into it.  Therefore, we ask everyone to read through each part carefully and thoughtfully.  As stated earlier, all and any questions, comments, and criticisms are more than welcome.
In Christ,
Fr. Steven

In the Life of the Parish ~ August 12, 2011

Updated August 13, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Often during a fasting season, we combine charity/almsgiving with our prayer and fasting.  This year, beginning tomorrow, and extending until the Sunday following the Nativity of the Theotokos (8/14 – 9/11), we will be collecting donations for the Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction, MI.  This is the monastery that we organize a pilgrimage to every-other year; and the monastery where Mother Gabriella is the abbess.  She has visited us in the past, together with Archimandrite Roman, the resident “elder” of the monastery.  The community is now building a new church that will stand in the very center of the monastery, and our donations will go toward the construction of the church.

There will be a Memorial Service for Presvytera Deborah’s brother, Christopher Thomas, this Sunday following the Liturgy.
Our Catechetical Class will meet on Monday evening at 7:00 p.m.
Our Stewardship Committee met again on Thursday evening, August 11.  Realizing that this is a parish-wide endeavor; and wanting to hear from all committed parishioners concerning the future direction of our parish for the next few years (three – five?); it was decided that this could best be done within a parish discussion forum. 

Therefore, the Stewardship Committee, with my blessing as the parish priest, has scheduled just such a Parish Discussion Forum for Friday evening, September 2, and a second such meeting on Friday evening, September 16.
  This will be further elaborated on, but at the moment we should point out that this will be an informal meeting about ninety minute in length in which all parishioners – new and old - who are present may express their opinions about future projects and direction for the parish.  This data will be carefully gathered and assessed for definite priorities for the future.  There will be no decision-making at these forums.  And this is not a pledge drive or a forum designed to request any funding.  It is a good opportunity to meet as a parish and discuss the future direction of the parish based on everyone’s input.  The forums will begin at 7:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.

In addition to these Forums, the first of a four part series of articles addressing Stewardship Frequently Asked Questions has been posted in printable PDF format. You may read it here, or go to our Parish Stewardship page to get the background story on this and all our Stewardship Committee efforts.

Scriptural Reading for Sunday’s Liturgy:
Epistle:  I COR. 3:9-17
Gospel:  MATT. 14:22-34
In the Life of the Parish ~ August 3, 2011

Dear Parish Faithful,
Our Bible Study will meet this evening (Wed, Aug 3) at 7:45 p.m., following Vespers which will begin at 7:00 p.m.  This will most likely be our last meeting as we will cover ch. 16 of Romans (the final chapter) and then the Epistle to Philemon.
There is a wonderful resource page for the Feast of the Dormition on our parish website.  There are articles, discussion of the icon and a great homily by St. Gregory Palamas on the feast.
Also on our website are links to two new Epistles on the Sanctity of (Heterosexual) Marriage.  These were both recently issued by Met. Jonah and our Bishop Matthias.
These, and the material on the Dormition Feast, can be readily accessed from our home page.
By the way, Bishop Matthias is currently spending time at the Hogar San Rafael Ayau in Guatemala City.  He remains the father confessor of the madres there and tries to visit at least twice a year.  I arranged with him to take down a few small gifts for Gabriela, the young girl that we are currently sponsoring.
A reminder that the Vesperal Liturgy, followed by the blessing of fruit baskets, will begin at 6:00 p.m. on this coming Friday evening, August 5.
In the Life of the Parish ~ July 23, 2011

Dear Parish Faithful,
We have two candidates who are enrolled in the Diocesan Diaconal Program – Johnothon Sauer and Paul Gansle.  A major part of this program that is meant to prepare them for ordination to the diaconate in due time, is a rigorous program of Orthodox studies:  Scripture, dogmatics, spirituality, liturgy, etc.  I have been appointed one of the local teachers for the program.  I have been informed by Fr. Elijah Mueller, program-organizer with the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Matthias, that the program is also open to anyone who may want to be trained as a catechist for future teaching.  Please consider if you would want to commit yourself to the program in order to receive training for such a position.  I will then provide you with more details about the scope of that commitment.
Looking ahead (so we are not caught unaware):
The two-week Dormition Fast will begin on August 1, a week from Monday.  This fast will prepare us for the last great feast of the liturgical year – the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of the Theotokos on Monday, August 15.  All sincere and serious Orthodox Christians need to make a commitment to the fast in preparation of the feast.  This year, we will celebrate the feast with Great Vespers with litya and the blessing of the loaves on Sunday evening, August 14, at 6:00 p.m.  It is at this service that the decorated tomb with the icon of the Theotokos in a position of blessed repose is venerated in the center of the church.  The Liturgy of the Feast will be served on Monday morning, August 15, at 9:30 a.m.
The feast of the Transfiguration of Christ falls during this period.  This wonderful feast of divine light and beauty occurs on August 6.  This year, we will serve the Vesperal Liturgy on Friday evening, August 5, at 6:00 p.m.  We will bless fruit baskets at the end of the service.  As we commemorate and celebrate the “light of Tabor” that shone from the transfigured Christ, this will be our Orthodox version of “Friday Night Lights!”
Our Catechetical Class will resume on Monday evening, July 25, at 7:00 p.m.  We will be discussing the Holy Spirit.  Anyone is free to join us.
We continue to pray for our expectant mothers in or attached to our parish:
Kara Fleisch
Natalie Joachim
Mia Lastra
Dawn Kormos
Amanda Vatamaniuk
Natalie Wilson
Scriptural readings for Sunday’s Liturgy:
ROM. 12:6-14
MATT. 9:1-8
The homily will be based on the text from Romans.

In the Life of the Parish ~ July 20, 2011

At the Tonsure of Mother Paula
At the Tonsure of Mother Paula
At the Tonsure of Mother Paula
Dear Parish Faithful,
We returned from our pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration yesterday evening.  Mother Paula sends her greetings to everyone.  There were eight of us from our parish at the Liturgy yesterday morning, at which I was able to serve.  It was a special day in the life of the monastery, in that the abbess, Mother Christophora, was celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of her tonsuring as a monastic.
This evening, we will celebrate Vespers at 7:00 p.m. to be followed by the Bible Study at 7:45 p.m.  We will begin Ch. 14 of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.
If you stay home to fight the heat, you may cool off your body but you may fail to warm up your heart with the fire of the Holy Spirit that comes from the living Word of God. 

In the Life of the Parish ~ June 23, 2011

Posted June 25, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
The Church celebrates a very full cycle of liturgical services in honor of St. John the Forerunner.  One of them is his Nativity on June 24.  We will have Vespers this evening, therefore, to honor St. John’s Nativity.  The scriptural description of the circumstances surrounding his birth are found in LK. 1:5-80; by far the fullest description of a birth outside of that of Christ Himself in the New Testament.  As usual, the service begins at 7:00 p.m.
Althogh a Friday, and although falling during the Apostles’ Fast, “fish, wine & oil” are allowed on this day in commemoration of St. John’s Nativity.
Johnothon Sauer is currently at St. Vladimir’s Seminary, enrolled in the summer diaconal program, as he is studying and training to eventually become a deacon.  (The same is true for Paul Gansle who will soon be a part of our parish again, as the Gansles plan on completing their move to Cincinnati by early July).    Terrie informed me that he met with a group of people from New York City a couple of nights ago in order to serve 158 homeless persons (see ACTS 6!).  We look forward to hearing more from Johnothon when he returns from New York.  Please keep him in your prayers.
We will double our number of catechumens this Sunday.  As catechumens, we already have enrolled:  Nicole Lyons, Jason O’Neal, and Matthew Joyner.  This Sunday before the Liturgy, we will further add Andrew Herbst, and Matthew & Amanda Wheelock.  We hope and pray that they will all eventually enter into the Church in due time!

As mentioned, I would like to share a photo of the young girl who will replace Francesca as the new recipient of our parish sponsorship (see attached photo).  She is the girl on the right wearing the Love and Peace shirt.  This photo was taken in Antigua where she spent the day with us last week.  To review our sponsorship, we cover the basic living expenses for one child for the entire year at $10.00 per day.  This primarily covers food, clothing, living quarters and education.
Gabriela is a bit older that Francesca, in that she will turn twelve in November.  She has an older sister (Elisa) who also lives at the Hogar.  Her mother is alive, and appears occasionally.   There is no trace of her father.  Gabriela is a very bright girl, also very warm and friendly.  Madre Ivonne may send us some more information.

Di Carter was kind enough to provide a written summary of her visit to the Hogar last week.  I very much enjoyed reading her insights about the Hogar and hope that you will too.  Please proceed to the Hogar page...

Fr Steven

In the Life of the Parish ~ June 20, 2011

Dear Parish Faithful,
Today is the beginning of the Apostles’ Fast that precedes and prepares us for the Feast of the Apostles Peter & Paul on June 29.  It is a relatively short fast this year as the length of the fast  is determined, ultimately, by the day of Pascha; for this fast always begins eight days after Pentecost, and the date of Pentecost is based upon the date of Pascha.  Not exactly a “popular” fast, and clearly the most-neglected of our lenten seasons, nevertheless the Apostles’ Fast is part of the Church’s Tradition and should not be treated with total indifference.  We will celebrate the Feast with a Vesperal Liturgy on Tuesday, June 28, thus allowing for greater parish participation.
This is a final inquiry as to who would like to join our parish pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Transfiguration on July 18-19.  We will leave on Monday morning, and return following the Liturgy and a lunch on Tuesday.
I also wanted to mention that we raised over a $1,000 to donate to the Hogar in addition to the various items we delivered there last week.
Please let me know when you will be traveling.  We will keep you in the prayer of the Church; and practically I can help you locate a near-by Orthodox church if necessary.
Schedule for this week:
Catechetical Class this evening at 7:00 p.m.
Vespers on Thursday evening (Nativity of St. John the Baptist) at 7:00 p.m.

In the Life of the Parish ~ June 4, 2011

Summer Bible Study begins Wed, June 29!
Summer Bible Study begins Wed, June 29!
Pastoral Reminders, Upcoming Classes, more...
Dear Parish Faithful,

As we approach the summer months, a few items to go over of a liturgical and pastoral nature: 

Although summer does not officially begin until June 21, for many the recently-passed Memorial Day weekend is something of an “unofficial” beginning of summer.  For that reason I would like to comment on a few parish topics from a pastoral point of view.

The summer is a time when there is a tendency to be even more “casual” than at any other time of the year.  Although some parishioners continue to “dress up” for church, there is also a trend toward the casual. (I grew up in the “dress up for church” era, but that is clearly changing).  However, casual can become “too casual.”  Here is a reminder from past guidelines to help avoid that temptation:
Short pants are not allowed when in the church – services especially, but for any other purpose also (small children can be an exception).
Dress should always be “modest” so as not to be “revealing” or to draw attention to oneself.  What would be the point to do otherwise?
The “T shirt” look with very demonstrative logos should be avoided.  We are not in church to advertise or promote the Cincinnati Reds, our favorite theme park, or a worldview slogan.
Lipstick does not work well with our liturgical practices:  kissing icons, receiving the Eucharist from the communion spoon, kissing the chalice, etc.
Another reminder/request from the past:  Try and be careful in choosing the right moment to leave the Liturgy.  Try and avoid the times when the priest is outside of the sanctuary, reading of the Scriptures, the recitation of the Creed, the consecration of the gifts, etc.  I realize that may not work well with childrens’ needs, which can become immediate, but do your best.
On another theme:  I recently heard from a parishioner about how distracting the socializing that was going on during the service was.  (This was not an allusion to parents who have to deal with and speak to their children during the service). Besides the indifference to the prayers and singing that is going on, such socializing is distracting to one’s neighbor, so we need to be considerate of others as well as of our concentration during the service.
Further, try and “hang on” another moment or two when in line at the end of the Liturgy for the blessed bread and begin loud talking and socializing when you reach the church hall.  Usually, we are hearing the Prayers in Thanksgiving for Communion, so it is only fair to those who desire to hear the prayers to have that opportunity.
And, the list would not be complete without my three “favorites:”
When in church before, during, or after the services, please avoid:
  • Crossing your legs (the “theatre look”);
  • Stuffing your hands in your pockets (the “street corner” look);
  • Spreading your arms over the backs of the pews (the “park bench” look).
Without getting too formal, we can still appreciate and practice a certain liturgical discipline that includes the body and our over-all appearance.   We are a “parish family” that should feel “at home” during the Liturgy, but in a manner that is consistent with the dignity and majesty of the Liturgy. That is the primary goal that I aim for whenever putting forward such pastoral guidelines and directives .
We will have the forty-day Memorial Service this Sunday (June 5) for Tatiana Kovalenko.
The service will be held after the Liturgy and the veneration of the Cross.
Please bring any further donations for the Hogar to church this Sunday, June 5.  Please include a list of what you have donated.  We would like to start packing our two extra suitcases – that we hope to fill up – as soon as possible, as Di Carter and I will be leaving for Guatemala on Thursday.  If you would like to make a monetary donation, please see our treasurer, Steve Joachim.
The Church School students are donating from their own money for a birthday gift for Francesca that we will deliver on their behalf.  If you are so moved to “build up” their collection, the decorated box is in the church hall when you first walk in.  I understand that we will be allowed to treat Francesca to a day in Antigua, which is always a real treat for the children when they are chosen.
Thank you so much for your generous donations.  As I have said before, it is hard to convey how deeply appreciative – and happy – the children are when they are given gifts by fellow Orthodox Christians from the States.


On Monday evening, we will complete the outstanding book The Many-Splendored Image of God, that we began in the Fall.  It is such an excellent book that I am glad we chose to complete what we began with our usual Fall Adult Education Class.  We will finish with ch. 9 and the Conclusion. Our class will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Our next Catechetical Class will be held on Monday evening, June 20, at 7:00 p.m.
Anyone is free to join us for a “refresher course.”
As of now, our Summer Bible Study will begin on Wednesday, June 29.  Since that is the Feast Day of Sts. Peter & Paul; and since we will be studying the final chapters of St. Paul’s magnificent Epistle to the Romans (ch. 12-16), that should prove to be an excellent day on which to begin.  My strong recommendation is that you should re-read ch. 1-11  before we  begin later in the month.
We have a father-and-son lawn service team that works on our church property.  Obviously, they must consider me a close friend because they always call me “Bud:” as in “How’s it goin’ bud?”  “Talk to you later, bud.”  A refreshing change of title.
in Christ,
Fr Steven

In the Life of the Parish ~ May 27, 2011

Ascension Liturgy, Hogar Donations, more...

Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Risen!
On one hand, we have remained rather “true to form” with our over-all parish “post-paschal swoon” following the Feast; a trend which begins, alas, on Bright Monday.   With all due respect to those few parishioners who make the effort – and I very much appreciate those efforts - attendance at weekday paschal services is poor.  The “Christ is Risens!” have a much fainter quality to them at this point. One of our less-edifying parish “traditions.”  On the other hand, attendance at Saturday evening’s Great Vespers has been pretty good.  I hope we can continue in that spirit. We seem to be fending off the “summer schedule” better than in the past.  And parish life has continued on other fronts:  a well-attended catechetical class and our Adult Education class.  In a few weeks, we will begin our Summer Bible Study on ROM. 12-16.
Next Thursday, June 2, is already the Feast of Ascension, which falls forty days after Pascha.  To allow for greater parish participation, we will celebrate this “awesome” Feast with a Vesperal Liturgy on Wednesday evening (6:00 p.m.).  Of course, this is another weekday service, and that will limit some of our potential participation.  Yet, due to its great theological significance – and its place in or salvation – I encourage everyone to make an effort to be present so that this marvelous Feast is not lost to the demands of daily life.  The Risen Christ is also the Ascended Christ.  The one follows organically after the other.  It is the one Christ who is risen and ascended.  My hope is that we can glorify the ascended Christ as a parish community after putting so much into glorifying the risen Christ.  Maybe not the greatest term, but that is called “follow-through.”
This weekend we will welcome into the communion of the Church, Jeremiah and Jasmine Lowry.  This will begin on Saturday evening following Great Vespers with the initial confession of faith accompanied by the appropriate prayers, and then “sealed” with the sacraments of Chrismation and Communion at the Liturgy on Sunday morning.  We always look forward to receiving new members into the communion of the Church!
Please bring your donated items for the Hogar to the church and place them on the table toward the back of the church hall (near the side door to the hall).  We are hoping to fill up (at least) two suitcases for the sake of the Hogar and the children.  Not to sound “competitive,” but I am hoping that our parish can “hold its own” when the gifts are presented with the other parish(es) that make up our Mission Team and which are going to bring  their own donations.  I realize that most people want to remain anonymous, but if you could make a list of the items, together with your names and addresses, that would be helpful and in fulfillment of a request from Madre Ines and the Hogar.
We will honor one of high school graduates this Sunday – Aaron Markvan.  Aaron will remain in Cincinnati, as a student at UC.  And we will bid farewell to Peter Tabeling, a UC student who has faithfully worshipped with us for – I believe – four years now, strengthening the choir and our readers’ group in the process.  We wish both Aaron and Peter the best in their respective futures!
In the Life of the Parish: Monastery Pilgrimage, Mission Trip, more...

May 13, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Risen!
I saw Paul Rice this morning and he is recovering well from his recent heart surgery.  He sends his greetings to the entire parish.
Little Elias Wendland – resilient as ever - has returned home.  He has improved enough to be brought home, but he is still not back to his full strength.
Livia Wendland will be leaving for a visit to her grandparents’ home in Sweden on Wednesday.  She will be travelling with her aunt – Emma’s sister Lena – and two cousins, Spencer and Anika.  Please keep them in  your prayers.
Plans for a  monastery pilgrimage have been arranged.  As of now we plan on making a parish pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Ellwood City, PA on Monday & Tuesday, July 18-19.  We can bring as many as thirteen pilgrims, so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to make the trip.  This, of course, is the monastery where Mother Paula (Sister Vicki) is a nun.  It would be wonderful if we had some “new” pilgrims who have yet to visit the monastery and Mother Paula.
In four weeks (Thursday, June 9), Di Carter and I will be leaving for Guatemala.   We are two of the  members of a Cleveland/Cincinnati Mission Team visiting the Hogar.  We will each be able to carry one extra suitcase with us that we can fill up with any items needed by the monastery.  Hopefully, I will soon come up with a list of items that anyone could donate if they so choose, and Di and I will deliver them. Because of our generous sponsorship of Francesca, we will not have an official collection in the parish.  However, if you would like to contribute to the St. Miguel home for the children still under construction (as shown to us in the DVD recently brought  by Bishop Matthias), please see our treasurer, Steve Joachim.
At the end of Great Vespers on Saturday, Jeremiah and Jasmine Lowry will become catechumens with the appropriate prayers.  This will prepare them for their Chrismation on Sunday, May 29, during the Divine Liturgy.
The baptismal Liturgy this Sunday begins with the Blessing of the Water, the anointing with oil, the  baptism itself and then Chrismation.  At that point, we sing the appointed troparia and kontakia and then enter into the Liturgy.  The post-baptismal rites of tonsuring, ablution and churching are incorporated into the very end of the Liturgy.  Please join us for a meal in honor of Konstantine’s baptism in the Church Hall following the service.
Scriptural Readings for Sunday:
ACTS 9:32-42; ROM. 6:3-11 (Baptism)
JN. 5:1-15; MATT. 28:16-20 (Baptism)
In the Life of the Parish ~ Study Groups, Prayer Requests, more...

God's Many-Splendored Image Study Returns!
God's Many-Splendored Image Study Returns!
May 4, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Risen!
I received word that our most senior parishioner, Tatiana Kovalenko, fell asleep in the Lord yesterday.  She would have been ninety-nine in August.  Her funeral service will be held on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.  More details to follow.
Please pray for Elias Wendland who is back at Children’s Hospital.  He seemed to be in fairly stable condition yesterday evening after being admitted.
Today, we resume our normal fasting discipline as Orthodox Christians, following the fast-free period enjoyed during Bright Week.  Every Wednesday and Friday are fast days during the week and part of our preparation to receive the Eucharist at the Lord’s Day Liturgy.
Last Fall, we did not complete the assigned book – God’s Many-Splendored Image – during our Fall Adult Education Class, due to the length of the book.  It is such a fine book that was so well-received by all of our class participants; and which generated such good, lively discussions; that I would like to try and complete the book before we begin our Summer Bible Study.  There are three chapters remaining in the book (ch. 7-9), so our schedule will be to meet on three Monday evenings:  May 9, 23, & June 6.
Our Catechetical Class will meet on Monday, May 16 & 30.
I will then leave for Guatemala and the Hogar on June 9 and return on June 16.  Our Summer Bible Study will begin on Wednesday evening, June 22.  We will complete our study of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, ch. 12-16.
Our grandson, Konstantine Philip, will be baptized on Sunday, May 15.  This will be a baptismal Liturgy beginning at the usual time of 9:30 a.m.
 For those who may be interested, there is a fairly-detailed description of the consecration of His Grace, Bp. Matthias, on the official OCA website. This is followed by a pretty full biography of His Grace.

in Christ,
Fr. Steven
In The Life of the Parish, Bright Week 2011

April 27, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Risen!
We need to thank God for a wonderful Holy Week and Pascha celebration. The many services were very well-attended and prayerful in spirit.  We now need to be “witnesses of these things” – the Death and Resurrection of God’s Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth - that we experienced in the Church’s rich liturgical life.  That means a moral, ethical and spiritual life that is grounded and sustained by our faith in the crucified and risen Christ.
To recognize the special nature of Bright Week, this evening we will serve the Paschal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Since I will be traveling to Chicago on Friday for the consecration of Hieromonk Matthias to the episcopacy, there will be no Vespers on Saturday evening.  I will return for the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning.   If all goes according to plan, we will have a new bishop to commemorate beginning on Sunday!
I know that some of you watched 60 Minutes on Sunday evening, and were impressed by the coverage given to Mt. Athos, clearly the main story of this segment of that popular program.  All things considered, I thought that it was well-done, with a good and respectful, script accompanying the breathtaking views of the “holy mountain,” the interiors of the large and beautifully frescoed monasteries, and the interviews with some of the monks.  For many, Mt. Athos has remained the heart of the Orthodox world since its foundation in the 10th c. during the Byzantine era of the Church’s existence.  I am hoping that in the not-too-distant future we can perhaps watch it together as a larger discussion group.

* Our webservant has posted the entire 60 Minutes Mt Athos Segment on our Media page...
Our Catechetical Class will meet on Monday evening at 7:30 p.m.  I will gladly answer any questions concerning Holy Week and Pascha, before we get into our assigned material taken from Fr. Hopko’s Doctrine book.  Anyone is free to join us.

Fr. Steven

Updated April 14, 2011
Project Mexico Fundraiser - We raised “around” $600.00 last Sunday for Project Mexico at our fund-raising meal.  In addition, another $400.00 will be added from previously collected but undistributed funds that were raised at our St. Nicholas Day Dinner last December.  That will allow us to make a generous donation to Project Mexico of around $1,000.00.  Thank you for your support.

August 8, 2011
Summer Book Club to Meet Wed. Aug 17

Dear Church School Families,

The Summer Reading Book Club will gather at the Taylor's home (9066 Ridgeway Close Cincinnati, Ohio 45236) on Wednesday, August 17th @ 7:00 pm to have our small group discussions about the books we read this summer. The evening will conclude at 8:30 so please be prompt.
The following children are signed up to participate...

The Three Trees-discussion led by Kyra Wesner
Cristina Stancescu
Hannah Miller
Katie and Nick Gansel
Livia and Leo Wendland
Charlotte Payne
Stefanie and Thomas Zidarescu

The BFG-discussion led by Melissa Payne
Damian Sauer
Leah Markvan
Andrea Stancescu
Nick Zidarescu
Shannon and Allison Payne

The Bark of the Bog Owl-discussion led by Terrie Sauer
Braden Suaer
Miriam Markvan
Justin Myers
Anna Zidarescu
Amalia Nichifor
Alexandra Taylor

Unwind-discussion led by Jeannie Markvan and Charleen Myers
Michaelanne Sauer
Sophia Myers
Jeremiah Lowry
Anastacia Taylor
Greg Farison

Please email me if you are not able to attend the discussion. I hope everyone will do their best to be there!

In Christ,

Terrie Sauer