Directory, A Great Feast, Parish Meeting, Winter Reading Circle, more
Jan 27, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
Let’s Start All Over
A new(er) version of the Parish Directory for 2012 is being prepared and should be ready by no later than next week. (I would thus disregard the version mailed out last week). This version will continue the same format as the 2009 directory, but with all of the additions and updates that have been received. It should be easier to print and read. Sorry for the false start, but again, this new and updated version will prove to be more practical and effective.
The Sunday of Zacchaeus
This coming Sunday signals the approach of Great Lent – in five Sundays or four more weeks. The Scriptural readings are:
Epistle: I TIM. 4:9-15
Gospel: LK. 19:1-10
I will be spending the day in Indianapolis tomorrow for a deanery meeting. I will be gone by 8:00 a.m. but will return in time for Great Vespers at 6:00 p.m.
Another Feast Day!
The Nativity cycle will draw near to completion on February 2, when we celebrate the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord. Forty days after His Nativity, the Lord was brought to the temple as a child by the Theotokos and St. Joseph. To allow for more parish participation, we will celebrate the Feast with a Vesperal Liturgy on Wednesday evening, February 1, at 6:00 p.m.
Annual Parish Meeting
The annual parish meeting is scheduled for a week from this coming Sunday, February 5. All such meetings are important and your presence is thus of great importance. An attempt will be made to prepare all of the necessary parish reports ahead of time for electronic distribution.
Winter Reading Circle Draws Near
Another reminder that our “Three Evenings With Chekhov” will begin on Monday, February 6, at 7:30 p.m. If you purchased the collection of short stories translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, please read the fine and insightful Introduction to those stories to get some crucial background into Chekhov and his artistic worldview. For the first evening, we will read “Panikhida,” “Vanka,” and “Ward No. 6” which will be our primary focus. A great writer should lead to some great discussions!
Call for Final Directory Updates, Report on Roberta, more
Jan 24, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
Hold That Printing
I would suggest holding off on printing out the new parish directory that was sent out yesterday, at least for a few more days. Some minor corrections and updates are coming in to me. I will make those corrections and then send out that revised version on Friday. If you have yet to include a change, please send it to me as soon as possible.
Update on Roberta
The following is from Scott, updating us on Roberta’s current health status:
Fathers, Mothers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have a mixed bag of news. Roberta does not have any new cancer in the areas previously identified as cancer, which is very good. She does have a pea size, small inflamation in the right upper lobe of her right lung. The Doctor said odds are it is not cancer and possibly an infection and will be cleared up with anti-biotics. So here is the plan. Roberta will continue with her trip to Brazil. Upon her return, she will have a CT Scan to see if the inflation has grown on March 5. If it has grown, she will have a local, outpatient procedure to "burn" the growth with a catheder. The "good news" is the Doctor has seen this 4 or 5 times this year and everytime it has turned out to be an infection. She will be taking ani-biotics for a sinus infection and she does have a fever today. Are we scared? Yes. Please pray for us and pray it is not cancer.
We would also need prayers to keep our faith and trust in God. It is more detrimental than anything else if we lose faith. This is an ongoing trial for us and our faith is continually tested. I guess we need to look to scripture and prayer for help and ask the Great Physician for more help. We can never pray enough.
March for Life, Lenten Retreat, Parish Directory, more
Jan 23, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
March for Life
An Orthodox delegation at this year’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. should be getting underway at around this time. The OCA always has a very visible presence, led by our metropolitan and many of the faithful carrying banners and icons in support of the “sacred gift of life” – to use Fr. John Breck’s effective phrase. Here is how Fr. John summarizes his presentation on the beginning of life in his book, Stages on Life’s Way:
… Human life is sacred from it very beginning, since from its
conception, it is an ensouled existence. As such, it is personal
existence, created in the image of God and endowed with a
sanctity that destines it for eternal life.
… The conclusion I drew was that human life begins at conception –
meaning fertilization, or syngamy – with the fusion of the nuclei of
sperm and ovum to produce a single-cell zygote. It seems to me
that the continuum between fertilization and birth is such that no
other point can reasonably be argued as marking life’s actual
One of our own parishioners, Andrew Herbst, is participating this year. Please pray for his safe journey back home.
Presvytera Deborah has volunteered to chair our upcoming Lenten retreat (March 31), but would very much like to do so with a co-chair. A successful retreat takes a good deal of planning and organizing, so if you would be willing to share your talents, please let me – or presvytera Deborah – know as soon as possible.
New Parish Directory
There is a very important attachment with this mailing – the new parish directory, compiled, organized and updated by our office assistant Di Carter. In our parish council meetings, we decided not to take on the cost of reprinting the directory, since almost the entire parish can receive it electronically and then print it according to your own convenience. We spent a good deal of time collecting new data and new updates. These requests were made repeatedly, so if something under your name is inaccurate or not provided, it is because you did not respond with the requested information!
However, please check the provided data under your name, and inform me of any needed corrections. I will also provide updates as I receive them.
Note: Please contact Fr Steven to request a copy of the Directory.
This Week’s Service
Vespers will be served on Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.
Parish Meeting Feb 5, Lenten Retreat, OCMC Missionary Visit, more
Jan 19, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
We have returned “safe and sound” from our short trip to the Las Vegas area for the one-year memorial service for my brother Philip. Though we flew into Las Vegas, we spent our time in Henderson, NV; and the veteran’s cemetery was a bit further south, in the city of Boulder. The service was at the gravesite and my nephews and great-nieces were all there.
Our Next Service
There are no services this week, until Great Vespers on Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m.
Annual Parish Meeting
This important meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, following the Liturgy. We need to have everyone’s pledge for 2012 before the meeting.
Mark Your Calendars
Looking ahead, I will repeat an announcement that I made in church last Sunday: We will host a Lenten Retreat on Saturday, March 31. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Peter Bouteneff of St. Vladimir’s Seminary. A flier with further details will eventually be prepared.
Also, our friend James Hargrave, who is doing missionary work in Tanzania with OCMC will address the parish on Sunday, March 18, during the post-Liturgy discussion. We will probably have a basket that Sunday to help further support James.
Travel Reminder, Men\'s Pilgrimage, more
Jan 14, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
A Final Reminder
I will be leaving for Nevada following the Liturgy on Sunday, and I will return on Wednesday evening. For pastoral emergencies, you make contact me at my new cell phone number of: 513-462-8062.
A group of men from our parish will be making a weekend monastery pilgrimage to the St. Gregory Palamas Monastery in Hayesville, OH. Our parish pilgrims seeking your prayers for a safe journey are:
Very encouraging to see our parish men taking the time and making the effort toward spiritual renewal which is a potential gift from a pilgrimage to a local Orthodox monastery.
For Sunday’s Liturgy:
Epistle: I TIM. 1:15-17
Gospel: LK. 18:18-27
Parish Meeting Feb 5, Family Blessings, Winter Reading Circle, more
January 10, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
A Child is Born
Joe and Joyce Kormos are the proud grandparents of a new baby boy – Justin Nicholas – born this last Saturday. Justin joins his brother Joseph as the second child of parents Nick and Dawn Kormos.
Good to be Back Home
It is good to be able to report that Elias Wendland has returned back home from the hospital, and it doing pretty well. He spent about a week at Children’s Hospital this time, but returned home this past Sunday morning. Elias is both resilient and strong!
Three Evenings With Chekhov
We organized a Parish Reading Circle (or Book Club if you prefer) a couple of summers ago, and have continued with placing it now in the winter as something of a pre-lenten parish event. These have been immensely enjoyable and filled with lively discussions as everyone brings a unique reading experience and perspective to some of the great works of world literature. We have already read works of Dostoevsky, Flannery O’Connor and Tolstoy (not War and Peace!). Our goal is to uncover the moral/ethical and the philosophical/religious dimension of these work of literature that each writer raises within the context of a particular worldview. We also want to appreciate the artistic structure of these works which renders each one a “classic” of world literature.
Attached is the flier announcing this year’s Winter Reading Circle. As you will see, we will be reading the Russian master of the short story and novella, Anton Chekhov. You may keep up with full info and announcements on our Adult Education page!
Books for Winter Reading Circle
Try as I might, I could not find a single volume of Chekhov novellas or short stories that contained the works that I would like our group to read together for our upcoming Winter Reading Circle in February. So, I will supply the information for the two books that we will read from. The novellas and stories we will read are:
First Session, Feb 6 – “Ward No. 6,” “Panikhida” & “Vanka”
Second Session, Feb 13 – “The Murder”
Third Session, Feb 20 – “The Student,” “The Bishop,” & “Easter Eve”
The reading material for the first and third sessions is found in Anton Chekhov – Stories, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. It sells on amazon.com for $10.20. The material for the second session is found in Peasants and Other Stories, selected and with an introduction by Edmund Wilson. This sells for $15.56. Both editions sell for less from the independent sellers listed on amazon.com. Sorry for the inconvenience or the cost, but you will be purchasing two books with an extraordinary collection of the best works of Chekhov – endless reading delight for the future.
* Updated January 14, 2012 - We have found an iPad/KIndle eBook edition of Anton Chekhov - Complete Works, for only $1.99 at Amazon.com. Full info on our Education Page.
Orthodoxy on YouTube
There is a new and fascinating video on YouTube, entitled “Revival Orthodoxy in Russia (Exhibition in Moscow).” The video is done very professionally, and it is a positive example of technology in the service of the Church – something you will see in the manner in which this exhibit is presented in Moscow. There are some scenes that are quite moving. The length of the video is 12:52, so you may want to keep that in mind. Anyway, something I would highly recommend. Webservant's Note: We are now featuring this video on our Orthodox Media page!
Annual Parish Meeting Approaching
Our Annual Parish Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, immediately following the Liturgy and some light refreshments. More detail will be provided in a separate letter very soon. For now, please mark the date.
Theophany, Prayer Request, Calendars, Pledges Due
January 5, 2012
Dear Parish Faithful,
In the Hospital
Elias Wendland remains at Children’s Hospital. He is stable and hopefully will go home in the not-too-distant future if he maintains that stability.
The Theophany of the Lord
This evening, the Vesperal Liturgy for the Feast of Theophany will begin at 6:00 p.m. The Blessing of the Waters will begin immediately upon completion of the Liturgy. If you would like to take some holy water home, please bring an appropriate vessel in order to do so.
A sign-up sheet for house-blessings will be available in the church hall by this weekend. I am able to bless homes tomorrow, January 6, during the day; and also on Saturday during the day.
Our special Theophany Resource page has been updated for 2012.
The Church calendars for 2012 have arrived. They will be available for purchase this coming Sunday. We are asking that a $5.00 donation be made per calendar.
Gathering Your Pledge
We continue to remind everyone that your pledge for 2012 will be greatly appreciated. How does responsible and committed Christian stewardship sound for a New Year’s resolution?
The 2012 Pledge Form is available online for your convenience. Visit our Stewardship page for more info.
Fast Free Period, New Year\'s Celebration, Men\'s Pilgrimage, more
Dec 29, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Born!
Fast-Free Period Up to Theophany
Just a reminder that the longest fast-free period in the Church is between December 25 – January 4, inclusive. January 5 is then a strict fast day in preparation for the Feast of Theophany on January 6. For that next great Feast, we will serve a Vesperal Liturgy on Thursday, January 5, at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Great Blessing of Water.
New Year’s Celebration
We will definitely celebrate the new civil year, 2012, in our own ecclesial manner: Great Vespers on Saturday evening, December 31, and the Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning, January 1. If you are also going to celebrate the new year socially on December 31, I encourage everyone to first come to church and glorify God who is the Lord of both time and history. In anticipation of a “good time” on New Year’s Eve, one can lose sight of the meaning of the passage of time which leads us toward the Kingdom without end when time itself will come to an end and God will be “all in all.” The passage of time without its movement toward God is simply the nightmare of being swept toward an eventual death that draws us back into the nothingness from which we emerged. Some “Happy New Year” at that point! We thus return to our need to thank God and prepare for the unknown future of a new year with prayer strengthened by humility and a renewed awareness of how profoundly we need God in our lives: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (ROM. 7:24-25)
To put that a bit more practically – and pastorally: To accept an invitation or to make New Year’s Eve plans that do not include first coming to church for Great Vespers and the commemorations of January 1; combined with prayers for the new civil new year, will mean that you are totally unprepared to receive the Eucharist at the Liturgy on Sunday. I realize that many of you do not come to the Saturday evening Vespers as it is, but to go out and “party” and ignore God in the process is really “missing the mark” (the actual definition of sin). By making that choice, the honest and honorable thing to do is to not approach the Chalice. We practice “frequent Communion,” but not “casual Communion.” I ask everyone to please respect this pastoral admonition.
Men’s Monastery Pilgrimage
Terry Morgan has organized a men’s pilgrimage to the St. Gregory Palamas monastery near Mansfield OH on the weekend of January 13-15. Seven male members of the parish have signed-up, but there is room for more. More info is available on our Monasteries page. Please contact Terry if you would like to join the group: email@example.com
Fr. Steven will be traveling
Looking ahead: On the same weekend, I will be leaving for Nevada on Sunday afternoon following the Liturgy together with presvytera Deborah. We are going there because I will serve a one-year memorial at the gravesite of my brother Philip who died last year. I will return on Wednesday, January 18.
A Bright and Festal Nativity
Dec 26, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
Christ is Born!
I hope that everyone had a joyous Christmas Day yesterday. I further hope that your family gatherings had more in common with the spirit of the Cratchet family (A Christmas Carol); than that of the Griswold family (National Lampoon Christmas Vacation).
Be that as it may, for the many of us who were in church to celebrate the Nativity of Christ, we began the day with a wonderful Liturgy that was bright, festal and genuinely communal. The church was quite filled, with both parishioners and a fair share of guests making up the body of believers. Most everyone present received the Eucharist. A Feast that begins with an acknowledgment of the transcendent is a real “holy day;” while a gathering that lacks such an acknowledgment is reduced to being a “holiday.” (Perhaps that captures something of the difference between the Cratchet family of Dickens’ imagination: poverty dignified by selflessness, love and the presence of Christ; and the Griswold family of Hollywood’s imagination: affluence trivialized by a self-generated dysfunction and the presence of …?).
Tomorrow - Tuesday, December 27 - will be the Third Day of the “Winter Pascha,” as Nativity is also regarded. On this day we commemorate the Protomartyr Stephen. In addition to looking forward to serving the Liturgy on my Saint’s Day; we will also acknowledge the fact that we have more Stephens or Stevens (or Stephanies, for that matter) in the parish than any other name – male or female - I believe. (Please correct me if I am mistaken). But, alas, there are no upcoming Stevens in the Church School or our new crop of babies, so our reign will apparently be of only a relative duration.
The Liturgy is scheduled for 9:30 a.m.
Church Fills Up Ahead of Nativity, Charity Reports, more...
Dec 22, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
More Parishioners Discovering the Reason for the Season
Without a doubt, more parishioners than ever have been attending the prefestal Vespers this week, leading us up to the Feast on Saturday-Sunday. In the past, there may have been a few brave souls scattered through the church for these services, but this week we have had the presence of a “body of believers” gathered together to focus on the upcoming Feast and “de-commercialize” as well as “de-velocitize;” to pray, and to hear the rich hymnography that praises the incarnate Son of God as well as venerate His most-pure Mother. This is especially true of yesterday evening, when the church was filled with a large body of faithful, including many of our Church School age students. A little effort and planning – when combined with desire - can go a long way.
There is one more prefestal Vespers this evening at 7:00 p.m. We’ll see you there!
We are also ready for the Royal Hours on Friday morning, since four readers have come
forward to chant the services together with me.
The Angels Come Through
Yesterday, all of the gifts that our parish “angels” helped provide for needy families were picked up so as to be delivered in time for Christmas. We had a huge collection that we barely managed to fit into two vans. The two women, representing the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati, expressed their gratitude to all of the good angels in the parish who made a contribution that would allow the less fortunate among us to experience some seasonal joy.
Lazarus Basket Goes Far
We have also distributed our earlier “Lazarus Basket” collection from October. If you recall, the response to this appeal was excellent, in that we collected about $2,200.00. We try and distribute this collection locally, and here is a basic breakdown of how these funds were used:
We discussed this at our Parish Council meetings, and we believe that these generous funds have been distributed responsibly and to good effect.
Charlene Myers is recovering well at home following recent gall-bladder surgery. I haven’t sent out a “Life in the Parish” for a few days, so I apologize for being late in passing this on.
St Nicholas Charity Dinner, Schedule, Confession, Nativity Services...
Dec 13, 2011
Dear Parish Faithful,
St. Nicholas Well-honored in Play & Charity Dinner
Our annual program and dinner went very well yesterday following the Divine Liturgy on the Second Sunday Before Nativity. We would like to thank Terrie and Johnothon Sauer for organizing the play that included most of the students in the Church School. We would also like to thank Terry Moran, George Jerdack and Dinara Archie for providing and preparing the dinner that followed. This may have been our best St. Nicholas Charity Dinner on record as we collected just about $700.00 from everyone’s “donation” for the meal. The High School class, as is traditional, will choose where the money is sent after they discuss it.
Services & Events for the Week
Monday: Vesperal Liturgy at 6:00 p.m. (St. Herman of Alaska)
Tuesday: Akathist Hymn to St. Herman at 7:00 a.m.
Wednesday: Fall Adult Education Class – Session VI – at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday : Stewardship Committee Meeting at 7:00 p.m.
Friday: Youth Group Film at the home of Fr. Steven & Presvytera Deborah
at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday: Great Vespers & Confessions at 6:00 p.m.
As spoken of yesterday in the homily, most of the parish has not been to Confession as of yet with only two weeks to go before the Nativity Feast. And not one age-appropriate church school student has been to Confession yet(!) How this will work itself out in the next two weeks remains something of a mystery that perhaps God will reveal to us. If you have not been to Confession in a “long time” (Great Lent? Early summer?) then I would urge you to find time in your “busy” schedules to do so. Otherwise, you will not be prepared to receive Holy Communion when Christmas comes. If you can make an appointment for a weekday, that would be greatly appreciated. There will also be a Vespers service on Monday-Thursday evening during the week before Nativity, so you could come after one of those services. And there always remains before and after Great Vespers on Saturday.
Services for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ
Monday, December 19 – Prefestal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 20 – Prefestal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 21 – Prefestal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 22 – Prefestal Vespers at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, December 23 – Royal Hours at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., Noon
Saturday, December 24, Festal Matins at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 25, Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, December 27, Divine Liturgy at 9:30 a.m.
2012 Pledge Forms Due
Jan 6, 2012
2012 Pledge Forms are Due! - Now available online for your convenience. - If you have any questions regarding pledging and stewardship, please visit our Stewardship page, which has all the FAQ materials and much more from the special parish forums we held in 2011. Thank you for your prayerful consideration in supporting the parish!
Annual Parish Meeting, Sunday Feb 5
Jan 19, 2012
Annual Parish Meeting, Sun, Feb 5 - Plan now to remain after Liturgy and a brief coffee break for our important Annual Parish Meeting. Full reports from Fr Steven, the parish council president, treasurer, and more, plus the election of our 2012 Parish Council. Open floor for questions and discussions, as well as for nominations for parish council membership. It was at this very meeting last year that a very fruitful give-and-take led to the creation of our Stewardship Committee and its year-long mission to communicate with the parish on the principles of Christian Stewardship and Parish Pledging. You can review the Stewardship Committee's extensive work on our special Stewardship page. Watch for updates and more info soon from Fr Steven.
Men's Monastery Pilgrimage, Jan 13-15, 2012
Dec 30, 2011
Men's Monastery Pilgrimage - A group of men from Christ the Savior will be making a pilgrimage to St. Gregory Palamas monastery near Mansfield, OH, this January 13 to 15. We plan to leave on Friday afternoon once all are off work, and return Sunday afternoon. So far seven men are planning on going. The monastery has room for about 13 guests. Thus we would be glad to have a few more brothers join the journey.
If you want to participate, contact Terry Morgan at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know. If you would like to be a driver, please indicate that.
More info and photos of the monastery on our Monasteries page.
Hogar CD & DVD, Plus more updates
Dec 17, 2011
HOGAR UPDATES: New CD and DVD available for online ordering! Links to video preview of the documentary DVD, as well as audio sample of the CD available. Plus, the 2011 Hogar Nativity Message from Madre Ines.
New Member Slide Show on our Photo Gallery Page
Jan 14, 2012
Winter Reading Circle Returns! - This year we will be reading and reflecting on several short stories by the renowned Russian playwright and author, Anton Chekhov. Book ordering now available - eBook Complete Edition also available for Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle! Join us for a rich and illuminating experience! Full info on our Adult Education page...
OCF for Miami and Cincinnati Students
Updated Jan 26, 2012
Miami University OCF Group News:
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Scott Kenworthy
Contact Prof. Kenworthy or Daniel Stephen Hodges for news of regular meetings.
~ ~ ~
Cincinnati OCF: The UC/Xavier OCF Chapter is technically inactive, but students from both universities worship at and are part of the life at Christ The Savior-Holy Spirit. Please contact Fr. Steven Kostoff if you are interested in helping relaunch the Cincinnati OCF group!
OCF News, Winter 2012
Jan 26, 2012
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Well, OCF is off to an excellent start this semester! We have a good number of events planned for this semester and it should continue to be awesome! Hang with me for a minute and I'll run down the list of definite plans (chronologically).
[Webservant's note: This post has been edited to feature events open to all young adults in the Greater Cincinnati area. Meetings exclusive to the functioning of the Miami University OCF Chapter have been left out.]
-This Friday (1/27), YAL bowling in Norwood 7pm. YAL bowling in The Young Adult League (YAL) is a group of Orthodox Christians in the Cincinnati area who have begun to get a group together. Basically they are just having activities and hanging out (I went to the first event in December, it was fun!). Contact me if you're interested.
-Church this Sunday at 8:30. I'll be headed to the OCA church and giving rides. We should be back by 12:30. Let me know and I'll give you a ride!
-Father Mark coming 2/7 at 6:30pm. Father Mark Hodges has confirmed his visit for our meeting on the 7th. Brainstorm discussion topics and let me know. Also make sure you're schedule is free for that night, we need everyone to show!
-OCF Day of Prayer 2/27 at 4pm. The Day of Prayer is a national movement just to have constant prayer by members of OCF from around the country for a 24hr period. We signed up for that Monday at 4pm. More information on that later.
-OCF retreat at Dormition Monastery 3/30-4/1. Every year there is a retreat at Holy Dormition on the 5th week of Lent. OCF members from around the midwest gather for the weekend, it's really excellent! More information about that later.
There are a number of other things we're planning, visits from other priests, a trip to IU, social events. I'll let you know as the come up!
Thanks for your time!
Contact Daniel via email to join any of these activities and be included in OCF email news.