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Saints, Feasts, and Readings for 11/20/2012

Tuesday of the 10th Week
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The Forefeast of the Presentation of the Theotokos into the Temple; Gregory the Righteous of Decapolis; Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople

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Prayer Corner

Compline Prayers

Prayer to Our Lord by Monk Antiochus of Pandectis

Grant us, O Master, repose of body and soul as we go to sleep, and preserve us from the gloomy sleep of sin and from every dark and passionate pleasure of the night.  Quell the attacks of the passions; quench the fiery darts of the veil one which are treacherously directed against us.  Put down the rebellions of our flesh, and lull to sleep our every earthly and material thought.  And grant us, O God, a wakeful mind, a chaste thought, a sober heart, and gentle sleep, free from every satanic fantasy.  Raise us up at the hour of prayer, confirmed in Your commandments and having with ourselves a steadfast remembrance of Your judgments. Grant us to hymn Your glory all the night long, that we may sing, bless and glorify Your most honorable and majestic Name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and forever.  Amen.

Orthodox Reading Room

Orthodox Reading Room

The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Humble Comments and Suggestions

On January 1/14, eight days after the Holy Nativity of our Lord, we celebrate His Circumcision, one of the Feasts of the Lord, on which—in accordance with Hebrew tradition—He received the name Jesus: And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the Child, His name was called Jesus, which was so named of the Angel before He was conceived in the womb (St. Luke 2:21). The true descendants of the Patriarch Abraham were separated from the other nations by the sign of circumcision a disfigurement of Baptism:he circumcision made without hands" [Colossians 2:11ff]) and thereby became members of the God-ruled community of the Old Testament; that is, through circumcision, they entered among the chosen People of God. Read more...

A New Year's Resolution: Be A Saint!

The silent night is far gone and it is day. The Holy Family were guided by an angel and fled into Egypt because of the wicked King Herod’s desire to destroy Jesus even as a child. After his death an angel appeared once more to Joseph calling him to take Mary and Emmanuel (God with us) out of Egypt. This fulfilled the prophecy we hear from the Old Testament book Hosea 11:1, Out of Egypt I will call my son. Now God was always with His Son and at all times on every road. We can see the care given to Jesus and think to ourselves, my gosh that must be nice, to have an angel appear and let you know where God thinks you should be going and how to keep out of danger. Read more...

From Green Aprons To Black Robes

As the new priestly vestments hung in the sanctuary of Saint Michael’s Orthodox Church the morning light filled the nave casting colors of every hue over the dusted pews that awaited family, friends, and a few regulars from the coffee shop. What seemed like years of anticipation and a seminarian’s dream was now more than a present reality. There was no turning back. With not only a priestly ordination to think about and prepare for, but also Reader, Sub-diaconate, and Diaconate services to help guide as a newly ordained Deacon there was much on my mind and much to pull my thoughts. However, my heart was overjoyed for all that would occur this new day and New Year of our Church calendar Read more...

Love Your Enemies… (Luke 6:31-36).

The acid test of love is not whether we love our friends, but whether we love our enemies. A great Russian Saint asked, "How do we know whether a person abides in God and is sincere in his Christian faith? There is no other way of ascertaining this than by examining the person’s life to see if he loves his enemies. Where there is love for one’s enemy, there also is God." That is the great test of whether we are in tune with God; for that is what God Himself does. He sends His rain on the just and the unjust.Chesterton said once, Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all.But to love our enemies in a world like ours seems highly impractical. To love your enemy — some object — is to allow him to take advantage of you. To love your enemy is to let him step all over you.So we thought, until psychology and psychiatry came along and taught us a few things about hostility and hostile people. Read more...

The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God

Today the Holy Church marks the day of the Protection of the All-Holy Theotokos. This is essentially a Slavic celebration, but happens in a very few parishes of other Orthodox Churches. Most of you know that this feast arose in Greece, in Constantinople. In the Blachernae temple, St.Andrew the Fool-for-Christ, an well-known ascetic in Constantinople at that time, beheld the Mother of God during the Divine Services standing standing above all the faithful, holding her Protection above them, her archiepiscopal omophorion, invisible protecting each worshipper, each one who was in the church, striving whole-heartedly toward God. Only two people saw this spiritual vision: Read more...

The Elevation of the Precious, Life-Giving Cross

He said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. The Sermon of Sermons… is the Sermon for the Cross, presented to us today by our Mother Church, on the Sunday after the elevation of the Honourable Cross. And we are all invited to offer to the Cross our hearts, instead of flowers and basils. The Church calls us to raise ourselves from the earth and our ordinary life, to gaze upon the brightness emanating from Christ and His Cross. The most central sign in the gospel is the sermon of the Cross of Christ: God on the Cross – incomprehensible and never understandable. Only men whose hearts pound with sincere feeling are capable of comprehending the meaning. Only those who love, only they can understand the Sacrifice of the Son of God. Read more...

On The Lenten Triodion - By Fr. George Dimopoulos

A certain historian, who was a patron of St. Chrysostom and a great admirer of the saint's virtue, has preserved for us the following account. A statue of the Byzantine Empress Eudoxia was erected outside of the cathedral church of St. Sophia. The people, rather than going to church as usual, remained outside during the Divine Liturgy, dancing around the statue and celebrating its erection in front of their church. Those who were at Divine Liturgy began to leave during the sermon, in order that they might join the crowd that was already outside. Finally, only one old woman remained. St. Chrysostom did not lose his temper; rather, he preached all the more zealously. At the conclusion of the sermon, when he re-entered the holy altar, Chrysostom was asked by one of the priests why he had continued to preach Read more...

Renewal: The Wondrous Beauty of Confession and Communion

There are a number of experiences in life that can be considered transformational. Every day we learn something new that ‘transforms’ us changing our approach to life, some greater than others, but none, in my mind, are as powerful as the healing qualities of confession and communion. Read more...

The Bishop in The Church

So preaching both in the country and in the towns the Apostles appointed their first fruits, when they had tested them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons for the future believers. (The First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians). The words of St. Clement, the Bishop of Rome, written to the Church at Corinth sometime in the mid nineties of the first century, reflect the view of the ancient Church that the bishops of the Church were appointed to continue the ministry of the Apostles in the Church who in turn continued the ministry of Christ. Read more...

The Consecration (Ordination) Of An Orthodox Bishop

The Consecration (Ordination) of an Orthodox Bishop is the process during which a candidate for the Episcopate receives the fullness of the grace of the Priesthood through the Sacred Mystery of Ordination by the laying of hands (in the Greek: Cheirotonia) in succession from the Holy Apostles. The office of Bishop is the highest clerical rank in the Orthodox Church. At his Consecration, a Bishop receives grace not only to perform the Sacred Mysteries but also to bestow the grace of Ordination on others. Read more...

The Bishop Is Coming! The Bishop is Coming!

Rarely do I say something that is inclusive of every single person in a group, but in this case I will make an exception. ALL of the youth of our Diocese have known only one hierarch in their lifetime, +His Eminence Metropolitan NICHOLAS, of blessed memory. He was present for many of their baptisms, weddings, communions, camping seasons and other life events that he was privileged to participate in with them. Many of those same people were present in the Cathedral and in New Jersey to pay their respects and honor him as his soul was ushered into the Kingdom of Almighty God. Read more...

Where the Bishop Is There Is The Church

On Tuesday, November 27th, the long-awaited and much-anticipated consecration to the episcopacy of His Grace, Bishop-Elect Gregory will take place at our Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Johnstown. This will be the third time in our storied history that this ancient ceremony will take place in the Mother Church of our Diocese. Bishop Peter was consecrated here in 1963 and Bishop John in 1966, with Archbishop Iakovos being the Main Consecrator for both hierarchs. Once again, we will have a Chief Shepherd Read more...

How To Give Alms to the Homeless

We meet homeless people nearly every day on our life's path; people who are often contemptuously called ”bums.” We see them at the train station, near the subway, in town squares and parks, and of course, at the churches, asking for money. Each time we see them, our hearts deliberate painfully over the question, ”Should we give them alms, or not?” Then, other questions immediately arise, ”How much? How should we give them? Is there any sense in giving at all?” Read more...

A Reflection On The Dormition of the Mother of God - By Archbishop Demetrios

In the beautiful hymns of the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos we sing and hear of the miraculous event of the Apostles being gathered for her repose. In the Orthros, we chant the Exapostilarion: "O you Apostles, assembled here in Gethsemane from the ends of the earth, offer a funeral to my body, and You, O my Son and God, receive my spirit." Read more...

The First American Saint

He lived for a time in a cave; later a hut in the woods. His clothes were old, full of patches and always the same. He wore a 16-pound cross and chains. He slept on a wooden bench covered by a deerskin. He was in trouble with the government and accused of treason. While this description might sound like a homeless person in one of our nation's cities, this was the life of the first Orthodox saint of America: St. Herman of Alaska. Read more...

A Journey of Faith To St. John the Compassionate Mission

On Tuesday July 10th, a small group of Jr. A.C.R.Y. members and I embarked on a trip to St. John the Compassionate Mission in Toronto, Canada. The group included Fr. Miles Zdinak, Fr. Peter Paproski, Paul Zdinak, Tim Paproski, Greg Kowal, Anastasia Koss, Alyssa Waryanka, and me. Although not all of us traveled together, both cars had no trouble crossing the border. We arrived at the Mission in the late afternoon where we were greeted by Fr. Deacon Pawel. After receiving a short tour of the Mission, we were shown to our living quarters, which were in a house just a short drive away. Over the next couple of days, I had an absolutely fascinating experience as a member of the Mission’s tight-knit community. Read more...

Seeing Christ in the Face of the Homeless

I recently watched a television program series that brought attention to homelessness in the inner city. It was a great beginning about this life: a life that is difficult to experience, a life that is all to easily seen as hopeless by both those who must live on the street and those who work with them. There is a missing part that is never mentioned to people, that God would want to be those who would extend the help to people on the street and that is: people on the street could literally be your mother, father, brother or sister. There is really literally no separation between "them" and "us". Read more...

A Reflection on the Nativity - By Metropolitan Nicholas

At this special time of the Christian year, we thrill to hear the story of the birth of Christ. St. Luke's account of the Angel's announcement of this good news to the shepherds closes with these words:" And suddenly there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men of good will" (Luke 2:14) This 'peace' was not a dream of the angels. It was a real message from God to man. It was the embodiment of a divine and providential plan for human life. Read more...

On The Nativity Fast

In recent years there has been a renewed emphasis on the cycle of the liturgical year. The traditions of an earlier age are being presented to the contemporary membership of our churches in an attempt to bring a spiritual element to the cycle of daily life, which has become so secularized.One of the most important seasons to be re-discovered has been the season of Advent, the fast before the celebration of Christmas. Read more...

The 24th Sunday After Pentecost - Jairus' Daughter - A Commentary By Blessed Theophylact

Jesus returned from the country of the Gadarenes, and the multitude was waiting for Him, eager for both His teaching and His miracles. Then He was approached by a certain ruler of the synagogue, a man who was neither poor nor insignificant, but the foremost of society. The Evangelist even gives the man’s name, so that the miracle might become the more renowned through this confirmable evidence of its truth. In his great need this man falls down before Jesus, although even without the urgency of this need, he ought to have fallen down and acknowledged Jesus as God. Nevertheless, affliction can compel a man to turn to what is better, as David says when he speaks of the horse or mule which has no understanding, whose jaws thou must afflict with bit and bridle when they come not nigh unto thee [Ps. 31:9]. (1) But as Jesus went along the way to the house of Jairus, a woman drew near to Him who showed exceedingly great faith Read more...

The 22nd Sunday After Pentecost - The Parable of Lazarus and The Rich Man - A Commentary By Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria

And there was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day. And there was a certain poor man named Lazarus, who was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the poor man died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried. These words follow closely upon what was said before. Because the Lord first taught, above [Lk. 16:1-13], how we are to be good stewards of wealth, now He appropriately adds this parable which teaches the same thing through the example of the rich man. This is a parable and not, as some have foolishly imagined, something which actually occurred. For good things have not yet been allotted to the righteous, nor punishments to the sinners. The Lord, then, fashioned this story to teach those who show no mercy and give no alms what punishments await them, and to teach the suffering what good things they will enjoy on account of the sufferings they patiently endure in this life. Read more...

The 21st Sunday After Pentecost - The Parable of the Sower - A Commentary By Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria

And when many people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable: a sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the way; and it was trodden down, and the winged creatures of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it wassprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when He had said these things, He cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And Hisdisciples asked Him, saying, What might this parable be? And He said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. What David said of old, speaking prophetically in the person of Christ, has now come to pass: I will open My mouth in parables. [Ps. 77:2] The Lord speaks in parables for many reasons: to make His listeners more attentive and to stir up their minds to seek the meaning of what is said. For we are apt to be curious about sayings that are obscure in meaning and to disregard sayings that are clear. He also speaks in parables so that those who are unworthy may not understand what is said concerning spiritual mysteries Read more...

The 20th Sunday After Pentecost the Widow of Nain - A Commentary By Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria

And it came to pass the day after, that He went into a citycalled Nan; and many of His disciples went with Him, and much people. Now when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city waswith her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And He came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And He said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us; and, that God hath visited His people. Because the Lord, while not even present, had healed the centurions servant, He now performs another even more remarkable miracle. He does this so that no one could say, "What is remarkable about the healing of the centurions servant? Read more...

Growing as a Christian in the Heart of Wall Street

I have been a practicing Orthodox Christian for my entire life. Since graduating college five years ago, I have maintained a job in the “working world,” a place where my colleagues and peers are not necessarily Christian, and where I’ve worked for and with organizations that have no Christian mission or affiliation. This, by definition I think, makes me a “Christian in the workplace,” with “workplace” being defined as an ordinary work environment without a specific religious or charitable mission. After four years in undergraduate, and several internships in financial services and technology/media, I worked at a software consulting firm Read more...

The 17th Sunday After Pentecost the Woman of Canaan - A Commentary By Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria

Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region, and cried unto Him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon. But He answered her not a word. Why did He not allow the disciples to go by way of the Gentiles [Mt. 10:5], while He Himself went to Tyre and Sidon, which were Gentile cities? Learn then, that He did not go there to preach, Read more...

A Reflection On the Commencement of the Church School Year

The New Church School Year is underway in most of our diocesan parishes. Our church school teachers and parents are to be commended for their participation and involvement in the spiritual formation of our youth for in the words of St. Theophan the Recluse a 19th Century Russian Saint, Of all holy works, the education of children is the most holy. Read more...

A Reflection On the 10th Anniversary of the 911 Terrorist Attacks

There is no one amongst us who does not remember where they were or what they were doing on the morning of September 11, 2001, when the jet planes collided into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and our brave fellow citizens on United Airlines Flight 93 gave their lives to prevent a third plane from crashing into another target in Washington, DC. Read more...

A Reflection On The Dormition of the Mother of God - By Metropolitan Nicholas

The years of life seem to pass so quickly, the pace of time quickening as the years advance, and no person can escape the relentless currents that carry each of us to life’s twilight and to the inevitable encounter with the specter of our own mortality. This is our common lot in this fallen world ravaged by sin. This world, this life that progresses ruthlessly towards the grave, has been conditioned by the sin of Adam and Eve, that Original Fall with its dark consequences of pain and death. And no one can detour this sojourn through the valley of the shadow of death Read more...

On The Transfiguration of Our Lord By St. Anastasios of Sinai

Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration in the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, a foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. Read more...

A Reflection on The Feast of Pentecost

On the Christian Feast of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Mother of God and the Apostles who were gathered together in the Upper Room. John the Baptist once predicted that Christ would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Luke 3.16): at Pentecost, at nine o'clock in the morning, the prophecy of the Forerunner came true in the fullness of divine power and joy. Read more...

Bringing The Unchurched To The Well of Living Water

A long time ago, there was a theologian of the church who wrote this: Seeking me, You sat down weary; redeeming me, You bore the cross. The reference was to the Gospel account of the Samaritan Woman who encountered Our Lord at Jacob's well. This reading is prescribed by the Church to be read on the Fifth Sunday of Pascha.Certainly Jesus was tired from his journey. Certainly He was thirsty. But is there still another reason why he sat down by Jacob's well that hot day? Read more...

Bringing The Unchurched To The Well of Living Water

A long time ago, there was a theologian of the church who wrote this: "Seeking me, You sat down weary; redeeming me, You bore the cross". The reference was to the Gospel account of the Samaritan Woman who encountered Our Lord at Jacob's well. This reading is prescribed by the Church to be read on the Fifth Sunday of Pascha. Read more...

Cast Out A Prayer

In this modern world of trial and tribulation I often wonder we are to practice our faith. How much more difficult it must have been for early Christians who were persecuted for their faith often suffering death for their beliefs. What great courage it must have taken for those innocent souls to unyieldingly stand by their belief in Christ. Read more...

The Nativity of Our Lord: A Eureka Moment.

When was the last time you had a ‘eureka’ moment? I remember years ago when I was a boy living in nearby Windber, there was one big department store in town. That store had three floors just packed full of merchandise. I remember going with my mother and father shopping in that store and buying just about anything we needed. You didn’t have to go to any specialty store. you didn’t have to drive to Johnstown either. The name of that big Windber department store? It was called ‘Eureka Store’. Read more...

"Lord, Teach Us to Pray!"

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples (St. Luke 11:1). This particular passage from the Gospel of St. Luke is the introduction to the Lord's Prayer, which Jesus provides as the answer to this request. But it is significant to note that the person asking to be taught how to pray is not one of the passers by, but rather, one of His disciples. Read more...

The Most Deadly Sin

One of the brethren said to his Abba, Tell us of the monks of the last times. Will they fast and pray as we do? The Abba answered, Whoever of them can simply make the sign of the Cross on himself will be greater than any of us. There is a spiritual illness that is consuming the Church and it stems, not from the outside, but from the inside. Read more...

On Tomatoes and the Spiritual Life

One of the criticisms frequently leveled against Christianity in general and the Sacred Scriptures in particular is that they reflect a by-gone era with different values and circumstances. Because many of us live in highly technological and urban societies, we feel that teachings and lessons that come to us from times dominated by primitive, agrarian societies just don't have much relevance for us today. Therefore, many modern people, who may never have encountered a live cow in person on a farm, have a hard time connecting with the parables of Jesus, which make use of many allusions to livestock and crops. Read more...

Making Choices

During our lifetime here on earth, we all want to be part of a group. Whether we're young or old, we all have a need to "fit" in...to be accepted...to be liked, wanted and needed. When we are young, we join sport groups, like soccer and football...clubs like the ski club, science club, Spanish club, etc. When we get older and begin our jobs and careers we join social clubs, health clubs, or any other type of club or group you can think of...just to be part of "the group". When we reach the "golden years" we join the senior citizen groups. It all boils down to the fact that human beings want to be accepted...want to feel a part of something...want to be a part of something. Read more...

Frequent Communion: Tradition or Innovation?

Recently an article was published which stated that the frequent reception of Holy Communion and the practice of receiving Communion without going to Confession each time was unknown in Eastern Europe and was, in fact, "an American innovation." It is, indeed, unfortunate that very often as Orthodox Christians we tend to regard the practices of some other Orthodox jurisdiction or national church as being "correct." The rational for this seems to be "Well, they have been Orthodox for centuries; they must know the correct way..." Or "Our ancestors brought the faith from (fill in the blank); therefore, what they do there now must be the correct way." Read more...

Commanded to Come Home

In his book Mere Christianity, the famous Christian apologist C.S. Lewis gave us his description of the new man in Christ. He wrote: Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth. Some...are still hardly recognizable; but others can be recognized. Every now and then one meets them. Their very faces and voices are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant. They begin where most of us leave off. They will not be very much like the idea of "religious people" which you have formed from your general reading. They do not draw attention to themselves. You tend to think you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you... Read more...

Forgiveness From The Heart

There are times when forgiveness, which is nothing less than a breakthrough of the Kingdom of God on earth, flows with less difficulty from our hearts. There are other times when our mouths may speak forgiveness, but our hearts still hold onto some grudge, some offence, some sin, and we are not able to grant the forgiveness so necessary for the sake of our souls. Why is that? Why does forgiveness proceed from us with less effort sometimes than at other times? Further, if we are struggling with forgiving someone from our heart, what do we do? Are there any "steps" we can take to help heal the rift of sin and find peace for our souls? The parable of the Wicked Servant (Matthew18:23-35) offers an excellent model of the steps required to forgive from the heart. There are at least three steps this parable teaches us that we can take, and really must take, in order for genuine forgiveness to proceed from our hearts, and therefore, for us to receive salvation. Read more...

Daily Prayers

Daily Readings

"When you pray, try to let the prayer reach your heart; in other words, it is necessary that your heart should feel what you are talking about in your prayer, that it should wish for the blessing for which you are asking.... Observe, during prayer, whether your heart is in accord with that which you are saying." - St. John of Kronstadt

About Prayer
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Sayings From The Church Fathers

One must by every means strive to preserve peace of soul and not to be disturbed by others; for this, one must in every way strive to restrain anger and by means of attentiveness to keep the mind and heart from improper feelings...If, however, it is impossible not to be disturbed, then at least one must strive to restrain the tongue, according to the Psalmist: 'I was troubled, and spoke not' (Ps. 76:5).

- St. Seraphim of Sarov, from Spiritual Instructions no. 25, Little Russian Philokalia Vol. 1; St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood pg. 43

Orthodox Calendar

In 2014, Holy Pascha is celebrated on April 20th.

See when the Date of Pascha falls in another year:


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