Friday, November 21, 2014

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, also called The Presentation, is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, celebrated on November 21.

According to Tradition, the Virgin Mary was taken —presented—by her parents Joachim and Anna into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she lived and served as a Temple virgin until her betrothal to St. Joseph. One of the earliest sources of this tradition is the non-canonical Protoevangelion of James, also called the Infancy Gospel of James.

Mary was solemnly received by the temple community which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. She was led to the holy place to become herself the "holy of holies" of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine child who was to be born in her. The Church also sees this feast as a feast which marks the end of the physical temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God.

Celebration of the feast

On the eve of the feast, Vespers is served and contains Old Testament readings that are interpreted as symbols of the Mother of God, for she becomes the living temple of God. In each reading we hear, "for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord God Almighty." (Exodus 40:1-5, 9-10, 16, 34-35; I Kings 7:51, 8:1, 3-4, 6-7, 9-11; and Ezekiel 43:27-44)

Sometimes Matins is served on the morning of the feast. The Gospel reading is from Luke 1:39-49, 56. It is read on all feasts of the Theotokos and includes the Theotokos' saying: "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden, for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed."

Divine Liturgy is served on the day on the feast. The epistle reading is from Hebrews 9:1-7, and speaks of the tabernacle of the old covenant. The gospel reading is taken from Luke 10:38-42 and 11:27-28 together; this reading is also read on all feasts of the Theotokos. In it, the Lord says, "blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

Hymns:

Troparion (Tone 4) Today is the preview of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice, O Divine Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation.

Kontakion (Tone 4) The most pure Temple of the Savior; the precious Chamber and Virgin; the sacred Treasure of the glory of God, is presented today to the house of the Lord. She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, therefore, the angels of God praise her: "Truly this woman is the abode of heaven."

Forefeast hymn:

Troparion (Tone 4) Today Anna bequeaths joy to all instead of sorrow by bringing forth her fruit, the only ever-Virgin. In fulfillment of her vow, today with joy she brings to the temple of the Lord the true temple and pure Mother of God the Word.

Kontakion (Tone 4) Today the universe is filled with joy at the glorious feast of the Mother of God, and cries out: "She is the heavenly tabernacle."

Thursday, November 13, 2014

St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople

Troparion (Tone 8)

Grace shining forth from your lips like fire hath enlightened the universe. It has shown to the world the riches of riches poverty; it has revealed to us the heights of humility. Teaching us by your words, O Father John Chrysostom, intercede before the Word, Christ our God, to save our souls!

Kontakion (Tone 6)

Having received divine grace from heaven, with your mouth you teach all men to worship the Triune God.  All-blest and venerable John Chrysostom, we worthily praise you, for you are our teacher,  revealing things divine!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Father Among the Saints: Raphael of Brooklyn

"Several themes emerge as the story of St. Raphael's life unfolds. The first is the mysterious way in which God led him from his native homeland to the shores of the American continent. The second is his submissive attitude to the providence of God. And the third is his love for the people of God. Though during his lifetime he was neither a wonder-worker nor a clairvoyant elder, St. Raphael embraced a life of total abandonment of self for the service of God and his fellow man: a life of true spiritual asceticism."

(from The Life of Our Father among the Saints Raphael Hawaweeny)


On the first Saturday in November we commemorate our father among the Saints, Raphael (Hawaweeny). In 2015, the 100th Anniversary of the Falling Asleep of St. Raphael, the Archdiocese's Creative Festivals will feature the theme, "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America."

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Indiction is a term given to identify an era or epoch of years of the calendar that was first used in the late third century to date agricultural and land tax cycles in Roman Egypt. By the late fifth century the indiction became widely used throughout the Mediterranean. Its use is still reflected in the Christian church calendars. The indiction in the Orthodox Church is on September 1.
Background

While the measure of a day and year have been labeled, and changed over the years, for time immemorial, the tagging of a period of years has varied throughout history. Eras or epochs of years have been measured from various starting points have been based on various events. These measures have included counts based upon the cycle of Olympiads, epochs starting from the founding of Rome, on the reigns of monarchs such as used today in Japan (the Meiji or Showa eras), from the formation of earth, and so on. In much of the world today the enumeration of years is based on the birth of Christ, although this practice, or epoch, did not become common for centuries after Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian monk, established this starting point in 527.

In the third century in the Roman Empire an epoch measurement became popular called the Indiction. When indictions began to be used about 287, it originated as a cycle of five years. By 314 an indiction cycle of fifteen years appeared which became the common measure at the same time that the Emperor Constantine the Great recognized Christianity. The use of indictions for dating documents not related to taxes began in the mid-fourth century.

Each indiction itself was not distinctly identified, only the year within the indiction. Thus, an indiction may need reference to some other event to identify a specific indiction. Additionally, different systems of calculating the indictions came into use of which the following are most common:

In the eastern Roman Empire, in the Greek or Constantinopolitan Indictions the first day (of the new year) of the indiction year was established initially as September 23, which was the birthday of Augustus. This date also became the start of the Eastern Orthodox Church year. By late in the fifth century the start of the new year, however, shifted to September 1, which is the present day beginning of the Church year.

In the west, the Imperial or Western Indictions September 24 was adopted as the beginning of the year, apparently based upon calculations under the authority of the Venerable Bede. 

Later, in the ninth century Roman or Pontifical Indictions were introduced in the west that began the year on either December 25 or January 1.



from http://orthodoxwiki.org/Indiction

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Saint Moses the Black and Saint Augustine of Hippo

It was a joy this evening to commemorate these two Saints at our monthly healing Vespers.



Troparion — Tone 1

You abandoned the Egypt of the passions, O Father, Ascending the mount of the virtues with fervent faith, Taking the Cross of Christ upon your shoulders; And being glorified in godly works, You proved to be a model for monastics, O summit of the fathers. Pray unceasingly with them that our souls may find mercy!

Kontakion — Tone 3

Your mind was filled with a holy inspiration from God, Turning you from the lust and pleasures of the flesh, Bringing you to the height of the city of God! O Holy Father Moses, intercede with Christ God that He may grant us great mercy!






Troparion - Tone 4

Let us acclaim the sublime Augustine, the holy bishop of the Church of Christ; The wise writer of the City of God; You are good, blessed Augustine and you served the Savior in sanctity as a wise and divinely inspired priest; Father pray to Christ our God to grant our souls the grace of salvation.

Kontakion - Tone 3

We praise you with resounding voices O heavenly trumpet of wisdom; You are the harmonious organ of theology O most blessed father Augustine; You have given us rich knowledge of Christ's faith, and you have increased the flock of the Church; You now take rest with the angels and still pray unceasingly for all of us.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

Troparion (Tone 1)

In giving birth you preserved your virginity,
In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.
You were translated to life, O Mother of Life,
And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.





Kontakion (Tone 2)

Neither the tomb, nor death could hold the Theotokos,
Who is constant in prayer and our firm hope in her intercessions.
For being the Mother of Life,
She was translated to life by the One who dwelt in her virginal womb.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Church Growth Done Right, a follow-up

To further my point in my last post, I offer this from:

http://preachersinstitute.com/2013/05/31/top-13-reasons-that-unchurched-people-choose-a-church/

Top 13 reasons the unchurched choose a Church:

  1. 90% – Pastor/Preaching
  2. 88% – Doctrines
  3. 49% – Friendliness of Members
  4. 42% – Other Issues
  5. 41% – Someone at Church Witnessed to Me
  6. 38% – Family Member
  7. 37% – Sensed God’s Presence/Atmosphere of Church
  8. 25% – Relationship Other than Family Member
  9. 25% – Sunday School Class
  10. 25% – Children’s/Youth Ministry
  11. 12% – Other Groups/Ministries
  12. 11% – Worship Style/Music
  13. 7% – Location

So the next time your pastor tells you the worship style and music must change in order to reach the lost, feel free to tell him his preaching must change first.  And since doctrine is second on the list, we might as well make sure the preaching changes are doctrinally correct.  Apparently worship style and music are very low on the list.  Something some of us have been arguing for a while now.