Work progresses on our church re-staining project
Work progresses on our church re-staining project
Bulletin for Holy Myrrhbearers Sunday, May 19, 2013
(link above to oca for daily saints commemorated)
This Week in Our Community
TODAY (5/19): 9:40 am, Reading of Hours / Confessions
10:00 am, DIVINE LITURGY followed by Coffee Hour and ChurchSchool
MONDAY (5/20): am, Church re-staining continues 7:00 pm, Paschal Vespers and Study Group
FRIDAY-MONDAY: St Tikhon's Monastery Pilgrimage Weekend
SATURDAY (5/25): 6:00 pm, Memorial Service 6:30 pm, GREAT VESPERS
SUNDAY (5/26): 9:00 am, Sacrament of Holy Baptism 10:00 am, DIVINE LITURGY, followed Coffee Hour
MYRRHBEARING WOMEN: This third Paschal Sunday is dedicated to the loving efforts of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women who made the pre-dawn trek to the tomb of Christ to anoint His Body, found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, and proclaimed the glorious Resurrection. "The angel came to the myrrh- bearing women at the tomb and said; "Myrrh is meet for the dead, but Christ has shown Himself a stranger to corruption! So proclaim: 'the Lord is risen, granting the world great mercy!'"
LITURGICAL NOTES: We've returned to our normal Wednesday and Friday weekday fasts. There is also no kneeling in private or corporate worship from Holy Pascha to the Feast of Pentecost (this year, June 23). Throughout the Paschal season, every service, meal and devotional time begins with the Paschal hymn.
MONDAYS: Our weekly study group has resumed onMondays at 7 pm. We begin each weekly session with the singing of Paschal Vespers. Bring your Orthodox Study Bible and questions and join us! We're continuing a review of the Book of Isaiah (since we didn't complete it at our lenten series).
CHURCH RE-STAINING PROJECT: As the church exterior and scaffolding show, we made considerable progress on our project last week, and will continue to plug away this coming week as weather and volunteers permit. A few dozen tubes of caulk have already been used to seal joints and cracks in the logs (and evict our not-so-friendly carpenter bees). Given sufficient dry-time, we'll subsequently apply a fresh coat of stain (at $37 a gallon!), re-paint the joints and window trim, then move the scaffolding to reveal the finished product and, if ambitious, continue around the building. Thanks to Mr Beard for the scaffolding and all those who helped last week. If you're willing and able, let us know. Old clothes are a must. And though we could use another badminton racket or two, we have all other needed supplies on hand (including hornet spray!).
LOVE OFFERING: Our May LOVE offering is designated for the parish maintenance fund that will help offset some of the costs related to the current re-staining project. Please use your monthly LOVE offering envelope for this purpose. Thanks!
AUXILIARY NEWS: A couple perogi customers came last week to help deplete our frozen supply. If you're interested in any, ask at Coffee Hour. Our crew members are taking a Summer break until we resume monthly projects in September. Remember to check the coffee hour list and help fill in the blanks for coming Sundays. Also, one more reminder to please recover any dishes, tupperware, etc you may've brought since Pascha.
BAPTISM: Meredith Gee(who was enrolled as a catechumen by Bishop Mark) will be immersed in the waters of Holy Baptism next Sunday, May 26 at 9 am (prior to the Liturgy). Plan to come early that day to witness the Orthodox rites of Christian Initiation and pray for Meredith. A few hands are also needed on Saturday to prepare the baptismal font.
OCMC COIN BOXES continue to appear before the iconastas. If you forgot yours, please plan to bring it next Sunday so we can tally the contents and forward our parish donation to OCMC to support our diocesan missionary Christina Semon currently serving in Moldova.
"ALIVE IN CHRIST:" The latest issue of our diocesan magazine is available on our diocesan website: doepa.org. Those without internet access may pick-up a hard copy today in church.
ATTENTION, GRADUATES! Once again, our Diocese desires to recognize all High School/College graduates in the Fall issue of the magazine "Alive in Christ." You can submit your info online by emailing doepa.communications @gmail.com. Attach a separate photo (jpg image, 300+dpi) and include, name, parish, graduating from, future plans and anticipated major. You can also mail same to A. Gingo, 160 Shadetree Road, Shavertown PA 18708. Send it in today! Our parish extends congratulations to all the graduates among us!
CAMP! Parents, consider St Tikhon's Summer Camp for kids ages 7-17 the week of July 7. Visit the camp website sttikhonscamp.org for application and registration forms as space is limited. Ask those who've attended: it's a great experience (and an opportunity for much "Orthodox youth bonding!"). And inform the parish office once you fill out the forms so camp scholarships can be applied for parish kids.
GOT FACEBOOK? Brad is working on creating a facebook page for Holy Cross. But before we get it up and running, we wanted to share some ground rules with those who may be interested in posting to it. If this includes YOU, contact Fr Dan and let him know within the next two weeks. There'll be a brief Coffee Hour meeting required for those who post. For those on facebook, the OCA has a regularly updated facebook page (that included a recent article by Fr Dan) with current news and events. Perhaps we can gather some ideas fom other pages.
PARISH COUNCIL will hold its next meeting Tuesday, May 28, 6:30 pm. In addition to the normal administrative agenda, the Council will consider bids for a new office copier and continue to pursue recommendations from the Parish Revitalization Conference. Bishop Mark has called a deanery gathering for Council members and others interested in parish administration for Saturday, June 1, 10am at Holy Resurrection Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre to discuss the implementation of several financial safeguards for parish bookkeeping. Contact the office if desiring to attend and contact any Council member with parish-related concerns.
FAMILY NIGHT: We'll resume monthly Family Nights in June. So plan to join us for our next on Saturday, June 15 with a potluck supper at 5pm and Vespers as usual at 6:30.
"THE MYRRHBEARING WOMEN CAME TO YOUR TOMB, O CHRIST. THEY SAW IT WAS EMPTY BUT COULD NOT FIND YOUR MOST PURE BODY. THEY TREMBLED AND RAN AWAY CRYING "WHO HAS STOLEN OUR HOPE? WHO WOULD TAKE A LIFELESS BODY, HIS MOTHER'S ONLY REMAINING CONSOLATION? HOW CAN HE WHO GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD HAVE DIED? HOW CAN THE VICTOR OVER HELL STAY BURIED? AS YOU PROMISED, O SAVIOR, YOU HAVE RISEN ON THE THIRD DAY, SAVING OUR SOULS!
His Grace, Bishop MARK
Bishop MARK (Maymon) was born June 22, 1958 in New Albany, Indiana. He was baptized in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in 1958 and confirmed when he was nine. He attended elementary school at our Lady of Perpetual Help and graduated from New AlbanyHigh School in 1976. He completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at OralRobertsUniversity in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1985. In 1987, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Biblical Literature from OralRobertsUniversity and accepted the position of Adjunct Professor of Old Testament at OralRobertsUniversity.
Having been introduced to the Orthodox Church by the Very Rev George Eber, pastor of St Antony Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma and his university professors, Bishop MARK was received into the Orthodox Church through Holy Chrismation on Great and Holy Wednesday 1989. He attended St Vladimir's Orthodox Seminary, receiving his Master of Divinity degree there in 1991. From 1993-1997, he served as a Mental Health worker at Mercy Psychiatric on a dual diagnosis unit and from 1997-2000 as a crisis worker in the emergency room at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Aliquippa, PA.
Bishop MARK was ordained deacon on August 17, 1997 and on September 7, 1997, ordained to the Holy Priesthood and assigned to St John the EvangelistChurch in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, serving there from 1997 to 2000. In January of 2001, he was assigned to St George Church in Grand Rapids, MI.
He was consecrated to the Holy Episcopacy on December 5, 2004. His consecrating bishops included His Beatitude IGNATIUS IV at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Damascus, Syria as well as numerous Metropolitans of the Patriarchate of Antioch. He was enthroned at St George Cathedral in Toledo, Ohio on August 25, 2005 and served as Bishop of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of America.
Bishop MARK was received into the Orthodox Church in America on January 1, 2011, and given the title of Bishop of Baltimore. He presently serves as Synodal Liason to the departments of the Church and as administrator of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania.
Here're several articles that're "keepers"...
“It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. “You fell,” it is written, “now arise” (Proverbs 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. As long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. “For at one time we ourselves went astray in our folly and disobedience,” says St Paul. “…Yet he saved us, not because of any good things we have done, but in His mercy” (Titus 3:5). So do not despair in any way, ignoring God’s help, for He can do whatever He wishes. On the contrary, place your hope in Him; and because of your hope He will act lovingly toward you in ways of which you are not aware, and so will save your shackled soul. Only do not abandon your Physician.”
--- St Peter of Damascus
The Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils
In the Ninth Article of the Nicea-Constantinople Symbol of Faith proclaimed by the holy Fathers of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, we confess our faith in "One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." By virtue of the catholic nature of the Church, an Ecumenical Council is the Church's supreme authority, and possesses the competence to resolve major questions of church life. An Ecumenical Council is comprised of archpastors and pastors of the Church, and representatives of all the local Churches, from every land of the "oikumene" (i.e. from all the whole inhabited world).
The Orthodox Church acknowledges Seven Holy Ecumenical Councils: The First Ecumenical Council (Nicea I) (May 29, and also on seventh Sunday after Pascha) was convened in the year 325 against the heresy of Arius, in the city of Nicea in Bithynia under StConstantine the Great, Equal of the Apostles.
The Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople I) (May 22) was convened in the year 381 against the heresy of Macedonias, by the emperor Theodosius the Great.
The Third Ecumenical Council (Ephesus) (September 9) was convened in the year 431 against the heresy of Nestorius, in the city of Ephesus by the emperor Theodosius the Younger.
The Fourth Ecumenical Council (Chalcedon) (July 16) was convened in the year 451, against the Monophysite heresy, in the city of Chalcedon under the emperor Marcian.
The Fifth Ecumenical Council (Constnatinople II) (July 25) "Concerning the Three Chapters," was convened in the year 553, under the emperor Justinian the Great.
The Sixth Ecumenical Council (Constantinople III) (January 23) met during the years 680-681, to fight the Monothelite heresy, under the emperor Constantine Pogonatos.
The fact that the Seventh Ecumenical Council (Nicea II) is not commemorated today testifies to the antiquity of today's celebration. The Seventh Council, commemorated on the Sunday nearest to October 11, was convened at Nicea in the year 787 against the Iconoclast heresy, under the emperor Constantine and his mother Irene.
The Church venerates the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils because Christ has established them as "lights upon the earth," guiding us to the true Faith. "Adorned with the robe of truth," the doctrine of the Fathers, based upon the preaching of the Apostles, has established one faith for the Church. The Ecumenical Councils, are the highest authority in the Church. Such Councils, guided by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and accepted by the Church, are infallible.
The Orthodox Church's conciliar definitions of dogma have the highest authority, and such definitions always begin with the Apostolic formula: "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us..." (Acts 15: 28).
The Ecumenical Councils were always convened for a specific reason: to combat false opinions and heresies, and to clarify the Orthodox Church's teaching. But the Holy Spirit has thus seen fit, that the dogmas, the truths of faith, immutable in their content and scope, constantly and consequently are revealed by the conciliar mind of the Church, and are given precision by the holy Fathers within theological concepts and terms in exactly such measure as is needed by the Church itself for its economy of salvation. The Church, in expounding its dogmas, is dealing with the concerns of a given historical moment, "not revealing everything in haste and thoughtlessly, nor indeed, ultimately hiding something" (St Gregory the Theologian).
A brief summary of the dogmatic theology of the First Six Ecumenical Councils is formulated and contained in the First Canon of the Council of Trullo (also known as Quinisext), held in the year 692. The 318 Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council are spoken of in this Canon I of Trullo as having: "with unanimity of faith revealed and declared to us the consubstantiality of the three Persons of the Divine nature and, ... instructing the faithful to adore the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with one worship, they cast down and dispelled the false teaching about different degrees of Divinity."
The 150 Holy Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council left their mark on the theology of the Church concerning the Holy Spirit, "repudiating the teaching of Macedonius, as one who wished to divide the inseparable Unity, so that there might be no perfect mystery of our hope."
The 200 God-bearing Fathers of the Third Ecumenical Council expounded the teaching that "Christ, the Incarnate Son of God is One." They also confessed that "she who bore Him without seed was the spotless Ever-Virgin, glorifying her as truly the Mother of God.
The 630 Holy Fathers of the Fourth Ecumenical Council decreed that "the One Christ, the Son of God... must be glorified in two natures."
The 165 God-bearing Holy Fathers of the Fifth Ecumenical Council "in synod anathematized and repudiated Theodore of Mopsuestia (the teacher of Nestorius), and Origen, and Didymus, and Evagrius, renovators of the Hellenic teaching about the transmigration of souls and the transmutation of bodies and the impieties they raised against the resurrection of the dead."
The 170 Holy Fathers of the Sixth Ecumenical Council "taught that we ought to confess two natural volitions, or two wills [trans. note: one divine, and the other human], and two natural operations (energies) in Him Who was incarnate for our salvation, Jesus Christ, our true God."
In decisive moments of Church history, the holy Ecumenical Councils promulgated their dogmatic definitions, as trustworthy delimitations in the spiritual battle for the purity of Orthodoxy, which will last until such time, as "all shall come into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God" (Eph. 4: 13). In the struggle with new heresies, the Church does not abandon its former dogmatic concepts nor replace them with some sort of new formulations. The dogmatic formulae of the Holy Ecumenical Councils need never be superseded, they remain always contemporary to the living Tradition of the Church. Therefore the Church proclaims:
"The faith of all in the Church of God hath been glorified by men, which were luminaries in the world, cleaving to the Word of Life, so that it be observed firmly, and that it dwell unshakably until the end of the ages, conjointly with their God-bestown writings and dogmas. We reject and we anathematize all whom they have rejected and anathematized, as being enemies of Truth. And if anyone does not cleave to nor admit the aforementioned pious dogmas, and does not teach or preach accordingly, let him be anathema" (Canon I of the Council of Trullo).
In addition to their dogmatic definitions, the Holy Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils exerted great efforts towards the strengthening of church discipline. Local Councils promulgated their disciplinary canons according to the circumstances of the time and place, frequently differing among themselves in various particulars.
The universal unity of the Orthodox Church required unity also in canonical practice, i.e. a conciliar deliberation and affirmation of the most important canonical norms by the Fathers of the Ecumenical Councils. Thus, according to conciliar judgment, the Church has accepted: 20 Canons from the First, 7 Canons from the Second, 8 Canons from the Third, and 30 Canons from the Fourth Ecumenical Synods. The Fifth and the Sixth Councils concerned themselves only with resolving dogmatic questions, and did not leave behind any disciplinary canons.
The need to establish in codified form the customary practices during the years 451-680, and ultimately to compile a canonical codex for the Orthodox Church, occasioned the convening of a special Council, which was wholly devoted to the general application of churchly rules. This was convened in the year 692. The Council "in the Imperial Palace" or "Under the Arches" (in Greek "en trullo"), came to be called the Council in Trullo. It is also called the "Quinisext" [meaning the "fifth and sixth"], because it is considered to have completed the activities of the Fifth and Sixth Councils, or rather that it was simply a direct continuation of the Sixth Ecumenical Council itself, separated by just a few years.
The Council in Trullo, with its 102 Canons (more than of all the Ecumenical Synods combined), had a tremendous significance in the history of the canonical theology of the Orthodox Church. It might be said that the Fathers of this Council produced a complete compilation of the basic codex from the relevant sources for the Orthodox Church's canons. Listing through in chronological order, and having been accepted by the Church the Canons of the Holy Apostles, and the Canons of the Holy Ecumenical and the Local Councils and of the holy Fathers, the Trullo Council declared: "Let no one be permitted to alter or to annul the aforementioned canons, nor in place of these put forth, or to accept others, made of spurious inscription" (2nd Canon of the Council in Trullo).
Church canons, sanctified by the authority of the first Six Ecumenical Councils (including the rules of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, and the Constantinople Councils of 861 and 879, which were added later under the holy Patriarch Photius), form the basis of THE RUDDER, or KORMCHAYA KNIGA (a canon law codex known as "Syntagma" or "Nomokanon" in 14 titles). In its repository of grace is expressed a canonical norm, a connection to every era, and a guide for all the local Orthodox Churches in churchly practice.
New historical conditions can lead to the change of some particular external aspect of the life of the Church. This makes creative canonical activity necessary in the conciliar reasoning of the Church, in order to reconcile the external norms of churchly life with historical circumstances. The details of canonical regulation are not fully developed for the various eras of churchly organization at all once. With every push to either forsake the literal meaning of a canon, or to fulfill and develop it, the Church again and again turns for reasoning and guidance to the eternal legacy of the Holy Ecumenical Councils, to the inexhaustable treasury of dogmatic and canonical truths.
--- from oca.org
Confession... to a Priest?!
from "Lessons in Our Faith" by Bishop Michael (Dahulich) of New York
(many similar videos available at nynjoca.org)
Question #4: But why must I go to a priest for confession; can't I just confess directly to God?
Answer: The first Christians confessed their sins publicly, out loud before everyone in the Church, because we sin against both God and one another; and they received the forgiveness -- the absolution -- from the bishop (or the priest) as directed by our Lord. St James confirms this, saying: "Confess your sins to one another" (James 5:10). Because people unfortunately began to discuss one another's sins, the Church prescribed that the priest (or bishop) would not only individually offer the forgiveness, but would also individually hear the penitent's confession with the promise of confidentiality. Just like we cannot be healed by our doctor unless we tell him where the pain is, we cannot be healed of our sins unless we tell them in the presence of our spiritual father. It is humbling to be sure; but that cures the mother of all sin: pride. St John Chrysostom tells us, "It is difficult to confess to our spiritual father; but I would rather confess my sins to one man and be forgiven, than be disgraced before the whole universe at the Last Judgment for my unforgiven sins."
ON THE HOLY CROSS by St Andrew of Crete
"The cross is something wonderfully great and honourable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation -- very many indeed, for both His miracles and His sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honourable because it is both the sign of God's suffering and the trophy of His victory. It stands for His suffering because on it He freely suffered unto death. But it is also His trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world. The cross is called Christ's glory; it is saluted as His triumph. We rccognise it as the cup He longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings He endured for our sake.
How Shall We Repay the Lord for All His Goodness to Us?
St Basil the Great (4th Century)
What words can adequately describe God's gifts? They are so numerous that they defy enumeration. They are so great that any one of them demands our total gratitude in response.
Yet even though we cannot speak of it worthily, there is one gift which no thoughtful man can pass over in silence. God fashioned man in His own image and likeness; He gave him know- ledge of Himself; He endowed him with the ability to think which raised him above all living creatures; He permitted him to delight in the unimaginable beauties of paradise, and gave him dominion over everything upon earth.
Then, when man was deceived by the serpent and fell into sin, which led to death and to all the sufferings associated with death, God still did not forsake him.
He first gave man the law to help him; He set angels over him to guard him; He sent the prophets to denounce vice and to teach virtue; He restrained man's evil impulses by warnings and roused his desire for virtue by promises. Frequently, by way of warning, God showed him the respective ends of virtue and of vice in the lives of other men. Moreover, when man continued in disobedience even after he had done all this, God did not desert him.
No, we were not abandoned by the goodness of the Lord! Even the insult we offered to our Benefactor by despising His gifts did not destroy His love for us. On the contrary, although we were dead, our Lord Jesus Christ restored us to life again, and in a way even more amazing than the fact itself, for His state was divine, yet He did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself to assume the condition of a slave.
He bore our infirmities and endured our sorrows. He was wounded for our sake so that by His wounds we might be healed. He redeemed us from the curse by becoming a curse for our sake, and He submitted to the most ignominious death in order to exalt us to the life of glory.
Nor was He content merely to summon us back from death to life; He also bestowed on us the dignity of His own divine nature and prepared for us a place of eternal rest where there will be joy so intense as to surpass all human imagination.
How, then, shall we repay the Lord for all His goodness to us? He is so good that He asks no recompense except our love: that is the only payment He desires.
To confess my personal feelings, when I reflect on all these blessings, I am overcome by a kind of dread and numbness at the very possibility of ceasing to love God and of bringing shame upon Christ because of my lack of recollection and my preoccupa- tion with trivialities.
Ancient Wisdom -- with Contemporary Relevance!
from St John Chrysostom (4th century)
Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person's gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone?
Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again.
Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm.
Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people's hearts first and then they will joyfully share their wealth.
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