Appeal for help

Dear Parishioners, Glory to the Lord:

In recent years we have witnessed and participated in major events in our community in Calgary; The purchase of the new land, construction of our Church and the completion of the landscape surrounding the Church. We believe that each of you is proud of what has been accomplished. Continue reading

Among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist

John was called by God to be the forerunner of his Divine Son, to usher Him into the world, and to prepare mankind by repentance to receive the Redeemer, whom the prophets had foretold at a distance through every age from the beginning of the world, never ceasing to instill in the people of God faith and hope in Him by whom alone they were to be saved.

At first St. John led a most austere life in the wilderness, exercising himself in prayer and meditating on the high mission he was called to perform. In the thirtieth year of his age, John came from out his seclusion. This was also the age at which the priests and Levites were permitted by the Jewish law to begin the exercise of their functions. Clothed in camel’s hair, held to his person by a girdle of raw leather, the man of the desert, who knew not the luxuries of a dwelling-house, nor the taste of cooked food, himself subsisting on locusts and wild honey, comes to the thinly settled banks of the river Jordan, and preaches repentance, baptizing all comers…

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Let us be happy that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church

” . . . when the Church tells us in her hymns and icons that the Apost­les were mira­culously gat­he­red from the ends of the earth in order to be pre­sent at the repose and burial of the Mot­her of God, we as Ort­ho­dox Chri­sti­ans are not free to deny this or rein­ter­pret it, but must believe as the Church hands it down to us, with sim­pli­city of heart.”

St. John Maximovich

“Let us be happy, beloved brothers and sisters that we belong to the Holy Orthodox Church, worthily and rightly glorifying the Most Holy Sovereign Theotokos on this eminent day out of all the days of the year with special solemnity.

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They will take the world away from Christ

The last Christianity will take from the ancient only a shell, the content will be imperceptibly replaced by a new spirit, a different lifestyle, way of thinking and other values.

Secularized Christianity, with its wings cut off, is not only not scary for the devil, but also will serve him: after all, the antichrist will impersonate Christ, the Messiah, the God-man.

The devil, preparing the way for the antichrist, will be interested in spreading secularized, lifeless, formal Christianity throughout the world, and even all religions will try to “make friends” with him.

All religions recognize their “spiritual kinship” with Christianity, and even will admire the height of his teachings, the sanctity of his moral requirements, the beauty of his symbolism, etc. Continue reading

The Holy Great Martyr Marina

The Holy Great Martyr Marina was born in Asia Minor, in the city of Antioch of Pisidia (southern Asia Minor), into the family of a pagan priest. In infancy she lost her mother, and her father gave her into the care of a nursemaid, who raised Marina in the Orthodox Faith. Upon learning that his daughter had become a Christian, the father angrily disowned her. During the time of the persecution against Christians under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), when she was fifteen years old, Saint Marina was arrested and locked up in prison. With firm trust in the will of God and His help, the young prisoner prepared for her impending fate.

The governor Olymbrios, charmed with the beautiful girl, tried to persuade her to renounce the Christian Faith and become his wife. But the saint, unswayed, refused his offers. The vexed governor gave the holy martyr over to torture. Having beaten her fiercely, they fastened the saint with nails to a board and tore at her body with tridents. Continue reading

Fasting is a commandment of God

“Fasting is a commandment of God. Because of this, we should also fast, my children.

I have not neglected fasting in my 70 years. My mother taught me fasting from childhood. I am not being a hypocrite when I fast, but I am doing that which my parents taught me and that which I keep until today.

Fasting has never brought sickness upon me.

Physicians and Bishops say that careful fasting is very beneficial to man. Once, a doctor told me: “Father, don’t eat for five days, nor even drink a drop of water, because we will do a test to see what is going on with your body.” Therefore I fasted for five days. It had done great things to me.

How much more are we benefited when we fast for our soul! Because within our body inhabits an eternal soul. Therefore, let us take care for our soul, which is truly immortal. Continue reading

There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith

Saint Mark, Archbishop of Ephesus, was a stalwart defender of Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence. He would not agree to a union with Rome which was based on theological compromise and political expediency (the Byzantine Emperor was seeking military assistance from the West against the Moslems who were drawing ever closer to Constantinople).

Saint Mark countered the arguments of his opponents, drawing from the well of pure theology, and the teachings of the holy Fathers. When the members of his own delegation tried to pressure him into accepting the Union he replied, “There can be no compromise in matters of the Orthodox Faith.”

Although the members of the Orthodox delegation signed the Tomos of Union, Saint Mark was the only one who refused to do so.

When he returned from Florence, Saint Mark urged the inhabitants of Constantinople to repudiate the dishonorable document of union. He died in 1457 at the age of fifty-two, admired and honored by all.

The Orthodox Church in America

In proportion to our obedience

“The grace of the Holy Spirit which is given mystically to every Orthodox Christian when he is baptized acts and is manifested in proportion to our obedience to the commandments of the Lord.

That is, if a Christian obeys the commandments of the Lord more, grace acts with him more, while if he obeys them less, grace acts within him less.

Just as a spark, when covered in the ashes of fire becomes increasingly manifest as one removes the ashes, and the more fire wood you put the more the fire burns, so the grace that has been given to every Christian through Holy Baptism is hidden in the heart and covered up by the passions and sins, and the more a man acts in accordance with the commandments of Christ, the more he is cleansed of the passions and the more the fire of Divine grace lights in his heart, illumines and deifies him.”

+ St. Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain

A joy that they have never known before

Spiritual things only become clear beyond a doubt when the spirit sees them and perceives them. In order to see and feel the manifestations of the spiritual world, long and exhausting spiritual practice is needed, after which, by God’s grace, spiritual vision may be opened in a person; this vision allows him to see what seems unbelievable and impossible to ordinary mortals.

Nevertheless, a person must first believe those who have seen the unbelievable, and strengthen their faith from day to day, striving to see what is inaccessible to the common gaze. Not in vain does the Lord say, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed (Jn. 20:29). The Lord God rejoices in their faith just as a father on earth rejoices that His children believe his every word.

All the apostles were present at the Ascension of the Lord, gathered on the hill. This was their last  gathering. However, this was not the last appearance of Christ. Continue reading

If we do not repent we will not be saved

Many Christians have the reverent desire to be baptized in the Jordan River. However, no matter how many times we enter the Jordan River, and no matter how many bottles of holy water we drink, if we do not repent we will not be saved.

Let us kneel every day and night, and let us beseech God to grant us a contrite spirit and tears.

Compel yourselves, my children, in the spiritual struggle. Do not forget the vast experience of the devil and our own weakness. Just as a leaf in autumn falls at the slightest wind, likewise we fall at the slightest temptation or trial when the grace of God does not assist us. Continue reading