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

“I weep for the enemies of the Cross of Christ”

If this general of the Church – Saint Paul – was among us today, again his tears would run endlessly from his eyes. Tears:
-for those who abuse and blaspheme the Cross of Christ,
-for those who are ashamed to make the sign of the Cross and not love the life of the Cross,
-for those who do not walk according to the citizenship of the Cross,
-for those who with their temporary power test the patience of the people, and oppress and tyrannize the human person, being scornful and disrespectful towards the unrepeatable divine image in man,
-for those who like Judas betray Christ,
-for all sorts of heretics who like wolves do not spare the flock and speak perverse things in order to draw away disciples after them (Acts 20:30),
-for those who create schisms and divisions, putting the spotlight on themselves and supposedly work to present themselves as saviors instead of the true Savior Christ.

His Eminence Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria
(part of Sermon)

On Reading the Gospels

When reading the Gospel, do not seek pleasure, do not seek exalted states, and do not seek brilliant thoughts—seek to see the unadulterated, holy truth.

Do not be satisfied with a mere fruitless reading of the Gospel; strive to fulfill its commandments, and read it with your deeds. This is the book of life, and you have to read it with your life.

Do not think that there is no reason why the most sacred of books, the Four Gospels, begins with the Gospel of St. Matthew and ends with the Gospel of St. John. Matthew teaches more about how to fulfill God’s will, and his instructions are particularly appropriate for beginners on the path to God; John expounds upon the image of the union of God with man renewed by the commandments, which is something accessible only to those who are progressing along the divine path.

When opening the book of the Holy Gospel to read it, remember that it decides your fate. We will be judged according to it, and depending upon how we were here on Earth with regard to it, we will receive our lot either in eternal blessedness, or eternal punishment (cf. Jn. 12:48).

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The conscious fulfillment of Christs commandments

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the repose of Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) of blessed memory.

“…Orthodox Christians of these latter times are indeed spiritually sleeping and desperately need to be awakened by a trumpet of the Spirit like Saint Symeon [the New Theologian]. Those who are Orthodox by birth and habit are not those who will inherit the eternal Kingdom of Heaven; they must be awakened to the conscious fulfillment of Christs commandments and a conscious reception of God’s Holy Spirit, as Saint Symeon so eloquently taught.

…For Saint Symeon, as for all true Orthodox Christians, theology is life; the true words of God which speak to the Christian heart, raise it from its sloth and negligence, and inspire it to struggle for the eternal Kingdom, which may be tasted in advance even now in the life of grace which God sends down upon His faithful through His sanctifying Holy Spirit.”

Fr. Seraphim Rose

Preface to The Sin of Adam and our Redemption: Seven Homilies by Saint Symeon the New Theologian; St Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, Platina, CA, 1979.

Orthodox Elders on How We Can Learn to Pray

In order to learn to pray we should start to pray!

Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol, the Church of Cyprus:

There is a Greek proverb: “Appetite comes with eating.” In order to learn to pray we first must force ourselves to pray. The Lord in the Gospel says, The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force (Mt. 11:12).

In order to learn to pray we should start to pray! Through our efforts prayer will be in action inside us. And in each one of us it will work in a unique way because we are all unique, and prayer is the expression of every individual soul in its communion with God.

What helps us pray? The fulfilment of the commandments. Once we have broken any commandment, we “stumble” in prayer. The Church sacraments, especially confession and Communion, were given us to help us improve. Staying in the spirit of obedience, concentration and silence also has a salutary effect on our prayer…

And then prayer begins to work in us. Elder Ephraim of Katounakia used to say: “My prayer directs me, and not vice versa.” And prayer will guide us where the Lord wants us to go.

You just need to start praying

Schema-Archimandrite Iliy (Nozdrin):

The prayer of every human being is of cosmic importance—that is, it has an effect not only on somebody individually, or his family and immediate circle of friends, but also on the entire world. Likewise, every sin brings the universe closer to its destruction.

If we take care of our bodies, nourishing, clothing and protecting them, then how can we fail to take care of our souls? The life of the soul is sustained by prayer.

You just need to start praying. When a baby is born, he receives all-round care from its parents. Likewise, when a person is born into spiritual life, God helps him in everything in the initial stage.

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A hidden persecution of Christianity has arisen

Concerning John the Baptist the Lord said: Elias is come already, and they knew him not. Why was this? Because they did not heed the paths of God and were not interested in them: they had a different mentality, different tastes, different views on things. Outside the range of Divine things, their shrewdness was in play, but within this range they did not understand anything due to their estrangement from it.

One’s inner mentality forms a feeling for things, which immediately notices and determines what is familiar to it, no matter how concealed it may be. An artist, scientist and economist look at one thing with equal attention, but each makes a judgment about it in his own way—one according to its beauty, the second according to causal relations, the third according to gains from it. So with the Jews: as was their disposition, so they judged about John, and then about the Saviour; but since they were disposed not according to God, they did not understand them, who carried out the work of God.

Similarly, now people have begun to not understand the Forerunner and the Lord—and do with them what they like. A hidden persecution of Christianity has arisen, which has begun to openly break through, like recently in Paris. What was done there on a small scale, is what we must expect with time in big proportions…

Save us, O Lord!

Thoughts for Each Day of the Year by St. Theophan the Recluse
Friday. 8th Week after Pentecost.

Fear evil like fire

Fear evil like fire. Don’t let it touch your heart even if it seems just or righteous. No matter what the circumstances, don’t let it come into you. Evil is always evil. Sometimes evil presents itself as an endeavor to God’s glory, or as something with good intentions towards your neighbor. Even in these cases, don’t trust this feeling. It’s a wrong labor and is not filled with wisdom. Instead, work on chasing evil from yourself…

Gloomy feelings usually develop deep in the heart. Someone who hasn’t learned how to control them will be gloomy and pensive most of the time and it will be hard for him to deal with himself and other people. When they come close to you, sustain yourself with inner strength, happiness and innocent jokes: and they will leave you soon. This is from experience.

Lord, give me strength to love everyone like myself and never to get angry or work for the devil. Give me strength to crucify my self-esteem, my pride, my greed, my skepticism and other passions. Let us have a name: a mutual love. Let us not worry about anything. Be the only God of our hearts, and let us desire nothing except You. Let us live always in unifying love and let us hate anything that separates us from each other and from love. So be it! So be it! If God showed Himself to us and lives inside us as we in Him (according to His eternal Word), wouldn’t He give us everything? Would He ever trick us or leave us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32). Now be comforted, my dear, and know nothing but love. These things I command you, that ye love one another (John 15:17).

St. John of Kronstadt

Vladyka Evlogy (Smirnov)

His very name is translated as “blessing.” He was always sent to the most difficult sites on the Church front. He raised Moscow’s Danilov Monastery from the ruins—the first monastery handed over to the Russian Orthodox Church after the tumultuous years of Soviet authority—then he revived Optina Hermitage from the same desolation. Then he spent three decades peacefully ruling the Vladimir and Suzdal Diocese, which he received in a difficult state of division.

On July 22, our Church bid farewell to an epochal man, a metropolitan who could easily kneel in the middle of a working day just to teach humility to his employees and spiritual children—Vladyka Evlogy (Smirnov).

He used to reflect:

“How weary I have grown of all this fuss. I’m so tired”—his face so bright, his gaze far away, as if he were already looking toward the place where he has now gone—to the Lord, where they don’t speak, but sing.

“Life doesn’t stand still, but extends into time like a speeding arrow,” he wrote in his spiritual journal, “and invariably passes into eternity.”

Read more about vladyka Evlogy (Smirnov):

St. John of Rila: The Fruits of Faith and Non-Faith

Thine angelic life hath been the foundation of repentance, the prescription of compunction, the model of consolation and spiritual perfection, O venerable father John, who abode in prayers, fasting and tears. Entreat Christ God in behalf of our souls. (Troparion to St. John of Rila)

Today the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the glorious memory of our Venerable Father John of Rila, the earthly angel and heavenly man. From earliest youth he labored in mind, heart, and with all the power of his will to address the Christian’s main task: to put aside the old man with his pernicious deeds and to put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24). Thanks to his firm and unrelenting determination and to the grace of God, which is always ready to assist the true laborer, he resolved this task triumphantly and gloriously, attaining the glorious crown of incorruptible life.

The fact is, my dear brothers and sisters, that from our very conception and birth we have all inherited the filth and corruption of sin, which separates us from God the source of life; it decays and gradually destroys our entire being, both soul and body, plunging us into eternal darkness and torment, corrupting the body and turning it into earth.

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The covenant which the Serb people made with God

Fr Justin (Popovic) of Chelije writes:

Holy martyr king Lazar Saint Sava’s ideal and plan for his whole nation was: ‘Give up everything for Christ, but Christ for nothing.’ No one has ever realized this ideal and plan to such a full extent as the holy and great martyr, Tsar Lazar. He brought it about for his whole nation when he decided in favor of the Heavenly Kingdom and offered up himself as a sacrifice on the field of Kosovo, together with the whole Serbian people. He did this from the purely evangelic reasons recorded in our folk epic:

‘The earthly kingdom lasts only for a brief time,
But the heavenly kingdom always and forever.’

“We die with Christ, to live forever”, he told his soldiers. That Kosovo’s declaration and testament is regarded as the covenant which the Serb people made with God – and sealed with martyrs’ blood. Since then all Serbs faithful to that Testament regard themselves as the people of God, Christ’s New Testament nation, heavenly Serbia, part of God’s New Israel.

Source: “The Mystery and the Meaning of the Battle of Kosovo”