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

Monastic Tonsures at the Kiev Caves Lavra – PHOTO GALLERY

On the evening of Wednesday, March 15, two men were tonsured into monasticism in the caves at the famous Kiev Caves Lavra. The rite of tonsure was celebrated by the abbot of the monastery, His Eminence Metropolitan Pavel of Vyshgorod and Chernobyl.

Of course, the Great Fast is the most fitting time to give one’s life to Christ in the angelic habit with the requisite vows of asceticism.

It’s also fitting to remember this event today, on the Sunday of the Cross, as monasticism is nothing less than co-crucifixion with the Lord. As St. John of Climacus teaches, angels are a light for monks, and monks are a light for men, because it’s the monastics who most fully live out the Gospel of picking up one’s cross and dying to oneself. The spirit of monasticism is a continuation of the spirit of martyrdom, of the pursuit of the perfection of Christ.

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Thousands of orthodox Ukrainians fill Kiev Caves Lavra as state continues to persecute the monastery

The Orthodox faithful of Kiev came out in force on Sunday to worship and show their love and support for holy Orthodoxy.

Thousands of people filled the Holy Dormition-Kiev Caves Lavra on the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas, when all the saints of the Lavra are also celebrated, following their beloved hierarch His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine in prayer.

The blessed event occurred just two days after it became known that the state intends to completely expel holy Orthodoxy from the Lavra by the end of the month. The Church was already kicked out of the cathedrals of the Upper Lavra late last year, and has been worshiping in the churches of the Lower Lavra since then. Both sections of the monastery have been under state control since Soviet times.

The celebration began with the All-Night Vigil on Saturday night in the Church of St. Agapit in the Lower Lavra. The next morning, the saintly Met. Onuphry, together with 29 other hierarchs, led the Divine Liturgy in the Holy Cross Church.

It was initially planned to hold the service outside on the square in front of the church to better accommodate the thousands of pilgrims who were expected, but due to inclement weather, the service was held inside. Nevertheless, the rightly believing Kievan faithful filled the territory of the Lavra, braving the elements.

The video below shows thousands of faithful chanting the Nicene Creed together on the square outside the church:

After the reading of the Holy Gospel, His Beatitude addressed the faithful with an archpastoral sermon in which he addressed the state’s ill will towards the Church and the brotherhood of the Lavra:

Today, dear brothers and sisters, clouds have gathered over this holy monastery…

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If there is no commandment, man cannot develop spiritually and be perfected

Your Beatitude, we often hear the same complaint from the unchurched about Great Lent: Why such extremes—to eat only vegetable products for a month and a half before Pascha, often even without oil, and on certain days eating nothing? The opponents of the Church see something dictatorial and cruel even in the very concept of a “ban”…

—We mustn’t look at Lent as a ban. Fasting is one of the voluntary components of spiritual practice, and keeping the fast is an expression of our obedience to the Lord and His holy Church. Obedience was already introduced by the Lord to our forefathers Adam and Eve. There were many trees in the Garden of Eden that bore beautiful and desirable fruit, and Adam could eat from any of them, except for one. The Lord forbade it not because He didn’t want to share this fruit with Adam, but to give him a commandment of obedience, through which he could perfect his love for the Creator. If there is no commandment, man cannot develop spiritually and be perfected.

When children obey their parents, they thereby express their love for them. They are sorry to disappoint their parents, and when they are disobedient and do bad things, their conscience immediately begins to reproach them, and there arises a psychological barrier in communicating with their parents. And children often run to their parents with tears of repentance to remove the burden from their youthful soul. We, adults, must obey the holy Church, fulfilling its precepts, submitting to its typikon and its rules. And thanks to this obedience, our love for God grows through the grace received from Him. When we act contrary to the will of God, we depart from Him, and it’s difficult for us to be with Him as it was difficult for sinful Adam in Paradise.

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What does it mean to walk in truth

Venerable Simeon, the Myrrhgusher and Prince of Serbia and Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev)

What does it mean to walk in truth (III John 1:4)? It means accepting truth in your heart, abiding in such thoughts and feelings as the truth requires. Thus, it is the truth that God is everywhere and sees everything.

He who accepts this truth with his heart and begins to keep himself both inwardly and outwardly as if God Himself were before him and were seeing everything within him, is walking in this truth. It is the truth that God contains all, and that without Him we cannot do anything successfully.

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The Meeting of our Lord in the Temple

Speaking about the spread and celebration of Christmas, St. John Chrysostom says: “Magnificent and noble trees when planted in the ground shortly attain great heights and become heavily laden with fruit; so it is with this day.” So it is with the day of the Meeting of our Lord in the Temple. In the beginning this day was discussed among Christians but the solemn celebration began from the period of the great Emperor Justinian. During the reign of this emperor, a great pestilence afflicted the people in Constantinople and vicinity so that about five-thousand or more people died daily. At the same time a terrible earthquake occurred in Antioch. Seeing the weakness of man’s ability to prevent these misfortunes the emperor, in consultation with the patriarch, ordered a period of fast and prayer throughout the entire empire. And, on the day of the Meeting [The Presentation] itself, arranged great processions throughout the towns and villages that the Lord might show compassion on His people. And truly, the Lord did show compassion; for the epidemic and earthquake ceased at once. This occurred in the year 544 A.D. Following this and from that time one, the Feast of the Presentation [Meeting] began to be celebrated as a major feast of the Lord. The tree, in time, grew and began to bring forth-abundant fruit.

Prologue of Ohrid, 2 February

The absence of envy among the saints is a startling and wonderful phenomenon

The absence of envy among the saints is a startling and wonderful phenomenon. Not only did the saints not allow envy to seize their hearts, but they labored to uplift their companions and to diminish themselves with all their might. On one occasion, when St. Hilarion of Palestine visited St. Anthony in Egypt, St. Anthony exclaimed: “Welcome, O morning star!” To that St. Hilarion replied: “Greetings and health be to you, O shining pillar who sustains the universe!” When they praised St. Macarius as a monk, the saint replied: “Brethren, forgive me. I am not a monk–but I have seen monks!” When some people told St. Sisoes that he had attained the same level of perfection as St. Anthony, Sisoes replied: “If only I had but a single thought as does Anthony, I would be all aflame.”

Prologue of Ohrid, January 28

“You fought for the teaching of the Fathers”

Saint Mark Eugenikos, 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.

Troparion — Tone 4
By your profession of faith, O all-praised Mark / the Church has found you to be a zealot for truth. / You fought for the teaching of the Fathers; / you cast down the darkness of boastful pride. / Intercede with Christ God to grant forgiveness to those who honor you!

Kontakion — Tone 3
Clothed with invincible armor, O blessed one, / you cast down rebellious pride, / you served as the instrument of the Comforter, / and shone forth as the champion of Orthodoxy. / Therefore we cry to you: “Rejoice, Mark, the boast of the Orthodox!”

Saint Sava, Archbishop of the Serbs

Sava was born in 1169 A.D. He was the son of Stephen [Stefan] Nemanja the Grand Zupan of the Serbs. As a young man, Sava yearned for the spiritual life for which he fled to the Holy Mountain [Mt. Athos] where he was tonsured a monk and with rare zeal lived according to the ascetical rule. Stefan Nemanja followed the example of his son and came to the Holy Mountain where he was tonsured a monk and died as Simeon, the monk. Continue reading

About Holy Water

On Theophany, that is, the Day of the Lord’s Baptism, every year a great miracle is performed. The Holy Spirit, coming down upon the water, changes its natural properties. It becomes incorrupt, that is it does not spoil, remains transparent and fresh for many years, receives the grace to heal illnesses, to drive away demons and every evil power, to preserve people and their dwellings from every danger, to sanctify various objects whether for church or home use. Therefore Orthodox Christians with reverence drink Holy Water – a great Agiasma (holy thing), as the Greeks call it.

One should always have at home enough Theophany water so that it will last the whole year, and make use of it at every need; in cases of illness, leaving on a journey, whenever one is upset, students when going to examinations. They do well who daily, before eating any kind of food, drink a little Holy Water. It strengthens the powers of our soul – if it is done, of course, with prayer and reverence, and one does not merely expect from it a mechanical result.

Every priest should take care to bless a sufficient quantity of water for his church, so that it will be on hand for the course of the whole year for every need and to be given out to those who ask for it; and parishioners should provide for themselves at Theophany with Holy Water for the whole year and even so that it can be kept for future years.

St. John of Shanghai

Photos: Miracle on Theophany, Holy Land, 2022

Patriarch of Jerusalem Irenaios has passed away

The Patriarch of Jerusalem Irenaios, who had been facing serious health problems for years, passed away. He was unjustly deposed from the throne of Jerusalem Patriarchate in 2005.

Father Timotheus Iliakis says on his Facebook:

“The Patriarch Irenaios of Jerusalem, the long-suffering, benevolent, sanctified by the great Cross he lifted and flew to Heaven. He endured with Joveian patience and bravery the wickedness of people and indeed those whom he benefited, he blessed everyone and did not take offense,” he said.

“As a genuine Agiotaphite, he should have been in Jerusalem to be buried next to the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, but even here pettiness, malice and envy, but it doesn’t matter, he is honored by God and the People who loved him and stood by him.”