Sunday & Weekday Services
9:00am - Orthros and Divine Liturgy
In giving birth, you preserved your virginity; in your dormition, you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated unto life, since you are the Mother of Life, and by your intercessions, you do redeem our souls from death.
Eleventh Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 21:14-25
At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead, and he said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."
Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" So, the word went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die; but Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Prokeimenon. Third Mode. Psalm 46.6,1.
Sing praises to our God, sing praises.
Verse: Clap your hands, all you nations.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 6:13-20.
BRETHREN, when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore to himself, saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you." And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Men indeed swear by a greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed with an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Sunday of St. John Climacus
The Reading is from Mark 9:17-31
At that time, a man came to Jesus kneeling and saying: "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; and wherever it seizes him it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able." And he answered them, "O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me." And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us." And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting." They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he would not have any one know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise."
Ἀδελφοί, τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ἐπαγγειλάμενος ὁ Θεός, ἐπεὶ κατ' οὐδενὸς εἶχε μείζονος ὀμόσαι, ὤμοσε καθ' ἑαυτοῦ, λέγων· ἦ μὴν εὐλογῶν εὐλογήσω σε καὶ πληθύνων πληθυνῶ σε· καὶ οὕτω μακροθυμήσας ἐπέτυχε τῆς ἐπαγγελίας. Ἄνθρωποι μὲν γὰρ κατὰ τοῦ μείζονος ὀμνύουσι, καὶ πάσης αὐτοῖς ἀντιλογίας πέρας εἰς βεβαίωσιν ὁ ὅρκος· ἐν ᾧ περισσότερον βουλόμενος ὁ Θεὸς ἐπιδεῖξαι τοῖς κληρονόμοις τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τὸ ἀμετάθετον τῆς βουλῆς αὐτοῦ, ἐμεσίτευσεν ὅρκῳ, ἵνα διὰ δύο πραγμάτων ἀμεταθέτων, ἐν οἷς ἀδύνατον ψεύσασθαι Θεόν, ἰσχυρὰν παράκλησιν ἔχωμεν οἱ καταφυγόντες κρατῆσαι τῆς προκειμένης ἐλπίδος· ἣν ὡς ἄγκυραν ἔχομεν τῆς ψυχῆς ἀσφαλῆ τε καὶ βεβαίαν καὶ εἰσερχομένην εἰς τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος, ὅπου πρόδρομος ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν εἰσῆλθεν Ἰησοῦς, κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισεδέκ, Ἀρχιερεὺς γενόμενος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.
Μαρ θʹ 17 - 31
Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἄνθρωπός τις προσῆλθε τῷ Ἰησοῦ γονυπετῶν αὐτῷ καὶ λέγων· Διδάσκαλε, ἤνεγκα τὸν υἱόν μου πρὸς σέ, ἔχοντα πνεῦμα ἄλαλον. καὶ ὅπου ἂν αὐτὸν καταλάβῃ, ῥήσσει αὐτόν, καὶ ἀφρίζει καὶ τρίζει τοὺς ὀδόντας αὐτοῦ, καὶ ξηραίνεται· καὶ εἶπον τοῖς μαθηταῖς σου ἵνα αὐτὸ ἐκβάλωσι, καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσαν. ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει· Ὦ γενεὰ ἄπιστος, ἕως πότε πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἔσομαι; ἕως πότε ἀνέξομαι ὑμῶν; φέρετε αὐτὸν πρός με. καὶ ἤνεγκαν αὐτὸν πρὸς αὐτόν. καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν εὐθέως τὸ πνεῦμα ἐσπάραξεν αὐτόν, καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐκυλίετο ἀφρίζων. καὶ ἐπηρώτησε τὸν πατέρα αὐτοῦ· Πόσος χρόνος ἐστὶν ὡς τοῦτο γέγονεν αὐτῷ; ὁ δὲ εἶπε· Παιδιόθεν. καὶ πολλάκις αὐτὸν καὶ εἰς πῦρ ἔβαλε καὶ εἰς ὕδατα, ἵνα ἀπολέσῃ αὐτόν· ἀλλ' εἴ τι δύνασαι, βοήθησον ἡμῖν σπλαγχνισθεὶς ἐφ' ἡμᾶς. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Τὸ εἰ δύνασαι πιστεῦσαι, πάντα δυνατὰ τῷ πιστεύοντι. καὶ εὐθέως κράξας ὁ πατὴρ τοῦ παιδίου μετὰ δακρύων ἔλεγε· Πιστεύω, Κύριε· βοήθει μου τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ. ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι ἐπισυντρέχει ὄχλος ἐπετίμησε τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἀκαθάρτῳ λέγων αὐτῷ· Τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἄλαλον καὶ κωφὸν, ἐγὼ σοι ἐπιτάσσω, ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ μηκέτι εἰσέλθῃς εἰς αὐτόν. καὶ κράξαν καὶ πολλὰ σπαράξαν αὐτόν ἐξῆλθε, καὶ ἐγένετο ὡσεὶ νεκρός, ὥστε πολλοὺς λέγειν ὅτι ἀπέθανεν. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς κρατήσας αὐτὸν τῆς χειρὸς ἤγειρεν αὐτόν, καὶ ἀνέστη. Καὶ εἰσελθόντα αὐτὸν εἰς οἶκον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἐπηρώτων αὐτόν κατ' ἰδίαν, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οὐκ ἠδυνήθημεν ἐκβαλεῖν αὐτό. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ καὶ νηστείᾳ. Καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἐξελθόντες παρεπορεύοντο διὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ οὐκ ἤθελεν ἵνα τις γνῷ· ἐδίδασκε γὰρ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ὅτι Ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς χεῖρας ἀνθρώπων, καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν αὐτόν, καὶ ἀποκτανθεὶς τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀναστήσεται.
My beloved friends in the Lord:
In the Divine Liturgy, prior to the Great Entrance, the choir chants the Cherubic Hymn. It is a most solemn moment when the Holy Gifts are brought before the people and we hear the words, “Let us, who mystically represent the Cherubim and who sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity, now lay aside every worldly care. So that we may receive the King of all Who is invisibly escorted by the angelic hosts.” These are words that we hear at every liturgy. As we traverse the Great Lent, we should all take these words to heart. For indeed, Great Lent is a time when we are called to “lay aside every worldly care” so that we may receive the Risen Lord into our hearts.
The worldly cares that surround us are easy to identify for they are the vanities of life that constantly occupy our thoughts. We are concerned with our relationships, our health, our finances, our jobs, our homes and our possessions. We pursue personal pleasure, only to lament that once we have reached our heart’s desire we still feel unfulfilled. We faithfully text and post as though virtual relationships were preferable to personal contact.
Then, as winter seems at its most dreary and spring appears so far away, our Orthodox Christian Faith makes one of its most exacting demands. Great Lent is a time when we are all called to fulfill the command of the Cherubic Hymn and lay aside our worldly cares. Perhaps this is the best invitation to fasting. And why do we fast? We fast not to punish ourselves, but rather to put ourselves in a right relationship with God. We fast not to deprive ourselves of pleasure, but rather to restore a sense of balance in our lives. We fast so that we may drown out the noise that prevents us from hearing the word of God calling out to us.
Fasting is more than the simple, formulaic avoidance of specific foods. We fast to lighten our bodies so that our souls might ascend to God. Our dietary fast is not an end in and of itself, but rather it is the first step in a greater fast – a fast from physical and spiritual appetites and avoidance of those things that are impediments to our salvation. With this type of fast we refrain from hateful speech, we resist covetousness and we renounce our selfish desires. When we engage in this type of fast we will find ourselves able to focus on the weightier matters of life. While there are a myriad of vanities to vex us, the weightier matters of life are only two in number. They are our relationship with God and with each other.
In terms of our relationship with God, our fasting must always be associated with prayer. During the Great Lent the sacred services are multiplied and our prayer life intensified – for fasting without prayer is simply a diet. The Holy Church encourages us to pray both as individuals and as members of a supportive, devoted community. Prayer without the focus of true fasting from the cares of the world is ineffective.
Regarding our relationship with each other, our fasting is always associated with philanthropy. In Great Lent, and throughout the year, we are called to put flesh and blood on the bones of our fasting. Our fasting is a sacrifice that we are called to offer on the altar of those who have encountered the shipwreck of distress. It is only when we set aside the cares of life that we can see those who need our assistance.
To summarize, fasting is a means to an end. That end is our relationship with God and each other. In the Church we have a name for these two relationships and it is called “communion.” The Great Lent, therefore, is a great spiritual exercise in which we come into communion with God and with each other. When we fast we must always remember that the fast is more than dietary proscriptions. In a true fast, we engage in the work of the angels. In a true fast, we abstain from the vanities of life. In a true fast, we lay aside every worldly care so that we may receive the Risen Lord into our hearts, not only at the Great Paschal Feast, but also throughout every day of our lives.
Praying that we faithfully traverse the journey of the Great Lent so that it may lead us to a greater level of spiritual awareness and closeness with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I humbly remain,
With paternal love and blessings in Christ,
The following services will be celebrated in April and for Holy Week
* Friday, April 2nd – 7:00pm 3rd Salutations to the Holy Theotokos
* Sunday, April 4th – 9:00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy - Sunday of the Adoration of the Holy Cross
* Monday, April 5th – 7:00pm Great Compline
* Wednesday, April 7th – 7:00pm Presanctified Divine Liturgy
* Friday, April 9th – 7:00pm 4th Salutations to the Holy Theotokos
* Sunday, April 11th – 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy - Sunday of Saint John Climacus
* Monday, April 12th – 7:00pm Great Compline
* Wednesday, April 14th – 7:00pm Presanctified Divine Liturgy
* Friday, April 16th – 7:00pm The Akathist Hymn
* Sunday, April 18th – 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy - Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt
* Wednesday, April 21st – 7:00pm Presanctified Divine Liturgy
* Saturday, April 24th – 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy - Saturday of Lazarus
11:30am - Preparations of the palms for Palm Sunday
* Palm Sunday, April 25th – 9:00am Orthros & Divine Liturgy
7:00pm Bridegroom Service
* Holy Monday, April 26th – 7:00pm Bridegroom Service
* Holy Tuesday, April 27th – 7:00pm Bridegroom Service (Hymn of Kassiani)
* Holy Wednesday, April 28th – 9:00am Presanctified Divine Liturgy
6:00pm The Sacrament of Holy Unction
* Holy Thursday, April 29th – 9:00am Vesperal Divine Liturgy of the Mystical Supper
7:00pm The Passion of our Lord (The 12 Gospel Readings)
* Good Friday, April 30th – 9:00am The Royal Hours
10:30am The Decoration of the Epitaphios
3:00pm Apokathelosis (Taking the Body from the Cross)
7:00pm Lamentation Service with the Procession of the Epitaphios
(Trisagion chanted quietly by the Priest in front of the Epitaphios)