Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2023-03-26
Bulletin Contents
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Assumption of the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church

General Information

  • Street Address:

  • 801 Montecito Drive

  • San Angelo, TX 76903

Contact Information

Services Schedule

All Services are

Alternating Sundays:

9 AM Orthros Prayer Service & 
10 AM Divine Liturgy Communion Service

10 AM Typica Service

The 10 AM Sunday services are followed by Coffee Hour and Fellowship.

Past Bulletins

Calendar & Announcements

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May we continue to offer our prayers for the family and for the repose of the soul of the servant of God, Dimitri.
Funeral Services:
Tuesday, March 28 - 7:00 pm - Trisagion (Memorial Service)
Wednesday, March 29 - 11:00 am - Funeral Service followed by the burial and service at Fairmount Cemetery.
On behalf of our parish community, we request assistance with providing the Makaria luncheon at the Church following the funeral and burial.
O God of spirits, and of all flesh, who has trampled down death, crushed the power of the devil, and granted life to your world, do You yourself, O Lord, give rest to the soul of your servant, who has fallen asleep, in a place of light, a place of green pasture, a place of repose, where there is no grief, sorrow or mourning. Forgive every sin which he has committed in word or deed or thought, for You are a good God who loves mankind. For there is no one who lives and does not sin; only You are without sin; Your righteousness is an everlasting my righteousness and Your word is truth.


If you are inquiring about the Orthodox Christian faith, please reach out to Fr. Nektarios for resources.

Our faith is focused on our worship and participation in the Church, the Body of Christ, and in cultivating our communion with God.  We can provide you with a prayer book to guide you in daily prayers, as well as a book and online resources that explain the Orthodox Christian faith and life.

Fr. Nektarios is also available to meet with you by phone, Zoom or in person to offer guidance as you follow God's guidance and seek your spiritual home in the Orthodox Church.



 10:00 am - Typika

To celebrate the Annunciation and Greek Independence Day, we will host a Lenten potluck after the service.

Feel free to bring your favorite fish and lenten dishes! 

  • Saturday, April 1 
  9:00 am - Orthros
 10:00 am - Divine Liturgy 

 10:00 am - Typika

 10:00 am - Typika

  • Monday, April 10
   9:00 am - Presanctified Liturgy 
   6:30 pm - Holy Monday Bridegroom Service 
  • Wednesday, April 12
  1:00 pm - Sacrament of Holy Unction 
Please join us for our weekly classes on Thursdays, at 7:00 pm via Zoom (see the link below).

All are welcome. Whether you are an experienced Orthodox, a serious inquirer, or a complete newbie, feel free to join us for discussion and learning. 

Your host is Fr. Nektarios Morrow.

Zoom link: 

Meeting ID: 929 926 5692

Passcode: Grace22

Previous classes are archived on YouTube at

Questions? Email Fr. Nektarios



Currently, the overall number of earthquake fatalities in both Turkey and Syria surpasses 50,000.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America announces the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Earthquake Relief Fund, a fundraising effort by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America to provide humanitarian aid to the victims of the recent earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. 

The Assembly of Bishops’ humanitarian relief agency, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has launched a fundraising campaign in order to implement both emergency and long-term relief programs. IOCC’s efforts will directly assist and support the faithful of the region and their neighbors. Please consider supporting the campaign.



Please continue to pray for Presvytera Dena and the family of a beloved priest and shepherd of Assumption Church, Fr. Jim. 

In following the request of the family of Fr. Jim, the Parish has established a Memorial Fund. Please designate your gift for the Memorial Fund if you would like to make a donation. 

May the memory of Fr. Jim be eternal.



If you know someone who needs meals due to illness, birth, etc., please see Kathy Baughman or Noelle Bartl. Thank you to everyone who volunteers for this ministry. You are being the hands of Christ!



We are still accepting orders for Greek Pastries. All proceeds go to supprt the operating costs of our parish. Please contact Wilma Dunias, a member of our parish, at or 720-989-7928. 



As you know, Joanna Garcia continues to go through a very difficult time with her ongoing illness.  Joe is her faithful caregiver, so he is at home full-time helping her now.  They could really use some extra support from us!  
If you want to give a financial donation to help with medical expenses, etc., please make your check out to our church (Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, or AVMGOC for short), and make note that it's for the Garcias.
If you have any questions, please call or text Kathy at 325-277-0274.
The Garcias sure appreciate our prayers and support. Cards or notes of encouragement would brighten their days too.  You can send them to the church, and we will forward them on. The church address is Assumption Orthodox Church, 801 Montecito Dr., San Angelo, TX 76903.
Thank you for helping during this time of great need.



We have open slots on the sign up sheet for Coffee Hour, which can be found on the refrigerator in the church kitchen. Can you help host? It's okay to bring something simple, or even just one dish. Encourage others to sign up with you as co-hosts. "Many hands make the burden light." Thank you for your help!


Check out the rest of the bulletin! See below for news from the world of Orthodoxy, online concerts and lecture series, and more.



Birthdays: Seraphina Zamora, Olivia Choate, Sharmaine Zamora, Anna Baker, Wilma Dunias, Cia Alexander, Jared Crusberg, Julietta Garcia

Anniversaries: Anniversary of Ordination to the Holy Priesthood Fr. Mark Lichtenstein (March 6, on the Feast of the Finding of the Cross by St. Helen), Alan & Kathleen Baughman


  • 3/2  Sharmaine Zamora

  • 3/11 Theresa Alexander (St. Theodora)

  • 3/14 Matthew Johnson (Benedict of Nursia)  

Memorials: Jimmy Dunias, Kanella Dunias, Dimitri Papachristos



Birthdays: Luther Large, Kenneth Kuykendall, Danilo Bartl, Richard Priest, Kelly Kuykendall, Fr. Mark Lichtenstein, Kayla Perkins, Julian Garcia, Charis Worden,  Leo Jr. Alexander

Anniversaries: none


  •  4/16  Charis Worden (St. Charrisa)

  •  4/21 Alexandra McDaniel & Lana Vaughn (Alexandra the Empress)

  •  4/23 Georgiana Bartl, George Kuykendall, Aaron Rosenstrom (St. George)

  • 4/25 Fr. Mark Lichtenstein (St. Mark the Evangelist)

  • 4/30 Presbytera Suzanne Lichtenstein (St. Suzanna, the Myrrhbearer) 

Memorials: Ellen Dunias Roddy



Please join us for refreshments in the Social Hall.


** As always, see the parish website for any changes and updates. **



Fasting Recipes


When you hear that Lent is coming, do you close your eyes and groan? What if I said there is a secret to not starving when you fast — would that help you fast more cheerfully?

Well, there is. Fasting is about more than just food, of course, but let's face it: It's hard to do those other things when we are low on energy due to not getting good nutrition.

So here it is: The secret to fasting without starving is eating complementary protiens, such as beans + rice.

Proteins are made of amino acids. Meats, seafood, and dairy have all the amino acids our bodies need, so they are called "complete proteins."

Most fasting foods, however, rely on "partial proteins." In a beans-and-rice dish, for example, beans have some of the amino acids our bodies need daily...and rice has the others. They are complementary to each other, meaning that they complete each other by being together.

When we pair partial proteins together, we can create a "complete protein." Instead of feeling like we are starving during Lent, we can feel light and satisfied. We just need to know there are two categories of partial proteins, and we need one from each category to create a complete, satisfying protein.

Category 1: Beans*, seeds, peas, nuts**

Category 2: Rice, potatoes, corn, grains, bread, pasta, tortillas

*See below for tips on how to avoid gassiness from beans.
**It is not recommended to bring nut dishes to public events.

Did you know that fasting foods are supposed to be simple to prepare? This is so we can have more time to spend on praying, reading our Bibles, going to weekday services, studying about saints and Church history, giving alms, and doing good deeds for others, as caring Christ-followers should.

These physical actions of devotion, alms-giving, and doing good deeds are part of fasting. Why? Because we are fasting from some of our worldly activities (such as more-elaborate meal preparation) and devoting our time and attention to Christ.

It's not that elaborate meal preparation is unholy — not at all! Fancier cooking is simply an activity we give up on Wednesdays and Fridays, and all during Lent, so we can devote more of our time and energy to Christ.

Even so, fasting food can be tasty! Here are two examples:

  1. Try this Creamy Pea Pasta dish. The creamy green sauce is made using a blender to puree some of the peas, shallots (onion), and garlic. Frozen petite peas work very well in this sauce, and fresh garden mint and lemon make a delicious, aromatic flavor.

  2. This vegan Louisiana Red Beans and Rice dish uses smoked paprika to give it a deep, delicious taste. Serve it with a crunchy salad or stewed greens on the side.


Worried about gas from beans? Watch this video about proper preparation of beans to make them more digestible.

If you prefer canned beans, we recommend using Eden Organic canned beans. They are prepared with overnight soaking to avoid gassiness.

Actually, soaking is good to do for more than just beans: Soaking any partial protien before cooking improves its digestibility. In other words, soaking before cooking makes it easier for your body to break down the food, and lets you absorb more nutrients from it. For more on this, see the article, "Living with Phytic Acid."



Looking for a fasting cookbook that deals with modern diets like paleo, gluten-free, and nut-free? That isn't ethnic?

  • Try Fasting as a Family by Melissa Naasko, blogger and mother of 11. Available from Ancient Faith and Amazon.

  • Melissa also has a useful Facebook page @FastingFamily.

Article on "Joyful Fasting" © 2022 Presvytera Suzanne Thorpe Lichtenstein, used by permission



Denver Metropolis News

Save the Date: 2023 Camp Emmanuel

Save the Date: 2023 Camp Emmanuel

The Metropolis of Denver's Camp Emmanuel is a week-long summer camp for Orthodox youth, aged 11-18. Camp involves prayer services, fun activities and games, music, and thoughtful conversation on spiritual topics. Our goal is to provide an edifying Orthodox Christian community that has a profound effect on each person's life, helping participants to develop both faith and friendships that will last a lifetime. 
In addition, we invite young adults to apply to become volunteer Camp Emmanuel staff members, to develop their spiritual life, leadership skills, and friendships within our camp setting. 

Bp. Constantine's Calendar

Click here for the official calendar of His Grace Bishop Constantine of Sassima.

His Grace Bishop Constantine of Sassima



Archdiocese News

Remarks by New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes on the Resolution of the New York State Senate Recognizing March 2023 as Greek History Month


"On today, March 22nd, with great pride, I thank my colleagues for their indulgence and their support of Senator Gianaris’ resolution and I wish all Greeks and Phil- Hellenes everywhere a Happy Greek Independence Day."

New York State Assembly and Senate Pass Resolutions Recognizing March 2023 as Greek History Month


The New York State Assembly and Senate passed resolutions recognizing March 2023 as Greek History Month in the state of New York. In honor of this historic recognition, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America offered the invocation at each of today's legislative sessions.

Evzones to March in 2023 NYC Greek Independence Parade


His Eminence this week received confirmation that the Evzones will attend and march in the Parade in New York on April 30

Pastoral Visit to Boca Raton Concludes with Meetings with the Faithful


On Saturday, March 18, 2023, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America continued his visit in Boca Raton, FL, meeting with the Executive Board of the Saint Mark Philoptochos for a breakfast. T

Archbishop Elpidophoros' Visit to Saint Mark Church in Boca Raton Continues


In the afternoon of Friday, March 17, 2023 His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America gathered with South Florida Archons at Saint Mark Church in Boca Raton, FL for a roundtable discussion on the life and role of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Archbishop Elpidophoros of America Makes Pastoral Visit to St. Mark Church in Boca Raton


His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America arrived in Boca Raton on Thursday, March 16, 2023, for a pastoral visit to Saint Mark Greek Orthodox Church.

Department of Greek Education Celebrates Greek Independence Day


The Department of Greek Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America invites you to our Greek Independence Day celebration on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Hellenic Cultural Center located at 27-09 Crescent St. Astoria N.Y.

New Coordinator of Programs at the Ecumenical Department


The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Department of Inter-Orthodox, Ecumenical, and Interfaith Relations is pleased to announce the appointment of Hannah Williams as Program Coordinator and Special Assistant to the Director of the Department Rev. Dr. Nicolas Kazarian, beginning March 16, 2023. Prior to her current position, Hannah briefly served as a Youth Coordinator at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Pensacola, Florida.

Step Closer to God with Books & Icons Available on Orthodox Marketplace


The perfect books for self-reflection during the Lenten season. The spiritual steps you will take while reading these books will guide you closer to God and help you better understand the life of Christ and the Saints.

Archons from the Metropolis of San Francisco Welcome Archbishop Elpidophoros to Phoenix for 46th Folk Dance and Choral Festival


The Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate from the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco welcomed with great joy His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America to Phoenix, Arizona during the 46th Annual Folk Dance and Choral Festival. On Saturday, February 18, 2023, the Archons hosted a dinner in his honor as has become the tradition each time the Archbishop visits the Metropolis of San Francisco.

Communique of the Holy Eparchial Synod


A regular meeting of the Holy Eparchial Synod was convened today by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America for the purpose of deliberating on current matters concerning the life of the Church.

His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia Attends Reception on the Occasion of Pope Francis' 10th Anniversary of Election


On March 13, 2023, representing His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia attended the reception offered in honor of the 10th Anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis at the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States of America in Washington, DC.

Archbishop Elpidophoros Welcomes Ambassador and General Consul of Panama


Archbishop Elpidophoros Welcomes Ambassador and General Consul of Panama

Lenten, Holy Week & Paschal Essentials for the Faithful Available on Orthodox Marketplace


LENTEN, HOLY WEEK & PASCHAL ESSENTIALS FOR THE FAITHFUL AVAILABLE ON ORTHODOX MARKETPLACE Follow along to Lenten services with the Akathist Hymn and Holy Week through Easter services books.

Vespers of Contrition at St. Nicholas Church


His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America as he presided over the Lenten Vespers of Contrition on Sunday evening, March 12, 2023 at the Saint Nicholas Church in Flushing, New York.

Archbishop Elpidophoros, St. Phoebe Center for the Deaconess Discuss Participation of Women in the Church


In November 2022, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America welcomed Carrie Frederick Frost, PhD; Kyra P. Limberakis, MTS; and Archons Cary J. Limberakis, DMD, and George E. Demacopoulos, PhD, to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese for a candid discussion on expanding the participation of women in the Church.

Ecumenical Patriarchate News

Catechetical Homily of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew At the Opening of Holy and Great


Most honorable brother Hierarchs and blessed children in the Lord, By the goodwill and grace of the all-merciful and all-benevolent God, already living in the blessed and reverent period of the Triodion, tomorrow we enter Holy and Great Lent, the arena of fasting and “venerable abstinence” that eliminate the passions, during which the depth and wealth of our Orthodox Tradition and the vigilant care of the Church for the spiritual progress of its children are revealed.

Gospel and Epistle Readings

Matins Gospel Reading

Eighth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 20:11-18

At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus has lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabboni," which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, "Do not touch Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and she told them that He had said these things to her.

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 8th Tone. Psalm 75.11,1.
Make your vows to the Lord our God and perform them.
Verse: God is known in Judah; his name is great in Israel.

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.

Gospel Reading

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."


Hymns of the Day

Resurrectional Apolytikion in the 8th Tone

From on high you descended, O merciful Lord. You accepted the cross and three days in the tomb to free us from the bondage of sin, O our life and resurrection. Glory to you, O Lord.

Apolytikion for Sun. of St. John Climacus in the 8th Tone

With the streams of thy tears, thou didst cultivate the barrenness of the desert; and by thy sighings from the depths,thou didst bear fruit a hundredfold in labours; and thou becamest a luminary, shining with miracles upon the world, O John our righteous Father. Intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Apolytikion Hymn of Our Parish: for the Dormition of the Theotokos, in the 1st Tone

In giving birth you remained a virgin.  
And in your dormition, you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos.  
For as the Mother of Life, you have yourself passed into life.  
And by your prayers, you deliver our souls from death.

Seasonal Kontakion in the 8th Tone

Victorious Lady, mighty champion, defending us, we, your servants, now inscribe to you this hymn of thanks, for you rescued us from suff'ring and tribulation. Theotokos, with your power that can never fail, keep us safe from ev'ry danger our whole life long, that we may cry to you: Rejoice, O Bride unwedded.

Saints and Feasts

March 26

Sunday of St. John Climacus

The memory of this Saint is celebrated on March 30, where his biography may be found. He is celebrated today because his book, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, is a sure guide to the ascetic life, written by a great man of prayer experienced in all forms of the monastic polity; it teaches the seeker after salvation how to lay a sound foundation for his struggles, how to detect and war against each of the passions, how to avoid the snares laid by the demons, and how to rise from the rudimental virtues to the heights of Godlike love and humility. It is held in such high esteem that it is universally read in its entirety in monasteries during the Great Fast.

March 26

Synaxis in honor of the Archangel Gabriel

This festive Synaxis is celebrated to the glory of the Archangel Gabriel, since he ministered to the marvelous mystery of God's incarnate dispensation.

March 26

26 Martyrs in Crimea

March 26

Irenaeus the Hieromartyr of Hungary

March 27

Martyr Matrona of Thessalonica

This martyr was the servant of a certain Jewish woman named Pantilla, the wife of the Governor of Thessalonica. When Matrona refused to follow her mistress into the synagogue Pantilla beat her so severly that she died in a few days, and thus received the crown of her confession.

March 27

Paul, Bishop of Corinth

March 27

5th Monday of Lent

March 28

Stephen the Wonderworker

March 28

5th Tuesday of Lent

March 28

Herodion the Apostle of the 70

March 28

Hilarion the New

Saint Hilarion took up the monastic life from his youth and lived in seclusion. Later, as Abbot of the Monastery of Pelecete in Asia Minor (believed to be in Bithynia, not far from Triglia), he suffered much from the Iconoclasts, and reposed in the year 754.

March 29

Mark, Bishop of Arethusa

Saint Mark was Bishop of Arethusa in Syria. In the days of Saint Constantine the Great, Saint Mark, moved with divine zeal, destroyed a temple of the idols and raised up a church in its stead. When Julian the Apostate reigned, in 361, as the pagans were now able to avenge the destruction of their temple, Saint Mark, giving way to wrath, hid himself; but when he saw that others were being taken on his account, he gave himself up. Having no regard to his old age, they stripped him and beat his whole body, cast him into filthy sewers, and pulling him out, had children prick him with their iron writing-pens. Then they put him into a basket, smeared him with honey and a kind of relish of pickled fish, and hung him up under the burning sun to be devoured by bees and wasps. But because he bore this so nobly, his enemies repented, and unloosed him.

March 29

Martyr Cyril the Deacon and Those with him

Saint Cyril was a deacon from Heliopolis in Phoenicia. During the reign of the Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine, he had also broken the idols in pieces. When Julian came to power, Saint Cyril was seized by the idolaters and his belly was ripped open. The other holy Martyrs celebrated today, martyred in Gaza and Ascalon during the reign of Julian, were men of priestly rank and consecrated virgins; they were disemboweled, filled with barley, and set before swine to be eaten. The account of all the above Saints is given in Book III, ch. 3, of Theodoret of Cyrrhus' "Ecclesiastical History."

March 29

Jonah & Mark the Martyrs

As for the holy Martyrs Jonas and Barachesius, they were monks from Persia who lived in the reign of Sapor II, King of Persia from 325 to 379. These Saints found nine Christians in prison suffering for their faith, and comforted them, encouraging them to stand fast till the end, which they did, and received the crown of martyrdom. Because of this, Saints Jonas and Barachesius also were seized, and commanded to worship the fire, the sun, and the water. When they refused, Jonas, among other tortures, had his hands and feet cut off, was crushed in a device that broke his bones, and was sawn asunder. Barachesius was dragged naked over thorns, his whole body was pierced with sharp reeds and then broken in the same device employed upon Jonas, and when boiling pitch was poured down his throat, he gave up his soul into the hands of God.

March 30

John Climacus the Righteous, author of The Divine Ladder of Ascent

This Saint gave himself over to the ascetical life from his early youth. Experienced both in the solitary life of the hermit and in the communal life of cenobitic monasticism, he was appointed Abbot of the Monastery at Mount Sinai and wrote a book containing thirty homilies on virtue. Each homily deals with one virtue, and progressing from those that deal with holy and righteous activity (praxis) unto those that deal with divine vision (theoria), they raise a man up as though by means of steps unto the height of Heaven. For this cause his work is called "The Ladder of Divine Ascent." The day he was made Abbot of Sinai, the Prophet Moses was seen giving commands to those who served at table. Saint John reposed in 603, at eighty years of age. See also the Fourth Sunday of the Fast.

March 31

Innocent, Enlightener of Siberia & Alaska

March 31

Hypatios the Wonderworker

This Saint, who was from Cilicia of Asia Minor, became Bishop of Gangra, the capital of Paphlagonia. He was present at the First Ecumenical Council. Because of his confession of the Orthodox Faith, he was put to death by the Novatians, a sect which denied that sins committed after Baptism could be forgiven.

April 01

5th Saturday of Lent: The Akathist Hymn

About the year 626, the Persians, Avars, and Slavs came with a great host and besieged the imperial city of Constantinople while the Emperor Heraclius and the main body of the Byzantine army were absent in the East. Enemy ships filled the sea, especially the Golden Horn, and on land the adversaries were ready for attack with foot-soldiers, horses, and engines of war. Though the citizens courageously withstood them, yet they were few in number and would be unable to repulse the attack of such a great host. Hence, they could not count on any other means of salvation, except the protection of the Theotokos. And truly, suddenly a violent tempest broke up all the ships and submerged them, and the bodies of the invaders were cast out near the Blachernae quarter of the city where the famous Church of the Theotokos stood. Taking courage from this, the people went forth from the city and repulsed the remaining forces, who fled out of fear. In 673, the city was miraculously delivered yet again, this time from an invasion of the Arabs. Then in 717-718, led by the Saracen general Maslamah, the Arab fleet laid siege once more to the city. The numerical superiority of the enemy was so overwhelming that the fall of the Imperial City seemed imminent. But then the Mother of God, together with a multitude of the angelic hosts, appeared suddenly over the city walls. The enemy forces, struck with terror and thrown into a panic at this apparition, fled in disarray. Soon after this, the Arab fleet was utterly destroyed by a terrible storm in the Aegean Sea on the eve of the Annunciation, March 24, 718. Thenceforth, a special "feast of victory and of thanksgiving" was dedicated to celebrate and commemorate these benefactions. In this magnificent service, the Akathist Hymn is prominent and holds the place of honour. It appears that even before the occasion of the enemy assaults mentioned above, the Akathist Hymn was already in use as the prescribed Service for the Feast of the Annunciation, together with the kontakion, "When the bodiless one learned the secret command," which has the Annunciation as its theme. It was only on the occasion of the great miracle wrought for the Christian populace of the Imperial City on the eve of the Annunciation in 718 that the hymn "To thee, the Champion Leader" was composed, most likely by Saint Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople.

Historians have ascribed the Akathist Hymn to Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople (638), to Saint George the Confessor, Bishop of Pisidia (818), or even to Saint Photius the Great (891), all of whom lived either at the time of or after the above-mentioned sieges. However, it appears most likely from its language, content, and style that the true composer of the Akathist Hymn is Saint Romanus the Melodist (6th century).

April 01

Mary of Egypt

When Mary was only twelve years old, she left her parents and departed to Alexandria, where she lived a depraved life for seventeen years. Then, moved by curiosity, she went with many pilgrims to Jerusalem, that she might see the Exaltation of the venerable Cross. Even in the Holy City she gave herself over to every kind of licentiousness and drew many into the depth of perdition. Desiring to go into the church on the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, time and again she perceived a certain invisible power preventing her entrance, whereas the multitude of people about her entered unhindered. Therefore, wounded in heart by this, she decided to change her way of life and reconcile herself to God by means of repentance. Invoking our Lady the Theotokos as her protectress, she asked her to open the way for her to worship the Cross, and vowed that she would renounce the world. And thus, returning once again to the church, she entered easily. When she had worshipped the precious Wood, she departed that same day from Jerusalem and passed over the Jordan. She went into the inner wilderness and for forty-seven years lived a most harsh manner of life, surpassing human strength; alone, she prayed to God alone. Toward the end of her life, she met a certain hermit named Zosimas, and she related to him her life from the beginning. She requested of him to bring her the immaculate Mysteries that she might partake of them. According to her request, he did this the following year on Holy and Great Thursday. One year after this, Zosimas again went thither and found her dead, laid upon the ground, and letters written in the sand near her which said: "Abba Zosimas, bury here the body of wretched Mary. I died on the very day I partook of the immaculate Mysteries. Pray for me." Her death is reckoned by some to have taken place in 378, by some, in 437, and by others, in 522. She is commemorated also on the Fifth Sunday of Great Lent. Her life was recorded by Saint Sophronius of Jerusalem.

April 01

Euthemios of Suzdal

April 02

Titus the Wonderworker

Little is known of this Saint except that he took up the monastic life from his youth, became the abbot of a monastery, and reposed in peace.

April 02

Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

The memory of this Saint is celebrated on April 1, where her life is recorded. Since the end of the holy Forty Days is drawing nigh, it has been appointed for this day also, so that if we think it hard to practice a little abstinence forty days, we might be roused by the heroism of her who fasted in the wilderness forty-seven years; and also that the great loving-kindness of God, and His readiness to receive the repentant, might be demonstrated in very deed.


Wisdom of the Fathers

Seest thou how He now proceeds to lay beforehand in them the foundation of His doctrine about fasting? ... See, at any rate, how many blessings spring from them both. For he that is praying as he ought, and fasting, hath not many wants, and he that hath not many wants, cannot be covetous; ...
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 57 on Matthew 17,4,5. B#54, pp.355,356., 4th Century

... he that is not covetous, will be also more disposed for almsgiving. He that fasts is light, and winged, and prays with wakefulness, and quenches his wicked lusts, and propitiates God, and humbles his soul when lifted up. Therefore even the apostles were almost always fasting.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 57 on Matthew 17,4,5. B#54, pp.355,356., 4th Century