GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA

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Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Хрїсто́съ воскре́се ᾿изˈ ме́ртвыхъ,
сме́ртїю сме́рть попра́въ,
᾿и су́щимъ во гробѣ́хъ живо́тъ дарова́въ.

Христос воскрес із мертвих,
смертію смерть здолав,
і тим, що в гробах, життя дарував!

Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!

Holy Week and Pascha

Our Lord’s Crucifixion

Schedule of Services:

Holy Monday – Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts – 6:00 PM

Holy Tuesday – Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts – 6:00 PM

Holy Wednesday – Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts – 6:00 PM

Holy Thursday – Matins with the reading of the 12 Passion Gospels – 6:00 PM

Holy Friday – Vespers with Burial Procession and the placing of the shroud in the tomb – 6:00 PM

Holy Saturday – Vespers with the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great – 9 AM
– Nocturnes of Pascha – 11:30 PM (NOTE: The celebration of Pascha begins on Holy Saturday night with Nocturnes at 11:30 PM)

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA – Nocturnes, Resurrection Matins, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the blessing of baskets and fellowship meal – Services begin at 11:30 PM Saturday night into the early hours of Pascha, Sunday

Clean Week – The First Week of Great Lent

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Service Schedule:

Monday -The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete 6 PM.

Tuesday – The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete 6 PM.

Wednesday – Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts 6 PM

Thursday – The Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete 6 PM.

Friday – Lenten Moleben and Sorokousty 6 PM

Join us in prayer during this most solemn season!

The Beginning of Great Lent

 

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March 11th, 2019

In the Orthodox Church, the last Sunday before Great Lent—the day on which, at Vespers, Lent is liturgically announced and inaugurated—is called Forgiveness Sunday. On the morning of that Sunday, at the Divine Liturgy, we hear the words of Christ:

“If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses…” (Mark 6:14-15).

Then after Vespers—after hearing the announcement of Lent in the Great Prokeimenon: “Turn not away Thy face from Thy child, for I am afflicted! Hear me speedily! Draw near unto my soul and deliver it!”, after making our entrance into Lenten worship, with its special melodies, with the prayer of Saint Ephraim the Syrian, with its prostrations—we ask forgiveness from each other, we perform the rite of forgiveness and reconciliation. And as we approach each other with words of reconciliation, the choir intones the Paschal hymns, filling the church with the anticipation of Paschal joy.

What is the meaning of this rite? Why is it that the Church wants us to begin the Lenten season with forgiveness and reconciliation? These questions are in order because for too many people Lent means primarily, and almost exclusively, a change of diet, the compliance with ecclesiastical regulations concerning fasting. They understand fasting as an end in itself, as a “good deed” required by God and carrying in itself its merit and its reward. But the Church spares no effort in revealing to us that fasting is but a means, one among many, towards a higher goal: the spiritual renewal of man, his return to God, true repentance and, therefore, true reconciliation. The Church spares no effort in warning us against a hypocritical and pharisaic fasting, against the reduction of religion to mere external obligations. As a Lenten hymn says:

“In vain do you rejoice in not eating, O soul!
For you abstain from food,
But from passions you are not purified.
If you persevere in sin, you will perform a useless fast!”

Now, forgiveness stands at the very center of Christian faith and of Christian life because Christianity itself is, above all, the religion of forgiveness. God forgives us, and His forgiveness is in Christ, His Son, whom He sends to us so that by sharing in His humanity we may share in His love and be truly reconciled with God. Indeed, Christianity has no other content but love. And it is primarily the renewal of that love, a growth in it, that we seek in Great Lent, in fasting and prayer, in the entire spirit and the entire effort of that season. Thus, truly forgiveness is both the beginning of, and the proper condition for, the Lenten season.

One may ask, however: Why should I perform this rite when I have no “enemies?” Why should I ask forgiveness from people who have done nothing to me, and whom I hardly know? To ask these questions is to misunderstand the Orthodox teaching concerning forgiveness. It is true that open enmity, personal hatred, real animosity may be absent from our life, though if we experience them, it may be easier for us to repent, for these feelings openly contradict Divine commandments. But the Church reveals to us that there are much subtler ways of offending Divine Love. These are indifference, selfishness, lack of interest in other people, of any real concern for them—in short, that wall which we usually erect around ourselves, thinking that by being “polite” and “friendly” we fulfill God’s commandments. The rite of forgiveness is so important precisely because it makes us realize—be it only for one minute—that our entire relationship to other men is wrong, makes us experience that encounter of one child of God with another, of one person created by God with another, makes us feel that mutual “recognition” which is so terribly lacking in our cold and dehumanized world.

On that unique evening, listening to the joyful Paschal hymns we are called to make a spiritual discovery: to taste of another mode of life and relationship with people, of life whose essence is love. We can discover that always and everywhere Christ, the Divine Love Himself, stands in the midst of us, transforming our mutual alienation into brotherhood. As I advance towards the other, as the other comes to me—we begin to realize that it is Christ who brings us together by His love for both of us.

And because we make this discovery—and because this discovery is that of the Kingdom of God itself: the Kingdom of Peace and Love, of reconciliation with God and, in Him, with all that exists—we hear the hymns of that Feast, which once a year “opens to us the doors of Paradise.” We know why we shall fast and pray, what we shall seek during the long Lenten pilgrimage.

Forgiveness Sunday: the day on which we acquire the power to make our fasting—true fasting; our effort—true effort; our reconciliation with God—true reconciliation.

Forgiveness Sunday – The Sunday of Cheesefare: Expulsion of Adam from Paradise

March 10th, 2019

Aswe begin the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which they were created. Both they and their descendents became heirs of death and corruption.

Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. Today we are invited to cleanse ourselves of evil through fasting and obedience to God. Our fasting should not be a negative thing, a mere abstention from certain foods. It is an opportunity to free ourselves from the sinful desires and urges of our fallen nature, and to nourish our souls with prayer, repentance, to participate in church services, and partake of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ.

At Forgiveness Vespers we sing: “Let us begin the time of fasting in light, preparing ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us purify our soul, let us purify our body. As we abstain from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit….”

March 3rd – The Sunday of the Last Judgment – Meatfare Sunday

Today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:31-46, the parable of the Last Judgment. It reminds us that while trusting in Christ’s love and mercy, we must not forget His righteous judgment when He comes again in glory. If our hearts remain hardened and unrepentant, we should not expect the Lord to overlook our transgressions simply because He is a good and loving God. Although He does not desire the death of a sinner, He also expects us to turn from our wickedness and live (Ezek. 33:11). This same idea is expressed in the prayer read by the priest after the penitent has confessed his or her sins (Slavic practice).

The time for repentance and forgiveness is now, in the present life. At the Second Coming, Christ will appear as the righteous Judge, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:6). Then the time for entreating God’s mercy and forgiveness will have passed.

As Father Alexander Schmemann reminds us in his book GREAT LENT (Ch. 1:4), sin is the absence of love, it is separation and isolation. When Christ comes to judge the world, His criterion for judgment will be love. Christian love entails seeing Christ in other people, our family, our friends, and everyone else we may encounter in our lives. We shall be judged on whether we have loved, or not loved, our neighbor. We show Christian love when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit those who are sick or in prison. If we did such things for the least of Christ’s brethren, then we also did them for Christ (Mt.25:40). If we did not do such things for the least of the brethren, neither did we do them for Christ (Mt.25:45).

Today is the last day for eating meat and meat products until Pascha, though eggs and dairy products are permitted every day during the coming week. This limited fasting prepares us gradually for the more intense fasting of Great Lent.

The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple

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The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
Service Schedule –
Friday February 1st – Great Vespers with Litiya – 6PM
Saturday February 2nd – Divine Liturgy 9AM
Everyone is welcome! Come and join us in prayer!

Today (February 2nd) the Church commemorates an important event in the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 2:22-40). Forty days after His birth the God-Infant was taken to the Jerusalem Temple, the center of the nation’s religious life. According to the Law of Moses (Lev. 12:2-8), a woman who gave birth to a male child was forbidden to enter the Temple of God for forty days. At the end of this time the mother came to the Temple with the child, to offer a young lamb or pigeon to the Lord as a purification sacrifice. The Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, had no need of purification, since she had given birth to the Source of purity and sanctity without defilement. However, she humbly fulfilled the requirements of the Law.

At this time the righteous Elder Simeon (February 3) was living in Jerusalem. It had been revealed to him that he would not die until he should behold the promised Messiah. By inspiration from above, Saint Simeon went to the Temple at the very moment when the Most Holy Theotokos and Saint Joseph had brought the Infant Jesus to fulfill the Law.

The God-Receiver Simeon took the divine Child in his arms, and giving thanks to God, he spoke the words repeated by the Church each evening at Vespers: “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32). Saint Simeon said to the Most Holy Virgin: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be spoken against. Yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).

The Nativity of Our Lord

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Wishing you all a blessed feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ! Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Христос Рождається! Славімо Його! Καλά Χριστούγεννα! Merry Christmas!

DECEMBER 24 – Christmas Eve – Great Compline and Matins – 7 PM

DECEMBER 25 – The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ – Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom – 9 AM

Come and join us!

Christmas Ethnic Food Sale – 2018

The pickup date for orders of our Annual Christmas Ethnic Food Sale has been postponed to a later date to be announced as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused, but we assure all of our customers that their orders have been saved and will be filled as usual at the later pickup date. We THANK YOU for your understanding and cooperation in this matter! Orders are still being taken and may still be submitted via the order form below. Take the time and order some of our delicious Ukrainian, Polish and Slovak foods!