Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
The Dormition Fast begins this coming Thursday, August 1. Be sure and read through this entire newsletter, because we want you to be able to take full advantage of all the blessings of this beautiful season.
Wednesday, July 31, and then the Dormition Fast begins on Thursday, August 1. During this Fast we observe the traditional fasting discipline Monday through Friday, with a blessing for fish, wine and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays, and on the Feast of the Transfiguration, Tuesday, August 6. If you need to modify the fast in any way, please check with your spiritual father.
Monday, July 29-Friday, August 2
Thursday, August 1
Paraclesis Service 7pm
Friday, August 2
Paraclesis Service 7pm
Saturday, August 3
St Thomas School 4pm Rebekah Galloway will be leading the discussion on Chapter 3, pgs 129-145 on The Divine Liturgy
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, August 4
7th Sunday of St Matthew
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
This week Team Moose will be cleaning the Long Hall. That’s Gregg Easely, Demetry Zozulya, and Irina Zozulya. If you give them a hand, the work will go much faster.
This Week at St. Thomas School
Chapter 3: The Divine Liturgy pp.129-145
Rebekah Galloway will represent part of Chapter 3 this week. There are few key themes in this section that Metropolitan Hilarion discusses.
First, the fact that the Typikon of the Church doesn’t make a difference in general terms of the priesthood and the people, since they are actually “the priest vested and the priest unvested.” What Metropolitan Hilarion brings out of the Liturgy of the Faithful and the Great Procession is the idea that we – both clergy and laity – are part of the “royal priesthood.” We all offer up glory and call for the Holy Spirit to bring down grace on the bread and wine. With that being said, the priests who serve with vestments still retain their special privilege and responsibility for the community of worshippers, and the priest has his own prayers offered for himself, others, and to Christ. The priest or senior hierarch stands as both Christ “the Offerer” and Christ “the Offered One.” So we shouldn't neglect the role that the laity play as priests without vestments.
The second section discusses the Preparation for the Offering of the Eucharist. It is noteworthy to say that Metropolitan Hilarion draws much of his opinions and sources from commentaries as well as the liturgical text and prayers themselves. The meaning behind the prayers give us a better understanding of the symbolic and personal relations that are happening during the Orthodox liturgy Typology is rich in the prayers where it refers to the sacrifices of the Old Testament that point to the Eucharist celebrated today everywhere. Metropolitan Hilarion reminds of St. Paul’s point in Hebrews that no one calls himself to “serve” God at the altar and that the blood of animals makes no difference to God; God alone calls men to service at the altar and Christ brings Himself. It’s a calling from God.
The last sections cover the Kiss of Peace and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. When the deacon says, “Let us love one another …..,” he signals the part of the service that recalls us to put ourselves in a loving and peaceful nature toward each other before we the faithful receive the Eucharist. The practice is ancient and is mostly preserved in its use among the clergy during the service.
Join us this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. This chapter will help anyone new or unfamiliar with the Orthodox liturgy to understand the details, theology, mindset, disposition and organization of the primary parts of the divine service.
The Dormition Fast begins on Thursday, August 1, and it will run through Wednesday, August 14. During this Fast we observe the traditional fasting discipline Monday through Friday, with a blessing for fish, wine and olive oil on Saturdays and Sundays. The Paraklesis to the Most Holy Theotokos is served each week day evening during this Fast; that means there will be eight opportunities for us to participate in this beautiful service.
The Dormition Fast is also a good time to participate in the Mystery of Holy Confession. In our parish, confession is offered on Saturday evenings after Great Vespers, and just about any other time with a specific appointment.
On Tuesday, August 6, the folks at our sister parish in Westlake, Transfiguration Greek Orthodox, will celebrate their feast day. Orthros will be served at 9am, and Divine Liturgy will be offered at 10am.
The season winds up with the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos on Thursday, August 15. We will offer Great Vespers with the Lamentations for the Mother of God on Wednesday, August 14, at 7pm, and then, on Thursday, we will serve Orthros at 5am and Divine Liturgy at 7am.
The book that we will be using for the Fall Theological Seminar is now available. It’s called The 21: A Journey into the Land of the Coptic Martyrs. It’s an international best-seller by a German journalist named Martin Mosbach, and it’s about the 21 Egyptians who were martyred in Libya in 2015 by Islamic State terrorists. The book is a nice, easy to read hardback, and it’s only $15.00 at Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore; if you purchase it on Amazon, you’ll pay over $17.00! So get your copy this week, start reading through it, and plan on joining us for the Fall Theological Seminar which will begin on Wednesday, September 11.
On the second Saturday of each month at Great Vespers the women of our parish offer the Jesus prayer, but we now have a lot more opportunities to participate in that work. Polly Thurston has put together a calendar for offering the Jesus Prayer at Daily Vespers, and this is the link: https://signup.com/go/hxYQTdk. You’ll notice that not all week days are represented on the calendar; that’s because we don’t offer the Jesus Prayer at vespers during festal or fasting seasons (like the Dormition Fast). But all you have to do is pick a day that is available, bring your prayer rope, and show up and share in the silence by offering one hundred recitations of the Jesus Prayer following the Prayer at the Bowing of the Heads. We hope that many of you will take advantage of this unique opportunity.
The Finance Committee is looking for a few people to volunteer as Offering Stewards. If you can spare thirty minutes every other month or so, please contact Nick Crown or Arun Jacob, to find out more details.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
When we need to ask the priest a question or give him an update on our health or schedule an appointment, we can do that by email or with a phone call or in a personal conversation. However, we should not try to do any of that when we are receiving the Holy Eucharist or reverencing the Precious and Life-Giving Cross—those are sacred and solemn moments that should not be interrupted with other concerns.
I hope the Fast begins well for each and every one of us.
An unworthy priest,