Week of April 15

Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of the Lord.

Happy Feast!

It’s almost here! Holy Week, the high point of the liturgical year, begins this coming Saturday, April 20! Please check the schedule and read through all the announcements and make plans now to join us as often as you can.

Our Calendar

Fasting Days

The Fast Continues. During the Fast we abstain from meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil Monday through Friday, with katalysis (a blessing) for wine and olive oil on Saturday and Sunday. Please be aware that Great and Holy Friday is a strict fasting day. Also, if you need to modify the fast in any way, please check with your spiritual father.

Daily Services

Monday, April 15-Friday, April 19:

  • Orthros 5am;

  • Vespers 5pm

(Please be aware that there will be no daily vespers on Wednesday due to the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy. Also, don’t forget that since life in our parish community can be pretty busy, sometimes the starting times for the daily services has to be shifted. So, if you know ahead of time that you will be attending a particular service, it’s always a good idea to send Father Aidan a note at fraidan@austin.rr.com to confirm when the service will actually begin.)

Lenten Services

  • Monday, April 15 Great Compline 7pm

  • Wednesday, April 17 Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 7pm

 Thursday, April 18

  • Choir Practice 7pm

 Saturday, April 20

Lazarus Saturday

  • Orthros 7am

  • Divine Liturgy 9am

  • St Thomas School 4pm This week Baker Galloway will lead the discussion on Chapter 7, The Iconographic Tradition in Byzantium

  • Great Vespers 6pm (and final opportunity to participate in the Mystery of Holy Confession)

Sunday, April 21

Palm Sunday

  • Orthros 8am

  • Church School 8:15am

  • Divine Liturgy 10am

  • Community Meal Noon

  • Bridegroom Orthros 6pm

Monday, April 22

Great and Holy Monday

  • Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 5am

  • Bridegroom Orthros 7pm

Tuesday, April 23

Great and Holy Tuesday

  • Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 5am

  • Bridegroom Orthros 7pm

Wednesday, April 24

Great and Holy Wednesday

  • Pre-Sanctified Liturgy 5am

  • Service of Holy Unction 7pm

Thursday, April 25

  • Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil 5am

  • Service of the Twelve Gospels 7pm

Friday, April 26

Great and Holy Friday

  • Royal Hours 9am

  • Descent from the Cross Vespers Noon

  • Service of Lamentations 7pm

Saturday, April 27

Great and Holy Saturday

  • Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil 9am (Sean Bassari and Miriam Hart will be baptized, and Clayton Stewart and Jeremy Howell will be chrismated at this service)

  • Paschal Liturgy 11pm

Sunday, April 28

The Great and Holy Pascha

  • Agape Vespers 2pm

  • Paschal Picnic 3pm

Monday, April 29

  • No Daily Services

Tuesday, April 30

  • Parish Council 7pm

Wednesday, May 1

  • Pascha Book Study 7pm

This Week at St Thomas School

It doesn’t come as a surprise that Christians in the 4th-7th c. would — from a mostly Roman and Levantine background of the Byzantine Empire — make mosaics, frescoes, and images to represent important Scriptural messages and beliefs and teachings from Apostolic tradition.  

As Metropolitan Hilarion explains in this chapter, Orthodoxy has passed through a period of iconoclasm (destruction of icons). Likewise, we might be going through a similar kind of iconoclasm of traditions, beliefs and ideas that we thought couldn’t ever be challenged seriously or changed.

There are more than a few sections in the book that cover different topics that survive in Byzantium’s entrancing iconographical tradition: 

1.   The Icons of the 4th-6th c. and Sinai’s Encaustic Icons 

2.   The Canonical Image of Christ, Image Not-Made-By-Hands that is mentioned in the Teaching of Addai, and its connection to the Shroud of Turin 

3.   Iconoclasm and the Veneration of Icons that has received probably most of its inspiration from Islamic mindset. But there are deep theological currents behind the bloody conflict

4.   Decorative Painting and Basic Iconographical Types 

5.   Byzantine Mosaics and Frescoes, 4th-9th c., 9th-14th c. 

6.   Book Miniatures 

Join us all this Saturday at 4:00 and immerse yourself in Orthodoxy’s iconographical tradition with our resident iconographer, Baker Galloway. 

Coming Up

One of the ways in which we celebrate Pascha is by adorning the nave and the bier with flowers. But nice flowers cost money—typically, decorating the temple requires a minimum of $500. So, every year, we put out baskets to collect money for this effort. Of course, some parishes take up special collections almost every single week, but we save that sort of thing for the really important items—like beautifying the temple for Pascha. So, look for those baskets and be as generous as you can.

Two weeks ago, we all received links to sign-up sheets for the Great and Holy Friday Tomb Vigil and the Agape Vespers Gospel Readings. For security reasons, we need to have the vigil sheet filled out completely in order to actually have the event, because the temple must be occupied all night if we are going to leave it open. At this point, the only slot still open is 3-4am, but we need to have that covered in order to do the whole vigil. Also, we’re going to shut down the sign-up sheet for the Gospel Readings at the end of the day on Great and Holy Wednesday. So, if you would like to participate in these wonderful events, please go to those links and sign up today.

Attached to this week’s edition of The Happy Priest is our parish guide to The Holy Week Services. The service book for Holy Week that is published by the archdiocese does not include the full services, and since we offer the full services, this guide will allow you to use the archdiocesan service book and keep up with what is actually going on in the services. So print out the attachment and keep a copy of it in your archdiocesan service book and join us for as many of the services as you can.

The Pascha Book Study begins on Wednesday, May 1; the book we are using is called Laughing at the Devil; it’s by Laura Hall, and a few additional copies are still available at Christ the Lightgiver Bookstore. The book is part memoir and part commentary on the very first book ever written in English by a woman about the spiritual life (that book The Revelations of Divine Love is also available in an inexpensive edition at Christ the Lightgiver). That woman is Julian of  Norwich, and Laura Hall, who is a Protestant, does a very good job of connecting Julian’s insights with contemporary issues. We have already finished  up our Lenten reading of Dr Hall’s book, but it’s not too late to purchase a copy and start reading through it on your own. We’ll see you on Wednesday, May 1!

Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy

Here is the sixth and final Pascha Moment of Grace and Courtesy:

Please plan on cleaning up after yourself and your children or grandchildren--even if your children or grandchildren aren't actually sitting with you during the Paschal Feast. Also, if your schedule will allow, please plan on helping clean up after the feast: we will need to put up all the tables and chairs, clean up the kitchen, take out the trash, wipe down the bathrooms and vacuum before Agape Vespers that afternoon.

At the conclusion of this edition of The Happy Priest is a column that will appear in this coming week’s Hill Country News: What Makes Easter So Special?

Attached to this newsletter is a copy of a letter from Metropolitan Joseph.

I’m looking forward to serving Holy Week with all of you.

An unworthy priest,