Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming Wednesday, we are going to have a “Work Evening” to catch up on all the tasks we weren’t able to complete during our last Work Day. We will get started right after Vespers (a meal will be provided), so please plan on joining us. For more details, look under the Coming Up section of this newsletter.
Wednesday, July 10, and Friday, July 12
Monday, July 8-Friday, July 12
(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 firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm when the service will actually begin.)
Saturday, July 13
St Thomas School 4pm Hubert Bays will lead the discussion on Chapter 1 Formation of the Daily Liturgical Cycle
Great Vespers with the Jesus Prayer 6pm
Sunday, July 14
Sunday of the Holy Fathers
Katherine Coleman will be baptized between Orthros and the Divine Liturgy; please plan on arriving early so you can join us for this Holy Mystery
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God of the Inexhaustible Cup Noon
This week, Team Moose, Gregg Easley, Demetry Zozuyla, and Irina Zozuyla, will be cleaning the Long Hall. Please be sure and give them a hand.
This Week at St. Thomas School
Chapter 1: Worship Services of the Daily Cycle
Hubert Bays will present Chapter 1 in Part Two. Metropolitan Hilarion starts this topic with the section on The Mystical Supper because Christ fulfilled the Eucharist and He is the paschal meal. From there, we understand that Christ commanded his disciples to “do this in remembrance of me” and no longer in remembrance of only Egypt. How do we remember Christ? “The Eucharist itself” is the focal point. Metropolitan Hilarion explains the celebration of the Eucharist in the next section, The Eucharist in the Early Church. The Apostolic community also worshipped by reading or singing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs as St. Paul says. Liturgical rituals were written as early as the 2ndcentury AD. These are outlined in the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which give witness to the same elements and beliefs of worship as today’s Orthodox Church.
Although the Eucharistic communities had a ritual and liturgical character, some of the earliest Christian communities had space for improvisation and much local variety. The uniformity we might see today had developed over time and between different centers of Christianity in Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. There is a place of importance for precise definitions of theology called horoi (literally boundaries in Greek) that flourished in Constantinople among the Greek Fathers. In the Semitic traditions, they understood worship and theology as more about “praising God in prayer” and in spiritual poetry, as St. Ephraim the Syrian has shown in many of his widespread compositions. His poetry influenced later Byzantine hymnographers who borrowed from his model such as St. Romanos the Melodist, and his poetry formed worship in Byzantium.
Other sections include The Eucharist of the Early Byzantine Period that begins with the Edict of Milan promulgated by Emperor Constantine in 313 AD. Metropolitan Hilarion discusses the Liturgies of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom as well as the ancient Liturgy of St. James of Jerusalem used in the Christian East today. The Non-Eucharistic Services of the Daily Cycle covers material about praying the hours at certain times of the day. The Growth of Christian Hymnography explains how the Syrian tradition influenced Greek and Byzantine hymn-writing traditions, which links St. Romanos the Melodist and St. Andrew of Crete to St. Ephraim the Syrian. The last two sections are Worship in Constantinople and The Monastic Character of Orthodox Worship.
Join us after the Ninth Hour this Saturday at 4:00 pm to learn about some very ancient practices of prayer, worship, and poetry.
As we have not quite completed the projects scheduled for our previous workday, we are inviting everyone to come out and help complete the tasks on Wednesday, July 10. Please plan to bring your wheelbarrows, shovels, weeding tools, and buckets to vespers beginning at 5:00 p.m. Immediately following vespers, a light meal will be provided (approximately 5:45), then we will be weeding the playground area and the flowerbeds in front of the Parish, and spreading the pile of mulch as needed that is on the east side rear parking area. With many hands helping, we should complete the project with daylight to spare.
Summer and early fall is the parish festal season here in Central Texas. We always have the honor of kicking that season off in June, but, in July, our Mother Parish, St Elias, will celebrate their feast day. They will serve Great Vespers on Friday, July 19, at 6pm, and on Saturday morning, July 20, they will offer Orthros at 9am and Divine Liturgy at 10am. Let’s be sure to support our brothers and sisters downtown.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
Please remember that the bread you receive after communion and after reverencing the cross has been blessed at the altar. That means we all need to make sure that we pick up whatever crumbs may fall on the floor. Parents and grandparents need to watch their children and grandchildren and assist them in this important and respectful work. Once the crumbs have been picked up, you may consume them or simply take them outside and scatter them for the birds.
At the conclusion of this week’s newsletter is a column that will appear in this week’s Hill Country News.
I hope to see many of you on Wednesday evening as we get the mulch spread and clean up the playground.
An unworthy priest,