Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Name of the Lord.
This coming weekend is Pentecost Weekend. It’s one of those weekends that is “All Church”: there are services Saturday morning and Saturday evening and Sunday morning and early into Sunday afternoon. Those sorts of weekends happen several times a year, and they can be a real challenge. But the All Church Weekend is also one of the great blessings of Holy Orthodoxy, and, if we take advantage of all that Pentecost Weekend has to offer, not only will we draw closer to the Most Holy Trinity, but so, also, will the entire world.
Wednesday, June 12, and Friday, June 14
Monday, June 10-Friday June 14
(But there will not be daily vespers on Monday, June 10; 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, June 15 Saturday of Souls
Divine Liturgy 9am
St Thomas School 4pm
Seth Hart will be leading the discussion of Chapter 12 Russian Church Singing
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, June 16
The Great Feast of Pentecost
Between Orthros and Divine Liturgy, Silas Whitehead will be baptized and Jeremy Howell will be chrismated. Please arrive early and join us for these Holy Mysteries
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
This week, the Long Hall will be cleaned by Team Klingon: Jerry Juliano, Steve Grandalski, and Roxanne Snodgrass. Please be sure and ask them how you can help
Kneeling Vespers No Later Than 1pm
This Week at St. Thomas School
Our instructor this week will be Seth Hart– a former English teacher and educator. He will lead us through chapter 12. Join us this Saturday at 4:00pm to support our St. Thomas Catechetical School and fellow parishioner at St. John’s, and learn what spiritual resources Russian chants might give to us. This chapter is also worth our attention since Metropolitan Hilarion is himself an accomplished composer and fluent in musical traditions of Russia and the West.
Znamenny chant is the most "ancient form of liturgical singing" in Russia. The word znamya means sign, which indicates that it’s written with Russian signs on a sheet of paper. Lined-strokes called hooks (kriuki) are written over these signs to indicate how long a certain sound lasts in different sorts of melodies. Znamenny chant has been partly lost. But it can be heard in modern variations in monasteries.
There was a major departure liturgically and in style with znamenny chant during the Post-Petrine period of history with a kind of singing called partesny that seems to follow the other cultural and religious revolutions of that time. Then came a slew of composers who were influenced by Italian schools, which later were criticized by a particular man named, Saint Ignatius Brianchanikov, who fought to preserve znamenny chant for Orthodox worship. Metropolitan Hilarion doesn’t forget to include the high and low points of history, and he never fails to investigate the origins of things. The final section deals with contemporary singing in Russian churches.
Metropolitan Hilarion has also layered the topic of church singing very well. We have covered the influence of Ancient Israel’s musical traditions, especially the psalms, and Greek antiquity’s melodies, as well as Byzantium’s development of the eight-tone system. Now we arrive back into Russian land. This chapter will be compact, but it’s worth the trekking to discover how everyday words are transformed in divine services to inspire the heart to worship God. Through chanting and church singing we reach our spiritual goal of glorifying God.
This Saturday, June 15, we will offer the final Saturday of Souls for 2019, so if you did not make it to any of the three Lenten Saturdays of Souls, this will be your final chance to pray for the departed during this year—please do not miss this important opportunity; the departed need your prayers just as the living do. We will offer Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. We will have a baptism and chrismation on Sunday morning, but, following Fellowship Hour on Sunday, June 16, we will also offer Kneeling Vespers, beginning no later than 1pm. This is the service that caps off the entire liturgical cycle that began with the Triodion back in February, so this is another opportunity that you won’t want to miss.
The annual Parish Life Conference is always an enjoyable time of fellowship and learning and worship, and, this year, the conference is being held at The Westin Hotel at DFW Airport, June 19-22. That’s within easy driving distance, and you can go to www.dowamaplc.org to access registration for the PLC as well as reserve hotel rooms.
This year our parish feast day, The Nativity of the Forerunner, falls on Monday, June 24. So, we will serve Great Vespers on Sunday, June 23, following a brief Fellowship Hour (we’ll start no later than 1pm). On the day of the feast, we will offer Orthros at 4:30 and Divine Liturgy at 6:30am (that’s because of Father Aidan’s work schedule). Even though the times are a bit wonky, we hope that many of you will make an effort to join us.
The week after Pentecost is fast-free (Wha-Hoo!), but the Apostles’ Fast begins on the second Monday after Pentecost, and it runs through the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul. This year, that means the fast will only last five days—Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28—but those five days will be an important time for us to fast on behalf of those who are not yet part of the Church or who have fallen away from the Church. So please plan your menus accordingly.
On the final Saturday in June, we will celebrate the Patronal Feast of our Patriarchate, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul. We will offer Great Vespers at 7pm on Friday, June 28, and, on Saturday morning, we will celebrate Orthros at 7am and Divine Liturgy at 9am. This is a great opportunity to intercede for those who are not yet part of the Church and for those who have fallen away from the Church, so plan on joining us during the festal services.
Our Moment of Grace and Courtesy
We are very thankful for all the folks in our parish who have personal businesses; we are proud of each of them, and we applaud their initiative and their energy. However, we should not be passing out samples or making product presentations or conducting sales during Fellowship Hour or during any other event sponsored by our community. Children are welcome to solicit for their sports teams or for projects connected with school or scouting, but adults should not transact business while attending parish events or while on parish property.
I’m looking forward to praying with you throughout this All Church Weekend.
An unworthy priest,