Brothers and Sisters,
The Parish Life Conference is being held in Dallas June 19-June 22, so there will not be any daily services this coming Thursday and Friday—and there’s no fasting on Wednesday or Friday, so enjoy this festal week!
The week after Pentecost is fast-free (Wha-Hoo!)
Monday, June 17-Wednesday, June 19
(There will not be any daily services on Thursday, June 20, or Friday, June 21. Also, 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 22
St Thomas School 4pm Matt Groh will be leading the discussion on Chapter 13, Church Singing in Local Orthodox Churches
Great Vespers 6pm
Sunday, June 23
The Sunday of All Saints
Divine Liturgy 10am
Fellowship Hour Noon
Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children Noon
Great Vespers for the Nativity of the Forerunner No Later Than 1pm
This week the Long Hall will be cleaned by Team Tomato: Will Hampton, Hazem Zawaideh, and Elena Cabeza de Vaca; they will be working quickly to help us get ready for Great Vespers, so why not help them out?
Monday, June 24
The Nativity of the Forerunner/Start of the Apostles’ Fast
Divine Liturgy 6:30am
This Week at St. Thomas School
Chapter 13: Church Singing in Other Local Orthodox Churches
Reader Matt Groh will present some exotic material on local church singing from the Balkans and the Caucasus regions, neighboring places of Russia. He is also an educator by profession and he currently works for the State of Texas. Since he is the head chanter at St. John’s, you will not want to miss his presentation on local Orthodox church singing. Join us this Saturday at 4:00 pm.
The country of Georgia is located in the Caucasus Mountains on the border of Asia and Europe, and both Bulgaria and Serbia are situated in the Balkans. The last two countries have grown out of Slavonic and Hellenic church singing traditions and they are still influential today. They have a unique melodic development while they also share a Byzantine tradition based on the eight-tones like Russian chants.
The amount of voices used is an accurate and convenient way to categorize church singing in different countries. We can place the ancient traditions of Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch under the one-voiced type sung with an ison-drone (bass drone). That type of singing is also used in modern Hellenic, Bulgarian, and Russian lands. Four-voiced homophono-harmonic or part-singing is widespread in Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Finland, Japan, America, the Czech and Slovak lands, and Poland. Finally, there is the Georgian three-voiced that is a "unison" type of singing because of its characteristic cadence that grows into one voice. This chapter reveals the Orthodox mind because church singing is varied and unified at the same time.
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.
As we’ve noted, 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.
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
Singing is one of the most important ways that we participate in the Divine Liturgy. It is our service before the Most Holy Trinity; it is a privilege that we share with the angels and the archangels. We may not know the music or the lyrics for some hymns, but we can all manage "Lord, have mercy", and, since that prayer occurs seventy-two times during the Liturgy, we all have plenty of opportunities to sing.
I will be out of town Thursday through Saturday, so, if you need a clergyman, please get in touch with Father Deacon Andrew or Father Deacon Michael. On Saturday morning, I will be serving with the other priests and with Bishop Basil at the Hierarchial Liturgy, and I will be sure and remember each of you.
An unworthy priest,