Monday, June 15, 2015

Welcome to Saint Aidan's Orthodox Mission!


We are a community of Orthodox Christians dedicated to proclaiming and living the Orthodox faith in the East Kootenay region. Feel free to explore our web site. Contact information is in the sidebar.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 26 Reading

St Aidan Story: King Oswald's Death

It saddened [Aidan] that the summer months were often the most violent. Summer is a time when troops can move more easily and so there were more raids and more battles. Oswald had decided to drive Penda [a powerful king who fought the Northumbrians for decades] back from his southern borders and if possible to conquer him once and for all. . .

The next weeks were anxious ones; there was no news of the troops. The last that was heard was that they had gone further west and were deep into Penda’s kingdom. Then more news came. Oswald had been victorious and had forced Penda to retreat into Wales. Oswald was camping after his triumph and was soon to come north. Soon the king would be home. That was the last of the good news. At home they were hopeful but they knew that winning a battle was not winning the war.

Meanwhile, Penda had persuaded the Welsh that Oswald would threaten them next. He amassed a new and powerful army from the Welsh of the borders. Oswald, still resting after his victory, was almost caught unawares. Wisdom would have counselled him to flee and fight another day. But Oswald had defeated larger armies before, and he could do so again. It was not in the nature of the Anglo-Saxon kings to flee from the battlefield. Oswald had lived heroically and if necessary would die a hero.  . .

The last Pagan English King. The Great King Penda of Mercia kills another English King. The White Dragon of the English flies over Penda. Artist: Mark Taylor


The battle was one of great fury, and many good men lost their lives. It soon became apparent that it was going against Oswald and his warriors. One after another of the men around Oswald were cut down. Soon there was only a small band protecting their king. They surrounded him and made a human shield to defend him. These were mighty warriors. But they were being felled one by one. Oswald knew he would soon die for the cause he had lived for, the kingdom of Northumbria and the kingdom of God. Shields clashed, swords vibrated loudly. The foes were closing in fast, Oswald knew he was about to be slain. Amidst the clanging of metal, he uttered his final prayer to God as a great sword struck his head. He prayed for his men in their last battle, ‘God have mercy on their souls.’ It was the 5th of August in the year 642. Oswald had reigned for 9 years and helped to maintain a fragile peace. Now, at thirty-eight years old, he was sent to his Maker.


This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK. You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

October 19 Reading

St Aidan Story: Castle Lessons


Some of these Angles did not want to lose their old ways and their old traditions. More than once he had been reminded that the name Oswald meant ‘Woden’s ruler’, and that the king was said to be descended from the god Woden. Aidan tried to tell them that they were all sons and daughters of God; not only did the king come from God, we all come from God. Everyone is important, for all are children of God.

In this openness and interchange, one of the thanes [nobles] told Aidan of an old tradition concerning Wode. It said of him: I hung on a wind-blown tree for nine nights and days, I was pierced by a spear and given to Woden, myself given to myself. Aidan could hardly believe what he heard, it sounded so much like the crucifixion. He talked long of the Christ who died on the tree, of the three-day burial and the mighty resurrection. Aidan told how this Christ was a mighty warrior, how he also was pierced with a spear, how he triumphed over the evil one and conquered the great enemy, death.

At the mention of defeating death, the thanes wanted to hear more, and so did others who were in the hall at the time. . . Aidan thrilled at their desire for learning and their openness to the gospel. . .

‘We are not afraid to lay down our lives for our king’, the warriors boasted, ‘This is the highest honour, to die for him we serve.’ Aidan was moved by the simple heroics of these men. He told them how he too served a King and was willing to die for Him. He told of how many disciples had laid down their lives for this King. Christ the King asks for our loyalty and obedience. Aidan told of how his group from Iona called themselves ‘soldiers of Christ’. He told how they had pledged themselves to withdraw from ordinary life and live on camp, ever ready to go out on mission. The measure of his men’s obedience was ‘even unto death’. They would go on a moment’s notice on long journeys across savage country. They braved wild animals and fierce people, all for the love of God, They would continue until the kingdoms of the world became the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.

. . . Aidan continued to tell how his King had laid down his own life for us. Just as Oswald’s men expected their leader to die fighting, so the Christ had died for all peoples. If he had so chosen he could have escaped, but for love he gave his life for all. In dying, he won a kingdom for his followers. So Christians have a definite purpose for living, to serve Christ and to live to the glory of God in doing His will. They also have a definite reward. Soldiers on earth can only be rewarded if the king is the victor. Christ has won the victory, and the reward is that we are given the kingdom of heaven. Life is eternal, man is free, for Christ has won the victory.


This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK. You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 12 Reading

A St. Aidan Story: Aidan's New Desert


   Into this place of quiet poured visitors: kings and royal family, visiting cleric, courtiers, local leaders, seekers. The island was just off the main road,  that is the sea road, so it was not far from the daily traffic. Countless people crossed the sands on foot or on horseback. This in itself worried the monks. Too often people did not understand the tide and were in danger of getting caught or even drowned. More than one had lost their life to the incoming tide. To the south of the usual crossing there were quicksands. So it was decided to place small cairns as markers, to allow people to come in a reasonably straight line but respecting the dangers. This is how we often have to go through life; we all need markers and guides. On leaving the island, the river near the mainland was always the danger point. The monks tried to make sure that leaving visitors knew how long it would take them and were aware of the danger. In this world we are all set amid dangers and we need to heed those who have learned the way. If we ignore the experience of the past, we run great risks with our lives.

   As people came in their hundreds, the desert was in danger of becoming a city. Aidan was being sought out by more and more people. The busier he became, the more time he needed to spend with God. The more he poured out, the more he needed to get away from it all and be renewed and restored. The need became more serious as the numbers increased and the guesthouse filled, and more people learned to stay over the tide. There were times when it seemed there was no escaping people, no hiding place. They seemed to interrupt everything. Aidan accepted that such invasions were the very thing he was here for. But he needed his quiet. The north shore of the island provided a good escape, but even here he was sought out. So he started going to the little Hobthrush island that was also tidal. It was only a few hundred yards from the monastery on the south-west corner of the island, but it was cut off by the tide twice in twenty-four hours. 

Monastic beehive cells, circa 6th century, 
on the island of Skellig Michael, off the coast of Ireland
Here he built a beehive cell in the tradition of the Celtic hermits. He would share this place with the heron and eider duck, then in the autumn, with the godwits, oystercatchers, and other waders. The seals would come close to see what was occupying this little island which Aidan prepared by prayer and fasting. In the latter part of the year thousands of geese would also come around this small island.

   Then the visitors started to come also. The little island was not far enough away to remain Aidan’s desert. People hailed him from the shore. Monks shouted to say an important guest had arrived and needed to see him urgently. Some even came out on horseback or by coracle. Aidan knew he had to find somewhere further off as his special desert. On mentioning this to Oswald, they both saw that the answer was simple. Another island.

   The islands off Bamburgh were plentiful in number. Some were only small jagged rocks that disappeared at high tide. Some were full of sea birds and seals. None were thought to be habitable. It would seem that then nearest of the islands was the largest and most likely to sustain a tough way of living, but Oswald had his doubts. It was said that the island was inhabited by demons, small dark beings who put fear into any who had ventured there. Other members of the court swore that there were evil creatures there. They said that strange creatures lured ships to be stranded and the sailors drowned.

    Aidan saw this as a challenge, and at the same time a witness to the power of God. He would go there and be alone. Through prayer he would ward off the demons and banish them from his desert in the ocean. This, he announced, was not a simple battle. It could not be done in a moment, it would take about six weeks. In one of the Lenten times, the Lent of Jesus, the Lent of Moses or the Lent of Elijah, Aidan would go and fight off all that would harm. Oswald was a soldier and used to battles but he feared for Aidan. He had heard too many stories of marsh hags and sea monsters. He knew that there were so many things that could destroy a man. He knew also that Aidan was determined to live out the words, ‘Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.’

   Aidan asked that he might have supplies. He would not need much, and he hoped that in time he would manage to grow all he needed there. It could only be his desert if he could remain without too much help. He needed a place where he could truly have no one to speak to but God, a place where he could be still and know that he was enfolded in love. . .

   This island helped Aidan to keep a balanced life. Whenever time allowed, he escaped there to be alone with God. Each season he planned to have some time there. Only in this way could he give God the priority He is due. It was also a good witness to the importance of prayer. These were turbulent times. Aidan prayed often for peace and the spread of the gospel.




This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK. You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

From our October Newsletter

CHURCH SERVICES

October 5 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
October 12 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
October 18  – Vespers. 6pm. Soup Supper to follow.
October 19 – Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
October 26 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.


 CHURCH SCHOOL

  Children have a variety of activities to play with both inside and outside. These activities are available both during church, if your kids need a break, and after church. Please have adult supervision.

Readings (posted on the website):

October 5 – St. Aidan story: Teaching Balance
October 12 – St. Aidan story: Aidan's New Desert
October 19 - St. Aidan story: Castle Lessons
October 26 - St. Aidan story: King Oswald's Death

Lesser Feasts of October

October 1st 
The Protection of the Most-Holy Theotokos 
October 6th 
The Glorification of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas 
October 9th 
The Glorification of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America 
October 31th 
The Repose of Priestmartyr John Kochurov 
From  http://legacy.oca.org/FSicons-churchyear.asp?SID=4&Section=lesser

SAINT OF THE MONTH

St. Gall:  October 16

One of the twelve companions of St. Columbanus, in 589 they set out from Ireland to establish the Gospel in Gaul. When Columbanus was exiled from Gaul, they went to Switzerland. St Columbanus continued on to Italy, but Gall was forced to remain behind due to illness. He remained in Switzerland for the rest of his life, becoming a hermit and renowned preacher, eventually refusing offers to be Bishop to remain a hermit. He died at the age 95.

A popular story has it that as St Gall was travelling in the woods of what is now Switzerland he was sitting one evening warming his hands at a fire. A bear emerged from the woods and charged. The holy man rebuked the bear, so awed by his presence it stopped its attack and slunk off to the trees. There it gathered firewood before returning to share the heat of the fire with St Gall. The legend says that for the rest of his days St Gall was followed around by his companion the bear. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Gall


It’s Bear Season!

Bear Story #1: Two nuns from a certain convent once came to visit Saint Seraphim. Suddenly a bear lumbered unexpectedly out of the woods and frightened the visitors with his appearance. “Misha,” – said the saint, - “why do you frighten the poor orphans! Go back and bring us a treat, otherwise I have nothing to offer to my guests.” Hearing these words, the bear went back into the woods, and two hours later he tumbled into the holy elder’s cell and gave him something covered with leaves. It was a fresh honeycomb of purest honey. Father Seraphim took a piece of bread from his bag, gave it to the bear, pointed to the door – and the bear left immediately.
If we had lived in the saint’s times, if we had gone to the Sarov hermitage, visited the saint’s solitary abode, we would have met there the holy elder with his face shining like the face of an angel. In the summer we would have seen him in white clothes – a coverall made of sackcloth. On his chest he wore a copper cross, - the same cross with which his mother blessed him when, as a youth, he set out for Kiev. In the winter he wore a coat and mittens.



Saint Seraphim. While he was generally separated from people during his stay in the hermitage—only occasionally receiving visitors such as other nearby hermits—the animals of the forest became his friends. Father Joseph related, as an eye-witness, that rabbits, foxes, lynx, lizards, bears, and even wolves would gather at midnight at the door of the cabin and wait for St. Seraphim to finish his prayers and come out to feed them with bread. It has also been related by several people that a bear would take bread from his hands, as well as obey his orders by, for example, fetching honey when there was a visitor.
Photo from http://www.symeon-anthony.info/StSeraphimSarov/StSeraphimSarov.htm

Bear story #2: Fr. Vladimir tells the following story about Metropolitan Peter when he was on his way to exile in Siberia. One dark night "he was thrown out of the railway carriage while it was still moving (apparently more than one bishop perished in this way). It was winter, and the metropolitan fell into a snow-drift as if into a feather-bed, so that he did not hurt himself. With difficulty he got out of it and looked round. There was a wood, and snow, and no signs of life. For a long time he walked over the virgin snow, and at length, exhausted, he sat down on a stump. Through his torn rasson the frost chilled him to the bone. Sensing that he was beginning to freeze to death, the metropolitan started to read the prayers for the dying.

"Suddenly he saw a huge bear approaching him. "The thought flashed through his mind: 'He'll tear me to pieces'. But he did not have the strength to run away. And where could he run?
"But the bear came up to him, sniffed him and peacefully lay down at his feet. Warmth wafted out of his huge bear's hide. Then he turned over with his belly towards the metropolitan, stretched out his whole length and began to snore sweetly. Vladyka wavered for a long time as he looked at the sleeping bear, then he could stand the cold no longer and lay down next to him, pressing himself to his warm belly. He lay down and turned first one and then the other side towards the beast in order to get warm. Meanwhile the bear breathed deeply in his sleep, enveloping him in his warm breath.
"When the dawn began to break, the metropolitan heard the distant crowing of cocks: a dwelling-place. He got to his feet, taking care not to wake up the bear. But the bear also got up, and after shaking himself down plodded off towards the wood.

"Rested now, Vladyka went towards the sound of the cocks and soon reached a small village. After knocking at the end house, he explained who he was and asked for shelter, promising that his sister would pay the owners for all trouble and expenses entailed. They let Vladyka in and for half a year he lived in this village. He wrote to his sister, and she arrived. But soon after her other 'people' in uniform also came..."

http://www.orthodox.net/russiannm/peter-metropolitan-and-hieromartyr-of-krutitsa-02-of-03.html

Bear Story #3: Father Herman dedicated himself fully to the Lord's service; he strove with zeal solely for the glorification of His Most Holy Name. Far from his homeland, in the midst of a variety of afflictions and privations, Father Herman spent several decades performing the noblest deeds of self-sacrifice. He was privileged to receive many supernatural gifts from God.

In the midst of Spruce Island, down the hill flows a little stream into the sea. The mouth of this stream was always swept by surf. In the spring when the brook fish appeared, the Elder raked away some of the sand at its mouth so the fish could enter, and at their first appearance they rushed up the stream. His disciple, Aligyaga, said, "It was so that if 'Apa' would tell me, I would go and get fish in the stream!" Father Herman would feed the birds with dried fish, and they would gather in great numbers around his cell. Underneath his cell there lived an ermine. This little animal cannot be approached when it has had its young, but the Elder fed it from his own hand. "Was this not a miracle that we had seen?", said his disciple Ignaty.

They also saw Father Herman feeding bears. But, when Father Herman died, the birds and animals left; even the garden would not give any sort of crops even through someone had willingly taken care of it, Ignaty insisted. On Spruce Island there once occurred a flood. The inhabitants came to the Elder in great fear. Father Herman then took an icon of the Mother of God from the house where his students lived and placed it on a laida (a sandy bank) and began to pray. After his prayer, he turned to those present and said, "Have no fear - the water will go no higher than the place where this holy icon stands." The words of the Elder were fulfilled.

From http://www.sthermans.ca/stherman2.asp


Bear Story #4:

Christians of Egypt and Palestine distanced themselves from everyday worries by retreating into deserts, and the holy men of Russia built their dwellings in impenetrable forests. They were not visited by lions and crocodiles, but by wolves and bears.

In the fourteenth century there lived a holy recluse – the Most Venerable Sergius of Radonezh. A tiny hut in the forest was for a long time his lonely dwelling. The forest was full of wild beasts and birds. They all came to love the holy Man, visiting him often. Sometimes a wolf would wander into his garden; another time he would be visited by a herd of wild boars.

It once happened that Saint Sergius met a great bear right in front of his small hut. The bear was hungry. Sergius felt sorry for it and decided to give the bear his own lunch – a slice of bread. From then on the bear came to love the Most Venerable One. It would come to the hut every day where starets would regularily leave some bread on a tree stump for the bear to eat. Even when he had very little bread he would share the little he had with the bear. On occasions when Saint Sergius was praying, the bear would patiently wait for him to finish knowing that it would soon be given its treat.
The other Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov, also lived long in a forest. His clearing in the forest, and his hut on it, he called “the tiny desert”, remembering the ascetics who spent their lives living in deserts. The Miracle-Maker Seraphim gave his love to every living being, be it man or animal. “Oh, my joy” – this is how he greeted all who would come to visit him.

It was often that a particular bear would come to hi “tiny desert”. He would receive food from the Holy Man, offer its head to be stroked and then lie down at his feet, as a faithful dog would do. – There, the Lord had sent this beast to me to console me, - Saint Seraphim would say, stroking the bear’s shaggy fur.

From Miraculous Friendships between Saints and the Wild Beasts by T.V. Kiselova



The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke         Oct. 18                        Fr. Andrew

On October 18 we celebrate the feast day of the great Apostle St. Luke. He of course wrote the Gospel of Luke and also the Acts of the Apostles. St. Luke came to find Christ in person when he heard of His great miracles. He was one of the few non-Jewish disciples who was a member of the original 70 that were sent out in two’s to heal the sick and preach the Kingdom of God with authority - even over the demons (Luke 10: 1-24).

He is known as the first to paint icon’s, painting three of the most holy Theotokos which he showed her and received her blessing for, and he also painted icons of Sts. Peter and Paul.

St. Luke travelled extensively with the great Apostle Paul on his 2nd and 3rd. missionary journeys, and then travelled with St. Paul and was shipwrecked with him on the voyage to Rome when Paul was sent to stand trial before Caesar. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned and about to be martyred by Emperor Nero in Rome, St. Luke was the only one left supporting him. St. Paul says in 2nd Timothy 4:10-11: “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica, Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.” Tradition tells us that Luke’s Gospel and the Book of Acts were both written with Paul’s guidance and approval. St. Luke also journeyed and established the Church in many places such as Antioch, Italy, Macedonia and in great old age even Egypt. He was martyred at the age of 84, being crucified on an Olive tree in Thebes in central Greece.

His wonder working relics were taken to Constantinople in the mid 4th century by Constantine’s son Constantius II, and then were stolen in the 4th Crusade and the sacking of Constantinople, ending up in Padua Italy. In 1992, a request was made to bring back the relic’s of St. Luke to his original tomb in Thebes where he was martyred. This produced a great deal of scientific testing to verify that these were in fact St. Luke’s relics, and this was proven quite conclusively as a result. One of his ribs – closest to his heart – was given back to the tomb of St. Luke in Thebes, Greece, were it now resides. It is reported that many miracles and especially cures for eye ailments have occurred there, and myrrh has appeared on the tomb and a myrrh scent pervades at the tomb.  

In Luke’s Gospel he relates a first hand account of our risen Lord appearing to him and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus) when Christ after He has risen, walks along with them and explains the scriptures regarding the Christ (Luke 24: 13-53. They do not realize it is Christ they are travelling with until He takes bread, blesses and breaks it and gives it to them; and when their eyes are opened at the breaking of the bread He vanishes. Luke and Cleopas quickly rush back to the other disciples in Jerusalem to report this great and joyous event, and as they are explaining it to the other disciples, Christ Himself appears among them all again saying “Peace to you.” Christ gives them all some final instructions explaining from the scriptures how all that had occurred was the fulfillment of what was written in the prophets and the Psalms concerning Him, then leads them out to Bethany where they watch Him ascend to Heaven.

The Gospel of St. Luke is read in the Church readings (lectionary) over nineteen weeks always beginning on the Monday after the Elevation of the Holy Cross. This is known as the “Lukan Jump” as depending upon how the many weeks there are from Pentecost up until the Elevation of the cross, there may be some Gospel readings in Matthew actually repeated in order to begin the readings from Luke always on the first Monday after the Elevation of the Cross, thus straightening out the readings coming into the upcoming Paschal season. The original reason given for this is that only the Gospel of Luke contains the verses outlining the “Conception of John the Baptist.” – Just a little liturgical trivia for those who had always wondered what the “Lukan Jump” was.

Through the prayers of our Holy Father and Apostle Luke, may God bless and have mercy upon us!


2015 Orthodox Christian Youth Retreat !!!
February 14th — 16th, 2015
Camp Berachah, Auburn, WA
Deadline, January 12
Cost: approximately $160. 7th Grade-12th Grade. Forms will be available at www.stpaulorthodox.com/registration.pdf in the near future.

Come see old and new friends, hang out, play games, swim, challenge yourself on the ropes course, and soak in spiritual truths. Enjoy a weekend of fellowship with friends, and dedicated time with priests to discuss topics like The Discernment of God and Getting Closer to God. There’s also an indoor pool, gymnasium, ping pong and more!

This retreat is coordinated by the Orthodox Christian Youth Ministry (OCYM) Team from
the Antiochian Archdiocese under the archpastoral oversight of Archbishop JOSEPH

QUESTIONS CONTACT:
 Nia Chopelas, OrthodoxRetreat@gmail.com





Sunday, October 5, 2014

October 5th Reading

St Aidan Story: TEACHING  BALANCE


The singing of the seals late in the evenings and early in the mornings seemed to complement the prayers and singing in church. As the seals sat upon the banks and let the tide rise around them, so each of the brothers immersed himself in the presence of God. Aidan was forever reminding them that they could not talk about God if they did not talk to Him. Much of the schooling had to be directed to the Presence and not to theories about Him. They had to deal with the reality of God in His world, and not in fantasy. This could come in no other way than by immersing oneself in God. As the chattering terns soared and dived, so the devotions in the little church rose and fell. They were a part of the life around them.



The flow, standing, and ebb of the tide became a rhythm in their way of living. Aidan was concerned that there was proper input, rest and outpouring of each life. Some were in danger of thinking they could pour themselves out forever. They were outgoing, ready for action, wanting to get on. He had seen too many become drained in this way. We cannot give out forever unless we are also looking in. Too many lives, and too many statements, become trivialized by too much action. There is need to be renewed, refreshed and restored.

Like many Celtic monks before him, Aidan had sought his desert in the ocean. Most of the world was looking for an ocean in the desert, never satisfied, always searching for more and more. They were always in need. Here on the island, in a strange way, were all the riches of the world. Here was beauty, here was the power of the Presence. These were not things to search after but to accept, to become aware of, to enjoy. There had to be input for this to happen, times of quiet, times of prayer, times of meditation. This had not to be output, though it was often work; it had to become the incoming tide of the love of God. Students and brothers had to wait in expectant silence, like a man waiting to see a bird. . .

There were other students and brothers who liked to rest all day, calling it prayer or meditation. But Aidan knew that a man could only absorb so much if he did not also pour it out. He knew it could be poured out in prayer for others, but, he felt in his heart, it had also to be expressed in loving action for others. Real rest was the balance between the two, prayer and action, as the tide rests for an hour between ebb and flow. . .

The school grew gradually. First, each of the brothers took on an anamchara – a cell mate. The young man would learn from his elder, by rote, the Psalms, all 150 of them, and a Gospel. He would learn these also in church through their regular repetition. . . He would also learn how to approach people on the road and in their farm steadings, to talk to them naturally about the living God. They would share their faith and their food. Slowly but surely the junior would be allowed to take part, even if it was just reciting a psalm to start with. As the junior grew in knowledge and in prayer he would do more until at last he would be trusted to so it all. Now the junior would become a senior and have a junior to teach. Because this process took a long time, more monks had to brought in from Iona and Ireland to teach the ever-increasing numbers of students.. .

The life of the monks expressed the rhythm of the life around them. They would balance their lives between prayer, study, manual labour and rest.



This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK. You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 28th Reading

St Aidan Story: Gifts Shared

Gifts poured into the monastery, not only money but horses, cattle, land, ploughs, boats, gifts for the church, and for the building of other churches. Aidan did not mind this as long as the brothers did not set their heart on these things. They were simply tools for furthering the kingdom of God. . . Nothing was hoarded, all was meant to be shared and held in common.

If Aidan was given more than he felt they could use, he gave it away. As God had freely given, so he gave it away. There was no loss in this but a great gain. All the countryside around was talking of the generosity of the monks of the island. Many came for help and no one really in need went away empty. What amazed some of the visitors was that the monks kept so little for themselves and ate so frugally. These men lived like the early disciples and their lives showed the power of the gospel. Truly they lived what they taught.

Aidan would go to the local market where slaves were being sold. [He set them free, and some remained with the community.] People were talking about this school where members of the royal family and slaves shared in the learning. In the schooling there was no distinction . . . Aidan himself lived as the poorest of the brothers. He continued to follow the teachings of Columba: ‘Follow almsgiving above all things. Take no food until you are hungry. Sleep not until you are weary. Speak not except you are on business. Every increase which comes to you in lawful meals, or in wearing apparel, give it for pity to the brethren that want it, or to the poor in like manner.’ Time and time again Aidan’s heart sang for joy as he gave away what had been given to him. He thrilled to see the pleasure that others showed from receiving gifts that he did not need. He remembered the story of St. Lawrence, [who was ordered to produce the treasures of his church. He gave everything to the poor, then declared the great crowd of poor and disabled people ‘the treasures of the church’.]

St. Lawrence Giving Alms, Fra Angelico, 1449


Aidan was sure that the more you poured out for God, the more you were fuilled with well-being. The more you gave away, the more room there was for God to enter. . . If you give of things you give but little, but if you give of yourself you give all that you have.


This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK." You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 21 Reading

St Aidan Story: Oswald's Generosity

Oswald . . . had given the monastery much and had ensured that they survived the early days. The same open hands often gave away to the poor. He had appointed one of his servants to attend to the poor and make sure they were not ignored or sent away empty. He had often been told that Christ said, ‘As you do it to the least of these, you do it to me.’ He tried to remember this when confronted with the poor. Whilst at Iona he had heard the story of another soldier called Martin. He could almost remember the voice that told him the story.

St. Martin and the Beggar, 1836 by Alfred Rethel

  At a certain time when Martin had nothing except his sword and his military uniform, he went out on a cold winter’s night when the weather was severe. At the gates of the city of Amiens he met a poor man begging. All were passing by and taking no notice. There were plenty of of beggars about. Martin decided that if all the others were ignoring this man, he must come to his aid. Yet what could he do? He had already given away many of the things he once had. He had no money and nothing he could easily give the man. Then, taking his sword, he divided his cloak into two equal parts. He gave one part to the beggar and wrapped himself in the other. People passing by and fellow-soldiers laughed at Martin, though some felt ashamed that they had not helped. Some of them could easily have clothed the beggar without exposing themselves to the cold, or to ridicule. Martin’s act was one of true generosity and love. It was that night that Martin had a vision of Christ. The Saviour was arrayed in half a cloak and saying to the angels, ‘Martin, who is still a catechumen, clothed me with this robe. ‘ Oswald had seen the beautiful book that contained this story in the library on Iona, and it had been an elderly monk who had related it to him.

  Oswald the soldier tried to live by this high ideal. He could not be a monk, that was not his calling. But he could be open-handed. There was a certain Easter when Aidan had gone to Bamburgh to dine at the palace. Normally when he went he still ate frugally and escaped from the feasting hall as soon as was possible. He and his brothers would seek to get away from the noise to pray in quiet. On this occasion, being a special festival, the best of food was served up, on a silver dish. As the meal was about to begin, and a blessing was being asked upon it, a nervous-looking servant appeared in the doorway. He told the king that there was a great company of poor people gathering outside. The winter had been hard and they were starving. The meagre resources that they lived on had not lasted through the lean times. Oswald stood up immediately, pointing to the silver dish in front of him, which was laden with food. ‘Take this out to them, and see that they all get something to eat.’ He paused slightly and then continued, ‘And give them the silver dish that the food is on. See that it is divided up among them so that they all have something for another day.'

www.britannia.com


The servant did not know what to say. He bowed low and then walked out with the great silver dish and its contents being carried by two other serving men. Aidan was deeply moved by such generosity. Taking hold of the open hand of Oswald he said, ‘May this hand never wither with age.’ Here was a king who was generous indeed. Aidan prayed that many others would follow his noble example.

This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK." You can find the book here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

September Newsletter

Sorry its a little late!!!! It has just been sent out to our church members this week :)

CHURCH SERVICES

September 7 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
September 14  – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
September 21 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
September 27 – Vespers at Moyie Lake. 6pm. Soup supper to follow.

September 28 – Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.

CHURCH SCHOOL

  Children have a variety of activities to play with both inside and outside. These activities are available both during church, if your kids need a break, and after church. Please have adult supervision.

Readings:
Sept 7 – Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept. 8)
Sept 14 – Feast of the Holy Cross
Sept 21 – St. Aidan story: Oswald’s Generosity.
Sept 28 – St. Aidan story: Sharing their Gifts.

SAINT OF THE MONTH



St Euphrosynus the Cook

September 11

 


Saint Euphrosynus the Cook was from one of the Palestinian monasteries, and his obedience was to work in the kitchen as a cook. Toiling away for the brethren, St Euphrosynus did not absent himself from thought about God, but rather dwelt in prayer and fasting. He remembered always that obedience is the first duty of a monk, and therefore he was obedient to the elder brethren. The patience of the saint was amazing: they often reproached him, but he made no complaint and endured every unpleasantness. . . One of the priests of the monastery saw in a dream what Paradise is like. He also saw there Euphrosynus. The cook picked three apples and gave them to his companion. When he awoke in the early morning, the priest thought the vision a dream, but suddenly he noticed next to him the fruit of Paradise. The priest found Euphrosynus in church and asked him under oath where he was the night before. The saint answered that he was where the priest also was. Excerpts from http://oca.org/saints/lives
Our Year of St. Aidan

We are midway through our church school reading series on our patron saint, St. Aidan. The readings are taken from a book lent to us by Ellen – Flame in my Heart by David Adams.  We are now posting the readings on the website with the kind permission of the publisher, SPCK. You can find this book here:
If you have any suggestions for the next series of readings or discussions, please let us know.




Believe in yourself, your neighbors, your work, your ultimate attainment of more complete happiness. It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in Autumn. 
- B. C. Forbes


The Nativity of the Theotokos

  The record of the birth of Mary is not found in the Bible. The traditional account of the event is taken from the apocryphal writings which are not part of the New Testament scriptures. The traditional teaching which is celebrated in the hymns and verses of the festal liturgy is that Joachim and Anna were a pious Jewish couple who were among the small and faithful remnant-“the poor and the needy”-who were awaiting the promised messiah. The couple was old and childless. They prayed earnestly to the Lord for a child, since among the Jews barrenness was a sign of God’s disfavor. In answer to their prayers, and as the reward of their unwavering fidelity to God, the elderly couple was blessed with the child who was destined, because of her own personal goodness and holiness, to become the Mother of the Messiah-Christ.
http://oca.org/


Camping Retreat

  Most summers, the families of St Aidans get together at Moyie Lake Campground for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and relaxation.
This year, we will be camping the weekend of September 27/28. Please contact Joanna to book a night or just drop in to visit for a few hours. Price will be approximately $28/night, depending on the number of vehicles and people on the site.
You are responsible for your own food, except for the pancake lunch on Saturday and the potluck dinner Saturday night.  
 Saturday evening Vespers will be held in the campground at 6pm. Potluck dinner to follow.
We will be driving into Cranbrook on Sunday for Liturgy and the potluck lunch. The campground is only 20 minutes from Cranbrook, so it is a nice easy commute!



A hidden fire burns perpetually upon the hearth of the world.... In autumn this great conflagration becomes especially manifest. Then the flame that is slowly and mysteriously consuming every green thing bursts into vivid radiance. Every blade of grass and every leaf in the woodlands is cast into the great oven of Nature; and the bright colours of their fading are literally the flames of their consuming. The golden harvest-fields are glowing in the heart of the furnace.... By this autumn fire God every year purges the floor of nature. All effete substances that have served their purpose in the old form are burnt up. Everywhere God makes sweet and clean the earth with fire. ~Hugh Macmillan


The Elevation of the Cross, celebrated on the fourteenth of September, commemorates the finding of Christ’s Cross by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century; and, after it was taken by the Persians, of its recovery by the Emperor Heraclius in the seventh century at which time it was “elevated” in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. From this latter event the “universal elevation” of the Cross was celebrated annually in all of the churches of the Christian Empire.
The day of the Elevation of the Cross became, as it were, the national holiday of the Eastern Christian Empire similar to the Fourth of July in the United States. The Cross, the official emblem of the Empire which was placed on all public buildings and uniforms, was officially elevated on this day by the bishops and priests. They blessed the four directions of the universe with the Cross, while the faithful repeated the chanting of “Lord have mercy.” This ritual is still done in the churches today after the solemn presentation and elevation of the Cross at the end of the Vigil service of the holy day following the Great Doxology of Matins.
The troparion of the feast which was, one might say, the “national anthem” sung on all public occasions in the Christian Empires of Byzantium and Russia, originally petitioned God to save the people, to grant victory in war and to preserve the empire “by the virtue of the Cross.” Today the troparion, and all the hymns of the day, are “spiritualized” as the “adversaries” become the spiritually wicked and sinful including the devil and his armies, and “Orthodox Christians” replace the names of ruling officials of the Empire.  http://oca.org/


The Nativity (birth) of the Holy Theotokos (Mother of God)          Fr. Andrew
We have just finished off last month celebrating St. Aidan’s feast day with a bang. Those who were at the glorious feast day celebration which Ellen and Pat so generously hosted will know that with Pat’s full effect Grizzly encounter story we did this quite literally. Thanks to Ellen and Pat and to everyone who helped!

Sept.1 first marks the beginning of the Church year, and also exactly 1 year since I first came to St. Aidan as your Priest. I have been greatly blessed to be able to come and serve and get to know our wonderful St. Aidan family, thank you for all of your love and patience with me. You have made Matushka Sonia and myself feel very welcome!

Sept. 8 is the feast of the Nativity of the Holy Theotokos, when we celebrate her birth to our righteous ancestors in Christ, Joachim and Anna. We always hear the familiar Gospel from Luke 10 and 11 on the feasts of the Theotokos. Mary the sister of Lazarus, sitting at the feet of Jesus doing the one thing needful – keeping her eyes and attention on Christ; and Martha working away serving, and feeling sorry for herself. Serving is not the problem here, it is Martha’s attitude. Serving with joy and being grateful for the opportunity, for the privilege of serving Christ, is always a blessing. Serving with frustration and an overdeveloped sense of duty, complaining and judging those not measuring up or pulling their weight - in our misguided opinion - is the problem. Mary the Mother of God always kept her eyes and heart fully attuned to her Son and her Lord Jesus Christ and completely fulfilled “the one thing needful”.

In the second part of this familiar scripture we hear: “Blessed is the womb which bore You, and the breasts which nursed You. And Christ replies: “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Why was the Blessed Virgin Mary chosen to have the incomprehensible privilege of containing within her womb; Him whom all of heaven could not contain; He who is the very source of life to her and to all of mankind. He who brought us from non-existence into being and pursued us, and made a way for us  when we had fallen, and raised us up and brought us with Him to His Father in heaven. The Creator of all dwelt in Mary’s womb and nursed from her breasts. Yes, blessed indeed is Mary, beyond any who had ever been born before or since. More honourable is she, and beyond compare than even the Cherubim and the Seraphim; she who gave birth to God Himself. There is none born of the human race that are on the same level of honour as the Theotokos. Yet…Christ answers the woman from the crowd with the reason WHY – with the reason. Why the precious ever-virgin Mary, is granted this most privileged of all roles in the plan of human salvation. “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” Never in all of human history has anyone more perfectly heard the word of God & kept it. Our pathetic efforts pale under the brilliant illumination and perfection of the sweet humble acceptance of Mary, the Mother of our God.

“Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be done to me according to Your word,”  “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary accepted with grace and humility to be the very gate, the portal, to allow her womb to be the throne of God, to allow what all of heaven could not contain, to be contained within her womb. If she had said NO, I’m just not up to it, this is too much to require of me; the entire plan of salvation would have been lost. None have ever more perfectly heard the word of God and kept it, and that is the why - the reason she is more blessed and honoured than any other; and today we rejoice with Joachim and Anna and all of heaven and earth at her birth.


In the nineteenth century, St. Ignatius Brianchaninov made this observation: "When on a clear fall night I gaze upon the clear heavens, illumined by innumerable stars that send out a single light, then I say to myself: thus are the writings of the holy fathers. When on a summer's day I gaze upon the wide sea, covered with a multitude of distinct waves, driven by a single wind to a single end, a single pier, then I say to myself: such are the writings of the fathers. When I hear a well-ordered choir, in which different voices sing a single hymn in shimmering harmony, then I say to myself: such are the writings of the fathers."
http://orthodox.cn/patristics/300sayings_en.htm


THE ORTHODOX NEW YEAR
by Fr. Michael Harper

It can be frustrating to move suddenly from the end, back to the beginning of something. But this is what Orthodox believers do as we move from August 31st — the last day of the old year, to September 1st, the first day of the new year.
It is part of the goodness of God, that He, who has no beginning and no ending, the Eternal Trinity, should take such care to give us a year which begins and ends, and then begins all over again. In our human and finite state we need fresh starts, and this is one of them. From the peaks of Pascha, Ascension, Pentecost, and Transfiguration, we move back to beginnings, the Nativity of the Mother of God, and then in December of the Son of God Himself. We start this wonderful cycle all over again. But the Holy Spirit, as we trust Him, will renew this new year to us, and give us a whole new understanding of it.

"Behold I will do a new thing", God says through the prophet Isaiah (43:19). The new wine will come to us in new wineskins.
The God who has put eternity in our hearts, knows our human frailty. He knows that marriages need their anniversaries, and all of us, especially children, need their birthdays from year to year. We in the Orthodox Church also hold a special place for the anniversaries of those who have died in Christ. We recall every year the glorious deaths of the saints. But the whole of this is held in a solid framework — the Orthodox Calendar. Through the God inspired wisdom of our fathers and mothers, we have a beautifully constructed lectionary, which flows through the year, like the streams of an effortless river, blessing whatever they touch.

It is significant that the last great feast of the old year is that of the Dormition of Mary, the Mother of God. Her human passing was to heaven's glory. And the first great feast of the new year is her Nativity. It is not that Mary is more important that Christ, around which most of the Calendar revolves. Mary is not God. She did not exist from eternity. But she is honoured in this way because she is our supreme example. She lived a life of complete obedience to God.

http://www.orthodoxresearchinstitute.org/articles/fasts_feasts/harper_new_year.htm


The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky.
     Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1.
     According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2), the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord...” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1).
     Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September.
From http://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/09/01/501-church-new-year