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.

Monday, December 15, 2014

December News

Sub-Deacon Paul, Father Andrew, Altar Server Max, Bishop Irenee, Dean Phillip, Deacon Kevin

Our Liturgy with Bishop Irenee was one of the most resplendent services our little church has witnessed. The special evening Liturgy service was very beautiful, and full of excitement with all of our additional visitors from Calgary, and the States. The Bishop raised up Sub-Deacon and a Reader while he was here. We were able to spend some time after services talking with Bishop Irenee - we learned a lot.

One of the things that we learned is that we (the Cranbrook church) are dear to the hearts of many Canadian orthodox. Their support of our church is phenomenal, and the latest of their gifts to us? A priest in residence! Father Andrew and Matushka Sonia are moving to Cranbrook, hopefully in the spring, to live here and provide regular services. This is wonderful news!! There will be more in the January newsletter, if not before, on this wonderful development,

Thank you to the Holy Martyr Peter the Aleut Orthodox Church, Bishop Irenee, and many others, for your support!

Excerpts from the December Newsletter:

Dec 6 – Vespers. 6:30pm. Soup Supper to follow.
Dec 7 – Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy. 10:30am. Potluck Lunch to follow.
Dec 8 – Special Liturgy with Bishop Irenee and Father Andrew. 6:30pm. Soup Supper to follow. *Fasting from Lunchtime for the Eucharist.
Dec 9 – Vespers with Bishop Irenee and Father Andrew. 6:30pm. Soup Supper to follow with Bishop Irenee.
Dec 10 – Breakfast with Bishop Irenee. 9am.
Dec 14 – Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck Lunch to follow.
Dec 20 - Vespers. 6:30pm. Soup Supper to follow.
Dec 21  - Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy. 10:30am. Potluck Lunch to follow.
Dec 28 - Typika service. 10:30am. Potluck Lunch to follow.

*Added: Christmas services to be decided ASAP.

*Added: Father Andrew and Matushka Sonia will be spending Theophany week in Cranbrook (January 5-11) and blessing houses. Please let Father Andrew know when you would like him to come to your house. 


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.

*Added: At the AGM on November 30, it was decided to start a regular Sunday School program again, as we have some young children attending. This will start in January, and will include stories, memory verses, virtues, monthly family activities, and annual celebrations. The full schedule will be posted at the end of December on the curch school page.

READINGS (posted on the website at

Dec. 7 – St Nicholas Story
Dec. 14 – St Aidan Story: Celtic Knot, Part 2
Dec. 21 – St. Aidan Story: Troubled Waters
Dec. 28 – St. Aidan Story: Aidan’s Death

St. Andrew the First Called - Nov. 30                                                                      Fr. Andrew                                
Nov. 30 is the saint’s day for my dear Patron saint, Andrew the First called. When I was about to be ordained a Deacon, Bishop Irénée asked who my patron saint was, and as he hadn’t run into any St. Brent’s, he suggested that St. Andrew was a very good choice. St. Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, and when John the Baptist pointed Jesus out as being the Son of God, Andrew immediately left John and followed after Jesus. He went and brought his brother Peter telling him that “We have found the Messiah – the Christ!” So it is fair to say that even before Peter’s memorable confession that “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” his brother Andrew the 1st called Apostle had been enlightened to understand this all-consuming truth and revealed it to his older brother Peter!

St. Andrew made four major missionary journeys and travelled extensively, preaching the kingdom of God and establishing the Church. He is the Patron saint of Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Scotland and even Barbados. He is the patron saint of the ecumenical patriarchy in Constantinople as St. Andrew installed St. Stachys who was one of the 70 as the first bishop of Constantinople (Byzantium) in 36 AD. St. Andrew travelled all through what is today Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Poland, Ukraine (including Kiev), and much of Russia, including what is now Moscow and Lake Ladoga where Valaam Monastery was later established. He travelled through parts of India and Pakistan and spent time in Ethiopia and Eastern Africa. It is possible he also travelled through the Scandinavian lands and through from there to Scotland. In the later years of his life St. Andrew spent 20 years living in a cave in his favourite place around Dervent in Southern Romania which has been a place of pilgrimage ever since.

He was crucified towards the end of the first century in Patras Greece on an X shaped cross, as he protested he was not worthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as his Lord Jesus Christ. St. Andrew is noted for his great humility. Although he is the first-called Apostle of Christ, he never goes first, and when we see him speaking with his Lord Jesus Christ in the gospels, he is always asking for someone else’s sake. He brings his older brother Peter to Jesus; when Philip comes to Andrew asking him about taking some Greek worshipers to see Jesus, he brought them to Jesus; he approaches Jesus about feeding the multitude with the 5 loaves and two fish. Always it is for others that St. Andrew approaches his Lord. There are many miracles associated with St. Andrew’s missionary trips, and many books written about this most eminent Apostle. Through the prayers of St. Andrew the 1st. called Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon us and save us!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Reading from December 14

St Aidan Story

Celtic Knot, Part 2

Aidan gave thanks for the growth in the vocation of women to the religious life. It did seem to be a good way for royal women to have a position of their own. Hild, at thirty-three, decided to become a nun. Here truly was a jewel for the church. She was deeply committed to the way taught from Lindisfarne. She had thought of going to France, to the sisters at Chelles, to be a nun. It was as well that she had mentioned it to Aidan. He persuaded her that the church here needed people like her. If all the talent was going to the continent, how could the church here grow? Women’s communities, and mixed communities, needed people who were used to leadership, and who had been Christians for a good while. Hild had all the qualities needed, and more. Hild listened to Aidan and decided to stay. She went to establish a new monastery on the north side of the Wear. Within a year she had moved on to Hartlepool to replace the first nun in Northumbria, Heiu. Heiu was going further south to Tadcaster. All over Bernicia and Deira new communities were springing up. The land was being won for Christ.  . .

St. Hilda icon with her Abbess staff in her right hand and her Abbey in her left hand. By Nic Pappas

Aidan looked at the pattern (of the Celtic knotwork) and thought of how vibrant it was with movement and colour. He glanced at the written words on the opposite page, ‘Jesus est’. Once again everything vibrated, this time with sound. He could hear in his memory the brothers in prayer on the road. So often they started with ‘Jesus is’.  . . It is so important that each of us makes this discovery, that ‘Jesus is’. Aidan could hear it as clearly as if the brothers were with him. After he heard each statement Aidan again traced the pattern, rising with the words, and saying to the Christ after each statement ‘Have mercy upon us’:

‘Jesus Christ’
‘Jesus, Son of God’
‘Jesus, Saviour’
‘Jesus, Lord’
‘Jesus, Redeemer’
‘Jesus, Brother’
‘Jesus, Bread of Life’
‘Jesus, Light of the world’
‘Jesus, Door of the sheep’
‘Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life’
‘Jesus, the true Vine’
‘Jesus, the Way’
‘Jesus, the Truth’
‘Jesus, the Life’
‘Jesus, crucified’
‘Jesus, dead’
‘Jesus, buried’
‘Jesus, risen’
‘Jesus, ascended’
‘Jesus, King of kings’
‘Jesus, Lord of lords’
‘Jesus, the same today’
‘Jesus yesterday’
‘Jesus for ever’
‘Jesus before the foundation of the world’
‘Jesus here and now with us’
‘Jesus in eternity’

His own ‘Lord, Have mercy’ helped him travel past all the parts of the pattern that were going under. How like life, all these ups and downs, this weaving in and out. A peace was descending on Aidan, the sort of peace he felt each time he returned to Lindisfarne. There was a feeling of homecoming, of having been here before. Then he realized that he had followed the pattern around, and was back where he started. Yet, it was not the same, he had changed in his travels. As he looked upon the complex pattern, he knew that life was even more intricate than the Celtic design. He also saw that the pattern was endless, a symbol of eternity. For all its complexity, its ups and downs, this life is eternal. This is the gospel message, this is what helps us to rise. Aidan prayed that the island would be the place of his resurrection. He hoped that when he died he would be allowed to bless his brothers as Columba had blessed the community on Iona. He even wondered if one of the local horses might weep for him.

He was suddenly aware of the roaring of the sea and the piping of the oyster-catchers. He thanked God that he had been made so rich in people, that his life was so vibrant and colorful.

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:

Friday, November 28, 2014

November 23 Reading

St. Aidan Story: The Celtic Knot, Part 1

Aidan was slowly tracing a pattern of Celtic knot work, and thinking leisurely of what had been. So many lives and cultures had crossed and inter-related. There was no Scot, Pict or Celt, no Angle or Saxon; all were one in Christ. Christ had broken down the barriers that divided them. In Christ the nation was becoming more united. Even this artwork was deeply influenced by the exchange of cultures. The illumination of the Gospels coming out of the scriptorium was a blend of Celtic and Anglican or Saxon. They had greatly enriched each other. The movement from hostility to hospitality was enriching all. . .

Design influenced by illustration in the Lindisfarne Gospels 

Aidan traced a few of the ups and downs of the knot work pattern. How like life it was, full of ups and downs, ins and outs, light and darkness. The pattern rose and fell, was open then went under and was hidden, again reflecting the openness and the hidden in our lives. ‘That Christ may walk with us in the dark places and give us His light’ – Aidan’s heart ached with the love he had for these people. . . 

As his fingers rose on the pattern, he thought of all the good things that had happened.  . . More and more people were committing themselves to the religious life. More and more were seeing it as a heroic way to serve God. It was not an escape from the world but a deeper immersion into it. New communities were having to be built, new places of learning and new churches. . .

Aidan’s finger followed the pattern where it dipped under. He remembered that there was still much tyranny and violence, too many people still lived by the sword. . . The yellow plague was also ravaging parts of the kingdom, . . . in some areas whole villages were being wiped out. . .

Aidan’s hand had wandered on to the next dip in the pattern. The queen was insisting on keeping a chaplain from Kent and on keeping the continental reckoning of Easter. This could make things difficult at the palace. It would be absurd to keep two Easters, or for the king to have Easter and the queen to still be in Lent. . . They would obviously have to have a Synod to resolve these matters. . .  

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:

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Our Annual General Meeting will be held at the church after Liturgy and Lunch on November 30. Activities for the children will be provided in a separate area.

Also, we will be volunteering for the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle on Dec. 6th from 10 - 2. Please sign up for a shift during that time. Thank you.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 16 Reading

The Presentation of the Theotokos

St Aidan's celebrated their first annual Tea Party today, honoring the women and girls of our parish in memory of the child Mary who was presented to the Temple at age three.

Because of the cold, -15 (!!) we processed around the interior of the church while singing, carrying candles and lanterns, and the icon.

The women and girls were then served tea, juice, fruit and cookies. And since we had room at the table, the men and boys then joined us. Sometimes it is advantageous to belong to a small parish, lol.

Many thanks to Ellen for helping with the table setting and food. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

November 9 Reading

St Aidan Story: Chad

Aidan remembered the day when four boys had been brought to Lindisfarne. They were four brothers from one family, all in steps and stairs, blond-headed ad fair-skinned, like so many of the Angles. Yet he never quite thought of them as angelic, they were real lads, forever in the rough and tumble of life. Still, from the start they had been keen to learn and anxious to serve. They all had good English names: Cedd, Cynebil, Caelin, and Chad. Their parents were rightly proud of them. Aidan recited their names in the order of their age. Cedd was the oldest and Chad the youngest. They were all young men of promise, though the oldest and the youngest had the most potential.

Aidan’s thoughts turned especially to Chad. He was the most scholarly. To get more teaching he had been sent to Ireland. There he had met quite a few of the famous teachers and learned much from them. The irish monks were extremely generous in being willing to share all they had with any visiting scholars. They would lend them books as well as feed and board them for free. The irish monks were still very necessary and important to the growth of the church and for its scholarship. These lads would go far; who knew, one day one or two of them might become bishops in the church. Aidan knew how important it was for mission to be local. If the church is to grow, its leaders must come from within its own community. Leadership must rise up from within, or the teaching will never truly take root. For any mission in depth it must be from the people of that area, reflecting the same ideas and values. Mission must always aim to grow locally. Such young lives full of promise and wanting to be shaped – what a wonderful gift. They would certainly have an effect on the people around them.

Chad seemed to imitate Aidan more than anyone. More than any of the others, he refused to ride a horse if he could walk. ‘You must keep your feet on the ground, and not place yourself above people’, he would say, in a voice that was a good imitation of Aidan’s.  . . .He, like Aidan, walked for mile upon mile, talking to all whom he met on the way.

Drawing from The Little Lives of the Saints
Told by Percy Dearmer
Illustrated by Charles Robinson.
London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1904.

Chad was always concerned for travellers, especially if a storm arose.  . . . On the nearby Farne Islands many ships came to grief.  At the first sign of a strong wind, Chad would utter a prayer for travellers. If the wind increased, he would stop whatever he was doing and pray for the whole human race. He was deeply concerned that, if possible, none should come to harm. When a mighty storm arose and there was thunder, Chad would go into the church and pray in cross-vigil. With arms outstretched, he prayed that all would be delivered from destruction, from sin, from death, and from judgement. He would seek to pray as long as the storm raged. Often he came out of such prayers exhausted. If anyone made a comment, he would say, ‘Learn to pray until the tears come. Remember what the Savior suffered for us, and for our salvation.’

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:

To learn more about Chad and his brothers, start here:

November Newsletter

From our Newsletter:


November 2 – Typika service. 10:30am.
Potluck lunch to follow.
November 8 – Vespers. 6pm. Potluck
Soup Supper to follow.
November 9 - Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy
10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
November 16 – Typika service. 10:30am.
Tea Party and Potluck lunch to follow.
November 23 – Typika service. 10:30am.
Potluck lunch to follow.
November 29 – Vespers. 6pm. Potluck
Soup Supper to follow.
November 30 - Hours. 10:10am. Liturgy
10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.


 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):

November 2 – St. Aidan story: Oswin
and the Horse
November 9 – St. Aidan story: Chad
November 16 – Entrance of the
Theotokos story (Nov 21, Feast #3 of
the Year)
November 23 - St. Aidan story: Celtic
Knot, part 1
November 30 - St. Aidan story: Celtic
Knot, part 2.


St Columbanus - Nov 23

Columbanus was born into a noble family in
West Leinster, Ireland, circa 543. He received
a classical education at Clonard, the great
mother-school founded by St. Finian, where
he discovered the three-fold division of
prayer, manual labor and study of the
scriptures that mark the boundaries of a
monk's existence. He learned habits of
sanctity and scholarship that would stay with
him for the rest of his life. He went to live
under the abbot St. Comgall at the monastery
of Bangor on the coast of Down. At about the
age of forty he set sail with twelve
companions (one was St Gall) to preach the
gospel, and sometime around the year 585
they crossed over to France. Columbanus built
3 monasteries, staying in France as Abbot of
Luxeuil for more than twenty years. Eventually
King Theoderic drove Columbanus into exile,
where he settled in Italy, dying in 615. It was
in the wilderness that his typically Celtic love
of nature is shown, and animals are involved
in several of his principal miracles.


Dec. 8 Monday evening at 6:30 pm - Divine Liturgy at St. Aidan with Bishop Irénée  

Dec. 9 Tuesday morning at 10:30 am - Divine Liturgy for the feast day of theconception of the Theotokos at Bonners Ferry Holy Myrrhbearers Church with Bishop  Irénée and Fr. Gregory Horton - all invited

  Dec. 9 Tuesday Evening at 6:30 pm - Daily Vespers at St. Aidan's and then meet theBishop Q and A session  

Dec. 10 Wed. Morning at Denny's in Cranbrook breakfast with Bishop Irénée at 9:00 amfor all who want to join us before he returns to Calgary.

The Entry of the Most Holy Mother of God into the 
Commemorated on November 21

The parents of the Virgin Mary, Sts Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to 
their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would 
dedicate it to the service of God. When the Most Holy Virgin reached the 
age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. There the High 
Priest and several priests met the handmaiden of God. Then the High Priest, 
through inspiration from above, led the Most Holy Virgin into the Holy of 
Holies, where only the High Priest entered once a year to offer a purifying 
sacrifice of blood. Therefore, all those present in the Temple were 
astonished at this most unusual occurrence. After entrusting their child to 
the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin 
remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. She grew up in a 
community of pious virgins, diligently read the Holy Scripture, occupied 
Herself with handicrafts, prayed constantly, and grew in love for God. 

November 16 – First Annual Tea Party

celebrating the Presentation of the Theotokos (Nov. 21)

Around the world, girls will carry candle lanterns and icons in a 
procession in memory of the girls who processed before the precious 
Mary at age three, as she made her way to the temple, to become the 
living Holy of Holies, the one human chosen to fully and physically 
contain God within her.
We will hold our procession on Nov 16, after the Typika service, due to 
our wide-spread geographical constraints. Afterwards, the girls are 
served tea and dainties. In our case, the girls and women will be 
served by the boys and men. This will be followed by our traditional 
potluck lunch. Anyone with fancy teacups to share, pretty flowers to 
donate, and special tea party foods to serve – please let Rebecca 
know. Thank you!! More info to follow. 

November 8:
The Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Bodiless Powers  from Fr. Andrew

Very early in Church history (before the 1st Ecumenical Council in 325) the Church established the feastday on Nov. 8 for the 
celebration of Archangel Michael and the Bodiless Powers. The Church also dedicates every Monday during the year for the 
veneration and consideration of the holy angels. Tradition tells us that the month of November was chosen for the feast, as it 
was the 9th month after the start of the New Year (which was March in those days), and that this represented the 9 ranks of 
angels. These ranks were well accepted by the Church even by then. Tradition says they were explained by St. Dionysius the 
Aeropagite who received the revelation directly from the Apostle Paul his teacher, and were catalogued in “The Celestial 
Hierarchy” written by a later man known as pseudo Dionysius the Aeropagite who wrote in the 5th or 6th century. Many of the 
early Church fathers such as St. Gregory the Dialogist, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. John Chrysostom, St Ignatius, St. Basil, St. 
John of Damascus and many others wrote of the 9 ranks and the purposes of God’s messengers and our great protectors the 
angels. The angles are always with us and a part of the Church created by God when He created “all things visible and invisible.” 
All throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are many stories of angels interacting and fulfilling their 
roles as “messengers” and helpers sent from God to mankind for our protection, illumination and salvation.
At liturgy, during the little entrance, as the Priest waits before the Holy Doors for the completion of the 3rd antiphon (Blessed 
are…) he quietly prays the entrance prayer “O Master, Lord our God, who appointed in heaven orders and hosts of angels and 
archangels for the service of Your glory: Grant that with our entrance there may be an entrance of holy angels, serving with us 
and glorifying Your goodness…” With the angles, the priest then enters through the Holy Door into the altar to continue the 
Liturgy. We worship God with a Church filled with angelic host every Sunday!
The ranks of angels are broken into 3 groups (hierarchs) each containing three angelic orders. The first hierarch and those 
closest to God are: the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the Thrones. These angels are always in God’s direct presence and are filled 
with God’s fiery love, wisdom and righteous judgement. Realizing this causes us to be filled with awe as we contemplate the 
position of our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary, as we often sing: 
“It is truly meet (proper) to bless you O Theotokos, 
Ever blessed and most pure and the Mother of our God. 
More honourable than the Cherubim 
and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim…”
In the middle rank of angels (2nd Hierarchy) are the Dominions, the Virtues, and the Powers. They send down the grace of God to 
mankind teaching and helping us to control our passions, resist temptations and evil thoughts, strengthening us in patience and 
sending power to work miracles and helping us in choosing to follow the Spirit of God and to overcome the devil. The third rank, 
and those angels closest to men are: Principalities, Archangels and Angels. These are the angels that we usually encounter 
throughout the scriptures and who are in close contact with mankind. They order the universe and rise up leaders for us for the 
glory of God. Every city and country and Church has their own angel protector. They are messengers of good news and enlighten 
us with knowledge of the mysteries of the faith and of God’s will, which they receive from the higher orders of angels for our 
benefit. The lowest order of the 9 ranks, the “Angels” serve as our guardian angels. 
God has appointed the Archangel Michael to lead and rule over all of the orders of angels. It is the great Archangel Michael who 
led the heavenly hosts to defeat Satan and his fallen angel cohorts – the demons, when they chose to rebel against God. The 
Archangel Michael cried out to his fellow angels "Let us attend! Let us stand aright before our Creator and not ponder that which 
is displeasing unto God!" The angels were created before the world was created “When the stars were made, all My angels 
praised me with a loud voice” Job 38:7
All the various ranks of the Angels are in complete harmony, with all constantly giving glory to God for all things. The Church 
teaches that every Christian receives their own personal guardian angel at their baptism, and Psalm 33(34): 7 tells us that all that 
all that fear God receive a guardian angel. This faithful companion loves and cares for us, protecting us from the attacks of the 
evil one, and helping us in our earthly journey to grow ever closer to Christ. St. Basil writing in the 4th century said “The guardian 
angel will not retreat from us unless we drive him away by our evil deeds. As smoke drives bees away, and stench the doves, 
even so our stinking sin drives away from us the angel that protects our life.” 
May we always pray and be grateful for our guardian angel, that faithful companion and protector of our souls, and not give 
cause for him to grieve over us; and may he be our faithful companion and defender and protector at the end of our journey 
here on earth and be able to successfully bring us into the heavenly realm and the kingdom of God.
Prayer to our Guardian Angel:
O angel of God, my holy guardian, given to me from heaven, enlighten me this day, and save me from all evil. Instruct me in 
doing good deeds, and set me on the path of salvation. Amen.
O angel of Christ, holy guardian and protector of my soul and body, forgive me everything wherein I have offended you every day 
of my life, and protect me from all influence and temptation of the Evil One. May I never again anger God by my sins. Pray for me 
to the Lord, that He may make me worthy of the grace of the All-Holy Trinity, and of the blessed Mother of God, and of all the 
saints. Amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 2nd Reading

St Aidan Story: Oswin and the Horse

Some time after the death of Oswald, Aidan was at the palace of King Oswin who succeeded him in Deira. Oswin was truly a noble king . . . known for his generosity in giving to the rich and poor alike. He was also respected for his humility, which was a characteristic often missing in the royal court. Oswin gave Aidan a very fine horse. The king felt that it was not right that Aidan should walk such great distances. . .  It was costly in time  . .  [and] was beneath the dignity of a bishop to be walking like a peasant. . .

Aidan did not see it this way. . . ‘If you are to meet people you need to have your feet on the ground.’ This was something Aidan was always instilling into his students. . . ‘Remember that you are here to serve them and not to lord it over them.’ . . . Simplicity of prayer and simplicity of life helped Aidan and his followers to reach out throughout the kingdom. Wherever any priest or monk visited, he was made welcome. Whilst on the road people would run up to the brothers and seek a blessing.  . . People gathered by streams to be baptised and to sing praises to God. They gathered in cottages and bothies to hear with joy the word of God and to pray. The sick were tended and prayed for, the oppressed were brought relief. Whatever the need, Aidan and his  men sought to meet it. More and more people recognised that these men lived as they taught, their lives were their teaching. They continued to give away any riches they received and to minister to the poor. . .

However, to please the king he agreed to take a horse. Yes, it would be quicker and he would arrive at his destination earlier. There were indeed great advantages in being able to travel quickly. Oswin himself took Aidan to the stables and selected one of the finest horses. . . . Aidan was grateful . . . yet, the minute he left Oswin’s palace Aidan was uncomfortable.  . . . As he passed people at the palace gate some bowed in deference to him. He already felt that he was high above them. There was a little group of peasants going in the same direction, but . . . he could hardly walk with them and lead his horse.  . . . Once into the forest, robbers would be very interested in all his wealth . . . he would not be able to stop, the saddle alone was worth a small farm. A sadness crept into his heart; he was already allowing himself to become possessed, to be separated from people by material things and by position. Being on horseback is a very exalted position.

But God had already solved his dilemma. . . down the road in front of him was a beggar. . . Again all sorts of thoughts passed through Aidan’s mind. What if this was a trick and the man wanted to rob him? ‘Life is not just; here I am with all these riches and here is a man with nothing. How can I ignore him? To ride past him is to ride past the Christ. “As much as you did it to the least of these you did it to me.” What was happening to him? Already his heart was hardening. . . . Was he going to allow himself to become hardened to the needs of others? . . . What if he met him on judgement day and he said, ‘I was hungry, but you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me drink, I was naked and you did not clothe me, I needed friendship and you ignored me’?

St Aidan gives his horse to a beggar 

drawing from The Little Lives of the Saints
Told by Percy Dearmer
Illustrated by Charles Robinson.
London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1904.

The beggar was startled as this important person suddenly reined in his fine horse.  . .  The man was amazed when the rider got off his horse. He expected this great man to spea in the language of the Angles but he spoke in his own language, the language of the common people.  . . . [Aidan gave the horse and saddle to the beggar to sell, and to make a new life with the money he would receive.]
 Aidan’s journey would now take longer, but he would meet more people.  He would sleep easy at nights for he would not need to worry about the horse, he had nothing a robber would want. His only worry was what he would say to Oswin the next time he went to the palace.

As it happened it was not long before he returned to Oswin’s court. He could see by the king’s looks that he knew what Aidan had done with the horse. . . .the king was hurt by the slight that had been put on his friendship and generosity, though he knew in his heart that if a man is truly given a gift, he is then free to do what he will with it. The time for them to dine was approaching when the king said, ‘Aidan, what did you mean by giving away the horse that I gave you for very own? I have been told that you gave it to a beggar. That horse was fit for a king, not for some vagabond. I could have found you an old nag if you wanted to give it away to the first person you met.’ Aidan’s quick reply stunned the hall to silence: ‘What do you think, O King? Is the son of a mare worth more in your eyes than a son of God?’ No one dared to speak; even the king was silent.

As the king went into the hall everyone followed, awaiting the reaction. Aidan took his seat.  . . . It looked for awhile as if [Oswin] would not come to the table. His loyal thanes stood by him. He seemed lost in thought. Suddenly he loosed his sword and gave it to a thane who was near. The king knelt at Aidan’s feet and asked forgiveness. ‘Never again will I mention this, or pass judgement on how much of your money you are giving to the ‘sons of God’.’  

Aidan trated al alike as his brothers. He loved all as children of God. He did not fear the mighty or see himself above the lowliest. He instilled into the brethren that we meet God in the other. We cannot love either God OR our neighbour. We love both or neither. 

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:

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:

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:

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:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

From our October Newsletter


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.


  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 


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.

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

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..."

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.


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 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

 Nia Chopelas,