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Sunday, July 27, 2014
St Aidan story: Preparing the Ground
Photo from http://www.beautifulnorthumberland.co.uk/
The island was larger than Aidan had expected, though he was not quite sure where it began. Some of it was great sand dunes. The main part of the island seemed to be at its southern end. It felt about the size of Iona, though there was no hill like Dun-I. Two rocky outcrops, exposed to the sea, made the only hills on the island, on the north-eastern shore there were some caves. It was near these caves he heard the seals singing and it reminded him of Iona. God had blessed him and his companions with a good land. There was much hazel wood and a quantity of stunted trees, more trees than on Iona. But the trees had to survive the winds and the salt spray. In the sea there were ducks and many gulls, there were musses, oysters and winkles. The seals suggested there were fish in abundance. There was a good deal of machair (grassy plains) that would be ideal for pasture for their cattle. Cattle were essential to the community, not only for meat and milk, but for providing skins for parchments for the making of books. The soil was light and sandy, no doubt it would be good for growing grain. There was a small freshwater lough that reminded Aidan again of Iona. His heart was nearly bursting for joy. God had truly brought him into a good and pleasant land.
From the southern end of the island Aidan could see the smoke rising at Bamburgh. He could see the great rock on which the fortress stood. The king was near at hand. Here on the island Aidan could follow the Rule of Columba which said, ‘Be alone in a separate place near a chief city, if your conscience is not prepared to be in common with the crowd.’ Here they were far enough away from the palace to be free from its own activity and demands, yet near enough to be of use to the king and the leaders of the people. Here you could feel the silence. Here would be a place of solitude, stillness and sanctity, essentials for growth in the Spirit. There is need for us all to get away from the business of life and stand at the edge of things. Yes, this island would be their home.
There was a great deal to do. Land had to be cleared, and a vallum built (earth ramparts). There was need for a church, though a standing cross of wood could serve for awhile, until they could put up a building and a stone cross. Each of the brothers needed a cell as a place of retreat and for shelter. The farm needed to be in action as soon as possible. Then the primary reasons for which they came: they would have to start a school, and they would need to reach out in mission to the people of the land, both the English and the British.
It was important at this stage to get their priorities right; there was so much to do that they had to decide carefully and lay a firm foundation. So a course of action was decided on, one that amazed the king when he heard of it. No land would be cleared, nothing done, until they had hallowed the land and cast out any evil. The area for the monastic community within the vallum was marked out and then the next forty days were a time of prayer and fasting. The brothers had to be sure of their priority and let others see it. Their priority was to give themselves in adoration to God; everything else could wait. It was only by doing this that they could enrich the lives of those who came to them. It was no use talking about God if they did not talk to Him. God was not a theory to be handed on to others, He is a person to be met and His presence enjoyed. Here the love of God was to burn within them. They did not try to make this happen, for it was a fact: they tried to become more aware of the reality that ‘we dwell in Him and He in us’.
The period set aside for this preparation was forty days. As our Lord spent forty days in the wilderness, Aidan and his brothers spent forty days in prayer and fasting. As Jesus spent the time sorting out His priorities and putting His faith in the Father, so these men from Iona wrestled with their future. It was a time of depth, dedication and discipline, not of impoverishment but of enrichment, extension and vision. Without this awareness their world would be destroyed: we need to know the great mysteries that are about us, and within us.
More than this, here was land to win back for God. Here on this island was a desire for Paradise regained. From the land within the enclosure all violence would be excluded, along with all demons and darkness. All hostile elements had to be banished, this has to be a place to reveal the presence, the power and the peace of God.
From Flame in my Heart by David Adam, pgs 50-52
at 7:44 PM
Sunday, July 20, 2014
St Aidan story #9: King Oswald and the Island
King Oswald of Northumbria
photo from http://www.britannia.com
Oswald wanted to know about their journey. He asked for news about Iona and Abbot Segene. He mentioned other names, only some of which were familiar. Soon they were offered a place to rest and a meal to refresh them. This king was in no way barbaric, although he was obviously a mighty warrior. All around were battle-shields and spears, great swords and bows. There were animal skins on the floor and a great fire burning. The meal was more than they would normally eat but today was special. For a while Aidan felt nervous, but he realized Oswald was personally determined to make them feel at home.
Soon they were talking over a campaign of teaching. Oswald was anxious that his closest subjects should be educated. If the kingdom was to grow it had to be built on more than a foundation of conquest. A school was of the utmost importance. He knew they would need a church. He understood that they would want to deal with the British also. In all this he was willing to give them whatever resources they needed. He kept emphasizing the importance of getting started. Never once did he mention Corman. Oswald insisted that the brothers remained in the most comfortable part of his palace and that they allowed themselves to be looked after by his servants. Aidan was about to object, then realized that this could be a good way of making contact with these Angles, and beginning to learn how to communicate with them.
There was certainly some interest shown when they said their prayers at night and again in the early morning. The monks did not make a show of their devotions, but they made sure that their hosts knew what they were doing.
Over the next few days Oswald proved that he was true to his word. His generosity knew no bounds. If Aidan or his men needed anything Oswald supplied it. In fact they had to be careful in stating their needs, for Oswald seemed to be able to produce most things almost immediately. He made sure they had space for their worship, giving them a room to be set aside as sacred for the purpose. He offered them the full use of the palace. More than this, he gave them much of his time. He was also ready to worship with them. Sometimes they would find he had been the first to enter their little sanctuary and was sitting with his hands open and upturned and resting on his knees, his eyes closed, and praying. They were to discover that this was the posture that Oswald most often took up for his prayers. In the early days Oswald himself acted as an interpreter for them when he was able. When other duties prevented him, he delegated the task to one of the thanes who had been with him in Dalraida. Aidan was thrilled to discover that a few of the leading men at the palace could speak his language and were willing to help him learn their native tongue.
Oswald would have liked the school to have been in Bamburgh. He waved his arms and said, “You can have any land you like to build your monastery on.” At this Aidan was silent, and could not answer. He knew that if he was in the shadow of the royal residence, many of the British would find this offensive, or would be afraid to come. Another difficulty was all the activity that was going on around the palace. It was far too busy a place for them to establish themselves. Aidan said he would talk it over with his brothers. He knew that they would have to decide quickly, or Oswald might think that they did not appreciate his offer. Not one of them wanted the protection of the palace. They realized that it would not be good either for their mission or their development. They needed to distance themselves a little from the king.
When Oswald was told this, he frowned a little but was his usual generous self. They could have anywhere in his kingdom. They could go to one of the great towns, they could have some of the wonderful rolling hill country, they could have a settlement by one of the rivers. The kingdom was large and it was at their disposal.
What Aidan did next Oswald found hard to understand. He looked out to sea and pointed to some islands not far from the fortress. “How large are those?” Some of his companions, missing their island home, thrilled to the question.
“Not large enough nor productive enough for you to do your work on them,” came a rather blunt reply.
“What, none of them?” Aidan asked in disappointment.
View of Lindisfarne, from Bamburgh beach.
Photo from http://jayzspaze.blogspot.ca/
“Well there is one, if you can call it an island,” said Oswald as he turned northwards and pointed. “It is the farthest one away from here. It is larger than the rest. It has its own water supply, which the others do not have. There is much hazel growing there that could be used in building. But it is not a proper island.”
Those listening to Oswald wondered how an island could not be an island. Seeing their look of puzzlement, he explained. “The land is not so far from the shore as the other islands. In fact when the tide recedes it is not an island but part of the mainland. Each day it is cut off by the tides, and each day it becomes open again. You can cross to the mainland when the tide is out, on horseback or on foot. But when the tide is high you can only get off the island by boat, and there are some very strange sea currents that run about the island.”
“What is its name?” asked Aidan.
“I believe it is called Inis Metcaud” replied Oswald, “and I have been told it means the ‘Island of the strong winds’.”
“It sounds as if we may have found our new home,” replied Aidan. Then to Oswald, “If you do not mind, it seems it could be just the sort of place we are looking for. It is not far from your royal dwelling and yet it will give us the silence and the separation we feel we need.”
Oswald still seemed doubtful, but thinking that maybe these island monks would be more at home with the sea around them, he agreed, and said, “The island is your.”
Aidan turned to his monks: “It appears we are on the road again. We will move off in the morning.”
From A Flame in my Heart by David Adam, pgs. 40 – 44.
at 9:21 PM
Sunday, July 13, 2014
July 13th Church School Reading
St Aidan story #8: Meeting the Northumbrian People
As they approached the kingdom of Oswald, Aidan began to speak to the people in the hill country. They spoke a language much like his own. They were often at least nominally Christian. If they were Christian, they could at least share the gospel and pray a little together. Aidan assumed that Christians liked to pray and wanted to share their faith. There were some language difficulties; but Aidan found apathy or indifference, when he encountered them, far harder to deal with. He also began to realize that within this kingdom of Oswald there was more than one kingdom to win for Christ. The people of the land were of a similar Celtic stock to himself. Rivers, hills, and landmarks all had strong Celtic names. It would only take a little practice and he would be able to communicate with the native people. The real difficulty was their fear and resentment of the English. Oswald was a foreigner and an invader. The English were the enemy of occupation, who had driven many of the British of their land and from their homes. Aidan realized that much of his work would be one of reconciliation, the building up of trust and good relationships. His heart went out to these people who were oppressed. He wanted them to know the gospel of liberty and love, also of forgiveness and acceptance. He would have dearly liked to stay among the hill peoples, but his call was to the coast and the fortress of Bamburgh.
At last they came in sight of the eastern sea. It had not appeared until their journey was nearly over. It would be good to get sea air into their lungs again. They were aware that the people they met now were different; these were warrior peoples, even though they were settling in farmsteads. But they were people of culture. Aidan thought some had heard of Christ, but now the language was a major difficulty. The brothers were not able to communicate with many people at all. For this reason, when possible, they avoided the little scattered communities, and still bore eastwards. The coast was not far away but they travelled on the other side of the hills, making straight for the capital.
When they came to the coast it was to a wide sweeping bay. The tide was out and they could hardly see the sea. There were sea birds aplenty. Evening prayers were said with a heron fishing nearby. The heron had been one of Columba’s favorite birds and it made the little group feel at home. During these last few miles they had seen more people, and the road seemed to be busy with soldiers. They noticed that some of the soldiers were carrying what must have been booty.
One more steep hill, and then a great vista opened up before them. There was a lot of woodland, but much land had been cleared. Directly ahead was a great rock, standing proud in the landscape. Below it was a sprinkling of cottages, and fields with cottages and sheep. On the rock there was a mighty palisade, a fortress truly fit for a king. Beyond it was the sea. Smoke was rising form one or two areas on the high rock. It seemed to be well-fortified, with many inhabitants. As the brothers approached the gates they were stopped by a sentry. They explained who they were, but the language barrier caused difficulty. They repeated the name ’Oswald’ more than once, and ‘Iona’ again and again. But the guards did not understand enough to make any headway. Then one guard left and returned with a tall, slim regal-looking man with a short pointed beard. Aidan’s heart leaped. Surely this was Oswald himself. The king had come out to meet them. Recognising their attire, Oswald welcomed them in their own tongue. He issued an order to his guards which Aidan and his followers did not understand, but they were ushered in quickly.
From Flame in my Heart by David Adam, pgs 38 -40.
photo from http://www.northumbria-cottages.co.uk
at 9:28 PM
Friday, May 16, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Saturday, April 5, 2014
A Guide to Holy Week Services at St. Aidan’s Orthodox Church, April 2014
The highlight of the Church year and the earliest festal celebration of the Church is Pascha (Easter). The celebration was originally tied to the Jewish feast of Passover (Pesach) where Christ’s Passion and Resurrection occurred. As the Church grew to encompass the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations, Pascha began to be celebrated on the first Sunday (the day of Resurrection) following the first full moon in the spring. The Pascal celebration was well established by 165 AD, as is described in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History, and the dating of when to celebrate it was affirmed at the 1st Ecumenical council in
in 325 AD. While there was always some debate regarding the date at which
Pascha should be fixed from the beginning, the present difference in dates that
often falls between Eastern “Pascha” and Western “Easter”, goes back to 1582AD
when Pope Gregory XIII adopted the “Gregorian” Calendar which changed the
calculation for Easter, and the Orthodox Church kept to the original
Holy Week Services for St. Aidan’s
Wed. Ap. 16: 7:00 pm– Bridegroom Matins (approx. 1.5 hrs)
“Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching…Your Bridal Chamber I see adorned, O my Saviour, but I have no wedding garment that I may enter.
O Giver of Light, enlighten the vesture of my soul and save me.”
- The theme of this beautiful service is the betrayal of Judas contrasted with the repentance of the Harlot. It follows the theme of the first three days of Holy Week where our Lord enters
Jerusalem and voluntarily goes to His
betrayal and to His death on the cross to redeem all of mankind from death.
Thur. Ap.17: 7:00pm: Matins with the 12 Passion Gospel
(approx 2.5 hrs.) Readings
“Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree. The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns. He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery…We worship Your passion O Christ. We worship Your passion O Christ. Show us also Your glorious Resurrection.”
- Today we accompany Christ our Lord as He voluntarily goes from the
to be crucified and laid in
his tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and the righteous Nicodemus. We contemplate our
Lord’s journey in the 12 Gospel readings and in the deep and moving verses in
the Canon and interspersed between the Gospel readings, the Beatitudes and the
Praises throughout this touching service. We are called to experience the eternal
and ever present reality of Christ’s work for our sake, not a distant
historical event, but personally in the eternal here and now of our lives. Garden of Gethsemane
Fri. Ap. 18: 10:00 am Royal Hours (approx. 2 hrs.)
“Today the curtain of the temple is torn in two, To convict the transgressors, And even the sun hides his rays, Seeing the Master crucified.”
- The special 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours interspersed with Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel reading and verses all on the theme of the Passion of our Lord. This is considered a very strict fast day and there is no celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
Fri. Ap. 18, 5pm Vespers with the Shroud Veneration (approx. 1.5 hrs.)
“When You the Redeemer of all were placed in a tomb, All Hades’ powers quaked with fear. Its bars were broken its gates were smashed. Its mighty reign was brought to an end, for the dead came forth alive from their tombs, casting off the bonds of their captivity. Adam was filled with Joy!”
- Today we set up and venerate the shroud of Christ. It is appropriate to bring flowers, particularly red and white to decorate the tomb with. We sing “Nobel Joseph” then we wait together taking a little refreshment from our fasting before staring Matins.
Fri. Ap.18, 7:30 Matins with Praises & Procession with the Shroud (approx 2.5 hrs.)
“Do not lament me, O mother, seeing in the tomb, the Son conceived in the womb without seed, for I shall arise, and be glorified with eternal glory as God. I shall exalt all who magnify you in faith and in love.”
- We gather again before the shroud and sing Psalm 119 with verses in between describing the events of Holy week. Then we take the Shroud of Christ and in procession circle once around the Church, finishing up with veneration of the shroud and the hymn “We worship Your Passion O Christ! We worship Your Passion O Christ!And Your Holy Resurrection. As many as can manage, take a shift before the Tomb of Christ and read the Psalms throughout the night until the next morning’s Liturgy of St. Basil.
Sat.Ap.19, 10:00 am Vesp. Divine Liturgy of St. Basil & 15 O.T.Rd.(approx. 2.5 hrs.)
“Today, Hades cries out groaning; ‘I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary. He came and destroyed my power. He shattered the gates of brass. As God, He raised the souls that I had held captive.’ Glory to Your Cross and Resurrection, O Lord.”
- Today is the bridge day, the day between the death of Christ on the cross and His glorious resurrection. Christ is not resting, death has no claim over Him. He enters into hell with His soul and blows it wide open freeing those captured there! The new life and restoration of man to God is accomplished! The vigil before the Tomb then continues with as many as can take a shift reading the book of Acts.
Sat. Ap. 19, 11:30 pm, Nocturn 12:00, Paschal Matins 1:00, Liturgy (approx. 3 hrs.)
“Christ is Risen from the dead, Trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”
- The feast of feast, the glorious highlight of the entire year! Our preparation in prayer and fasting is now is fulfilled. After the brief Nocturn service we await with unlit candles until the light candle coming from the Altar comes and all light their candles in preparation for the great triple procession around the Church singing “Your resurrection O Christ our Saviour, the angels in heaven sing. Enable us in earth, to glorify You in purity of heart” Entering the Church again we joyously sing the Paschal Matins interspersed with many “Christ is Risen” choruses! The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom follows with the Paschal sermon of St. John Chrysostom which has been read for many centuries encouraging us all. After the Liturgy, we assemble downstairs for the blessing of baskets and break the fast by enjoying the fruits of the blessed baskets before going home, tired but full of the joy of the resurrection!
Sun. Ap. 20, 12:00 Agape (Paschal) Vespers (service 45 minutes; fellowship - hours)
We gather to sing the short Vespers of Pascha service which is full of the resurrection joy from the Pascha service earlier in the morning. Once again “Christ is Risen” rings out. We then gather and share our joy with each other and the friends and visitors, feasting on the roast lamb and goat and celebrating the glorious resurrection of Christ!
Christ is Risen!!!
at 8:17 PM
Saturday, March 8, 2014
A message from Father Andrew . . . . .
Please note that Matushka Sonia and myself are coming to Cranbrook next on March 29/30 not on March 22/23 as originally scheduled. We will be Chrismating the catechumen Carl into the Church at this time and this was when both his Godparents and parants could both make it. There will be Typica sevices this Sunday including a procession with icons for the Sunday of Orthodoxy immediately after the typica service……..love in Christ……
.Fr. Andrew 403-554-0193
at 8:14 PM
Saturday, March 1, 2014
at 2:04 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Presentation of the Lord
Father Andrew will be coming from Calgary this weekend to serve Vespers at 6pm on Sat, Feb. 1.
There will be a soup supper to follow.
Sunday services: Hours at 10:10am, Liturgy at 10:30am. Potluck lunch to follow.
If you would like your house blessed, please set up a time with Father Andrew - Tel. (403)554-0913 (Fr. Andrew) or Tel. (403)217-9151 (Fr. at home).
at 2:38 PM
Sunday, December 22, 2013
December 24, 2013
Candlelight Carol Service, 11:00pm
Cookies and Juice to follow
Midnight Liturgy, 12:00 am
Feast to follow
Please invite your friends to come with you to the Candlelight Service, and bring cookies to share with our guests. All are welcome to stay for Liturgy. Please bring something to share for our feast to follow the liturgy - our 40 day fast will be ending, so meat and dairy items are welcomed!! Breakfast at the Sandman before everyone heads home to Creston, Calgary, ect.
at 3:58 PM
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Father Andrew will be stopping in, on his way home from the States, to serve us Vespers at 6pm on Saturday, September 21.
Sunday, September 22 - Hours at 10:10 am, Liturgy at 10:30 am. Potluck lunch to follow, with a meeting afterwards to discuss how many days a month Father can come, and other relevant details of the new church year.
at 7:11 PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Friday, August 16, 2013
Aidan of Lindisfarne
Our father among the saints, Aidan of Lindisfarne, Enlightener of Northumbria (?-651), was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne off the northeast coast of England. A Christian missionary, he is credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria (Northern England). His feast day is August 31.
An inspired missionary, St. Aidan would walk from one village to another, politely conversing with the people he saw, slowly interesting them in Christianity. According the legend, the king gave Aidan a horse so that he wouldn't have to walk, but Aidan gave the horse to a beggar. By patiently talking to the people on their own level, Aidan and his monks slowly restored Christianity to the Northumbrian communities. Aidan also took in twelve English boys to train at the monastery, to ensure that the area's future religious leadership would be English. Orthodoxwiki.org.
Father Andrew will be arriving on the afternoon of August 31st, and would like to meet with families and take confession with those who are able. Vespers will be at 6 pm.
Sunday, September 1: Canons at 10:10 am, Liturgy at 10:30 am. There will be a potluck picnic to celebrate St. Aidan's Feast Day at Anca and Darrin's home in Silver Springs following liturgy. Call Ellen at 250-489-3246 for directions. A congregational meeting will follow lunch, to discuss the vision and plans for our community.
at 6:58 PM