Letter to Bonnie Henry and Hon. Adrian Dix

Dr. Bonnie Henry                                                                                                         Dec 2, 2020

BC Provincial Health Officer

P.O.Box 9648

STN PROV GOVT

Victoria, BC;  V8W 9P4

Dear Honourable Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry,                             

I am the priest in charge of St. Aidan’s Orthodox Church in Cranbrook B.C. in the East Kootenay. First I would like to thank you for the challenging and tireless work you have been doing and continue to do for the people of BC during the COVID 19 pandemic. We appreciate you are doing your best in a challenging situation! As a Church, we pray daily for our government leaders and health authorities. We feel, however, that this latest closure of places of worship is unfair, particularly in regions of BC such as the East Kootenays with very low transmission rates of COVID 19 in comparison with the more troubled areas of the province. 

At St. Aidan Orthodox Church, we have from the start implemented proper hand sanitizing and masks be required upon entry. We checked with Work Safe BC and have followed the spacing formula given to us so that there are only 8 spots in the entire church where individuals or family groups can stand. This resulted in only allowing a maximum of 20 people in our church building, including serving priests, deacons and altar servers, making us likely the safest public spot in Cranbrook to gather, far safer and at less risk than any of the malls, sport events, larger stores, grocery stores, government liquor stores etc. St. Aidan’s also provides breakfast for the vulnerable population twice a week outside of our church in a large well vented tent following COVID safety protocol.

Many businesses are suffering. It is this financial suffering, Covid fatigue and depression that I see amongst my congregation and in the community that concerns me. Virtual services do not meet the spiritual and mental needs of the participants. Being together physically, even at a safe distance, and worshipping together as a community is a basic human spiritual need. As famously noted, ‘the whole is greater, than the sum of the parts.’ Churches and places of worship are ‘spiritual hospitals’ where people come to be healed spiritually and mentally. Worship services are an integral means of healing people’s spiritual and mental wounds. Please consider them an essential service, most especially in this time of fear and social isolation.  

I am writing this as a small voice from the East Kootenay, asking you to reconsider the COVID 19 response plan for churches and other places of worship. Rather than assessing all geographic areas as hot zones, please consider regional and community differences. BC is a very geographically and regionally diverse province. We are hoping for an approach that takes in these differences after the December 7th deadline. As we enter into the great Christian celebration of the Nativity of Christ and other faith’s religious celebrations, may God grant you wisdom. Consider the prayerful support the faith communities of BC have given to you and please support them at this critical time of the year.

As citizens of BC, we thank you again for all your hard work and good intentions on our behalf.

Respectfully and with great concern;

Fr Andrew Applegate

Fr. Andrew Applegate

Rector: St. Aidan Orthodox Church

201 7th Ave. S.

Cranbrook, BC

250-420-1582

COVID-19 INFO

As of the last BC govt. health directive, all churches services in BC . are cancelled. This order will be reviewed on Jan. 8, 2121. Click on the link below for current information. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/restrictions

St. Aidan Orthodox Church is complying with this order and has written a letter of protest regarding the blanket closing of all BC churches. Here is a link to our letter to the Health authorities. Letter to Bonnie Henry and Hon. Adrian Dix We have not received any reply from them, but remain hopeful that they will modify their blanket church closure order on Jan. 8.

If you would like to light a candle and pray in the church individually or with your family group, receive confession, or just arrange to meet with Fr. Andrew through zoom, phone, or in person (with proper Covid masking and distancing protocols in place) contact him at 250-420-1582 or frandrewapplegate@gmail.com. Orthodox Christian education and book studies are also available either in groups or individual zoom sessions.

Perfection

All my life, I’ve been pushed towards perfection, to be the perfect daughter, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. I see articles about creating the perfect holiday meal or the perfect exercise plan to have the perfect body, oh, and the perfect hairstyle to complement my perfect make-up. The first question I have for these people is, who defines perfection?

So as always, when I have a question about a word, I turn to the experts. After combing through a number of websites, I have compiled the following.

Perfect as a verb; “make completely free from faults, or as close to such a condition as possible.”

Perfect as an adjective; “having all the required or desirable qualities.”

Perfect as a noun “something is complete without defect or blemish.”

Then there was an obsolete definition of perfect meaning ‘mature’.

So, who determines the faults, the qualities or the conditions of perfection? Okay, so some parameters are obvious, a perfect square, for instance. If all the sides are not equal nor all four angles 90 degrees, then it wouldn’t be a square.

But not everything is as well defined as geometric shapes. Does an artist compare himself to other artists or does he create his own work, being as perfect as he can in his own right. A musician may technically be perfect, but what emotion or feeling does he or she bring to piece? Perhaps technical perfection is not enough.

Do others provide the perfect standard for my own journey? When I compare myself to others, I am disillusioned, discouraged and distracted from the actual reason I was given to live, to become a human being. So what do I use to define perfection?

Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Okay, so now I’ve gone from perfect makeup to, what, perfect infinity? How can I possibly be perfect the way God is perfect?

Eventually I began to realize perfection does not come all at once. When a seed is planted, it is perfect seed at its stage of development, the shoot is a perfect shoot, the sapling a perfect sapling, the blossom a perfect blossom, and the fruit is perfect at each stage of its development.

Of course, the development of the seed, the tree and the fruit are dependent upon outside forces. I have seen rotten fruit picked from perfect trees and perfect fruit picked from rotten trees. I have seen perfect trees produce no fruit. Every stage of development can be influenced.

The seed, the plant has no choice in its response to its circumstances, but I do. I can choose to be perfect in whatever circumstances, in whatever stage of development I find myself. I am to be perfect but I can only do that when keeping my eyes on Christ.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will Himself perfect you and confirm you and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

Perfection requires suffering. Any athlete will tell you that. Developmental goals are set, eachd one stretching the athlete a little bit more. Other activities are put aside as distractions from achieving the goal.

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ” (Gal 6:14).

As a follower of Christ, my ultimate goal is to become a human being and the only way I can do that is to keep Christ and Him crucified ever before me. By doing that, I am not distracted by the things of the world, nor is the world concerned with me. If I am successful, daily I should begin to see the fruits of the spirit,: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modesty and self control, the signs of perfection emerge.

I can not expect to achieve perfection all at once, but to be only as perfect as I can at each step of my journey to full humanity. Perhaps the best definition of perfect is the obsolete one, the one meaning “mature”.

ARCHPASTORAL MESSAGE OF HIS BEATITUDE METROPOLITAN TIKHON PASCHA 2019

ARCHPASTORAL MESSAGE OF HIS BEATITUDE METROPOLITAN TIKHON PASCHA 2019

To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, Distinguished Stewards, and the entire family of the Orthodox Church in America:

CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Let no one fear death For the Savior’s death has set us free.

With these words, and the other powerful and inspiring words of his paschal homily, Saint John Chrysostom reminds us of that which Christ has accomplished on this bright and glorious feast of Holy Pascha: the conquering of death, the revelation of the universal Kingdom, and the reign of eternal life. Death has lost its sting and hades has been abolished, mocked, and slain. Christ is risen and life reigns.

Let no one fear death For the Savior’s death has set us free.

Life reigns and yet, on this bright and saving day, Saint John does not say that it is the Savior’s resurrection that has set us free but rather His death that has done so. We manifest this reality by unceasingly singing that Christ has trampled down death by His death. It is precisely by his voluntary death upon the Cross that Christ now lifts all things unto Himself, as the resurrection icon indicates by depicting the Lord raising Adam and Eve—the whole human race—out of hades with His hands outstretched in the form of a cross.

Let no one fear death For the Savior’s death has set us free.

Yet, as we know too well, our existence remains full of corruption, illness, and passion, and ends in physical death. So, in what way have we been set free by the Savior’s death? We are set free because, though we suffer, though we endure illness, though we die, we need not fear death. Death is no longer a dark abyss of nothingness, but rather becomes the very place where we behold the risen Lord in all His glory, a glory that today pierces even to the depths of hades. We are free because the grave is no longer our final dwelling place but has become an entrance into another life which is eternal, an entrance into the life which Christ Himself has given to us, ‘to those in the tombs.’

In this new life, we not only come before the presence of the Lord but we gain Him for ourselves. As the Apostle Paul cries out: For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). If we have Christ, we live in Him and our physical death is merely the final veil to true and authentic communion with Him. How could one fear this? What we experience on the bright and radiant day

of Pascha is not simply an external light and a passing jubilation but a transformation of our fear, our pain, and our sorrow into a taste of the freedom of everlasting life.

To be free, we need to gain Christ, not in a philosophical or abstract manner, but through our concrete participation in His death and His resurrection: Yesterday, O Christ, I was buried with Thee, and today I rise again with Thee, in Thy rising. By our baptism, all the painful realities of our existence—illness, despair, corruption, and death—are buried in Christ and we rise with Him who has voluntarily borne our human weakness, voluntarily endured our suffering, and voluntarily died. But by so doing, He has, with Himself, lifted up to life eternal all those who become His Body through communion with Him.

Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave.

The resurrection is universal—it is bestowed on all of humanity and all of creation—and therefore you and I are now free to enter into that experience in a very real way. But we need to receive that experience in the very same manner in which the Apostles received and transmitted it: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete. (I John 1:1-4)

Today, all of us—both those who have fasted and those who have disregarded the fast, both the rich and the poor, both the sober and heedless, both the sick and the healthy, both the stable and the confused—are offered this life. It is now our turn to make this joy complete by casting off the fear of death, by voluntarily dying to ourselves and living for others, by burying our passionate desires in the tomb of love, by holding back from rebuking others and by spreading our cloak over those who are falling, by rejoicing with those that rejoice and weeping with those that weep, by suffering with the sick and mourning with sinners, and by strengthening those who repent. In so doing, we will indeed enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast, receive our recompense, and enter into the joy of the Lord.

Christ is Risen!

+TIKHON Archbishop of Washington Metropolitan of All America and Canada

 

36th Sunday after Pent. Matt. 15: 21-28, Canaanite “dog” women

“O Lord, Son of David, have mercy upon me.” cries the Canaanite lady in today’s gospel. Sound familiar? If you recall from the lesson of the blind man a couple Sundays ago, “Son of David” was a well recognized title for the Messiah, but very few of God’s chosen people of Israel” would consider calling Jesus this, because they refused to recognize Him as such. This mother pleading for her demon possessed daughter is from the despised tribe of the Canaanites, yet she recognizes that this is the Christ, the Messiah. Many times we are told of those who were outside of the house of Israel and yet exemplified true faith far more than those “insiders” who were bona fid members of the “chosen people.” The Canaanites were despised by the Israelites yet today we have the Canaanite women being told by Christ “Great is your faith.” Christ says to the Roman centurion who asked Him to heal his servant without coming to his house, “Assuredly, I have not found such great faith even in Israel!” We also have the women at the well, one of the hated Samaritans – St. Photini – who ended up being one of our most precious martyr saints with the title “equal to the apostles. We have the parable of the Good Samaritan, and many other faithful “outsiders.”

As bona fid members of the Orthodox Church, the new Israel, the original Church that has kept intact all that has been passed down from the apostles themselves from the very beginning of the church throughout every age until today, we should take note of this. We may be in the true Church, but our membership, our baptism into the Church does not guarantees our salvation. Nor do we know the fate of those outside the protection of the Church. We must each grow our faith and continue to accept and walk in the gift of baptism we have received. God has sons and daughters but no grandchildren. Coasting and counting on our membership card will lull us into a dangerous place of false security. Seek Christ and you will find Him, knock and the door will be opened, awaken you who sleep – these are all action words. We are told that the violent, or active, take the kingdom of heaven by force and we must each persevere until the end. Today at Liturgy we are worshiping and “working” on focusing on God. This is why we do our best to pay attention, to “stand aright” to physically as well as mentally enter into focusing by venerating and crossing ourselves, by responding with our “Lord have mercy” and “Amen” and doing our best to concentrate on what is going on without getting distracted. In Greek, the word “Liturgy means “the work of the people.”

We see here in the Canaanite women what persistent and determined action looks like and we see the results. “And her daughter was healed from that very hour.” She is as far from being from the house of Israel and having any claim on the blessings promised to them, as God’s chosen people, as you can get. The Canaanites were despised from the start of the book of Genesis. In Genesis chapter 9 we hear how Noah, when he had established life back on land after leaving the ark planted a vineyard. One night he became drunk and passed out in his tent naked. One of Noah’s sons. Ham, the father of Canaan, the patriarch of the Canaanites, saw his father naked and mocked him, telling his brothers Shem and Japheth. Shem and Japheth then respectfully walked in backwards and covered their father’s nakedness. When Noah found out he cursed Canaan, Ham’s son, and named him a servant of servants to his brothers Shem and Japheth. Later we read that the people of Canaan were to be destroyed and their land given to the Israelites when they crossed over the river Jorden after their 40 years in the wilderness.

As a little side comment on this. I can’t stress enough how important it is to respect the law of God, regarding honouring your parents. This is the 5th of the 10 commandments, and in both Exodus (20:12) and in Paul’s Epistle (Eph: 6:2) it is noted that this is the only commandment of God which has a promise attached; “That it may be well with you and that you may live long upon the earth.” Paul quickly adds “Fathers do not provoke your children to wrath…” When we cause our children to react in anger and make it difficult for them to honour and respect us as their God given parents, we cause a great wounding and place a heavy burden upon them which needs to be healed. When we experience this as children or parents, it is very important to come to Christ as persistently as this Canaanite woman, asking for His grace to be able to forgive and to be forgiven, that life may be well with us. This of course has nothing to do with accepting abusive behaviour or playing “let’s pretend it wasn’t so bad.” Forgiveness and being forgiven are about coming to healing, not about excusing or lessening the wrongness of sinful behaviour.

How persistent was this Canaanite woman? She falls on her face before Christ and begs Him for help and what was His reaction? He completely ignored her, “He answered her not a word.” She doesn’t pout and turn away, telling herself “well, that was a waste of time.” No she continues to cry out, she is not going away politely. That’s persistence. The disciples say, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” She is causing quite a scene. Just like the blind man who Christ healed. Some of the Fathers say that the disciples were in effect asking their Lord to “just heal her, get rid of her already, she’s driving us nuts.” The Lord then addresses her. He tells her He wasn’t sent to help the cursed Canaanites, he was sent to the tribe of Israel. The Israelites were the blessed descendants of Noah’s son Shem, and she descended from the cursed Ham and his son Canaan. What is her reaction? “Then she came and worshiped Him saying ‘Lord, help me.” Christ then calls her a dog. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

How would we react when confronted with such rejection? First being completely ignored, then being told we aren’t of enough value to have our petition even considered, and then being called a dog. Would we just soldier on? Just take it in stride, perhaps even think that this is true and probably what we deserve? Or would we be more likely to have that snake of self-righteous indignation rise up in our throats and fill us with anger. “I don’t deserve to be treated like this? It’s not fair and I’m not going to put up with it. I’m out of here. I’ve got to maintain some self respect, some basic pride in who I am.”

Our Canaanite lady doesn’t go down that road. She demonstrates that saving characteristic, that great attitude, which we are told all through the scriptures and the writings of the Fathers in every century is the most pleasing and soul saving quality we can possess. Do you know what I’m referring to? Humility of course. “Yes Lord,” – she agrees that she is only fit to be considered a dog not a child, “yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters table.” A crumb from Christ’s table would be enough to bring healing to her daughter. What is the “children’s bread?” (John 6: 51) “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” This woman had faith like the centurion who didn’t need Christ to come but just to say the word and his servant would be healed. Like the women with the flow of blood who knew if she could just touch the hem of His garment it would be enough. She knew who was before her, Christ, the Creator of all, true God of true God, He who was in the beginning with God, and who existed before anything else existed stood before her. John tells us (John 1:3) “All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made.” If we have this knowledge, this God-given faith, it is more precious than all the treasures the world can offer. She knew whom she was petitioning, and she knew that His love for all of mankind would spill over even to her, the least of all.

Let us pray that we too may receive the grace to understand the incomprehensible vastness of the love of God, and our complete and utter need to rely on that love, to even exist. May we like the Canaanite lady come to realize the transformational power of even one crumb of the body and blood of Christ and the great rewards gained through persistence in seeking God above all else.    With the feast!

 

8th Sunday after Pentecost Matthew 14: 14-22

Today’s Gospel from Matthew 14 tells us about Christ feeding the multitudes – 5000 men plus the women and children, – and we know that there must have been more women than men, ‘cause they catch on quicker after all. The Fathers teach that the formula is always the same, Christ gives thanks to His Father – representing the Anaphora prayers; breaks the bread – representing His body, the Eucharist; gives it to His disciples to distribute – representing the Priests distributing communion at the Chalice at each Liturgy – and the people are filled – unto eternal life!

You don’t generally hear the prayer that the Priest says at the Altar as he breaks the lamb into the 4 main pieces for communion, as the communion hymns are already underway, but it is:

“Divided and distributed is the Lamb of God: Who is divided, yet not disunited; Who is ever eaten, yet never consumed; but sanctifying those who partake thereof.” After all had eaten from the 5 loaves and 2 fish in today’s gospel account, there are taken up 12 baskets full, one for each of the 12 apostles; and these baskets have been passed down from the apostles into the hands of the bishops and priests in every generation and remain ever full – ever eaten yet never consumed!

We gather together at the Divine Liturgy to partake of the greatest miracle of all, the miracle of the undivided body and blood of Christ God, ever eaten yet never consumed. There is nothing whatsoever we could ever possibly accomplish that would be more important than what we are about to receive here at the chalice. Life itself and not just life but everlasting life that continues to grow, bringing us ever increasingly into the abundance that is God’s kingdom. The fathers call this the “Medicine of Immortality.”

This miracle of the feeding of thousands with the bread from Christ is told by all 4 of the Gospel writers, and in John chapter 6 Christ explains the true significance. Yes, this was one of the signs of the Messiah, and we talked last week about how all that Christ did was to fulfill and complete all that had been written of the Him, of the Messiah in the Law of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets. But more than that, Christ explains the Eucharist in very clear and unambiguous terms. John Chapter 6 starts with the feeding of the 5000 but ends with Christ scandalizing the Jews by saying, (John 6:48,51- 56) “I am the bread of life…I am the living bread which comes down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in You. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him.” Is that clear enough for you? I don’t find a lot of wiggle room in this passage, although there are certain branches of the “bible believing” evangelical non-sacramental world that seem to have this passage written in invisible ink in their versions of the bible. Just to be completely clear Christ then finishes with (John 6:57,58) “As the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever,”

We need to be coming to the cup at every opportunity, this is life! If there is anything standing between us going to receive communion, we should waste no time in coming for confession and receiving forgiveness. Never stay away from the chalice twice in a row unless specifically instructed to do so by your Priest, but come to confession and deal with the reason you never came the first time. Do not let your grudges, and unforgiveness deprive you of life. The most serious penalty that can be imposed upon an Orthodox Christian is to be cut off from communion – to be ex-communicated. Why would you deliberately choose to ex-communicate yourself, cut yourself off from the body of Christ, from your brothers and sisters, from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, from this most precious gift of God’s saving and life transforming grace?

The Divine Liturgy is leading us in thanksgiving and worship to receive the body and blood and be united with the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The prayers assume that we are here to be communicants, to partake, not to listen and be spectators. We are being united with the entire Church, the Bride of Christ, both those here, and with the millions of those who have completed their earthly journey and are cheering us on from heaven to be vigilant and join them. Millions more of those who are all around the world today are sharing in the cup with us. We are joining in communion with the entire Church visible and the invisible bodiless powers and saints.

We ask the Lord to “Send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts here offered and Make this bread the precious Body of Your Christ, and that which is in this cup the precious Blood of Your Christ. Making the change by Your Holy Spirit. That they may be to those who partake for the purification of soul, for the remission of sins, for the communion of Your Holy Spirit, for the fulfilment of the Kingdom of Heaven, for boldness towards You, and not for judgement or condemnation.” This is life, this is what is of eternal and ultimate importance and dwarfs all other activities in our lives. All of the holy fathers and mothers of the Church throughout all the ages have valued the receiving of the body and blood of Christ as the most important and life changing activity we can participate in. Saints Basil, Chrysostom, Metaphrastes, Simeon, all talk about the purifying fire, the deifying grace and the transforming action of communion in their pre-communion prayers. St. Mary of Egypt is living for years in the desert on the never diminishing loaves she takes across the Jordan with her. She levitates when she prays, knows the priest Zossima and all about him even though she has never met him before, and walks across the River Jordan on the surface of the water to receive that which of utmost importance to her, holy communion.

 

Of course we need to prepare, this is always the most important activity we will do all week. Nothing else that we humans can participate in comes close to this. We need to “make peace with those who have grieved us. Only then may we dare to eat the Mystical Food.” We should begin to shift our focus on Saturday evening. Coming to Great Vespers is the best way to start, but even when you can’t, try not to get into party mode with the rest of our society. Keep yourself from movies, TV, or even books with violence or bad morals. Read or watch something spiritually healthy or visit with good friends. Fast from at least midnight unless you have a health concern. (Our younger children are obviously exempt).  In the morning, focus on the great miracle you are about to participate in and prepare by praying or listening to the pre-communion prayers given us by the Church to prepare us to receive this great mystery. Our preparations and awe will instill in our children that this is a most special and sacred event and they should be given age appropriate instructions that they too may begin to appreciate this great blessing. When the gifts are out and communion is being served it is the very presence of Christ. We should remain standing just as we do during the Lord’s Prayer and the saying of the Creed.

It is good habit to regularly bring gifts to Church, a love offering to God. When we go out to a friends for dinner we usually bring a bottle of wine or desert or some flowers, or at least ask what we can bring. It is the same when we come to the Liturgy, bring some flowers to beautify the temple or food cards to help the poor. Donate some Orthodox books to give out to new inquirers or an icon of a saint you are fond of to adorn the church. Purchase some candles and light them as prayers for others. Bring some canned goods for the food bank, some olive oil to fill the vigil lamps, Prosphora or communion wine. An extra donation above your regular giving for a special project or need. Bringing something as an offering of thanksgiving will always be a blessing and will help us to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving. It is a great privilege to come to worship our Creator and the Source of all life. This is the most important work we can do, not just for ourselves, but for the entire world. St. Seraphim of Sarov is famous for saying, “Save yourself and 1000 around you will be saved.” We come to participate with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who gave Himself up “for the life of the world.” May He ever lead us into all that He has prepared for each one of us, through uniting with Him and the entire Church of all eternity, through partaking in His very Body and Blood.    Glory to Jesus Christ!

June 2015 Newsletter

st-john-wonderworker

Saint of the Month

St. John the Wonderworker
Born  June 4, 1896
He was a pastor and spiritual father of high reputation and a reputed wonderworker to whom was attributed great powers of prophecy, clairvoyance and healing, and he is often referred to simply as “St. John the Wonderworker”. St. John was born Mikhail Borisovich Maximovitch in present-day southern Ukraine. In 1926 he was ordained a hierodeacon and given the name of John after his saintly relative, St John of Tobolsk. Later that same year, he was ordained to the priesthood and in 1934 he was ordained and assigned to the diocese of Shanghai. In 1951 John was assigned to the archdiocese of Western Europe. Thanks to his work in collecting lives of saints, a great many pre-Schism Western saints became known in Orthodoxy and continue to be venerated to this day. In 1962 John was once again reassigned by the Holy Synod to the see of San Francisco. On July 2, 1966, St. John died while visiting Seattle. His feast day is celebrated on the Saturday nearest to July 2.
Excerpts from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Shanghai_an d_San_Francisco

Sts Peter and Paul- Feast day: June 29

The hymns for their Feast speak of Sts Peter and Paul as leaders, and chiefs of the Apostles. They are, without a doubt, the foremost in the ranks of the Apostles.
St Peter, the brother of St Andrew, was a fisherman on the sea of Galilee. He, with James and John, witnessed the most important miracles of the Savior’s earthly life. Despite his earlier recognition of Christ as the Son of God, he denied Him three times on the night before the Crucifixion. Therefore, after His Resurrection, the Lord asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Then He told Peter to feed His sheep. (John 21:15-17). After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, St Peter addressed the crowd (Acts 2:14), and performed many miracles in Christ’s name. St Peter also traveled to many places in order to proclaim the Gospel message. He wrote two Epistles, which are part of the New Testament. St Peter was put to death in Rome during the reign of Nero

.
St Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and lived in Tarsus in Cilicia. He once described himself as a Hebrew, an Israelite of the seed of Abraham (2 Cor. 11:22). He was also a Pharisee and a tent-maker (Acts 18:3) who had studied the Law with Gamaliel at Jerusalem. At first, he was called Saul, and had persecuted the Church. He was present at the stoning of St Stephen (Acts 7: 58). Then, on the road to Damascus, he was converted when Christ appeared to him. Blinded by the vision, he was healed when Ananias laid his hands on him. After his cure, he was baptized (Acts 9:18). St Paul preached the Gospel in Greece, Asia Minor, and in Rome, and wrote fourteen Epistles. Tradition says that he was martyred in Rome about the year 68.  http://oca.org/saints/all-lives/2013/06/29

 

Venerable Macarius’ Miracle of the Moose

 

During the invasion of Russia by the Khan Olug Moxammat of Kazan in 1439, Zheltovodsky (Yellow Lake) Monastery of Holy Trinity was destroyed. Venerable Macarius, the founder of the monastery, was taken prisoner along with a few other survivors. After meeting with Macarius, the khan was so impressed by the nonagenarian abbot’s piety and love of his neighbor, that he released him and his disciples, on the condition that they leave the Yellow Lake site.
The Yellow Lake (which was located at the fall of the Kerzhenets into the Volga) being too perilously close to the invasion route taken by the Kazan Khanate armies invading Russian principalities and vice versa, the released survivors decided to relocate a few hundred kilometers to the north, into the fastness of the Galich forests, which are located along the Unzha River in what today is Kostroma Oblast. Taking the easy route along the Volga would not be a safe thing to do in this year of war; so the Saint and his followers choose to travel through the dense woodlands and swamps of the Kerzhenets basin — the land which is even today is almost deserted by people.
After a few days of travel, the monks ran out of food. One day they somehow managed to capture a moose . . . . . .  read more in the newsletter.

 

 

Who Do You Trust?

 

Fr. Andrew
Trust is one of the most precious gifts we can give to each other. It is the very foundation of solid marriages and deep friendships. When trust is fractured and begins to be lost, everything becomes shaky and uncertain, we feel lost and betrayed and flounder like a rudderless ship. This is especially true when it comes to our trust and faith in God. Throughout the scriptures we are called to trust in God, for He alone is always trustworthy. He alone perfectly knows and loves us and desires to bring us into true communion and transformation through Christ. As we come to know God and to trust Him with every fibre of our lives, we slowly grow in our ability to truly trust that all things are working out for our good. This in turn gives us the ability, when those we love and trust behave badly, to still be able to maintain our trust that God is faithful, and forgive and hold our hearts open.

 

It is important that we choose carefully where we put our trust. Today’s advertising culture, and all of mankind’s history is littered with people who have made it their mission to win our trust that they might benefit themselves. The entire goal of the multi-billion dollar advertising industry is to win our trust and secure brand loyalty to build their sales. Often any type of manipulation or half truth is considered to be acceptable, as long as it drives sales. We are inundated with self-proclaimed “experts” in every field who assure us that they are indeed trustworthy and if we just “trust” them and buy their recommended product or follow their plan, our lives too can be as wonderful as theirs. It is even considered fair game to choose well known celebrities to promote any given product or brand, as after all wouldn’t we like to be like them? I mean if you can’t trust Dr. Oz or Oprah who can you trust?