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Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna; Proterios, Archbishop of Alexandria; Gorgonia the Righteous, sister of Gregory the Theologian; Damian the New Martyr of Mount Athos; Boswell, Abbot of Melrose Abbey
Saints Feasts and Readings for 2/23/2017
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." Isaiah 40:8
Great Lent, 2017
Beloved Clergy and Faithful of this God-protected Archdiocese:
The season of the Great Fast is upon us in preparation of the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ! Now is the time when the Orthodox Church invites her children to live His passion and sacrifice on the Cross to conquer sin and death, and take up abode in His Father's mansions (John 14:2). The Church calls us during this season to a clearheaded reexamination of our lives and relationship with Christ; her Bridegroom. Now is the time to ask: have I been walking with Christ?
Will I crucify the "old me" during this time and rise as the "new me" with a pure heart, mind, soul and body with the risen Christ, worthy to inherit the His eternal kingdom? During this time, the soul is renewed every day and made beautiful with fasting, prayer and repentance. These days are also a sanctuary in which we all gather more frequently for worship in our churches and find spiritual stillness. One of the famed "doctors" of the Church explains this period for us:
"Dedicated to the purification of the soul, let us be careful to fulfill the Apostolic
command that we cleanse ourselves from all defilement of the flesh and of the spirit (II
Cor. 7:11), so that ...the soul, which in the Providence of God is meant to be the ruler of
the body, may regain the dignity of its rightful authority.... With just contempt shall we be
tormented by those who have no faith, and from our wickedness evil tongues will draw
weapons to wound religion, if the way of life of those who fast be not in accord with what
is needed in true self-denial. For the sum total of our fasting does not consist in merely
abstaining from food. In vain do we deny our body food if we do not withhold our heart
from iniquity, and restrain our lips that they speak no evil."
– Saint Leo the Great, Lent the Season of Purification
I pray this Great Lent will be for all of us a time of mercy given and received. I hope that we will focus our minds and our entire lives on Christ this Lent, both as a Church and as individuals, for He is the way, the truth, the Resurrection and the life.
Wishing you all of God's blessings, I remain,
Your Father In Christ,
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of all North America
SS. Sergius and Herman of Valaam Orthodox Church has been serving the Keweenaw, since 1995. It is located in Atlantic Mine in the heart of Copper Country in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Church that Jesus Christ founded in the East, 2000 years ago is still alive, still filled and guided by the Holy […]
Tomorrow is the very first day of Great Lent. We have a long way to go before Easter, and a lot to do before we get there! We want to prepare ourselves for that awesome feastday, and the Bible today tells us just how to do it. By now, we all pretty much know the […]
Metropolitan Amfilhije (Radović) of Montenegro and the Littoral The truth is that the Son is the revelation of the Father and is testimony to the fact that, without a profound investigation of the mystery of sonship, it is impossible to delve into the sacred mystery of real paternity. Fatherhood and sonship are linked with […]
The Journey to the Cross and Resurrection of Christ Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20 Good morning Prayer Team! With Lent about to start, there will be many more opportunities than usual to worship in church. In most […]
Tags: daily devotion
The Diocese of Toledo is pleased to announce our Spring Gathering, which will be hosted this year by St. George Church in Cleveland, Ohio, March 17–19, 2017. Bishop Anthony will be our keynote speaker.
Please see the attached flier, registration form, parental consent form, and schedule.AttachmentSize 2017 Spring Gathering Flier (PDF)588.46 KB 2017 Spring Gathering Parental Consent Form (PDF)227.18 KB 2017 Spring Gathering Reg Form (PDF)201.89 KB 2017 Spring Gathering Schedule (PDF)293.2 KB
Angela Doll Carlson is the author of the books Garden in the East and Nearly Orthodox, and the host of the podcast "The Wilderness Journal."
The month of March, designated as Antiochian Women Month by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, is a time when the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Women of North America encourage their sisters in Christ to participate in the Liturgy and minister in their parishes and their communities.
Learn more about Antiochian Women and download the resources below.AttachmentSize 2017 March Mailing Vice President Cover Letter for Mailing (PDF)933.3 KB 2017 NAB Project Note For Inclusion in Mailing (PDF)401.48 KB 2017 NAB Project Message to Congregation (PDF)547.64 KB 2017 NAB Project Met Joseph Letter Antiochian Women Month (PDF)85.48 KB 2017 NAB Project Poster (PDF)34.81 MB 2017 NAB Project Scholarship Coordinator Letter Grant Application (PDF)529.9 KB 2017 NAB Project Trifold Brochure With Grant Application (PDF)44.01 MB
Alexandros Christodoulou Meatfare Sunday Today’s Gospel gives an anthropomorphic description of the fundamental dogma of our faith regarding Christ’s Second Coming on earth and the Judgement. The throne on which Christ will sit depicts the majesty of the judgement, its impartiality, and the separation of people. In fact, everything happens all at once. The […]
The Journey to the Cross and Resurrection of Christ I press on towards the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 Good morning Prayer Team! Many people are not accustomed to setting spiritual goals. We set all kinds of other goals for weight loss, for financial […]
Tags: daily devotion
The Journey to the Cross and Resurrection of Christ But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14: 26 Good morning Prayer Team! Today we begin a new unit […]
During my last visit to the monasteries in Egypt, I was asked by family members to baptize their child at the monastery. When I went there the day of the baptism, the monk priest in charge of baptisms asked me to baptize all the kids that came that day—which totaled 12 kids. It was a […]
Mount Athos — a place where heaven bows down and touches the earth. It is where the veil between this world and the next is thin and translucent. Its soil bears the footprints of countless ascetics and has been watered by the tears of our most beloved saints. Since biblical times, it has been a land that flourishes under the mantle of the Mother of God. It is her garden, where she waters the souls of all those who flock to her, raising them past the Mountain's peak and into heavenly abodes. For well over fifteen hundred years, Mount Athos has been a place of pilgrimage and spiritual retreat.
Last year, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph blessed the Antiochian seminarians to make a pilgrimage to Mount Athos as part of our seminarian education. Under the pastoral care and supervision of His Grace Bishop Nicholas, we boarded flights to Greece and before we knew it we were sailing along the Athonite coastline, gazing at the small hermitages and castle-like monasteries that dot the rugged terrain. As the boat's gate opened and we stepped foot on the Mother of God's garden, we could hardly believe where we were.
Not only have we read about this place in countless books, but we have heard the chanted hymns to great saints who have lived there. Spiritually we have visited it, but to be there physically on the same soil was something unique. Our daily life on Athos consisted of many long candlelit vigils and prayer services in front of miracle working icons and sacred relics. As the sweet-smelling clouds of incense billowed up through the air and chant filled the hollow domes and crevices of the churches, heaven became palpable.
It is a common question to ask what us seminarians could benefit and learn from bearded monks in black robes that live on a mountain somewhere. What sort of further seminarian education could this be? Among many lessons learned on Mount Athos, two of them stuck out to us the most. The first of them being prayer—the abundant fruit that grows and is nurtured on the Holy Mountain. Some of the monks we met there were unlearned, yet many were extremely educated and teach at prestigious theological universities, but in church the unlearned monk is no different than educated. Prayer from the heart and carried within the heart is something that is cultivated in the monasteries. It does not matter how many books one reads or how much he can memorize, if he does not tend to the garden of his heart then it is all for nothing. Soil must be turned, weeds must be pulled, troughs must be dug, and the spiritual seeds given to us at baptism must be watered. The monks focus on cultivating an inner life, becoming Christians not merely by name, but by lifestyle. The second most prominent lesson that we learned is a direct consequence of this lifestyle of prayer and inner cultivation. It is the tangible manifestation of a heavenly culture among the community of believers. The effects of prayer on the monastic community, transform it in a way that gives us a taste of heaven on earth. This is why, in many patristic writings and in our hymnography, the monk is likened to an angel. It is not to say everything at the monastery is perfect and exists in perfect harmony, but that when one wrongs another or offends someone, they more quickly act to ask forgiveness than we often do. Prayer unites a community and transfigures it into a culture of heaven. On Athos, we saw fulfillment of what we chant during the Anabathmoi of Sunday Orthros in the fifth tone, "For those in the desert, life is blessed, in that they soar with divine love." We truly felt carried up on the wings of the ascetics in the Athonite desert.
As we zig zagged across the Holy Mountain's dirt paths and participated in prayer services, we were accompanied by His Grace Bishop Nicholas who facilitated time for us to ask questions and glean pastoral advice. It is one thing to study books at the seminary, which is of benefit, but it is another thing to live the life we read about. A medical physician cannot perform surgery after just reading a book, but they must go through a grueling education both in the classroom and under a learned surgeon's guidance in the surgical room. As the Archdiocese forms us to be pastors and spiritual physicians of the future, we have been blessed with a seminary to study and now a pilgrimage to learn under experienced spiritual surgeons on Mount Athos.
All of us seminarians have hearts filled with gratitude to His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph and His Grace Bishop Nicholas for blessing us with this pilgrimage to foster our pastoral development and to aid us in our spiritual life.
For further reading regarding our trip, look forward to more detailed article that will be featured in an upcoming issue of the Word.
Welcome to the Feast of Healthy Thoughts with Fr. Anthony Tandilyan and Michael Tandilyan who shares his father’s love for unraveling the deep and subtle meaning in the Beatitudes. Listen to Fr. Anthony as he brings the Beatitudes close to us and to eleven year old Michael’s probing questions on the subject. Local, you can join […]