Parish Bulletin – December 23, 2012
SUNDAY BEFORE THE NATIVITY, THE HOLY FATHERS
Hebrews 11:9-10, 17-23, 32-40
Choir Director: Veronika
We welcome you to the Orthodox Church. Please feel at ease and free to participate in the singing. As a visitor you are welcome to come forward at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy and venerate the Cross offered by the priest. Additionally you may receive the blessed bread (Antidoron) that is offered at that time. If you have questions or would like further information, the priest or one of the members of the parish will be pleased to help.
A word to our visitors on Holy Communion
The Orthodox Church does not practice open Communion. Therefore, only members of Canonical Orthodox Churches exercising jurisdiction in America may approach the Chalice for Holy Communion. The Orthodox do not regard Holy Communion solely as an act of personal piety, but also as an expression of union with the Orthodox Church’s faith, doctrine, and discipline. Orthodox visitors wishing to receive Holy Communion should make their intention known to the priest in advance — ask any member of the parish for help in relaying your intention to the priest. Orthodox Christians should prepare themselves to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion through recent Confession, prayers of preparation for Holy Communion, and fasting (at minimum, from midnight before receiving).
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” – I Corinthians 11:27
TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA
Troparion to the Fathers – Tone 2
Great are the accomplishments of faith! In the fountain of flame, as in refreshing water, the three holy children rejoiced; and the prophet Daniel was shown to be a shepherd of lions, as of sheep. By their prayers, O Christ God, save Thou our souls!
Kontakion to the Fathers – Tone 6
O thrice-blessed ones, who did not honor an image wrought by hands, but were defended by the indescribable Essence, ye were glorified in your ordeal by fire; and standing in the midst of unbearable flame, ye called upon God, saying: Speed Thou and make haste to our aid, O Compassionate One, in that Thou art merciful; for what Thou willest, Thou canst do!
Opportunities to give:
➢ Food donations to the Ashland Food Project
➢ Our Nativity drive for Jackson County Fuel is being concluded. If you still want to donate, please state it clearly on the check or cash envelope!
- Please sign up for coffee fellowship/kitchen cleanup.
- Consult the bulletin insert for the service schedule of Nativity and Theophany services.
- No Divine Liturgy this Thursday morning!
- Akathist to the Mother of God at 8.30 next Sunday (Dec 30).
- No more Adult Education classes for the year. We will resume classes January 16th.
- Archbishop BENJAMIN is planning to visit us the weekend after Theophany (January 12-13).
- Choir practice on Saturday, 3.00 pm.
Service Schedule this Week:
Monday See bulletin insert for special schedule
Tuesday See bulletin insert for special schedule
Wednesday 6.00 pm, Vespers
Saturday 6.00 pm, Great Vespers
Sunday 8.40 am, Hours, Divine Liturgy
Confession after Vespers or by appointment!
Other Activities Next Week:
- Monday, 5.00 PM – Holy Supper (“Lenten” potluck)
- Saturday, 3.00 PM – Choir practice for Theophany at the Bloms’
SERVICE SCHEDULE FOR NATIVITY
Monday, December 24, 2012
8.00 am – Royal Hours, Typika, Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
5.00 pm – Holy Supper (our last common supper of the Nativity Fast)
6.30 pm – Nativity Vigil
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
9.00 am – Divine Liturgy (the Nativity of our Lord)
Monday, December 31, 2012
6.00 pm – Great Vespers (for the Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord and St. Basil the Great)
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
8.00 am – Divine Liturgy (followed by cutting the Vasilopita)
Friday, January 4, 2013
7.00 am – Royal Hours and Typika (for the Theophany of our Lord)
Saturday, January 5, 2013
8.00 am – Divine Liturgy (followed by the Great Blessing of Waters in church)
6.00 pm – Theophany Vigil (Great Compline and Matins)
Sunday, January 6, 2013
9.00 am – Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (after the fellowship meal, we will go together to Upper Lithia Park for the Great Blessing of the Waters.)
On Prayer – Part 2 (St. Theophan the Recluse)
“Even if prayer is common for us, it always demands preparation. What is more common for those who can read and write than reading and writing? However, sitting down to read or write, we do not immediately begin, but we calm ourselves before beginning, at least to the point that we can read or write in a peaceful state. Even more so preparation for the work of prayer is necessary before praying, especially when what we have been doing before praying is of a totally different nature from prayer.
Thus, going to pray, in the morning or in the evening, stand for a moment, or sit, or walk, and strive in this time to focus your thoughts, casting off from them all earthly activities and objects. Then call to mind the One to Whom you are praying, Who He is and who you are, as you begin this prayerful petition to Him. From this, awaken in your soul the feeling of humility and reverent awe of standing before God in your heart. As you stand piously before God, all of this preparation may seem small and insignificant, but it is not small in meaning. This is the beginning of prayer and a good beginning is half the work.
Having stood up in your heart, now stand before your icons, make a few prostrations, and begin with the usual prayers: “Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee. O Heavenly King…”, and so on. Do not read hurriedly; pay attention to every word and let the meaning of each word enter into your heart. Accompany your words with prostrations. With this effort, the reading of prayers becomes pleasant to God and fruit-bearing. Pay attention to every word, and let the sense of each word enter into your heart; understand what you are reading and feel what you are understanding. No other rules are necessary. These two – understanding and feeling – have the effect of making prayer fitting, and fruitful. For example, you read: “cleanse us from every stain” – feel your stain, desire cleanliness, and ask it from the Lord with hope. You read: “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” – forgive all in your soul, and having forgiven everyone everything in your heart, ask for forgiveness for yourself from the Lord. You read: “Thy will be done” – completely give up your own will to the Lord in your heart, and honestly be prepared to meet everything that the Lord is well-pleased to send to to you with a good heart. If you read each verse of your prayers in this way, then you will be truly praying.”
(To be continued)
The Christmas Tree
“I suspect that the custom of decorating a tree at Christmas time is not simply a custom which came to us from the West and which we should replace with other more Orthodox customs. To be sure, I have not gone into the history of the Christmas tree and where it originated, but I think that it is connected with the Christmas feast and its true meaning. First, it is not unrelated to the prophecy of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots’ (Is. 11:1). St. Cosmas the poet had this prophecy in mind when he wrote of Christ as the blossom which rose up out of the Virgin stem from the stump of Jesse. The root is Jesse, David’s father, the rod is King David, the flower which came from the root and the rod is Theotokos. And the fruit which came forth from the flower of the Panagia is Christ. Holy Scripture presents this wonderfully. Thus the Christmas tree can remind us of the genealogical tree of Christ as Man, the love of God, but also the successive purifications of the Forefathers of Christ. At the top is the star which is the God-Man (Theanthropos) Christ. Then, the Christmas tree reminds us of the tree of knowledge as well as the tree of life, but especially the latter. It underlines clearly the truth that Christ is the tree of life and that we cannot live or fulfill the purpose of our existence unless we taste of this tree, ‘the producer of life’. Christmas cannot be conceived without Holy Communion. And of course as for Holy Communion it is not possible to partake of deification in Christ without having conquered the devil when we found ourselves faced with temptation relative to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, where our freedom is tried. We rejoice and celebrate, because ‘the tree of life blossomed from the Virgin in the cave’. ”
Excerpt from: “The Feasts of the Lord: An Introduction to the 12 Feasts and Orthodox Christology”
by Metropolitan of Nafpatkos Hierotheos Vlachos – November 1993 .
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