Service schedule for July 2014
Programul liturgic al lunii iulie
Fast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul(june 16th-29th)
The Podvig of the Apostles' Fast is less strict than during Great Lent: We abstain from eating meat and dairy products throughout the Fast. The Church ustav also provides that, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the Apostles' Fast, we abstain from consuming fish, wine and oil; on the other days of the week, Tuesday and Thursday, we abstain from eating fish. Eating fish is permitted on Saturdays and Sundays and on days commemorating certain great Saints.
Teachings of St. Seraphim of Sarov on Fasting
Fasting consists not just of eating rarely, but also of eating little. And not just in eating only one meal, but in not eating much. Foolish is the faster, who waits for a specific time [to eat a meal], but then at the time of the meal is completely consumed, body and mind, with insatiable eating.
In proportion to how the body of the faster becomes thin and light, so the spiritual life attains perfection and reveals itself in wonderful ways. Then the soul acts as if in an incorporeal body. Carnal feelings are shut off, and the spirit, released from the world, ascends to heaven and completely immerses itself in contemplation of the spiritual world.
Every day one should partake of just enough food to permit the body, being fortified, to be a friend and helper to the soul in performing the virtues. Otherwise, with the body exhausted, the soul may also weaken.
Lessons from the Fathers. Fasting
There is both a physical and a spiritual fast. In the physical fast the body abstains from food and drink. In the spiritual fast, the faster abstains from evil intentions, words and deeds. One who truly fasts abstains from anger, rage, malice, and vengeance. One who truly fasts abstains from idle and foul talk, empty rhetoric, slander, condemnation, flattery, lying and all manner of spiteful talk. In a word, a real faster is one who withdraws from all evil.
As much as you subtract from the body, so much will you add to the strength of the soul.
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By fasting it is possible both to be delivered from future evils and to enjoy the good things to come. We fell into disease through sin; let us receive healing through repentance, which is not fruitful without fasting.
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True fasting lies is rejecting evil, holding one's tongue, suppressing one's hatred, and banishing one's lust, evil words, lying, and betrayal of vows.
Holy Hierarch Basil the Great
Do you fast? Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned, have pity on the tortured, comfort those who grieve and who weep, be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient, sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious, so that God might accept your fasting and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance.
Fasting of the body is food for the soul.
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It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourself in the present week. This is true fasting.
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As bodily food fattens the body, so fasting strengthens the soul; imparting it an easy flight, it makes it able to ascend on high, to contemplate lofty things and to put the heavenly higher than the pleasant and pleasurable things of life.
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The point is not only that we should come to church each day, that we should continually listen to one and the same thing, and that we should fast for the whole Forty Days. No! If we, from continually coming here and listening to the teaching, do not acquire anything and do not derive any good for our soul from the time of the fast all this does not procure for us any benefit, but rather serves for our greater condemnation, when despite such concern for us by the Church we remain just the same as before.
Do not say to me that I fasted for so many days, that I did not eat this or that, that I did not drink wine, that I endured want; but show me if thou from an angry man hast become gentle, if thou from a cruel man hast become benevolent. If thou art filled with anger, why oppress thy flesh? If hatred and avarice are within thee, of what benefit is it that thou drinkest water? Do not show forth a useless fast: for fasting alone does not ascend to heaven.
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Fasting is wonderful, because it tramples our sins like a dirty weed, while it cultivates and raises truth like a flower.
Holy Hierarch John Chrysostom
Whosoever rejects the fasts, deprives himself and others of weapons against his own much-suffering flesh and against the devil, who have power over us especially as the result of our intemperance.
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We are told: It is no big deal to eat non-Lenten food during Lent. It is no big deal if you wear expensive beautiful outfits, go to the theater, to parties, to masquerade balls, use beautiful expensive china, furniture, expensive carriages and dashing steeds, amass and hoard things, etc. Yet what is it that turns our heart away from God, away from the Fountain of Life? Because of what do we lose eternal life? Is it not because of gluttony, of expensive clothing like that of the rich man of the Gospel story, is it not because of theaters and masquerades? What turns us hard-hearted toward the poor and even toward our relatives? Is it not our passion for sweets, for satisfying the belly in general, for clothing, for expensive dishes, furniture, carriages, for money and other things? Is it possible to serve God and mammon, to be a friend to the world and a friend to God, to serve Christ and Belial? That is impossible.
Why did Adam and Eve lose paradise, why did they fall into sin and death? Was it not because of one evil? Let us attentively consider why we do not care about the salvation of our soul, which cost the Son of God so dearly. Why do we compound sin upon sin, fall endlessly into opposing to God, into a life of vanity? Is it not because of a passion for earthly things and especially for earthly pleasures? What makes our hearts become crude? Why do we become flesh and not spirit, perverting our moral nature? Is it not because of a passion for food, drink, and other earthly comforts? How after this can one say that it does not matter whether you eat non-Lenten food during Lent? The fact that we talk this way is in fact pride, idle thought, disobedience, refusal to submit to God, and separation from Him.
Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt
The greatest of the virtues is prayer, while their foundation is fasting.
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The reason that fasting has an effect on the spirits of evil rests in its powerful effect on our own spirit. A body subdued by fasting brings the human spirit freedom, strength, sobriety, purity, and keen discernment.
Holy Hierarch Ignaty Brianchaninov
If thou, O man, dost not forgive everyone who has sinned against thee, then do not trouble thyself with fasting. If thou dost not forgive the debt of thy brother, with whom thou art angry for some reason, then thou dost fast in vain God will not accept thee. Fasting will not help thee, until thou wilt become accomplished in love and in the hope of faith. Whoever fasts and becomes angry, and harbors enmity in his heart, such a one hates God and salvation is far from him.
Venerable Ephraim the Syrian
A excellent faster is he who restrains himself from every impurity, who imposes abstinence on his tongue and restrains it from idle talk, foul language, slander, condemnation, flattery and all manner of evilspeaking, who abstains from anger, rage, malice and vengeance and withdraws from every evil.
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Let thy mind fast from vain thoughts; let thy memory fast from remembering evil; let thy will fast from evil desire; let thine eyes fast from bad sights: turn away thine eyes that thou mayest not see vanity; let thine ears fast from vile songs and slanderous whispers; let thy tongue fast from slander, condemnation, blasphemy, falsehood, deception, foul language and every idle and rotten word; let thy hands fast from killing and from stealing another's goods; let thy legs fast from going to evil deeds: Turn away from evil, and do good.
Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk
Seest thou what fasting does: it heals illnesses, drives out demons, removes wicked thoughts, makes the heart pure. If someone has even been seized by an impure spirit, let him know that this kind, according to the word of the Lord, "goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).
Saint Athanasius the Great
The strictness of the Quadragesima [the Forty Days] mortifies the passions, extinguishes anger and rage, cools and calms every agitation springing up from gluttony. And just as in the summer, when the burning heat of the sun spreads over the earth, the northern wind renders a benefaction to those who are scorched, by dispersing the sultriness with a tender coolness: so fasting also provides the same, by driving out of bodies the burning which is the result of overeating.
Saint Asterius of Amasia
Fasting is the mother of health; the friend of chastity; the partner of humblemindedness (illnesses are frequently born in many from a disorderly and irregular diet).
Venerable Simeon, the New Theologian
Give the body as much food as it needs, and thou shalt receive no harm, even if thou shouldest eat three times a day. If a man eats but once a day, but undiscerningly, what benefit is there to him from that. The warfare of fornication follows excess in eating - and after this the enemy weighs down the body with sleep in order to defile it.
Saints Barsanuphius and John
As a flame of fire in dry wood, so too is a body with a full belly.
Venerable Isaac the Syrian
Always establish one and the same hour for taking food, and take it for fortifying the body and not for enjoyment.
Venerable Anthony the Great
Do not neglect the Forty Days; it constitutes an imitation of Christ's way of life.
Saint Ignatius the Godbearer
The holy fasters did not approach strict fasting suddenly, but little by little they became capable of being satisfied by the most meagre food. Despite all this they did not know weakness, but were always hale and ready for action. Among them sickness was rare, and their life was extraordinarily lengthy.
To the extent that the flesh of the faster becomes thin and light, spiritual life arrives at perfection and reveals itself through wondrous manifestations, and the spirit performs its actions as if in a bodiless body. External feelings are shut off, and the mind that renounces the earth is raised up to heaven and is wholly immersed in the contemplation of the spiritual world.
Venerable Seraphim of Sarov
The more days of fasting there are, the better the healing is; the longer the period of abstinence, the more abundant the gain of salvation is.
Fasts do not shorten a man's life. Venerable Symeon the Stylite lived for 103 years, Saint Cyril the Anchorite lived 108 years, Saint Alypius the Stylite 118, Venerable John the Silent 104 years, Anthony and Theodosius the Great for 105 years, Venerable Paul of Thebes 113, Paul of Komel 112, Venerable Macarius of Alexandria 100, Venerable Sergius of Radonezh 78, Venerable Cyril Belozersky 90, Macarius Zheltovodsky 95.
Great Lent 2014
Great Lent 2014
Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon on the Beginning of Great Lent 2014
March 2, 2014
To the Very Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke’s account of the parable of Prodigal Son, we hear the following words of the son to the father: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.” While all of us have received the spirit of sonship (Romans 8:15), like the Prodigal Son, we have squandered that gift and have rejected the pledge of future inheritance.
And yet today, we are given that opportunity to come before our Heavenly Father as repentant children, crying, “Abba, Father, turn not Thy face from Thy servant, for I am afflicted; hear me speedily, draw near unto my soul, and deliver it!” (Psalm 68/69:17-18). The present season of repentance allows us to assess what we are doing with our lives, discerning what has caused us to turn away from sonship and striving to regain the spirit of sonship through the acquisition of love.
Through the examples of Moses’ forty days and nights without food or drink on Mount Sinai, and the forty days and forty nights that our Lord fasted in the desert, we are reminded of Saint Simeon of Thessalonica’s words: “Fasting is the work of God.” And it is this work that takes place in the arena of repentance—Great Lent.
While our battle takes place within this world, we know from the words of the Apostle that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Corinthians 10:4). Rather, the weapon given to us by our Lord is His commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34). This commandment is the basis on which we will be judged by the Son of Man at His awesome second coming. When we saw the least one hungry, did we love him? When we saw the least one imprisoned, did we love him? When we saw the least one homeless and a stranger, did we love him? If we do any of these tasks, if we give of all that we possess but do not do it in response to Christ’s commandment, we have gained nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).
We are given this time of the Great Fast to grow closer to God and His Holy Church. But, before we can even begin to take steps toward a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior, we must learn to love, for “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8).
Brothers and sisters: I too have sinned before heaven and before you, and thus I beg your forgiveness for my failings, and I ask for your prayers as I assure you of mine.
As we enter together into the season of Great Lent, let us “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light, that having sailed across the great sea of the Fast, we may reach the third-day Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of our souls” (Apostikha at Vespers, Sunday of Forgiveness).
With love in Christ,
Short presentation of St Mary
PASToRAL LETTER 2013
NATIVITY oF oUR LoRD AND GoD AND SAVIoR
Dearly Beloved Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful of our God-protected Episcopate:
CHRIST IS BORN! LET US GLORIFY HIM!
By God’s grace, we have come to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to him!
Christmas is an invitation to us to come to the manger wherein rests the infant Messiah and to make ourselves to be like little children. It is a time of the year when the words of the Cherubic Hymn that we sing during the Divine Liturgy have special meaning: “Let us lay aside all earthly cares.”
Indeed, who has fewer cares than a trusting child? We must also put aside our daily concerns so that, emptied of self and with open heart, we may in fact, “receive the King of all,” paying homage to the newborn Prince of Peace, King of kings and Lord of Lords.
Laying our gift of trust in him at his feet, we are immediately rewarded with his blessing on us, the blessing of Hope. Without hope, man is devoid of a purpose to live, of a future, of a tomorrow. Hope is something positive, the possibility of change, and this, for the better.
Alone, man is unable to overcome the world; but in Christ, all things are possible. Every philosophy, every human plan or scheme is nonsense unless based on the truth which radiates from the Christ child in the cave.
By his life and teaching, the Lord Christ has lifted our spirits to the heavens by telling us that he came to give us life and life more abundantly. This abundance is not a quantitative one but qualitative, of true value, which held good for our fathers, for us and for the generations to come. Regardless of the times, the government or powers that be, God’s values are forever.
These lasting values, that the world was created good by God and that man, every human being, is made in his image and likeness, are made known to all who accept the Lord and put their trust in him.
This trust in the Savior refreshes us daily, renews us, lifts our hearts from our daily cares and quickens our bodies. Thus, every minute of each day is precious, because it is an opportunity to bear witness to him by our own words and actions. We thereby urge others to come with us to the cave, to believe and trust, to have hope and press forward, fulfilling this life and preparing for the continuation of our existence in eternity.
All mankind mystically approaches Bethlehem, running to follow the rays of the God-sent star, to bask in the resplendent light radiating from the child in the cave. National boundaries and races all disappear in the penetrating, searching, probing, revealing illumination beaming forth from that shelter in the earth. At his side, we are united with our loved ones: both those near and those far; those on earth and those in the bosom of Abraham; those into whose eyes we can see, and those whose gaze we can only recall; those whose hands we can grasp, and those whose hands we can only remember. Yes, the entire Church from all time kneels in adoration with the angelic host at the foot of the Lord, the infant Messiah.
Let us be glad and rejoice in this day, for a new earth and a new heaven are ushered in! Our hope, indeed, is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Christ is born, and hope is renewed! Christ is born, and darkness is dispelled! Christ is born, and we are saved by faith!
By the grace of God and the will of the people,
Archbishop of Detroit and The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America
Welcome to St. Mary's Romanian Orthodox Church
Welcome to the official web site of the Nativity of the Ever-Virgin Mary Romanian Orthodox Church, in Elmhurst, New York.
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