Matthew 6: 14-21
The Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of Great Lent. During the pre-Lenten period, the services of the Church include hymns from the Triodion, a liturgical book that contains the services from the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, the tenth before Pascha (Easter), through Great and Holy Saturday. On the Sunday of Forgiveness focus is placed on the exile of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, an event that shows us how far we have fallen in sin and separated ourselves from God. At the onset of Great Lent and a period of intense fasting, this Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance. Continue reading
We fast joyfully: self-discipline is not self-punishment, it is liberation and renewal – the fast is a celebration of our freedom.
“… if our Father Adam had fasted, we should not have suffered banishment from Eden. The fruit that brought death upon me was pleasing to the eye and good to eat ….”
From Vespers, Friday of the First Week of Lent
Fasting returns us to an awareness of our needs, and helps us discern the difference between what we truly need and the vast, unlimited range of what we want.
Fasting is not a discipline we take up for its own sake: we fast in order to discipline ourselves so that we can find ourselves in God. The fast is a period of intense waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom.
SUNDAY 19 FEBRUARY
† Judgment (Meatfare) Sunday | Matthew 25: 31-46
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
SUNDAY SCHOOL BEGINS NEXT SUNDAY 26TH FEBRUARY
Lessons take place in the building behind the church and begin at the time of Holy Communion until Church dismissal. We have classes for ages ranging from 5 yrs to teenage years. Lessons are taught in a relaxed, friendly environment. Please bring your child/children along to learn of their rich Orthodox faith and come close to God and His Love. Continue reading
How would you respond to someone who destroyed or defaced a picture of one of your loved ones? You would probably be very upset with that person, for how we treat images of people indicates what we think of them. If we dishonour someone’s picture, we dishonour that person. But if we treat images with care and respect, we honour the person whose image it is. Continue reading
When you see your friends, what do you say? “Hey, what’s up?” “How’s it going?” We always have something to say, don’t we? At church, you might hear people greet each other in a different way. “Christ is in our midst!” Christ is with us! And you can answer, “He is and ever shall be!” He always will be with us!
We know that our Lord, Jesus Christ, is with us always: when things are going well and when they’re not, when we’re in church and when we’re somewhere else, when we’re with our Christian friends and family and when we’re not. But today, in the Gospel reading, we hear about how Christ is with us in a different way too. We hear how God wants us to think about our Lord anytime we see another person!
The Gospel says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” and more. And for those people, God says, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” He invites these people to be with Him in heaven! Then the people wonder when they gave Jesus food or drink or clothes, or when they visited Him. But He answers that as you did it to “the least of these,” you did it to Him. So when we help another person, we are really helping Christ too!
Let’s always remember, “Christ is in our midst!” He is with us! Let’s do our best to give Him food and drink and clothes, and love – every time we help another person!
Presvytera Alexandra Houck, myocn.net
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
My brethren, it is not possible for these things to come about in one day or one week! They will take much time, labour, and pain, in accordance with each man’s attitude and willingness, according to the measure of faith (Rom, 12:3, 6) and one’s contempt for the objects of sight and thought.
In addition, it is also in accordance with the fervour of his ceaseless penitence and its constant working in the secret chamber of his heart (Mt. 6:6) that this is accomplished more quickly or more slowly by the gift and grace of God. But without fasting no one was ever able to achieve any of these virtues or any others, for fasting is the beginning and foundation of every spiritual activity. Whatever you will build on this foundation cannot collapse or be destroyed, because they are built on solid rock.
But if you remove this foundation and substitute for it a full stomach and improper desires, they will be undermined like sand by evil thoughts, and the whole structure of virtues will be destroyed (cf. Mt. 7:26; Lk. 6:49). To prevent this from happening in our case, my brethren, let us gladly stand on the solid foundation of fasting. Let us stand firmly, let us stand willingly!
– St. Symeon the New Theologian, “The Discourses”
SUNDAY 12 JANUARY
† 17th Sunday of Luke – Prodigal Son | Luke 15:11-32
• 7.30 – 11.00am Orthros and Divine Liturgy
• 11.30am – 2.00pm Following Church Service, join us for our Souvlaki Sunday & Cake Stall Continue reading
Luke 15: 11-32
Today is known in the church as the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. Now just two weeks from the beginning of Great Lent, we are reminded today of who we are: beloved children of God who need to come to our senses and return to our loving, forgiving Father. No matter what we have done, no matter how we have diminished ourselves, no matter how broken we have made our relationship with God, He patiently awaits our return, runs to greet us, and welcomes us back into His family with joy and celebration. Continue reading
What would you do if you had an hour free to do whatever you wanted? How about a weekend, or even a whole summer break? How would you spend your time? Reading books? Napping? Playing video games? Some-times we might want to spend our time in a good way, but when it comes down to it, we waste our time on silly things.
Today is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son. You remember that Gospel reading, don’t you? The young man wasted all his money on things he shouldn’t have. He might have wanted to spend his money on good things, but when he had the money in his hands, he wasted it all, every single bit of it! He didn’t have any money left for something he really needed—like food. Continue reading
∼ Words from the Church Fathers ∼
Life of souls in the other world is described in the Bible and for our Church are realities.
(Luke 16:22-26, Matt 10:28, Matt 22:13, 1Cor 13:12, 1Cor 15:51, Phil 1:10, Heb. 12:22, Rev 2:10, 3:5, 21:8.)
The departed have not forgotten us nor are they indifferent to us.
Those who have pleased God with their holy life, the Saints, pray for us; the rest need our prayers.
Prayers for the departed are as ancient as the Christian Church (2Tim 1:18); in early Liturgies (Liturgies of St. James, St. Mark).
Christianity is a religion of love. Praying for the dead is an expression of love. We ask God to remember our departed because we love them.
It is our duty and obligation to pray for the forgiveness of the departed and our Church offers prayers for them at funerals, burials, services and at Holy Eucharist. We are also given the opportunity to pray for the departed three Saturdays before Lent and at Pentecost where all the dead are remembered – our forefathers; lost souls, forgotten souls; and all who have gone before us. We ask our Lord, to have mercy on their soul and trust in His loving kindness to hear our prayers.