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