Category Archives: Feast Days

There Is Hope for Us All: Homily for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in the Orthodox Church

None of us can tell the story of our lives without pointing to particular persons we have known and who have shaped us. In our families and friendships, people are not interchangeable, for we are all unique in our relationships with one another and with God. We play particular roles that are colored by our character, personal history, and distinctive blend of strengths and weaknesses. That is also how it is in the life of the Church. Particular people matter. Continue reading

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Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner

~ Words of the Church Fathers ~

The great Forerunner shines forth today, from fruitless loins, coming forth from Elizabeth, he who is the Prophet greater than all the Prophets. There is none like him, nor will there come another after, for after the light of the lamp that is the Forerunner follows the surpassingly radiant voice of the Logos, and the Bridegroom of the Bride, the Lord Who prepares a people for Himself, and cleanses them beforehand by the Spirit through the water.

[John is] the root of Zacharias, and the beautiful fruit of the desert, the preacher of repentance, the cleansing of offences, he who preaches to those in Hades of the Resurrection from the dead, and who intercedes on behalf of our souls.

~ Idiomelon of the Stichera for the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, by St. Andrew of Crete

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St. Luke the Surgeon – Feast Day June 11

St. Luke the Surgeon, Bishop of Simferopol & Crimea (1877-1961) – The Surgeon and Saint, Scientist, Ophthalmologist, Surgeon, Professor of Anatomy and Surgery, Priest, Bishop, Prisoner, Confessor of the Faith

The province of Crimea dominated the news back in March as the nations of Ukraine and Russia were locked in a struggle to determine the future of this region. Whatever one’s political leanings – toward Ukraine or Russia, Orthodox Christians know that the land of Crimea is blessed by the presence of a modern day saint and miracle worker: St. Luke the Surgeon, bishop of Simferopol and Crimea. The future St. Luke was born on April 27, 1877 with the name Valentin Felixovich Voino-Yasenetsky in the eastern area of Crimea. Continue reading

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Sermon for the Sunday of All Saints

Matt. 10: 32-33, 37-38, 19: 27-30

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God. (Amen)

Brothers and Sisters, on this day we observe a very meaning-filled celebration, after the many radiant Sundays of Great Lent and of the Season of Pascha, leading up to the glorious feast of Pentecost. Pentecost, as last week’s Gospel reading told us, was “the last and greatest day of the feast,” in Saint John’s words, and, as it was celebrated by the Jewish nation in the time of Christ, it was a very festive holiday celebrating the harvest. Special offerings and sacrifices were prescribed by the Law for this holiday. Continue reading

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Pentecost – Trinity Sunday

John 7: 7-52, 8:12

Today is the Feast of Pentecost. I think that today’s feast is one of the most under-emphasized and misunderstood Feasts in the Orthodox Church… as a matter of fact, Pentecost is among the most important Feasts. We might even dare to say that Pentecost is as important as Pascha itself! As important as Pascha, because Pentecost makes Pascha accessible to us. Pentecost makes Pascha relevant. Pentecost is the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church, and without the presence of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s resurrection is, at best, a historical fact. Yes, Jesus rose from the dead. Yes, Death could not contain Him. Yes, He is God, who created heaven and earth and He emerged from the tomb after three days, but what does the fact of Christ’s resurrection mean to me, Can I know this Jesus, who rose from the dead, Can I have a relationship with Him that is meaningful. Without the presence of the Holy Spirit, the answer to these questions is, “no.” Think about it, right after He rose from the dead, He ascended into heaven. How then would the disciples, let alone us who live 2,000 years later, have a relationship with Jesus. He was taken up into the sky. I often imagine the disciples after the ascension, looking at one another, saying, “Where did He go”? Continue reading

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THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD: Ascending with Wounds into Heavenly Glory

With all the problems in the world today, as well as the challenges in our own lives and families, it is tempting to lose hope. It is easy to think that the best we can do is simply to cope with the difficulties that we face from day to day. We may think that there is no alternative to living in terms of whatever helps us make it through the day in the world as we know it. Continue reading

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THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE THEOTOKOS – On God’s almighty word

The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on March 25 each year.

The Feast commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb. Continue reading

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