Thanks to the work of Theoria, we are happy to present this short video featuring our pastor briefly responding to five common misconceptions about the Orthodox Church:
WHAT: Adult Education Class: The Apostolic Fathers
WHEN: Wednesday nights, following Vespers (6:30pm)
WHO: Anyone interested!
Beginning January 11, we will launch a new adult education series on the group of writings known as the Apostolic Fathers. These are some of the first Christian writings after the collection of books that eventually became the New Testament. Some were even written by some of the Apostles’ own disciples. It’s a remarkable look into what Church life was like right after the New Testament period.
There are many other editions, however, and any of them will be fine.
The class will be conducted in an informal conversational style, and will take us up to the week before Lent, with the last class on Feb. 22. (We will not have class on Feb. 1 as we will be celebrating festal services for the Meeting of the Lord that evening.)
See you then!
January 11: The Didache (or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)
January 18: Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Ephesians and Epistle to the Romans
January 25: Clement of Rome, Letter to Corinth (I Clement)
February 1: No Class, 6pm Matins, 7pm Divine Liturgy for the Meeting of the Lord
February 8: Polycarp, To the Philippians and The Martyrdom of Polycarp
February 15: The Epistle of Barnabas
February 22: The Shepherd of Hermas, chs. 1-25 (Visions I-V)
December 25 is the feast of the Nativity According to the Flesh of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ! We will celebrate the feast at the following services:
Friday, Dec. 23
8:30am – Royal Hours of the Nativity
Saturday, Dec. 24 – Christmas Eve
8am Matins for Christmas Eve
9am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
5pm Great Vespers for the Nativity with Litia and Artoklasia
Friday, Dec. 25 – Christmas
8am – Festal Matins
9am – Festal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great (followed by festal potluck brunch)
Notes on the Feast
Although the Festal Divine Liturgy is what most of us think of as the “primary” service for this feast, it is the other services that really contain the wealth of our Holy Church’s teaching about the Nativity of our Lord and its significance. If you have never attended these other services, please take the opportunity to do so this year. They are among the most beautiful services of the festal cycle.
If you would like to read more about this great feast, click here.
Theophany is the feast of the Baptism of Jesus Christ, when He began His public ministry by being baptized by St. John the Forerunner (John the Baptist) in the Jordan River. This act not only introduced Him to the world, but also made Christian baptism possible (by His blessing of the waters) and made plain the three Persons of the Holy Trinity—the Father speaking from the heavens, the Son being baptized and the Holy Spirit descending on the Son in the form of a dove. Theophany means “the appearance of God” and refers to this revelation of the Holy Trinity.
As part of the celebrations of this great feast—which is second in rank only to Pascha (Easter) and thus more important than Christmas!—holy water is blessed for use throughout the year, especially for the blessing of all parishioners’ homes.
Following is the schedule of services for Theophany 2016:
Thursday, Jan. 5 – Paramon (Eve) of Theophany
8:30am – Royal Hours of Theophany
10am – Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Friday, Jan. 6 – The Feast of Theophany (times moved due to winter weather)
8am – Festal Matins for Theophany
9am – Festal Divine Liturgy for Theophany with the Great Blessing of Water (bring your holy water bottles!)
Sunday, Jan. 8
12pm – Outdoor Blessing of Water at the Emmaus Wildlands Conservancy (3701 Orchid Pl., Emmaus, PA 18049)
Please note that the eve of Holy Theophany (January 5) is appointed to be kept as a strict fast day—no meat, poultry, fish with backbones, dairy, wine or oil are to be consumed.
To read more about Holy Theophany, click here.
“The Word became flesh:” in this is the ultimate joy of the Christian faith. In this is the fullness of revelation. The same incarnate Lord is both perfect God and perfect man. The full significance and the ultimate purpose of human existence is revealed and realized in and through the Incarnation. He came down from Heaven to redeem the earth, to unite man with God for ever. “And became man.” The new age has been initiated. We count now the “anni Domini [years of the Lord]!” As St. Irenaeus wrote: “the Son of God became the Son of Man, that man also might become the son of God.” Not only is the original fullness of human nature restored or re-established in the Incarnation. Not only does human nature return to its once lost communion with God. The Incarnation is also the new revelation, the new and further step. The first Adam was a living soul. But the last Adam is the Lord from Heaven (1 Cor. 15:47).
– Protopresbyter Georges V. Florovsky, Incarnation and Redemption
Although with the Annunciation we have the moment of the Incarnation itself, the public appearance on this earth of the Lord of Heaven at His Nativity is celebrated most festively in December as the beginning of the story of our salvation. And it is right that we should celebrate. Can there be anything, other than the divine moment of Pascha, which should bring us more joy than the coming of our God?
But our celebration has to be based in an understanding of what is actually happening with the revelation of the Son of God as the Son of Man. It is not the moment where He steps into a story already known and already revealed. It is the moment when the final chapter of the story itself has begun, when we begin to discover how the story will be consummated, how the divine Hero and conquering King makes His appearance and what He is about to do.
This moment of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is fundamentally new content, new narrative, new history. It is in a sense even a “surprise ending,” for neither death nor the devil—nor much of mankind—expected that the Lord from Heaven should come to us as a babe, a babe Whose mission is to destroy death itself. That is why we cry out: Christ is born! Glorify Him!
Yours in Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic
Thanks to the work of Theoria, we are happy to present this short video featuring our pastor that briefly discusses what an Orthodox Christian environmentalism might look like.