Welcome!

20150301-ukraine-mem-service-jhv-lWhether you are visiting us for a brief time, looking for a new parish community, are returning to the practice of your Catholic faith, or are interested in finding out more about the Eastern Catholic Church, we’re happy to have you here.

St. Michael’s is a faith-filled people of the Ukrainian Catholic tradition. We strive to make the Divine Liturgy the heartbeat of our faith community and we stand ready to bear witness to the Lord with our life.

Saint Michael’s is a parish rooted in Jesus Christ, active in our love of neighbor, on the path toward salvation in the Holy Trinity.

Pierogi Saturday

This coming Saturday, December 16 is Pyrohy (Pierogi) Saturday.

The Pyrohy Project sells the varenyky in the church hall for $6.00 per dozen. Checks payable to “Pyrohy Project.”

Today is the final day to place your order for pick up after 1pm on Saturday. The following are ready to take your order:

Lydia Koziupa: 203-467-2285
Alexis Hickerson: 475-221-8399
Sophie DeCarlo: 203-468-2761

Twenty-Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Ephesians 6:10-17; Luke 17:12-19

In today’s Epistle, St. Paul tells us, “draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil ….take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The true weapon of the Christian is not the metal sword, but the sword of the word.” Hebrews tells us, “the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).”

Christians do not meet violence with violence, but when persecuted, follow the Lord’s teaching, “Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. (Luke 21:14-15)” Jesus is the Word of God, and his word is powerful indeed, and so the true power Christians comes when we speak in the truth of our Lord. Our human words may not seem that powerful, but words spoken in Christ can transform our lives. This power does not come from us, but from God, therefore, as St. Paul again says, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me, (Galatians 2:20)” and yesterday’s epistle says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)” All this has meaning in this Christmas season. We give gifts to one another, and parents instruct their children, say “Thank you,” to those who give you gifts. The words “thank you” are more powerful than the material gifts, for they form bonds of love. As Christians, we, too, say words of “thanks” that bind us in love to God, “the giver of every good and perfect gift. (James 1:17, Ambon Prayer).”

In this church, we utter words of thanksgiving, as we offer our Liturgy, a “sacrifice of praise.” That is why we call the Liturgy the Eucharist, the Greek word for “thanksgiving.” And on Christmas, we offer words to the new-born child, “Christ is born! Glorify him.” We must not only say words with our mouth, “for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)” But Jesus has to lament today that only one in ten cured return to give thanks. The gospel tells us that we must give thanks to God, who alone brought us into being and who alone can give us salvation. Jesus tells us today that this is difficult, because it requires humility and an open heart. Thus only one of the ten lepers gives thanks, and the least expected, the foreigner.

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Divine Liturgy for the coming week

Glory to Jesus Christ

Sunday, 12/10/17 27th Sunday after Pentecost —The Holy Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus
9:00 a.m.  For the people of the parish
10:30 a.m. +Ivan & Olena Godenciuc requested by the Family

Epistle: Ephesians 6:10:17
Gospel: Luke 17:12-219, Tone 2

Monday, 12/11/17 Our Venerable Father Daniel the Stylite
8:30 a.m. God’s blessing and health for Johanna Patrylak requests by Maria Radawiec and family

Tuesday, 12/12/17 Our Venerable Father Spiridon the Wonderworker
9:00 a.m. no special intention for the Divine Liturgy

Wednesday, 12/13/17 The Holy Martyrs Eustratios, Auxentius, Eugenius, Mardarius and Orestes and the Holy Martyr Lucia the Virgin
9:00 a.m. no special intention for the Divine Liturgy

Thursday, 12/14/17 The Holy Martyrs Thyrsus, Leucius, Philemon, Apollonius and Callinicus
9:00 a.m. no special intention for the Divine Liturgy

Friday, 12/15/17 The Holy Priest-Martyr Eleutherius; Our Venerable Father Paul of Latra; Our Holy Father Stephen the Confessor
9:00 a.m. no special intention for the Divine Liturgy

Saturday, 12/16/17 Holy Prophet Haggai
9:00 a.m. +Warwara Bodnar (Pan.) requested by Maria Wysowskyj

Sunday, 12/17/17 Sunday of the Holy Forefathers —The Holy Prophet Daniel, the Three Holy Youths Ananiah, Azaraih and Mishael
9:00 a.m. For the people of the parish
10:30 a.m. +Eugene Koziupa requested by Lydia Koziupa

Epistle: Colossians  3:4:11
Gospel: Luke 14:16-24, Tone 3

Parish announcements this week

Christ is among us

1. VIGIL LIGHT: This week vigil light is offered to God’s glory by Luba Romaniw for a Special Intention.

2. AFTER DIVINE LITURGY: Dear parishioners and guests, after each Divine Liturgy, coffee and hard rolls are available in the church hall.

3. 2017 CHRISTMAS BAZAAR :  The Ukrainian Heritage Center’s Christmas Bazaar will be held on Saturday,  December 9,  Sunday, December 10, Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 in the Church hall from 9:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. This offers you an excellent opportunity to purchase, at very reasonable prices, the Ukrainian gifts and cards (for Christmas and other special occasions) that you would like to give to family members, friends, co-workers or teachers of your children. We are also seeking volunteer sales associates that can help process the purchases that people make. If you can help during one of the times indicated earlier in this note, please call Carl R. Harvey at (203) 389-6076. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. You will be giving much needed support to sustain the operation of your Heritage Center.

4. 2017 CHRISTMAS BAZAAR: The Ukrainian Women’s League of New Haven, Branch 108 will be holding their annual Christmas Bazaar on Sunday, December 10, Saturday, December16 and Sunday, December 17, after each Divine Liturgy, 10 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. Baked goods and kutia will also be available. Donations of Ukrainian or holiday items would be greatly welcome. For more information, contact Anna Salemme (203) 934-6520 or Larissa Swartwout (203) 248-9767.

5. ST. GIANNA CENTER OF NEW HAVEN: The parish is collecting diapers, seats, strollers and gift cards to be given to the St. Gianna Center of New Haven (www.gianna center.org). Useful diapers sizes: 3, 4, 5. Gift cards are needed from Walmart or Target. Please place the gift card in an envelope marked “St. Gianna Center” and give it to directly Fr. Iura. Also, NEW car seats / strollers are needed (sorry, old car seats / strollers can’t be accepted due to legislation). Items can be placed in the labeled box at the entrance of the Church. The St. Gianna Center is a ministry of Catholics in New Haven helping at-risk pregnant women and their children. Thank you for your generosity!

6. Divine Liturgy Schedule for the holy days:

~Christmas, December 25: 9:45 a.m. Great Compline (The God is with Us service) and Divine Liturgy 10:30 a.m.

~New Year’s Day, January 1: Divine Liturgy 11:00 a.m.

~Theophany of Our Lord, January 6: Great Compline at 9:15 a.m. followed by the Divine Liturgy and Great Sanctification of water 10:00 a.m.

~Christmas (Julian Calendar), January 7: Great Compline at 9:45 a.m. and Divine Liturgy at 10:30 a.m.

7. Kovbasa and Kapusta Dinners Available: We have for sale kovbasa and kapusta (cabbage). The price for the kovbasa meals are $12.00 each. The price for kapusta only is $7.00 for 2 pounds. Cash or check payable to the “KofC Council 16253”.

8. Update on Humanitarian Efforts in Ukraine: U.S. Senator Blumenthal will be visiting the parish on December 10th at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will take place in the church hall. The main focus of his visit is to let our community know where things stand with the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative and our Wounded Ukrainian Soldier Project.

9. END OF YEAR REPORTS: All donations and contributions must be received by Sunday December 25th to be recorded on the annual statement for the Year 2017.

10. ANNUAL STAMFORD CHARITIES APPEAL: REMINDER: Please don’t forget to donate for the Charities Appeal. Please make your check payable to the Diocese of Stamford. DO NOT MAIL THE FORM TO THE CHANCERY OFFICE. We sincerely ask all parishioners to make a generous contribution.

11. BOOK SIGNING:  “My Ukrainian American Story” on Sunday at the Ukrainian Women’s League bazaar. Meet the author/illustrator who attended our own Ridna Shkola. Adrianna Bamber will be signing and selling her books after each Divine Liturgy in our hall on Sunday, December 10th.

12. BULLETIN UPDATES: Dear parishioners. As you may have noticed their have been some changes and improvements to your parish bulletin over the past six months. In a continuing effort to make the bulletin more parishioner friendly, I call upon you to let me know what else you would like to see and or change. And as always I appreciate the various information materials that you are providing. I look forward to your responses. Father Iura.

13. CELL PHONES: Please, please, please. Turn of your cell phones when you come to the Divine Liturgy. If you are expecting an emergency call, please put it on vibrate and go outside to answer. Also, please stop using your cell phone during the Divine Liturgy. This is for the benefit of all. Thank you.

14. VETERANS POST 33: The next meeting of the Ukrainian –American Veteran Bishop John Stock Post 33 of New Haven will be held on Sunday, December 17, 2017. We will begin the meeting immediately following the second Divine Liturgy. The meeting will be held in Classroom 2. For more information, contact the Post Commander Carl Harvey at 203-389-6076 or crharv384@optimum.net.

15. PYROHY We will be making Pyrohy on Saturday December 16, 2017 in the Church Hall. and we are always looking for new talent to help with this twenty-five+ year Parish project. Please feel to come and join the fun. Luncheon is provided on Saturday. Call the Project Director Walter Ushchak @ (203) 789-9554 for details. Also please be sure to place your order as soon as possible.

16. ADULT RELIGIOUS EDUCATION: The Knights of Columbus are spearheading an effort to provide Adult Religious Education – Refresher courses to the members of the Parish. The basic plan outline is to provide an English class after the English mass on Sunday and a Ukrainian class after the Ukrainian mass. The class will be offered once or twice a month. A curriculum is being formulated as we speak. We now turn to you the parishioners to tell us what topics you would like to see covered. We also invite you if you feel you have a topic that you would like to lecture on to bring it to my attention. I look forward to all of your suggestions, Father Iura.

17. CHURCH AND BUILDING REPAIRS: As you may have noticed there is an ongoing program of repairs being conducted on the property. The entire interior of the Church is having its walls repaired, replastered and then completely repainted with a semi gloss white paint. The work is in its ninth week of progress and has had numerous difficult challenges to overcome. In addition the handicap door to the church has been repaired. The Church front door lock and latches have been updated and repaired. The steeple door locks have been rekeyed and repaired. The three outbuildings, Heritage Center, rectory and Rental Property has had repairs completed to the damaged soffits, gables aluminum siding and gutters. We brought in aerial lifts to complete the work and completely replaced the gutters on the Heritage Center. The Heritage Center also has had some of their aging windows replaced with new energy efficient windows. The property has had all its fire extinguishers upgraded, tested and repaired as needed with additional extinguishers installed to cover all possible issues. An inspection was conducted by the Municipal Fire Marshal. The doors to the church hall have been repaired so that they open and close easier. In the church hall the lower level meeting room has been completely upgraded, repaired and painted with new ceiling tiles installed as part of a mold abatement program. The lower level bathrooms and hallways are in the process of being repainted. And of course you have all noted that the front entrance to the church hall has a brand new burgundy carpet. A special thanks to the KofC member volunteers who provided countless hours of donation labor in helping to complete some of these projects. All these items are in addition to the massive outside repair/protection work that has been conducted this year. The roofs and the blue panel repairs on the church hall. These efforts have been expensive and we are currently facing a severe financial shortfall by end of year. Unfortunate, but necessary to maintain the physical plant of the property. These were items that could not be put off anymore. The delaying of these repairs would only have caused more damage and been more costly in the future. Please take note that there is additional expensive and extensive work scheduled for next year.

18. The Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka): We are making the 40-day fast that began on November 15, the day after the feast St. Philip to spiritually prepare Nativity of the Lord. We keep the Philip’s Fast because we believe that doing so it can help us to better understand and appreciate all of God’s saving plan for each of us.

The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church teaches her faithful that “Penitential fasting practices, repentance and abstinence that aim to satisfy the sins committed and to achieve the highest level of perfection is the oldest tradition in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church” (CCEO: 882, §1).

To observe the Fast, we do not eat meat or foods containing meat on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Definitions: Abstinence means that we do not eat a certain type of food, for example meat and oil, or any other foods that have that as an ingredient. Fasting means that we eat less food. Those exempt from fasting and abstinence: children under the age of 14; adults over the age of 60; those who are gravely ill, pregnant women, post-partum mothers, breast-feeding mothers, travelers (if travel time exceeds 8 hours), those engaged in heavy labor, those who eat from the table of others, the poor who live from charity.

Further reading: The Winter Pascha (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press) by Thomas Hopko.

19. Awareness for Persecuted Christians: Since 2003, millions of Christians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war and direct persecution from ISIS. In the 14 years since the start of the war and genocide, the number of Christians in Iraq has dropped by 90 percent — leaving somewhere between 175,000 and 300,000. On November 28, Archbishop Bashar Matti Warda of Erbil, Iraq, asked Christians in the USA to pray for persecuted Christians in the Middle East. He encouraged his American audience to financially support the Knights of Columbus and other organizations that assist Iraqi Christians and to spread awareness about the difficult situation in the Middle East. To make a donation: https://www.kofc.org/un/en/secure/charities/hope.html, or send a donation to the K of C —Persecuted Christians Fund, One Columbus Plaza, New Haven, CT 06510.

Let us pray: O God of all the Nations, the One God who is and was and always will be, who in your providence willed that your Church be united to the suffering of your Son, look with mercy on your servants in Iraq who are persecuted for their faith in you. Grant them perseverance and courage to be worthy imitators of Christ. Bring your wisdom upon leaders of nations to work for peace among all peoples. May your Spirit open conversion for those who contradict your will that we live in harmony. And in all things may we be united in truth and freedom to seek your will in our lives. We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN. Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

20. SUMA FEDERAL CREDIT UNION: 555 George St., New Haven, CT. Business hours: Tues.3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sat. 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Phone: 203-785-8805; Fax: 203-785-8677.

Maternity of St Anna

maternity-of-st-anneThe conception of the all-holy virgin Mary in the womb of Anna is celebrated on December 9 in the Byzantine tradition, for a natural reason, that the Eastern ancients thought a girl was in the womb one day less than a boy. However, in the Ruthenian Church in America, the feast is now celebrated together with the Roman Church on December 8, nine months before her birth on September 8, because she is the patron of the United States.

It is clear that this is a preparation for the birth of Christ on Christmas, for the first sticheron of the feast begins: “The barren Anna leaped for joy when she gave birth to Mary the Virgin who in turn will give birth in the flesh to God the Word.” Mary, the daughter of Anna and Joachim by way of natural birth is to be the temple of the Word of God incarnate for our sake and for our salvation.

The Eastern and Western Churches put the accent on different aspects of the feast. In the East, we celebrate the miracle of God taking away the barrenness of Anna’s womb. The Protoevangelium of James portrays the sadness of Joachim and Anna. Joachim lamented, “I have searched whether I am the only one who has not begotten offspring in Israel, and I have found of all the righteous that they had raised up offspring in Israel.” Anna wept, “I will bewail my widowhood, and bewail my childlessness.” (1,3 and 2,1) Two angels came, one to Joachim and another to Anna with a divine message that they would bear a child, even in their old age. When God takes away an emptiness, he fills us more than our faith can grasp, and they gave birth not only a child, but to the new Ark of God’s covenant with us.

The Western Church, on the other hand, puts the accent on Mary’s purity from all sin from her conception, defined by Pope Bl. Pius IX in 1848 as the Immaculate Conception. The theology behind this is that the incarnation of the sinless Word of God must come from a sinless temple, the womb of Mary which was never touched by sin, even from her conception.

It is unfortunate that this dogma has become a bone of contention between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Both believe in the ancestral sin, but in different ways, so that for the Orthodox the main curse of the sin of Adam and Eve is death, while for the Catholics, it is original sin. May we seek unity and not division. Most Orthodox theologians do believe that the “ancestral sin” has infected the human race, but might disagree about the way it does this. In our dialogue, we must seek a mutual understanding, perhaps in the words of Orthodox theologians who saw a “pre-purification” in Mary. “And in every way [the Lord] became a man, save sin, for he had been conceived from a virgin, after she had been pre-purified with respect to soul and body through the Holy Spirit.” (Gregory the Theologian, Homily 38 on the Theophany) or St. John Damascene, who wrote, “O all-blessed loins of Joachim, from which the all-pure seed was sown. O epic womb, in which the all-holy infant was born, after she was formed, and a little later increased by nutriments from Anne. Her (Anne’s) belly conceived in itself an ensouled heaven, wider than the wide space of heaven.” (Both quotes from Christian Kappes’ book, The Immaculate Conception 21 and 60).

In both cases, the conception of the Theotokos in the womb of Anna today is our preparation for Christmas. For God took away the barrenness of one couple in a conception that would have a cosmic dimension for every one of us: the coming into the world of it’s Creator, who would take away the curse on Adam and Eve by the birth of his Son with the power to bring us all into sinlessness. Receiving his body and blood in Communion, the priest prays, “may this be for the remission of sins and life everlasting.” The Hymn of Light at Matins thus proclaims: “Today Anna conceives the One who will give birth to the Light which illumines all creation. Therefore, let us all gather together, for the one who delivers us from the judgment of Eve now comes forth.”

Maternity of St. Ann –Holy Day

December 8 is a Holy Day celebrating the Maternity of Saint Ann (AKA Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Mother of God in the Latin Church). You will also hear the feast as the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Divine Liturgy will be served at 9:00 a.m. in Ukrainian AND 7:00 p.m. in English.

The Holy Theotokos under the title of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States of America.

“With the Angels let us celebrate the aIl-glorious conception of the Mother of God” (From the Matins). Historically, Saint Ann is the mother of the Virgin Mary. Ann’s biography says that she was the youngest daughter of the priest Nathan from Bethlehem, descended from the tribe of Levi. She married Saint Joachim, who was a native of Galilee.

For many years Saint Ann was childless, but after twenty years, through the fervent prayer of both spouses, an angel of the Lord announced to them that they would be the parents of a daughter, Who would bring blessings to the entire human race.

For more information on this feast, read an article published by the Ruthenian Metropolitan Church in Pittsburgh, which also speaks to the Ukrainian observance.

 

Meeting with Senator Richard Blumenthal Sunday, December 10

Senator Blumenthal will explain in detail the recently passed Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative in the NDAA defense bill and his funding authorization proposal to aid Ukraine’s soldiers

Let’s support the Senator for helping Ukraine’s soldiers  by thanking him in person at St. Michael’s Church Hall, New Haven, this Sunday, December 10, at 11:45 a.m.  Local press will cover this event.

Please note that the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) more than doubled  the level of U.S. support for Ukraine in the coming fiscal year. This legislation  now awaits the President’s signature.

Below is an excerpt of Senator Blumenthal’s recent press release.

Aiding Wounded Ukrainian Soldiers: Blumenthal partnered with Connecticut’s Ukrainian-American community to secure a provision that creates a new funding authority for the treatment of wounded Ukrainian soldiers at Department of Defense (DoD) military treatment facilities. Ukrainian soldiers are currently able to come to America to be treated at military facilities when Ukraine cannot provide adequate care, but funding is not guaranteed and is often unaffordable. This legislation will provide a new route through the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative to cover medical care and associated costs at DoD treatment facilities.

St Sabbas the Sanctified

St. Sabbas lived from 439-532. His connection with the Feast of Christmas is that, like Christ, he was dedicated to God from the beginning of his life, imitating him from his birth Therefore, he was called “the sanctified one.” He entered the monastery at the age of eight. He was the founder of the St. Sabbas monastery in the area of Bethlehem, close to the place of our Lord’s birth. It was the Typicon (the Rule of Life for a monastery) of this monastery that became the model for the Byzantine order of the Divine Office.
 
On the feast of St. Sabbas, the irmosi of the second Canon of Christmas are sung: “Reverent silence would run no risk; but love compels us, O Virgin, to a more difficult task: to weave well-wrought hymns of devotion. O Mother, give us the strength to do what we intend.” (Irmos, Ode 9)
“Jesus called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me. (Matthew 18:2-5)”
 
Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Prophet of Zephaniah

Today, the Byzantine and the Latin Churches liturgically recalls the Prophet of Zephaniah. In Hebrew, the name means “Yahweh has concealed.” Zephania is known in biblical study as the ninth of twelve minor prophets (taken in literary order). The Latin Church remembers the Prophet as the one who inspired the hymn, Dies irae. The Prophet gave his message to Jerusalem to be united in their worship and faith in the true God otherwise face God’s judgement, “the Day of the Lord.”

The Prophecy of Zephaniah begins with great wrath – not for the faint-hearted! “I will completely sweep away all things from the face of the land …. Near is the great day of the Lord, near and very swiftly coming. The sound of the day of the Lord! Piercing – there a warrior shrieks! A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, a day of thick black clouds, A day of trumpet blasts and battle cries against fortified cities, against lofty battlements. (Zephaniah 1:1.14-16) But there is hope in his prophecy, hope for the humble who seek Jesus in the cave of Bethlehem, “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who have observed his law; seek justice, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger. (Zephaniah 2:3)”

Zephaniah foretells that there will always be a faithful remnant, But I will leave as a remnant in your midst, a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:12) The remnant will be those who follow Jesus in all sincerity, “They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue. (Zephaniah 3:13)” These are the humble shepherds, the rich Magi, who come to seek the Lord, and those who repent to hear the voice of the forerunner. For their sake, Christmas is a feast of joy: Shout for joy, daughter Zion! sing joyfully, Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, daughter Jerusalem! (Zephaniah 3:14) We sing “God is with us! on that day, and so Zephaniah confirms, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior (3:17)”

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras

Mary visits Elizabeth

On the Fourth Sunday [that is, today] before Christmas, the Syrian Church remembers the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. In the Byzantine Church, there is no feast of the Visitation, though this gospel is the common gospel for Matins of Feasts of the Theotokos.

We see here the first appearance of the Forerunner John, then a six month infant in the womb of Elizabeth, and “when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb. (Luke 1:41)” John and Jesus are closely connected in the Feast of Light: Christmas together with the Theophany, the baptism of Jesus by John. The two: John and Jesus are to be closely connected in the preaching of the Gospel, with quite different styles, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works. (Matthew 11:18-19″ Christmas is in the first place, the birth of Wisdom, and the coming of Christ would be “destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted. (the prophecy of Simeon, Luke 2:34)”

The Theotokos, a prophetess in her own right, today foretells what this means, “He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty. (Luke 1:51-53)” If we have ears, we must hear this prophecy, Christmas is not a time for arrogance and power and riches, because these are about to be overthrown. There is no future in them. It is a time for humility, for earthly weakness and for poverty. We do not often see Christmas in this perspective, but it is here that the gospel and faith in Christ leads us.

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras
Icon by Christine Uveges of Eikona Studios