Christian, remember your dignity –Merry Christmas

From a sermon of Saint Leo the Great, pope
Christian, remember your dignity

Dearly beloved, today our Saviour is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.

No one is shut out from this joy; all share the same reason for rejoicing. Our Lord, victor over sin and death, finding no man free from sin, came to free us all. Let the saint rejoice as he sees the palm of victory at hand. Let the sinner be glad as he receives the offer of forgiveness. Let the pagan take courage as he is summoned to life.

In the fullness of time, chosen in the unfathomable depths of God’s wisdom, the Son of God took for himself our common humanity in order to reconcile it with its creator. He came to overthrow the devil, the origin of death, in that very nature by which he had overthrown mankind.

And so at the birth of our Lord the angels sing in joy: Glory to God in the highest, and they proclaim peace to men of good will as they see the heavenly Jerusalem being built from all the nations of the world. When the angels on high are so exultant at this marvellous work of God’s goodness, what joy should it not bring to the lowly hearts of men?

Beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit, because in his great love for us he took pity on us, and when we were dead in our sins he brought us to life with Christ, so that in him we might be a new creation. Let us throw off our old nature and all its ways and, as we have come to birth in Christ, let us renounce the works of the flesh.

A new liturgical year begins today, a new year of grace

“The beginning of the New Ecclesiastical Year urges us to sanctify the time of our earthly life as a time of salvation.”
– Patriarch Daniel

September 1st is known as the first day of the New Liturgical Year for those who follow the Byzantine Church. It’s an observance we had since the 4th century. Here is Father David Petras’ brief explanation:

We call this the “Church” New Year, but it was, of course, the civil New Year of the Byzantine Emperor. The book, Mapping Time, by E. G. Richards, says, “In AD 312 Constantine had instituted a 15-year cycle of indications (censuses of people’s ability to pay taxes). These started on 1 September …. The Byzantine year started on 1 September and this system was used by the supreme tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire until it was abolished by Napoleon in 1806.” The ancient Roman Empire began the year on January 1, and therefore September was the seventh month (from the Latin word for seven, “septem”). Of course, it is now the ninth month (!) Because of the interpolation of July (for Julius Caesar) and August (for August Caesar). Many seriously advocate making September 1 the New Year again, because, after all, this is the beginning of the school year and fall programs. It would also enable people to get home on dry roads rather than on snow and ice.

In any case, the gospel today has the blessing of our Lord on the New Year, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

Saints Peter and Paul Fast 2023

Today, Monday, June 5, we begin the Fast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (ending on June 28). As with all major feasts there’s a period of spiritual preparation through the gestures of prayer, fasting and alms giving; all three deepen our conversion and discipleship with the Lord.

This Apostles’ Fast can be observed in different ways, traditionally it is a Monday-Wednesday-Friday Fast, with a lighter Fast on the other days. This Fast is not compulsory, but optional in the Byzantine Catholic Church.

The Church, in her wisdom, invites us to participate in some way as we prepare for the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Consider doing all or some preparation for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul.

We have ancient witnesses to doing fast of the holy Apostles, some the sources demonstrate that St. Athanasius the Great is oldest of the advocates of the Apostles’ Fast, and we have the words of St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Leo the Great and Theodoret of Cyrrhus supporting the practice and tradition.

You won’t regret doing the fast, especially if you can do it with others. The fast opens us up to receiving the Gifts of the Holy Spirit!

Ascension of the Lord

Hope you have a blessed day!

When you had fulfilled the plan of salvation for us and united the earthly with the heavenly, you were taken up in glory, O Christ our God. Never parting from us but remaining constantly, you proclaim to those who love you: I am with you and no one can be against you. [Kontakion]

Educate yourself:

Scripture: Luke 24:36-53

Reflection on the Leave-taking of Pascha to the Sunday of All Saints

First Communion celebrated

The following children, will making their First Holy Communion in our church today:

EVA FARYNA
MATEI KENNARD
ANNA YUZIUK
MARKIIAN PAVLYSHYN

Today our prayer are for the first Holy Communicants who will approach the altar, solemnly receive the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time.

This is a memorable day in the child life and how often they will recall it as the years pass!

Children, often receive into your hearts Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Remember His promise that He will be with us to Comfort and guide us in our daily lives. He is your best friend
and will never let you down.

God bless and protect our First Holy Communicants, their teacher Halya Lodynsky, their parents, grand-parents, and God-parents, who raised them up in the love of Christ. Parents,
keep bringing them to church every Sunday. It is the sacred duty of parents to provide not just the material well-being of their children but also for the spiritual well-being, upon which depends their eternal life.

The Divine Liturgy is at 10:30 a.m. The Moleban to the Mother of God precedes the Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

The Sunday of Zacchaeus

Though there is no special office for this Sunday, it is commonly seen as the beginning of our preparation for the Feast of our Lord’s Resurrection. Today we must be Zacchaeus. When Jesus came to Jericho, “Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.” Today is where we start our search for God, who is coming to take away the sin of the world. Today we must be filled with the desire to see God, as was Zacchaeus. Today we must acknowledge our sins, for Jesus is coming to our church, today he is coming into our homes, more exactly, into the home of our heart. What a contrast between Zacchaeus and the Blind Man of Jericho who could not see and begged Jesus for sight.

Zacchaeus could see and yet climbs the sycamore tree to get the best possible view. What a contrast between Zacchaeus and the rich young man. The rich young man could not let even one penny of his riches escape his grasp, but Zacchaeus says, “Half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” Today, Jesus tells us, “Salvation has come to this home.” It is already Pascha, if we turn to our Lord in his mercy, if we seek him with the zeal of Zacchaeus.

Today St. Paul’s promise is fulfilled, “We have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)” Today we must be among those who believe.