Our solemn feast of the Dormition

We celebrate the Dormition of the Virgin as the transitus of Mary, the Holy Theotokos from death to Life. Mary who willingly gave her human nature to God, now receives the perfection of eternal life. In beholding her, we can see our own future.

With the Church we pray Troparion (Tone 1):

“In giving birth you preserved your virginity. In falling asleep you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated to life O Mother of Life, and by your prayers you deliver our souls from death.”

In his Homily on the Dormition, St. John Damascene makes the Tomb of Mary talk:

“Why do you seek in the tomb what has been assumed into heaven? Why do you exact from me an account of her dissolution? I had no power to go against the divine command. Leaving the wind ing sheet, that holy and sacred body, which filled me with myrrh, sweet fragrance and holiness, has been caught up and has departed with all the powers of heaven accompanying it.

“Now the Angels keep watch over me. Now the divine grace dwells in me. I have become a well of healing for the sick, a defense against demons, a refuge to those who fly to me. Draw near in faith, you people, and you will receive grace in streams.” (cf. Hom. on Dorm. II, 17)

Our parish is celebrating today’s feast with the Divine Liturgy being offered at 10 a.m. with the Blessing of Herbs

Fresco from Gračanica Monastery in Kosovo, Serbia c. 1321

Annunciation of the Mother of God 2023

On Saturday, March 25, the feast of the Annunciation of the Mother of God –the beginning of our salvation the Divine Liturgy will be offered:

~9:45 a.m. Lytija and Blessing of Bread
~10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy offered for the people of God
~the Anointing-Myrovann will happen at the end of the Liturgy

Miraculous Marian icon beloved by women struggling with infertility, difficult pregnancies

A miraculous Marian icon will be placed at St John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church in Trumbull, CT, November 13–27. It is especially beloved by women who struggle with infertility or difficult pregnancies.

Several miraculous births have been attributed to this icon in the Byzantine Catholic community of Albuquerque, NM, where a copy has been venerated for years.

St John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic parish welcomes all Christians to honor the Mother of God, to join in the worship service of Psalms and Scriptural readings that will be offered in the parish: special services on Tuesdays November 15 and 22 at 6pm, or on Sunday Divine Liturgy, Nov 13, 20, and 27 at 9.30am.

Please visit the parish website for more details on the services www.stjohntrumbull.org or call the parish office at 203-377-5967.

Protection of our most holy Lady

Today, October 1, is the feast day of the Protection of our most holy Lady and the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary: The Pokrova.

The Feast of the Protection commemorates the appearance of the most holy Theotokos in the Church of Blachernae in Constantinople in the tenth century, as recorded in the life of Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ’s sake. While the multitudes of the faithful were gathered in Church, Our venerable Epiphanius, the friend of Saint Andrew, through the Saint’s prayers, beheld the Virgin Mary above the faithful and spreading out her veil over them, signifying her unceasing protection of all Christians. Because of this we keep a yearly feast of gratitude, imploring our Lady never to cease sheltering us in her mighty prayers.

During our Divine Services we have become accustomed to seeing clergy, choir, and parishioners in attendance, but we have completely forgotten that others are invisibly present: God’s holy Angels, His holy Saints, the Most-holy Virgin, and our Lord Himself, are there as well. Our venerable fathers Andrew together Epiphanius, and many other righteous ones could see this. We do not see, because it is “the pure in heart (who) see.” It is only the pure in heart that are capable of beholding what mystically transpires within the Church; only they behold those who stand alongside us in Church. I suppose that we could not bear the actual sight of the spiritual world as it really is. The more one grows spiritually, the more one can see and understand. For our part, we occasionally hear “Now the Hosts of Heaven invisibly worship with us.” The Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God-Pokrova reminds us that Heaven reaches all the way to the earth.

The Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos

Today, 8th September, we celebrate the feast of the Nativity of Mary, Our Blessed Mother!

“What then should we offer to the Mother of the Word other than an oration? Let the whole of creation make festival and sing of the most holy birth-giving of the holy Anna. For she bore for the world an inviolable treasury of blessings.” (St John Damascene, On the Nativity of Mary)

The Epistle today is from Philippians, and it is about Christ, “Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:7-9).

The mystery of Mary, the Theotokos, the Birth-giver of God, is united with the mystery of Jesus our Lord, the Giver of Life to all. Every feast is a celebration of the one Paschal Mystery, how through his death on the Cross (“by death trampling upon death”) the Son of God bestowed life upon the whole world, and how, therefore, in our humiliation, in giving ourselves in love to God and, through him, to each other, we find glory in God. Joachim and Anna were humbled and desolate, barren of children, and yet, “from infertile ground, the fertile ground is born. From her has grown the Gardener (see that Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Christ for a gardener) of all fruit, the flower bringing life, who by the will of God nourishes the universe” (1st Troparion, Ode 3, Matins of the Pre-feast).