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PAST NEWSLETTER ISSUES
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May 13, 2022
On this fourth Sunday after Pascha, Christ asks the eponymous paralytic, “Do you wish to be made well?” I expect we have all asked ourselves this at some point on our way into or through the Orthodox Church, and this day we commemorate the healing of a man who had been hurting for thirty eight years before encountering Jesus - it is never too late.
Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers
May 6, 2022
The Myrrh-bearing women were the first to see the Empty Tomb and were instructed by Our Risen Lord to bring the News to His Apostles. Here in Texas, the Myrrh-bearers are the patronesses of our burial societies; at St. Andrew’s ours is St. Mary Magdalene.
Fri, April 29th, 2022
“Doubting Thomas” has gotten a bad rap in our culture, but St. Thomas was an important Apostle, responsible for evangelizing India (where he was martyred by spear), where even today the Malankara Orthodox Church traces their origins to him.
April 22, 2022
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Христос воскресе из мертвых, смертию смерть поправ, и сущим во гробех живот даровав!
April 15, 2022
One of the Great Feasts of the Church and the surest sign that Pascha is a mere week away! We celebrate this day with joy, but with the realization that sadness will meet us during Holy Week. We will have a palm procession following the Divine Liturgy, and this is a fish day, so feel free to bring a fish dish to share!
April 8, 2022
St. Mary of Egypt’s life was recorded by St. Sophronios of Jerusalem, who tells us that her conversion took place on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Before going into the Jordanian desert where she lived for 47 years she received Holy Communion at St. John the Baptist Monastery. She fought against her passions for 17 years and told her life story to Fr. Zosimas with whom she is frequently depicted in icons, and who saw her rise above the ground miraculously during prayer.
Fri, April 1st, 2022
We know relatively little about the Life of St. John, whose appellation “Climacus” means “of the Ladder” - the book he wrote for monks of a neighboring monastery around 600AD. The Ladder of Divine Ascent is also the title of an icon you may have noticed in the parish - see if you can find it this coming Sunday…
Fri, March 25th, 2022
Commemorating the finding of the True Cross by Empress St. Helena in 326 and its recovery from the pagan Persians in 628, this is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church.
Fri, March 18th, 2022
Preeminent theologian and proponent of Hesychasm, St. Gregory wrote voluminously and contributed to such important works in the Church as the Philokalia.
Fri, March 11th, 2022
On this First Sunday of the Great Lent we commemorate the Triumph of Orthodoxy over the Iconoclasts, and proclaim the importance of icons to our worship! Read more here.
Fri, March 4th, 2022
Today we commemorate the 1st and 2nd finding of the head of St. John the Forerunner; how do you lose the head of a saint, twice? Read more about it here. It’s also Maslenitsa, the feast of butter, cheese, and crepes - the last of such luxuries until Pascha!
Fri, February 25th, 2022
This Sunday is called Meatfare Sunday since it is traditionally the last day before Pascha for eating meat. Orthodox Christians observe a fast from meat all week, but still eat dairy products and eggs until the start of Great Lent.
Fri, February 18th, 2022
We are to see ourselves as being in a foreign country far from the Father's house and to make the movement of return to God, where we truly belong. The parable gives assurance that the Father will receive us with joy and gladness in our journey through Great Lent, our journey home.
34th Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
Fri, February 11th, 2022
34th Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee
Fri, February 4th, 2022
The group of Saints of the Russian Orthodox Church persecuted for the sake of Christ following the October Revolution of 1917, glorified by ROCOR in 1981. They include the Imperial Martyrs for whom we will have an akathist following the Divine Liturgy.
January 28, 2022
St. Anthony the Great, the Father of Monasticism, while not the first ascetic or hermit, he was the first to enter the wilderness to be closer to God. Most of what we know of his life comes from the biography written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria in which he is subject to several supernatural attacks and temptations. As you might expect, Fr. Iggy has a copy at the parish should you like to read it…
January 21, 2022
St. Theophan is especially well-known today through the many books he wrote concerning the spiritual life, especially on the subjects of the Christian life and the training of youth in the Faith, as well as translating the Philokalia into Russian from Church Slavonic.
January 14, 2022
Though you may only know the name from the Children of the Corn franchise, Malachi is an important prophet of the Old Testament, the last of the prophetic section, and his name derives from the Hebrew word for “messenger.” Malachi focuses on the lax religious attitudes of his time, particularly that of the priests (ahem), and reminds us all that we must await the return of God and end times with faith, in fear and trembling.
January 7, 2022
Merry Christmas - Christ is Born - Glorify Him! We are sviatki (fast-free) until the Eve of the Theophany (Tuesday, January 18th) - so enjoy yourselves! :)
Dec 31, 2021
Righteous St. John of Kronstadt has been commemorated in the Russian Orthodox Church since a decree from St. Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II in 1909; he was canonized by ROCOR in 1964 independent of Moscow on the orders of St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco.
Dec 17, 2021
Arius-slapping, gift-giving St. Nick! Bring an extra shoe to the Divine Liturgy and we’ll send you home with some goodies in it!
Dec 10, 2021
The Holy Martyr Paramon and the 370 Martyrs with him suffered for their faith in Christ in the year 250 during the rule of the emperor Decius (249-251). The governor of the Eastern regions, Aquianus, had locked up 370 Christians in prison, urging them to abjure Christ and instead offer sacrifice to idols.
They subjected the captives to beatings, hoping by torture and the threat of death to persuade them to renounce Christ and worship the pagan gods. One of the local inhabitants, Paramon by name, openly denounced the cruel governor and confessed his faith in the One True God, the Lord Jesus Christ. They beheaded Saint Paramon after fierce tortures, together with the other 370 martyrs.
Dec 3, 2021
The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle Philemon, Bishop of Gaza, is numbered among the Apostles of the Seventy. The Church has included a letter he received from St. Paul in the Canon of Holy Scripture. The shortest Epistle at just 25 verses, St. Paul implores St. Philemon to accept his runaway slave St. Onesimus back as he has become a Christian.
Nov 26, 2021
Nov 19, 2021
“Who is like unto God?” - This is the meaning of St. Michael the Archangel’s name, and he is one of the most celebrated of our angelic intercessors. At St. Andrew’s his icon is on the Southern Deacon’s door, guarding the entry to the Altar, and reminding us that we must never enter in anything other than a spirit of reverence and only ever with just cause.
Nov 12, 2021
The Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian and their mother Saint Theodota were natives of Asia Minor (some sources say Mesopotamia). Their pagan father died while they were still quite small children. Their mother raised them in Christian piety. Through her own example, and by reading holy books to them, Saint Theodota preserved her children in purity of life according to the command of the Lord, and Cosmas and Damian grew up into righteous and virtuous men.The venerable relics of the holy brothers were buried together at Thereman (Mesopotamia).
Nov 5, 2021
These Martyrs were disciples of Saint Paul the Confessor. Martyrius was a subdeacon, Marcian a chanter and reader. They were beheaded by the Arians in the year 346. Miracles were wrought at their tomb, and demons were cast out; Saint John Chrysostom began the building of the church in their honour in Constantinople, and it was completed by patriarch Sisinius.
October 29, 2021
The Holy, Glorious, and All-Laudable Apostle and Evangelist Luke is the author of the Gospel of Luke, and the Church’s first iconographer. On the Royal Doors you see him depicted with his symbolic animal, the calf, a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial and priestly office.
October 22, 2021
The 7th Ecumenical Council, also called the 2nd Council of Nicea, took place in 787 AD and restored the use and veneration of icons in Orthodox worship.
October 15, 2021
The first Bishop of Athens, St. Hierotheus was one of the learned men of that city who came to hear St. Paul preach the Gospel. He accepted baptism at the hands of the Apostle, and was later present along with St. Dionysius, at the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos. He was a noted hymnographer, and died a martyr’s death in the first century.
October 8, 2021
Martyr Callistratus was a warrior saint who was persecuted under Diocletian, sewn into a bag and thrown into the sea, rescued by a dolphin, and ultimately cut into pieces alongside his 49 companions.
October 1, 2021
Besides being the saint known to college students everywhere as the “dude on the bottle of Jagermeister!!!” (he’s the patron saint of hunters) St. Eustace is a fascinating figure in several respects. The Roman Catholics no longer venerate him, believing him to have been an instance of fabulation in the martyrology, but it is well known in the East that he was thrown to a den of lions and then cast into a brazen bull along with his family.
Sept 17, 2021
The Chudov (“of the Miracle”) monastery in Moscow is named for this Feast.
Sept 11, 2021
Happy New Year! But wait - it’s September - read more inside...
Sept 3, 2021
As with the Nativity of the Theotokos and the feast of her Entry into the Temple, there are no biblical or historical sources for this feast. The Orthodox Church teaches that Mary is without personal sins. She truly died and was raised up by her Son as the Mother of Life and participates already in the eternal life of paradise. This life of paradise is prepared and promised to all who "hear the word of God and keep it." (Luke 11:27).
Aug 27 2021
The Acheiropoieta (Byzantine Greek: αχειροποίητα, "made without hand") is one of the earliest icons witnessed to by the Church. It is this icon that we mention in our icon blessing service as having been sent to Abgar in Edessa and which healed him. Abgar V is claimed to be one of the first Christian kings in the first Christian country (Armenia), having been converted to the faith by Thaddeus of Edessa, one of the Disciples of the Seventy.
Aug 20 2021
The Apostle Matthias is an interesting figure. He was selected by the remaining 11 Apostles to replace Judas Iscariot following his betrayal and suicide. Because Christ had already ascended his selection fell to the 11, and lots were cast to select Matthias over Barsabas. This was before the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church.
Aug 13 2021
The PriestMartyr Stephen, Pope of Rome, suffered in the year 257 during the reign of the emperor Valerian. Saint Stephen, occupying the throne (253-257) of the Sainted First-Bishop of Rome, zealously contended against the heresy of Novatus, which taught that it is not proper to receive back those returning from heresy. In hiding during a time of persecution against Christians, the saint baptised many pagans, in which number was the military tribune Nemesius – converted to Christ after the saint healed his daughter Lucilla.
Aug 6 2021
Hieromartyrs Hermolaus, Hermippus and Hermocrates of Nicomedia, were among the small number of those remaining alive after 20,000 Christians were burned alive in a church at Nicomedia in the year 303 (December 28), on the orders of the emperor Maximian (284-305). They lived in remote places and did not cease to preach Christianity to the pagans.
July 30 2021
The Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the First Six Ecumenical Councils.
In the Ninth Article of the Nicea-Constantinople Symbol of Faith proclaimed by the holy Fathers of the First and Second Ecumenical Councils, we confess our faith in “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.” By virtue of the catholic nature of the Church, an Ecumenical Council is the Church’s supreme authority, and possesses the competence to resolve major questions of church life. An Ecumenical Council is comprised of archpastors and pastors of the Church, and representatives of all the local Churches, from every land of the “oikumene” (i.e. from all the whole inhabited world).
July 23 2021
The MonkMartyr Simon of Volomsk, in the world Simeon, son of the peasant Mikhail from the vicinity of Volokolamsk, was born in the year 1586. At 24 years of age, after long pilgrimage through Orthodox monasteries, he took monastic vows at the Pinegsk Makar'ev monastery, and in the year 1613 he settled 80 versts to the southwest of Ustiug at the River Kichmenga, in the Volomsk forest. Here he spent five years alone, remote from people; he nourished himself with vegetables which he himself cultivated, and sometimes indeed asked for bread in some settlement.
When lovers of the quiet life began to gather to him, the Monk Simon, through a grant of tsar Mikhail Feodorovich and with the blessing of the Rostov metropolitan Varlaam, erected a temple in honour of the Cross of the Lord, and in 1620 was made head of the monastery founded by him. A strict ascetic, serving as an example to all in virtue, love of toil, fasting and prayer, he was wickedly murdered in his own monastery on 12 July 1641. The body of the Monk Simon with reverence was buried on the left side of the church built by him.
July 16 2021
As you know, we have an especially strong devotion to the Imperial Martyrs at our parish, with our parish Brotherhood holding as its patron Tsar-Martyr Nicholas II. As their feast day is this coming Saturday, we will celebrate a Divine Liturgy at 9am, and then serve an akathist to their memory. For more on akathists, check out this week’s ask the priest!
July 9 2021
Icon of the Mother of God “Of the Three Hands”
Commemorated on June 12
Saint John lived in the time of iconoclasm, when it was dangerous to be a dedicated follower of religious icons. In 726, the Byzantine Emperor Leo III “the Isaurian” announced an edict prohibiting the veneration of icons. Saint John, who was a heresy rival, highly criticized the actions of the Emperor and was slandered afterword for his “treasonous” writings. The Caliph ordered to cut off the monk’s right hand as punishment for his disloyalty.
Suffering physically, John begged to be given his cut-off hand. He put it to the joint and fell for praying before the icon of the Theotokos. Saint John was begging the Mother of God to heal his hand so that he could write again in the name of the Christian Church. Afterword, in dreams, he saw the Theotokos who promised him to restore his hand and urged John to work hard all his life. After awakening, Saint John the Damaskus saw that his hand was healed, with just a red scar on the wrist, signifying the wonder performed by the Mother of God. Being grateful for the healing, Saint John made a silver hand and put it to the icon; hence, this Christian icon got its name “Of the Three Hands.”
July 2 2021
Saints of all times, and in every country are seen as the fulfillment of God’s promise to redeem fallen humanity. Their example encourages us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us” and to “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). The saints also teach us how we should live, and what we must expect to endure as Christians.
June 25 2021
This is the Sunday of All Saints, when we commemorate all saints known to us, and those known only to God. We are now one week past Pentecost, and the descent of the Holy Spirit allows us to rise above our fallen nature and attain sainthood, fulfilling God’s command to us: “be holy, for I am holy!”
June 18 2021
In the Church’s annual liturgical cycle, Pentecost is “the last and great day.” It is the celebration by the Church of the coming of the Holy Spirit as the end—the achievement and fulfillment—of the entire history of salvation. For the same reason, however, it is also the celebration of the beginning: it is the “birthday” of the Church as the presence among us of the Holy Spirit, of the new life in Christ, of grace, knowledge, adoption to God and holiness.
June 11 2021
This is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers when we commemorate those bishops who gathered in Nicea at the First Ecumenical Council, and having brought them there, God inspired the writing of the Creed we recite each week.
What’s more, the Holy Fathers were willing to give their lives for what this Creed contains, and would not move one iota. The difference? The heretics wanted the Church to believe that Jesus was "homoiousion" with God the Father and not "homoousion".
Homoousios is the word in the Creed translated in English "essence" or "substance". We say each Sunday we believe in Jesus Christ, "Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, of one essence with the Father". In confessing this we are confessing that Jesus is fully God (and fully man).
June 4 2021
The miracle described in today’s Gospel (John 9:1-38) is even more remarkable than it might seem at first. Saint Basil and other Fathers tell us that this was not just a case of giving sight to a blind man born with eyes that did not function, but to someone who had no eyes at all! The second Exapostilarion for this Sunday says, “Along the way, our Savior found a man who lacked both sight and eyes...”.
The Gospel says, “Since the world began, it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of one who was born blind” (John 9:32). There are examples in the Old (Tobit 2:17) and New (Mark 8:22-26) Testaments of blind people receiving sight, but this is something completely unprecedented.
The Savior placed clay in the man’s empty sockets and told him to wash in the pool of Siloam. When he obeyed these instructions, the eyes of clay became living eyes!
May 28, 2021
The fifth Sunday of Easter deals with the Samaritan woman with whom Christ spoke at Jacob's Well from the Gospel of St John (4). Again the theme is the "living water" and the recognition of Jesus as God's Messiah (John 4:10-11; 25-26).
This is a reminder of new life in Christ, of drinking of the "living water," of true worship of God in the Christian messianic age "in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:23-24). Salvation is offered to all: Jews and Gentiles, men and women, saints and sinners.
May 21, 2021
Christ is Risen! Христос воскресе! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Hristos a înviat! !المسيح قام! حقا قام
On this day the Church remembers the man who lay by the Sheep’s Pool in Jerusalem for thirty-eight years, waiting for someone to put him into the pool. The first one to enter the pool after an angel troubled the water would be healed of his infirmities, but someone always entered the pool before him.
Seeing the man, the Lord felt compassion for him and healed him.
May 14, 2021
The Myrrh-bearing women are those women who followed the Lord, along with His Mother. They remained with her during the time of the saving Passion, and anointed the Lord's body was with myrrh. Joseph and Nikodemos asked for and received the Lord's body from Pilate.
The Myrrh-bearers have recently taken on a new importance for our parish as we have partnered with the other Austin-area parishes to form a burial society, with our parish having as our patroness for this effort St. Mary Magdalene. The Brotherhood of Tsar Martyr Nicholas II will be in charge of building caskets for those in need, both in our parish and in the greater area burial society. We’ve had to delay our first build due to weather, but stay tuned as we’ll get together on a weekend sometime soon to build - all are welcome to help, and both tools and materials are very welcome!
Fri, May 7th, 2021
This is the greeting we’ll use from now until the Ascension, the period known as Paschaltide. We celebrated a wonderful Paschal service with several visitors, and be sure to check out the amazing, professional video of the service on our Facebook page! Matushka Apollonia and I are very grateful for everyone’s participation, and the wonderful fellowship we shared as our Paschal trapeza. The parish is growing in a way we could never have expected when we began eight years ago, and with this, the fourth Pascha in our new space, we are delighted!
April 30, 2021
We’re nearly to Pascha, when in one voice we’ll exclaim, “CHRIST IS RISEN!” Our lives over the past few months have changed irrevocably as we’ve moved together as the Body of Christ toward the moment of His Glorious Resurrection. We will feast together as enter Bright Week (sometimes also called Renewal Week), which is fast-free (being considered a continuous day), taking us into St. Thomas Sunday. Then we begin the 50 day period of celebration that continues until Pentecost.
You will notice during Bright Week that the Royal Doors remain fully open, and the unobscured view of the altar symbolizes both the empty tomb and the rent veil in the Jewish Temple. Please take a few moments to look inside following the Paschal service!
April 22, 2021
We are reaching the end of the Great Lent as we approach Palm Sunday.
This Sunday is the Entry of our Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday). Christ rode into Jerusalem and a large crowd greeted him, hailing him as a king. He comes into Jerusalem openly saying and doing things which enrage those in power. His triumphant entry is contrasted by the events next to come and marks the coming of Holy Week.
Fri, April 16th, 2021
We are more than halfway through the Great Lent as we approach the 5th Sunday.
St. Mary of Egypt stands as an inspiration to Orthodox Christians who may feel an oppressive burden of worldly sins. Through the intercessions of the Most Holy Theotokos, St. Mary was allowed to asceticize in the desert for most of her life, overcoming the passions of her youth, and upholding the vital importance of our participation in the Holy Mysteries of the Church.
Wed, Apr 7, 2021
We are more than halfway through the Great Lent as we approach the 4th Sunday/ St. John Climacus. St. John’s famous Ladder of Divine Ascent (which we have available in our parish bookstore - not too late for Lenten reading) is an essential text for Orthodox Christians in guiding us to a Christ-centered life lived virtuously toward our salvation.
This important text has brought benefit to innumerable Saints of the Church and reminds us that while we are unavoidably in this world, we need not necessarily be of it, i.e., it can be renounced to great spiritual benefit.
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