Our Sunday service on January 30 is cancelled due to inclement weather.
On January 23, on the Sunday after the Theophany, Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our parish temple. After the reading from the Holy Gospel he preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate Sunday after the Theophany. We read the short Gospel passage telling us that our Lord Jesus Christ began His saving ministry (Mt. 4, 12-17. Let us talk about that Gospel lesson”.
“First we read: “When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee” (Mt. 4, 12). Very soon after he baptized the Lord in the Jordan River, St. John the Baptist was incarcerated. He suffered not precisely for Christ but for preaching the truth about king Herod Antipas. Later the Holy Forerunner was put to death for that, so in his troparion we sing, “having contested for the truth, thou joyfully preached in the hades…”. We should recall that Jesus proclaimed about Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14, 6). Jesus Christ is the Truth because He is God, therefore if someone is preaching the truth and is suffering for the truth, he suffers for Christ. Of course, it has to be the truth, not some idea which someone considers to be true. Many people are unfortunate to suffer for things which are not truth. But if someone is upholding real truth, he is serving God and suffers for that. And we have to admit, many people preaching the truth are persecuted and put in prison”.
“So, Jesus hearing that St. John is in prison, departed to a different region where He could safely begin to proclaim His preaching. That region was Galilee where Christ grew up. But we read that He left His town of Nazareth and came to the lands in Galilee that were populated by the Gentiles, the regions of Zabulun and Naphtali. This is why the Gospel says, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned” (Mt. 4, 16). The heathens dwelling in those regions, living in the darkness of their false religion and superstitions, were given a blessing to hear the preaching of Christ. The true Light has down upon them”.
“Dear brothers and sisters, the Light of Christ is shining upon all of us. It is accessible for the whole humanity. It is noticeable that in this time of the year we observe that we see more light. Today the Church commemorates St. Gregory of Nyssa, a great Father of the Church. He was the brother of St. Basil the Great and he was a prominent theologian and philosopher. He wrote about this season: “Today the darkness begins to grow shorter and the light to lengthen, as the hours of night become fewer…. Realize that the true Light is now here and, through the rays of the Gospel, is illumining the whole earth.” So, celebrating the feast of the Theophany we see that even nature reminds us of the light overcoming darkness. And in spiritual sense, our celebration reminds us that the true Light, Christ our God, is now shining for all of us”.
“However, not every human being becomes enlightened by Christ. Sadly, we observe that a lot of people ignore that light or even turn away from it. Some even attempt to block that light from shining upon others. The way St. John the Baptist was persecuted, nowadays many of those who love the truth and the light of Christ are being persecuted. But that true Light cannot be overshadowed. And if we truly wish to live by that light, the light of Truth will enlighten us and will show us in the true state – the way we are”.
“If we come to a dark room, we cannot see whether it is dirty or clean. But when the sunlight is coming to that room, all the dust and filth becomes visible. In the same way, spiritually, the light of the Truth, the light of Christ, reveals our sins and passions. And if we want to please God, we will begin cleaning. That cleaning is called the repentance, to which both St. John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus called the humanity”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! In order to clean the house, we need to do some work. In order to clean the soul, we need to repent, to perform spiritual labor. Last Sunday we were talking about that. In order to begin something, we need to prepare and to get rid of everything that stands on our way. For the soul, for the spiritual life, such work is repentance. It is a conversion; repentance, metanoia – a “change of mind”, as it is literally translated from Greek. To repent means to change your mind, your way, to change your person. It is to be honest with yourself and to see yourself in a true light, the way we really are. It is to be truthful. It is to suffer for the truth”.
“Only by such a true repentance we may be successful in our spiritual efforts. Only by being truthful with ourselves and by acknowledging our sins we may become mature in spirit. As Holy Apostle Paul says in today’s Epistle, then “we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4, 14)”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Let us follow the command of our Lord and work spiritually to repent. Let us attempt all the time to cleanse ourselves from sins and defilement. Let us frequently confess our sins to the Lord in the presence of a God’s priest. Let us be loyal to the truth and the truth of Christ will surely save us and lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven which is always at hand since the true light of Christ has dawned upon us!”
The choir performed festal hymns of the Theophany during preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made some announcements.
On January 19th the Orthodox Church celebrates great feast of the Theophany, or Baptism of the Lord. Our parish had a beautiful celebration of that holy day headed by our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov. He served the Divine Liturgy at St. George Church. After the Gospel lesson the Rector preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Today we celebrate the great holy day of the Baptism of the Lord, also called the Theophany. At today’s Liturgy we sing the communion hymn which repeats the words of today’s Epistle, “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Tit. 2, 11). Theophany means the appearance of God. It occurred when our Lord Jesus Christ came to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. This was the moment when Christ revealed Himself to the universe. But St. Paul says that God has appeared to all men through His grace that brings salvation. The whole mission of our Lord Jesus Christ was to bring salvation to the human kind. This is why He appeared by bringing the way of salvation, by bestowing His saving grace”.
“Celebrating Baptism of the Lord we renew our own baptismal vows which oblige us to be faithful to Christ and to renounce the evil one. Our Baptism was the door which opened to us the saving grace of the Lord. But this was supposed to be just the beginning of our salvation. Now we have to preserve that grace and to obtain it more and more. In today’s Epistle St. Paul clearly says that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Tit. 2, 12). “The present age” about which St. Paul is saying is the time we live, the time between the two comings of Christ. It happened to be relatively long. More than two thousand years mankind is living in that time, in that “present age”. And we may say that this time is becoming more and more difficult. People abandon faith, denounce religion, go astray from the traditional moral values. The climate is changing and the diseases spread. Some wise people say that it happened all the time in those two thousand years, that there were periods of disasters and periods of decline of faith and morals. But since we live now, not some centuries ago, it seems that our age is so unfortunate. But we are here to endure all these tests”.
“Every year living in that time we commemorate the mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God celebrating these winter feasts of the Nativity, of the Circumcision and of the Theophany. Thus we honor and remember the first coming of Christ. It began with His glorious Birth in the Cave of Bethlehem, it continued when the Child was given the name Jesus, the name of the Savior. And it did completely reveal itself when Jesus Christ appeared to the people at the Jordan”.
“The grace of that first coming is still with us. We should live by it. Our life “in the present age” has to be sober, righteous and godly, as St. Paul says (Tit. 2, 12). It means it should be spiritual and just. Striving for what is spiritual and avoiding what is sinful is not very easy. Our corrupted nature makes it very difficult. However, we are not left alone in that. We are no longer on our own. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared” (Tit. 2, 11). It is available to us. It may help us. What seems to be impossible with men may become possible with God (Lk. 18, 27). With His grace many things are possible, including our salvation”.
“This “present age” is also important as time of the expectation of the second coming of Christ. St. Paul says that we are “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2, 13). If we honor and commemorate the first coming of Christ, His Incarnation, we should remember and expect His second coming. We do it not by celebrating or holding feasts, but by our everyday Christian life, living for Christ and “being His own special people, zealous for good works,” as St. Paul says in today’s reading (Tit. 2, 14)”.
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Let us then live in our present time, celebrating and honoring the first appearing of the Lord, His Theophany and expecting His glorious second Coming. Let us live soberly, righteously and godly. The Divine grace which appeared with Christ to all men will definitely help us in that. It will make us His own special people, zealous for good works. It will then save us all!”
The choir prayerfully performed hymns of the feast during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the Prayer behind the Ambo the Rector performed the Great Blessing of water.
Following the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar servers came before the icon stand and performed the rite of glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Theophany. Then the Rector greeted the faithful on the great holy day and briefly instructed on the use and keeping of the holy water.
On January 16, on the Sunday before the Theophany, our parish gathered for a nice celebration in our temple. Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. After the Gospel lesson he preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! On Sunday before the Theophany we read the beginning of the Gospel of St. Mark. We hear about the preparation for the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ to the world. That preparation was made by God sending St. John the Baptist who is called the Forerunner. He was “running before”, he was a predecessor who had to prepare the way for the Lord”.
“By the way, today we commemorate Holy Prophet Malachi who revealed the God’s prophecy about St. John 4 centuries prior to his life: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You” (Mal. 3, 1). These same words are written by Holy Apostle Mark in today’s Gospel. Prophet Malachi was one of the 12 Lesser Prophets of the Old Testament. In fact, he was the last Old Testament Prophet. Sometimes we say that St. John the Baptist was the last Prophet of the Old Testament and the first Prophet of the New Testament. But to be precise, Malachi was the last one among the prophetic men who was writing about the coming of Christ. And he was writing about the messenger who was supposed to be sent before Christ to prepare His way, prophesying about John the Baptist. But the very name Malachi meant “my messenger” or “my Angel””.
“Dear brothers and sisters! Today’s Gospel story spiritually teaches us that in our own lives we also have to prepare the ways for the Lord. Holy Forerunner John was calling the people to get ready for the coming of the Savior. He said, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight” (Mk. 1, 3). Thus we have to take our own part in that preparation. How can we do that? Let us see what we do to prepare for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Partaking of the Holy Communion is, in fact, coming of Christ into our life – physical and spiritual coming. So, what we do to get ready for that coming? Usually, we read the rule of prayer, we fast from midnight. But we also examine our conscience and decide whether we need to go to confession. For many of us reception of the Eucharist is connected to another Sacrament – the Mystery of Penance. Very often we need to repent before we partake of the Holy Communion. Even if we choose not to go to confession, we absolutely need to show repentance for our sins before we dare to approach the holy chalice. And our prayers before Communion contain a lot of words of repentance. Therefore, prayer, fasting and repentance are the preparation to unite with the Lord”.
“Sometimes we complain that we do not feel the real help from God, or we say that we are not really exalted by our spiritual works. Today’s Gospel should open our spiritual eyes to see our spiritual state. In order to acquire God’s help and divine blessings, we need to be prepared. We need to do some spiritual labor. St. John the Baptist was calling us to such a labor saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Mt. 3, 2). Spiritual labor is to see our sins, to become aware of them and to confess them, as those people did – the people who were coming to St. John the Baptist. He baptized them, he immersed them into the waters of the Jordan River, so their sins were symbolically washed away. But he was telling them that his baptism is just a preparation for the Baptism of Christ. St. John was saying, “I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mk. 1, 8)”.
“Dear brothers and sisters! We now have the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ who is giving us various gifts of the Holy Spirit through His Holy Church. And in order to be spiritually comforted, strengthened and to have God’s blessings and help, we have to work spiritually, we have to prepare our souls for being along with the Lord”.
“The two great holy days, Nativity and Theophany, being united together, make up a joyful season which is called “Sviatki” in Russian. In the ancient Church these two feasts were celebrated on one day, so the Incarnation of the Son of God and His appearance to the world were honored together. That ancient feast was called the Lord’s Theophany. The Armenian Church is still doing that. Although it is formally considered fallen from the fullness of Orthodoxy, it is spiritually close to us and is keeping many ancient traditions of Christianity. And we, who have the two separate holy days, the Nativity and Theophany – we should remember about their spiritual connection to each other”.
“In fact, we have the three important feasts of this season – Christmas, Circumcision of the Lord and His Holy Baptism. They all are linked together. On Christmas day we commemorate the Birth of Christ. On Circumcision we remember that Christ was given His special human name – Jesus, meaning “God the Savior”. And on the feast of Theophany, or Baptism, we commemorate His appearance to the world”.
“When we celebrated Christmas, we recalled that when Christ was born into this world, He found no place in human dwellings. The homes of men, as well as the hearts of men were closed for the Lord coming into the world. But now the Church begins to call us not to repeat what the most people did at the time of the Birth of Christ. Through the lips of St. John the Baptist the Church calls us to open our hearts, to prepare the ways for the Lord, so the Lord would be with us not only at the time of preparation for the feast of His Baptism, but in all our life. By the words of the Holy Forerunner the Church teaches us to follow Christ, to live by His blessed Commandments and to enter the holy Kingdom of God that He brought to us that no one who believes in Him would not perish but had eternal life!”
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, the Rector had a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.
The choir performed Psalm 33 during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made announcements regarding coming holy day of the Theophany.
Parish Warden and Choir Director, Olga Roussanow greeted Archpriest Igor Tarasov on the occasion of his past 56th birthday and expressed good wishes to our pastor on behalf of all the parishioners. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) was proclaimed to Fr. Igor. Then the Rector thanked her and parishioners for their greetings.
After the service a delicious luncheon was served in honor of Fr. Igor’s birthday. The Rector and parishioners had a chance to enjoy tasty meals and a nice company. The luncheon was attended by Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) who also greeted Fr. Igor. To adorn the feast, the choir singers performed the Polychronion in a special way and a Ukrainian Christmas carol.
On January 9, on the Sunday after the Nativity, our St. George Parish family gathered again for a nice celebration. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel reading he preached the following homily:
“Dear brothers and sisters in Christ! On this Sunday after Christmas we have to learn what happened very soon after the Birth of Christ. Today’s Gospel lesson is telling us that after the departure of the Wise Men the Holy Family had to flee to Egypt because king Herod was looking for the Child Jesus to destroy Him (Mt. 2, 13). So, right after the joy of having Her first-born Child, Blessed Virgin had to run and hide. This gives us a very common picture of the life in this sinful world. The fallen human nature, human envy and hatred do not allow to live peacefully, but, on the contrary, spoil the lives of others and tend to destroy it. It is common that some people have a lust for power and wealth, and tend to oppress others while other kind of people are oppressed and deprived. Some persecute while others are persecuted”.
“The Christmas story is about those different kinds of people. In fact, it is about all kinds of them, it represents the whole human world”.
“King Herod represents all human corrupt rulers who desire to preserve their power at any cost. Herod knew that the Messiah was to come into the world. However, his own power was more important for him than salvation of his own people. And when Jesus was born and the Wise Men came to search for him, Herod became very disturbed (Mt. 2, 3). Instead of being excited about the Birth of the Messiah, he was worried that this little Child could take over his throne. Today we hear from the Gospel that Herod became angry after being deceived by the Wise Men who did not tell him about the place where the Child Jesus was. So he sent to kill all the infants in Bethlehem from two years old and under (Mt. 2, 16). The history of mankind is full of the examples of many Herods who sacrifice their own people, who shed innocent blood in order to strengthen their power. They do not care for spiritual matters but only use them to support their dominion. They falsify the elections to stay in their office, they use military and police force to keep their power”.
“But the Christmas story is not only about Herod. As we said, we also see other kinds of people. We see the shepherds. They become worthy of the appearance of the Angels who proclaim the joyful news to them – that the Savior is born. And the shepherds rush to the cave to worship Him. This is an example of simple, sincere and pious people who are blessed by God. We should now recall that from the beginning of humanity God loved the shepherds. Righteous Abel was a shepherd and God blessed his sacrifice. Thus shepherds are the devout people who sincerely love God”.
“In the story of the Nativity we see the Wise Men. These were the astrologers, the scientists of their age. Our tradition often refers to them as to the Three Kings. So, they could be the rulers in their own countries, just as Herod. They were serving false gods, practicing magic and sorcery, but they were looking for the truth. And being led by the star of Bethlehem they found the true Savior of the human race, the Child Jesus. Thus those wise men represent the scholars who look for the truth, who search for God. As the kings, they also represent the rulers who are seeking justice and do care about spiritual matters, the rulers who maintain the religious and moral values in their countries”.
“Today’s Gospel tells us about the Holy Infants killed by Herod in Bethlehem. They became the first Martyrs for the newborn Christ. They represent innocent children murdered by other people. First of all, they represent the unborn children killed in the mother’s womb, the victims of abortions. Yes, this is also part of the Christmas story. And in our festal joy we should not forget about that bitter truth, about such a terrible crime taking place in our world”.
“Finally, we see the Holy Family. Especially, the head of the household, righteous Joseph the Spouse. He humbly fulfills his duty to care and protect the Holy Family. Being advised by the Angel of the Lord he accepted Mary when She was pregnant. Now, again, advised by the Angel he takes the Child Jesus and His Mother and flees to Egypt. We may only imagine how hard it was for him and for the Holy Family to leave their native country and to go to the different land. But they did so in order to preserve the future Savior of the world. Therefore, St. Joseph represents a worthy and decent man who is fulfilling his obligation of taking care of the family, who protects his spouse and his children. And the Holy Family fleeing from Herod represents the persecuted in the world. Especially, it represents the persecuted Christians who are even now, in our times, are in fact persecuted and discriminated. They are persecuted in the Middle East or China; but they are in a different way persecuted in our own country”.
“Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, the Nativity story shows us the human race in different types of people. And we need to imitate some of them and avoid the attitude of others. We need to imitate the shepherds in their sincere trust to God, in their simple but fervent faith. We need to imitate righteous Joseph in his readiness to obey the will of God and in his care for the Holy Family, for the Child Jesus. Like him, we need to preserve Jesus, preserve Him in our hearts and let no one to destroy Him. We need to imitate the wise men in their love for knowledge but combined with the search for spiritual truth, the longing for God. And when they found God, found the Child Jesus they presented Him with the gifts. We also should give the Lord our own gifts – gifts of material nature like gold, gifts of spiritual nature like incense and gifts of moral nature like myrrh. But we have to avoid the attitude of Herod, the attitude of sin, evil desire and lack of love. Like those Wise Men who did not return to Herod, we should avoid being in contact with such people or such powers in the world, but to worship the true God, our Lord Jesus Christ born for us in a manger but who will rule the universe and redeem it!”
The choir prayerfully performed different beautiful hymns of the Nativity during preparation for Holy Communion.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector made some announcements.
On January 7 the Russian Orthodox Church observes feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Christmas. Our St. George Church had a nice celebration of that holy day.
On January 6, on Christmas Eve, our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the All-Night Vigil. That service consists of the Great Compline, Matins and the First Hour.
On Christmas day, January 7, our Rector served the Divine Liturgy. Despite the snowfall that occurred that morning, most of our parishioners came to the temple to participate in the divine service of the great feast.
Following the Gospel lesson the Rector proclaimed the Christmas Sermon of Venerable Isaac the Syrian.
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication, the Rector had a petition beseeching the Lord to spare the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.
During the preparation for Holy Communion at the Liturgy the choir beautifully performed different liturgical hymns of the Nativity.
After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar servers performed the rite of glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Nativity before the festal icon in the middle of the church. Then the Rector greeted the faithful on the occasion of the great holy day of the birth of the Son of God. He preached a sermon concerning the two aspects of the feast.
First, as the Rector pointed out, we should reflect upon the Incarnation of God – that God became Man. Jesus Christ became one of us, completely the same as we are, except sin. And when we think of that, we may say that our human nature is corrupt, so it is natural for us to be sinful. However, as the Holy Fathers, especially Venerable Maximus the Confessor, stressed, sin was not a part of human nature at the beginning. Thus it was completely right and understandable that Christ assumed our nature without sin. This idea should encourage us to strife for perfection in Christ.
Secondly, we should note that the Nativity of Christ happened almost in secret. It was not known to the most of the world. The Holy Family came to Bethlehem due to the census conducted by the Ceasar and the Virgin Mary did not intend to give birth there. The Holy Family was not known in that area and it found no place to stay, just a cave serving as a stable. When Christ was born there, only the shepherds enlightened by the Angels came there. Later the wise men arrived being led by the mysterious star. And Herod learned later and was disturbed. No one else knew about that event. In the similar way, we, Orthodox Christians, sometimes feel when we celebrate Christmas according to our calendar, in this country. Most of the people here have already celebrated. And they did it in the opposite way: many had their Christmas party before December 25. We should celebrate today and be merry after, not before Christmas. And we do it in our way being a minority in the society. But we should be encouraged by that also, keeping in mind that we, in some way, resemble those to whom the Birth of the Savior was revealed. And we should remember that at the second coming Christ will come openly and His coming will be known to the whole universe.
After the Rector’s sermon the parish Warden, Olga Roussanow had a speech in which she congratulated Archpriest Igor Tarasov on the occasion of his 32nd Anniversary of priestly ordination. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) to Fr. Igor was proclaimed.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where a tasty luncheon was prepared by our parishioners. Everybody enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company. Several toasts in honor of Fr. Igor were raised by parishioners and the Polychronion to our pastor was sung again.
On January 2, on the Sunday before the Nativity, we had a nice celebration at St. George Church. Due to the Prefeast of the Nativity the temple was already decorated for Christmas and the covers of the icon stands, as well as the altar and serving vestments were changed to white. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov, served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. The service was attended by Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) who was praying in the sanctuary. After the Gospel lesson Fr. Igor preached the following homily:
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Last Sunday the Church commemorated all the righteous of the Old Testament who awaited the coming of Christ. Today, on Sunday before the Birth of Christ on earth, the Church remembers all those in the Old Testament who were related to Christ by blood and those who spoke of His Birth as a Man. That is why today we have read Christ’s family tree from the Gospel of St. Matthew”.
“In this way the Church shows us that Christ was a historical figure, not a mythical or a legendary person. He really lived on Earth and was part of the human history. And in a more profound and spiritual way, today’s celebration and today’s reading from the Gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ really became a man. Тhe Son of God really took on human nature. He was not a ghost, an apparition, or a myth. He was not some “god of philosophers”. Such a god does not have a family tree. Jesus Christ is the son of Abraham. And He is God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He has flesh and blood, human ancestors. By taking on human nature, the Son of God became like us in all ways, in flesh and blood, in tears and sweat, in mind and soul, in heart and will. As a human, He was different from us in only one way – He did not sin. All His human ancestors did sin. For instance, king David. David is remembered for committing two grave sins – murder and adultery. But David is also remembered by his sincere repentance. Since we know that human nature of Christ remained sinless, He shows us the way that we can strive to avoid sin and thus to improve our failing human nature”.
“Dear Father, dear brothers and sisters! The fact that Christ took on human nature and has a family tree, has another meaning too. Christ is descended from Adam through Abraham and David, through His ancestors Joachim and Anna. Therefore, in His human nature He is related to us and we are related to Him. He is a relative of our ancestors, of our forebearers, Adam and Eve. He is one of our own. He is our relative and we are His relatives, we belong to the same, as we would say, “extanded” family. We should understand that with Christ we belong to one household, a family of Saints and a family of sinners, but a household of which He is the Head and we are His children, the children whose Mother is the Church and the Father is God. And in Him we believe in the Fatherhood of God and in the Brotherhood of Man”.
“And our Lord Jesus Christ who became Man, came to save this human brotherhood, so through Him we may become true children of God, not only by the fact of our creation by God, but by divine grace and our faith which make us saved in God”.
“And therefore, dear brothers and sisters, dear Father, preparing for the solemnity of the Birth of our Lord in flesh, let us become aware of our human brotherhood, as well as of our sonship to God, and let us implore our holy Ancestors: “Holy Fathers of Christ, pray to God for us!”
During the Litany of Fervent Supplication Fr. Igor proclaimed a petition beseeching the Lord to spear the faithful from the outbreak of the disease.
During preparation for Holy Communion the choir performed the hymns from the Nativity Canon.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector greeted everyone on the occasion of the civil New Year and made the announcements regarding the coming Nativity celebration. He proposed the parishioners to get the new wall calendars for the year 2022 in exchange for a donation. Fr. Igor also thanked our sisterhood for decorating the church before the holy days. Then Fr. Igor greeted Moses Dunetz and Phoebe Ching Huei-Li on the occasion of their birthdays celebrated these days proclaiming the traditional Polychronion on their behalf.