Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One of the Great Joys of Orthodoxy

Earlier this afternoon, I received a notice from All Saints Orthodox Church in Raleigh, NC.  It was very simple: Deacon David was notifying people that due to the priest's absence, a Divine Liturgy for Prophet Elias would not be served at All Saints on that date.  BUT -- the Deacon could note that Liturgies were being served on that date at at least two Greek Orthodox Churches nearby! 

It occurred to me that you really don't find that too often amongst other church bodies.

Over these last years, we experienced the hospitality of Orthodoxy in many ways -- but it is most certainly a joy to be able to go to a neighboring Orthodoxy if, for some reason, you can't go to your own.

Of course, we've experienced the same joy on regular Sundays when traveling.  This summer, we visited St. George Greek Orthodox Church in St. Paul, MN one Sunday.  The next we were at my brother's house about 40 miles from there, but a search found an Orthodox mission of the Orthodox Church in America only six miles from my brother's house  -- and we were welcome!  When we travel to North Carolina, we have gone to Greek Orthodox communities, and to a growing community of the Antiochian jurisdiction! 

In every place, we are Orthodox!  In each place, we join with other Orthodox in receiving the Mysteries!  In every church we participate in the same Divine Liturgy!  And major events such as ground breakings, patronal feast days, consecrations celebrated across jurisdictional lines as we are all joined in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church -- not merely in word, but in practice!

   Thanks be to God for such a great joy!

   Glory to God for all things!

   Christ is in our  midst!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Not going away from any place"

The Kontakion for Ascension, and particularly the words "not going away from any place" struck me today in Orthros.  How different from those who think or teach that Jesus went "somewhere else" and is somehow no longer with us!  And how different from those that might think in terms of Jesus being "sort of" with us after the Ascension!

The promise echoed at the end of the Kontakion (and its Eikos) is powerful for us in this age, is it not?

I am with you, and there is, therefore, none against you!

When you had fulfilled the dispensation
for our sake, and united things on
earth with the things in heaven, You were
taken up thither in glory, O Christ our
God, going not away from any place, but
continuing inseparable, and to them that
love You crying out, “I am with you, and
there is, therefore, none against you.”
Glory to God for All Things!

Blessed Ascension to all!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Around the world ....

Once again this year, Pascha brought great joy!

This Pascha, Bishop DEMETRIOS of Mokissos, Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago presided! Hierarchical Liturgies are always unique, but on Pascha, this Pascha, it was indeed a blessing! Although His Grace wanted services from the books (Papadeas), the Liturgy, though shorter, was longer!  His Grace also brought a marvelous Psalti who was visiting from Greece.  This young man was truly a blessing, although more was done in Greek than English.

The Divine Liturgy was followed by dinner with Lamb and "all the fixings."  There were were, quite a gathering feasting at 3 am!!  We all pitched in and the clean up was done in short order.  In bed by 5 am, in enough time to get some rest before Agape Vespers at noon.

This year I was pleased to chant much more as I grow in this office in the church ... According to Vasili, our Protopsalti, I did very well at Agape Vespers (he told the lovely bride this!). 

Now, all of those thing are indeed wonderful, but Katherine and I once again pondered the marvel that the whole world was "wrapped" in the Paschal Liturgy and prayers.  This proclamation, truth and testimony went "round the world" as essentially the same liturgy, the same prayers, the same hymnody were prayed in many languages as each time zone was crossed.  Think of it:  where else would find such a thing?  Add to that the fact that is proclamation is carried from generation to generation, and you begin to get a sense of what it means that the "deposit of truth" is guarded throughout the ages!

We are joined in Christ in a worldwide family!  And, we, joined in that family do live for the life of the world in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Christ is risen!
Christos Anesti!