Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
St Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Home Page St Nicholas the Wonderworker Go to the bottom of the page
Phone:972 529-2754

Redeeming the Time Vol 01.01 18th Sunday after Pentecost Oct 6/19 1997

Redeeming the Time

St Nicholas Orthodox Church Dallas TX

See then that ye walk circumspectly,

not as fools, but as wise,

redeeming the time,

because the days are evil.

18th week after Pentecost

Oct 6/19 1997

Vol. 1.1

Redeeming the Time *

Local News and Announcements *

Baptism *

Russian International Party at David and Elizabeth's 1:30 - 4:30 Sunday, Oct 6/19 *

Second Saturday Work Day *

Five Year Plan *

Vigil for St John of Kronstadt *

Immediate Needs *

Scripture *

Monday, Sep 30/Oct 12 Luke 3:19-22 *

Tuesday, Oct 1/13 Luke 3:23-4:1 *

Wednesday, Oct 9/22 Luke 4:1-15 *

Lives of the Saints and Feasts *

The Protection of the All Holy Theotokos Tuesday, Oct 1/14 *

St Romanos the Melodios, Tuesday, Oct 1/14 *

Kyprian and Justina, Wednesday, Oct 2/15 *

St Andrew Fool for Christ, Wednesday, Oct 2/15 *

Dionysius the Areopagite, Thursday, Oct 3/16 *

Blessed Hesychius the Horebite, the Hesychast, Thursday, Oct 3/16 *

Redeeming the Time

Time is a precious gift, of limited duration, given by God to the Christian to work out his salvation. The Apostle Paul, expressing the entire voice and mind of the church, exhorts us to: "walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." The purpose of this journal is simply to facilitate our struggles to this end. The life in the church is rich, and full of beneficial places where we can be "redeeming the time", and struggle towards moral purity and the knowledge of God, which are gained only through the assiduous use of time. Some of these "places" are the community Christian life; immersion in the liturgical cycle, seasons and fasts; reading the lives of the Saints and commemorating them on the day of their memorial; the God-inspired services; and reading the weekly scripture readings and commentaries of the Holy Fathers who accurately express the mind of the church. This journal hopes to emphasize these things, as well as provide local news about and for the St. Nicholas family in Dallas.

Local News and Announcements


Catherine Kirk was baptized Sept 8/21 on the Nativity of the All Holy Theotokos, with David and Elizabeth Ash joyfully assuming the awesome responsibility of being the sponsors of this new warrior for Christ. We have published a commemorative booklet of this joyous event, so this may be old news to most of you. Please remember to add Catherine in your daily diptychs, and pray for her, and all of our parish family.

Russian International Party at David and Elizabeth's 1:30 - 4:30 Sunday, Oct 6/19

Please bring "something Russian," such as food, music, poetry, the writings of the Russian Fathers, and lives of Russian Saints, etc. If you are really brave, dress in Russian peasant church dress, or as the Tsar of Russia! On this day only, trapeza will be replaced by the party. We plan to have other hosts and parties, emphasizing the Orthodox culture of a particular country or area.

Second Saturday Work Day

We need to talk about this. Attendance has been very inconsistent, and we still have a lot to do. Please give this day some thought, and talk to Fr Seraphim, Michael Daum or Andrew Temple to find out what we need, and offer to help.

Five Year Plan

The Church Council has been busy trying to more formally plan our future. All input is welcome, from anyone in our parish family. We have a council to obey our corporation by-laws, but anyone who desires can serve or attend our meetings. We will be trying to assemble a "Five year plan", to give everyone an idea of our hopes for the future, and how we may attain them.

Vigil for St John of Kronstadt

This vigil is always on the eve of Nov 1st, the evening semi-pagan America knows as "Halloween". All participation in this devil's feast is forbidden by the Christian conscience. It is very important to come to church on this night, and pray. Divine Liturgy will be served the following morning. It would be a great idea for us to plan a festive meal afterwards, and spend the day together. Any interest?

Immediate Needs

We need a few more helping hands for parish renovation.

We are going to purchase the icons that we need for the major feasts we typically serve during the year. For instance, we don't have an icon of Saints Peter and Paul, and we always serve a vigil and liturgy for this feast. Donations to this end would be very helpful. We also need more oil lamps to better illumine the temple.


The daily scripture readings for the 18th week after Pentecost, 1997 were from Ephesians and Luke.

Almost all scripture readings are on the St. Nicholas Calendar. Reading scripture is an important and too often neglected spiritual discipline. With God's help, let us decide to read the Holy Scripture for the daily readings, for the good of our souls.

Short Survey of Some of the Scripture Readings

Monday, Sep 30/Oct 12 Luke 3:19-22

This reading describes the baptism of Christ, by the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John, in the Jordan. It also plainly shows forth Christ as God, and is a manifestation of the Trinity, or "Theophany".

"Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, {22} And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." (Luke 3:21-22)

Tuesday, Oct 1/13 Luke 3:23-4:1

This reading directly follows Monday's selection and gives the lineage of Christ, from the family side of St Joseph the Betrothed. St Matthew gives the lineage of Christ from the Holy Theotokos' family tree. An examination of the names in both lineages is very fruitful. There are some similarities (both contain Abraham, Isaac, Jesse and David for instance), and many different names. St Matthew's genealogy seems to contain more "rascals". Our Lord took on all of our humanity when He became incarnate, in order to save us. His genealogy gives examples of perhaps every human virtue and vice. Does not the knowledge of how our Lord has taken evil and transformed it into good give us great hope that He will transform that which is lacking in us, and perfect it?

Wednesday, Oct 9/22 Luke 4:1-15

Here are recounted the three temptations of Christ, which the Devil tried, to no effect, immediately after our Lord's baptism. There is a great lesson in the proximity of our Lord's temptations and his baptism. The Christian life is a war, and in war, a good soldier expects no respite. Indeed, when he strengthens himself, he expects an attack of the enemy, who fears him, and does not want him to get any stronger. Since our Lord bore all things for us, hHe bore these temptations, which have felled so many souls, as an example for us. We should learn from the way He warded off these temptations. In a word, He used the knowledge of God in order to consider the things the Devil offered as trifles and dung. A Christian must utilize the knowledge God has given him, in order to gain more, like the man with five talents who gained five more. One can see how important the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures is by reading this passage. This knowledge God will bring to our minds to help us keep the proper perspective when Satan assails and confuses us. Many of the Saints had the habit of reciting certain scriptural verses, especially those in the Psalms, when they were tempted in various ways. This is a good and salvific habit to get into.

This story is also recounted in full in Matthew 4:1-11. The commentary by Blessed Theofylact on the Gospel is very helpful to help learn the meaning of the temptations.

Lives of the Saints and Feasts

The Protection of the All Holy Theotokos Tuesday, Oct 1/14

This is a feast especially revered by the Russian Church. It commemorates the appearance of the Mother of God to the Fool for Christ Andrew and his disciple, St Epiphanius, during the All-night Vigil in the church of the Mother of God in Blachernae, Constantinople. She was seen standing in the clouds, praying for the Orthodox flock, and sheltering the people with her omophorian.

St Romanos the Melodios, Tuesday, Oct 1/14

On the same day as the Protection, the Holy Deacon Romanos is remembered. He was one of the greatest chanters in the church, and composed hundred of hymns, even though he was a simple and unlearned man.

His simplicity and humility were the catalysts for one of the most beautiful church hymns every written, a marvel in the profundity of its theological thought. The saint was despised by the more erudite chanters in Constantinople. At that time, there was the custom that one of the chanters would chant, basically as the Lord inspired him, a long "Kontakion" during an important moment of the All-night vigil for the feast. The jealous ones set up the poor Romanos by forcing him to "take his post" the next day, for the All-night Vigil for the Nativity of the Lord. St Romanos, being unlettered, and with no great command of the flourishes of Byzantine hymnology, began earnest prayer with weeping to the Holy Theotokos. She appeared to him, and told him to swallow a small scroll. The next day, when he exercised his office, and his detractors maliciously awaited his humiliation, he sang a long composition from which our Nativity kontakion is derived.

St Romanos was later ordained a deacon, and served with humility in Constantinople until the end of his days. There is a lesson in his life, as there is in all the lives of those holy ones who have pleased God. He was beset with a seemingly insuperable problem, and besought God with simplicity and fervor. May we do the same when our circumstances seem dire.

Kyprian and Justina, Wednesday, Oct 2/15

St Kyprian was a satanic priest, raised from a child in the worship of the false god Apollo. He became well schooled in all of the diabolical arts. The Holy Virgin Justina was born a pagan. She had a great yearning for God, and by Divine Providence made acquaintance of a deacon who told her of the Gospel. Through her good example, while still a pagan, she converted her parents, who were all baptized together, after her father had a vision.

A young man saw the holy Justina once and was possessed with burning lust. All means of enticements she spurned, and the young man, desperate for success, contracted with Kyprian to make Justina fall in love with him. Many incredible things transpired, and Justina, even though a virgin and pure, had to endure terrible temptation of lust from many demons. She vanquished these temptations, and much more besides, with the sign of the cross. The sign of the cross is not a magic talisman; it must be backed up with a life of desire and purity. St Justina fasted strictly and besought the Lord in prayer, and was victorious.

St Kyprian's defeat in the ways of evil was the beginning of his moral rectification. He who had conversed with Satan personally and wielded great legions of demons finally saw the impotence of evil, and came to desire baptism greatly. He went to the local bishop with all of his books, and begged for baptism. The bishop was reluctant to baptize him quickly, but during the first service, he loudly begged for baptism, and would not leave the church until it was done. Within a year, this formerly dissolute man was raised to the high degree of the Christian priesthood.

Both were later beheaded in Nicomedia, where so much Christian blood was spilled.

The Holy Justina was delivered because of her purity and fervent prayer. Wasn't she a great evangelist? Her faith and steadfastness gained many souls, much more so than merely the words of preaching.

Holy Kyprian began an evil life, but in the end fought the good fight. According to his own testimony he conversed with Satan face to face. In the end, he shone with great sanctity. We should take care to not judge a man. We know not how his life will end.

People who are beset by demonic activity should pray to St Cyprian.

There is an excellent life of these two great Saints in "The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints" for October. In addition, St Kyprian wrote a Homily on Repentance which contains many details of his life.

St Andrew Fool for Christ, Wednesday, Oct 2/15

He was formerly a slave who feigned madness. This appearance concealed great sanctity. St Andrew is the one who had the vision of the Theotokos, celebrated as the "Protection of the Theotokos". See "Eternal Mysteries beyond the Grave" (EXCELLENT), Pp. 122-126

Dionysius the Areopagite, Thursday, Oct 3/16

St Dionysius was a disciple of St Paul, from whom he first heard the Gospel preached. He was before this a pagan Greek philosopher, and was married. When he believed, he left his family and traveled with St. Paul.

From his long association with the Holy Paul, he learned many mystical things about the angelic ranks, and elucidated them in his writing. The nine ranks of angels that have been revealed to us are the Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Ranks, Dominions, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels

This holy Saint, who became Bishop of Athens, was present at the Dormition of the Mother of God. Later, he desired greatly to spread the gospel to other lands, and preached in Rome and Gaul. He was martyred at the great old age of 90, along with the Priest Rusticus and Deacon Eleutherius.

When interrogated, St. Dionysius had this to say: "Although my body, as you see, is already aged, my faith blossoms with youth; and my confession ever gives birth in Christ to new Children".

May God grant that we would have the boldness to say such a thing at our end!

Blessed Hesychius the Horebite, the Hesychast, Thursday, Oct 3/16

St Hesychius was a monk who lived a dissolute life and died in his sins. The Lord had mercy on him, and gave him a second chance, and brought him back to life. After this experience (he had seen heaven and hell, and knew he was deserving of eternal perdition because of his carelessness), Blessed Hysychius refused to speak to anyone, but spent 12 years in silence in his cell. Just before his death, after the brothers begged him to tell them something edifying for their salvation, he told them: "Forgive me! No one who has acquired the remembrance of death can ever sin!"

He is mentioned in the Ladder, step 6.

Such spectacular intervention to save a soul is rare, but this saint's example should enkindle in us a desire to be more heedful in working out our salvation. Death will truly come like a thief in the night. A pious Christian who fears God and knows the mind of the church is always contemplating whether he will be ready for his death, and never acts as if this event to is far off.

Most of us are not so pious and refined in our Christian sensibilities as to think of death often, and to examine ourselves carefully at every moment. If we cannot do this, we must preserve at least some heedfulness by consistent attendance at the services, keeping the fast without making excuses, and at least biweekly confession and communion.

Web Editor:

Fr. Seraphim Holland



972 529-2754

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Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland
Web Editor:
Fr. Seraphim Holland
Snail Mail:
2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA

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