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
nicholas@orthodox.net

Redeeming the Time Vol 01.08 26th Sun after Pentecost Dec 1/14 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.

26th Sunday after Pentecost

Dec 1/ 14 1997

Holy Prophet Nahum

Vol. 01.08

St Nicholas Day *

News and Announcements *

News From Father Averky *

First Pastoral Conference Of The Southern Deanery Of Our Diocese *

Parish Work Days *

St Nicholas Yolka Dec 8 / 21 *

Sick *

Scripture *

27th Monday after Pentecost Dec 2/15 *

Luke 17:20-26 *

27th Tuesday after Pentecost Dec 2/15 *

Luke 17:26-37 *

Gleanings from the Fathers *

Seeing the state of the soul *

Living like the angels? *

The Language of Orthodoxy *

Apodosis *

St Nicholas Day

The feast of St Nicholas is Friday, Dec 6/19. Being a weekday, we are under certain constraints, but we will honor our duty as Christians, and out of love for the Saint, serve vigil Thursday night (at 6:30 PM), and Divine Liturgy Friday morning, very early, at 6:00 AM. Our patronal feast comes once a year, and there is much grace bestowed upon those who pray on this day. Too many of you do not come to any of the festal celebrations during the week. This is bad for your soul; it shows a certain preoccupation with the secular details of your life, and a lack of focus on holy things. You should at least come to a portion of the vigil Thursday night, and beseech the prayers of St. Nicholas.

News and Announcements

News From Father Averky

Fr Averky is an old friend of Fr Seraphim. Prayers have been requested from him in the last few issues of Redeeming The Time, and he has been included in the prayers for health in the Divine liturgy for some time. He recently wrote a letter to all that have been prayers for him and concerned about him.

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

I wish to thank all the many people who have been praying for me during my illness. I was scheduled to have very serious operation on my lower spine on December 9th. About a month prior to this I was sent for physical therapy, which helped very much. About two or three weeks ago, Hieromonk George (Schaefer) here at Holy Trinity Monastery and Fr. Michael Crowley in Portland Maine served a Moleban to St. Nectarius of Pentapolis for me. All over the country in churches and in homes, people have been praying for me and God has heard these heartfelt prayers. When I went for the final examination before the operation, the neurosurgeon who was to have performed the operation could not believe the physical progress I had made! He said that he did not know if the operation would have made such an increase in my being able to walk better, have less pain in my neck and lower spine than I now have. He himself said that he believes that my feeling so much better is due to so many prayers. I still have the tumor, but am out of danger for the present. He will continue to monitor my condition, and should there be a downward turn in, he will operate right away. From my heart I thank all of you for your love and kindness, and ask your further prayers for my health. God bless all of you!

Hieromonk Averky. (from a letter sent to the orthodox_synod list on the internet)

First Pastoral Conference Of The Southern Deanery Of Our Diocese

Following the missionary conference, with the blessing of Bishop Gabriel, the first pastoral conference of the southern Sixth Deanery of the Eastern-American Diocese opened. The dean of the southern district is Protopriest Victor Potapov; his assistant is Priest Alexis Duncan. Within the Deanery are two monasteries and twenty-six parishes and missions, which are served by thirty-six sacred ministers. Of them, only seven have a command of the Russian language.

The conference was held in the well-appointed church hall of the parish of Venerable Mary of Egypt in a spirit of brotherly love and unity. The rectors presented brief oral accounts about the life of their communities and responded to the questions of the other sacred ministers. Then, the sacred ministers divided into four working groups, which in the course of an hour and a half discussed questions of 1) pastoral care, 2) liturgics, 3) catechesis and education and 4) the financing of parishes and missions.

At the general meeting, which followed after the sessions of the working groups, the leaders of each group announced their resolutions, which will be brought to the attention of the diocesan authorities. Among the resolutions - an urgent request to the Hierarchal Synod of the Russian Church Abroad to examine the possibility of convoking the Fourth Pan-Diaspora Council before the end of this century (the last Council was in 1974); the necessity of putting in good order the method of catechesis and teaching of God's Law; the necessity of compiling a handbook for the sacred ministers of the Russian Church Abroad; the conducting of special liturgical conferences for the clergy and to ask the diocesan authorities to show greater initiative in the realm of the material maintenance of parish clergy and others.

The next pastoral conference of the southern deanery of the Eastern-American Diocese will again be held in Atlanta, while the clergy's Great-Lenten retreat will take place in Washington on the 12th and 13th of March 1998.

From Parish Life (a publication of St John the Baptist Cathedral, Washington, DC) December, 1997

http://www.stjohndc.org/official/9712f.htm

Parish Work Days

We will have a parish workday Dec 20th, and Jan 1st (civil dates). Please make plans to help.

St Nicholas Yolka Dec 8 / 21

This day is the Sunday after St Nicholas day. All teams will participate in Trapeza. We will have some plays, Fr Seraphim will talk about St. Nicholas, and other parishioners will give the lives of other "Nicholases," such as Blessed Bishop Nicolia (who wrote the Prologue). The Holy Tsar Martyr Nicholas, St Nicholas of Japan, and others. There may be some treats for all kids big and small, too!

Sick

Please continue to pray for Hieromonk Averky, who is still ill with an ailment of the spine, and Tim Clader, who is recovering from a serious fall, which shattered one of his ankles. Also, please remember the always suffering handmaiden of God, Mother Seraphima. She recently had a bad fall, and is mostly recovered, but is in constant pain, and is always in danger of being confined to her wheel chair permanently.

Scripture

The daily scripture readings for the 27th week after Pentecost, 1997 (the coming week AFTER the publication date of this journal) are from 1 Timothy and Luke. Almost all scripture readings are on the St. Nicholas Calendar. All Orthodox Christians must have a scripture reading discipline, if they are serious about saving their souls. As your pastor, I beg of you that you at least read the daily readings.

27th Monday after Pentecost Dec 2/15

Luke 17:20-26

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: {21} Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

(Luke 17:20-21)

This short passage contains indispensable knowledge for the Christian. What is the purpose of your life? It is to save your soul, and in popular parlance, to "go to heaven." What does this mean? Where is the Kingdom? How can it be attained? The answer is here: "The Kingdom of God is within you." This is a dark saying for those that are not accustomed to the light. The kingdom of God is attained when a man is purified so that he can stand in the midst of the bright light and not be blinded. The life in the flesh is spent in the pursuit of the knowledge of God, and with this knowledge, the amendment of self. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God. The Kingdom is not a place; it is a state of being. It is as close to us as ourselves, since in the Christian, the Holy Spirit dwells. It is every clearer, more radiant, more defined in its nuances, to the Christians who become every more holy, more complete in Christ.

If one imprints upon his soul these words, " The Kingdom of God is within you" then he will spare no moment in the betterment of his moral soul. He will fear anything that introduces dark shadows. He will ever more strive to be like Christ, because of the ever increasing joy he receives, because Christ, seeing one who is becoming more like Himself, will give ever more of himself to the former slave, now called friend, because like is attracted to like.

Christian! These words are a promise, and a way. If you truly believe them, you will not cling to empty expectations based on your knowledge, or membership, or fasting, or short prayers, said with little attention. You will know well the path, and yearn to follow it. This is amendment of self, with the help of God. The Kingdom of God is the healing of man. It is the redemption of man. It is the changing of a man, formerly afar off, brought near and close to the warmth of the fire of the divinity.

And he said unto the disciples, The days would come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. {23} And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. {24} For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. {25} But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. {26} And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. {27} They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:22-27)

In our dark days, all Christians must master the meaning of these words. We are in the days of Noah. There was great licentiousness in that time and people pursued pleasure without regard to God. Today it is the same. Sins formerly only whispered in dark alleys are proclaimed from the rooftops, and in the movie theaters, and the television stations. Lies are called truth, and even attributed to God. Dogma is irrelevant, and is shaped to accommodate any pleasure, any vice, any way of thinking that foolish man desires.

The mastering of these words, which contain explicit information about the Second Coming of Christ, is not only in the knowing, but in the living. Many will be deceived, even those in the church who do not live the Christian inner life. There will be great signs and wonders, and the fools will be deceived, because they do not remember these words. It is not enough to merely memorize the passage, as a point of reference against the occurrences of the age. The deceptions will make one's memory grow dim. The key is in the previous words: "The Kingdom of God is within you." Live as a Christian, and you will not be deceived as an unbeliever.

27th Tuesday after Pentecost Dec 2/15

Luke 17:26-37

More about the Second Coming of Christ

And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. {27} They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. {28} Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; {29} But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. {30} Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)

"The days of the Son of Man," indicate the Second Coming of Christ. Notice the activities on that day, and the preceding days. Let us leave off what those outside the church will be doing. These words are not referring only to them, but to Christians who do not live their life with purpose. Life is not in buying and selling, and working, and playing. It is meant to prepare the soul to meet Christ, with a transfigured body.

Christian! Are you busy "buying and selling"? You can notice the signs of this disease. Do you infrequently come to church, or just come when it is easy, and convenient, and you are not otherwise occupied? Are your evenings spent in the pursuit of holy knowledge, with prayer together, and the reading of the scriptures and the lives of the saints, or, are your numbing your soul with television and trivial pursuits? Do you tithe to the house of God, and give alms, or are you carefully tracking your IRAs and insurance? We are in the Nativity season, which the world spends in frivolity. Do you spend more evenings in a store than you do in church?

What are you building and planting? If you are not tending to your soul, you may be very surprised and dismayed when the Son of Man comes, like lightning, and you have not become like Him. Then you will be ashamed. All you need do is emulate the worldly man, but in spiritual pursuits. He is occupied with everyday things, and does not leave off the doing of them. You must live the "every day" things of the Christian life. Praying, fasting, reading holy things, giving alms, tithing, calling God to mind in all your activities, coming to church, especially when it is not incredibly convenient, coming to confession frequently; these are the everyday "buying and selling" and "planting and building" for a Christian.

Gleanings from the Fathers

Seeing the state of the soul

We can never see the state of our soul in all its nakedness or vividly realize its danger without the special grace and help of God, because the interior of our soul is always hidden from us by our self-love, prejudices, passions, worldly cares, delusions. And if it sometimes seems to us that we see the state of our soul ourselves, yet we see it only superficially and no more than our own reason and conscience can show us.

St. Innocent of Irkutsk , Indication of the Way into the Kingdom of

Heaven.

Living like the angels?

It was said of Abba John the Short, that one day he said to his elder brother, "I want to live free from all care like the angels, doing no work but worshipping God without interruption." So he took off his cloak and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When he knocked on the door, he heard his brother say, before he opened it, "Who is it?" He said, "It is John, your brother." But he replied, "You can't be John. John has become an angel, and is no longer among men." Then the other begged him saying, "It is I." However, his brother did not let him in, but left him there in distress until morning. Then opening the door, he said to him, If you are a man, you must once again work in order to eat." Then John fell down before him, saying, "Forgive me brother, I have sinned."

From the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

The Language of Orthodoxy

Apodosis

The past week, we celebrated the "Apodosis" of the entry of the All Holy Theotokos into the temple (on Monday Nov 25/ Dec 8, a day most of you should remember, because fish is allowed on this day!).

Apodosis means "leave-taking", and is the day in which the major aspects of a feast are revisited in the church's hymnology, and is the third "part" of the proper way in which a Great Feast is celebrated, these being:

  1. Preparation

  • Hymns are sung sometimes weeks in advance of the feast, especially the Katavasia at the canon.
  • In the case of especially solemn and important feasts, fasting in enjoined (such as before the Lord's Nativity, Pascha, the Dormition of the Theotokos, and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul).
  • There are often pre-festal services in the immediate day or days before the feast. An example of this would be the true Vespral liturgy (this is NEVER substituted for Vigil and liturgy on the day of the feast itself) that the Typicon directs to be served the day before Theophany and Nativity. The entire week before Pascha, "Holy Week" is considered a "pre-festal" period! If you miss even one of those services without due cause, you are cheating yourself out of a full understanding of the feast, and a full measure of the outpouring of God's grace upon you.

  1. The Day of the Feast

  • The Feast itself is always served with Vigil with Divine Liturgy the following day. If vigil is not served, great vespers with a FULL matins (otherwise the essence of the feast is lost) and Divine liturgy is served the next day.

  1. The Post-festal period and Apodosis

  • In the days following the feast, sometimes up to a week, or in the case of Pascha, even until The Ascension, forty days later, the feast is continually remembered with hymns.
  • On the last day of the feast, it is recalled again with many of the hymns that were sung on the feast day itself.

The Orthodox way of celebrating a feast, unfortunately forgotten or ignored in our day, is very "Jewish". For example, Pentecost was a three day feast for the Jews.

All unsigned or unattributed portions Copyright 1997 Fr Seraphim Holland

Address: 2102 Summit, McKinney TX 75071

Phone: 972 529-2754

Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

Web: http://www.orthodox.net

This journal is at http://www.orthodox.net/redeeming/redeeming.01.08.html

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972 529-1754

2101 Summit, McKinney TX 75071, USA

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Russian Orthodox Church
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Phone: 972 529-2754
Priest Seraphim Holland

nicholas@orthodox.net
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