Russian Orthodox Church
of St Nicholas
Dallas, Texas
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Redeeming the Time Vol 02.22 24th Sunday after Pentecost - The Healing of the Daughter of Jairus

November 9/22, 1998

24th Sunday After Pentecost

The Healing of the Daughter of Jairus

Vol. 02.22

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.

News and Announcements *

Wondrous is God in His saints! *
International Dinner *
Tithing to the Southern Diocese Mission's Fund *
The Nativity Fast is approaching *
House visits at the beginning of the Nativity Fast *
Persecution in our Age *

"Sins known and unknown" *

Missing Church Services * The Silliness of Modernism * Greek priests claim garb ruins their marriage prospects *

News and Announcements

Wondrous is God in His saints!

Metropolitan Philaret’s Relics are Incorrupt

October 30/Nov 12, 1998 Zenobios and Zenobia the martyrs

Brother Isaac from the Synod has just informed me that Archbishop Laurus of Holy Trinity Monastery has faxed the following information to the Synod in NYC: In the company of a few monastics, His Grace opened the coffin of Blessed Metropolitan Philaret (who reposed fourteen years ago) and found his body untouched by decomposition. Great is the Lord our God in His Saints! From Email sent from Fr George Larin

I am the parish priest at the Protection of the Mother of God Russian Orthodox Church in Rochester, NY USA. Each Tuesday I go and teach Pastoral Theology at Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY. The inspection of the Relics of Metropolitan Philaret occurred this past Tuesday. By God's great mercy to terrible sinners, I was vouchsafed to be present at the opening. Also by God's great mercy to terrible sinners, I was present at the canonization inspection of the Relics of St. John of San Francisco (this was not the original opening of the relics, but the inspection a few days before the glorification). The condition of the Relics of Metropolitan Philaret are very much the same as St. John. Glory be to God!

I can confirm the E-mail sent by Fr. George Larin: In the company of Archimandrite Luke, Archimandrite Peter, Hieromonk Roman, Novice Peter (Jigalin) and this unworthy priest, His Grace Archbishop Laurus served a Panichida and then opened the coffin of Blessed Metropolitan Philaret (who reposed on the day of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers in 1985) and found his body untouched by decomposition.

The reason for the opening was the following:
The resting place of Metropolitan Philaret in the Chapel at the monastery cemetery was only temporary. His final resting place is to be the newly added sepulcher in the main Holy Trinity church of the monastery. The translation is to take place on the Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Powers next Saturday. The opening and inspection was in preparation for this translation. Truly Holy is our God, Who restest in the SAINTS!

From E-mail sent by Fr Gregory Naumenko, Protection of the Mother of God. Rochester NY

International Dinner

Our International dinner is today! We will eat at the church as usual and share the treasures of Orthodoxy in North America. Some will tell of the Saints who have graced these shores, or read their writings aloud, or poetry, etc. Then we will visit Mount St. Michael, Prayer Mountain and the Penn farm (a working historical farm). All these places are in a particularly scenic part of southwest Dallas. Depending on the number of pilgrims, we can also motor or train through the scenic fall colors by Eagle Ford. Thank you to Michael Daum and Reader Andrew for hosting us today! If you would like to host our next International Dinner, please contact Fr. Seraphim or Matushka Marina or Reader Andrew.

Tithing to the Southern Diocese Mission's Fund

It was decided at the recent pastor's conference in Atlanta that each parish should assess itself a tithe of $20.00 a month, to be paid to the Southern Diocese Mission's fund. This check will be sent to Atlanta’s "Joy of All Who Sorrow" parish, whose pastor, Fr Alexis, is the sub-dean and acting dean or our Southern diocese. The funds will be used for missionary activities in the South.

The Nativity Fast is approaching

The Nativity Fast begins the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Nov 15/28. The calendar has an error - it did not indicate that day as a fast day. What this means for us is: no turkey and cranberry sandwiches on the days following Thanksgiving! The Friday after Thanksgiving is a fast day, as usual, then Saturday begins the Nativity Fast. Please adjust your Thanksgiving feast so that you do not have so many leftovers, but in any case, you should not eat the non-Lenten leftovers on Friday or Saturday. It is NOT a sin to through away non-fasting food, in order to follow the sweet traditions of the church and law of God.

House visits at the beginning of the Nativity Fast

Metropolitan Vitaly has sent out a pastoral letter reminding his clergy to visit all parishioners at the beginning of the Nativity Fast, in order to encourage them in the fast, and say a prayer especially for this purpose (which comes from the "Book of Needs", or "Trebnic", which the priest uses for many prayers). The full text of the Metropolitan’s short reminder is on the web at We only wish to remind you of one very important thing he said: "Remember, holy fathers, that the Church teaches us that and Angel of God enters the house together with each clergyman. This is something which all our parishioners always feel with gratitude."

With the Metropolitan’s words in mind, I plan to visit your home at the beginning of the Nativity Fast. These will be short visits, where we will pray together a short molieban service, with a special prayer appointed for this time. Sunday afternoon, Nov 16/29, will begin the visits. Metropolitan Vitaly also asked the translator of the reminder (it was written in Russian) to convey the following thought: "Parishioners feel a certain embarrassment when the priest comes to their home, thinking that they are obliged to pay something. So the priest should do everything he can to avoid invoking this feeling in his flock. The purpose is to pray and prepare the flock not make a little money for Christmas presents!"

I will be contacting you all individually in order to plan a visit.

Fr Seraphim

Persecution in our Age

The following article should remind us that we are NOT living in a Christian age. We in America have abundance and freedom, at the present time, but we delude ourselves if we believe that we will never endure trials because of our Christian Faith in this age. The persecution mentioned in the article may seem far away, but actually is closer than we think. Each must ask himself – has he lived a righteous life, so that when tempted he will be strong? The ability to endure persecution and torture does not come from soft couches, television programs, rich foods and missing church services for poor reasons. It especially will not to come to us if we do not struggle to attain the virtues. Our moral life TODAY will directly influence our reaction to persecution tomorrow!

Before presenting the article, we must note that the Copts in Egypt are by and large very pious people, but have been separated from the true church for more than a thousand years because of the Monophysite heresy. May God enlighten and strengthen them as they go through their trial by fire, and us as we prepare for our turn in this trial.

Crucified Christians

What Your Tax Dollars Buy

By Charles W. Colson

It was one of the most horrific instances of religious persecution the modern world has ever seen. During a government crackdown on Egypt's Coptic Christian community two weeks ago, a thousand Christians were manacled to doors, then beaten and tortured with electric shocks to their genitals. Teenage girls were raped.


(c) 1998 Prison Fellowship Ministries

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Note: We have truncated the article, which appeared on our mailing list and in print, to abide by copyright restrictions.

"Sins known and unknown"

In the Evening prayers, the "Prayer to the Holy Spirit" says: "… forgive all wherein I have sinned against thee today as a man, and not only as a man, but even worse than a beast, my sins voluntary and involuntary, known and unknown…"

Out confession of sins to God always has this idea within it – of asking forgiveness for sins we may not even know about! This should be a great comfort to us, although we may not realize the full implications of this prayer. We are not neatly avoiding the careful inspection of ourselves by asking forgiveness of sins we do not know, for it is indeed the obligation of all Christians to carefully evaluate themselves to see where they are not obeying the sweet commandments of God. One of the major ways God deals with our unknown sins is precisely to MAKE THEM KNOWN, so we can deal with them. As a Christian prays and fasts and worships, and does all the other things in a normal Christian life, God enlightens him, and at the same time invisibly strengthens his will, giving him a greater ability to avoid sins he previously did not even consider to be sins. Many of these sins are because of pernicious bad habits, which we have become adept at making excuses for.

In this first installment of a new section of "Redeeming the Time", we will try to mention common sins that may not always be recognized as sins. It is the pastor’s job to teach, even if part of the teaching is bitter. We cannot fully taste the sweetness of God until we learn from some of these bitter teachings. These words are from one sinner, who is nevertheless required to teach other sinners. They are also, of course, the teaching of the church. May God help us to know all of our sins and repent of them in a way that is pleasing to Him.

Missing Church Services

It is often a sin to miss church. There are certainly honorable reasons for missing services, such as unavoidable work obligations, sickness, or works of mercy, such as visiting a sick relative, extreme distance, and other reasons. But when we miss church services for frivolous reasons, we make a grave error. Some of these reasons are laziness, distraction by worldly things, such as a sports event, television program, or a "night out". Other times we just do not "feel like" going to church.

If we dare to breathe the truth about ourselves, in our prayer corner at home, or especially in confession, the most prevalent reason why we miss services is because we value something else more than the services. Love for the beauty, symmetry, theological profundity and even length of Orthodox services must be cultivated and gained - by effort. If we do not make this effort, we are not only cheating ourselves out of the blessing and enlightenment God wishes to give us; we are also sinning.

The entire Christian life is an ascetic endeavor. A Christian who realizes this is much happier with his life, and his inevitable struggles are made easier. We wish to become holy, and have intimate union and knowledge of God. We cannot even approach this lofty goal without the holy services. We cannot strengthen our weak will without at least trying to force ourselves in some of the "easier" things, and I assure you, coming to church regularly is EASY compared to fighting our sins and passions, such as anger, jealously, indifference, lust, and all the rest.

There is a great spiritual sickness that pervades our society that makes it very difficult for people to accept that they sin. We accept the fact that we sin in an abstract way, but feel very threatened and picked on when a SPECIFIC sin is brought to our attention. We even fall prey very easily to despondency concerning our sins, and following quickly on the heals of this passion is denial, and giving up.

Concerning the sin we are investigating here, let us enumerate some of the typical denials. Let us expose them , and regard them as they really are – obstacles to our salvation, and spiritual lies. One excuse is a lack of money. We can test this reason by asking ourselves if we make purchases of things we do not really need – such as knickknacks at Walmart, or an expensive restaurant meal. We may also tell ourselves that we do not have time for services – because we have so much to do on the weekends. This reason only begins to bear weight if we are not lazy at home, watching television, or reading the paper in a leisurely way, and doing other things that waste time. We may also feel we are too tired to go to church, and yet, if we examine our routine, we will see we are not too tired for unspiritual things. The truth is, our excuses are flimsy and without merit. We must look beyond them to find the hidden reasons, such as laziness, despondency, boredom during the services, misplaced priorities, or perhaps even anger towards a member of the community we do not wish to see. We are all individuals, and perhaps out particular excuse has not been mentioned. Let us pray to that excuse will be revealed to us for what it is.

As your pastor, I beg of you to be honest about your sins, first to yourself, and also in confession. God strengthens the sinner who recognizes his sin, but He cannot help the one who denies he has a problem. As a first step in attacking the sin of poor church attendance, I ask everyone to do something. CONFESS this sin in confession. Bring it out in the light, and do not allow yourself any excuses. God will be very pleased with your humility, and will strengthen you to attend church more regularly, and what is more, with great joy and even eager expectation! God strengthens a sinner who confesses his sin, even if he cannot repent completely of his weakness. May God help us to repent of all of our sins, known and unknown.

The Silliness of Modernism

Published in "The National Herald" newspaper of New York, 10/23/98.

Greek priests claim garb ruins their marriage prospects

ATHENS, Greece. - "Black robes ruin our chances of marriage," claimed parish priests in interviews with local Greek media, as the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece was preparing to convene, and said they were planning to ask for a relaxation of the strict dress code imposed on men of the, well, cloth. Prospective Orthodox priests say the dress code of long black robes, pipe hats and overgrown beards is ruining their marriage prospects.

"If the robes create an obstacle for finding a wife, and you know they do, then the Church's leadership must do something to modernize our appearance," Father Efstathios Kollas, head of the union of parish priests, said. There are nearly 11,000 priests in Greece, of which approximately only 3,000 are married, claimed Fr. Kollas.

Orthodox priests are required to wear full clerical garb after ordination, and Kollas complained that women are often 'put off by the prospect of being married to a man who must always be dressed in black robes. Orthodox Greeks seeking entry to the priesthood as married men must be wed before being ordained. Kollas also argued that the outdated appearance discourages educated men from joining the clergy.

Since his election in April, Archbishop Christodoulos has argued that it is essential to modernize the church a bastion of conservatism, without abandoning its age old traditions.

However, the Synod bypassed the potentially thorny problem that could become a battleground between traditionalists and modernizers by refusing to discuss the issue.

"Redeeming the Time" is an almost weekly Journal of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Dallas Texas. Distribute this text if you wish, but only if attribution and all contact information are included. I would appreciate being contacted if any large-scale use of this text is desired. All unsigned or unattributed portions © 1998 Fr Seraphim Holland. All rights reserved

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Phone: 972 529-2754


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Thoughts on the Sunday Gospels (homilies)
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Phone: 972 529-2754
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