Weekly Blog

The Martyr’s Witness 240814

St. Ivan’s E-bulletin 240814

GLORY BE TO JESUS CHRIST! GLORY FOREVER!

СЛАВА ІСУСУ ХРИСТУ! СЛАВА НАВІКИ!

PARISHEVENTS / ПОДІЇ у ПАРАФІЇ:  See attached Bulletin for information

NOTE\УВАГА       

            Membership Donations:Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  As we have just concluded our Annual General Meeting, we now are in a position to accept memberships for the new year.  The recommended membership donation is $100, as per last year.  Please make your donations to Genevieve Armstrong.  If you are a new member, then please see Fr. Gene about an application form.  Please remember that we need your continued donations over and above your membership to help meet the needs of the parish.

            Peroghy Project: Next WEEK- August 27 and 29.  If you can come out, any help would be appreciated.

            Pennies from Heaven: To date we have collected $347.72 for orphans in Ukraine.

            Недільний благовіснику прикріпленні. Прошу Вас пильно прочитатиOur Sunday bulletin is attached. Please read it carefully.

            WINNIPEG HARVEST:There is a bin at the back of the CHURCH for non-perishable food items for WINNIPEG HARVEST.  Please bring an item or two when you come to church.  Thiswillbeanongoingproject. To date we have donated 139 lbs of food.Thankyou.   

            2nd edition of the ‘Dobry pastyr’ is now available at the back of the Church.  They are $40/book.

            Bishop’s Wall: We have the first picture completed.  It will be available for viewing in the Church Hall.  There are 6 more to complete.  Each one costs $275 and we are seeking donors for each.  Donors will be acknowledged on each picture.  Please see Fr. Gene for details.

Bishop Bohdan-

Bishop Joseph-

Bishop Andriy-

Archbishop Vsevolod- Protodeacon Taras Maluzynsky and Family

Metropolitan Wasyly- Scott Armstrong

Metropolitan John- Fr. Gene Maximiuk and Family

Metropolitan Yurij-

           

            PARISH MEETING:

            CLOTHES DONATIONS: Thank you for your support.   

            August 23, 2014 (Saturday) @ 5:00 p.m. Black Ribbon Day, St. Mary the Protectress (Sobor) 820 Burrows Avenue.

  • August 24, 2014 (Sunday) @ 2:00 p.m. Annual Ukrainian Independence Day – City Hall, flag raising.
  • August 24, 2014 (Sunday) Vyshyvanka March – starts @ 5:00 p.m. St. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral, Taras Shevchenko Park, St. Mary the Protectress UOC (Sobor) and ending at Institute Prosvita. Get together and fellowship in the Prosvita Hall to follow.
  • September 3, 2014 (Wednesday) @ 7:00 p.m.. Order of St. Andrew’s, Ukraine in Transition, Topic:  International Trade Sanctions and Humanitarian Aid @ St. Mary the Protectress, 820 Burrows Avenue, guest speakers
  • September 13, 2014 (Saturday) @ 11:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m., Ukrainian Day in the Park, Rainbow Stage, Kildonan Park

September 14, 2014 (Sunday) @ 1:00p.m.- 4:00p.m.,  Moleben’ and open house at St. Mary the Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox Millennium Villa, to celebrate their 25th Anniversary.

  • September 20, 2014 (Saturday) @ 12:30 p.m. First Annual UCC-MPC Bulava Awards. Fairmont Winnipeg Hotel. Tickets are $50.00 per person. Contact ucc.kyk.mb@gmail.com for more information.
  • September 21, 2014 (Sunday) @ 2:00 p.m. (TBC) Holodomor monument unveiling Manitoba Legislative Building grounds.
  • October 2, 2014 (Thursday) @ 7:00 p.m. Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Westminster United Church, 745 Westminster @ Maryland Street. Free admission.
  • October 4, 2014 (Saturday) @ 7:00 Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus, along with the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, proudly present, – the Brotherhood Concert Series! Pantages Playhouse. www.hoosli.com

 

  1. Dontforget:

UPCOMING SERVICES:

 

AUGUST/СЕРПЕНЬ 2014

SATURDAY, AUGUST 2 – NO VESPERS – 5:30PM / Суботa, 2 серпеньВечірнінебуде – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 3 – DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM/ Неділя, 3 серпняСв. Літургія – 10:00 ран.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9 – NO VESPERS – 5:30PM/ Суботa, 9 серпняВечірнінебуде – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 10 – DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM/ Неділя, 10 cерпняБожественнаЛітургія – 10:00 ран.

BEGINNING OF THE DORMITION FAST AUGUST 14 – AUGUST 27 / ПОЧАТОКУСПЕНСЬКОГОПОСТУ (СПАСІВКИ) 14 серпня – 27 серпня

THURSDAY, AUGUST 14 – PROCESSION OF THE WOOD OF THE CROSS: DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30AM / Четвер, 14 серпняВинесенняЧеснихДеревЖивотворящогоХрестаГосподнього: Св. Літургія – 9:30 ран.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 16 – VESPERS WITH LITIYA – 5:30PM / Субота, 16 серпняВечірні – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17 – DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM / Неділя, 17 серпняСв. Літургія – 10:00 ран.                                   

MONDAY, AUGUST 18 – VESPERS WITH LITIYA – 5:30PM / Понеділок, 18 серпняВечірнізлітією – 5:30 веч.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 19 – HOLY TRANSFIGURATION: DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30AM / Вівторок, 19 серпняПреображенняГосподнє: Св. Літургія – 9:30 ран.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 23– NO VESPERS – 5:30PM / Субота, 23 серпнявечірнінебуде – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24 – DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM / Неділя, 24 серпняСв. Літургія – 10:00 ран.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27 – VESPERS WITH LITIYA – 5:30PM / Середа, 27 серпняВечірнязлітією – 5:30 веч.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 28 – DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS: DIVINE LITURGY – 9:30AM / Четвер, 28 серпняУспінняПресвятоїБогородиці: Св. Літургія – 9:30 ран.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30 – NO VESPERS – 5:30PM / Субота, 30 серпнявечірнінебуде – 5:30 веч.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31 – DIVINE LITURGY – 10:00AM / Неділя, 31 серпняСв. Літургія – 10:00 ран.

 

3. Fr. GenesWeeklyReflection:  

The Rhythm of Life

 

Whether we speak of our jobs, our schooling, our hobbies or “extracurricular” activities such as folk-dancing or sports,  one thing which is very important to all our bosses, teachers, co-workers and team members is attendance.  Attendance is one of the most basic yardsticks of everything we do, because if we are not present at work or school or practice it’s virtually impossible for us to learn, to work or to play – in a word, it’s impossible to contribute.  When we speak of our commitment to Christ attendance plays no less important a role – first and foremost attendance at holy services, as well as attendance at parish meetings, social events, etc.

 

It would not be an exaggeration to say that most services in our Churches are scandalously underattended.  It’s interesting to wonder how lively and active our parishes would be if the faithful treated church attendance with the same seriousness  they treat attendance at their job, school, sports team or folk-dance club?  We often hear a calls at Church Sobors or Eparchial Conferences to increase and develop the spiritual life among our faithful.  Often we hear or read well-intentioned people referring to  this “spiritual renewal” and offering suggestions as to how it can be realized, often searching for an “easy fix”.  It’s important to remember that our Lord described the Christian life as a “narrow path”, a journey requiring discipline, sacrifice and courage.  To put it simply, there is no easy or painless way to achieve spiritual renewal or growth either in our Church or in our personal life – but attending the services is the first and foremost step if we’re truly interested in seeing this growth.

 

As we know, the first Christian feast day was and still is Sunday.  Before there were any other feast days the Christians celebrated Sunday as the commemoration of the Resurrection.  To this day Sunday morning is the day when the community gathers and we celebrate the “breaking of the bread”. Some sects and denominations have in the recent past fallen away from this apostolic practice.  The Seventh day Adventists, for example,  worship on Saturday, saying (correctly) that this is the Biblical Sabbath.  They forget, however, that we are Christians, not Jews, and we celebrate the new Passover – the Resurrection – and not the Passover, nor the sabbath,  of the Jews.  This particular controversy was decided by the Church during the first centuries of her existence, and could only remain a matter of contention for those unfamiliar with the authentic, historic, Christian tradition.

 

Since the second Vatican council the Catholics have instituted Saturday evening masses “in anticipation of Sunday”, so that members who have “more important” things to do on Sunday morning can fulfill their “Sunday obligation” and not miss these commitments.  Again, this is an innovation, not a part of the authentic Christian tradition.  Many (if not most) of the “mainline” protestant sects are in fact philosophically bereft of any reason for going to Church on Sunday morning.  If it’s true, as they contend, that all you have to do to be saved is to “accept Jesus as your personal Saviour”, this very nicely does away with both the “Sunday obligation” and any other type of obligation as well!

While we are forbidden to judge others, and especially to judge the souls of our brothers and sisters, we can say without hesitation that in contrast to the western denominations  Orthodox Christianity possesses the fullness of  the apostolic Christian teaching and practice.  The participation of the faithful in the Liturgy is not only a holy obligation but a great privilege which is constitutive of the Church.  This is what the apostles taught by word and deed, and this is what we believe.  If we wish to have a truly healthy Church the first step that each and every member of the Church must take is cultivating in themselves an attitude towards Church attendance which is at least as serious as their attitude towards job or school attendance.

 

At this point it’s important to bring up the subject of feast days in the Orthodox Church.  As we all are aware, the calendar of the Church gives us different feasts at different times.  Some of them (Pascha and Pentecost, for example) always fall on Sundays.  Others (the “immovable” feasts) always fall on the same calendar  date, the best known being Christmas – the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.  The vast majority of other Christian denominations either do not celebrate, or do not even admit the existence of these traditional and historic feast days.  Even those who retain the traditional calendar of feasts and fasts, such as the Roman Catholic Church, have in most cases given  these feasts (and fasts) a strictly symbolic or personal meaning – for example, in the Roman Catholic Church in Canada almost all feast days are “transferred” to the nearest Sunday.  I was greatly amused a few years ago when, in a conversation about feast days with a devout Catholic, I was told by him that “we’ll be celebrating Ascension Thursday next Sunday” (!!).

 

For uncounted millions of Protestants the current celebration of “Christmas” includes attendance at Church services.  They  do this only because it’s “traditional” – in other words, they have no real philosophical or ideological reason for doing so (after all, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that Jesus was born on the 25th of December, nor that we should celebrate “Christmas”, so if we believe in “ the Bible and only the Bible” what basis do we have for celebrating Christmas on December 25th, or at all?).  As is obvious, the original meaning of holiday is “Holy day” – a Church feast day.  Besides attendance at holy services one of the traditional ways of marking a holy day is to refrain from work.   If we look at the current celebration of “civil” holidays here in Canada we see that they are generally regarded simply as a day off of work -  a Christian hand-me-down to our secular society, because we don’t work on a holiday.  Consequently, due to the fact that the festal calendar of the Church has been to a large degree suppressed by the western denominations, we live in a society which has almost totally divested itself of any authentic Christian consciousness regarding “holidays”.

 

The Orthodox Church has retained the original, apostolic understanding of “Holidays”, some of which – the commemoration of the death of martyrs, or  the feast of the Resurrection for example – date from the first century, and others – such as the feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos – which are of later origin.  The development of the Church Calendar, just like the development of Holy Scripture, is witnessed to in the life, history and legislation of the Orthodox Church – we know what we celebrate, when we celebrate, and why we celebrate.  And most importantly, the Orthodox Church has never seen fit to ignore or suppress feast days, but sees the celebration of a feast in the same light She sees the blessing of water or oil or the faithful – as the sanctification of that which God has created for us, in this case the sanctification of time.

 

Understanding this, the celebration of feast days by participation in the Divine Liturgy is for the Orthodox a very important sign of our faith, especially in our Canadian social context.  Even more so than attendance at Sunday Liturgy, attendance at Feast-day Liturgies is a sign of real commitment not just to some kind of indistinct “Christianity”, but to the True, historical Orthodox Christian Faith of our ancestors.  Just as we give of our money and talents for the good of God’s Church, we give of our time and our gratitude and our worship.  We are called upon to be a worshiping people – and this we do first and foremost in Church on Sundays and Holy days – i.e., on the days God has set aside for us to do so.

 

At this point many readers are probably saying “yes, father, but in this day and age it isn’t practical to take a day off of work or school to attend services”.  I remember well a conversation I had a few years ago with a young mother who was also a school-teacher.  I had suggested that it might be nice if parents occasionally booked the morning off from work to attend feast-day services with their children.  She dismissed this as impractical.  I asked her if she took off time for vacations, for doctor’s appointments, or just “mental health days”.  The answer to every question was “yes”.  I then repeated the thought, that it would be nice for parents to take off one morning, even if only once a year, to attend services on a weekday with their children.  She looked at me as if I were from Mars!  She could understand  taking a month of time off of work for herself or her family, but could not understand taking even 4 (paid) hours, once a year,  to worship God with her children on a weekday.

 

Others might say that “In the old country people didn’t have anything better to do than attend Church services” (!!).  I personally find the argument that our ancestors had “nothing better to do” than go to Church extremely amusing.  Those who wish to make such amusing comments should spend a year living and working on a farm with no electricity, running water, gasoline engines or social “safety net”, being dependent upon what they can harvest from the earth for their very life.  Try carrying all your water 3 or 6 or 9 blocks from a well, or baking all your bread every day in a wood-fired oven from grain you have sown, harvested, threshed, and perhaps even ground.  The fact of the matter is that our ancestors had much less “personal” time than we have at our disposal, and certainly no paid vacations.  Perhaps they simply had more faith in God?

 

Why should I attend services on feast days?  Any priest or pious layperson can give you many theological and practical reasons why the faithful should attend festal liturgies if at all possible.  One of the reasons which is often overlooked  is that attendance at these liturgies permits us to understand our Faith from another perspective.  Attending Liturgy on Holy days permits us to enter into the rhythm of the life of the Church.

 

The rhythm of Church life has three components – the daily, weekly and yearly cycles.  The daily cycle for an average Orthodox Christian in the world usually consists of prayers upon arising, before sleep, and before and after meals.  This might be expanded by personally reading through one of the shorter services or praying on the prayer rope (chotky).  The weekly and yearly cycles, however, require a liturgical participation to truly experience them.  While we can speak of “personal” prayer or devotion, it is impossible to speak of a “personal” liturgical experience – the very concept is nonsensical.  If the Divine Services truly are important for our salvation then the faithful must take part in them.  This participation is different for everyone – only  the monk or nun will be able to participate fully in the daily cycle of services, but the weekly and yearly cycle of worship is accessible to all the faithful who live within a reasonable driving distance from a Church.

 

As we know, music has three basic parts: melody, harmony and rhythm.  Rhythm is the basis of all music, the foundation upon which melody and harmony are built.  Likewise the life of the Church – which the Orthodox understand is a foretaste of life in paradise – is built on a concrete rhythm, the rhythm of the Church calendar, of the feasts and the fasts.  Beginning with attendance at worship every Sunday, and building up to the attendance at all services throughout the year, we are given a chance to take our lives out of the rhythm of the world – the mundane – and enter into the rhythm of Paradise.

 

Practically speaking, this is one of the important reasons for serving Great Vespers before every feast.  It’s probably unrealistic to expect all the faithful to take days off to attend Liturgy the morning of every feast day (though it’s a lot easier for us to do than we often care to admit).  Serving Vespers gives all the faithful the opportunity to experience the rhythm of the Church year in their lives, by attending services the evening before the feast day even if they can’t attend Liturgy.

 

Making time to attend the festal services as a family and as a community will strengthen our faith, our families and our parishes more than we can imagine.  The Jews have lived their religious life according to a different calendar for millennia.  This simple fact exerts an immense influence on their existence – especially in the “diaspora”.  When our Churches are as full every Sunday as they are on Pascha, and when they are as full on Holy days as they are now on Sunday, we will see a spiritual revival in our Church – a revival the scale of which we cannot even imagine right now.

 

As any builder knows, the most important part of the house is the foundation.  Our Lord Himself spoke of this, saying that the one who follows His commandments is like the one who builds their house on a rock (Mt. 7:24 – 8:4).  If the Church truly is Christ’s body, as St. Paul says (Col. 1:18, Rom. 12:4, I Cor. 12:12, etc.), then Her commandments are the commandments of Christ.  And if we wish to build our lives on a firm foundation, what  foundation can be more sure than the mystical life of the Church?  By making the rhythm of the Church the rhythm of our own personal life we will certainly see marked spiritual  growth in our lives and communities, and upon this foundation we will be able to more deeply experience the melody of prayer and the harmony of true Christian life.

 

Fr. Bohdan Hladio,    January 1999 A.D.

 

4. Saints and Feasts:  

THE HOLY MARTYR EUPLUS

Euplus was a deacon in Catania, Sicily. Emperor Diocletian dispatched Commander Pentagurus to Sicily to exterminate any Christians he found there. Pentagurus did not find a single Christian, for the few that were there, hid from the persecutor and did not reveal themselves. Then someone accused St. Euplus of taking a book to secret Christians and reading to them. This book was the Holy Gospel. They soon brought him to court, hung that book around his neck and led him to prison. After seven days of imprisonment and hunger Euplus was handed over for torture. While they were beating him with iron rods, Euplus, mockingly said to the torturing judge: “O ignorant one, do you not see that because of God’s help, these tortures are for me as a cobweb? If you can, find other harsher tortures, for all of these are as toys.” Finally, they led the martyr of Christ out to the scaffold. Then St. Euplus opened the Holy Gospel and read from it to the people for a long time. Many converted to the Faith of Christ. St. Euplus was beheaded in the year 304 A.D. and took up habitation in the Kingdom of Heaven. His miracle-working relics repose in a village near Naples called Vico della Batonia.

This week’s Scripture question: (answer next week)

What did the demon-possessed man do to the seven people trying to exorcize him?

 

This week’s Scripture fact:

The Ten Commandments are collectively known as the Decalogue, meaning literally ‘the ten words’.  Throughout the centuries Jewish people have understood these ten words as the basis of all Jewish law, and the benchmark of all religious life and conduct.

 

Last week’s answer:  Which seven non-Christians tried to cast out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus? Seven sons of Sceva.

 

See you in Church!

Спаси Вас Господи!                                   May the Lord Save You!

о. Євген                                                                             Fr. Gene

 

 

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