St. Innocent Orthodox Church
✙ Founded in 1967 ✙ Moscow Patriarchal Parishes ✙
23300 W. Chicago ✞ Redford, MI 48239 ✞ 313-538-1142 ✞ Fax: 313-538-8126
Church Web Site: www.stinnocentchurch.org ✞ E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Innocent Religious Community: 9452 Hazelton, Redford, MI 48239 ✞ 313-535-9080
PASTOR: Rt. Rev. Mitered Archpriest ROMAN STAR
AUGUST 10, 2014 Dean, Central States Deanery, Patriarchal Parishes
Cell Phone: 313-319-0590
ASSISTANT PRIEST: Rev. DANEIL SHIRAK ✞ 313-295-3073
DEACON: Rev. Dn. Michael Comerford
EPISTLE: 1st Corinthians 3:9 – 17 (#128) ATTACHED: Sister Ioanna
GOSPEL: St. Matthew 14:22 – 34 (#59) CHOIR DIRECTOR: Elizabeth Star
TONE: 8 READERS: Robert Joseph Latsko
✞ 9th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST ✞
✞ Afterfeast of the Transfiguration of the Lord ✞
✞ 9:15 AM — HOURS & AKATHIST; CONFESSIONS ✞
✞ 10AM — DIVINE LITURGY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ✞
COMMEMORATED TODAY: Afterfeast of the Transfiguration. Holy Martyr and Archdeacon Lawrence of Rome, Hieromartyr Sixtus, Bishop of Rome, and Martyrs Felicissimus and Agapitus, Deacons (258). Blessed Lawrence, Fool-for-Christ, at Kaluga (1515)
FOR THE REPOSE OF: Estelle & Joseph Star; Ellen Starinshak; Anna & John Witkowski; Michael Sr.& Margaret Rusko; Mary, Andrew, Daniel, Michael & Lottie Yakuber; Ross & Margaret Falsetti; Helen, John & Carole Andrayko; Peter & Theresa Harvilla; Marc Dade; Betty Martell; Frances Smoly; Peter Glover; Irene Adams; Ethel Elizabeth & Wayne Joshua deVyver; David Horka; Michael Rusko, Anna Lichagina, Yelena & Zinaïda Korniyevskaya, Joe Nossal
MEMORY Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev and All Ukraine (40th-day, Wednesday, 13 July)
ETERNAL Myron Starinshak, whose Anniversary of his repose is Tuesday, 12 August, by cousin, Fr. Roman & Mat. Rose Marie
John Stoiko, whose 1st Anniversary of his repose is Today, Sunday, 10 August, by son, Sdn. Andrew Stoiko
SchemaNun Mother Benedicta, whose Anniversary of her repose was Thursday, 7 August, by Sister Ioanna
FOR THE HEALTH OF: Archimandrite Il’ya (Barna); Igumen Seraphim; Archpriest Lawrence Bacik; Archpriest Paul Waters; Archpriest Serge Lukianov; Priest Daneil, Matushka Debra & Corrina Shirak; Deacon Michael, Matushka Mary Ellen & Julius Comerford; Matushka Melania Sviridov; Matushka Mary Donahue; Reader Robert Latsko, Reader George & Betty Hanoian, Jordan Manier, Rose Nossal, Mary Glover, Nancy Cupp, Deborah Dade, Dean Hough, Vasiliki Stamoulis, Gerald Martell, Jaime Truskowski, Azbehat, Donald Yakuber, Carl deVyver, Jo Anne Nicholas, Joan Rusko, Gregory & Tamiko Star, Daria, Mother Theodora-Ampilochia (brain cancer); Sdn. Andrew Stoiko (safe travel in Alaska)
ALSO FOR: Archimandrite Roman (Braga), (terminal cancer; Spiritual Father of Dormition Monastery,Rives Junction)
Michelle Shirak Tucker (in critical condition in Karmanos Cancer Center Hospital)
Ian Paul Truskowski, who celebrates his birthday on Thursday, 7 August
Fr. Lawrence Bacik & Fr. Laurence Lazar, for their Name’s Day Today
MAY GOD GRANT THEM MANY YEARS!
SCHEDULE FOR THE COMING WEEK (Dormition Fast, August 1st through August 14th)
Wednesday 8/13 7pm MOLEBEN OR AKATHIST
Thursday 8/14 7pm GREAT VESPERS FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS
Friday 8/15 9am DIVINE LITURGY FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE DORMITION OF THE THEOTOKOS
Saturday 8/16 10am DIVINE LITURGY FOR ST. HERMAN OF ALASKA FEASTDAY
4pm GREAT VESPERS & CONFESSIONS
Sunday 8/17 10th Sunday After Pentecost
9:15am Hours & Akathist & Confessions
10am DIVINE LITURGY, followed by Coffee Hour
❈ CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! ❈ HE IS NOW & EVER SHALL BE! ❈
[NOT IN PRINTED BULLETIN]
SCHEDULE OF UP-COMING SERVICES, FEASTS & EVENTS
(In addition to regular weekly: 7pm Wednesday Service; 4pm Saturday Great Vespers; 10am Sunday Liturgy)
◆ Sunday, August 10th, After Coffee-Hour (1:00), Monthly Pot-Luck, Fellowship & Discussion #3, at St. Innocent Religious Community
◆ Tuesday, August 12th, 7pm, Monthly COCC meeting, at St. Mary’s Antiochian Church, 12 Mile Rd, Berkley
◆ Thursday, August 14th, 7pm, GREAT VESPERS FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
◆ Friday, August 15th, 9am, DIVINE LITURGY FOR GREAT FEAST OF THE DORMITION OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
◆ Saturday, August 23rd, 11am, WEDDING, Elizabeth Star & Larry Hatfield
◆ Wednesday, August 27th, 7pm, AKATHIST TO ST. MOSES THE BLACK (for his Feastday, August 28th)
◆ Friday, August 29th, 9am, DIVINE LITURGY, BEHEADING OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIZER/FORERUNNER (& Panikhida)
◆ Sunday, September 7th, 6pm, GREAT VESPERS FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
◆ Monday, September 8th, 9am, DIVINE LITURGY FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
◆ Tuesday, September 9th, 7pm, Monthly COCC meeting, at St. Michael’s Church, W. Chicago, Redford
◆ Saturday, September 13th, 4pm, GREAT VESPERS & LITIYA FOR THE GREAT FEAST OF THE ELEVATION OF THE CROSS
◆ Sunday, September 14th, GREAT FEAST OF THE ELEVATION/EXALTATION OF T HE HOLY CROSS (Liturgy as usual)
◆ Sunday, September 21st, After Coffee-Hour (1:00), Monthly Pot-Luck, Fellowship & Discussion #4, at St. Innocent ReligiousCommunity
◆ Wednesday, October 1st, 9am, DIVINE LITURGY FOR THE FEAST OF THE PROTECTION (POKROV) OF THE THEOTOKOS
◆ Sunday, October 19th, After Coffee-Hour (1:00), Monthly Pot-Luck, Fellowship & Discussion #5, at St. Innocent Religious Community
FR. ROMAN’S ADDITIONAL SCHEDULE
Friday, August 15th, Holy Dormition Monastery, Rives Junction, Annual Patronal Feastday Pilgrimage, Hierarchal Divine Liturgy
Thursday, August 28th, Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, Dormition Cathedral, Ferndale, Parish Patronal Feastday (O.S.)
Thursday–Saturday, October 2nd–4th, 21st Annual Ancient Christianity Conference (National Brotherhood of St. Moses the Black), Lima, OH
Saturday–Sunday, October 4th–5th, Annual Patronal Feastday Pilgrimage (O.S.), Holy Cross Monastery, Wayne, WV
Wednesday, October 8th, Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, Patronal Feastday (O.S.), St. Sergius Cathedral, Parma, OH
Thursday, October 9th, Divine Liturgy, Patronal Feastday (O.S.), St. John the Theologian Monastery, Hiram, OH
Tuesday, October 14th, Hierarchal Divine Liturgy, Patronal Feastday (O.S.), Pokrov/Protection Cathedral, Des Plaines (Chicago), IL
Monday, October 20th, 10:30am, Give OCW presentation, St. Maria of Paris, the “Rebel Nun,” at St. Thomas Albanian Church, Farm. Hills
[IN PRINTED BULLETIN]
CANDLES FOR LAST SUNDAY, 20 JULY
CHURCH VIGIL LAMPS:
Royal Doors Lamp:In Memory of Husband Joe; Son Kenneth; parents Michael & Margaret Rusko & John & Martha Nossal, by Rose Nossal
Altar Candles: In Memory of Nicholas and Susan Yakuber, by son, Donald Yakuber
Iconostasis Lamps: In Memory of Irene Adams, by daughter, Eileen Adams
Candles on the Solea: In Memory of Pete & Theresa Harvilla, Norman & Monica Holst, & Ricky Ellis, by Jason & Debra Truskowski
Nave Reliquary-Icon Lamps: (1) In Memory of Ross & Margaret Falsetti, by daughters, Margie Martell & Rose Ann Everhardt
Nave Reliquary-Icon Lamps: (2) Anonymous
Table of Oblation Lamp: In Memory of parents, Helen & John Andrayko, Sr. & sister, Carole Andrayko, by John Andrayko, Jr.
IN MEMORY OF (MEMORY ETERNAL!):
Joseph & Estelle Star, by son Father Roman and family
Paul & Alexandra Yupco, Basil & Ellen Starinshak, by grandson, Father Roman and family
John & Anna Witkowski, by daughter, Matushka Rose Marie and family
Samuel & Mary Kupec, by granddaughter, Matushka Rose Marie and family
Parents, Helen & John Andrayko and sister, Carole Andrayko, by John Andrayko
My husband, Joe; my sisters, Margaret & Ross Falsetti, Anna & Mike Elaschat, Theresa & Pete Harvilla, Irene, & brothers, Michael & John Rusko; niece, Rose Mary Hough; Joe’s brothers, Raymond & Walter Nossal, & sisters, Theresa, Florence & Helen Nossal, by Rose Nossal
Pete & Theresa Harvilla, by Mary Ann Harvilla & Kay Truskowski + + + My husband, Michael Rusko, by Joan Rusko
Parents, Ethel Elizabeth & Wayne Joshua deVyver; David Horka; Marion P; Nina I; Fr. Photius; Mother Benedicta (8/7), by Sister Ioanna
Child Lana Wilson, Shirley Troyer, & Wendel Philips, by Becky Jurczyszyn & Levi Troyer + + + All Family & Friends, by Rose Ann Everhardt + + + Thelma Ratcliff, Louis Pitts, T.F. Shelton, Gloria Robinson, Reginald Bell, Lessie Favor, Lois Hamby, by Manier Family
FOR THE HEALTH OF (MANY YEARS!):
Elizabeth, Caitlin & Zachary, by parents & grandparents, Father Roman & Matushka Rose Marie
Gregory & Tamiko Star, by parents, Father Roman & Matushka Rose Marie
Children & Grandchildren; Monk Fr. Tikhon (Dade); Dean Hough, by Rose Nossal
Father Roman & Matushka & family; Sister Ioanna; John Andrayko; Nancy; Mary G; Jo Anne N; Grandson Joey (in the Navy Reserves) & all people in the Armed Forces; & all the people of St. Innocent Church, by Rose Nossal + + + My Mom, Jaime Truskowski, by Kay Truskowski + + + Family & Friends, Aunt Rose, by Mary Ann Harvilla & Kay T. + + + Brother, Greg & Donna, Gregory & Liz & Alex, by Mary Ann Harvilla & Kay Truskowski + + + Archimandrites Roman, Nafanail & Gregory; Igumen Seraphim; Fr. Roman & Mat. Rose Marie; Fr. Lawrence & fam; Fr. Daneil & fam; Dcn. Michael & fam; Mat. Melania S; Mat. Mary D; Carl; Fr. Tikhon; Sdn Andrew; Rdr Robert; Robert M; David Samuel & Sky; JoAnne & Nick; Martha; Athanasius; John A; Michelle T; Lena N; Jillian J; Ed & Tiffany; Vasiliki; Rose; Emil; Mo.Theodora-Amphilochia, by Sr. Ioanna + + + Joan Jurczyszyn, Leia Wilson, Michelle Tuccker, by Becky Jurczyszyn & Levi + + + Andrew Stoiko (safe travel in Alaska) + + + Health of: Manier family, Samantha Ketelson (Infant w/ hypo-thyroidism) + + + Salvation of: Brittany, Eddie, Breonna, Bronte, Kaitlyn, RJ, Xavier, Storie, Robert, Candice, Kevin, Cynthia, Demarion, Desmond, & Shelton Family, by Manier family
PROSFORA FOR TODAY IS OFFERED by: Sister Ioanna
in Memory Eternal of: Parents: Wayne Joshua (anniv. 8/29) & Ethel Elizabeth (B-day, 9/2); David Horka (anniv. 9/27); Alex Ruggieri (anniv. 7/21); Mother Benedicta (anniv. 8/7); Popadia Vera Nicoloff (anniv. 8/24); John Stoiko (1st anniv. 8/10); & all other departed family & friends; and
for the Health of: Brother, Carl; Archimandrite Roman; Michelle Tucker; Mother Theodora-Amphilochia; Reader Robert; Subdeacon Andrew; Rose Nossal; Jo Anne Nicholas; Fr. Roman, Matushka Rose Marie & all parishioners.
PROSFORA SCHEDULE: 2014 — August: Sister Ioanna; September: Deborah Hartz; October: John Andrayko: November: Sister Ioanna; December: Nicholas Family. PLEASE START SIGNING UP FOR 2015 NOW.
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ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS & OTHER NEWS
[IN THE PRINTED BULLETIN]:
(1) MONTHLY POT-LUCK AND DISCUSSION GROUP MEETS TODAY, AUGUST 10th, AFTER COFFEE HOUR
(2) OUR WEEKLY BULLETIN IS NOW AVAILABLE ON-LINE
Please go to our church website, http://www.stinnocentchurch.com , and the “Weekly Bulletin” tab, where you will find not only what is in each week’s 4-page printed bulletin, but also what does not fit in the 4 pages. There will be a separate sub-page for each week’s bulletin under the “Weekly Bulletins” tab. So add our church website to your “favorites” list and visit it every week. Furthermore, since the bulletin is now available on-line, in order to reduce both our printing and postage costs for mailing bulletins every week, we are compiling an e-mail list in order to e-mail the website link for each week’s on-line bulletin to our parishioners and friends of the parish, while those who are at church can also get their printed bulletin in person. Anyone without a computer and e-mail, naturally, will continue to receive the printed bulletin by postal mail when they are not in church to get it in person.
VERY IMPORTANT— RSVP: We still need some e-mail addresses, and your consent to receiving the on-line version of our weekly bulletin in place of receiving a printed version by postal mail when you are not in church. If you wish to continue receiving a printed copy, kindly inform us of your wishes. Please communicate this information to Sister Ioanna ASAP, preferably by e-mail: email@example.com. If you do not have working e-mail, please call: 313-535-9080, or speak with her in person.
We need e-mail addresses for the following, (& who does not have computer and e-mail):
Harvilla; R., J & S, B & D Nossal; Truskowski; D. Yakuber; Cupp; Costa; Everhardt; Glover;Harbut; G&M, C & B Martell.
THIS WEEK’S LINK: http://www.stinnocentchurch.com /2014august10.html
(3) OUR ANNUAL BLANKET DRIVE HAS BEGUN. PLEASE GIVE YOUR DONATIONS NOW
We have launched our annual Fall Blanket Drive. Our goal is 100 blankets for the poor and homeless. This year you don’t even have to go the store and buy blankets. Anna Margaret Costa will place an order at the Walmart with which she deals, where the manager is very sympathetic to our blankets-for-the-poor drive, and who made a big blanket donation last year. He asked Anna Margaret to let him know in August how many blankets to order, so he can make sure he gets in enough blankets. Please give your donation NOW for this order. Blankets are $5.
(4) UP-DATE ON THE HEALTH OF MICHELLE (SHIRAK) TUCKER
Michelle Tucker is in critical condition at the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit. Please keep her in your prayers.
[NOT IN THE PRINTED BULLETIN]:
(5) THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO HAVE MOWED OUR CHURCH YARD & WORKED BEAUTIFYING OUR GARDENS.
We continue to thank for their on-going sacrificial labors, John Andrayko, Reader George Hanoian, Matushka Rose Marie & Fr. Roman for their work taking care of and beautifying our church property, by mowing, edging, weeding, & clean-up. We always still desperately need some more volunteers to help maintain our beautiful church’s property. Please offer to come for a few hours and help. Thank you very much!
(6) MONTHLY POT-LUCK AND DISCUSSION GROUP MEETS NEXT SUNDAY, AUGUST 10th, AFTER COFFEE HOUR
A new monthly pot-luck lunch and discussion group has been formed, and has met so far on June 22nd and July 13th and also on Auugusst 10th. It will continue to meet for a lively, thought-provoking discussion following a casual pot-luck lunch, on one Sunday (2nd or 3rd) a month after coffee hour, at the St. Innocent Religious Community. The next gatherings will be on September 21st, October 19th, and November 9th. All are welcome.
(7) PROSFORA: Offering the Holy Bread that will become the Sacred Body of Christ and received in Holy Communion is a great honor and privilege, and it is a wonderful way to commemorate one’s living and departed loved ones. It also is a very meaningful way of celebrating special events, such as birthdays & anniversaries, graduations, weddings, births & baptisms. Donations are $25 for a month. PLEASE SIGN UP FOR 2015 NOW.
2015: January, John Andrayko & Sister Ioanna
February, Matushka Rose Marie
May: Vasiliki Stamoulis
June: John Andrayko
July: Matushka Rose Marie
August: Sister Ioanna
October: John Andrayko
November: Sister Ioanna
December: Nicholas Family
(8) SUPPORT THE ODO (ORTHODOX DETROIT OUTREACH)
If you would like to do more in a hands-on way to help the poor, needy, hungry and homeless in our community, and put your faith into action, consider volunteering to help the ODO (ORTHODOX DETROIT OUTREACH). They especially need volunteers on Sundays from 1 to 3:00 to serve meals to the needy at Ss. Peter & Paul Church, Gilbert Street, near Livernois & Michigan, in Detroit. To learn more, visit their website (www.orthodoxdetroitoutreach.org) and/or contact Janet Damian (firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 313-706-0666).
(9) ON-GOING CHARITABLE WORKS AT ST. INNOCENT
(1) Please continue to help the needy in our community by bringing in food, clothing, toiletries, household items, children’s toys, school supplies, etc., most of which is delivered to the REDFORD INTERFAITH RELIEF (RIR), a local organization run by Redford churches, of which St. Innocent is a very active member. They also welcome household, family & children’s items. (2) Also we continue, as always, to collect donations for the OCMC (Orthodox Christian Missions Center) CANISTER PROGRAM (to support mission priests). (The OCMC canister is by the candle stand.) (3) Please also continue to bring in your empty, clean pop cans and bottles, the refund from which we send to the ST. INNOCENT BOYS’ ORPHANAGE IN TIJUANA, MEXICO, as we have been doing for about 8-9 years. (4) And your USED EYE GLASSES are given to the Lions Club’s Eyes for the Needy program, and volunteers fix them up and distribute eyeglasses to the needy in 3rd- world countries.
(10) LATEST ISSUE OF THE COCC’S “GOOD WORKS” IS AVAILABLE
The latest issue (July–August) of “Good Works” — the highly successful newsletter of the Council of Orthodox Christian Churches of Metro-Detroit (COCC) — is now available. Look for it on the right end of the front pew, behind the current week’s Sunday bulletins. The 8½ x 11 publication has now changed from being published quarterly, to bi-monthly. Thus it will be published 6 times a year instead of 4 times. Make a point of getting your copy each time it comes out, and enjoy reading the very diverse articles, news and announcements about the Orthodox community in southeast Michigan. You can also read all the issues in color on the COCC’s website: http://www.coccdetroit.com.
OTHER NEWS & ARTICLES (IN THE PRINTED BULLETIN)
(1) IRS STRIKES DEAL WITH ATHEISTS TO MONITOR SERMONS AND HOMILIES
INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY, July 31, 2014 —First Amendment: Government's assault on religious liberty has hit a new low as the IRS settles with atheists by promising to monitor sermons for mentions of the right to life and traditional marriage.
A lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) asserted that the Internal Revenue Service ignored complaints about churches' violating their tax-exempt status by routinely promoting political issues, legislation and candidates from the pulpit. The FFRF has temporarily withdrawn its suit in return for the IRS's agreement to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.
The irony of this agreement is that it's being enforced by the same Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS that was once headed by Lois "Fifth Amendment" Lerner and that openly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Among the questions that the IRS asked of those targeted groups was the content of their prayers. Those who objected to the monitoring of what is said and done in mosques for signs of terrorist activity have no problem with this one, though monitoring what's said in houses of worship is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Can you say "chilling effect"?
Congress can make no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. So it's not clear where the IRS gets off doing just that by spying on religious leaders lest they comment on issues and activities by government that are contrary to or impose on their religious consciences. Our country was founded by people fleeing this kind of government-monitored and mandated theology last practiced in the Soviet Union.
The FFRF cites as its authority the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which states that tax-exempt groups cannot endorse candidates. A 2009 court ruling determined that the IRS must staff someone to monitor church politicking. The FFRF claims that the IRS has not adhered to the ruling and that the settlement amounts to enforcing both the Johnson Amendment and the court ruling.
But is the Catholic Church "politicking" when it proclaims its "Fortnight for Freedom" dedicated to opposing ObamaCare's contraceptive mandate and the government's forcing schools and charities it considers an extension of its faith to include it in insurance coverage or face crippling fines?
Are Protestant and evangelical churches "politicking" when they participate in "Pulpit Freedom Sunday" this year on Oct. 5 to encourage congregations to "vote their faith," which they consider to be an exercise of free speech and freedom of religion?
The FFRF says that such events at "rogue churches" have "become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity." But doesn't the Constitution say that Congress can make no such laws?
Rather than "rogue churches," it's the rogue IRS that needs to be stopped.
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(2) FOCUS NORTH AMERICA OPENS HEALTH CARE CENTER IN PITTSBURGH
GOARCH, July 23, 2013 – Despite the best efforts of many policy experts and lawmakers to bring universal healthcare coverage to all Americans, 16% of the population – 45 million people – still do not have health insurance.
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve) North America recently opened the first comprehensive Orthodox health care facility in America. The FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center targets uninsured individuals and provides them with access to quality physical and mental health care as well as pharmaceutical and laboratory services. In addition, The FOCUS health center is a place where skilled Orthodox medical practitioners can put their talents to good use for the glory of God and in service to those in need right here in America.
FOCUS North America is an Orthodox Christian faith-based nonprofit organization that provides sustainable jobs and permanent housing solutions for the homeless and working poor families across America. FOCUS has operations and activities in 50 cities in the US and Canada.
Why did FOCUS extend its services into healthcare? Because it’s not much good to give someone a job or a place to live if they are not healthy enough to maintain them. It is very difficult to sustainably transition a person or a family from homelessness, poverty and dependency to a life of self-sufficiency without providing for their health. Offering free comprehensive healthcare and health-related services is a natural fit with FOCUS’ work to transform the lives of the homeless and working poor in America…
Read complete story at: http://blogs.goarch.org/blog/-/blogs/orthodox-health-center-opens-in-pittsbur-1?p_p_auth= UcT1RdVV
For more information about the mission and work of FOCUS North America, go to: http://www.focusnorthamerica.org/
(3) This week's SERMON:
AT THE HEART OF THE STORM
By Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
(St. Matthew 14:22-34)
A Sermon delivered on 5 August 1990
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I should like to begin with the words of Saint Paul. He tells us that we all who have heard the life-giving, the creative word of God are building our lives on a sure foundation, not only on the teaching of Christ, but on His presence, both invisible, and communicable in the Sacraments. This is a sure foundation of all life — ours, and that of the whole creation. But what do we build on this foundation? Some, the heroes of the spirit, the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Saints that cannot be shaken even by the storms of History. Others have built of gold and silver that rust cannot destroy, that rust cannot spoil.
But do we belong to these? Or are we not rather those who are building on the foundation of Christ Who is a column and a pillar of truth and of life — are we not building of wood and of straw? As long as we live, as long as a storm doesn’t come, both wood and straw seem to be so secure; but then, comes a hurricane, then fire comes — and what is left of it? And it is not only physical fire and physical hurricanes that destroy: History is made of fire, a fire of judgment; and remember the words that the judgment of God begins within His Church, and this Judgment is the judgment by fire. And History is like a storm...
What is left then — is it there any hope for us? There is! Because Paul who has given us a very stern warning lest we lightmindedly built on a Foundation which is Holy something which is unholy, unworthy of this foundation, he tells us, Yes, your works may go up in flames, but you may stay... And why? How can we? Aren't we judged simply by the final reckoning on our life, on what we have built? Perhaps today's Gospel can give us some vision of what may happen.
The Apostles left Christ to cross the sea of Genesareth. The weather was good, the sea was calm, they hoped for a safe crossing. And then the wind came down, and the storm roared, and the waves rose, and they felt that the little skiff in which they were crossing the Lake had become a possible grave for them, a cold, watery grave. They fought as they could; but they could do nothing against the raging sea and the furious wind.
And at that moment they saw Christ walking on the sea, walking on the waters, at the very heart of the storm, in the eye of the hurricane. And they cried out in horror because they thought, this could be nothing but a ghost — God could not be in the midst of the storm, a storm that spelt death to them, destruction. If God were there, there should be peace, stillness, safety for themselves... And yet, God was at the heart of the storm, as He is at the heart of all the historical storms which rage all around us and tosses us about, and frightens us so much, and brings us to the brink of death.
And they cried in terror. And then, they heard a voice; a voice that was unmistakably that of Christ: It is I! — don't be afraid!
And a degree of peace came upon them; and Peter turned to Christ, and said, If it is You — let me come to You on the waves!.. And Christ said, ‘Come! Enter into the storm, don’t try to escape it, don’t look for safety in this small, frail skiff that can be broken to pieces by the waves, drowned — don't count on that! Walk into the storm, walk on the raging waves!..
And as long as Peter was looking at nothing but Christ, to be with Him wherever Christ found Himself, he could walk. But he became aware of himself; at that moment he became aware of the storm, he was aware of the fact that he could die in a moment, helpless, drowned. And terror seized him, and he cried to Christ again, ‘Lord, save me !’— and the Lord stretched out His hand.
In another passage of the Gospel we are told, ‘And at that moment they discovered that they were all near the shore’ — they were at the end of the journey, while terror made them think that they were in the power of death...
Isn't that something which we can learn, each of us, from the circumstances of life? Let us ask ourselves whether on the unshakeable foundation of Christ we are building of stone, of gold, of silver — or only of perishable things? Let us ask ourselves whether it is with Christ, with God that we want to be in the midst of the storm, at the heart of the storm, fearless, because there is the place where He is — or whether we look for salvation in the little boat that is being drowned.
Let us reflect on this; and let us walk again into life with new hope, with a new sense of responsibility, but with the certainty that all things are possible unto us in the power of Christ Who sustains us. Amen.
OTHER SPIRITUALLY EDIFYING & NEWS-WORTHY MATERIALS NOT IN THIS WEEK'S PRINTED BULLETIN
(5) For the 5th prayer in our series of 9 Prayers for the Journey Along THE WAY, Prayer #5, "Overcoming Self", go to the page on our website, http://www.stinnocentchurch.com/overcomingself.html
(6) To read one of our articles about this past Wedneday's Great Feast, the Transfiguration of our Lord, go to: http://www.stinnocentchurch.com/whatisthetransfiguration.html
(7) For a sermon on the Transfiguration feast (last Wednesday) by St. Gregory Palamas, click here: http://oca.org/fs/sermons/sermon-on-the-transfiguration
(8) To read about this Saturday's (yesterday, 8/9) Feast day of St. Herman of Alaska, read our short Life of St. Herman: http://www.stinnocentchurch.com/lifeofsthermanofalaska.html
(9) For more information about St. Herman, click here: http://oca.org/FS.NA-Saint.asp?SID=4&Saint=Herman
(10) To read the wonderful Akathist to St. Herman, click here: http://www.doaoca.org/files/pdf/StHermanAkathist.pdf
(11) To read the life of the the Archdeacon St. Lawrence (Laurence), whose feastday is Sunday, August 10th, click here: http://oca.org/saints/lives/2014/08/10/102258-martyr-and-archdeacon-laurence-of-rome
(12) To read the news article, entitled "UN Rally in Support of Iraqi, Middle East Christians on August 2nd" click here: http://oca.org/news/headline-news/un-rally-in-support-of-iraqi-middle-east-christians-august-2
(13) Our former and newly reassigned Archpastor, Archbishop Justinian and our newly elected and consecrated Archpastor, Bishop John, met in Moscow on August 5th, and concelebrated together a Moleben before the relics of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Bishop of the United States in the early 20th century, in order to pray for his help and guidance for our new Bishop John, who is now serving in the very cathedral that St. Tikhon built, and now laboring in the land that St. Tikhon helped so much with his vision for Orthodoxy in North America. See a news article and some photos about this at: http://mospatusa.com/news_140805_1.html
(14) To read the news article about our new Archpastor, Bishop John's arrival back in the US on August 6th, and his first service as Bishop in his (and our) Cathedral of St. Nicholas in NYC, and see several photos, click here: http://mospatusa.com/news_140806_1.html
(15) To read a number of news articles about the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities)'s work in helping the refugees and displaced families in Gaza, Syria and northern Iraq, plus other charitable and humanitarian work that the IOCC is doing around the world (including in the USA), go to: http://www.iocc.org/