Please Remember in Your Prayers

Archpriest Michael Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Priest Gregory and    Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Nina Lewis; Maryann Black; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey & Lidia Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Andrei, Marina, Valentina and Vladimir; Archpriest Cezar, Mat. Christina, Cezara–Maria, Darius, Justina, Christian; Victoria Lardiero; Donela-Maria w/child; Richard Wright; Valentina Shultieva; Shanna, Stephen, Trent-Michael, Grant-Alexander, Adalynn Lisowsky; Julie Smith; Tayisia Solvieva; Lubov Pavuk; Leonid and Zoya; James McAteer; Jayne Sudol; Rita and Richard Herber; Lubov; Svetlana.

 

 

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Bulletin

28th Sunday after Pentecost

Tone 3

November 26 / December 9, 2018

 

Venerable Alypius the Stylite of Adrianopolis (640); Dedication of the Church of the Great-martyr George at Kiev (1051); Holy Hierarch Innocent, Bishop of Irkutsk (1731); Venerable James the Solitary of Syria (457); Venerable Stylianus of Paflagonia (5-6 c.); Hieromartyrs John, Gregory and Nazarius, Basil, Basil, Elijah, Basil, Daniel, Michael, Nicholas – priests, Venerable-martyr Tikhon (1937); Hieromartyr Peter (after 1937). 

 

Today’s Scriptural Readings:

Colossians 1: 12-18  /  Luke 13: 10-17

Fr. John’s Sermons (Video): Click here  

 

 

 

Before doing anything, pray and think: would this be wise and pleasing to God?

Venerable Nikon of Optina

 

We must be certain that the Divine Providence of God always watches over us, and arranges all circumstances for our benefit, even when they are unpleasant for us. Venerable Leo of Optina

 

This  Week’s  Liturgical  Calendar

The Nativity Fast (St. Phillip’s Fast) continues until January 7

Saturday, December 15th – 6:00 PM 

Vigil Service in the Chapel

Sunday, December 16th – 10:00 AM 

Private Confessions start at 9:15 AM

Divine Liturgy in Church

Sunday, December 16th – 4:00 PM

Eve of Feast Day of St. Barbara

Vigil Service in Church

 

 

Divine Services at Holy Trinity are live-streamed at 

https://www.youtube.com/user/HolyTrinitySermons

 

 

Special Petitions for the Unity of the Orthodox Church

Again we pray to the Lord and our Savior to preserve the Orthodox Church abiding in the whole world in unity and right belief, and to grant her peace and tranquility, love and consent, let us all say, Lord, hearken and have mercy.

 

Again we pray to look upon the Holy Orthodox Church with the goodness of heart and with mercy, and to preserve her from divisions and schisms, from hostility and disorder, so her unity will not be diminished or shaken, but Thine Thrice-Holy name be glorified in her, let us all say, Lord, hearken and have mercy.

 

 

Please join us for the Soup Luncheon – Today after Services

 

Sunday, December 9th – Soup Luncheon

After Divine Services on Sunday, December 9th, the Sunday School Parents and Teachers will conduct an All-you-can-eat Soup Luncheon, featuring a wide variety of homemade lenten soups – mushroom, bean, lentil, cabbage, etc. Salads and other items will round out the menu for a tasty lunch. Cost: $7/person (child under 12 free). All the proceeds benefit the Sunday School. Info call Larisa Hidar 443-986-0047 larafaza@yahoo.com  

 

Today – Annual Parish Meeting – December 9, 2018

This is an official announcement that our annual parish meeting will take place after Divine Liturgy on Sunday,     December 9, 2018.  Suggestions for New Business items may be given to Victor Marinich. Special items for discussion: Reports on church restorations, special fundraising and Centennial celebration plans.

 

Only “members in good standing” vote at an annual meeting.

According to the By-Laws of Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, adopted on December 21, 2003, the following defines a “Member in Good Standing of Holy Trinity Parish” (abridged):

Member in Good Standing is anyone, 18 years or older, that meets all of the following:

  1. Any person who was baptized and chrismated according to the rites of the Orthodox Church or who has been canonically received into the Orthodox Church;
  2. Any person who partakes of the Mysteries of Holy Confession and Holy Communion as frequently as possible, but no less than once a year;
  3. Any person who pledges to support the parish through the application of their personal time and effort and a pledge of financial support;
  4. Any person who meets his/her stewardship obligation;
  5. Any person who demonstrates his/her loyalty to the Orthodox Church and to this parish by laboring to the best of their abilities for its progress;
  6. Any pledging member who abides by the parish by-laws. 

 

Nomination Committee 

The Nomination Committee is working to present a complete slate of candidates to run for the various offices on the parish council for the year 2019. Anyone interested to run for office may contact the Nomination Committee members: Victor Marinich 443-512-0985; Dan Walsh 410-435-6164; Michael Mickel 410-666-2870; Albert Blaszak 410-799-3226;   Vadim Radchenko 410-465-6172; or Andrei Burbelo 443-567-6031.

 

St. Catherine Sisterhood – Congratulations

We congratulate the newly elected Sisterhood officers for the year 2019. Natallia Makarava – President;  Larisa Hidar – Vice President;  Ekaterina Radchenko – Secretary;  Natalie Burbelo – Treasurer. May God bless their work for the Sisterhood, increase their talents and preserve them for many years!

 

Every Sunday –Yolka Practice

Every Sunday after Sunday School classes we will conduct a Yolka rehearsal.

All students need to attend the rehearsals. Our annual Yolka is scheduled for Sunday, January 13th. Mark your calendars!

 

Events Committee Meeting – December 16th

The Events Committee will meet on Sunday, December 16th after coffee hour.

We will draft a schedule of events for most of the new year.

The year 2019 is an important year! All are encouraged to attend.



Sunday, December 23rd – Time to Decorate

We ask all the children (and children at heart) of the parish to help us decorate our Christmas trees after Divine Services.

We also appreciate donations of any extra lights and ornaments. Thank you very much!

 

Scarves, Hats, Gloves

As part of our charitable parish outreach, we are collecting donations of small warm clothing items – scarves, hats, gloves, socks, etc. – for the city’s homeless. Volunteering as a chaplain for the Baltimore City Police,  Fr. Deacon Michael will ride-along in a police car on December 25th to distribute the warm clothing items to the homeless. For more information, please contact Fr. Deacon Michael: Deacon@Michael-Bishop.com 

 

 

Amazon Smile  &  Popular Gift Cards

Every time you shop on Amazon go to https://smile.amazon.com/ log in as you usually do, select our church – Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church (Baltimore, MD) – as your targeted charity, and Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchase (every purchase) to our church. 

 

Looking for a simple way to contribute to the church restoration? Consider Gift Cards for your holiday shopping and gift giving. This holiday season, when you use gift cards to pay for your purchases and gift giving, you automatically contribute to our church restoration!

 

The holidays present a big fundraising opportunity for our restoration project. You can raise money just by paying for your holiday shopping with gift cards which you purchase from our church! 

 

Just look at the earnings from these popular retailers:

·      Earn 2.5% on gifts from Amazon (remember to purchase at smile.amazon.com)

·      Earn 10% when you shop at Macy's

·      Earn 6% with gift cards from CVS

·      Earn 7% with gift cards from Marshalls, TJ Maxx and Home Goods

·      Earn 14% on your holiday outfits from GAP or Old Navy

·      You can even earn 4% when you’re buying holiday meal supplies at Safeway, Shop Rite or Giant!

 

If you want to start raising easy money in-store, online, on-the-go, or on last-minute gifts, email tania_masiuk@yahoo.com  410-987-4850 or stop by the Gift Kiosk in the parish hall for our enrollment code so you may purchase your gift cards today!   Invite your family and friends to purchase gift cards from Holy Trinity!

 

Birthday / Anniversary Celebrations:  December 9-15

We offer our best wishes and birthday congratulations to Ekaterina Patrusheva (12/10), Elena Shultieva (12/11), Craig-Stephen Pearson (12/11), Paraskeva Gaines (12/13), Leo Hansen (12/14), and Angel Day congratulations to Drew Pastor (12/13), Andrei Burbelo (12/13) Andrei Shushtov (12/13). May God bless them with health, prosperity and many years. To include your birthdays/anniversaries in the bulletin contact Fr. John.

 

Vigil Candles: On the Altar and near St. Barbara

Dec. 9-15: Candles offered by Olga Mychko and Alexey Shevelkin for the health/salvation of the servants of God: Anastasia, Sergey, Ksenia and Alexey.  A $15 donation will keep all three candles lit for one week. Schedule your candle offering with Vadim Radchenko 410-465-6172.  

 


Cleaning Group – Group #3 /  Join a Group – Help your brothers and sisters

Group #3 will clean this week Dec. 10-15: Vadim (captain) and Yelena Radchenko,

Vladyslav and Natalia Volkova, Nadya Aleksandrovych This group needs more members. Any volunteers??

 

When you are generous, you are not bestowing a gift, but repaying a debt. Everything you possess materially comes from God, who created all things. And every spiritual and moral virtue you possess is through divine grace. Thus you owe everything to God. More than that, God has given you his Son, to show you how to live: how to use your material possessions, and how to grow in moral and spiritual virtue. St. John Chrysostom 

 

Please Remember in Your Prayers…

Archpriest Michael Hatrak; Deacon Michael Bishop; Mat. Myra Kovalak; Mat. Klavdiya Burbelo; Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green; Nun Elizabeth; Nun Magdalena; Mat. Natalia Kosich; Priest Gregory and    Mat. Diane Winsky; Mat. Catherine Kowalchik; Marie Vass; Charles Snipes; Arthur-Stephen Lisowsky; Yelena Radchenko; Lydia Zorina; Tatiana; Katherine Plaskowitz; Philip Plaskowitz; Bernadine Borawick; Julia Aymold; Lilli Ann Hoffman; Lara Marinich; Oleg Marinich; Ioann and Galina Zernetkin; Monika-Anastasia & Stephanie Handley; Blanche-Julia Stolkovich; Ekaterina Koroleva; Nina Lewis; Maryann Black; Lyudmila, Anton & Aleksander Karnup; John Alexander Bylen; Katherine Garrett; Stephen Kaminitsky; John-Thomas Planinshek; Kenneth Pukita; William and Ann Ferkile; Sergei Krektyshev; Irina Kononova; Petr and Lyudmila Borodkin; Anthony Bakie; Svetlana & Aleksey; Nina; Alla; Anna; Alla; Raisa, Zinaida; Joseph Germano; Pavel, Vladimir, Valentina, Nina, and Maria; Maria Pappas; Bonnie Duke; Joseph Lacomy; Diana Radchenko; Aleksey & Lidia Potapov; Oleg and Andrei; Vitaliy, Tatiana, Olena & Nicholas Berchuk; Irena and Isabella; David, Selina-Sophia, John, Maryann, David, Joseph, Lisa Ann Eichelberger; Cynthia and Bill (Basil) Popomaronis; Andrei, Marina, Valentina and Vladimir; Archpriest Cezar, Mat. Christina, Cezara–Maria, Darius, Justina, Christian; Victoria Lardiero; Donela-Maria w/child; Richard Wright; Valentina Shultieva; Shanna, Stephen, Trent-Michael, Grant-Alexander, Adalynn Lisowsky; Julie Smith; Tayisia Solvieva; Lubov Pavuk; Leonid and Zoya; James McAteer; Jayne Sudol; Rita and Richard Herber; Lubov; Svetlana.

 

Next Council Meeting: Thursday, January 17 – 7:30 PM in the Church Hall

 

Fr. John Vass, Pastor  443-527-7067

Fr. Deacon Michael Bishop:                    410-563-0472

Victor Marinich, Council President:           443-512-0985

Vadim Radchenko, Vice President:          410-465-6172

Andrei Burbelo,  Recording Secretary:     443-567-6031

Albert Blaszak, Treasurer:                       410-799-3226

Monika Handley, Stewardship Chair:       410-263-5758

Vacant Member-At-Large:                                                      

Natallia Makarava Sisterhood President:  443-625-8470

Michael Mickel, Cemetery Manager:       410-666-2870

 

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (+2003)

Miracles of Christ on the Sabbath Day

 

In the name, of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Time and again we read in the Gospel of the anger which the Lord Jesus Christ provoked by performing an act of mercy, a miracle of healing on a Sabbath day. And we cannot help asking ourselves a question: Why did He do it so constantly, so persistently, with such insistence? Could it be to challenge those who surrounded Him? Could it be to provoke them? Could it be simply a pedagogical action?

 

I believe that there is a great deal more in His action. The Lord created the world in six days; on the seventh day He rested of His toils and labors. But what happened to the world then? The seventh day was the day when the world came into the hands of man to be brought to its fulfillment and to its completeness; the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord is the day of man. The whole of human history falls in that day. But God did not leave man to work alone as the Lord Jesus Christ says in the Gospel, as reported by Saint John, “My Father still works, He shows His work to His Son for Him to fulfill them.” And in another passage He teaches us, He tells us that His judgment is true because it is not His judgment; He hears the words of the Father and that is the judgment He pronounces.

 

And so, history is the day of man, but man is called to be guided by the wisdom, by the love of God. It is because we are so often seeking for our own ways, it is because we do not ask ourselves what is God's way in one situation or the other that the world has become so ugly, and so frightening, and so tragic. There is a Hebrew poem that describes the misery of this world into which man does not bring the love of God; it says, “Man has ceased to believe in God and love has departed this world. Men have hanged themselves in forests, have drowned themselves in lakes, in rivers. Heaven is no longer mirrored in the lakes, in the woods; the bird does no longer sing songs of paradise, and the Prophet himself on his pedestal has become a mere statue.”

 

Is this not what we have become? Not statues but so much alike the wife of Lot who turned back and who became a statue of salt. We have remained salt and yet we are petrified, immobile, we do not fulfill on earth this function of ours. And Christ shows us, by working His miracles, His acts of love and of compassion on Sabbath day, time and again, He Who is the only true man, the only man who is in total, ultimate oneness with God, what our part should be: take on the history of mankind, take every situation in which we or others find themselves, and carry them on our shoulders in an act of mercy and of love. A Western writer has said that a Christian is the one to whom God has committed the care of His world and of other people. Are we discharging this basic central commission of ours, do we care? We may care with tenderness, we may care sternly, but we must care. And then, this seventh day when God in His mercy and love has committed this world to our care, still can become the day of the Lord. And the City of man which is been built without God, which so often is like the Tower of Babel, may still unfold and attain the greatness and the holiness of the City of God in which the Lord Jesus Christ, true God but also true Man, is called to be a citizen, the heart of it, but also one of us.

 

Is not this call great enough? Is not God's faith in us sufficiently inspiring? Are we going to defeat His hope, to reject His love for ourselves or for others? Or are we going to learn from the ways in which Christ fulfils His human vocation in the day of the Lord, shall we not learn from Him and together with Him build the world which God has dreamed, has willed and is still loving in his distress and so often in our betrayal of Him! 

 

Let us learn to love one another actively, bear one another's burdens, listen to the Living God when He speaks, listen with all our energy, look into His ways and be those who fulfill His will and bring the world to the perfect beauty He has willed for it! Amen. 

Metropolitan Anthony Library

 

 

The Icon of the Mother of God, named the "Sign" ("Znamenie")

(Monday, November 27 / December 10)

 

The Icon of the Mother of God, named the "Sign" ("Znamenie"), images the Most Holy Mother of God seated and with prayerfully uplifted hands; at Her bosom, against the background of a circular shield (or sphere) –in blessing is the Divine Infant – the Savior-Emmanuel. Suchlike depiction of the Mother of God is regarded as among the very first of Her iconographic images. In the mausoleum of Saint Agnes at Rome is a depiction of the Mother of God with hands outstretched in prayer with the Infant-Christ sitting upon Her knees. This depiction is ascribed to the IV Century. Moreover, there is known an ancient Byzantine image of the Mother of God "Nikopea" from the VI Century, where the Most Holy Mother of God is depicted sitting upon a throne and holding with both hands before Her an oval shield with the image of the Savior-Emmanuel. Icons of the Mother of God, known under the name "Znamenie-Sign", appeared in Rus' during the XI-XII Centuries, and were called such after a miraculous "Sign" from the Novgorod Icon, which occurred in the year 1170.

 

In that year the allied forces of Russian appanage princes, headed by a son of the Suzdal' prince Andrei Bogoliubsky, marched to beneath the very walls of Great Novgorod. For the Novgorod people the only hope remaining was in the help of God. Day and night they prayed, beseeching the Lord not to forsake them. On the third night the Novgorod bishop Ilia heard a wondrous voice, commanding to be taken out from the church of the Savior–Transfiguration on Il'ina street the image of the Most Holy Mother of God, and to carry it about on the city walls. When they carried about the icon – the enemy let loose at the church procession an hail of arrows, and one of them pierced the iconographic countenance of the Mother of God. From Her eyes trickled tears, and the icon turned its face towards the city. After such a Divine Sign there suddenly fell upon the enemy an inexpressible terror, they began to strike at one another, and taking encouragement from the Lord the Novgorodians fearlessly gave battle and gained the victory.

 

In remembrance of the miraculous intercession of the Queen of Heaven, archbishop Ilia thereupon established a feast day in honor of the Znamenie-Sign of the Mother of God, which down through the present all the Russian Church celebrates. The Athos priestmonk Pakhomios the Logothete, present at the festal celebration to the Icon in Russia, wrote two canons for this feast. On certain of the Novgorod Icons of the Znamenie-Sign, besides the Mother of God with the Praeternal Divine-Infant, there were depicted the miraculous occurrences of the year 1170. For 186 years afterwards, the wonderworking icon remained situated in the selfsame Savior-Transfiguration church on Il'ina street. But in 1356 there was constructed for it in Novgorod a temple in honor of the Znamenie-Sign of the Most Holy Mother of God, serving as cathedral for the Znamenie-Sign monastery.

 

Numerous copies of the Znamenie-Sign Icon are known of throughout all Russia. Many of them subsequently also were glorified by miracles in their local churches, and were then named for the place of the appearance of the miracle. Suchlike copies of the Znamenie-Sign Icon are the icons of Dionysievo-Glushitsk, Abalatsk, Kursk, the Seraphimo-Ponetaevsk and others. © 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

 

 

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called

(Thursday, November 30/December 13)

 

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called was the first of the Apostles to follow Christ, and he afterwards brought to Christ his own brother the holy Apostle Peter (Jn. 1: 35-42). The future apostle was from Bethsaida, and from the time of his youth he turned with all his soul to God. He did not enter into marriage, and together with his brother he worked as a fisherman. When upon Israel thundered the voice of the holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord John, Saint Andrew became his closest disciple. Saint John the Baptist himself sent off to Christ his own two disciples, the future Apostles Andrew and John the Theologian, declaring Christ to be the Lamb of God. 

 

After the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, Saint Andrew set off preaching the Word of God to the Eastern lands. He went through Asia Minor, Thrace, Macedonia, he reached along the River Dunaj (Danube), went along the coast of the Black Sea, through Crimea, the Black Sea Region and along the River Dniepr he climbed to the place, where now stands the city of Kiev. He stopped overnight on the hills of Kiev. Rising in the morning, he said to those disciples that were with him: "See ye these hills? Upon these hills will shine forth the beneficence of God, and there wilt be here a great city, and God shalt raise up many churches". The apostle went up around the hills, blessed them and set up a cross. Having prayed, he went up even further along the Dniepr and reached a settlement of the Slavs, where Novgorod was built. From here the apostle went through the land of the Varangians towards Rome for preaching, and again he returned to Thrace, where in the small village of Byzantium – the future mighty Constantinople, he founded the Church of Christ. The name of the holy Apostle Andrew connects the mother – the Church of Constantinople, together with the daughter – the Russian Church.

 

On his journeys the First-Called Apostle endured many sufferings and torments from pagans: they cast him out from their cities and they beat him. In Sinope they pelted him with stones, but remaining unharmed, the persevering disciple of Christ continued to preaching about the Saviour to people. Through the prayers of the apostle, the Lord worked miracles. From the labours of the holy Apostle Andrew there emerged Christian Churches, for which he established bishops and clergy. The final city to which the First-Called Apostle came, and where it was allotted him to accept a martyr's end, was the city of Patra.

 

The Lord manifested many a miracle through His disciple in Patra. The infirm were made whole, and the blind received their sight. Through the prayers of the apostle, the illustrious citizen Sosios recovered from serious illness; by the placing on of apostolic hands was healed Maximilla, wife of the governor of Patra, and his brother Stratokles. The miracles accomplished by the apostle and his fiery speech enlightened with the true faith almost all the citizens of the city of Patra. Few pagans that remained at Patra, but among them was the governor of the city, Aegeatos. The Apostle Andrew repeatedly turned to him with the words of Good-News [meaning of Euangelium, or Gospel]. But even the miracles of the apostle did not convince Aegeatos. The holy apostle with love and humility appealed to his soul, striving to reveal to him the Christian mystery of life eternal, through the wonderworking power of the Holy Cross of the Lord. The angry Aegeatos gave orders to crucify the apostle. The pagan thought to undo the preaching of Saint Andrew, if he were to give him over to death on the cross, which however the apostle glorified. Saint Andrew the First-Called accepted the decision of the governor with joy and with prayer to the Lord he himself went willingly to the place of execution. In order to prolong the suffering of the saint, Aegeatos gave orders not to nail down the hands and feet of the saint, but to tie them to the cross. From up on the cross for two days the apostle taught the citizens who gathered about. The people, in listening to him, with all their souls pitied him and tried to take the holy apostle down from the cross. Fearing a riot of the people, Aegeatos gave orders to stop the execution. But the holy apostle began to pray that the Lord would grant him death on the cross. Just as the soldiers tried to take hold of the Apostle Andrew, they lost control of their hands. The crucified apostle, having given glory to God, uttered: "Lord Jesus Christ, receive Thou my spirit". Then a blazing ray of Divine light illumined the cross and the martyr crucified upon it. When the shining ceased, the holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called had already given up his holy soul to the Lord (+ 62). Maximilla, wife of the governor, had the body of the Apostle taken down from the cross, and buried him with honor.

 

A few centuries later, under the emperor Constantine the Great, the relics of the holy Apostle Andrew were solemnly transferred to Constantinople and placed in the church of the Holy Apostles alongside the relics of the holy Evangelist Luke and Apostle Paul's disciple – the Disciple Timothy. © 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

 

 

The Nativity Fast

According to the words of St. Leo the Great, the Nativity fast is a sacrifice to God for the fruits we have gathered. “As the Lord generously gave us the fruits of the earth,” writes the holy hierarch, “so should we also be generous to the poor during the fast.” 

 

In the words of St. Simeon of Thessalonica, “The forty days of the Nativity fast is an image of the fast of Moses, who having fasted for forty days and forty nights, received the words of God inscribed on stone tablets. But having fasted for forty days, we gaze upon and receive the living Word from the Virgin, inscribed not on stones, but incarnate and born, and we partake of His Divine flesh.” 

 

The Nativity fast was established so that by the day of Christ’s Nativity we would have cleansed ourselves through repentance, prayer and fasting; so that with a pure heart, soul, and body we could reverently meet the Son of God Who has appeared to the world, and so that besides the usual gifts and sacrifices we would bring Him our pure heart and desire to follow His teaching. 

 

The rule of the Church instructs what we must abstain from during the fasts—“All who piously fast should strictly observe the canons concerning the quality of food; that is, abstain during the fast from certain foods, not as from things defiled [may that not be], but as from things not appropriate to the fast and forbidden by the Church. Foods from which we should abstain during the fasts are: meat, cheese, butter, milk, eggs, and sometimes fish, depending upon which of the holy fasts.” 

 

Fasting bodily, we must also fast spiritually. “Brothers, in fasting bodily let us also fast spiritually, and break all communion with falsehood,” commands the Holy Church. Fasting is first of all man’s spiritual struggle with his passions. St. John Chrysostom warns, “He is mistaken who thinks that the fast consists only in abstinence from food. True fasting is departing from evil.” 

 

Bodily fasting without spiritual fasting does not bring salvation of the soul; to the contrary, it can even be spiritually harmful if in abstaining from food a person is filled with an awareness of his superiority, knowing that he fasts. True fasting is bound up with prayer, repentance, refraining from passions and vices, uprooting evil deeds, forgiving offenses, abstaining from marital relations, avoiding parties, entertainment, theatres, and watching television. Fasting is not a goal but a means—a means of humbling our flesh and cleansing it from sins. Without prayer and repentance, fasting becomes no more than a diet. 

 

The essence of fasting can be expressed in the following Church hymn: My soul, if you fast from food but are not cleansed of the passions, in vain are we content with not eating: for if the fast does not bring you correction, it will be hateful to God as false, and you will be like the evil demons who eat nothing at all.”  The Joy of All Who Sorrow Church, Michurinsk  www.pravoslavie.ru  Translation by OrthoChristian.com

 

 

The world tells us to feast when the Church instructs us to fast…

Then the world encourages us to diet, when the Church calls us to feast…

 

During this Nativity fast we abstain from meat, eggs and dairy products. This lenten period, for Orthodox Christians is a special time when we prayerfully and with fasting prepare for the feast of the Nativity of Christ – to be cleansed of our sins, to strengthen our spiritual powers by fasting and to open our spiritual eyes wider through increased prayer. All of this we do so that we can partake of the bright joy of the coming of the Messiah. 

 

O Most Holy Trinity, Our God, Glory to Thee!