of Sts. Theodore Orthodox Church
A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
96 Los Robles St., Williamsville NY 14221 (716) 634-6712
Vol. XIV, No. 6
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Saturday Vigil 5:00pm
Sunday Divine Liturgy 9:30am
Wednesday Akathist: 6:30pm
Services for the Ascension of our Lord (Great Feast)
Vigil: Wednesday, June 12, 6:00pm
Divine Liturgy: Thursday, June 13, 9:00am
Note: Those who receive Holy Communion on the preceding Sunday may also receive on Ascension. Those who make their Confession at Ascension may receive Holy Communion on the following Sunday.
Ascension and Pentecost are Great Feasts, and Orthodox Christians are expected to prepare for and receive Holy Communion on these days. On Ascension we no longer greet one another with "Christ is risen." Between Ascension and Pentecost we do not use the prayer "O Heavenly King". There is no fasting the week after Pentecost.
Name Days This Month
Annual Reminder about Summer Traveling
Be careful not to fall into the temptation of thinking that a vacation away from home is a vacation away from God. If we are not at our home parish, we must still gather and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ: "Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is" (Hebrews 10:25). This means that as Orthodox Christians the idea of a "Sunday off" should be inconceivable to us. If you are out of town on a Sunday or feast day, we should pick up the Yellow Pages and find a local parish. Better yet, find out what parishes are at your destination before you leave home. If you wish to receive Holy Communion when you are out of town, get a blessing before you travel, and then also check with the local priest when you arrive.
If there simply is no accessible Orthodox parish, you should read the reader services with as many Orthodox Christians as you can gather, starting with your family members. Every parishioner should have a copy of the Typica service, and if you do not, ask Fr. Peter for one, as well as for the variable portions for whichever Sunday or feast you’ll be out of town for. One should also read as much of the Vigil service as possible. At the very least, we should read the "Selections from Vespers and Matins" found in the Jordanville Prayerbook. The Sunday Troparia are also found in the Prayerbook. Fr. Peter can provide you with the troparia for whichever saints are commemorated on a given day. If you do not know the melodies, you can always just read them instead of singing them. Take the Church calendar with you on your trip, or at least jot down the relevant information for the days you will be traveling on. Read the Gospel and Epistle readings, not just for Sunday, but on each day that you are traveling. And just as you read or sing the Sunday troparion, you can also sing the weekday troparia from the Prayerbook. (This is a good habit to develop even if you are not traveling!) Other material is available on-line at www.saintjonah.org/services or from Fr. Peter for whatever service you need to celebrate. But even if you lack the specific texts for the day’s commemoration, you can always read or sing a Canon or an Akathist from your Prayerbook.
So remember, when you are traveling:
1) Research what Orthodox parishes there are on the road and at your destination. Ask Fr. Peter for help or if you have questions about which parishes and jurisdictions are better for visiting. Only hold a reader service if there is no Orthodox parish around.
2) Make sure you pack a Bible (at least the New Testament), a Prayerbook, and a Church calendar.
3) On fasting days, do not modify the fast unless you absolutely have to. Nowadays, there are more vegan options available than ever before. Fish is better than meat or eggs, but "veggie burgers" are preferable to fish. Shrimp and other seafood are considered Lenten, so Chinese restaurants are convenient, too. Pack fruit and nuts for the road, so you won’t be tempted by chips and fries. Don’t ever use traveling as an excuse not to fast or pray.
4) If you are visiting non-Orthodox friends or relatives, remember that it is not proper to attend their services. It amounts to denying one’s Orthodox Faith in Christ, because it is to tacitly endorse heresy. The only regular exceptions are for weddings and funerals, which have more of a "social" character than a liturgical one. But even in these cases, you must always ask for a blessing. Never just assume it is okay to go to a heterodox wedding or funeral. If you are staying with non-Orthodox friends or relatives, do not feel obligated to attend their religious services. They should respect your practices. And you should certainly take the opportunity to invite them to Orthodox services!
5) Each time you set out on a leg of your journey, everyone should sing the Troparion of St. Nicholas ("The truth of things…), found in the "Daily Troparia and Kontakia" in the Jordanville Prayerbook.
Make sure your vacation from your earthly home does not become a "vacation" from your heavenly home, your worship. Let us say with the Holy Prophet King David, "I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord!" (Psalm 122:1).
Fr. Peter Jackson
Wisdom of St. Poemen of the Egyptian Desert (4th century)
Abba Poemen said that a brother who lived with some other brothers asked Abba Bessarion, "What ought I to do?" The old man said to him, "Keep silence and do not always be comparing yourself with others."
A brother said to Abba Poemen, "If I fall into a shameful sin, my conscience devours and accuses me, saying: ‘Why have you fallen?’" The old man said to him, "At the moment when a man goes astray, if he says, "I have sinned," immediately the sin ceases.
A brother asked Abba Poemen, "Why should I not be free to do without manifesting my thoughts to the old men?" The old man replied, "Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘The enemy rejoices over nothing so much as over those who do not manifest their thoughts.’"
A brother questioned Abba Poemen, saying, "What does it mean to be angry with your brother without a cause (Matt. 5:22)? He said, "If your brother hurts you by his arrogance and you are angry with him because of it, that is getting angry without cause. If he plucks out your right eye and cuts off your right hand, and you get angry with him, you are angry without cause. But if he separates you from God, then be angry with him."