Messenger December 2009
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The Messenger of Sts. Theodore Orthodox Church
A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
96 Los Robles St., Williamsville NY 14221 (716) 634-6712

Vol. X, No. 12
December 2009
Weekly Schedule
      Vigil                      Saturday,        5:00pm
      Divine Liturgy        Sunday,           9:30am
      Bible Study           Sunday            after coffee hour
      Akathist                Wednesday,    6:30pm
      Small Compline      Friday,            6:30pm

Moleben for the Conversion of the Non-Orthodox: First Sunday of the month, after coffee hour.

The Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple
    Vigil: Thursday, December 3, 6:30pm
    Divine Liturgy: Friday, December 4, 9:00am

This is a Great Feast. All should prepare to receive Holy Communion.


Parish News

+ Congratulations to our new catechumen, Caitlin Strain! Please remember her in your prayers as she prepares for holy baptism.

+ The Russian Bazaar was a great success this year, once again. Many thanks to all who pitched in to help!

+ Many thanks, as well, to all who contributed to this year’s Thanksgiving Dinner.

+ The Nativity Fast begins on Wednesday, November 28. Fish may be eaten on weekends and on certain higher ranking observances.

+ Please remember Galina Bahanovich in your prayers as she travels to California for several months, and Marcus Bursik, who will be returning from his travels around Nativity.

+ The Pan-Orthodox Choir will present its annual Nativity Concert on Friday, December 4, at 7:00pm at St. Stephen Serbian Orthodox Church in Lackawanna. Afterwards, Fr. Mykola Krywonos of Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church will give a report on his trip last summer to the Ukraine.

+ By decree of Metropolitan Hilarion, we will be taking up a special collection on December 6 and 13 for Fr. Rodion Aragon and his family. Fr. Rodion was ordained by Bishop George earlier this year to be the priest for our parish in Costa Rica. Sadly, he has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Please pray for Fr. Rodion, his family and the Russian Orthodox community in Costa Rica.

+ Fr. Peter and family will be traveling to Methuen MA for the St. Herman of Alaska Youth Conference, leaving Tuesday, December 22 and returning Saturday, December 26.

+ We are collecting packaged foods this month for the Buffalo City Mission. See the list below for ways that you can contribute.

+ Please pick up a 2010 wall calendar.


Name Days This Month

+ November 24/December 7: Catherine Fudala, Katrina Semanchuk and Kathleen Moczerniak (Great-Martyr Catherine)

+ November 26/December 9: Styliana Jackson (St. Stylianos of Paphlagonia)

+ November 30/December 13: Andrea Sullivan (Apostle Andrew the First-Called)

+ December 6/19: Reader Nicolas Jackson (St. Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia)

+ December 17/30: Jonathan Moczerniak and Eve Hammond (Sunday of the Forefathers)

Многая Лета!                Many Years!


 “Grocery List” for the Buffalo City Mission

 Cornmeal
 Flour, sugar, Bisquick
 Canned fruit
 Canned vegetables
 Bread
 Cake mixes, icing, pie fillings
 Instant potatoes and stuffing
 Gravy mixes
 Chicken broth
 Fruit drinks – canned, bottled or mixes
 Dry pasta, rice and beans
 Dry milk and creamer
 JELL-O and pudding mixes
 Coffee, instant tea mixes or tea bags
 Canned tuna, salmon, chicken
 Turkey, ham

Please leave your donated items on the back table in the parish hall. You may also send a tax-deductible gift to: Buffalo City Mission, P. O. Box 496, Buffalo NY 14205.

Patriarch Kyrill's sermon after the funeral of Fr. Daniel Sysoev

Today we have paid our last respects to Fr. Daniel Sysoev, a Moscow shepherd well-known to all of us. His life was forcefully taken by a man's evil will; he died a violent death. It would seem to us that the service of a priest is a most peaceful one, because the Lord called us to peace. And everything which a priest says as he addresses people is filled with this Divine calling: that we may build our lives on the foundation of God's commandments, establishing peace in our relationships with our relatives and acquaintances.
During the two thousand years of the Church's existence, this witness of Divine peace has been received by many with joy in their hearts. As they come into contact with the Gospel, people open their hearts, their minds, being thus filled with Divine truth. Despite the many temptations, difficulties and stereotypes of life which form a world view different from that of the Gospel, people nonetheless try to build their lives on the foundations of the Word of God.
Yet, this very same two thousand year old history of the Church also witnesses to something else. For many, this Word presents an enormous calling, which requires a reexamination of one's entire life and mindset. Sometimes this Word brings about not a joyful beating of hearts, but rather an incredible, indescribable anger; and people give all their strength in order to fight against the Divine Word. The times in which we live are no exception. As it happened in the past, so today it is not rare to find people who will pour human malice against those who bear witness to God's truth, even going as far as taking violent action against them. There is nothing new in human history. It was Tertullian who rightfully said that " the blood of the martyrs are the seeds of Christianity." Anger and violence are poured onto those who proclaim God's truth by those who possess no other arguments, whose eyes are blinded by malice. Not being able to oppose with their hearts and minds the priest's words, these people bring down upon the shepherd either a stream of evil words and slander, or even raise their hands against him.
Fr. Daniel did much to establish God's truth. He took part in several different types of discussions and debates, defending God's truth to the best of his abilities and talents. However, maybe his most powerful message is this one which we all witness before us. If a man is killed for God's truth, then this means that this truth does in fact strike those who do not receive it; it means that it possesses tremendous power. That is why Tertullian's words have been confirmed throughout the whole history of Christianity. And each new drop of blood which is shed for Christ sows abundantly the seeds of faith, and will contribute to the harvest. We know that the efforts of Fr. Daniel's life and death are a great seed which, having been sown in fruitful soil, will bring forth its fruits.
For all of us who have consecrated our lives to serve the Lord, being present at Fr. Daniel's grave must awaken us to deep contemplation regarding the meaning and character of preaching in the contemporary world, about the importance of serving God in order that each of our words reach the minds and hearts of our listeners, that they may not be empty words and that we may not lead the days of our earthly life in idleness and sloth.
We believe that the Lord will receive the soul of His servant in His heavenly mansions, because he was faithful to Him even until his death. We will always cherish in our hearts the prayerful memory of the murdered servant of God, the priest Daniel.

Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle dies
Sun Nov 15, 2009 10:38am EST
By Aleksandar Vasovic
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Patriarch Pavle, who headed the Serbian Orthodox Church during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s as Serbs warred with neighbors of other faiths, died on Sunday, a top church official said.
Pavle, 95, died at a special apartment in Belgrade's Military Hospital where he had been treated since 2007 for various ailments, Bishop Amfilohije, the acting head of the church's Holy Synod, said in a statement.
"The death of Patriarch Pavle is a huge loss for Serbia," President Boris Tadic said in a statement. "There are people who bond entire nations and Pavle was such a person."
Thousands of mourners flocked to churches throughout the country after Pavle's death was announced. The government ordered three days of national mourning until Wednesday.
Critics say Pavle failed to contain hardline bishops and priests who stoked Serb nationalism against Catholic Croats and Muslim Bosnians and publicly blessed paramilitaries who committed war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia.
After the war, he became more vocal in politics and openly criticized the policies of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Although nominally still head of the church until death, Pavle had given up its day-to-day running in 2008 as his health deteriorated.
Pavle's body was transferred to the main Saborna Crkva church in Belgrade where it will lie in state until the funeral which will be scheduled for early next week.
"Pavle was a living saint and he now went to the saints," said Biljana Djukic, 28, a schoolteacher from Belgrade as she lit candles in front of Belgrade's St. Sava church.
According to official data, about 85 percent of Serbs who make up 82 percent of Serbia's 7.3 million population are members of the Serbian Orthodox church.
Pavle was born Gojko Stojcevic in 1914 in Kucanci, a village then in the Austro-Hungarian empire and is now in Croatia.
In 1957, he became bishop in charge of Kosovo, by then home to an Albanian majority. He openly spoke of the hardships faced by the province's minority Serbs, and on one occasion in the 1970s was attacked and beaten.
The fate of Kosovo remained top of his agenda after he became Patriarch in 1990, when growing tensions between Yugoslavia's Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim faiths were leading toward the communist country's violent breakup.
A modest man who often preferred public transport to a chauffer-driven car and who cobbled his own shoes, Pavle was popular among most clergy members and the faithful.
But critics said Pavle allowed the church to slip into nationalist policies and failed to mend ties with Orthodox churches in neighboring Macedonia and Montenegro.
He also played a pivotal role in the church's opposition to the Pope's desire to visit Serbia.
Pavle's successor will be elected in a secret vote at a conclave attended by at least two-thirds of the total of 40 bishops.
It remains unclear who will replace Pavle. Since 2008, hardline Metropolitan Amfilohije, who divides his time between Belgrade and Montenegro, has served as acting church leader.

The Holy Apostle Andrew the First-Called
He was the son of Jonah and brother of Peter, born in Bethsaida and a fisherman by profession. He was first a disciple of St John the Baptist, but, when John pointed to the Lord Jesus and said: 'Behold the Lamb of God' (Jn. 1:36), St Andrew left his first teacher and followed Christ. After that, Andrew brought his brother Peter to the Lord. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, it fell to the lot of the first of Christ's apostles, St Andrew, to preach the Gospel in Byzantium and Thrace, then in the lands along the Danube, in Russia and around the Black Sea, and finally in Epirus, Greece and the Peloponnese, where he suffered. In Byzantium, he installed St Stachys as its first bishop; in Kiev he raised the Cross on high and prophesied a Christian future for the Russian people; in Thrace, Epirus, Greece and the Peloponnese, he brought many people to the Faith and gave them bishops and priests. In the city of Patras he performed many wonders in the name of Christ and brought many to the Lord, among whom were the brother and wife of the imperial governor, Aegeatus. Aegeatus, infuriated by this, put Andrew to torture and then crucified him. While he was still alive on the cross, the Apostle of Christ taught the Christians who were gathered round him. The people wanted to take him down from the cross, but he would not let them. Finally, the Apostle prayed to God and a strange radiance surrounded him. This light lasted for half an hour and, when it disappeared, the Apostle gave his holy soul into God's hands. Thus the first-called Apostle, who first of the twelve Great Apostles came to know the Lord and followed Him, finished his earthly course. St Andrew suffered for his Lord in the year 62. His relics were translated to Constantinople, but his head was later taken to Rome and one hand to Moscow.

St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
This great Father of the Orthodox Church was of eminent parentage. His father was the imperial governor of Gaul and Spain, and a pagan, while his mother was a Christian. While he was still in his cradle, a swarm of bees once settled on him, left some honey on his lips and flew off; and, while still a child, he thrust out his hand and said prophetically: 'Kiss it, for I shall be a bishop!' On the death of his father, the Emperor made him governor of Liguria, of which province Milan was the chief city. When the bishop of Milan died, there was great dissention between the Orthodox Christians and the heretical Arians about the choice of a new bishop. Ambrose went into the church to keep order, this being his responsibility. Thereupon, a child at its mother's breast cried out: 'Ambrose for bishop!' All the people took this to be the voice of God, and unanimously elected Ambrose as their bishop, although it was against his will. Ambrose was baptised, and passed through all the necessary ranks in one week, and was consecrated bishop. In this capacity, he strengthened the faith of the Orthodox, restrained heretics, adorned churches, spread the Faith among the pagans, wrote many instructive books and was an example of a true Christian and a true shepherd. He also composed the Te Deum, the great hymn of thanksgiving. This renowned hierarch, who was visited by people from distant lands for his wisdom and gracious words, was very austere in his personal life, being no stranger to toil and full of good works. He slept little, worked and prayed constantly and fasted every day except Saturday and Sunday. God therefore permitted him to witness many of His wonders, and to perform many himself He discovered the relics of Ss Protasius, Gervasius, Nazarius and Celsus (see Oct. 14th). Humble before lesser men, he was fearless before the great. He reproached the Empress Justina for heresy, cursed Maximus for tyranny and murder and forbade the Emperor Theodosius to enter a church until he had repented of his sin. He refused to meet the powerful Eugenius, the self-styled Emperor. God granted this man, who was so pleasing to Him, such grace that he could raise the dead, drive demons from men, heal the sick of every ailment and see into the future. He died peacefully at daybreak on Easter Day in the year 397.
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