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. 7
Regular Services and Classes
Saturday Vigil 5:00pm
Sunday Divine Liturgy 9:30am
Bible Study: Sundays after coffee hour
Wednesday Akathist 6:30pm
Friday Compline 6:30pm
Confessions are heard at all evening services.
Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
This year the feast falls on a Sunday. Everyone is encouraged to make their confession and prepare for Holy Communion.
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Congratulations to Herb and Anna Venticinque on the birth of their twins Ethan Gabriel and Evan Anthony. Glory to God! They were born Thursday night, June 18, seven weeks premature. They are still in incubators but, thank God, they have been taken off respirators. They should be able to go home soon.
Congratulations to George Hammond, who was tonsured a reader by Bishop George of Mayfield on our parish feast. There is a report on our feast with photos at the new Eastern American Diocese website, eadiocese.org. We will also have photos posted soon on our parish website ststheodore.org.
The Apostles’ Fast lasts until the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29/July 12. Fish is allowed on weekends and on June 24/July 7 (the Nativity of St. John the Baptist).
Our parish picnic will be held this year on Sunday, July 12, after Divine Liturgy, in the backyard of the Milton St. house. Please sign up for a dish to bring.
The Parish Council will meet on Sunday, July 19, at coffee hour.
The Sunday Bible study has resumed, but will not meet on July 12 or 19 because of the picnic and the parish council meeting.
During the summer months please help us keep the door closed at the top of the stairs because of the air conditioning.
Also, do not forget that we should dress for church just as modestly in the summer as the rest of the year. Gentlemen: collared shirts, no T-shirts. Ladies, no sleeveless garments, low-cut blouses or skirts above the knee. And please, no lipstick in church at any time. Thank you!
Name Days This Month
June 21/July 4: John (William) Enser and John Zharkoff (St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco
June 29/July 12: Priest Peter Jackson, Reader Peter Semanchuk and Paul Semanchuk (Holy Apostles Peter and Paul)
Многая Лета! Many Years!
Russian Orthodox Church: The phoenix is reborn
Andrei Zolotov, JR - founding editor of www.russiaprofile.org
Published: 4:12PM BST 26 Jun 2009
Growing up in 1970s Moscow, I had a nanny who had lived in our family for 45 years. She died in 1981, when she was 93 and I was 13. Like most Soviet people, my family was not religious.
My grandfather prided himself in becoming an atheist in pre-revolutionary Russia and refusing to attend the Orthodox doctrine class at school. It scandalised his father, a priest’s son turned high-ranking civil engineer.
In Soviet Russia, it was a norm enforced by persecution, education and all-encopassing atheistic propaganda. But my nanny, Yevdokiya Frolova, was different.
She was a nun. After her convent was closed in 1927, like all of her sisters she spent time in a labour camp. Unlike many, she survived and ended up serving four generations of our family selflessly and lovingly, quietly maintaining a rigorous monastic discipline of strict fasting, daily prayers and regular church attendance.
Thanks to my nanny, for me it has always been the Russian church, the church of my ancestors, which somehow had an existence in this world parallel to the Soviet reality.
But much had to happen before it became a faith of my own: an appreciation for the Russian liturgical music and icons; the 1988 celebration of the Millennium of Christianity in Russia, when the church was let into public life; a trip to the US as a student, where I met a prominent emigre Russian priest, Protopresbyter Alexander Kiselev.
Ultimately, it all came into one with my baptism into to the Orthodox church - my faith in God, the immense beauty and profound meaning of Orthodox liturgy and belonging to my family’s and my nation’s past and present, to the Russian civilisation as a part of the European civilisation, to the whole world around and, hopefully, to God’s kingdom.
Ask any Russian, and you will likely hear a similar story. It will rarely be a happy, conclusive or coherent one. Many would simply see Orthodox Christianity as a “Russian faith”, but not know much about Jesus, our brothers and sisters around the world or the basic doctrine.
Others see no contradiction between declaring themselves Orthodox, going once in a while to a church to light a candle and, at the same time, reading horoscopes or keeping a lover.
There would be quite a few whose Orthodoxy equals nationalism and those who see the Orthodox church as a medieval force isolating Russia. There would be people from all over the political spectrum and every possible ethnic background or social strata.
Alas, only about one tenth of them in big cities and an even smaller percentage in small towns and rural areas would be regular churchgoers. These stories, told and untold, would be diverse, but would have something in common.
There would usually be a grandmother, or a nanny, or another who managed to keep the faith through Soviet times. There would be the painful identity search: “Where do I come from?” or “Where are we going?”
There would be an occasional bow before the beauty of Orthodox ritual and art - often without understanding. There would be that prettiest building with domes in town, once destroyed, now rebuilt.
There would be a major disappointment with the government and political institutions, placing the church as a beacon of hope and an object of trust. There would be the wise patriarch on television and a local bishop, an influential figure in the region.
There would be uncertainty over the changing world and the institution, seemingly the same over centuries and even millennia. There would also be a lack of knowledge about the church and its teaching and a spread of superstition.
Or the uncomfortable realisation that, once you finally join the church, you’d have to change your life. So it’s easier to hang around maintaining a sense of belonging, but not straining oneself too much.
At the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, getting baptised became fashionable and we dreamt of a church that would bring morality and morale to a divided nation in crisis.
The church, in turn, saw the opportunity to rebuild its infrastructure, banking on its status of a national symbol and a state willing to repent for past sins.
The late Patriarch left the church much stronger than he received it in 1990. But although the programme of rebuilding has been fulfilled, the programme of changing society has not.
If the venerable institution wants to be relevant, if it wants to narrow the gap between the two thirds of nominal Orthodox Christians and single percentage points of practising ones, much needs to be done in the field of mission, education and social ministry.
This is the mandate of Patriarch Kirill - the church’s most outspoken and dynamic leader.
At his installation in February, Kirill said: “The witness to the truth and beauty of Orthodoxy can be received and accepted only when people clearly understand the meaning of this witness for their private, family and public life and learn to connect the eternal divine words with the realities of daily life, with its concerns, joys and sorrows.”
Well, that’s like my nanny did.
By the way - There IS God!
Russian Hour TV channel will adorn 25 London buses with posters reading: “There IS God. Don't worry. Enjoy life!” The campaign is in response to adverts that read: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
Alexander Korobko, head of Russian Hour, says the campaign was approved by the Russian Orthodox church in London and in Moscow.
“With tough times here and the ongoing crisis-mood mongering, people need to brace themselves and find some positive stimulus in life,” says Mr Korobko.
RIA Novosti news agency
Pope says bone fragments found in St Paul's tomb
By Stephen Brown Stephen Brown – Sun Jun 28, 3:51 pm ET
ROME (Reuters) – Pope Benedict announced on Sunday that fragments of bone from the first or second century had been found in a tomb in the Basilica of St Paul in Rome, which he said confirmed the belief that it housed the apostle's remains.
"This seems to confirm the unanimous and undisputed tradition that these are the mortal remains on the Apostle Paul," the pontiff said at St Paul's-Outside-the-Walls, on the eve of the Feasts of St Peter and St Paul celebrated on Monday.
Peter and Paul are revered by Christians as the greatest early missionaries. Converting on the road to Damascus following a blinding vision of Jesus, Paul took the Gospel to pagan Greeks and Romans and met his martyrdom in Rome in about AD 65.
Christian tradition had it that St Paul was buried together with St Peter in a catacomb on the Via Appia, before being moved to the basilica erected in his honor. For centuries it was believed that his remains were buried beneath the altar.
But it was not until a stone sarcophagus was discovered there in 2006 that Vatican archeologists could apply scientific research to the religious tradition.
The first results come during the "Pauline Year," when the Roman Catholic church has been celebrating the second millennium of the birth of the "Apostle of the Gentiles."
Pope Benedict gave details of the discovery, saying a tiny hole had been drilled in the sarcophaguus to permit inspection of the interior, revealing "traces of a precious linen cloth, purple in color, laminated with pure gold, and a blue colored textile with filaments of linen."
"It also revealed the presence of grains of red incense and traces of protein and limestone. There were also tiny fragments of bone, which, when subjected to Carbon 14 tests by experts, turned out to belong to someone who lived in the first or second century," said the pope.
The discovery of the bone fragments coincided with news that Vatican archaeologists had discovered what they believe is the oldest image in existence of St Paul, dating from the late 4th century, on the walls of catacomb beneath Rome.
Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, revealing the find on Sunday, published a picture of a frescoed image of the face of a man with a pointed black beard on a red background, inside a bright yellow halo. The high forehead is furrowed.
Experts of the Ponitifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology made the discovery on June 19 in the Catacomb of Santa Tecla in Rome and described it as the "oldest icon in history dedicated to the cult of the Apostle," according to the Vatican newspaper.
Early Christians in Rome buried their dead in catacombs dug into the soft rock under the city and decorated the underground walls with devotional images, often in the Pompeian style.