July 2013
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The Messenger


Sts. Theodore Orthodox Church

A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

96 Los Robles St., Williamsville NY 14221 (716) 634-6712



Very Rev. Dr. Peter Jackson , Rector

Rev. Deacon Andrew Hammond

Vol. XIV, No. 7

July 2013

Weekly Schedule


Saturday Vigil 5:00pm

Sunday Divine Liturgy 9:30am

Sunday Bible Study: after coffee hour

Wednesday Akathist 6:30pm

Confessions are heard at all evening services.



Parish News

  • Glory to God for such a memorable visit by Metropolitan Hilarion! Subdeacon Andrew Hammond was ordained to the holy diaconate, Fr. Peter Jackson was elevated to the rank of archpriest, and our outgoing sisterhood president, Mary Jo Keenan, was awarded a gramota for her faithful service.
  • Mary Jo’s last Sunday here will be June 30. You will be missed, Mary Jo. God bless you and Stephen!
  • We welcome Reader John, Katherine, and Ephraim Boddecker, the newest members of our Sts. Theodore family! Reader John will eventually be ordained to replace Fr. Peter as rector.
  • The Apostles Fast

lasts until the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on June 29/July 12. Fish is allowed on weekends and on certain commemorations. (See the attached calendar.)

  • Sts. Cyril and Methody Macedonian Orthodox Church will hold its Macedonian Festival on July 12-14.
  • Our parish picnic

will be held this year on Sunday, July 14, after Divine Liturgy, in the backyard of the Milton St. house. Please bring a side dish, drink, or dessert.

  • The parish council

will meet on Sunday, July 21.

  • The Jacksons will be away July 22-26 for interviews and orientation at the headquarters of the Orthodox Christian Mission Center. There will be no akathist that week.
  • Metropolitan Hilarion encourages all of the faithful of the Eastern America Diocese to travel to St. Vladimir Memorial Church in Jackson NJ the weekend of July 26-28 for the celebration of the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. Please see the appeal below.
  • St. Seraphim Camp

is now accepting registrations. The dates are July 28-August 4. Children grades 3-12 may attend. Registration is $275. Please sign up at www.stseraphimcamp.com .

  • Air Conditioning

: During the summer months please help us keep the door closed at the top of the stairs because of the air conditioning.

  • Summer Wear

: 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. Remember to have a head covering on before you enter the temple. And please, no lipstick in church at any time. Thank you!


Name Days This Month

  • June 20/July 3: John Zharkoff (St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco)
  • June 29/July 12: Archpriest Peter Jackson, Priest Peter Irfan, Peter Krasnov, and Pavel Volosciuc (Holy Apostles Peter and Paul)
  • July 11/24: Olga Krasnova and Olga Melkozerova (Holy Right-believing Princess Olga, Equal-to-the-Apostles)
  • July 15/28: Donald Stellrecht (St. Donald of Ogilvey)



Лета! Many Years!



An Appeal from Metropolitan Hilarion

The feast day of the enlightener of the Russian people, the Holy Equal-of-the-Apostles, Great Prince Vladimir (July 15/28), a day dear to the heart of every true son and daughter of the Russian Orthodox Church, draws near. The name of St. Vladimir is connected to the greatest event in the history of our homeland – the Baptism of Rus’, as a result of which our people resurrected unto new life. Thanks to St. Vladimir, our ancestors, having thrown off the darkness of paganism and base idolatry, adopted the Light of the Christian Faith, and became an Orthodox Christian nation. Once more, by the grace of God, We call upon all of you to gather at the foot of the Memorial Church to the Millennium of the Baptism of Rus’ for the annual St. Vladimir’s Day celebrations. This year’s celebration is very special, because we will mark the 1025th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’ and 75th anniversary of the founding of St. Vladimir Memorial Church.

Today, America has need not just of Russia, but of "Holy Russia," for it is only this Russia that represents true spiritual wealth; we have no need of a "renovationist," modernized "Orthodoxy," but of the true, Apostolic Orthodoxy, the Faith of the Fathers: the Orthodoxy lived by the Holy Church for almost two thousand years, and which that great cloud of witnesses, "All the Saints who Shone Forth in the Russian Land," connects to the ancient Christian martyrs, monastics, hierarchs, and other God-pleasers. This pure, unadulterated, incorrupt Orthodoxy is dear to us as the one true and salvific Faith, which guides us to eternal life; and Russia is necessary to us and dear to our hearts as a firm bulwark of the true Faith on earth.

The annual St. Vladimir’s Day celebrations in Jackson are a time for our Diocese to come together and proclaim to America and the rest of the world that we are Orthodox Christians and that, indeed, "God is with us!" In the past, the faithful were united in their prayers for the salvation of Holy Russia, and monuments, such as St. Vladimir Memorial Church, bear witness to the testament and resolve of our ancestors. Now that communism has collapsed and Holy Russia is rising from the ashes, we must reanalyze the role of the Russian Church Abroad and the purpose of our traditional pilgrimages and celebrations. Today, when the Orthodox jurisdictions in America have restored canonical ties with one another, we must thank God for this newfound unity, while at the same time being mindful of the fact that many people are looking toward the Russian Church for an example of spirituality, piety, and unity. The purpose of this year’s St. Vladimir’s Day celebrations is to provide that example to America!


appeal to all of our clergy and faithful to make every effort to participate in the festive services at St. Vladimir Memorial Church on July 27-28. We are expecting the arrival of three miraculous icons of the Mother of God – the Kursk Root Icon, Protectress of the Russian Diaspora; the myrrh-streaming Hawaiian Iveron Icon; and the Pochaev Icon from Jordanville. The services will be bilingual, with the participation of five hierarchs and many clergy. His Eminence, Metropolitan Onouphry of Chernovtsy & Bukovina, will participate in the divine services as a representative of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Vladimir of Kiev, while His Eminence, Archbishop Justinian of Naro-Fominsk, will represent His Holiness, Patriarch Kyrill. Upon completion of the Divine Liturgy, a grand procession will be held around the church property, followed by the blessing of the waters and a new monument to Archbishop Vitaly (Maximenko), Archbishop Nikon (Rklitsky), and Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla). On Friday, July 26th, the celebrations will begin with St. Vladimir’s Ball, which will be held in the Rodina Russian House in Howell, NJ.


Patristic Testimony Concerning the Apostles Fast

From the "Mystagogy" website:


The fast of the holy Apostles is very ancient, dating back to the first centuries of Christianity. We have the testimony of St. Athanasius the Great, St. Ambrose of Milan, St. Leo the Great and Theodoret of Cyrrhus regarding it. The oldest testimony regarding the Apostles Fast is given to us by St. Athanasius the Great (†373). In his letter to Emperor Constance, in speaking of the persecution by the Arians, he writes: "During the week following Pentecost, the people who observed the fast went out to the cemetery to pray." "The Lord so ordained it," says St. Ambrose (†397), "that as we have participated in his sufferings during the Forty Days, so we should also rejoice in his Resurrection during the season of Pentecost. We do not fast during the season of Pentecost, since our Lord Himself was present amongst us during those days … Christ’s presence was like nourishing food for the Christians. So too, during Pentecost, we feed on the Lord who is present among us. On the days following his ascension into heaven, however, we again fast" (Sermon 61). St. Ambrose basis this practice on the words of Jesus concerning his disciples in the Gospel of Matthew 9:14, 15: "Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridgeroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast."

St. Leo the Great (†461) says: "After the long feast of Pentecost, fasting is especially necessary to purify our thoughts and render us worthy to receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ... Therefore, the salutary custom was established of fasting after the joyful days during which we celebrated the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, and the coming of the Holy Spirit.''

The pilgrim Egeria in her Diary (fourth century) records that on the day following the feast of Pentecost, a period of fasting began. The Apostolic Constitutions, a work no later than the fourth century, prescribes: "After the feast of Pentecost, celebrate one week, then observe a fast, for justice demands rejoicing after the reception of the gifts of God and lasting after the body has been refreshed."

From the testimonies of the fourth century we ascertain that in Alexandria, Jerusalem and Antioch the fast of the holy Apostles was connected with Pentecost and not with the feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul on June 29. In the first centuries, after Pentecost there was one week of rejoicing, that is Privileged Days, followed by about one week of fasting.

The canons of Nicephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople (806-816), mention the Apostle's Fast. The Typicon of St. Theodore the Studite for the Monastery of Studios in Constantinople speaks of the Forty Days Fast of the holy Apostles. St. Symeon of Thessalonica (†1429) explains the purpose of this fast in this manner: "The Fast of the Apostles is justly established in their honor, for through them we have received numerous benefits and for us they are exemplars and teachers of the fast ... For one week after the descent of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution composed by Clement, we celebrate, and then during the following week, we fast in honor of the Apostles."




By the Rev. Andrew Harmon

St. Matthew Antiochian Orthodox Church, North Royalton OH

Over the last few years I have been asked many times about same-sex marriage. Especially in the last few months, as this issue has become so big, the question repeatedly comes: "What does the Eastern Orthodox Church say about this matter?"

Some denominations will now perform such ceremonies. Within some denominations, some pastors will and some won't. The Orthodox Church is the second largest Christian body in the world and usually considered the most traditional. Will the Orthodox Church do same-sex marriages?

No, we won't.

Let me explain why. Marriage has always been between males and females. That is the very meaning of the word. Some cultures in history, most famously ancient Greece, were -- shall we say -- rather easygoing about homosexuality. But even they never accepted same-sex marriage as an open and legal institution.

If this huge change now takes place, as it seems it might, it will be a first in the history of the human race. Marriage is one of the holy sacraments of the church. And it has always been between a woman and a man. To change this would be to change the very nature of the sacrament and that we cannot do.

The sacrament of Christian marriage reflects the loving union between Jesus Christ and his church. This is clear in the epistle lesson written by the Holy Apostle Paul, Ephesians 5:21-33, which is read at every Orthodox wedding. In this epistle reading, St. Paul clearly teaches that the marital union reflects the union between Christ, the bridegroom, and his spouse the church, the bride.

A human bride and groom hopefully have a similarly loving relationship and union as do Christ and his church. But the marriage between Christ and the church can't work if there are two Christs and no church, or two churches and no Christ! And, similarly, the human marital reflection of the union between Christ and the church won't work if there are two human brides and no groom, or two grooms and no bride.

To have such a "marriage" would make nonsense of everything Paul says and that fact shows that such a "marriage" really isn't marriage, no matter what terminology we humans wish to use. Ultimately, real marriage is what God says real marriage is, not what we say it is. Through the inspiration of Scripture by the Holy Spirit, God has spoken through the writings of St. Paul.

Both the Bible and the tradition of the church teach that same-sex sexual activity is sinful. It's not an unforgivable sin or the worst sin, but it is a sin. Therefore, the church asks those who are tempted to such sin to refrain from it and be chaste. In a similar way the church asks those with no same-sex struggles to refrain from heterosexual sexual activity outside of marriage. Chastity is asked from both and it is believed that God can help a person remain chaste.

So in closing, the Orthodox Church is happy to minister to those struggling with homosexuality. Such ministering goes on pretty much everywhere and in most parishes --our people have the same struggles as everyone else does. We certainly have no hatred against people with this struggle and no interest in "gay bashing."

We will not turn someone away because of a particular sin they struggle with. They are sinners like the rest of us who need God's forgiveness and help.

But performing or approving of same-sex marriages? No, we can't do that. That would be saying that what is a sin isn't a sin. That would be a lie, so we can't participate or approve.

May God have mercy on all of us sinners and bring us to repent of our sins and bring us all into his heavenly kingdom.


No Fuss Parenting – Teach Kids to Sit Still


Teaching my kids to sit still is the best thing I ever did as a parent, and by sit still I really mean to sit quietly on my lap or beside me with minimal fidgeting. Let’s face it, sitting still is hard work, even for adults. This teaching process happened by accident.  It wasn’t a genius act on my part. We were attending a church with a very small nursery.  They had lots of babies and had to make a rule that all children over the age of one year (you heard me right – 12 months) had to sit with their parents.  The children who could walk were becoming a danger to all the wee-little babies. Sitting with my child on my lap in church could have been worst case scenario, but it became my biggest parenting blessing.


Suddenly, I had to teach my child how to sit and be quiet for an entire church service. This did not happen overnight and I’ll be honest, it was hard work. I mean, how do you teach kids to sit still and be quiet? 


This skill was not learned during the church service, but rather at home

. Every day we would practice.  I would make my child sit with me on the couch while I read him a story.  I wouldn’t let him jump around or climb all over me.  We would sit and read.  At first it was one book and then two and three and more. I often had a house full of toddlers, because I babysat when my kids were small, so I would sit on a chair and have all the kids sit on the floor in front of me and listen to stories. It can be done.

Then we started listening to stories on CD.  We would sit on the floor and just listen. My children sat and ate all of their meals at the table without getting up and walking around.  They sat on the floor or at their little Clifford table and ate their snacks. We did little things all throughout the day in order to teach them this new skill. We sat in a chair at the table while we colored. We had quiet time every day where my children had to sit and do something like look through books, do puzzles, and play with Play-Doh. It took time.  Lots of time.  Lots of direction and redirection.And patience. It took walking out of church when he became fussy.


Here’s the key

:  When we left a service because he wasn’t quiet or sitting, I held him the entire time we were out of the service.  I didn’t put him down and let him run around, because I didn’t want leaving to become a fun escape.


I know this probably sounds like child torture, but it wasn’t at all.  It was simply learning a new skill. It’s a parent’s job to teach their children skills that will help them in life.


After my children learned this skill, I never, ever had to worry about going places. A wait at the doctors?  No problem. A ride on an airplane?  Nailed it.

I took my kids everywhere with me.  I didn’t have any family around to help me out, so where I went, my kids went, and I went a lot of places.  I don’t know what I would have done if they never learned to sit still. When my son was three and a half year’s old and my daughter was around eighteen months, my cousin graduated from Air Force school (I don’t remember the exact name of the event) and we attended. We were living in the Panhandle of Florida at the time and we drove three hours to Mississippi in a vehicle that had no air-conditioning. We’re talking deep-south summer heat. We’re talking about two babies being trapped in a car for three hours. When we arrived, we took some time to walk around, visit with family, and get a drink.  Then we went to the graduation ceremony. People gave us funny looks when we walked in with the kids.  The lady next to us expressed some concern, but we were confident the kids would be fine. My son sat on his own chair next to my husband and my daughter sat on my lap. To them, it was just another service.  It could have been church.  They were already accustomed to sitting, so we had no problems. Afterwards, people were shocked and impressed.


My kids are just like any other kids.  They hate sitting still and being quiet, but they did it.  They learned how to sit still. Till today, I say it’s the best thing I have ever taught my children. Children who know how to sit and be quiet are a blessing to their parents and all those around them. I need you to know that I’m not a child whisperer or anything.  I’ve seen many other parents teach their children the very same thing. Believe me, it helped tons when it was time for preschool.

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