News & Events
Fr. Seraphim receives special award from Archbishop Kyrill
On December 21, 2014 Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America visited our parish. During the Divine Liturgy, His Eminence awarded Father Seraphim the right to wear Epigonation (Palitsa), which is a stiff, diamond-shaped vestment worn on the right side by priests and bishops. In Russian tradition, it is an award given after many years of service.
The epigonation represents a shield, originating from the thigh shield worn by soldiers during the days of the early church. It holds a dual meaning: first, it denotes the celebrant as a “soldier” of Christ; second, it symbolizes the Word of God, fighting the wiles of the enemy.
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to offer our sincere congratulations and express our heartfelt gratitude to Father Seraphim for his many years of service, unconditional love and fatherly care.
May God grant you many years, our dear Batyushka!
On this day, September 27, we commemorate two events connected with the Precious Cross of Christ: the first, the finding of the Cross on Golgotha and the second the returning of the Cross to Jerusalem from Persia.
Staying in the Holy Land, the holy Empress Helena decided to look for the Precious Cross of the Lord. An old Jew called Judah was the only person who knew the whereabouts of the Cross, and, under pressure from the Empress, he revealed that the Cross was buried under the Temple of Venus that the Emperor Hadrian had built on Golgotha. The Empress ordered that this idolatrous temple be pulled down, and then, digging deep below it, she found three crosses. While the Empress was in uncertainty about how to recognize which cross was the Lord’s, a funeral procession passed by. Then Patriarch Macarius told them to place the crosses one by one on the dead man. When they placed the first and second on him, the dead man remained unchanged, but when they placed the third on him, he was restored to life. By this, they knew that this was the Precious and lifegiving Cross of Christ. After that, they placed it on a sick woman, and she recovered. Then the Patriarch raised the Cross aloft for all to see, and the people sang with tears: ‘Lord, have mercy!’ The Empress Helena had a silver casing made, and placed the precious cross in it.
Later, King Chosroes conquered Jerusalem, took the people into slavery and carried the Lord’s Cross off to Persia, where it remained for fourteen years. In 628, the Greek Emperor Heraclius was victorious over Chozroes and brought the Cross back to Jerusalem with great ceremony. Entering the city, Heraclius was carrying the Cross on his back, but suddenly the aged Emperor was unable to take another step. Patriarch Zacharias saw an angel directing the Emperor o take off his imperial robes and walk beneath the Cross along the way that Christ had walked, barefoot and humiliated as He had been. He passed this vision on to the Emperor, who stripped himself of his raiment and, in poor clothing and barefoot, took up the Cross, carried it to Golgotha and placed it in the Church of the Resurrection, to the joy and consolation of the whole Christian world.
FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
The Feast of the Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on September 21 each year. The Feast commemorates the birth of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
According to the story found in this book, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless for many years. They remained faithful to God, but their prayers for a child were unanswered. One day, when Joachim came to the temple to make an offering, he was turned away by the High Priest who chastised him for his lack of children. To hide his shame, Joachim retreated to the hill country to live among the shepherds and their flocks.
As Joachim was praying, his wife Anna was praying at the same time at their house in Jerusalem. An angel appeared to both of them and announced that Anna would have a child whose name would be known throughout the world. Anna promised to offer her child as a gift to the Lord. Joachim returned home, and in due time Anna bore a daughter, Mary.
Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast
The Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the Feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. Scripture readings for the Feast are the following: At Vespers:Genesis 28:10-17; Ezekiel 43:27—44:4; Proverbs 9:1-11. At the Matins: Luke 1:39-49, 56. At the Divine Liturgy: Philippians 2:5-11;Luke 10:38-42; 11:27-28.
Hymns of the Feast
Your birth, O Theotokos, brought joy to the whole world, for from you dawned the sun of righteousness, Christ our God. Freeing us from the curse, He gave us His blessings. Abolishing death, He granted us eternal life.
In your holy birth, Immaculate One, Joachim and Anna were rid of the shame of childlessness; Adam and Eve of the corruption of death. And so your people, free of the guilt of their sins, celebrate crying: “The barren one gives birth to the Theotokos, who nourishes our life.”
The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1.
According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2), the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1).
Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September.
The Feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 28. The Feast commemorates the repose or “falling-asleep” of the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.
We will celebrate this Feast with a Devine Liturgy on Thursday morning at 6am.
August 19 marks the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, which commemorates the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor, when our Lord appeared in His divine glory before the Apostles Peter, James, and John.
We will celebrate this Feast with a Divine Liturgy, starting at 6am.