St. George's Orthodox Church
Diocese of the South
Edenton, NC
/ NEWS LETTER

ST George Newsletter

02/19/22 - St. George's Newsletters
19 February 2022 Newsletter

  1. old Lenten & Paschal calendars
  2. pre-Lenten Sundays

III.       current announcements

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  1. OLD LENTEN & PASCHAL CALENDARS:

            Although St. George’s in Edenton and many parishes & Orthodox dioceses use the Gregorian or New Calendar for the fixed monthly dates (e.g., December 25th), Orthodox Christianity worldwide continues to follow the Julian or Old Calendar for the Paschal cycle, i.e., all the observances counted back or forward from Easter, thus including, e.g., Lent, Good Friday, Ascension, and Pentecost.

            And so for the Paschal cycle, depending on the year, the Orthodox Old and the Western New calendars can coincide or else can fall either one or four or five weeks apart.

            Thus in this present year 2022, the New cycle runs one week earlier, with Western Easter on April 17th, than the Old cycle, with the Orthodox Pasch or Easter on April 24th.

            Liturgically there is another major difference, in that the Orthodox Lenten calendar and services (constituting the book known as the Triodion) still comprise all three of the traditional seasons:  first the Pre-Lenten three Weeks of Preparation (encompassed between four Sundays, beginning Feb. 13th this year), then Great Lent itself (beginning March 7th) of forty days, and finally Holy Week (beginning April 16th) of eight days.

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  1. PRE-LENTEN SUNDAYS:

            The Western Church likewise observed also the Pre-Lenten Season, when Western Christianity still abstained from meat and other animal products during Lent itself—which historic practice is yet reflected by the observances of Carnival (or Carnevale, as

            “farewell to meat”) and of its conclusion on Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras, “fat Tuesday”).  But the Western abandonment of such fasting, and thus of a demanding discipline during Lent, vacated the preparatory purpose of Pre-Lent; and so that season, with

             its Sundays called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima, finally was abolished in the West, in 1969 in the Roman Church and in 1979 in the Episcopal Church.

            Because Great Lent remains quite a serious observance in the Orthodox Church, however, it is natural that she has retained the pre-Lenten season to ease what would otherwise be a sharply abrupt transition.  Moreover these pre-Lenten Sundays, with their

            keen appellations, prove to engender a surprising eagerness in approaching Lent.

            Four weeks before Lent (Feb. 6 this year, and the 5th Sunday before Lent) comes thus the Sunday of Zacchæus (Luke 19: 1–10), who climbed the sycamore tree to see Jesus, was then visited by Him at home, forsook his life of graft, and so was saved. 

           (The ensuing week is one of normal fasting.)

            Three weeks before Lent (Feb. 13 this year) comes the Sunday of the Publican & the Pharisee (Luke 18: 10–14), from whom we recall the danger of our blind hypocrisy.  (The ensuing week is one of the four annually when no fasting is permitted.)

            Two weeks before Lent (Feb. 20 this year) comes the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11–32), from whom we remember our Father’s immeasurable forgiveness.  (The ensuing week is one of normal fasting, i.e., abstinence on Wednesday & Friday from

            meat & eggs & dairy products.)

            One week before Lent (Feb. 27 this year) comes the Sunday of the Last Judgment (Matt. 25: 31–46), when we are reminded of the fate of those who neglect works of mercy.  (Known also as Meatfare Sunday, it is the last day when meat is eaten until the

            Pasch, or Easter.)

            One day before Lent (March 6 this year) comes the Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam from Paradise (or Casting of Adam out of Paradise) (Genesis chapter 3), called also Forgiveness Sunday for the profound rite of mutual forgiveness that follows the

           morning’s services.  (Known also as Cheesefare Sunday, it is the last day when eggs and dairy products are eaten until Easter.)

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III.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Our St. George’s wall calendars for 2022, published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery as usual, remain available at eight dollars for purchase at the church after services.  (For interested subscribers at a distance from Edenton, these wall calendars can be ordered 

            easily from St. Tikhon’s directly.)

            Regardless of weather or other considerations, on Sundays our principal services are always held, at the (9:35 a.m.) appointed time, for any whose circumstances will allow them to get to church safely.  For services other than on Sundays, however, during

           snowy or icy conditions it’s best to call our office in advance at 482–2006 for any announcement.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last two weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of January 27th/29th.

            Our prayers are asked for Katina, for Jonathan, for Helena, for Tony, for Rosa, for Thomas & Natasha, for Maria, for Chris & Grace, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Carolyn, for John B. C., for Thomas P., and for those many further friends for whom we

          pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

29 January 2022 Newletter

 

  1. Candlemas on Tuesday & Wednesday
  2. current announcements

III.       Feast of the Meeting

  1. our nineteenth anniversary

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  1. CANDLEMAS on TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY:

            For the February 2nd Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

            So Tuesday evening February 1st at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Feast of the Meeting (or Presentation) of Christ in the Temple.

            And Tuesday morning February 2nd at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding around 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast (as recounted in Luke 2: 22–39) of the Meeting (or Presentation) of Our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ in the Temple.

            This Feast’s annual Blessing of the Candles, so that more of the congregation will be able to participate, will be held this year not on Wednesday morning Feb. 2nd but instead on the following Sunday Feb. 6th at the conclusion of the morning Divine Liturgy.

            All who attend the Blessing of the Candles on Sunday morning Feb. 6th, whether members or visitors, are encouraged to bring candles to be blessed, for common use or liturgical use, in their households during the ensuing year.

            A full description of Candlemas—the Feast of the Meeting of Christ in the Temple, and one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church—is given in § III of this newsletter.

            February 2nd will moreover mark the nineteenth anniversary of the Orthodox Mission in Edenton, our first service here having been held on February 2, 2003, as recounted in § IV of this newsletter.

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  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Regardless of weather or other considerations, on Sundays our principal services are always held, at the (9:35 a.m.) appointed time, for any whose circumstances will allow them to get to church safely.

            For services other than on Sundays, however, during snowy or icy conditions it’s best to call our office in advance at 482–2006 for any announcement.

            Our St. George’s wall calendars for 2022, published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery as usual, remain available at eight dollars for purchase at the church after services.  (For interested subscribers at a distance from Edenton, these wall calendars can be ordered easily from St. Tikhon’s directly.)

            Next week on Tuesday the 1st and Wednesday the 2nd, we have respectively evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Great Feast of the Meeting of Jesus Christ in the Temple, as related in detail in § I and § III of this newsletter.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last three week, the most recent thus having been the issue of December 30th / January 1st.

            Our prayers are asked for the newly­‑illumined servant­‑of­‑God Joel, the newly­‑illumined handmaiden­‑of­‑God Laura, the newly­‑illumined child­‑of­‑God Irene, and the newly­‑illumined child­‑of­‑God Helena.

            And our prayers are asked for Katina, for Jonathan, for Tony, for Rosa, for Thomas & Natasha, for Maria, for Joshua, for Scott, for Samuel, for Christopher, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, for Carolyn, for Patsy & John, for Thomas P., and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

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III.   FEAST of the MEETING:

            One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, and known as Candlemas in English, the Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord commemorates the presentation of the Christ child in the Temple at Jerusalem, on the 40th day from his birth, as ordained by Jewish law.  Accordingly the Church has always celebrated it on the 40th day from Christmas, being thus February 2nd.

            The events of the day are recounted in Luke 2: 22–39, including the testimony of the holy prophetess St. Anna and the aged elder St. Simeon, and particularly his sublime hymn known as the Nunc Dimittis, which subsequently the Church has sung always at Vespers:

            “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  for mine eyes have seen thy Salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

            Being the day appointed (from St. Simeon’s hymn, of Christ as the Light to enlighten the nations) for blessing the year’s candles for liturgical use and otherwise at home, the Feast is known in English as Candlemas.

            (In Eastern and Western tradition, the last of the Christmas decorations remain in place through Candlemas or its Eve; and this Feast’s observance, on the 40th day from Christmas since the third or fourth century, is the reason for the practice on February 2nd of the secular customs, in German Pennsylvania as in Europe from Scotland to Serbia, of observing various hibernating animals to venture prediction of the end of winter.)

            Strictly its Orthodox name is the Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ, though it is also commonly known among the Orthodox as the Feast of the Presentation of (Our Lord, God & Saviour Jesus) Christ in the Temple.  Its traditional Western name has been the Feast of the Purification of the Most-Holy Virgin, so emphasizing its Levitical aspect.

            The title “Meeting” (or “Encounter”) indicates that for the Orthodox, not only the Levitical Purification but also the related Presentation of the Child is transcended in this event by this inaugural “Meeting” by the Messiah or Christ with His “people Israel,” as represented by Sts. Simeon & Anna formally in the Temple at Jerusalem.

            Although St. John the Baptist is called the last prophet of the Old Covenant in the sense that he is the one whose life and preaching of the coming Messiah took place during New Covenant times and thus last of all, Sts. Simeon & Anna can be considered the last Old Covenant prophets in the sense that they were the last whose lives and ministry took place essentially during Old Covenant times.

            The liturgical reception of a new child and his mother in the temple, on the 40th day from his birth, was established by God in Leviticus and so was followed by Mary and Joseph, as recounted in Luke 2:22, for Jesus.  (During those first forty days, the new mother is excused from attendance at services, so that she may give due attention to her child.)

            Known as the “Churching” of a new mother with her child, after forty days, that liturgy from Christianity’s Jewish foundation is still preserved faithfully by the Orthodox Church, and has taken place accordingly here at St. George’s as recently as this month of January 2022.

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  1. OUR NINETEENTH ANNIVERSARY:

            The services February 2nd will mark the nineteenth anniversary of the Orthodox Mission in Edenton.

            Our first service here was held on February 2, 2003, a Sunday­‑evening vespers in a borrowed hall (the present County Social Services building, at the end of West Freemason Street), conducted by Fr. Edward Rommen, then rector of the Holy Transfiguration Parish in Raleigh.

            Mo. Ainee, his wife, led the music, and Fr. Edward carried down in his truck the essential liturgical furnishings, some of which we continue to use at St. George’s to this day.

            A few weeks earlier on a visit to Raleigh, Archbishop Dmitri on December 15, 2002, had given his blessing to Fr. Edward to drive down biweekly at the request of several here, so far from any Orthodox church, who wanted to experience Orthodox Christianity in Edenton.

            For God’s miraculous and innumerable blessings on the work being done here, we all are most grateful to Him daily, and likewise to our three successive priests, Fr. Edward and Fr. Andrew Davis and Fr. Benedict, for their combined years of sacrificial labor in the Lord’s service in establishing in this place now an Orthodox Church, for the worship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity who has created us and sustains us and saves us.

 

01 January 2022 Newsletter

“Christ is born!”

—“Glorify ye Him!”

 

I.          Epiphany or Theophany services

II.         Feast of the Theophany

III.       Baptism of Christ

IV.       Blessing of the Waters

V.        current announcements

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I.   THEOPHANY (Epiphany) SERVICES:

            Our worship services for the rest of Christmastide, and for the Epiphany or Theophany, are scheduled as follows.

            This Saturday evening Jan. 1st, at 5:00 p.m. as usual, there will begin the Great Vespers, concluding before 6:00 p.m., of the 1st day of the Forefeast of the Theophany, and of the Feast Day of St. Seraphim of Sarov—a widely revered Russian monk who reposed on Jan. 2, 1833.

            And Sunday morning Jan. 2nd, at 9:35 & 10:00 a.m. as usual, there will begin the Hours’ Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for the Forefeast and the Sunday before the Theophany, and for the Feast of St. Seraphim, followed by refreshments.

            Next WEDNESDAY EVENING Jan. 5th at 7:00 p.m. will begin the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil, concluding about 9:00 p.m.  (This service combines the Vespers of the Theophany, including the sequence of Old Testament readings foreshadowing the event, with the Divine Liturgy for Theophany Eve.)

            And THURSDAY MORNING Jan. 6th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, for the Great Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, concluding about 8:15 a.m.

            Next SATURDAY MORNING Jan. 8th beginning at 8:00 a.m. we expect to receive some new members into the Church, by baptism and chrismation followed by the Divine Liturgy, with Fr. Benedict being assisted by the rector of the Holy Apostles’ Parish of Columbia, S.C., Fr. Ignatius Green, in town for the morning along with his family.  Visitors, as at all of our services, are always invited and welcome.

            Next Saturday evening Jan. 8th at 5:00 p.m. will begin the Great Vespers of the 4th day of the Great Feast of the Theophany, concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            Sunday morning Jan. 9th at 9:35 & 10:00 a.m. will begin the Hours’ Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday after the Theophany, followed by the Theophany’s annual Great Blessing of the Waters, and by refreshments as usual.

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II.   FEAST of the THEOPHANY:

            On January 5th & 6th as always, a Wednesday & Thursday this year, services will be held for the Great Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ (known in the Western Church as the Feast of the Epiphany).

            Among the twelve Great Feasts besides the Paschal “Feast of Feasts,” the Theophany is ranked second, being subordinate thus only to Pentecost and to Easter.

            In accord with the Church’s ancient practice, this Feast with its season, immediately following the Twelve Days of Christmas, annually commemorates the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist & Forerunner, son of the Temple priest (who for a term served as its high priest) Zacharias.

            (Both names for the Feast are based on the Greek verb “phaínein,” meaning “to show,” or “to appear.”  Thus the Western term Epiphany [with the “epi‑” prefix] means literally the “showing forth,” or the “manifestation.”  And the Eastern term Theophany [with “Theós,” or “God”] means literally the “appearing of God,” or “revelation of God.”)

            The significance of the name Theophany, or “appearance of God,” is that all three persons of the Trinity are manifested simultaneously:  above God the Son standing in the river, the voice of God the Father is heard speaking, and the Holy Spirit is seen descending as a dove.

            Its observance on January 6th is attested since the second century at Alexandria; and the Theophany is one of the few events recorded in all four Gospels:  in Matthew 3: 13–17, in Mark 1: 9–11, in Luke 3: 21–22, and in John 1: 28–37.

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III.   BAPTISM of CHRIST:

            As to Christ’s Baptism itself, Orthodox understanding offers some insight of note.

            Of course it is evident, as Scripture teaches, that after the fall of the angels (Revelation 12: 7–9) and then the fall of man (Genesis 3), now similarly left warped & disfigured is the whole creation (Ephesians 6: 11–12, i Peter 5:8, i John 5:19).

            And, viewing Jesus Christ as the “new Adam” (i Corinthians 15: 20–23; Romans 5: 12–21), Orthodox teaching sees that, as all mankind through Adam suffered the Fall, analogously for mankind through Jesus’ Baptism there is accomplished, by anticipation, the regeneration effected ultimately in one’s individual baptism, as a new creature cleansed & regenerate & reconciled.

            The baptism being offered by St. John in the Jordan was of course “baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3), so that John at first resisted baptizing Jesus (Matt. 3: 13–15) who, being God incarnate, was sinless.

            Correspondingly Orthodox teaching sees John’s accomplished baptism then of Jesus Himself as having cosmically also a reverse effect:  not of washing away sins of His own, but conversely of sanctifying the water itself, to the redemption with it of all creation.

            And as, at the Divine Liturgy or Eucharist, there become present in a mystical way the Last Supper & Crucifixion & Resurrection, so at the Theophany feast’s Great Blessing of the Waters there become present in a mystical way Christ’s Baptism and His sanctification of the waters of His creation.

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IV.   BLESSING of the WATERS:

            In established parishes the Great Blessing of the Waters is annually conducted twice at Theophany.

            Thus first at the conclusion of the Theophany Eve services, typically the Blessing is at the font inside the church, from which the households attending carry some of the blessed water home for use during the year.

            And second at the conclusion of the Theophany morning services, ideally there is a procession to a nearby body of water where the Blessing is conducted; here we aspire at some point to conduct annual Theophany processions to Edenton Bay, as we have done here at the Bay in the past for the comparable feast on August 1st of the Procession of the Venerable Cross.

            This year at St. George’s, because the Theophany or Epiphany falls during the work week, the annual Great Blessing of the Waters will instead conclude the Sunday services inside the church on January 9th—to which visitors, as at all our services, are invited and welcome.

            Thus each household attending the Sunday morning services Jan. 9th is invited TO BRING an APPROPRIATE VESSEL (a glass cruet, for example) in which to carry back home some of the blessed water, the use of which Fr. Benedict will explain.

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V.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Regardless of weather or other considerations, on Sundays our principal services are always held, at the (9:35 a.m.) appointed time, for any whose circumstances will allow them to get to church safely.

            For services other than on Sundays, however, during snowy or icy conditions it’s best to call our office in advance at 482–2006 for any announcement.

            Our St. George’s wall calendars for 2022, published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery as usual, are available at eight dollars for purchase at the church after services.  (For interested subscribers at a distance from Edenton, these wall calendars can be ordered easily from St. Tikhon’s directly.)

            Next week, related to the Epiphany or Theophany, there will be special services on Wednesday evening the 5th, Thursday morning the 6th, and Saturday morning the 8th, as recounted in detail in § I above.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There was no newsletter last week, the most recent thus having been the issue of December 16th/18th.

            Our prayers are asked for Katina, for Jonathan, for Helena, for Scott, for Christopher, for Samuel, for John, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, for Carolyn, for Patsy & John, for Thomas P., and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

 
 

18 December 2021 Newsletter
  1. Christmas services
  2. Christmas hymns

III.       editor’s apology

  1. current announcements

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  1. CHRISTMAS SERVICES:

            On the Orthodox calendar the liturgical sequence begins near the end of the Advent fast on the second Sunday before Christmas, when we last weekend on Dec. 11th & 12th thus commemorated the Sunday of the Forefathers of Christ Jesus (viz., those particularly who lived before the Law was given).

            Then this weekend on Dec. 18th & 19th, at our usual Saturday 5:00 p.m. Great Vespers and usual Sunday 9:35 a.m. Prayers & 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy, we commemorate the Sunday of the Holy Fathers before Christ (i.e., the righteous men & women throughout the Old Testament, from the Creation down to St. Joseph of Nazareth the Betrothed).

            And following the morning Liturgy and the usual refreshments in the parish hall on this Sunday the 19th (because more of us will be here & available than on Saturday), we will undertake some cleaning, in preparation for the approaching Christmas services, including some of the altar & sanctuary furnishings.

            (After our congregation grows some more and the epidemic subsides some more, we will aspire ultimately to have services each day during the Nativity Forefeast, which commences annually at sundown on December 19th; but this year our services will be those appointed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)

            On FRIDAY AFTERNOON the 24th at 1:00 p.m. will begin the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (including the eight Old Testament prophecies) for Christmas Eve, concluding around 3:05 p.m.

            On CHRISTMAS EVE the 24th at 7:00 p.m. will begin the Nativity Vigil, consisting of Grand Compline (with Psalter & other Old Testament readings and Scriptural hymns) and of Matins (with Psalter & Gospel readings and with Scriptural hymns in two Canons by respectively St. Cosmas the Hymnographer and St. John of Damascus); this service should conclude at some point between 8:10 and 8:55 p.m., depending on the extent to which it might or might not be abbreviated.

            On CHRISTMAS MORNING the 25th there will begin at 9:50 a.m. the morning prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, concluding around 11:30 a.m., for the Great Feast of the Nativity, according to the Flesh, of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

            On CHRISTMAS AFTERNOON the 25th our normal Saturday evening weekly Great Vespers will take place NOT at the usual 5:00 p.m. hour but INSTEAD about 11:30 a.m. in an abbreviated form following the Divine Liturgy and thus concluding around 12:00 noon.

            On SUNDAY Dec. 26th, our usual Sunday 9:35 a.m. Prayers & 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy will commemorate the Holy Righteous Ones (Joseph the Betrothed, David the King, and James the Brother) and the festal Sunday after the Nativity, followed as usual by refreshments & fellowship in the parish hall.

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  1. CHRISTMAS HYMNS:

            Over the years our priest has reminded us of the primary method that God has provided for us to know what He says to us:  that it is in our reading of God's Word the Scriptures, and in our listening to (or reading) His Church’s orthodox Liturgies and hymns, that we will notice what He each time has for us to hear.

            Especially now as we approach the Nativity we should spend time regularly reading & singing the Church’s Orthodox hymns appointed for these days, which teach us a right understanding of the Holy Trinity’s work in Jesus Christ’s Incarnation for our salvation.

            Since the First Millennium when the undivided Church completed her liturgies & hymns, the Orthodox Church has steadfastly guarded them against adulteration, so that we remain confident that they, as faithfully as Holy Scripture, teach us God’s eternal truth.

            Two excerpts from the hymnody for the Vespers and Matins of the Forefeast of the Nativity illustrate their profound beauty:

            “Lo, the time of our salvation is at hand.  Make ready, O cave; the Virgin draweth nigh to give birth.  Be glad and rejoice, O Bethlehem, land of Judah, for from thee our Lord hath shone forth as the dawn.  Hearken, ye mountains and hills and all ye lands round about Judæa:  for Christ cometh in His love for mankind, to save the man He fashioned.”

            “Receive, O Bethlehem, the Christ:  for, made flesh, He cometh to dwell in thee, opening Eden to me.  Make ready, O cave, to behold, most strangely contained in thee, Him who cannot be contained, Who now is made poor in the wealth of His tender mercies.”

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III.   EDITOR’S APOLOGY:

            The editor apologizes profoundly that there has been no newsletter since the issue of September 9th/11th; after a very quiet 2020, several long­‑term church & civic projects for which he has had some responsibility have this year & this fall fairly quickly & simultaneously matured and inundated him accordingly (the happy results of two of which have been reported at the top of our weekly newspaper’s front page the previous two weeks—and another of which, for St. George’s Church, will be ready to report similarly next month); and in November & December he has been waylaid further by some unrelated occurrences beyond his control.

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  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            This weekend on Sunday the 19th, following the morning Liturgy and refreshments, in preparation for the approaching Christmas services we will undertake some cleaning, including some of the altar & sanctuary furnishings.

            Our St. George’s wall calendars for 2022, published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery as usual, are available at eight dollars for purchase at the church after services.  (For interested subscribers at a distance from Edenton, these wall calendars can be ordered easily from St. Tikhon’s directly.)

            Each Saturday (except Dec. 25th, when the Christmas weekend schedule differs, as detailed in § I above) we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments and fellowship in the parish hall.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            Our prayers are asked for Katina, for Jonathan, for Helena, for Scott, for Christopher, for Samuel, for John, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, for Carolyn, for Patsy & John, and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 


11 September 2021 Newsletter
  1. Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th
  2. Elevation of the Cross

III.       decoration of the Cross

  1. current announcements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. MONDAY 13th & TUESDAY 14th:

            For the September 14th Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

            So Monday evening September 13th at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

            And Tuesday morning September 14th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding around 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of the Elevation of the Cross.

            One of the seven Great Feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ, among the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, it is described in § II below.

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  1. ELEVATION of the CROSS:

            The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates originally the finding of the Cross in the year 326, under the supervision of the Empress St. Helena with the help of the Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem and of the local elderly Hebrew Jude (later St. Cyriacus), beneath the pagan Temple of Venus that had been built by the 2nd­‑century Emperor Hadrian to obliterate the holy sites of Golgotha and the Sepulchre.

            After the finding of the Cross and then of Jesus Christ’s Tomb nearby, St. Helena’s son, the Emperor St. Constantine I the Great, erected above Golgotha and the Tomb a vast rotunda, atrium, and basilica, known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the Latin name) or the Church of the Resurrection (the Greek name).  Thereupon in the year 335 in a two­‑day celebration, on September 13th the church was consecrated and on September 14th there was brought outside and lifted high the Cross so that all could pray in its presence and could come forward to venerate it.

            Thus this Feast, known in Greek as the “Raising Aloft (or Elevation) of the Venerable Cross” and in Latin as the “Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” has continued on September 14th to this day.

            The (Eastern) Roman Empire’s province of Palestine was plundered in 614 by the Persians who carried away the Cross, but in 628 both the province and the Cross were recovered by the Emperor Heraclius, who escorted the Cross in September of 629 to Constantinople and then on March 21st of 630 back to Jerusalem, where it was “elevated” at the Church again, as before.

            Since then, September 14th has commemorated both the finding (“inventio” in Latin) of the Cross in 326 and its recovery from the Persians in 628, and the Feast became celebrated annually in all the churches of the Empire, thus receiving its (variously translated) present name:  the Universal Elevation (or Exaltation) of the Venerable (or Precious) and Life­‑giving (or Life­‑creating) Cross—the day on which all bishops and priests would bless with the cross the four directions of the universe.  (This last ritual continues to the present time, during the Matins on this Feast day, especially in cathedral and monastery churches.)

            (In western Europe for many centuries the two events instead were celebrated separately:  “Roodmas” commemorated on May 3rd the a.d. 326 finding of the Cross, and “Holyrood” Day commemorated on Sept. 14th the Cross’s 7th­‑century recovery, until the two were combined in most of Western Christianity in the latter 20th century for a single “Holy Cross Day” on September 14th, like the Orthodox East.  And the autumnal Embertide—the Ember Days being since the 4th century the Western Church’s quarterly three­‑day fast—is always the Wednesday, Friday & Saturday following this Holy Cross Day.)

            Moreover from a.d. 630 the September 14th commemoration became the annual national holiday of the Christian Empire; and the principal hymn (the “troparion”) of the feast became in effect the national anthem, sung on all public occasions, of both of the (Orthodox) Christian Empires—first the (Eastern) Roman (or “Byzantine”), and second, the Russian Empire.

            The hymn in present form is as follows:  “O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.”

            (When sung as the Imperial anthem, the wording varied:  “O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy commonwealth.”)

            The Trisagion (“Thrice Holy”) hymn, normally sung at each Divine Liturgy, is replaced for September 14th with another special hymn, similarly three­‑fold but accompanied by prostrations:  “Before Thy Cross, we bow down in veneration, O Master; and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.”

            With its one­‑day Fore-Feast and its seven­‑day After-Feast, besides the Saturday and Sunday Before the Elevation and the Saturday and Sunday After, the Church’s observance of this Great Feast annually of the Holy Cross, of our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ, spans a period ranging from ten days to fifteen days altogether.

            As Fr. Thomas Hopko, the late Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, has written (citing Ephesians 2: 19, Hebrews 11: 10, and Revelation 21—22):  When we elevate the Cross and bow down before it in veneration and worship to God, we proclaim that we belong to the Kingdom “not of this world,” and that our only true and enduring citizenship is with the saints in the “city of God.”

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III.   DECORATION of the CROSS:

            For the Exaltation of the Cross, in the middle of the nave the cross remains for veneration for nine days, from the eve of the September 14th Great Feast until the Leave-Taking of the Feast on September 21st.

            The cross placed in the nave for veneration is, by custom since the first millennium, decorated for the Feast with carnations or other available flowers, or with freshly­‑cut basil leaves, or with both.

            Both are anciently connected with this 4th­‑century veneration of the Cross of Jesus Christ, “basil” being from the Greek word for “royal,” and “carnation” from the Latin for “of the flesh.”

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  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Next week on Monday the 13th and Tuesday the 14th, we have respectively evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Great Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, as fully described near the beginning of this newsletter.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch currently we normally are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            Our prayers are asked particularly for Thomas & his health, and for Paula and Jeanne; and likewise for Josh and for Jodie.

            And our prayers are asked for Marguerite, for Scott, for Katina, for Jonathan, for Samuel, and for Thomas Ch.; moreover for Laura & for the child to be born of her; further for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, for Carolyn, and for Patsy & John; and finally for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

 


04 September 2021 Newsletter

I.          Tuesday 7th & Wednesday 8th

II.         Nativity of the Theotocos

III.       current announcements

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I.   TUESDAY 7th & WEDNESDAY 8th:

            For the September 8th Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

            So Tuesday evening September 7th at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Feast of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotocos, the Ever-Virgin Mary.

            And Wednesday morning September 8th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the Hour’s Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding around 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of the Nativity of the Theotocos.

            (The title Theotocos [or Theotokos] is the Greek theological term meaning the “God­‑bearer,” or more precisely the “Birth­‑giver of God,” or “Birth­‑giver to God”—viz., to God the Son.

            (This established term Theotocos was then made obligatory, or dogmatic, by the Fourth Ecumenical Council, at Chalcedon in 451, to define and guard against the heresies of the Nestorians and Arians—who contended that the child borne by the Virgin Mary was merely the Christ, or Messiah, and that he was not God the Son, a Person of the Trinity.)

            One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, the Nativity of the Theotocos is described in § II below.

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II.   NATIVITY of the THEOTOCOS:

            The Orthodox Church’s twelve Great Feasts, together with Good Friday (a fast rather than a feast) and Easter or the Pasch (the greatest “Feast of Feasts”), generally speaking commemorate the principal historical events in God’s plan of Salvation offered to mankind.

            Although the Crucifixion and Resurrection indeed are its apex, this plan of Salvation is understood in Orthodox Christianity to involve the longer entire series of events.

            Thus in sequence the Church commemorates the Conception of Christ’s Mother the Theotocos, next her Nativity, her Entrance into the Temple, the Annunciation to her by the Archangel, then Jesus Christ’s own Nativity, His Circumcision, His Presentation in the Temple, His teaching in the temple at the age of twelve, His Baptism by St. John, His Transfiguration, His triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, the descent into hell, the Resurrection, His Ascension, and finally His Mother’s Dormition.

            Continually then these events remind us of God’s willingness to take on our form and become man and suffer, to save us for eternal life with Him, and moreover that Christ thus was both fully God and fully man, as crucially emphasized by our Christian theology.

            As it was within the Virgin’s womb where took place this union of God and man, in Christ our Savior, so the birth of Mary indeed foreshadows this Salvation soon to come—just as Orthodox Christianity understands the whole Old Testament as foretelling and prefiguring ultimately the Incarnation of the Messiah or Christ Jesus—and His Crucifixion and Resurrection and Ascension.

            And so on this September 8th Feast the Church proclaims:  “Today beginneth grace to bear its first fruits”; and “The pre­‑ordained tabernacle of our reconciliation with God now beginneth to be”; and “Thy birth, O Theotocos, hath brought joy to all the inhabited earth.”

            Among the twelve Great Feasts, the one celebrated first during the church year, which commences (since the fifth century) on September 1st, is logically this Feast of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotocos and Ever-Virgin Mary—the Birth of the Virgin who, when coming of age, consented to conceive by the Holy Spirit and to bear Jesus our Lord and Savior.

            Mary’s parents fittingly were of royal and priestly lineage respectively:  her father was St. Joachim from Nazareth, son of Barpathir of Galilee, of the royal House of David of the Tribe of Judah; and her mother was St. Anna, or St. Anne, daughter of the priest Matthan from Bethlehem, of the priestly House of Aaron of the Tribe of Levi.  (Anna’s elder sister Zoia was mother of St. Elizabeth, who was mother of John the Baptist.)

            Joachim and Anna were wealthy and devout and generous, but aged and childless, until God blessed their faithfulness, with the daughter Mary.  They had a house in Jerusalem, beside the Pools of Bethesda (John 5: 1–9) near the Sheep Gate leading into the Temple courts, although their principal residence was at Nazareth—the city also of St. Joseph the Betrothed.

            Above their house in Jerusalem stands the Church of St. Anne, built by the Crusaders in the 1130’s to replace the original Basilica of the Nativity of St. Mary there (destroyed by the Persians in 614), which had been built about 450 by the Byzantine Empress Eudocia (Ælia Eudocia Augusta, wife of Emperor Theodosius II) and which fittingly was dedicated on September 8th.

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III.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Next week on Tuesday the 7th and Wednesday the 8th, we have respectively evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Nativity of the Theotocos, as described at the beginning of this newsletter.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch currently we normally are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last four weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of July 29th/31st.

            Our prayers are asked particularly for Thomas & his health, and for Paula and Jeanne; and for the newly­‑departed Janet, that she may rest in peace, and for her family in their loss.

            And our prayers are asked for Marguerite, for Scott, for Katina, for Jonathan, for Samuel, and for Thomas Ch.; moreover for Laura & for the child to be born of her; further for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, for Carolyn, and for Patsy & John; and finally for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 


05 JUNE 2021 NEWSLETTER
  • “Christ is Risen!”

—“Indeed He is risen!”

 

  1. next Wednesday & Thursday
  2. new bishop’s Edenton visit

III.       new bishop’s Edenton remarks

  1. The Ascension
  2. current announcements
  3. hymnody of the Ascension

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ASCENSION next WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY:

            For Ascension Day next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

            So Wednesday evening June 9th a little after 7:00 p.m. (and concluding within an hour) there will begin the Vespers, of the Feast of the Ascension into Heaven, of Our Lord, God & Saviour, Jesus Christ.

            And Thursday morning June 10th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding about 8:15 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of Ascension Day.

            One of the seven Great Feasts of our Lord, among the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, the Ascension’s importance and observance are described in § IV and § VI below.

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  1. NEW BISHOP’S EDENTON VISIT:

            Our newly elected Bishop Gerasim’s biography having been abstracted in last week’s newsletter, there follows below, in these sections II and III, summaries respectively of his June 2012 visit to Edenton and of (copied from the newsletter first following his visit) his remarks here.

            After Fr. Gerasim’s Friday late­‑morning arrival with our Diocesan chancellor & our Carolinas dean at the Barker House, and a tour of the house & grounds, Gail Hare Singh hosted us with an elaborate dinner that she had prepared especially for our party of eight, at noon at her Nothing Fancy Café in Edenton.

            Friday afternoon Frances Drane Inglis entertained the eight of us, in her residence the Homestead and with Alaskan missionary mementos; Denny O’Neill conducted us on a private tour of the Cupola House, including the cupola; we had a full tour likewise through Pembroke Hall; and Sambo Dixon & Badham Dixon gave us a similarly historic tour of their Beverly Hall home & gardens.

            Friday evening after vespers twenty­‑four were present, most graciously hosted by Penny Jo Binns in her home the Mitchell–Powell House, assisted by (Harvey being on military assignment) her mother Evelyn Harrell Powell and nephew Hoskins Powell, and by Vonna & Denny O’Neill and her mother Gretna Torlone, for a wonderful supper they had prepared for us, and for an address by Fr. Gerasim and conversation & some singing.

            Overnight Peggy & Tom Di Martino, Barbara & Mike Cavanagh, and SallyFrancis & Alex Kehayes hosted in their homes respectively Fr. Gerasim, our dean Fr. Thomas Moore, and our chancellor Fr. Marcus Burch.

            Saturday morning fifteen were present, most graciously hosted by Virginia Wood in her country home Greenfield, assisted by SallyFrancis & Alex Kehayes, for breakfast in the dining room, and for more singing and an address by Fr. Gerasim.

            Besides our gratitude to our distinguished visitors for scheduling such a generous amount of time in Edenton during their tour of our Diocese of the South, we remain profoundly grateful to the many friends of St. George’s whose boundless hospitality made the visit such a blessed experience for everyone involved.

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III.       NEW BISHOP’S EDENTON REMARKS:

            In his Edenton homily at the 2012 Friday vespers in our 1902 railway­‑depot church, Abbot Gerasim discussed first Jesus’ words in the Gospel lesson (Matthew 10: 32–36 & 11:1) appointed for that day (the 2nd Friday of the Apostles’ Fast):

            “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven:  but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:  I came not to send peace, but a sword.  ....  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

            Fr. Gerasim then addressed life in the monasteries, which Orthodox Christianity understands as so important to especially the Church’s mission (in her worship of the Holy Trinity) to intercede for all mankind—beginning with those nearby, and particularly for their salvation, through their encountering & knowing & following of Christ.

            And so he explained how a monk’s assigned duties, whether in the garden or in the shop or elsewhere, schedule him always without excuse to be free & present for each day’s several services of worship and for the prayers.

            Then after the Friday supper in Edenton, Abbot Gerasim addressed questions from those present about a Christian’s ministry to others.

            Particularly he counseled us to remove our masks of pretending, so that others can be encouraged to do likewise, and so that we can see what is distorted in our lives and in the lives of those whom we meet; and so that, rather than leaving concealed what is amiss, we can minister, to those in spiritual pain or in other suffering, the healing of Christ’s Gospel.

            Finally after the 2012 Saturday breakfast, Fr. Gerasim addressed questions about the work of the St. George’s Mission in Edenton.

            He counseled us to appreciate & encourage the things good and beautiful in Edenton and in her history & culture, thus respecting her local architectural tradition in any building plans for example; and to make St. George’s Church & community a visible presence to the indigenous civic life.

            His further remarks at breakfast illustrated Orthodoxy’s simultaneous emphasis both of Christian truth uncompromised and of Christ’s compassion & mercy:  whether to the Samaritan woman (ultimately St. Photini) at Jacob’s well, or to Zacchæus the publican, or to the woman caught in adultery, to be stoned—to whom Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn thee:  go, and sin no more.”

            And so Fr. Gerasim exhorted us to teach the Christian Faith confidently & distinctly, but to ask the Lord’s wisdom & discernment how we might do it pastorally in the local circumstances where we find ourselves; and thus, in a small town & county in the 21st­‑century Western world, how to present, effectively & pastorally & rightly & salvifically, the Orthodox Christian truth.

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  1. THE ASCENSION:

            Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, as recounted in chapter 1 of The Acts, as well as at the end of Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels, occurred on the fortieth day from the Pasch, or Orthodox Easter, and so it falls always on a Thursday.

            Orthodox Christianity understands salvation as involving Christ’s work through a series of events including his Incarnation, Nativity, Crucifixion, Descent, Resurrection, and Ascension, so that He as God became man and, after overthrowing the power of death, took man’s human nature & flesh into heaven, restoring & reconciling man to God.

            As at Christmas the human shepherds were amazed in seeing God born as a child on earth, so at Ascension the angels were amazed in seeing a human being ascend into Heaven, and again at Pentecost the people were amazed in seeing the Holy Spirit descended upon the men of the Church.

            The hymnody of Ascension Day, addressed in more detail in § VI below, repeats the bewildered amazement of the angels in seeing a human being ascend in the flesh into Heaven.

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  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Next Wednesday & Thursday the 9th & 10th, services respectively will commence a little after 7:00 p.m. and at 6:50 & 7:00 a.m., as detailed at this newsletter’s beginning, for the Great Feast of our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch currently we normally are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            Our prayers are asked for Samuel, undergoing surgery, and for Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for Katina and for Diane.

            And our prayers are asked for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Patsy & John, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

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  1. HYMNODY of the ASCENSION:

            Orthodox Christianity’s understanding of Christ’s Ascension is expounded in, as for any Feast, the ancient hymns appointed for the day; thus the following examples are from the Matins of the Ascension.

            “Thou didst go up to the Father, O Christ, Bestower of life; and didst uplift our nature in Thine ineffable compassion, O Thou Who lovest mankind.”

            “Having sought out Adam, who had been deluded by the deceit of the serpent, O Christ:  as Thou didst clothe Thyself in him, Thou didst ascend and sit on the right hand, as One equally enthroned with the Father, as the angels hymned Thee.

            “Earth doth celebrate and dance, and heaven rejoiceth today, at the ascension of the Creator of creation, Who by His will hath manifestly united the disparate natures.”

            “O Christ, Who camest down from heaven to those on earth, Who didst lie below in death’s custody, and Who, as God, didst by Thine ascension lift Adam’s form up to heaven:  as Thou art merciful and lovest mankind, Thou didst cause it to sit with Thee on the throne of the Father.”

            “Assuming our nature, which hath been slain by sin, O Saviour, Thou didst bring it to Thine own Father.”

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29 May 2021 Newsletter

29 May 2021 Newsletter

“Christ is Risen!”

—“Indeed He is risen!”

 

I.          new bishop

II.         Abbot Gerasim

III.       episcopal election

IV.       current announcements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

I.   NEW BISHOP:

            Last week the Synod of Bishops of our Orthodox Church in America elected our friend Abbot Gerasim (now the Very Rev’d Archimandrite Gerasim, who spent two days in Edenton during June of 2012) as the auxiliary bishop for our Diocese of the South.

            On June 29th, the Feast of St. Peter & St. Paul, in our cathedral church in Dallas, he will be consecrated with the title Bishop of Fort Worth (the adjacent city to our see city of Dallas), to assist our Archbishop Alexander in shepherding our Diocese of the South, which has grown to now more than eighty parishes & missions.

            Interestingly he will be the second Orthodox Bishop of Fort Worth:  when our 1978 founding bishop, the late Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas & the South, asked for an auxiliary bishop first in 2008, Abbot Jonah (of the Monastery of St. John of San Francisco, at Manton, California, about sixty miles east of Abbot Gerasim’s monastery at Platina) was that November consecrated as the first Bishop of Fort Worth—but only eleven days later at the triennial Council of the Orthodox Church in America, he quite unexpectedly was the bishop elected to serve instead as the whole Church’s Metropolitan.

            While Orthodox parish priests usually are married, bishops are not married and are called ideally from monasteries; and so as monastic life increases in America, we may continue to anticipate excellent candidates available for the episcopacy.

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II.   ABBOT GERASIM:

            As Gordon Trent Eliel, Fr. Gerasim grew up an Episcopalian on California’s Palos Verdes peninsula, where he enjoyed baseball, football, soccer, snow skiing, sailing, water skiing, skateboarding, and particularly surfing, besides reading beginning with Tolkien, and then history, world geography, languages, and Spanish literature.

            After some painful years following his parents’ divorce, he has written, Gordon found a transformative Christian foundation in his high school’s chapter of the Young Life evangelical ministry.

            His notable preparation for his eventual monastic life turned out to be, Fr. Gerasim has written, his teenaged surfing life’s requisites—commitment, discipline, working, adversities, disappointments, identity, bonding, adventure, solitude, and simplicity.

            And the quest for the best waves for surfing led him for college in 1979 to the University of California at Santa Cruz, to pursue mathematics, physics, oceanography, and Spanish literature.

            Soon after his arrival as a freshman, through the college’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapter, Gordon met the junior James Paffhausen—the future Abbot Jonah and Metropolitan Jonah—who had been received from the Episcopal Church into Orthodoxy during his sophomore year; and during Gordon’s freshman spring semester in 1980 he likewise was received into the Orthodox Church.

            In that summer of 1980, James and Gordon visited at Platina, on the edge of the Trinity National Forest in the Klamath Mountains of northwest California, the St. Herman of Alaska monastery, founded in 1968 with the blessing of Bishop (now Saint) John of San Francisco (represented on our icon­‑screen in Edenton).

            Fr. Gerasim writes that a pivotal conversation marking a milestone in his spiritual development and indeed in his life was his meeting there of the late priest­‑monk Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, who was a founder of that monastery (and who, it is widely believed, in due time may himself be named a saint).

            During his sophomore spring semester in 1981 Gordon’s college Orthodox Christian Fellowship (organized by his friend James) arranged for Fr. Seraphim to give a lecture on the Santa Cruz campus (and six years later in 1987 Fr. Gerasim helped the monastery publish that lecture, likewise “pivotal” to him, as “God’s Revelation to the Human Heart”).

            In the summer of 1981 Gordon again visited the monastery at Platina, ultimately decided to stay, and in December was accepted, as initially a novice.

            After working there first in construction of additional campus buildings, he was soon given responsibilities in researching (especially Alaskan Orthodox history) and in writing—and, later, in translating works from Russian—for the monastery’s St. Herman Press’s publications; subsequently he had responsibilities also in giving lectures & presentations on Orthodox Christianity in bookstores & missions regionally and across the country.

            In September 1982 Bro. Gordon first received his monastic tonsure, with the name Fr. Gerasim (so under the patronage of the fifth­‑century St. Gerasimus of the Jordan—but also in honor of the Russian Archimandrite Gerasim of Spruce Island, who dwelt as a hermit­‑monk there, from 1935 until his 1969 death, at the site of St. Herman’s own hermitage).

            In August 1983 their abbot sent Fr. Gerasim as the leader with several Platina monks to Spruce Island, Alaska, where St. Herman (also represented on our icon­‑screen in Edenton), who had arrived in Russian Alaska as a missionary monk in 1794, ultimately settled until his death in 1836.

            There on Spruce Island Fr. Gerasim led the founding & construction of the present St. Michael’s Skete, so reëstablishing the Kodiak area’s monastic life, which was begun by St. Herman of Alaska and much later was first resumed temporarily by the late Archimandrite Gerasim of Spruce Island.

            After a 1987 pilgrimage to Mt. Athos and pilgrimages in 1991 to Russia and to Georgia (the second nation, after Armenia, to adopt Christianity), Fr. Gerasim was ordained to the priesthood in 1995, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

            And following a third pilgrimage to Russia in 1998, a second to Georgia in 1999, and further pilgrimages in 2000 to Georgia and to Jerusalem, his St. Herman of Alaska monastic brothers in late 2000 elected Fr. Gerasim their abbot, of the monastery at Platina as well as of its appendant St. Michael’s Skeet on Spruce Island.

            Subsequently Abbot Gerasim made multiple evangelical Orthodox missionary trips between 2006 & 2010 to Ecuador and to Brazil, and an Orthodox historical pilgrimage to Serbia in 2009.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   EPISCOPAL ELECTION:

            When the late Archbishop Dmitri of our Diocese of the South announced in 2009 his planned retirement, Abbot Gerasim was identified as an ideal candidate for our future bishop (and in Alaska was contemporaneously identified as a candidate for the Diocese of Alaska); Metropolitan Jonah accordingly asked him first to take at least a year of graduate seminary study.

            At St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (where one of his professors was Fr. Benedict Churchill—since 2014 our priest in Edenton) ultimately Fr. Gerasim decided to remain in residence all three years for the Master of Divinity degree—and was graduated in 2012 as the class’s valedictorian.

            Thus in our Diocese of the South in the spring of 2012 Abbot Gerasim was unanimously our Deans’ nominee to the Diocesan Council, and his name was the unanimous recommendation by the Council to our Diocesan Assembly, for its nomination of a candidate for election by the Synod of Bishops as our future Diocesan bishop.

            And so it was that in June of 2012 Abbot Gerasim spent two days in Edenton, during his introductory tour through the parishes and missions of our Diocese.

            The diocesan July 2012 Special Assembly however was postponed, in order to give the Synod of Bishops more time to consider him in view of, following the untimely death of Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of Platina, the jurisdictionally irregular status of the St. Herman’s monastery between 1984 and November 2000 when Fr. Gerasim was elected as its new abbot.

            And so the graduate Fr. Gerasim, after a preliminary 2012–2013 year as an assistant parish priest at the Los Angeles cathedral church, now since September of 2013 has first served our Diocese as the dean of our cathedral church, in Dallas.

            Our diocesan Special Assembly ultimately was held in February of 2015, at which Archimandrite Gerasim was overwhelmingly nominated to the Synod of Bishops for their canonical election of him as Bishop of the South.

            At their March 2015 meeting, the Synod appointed Fr. Gerasim to serve, besides as dean of our cathedral church, also as now the Administrator of our Diocese, under the guidance ultimately of our elder Archbishop Alexander, who has been our governing Bishop of Dallas & the South since his March 2016 election by the Synod and his June 2016 enthronement in our cathedral church.

            And so now last week the Synod of Bishops has canonically elected Fr. Gerasim as our Bishop of Fort Worth, auxiliary bishop to our Archbishop Alexander; and he is scheduled to be consecrated in Dallas next month on June 29th.

            Fr. Gerasim very much enjoyed and very well remembers his two days in 2012 in Edenton, and we look forward to his next visit here when he can be with us now in our new historic 1880’s church campus that was miraculously given to our St. George’s Mission in February of 2018.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

IV.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch currently we normally are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.  This weekend’s study on Sunday the 30th will address chapter 23 of the Proverbs.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last four weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of April 22nd/24th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Diane, the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina, and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy & John, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

24 April 2021 - Holy Week Schedule

  1. Orthodox Holy Week
  2. Holy Week schedule

      III. Paschal services

  1. current announcements
  2. current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ORTHODOX HOLY WEEK:

            This year there is, as noted in recent newsletters, a four­‑week difference between the newer Western & older Eastern Paschal calendars.

            So for the Orthodox, the forty days of Great Lent this year conclude after sundown this Friday April 23rd.

            The next two days are Lazarus Saturday on April 24th and Palm Sunday on April 25th.  They are followed, beginning at sundown on Sunday the 25th, by Passion Week with its daily services, and finally by the Paschal services beginning Saturday night May 1st.

            (The more common name Holy Week is often used to refer to the combined sequence of Lazarus Saturday & Palm Sunday and Passion Week.)

            These special Lenten services to the glory of God are offered as further Lenten opportunities for worship, available to the local people to the extent that respectively they may be able to attend and take part.

            As with the past Lenten weeks, although some of these additional services may not have present the choir that we try normally to have, visitors nevertheless are invited and welcome always, as at all of our services.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE:

            This Sunday morning April 25th at 9:35 a.m. an abbreviated Matins with the Palms Blessing, and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy of St. John, will be offered for Palm Sunday, the Great Feast of the Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem, followed by lunch or refreshments.

            Holy Monday evening April 26th at 6:30 p.m. we will offer this eve’s (for Tuesday) Bridegroom Matins.

            Holy Tuesday evening April 27th at 6:30 p.m. we will offer this eve’s (for Wednesday) Bridegroom Matins.

            Holy Wednesday evening April 28th at 6:30 p.m. we will offer this day’s (Wednesday’s) Bridegroom Vespers, with the Liturgy of the Presanctified.

            Maundy Thursday evening April 29th at 6:30 p.m. we will sing the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil for the Last Supper, concluding about 8:40 p.m.

            Great & Holy Friday morning April 30th at 10:00 a.m. Fr. Benedict will offer the service of the Royal Hours (or Great Hours) of Great & Holy Friday, for any who might attend, concluding about 11:30 a.m.

            Great & Holy Friday afternoon April 30th at 3:00 p.m. we will sing this day’s (Friday’s) Vespers service, concluding about 4:10 p.m.

            Great & Holy Friday evening April 30th at 7:00 (seven o’clock) p.m. we aspire to serve this eve’s (for Saturday) Matins service, including the “Praises” (or “Lamentations”) and the outdoor Trisagion procession, concluding about 9:00 p.m.:  the question of holding this evening service, based on our celebrant’s endurance & resilience, he will decide by the 4:10 p.m. end of the Friday afternoon Vespers; and so anyone not then present but interested should call our office at 482–2006 later in the afternoon (recording a message if necessary) to learn the decision.

            Great & Holy Saturday midday May 1st at 12:00 noon preceding the Divine Liturgy, two of our catechumens are to be received at St. George’s, by the mystery (or sacrament) of Chrismation, into the Orthodox Church.

            Great & Holy Saturday midday May 1st thus around 12:30 p.m. we will sing the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil, concluding around 2:15 p.m.

            Visitors are always invited and welcome at all of our services.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   PASCHAL SERVICES:

            Saturday evening May 1st at 11:30 p.m. we will sing the Great & Holy Paschal services, for the Resurrection of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ:  Nocturn (the midnight office, with its Canon and the outdoor procession), Matins (with the Paschal Canon and the homily by St. John Chrysostom), the Paschal Hours’ Prayers, and the Paschal Divine Liturgy of St. John; followed about 2:40 a.m. by the Paschal feast itself, in the adjoining parish hall.

            It is customary on arrival at the Paschal services to bring a basket with items from which we’ve been fasting through Lent, that is, meat & eggs & dairy products; following the services, around 2:40 a.m. Sunday morning May 2nd, Fr. Benedict will give the traditional blessing over the baskets, after which we’ll all sit down together for the customary Paschal Feast.

            As at all of our services and occasions, visitors are always invited and welcome.

            Sunday May 2nd at 12:00 noon (there being no late­‑morning service that day) we will offer the Paschal Vespers, concluding about 1:00 p.m.

            May 8th our normal Saturday schedule resumes at 5:00 p.m. with our weekly Great Vespers, concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            May 9th our normal Sunday schedule resumes at 9:35 a.m. & 10:00 a.m. with the Hours’ Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for St. Thomas’ Sunday, followed by lunch or refreshments.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday (except May 1st, when the Paschal weekend schedule differs) we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday (except May 2nd, when the Paschal weekend schedule differs) we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            Our schedule of special services next week through the Paschal weekend is recited in detail in § II and § III of this newsletter.

            Our lunchtime Bible study & Sunday school, because of Lent’s longer Sunday services and additional midweek services, will resume following the May 2nd Paschal weekend.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Diane, the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina, and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            For the newly­‑departed Robert & Barbara and Adah & Noah our prayers are offered, and particularly for Marguerite, Laura & Joel, and the rest of the family in their grief.

            And our prayers are asked for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy & John, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            In view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since last May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors, and since August 16th likewise to resume our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study.

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rules for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow, now since this March 26th, an attendance of thirty­‑eight to fifty in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers for the time being, as may likewise any who may be at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions.

            In Edenton during this pandemic we remain thankful for the blessing both of our remarkably spacious church and likewise of our parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s similarly quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

 

 

17 April 2021 Newsletter

I.        Thursday evening & Saturday morning

ll.        Holy Week & Paschal services

III.       Lazarus Saturday

IV.       The Great­‑Martyr & Trophy­‑bearer

V.        The hymns commemorating St. George

VI.       Current announcements

VII.      Current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. Next THURSDAY evening & SATURDAY morning:

            Next THURSDAY evening April 22nd we will celebrate our patronal feast day of St. George, with the vespers of St. George’s Day and the Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.

            (Its celebration this year is held on its eve alone, because the April 23rd patronal feast day falls on a Lenten weekday this year.)

            Next SATURDAY morning April 24th we will hold a Divine Liturgy for the Saturday of St. Lazarus (a week & a day before Easter), commemorating (John 11: 1–46) the Raising of Lazarus.

            Our congregation’s small size, together with some new families beginning to attend, has rendered it most practical to discuss & decide weekly at our Sunday luncheon fellowship the starting times for any services during the ensuing week.

            Consequently any visitors interested in attending next Thursday evening or Saturday morning are asked & encouraged to call our office at 482–2006 for the decided starting times for these midweek services, which we apologize it’s not yet practical to publish              in the prior week’s newsletter.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. HOLY WEEK & PASCHAL Services:

            As noted in recent newsletters, in this present year 2021, the Gregorian New calendar runs four weeks earlier, with Western Easter on April 4th, than the Julian Old calendar, with the Orthodox Pasch or Easter on May 2nd.

            At the beginning of Holy Week is (or, more precisely, preceding Passion Week is) Palm Sunday—April 25th this year on the Orthodox calendar, and one of the twelve Great Feasts—celebrating the bittersweet Royal Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into the Holy City of Jerusalem.

            And during Passion Week (or Holy Week), beginning Monday April 26th this year, we anticipate holding services daily, which we will hope to announce in a newsletter next week, including the services for Orthodox Good Friday (Great & Holy Friday) on April 30th, Holy Saturday on May 1st, and Easter or the Pasch on May 2nd.

            Thus that Paschal weekend of May 1st & 2nd is the one weekend during the year when our services do not begin at the otherwise usual times, neither for Saturday vespers nor for the Sunday services.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   LAZARUS SATURDAY:

            Lent in Orthodox Christianity, as noted in prior newsletters, comprises three seasons:  Pre-Lent (abolished in Western Christianity in 1969 & 1979), Great Lent (of 40 days, concluding at sundown on the Friday before Good Friday), and Holy Week (concluding at midnight on the eve of Easter or the Pasch).

            The forty days of Great Lent are thus followed immediately by Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday, and then by the Monday through Saturday of Passion Week.  (The more common name Holy Week is often used to refer to the combined sequence of Lazarus Saturday & Palm Sunday and Passion Week.)

            Accordingly, between Great Lent’s forty days of penitence, and Passion Week’s six days of darkness and mourning, we celebrate two days of joy and triumph:  Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday.

            Jesus’ raising from the dead, after four days in the tomb, of his friend Lazarus of Bethany (John 11: 1–46) is a prefiguring both of Christ’s own Resurrection, not many weeks later, and of the bodily resurrection of all the righteous on the Last Day.

            As such Lazarus Saturday is celebrated by the Orthodox Church, on the day before Palm Sunday in that, some days after Lazarus’ resurrection, Jesus returned to Bethany and dined with him and his sisters Mary and Martha (John 12: 1–13) on the very day before Palm Sunday.

            In the years following Pentecost when the Christians were scattered (Acts 8:1, 11: 19–20), including St. Lazarus (John 12: 10–11), he settled in Cyprus; and during St. Paul’s and St. Barnabas’ (a Cypriot, Acts 4:36) journey a.d. 46 by land across the island (Acts 13: 1–6, 13), they consecrated St. Lazarus the first bishop of the city of Kition (formerly Kittim, subsequently Larnaca), where he served until his death a.d. 60 and where his tomb remains.

            Lazarus Saturday has, as attested by contemporary homilies extant, been celebrated at least since the fourth century—the century that began with the cataclysmic Diocletian’s Persecution from 303 to 311 and was followed by Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313 finally for the full toleration of Christianity.  And Lazarus Saturday has always been held to be an occasion particularly appropriate for baptism and chrismation.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. the GREAT-MARTYR & TROPHY-BEARER:

            It is under the patronage of St. George that our Edenton mission was placed—and is his name that accordingly was bestowed upon our congregation’s church here—by our late Archbishop Dmitri during his visit to Edenton, on October 28 & 29 of 2007.

            In George’s military service he had attained by the year 303, while in his twenties, the rank of tribune (regimental commander) in the personal guard of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

            Following the issuance, on February 24th that year, of the imperial edict of persecution of the Christians, George proclaimed that he himself was one of them, refused to deny his faith, and so suffered torture and finally death on April 23, 303.

            His bravery inspired the conversion of thousands of others, who witnessed George’s days of public martyrdom in the imperial capital, to a courageous confession of Jesus Christ likewise; and there followed remarkably in less than a decade the Edict of Milan in 313 for the full toleration of Christianity.

            St. George, the Great­‑martyr & Trophy­‑bearer, is often shown on icons as mounted on a white horse and slaying a dragon, so portraying his victory over the devil.  He is the patron saint of England and of several other countries, as well as of the Boy Scouts.

            The title “Great­‑martyr” is a category of saints; it signifies that George’s martyrdom was specifically through torture (in his case, over a number of days).

            The other title is not a category of saints; instead, “the Trophy­‑bearer” is a title of honor, carried by George alone among all the Saints of the Church, and derived as follows.

            The English “trophy” comes (via the Middle French “trophee” and Latin “trophaeum”) from the Greek “trópaion,” which was originally, among the ancient Greeks, a monument erected to mark a military victory, before acquiring its later meaning of trophies, in the broader sense, brought home from a military victory.

            The Greek compound­‑word tropaiophóros, meaning literally “trophy­‑bearer,” had in the Roman Empire initially two applications.  First it was a title applied to Rome’s founder Romulus following his initial military victory, against the neighboring king Acron in the 8th century b.c., the title being illustrated both in public coinage and in monumental art.  Second the same title was likewise applied to Jupiter, who was the principal and national god of the Roman Empire, until its adoption finally of Christianity instead in 380 a.d. under Theodosius.

            Thus in 303, in the eastern imperial capital Nicomedia (the new Constantinople not being established until 330), the vow of the Emperor Diocletian was to escalate the public torture of his theretofore esteemed tribune George until he relented and made an offering to Jupiter, so redeeming himself as a good citizen again.

            But in his contest against the pagan Emperor, over the successive April days of torture in the capital, it proved to be neither the Emperor nor Jupiter, but instead the great­‑martyr George, blessed by his Lord in his unsurpassed bravery for Him and His faith, who proved himself the “Trophy­‑bearer,” bearing and carrying home the trophy of victory for Jesus Christ, with the conversion, in the process, to Christianity of thousands of others who witnessed George’s days of public martyrdom.

            And it took only nine years then for Christianity to be in 312 first endorsed by an emperor, Constantine, and took only the decade to 313 for his Edict of Milan to be issued for the full toleration of Christianity.

            So it is no wonder that, in the recalling of his bravery through those days of public spectacle and witness in the imperial capital, the popular veneration of St. George soared among the Christians and the general population, both in the region of his home town of Lydda and the surrounding Holy Land, and likewise from Nicomedia through the Greek provinces surrounding the Ægean.

            Throughout the centuries since 303, “the Tropaiophóros” has been understood among the Greeks to refer to none other than St. George; and in fact he has remained the only saint who carries in the Church the name “Trophy­‑bearer” as a title.

            Subsequently in a derivative sense the Church has applied the term “Trophy­‑bearer” (Tropaiophóros) as part of the hymnography of three later saints—although not as a title:  first to the Great­‑martyr Theodore Stratelates (i.e., the General, or the Commander), whose martyrdom in 319 was known for dislodging the Roman idols; and second to St. Athanasius the Great and St. Cyril, both Archbishops (or Patriarchs) of Alexandria—whose contests were against the major Christian­‑era heresies respectively of Arianism and Nestorianism.

            (In modern time the term in English has sometimes been loosely employed in translating further cases, as has been the Greek term’s Slavonic substitute, Victory­‑bearer, although the latter is equivalent instead to the separate Greek term Nicephoros, which is used for other saints.)

            It would be difficult to overstate the importance of St. George’s title, ever reflecting his successive days of martyrdom for his Lord and Christian faith, in the presence of the populace of the capital of the Empire.

            In summary, through the initial pagan half of the Roman Empire’s duration, from its founding in 753 b.c. until its adoption of Christianity in 380 a.d., “the Trophy­‑bearer” was either the principal god Jupiter, or else the city’s founder Romulus who had brought Jupiter the first Roman victory trophies; but through then the Christian half of the Roman Empire’s existence, from a.d. 380 until the fall of Constantinople in 1453, “the Trophy­‑bearer” carried no meaning but one—to recall the courage & faith of St. George the Great­‑Martyr, as the epitome of a witness for Jesus Christ.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. THE HYMNS commemorating ST. GEORGE:

            The three principal hymns commemorating St. George, at least one of which we hear nearly every week, teach & remind us regularly of our relationship with our patron saint and of his profound Christian witness as an enduring example for us.

            In the last hymn, the agricultural references allude to the fact that the original Greek meaning of “George” is “worker of the land” (i.e., Geōrgios, from geo + ergos), as well as to the circumstance that George’s maternal family were planters, at Lydda in Judea.

            The Orthodox understand that, as it is right to ask the prayers of a fellow Christian on earth, it is no less right to continue to ask his prayers when he is gone to be with our Saviour Himself, and particularly when the Christian’s holiness is demonstrated by his having laid down his life for our Lord—as epitomized by the Great­‑martyr St. George, the Trophy­‑bearer.

            The text is as follows, of these three principal hymns commemorating our patron St. George.

 

—the Russian hymn:

 

Thou didst fight the good fight, O George, martyr of Christ,
            and by faith didst thou vanquish the tyrant’s godlessness.

Thou gavest thyself as a sacrifice well­‑pleasing unto God,
            and so hast received, O Holy One, the crown of victory; //

and through thy supplications, forgiveness of sins is granted unto all.

 

—the Greek hymn:

 

As deliverer of those in chains,
            defender of the poor,
physician of the sick,
            and champion of kings,

O trophy­‑bearer Great­‑martyr George,
            intercede with Christ God //
that our souls be saved.

 

—the collect­‑hymn:

 

Having been cultivated well by God,
            thou O George wast made manifest

as a most honourable husbandman of piety,
            harvesting unto thyself the sheaves of virtue:

For, having sown in tears, thou dost reap in gladness;
            and having fought the good fight and shed thy blood,
thou hast inherited Christ:

            So that through thine intercessions, O Holy One, //
the forgiveness of transgressions is bestowed upon all.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday (except May 1st, when the Paschal weekend schedule differs) we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday (except May 2nd, when the Paschal weekend schedule differs) we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            Our schedule of special services these next two weeks is recited in detail in § I and § II of this newsletter.

            Our lunchtime Bible study & Sunday school, because of Lent’s longer Sunday services and additional midweek services, will resume following the May 2nd Paschal weekend.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last three weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of March 18th/20th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Diane, the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina, and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            For the newly­‑departed Robert & Barbara and Adah & Noah our prayers are offered, and particularly for Marguerite, Laura & Joel, and the rest of the family in their grief.

            And our prayers are asked for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

VII.   PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            In view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since last May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors, and since August 16th likewise to resume our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study.

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rules for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow, now since this March 26th, an attendance of thirty­‑eight to fifty in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers for the time being, as may likewise any who may be at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions.

            In Edenton during this pandemic we remain thankful for the blessing both of our remarkably spacious church and likewise of our parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s similarly quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

 

13 March 2021 Newsletter

l.        Lent next week

ll.        Lenten Fast summary

III.       Lenten Fast guidance

  1. Prayer of St. Ephraim
  2. current announcements
  3. current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. LENTEN SERVICES:

            On SUNDAY March 14th this weekend, the morning’s schedule will conclude with the annual “Forgiveness Vespers” rite of mutual forgiveness, on the eve of Great Lent.

            (Because Great Lent, with its fasting regimen, commences liturgically in the middle of the annual Forgiveness Vespers, this service will be held immediately after, rather than before, the Sunday refreshments & fellowship.)

            Monday through Friday of next week, March 15th through 19th, being the initial week of Orthodox Lent and thus called “Clean Week” or “Pure Week,” services will be held each of those five evenings at 6:30 p.m.

            The MONDAY & TUESDAY & THURSDAY services next week at 6:30 p.m. will be the first & second & fourth divisions respectively of the Great Penitential Canon, of St. Andrew of Crete, along with Little Compline (for this pandemic year, in place of the usual               Grand Compline), and all concluding thus about 7:30 p.m.

            The WEDNESDAY service next week, March 17th at 6:30 p.m., will be the Lenten Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, preceded by the afternoon Prayers, and all concluding about 8:05 p.m.  (Any wishing to remain could sing the Great Canon’s third                      division, in an abbreviated service on account of the late hour.)

            On FRIDAY evening of next week, March 19th at 6:30 p.m., Fr. Benedict will offer the Vespers of St. Theodore for anyone who is able to attend.

            On SATURDAY morning of next week, March 20th, there will be offered the morning Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for St. Theodore’s Saturday, all concluding in 1½ hours—besides our Saturday usual Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m. weekly.  (The starting time                  for the Saturday morning services March 20th will be decided at Sunday lunch March 14th; visitors interested in attending may call our office at 482–2006 for the decided hour.)

            And on SUNDAY March 21st, the services traditionally conclude with the congregational procession for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, when we give thanks for those who laid down their lives in defense of the Apostles’ teachings.  This annual procession of icons               that day commemorates the Œcumenical Councils that upheld Orthodox Christianity against the innovations of heretics, and it provides the laity an annual review of basic Trinitarian & Christological doctrine.  (Customarily everyone is invited to bring a favorite              icon for this annual procession, and icons are available for participating visitors to carry as well.)

            The remaining weeks of Great Lent will have special services generally on Wednesday evenings (but not Wednesday April 21st) and Saturday mornings and on some Friday evenings.  They may begin at the same times as during the initial week, or                           adjustments may be made for the needs of those who attend; until those decisions are announced in a newsletter, visitors interested in attending may call Fr. Benedict at 325–4505 about these subsequent weeks’ schedule.

            For the MARCH 25th Great Feast of the Annunciation of Jesus Christ’s Incarnation, falling this year on a Lenten weekday, its eve (thus on Wednesday evening March 24th) will be celebrated with the Great Vespers of the Annunciation and the Lenten Liturgy             of the Presanctified Gifts; and its own day (thus on Thursday evening March 25th) will be celebrated with the Great Vespers of the Leavetaking & Synaxis and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.  (Until those two evenings’ Annunciation services’ hours              may be announced potentially in a later newsletter, visitors interested in attending may call our office at 482–2006 for the decided times.)

            For our APRIL 23rd patronal feast day of St. George, because it falls on a Lenten weekday this year, its celebration will be on its eve alone (thus on Thursday evening April 22nd) with the vespers of St. George’s Day and the Lenten Liturgy of the                                  Presanctified Gifts.

            Finally, during Orthodox Holy Week, beginning Monday April 26th this year, there will be services daily.  As those dates approach, we will announce in the newsletter the times for these services particular to Holy Week.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. LENTEN FAST SUMMARY:

            The annual acclimation toward the Lenten fasting gradually during the pre­‑Lenten weeks (through “Meatfare Sunday” on March 7th and “Cheesefare Sunday” on March 14th this year) was addressed in the last newsletter, along with those weeks’ lessons to                us:  about man’s Fall from Paradise; against hypocrisy and self­‑righteousness; and toward repentance, mercy, and forgiveness.

            Now the fasting principles for Lent itself, beginning March 15th for the 40 days of the Great Fast and the 8 days of Holy Week, are as follow.

            The fundamental rule is that we abstain from meat (including finfish), eggs & dairy products, and oil & wine (—i.e., alcoholic beverages); but on Saturdays and Sundays oil and wine are allowed, as the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day respectively.

            There are several exceptions (all noted on our 2021 wall calendars):  but, notably, on the Annunciation (always March 25th) and on Palm Sunday, finfish (i.e., fish with backbones) are allowed; and, on Lazarus Saturday (the day before Palm Sunday), fish roe.

            (Shellfish, i.e., all invertebrates, have been traditionally allowed throughout the season, as being more primitive than the animals from which we abstain, and notably without recognizable blood generally—besides being historically disdained as mere                            scavengers.)

            During the initial five days of Lent (beginning on Sunday evening March 14th) the traditional practice is an absolute fast except for Wednesday supper & Friday supper; likewise there is an absolute fast on Great & Holy Friday (Good Friday).  During the                       remaining weeks of Lent, on weekdays (Monday through Friday) traditionally a single meal is taken, at supper.

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III.   LENTEN FAST GUIDANCE:

            The fasting discipline should be undertaken with the guidance, especially when questions arise, of one’s priest (or spiritual father, or mother), for several reasons, including those of ensuring a proper measure of prayer, compassion, & dependence on God,                  and of avoiding pride or irritability.  Reasons of health may mitigate the fast, as well as other personal circumstances, such as those of an individual in a non-Orthodox household.

            An inquirer or catechumen or one otherwise yet entering upon such a fast should not try to undertake this all at once, as such an attempt likely would be neither successful nor beneficial.  Adopting the discipline instead in increments, over a period of several             seasons & years as necessary, avoids a sense of burden or being overwhelmed and allows rather a glad anticipation of each successive step.

            Most importantly, the Orthodox emphasize not a legalistic approach to fasting but one of joyful anticipation.

            The Biblical history of fasting, together with its spiritual benefits of self-discipline, to soul & body together, that are experienced by those who follow this example of Jesus and the Fathers in growing closer to God, are well explained by Bishop Kallistos                          (Timothy Ware) in his booklet “When You Fast,” available from our tract cabinet.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. PRAYER of ST. EPHRAIM:

            The fourth­‑century Prayer of repentance of St. Ephraim the Syrian, appointed for Orthodox Christians’ use each weekday during Lent, is said (in this translation or in other translations) as follows.

 

“O Lord and Master of my life,
“deliver me from the spirit of sloth, faint­‑heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.  (prostration.)

“But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and charity to Thy servant.  (prostration.)

“Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see mine own transgressions, and not to judge my brother:
“for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.  Amen.”  (prostration.)

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  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            Our schedule of additional Lenten services is recited in detail at the beginning of this newsletter.

            At lunch currently we normally are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last two weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of February 18th/20th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for the newly­‑departed Maximo, that he may rest in peace; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Natasha, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for t                    those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

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  1. PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, in accord with North Carolina’s executive orders effective since last May 22nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since last May 23rd we             have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under               eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five (or now even more, since this February 26th) in the 2,100 square­‑foot St.                         George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus, or at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the more recent newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the                 civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th of last year.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention              as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

 

 

30 January 2021 Newletter

ST GEORGE’S NEWLETTER – 30 JANUARY 202

I.          Candlemas on Monday & Tuesday

II.         Current announcements

III.         Feast of the Meeting

IV.         Our eighteenth anniversary

V.          Current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CANDLEMAS on MONDAY & TUESDAY:

            For the February 2nd Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve, and on its morning the Divine Liturgy, followed by this Feast’s annual “Candlemas” blessing of the candles.

            So Monday evening February 1st at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Feast of the Meeting (or Presentation) of Christ in the Temple.

            And Tuesday morning Feb. 2nd, preceded at 6:50 a.m. by the First Prayers, there will begin at 7:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy (concluding about 8:15 a.m.) for the same Great Feast (as recounted in Luke 2: 22–39) of the Meeting (or Presentation) of Our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ in the Temple—and then followed about 8:20 a.m. by the Blessing of the Candles (concluding around 8:30 a.m.).

            All who attend the Tuesday morning Candlemas services, whether members or visitors, are encouraged to bring candles to be blessed, for common use or liturgical use, in their households during the ensuing year.

            A full description of Candlemas—the Feast of the Meeting of Christ in the Temple, and one of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church—is given below in this newsletter.

            February 2nd will moreover mark the eighteenth anniversary of the Orthodox Mission in Edenton, our first service here having been held on February 2, 2003, as recounted near the end of this newsletter.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Regardless of weather or other considerations, on Sundays our principal services are always held, at the (9:35 a.m.) appointed time, for any whose circumstances will allow them to get to church safely.

            For services other than on Sundays, however, during snowy or icy conditions it’s best to call our office in advance at 482–2006 for any announcement.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch we currently are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last three weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of Dec. 31st/Jan. 2nd.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

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III.   FEAST of the MEETING:

            One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, and known as Candlemas in English, the Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord commemorates the presentation of the Christ child in the Temple at Jerusalem, on the 40th day from his birth, as ordained by Jewish  law.  Accordingly, the Church has always celebrated it on the 40th day from Christmas, being thus February 2nd.

            The events of the day are recounted in Luke 2: 22–39, including the testimony of the holy prophetess St. Anna and the aged elder St. Simeon, and particularly his sublime hymn known as the Nunc Dimittis, which subsequently the Church has sung always at Vespers:

            “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  for mine eyes have seen thy Salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

            Being the day appointed (from St. Simeon’s hymn, of Christ as the Light to enlighten the nations) for blessing the year’s candles for liturgical use and otherwise at home, the Feast is known in English as Candlemas.

            (In Eastern and Western tradition, the last of the Christmas decorations remain in place through Candlemas or its Eve; and this Feast’s observance, on the 40th day from Christmas since the third or fourth century, is the reason for the practice on February 2nd of the secular customs, in German Pennsylvania as in Europe from Scotland to Serbia, of observing various hibernating animals to venture prediction of the end of winter.)

            Strictly its Orthodox name is the Feast of the Meeting of Our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ, though it is also commonly known among the Orthodox as the Feast of the Presentation of (Our Lord, God & Saviour Jesus) Christ in the Temple.  Its traditional Western name has been the Feast of the Purification of the Most-Holy Virgin, so emphasizing its Levitical aspect.

            The title “Meeting” (or “Encounter”) indicates that for the Orthodox, not only the Levitical Purification but also the related Presentation of the Child is transcended in this event by this inaugural “Meeting” by the Messiah or Christ with His “people Israel,” as represented by Sts. Simeon & Anna formally in the Temple at Jerusalem.

            Although St. John the Baptist is called the last prophet of the Old Covenant in the sense that he is the one whose life and preaching of the coming Messiah took place during New Covenant times and thus last of all, Sts. Simeon & Anna can be considered the last Old Covenant prophets in the sense that they were the last whose lives and ministry took place essentially during Old Covenant times.

            The liturgical reception of a new child and his mother in the temple, on the 40th day from his birth, was established by God in Leviticus and so was followed by Mary and Joseph, as recounted in Luke 2:22, for Jesus.  (During those first forty days, the new mother is excused from attendance at services, so that she may give due attention to her child.)

            Known as the “Churching” of a new mother with her child, after forty days, that liturgy from Christianity’s Jewish foundation is still preserved faithfully by the Orthodox Church, and has taken place accordingly here at St. George’s.

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  1. OUR EIGHTEENTH ANNIVERSARY:

            The services February 2nd will mark the eighteenth anniversary of the Orthodox Mission in Edenton.

            Our first service here was held on February 2, 2003, a Sunday­‑evening vespers in a borrowed hall (the present County Social Services building, at the end of West Freemason Street), conducted by Fr. Edward Rommen, then rector of the Holy Transfiguration Parish in Raleigh.

            Mo. Ainee, his wife, led the music, and Fr. Edward carried down in his truck the essential liturgical furnishings, some of which we continue to use at St. George’s to this day.

            A few weeks earlier on a visit to Raleigh, Archbishop Dmitri on December 15, 2002, had given his blessing to Fr. Edward to drive down biweekly at the request of several here, so far from any Orthodox church, who wanted to experience Orthodox Christianity in Edenton.

            For God’s miraculous and innumerable blessings on the work being done here, we all are most grateful to Him daily, and likewise to our three successive priests, Fr. Edward and Fr. Andrew Davis and Fr. Benedict, for their combined years of sacrificial labor in the Lord’s service in establishing in this place now an Orthodox Church, for the worship of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity who has created us and sustains us and saves us.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, in accord with North Carolina’s executive orders effective since May 22nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course, anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus, or at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the more recent newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s, we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic, we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

02 January 2021 Newsletter

I.         Epiphany or Theophany services

II.        Feast of the Theophany

III.       Baptism of Christ

IV,       Blessing of the Water

V.        Current announcements

VI.       Current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I.     THEOPHANY (Epiphany) SERVICES:

            Our worship services for the rest of Christmastide, and for the Epiphany or Theophany, are scheduled as follows.

            (Because this year the Theophany or Epiphany falls during the work week, its service of the Great Blessing of the Waters, described in § IV below, will be appended to either the Jan. 5th evening service, the Jan. 6th service, the Jan. 9th service, or the Jan. 10th service; we expect that decision to be made at lunch on Jan. 3rd, and so anyone interested may call 482–2006 after this Sunday afternoon for that information.)

            This Saturday evening Jan. 2nd, at 5:00 p.m. as usual, there will begin the Great Vespers of the Sunday before the Theophany, concluding before 6:00 p.m., and incorporating hymns for the Holy Prophet Malachi, one of the Old Testament’s Twelve Minor Prophets.

            And Sunday morning Jan. 3rd, at 9:35 & 10:00 a.m. as usual, there will begin the Hours’ Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday before and the Forefeast of the Theophany, followed by refreshments.

            Next TUESDAY MORNING Jan. 5th at 10:00 a.m. Fr. Benedict will offer the service of the Royal Hours (or Great Hours) of the Theophany, concluding about 11:30 a.m.  (This service combines the prayers from the day’s four watches—nominally at the day’s First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, and Ninth Hour—with psalms and Scripture readings anticipating the Baptism of Jesus Christ by St. John the Baptist in the River Jordan.)

            Then TUESDAY EVENING Jan. 5th at 6:00 p.m. will begin the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil, concluding about 8:00 p.m.  (This service combines the Vespers of the Theophany, including the sequence of Old Testament readings foreshadowing the event, with the Divine Liturgy for Theophany Eve.)

            And WEDNESDAY MORNING Jan. 6th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, for the Great Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ, concluding about 8:15 a.m.

            Next Saturday evening Jan. 9th at 5:00 p.m. will begin the Great Vespers of the Sunday after the Theophany and of St. Gregory of Nyssa (4th­‑century Bishop, and one of the Three Cappadocian Fathers), concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            Sunday morning Jan. 10th at 9:35 & 10:00 a.m. will begin the Hours’ Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for the Sunday after the Theophany, followed by refreshments.

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II.     FEAST of the THEOPHANY:

            On January 5th & 6th as always, a Tuesday & Wednesday this year, services will be held for the Great Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ (known in the Western Church as the Feast of the Epiphany).

            Among the twelve Great Feasts besides the Paschal “Feast of Feasts,” the Theophany is ranked second, being subordinate thus only to Pentecost and to Easter.

            In accord with the Church’s ancient practice, this Feast with its season, immediately following the Twelve Days of Christmas, annually commemorates the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist & Forerunner, son of the Temple priest (who for a term served as its high priest) Zacharias.

            (Both names for the Feast are based on the Greek verb “phaínein,” meaning “to show,” or “to appear.”  Thus the Western term Epiphany [with the “epi‑” prefix] means literally the “showing forth,” or the “manifestation.”  And the Eastern term Theophany [with “Theós,” or “God”] means literally the “appearing of God,” or “revelation of God.”)

            The significance of the name Theophany, or “appearance of God,” is that all three persons of the Trinity are manifested simultaneously:  above God the Son standing in the river, the voice of God the Father is heard speaking, and the Holy Spirit is seen descending as a dove.

            Its observance on January 6th is attested since the second century at Alexandria; and the Theophany is one of the few events recorded in all four Gospels:  in Matthew 3: 13–17, in Mark 1: 9–11, in Luke 3: 21–22, and in John 1: 28–37.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   BAPTISM of CHRIST:

            As to Christ’s Baptism itself, Orthodox understanding offers some insight of note.

            Of course it is evident, as Scripture teaches, that after the fall of the angels (Revelation 12: 7–9) and then the fall of man (Genesis 3), now similarly left warped & disfigured is the whole creation (Ephesians 6: 11–12, i Peter 5:8, i John 5:19).

            And, viewing Jesus Christ as the “new Adam” (i Corinthians 15: 20–23; Romans 5: 12–21), Orthodox teaching sees that, as all mankind through Adam suffered the Fall, analogously for mankind through Jesus’ Baptism there is accomplished, by anticipation, the regeneration effected ultimately in one’s individual baptism, as a new creature cleansed & regenerate & reconciled.

            The baptism being offered by St. John in the Jordan was of course “baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, Luke 3:3), so that John at first resisted baptizing Jesus (Matt. 3: 13–15) who, being God incarnate, was sinless.

            Correspondingly Orthodox teaching sees John’s accomplished baptism then of Jesus Himself as having cosmically also a reverse effect:  not of washing away sins of His own, but conversely of sanctifying the water itself, to the redemption with it of all creation.

            And as, at the Divine Liturgy or Eucharist, there become present in a mystical way the Last Supper & Crucifixion & Resurrection, so at the Theophany feast’s Great Blessing of the Waters there become present in a mystical way Christ’s Baptism and His sanctification of the waters of His creation.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IV.      BLESSING of the WATERS:

            In established parishes the Great Blessing of the Waters is annually conducted twice at Theophany.

            Thus first at the conclusion of the Theophany Eve services, typically the Blessing is at the font inside the church, from which the households attending carry some of the blessed water home for use during the year.

            And second at the conclusion of the Theophany morning services, ideally there is a procession to a nearby body of water where the Blessing is conducted; here we aspire at some point to conduct annual Theophany processions to Edenton Bay, as we have done here at the Bay in the past for the comparable feast on August 1st of the Procession of the Venerable Cross.

            Visitors, as at all of our services, are invited and welcome; and each household attending the Great Blessing of the Waters is invited TO BRING an APPROPRIATE VESSEL (a glass cruet, for example) in which to carry back home some of the blessed water, the use of which Fr. Benedict will explain.

            This year at St. George’s the annual Great Blessing of the Waters, as explained in § I above, will conclude either the Jan. 5th evening service, the Jan. 6th service, the Jan. 9th service, or the Jan. 10th service; visitors interested in attending may call our office at 482–2006 or Fr. Benedict at 325–4505, after Sunday afternoon the 3rd, for confirmation of the date.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

V.      CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Regardless of weather or other considerations, on Sundays our principal services are always held, at the (9:35 a.m.) appointed time, for any whose circumstances will allow them to get to church safely.

            For services other than on Sundays, however, during snowy or icy conditions it’s best to call our office in advance at 482–2006 for any announcement.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch we currently are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There was no newsletter last week, the most recent thus having been the issue of December 17th/19th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Samuel, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

VI.      PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, in accord with North Carolina’s executive orders effective since May 22nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus, or at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the more recent newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

 

 

19 DECEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

  1. Christmas services
  2. Christmas hymns
  3.  deductible 2020 contribution
  4. current announcements
  5. current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CHRISTMAS SERVICES:

            On the Orthodox calendar the liturgical sequence begins near the end of the Advent fast on the second Sunday before Christmas, when we last weekend on Dec. 12th & 13th thus commemorated the Sunday of the Forefathers of Christ Jesus (viz., those particularly who lived before the Law was given).

            Then this weekend on Dec. 19th & 20th, at our usual Saturday 5:00 p.m. Great Vespers and usual Sunday 9:35 a.m. Prayers & 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy, we commemorate the Sunday of the Holy Fathers before Christ (i.e., the righteous men & women throughout the Old Testament, from the Creation down to St. Joseph of Nazareth the Betrothed); the Liturgy this Sunday then will be followed by an abbreviated Sunday Forefeast vespers, besides the usual refreshments in the parish hall.

            (Beyond that Sunday vespers normally we would aspire, were it not for the pandemic, to have services each day during the Nativity Forefeast, which commences annually at sundown on December 19th.)

            On WEDNESDAY MORNING Dec. 23rd at 10:00 a.m. will begin the service of the Royal Hours (or Great Hours) of the Nativity, concluding about 11:30 a.m.  (This service combines the prayers from the day’s four watches—nominally at the day’s First Hour, Third Hour, Sixth Hour, and Ninth Hour—with psalms and Scripture readings anticipating the Nativity.)

            On THURSDAY AFTERNOON the 24th at 12:30 p.m. will begin the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (including the eight Old Testament prophecies) for Christmas Eve, concluding around 2:30 p.m.

            On CHRISTMAS EVE the 24th at 7:30 p.m. will begin the Nativity Vigil, consisting of Grand Compline (with Psalter & other Old Testament readings and Scriptural hymns) and of Matins (with Psalter & Gospel readings and with Scriptural hymns in two Canons by respectively St. Cosmas the Hymnographer and St. John of Damascus); this service should conclude at some point between 8:40 and 9:25 p.m., depending on the extent to which it might or might not be abbreviated.

            On CHRISTMAS MORNING the 25th at 9:00 a.m. will begin the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, concluding about 10:25 a.m., for the Great Feast of the Nativity, according to the Flesh, of our Lord, God, and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

            The ensuing weekend, Dec. 26th & 27th, our usual Saturday 5:00 p.m. Great Vespers and usual Sunday 9:35 a.m. Prayers & 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy will commemorate the Holy Righteous Ones (Joseph the Betrothed, David the King, and James the Brother) and the festal Sunday after the Nativity, followed as usual by refreshments & fellowship in the parish hall.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ll. CHRISTMAS HYMNS:

            Over the years our priest has reminded us of the primary method that God has provided for us to know what He says to us:  that it is in our reading of God's Word the Scriptures, and in our listening to (or reading) His Church’s orthodox Liturgies and hymns, that we will notice what He each time has for us to hear.

            Especially now as we approach the Nativity we should spend time regularly reading & singing the Church’s Orthodox hymns appointed for these days, which teach us a right understanding of the Holy Trinity’s work in Jesus Christ’s Incarnation for our salvation.

            Since the First Millennium when the undivided Church completed her liturgies & hymns, the Orthodox Church has steadfastly guarded them against adulteration, so that we remain confident that they, as faithfully as Holy Scripture, teach us God’s eternal truth.

            Two excerpts from the hymnody for the Vespers and Matins of the Forefeast of the Nativity illustrate their profound beauty:

            “Lo, the time of our salvation is at hand.  Make ready, O cave; the Virgin draweth nigh to give birth.  Be glad and rejoice, O Bethlehem, land of Judah, for from thee our Lord hath shone forth as the dawn.  Hearken, ye mountains and hills and all ye lands round about Judæa:  for Christ cometh in His love for mankind, to save the man He fashioned.”

            “Receive, O Bethlehem, the Christ:  for, made flesh, He cometh to dwell in thee, opening Eden to me.  Make ready, O cave, to behold, most strangely contained in thee, Him who cannot be contained, Who now is made poor in the wealth of His tender mercies.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   DEDUCTIBLE 2020 CONTRIBUTIONS:

            St. George’s Mission, as some might not realize, does not receive support from the deanery, the diocese, or the national church; and so for the fire insurance & hurricane insurance on the church & parish hall, their gas & electricity, the rectory’s monthly rent & utilities, and the priest’s travel & expenses annually (for the required summer diocesan assembly, its winter clergy conference likewise, and similarly the deanery’s spring clergy retreat and fall clergy retreat), besides recurring lesser expenses, our small congregation is responsible—with the help of the kind friends of St. George’s.

            For those inclined toward charitable contributions, we note that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of March 27th temporarily liberalizes the federal income­‑tax deductibility of charitable “cash” contributions (that is, monetary contributions—rather than of other property) made during this calendar year 2020 by individuals and by corporations.

            Besides loosening some limitations on charitable cash contributions during 2020 by corporations and by individuals who itemize their deductions, the Act also allows a deduction up to three hundred dollars even for individuals who do not itemize, for their charitable cash contributions made before the end of this year 2020.

            As a bona fide church in Edenton, St. George’s Orthodox Church of course is a fully qualified public charity under I.R.S. regulations.

            Thus to the friends, of our little Mission here offering Orthodox or Eastern Christianity to northeast Carolina, we’re always grateful for their support, whether to our monthly operation or to the restoration of our historic church & parish hall.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

IV.    CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            We are grateful to our members who again this year spent this Saturday afternoon in the nave decorating the rood­‑screen and icon­‑screen and hammer­‑beam timbers and principal icons with the smilax, locally called bamboo, that is traditional in Edenton for Christmas and which was provided to St. George’s by some generous friends from their countryside homeplace.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch we currently are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (This weekend—Sunday the 20th—as noted above, following the Liturgy along with the usual lunch will be, instead of the usual Bible Study or Sunday School, an abbreviated Christmas Forefeast vespers, taking the place of subsequent midweek services during the pandemic.)

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on another weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There was no newsletter last week, the most recent thus having been the issue of December 3rd/5th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

V.   PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, in accord with North Carolina’s executive orders effective since May 22nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus, or at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the more recent newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

St. George's Orthodox Church

orthodoxedenton@coastalnet.com

 

 

05 DECEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

  1. Arbor Day at St. George’s
  2. deductible 2020 contributions

III.       current announcements

  1. Advent fast summary
  2. Advent fast rationale
  3. St. John Chrysostom’s counsel

VII.      Advent fast guidance

VIII.     current civil protocols

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ARBOR DAY at ST. GEORGE’S:

            The Town of Edenton’s annual Arbor Day ceremonies, this year at St. George’s Church on October 30th, attracted an excellent attendance of twenty­‑five on a beautiful Friday morning.

            We were honored to host the Mayor & his wife, Town Councilmen, North Carolina Forest Service representatives, Town staff, the Edenton Woman’s Club president & officers, the Fannie Parker Woman’s Club vice president, and further visitors both local and from as far as Williamston.

            After the observances, and the planting on our campus of the four new trees as described in detail in our last newsletter, Fr. Benedict and four other members hosted our visitors on tours through St. George’s Church and parish house to see our interior progress toward their restoration and proper furnishing.

            We remain grateful particularly to the Edenton Woman’s Club for its donation toward the cost of the new trees, as well as for the Club’s earlier donation toward the restorative painting of our buildings.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. DEDUCTIBLE 2020 CONTRIBUTIONS:

            For those inclined toward charitable contributions, we note that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act (CARES Act) of March 27th temporarily liberalizes the federal income­‑tax deductibility of charitable “cash” contributions (that is, monetary contributions—rather than of other property) made during this calendar year 2020 by individuals and by corporations.

            Besides loosening some limitations on charitable cash contributions during 2020 by corporations and by individuals who itemize their deductions, the Act also allows a deduction up to three hundred dollars even for individuals who do not itemize, for their charitable cash contributions made before the end of this year 2020.

            As a bona fide church in Edenton, St. George’s Orthodox Church of course is a fully qualified public charity under I.R.S. regulations.

            And to the friends, of our little Mission here offering Orthodox or Eastern Christianity to northeast Carolina, we’re always grateful for their support, whether to our monthly operation or to the restoration of our historic church & parish hall.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and either Bible study or Sunday school.

            At lunch we currently are alternating weekly between our regular Bible study and a special teaching series by Fr. Benedict on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church.

            (This weekend—Sunday the 6th—is scheduled for our Bible study, on chapter 19 of the Proverbs.  But visitors expecting to be with us on another weekend may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our bi­‑weekly Bible study on a Sunday approaching.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last five weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of October 22nd/24th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina and the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Sherry.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Patsy, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ADVENT FAST SUMMARY:

            On November 15th there begins always the 40 days of Advent on the Orthodox calendar, which is one of the four fasting seasons annually; its rule, like that of the Apostles’ Fast in June, is less strict than that of Lent and of the Dormition Fast in August.

            Thus the Advent rule is that, first, we abstain from meat, eggs, and dairy products throughout the season.  Next, we remember that Mondays, Wednesdays, & Fridays generally are the strictest days, on which we abstain also from finfish, oil, and wine (i.e., alcoholic beverages).  On Tuesdays & Thursdays, oil & wine are taken; and on Saturdays & Sundays (as the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day respectively), oil & wine and finfish (i.e., fish with backbones) as well.

            (Shellfish, i.e., all invertebrates, have been traditionally allowed throughout the season, as being more primitive than the animals from which we abstain, and notably without recognizable blood generally—besides being historically disdained as mere scavengers.)

            The fast is relaxed on certain feast days during the season, which vary by national jurisdiction.  Thus in our Orthodox Church in America, during Advent there are five feast days on which also finfish may always be eaten:  St. Matthew’s on Nov. 16th, the Entry of the Theotocos into the Temple on Nov. 21st, St. Andrew’s on Nov. 30th, St. Nicholas’ on Dec. 6th, and St. Herman’s of Alaska on Dec. 13th.  Finally, the rule for the last five days of Advent, especially the final day, is stricter than for the rest of the season.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ADVENT FAST RATIONALE:

            Visitors have inquired why the Orthodox Church schedules a forty­‑day fast during the culture’s pursuit of what’s called in America the “holiday season.”

            The answer is that the Christmas season, i.e. the Nativity feast (or Christmastide or “Twelve Days of Christmas,” when the Orthodox “Christ is born!” greeting is used), on all church calendars has always begun on December 25th, running until the related Feast of the Epiphany, or Theophany, of January 6th.  This latter feast on the Orthodox calendar runs for thirteen days itself, so that, when added to the twelve­‑day Nativity Feast and another one­‑day Feast between, there are practically four weeks for this true “holiday season.”

            (More precisely, the twelve­‑day Nativity observance [the Fore­‑feast, the Feast, & the After­‑feast] on the Orthodox calendar runs from December 20th through the 31st, with Theophany running similarly from Jan. 2nd through the 14th, although the twelve­‑day Christmas fast­‑free celebration begins on the Dec. 25th Great Feast and runs, omitting the Jan. 5th eve of the Theophany or Epiphany, through the January 6th Great Feast.)

            Accordingly the “holiday season” in fact begins, not ends, on December 25th; and, just as we emphasize the importance of the Paschal Feast, or Easter, by the forty­‑day Lenten fast preceding it, we emphasize the importance of the Nativity Feast, or Christmas, by the forty­‑day Advent fast preceding it.

            Twentieth­‑century commerce seduced America to turn its “holiday season” backwards, leaving Christmas Day as its exhausted conclusion rather than properly its dramatic inauguration.

            The Orthodox Church however maintains steadfastly of course the right place and due commemoration of the Incarnation and Nativity of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, and likewise the Advent season that we know we need in order to prepare ourselves properly to meet Him.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM’S COUNSEL:

            “Dost thou fast?  Give me proof of it by thy works!  ....

            “If thou seest a poor man, take pity on him!  If thou seest an enemy, be reconciled to him!  ....

            “For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies.

            “Let the hands fast, by being pure from graft and greed.

            “Let the feet fast, by ceasing from running to immoral spectacles.

            “Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves sinfully upon fair countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties.  ....

            “Dost thou not eat flesh?  Feed not upon lasciviousness by means of the eyes.

            “Let the ears fast also ..., in refusing to receive evil gossip and slander.  ....

            “Let the mouth too fast, from disgraceful speech and from berating.

            “For what doth it profit, if we abstain from birds and fishes; and yet bite and devour our brethren?  The evil speaker eateth the flesh of his brother, and biteth the body of his neighbour.”

            —St. John Chrysostom (ca. 347–407), Archbishop of Constantinople:  from Homily III, of his “Homilies on the Statutes.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

VII.   ADVENT FAST GUIDANCE:

            The fasting discipline should be undertaken with the guidance, especially when questions arise, of one’s priest (or spiritual father, or mother), for several reasons, including those of ensuring a proper measure of prayer, compassion, & dependence on God, and of avoiding pride or irritability.  Reasons of health may mitigate the fast, as well as other personal circumstances, such as those of an individual in a non-Orthodox household.

            An inquirer or catechumen or one otherwise yet entering upon such a fast should not try to undertake this all at once, as such an attempt likely would be neither successful nor beneficial.  Adopting the discipline instead in increments, over a period of several seasons & years as necessary, avoids a sense of burden or being overwhelmed and allows rather a glad anticipation of each successive step.

            Notably, besides a principle of avoiding calling attention to one’s fasting, significantly the Orthodox emphasize fundamentally not a legalistic approach to fasting but rather one of joyful anticipation.

            The Biblical history of fasting, together with its spiritual benefits of self­‑discipline, to soul & body together, that are experienced by those who follow this example of Jesus Christ and the Fathers in growing closer to God, is well explained by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware) in his booklet “When You Fast,” available from our tract cabinet.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

VIII.   PROTOCOLS for the PANDEMIC:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, in accord with North Carolina’s executive orders effective since May 22nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone with a recent exposure or symptom of the virus, or at risk with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the more recent newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

 

 

St. George's Orthodox Church

orthodoxedenton@coastalnet.com

 

24 OCTOBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

  1. Arbor Day at St. George’s
  2. trees donated at St. George’s

III.       visitors at Arbor Day

  1. services and parish hall
  2. current announcements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. ARBOR DAY NEXT FRIDAY:

            The Town of Edenton will hold its annual Arbor Day ceremonies this year at St. George’s Church, we are honored to report, at eleven o’clock next Friday morning October 30th.

            Originally planned for April, the event was postponed until the fall because of the pandemic; it will be held partly on the Town’s sidewalk & tree­‑lawn in front of the church and partly in the church parking lot.

            In February the decision was made to hold this year’s event at St. George’s, after the Edenton Woman’s Club, our local affiliate of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, offered to donate to the Town a tree or two and selected St. George’s churchyard as the site.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. SHADE TREES and ORNAMENTALS:

            Thus the Edenton Woman’s Club’s donation is for the two shade trees that we’ve greatly needed for our parking lot, and our South Oakum Street neighbors Gail & Bob Rolleri are donating two weeping cherry trees for the tree­‑lawn in front of the church.

            The two shade trees’ sites have been located so as to minimize interference with the traffic flow and with the church building, but to maximize summer noontime shade over the churchyard’s northwest side where we park Sunday mornings for services and for the midday fellowship luncheons following.

            The larger shade tree, for the middle of our parking lot’s turning circle, is a Nuttall’s red oak, which grows tall and wide for shade, does well in parking lots, and thrives in Edenton.

            The second tree, to go between the circle and the corner of the nave, is a Chinese pistache, which gives good shade likewise but grows not so tall or wide, and similarly thrives in Edenton.

            For the front tree­‑lawn the weeping cherry trees of course are ornamentals which will remain relatively small, since our handsome magnolia already provides good shade in the front.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   VISITORS at ARBOR DAY:

            For each annual Arbor Day, the Town of Edenton normally invites one or two interested local groups of students to attend and participate, and this fall two such groups have inquired and have thus been invited.

            One group is the Girls’ Club and the Brotherhood Club, both being citizenship clubs for youth aged nine to eighteen years and sponsored by our Fannie A. Parker Woman’s Club, the Edenton affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.

            The other group is the adult students in the Biblical Environmental Stewardship curriculum offered in the Edenton District’s congregations this season by the Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.

            In accord with the pandemic’s usual protocols, social distancing and appropriate masking will be expected and practiced; but even including any interested visitors from our St. George’s friends or subscribers, we anticipate the attendance will be comfortably below North Carolina’s current outdoor­‑event maximum of fifty.

            In the event of rainy weather, part of the Town’s ceremonies may take place in our parish hall—where of course again distancing and masking will be required, the observances will be abbreviated and short, and the indoor attendance will necessarily be limited to North Carolina’s current indoor­‑event maximum of twenty­‑five.

            Arbor Day has been a regular annual event now for forty­‑two years here, Edenton being one of only five North Carolina towns or cities (with Farmville, Wake Forest, Laurinburg, & Brevard) to receive the Tree City U.S.A. award every year since that program’s extension in 1979 to North Carolina.

            We are blessed by and deeply grateful for the generously supportive interest in St. George’s Mission, by the Town and its citizens and civic organizations, that has been such a consistent encouragement to us ever since our Edenton Mission Station was first organized in January of 2003.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1.  SERVICES and PARISH HALL:

            As reported in our recent months’ newsletters, since North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd & “phase 2½” Sept. 4th & now “phase 3” orders effective October 2nd, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the last three newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally with Bible study.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular Sunday may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our Bible study on the Sunday approaching.  On those infrequent Sundays when a further service or a special teaching is scheduled to follow the usual morning services, we occasionally decide to let that take the place of the Sunday’s Bible study.

            (This weekend on Sunday the 25th Fr. Benedict will offer a special teaching on the structure & history of our Sunday Liturgy from the Early Church; and then our Bible study will resume on Sunday November 1st with chapter 17 of the Proverbs.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last five weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of September 10th/12th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for Darnell, and for Carolyn; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

12 SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

I.          Monday the 14th

II.         Elevation of the Cross

III.       decoration of the Cross

IV.       services and parish hall

V.        current announcements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

I.   MONDAY for HOLY CROSS DAY:

            For the September 14th Holy Cross Day next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning, although with the former at a different hour because of the weekend date this year.

            So on Monday morning September 14th at 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. respectively there will begin the Hour’s Prayers and the Divine Liturgy for the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, concluding around 8:10 a.m.

            And as this year its eve falls thus a Sunday, we plan to shorten somewhat the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy on September 13th and to serve the vespers, also shortened, right afterwards, for the same Great Feast, of the Elevation of the Cross.

            One of the seven Great Feasts of our Lord, among the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, it is described in § II below.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

II.   ELEVATION of the CROSS:

            The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates originally the finding of the Cross in the year 326, under the supervision of the Empress St. Helena with the help of the Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem and of the local elderly Hebrew Jude (later St. Cyriacus), beneath the pagan Temple of Venus that had been built by the 2nd­‑century Emperor Hadrian to obliterate the holy sites of Golgotha and the Sepulchre.

            After the finding of the Cross and then of Christ’s Tomb nearby, St. Helena’s son, the Emperor St. Constantine I the Great, erected above Golgotha and the Tomb a vast rotunda, atrium, and basilica, known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the Latin name) or the Church of the Resurrection (the Greek name).  Thereupon in the year 335 in a two­‑day celebration, on September 13th the church was consecrated and on September 14th there was brought outside and lifted high the Cross so that all could pray in its presence and could come forward to venerate it.

            Thus this Feast, known in Greek as the “Raising Aloft (or Elevation) of the Venerable Cross” and in Latin as the “Exaltation of the Holy Cross,” has continued on September 14th to this day.

            The (Eastern) Roman Empire’s province of Palestine was plundered in 614 by the Persians who carried away the Cross, but in 628 both the province and the Cross were recovered by the Emperor Heraclius, who escorted the Cross in September of 629 to Constantinople and then on March 21st of 630 back to Jerusalem, where it was “elevated” at the Church again, as before.

            Since then, September 14th has commemorated both the finding (“inventio” in Latin) of the Cross in 326 and its recovery from the Persians in 628, and the Feast became celebrated annually in all the churches of the Empire, thus receiving its (variously translated) present name:  the Universal Elevation (or Exaltation) of the Venerable (or Precious) and Life­‑giving (or Life­‑creating) Cross—the day on which all bishops and priests would bless with the cross the four directions of the universe.  (This last ritual continues to the present time, during the Matins on this Feast day, especially in cathedral and monastery churches.)

            (In western Europe for many centuries the two events instead were celebrated separately:  “Roodmas” commemorated on May 3rd the a.d. 326 finding of the Cross, and “Holyrood” Day commemorated on Sept. 14th the Cross’s 7th­‑century recovery, until the two were combined in most of Western Christianity in the latter 20th century for a single “Holy Cross Day” on September 14th, like the Orthodox East.  And the autumnal Embertide—the Ember Days being since the 4th century the Western Church’s quarterly three­‑day fast—is always the Wednesday, Friday & Saturday following this Holy Cross Day.)

            Moreover from a.d. 630 the September 14th commemoration became the annual national holiday of the Christian Empire; and the principal hymn (the “troparion”) of the feast became in effect the national anthem, sung on all public occasions, of both of the (Orthodox) Christian Empires—first the (Eastern) Roman (or “Byzantine”), and second, the Russian Empire.

            The hymn in present form is as follows:  “O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation.”

            (When sung as the Imperial anthem, the wording varied:  “O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy commonwealth.”)

            The Trisagion (“Thrice Holy”) hymn, normally sung at each Divine Liturgy, is replaced for September 14th with another special hymn, similarly three­‑fold but accompanied by prostrations:  “Before Thy Cross, we bow down in veneration, O Master; and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify.”

            With its one­‑day Fore-Feast and its seven­‑day After-Feast, besides the Saturday and Sunday Before the Elevation and the Saturday and Sunday After, the Church’s observance of this Great Feast annually of the Holy Cross, of our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ, spans a period ranging from ten days to fifteen days altogether.

            As Fr. Thomas Hopko, the late Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, has written (citing Ephesians 2: 19, Hebrews 11: 10, and Revelation 21—22):  When we elevate the Cross and bow down before it in veneration and worship to God, we proclaim that we belong to the Kingdom “not of this world,” and that our only true and enduring citizenship is with the saints in the “city of God.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   DECORATION of the CROSS:

            For the Exaltation of the Cross, in the middle of the nave the cross remains for veneration for nine days, from the eve of the September 14th Great Feast until the Leave-Taking of the Feast on September 21st.

            The cross placed in the nave for veneration is, by custom since the first millennium, decorated for the Feast with carnations or other available flowers, or with freshly­‑cut basil leaves, or with both.

            Both are anciently connected with this 4th­‑century veneration of the Cross of Jesus Christ, “basil” being from the Greek word for “royal,” and “carnation” from the Latin for “of the flesh.”

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

IV.   SERVICES and PARISH HALL:

            As reported in our summer newsletters, since North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd and now “phase 2½” orders effective September 4th, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

            And as related in the last two newsletters, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

V.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            On Monday, Sept. 14th, we have morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Great Feast of the Elevation of the Cross, as fully described near the beginning of this newsletter.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, and normally with Bible study.

            (Visitors expecting to be with us on a particular Sunday may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is next for our Bible study on the Sunday approaching.  On those infrequent Sundays when a further service is scheduled to follow the usual morning services, we occasionally decide to let that take the place of the Sunday’s Bible study.)

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

 
 
05 SEPTEMBER 2020 NEWSLETTER

  • Monday 7th & Tuesday 8th
  1. protocols at services

III.       re­‑opening of parish hall

  1. Nativity of the Theotocos
  2. current announcements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. MONDAY 7th & TUESDAY 8th:

            For the September 8th Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

            So Monday evening (Labor Day) September 7th at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Feast of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotocos, the Ever-Virgin Mary.

            And Tuesday morning September 8th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the Hour’s Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding around 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of the Nativity of the Theotocos.

            (The title Theotocos [or Theotokos] is the Greek theological term meaning the “God­‑bearer,” or more precisely the “Birth­‑giver of God,” or “Birth­‑giver to God”—viz., to God the Son.

            (This established term Theotocos was then made obligatory, or dogmatic, by the Fourth Ecumenical Council, at Chalcedon in 451, to define and guard against the heresies of the Nestorians and Arians—who contended that the child borne by the Virgin Mary was merely the Christ, or Messiah, and that he was not God the Son, a Person of the Trinity.)

            One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, the Nativity of the Theotocos is described in § IV below.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. PROTOCOLS at SERVICES:

            As reported in our summer newsletters, since North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd and now “phase 2½” orders effective September 4th, and in view of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, since May 23rd we have been able again to announce our church services publicly and to welcome visitors.

            At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

            Although North Carolina’s executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

            Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   RE­‑OPENING of PARISH HALL:

            As related preliminarily in the last newsletter, our Diocese of the South on August 11th, by consensus of our bishop, administrator, chancellor, and the local deans, has issued now simplified guidelines, for a prudently maximal approach, in concert with the civil jurisdictions in our Diocese, to the further reopening of church life in our parishes and missions.

            Thus at St. George’s we resumed on August 16th our after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship and Bible study, which had been suspended since March 12th.

            Until the pandemic subsides, the protocols of distancing between households and of masks indoors, as at services in the church, will continue likewise for our parish­‑hall activities, along with limits on duration and numbers, and with particular care & attention as to food & beverage sourcing & serving.

            As with our remarkably spacious church, in Edenton during this pandemic we are blessed to have a parish hall (the former St. John’s School auditorium) that’s likewise quite spacious for the yet small size of our congregation and visitors.

            Our Bible study, reviewed in detail in the last newsletter, this weekend after refreshments on Sunday the 6th will next address chapter 12 of the Proverbs.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. NATIVITY of the THEOTOCOS:

            The Orthodox Church’s twelve Great Feasts, together with Good Friday (a fast rather than a feast) and Easter or the Pasch (the greatest “Feast of Feasts”), generally speaking commemorate the principal historical events in God’s plan of Salvation offered to mankind.

            Although the Crucifixion and Resurrection indeed are its apex, this plan of Salvation is understood in Orthodox Christianity to involve the longer entire series of events.

            Thus in sequence the Church commemorates the Conception of Christ’s Mother the Theotocos, next her Nativity, her Entrance into the Temple, the Annunciation to her by the Archangel, then Jesus Christ’s own Nativity, His Circumcision, His Presentation in the Temple, His teaching in the temple at the age of twelve, His Baptism by St. John, His Transfiguration, His triumphal Entrance into Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, the descent into hell, the Resurrection, His Ascension, and finally His Mother’s Dormition.

            Continually then these events remind us of God’s willingness to take on our form and become man and suffer, to save us for eternal life with Him, and moreover that Christ thus was both fully God and fully man, as crucially emphasized by our Christian theology.

            As it was within the Virgin’s womb where took place this union of God and man, in Christ our Savior, so the birth of Mary indeed foreshadows this Salvation soon to come—just as Orthodox Christianity understands the whole Old Testament as foretelling and prefiguring ultimately the Incarnation of the Messiah or Christ Jesus—and His Crucifixion and Resurrection and Ascension.

            And so on this September 8th Feast the Church proclaims:  “Today beginneth grace to bear its first fruits”; and “The pre­‑ordained tabernacle of our reconciliation with God now beginneth to be”; and “Thy birth, O Theotocos, hath brought joy to all the inhabited earth.”

            Among the twelve Great Feasts, the one celebrated first during the church year, which commences (since the fifth century) on September 1st, is logically this Feast of the Nativity of the Most-Holy Theotocos and Ever-Virgin Mary—the Birth of the Virgin who, when coming of age, consented to conceive by the Holy Spirit and to bear Jesus our Lord and Savior.

            Mary’s parents fittingly were of royal and priestly lineage respectively:  her father was St. Joachim from Nazareth, son of Barpathir of Galilee, of the royal House of David of the Tribe of Judah; and her mother was St. Anna, or St. Anne, daughter of the priest Matthan from Bethlehem, of the priestly House of Aaron of the Tribe of Levi.  (Anna’s elder sister Zoia was mother of St. Elizabeth, who was mother of John the Baptist.)

            Joachim and Anna were wealthy and devout and generous, but aged and childless, until God blessed their faithfulness, with the daughter Mary.  They had a house in Jerusalem, beside the Pools of Bethesda (John 5: 1–9) near the Sheep Gate leading into the Temple courts, although their principal residence was at Nazareth—the city also of St. Joseph the Betrothed.

            Above their house in Jerusalem stands the Church of St. Anne, built by the Crusaders in the 1130’s to replace the original Basilica of the Nativity of St. Mary there (destroyed by the Persians in 614), which had been built about 450 by the Byzantine Empress Eudocia (Ælia Eudocia Augusta, wife of Emperor Theodosius II) and which fittingly was dedicated on September 8th.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

  1. CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

            This Labor Day weekend on Monday the 7th and then on Tuesday the 8th, we have respectively evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Nativity of the Theotocos, as fully described above in this newsletter.

            Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

            And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, with Bible study.

            All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

            There were no newsletters the last three weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of August 6th/8th.

            Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

            And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

            Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

 

6

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St. George's Orthodox Church

08 AUGUST 2020 NEWSLETTER

  • I.          re­‑opening of parish hall

    II.         resumption of Bible study

    III.       Friday 14th & Saturday 15th

    IV.       Feast of the Dormition

    V.        protocols at services

    VI.       current announcements

    VII.      herbs & flowers at Dormition

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    I.          RE­‑OPENING of PARISH HALL:

                This week Archbishop Alexander, of our Diocese of the South, gave his blessing in our Deanery of the Carolinas for a resumption of after­‑church Sunday parish­‑hall refreshments & fellowship, which had been suspended since March 12th.

                In view of the continuing pandemic, however, he asks that those attending employ either masks or social distancing, that setting up of coffee be by a server with gloves & mask, that food prepared at home not be shared outside the household, and that other fare (food from a licensed establishment, or parish­‑hall coffee) be distributed through individual self­‑service, unless by a server with gloves & mask.

                Accordingly beginning this weekend on Sunday the 9th, our services in the church will once again be followed, in the parish hall, by lunch or refreshments, with Bible study.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    II.         RESUMPTION of BIBLE STUDY:

                Our Sunday lunchtime Bible study, arising from congregational interest and begun last December until suspended March 12th for the pandemic, will resume this weekend on Sunday August 9th.

                After having begun with the latter chapters of Isaiah, we had been proceeding weekly chapter by chapter through the Proverbs of Solomon, finishing chapter 8 before the suspension; and so on Sunday this weekend we will resume with Proverbs chapter 9.

                For Bible studies, because Orthodox Christianity preserves & continues to publish the ancient Church Fathers’ & Mothers’ wisdom, we rely on this Patristic commentary rather than our own speculation, in questions of Biblical interpretation.

                Accordingly in Orthodox Bible­‑study groups, our participation consists largely of applying the verses to our lives, in our aspiration to Christian discipleship.

                The format with which we’ve started our study here (subject to later adjustment perhaps as we gain experience) is individual advance home reading of the approaching chapter, followed then in the Sunday group meeting by voluntary reports of our individual reflection & contemplation in applying passages of the week’s chapter in our own lives.

                (We normally proceed to the next chapter each week, although on those infrequent Sundays when a further service is scheduled to follow the usual morning services, we occasionally let that take the place of the Sunday’s Bible study.)

                Visitors are always welcome to attend with us, as at all of our services and events; on Sunday the 9th this weekend Proverbs chapter 9 is scheduled, but those expecting to be with us later on a particular Sunday may always call our office at 482–2006 to confirm which chapter is in line for the Sunday approaching.

                It’s our hope that this Bible study we’ve initiated will both encourage our own Christian growth and also draw others to participate at St. George’s in this quest to be conscientious followers of Jesus Christ.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    III.   FRIDAY 14th & SATURDAY 15th:

                For the August 15th Great Feast next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

                So Friday evening August 14th at 7:00 p.m. (concluding before 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers of the Great Feast of the Dormition.

                And Saturday morning August 15th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the Hour’s Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding around 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of the Dormition of the Theotocos.

                One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, it is described in § IV and § VII below.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    IV.   FEAST of the DORMITION:

                “Theotocos” (or “Theotokos”) is the Greek theological term meaning the “Birth­‑giver of God,” or “Birth­‑giver to God”—viz., to God the Son, Jesus Christ.  This term for our Lord’s mother, the Virgin Mary, is also rendered in English, more succinctly although imprecisely, often as the “God­‑bearer.”

                “Dormition” (an English noun since the 15th century, from the French and Latin) translates the Biblical Greek noun that is equivalently rendered “falling asleep” in New Testament translations typically.

                Thus this Feast, of the Dormition (or “Falling Asleep”) of the Theotocos (or “God-Bearer”), commemorates the extraordinary circumstances of that event, in Jerusalem and in the Garden of Gethsemane, near her residence by the Mount of Olives at the house of the parents of the Apostle John the Evangelist & Theologian, into whose care Christ Jesus had commended her upon His departure.

                (The Feast is defined more specifically on the Roman Catholic calendar and known as the Assumption, while being defined less specifically on the Anglican calendar and known as the Feast of St. Mary the Virgin, or as Marymas.)

                One of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, it has been celebrated always on August 15th since the 5th or 6th century.

                At the conclusion of the Saturday morning Liturgy, Fr. Benedict will offer the Blessing of Fragrant Herbs, which has always been part of the services for the Dormition Feast.

                Those attending are invited to bring herbs to be blessed for their household use accordingly, or spices or flowers as well, as discussed at the conclusion of this newsletter.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    V.   PROTOCOLS at SERVICES:

                As related in our recent newsletters, in view of North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd and refined effective June 26th & July 17th & August 7th, and of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, we were able to announce our church services publicly again to visitors beginning May 23rd.

                And as first recounted in our March 12/14 newsletter, for the time being our Bishop has given his blessing for minimizing unnecessary physical contact at our services.

                Thus in showing veneration for Jesus Christ and His Cross and Gospel and similar depictions, we’re asked simply to bow for the time being, without the usual kiss, and likewise as to the Lord’s Chalice and the celebrant’s hand.

                At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

                Although North Carolina’s current executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

                Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    VI.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

                Next week on Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th, we have respectively evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Great Feast of the Dormition, as described at the beginning of this newsletter.

                Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

                And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy, followed by lunch or refreshments, with Bible study.

                All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

                Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

                And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

                Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    VII.   HERBS & FLOWERS at DORMITION:

                The Dormition next weekend on Saturday the 15th is one of the three days yearly when all attending are invited to bring flowers; they may be brought, perhaps with a sprig of greenery, either in a small bud vase or without; and our regular participants may also bring extras for use by visitors.

                Typically worshipers at the morning Liturgy hold their flowers particularly during the Gospel reading and the concluding Blessing.

                Besides flowers, at the Dormition herbs may be brought, whether fresh or packaged.  At the conclusion of the services, the worshipers hold their herbs (and may hold spices with them) for the priest’s annual Blessing of Fragrant Herbs, after which the herbs (and spices) are taken back to bless the table fare at home throughout the year.

                (For any who are unable to attend Saturday morning’s Dormition Liturgy, Fr. Benedict will make the herbs blessing available also the following Sunday.)

                (The other two occasions when all are encouraged to bring flowers are the Feast of Pentecost, seven weeks after Easter, and the Exaltation of the Cross, always on September 14th.  For the Veneration of the Cross in mid Lent we bring, by contrast, basil or other greenery simply.)

                At the Dormition the flowers remind us of those from our Lord’s Mother’s tomb on the visit of St. Thomas, and the herbs symbolize the fragrance likewise found there.

     

 
 
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02 AUGUST 2020 Newsletter

  • I.          Transfiguration Aug. 6th

    II.         the un-created light

    III.       protocols at services

    IV.       current announcements

    V.        the Dormition Fast

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    I.   WEDNESDAY 5th & THURSDAY 6th:

                For the August 6th Feast of the Transfiguration next week, as usual we will have Great Vespers on its eve and the Divine Liturgy on its morning.

                So Wednesday evening August 5th at 7:00 p.m. (concluding about 8:00 p.m.) there will begin the Vespers, of the Feast of the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord, God & Saviour, Jesus Christ.

                And Thursday morning August 6th at respectively 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. there will begin the First Prayers and the Divine Liturgy (concluding at 8:10 a.m.), for the same Great Feast, of the Transfiguration.

                The Transfiguration, of Jesus on Mt. Tabor between Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, is recounted in all three synoptic Gospels:  in Matthew 17, Mark 9, and Luke 9.

                One of the seven Great Feasts of our Lord, among the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, it is celebrated always on August 6th on the calendars of both the Eastern Church and the Western Church.

                Near the end of the vespers on Wednesday, Fr. Benedict will offer the Blessing of the First­‑fruits, which has always been part of the services for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

                Those attending are invited thus to bring grapes, or apples or other such produce, to be blessed for their household use accordingly.

                (For any who are unable to attend the Transfiguration vespers, Fr. Benedict will make the first­‑fruits blessing available also the following Sunday.)

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    II.   UN-CREATED LIGHT:

                At the Transfiguration, the Eastern Church takes particular note of the light that Peter & James & John saw on Mt. Tabor, when Jesus “was transfigured before them; and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light”; and “the disciples ... fell on their face, and were sore afraid” (Matthew 17: 1–2, 5–6).

                The Church understands this light of Christ’s Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor to be the same light which Moses had seen in the burning bush (Exodus 3) that was not consumed (“and Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God”), and which St. Paul later saw (“and he fell to the earth”) on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1–9, also 22: 4–9 and 26: 11–15).

                Orthodox theology understands these Biblical accounts as reporting the extraordinarily rare instances in which God has allowed a human being to see light that is “not created.”

                Thus the sun and its light, and fire and its light, for example, are part of the Creation, that God has made.

                But the light of the burning bush and of the Transfiguration and of the Damascus road, Orthodox Christianity understands, is not created but is an uncreated attribute of God Himself, which He has permitted mankind to encounter under such momentous circumstances as the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God & Saviour, Jesus Christ, which we will celebrate next Wednesday & Thursday August 5th & 6th.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    III.   PROTOCOLS at SERVICES:

                As related in our recent newsletters, in view of North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd and refined effective June 26th and July 17th, and of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, we were able to announce our church services publicly again to visitors beginning May 23rd.

                And as first recounted in our March 12/14 newsletter, for the time being our Bishop has given his blessing for minimizing unnecessary physical contact at our services.

                Thus in showing veneration for Jesus Christ and His Cross and Gospel and similar depictions, we’re asked simply to bow for the time being, without the usual kiss, and likewise as to the Lord’s Chalice and the celebrant’s hand.

                At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

                Although North Carolina’s current executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

                While our church services have resumed, the Sunday luncheons afterwards, along with the Bible studies and our other parish­‑hall activities, remain suspended until the pandemic further subsides.

                Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    IV.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

                Next week on Wednesday the 5th and Thursday the 6th, we have evening 7:00 p.m. and morning 6:50 & 7:00 a.m. services for the Great Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, as described at the beginning of this newsletter.

                Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

                And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy.

                (In normal times, lunch and Bible study follow our Sunday services; but the lunch and Bible study in the parish hall remain temporarily suspended for the pandemic.)

                All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

                There were no newsletters the last four weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of June 25th/27th.

                Our prayers are asked for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

                And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

                Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    V.   The DORMITION FAST:

                The Dormition Fast, one of the Church’s four seasons of fasting, begins as always on August 1st and so runs for the fourteen days preceding August 15th, the Feast of the Dormition (the Falling-Asleep) of the Theotocos (the God-Bearer, i.e., the Virgin Mary).

                (An inquirer or catechumen or one otherwise yet entering upon such a fast should not try to undertake this all at once, as such an attempt likely would be neither successful nor beneficial.  Adopting the discipline instead in increments, over a period of several seasons & years as necessary, avoids a sense of burden or being overwhelmed and allows rather a glad anticipation of each successive step.)

                The fasting principles for this season are the same as for Lent (and thus somewhat stricter than the rule for Advent and for the Apostles’ Fast in June).  Thus besides restricting the number of meals, we generally abstain from meat (including finfish), eggs & dairy products, and oil & wine (—i.e., alcoholic beverages); but on Saturdays and Sundays oil and wine are allowed, as the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day respectively.

                On August 6th, the Feast of the Transfiguration, finfish (i.e., fish with backbones) are allowed, as well as oil & wine; and in our jurisdiction, the Orthodox Church in America, this relaxation is provided likewise on Aug. 9th & Aug. 13th for the Feast Days respectively of St. Herman of Alaska and of St. Tikhon of Zadonsk.

                (Shellfish, i.e., all invertebrates, have been traditionally allowed throughout the season, as being more primitive than the animals from which we abstain, and notably without recognizable blood generally—besides being historically disdained as mere scavengers.)

                The fasting discipline should be undertaken with the guidance, especially when questions arise, of one’s priest (or spiritual father, or mother), for several reasons, including those of ensuring a proper measure of prayer, compassion, & dependence on God, and of avoiding pride or irritability.  Reasons of health may mitigate the fast, as well as other personal circumstances, such as those of an individual in a non-Orthodox household.

                (And during such a fast from “meat and cheese” etc., one needs to assess & maintain a menu still affording sufficient protein—which might thus include such staples as peanuts, peanut butter, lentils, beans, peas, quinoa, and shellfish.)

                Most importantly, the Orthodox emphasize not a legalistic approach to fasting but one of joyful anticipation.

                The Biblical history of fasting, together with its spiritual benefits of self­‑discipline, to soul & body together, that are experienced by those who follow this example of Jesus Christ and the Fathers in growing closer to God, is well explained by Bishop Kallistos (Timothy Ware) in his booklet “When You Fast,” available from our tract cabinet.

     

     

     

 
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27 JUNE 2020 Newsletter
  •   I.       All Saints’ Days

    II.         All Saints of Britain

    III.       exemplary British Saints

    IV.       protocols at services

    V.        current announcements

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    I.   ALL SAINTS’ DAYS:

                After the Great Feast of Pentecost, celebrating the Descent the Holy Spirit upon the Church, the subsequent Sundays on the Orthodox calendar fittingly commemorate the Church’s Saints who followed through the centuries.

                As noted in the last newsletter, a Saint is one, departed this life, for whom we no longer pray (as the Church recognizes that he or she, having now come to the glory of the Lord, no longer has need for our prayers) but whose intercessions for ourselves we may now ask, both privately & publicly.

                And so following Pentecost the first Sunday (June 14th this year) always is All Saints’ Day, which both honors the named Saints we know, but whose separate feast days we do not always commemorate, and also honors the equally holy Saints whose names we do not know; and the second Sunday (June 21st this year) always honors specifically the local country’s Orthodox saints, so that here that day is called All Saints of North America.

                Finally now this weekend the third Sunday, June 28th this year, is the Feast of All Saints of Britain & Ireland, in recognition that, in contrast to western continental Europe, the English Church remained Orthodox past 1066 and the Irish Church until 1172.

                As is always the Orthodox practice, each of these three feast days is celebrated first on its eve, with Vespers at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, and second on its morning, at 9:35 & 10:00 a.m. Sunday.

                Visitors are invited and welcome at all of our services always.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    II.   ALL SAINTS of BRITAIN:

                England, though this fact is sometimes overlooked, had remained an Orthodox kingdom until the Norman Conquest of 1066, when William’s regime deposed the Orthodox bishops and abbots throughout England and replaced them with imported Normans allegiant to Rome, so that by 1070 the English Church had been made Roman Catholic, which it remained until that character was extinguished likewise, by the 16th-century Reformation.  (The last Orthodox bishop remaining in England died in prison in 1072.)

                In Ireland the Church remained Orthodox a century longer; its overthrow began with the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 & 1170, and the formal subjugation by Rome of the Celtic Church in Ireland may be dated to the Second Synod of Cashel in 1172.

                By contrast the British north, what is now Scotland, had not become Christian at all until much later; and since the Synod of Whitby in 664 its Church was generally Roman rather than Celtic:  accordingly the end of Orthodox Christianity in Scotland is conventionally dated the same as in continental Western Europe, to the Great Schism of 1054, when the Roman Patriarchate became the Roman Catholic Church by separating herself from the Church’s other four ancient Patriarchates—Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople.

                A few of the more widely known saints from the Orthodox era of the British Christianity are addressed below.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    III.   EXEMPLARY BRITISH SAINTS:

                The more prominent saints from the Orthodox era of the British Christianity include thus the following:

                —St. Aidan of Lindisfarne, St. Alban the Protomartyr of Britain, St. Aristobulus the Old, St. Augustine of Canterbury, the Venerable Bede, St. Boniface the Apostle to the Germans, St. Brendan the Navigator, St. Brigid of Kildare, St. Chad of Lichfield, St. Columba of Iona the Enlightener of Scotland, St. David of Wales, St. Dunstan of Canterbury, King Edmund the Martyr, and King Edward the Martyr.

                Summaries are offered here of a sampling of four; we’ll hope our newsletters may summarize more of these in future years.

                St. Aristobulus (Romans 16:10) of Britannia was an Apostle of the Seventy (Luke 10:1) and the brother of St. Barnabas (Acts 9: 26–27; 13: 2–3, 46; 15:12; Galatians 2:9).  Born a Jew in Cyprus (Acts 4: 36–37), Aristobulus was, by St. Paul the Apostle, consecrated a bishop and sent to Britannia, the Roman province of Britain (initially the southeastern half of present England).  After preaching also on Iberia’s eastern coast during his missionary journey there, Aristobulus arrived on Great Britain and completed his life of evangelism there during the first century, as the province’s first bishop.

                St. Patrick the Apostle, Enlightener of Ireland, was born in the latter fourth century’s terminal years of Roman Britannia, on Great Britain’s west coast, where at the age of sixteen he was captured and enslaved by Irish raiders and carried to Ireland where as a shepherd he worked as a slave six years until his miraculous escape back to Great Britain.  His personal Christian spiritual growth during his slavery in Ireland led Patrick to seminary and the monastic life and holy orders, and ultimately to his divine calling as a missionary to the pagan Irish who had enslaved him.  At Armagh the first bishop of Ireland, and regarded as the founder of Christianity in Ireland, the monastic bishop St. Patrick in the latter fifth century reposed on March 17th at Saul and was buried at Downpatrick, both in Down, the County neighboring Armagh with St. Patrick’s cathedral, all within the Province of Ulster.

                St. Brigid, or St. Bride in English, was on Ireland’s east coast in 451 born into slavery; although her father was a pagan chieftain, her mother was one of his slaves, of the Picts (northeast Scotland) ethnically; and upon the mother’s pregnancy, the father sold her, together with the daughter Brigid to be born, to a druid sorcerer.  Ultimately St. Brigid founded monasteries, for women and for men, west of Dublin at Kildare, where she reposed ca. 523 on February 1st; revered as the founder of women’s communal monasticism in Ireland, she is, along with St. Patrick, counted as a patron saint of Ireland.

                The Martyr St. Edward the King, of which we have an icon here in St. George’s Church, was in his teenaged years crowned King of England in 975/976, and in 978/979 he was martyred; his life is recounted at considerable length in our newsletter of October 1, 2009.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    IV.   PROTOCOLS at SERVICES:

                As related in our recent newsletters, in view of North Carolina’s “phase 2” orders effective May 22nd and refined effective June 26th, and of our providential circumstances of a very large church building with a very small congregation, we were able to announce our church services publicly again to visitors beginning May 23rd.

                And as first recounted in our March 12/14 newsletter, for the time being our Bishop has given his blessing for minimizing unnecessary physical contact at our services.

                Thus in showing veneration for Jesus Christ and His Cross and Gospel and similar depictions, we’re asked simply to bow for the time being, without the usual kiss, and likewise as to the Lord’s Chalice and the celebrant’s hand.

                At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.)

                Although North Carolina’s current executive orders exempt churches entirely, their comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and thus with our yet very small congregation, we have plenty of room for visitors.

                While our church services have resumed, the Sunday luncheons afterwards, along with the Bible studies and our other parish­‑hall activities, remain suspended until the pandemic further subsides.

                Of course anyone having or feeling any symptom of the virus, as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions, should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     

    V.   CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

                Each Saturday we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

                And every Sunday we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy.

                (In normal times, lunch and Bible study follow our Sunday services; but the lunch and Bible study in the parish hall remain temporarily suspended for the pandemic.)

                All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

                There was no newsletter last week, the most recent thus having been the issue of June 11th/13th.

                Our prayers are asked for the newly­‑departed Ernest, that he may rest in peace, and for Heather and the rest of Ernest’s family in their loss; and for the servant­‑of­‑God Jonathan, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

                And our prayers are asked for our community and our country and our leaders, and for the people and for their salvation, as always; and for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for John B. C., and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

                Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

     

     

     

 
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  1. services resume!
  2. protocols at services
  3. schedule of services
  4. The Ascension
  5. current announcements
  6. hymnography of the Ascension

     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

SERVICES RESUME:

Finally we are now able, thanks be to God, to announce the resumption of our services, in view of the new “phase 2” orders effective this Friday the 22nd dramatically easing restrictions for North Carolina, and in view of Chowan County’s own consistently low statistics during the pandemic.

Because Orthodox Christianity understands that the conducting of her Divine Liturgy, as ordained by Jesus Christ and with its included prayers always for the welfare of the local inhabitants, is of real benefit to the community surrounding the parish or mission

in a variety of means both seen and unseen, during the height of the pandemic in recent weeks a limited Sunday Liturgy has continued at St. George’s, on behalf of the congregation and community, with our Bishop’s blessing and a maximum of ten and then five participants and consequently not publicly announced.

But our providential circumstances, of having a very large church building while our congregation is yet very small, now make it possible happily to announce our church services publicly again to visitors.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

PROTOCOLS at SERVICES:

As first recounted in our March 12/14 newsletter, for the time being our Bishop has given his blessing for minimizing unnecessary physical contact at our services.

 Thus In showing veneration for Jesus Christ and His Cross and Gospel and similar depictions, we’re asked simply to bow for the time being, without the usual kiss, and likewise as to the Lord’s Chalice and the celebrant’s hand.

(And for the time being the Holy Gifts from the Chalice, instead of being communicated with the usual common spoon, will be communicated with a rotation of liturgical spoons disinfected with 151° food­‑grade ethanol.)

At services our Bishop has asked that six­‑foot distancing be maintained between households, and that masks be worn indoors, with exceptions for those helping with our singing, or assigned to chanting or reading parts in the service, and for children under

eight years.  (Masks are available in the narthex for visitors needing them, along with 80% alcohol hand sanitizer.) Although North Carolina’s new executive order exempts churches entirely, its comparable rule for retail stores & hair salons & restaurants would allow an attendance of twenty­‑five in the 2,100 square­‑foot St. George’s church; and so with our yet very small congregation, happily we have plenty of room for visitors.

While our church services have resumed, the Sunday luncheons afterwards, along with the Bible studies and our other parish­‑hall activities, remain suspended until the pandemic further dissipates.

Finally, anyone not feeling well, or having any symptom of the virus—as well as those with weakened immune function or comparable medical conditions—of course should offer instead at home our Sunday prayers or other days’ prayers, for the time being.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

III.   SCHEDULE of SERVICES:

SATURDAY 5:00 p.m. vespers accordingly resumes WEEKLY now this week on May 23rd.

SUNDAY 9:35 a.m. Hours’ Prayers and 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy likewise resume WEEKLY now on May 24th.

WEDNESDAY May 27th at 7:00 p.m. vespers will be served for the eve of the Great Feast of our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven.

THURSDAY May 28th early morning services likewise will be held for Ascension Day; the starting time (around 7:00 a.m. probably, and concluding well before 8:30 a.m.) will be decided by the congregation this weekend, and newsletter subscribers or others

 interested in attending may reply by to this newsletter, or call our office at 482–2006 after Sunday afternoon, to learn the specific time decided.

Continuing instability of civil circumstances could affect our schedule in coming weeks, but current information is always available by calling our office at 482–2006.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

THE ASCENSION:

Christ’s Ascension into Heaven, as recounted in chapter 1 of The Acts, as well as at the end of Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels, occurred on the fortieth day from the Pasch, or Orthodox Easter, and so it falls always on a Thursday.

Thus the Ascension into Heaven, of Our Lord, God & Saviour, Jesus Christ, among the twelve Great Feasts of the Church, is one of the seven Great Feasts of our Lord.

Orthodox Christianity understands salvation as involving Christ’s work through a series of events including his Incarnation, Nativity, Crucifixion, Descent, Resurrection, and Ascension, so that He as God became man and, after overthrowing the power of

death, took man’s human nature & flesh into heaven, restoring & reconciling man to God.

 As at Christmas the human shepherds were amazed in seeing God born as a child on earth, so at Ascension the angels were amazed in seeing a human being ascend into Heaven, and again at Pentecost the people were amazed in seeing the Holy Spirit

descended upon the men of the Church.

The hymnography of Ascension Day, addressed in more detail below, repeats the bewildered amazement of the angels in seeing a human being ascend in the flesh into Heaven.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 Each SATURDAY we have Great Vespers at 5:00 p.m., concluding before 6:00 p.m.

 And every SUNDAY we have at 9:35 a.m. the Hours’ Prayers and at 10:00 a.m. the Divine Liturgy.

(In normal times, lunch and Bible study follow our Sunday services; but the lunch and Bible study in the parish hall are temporarily suspended for the pandemic.)

Next WEDNESDAY the 27th at 7:00 p.m. and next THURSDAY the 28th in the early morning, as explained in § III above, we have services for the Great Feast of our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven.

All of our services are held in our historic church building at 212 East Church Street in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.  Our office telephone number is 482–2006.

There were no newsletters the last six weeks, the most recent thus having been the issue of April 2nd/4th.

Our prayers are asked particularly for the servant­‑of­‑God Jon, recovering from surgery, besides for his family, and likewise particularly for the handmaiden­‑of­‑God Katina.

And our prayers are asked for Fr. Andrew & Mo. Katrina, for Tony, for Rosa, for Maria, for Scott, for Harvey, for Sandy, for John B. C., and for Darnell; and for those many further friends for whom we pray at each of our services.

Our mailing address is P. O. Box 38, Edenton, N. C., 27932.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

HYMNOGRAPHY of the ASCENSION:

 Orthodox Christianity’s understanding of Christ’s Ascension is expounded in, as for any Feast, the ancient hymns appointed for the day; thus the following examples are from the Matins of the Ascension.

 “Thou didst go up to the Father, O Christ, Bestower of life; and didst uplift our nature in Thine ineffable compassion, O Thou Who lovest mankind.”

 “Having sought out Adam, who had been deluded by the deceit of the serpent, O Christ:  as Thou didst clothe Thyself in him, Thou didst ascend and sit on the right hand, as One equally enthroned with the Father, as the angels hymned Thee.

  “Earth doth celebrate and dance, and heaven rejoiceth today, at the ascension of the Creator of creation, Who by His will hath manifestly united the disparate natures.”

 "O Christ, Who didst come down from heaven to those on earth, Who didst lie below in death’s custody, and Who, as God, didst by Thine ascension lift Adam’s form up to heaven:  as Thou art merciful and lovest mankind, Thou didst cause it to sit with Thee 

 on the throne of the Father.”

 “Assuming our nature, which hath been slain by sin, O Saviour, Thou didst bring it to Thine own Father.”