This evening we celebrated the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete (all 4 sections) along with the life story of, as told by St. Sophronius of Jerusalem based on encounters with St. Zosimas, St. Mary of Egypt. The refrain of “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me” resonated throughout the church as we held our candles and prayed.
On this fourth Sunday of Great Lent this year we remember not only Saint John Climacus, also known as John of the Ladder , but celebrate the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This holiday is one of the 12 major Church Holidays and falls during Great Lent. It celebrates the announcement of Archangel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she will give birth to Christ as recorded by the Gospel of St. Luke (Lk 1.26–38). The Church colors change to blue in honor of the future Mother of God.
Since the Feast of the Annunciation eases Lent to allow for fish, the Sisterhood prepared a meal with salmon after the Liturgy so that we could receive sustenance for the body as well as the soul.
The Third Sunday of Lent is that of the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of Christ. The Holy Cross of the Lord is placed in the center of the church in the middle of the lenten season to prepare the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week. The Holy Cross is also placed in the church to be venerated to remind us of our own individual crosses of sicknesses and difficulties that we are given as a result of our sins. The Lord reminds us that we should carry our individual crosses voluntarily and while giving glory to God, just as He carried the Cross of all people, for “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt.10:38).
His Grace Bishop Theodosius of Seattle, Vicar of the Western American Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia served the Divine Liturgy along with Father Anatoliy.
The annual parish meeting took place the previous Saturday evening before Vespers. Past accomplishments and future goals were discussed. The financial situation remains the same as the previous years. The church would benefit from increased donations in order to remain financially viable.
On the Sunday before the beginning of Great Lent, clergy and parishioners participate in the rite of Forgiveness Sunday. During this service, we ask for forgiveness from all whom we may have offended or hurt- either intentionally or not- in word, deed or thought. Forgiveness Sunday prepares us for our Lenten journey for :
If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses (Matthew 6:14).
We held our annual celebration of Maslenitsa on Sunday, March 3rd. This tradition has always been a unifying event at our parish, and this year was no exception. The sisterhood prepared blini using an old Russian recipe, which is pretty labor-intensive but definitely worse the effort. The guests were entertained by a heartfelt solo performance of our choir’s lead soprano, Maria Aliakrinskaia, and a small children’s choir from the Saints Cyril and Methodius Gymnasium. It was a fun and festive event that was well-attended and enjoyed by everyone.