Laboring in the Vineyard - 03/08/14
Father Alexis Baldwin
Three new Orthodox communities have formed in the Rocky Mountain Deanery. Two missions, Holy Prophet Elijah and St. Tikhon Enlightener of North America, and an Orthodox mission community which meets at Agia Sophia Coffee House all hold weekly Divine Services. Each of these communities began as an outreach effort of Orthodox Christians associated with the Rocky Mountain deanery.
Holy Prophet Elijah Mission — Durango
For several years Orthodox Christians of the Four Corners region gathered once a month for worship and participation in the Church’s sacramental life. Initially established in Farmington, NM and serviced by priests from Albuquerque and Santa Fe, it was soon evident that most persons involved were from the Colorado side of the border. Efforts were accordingly re-focused to establish the mission in Durango, CO, upon which the mission came under the omophorion of Archbishop Benjamin. Fr. Benjamin Huggins and his family arrived in Durango in July of 2013. For the first time in the rich indigenous cultural history of the “Four Corners”region, a small Orthodox community participates in a consistent cycle of services including all Feast Days, Vespers on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Sunday Divine Liturgy.
| ||PaTRAM holds Master Class - 03/05/14|
The Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute held a remarkable Orthodox Master Class on February 24-27 at Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY. This video captures the beauty and solemnity of the divine services better than any verbal description. Our sincere appreciation to Reader Peter S. Lukianov for his fine presentation.
In accordance with PaTRAM's master plan, Vladimir Gorbik has now shared his art at all three of the major Slavic-heritage seminaries in North America—St Vladimir's, St. Tikhon's, and Holy Trinity. We're asking you to help spread the good news throughout the Orthodox world: please post this link on your Facebook page and forward it on email to everyone you can think of — your priest, your choir members, and your musical colleagues, both Orthodox and non-Orthodox. Let's not keep this lamp under a bushel!
Also, if you haven't yet done so, please explore PaTRAM's constantly evolving website: www.patraminstitute.org. Here you will read about the next Master Class, scheduled for June 30 to July 3, 2014. Mark your calendars, and plan to attend!
Chair, PaTRAM Promotion and Marketing Committee
| ||Lenten Message of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin - 02/28/14|
GREAT LENT 2014
To the Reverend Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the West
Let us begin the Fast with joy! Let us prepare ourselves for spiritual efforts! Let us cleanse our soul and cleanse our flesh! Let us abstain from every passion as we abstain from food! Let us rejoice in virtues of the Spirit and fulfill them in love, that we all may see the Passion of Christ our God, and rejoice in spirit at the holy Pascha!
(Lord I Call Stichera, Forgiveness Sunday Vespers)
We are now on the threshold of the great spiritual effort of Great Lent. It seems a little strange to hear “let us begin the Fast with joy,” when the long seven weeks of prayer, fasting, almsgiving and repentance seems more than a little dark and somber. But we must always remember the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, who spoke of Great Lent as a “bright sadness.” The “sadness” is the realization of how far away we are from our Beloved and the effort it will take to come back to His embrace. But the “brightness” is the joy of our realization that He has not abandoned us, but has come down to us, become what we are, and goes to the grave itself to rescue us. The darkness of my life engulfed in sin always ends in the light and redemption of resurrection, if I so desire it with my whole heart and strive to make the journey. May it be so!
So we move into the difficult effort of return. We must guard against reducing our Lenten efforts to a “checklist” of dietary restrictions, the number of prayers we say and services we attend, the amount of spiritual reading we do and the number of times we confess our sins. All of them are absolutely necessary and indispensible, but must be done with sincerity and humility, trusting that God knows our weakness and strengthens us in our efforts. May we all truly repent of our sins and lament our separation from the Bridegroom. May we all feel the emptiness of true battle with our appetites and passions, opening our mouths only to nourish ourselves and not to consume our brothers and sisters.
I ask your forgiveness as we enter into this holy time of year and wish for all my faithful parishes and each and every one of you a most fruitful and joyous Fast. May we all rejoice in the celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection at the end of the bright sadness!
With love in Christ,
Archbishop of San Francisco
|2014 Lenten Charity: St Petersburg Hospice - 02/26/14|
The 2013 Diocesan Assembly in Santa Rosa, CA designated the St Petersburg Children's Hospice as the official diocesan Lenten charity for 2014. Please consider giving to this amazing organization. Collections taken during Lent may be forwarded to the diocesan chancery at 1520 Green Street for disbursement.
|Pan-Orthodox Celebration Set for Orthodoxy Sunday - 02/20/14|
His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, will join the other hierarchs of the Western United States in a joint celebration on Orthodoxy Sunday weekend, March 8-9, 2014. Festivities will start on Saturday with a Youth and Young Adult Rally beginning at 4:00 pm. The guest speaker is Archimandrite Nathanael Symonides, who will speak on the topic "Gathered together in the Name of the Lord: Orthodoxy and Daily Challenges (Matthew 18:20)." Great Vespers with Icon Procession follows at 6:00 pm. The homilist will be His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, who will preach on "The 21st Century Christian Martyrdom in Syria and the Middle East as a Whole."
Sunday morning, March 9th, Orthros will begin at 9:00 am, followed by the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy with Icon Procession at 10:00 am. The homilist will be Archimandrite Nathanael Symonides. The service will be followed by a lenten luncheon.
In addition to His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin, the concelebrating hierarchs will be His Eminence, Metropolitan Gerasimos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco; His Eminence, Archbishop Joseph, Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West; and His Grace, Bishop Maxim, Serbian Orthodox Diocese of Western America. All services and activities will be held at St. Steven Serbian Orthodox Cathedral, 1621 West Gravey Ave., Alhambra, California. All Orthodox Christians are invited to attend.
Download the flyer here.
|Project Mexico Basic Training - 11/24/13|
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood…”
Orthodox Basic Training Week July 15 - 21
Hosted by the OCA Diocese of the West
Clergy and lay-workers from around the diocese will join together in serving "the least of these my brethren". Over the week, we will construct several sturdy, weatherproof homes for families without adequate shelter. As if that weren't enough(!), through various talks and discussion groups we will explore in-depth practical ways we can participate in, and prepare ourselves for, service "from glory to glory" during the high-school and college years. Among the topics to be presented and discussed:
- Discerning the Call
- Vocations: Monasticism, Priesthood, Music, Iconography, Family Life as Sacred Vocation
- Surviving the College Years: Prayer, Morality, Debt, Community, Sacramental Life
- "The Fields are Ripe for Harvest": Missions Both Home and Abroad
Where do volunteers stay? Volunteers will need to bring tents (or arrange to borrow) and set up on the grounds of St. Innocent Orphanage. The orphanage is located on a beautiful 16 acre ranch near Rosarito, Mexico.