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Archive for November, 2008

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Nativity Fast

Each year brings a cycle of return. This is now my second Nativity Fast as an Orthodox Christian. There were five such fasts as I made my way toward the Orthodox Church. No two have been the same. Each, especially the last two, have carried significant sorrows as well as wonderful joys.

I think I’m coming to a point in which I wait for what God will bring, working to accept it all, with, as is appropriate for us in this time of year, thanksgiving.

A blessed Fast to all ya’ll.

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No Greater Love

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. (1 John 3:20)

There is no sin that surpasseth the loving-kindness of God.
–St. Spyridon of Tremithus (Saint Spyridon of Tremithus: Life, Miracles, Liturgical Service, and Akathist Hymn [St John of Kronstadt Press 1997], p 21)

In three day’s time, on the Gregorian calendar, we will begin the Nativity Fast, a forty-day preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. And as is typical of the Orthodox Church, we prepare to prepare. We begin to elminate or store away meat, egg and dairy products as we abstain from these during the fast (that is to say, those who can abstain, do, but not pregnant or nursing mothers, children and others whose health would be negatively affected by such abstentions). We clean our homes, eliminating or giving away items no longer needed, reducing the dust and dirt and clutter of our physical environment as we also reduce the dust and dirt and clutter of our hearts and minds. Already I’ve attacked some of the rooms in my apartment, and will need to get down to the storage area and also work on the girls’ bedroom/playroom.

The seasons of fasting in the Orthodox Church, as in other churches, are designed to lay bare before our own eyes all the darknesses of our hearts, all the sins of word and thought and deed that we commit, including the sins of omission (the failure to do the things we ought). In the Orthodox Church, however, this rigorous inventory is not meant for self-condemnation and hopelessness. It is meant, rather, for healing. Although juridical metaphors are not absent from the Orthodox Faith, the primary metaphor Orthodoxy uses for communicating the life we have and are to live in Christ is that of the hospital and physician. We are ill, desperately ill, and in mortal need of healing. And in God’s love and mercy, through our union in Christ, we are given that healing. We confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (i.e., of Confession), not in an attempt to feel as much guilt and shame and despair as we can–though we frequently do feel these things–but so that we can bring forth out of our hearts and souls all the infectious and diseased matters for cleansing and healing.

(more…)

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Election of OCA Metropolitan

According to the AFR website, Bishop Jonah has been elected Metropolitan of the Orthodox Church in America!

Axios!!

Many years!!

From the OCA website:

Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth Elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Posted 11/12

PITTSBURGH, PA [OCA Communications] — On Wednesday, November 12, 2008, His Grace, Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth was elected Archbishop of Washington and New York and Metropolitan of All America and Canada at the 15th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America.

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah was born James Paffhausen in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. While still a child, his family later settled in La Jolla, CA, near San Diego. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego. Later, he transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in establishing an Orthodox Christian Fellowship.

After completing studies at UCSC, James attended St. Vladimir’s Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1985 and a Master of Theology in Dogmatics in 1988.

He went on to pursue studies towards a Ph.D. at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, but interrupted those studies to spend a year in Russia.

In Moscow, working for Russkiy Palomnik at the Publishing Department of the Moscow Patriarchate, he was introduced to life in the Russian church, in particular monastic life. Later that year, he joined Valaam Monastery, having found a spiritual father in the monastery’s Abbot, Archimandrite Pankratiy. It was Archimandrite Pankratiy’s spiritual father, the Elder Kyrill at Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, who blessed James to become a priestmonk. He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in 1994 and in 1995 was tonsured to monastic rank at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA, having received the name Jonah.

Returning to California, Fr. Jonah served a number of missions and was later given the obedience to establish a monastery under the patronage of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. The monastery, initially located in Point Reyes Station, CA, recently moved to Manton in Northern California, near Redding. During his time building up the monastic community, Fr. Jonah also worked to establish missions in Merced, Sonora, Chico, Eureka, Redding, Susanville, and other communities in California, as well as in Kona, HI.

In the spring of 2008, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church in America elevated Fr. Jonah to the rank of Archimandrite and he was given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibilities of auxiliary bishop and chancellor for the Diocese of the South.

Bishop Jonah’s episcopal election took place on September 4, 2008, at an extraordinary meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops. Earlier in the summer, his candidacy was endorsed by the Diocese of the South’s Diocesan Council, shortly after Bishop Jonah had participated in the diocese’s annual assembly.

Bishop Jonah was consecrated Bishop of Forth Worth and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the South, at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX, on Saturday, November 1, 2008. Consecrating hierarchs included His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South, Locum tenens of the Metropolitan See; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West; and His Grace, Bishop Alejo of Mexico City and the Exarchate of Mexico.

Metropolitan Jonah will be installed by the OCA’s Holy Synod of Bishops at St. Nicholas Cathedral, Washington, DC, on December 28, 2008.

May the Lord bless His Beatitude, Jonah, newly-elected Metropolitan of All America and Canada with many years of fruitful service in His Holy Vineyard.

Eis polla eti, Despota!

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Ancient Faith Radio is podcasting the 15th All American Council of the OCA. Click on the link to listen/download the podcasts.

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Eis polla eti, Despota!

Archimandrite Jonah elevated to Auxiliary Bishop:

On Saturday, November 1, 2008, Archimandrite Jonah (Paffhausen) was consecrated Bishop of Forth Worth and Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the South, at St. Seraphim Cathedral, Dallas, TX. Consecrating hierarchs included His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri of Dallas and the South, Locum Tenens of the Metropolitan See; His Grace, Bishop Tikhon of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania; His Grace, Bishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West; and His Grace, Bishop Alejo of Mexico City and the Exarchate of Mexico.

Bishop Jonah’s episcopal election took place on September 4, 2008, at an extraordinary meeting of the OCA Holy Synod of Bishops. Earlier in the summer, his candidacy was endorsed by the Diocese of the South’s Diocesan Council, shortly after Bishop Jonah had participated in the diocese’s annual assembly.

His Grace, Bishop Jonah was born James Paffhausen in 1959 in Chicago, IL, and was baptized into the Episcopal Church. His family later settled in La Jolla, CA, near San Diego. He was received into the Orthodox Church in 1978 at Our Lady of Kazan Moscow Patriarchal Church, San Diego, while a student at the University of California, San Diego. Later, he transferred to UC Santa Cruz, where he was instrumental in establishing an Orthodox Christian Fellowship. After completing studies at UCSC, James attended St. Vladimir’s Seminary, graduating with a Master of Divinity degree in 1985 and a Master of Theology in Dogmatics in 1988.

Later, he spent a year in Russia, where he was introduced to monastic life. While in Russia, he joined Valaam Monastery, having found a spiritual father in the monastery’s Abbot, Archimandrite Pankratiy. It was Archimandrite Pankratiy’s spiritual father, the Elder Kyrill at Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra, who blessed James to become a priestmonk. He was ordained to the diaconate and priesthood in 1994 and in 1995 was tonsured to monastic rank at St. Tikhon’s Monastery, South Canaan, PA, having received the name Jonah.

Returning to California, Fr. Jonah served a number of missions and was later given the obedience to establish a monastery under the patronage of St. John of Shanghai and San Francisco. The monastery, initially located in Point Reyes Station, CA, recently moved to Manton in Northern California, near Redding. During his time building up the monastic community, Fr. Jonah also worked to establish missions in Merced, Sonora, Chico, Eureka, Redding, Susanville, and other communities in California, as well as in Kona, HI.

This year, Fr. Jonah was elevated to the rank of Archimandrite and given the obedience to leave the monastery and take on the responsibility of Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of the South. In addition to his archpastoral duties, Bishop Jonah will also serve as the diocesan chancellor.

“A number of faithful have asked about specific changes in administration that will come about with the advent of Archimandrite Jonah,” Archbishop Dmitri wrote in an Archpastoral Message dated September 5, 2008. “Indeed, as both Auxiliary and Chancellor his duties will be quite varied, his schedule undoubtedly demanding. Archimandrite Jonah will work directly with me in helping to administer the Diocese of the South. He will in turn work closely with the chancery staff, deans, parish priests and faithful to facilitate our missionary efforts in the South.”

May the Lord grant the newly consecrated servant of God, His Grace, the Right Reverend Bishop Jonah of Fort Worth, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of the South, many years of fruitful archpastoral service in His Holy Vineyard, the Orthodox Church in America.

Photos from the consecration

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