Our Fathers Among the Saints, the Holy and All-Laudable Apostles, Peter and Paul


Troparion Tone 4
Leaders of the Apostles and teachers of the world,/ pray to the Master of all to grant peace to the world/ and great mercy to our souls.

Kontakion Tone 2
Thou hast taken the firm and divinely inspired Preachers, O Lord,/ the leading Apostles, for the enjoyment of Thy blessings and for repose./ For Thou hast accepted their labours and death/ as above every burnt offering,/ O Thou Who alone knowest the secrets of our hearts.

Continue reading “Our Fathers Among the Saints, the Holy and All-Laudable Apostles, Peter and Paul”

Appearance of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God


Troparion Tone 4
Today, like the eternal sun, / Your Icon appears in the sky, O Theotokos. / With rays of mercy it enlightens the world. / This land accepts the heavenly gift from above, / Honoring You as the Mother of God. / We praise Christ our Lord who was born of You. / Pray to Him, O Queen and sovereign virgin / That all Christian cities and lands be guarded in safety, And that He save those who kneel to His divine, and Your holy image, O unwedded bride.

Kontakion Tone 8
O people, let us come to the Virgin Queen and Mother, giving thanks to Christ God. / Let us fall before her miraculous image, and let us cry: / O sovereign Mary, your glorious image now inhabits this land. / Save all the Christians of this world, showing us the heavenly life. / To You we faithfully cry: Rejoice, O Virgin, the salvation of the world!

From the OCA website:

According to ancient tradition, the wonderworking icon of Tikhvin is one of several painted by St Luke the Evangelist. The icon was taken from Jerusalem to Constantinople in the fifth century, where it was enshrined in the Church of Blachernae, which was built especially for this purpose.

Continue reading “Appearance of the Tikhvin Icon of the Mother of God”

The Nativity of the Prophet and Forerunner, John the Baptist


Troparion of the Forerunner Tone 4
O Prophet and Forerunner of the coming of Christ,/ we honour thee lovingly but cannot extol thee worthily;/ for by thy birth/ thy mother’s barrenness and thy father’s dumbness were unloosed;/ and the Incarnation of the Son of God is proclaimed to the world.

Kontakion of St John the Baptist Tone 3
The formerly barren one today gives birth to the Forerunner of Christ/ Who is the fulfillment of prophecy./ For the Prophet, Herald and Forerunner of the Word/ submitted to Him Whom the prophets foretold/ by laying his hand on Him in the Jordan.

Luke 1:24-25, 57-68, 76, 80

And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

The Sunday of All Saints of North America

Troparion in Tone VIII
As a beautiful fruit of the sowing of Thy salvation, the lands of America doth offer to Thee, O Lord, all the Saints that have shone in her. By their prayers keep the Church and the world in profound peace, through the Theotokos, O Most-merciful One.

Kontaktion in Tone III
Today the choir of the saints who pleased God in the lands of America doth stand before us in church and invisibly doth pray for us to God. With them the angels glorify Him, and all the saints of the Church of Christ keep festival with them; and they all pray together for us to the eternal God.

The saints depicted in the icon (l to r) and their feast dates:
St. Herman of Alaska 9 August (glorification) and 12 December
St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco 2 July
St. Innocent of Alaska 31 March
St. Juvenaly 25 December (Synaxis of the First Martyrs of the American Land)
St. Patriarch Tikhon 18 October
St. Peter the Aleut 25 December (Synaxis of the First Martyrs of the American Land)

Biographies of the Saints of North America

Another of My Occasional Posts Reacting to “More Orthodox than Thou” Posts

I regret to say that I’ve wasted about ten minutes I’ll never get back skimming over a few posts of converts to Orthodoxy opining on what is and isn’t real Orthodoxy in the United States (most of them reacting to what are taken to be “Protestant” techniques and forms imported/infused into “real” Orthodox essences–or something like that). Forgive me, but there’s something that smells slightly of an upwardly-tilted proboscis, and maybe a little former-Prot self-loathing, in the phrases “dumbed-down,” “Ortho-lite,” “the Faith made easy,” and so forth.


Now, full disclosure here: the parish to which I belong, and perhaps certain of its clergy, will get tagged as “not fully Orthodox” because of this or that perceived tendency, association (to *that* magazine) or practice. We do happen to observe two feasts of All Saints each year, after all–though the “western” one is not served with a Divine Liturgy, so maybe we’re square on that, after all.

It’s the third day of the Fast, so perhaps this is why I find myself with so very little patience about these matters. And my first instinct is to remind the critics that if they’d spent the time with the Jesus Prayer that they’d spent in their criticism, they might themselves have come closer to the Orthodoxy of which they claim the objects of their criticism lack a certain measure.

Yes, the canons and a properly served Liturgy, and an apostolically ordained clergy, and so forth are important for the life of any parish. Yes, one ought be thoughtful about the forms one uses. And, heaven help us all, yes, yes, yes, we must do everything in our power to every day acquire that true philosophia that is the way of the Life of the Church, Christ himself.

But forgive me, it is not that complicated, and we need waste not a single instant on eyeballing what’s on someone else’s plate. It is really very simple. We pray morning, noon and evening. We fast with the Church. We do acts of mercy to all around us. We strive hard, some days in an unbearable struggle, to forgive all and every. And we constantly plead God’s mercy, for ourselves and for all around us. If every moment is one of simple, heart-over-head, outstretched hands of trust in Christ; if we can say with simple tears, Panagia’ mou, then we are far likely to be more Orthodox than those who read the footnotes in the Lenten Triodion. I do not of course myself live these things as I should, so this is as much a criticism of myself, and a reminder, as it is an expression of exasperation.

But of course, if we are *doing* these things, our minds will not often wander to the trough of comparison, unless only to compare ourselves with ourselves. We will hopefully embody the nobler heart in that parable of the two men who went up to the temple to pray, that parable with which we prepare for Great and Holy Lent.

On This Eve of the Apostles’ Fast . . .

. . . may I recommend one of my priest’s Pastoral Ponderings:

The Twelve Apostles
(mp3 file)

As well as an Akathist one might pray in the next couple of weeks:

Akathist to Saints Peter and Paul

(I might add that Bp Basil of Wichita has asked that the Akathist to the Holy Apostles be prayed not only during the entire fast but especially the first couple of days of the Fast during the meeting of the Holy Synod of Antioch.)

Podcasts About Father Seraphim Rose

Recently, Fr Peter Alban Heers put up a podcast on the veneration of Fr Seraphim Rose, one of my patron saints (with St Benedict of Nursia), in Greece:

Fr Seraphim Rose in Greece (mp3 link)

You may also want to check out the three-part interview about Fr Seraphim put up on the 25th anniversary of his repose:

Father Seraphim Rose: Spiritual Father (part 1) (mp3 link)
Father Seraphim Rose: The Man, the Struggler (part 2) (mp3 link)
Father Seraphim Rose: Prayer and Orthodox Spirituality (part 3) (mp3 link)