Betrother of Holy Souls

August 15/28, 2022

Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

Today marks an important feast in the life of the Church, but it is an important feast for me personally, as it features someone who has helped me so much over the years. This feast of the falling asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary is the foundation of our family life. While the Russian Royal Family serves as our family feast day, this feast was our family feast day before I had a family, or rather when I was praying fervently to have one of my own.

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Celebrating the Family Name’s Day

Finally made it last week to San Francisco, the City by the Bay. I was here last without family when we were touring a Siberian priest around to American holy places. Today we celebrated our family’s name’s day, or what the Serbians call the family slava. Ours is the Russian Royal Family that was martyred by the Soviets in 1917 and whose memory we commemorate on the old calendar July 4/17. We traveled to the Russian Cathedral Joy of All Who Sorrow which was built by St. John Maximovitch of Shanghai and San Francisco whose relics/remains still lie in state in the church for any pilgrim to come and talk to him.

Our uncle who is a deacon on pilgrimage there prepared a wonderful little trapeza for us in the apartment he is staying near the church, and our children, all of whom are named after one of the Russian Royal Martyrs, celebrated their name’s day in style.

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Solidarity With the Displaced

October 6, 2015: Group of refugees leaving Hungary.

June 28/July 12, 2022

Feast of the Holy, Glorious and All-Praised Leaders of the Apostles, Peter and Paul

2 Corinthians 11:21-12:9 Epistle, Apostles
Matthew 16:13-19 Gospel, Apostles

Greetings and Blessed Feast of the most holy apostles and evangelists Ss. Peter and Paul! I write this from the most unexpected of places. I sit on a large couch in an air bnb in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s North American commonwealth was good enough to receive our temporarily displaced family for a few days and nights when our connecting flight to San Francisco was cancelled. We were originally planning to use Canada for a brief layover to keep down the cost of traveling with a family of seven. Trouble started when this discount travel service bumped our connecting flight to two days later! Suddenly last night, Canada’s strict COVID protocols came falling down upon us and we were left scrambling last minute to find local transportation, accommodation, and a way to explain our unplanned presence in another country.

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Highway to the Danger Zone!

Dear Readers, Sorry I have been away for so long. I usually try to post at least one thing a month. Having an older family makes us all very busy.

Glad to say I saw the new Top Gun film in the theatre yesterday. Cannot say it will appeal to all audiences, but it brought this GenXer many nostalgic moments and some surprisingly fresh content. Only criticism I might level is that the soundtrack was slightly better in the original, although this reboot develops the characters much better. The producer and company was correct to save this blockbuster originally slated for 2020 for a post-pandemic release. It is truly something worth seeing on the big screen. The audience we saw it with last night gave a slight applause at the end which I have rarely heard from an American audience.

Irrepressible News of the Resurrection!

Christ is risen! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе!
Truly, Truly, He is risen!

Who can contain this good news? The Lord of heaven, who lately was held fast in the grave is no longer there. He is risen! And with his arising, we too have eternal life.

Take a moment out of your day today and listen to this irrepressible good news with one of the brightest melodies of paschal joy, the Georgian (the country, not the state) version of the Resurrection theme song. And tell me after listening that you still don’t believe it. FOR CHRIST IS RISEN!!!

No Place to Lay His Head

Op-Ed: Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him

He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?

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Surveying the Wondrous Cross

Great and Holy Friday

Forbid it Lord that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God. All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

When i survey the wondrous cross by isaac watts

The hymn writer’s meditation on the cross of the Lord has always made a profound impact on my personal devotion. I was reminded of this verse this morning as we chanted the Royal Hours at the foot of the cross in Church. Watts’ verse is based on the epistle read at the first hour, St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, bu whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”

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Sharing the Master’s Hospitality

Holy and Great Thursday

Establishment of the Lord’s Mystical Supper

There was a time in my life when I viewed the Eucharist as just a symbol. What really mattered was a person’s confession of faith. And this confession was way too often scrutinized and judged insufficient by those of us who felt we were in the know. But the Lord’s salvation is not like this. And the first time I heard this beautiful prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, my heart was smitten by God’s abundant mercy:

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A Village Pascha

Dear Readers, I came across this lovely portrayal of an Orthodox Holy Week from the associate priest of our parish who grew up in an Orthodox Christian country. I always say that we converts (those who became Orthodox as adults) can learn so much from those who knew it from their very cradle, for to them the faith is as natural as breathing air. This kind of simple innocence shines through in father’s words below. And if you have never been to any Orthodox services, behold NOW is the time, while Divine Services last until this Sunday when we celebrate the Feasts of all Feasts, Great and Holy Pascha!

Dearly Beloved,

Having prepared through weeks of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, we are now approaching the “feast of feasts and the holy day of holy days.” But before we can arrive at that sacred day of Pascha, we first must traverse the Church’s Great & Holy Week, where there will be more services than usual, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening. That means more opportunities to emerge from our daily jobs, homes, and chores and into the Church – not unlike the way in which the ancient monastics would return to their monasteries after spending the entirety of Great Lent in the wilderness.

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Join the Divine Drama of Holy Week!

For those of you in my faithful readership who have yet to experience an Orthodox Christian Holy Week, now is your chance. At an Orthodox parish near you, begins a week of services next week unlike any you have experienced anywhere else on the planet. If you are local to Boston, you are cordially invited to attend all of the services our parish offers. If you can only do one, come to either Saturday morning Liturgy or late Saturday night, early Sunday morning for the Feast of Feasts, GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA.

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