The faithful of St John the Baptist Russian Orthodox church participated in NJ District FOCA Food Packaging Outreach at Sts Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Passaic, along with other members and friends of the NJ District Fellowship of Orthodox Christians in America. We packaged 7,200 shelf-stable meals that had been purchased in bulk from The Outreach Program, a non-profit organization based out of Iowa. The meals will be distributed by each FOCA chapter to various food pantries and other charities in North Jersey. It was a wonderful afternoon of fellowship, with attendance and participation far exceeding the expectations. May the Lord bless everyone who donated toward and/or participated in the outreach.
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Sermon on the Sunday's Gospel reading about those called to the Wedding Feast.
Fr Thomas Hopko teaches about the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos by looking at the hymnology associated with the feast
The first great liturgical celebration, Church feast, of the ecclesiastical year that begins in September in the Orthodox Church is the festival of the Nativity, the birthday of the Virgin Mary, of Christ’s mother, the Theotokos, Virgin Mary. This festival is on the 21st of September.
It’s fitting that the very first great feast of the Church year would be Mary’s birthday especially as we recall that the last great festival of the ecclesiastical year in August is Mary’s entrance into eternal life; her kimesis, her falling asleep, her dormition. So we end the year with the Dormition of Mary and we begin the year with the birth of Mary.
"On the princess’ boat was a courtier who, despite the fact that he was accompanied by his wife, was tempted by evil spirits and began to stare at Princess Fevronia with shameful and lustful thoughts. The princess immediately discerned his evil thoughts and exposed them to the man.
Approaching him, she ordered him to scoop up water from the river on one side of the boat and drink it. When the man had done so, she ordered him to go to the other side of the ship and do the same. When the man had drunk the water, Fevronia approached him, and asked: 'Tell me, did you find that the water tastes the same on both sides of the ship, or was it perhaps sweeter on one side than on the other?'
The man answered: 'No, my lady. The water tasted the same on both sides.'
Then she replied: 'And so is the nature of all women. Why then do you want to cheat on your wife, even in thoughts, and think about another woman?'"
[From the Life and Sts Peter and Fevronia]
On Sunday, Sept. 18, we commemorate two great saintly married couples: Holy Prophet Zachariah and Righteous Elizabeth, the parents of St John the Baptist and Right-believing Prince Peter and Princess Fevronia of Murom.
In Russian tradition, Prince Peter and Princess Fevronia have become patrons of the married couples and of those who want to get married.
For this reason the theme of the day will be "Family, Love, and Faithfulness."
During the Liturgy we will offer prayers for those who are married, those who want to be married, and for all the families.
Please read their life here.
Starting Tuesday, September 6 at 6pm, we will serve an Akathist service to St John the Baptist, with tea with biscuits and fellowship to follow.
As our Lord Jesus Christ Himself testified, "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist." (Mt. 11:11; Lk. 7:28). Also, according to the Orthodox liturgical tradition, every Tuesday is dedicated to the commemoration of St John. We have a very special Patron Saint, it is only right to ask for his intercession before our Lord.
To find out more what an akathist is, click here.
To download the service of Akathist to St John the Baptist, click here.
Please contact us if you need more information:
See you there!
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The next newsletter will be for October-December 2016, which will come out at the end of September.
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The Byzantine Creation Era, also "Creation Era of Constantinople," or "Era of the World" (Greek: Έτη Γενέσεως Κόσμου κατά 'Ρωμαίους also Έτος Κτίσεως Κόσμου or Έτος Κόσμου ) was the Calendar officially used by the Eastern Orthodox Church from ca. AD 691 to 1728 in the Ecumenical Patriarchate, by the Byzantine Empire from AD 988 to 1453, and in Russia from ca. AD 988 to 1700.
Derived from the Septuagint version of the Bible, it placed the date of creation at 5,509 years before the Incarnation, and was characterized by a certain tendency which had already been a tradition amongst Hebrews and Jews to number the years from the foundation of the world (Latin: Annus Mundi/Ab Origine Mundi [AM]). Its year one, the supposed date of creation, was September 1, 5509 BC to August 31, 5508 BC.
Meeting of Archpriest Andrew Lemeshonok with the House of Love of Labour Staff
September 11th has always been a special day for our parish. On this day we celebrate (as paradoxical as it may sound) the beheading of our Patron Saint John the Baptist. His death is an example for us of how to deal with authorities or society that slowly turns away from Christ. St John opposed the adulterous union of Herod with Herodias because it was unlawful, but he did not revolt or rebel. St John remained steadfast in righteousness and truth, even to his death. And we, imitating the great Forerunner, should put Christ ahead any law because there is only one truth in the world - Jesus Christ. And to keep this fresh in our minds, we should read the holy Scriptures every day.
Also today we prayed for our students and teachers at the beginning of the new school year. We asked the Lord that He "open the hearts, minds, and lips of His servants, that they may receive the power of His law, and, with success, come to know the useful teachings which shall be taught them, to the glory of His most-holy Name, to the profit and building up of His Holy Church, and that they may understand His good and perfect will." After the prayer everyone was blessed with the Holy Water.
During the Liturgy we commemorated all those who died during the terrorist attacks 15 years ago. At the end of the Liturgy "Memory eternal" was sung to them.
We should never forget the awful attacks that happened 15 years ago. We pray our gracious God that He grants rest eternal to all of His servants that lost their life on that day. But we should not hold anger or hatred against anyone. These are not Christian feelings, they blind our spiritual senses and lead us away from God. We have to find strength to forgive and pray to our Lord that He give us this strength.
St Paul tells us to "pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thess. 5:17-18).
Every event, indeed every action in our life, begins with prayer and blessing.
On the Feast of the Beheading of St John the Baptist, Sunday, September 11, we will give thanks to the Lord for the beginning of a new school year and pray for our students and teachers during the Liturgy. At the end of the Liturgy we will read a special prayer and sprinkle all the students and teachers with the Holy Water.
Bring your student, bring your teacher, come yourself and kick off the new school year in prayer and style.