PDF version of liturgical calendar available

It was a great joy to hear that this year the folks at St Innocent Press were publishing their 2014 Liturgical Calendar as a downloadable PDF. OK, downloadable is a little more automated than the process commands; you pay and then a REAL HUMAN EMAILS IT TO YOU. Maybe not the speed we expect if you were dashing to a service and couldnt find your copy but a PDF version represents a great leap forward in my book.

To start with, it doesnt cost me as much as the book to get it posted to Australia. Secondly, given the elcetronic nature it is easy to cut and paste reading details etc for further study (I like to at a minimum run through the daily readings with a commentary in my Logos Bible Software) and it is on the iPad at all times ready.

You can order your copy here.

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11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 11,12 NKJV)

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Pakistan Mission – Summer Youth Camp

The following report is from Father Anthony Shamoon, a Priest of the St Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission in Pakistan describing a summer youth camp put on by the mission. I have had the pleasure of becoming aquainted with Father Anthony over the past months, communicating with him via the internet and feel intensively the love and passion to serve Christ in him and his Matushka, Maria. They are based in Hyderabad and alternatively serve two communities alternative weeks in opposite directions from where they live.

The mission in Pakistan is very practicle and focusing in on serving the needs of the poor and needy in the areas as we are called by Christ to do “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” (Matt 25:35,36 KJV)

The very thought of trying to live a Christian witness in such a hostile country fills me with fear in the relative safety of my comfortable life in Australia. Please read this report on some of the latest activities of the mission and have a look at their website for more information and instructions on how you can donate to this cause.

St. Michael the Archangel Orthodox Mission Pakistan’s partners with asister organization “Humanitarian, Educational, Anti-Violence & Environmental Nurturing” (HEAVEN). http://www.heavensworks.org is a nonprofit, non religious, non political and non government social development organization to support marginalized, poor and needy communities without any discrimination based on sex, gender, religious or ethnic background.

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HEAVEN aims to endorse culture of peace in communities and strives to see co-existence of people of different religious backgrounds and ethnicity, with special concentration to youth through anti-violence education and activities.

HEAVEN has organized a two months Christian Youth Summer Camp for St. Anthony Orthodox Parish young boys and girls. The opening ceremony was held on the 9th July Tuesday, 65 participants including Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant youth members are participating in this camp.

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Main Objectives of Youth Summer Camp:

  • To provide understanding of English Language (reading, writing, listening and speaking) skill to 65 students from St. Anthony parish Hyderabad.
  • To preach Orthodox Christian faith to non Orthodox and make our presence meaningful in the Christian community in the parish.
  • To provide learning atmosphere to students and make them able to use their summer holidays effectively.
  • To provide opportunity to Christian students to be ready to face challenges in Pakistani society and be useful members of their family and society.
  • To provide awareness sessions on global warming, personality development, career guidance, comics and other disciplines of life.
  • To create environment friendly and effective learning atmosphere among youth.
  • To help youth to be self reliant, self sufficient and prosperous in practical life.

Course Component:

  • English Language Course, Learning four skills (Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening)
  • Behavior change and Attitude Development
  • Preaching Orthodox faith
  • Personality Development
  • Weekly awareness seminars on current issues, such as global warming and environmental awareness.
  • COMICS training

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Outcomes:

  • 65 young Christian boys and girls will be able to communicate in better English and they will develop their English language skills in speaking, reading, writing and listening.
  • Non Orthodox youth will learn about Orthodoxy and will become our amassidors to preach orthodoxy to their parents and family members and this how we can be able to enter to the homes of youth.
  • They will learn behavioral change techniques.
  • Behavior and attitude will have been changed at the completion of youth summer camp
  • They will be in a better position to get job in any reputed institution at the end of the camp.
  • Christian youth will be ready to face challenges in any circumstance.
  • They will become useful members of Pakistani Society and witness Jesus Christ.
  • Parents will feel proud on the development of their offspring.
  • 65 Young Christian boys and girls will be ready to guide other youth in Issa Nagri and Christian population in Hyderabad district.

A “comic” is a series of pictures used to tell a story. Sometimes, they may be paired with words, to create dialog or explain something.

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We are all in need of a change of heart

On March 16, 2013, Archimandrite Luke (Murianka), Abbot of Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, gave an interview to Media Office correspondent Michael Kazmierczak about the meaning of Great Lent.

From the Eastern American Diocese YouTube Channel

 

SPIRITUAL WAVES || Documentary about the Restoration of Jordanville

A financial crisis has hit Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville, NY, because of a series of structural, electrical, and plumbing issues. Metropolitan Hilarion led a special task force from the Eastern American Diocesan Council to Jordanville on December 14th. The purpose of the trip was to investigate the problem and offer assistance to the brotherhood. Our diocesan film crew traveled to Jordanville with the Metropolitan to produce this documentary.

To help Jordanville please visit http://www.fundforassistance.org.

PRODUCED BY THE MEDIA OFFICE OF THE EASTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE ROCOR

Jordanville needs your help

Via a number of emails and social media posts overnight I have learned that Holy Trinity Monastery in Jordanville is having (as many of the world is) financial difficulties at this time. They are in need of urgent financial support to attend to critical repairs in the monastery and seminary.

Holy Trinity Monastery is the oldest ROCOR monastery and also the central monastic community to our jurisdiction, founded in 1928 in upstate New York. It has trained a great many of our clergy and is a great place for pilgrimage. I was blessed to visit there late last year and enjoy the services (and take an exam which was successful if not so enjoyable ;)).

At the moment, our church Fund for Assistance is also matching dollar for dollar the first $50,000 USD. Their message from the website is below. Please assist where you can.

New York – While all eyes are focused on Hurricane Sandy, another emerging catastrophe calls for our special consideration in helping our fathers and brethren at the Holy Trinity Monastery. This venerable ROCOR institution, founded in 1928, has touched the lives of countless monks, seminarians, pilgrims, and other Orthodox faithful. The time I spent in 1982 as a “summer boy” was spiritually transforming, serving as an anchor in the midst of turbulent teenage years. My father has also found his resting place among the other 1,500 Orthodox colleagues in Christ at the monastery’s unique cemetery.

I visited the monastery earlier this week in order to review the endowment and scholarship funds provided by the FFA earlier this year. I was shocked to learn that the monastery is now under severe financial difficulty on the back of two major developments:

1) Environmental: all the heating oil tanks used for heating have had to be urgently replaced. Initial works were completed, but do not yet meet required standard due to a lack of sufficient funds. Failure to complete these works in time could result in a fine levied by the New York Environment Commission of $37,000 per day!

2) Infrastructure: the plumbing (including septic tank) and electricity in the main building (“bratskij korpus”) requires urgent replacement. When the founding monks built this complex in the 1950s, they did what they could with the materials they could afford. Unfortunately, the pipes are literally disintegrating (see photos). Given the cold winter approaching, this could spell disaster unless they are urgently replaced, at a cost the monastery cannot afford. The electricity is in a similar state of affairs – the reliable contractor of many years refuses to do any more service work without replacement of all wires, panels, and infrastructure. Lastly, the kitchen requires replacement in order to accommodate increasing requirements and rotting floor.

a word from our sponsors (well the choir anyway)

Sharing some video footage from the services of our Patronal Feast Day recently as recorded by some of our parishioners. As usual our choir sounded fantastic but you can remove my obvious bias and have a look for yourselves!

Hymn of the Cherubim – music for your soul

If you are in Sydney in August you must come and experience beautiful Russian Sacred music performed by incredible voices in two venues – on the 3rd and 5th of August. I have to admit that I am biased intensely to one of the venues as it is our Parish.

The concert is being directed by our Parish Choir Conductor, Andrei Laptev (OK – admission of more bias, and we have the same name!!), who has an intense passion for not only the music but it’s history and context. Tickets for the concert can be obtained at this link.

And if you are not in Sydney, or indeed Australia, you can buy one of their CD’s here:

From the concert promo information:

Under the direction and with music chosen by Andrei Laptev, this concert will include:-

  • Early Polychoral music by Titov.
  • Italianate Russian Baroque vocal concerti by Bortniansky.
  • Beautiful Sacred music from the Romantic period by Tchaikovsky.
  • Music from the “Moscow School” of Chesnokov & Kalinnikov.

Tragically most of this music was banned from performance in the USSR for most of the 20th Century and we are delighted to be discovering and sharing this beautiful and moving vocal experience in the atmospheric setting of the Holy Protection Orthodox Church at Cabramatta and the grand St Stephen’s Uniting Church Macquarie Street, Sydney.