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ALL SAINTS: NOTICES -- FEAST OF SAINT SAVVAS THE SANCTIFIED, 2021

LEGALISM KILLS THE SPIRIT

Beloved Christians,

In today’s Holy Gospel (Luke 13:10-17) we witness the healing of the crippled woman on the Sabbath day. This is one of many manifestations in the Gospels of the Spirit of God opposing the pride of man.                                                                                                    
Those of a pharisaical intention do not grasp that the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath.  Restrictions and structure without faith lead to a mechanical attention to detail, to the keeping of the letter of the law, and not to embracing the spirit of the law.
Where phariseeism and legalism prevail there is hypocrisy; whereas what matters most is that the heart is attentive to God.                                                      
Legalism leads quite inexorably to anger and hatred which further exclude us from other people just as they exclude us from God.  Our love for God is guided by - and formed from - our love for each other. If we condemn or upset others or have hatred for them then we cannot love God in any real or meaningful way.

ORTHODOXY 101: BLESSING DECISIONS

Q.  Father, what should we do whenever we come to moments of decision, in particular of major life-changing decisions?

A.  We pray! We ask for God's blessing.

The opposite of this - to reach decisions without prayer and blessings - is surely to remain enthralled to egotism-secularism, and to demonstrate that we do not need God. For a Christian, this 'going it alone' is unwise and always spiritually risky.

We pray for God's guidance, we pray for the discernment to know what to do, and whether the decision is the will of God or mere selfishness.

If we are troubled by indecision we may seek the advice of others, especially that of the spiritual father/parish priest.

Where a decision is reached then it is natural for us to hope that God blesses our actions; we ask 'Father, give the blessing'.

We should stress, here, that we are certainly not asking for the priest's permission. We are asking that whatever happens next has God's blessing. Be it a success or failure (according to subjective definition), we proceed from the correct foundation by asking that God's will be done.

We ask God's blessing about such important issues as where to send our children to school, when to change jobs, when to undergo study; when we become engaged and when we marry, when to move home... In blessing these 'big decisions' we are following holy scriptural precedents to be 'co-workers' with God (see examples, below);  thereby demonstrating humility and faith - that we need God to be part of our life and to be involved in our every action.

Some pertinent Holy Scripture references to 'co-working':

1 Corinthians 3:9-17

Colossians 4:11

Romans 16:3;16:9;16:21

2 Corinthians 8:23

Philippians 2:25

Philemon 1:1;1:24

3 John 1:8

1 Thessalonians 3:2
 

2022 ARCHDIOCESAN CALENDARS

Illustrated, containing feasts and fasting info and Holy Scriptural reading refs.

£5 to order. An example is in Church. Please see Presbytera Susanna.
 

A NEW CATECHUMEN

Pray for Eluté, enrolled today as a catechumen, that with God's grace he will be received into the Holy Church.
 

ALL GLORY TO GOD!

Vasile and Savvas (Gareth) for serving today

Delia & Adrian, Penelopa - for food

Nataliya - for chocolate coins for the children in honour of Saint Nikolaos
Erika - for giving her collected pocket money to the Church

Savvas, Andrada - Happy name-day. Many years!
 

MEMORY ETERNAL!

Niculae, Niculae, Niculae, Niculae
 

YOUR HOLY PRAYERS

Hieromonk Patrick, who served our community some years ago as visiting priest, has been canonically released into the Antiochian Archdiocese and is now serving a parish in Norfolk
Costas, Dimitra - unwell

Kelly (non-Orthodox) - unwell

Eluté - new catechumen

Lucian - for work, sitting an exam on Thursday 
 

HOLY WORDS OF TWO SAINTS

Abba Agathon:  "A man who is angry, even if he were to raise the dead, is not acceptable to God."

Saint Isaak of Syria: "This life has been given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits."  
 

TODAY'S SAINTS

Saint Savvas the Sanctified (532)

Martyr Anastasios of Salona in Dalmatia (4th century)

Venerable Gratus, monk

Venerable Nonnos, monk

Martyr Diogenes, by stoning

Martyr Averkios, by the sword

Venerable Karion and his son Zacharias of Egypt (4th century)

Saint Bassus, Bishop of Nice, martyr, his body transfixed with two huge nails (c. 250)

Martyrs Julius, Potamia, Crispin, Felix, Gratus and Companions - 12 martyrs who suffered in Thagura in Numidia in North Africa (302)

Saint Crispina of Thebeste in Numidia in North Africa, horribly tortured and ultimately beheaded (304)

Saint Dalmatius, Bishop of Pavia, martyr (304)

Martyr Pelinus, Bishop of Brindisi, martyred in the south of Italy (361)

Monk-martyr Justinian of Ramsey Island, South Wales (560)

Saint Nicetius, Bishop of Trier, Germany (566)

Saint Friminus, Bishop of Verdun in France (6th century)

Saint Cawrdaf, a noble in Wales, ended his life as a monk with St Illtyd (6th century)

Saint Sigiranus, Higoumen and confessor (c. 655)

Saint Gerbold, founder of the monastery of Livray, later Bishop of Bayeux (690)

Saint Basilissa, Higoumenissa of Oehren near Trier in Germany (c. 780)

Saint John [Gradenigo], a monk of Cuxa in Spain, reposed as a hermit near Montecassino in Italy (1025)

Venerable martyrs of Karyes Sketi on Mount Athos: Kosmas of Vatopedi, and Companions, killed by the Latins (1280)

Saint Philotheos the Righteous, of Karyes Sketi on Mount Athos, Elder of Saint Nektarios Athonitis (late 15th century) Saint Nektarios the Bulgarian, of Bitol (1500)

Saint Gurias, Archbishop of Kazan (1563)

Hieromartyr Elias [Khetverukhin], Priest, of Moscow (1932)

Hieromartyr Gennadiy [Letyuk], Priest-monk of Yaroslavl-Rostov (1941) Saint Sergei [Pravdolyubov], Confessor, Priest (1950)                                                                                          

​With love and prayers, in Christ God,
the sinner and unworthy presbyter, Father Jakob

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NATIVITY-PERIOD HOLY SERVICES AT ALL SAINTS

SATURDAY, 4th December - Saint Barbara

Sunday, 5th December- Saint Savvas the Sanctified

Sunday, 12th December - Holy Forefathers

Sunday, 19th December- Holy Righteous Forerunners

FRIDAY, 24th December - Eve of the Holy Nativity

SATURDAY, 25th December - HOLY NATIVITY OF JESUS CHRIST

[ NOTE that there is no Sunday service on 26th December ]

EARLY JANUARY 2022

SATURDAY, 1st January - Circumcision of the Lord

Sunday, 2nd January - Repose of Saint Seraphim of Sarov

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ALL SAINTS:  NOTICES - SAINT EDMUND, KING AND HOLY MARTYR, 2021

PSALTER GROUP NEWS

All glory to God !  Another four people (so far, this week!) have expressed a desire to embrace the blessed discipline of joining us in praying the psalms daily.

ORTHODOXY 101:  ''CHRISTMAS'' PARTIES

Q.  Father, what ought I to do about attending the office party which takes place during the holy fast?

A.  Attend the party. But moderate your behaviour and your food and alcohol consumption. Do not 'get carried away' on the wave of self-indulgence.

In the secular west we can expect little comprehension of what the Nativity of Christ, means, nor is there any grasp of the preparations to be made by Christians before the Great Feasts. Therefore, the work/office/school will always have their ''Christmas'' party before the Holy Nativity (25th December).
Love for our colleagues is important but so to is adherence to our Orthodox norms. Abstain from alcohol (unless it is allowed on the day of the party) and dairy and meat until Christ is Born. Veganism is now widespread, so alternatives to meat and dairy are easily found. If you absolutely cannot avoid dairy because of a ''fixed menu'' (or are unsure of all the ingredients), make your confession as soon as you are able.

To avoid the party altogether is one option but avoidance will not necessarily help to build a close working community. Better to attend and to show love, but also to demonstrate moderation.

NATIVITY FAST: RESOURCES

This week I have received several queries from confused people relating to praxis. Therefore, in anticipation of helping other people posing similar questions, I am redistributing the following material sent out in previous years.

THE HOLY NATIVITY FAST

The Kingdom of the Heavens is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  (Romans 14:17)

Fast:  15th November – 25th December 

[Note: The fast ends after the Holy Eucharist on “Christmas Day”. For this reason presents are exchanged and opened when we return home from Church.]

The Nativity Fast is a period of fasting, preparatory to the Birth according to the Flesh of Our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

It is important to keep in mind that whilst fasting is not an ‘optional extra’ (cf. Mt. 6:16), it is not a law for us; rather it is a voluntary way, for we ‘are not under the law but under grace’(Rom. 6:14).  However, the holy fathers recommend that one resolves faithfully to do as much as one is able. Each year, as one matures as a Christian, a fuller participation can be undertaken. It is never recommended that one try to create one’s ‘own rules’ for fasting, since this would not be obedient or wise, and might lead to delusion. The Faithful are encouraged, with regards to severity / strictness / laxity, that this is something to be determined in consultation with the priest / spiritual father. Personal factors need to be considered. The Church understands this and extends mercy. So, for example, children below the age of seven years, the elderly, those of poor health, pregnant women, et alia, should approach these things with caution and moderation, and with the guidance of the priest / spiritual father.  For the sake of your spiritual health: Do not make it up as you go along! And all of us would do well to... 

REMEMBER:  

you are not under the law but under grace  (Romans 6:14); 

the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life  (2 Corinthians 3:6).

Let us all push ourselves – none of us would be wise to do our own thing, nor to eat large meals merely avoiding meat and dairy. Push ourselves, yes!  But also use discernment. Those with medical conditions, the elderly, those who carry out hard manual labour (etc.): don’t over-do it!  If you lack strength, or if in doubt – ask. Avoid the temptation to soft-pedal, but also avoid the temptation to see one’s self as some ascetical super-hero!  Avoid the polarities, but – equally - don’t sit in some middle-ground devised only to be ‘comfortable’.  Certainly, all of us, can do more – children can eats less sweets, adults can eat smaller portions; certainly, all should pray more.

Let us all do what we are able. Let us do all our best – we can certainly do no more than that!  But, also, pray that God grants us the grace to do a little bit more than we thought possible.  In such a way we offer a blessed sacrifice to God.  

To those engaged in these blessed struggles – may our God grant strength and faith!

There are many printed and online resources to consult re. what to eat / what not to eat. If you need any advice, whatsoever, please contact me. I am here to help you. 

Remember that fasting is not an end in itself; a fast without prayer and almsgiving is insufficient as a means of cleansing / growing closer to Christ.

CONFESSION

I recommend that if you are making your confession during this fasting period, that you do so towards the end. Please speak with me when you are ready; please bear in mind that I hear confessions from many people outside the parish, so it can get busy!

The recommendation which I adhere to is to make confession (at least) four times per annum – before Holy Pascha, before the Synaxis of the Holy Apostles [St. Peter & St. Paul], before the Dormition, before the Nativity; that is, during the four fasting periods of the ecclesiastical year. Also, we should make confession at any other time, as the need arises. It is important to point out that confession is most definitely not an opportunity to ‘beat ourselves up’! On the contrary, confession aids the development a deeper, healthier, relationship with God and man, and carves out a space for reconciliation and spiritual growth.  Confession is catharsis not punishment!

Health Concerns

During fasting seasons, avoiding prohibited foods poses no health risk as long as adequate amounts of other foods are taken.  Calcium intake and adequate calories may be a concern for growing children and pregnant and nursing mothers. Calcium-fortified orange juice is an easy way to guarantee plentiful calcium intake while avoiding dairy products.  Nuts and peanut butter are a good source of calories for those who need to maintain weight during a fast.

 If you are new to fasting, you may find the onset of hunger pangs distressing.  Hunger pangs are not harmful; they are simply part of the fast.

 The first few days of a long fasting period are often the most difficult. Do not be discouraged by headaches, fatigue, etc. at the beginning of a fasting season — they will disappear or reduce in intensity. If you are troubled by lethargy, try moderate exercise. A short walk can make a surprising difference to your energy level. Have faith, trust God – all will be well!

I pray to almighty God that you enjoy a very blessed and happy fast, and that all of us will make confession and partake of the Holy Eucharist on the day of our Lord's Holy Nativity.

Father Jakob

Presbyter, All Saints North Benfleet

please share this news with your friends and family and post online
 

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LOOKING AHEAD -- TWELVE GREAT FEASTS
To help you plan ahead, for those of you who are able to take time off work, etc., here are the dates of GREAT FEASTS for the year ahead.
These are dates upon which we should try to be in Church (sadly, many of us do not always have this choice).
These are days upon which the Divine Liturgy should be served at All Saints. Servers, singers, helpers- please do what you're able.

14th SEPTEMBER -- EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
21st NOVEMBER -- ENTRY OF THE THEOTOKOS INTO THE TEMPLE
25th DECEMBER -- NATIVITY OF CHRIST
6th JANUARY -- HOLY THEOPHANY
2nd FEBRUARY -- PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD IN THE TEMPLE
25th MARCH -- HOLY ANNUNCIATION
17th APRIL -- ENTRY OF OUR LORD INTO IERUSALM*
24th APRIL -- HOLY PASCHA*
2nd JUNE -- HOLY ASCENSION*
12th JUNE -- HOLY PENTEKOST*
6th AUGUST -- HOLY TRANSFIGURATION
15th AUGUST -- HOLY DORMITION

[ * The dates of these feasts vary from year to year. ]

 

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ORTHODOXY 101 : ATTENDING THE DIVINE LITURGY

Christianity is experiential; it is not just 'read about', it must be lived. The Holy Eucharist is at the centre of our worship, at the centre of our Life in Christ.

We come to the Church, we remain in the Church in order that our souls be saved. That is all. It is our soul's salvation - there is nothing else.

The Holy Services are a store-house of spiritual treasures. To be saved, we need to gain knowledge of ourselves. We do this by discovering our sins and weaknesses, and by fighting against their pull. Our faith is war on personal pride. When our pride is wounded in the course of Church life, we should thank God! 

We fight best when we are supported. For support we have the Holy Gospels; the Holy Fathers, their Lives and Teachings; we have God and we have each other.

The Church Community (both living and departed) is our Family in Christ. Our God is LOVE. And we are giving of our best, when we give love to God and to each other.

The Holy Eucharist is the body and Blood of Christ. It is life itself, it is Salvation. It is our treasure: "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also"​(Matthew 6:21). We spend time with - we are attentive to - the people, the things we love the most.

Canon LXXX (Sixth Oecumenical Council) reads, "A cleric or layman shall not go three consecutive Sundays without attending church, unless some necessary business requires him to leave his town. The usual penalties apply: deposition for a cleric; excommunication for a layman".

It is not always possible to come to every holy service, but our good practice, and simple good manners, is to notify the priest of our absence, or if we have moved away. Notification demonstrates love and humility, and allows the priest and community to pray for us, for example - when we are sick.

We pray for those who are absent from the divine services for legitimate reasons. The others, who come infrequently or have not attended for long periods, have become prodigal sons, wanderers. They have distanced themselves from Christ and from their Christian family. Their love has become luke-warm. A full and proper return to Church requires a full and proper repentance, taking responsibility for our failings.

Church life is about responsibility. It is about stepping up and being adult. This is done by singing, standing throughout the holy services, fasting, making regular confession, reading in Church, serving, cleaning and tidying, cooking, reading the morning and evening prayers every day, preparing properly for confession and communion. Above all it is about praying.

To be blunt, Church (parish) life is about giving time and money to the glory of God. Church life is about commitment. Without commitment, we will never become deeply Orthodox or even remain Orthodox.

Love of God and love of neighbour are entwined. We cannot love God if we do not love our neighbours, especially our fellow Christians; and we cannot love our neighbours if we do not love God (1 John 4:20).

We spend time with God, we spend time with each other. We do so not because we feel 'obliged' or even because we 'want to' but simply because our heart draws us, and we follow Christ's new commandment (Luke 10:27): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself".

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AΓAΠH = CARITAS = CHARITY = LOVE

John 4:16: Ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη (koine Greek) = Deus caritas est (Latin) = God is Love (English)

GIVING TO OTHERS

All glory to God! Our small parish has been able in little ways to help the poor, offer love to the stranger, to help heal the wounded.

GIFTAID

This past year we received £2,000 back from the UK government. Our parish trustees have authorised this and future monies raised through giftaid to be passed on to our poorer neighbours. If more of us donated by giftaid we could do even more to help the poor, the wounded, and the marginalised who are our neighbours.

'HOW CAN I HELP?'

Every penny helps! Donate to our parish via gift aid. If you pay tax in the UK you can use giftaid. It's free, it's easy, and as you can see above, it helps us to help others. The UK government pays us back for what you give to us via gftaid. This is the only official help that UK charities receive.

Our hope and ambition is that every penny given to us by you comes through giftaid.

LAZAROS, OUR NEIGHBOUR

The dying Lazaros is lying outside our door (Luke 16:20). We Christians have a duty of care (John 21:17), this is a constant in our life (Matthew 26:11), we must not ignore him (1 John 3:17). Let us do all that we are able to help to help our neighbour (John 15:12). May I ask you - please make a start, and donate to the parish by giftaid.

CHRIST IS RISEN!

In the Risen Lord,

Father Jakob 

Presbyter, All Saints North Benfleet

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Welcome to the website of All Saints' Orthodox Church, Basildon, Essex.

Our congregation is diverse in terms of background and nationality and age; we are thoroughly multi-cultural, have many young families, and are a lively and friendly parish. We very much welcome visitors and all enquirers who are eager to learn about the Orthodox Christian faith. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Please use the links above to navigate the site.

Please see the services page for details of services.

EVERY SUNDAY:
*** THE HOLY TEMPLE IS OPEN FROM 09:00 FOR PRAYER ***
ORTHROS [Matins] Starts at 09:40.
DIVINE LITURGY [Holy Eucharist] Starts at 10:30.
Fellowship and refreshment follow the holy services. 

SATURDAY (usually, last Saturday in the month):
*** THE HOLY TEMPLE IS OPEN IN THE AFTERNOON FOR PRAYER ***
ESPERINOS [Vespers] starts at 4:30pm.

SATURDAY (First in the month):
*** DIVINE LITURGY [Holy Eucharist] AT ALL SAINTS *** Starts around 9:30am.