Notices

ALL SAINTS -- NOTICES:  SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC, 2022

CHRIST IS RISEN!

GREETINGS, IN CHRIST!

Beloved Christians,

Today, the paralytic is healed; today, Christ demonstates His divine ability to heal.

The paralytic ("paralysed man") in today's Holy Gospel (John 5:1-15) symbolises both the determination of the Jews to follow the Law and to await the coming of the messiah, but also at a much deeper level, he represents those who are not in communion, who isolate themselves from God and from man.  

It is only the first person after the movement of the waters who is healed at Bethesda. One person only. The holy Fathers tell us that this symbolises the one Church, the one saviour, one faith; and that whoever is out of harmony with these is not capable of reaching the water and not capable of securing salvation.
Bitterness and self-pity cut us off from others, even from those who love us. The paralysed man has waited unloved, for 38 years, with no-one to help him. This has happened, partly because he has shunned help and cut himself off from God and neighbour.  

This point is made explicit by the deeper significance of the 38 years.
40 is the perfect sum total of virtues, produced by multiplying 10 by 4: the fulfilling of the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments, through the 4 Holy Gospels.
38 is deficient of perfection by 2.
The two missing things are made good by Christ’s new commandment of love for God and love for our neighbour.

Mercifully, our God is Love and make up all that is lacking in us. He heals out of His immense love for us- even the most unlovable shall receive divine mercy.

                    

THE JOURNEY HOME

The Orthodox trajectory from sin to salvation is always katharsis, photisis, theosis: cleansing, illumination, union with God. Cleansing by Baptism, sealing by the Holy Spirit, union with God through Holy Communion; cleansing of the heart through repentance, the enlightenment of the eye of the soul by grace, becoming a saint by the will of God. This trajectory is instinctive to us Orthodox but remains beyond the comprehension and reach of all those outside the Holy Church.

 

RETREAT-DAY - PRAYER AND STILLNESS

We will be holding a retreat-day during the summer (on the last Saturday of June or July). The retreat-day is an opportunity for us to take a step away from busy-ness and distraction, to gather at All Saints, and to bring prayer to the centre of our life.

Date/more details will be made available in due course; the day will go something like this -

Start 11:00; Ninth Hour Prayers; Akathist; picnic lunch (bring your own food & drink); talk on prayer; communal praying of the Jesus Prayer. The day will conclude with our monthly Esperinos service (which starts at 16:30).

Please note that the retreat is not for children, and that the number of available places will be limited.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Father Jakob, ASAP.

UPDATE:  as of this afternoon, approximately half of the spaces available have now been taken.

 

FEAST of ALL SAINTS - SUNDAY, 19th JUNE

Our PARISH FEAST.

Following the holy services, we will have a bring & share picnic lunch.

Honour All the Saints, stay behind, eat together, share fellowship!

Please note: our parish feast takes place on the last day before the Fast of the Holy Apostles (20th - 29th June).

 

COLLECTION FOR OUR MONASTERY

Until 19th June (the day of our parish feast), we will be having a separate collection of money for our monastery in Shropshire.

Please give generously. The monks fully deserve our love and support.

We will also be collecting names of living and departed for the monastery's higoumen, Archimandriti Phillip, to remember in his prayers and at proskomedia.

Do visit the monastery if you are able. I, Father Jakob, was privileged to be the very first guest-priest to serve Divine Liturgy there - in October 2018. Amongst other holy relics in its possession, the monastery holds a small relic of Saint Jakob of Hamatoura. When I was there, just after the saint's feast-day, his thirteenth-century relics were exuding holy myron. Glory to God for all things!

Monastery website: https://www.orthodoxmonastery.co.uk/

 

HOLY CHRISMATION

On 19th June - the day of our Parish Feast- the catechumen Elute will be received into the Church by Holy Chrismation. He will be granted the Christian name of Ignatios. His future patron, Saint Ignatios of Antioch, is one of the great saints of the Church.

Pray for Elute as he comes home. Pray, too, for Tom, his future godfather.

 

ALL GLORY TO GOD!

Iulia & family - for coming during the week to clean the holy temple

Nataliya - for needlework repairs to fabric

Delia - for cleaning today, after the holy services

Iulius - completed SATs

Iulia, Lucy - completing university studies

 

YOUR HOLY PRAYERS

FOR PEACE IN UKRAINE. Pray for all who are displaced, wounded, traumatised; and for the repose of the souls of those murdered. In particular please pray for the following people connected to our parish:

Yurii, Nina, Ivan, Oleksii - God willing, arriving in the UK tomorrow; seeking refuge from the war in Ukraine.

Hanna - new to our parish. 

Crina-Mihai - may God give her strength.

Rian (catechumen) - unwell. His exams start this Wednesday, 18th May.

 

TODAY'S SAINTS

The Seven Apostolic Martyr Bishops, ordained in Rome by Saints Peter and Paul and sent to evangelize Spain (1st century): Saints Torquatus, Ctesiphon, Secundus, Indaletius, Caecilius, Hesychius, and Euphrasius

Saint Achillios, Bishop of Larissa (330)

Saint Pachomios the Great, founder of cenobitic monasticism (348)

Saint Silvanos of Tabennisi (in the Thebaid) (4th century)

Saint Varvaros the Myrrh-gusher of Greece (c. 820 - 829)

Saint Panegyrios of Cyprus, Wonderworker of Malounta

Martyrs Cassius, Victorinus, Maximus, and their companions, in the Auvergne in France (c. 264)

Martyr Simplicius, Bishop, in Sardinia (c. 284-305)

Virgin recluse Caesarea of Otranto

Saint Hilary of Galeata in Italy, founder of the monastery there(558)

Saint Colmán of Oughaval [Colman mac Ua Laoighse, Colman Mc O'Laoighse], a disciple of Saint Columba and Saint Fintan of Clonenagh (6th century)

Virgin-martyr Dymphna of Geel, Flanders (c. 650)

Saint Waldalenus, founder of monastery of Bèze in France (7th century)

Saint Bercthun [Bertin], a disciple of Saint John of Beverley and first Higoumen of Beverley in England (733)

Saint Bertha of Bingen (c. 757), and her son Saint Rupert of Bingen (732)

Saint Isaiah of Rostov, Bishop and Wonderworker (1090)

Saint Isaiah of the Kiev Caves, wonderworker (1115)

Saint Andrew the Hermit, of Mt. Kalana, Epirus, wonderworker (c. 1237 - 1271)

Saint Pachomios  of Nerekhta, Higoumen (1384), and Saint Silvanos of Nerekhta (1384)

Saint Efphrosynos of Pskov [Eleazar], Higoumen and wonderworker (1481), and his disciple, Saint Serapion of Pskov (1481)

Saint Pachomius of Keno Lake Monastery (1525)

Saint Dmitrii of Moscow the Wonderworker, Slain Crown Prince (1591)

Saint Arethas of Valaam and Verkhoturye (1903)

Archbishop Pachomius [Kedrov] of Chernigov (1938), his brother, Archbishop Aberkios [Kedrov] of Zhitomir (1937), their father, Priest Nicholai [Kedrov] (1936), their brother-in-law, Priest Vladimir [Zagarsky] (1937)

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!

With love and prayers, in the Risen Lord,

the sinner and unworthy presbyter, Father Jakob

Why not share this news with your friends, and post it 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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