The Twelve Passion Gospels read by Fr. Don, Deacon James and members of the St. Elia Parish.
Beloved in the Lord,
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!
It has been said that life under the restrictions of the COIV-19 pandemic is a “new normal.” For us, however, this is far from “normal.” Normally, clergy and faithful, tired yet edified by the forty-day Great Fast, would now be gathering in temples for the services of Holy Week. We would stand together, in the company of that “great cloud of witnesses” represented in the holy icons, and take the final steps of a liturgical journey that began with Forgiveness Sunday Vespers.
This year, we still grow weary, but it is weary of “stay-at-home” orders and the anxieties of not knowing how much longer our nation will be occupied by the coronavirus. We still anxiously await joyous liturgical celebrations in our churches, but this year we are unsure when they will come. This year has been far from normal and I am sure we all share the sentiment that doing this once in a lifetime is quite enough.
However, in the face of these unexpected challenges, let us be assured that God’s providence is at work in these times, as it is at all times. This year, we are closer than ever to the countless faithful who came before us that celebrated our Lord’s resurrection in even more adverse situations. Let us remember our brethren behind the iron curtain, who sat at home singing the Paschal hymns in hushed voices lest their neighbors give them up to the authorities. Let us remember the Christians under the Ottomans and the Romans whose public celebration of the Risen Lord would cost them their lives, and then only after horrific tortures. Think of the joy in our forebears’ hearts the first time they could cry out for all to hear, “Christ is Risen!” When we are again able to gather for the divine services, we will not have to imagine what that felt like; we will have had a small taste of it ourselves.
This year, we have a choice. We can look at the journey we’ve been on with bitterness and remorse, or we can be grateful for an opportunity to stand with those who came before us, whose devotion and faith in the face of great adversity made it possible for us today to “glorify Christ, Risen from the dead.” Patience, my children. “Those who endure will gain their lives,” as the Risen Lord fills their hearts with his life-giving presence. Wherever Christ is, be it in church or at home behind closed doors, there is “eternal life and his great mercy.”
With love in the risen Christ,
Archbishop of Toledo and the Bulgarian Diocese – Orthodox Church in America
Please watch the video below for a daily reflection from Fr. Don and see updates below the video including the schedule for Holy Week. You can also view the reading of the Twelve Passion Gospels by members of the Parish.
Dear Parish Family and Friends,
Hopefully, everyone received the parish bulletin sent to your home this week. I have enclosed a couple of additional items and details surrounding the remaining parish schedule. The ‘STAY AT HOME’ guidelines will remain in place until notified. The Toledo Diocese directives must continue:
1.) All parishes and missions shall have no more than 5 people total including Father. Rotating schedules are NOT to be employed.
2.) A thorough disinfection of the Church shall be conducted after each service.
3.) Parishioners shall be instructed to remain at home. Services can be viewed via streaming on our St. Elia parish website.
4.) The doors of our Church are to be locked.
5.) The Church building shall not be opened for any purposes outside of scheduled Liturgical services.
6.) In regard to CONFESSION, please contact Fr. Don 330 472-6456.
HOLY WEEK AND PASCHA: ALL OF OUR SERVICES WILL BE STREAMED
Please…cease ‘all your earthly cares’ and pray together in the remaining Holy Week Services and to continue our journey with Christ in His death and glorious Resurrection!
HOLY THURSDAY, APRIL 16
The 12 Gospels are pre-recorded readings beginning with Father Don and followed by Deacon James and parishioners. A link will be posted on our Parish website and Facebook page. It will be on our parish YouTube channel. Any questions or difficulty with accessing the video please contact Veronica and/or Ana.
GREAT AND HOLY FRIDAY, APRIL 17 – 6 PM VESPERS
PASCHA, SUNDAY, APRIL 19th SCHEDULE:
9:30 AM DIVINE LITURGY
11:15 AM – Bring your Pascha Basket for blessing-in the parish parking lot. Place your basket in your opened car truck and remain in your car. Father will say the prayers from the ‘fire escape’ balcony.
6:30 PM – A virtual ‘Parish and Friends Pascha Sing- A- Long’ (via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/92590745031). ALL are welcome to join together to sing Christ Is Risen and in fellowship.
+ Fr. Don
Previous Daily Messages
It’s almost that time again! This Lent, join the St. Elia Prayer Group as we once again unite to pray the Psalms together throughout the fast, which for Orthodox Christians begins this year on March 2. You do not need to be a member of St. Elia Akron to join. All you need is a Bible and a little bit of time to set aside each day.
The prayer group also offers the opportunity for us to pray for one another, for our parish, and for any special intentions any of us may have. [Read more…]
Schedule of Divine Services, Christmas 2019
Thursday, December 19, 6 p.m.: Vespers
Friday, December 20, 6 p.m.: Vespers
Saturday, December 21, 5 p.m.: Great Vespers and Confessions
Sunday, December 22:
- 9:45 a.m.: Hours
- 10 a.m.: Divine Liturgy
- Lighting of the 6th candle on the Advent Wreath
Monday, December 23, 6 p.m.: Royal Hours of Christmas
Tuesday, December 24:
- 5 p.m.: Vigil of Christmas
Wednesday, December 25, 10 a.m.: Divine Liturgy
Thursday, December 26, 9 a.m.: Divine Liturgy
Friday, December 27: 9 a.m.: Divine Liturgy
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Christos razdajetsja! Christos e Rodi! Mir Boze!
C Rozdectvom Christovim! Christos Gennatai! Masheeh Wuleda! Buon Natale! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Wesoly Swiat! Krisztus Szuletik! Froliche Weinachten! Chestita Koleda!
Let us set out with joy upon the season of the fast… and with prayers and tears let us seek our Lord and savior.
Holy Week & Pascha Liturgical Schedule
Seven days within the Season of Advent – on November 21st, the feast of Mary’s Entrance into the Temple as a child is celebrated. This feast is filled with important spiritual significance for the believer.
The texts of the services tell how Mary was brought by her parents as a small child to the temple in order to be raised there, consecrated to the service of the Lord, until the time of her betrothal in marriage.
According to Church tradition, Mary was solemnly received by the temple community which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. She was led to the holy place in order to prepare herself to become the “holy of holies” of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine Child Who was to be born of her.
The main theme of Mary’s entrance into the Temple is the fact that she enters the Temple to become herself the Living Temple of God, thus inaugurating the New Testament in which are fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament that “The Dwelling Place of God is With Man” and that the human person is the sole proper dwelling place of the Divine Presence.
The Vesperal Divine Liturgy for this Feast will be celebrated on Tuesday evening, November 20, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.
On November 15th, forty days prior to the celebration of the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity, the Holy Orthodox Church begins the Christmas Fast. This period of six weeks is often called Advent, which means the Coming, and refers to the Coming of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Mystery of His Holy Nativity.
Christmas and Epiphany are Feasts of Light, celebrating the Coming and Manifestation of Christ, the Light of the world. Nature itself helps us to experience these Feasts of Light. With the coming of the winter the days get shorter and the nights longer, but once we reach Christmas Day itself the reverse begins to happen. Nature prepares for the Coming of Christ, the Light in the darkness – and so do we during the Holy Season of Advent.
To help in our preparation, we will have an Advent Wreath in Church. The Wreath made of evergreens will have six candles on it – on for each week in Advent. Each Sunday, beginning November 18th , along with special prayers, we will light a candle on the wreath – as we prepare ourselves to receive Christ the Light of the world into our hearts.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light.
For those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
A light is risen.
For unto us a Child is born. :Unto us a Son is given.
And of His peace there shall be no end.
What is an angel?
The word angel means a “messenger” of God. An angel of God is one of the spirits of heaven sent down by God to announce His will and to fulfill His orders. The Holy Scriptures give us many accounts of the deeds performed by the angels by the order of God, such as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or guarding Paradise after the fall of Adam. The New Testament tells of angels who appeared to Zacharias, and the Virgin Mary. “An angel,” says St. John Damascene, “is an intelligent substance, always active, having free will and bodiless, serving God: a being that has received immortality as a gift of God. The Creator alone knows its essential nature.” Concerning the Orthodox Faith
According to Orthodox Scripture and Tradition, there are nine ranks of bodiless powers or the Hosts: angels, archangels, principalities, powers, virtues, dominions, thrones, cherubim and seraphim (cf. Col. 1:16). The Cherubim and Seraphim are described as offering continual adoration before God with the incessant and ever-resounding cry: HOLY! HOLY! HOLY! (Isaiah 6:3, Rev. 4:8). We refer to this when we sing the Cherubic Hymn in the Divine Liturgy: Let us mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the thrice-holy hymn to the life-creating Trinity. Together with them, we sing: Holy! Holy! Holy!
The Vesperal Divine Liturgy for this Feast will be celebrated on Wednesday evening, November 7, 2018, at 6:00 pm.
The Feast of the Patronage of Mary, the Mother of God, is celebrated on October 1st.
This Feast was placed on the Church calendar to commemorate the apparition of the Mother of God in Constantinople in the 10th century. The account of the apparition is found in the life of St. Andrew, the fool for Christ’s sake. The Saracens were trying to take the city of Constantinople and had begun the decisive battle. The terror-stricken people had gathered in the various churches. The event took place at the Church of Balchernae near Constantinople. During the Office of the Vigil, at about 4 o-clock in the morning, St. Andrew and his disciple, Epiphanius, saw a majestic woman supported by St. John the Baptist and St. John the Theologian, accompanied by several saints. On reaching the center of the Church, the Mother of God knelt down and remained long in prayer, her face bathed in tears.
When she prayed again before the Altar, she took the veil that covered her head, holding it above her head, extended it over all the people in the Church., Andrew and Epiphanius alone were able to see the appearance of the Mother of God, but all who were present felt the grace of her protection. The next day the city was freed from danger.