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…]
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
On Monday, February 19, we begin the holy season of Great Lent. It is a very valuable season of the Church Year and the appointed time for our spiritual renewal. In truth, it is a Gift from God.
Great Lent is an excellent time to put aside all those things that make us displeasing to ourselves, to others and to God. Someone once suggested an item called a spiritual wastebasket.
The wastebasket is a very valuable piece of equipment. A generous use of this item is important for efficiency in an office or a home or wherever needed. Possibly, a wise and generous use of a spiritual wastebasket could also be the secret for spiritual efficiency & blessedness. Many of our lives are encumbered with things that should go into this type of wastebasket. [Read more…]
SUNDAY OF ORTHODOXY
Our Greater Akron Community will gather together on Sunday evening, February 25, 2018, at 5:00 pm, for Vespers of the Sunday of Orthodoxy at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Our speaker is Father Ian Pac Urar, Rector of Presentation of Our Lord Orthodox Church, Fairlawn, Ohio. A dinner presentation will be given by Dr. Orwa Nasser on Christianity in the Holy Land: Building Churches in Palestine. [Read more…]
Holy Friday is one of the most solemn days within the life of the Orthodox Church. On this day, we witness our Lord willingly give His life for our sake. We watch our Lord’s crucifixion by the hands of those He came to save.
An ancient tradition in the Orthodox Church is the Holy Vigil at the Tomb of Christ also referred to as Grave Watch. After our Lord died on the Cross, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus, bound it in linen cloths with spices and buried it in a new tomb. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat opposite the tomb watching as their Lord was buried. The Church has joined with these two women in keeping watch over Jesus’ tomb. The Holy Vigil is our opportunity to help keep watch over our Lord’s body as He descends into Hell to loosen the bonds of death. What better way to understand the death and resurrection of Jesus than to participate in the Vigil by His tomb? [Read more…]
This is a day unlike any other day. There is no Divine Liturgy and Holy Communion is not received on this day.
At 9 a.m. the Royal Hours will be prayed before the Cross of our Crucified Lord on Golgotha as we keep the silence and fast of this day
At 6 p.m. the Vespers of the death and burial of Christ will be served. During the Holy Gospel of the Vespers, the Body of Christ will be taken down from the Cross as Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down
from the Cross. Reverently, the Icon of our Crucified Lord will be taken into the Altar. [Read more…]