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
As we experience the current national crisis and some are unable to attend services, please remember that St. Elia still needs to keep the lights on and the candles burning. Your weekly donations can either be mailed to the church or you can make your donations securely online. You can make a one-time donation or set up recurring donations by clicking the button below.
We thank you for your continued support during these difficult times.
His Eminence, Archbishop Alexander has issued the following guidance for our Diocese regarding COVID-19, which is in addition to the statement of the Holy Synod of Bishops. Please follow the St. Elia Facebook Page for notifications of any additional announcements or cancellations.
— 13 March 2020
The Second Week of Great Lent