Please click the link below to find us on YouTube(only good for Online Services):
We will be doing live online videos on YouTube for services during the Covid-19 shutdown. Live streaming will begin about 10 minutes before services start. Click on the link below to check to see if we started the service. Currently that is a typika service on Sunday morning.
Please click the link below to find us on YouTube(only good for Online Services):
To understand the various liturgical particularities of the Lenten period, we must remember that they express and convey to us the spiritual meaning of Lent and are related to the central idea of Lent, to its function in the liturgical life of the Church. It is the idea of repentance. In the teaching of the Orthodox Church however, repentance means much more than a mere enumeration of sins and transgressions to the priest. Confession and absolution are but the result, the fruit, the "climax" of true repentance. And, before this result can be reached, become truly valid and meaningful, one must make a spiritual effort, go through a long period of preparation and purification. Repentance, in the Orthodox acceptance of this word, means a deep, radical reevaluation of our whole life, of all our ideas, judgments, worries, mutual relations, etc. It applies not only to some "bad actions," but to the whole of life, and is a Christian judgment passed on it, on its basic presuppositions. At every moment of our life, but especially during Lent, the Church invites us to concentrate our attention on the ultimate values and goals, to measure ourselves by the criteria of Christian teaching, to contemplate our existence in its relation to God. This is repentance and it consists therefore, before everything else, in the acquisition of the Spirit of repentance, i.e., of a special state of mind, a special disposition of our conscience and spiritual vision.
The Lenten worship is thus a school of repentance. It teaches us what is repentance and how to acquire the spirit of repentance. It prepares us for and leads us to the spiritual regeneration, without which "absolution" remains meaningless. It is, in short, both teaching about repentance and the way of repentance. And, since there can be no real Christian life without repentance, without this constant "reevaluation" of life, the Lenten worship is an essential part of the liturgical tradition of the Church. The neglect of it, its reduction to a few purely formal obligations and customs, the deformation of its basic rules constitute one of the major deficiencies of our Church life today.
Protopresbyter Alexander Schmemann
Wow are we really 30 years old? Was it only 30 years ago that Archmandrite Alexander Pihach celebrated the first liturgy.
Have we reached that coming of age? But we have so much left to do.
Well let's start off with a celebration liturgy giving thanks to God for all that He has done for us.
Of course you can't celebrate without your father there, so we joined in with Vladyka Irenee.
Also con-celebrating was:
Father Rodion Luciuk, rector, Father Cosmin Vint (Romanian Archdiocese),
Protodeacon Jesse Issac, and Deacon Ken Gaber (Romanian Archdiocese).
The Nativity Fast
The fast, it means an extra little bit on our part.
It is a given that during a fast period (like the one we are in right now) one does not eat meat and other foods, or at least tries and be modest about what one does eat. Certainly this is a very important part of preparing ourselves for whatever feast or event we have coming up, but it is only part of the equation.
In the same way that no athlete consumes a special high protein diet, only to sit on the couch and watch TV until the big game, we shouldn't simply change our eating habits only to carry on life as normal. If that kind of training doesn't work for a NHL hockey player, why would it work for us spiritually.
A period of fasting gives us an opportunity to prepare ourselves in a complete way. We change up our diet, that is certainly a necessary consideration, but we also do a little extra.
From Our Dean, Father Gregory Scratch
Archimandrite Alexander [Pihach], 64, unexpectedly fell asleep in the Lord on the night of October 7, 2016 while visiting the rectory of Christ the Savior Sobor here, where he was the guest of Archpriest Vasyl and Matushka Oksana Kolega.
Archimandrite Alexander had faithfully served as Dean of the Orthodox Church in America’sRepresentation Church of Saint Catherine the Great Martyr and as OCA Representative to the Patriarchate of Moscow since his appointment by the Holy Synod of Bishops on November 30, 2012.
Born Dennis Alexander Pihach in Saskatoon, SK, on June 27, 1952 and raised in an Orthodox Christian family, Archimandrite Alexander graduated from Saint Andrew’s College, Winnipeg, MB, in 1973. He continued his studies in Sociology and Slavic Studies and graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, after which he was employed with Social Services. In 1986, he was ordained to the priesthood in the OCA’s Archdiocese of Canada and assigned to plant a mission in Yorkton, SK—now Saint Mark’s Church—while continuing his employment with Youth Addictions Services.
He was elected Dean of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Deanery and appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Canada in 1996. Two years later, he was assigned Rector of Saint Herman of Alaska Sobor, Edmonton, AB.
On July 11, 2009, he was tonsured to monastic orders and elevated to the dignity of Igumen of Saint Elias Skete, Dickie Bush, AB. On September 1 of the same year, he was appointed Interim Dean of Annunciation Cathedral, Ottawa, ON. He was elevated to the dignity of Archimandrite and returned to Saint Herman Sobor on a full time basis in May 2011.
Archimandrite Alexander is survived by two brothers, Terry and Murray Pihach, and his nieces and nephews Andria, Jesse, Bryan, Chantelle, and Genna-Rae.
What was it like for the Good Thief, after Jesus died? He was left alone on his cross in terrible pain, and the one he put all his hopes in was gone, unmistakably dead. Jesus had not come into his kingdom after all.
No matter how bleak your faith has become at times, it can’t have been worse than that.
I expect we all love the Good Thief. His name is not certain; Russians call him St. Rakh, and to the Copts (and in the West) he is St. Dimas.
At first, it seems, he joined the other thief in mocking Christ:
"And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way" (Matt. 27:39-44).
"Those who were crucified with him also reviled him" (Mark 15:32).
But then he had a change of heart:
"One of the criminals who was hanged railed at him, saying, 'Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!'
But the other rebuked him, saying, 'Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.'
And he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'
And he said to him, 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise'" (Luke 23 39:43).
Something changed the heart of the Good Thief, and he put all his desperate hopes on Jesus. He probably didn’t have a very clear idea, theologically, of what was going on at that moment. He wouldn’t have been able to explain the doctrine of the Trinity. He certainly would not have understood that Jesus was dying for our salvation, and would rise again. He thought that maybe Jesus really was some sort of king, and that some dramatic, supernatural event was going to take place. When it happened, and Jesus was freed from his cross and revealed as king, the Good Thief wanted to be with him.
His faith couldn’t have been very accurate or mature; but it was still enough to be saved. The Good Thief had repentance, and he had humility. He knew his own abject need. That was enough to make up for his theological imprecision.
So he cast all his hopes on Christ
—and then Christ died. And he was all alone.
Whatever he had expected, in that glow of newfound faith, it wasn’t that Jesus would simply die. The soldiers came and broke his legs, to hasten death. He wouldn’t be able to hoist himself up to catch a breath, and suffocation would soon set in. They broke the legs of the Bad Thief as well. But when the soldiers saw that Jesus was already dead, they didn't break his legs. One of them pierced Jesus' side with a spear, and the Good Thief saw that Jesus was unresponsive; the soldiers could have done anything with that body. Jesus was truly dead. Blood and water flowed from the pierced pericardium, further evidence that this was now a corpse.
What thoughts went through the Good Thief’s head, in his final moments? He hung there beside Christ’s ruined body. There would be no miraculous rescue after all. No matter how bleak a state your faith might decline to, it can't have been as miserable as the Good Thief’s thoughts were at that moment.
And yet, minutes later, he was flooded with light and joy. He saw his Lord again, face to face, in Paradise.
When we hear a story about a terrible death, we think: it gets worse and worse and then you DIE. But what actually happens, to those who love the Lord, is this: it gets worse and worse, and then you SEE THE LORD. It gets worse, unbearably worse, and then suddenly it’s over. Suddenly, all the darkness vanishes. All the pain is gone. You are flooded with joy and light. Suddenly you are with Jesus in Paradise.
If your faith is weak, if you have even mocked God, if you doubt whether the Lord would really be with you if you were bound for a terrible death, remember the Good Thief. Your situation can't have been worse than his. It turned out that he didn't really need very much to be saved. He didn’t need a theological education, or even a clear idea of who Jesus was. He just needed to cast all his hopes on him. That was enough. And he was with Christ in Paradise that day.
Here's a beautiful Catholic prayer to the Good Thief:
Glorious St. Dimas, you alone of all the great penitent saints were directly canonized by Christ himself; you were assured of a place in heaven with him “this day” because of the sincere confession of your sins to him in the tribunal of Calvary and your true sorrow for them as you hung beside him in that open confessional.
You who by the direct sword thrust of your love and repentance did open the heart of Jesus in mercy and forgiveness even before the centurion’s spear tore it asunder; you whose face was closer to that of Jesus in his last agony, to offer him a word of comfort, closer even than that of his beloved Mother, Mary; you who knew so well how to pray, teach me the words to say to him to gain pardon and the grace of perseverance; and you who are so close to him now in heaven, as you were during his last moments on earth, pray to him for me that I shall never again desert him, but that at the close of my life I may hear from him the words he addressed to you: “This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
On March 20th St Mark and it's sister parish St. Anargyroi where honoured and blessed to host the pan-Orthodox service Sunday of Orthodoxy.
We had 120 guests coming from as far as Moose Jaw, Sk, Regina, Sk, Canora, SK, Swan River, MB as well as other locations closer. We were blessed to have eight clergy serving from the various jurisdictions. These included the Orthodox Church of America, Archdiocese of Canada, Greek Orthodox Church of Canada, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada, Orthodox Church of America, Romanian Archdiocese. Serving were Father Cosmin, Father Lucian, Father Michael, Father Vladimir, Father Rodion, Father Spiridon, Father Christian, Father John. A beautiful vesper service was conducted and Father Christian gave an inspiring message. Then the faithful gathered together in fellowship and enjoyed a beautiful lenten feast afterward. Glory be to God.