May God grant many years to the newly illumined servants.
With all the negatives and changes that came with the covid-19 pandemic, we need to rejoice for the blessings that are occurring. One is those who are seeking and find the true faith in this troubled time. St. Mark is blessed to have encountered such a couple. The newly illumined Paisios and Mary realized that their new age and eastern spiritual beliefs were lacking. This was heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic. In their search, Christianity came to the forefront. But which branch would be the one to follow? In the Orthodox church they saw the opportunity to be able to live a deep and fulfilling faith. As Paisios mentioned, “we would be able to have a personal and loving relationship with God”. Due to the Covid-19 shutdown, contact was made by email. When the restrictions eased, in person contact was made. This lead to catechism classes. The end result was a glorious autumn day at the lake. The only downside, was the wind gusts and that the lake was at a 50 year low level, meaning a good hike to find deeper water. Paisios and Mary were baptized and chrismated, Glory to God!
May God grant many years to the newly illumined servants.
Thanksgiving in the Orthodox Church
In the month of October, we celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a day that families join and give thanks to God for everything that they have. It is a day filled with good food, sports and a time to relax and have fun. Of course, this day is not on our Orthodox Calendar. We don’t need one special day to give thanks for everything we have. We, as Christians, do that every Sunday morning and any other time we pray and take Holy Communion. Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is still a great time to reflect on what we should be thankful. As Orthodox Christians, we should be thankful for our Lord coming down to earth, taking the form of a servant and giving Life to us through His Cross and Resurrection. We should be thankful that He brought us from death to life with the plan of salvation. We should be thankful for our parents, our brothers and sisters, our grandparents, our aunts, uncles and cousins. We should be thankful for our friends, our teachers and our classmates. We should be thankful for everything that we have.
Now, someone might say, “Doesn’t God know that we are thankful for these things?” Well, yes. God knows everything. He wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to embrace Him and make Him the Lord of our lives and our best friend. Therefore, when we thank God, we show Him that we want a personal relationship with Him. We show Him that we want to talk with Him, to laugh and cry with Him, to become one with Him. When we don’t bother to talk with Him, it is as if we don’t want Him in our lives. When we do talk to God, we should not only ask God for things; we should first thank Him for everything we have. We should thank Him every day because He gives us these things every day. We should then ask forgiveness for what we have done and then we should ask for the things that will make us closer to Him. Our action – of giving thanks to God for His Body and Blood – is not complete until we go forth and do good works, imitating Christ. Thus at the end of the Liturgy we are called to “depart in peace” “in the Name of the Lord.” When we do these things, we truly would have prayed and given thanks for His grace and mercy on us. This Thanksgiving season, let’s not forget to give thanks from the moment we rise to the moment we go back to sleep at night and our Heavenly Father will be there saying, “You are welcome, my child.” Let us not forget to be thankful for God’s real and active presence in our lives. Maybe we can institute a special prayer of thanksgiving, maybe we can take some time away from TV, away from Football, away from the food, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to the One who has provided all the things that we can even be thankful for. Courtesy of St. Paul's newsletter.
We are moving forward on reopening services as per Provincial and Archdiocese Guidelines. Due to the limited space, attendance will be limited. Please call before attending to ensure that we have room for the services.
We will continue to steam online via YouTube.
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.