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The Messenger   ~ March 2019
“Now says the Lord your God, 'Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting and wailing and mourning; rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate. He is longsuffering and plenteous in mercy.”
Joel 2:12-13

On Fasting

St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)

The head or chief of the virtues is prayer; their foundation is fasting. Fasting is constant moderation in food with prudent discernment in its use.

Proud man! You think so much and so highly of your mind, while all the time it is in complete and constant dependence on your stomach.

The law of fasting, though outwardly a law for the stomach, is essentially a law for the mind. The mind, that sovereign ruler in man, if it wishes to enter into its rights of autocracy and retain them, must first submit to the law of fasting. Only then will it be constantly alert and bright; only then can it rule over the desires of the heart and body. Only with constant vigilance and temperance can the mind learn the commandments of the Gospel and follow them. The foundation of the virtues is fasting.

Newly-made man when placed in paradise was given a single commandment, a commandment concerning fasting. Of course, only one commandment was given because that was sufficient to have kept primitive man in his innocence. The commandment did not speak of the quantity of food, but only prohibited a kind or quality. Let those who recognize a fast in quantity of food only and not in quality be silent. By devoting themselves to a practical study of fasting, they will see the significance of the quality of the food. So important was the law of fasting declared by God to man in paradise that with the commandment was pronounced a threat of punishment for breaking it. The punishment consisted in the striking of men with eternal death.

And now a sinful death continues to strike the breakers of the holy commandment of fasting. He who does not observe moderation and due discernment in food cannot preserve virginity or chastity, cannot control anger, yields to sloth, despondency and sorrow, becomes a slave of vainglory and an abode of pride which gets into a man through his carnal state, which is caused most of all by luxurious and nourishing food.

The commandment to fast was renewed or confirmed by the Gospel. “Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with excessive eating and drinking,” said the Lord. Overeating and drinking impart corpulence or grossness not only to the body, but to the mind and heart as well; that is, they reduce a person to a carnal state of soul and body.

Fasting, on the contrary, leads a Christian to a spiritual state. A person who is purified by fasting is humble in spirit, chaste. modest, silent, refined in the feelings of his heart and mind, light in body, fit for spiritual labors and contemplation, apt to receive divine grace.

The carnal man is completely immersed in sinful pleasures. He is sensual in body, in heart and in mind He is incapable not only of spiritual joy and of receiving divine grace, but even of spiritual occupations. He is nailed to the earth, wallowing in materiality, spiritually dead while alive.

“Woe to you who are full now, for you shall hunger!” (Lk. 6, 25). Such is the message of the World of God to breakers of the commandment of holy fasting. How will you nourish yourself in eternity when you have learnt here only to glut yourself with material foods and material pleasures which do not exist in heaven? What will you feed on in eternity when you have not tasted one of the good things of heaven? How can you eat and enjoy the good things of heaven when you have acquired no taste or sympathy for them, in fact have only acquired aversion for them?

The daily bread of Christians is Christ. Uncloying repletion with this bread is the saving satiety and delight to which all Christians are invited. Be insatiably filled with the Word of God; be insatiably filled with the doing of Christ’s commandments; be insatiably filled with the table “prepared against those who trouble you,” and be inebriated “with the strong chalice” (Ps. 22, 5).

Set Service Schedule: 
     Weekend schedule
- Every Saturday, Great Vespers 5:30 pm.
- Every Sunday, Hours at 9:10 am & Divine Liturgy at 9:30 am.
     Weekday schedule during Great Lent 
+ A Paraklesis is served at 6:30 am every Tuesday.
+ Matins is served at 6 am, every Wednesday & Thursday.
+ Presanctified is served at 5:30 pm every Wednesday and 8:30 am every     Friday.

Coffee fellowship:  
Bible Study / Orthodox Education: Will not meet in Great Lent, rather come to the Wednesday evening Presanctified. 
Upcoming Major & Great Feasts: Great Lent begins on Monday the 11th; Annunciation, Monday the 25th.  See calendar for service times. 
Women's group: Saturday the 30th. 

“Orthodoxy can't be comfortable unless it's fake.” 

Fr. Seraphim (Rose) of blessed memory

Parish notes

​Holy Week is April 22-27, Holy Pascha falls on Sunday April 28. 

Great Lent begins on Monday, March 11. During the first week of Great Lent, Clean week, services will be offered everyday in the morning and evening. Make sure to come to at least one service! Great Lent is not simply a diet change, but also a time for intensified prayer. Remember the Church lays out a generous spiritual meal but we have to partake of it. If you have any questions, please ask Fr. Zechariah

During the Sundays of Great Lent, we will be collecting a special offering which will go to the Gobozi Home for the elderly and orphans in Ethiopia. Remember the “trinity” of the Lenten (indeed not only the Lenten) endeavor: Fasting, Prayer, and Alms-giving.  

We will be hosting the Mission Vespers on Sunday the 24th, Please make sure to come. Also, please sign up to bring a potluck dish. It is the hosting parishes blessing to feed those who come for the Vespers service. Look for a sign-up sheet soon. 

A church cleaning list is now in the Narthex, please consider signing up to clean the Church nave for a month. 

Confession is an integral part of true Christian living. An Orthodox Christian who is regularly partaking of Holy Communion needs, for the health of their soul, to be partaking of Holy Confession at least on a monthly basis. This practice of true Christian living should be respected and practiced by all responsible members of the Church who are approaching the Chalice frequently. 

Library note: if you have had a library book for awhile please remember to return it. Remember the library is a honor system.

A note on Prosphora bread: Prosphora is blessed bread partaken of after Holy Communion and at the conclusion of the Div. Liturgy. Please be mindful of crumbs, it is important to instruct children to eat it with reverence. If you share with a member of the congregation who has not partaken of Holy Communion, please only give one or two pieces. If you notice a number of crumbs on the floor please pick them up and deposit them outside. Prosphora should never be thrown in the trash.

Parents: please make sure that your children do not go to the restroom unattended. This is for the greater safety of our community and children.

Another reminder: Generally speaking there should be no unnecessary moving about during the Div. Liturgy; specifically during the reading of the Gospel, the Anaphora, and the Our Father all moving about should cease, unless it is an emergency. Parents are encouraged to help their children focus during these times.

Diapers and wipes: we are partnering with a Caring Pregnancy Center through supplying diapers and wipes. Please bring donations to the church. This is an ongoing ministry. A Caring Pregnancy Center helps woman make an informed choice for life. Protecting life at every stage is the job of every Christian.

Coffee Hour: Please be mindful which group you belong to and please be diligent in bringing food. This is in fact a ministry. It is the listed group's responsibility to make sure the coffee is made, please communicate with your group members as to who will do this. Thank you for all your hard work!


Archangel Michael Orthodox Church Newsletter and Calendar
Set Weekend Service Schedule: 
Every Sat/ Great Vespers 5:30pm 
Sun/ Hours 9:10 & Divine Liturgy 9:30am
For other service times please see the calendar

See the calendar below to view our monthly calendar; it includes weekday services, Bible studies, fellowships and more!