“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to me to fasting. Assured, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father with is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
On Great and Holy Lent
St. John Maximovich
The doors of repentance are opening, Great Lent is beginning. Every year Great Lent is repeated, and each time it brings us great benefit if we spend it as we should. It is a preparation for the life to come and, more immediately, a preparation for the Bright Resurrection.
Just as a stairway is built into a tall building in order to enable one, by climbing the steps, to easily reach the top, so too, the various days in the year serve as steps for our spiritual ascent.
This is especially true of the days of Great Lent and Holy Pascha.
By means of Great Lent we cleanse ourselves of the filth of sin, and at Holy Pascha we experience the blessedness of Christ's Kingdom that is to come. In climbing a high mountain, one tries to eliminate all unnecessary weight. The less a person carries, the easier it is for him to climb and the higher he is able to climb. So, too, in order to ascend spiritually, it is necessary first of all to free oneself from the weight of sin. This weight is lifted from us through repentance, provided that we banish from ourselves all enmity and forgive each person whom we consider to be at fault before us. Once cleansed and forgiven by God, we then greet the Bright Resurrection of Christ.
And what a priceless gift of God we receive, at the culmination of our lenten struggle. We already hear about this in the first hymns of the daily lenten stichera: "Our food shall be the Lamb of God, on the holy and radiant night of His Awakening: the Victim offered for us, given in communion to the disciples on the evening of the Mystery." (Aposticha sticheron, Sunday of the Last Judgment).
Communing of the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ, unto life eternal — this is the aim of the holy Quadragesima [Forty Days]. Not only on Pascha do we commune, but during Lent also. On Pascha those people should commune who have fasted, confessed and received the Holy Mysteries during Great Lent. Just before Pascha itself there is little opportunity for a proper and thorough confession; the priests are very busy and most of the time occupied with the Passion services. Rather one must prepare ahead of time.
Each time one receives the Mysteries of Christ, one is united with Christ Himself; each time it is a soul-saving act. Why, then, is such significance attached to receiving Holy Communion on the night of Holy Pascha, and why are we all called to do so?
Then, especially, we are given to experience the Kingdom of Christ. Then, especially, we are illumined with the Eternal Light and strengthened for the spiritual ascent.
This is an irreplaceable gift of Christ, an incomparable good. Let no one deprive himself of this joy and, instead of receiving Holy Communion on Pascha night, hasten to eat meat and other foods. Communing of the Holy Mysteries on that night prepares us for the banquet in the eternal Kingdom of God.” +
“He who fasts freely and correctly knows how the soul becomes free and bright during the fast; then good thoughts easily enter the heart, the heart becomes purer, more tender, more compassionate; we feel an inclination toward good deeds; compunction for our sins appears in our souls, which start to feel the deadliness of the state we are in and start to grieve over its sins.” St. John of Krondtadt
Set Service Schedule:
- Every Saturday, Great Vespers 5:30pm.
- Every Sunday, Hours at 9:10am & Divine Liturgy at 9:30am.
+ An Akathist is served every Tuesday at 6:30am.
+ Matins is served at 6am, every Wednesday & Thursday.
+ Presanctified Liturgy is served, every Wednesday evening at 5:30pm (Lenten potluck following) and Friday morning at 8:30am.
+ The Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God is served every Friday evening at 6pm.
(Please note: see the calendar for the schedule of services during the first week of Great Lent.)
Coffee fellowship: Thursday the 16th (at Gypsy Java).
Bible Study: No Bible Study during Great Lent. Wednesday evening Presanctified Liturgies will have a sermon theme: Acquiring the Holy Spirit.
Upcoming Major & Great Feasts: The Annunciation, Saturday the 25th. See calendar for service times.
Women's group: Saturday the 25th, following Annunciation Di. Liturgy.
“If you could see what grace descends during the Liturgy in church, you would gather the dust and wash your face with it.”
St. Gabriel the fool-for-Christ
No Bible Study during Great Lent. Wednesday evening Presanctified Liturgies will have a sermon theme throughout Great Lent: Acquiring the Holy Spirit.
Beginning in March, the women's group will be held on a Saturday. This is to help, hopefully, a greater number of ladies to attend. The decision has been made based upon the survey results. The first Saturday meeting will take place after the Annunciation Div. Liturgy on the 25th.
We will be collecting offerings every Sunday of Great Lent for Project Mexico and the continued support of the indigenous mission Priest in Africa.
Ordination of Dn. Thomas Lynch to the Holy Priesthood, Saturday the 11th, 9:30am, at St. John's.
We will host Lenten Mission Vespers on Sunday evening the 12th of March (St. Gregory Palamas Sunday), at 6pm. Please make plans to be there! It is our responsibility to provide a lenten potluck after the service, so please also plan to bring a dish to share (sign-up sheet will be forthcoming). The other So. Colorado Churches will host as follows: Holy Theophany, C.S., the 5th; St. Michael's (GOA), C.S., the 19th; St. Mary's, Calhan, the 26th; St. John's, Pueblo, April the 2nd.
Please sign up to help clean our church temple for one month in 2017-18, sign up sheet is in the narthex.
Like to bake? Have you considered helping with the ministry of prosphora baking? If you are interested, please speak with father.
As Great Lent begins, remember: 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.
Dates to remember: Saturday, May the 20th, Church picnic and Vespers at Lake San Isabel. Saturday, June the 10th, Kids day camp (at the Church).
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.
Confession is a 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.
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!