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Church Bulletin: March 17, 2013

posted Mar 17, 2013, 6:58 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
March 17, 2013- Sunday of the Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise (Cheesefare Sunday)
This Week's Services and Events
Mar 18, Monday
        + 3rd Hour Prayers, 9AM
        + Father's Office Hours, 9:15AM-11:30AM
        + Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
Mar 19, Tuesday
        + Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
Mar 20, Wednesday
       + Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, 6PM, followed by Lenten Soup Supper
Mar 21, Thursday
       + Little Compline with Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, 7PM
Mar 22, Friday
       + Matins, 8:30AM
Mar 23, Saturday
       + Catechumen Class, 4PM
       + 9th Hour and Great Vespers, 6PM
Mar 24, Sunday, Sunday of Orthodoxy
       + Matins, 8:45AM
       + Divine Liturgy, 10AM, followed by coffee hour and Sunday School
       + Pan-Orthodox Vespers and Supper, 5:30PM at St. John the Baptist Church, Cedar Rapids
Upcoming Events and Announcements
Lent Begins on March 18 (Actually the Evening of March 17)-
        The first week of Lent is filled with services. Try to alter your schedule and come to at least one or two of them. Here is our schedule.
Sunday, March 17- Forgiveness Vespers, 6PM
Monday, March 18- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Tuesday, March 19- Great Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Wednesday, March 20- Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts followed by a Lenten Soup Supper, 6PM
Thursday, March 21- Little Compline with Canon of St. Andrew, 7PM
Friday, March 22- Little Compline with Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos, 7PM
        May God grant many years to the newly illumined David Iovanov, son of Mio Iovanov and Lavinia Ciungu. He was baptized on March 16.
Icon Procession Next Sunday-
        Next Sunday, March 24, is the first Sunday of Lent and the Sunday of Orthodoxy during which we celebrate the re-establishment of the holy icons. We will have a procession of icons during Liturgy. If you have a favorite icon at home, you are encouraged to bring it and join in the procession.
Ground Level Front Door Available to Use Again-
        The ground level front door to our church, to the right of the elevated porch, is now able to be used again. The sagging overhang above has finally been repaired.
Did You Know?-
        This first week of Lent is known as Clean Week. It is given this name because we are now in a process of intensified spiritual detoxification, asking God to cleanse of our that which keeps us far from Him. Think of Lent as Spring cleaning of the soul.
What is the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete?-
        No, it's not an artillery piece! In this case, it is a lengthy hymn that we sing parts of on three different evenings during this first week of Lent and in its entirety, on the fifth Wednesday of Lent. It's primary theme is repentance. Through this beautifully solemn hymn, St. Andrew of Crete reflects upon his own sinfulness and calls upon dozens and dozens of examples of biblical figures and occurences to illustrate either how to live a Christian life, or, how not to. Perhaps no other hymn has been written in all of history, that draws upon so much Scriptural material and ties it all together in a cohesive and artistic fashion. It is truly a masterpiece! Come this Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evening, and experience it for yourself.
Catechumen Classes Starting Soon-
        Fr. Ignatius will lead a six week series of catechumen classes at 4PM on Saturdays beginning March 23. All are welcome to attend whether or not you are a catechumen.
Slight Change at the "Kiss of Peace"-
       There is a portion of the Liturgy called, the "kiss of peace" during which the priest turns to the people and says "Christ is in our midst!" and the people respond with "He is and ever shall be!" According to a directive from Metropolitan Philip, we ought to now be responding with these words, "He was, and is, and ever shall be." Following this exchange of greetings, we have greeted each other with an embrace and kisses on the cheeks or those we are standing near. Metropolitan Philip states that a handshake is also an acceptable greeting at this point.
Vesperal Liturgy for Feast of the Annunciation-
        Since the Feast of the Annunciation falls on a Monday this year, we are not able to have a Vesperal Liturgy the night before (Sunday evening) as we often do. The reason for this is that there is a church canon which states that two liturgies can't be served on the same altar on the same day. Therefore, this year, we will have a Vesperal Liturgy for this feast on Monday evening, March 25.
Rough Draft of Church Directory Available at Church for Corrections-
        A printed rough draft of our new church directory is available for you to look at in the narthex. Please check out your listing and make sure it is correct. The directory will go to the printers soon.
On the Frequency of Receiving the Eucharist-
        "We must not avoid communion because we deem ourselves to be sinful. We must approach it more often for the healing of the soul and the purification of the spirit, but with such humility and faith that considering ourselves unworthy...we would desire even more medicine for our wounds. Otherwise it is impossible to receive communion once a year, as certain people do...considering the sanctification of heavenly mysteries as available only to saints. It is better to think that by giving us grace, the sacrament makes us pure and holy. Such people manifest more pride than humility...for when they receive, they think of themselves as worthy. It is much better, if, in humility of heart, knowing that we are never worthy of the holy mysteries, we would receive them every Sunday for the healing of our diseases rather than, blinded by pride, think that, after one year, we become worthy of receiving them."- St. John Cassian
         On Monday, March 18, the full Lenten fast begins. The Church asks us to abstain from meat (with the exception of fish on March 25 for the Annunciation and April 28 for Palm Sunday) until Great and Holy Pascha, May 5. Shellfish are OK. The full Lenten fast also includes abstention from dairy, eggs, oil and wine (oil and wine are permitted on the weekends). Fast as you are able with these standards being the goal. Exceptions can be made for those who are very young, very old, ill, pregnant, nursing, or infirm. If you have any questions about fasting, please ask Fr. Ignatius. May our fasting from certain foods help us to find some humility as we struggle to fast from sin.
The Lenten Prayer of St. Ephraim-
         O Lord and Master of my life,
Take from me the spirit of sloth, meddling, lust of power and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love to thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own sins and not to judge my brother,
For Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
Lenten Letter from Metropolitan Philip-
        "Beloved in the Lord:
Greetings and blessings to you as we enter this most holy season of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
During this time of the Great Fast, we once again turn our attention to the Food for Hungry People Program of the Fellowship of St. John the Divine. For almost 40 years, this campaign has had tremendous impact throughout the world to help alleviate hunger and the numberless tragedies caused by poverty. With the tragic events that continue plaguing our world including, but not limited to, the recent war in Syria, the natural disasters that wreak havoc on our own continent like Hurricane Sandy and others, we depend on your support to help the victims of these man-made and natural tragedies. Such things, in addition to worthy charitable causes have been the main recipients of the Food for Hungry People program over the years.
St. John Chrysostom, perhaps the greatest preacher in the history of the Church, once said: "Although fasting is more difficult than this, nothing is so strong and powerful to extinguish the fire of our sins as almsgiving. It is greater than all other virtues. It places its lovers by the side of the King Himself, and justly. For the effect of fasting is confined to those who fast, and no other is saved thereby. But almsgiving extends to all, embracing the members of Christ, and actions that extend their effects to many are far greater than those which are confined to one." Through your generosity to the Food for Hungry People campaign, you embrace the world with the love of Christ, saving yourself as you literally save others.
We urge you, during this season of prayer, self-discipline and fasting, to be very generous in your contribution to this campaign. As we practice the virtues which cleanse our souls, let us not forget or refrain from the "greatest of the virtues." As important as prayer and fasting are, they are of no avail to us if we fail to respond to those in need.
Asking the Almighty God to bless you as we begin our journey to Pascha, we remain,
Your Father in Christ,
+ Metropolitan PHILIP"
Almsgiving (Food For Hungry People Program)-
        Along with fasting, prayer and repentance, almsgiving is one of the pillars of the Lenten time. Look for ways to be generous with others and let your giving be as anonymous as possible. One easy way to give something to those in need is to participate in the Archdiocesan Food For Hungry People Program which collects money for all of the Antiochian parishes and gives it to various programs that serve the hungry. Look for collection boxes at church in the narthex.
Repentance and Confession-
        Lent is the perfect time to make a confession. If it has been awhile since your last one, don't let another Lent go by without making one. This is medicine for our souls. Take advantage of what God has to offer through His Church- the forgiveness of your sins. If you have never made a confession, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for one or what takes place during a confession, feel free to speak with Fr. Ignatius. He is available after Saturday vespers, at the end of Sunday matins (right before the beginning of Liturgy) or other times by appointment if you would like to schedule a time to receive this sacrament.
Lenten Pan-Orthodox Sunday Vespers-
        As has been the tradition for several years, we are invited to attend vespers at various Orthodox churches in Eastern Iowa on Sunday evenings during Lent and in turn, we will be hosting clergy and the faithful from these churches at St. Raphael. Each vespers service begins at 5:30PM and is followed by a fellowship meal provided by the hosting church. The schedule is as follows:
March 24- St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, Cedar Rapids (501 A Avenue NE)
March 31- St. Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church, Iowa City (722 E. College St.)
April 7- St. Elias the Prophet Greek Orthodox Church, Dubuque (1075 Rockdale Rd.)
April 14- St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE)
April 21- St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Waterloo (613 W. Fourth St.)
Lenten Wednesday Evenings-
        On Wednesday evenings during Lent, we gather for the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts at 6PM. Following the service, we will share a simple lenten soup supper. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the narthex so that people can sign-up to provide the meal each week.
Would You Like to Learn More About Lent?-
        Our Archdiocese has created an informative section on their website to help us better understand the season of Lent. Check out: http://www.antiochian.org/lent
Two Potlucks on March 31-
         On Sunday March 31, we will have a parish-wide potluck following Liturgy, as it is the 5th Sunday of the month and we do not have a food team assigned for that day. In addition, we are hosting visiting clergy and laity from area Orthodox churches for Pan-Orthodox vespers at 5:30PM that day. Following vespers, we are providing another potluck meal so that our guests will be fed before returning home. Please consider participating in both of these potlucks. Perhaps making a double batch of whatever you plan to bring would be the simplest solution. That way, we will have some for both after Liturgy and after vespers.
Upcoming Teen SOYO Activities-
        On Saturday March 30 from 10AM-2PM, our teens will be volunteering at the Crisis Center's food bank. On Monday April 8, at 6:30PM, they will gather for their book group and a dinner.
Charitable projects-
        Many, many thanks to everyone who has helped (and is still helping) with the cookbook. We're hoping to have copies in hand by late April. We are also planning to participate in the Iowa City Farmer's Market, hopefully once a month from May to October. We'd love to see many people involved, as it will be lots of fun. If you're interested, contact Amy Spencer, Tania Van Dinter, Karen Kuntz, Alli Rockwell, or Father. Lotion bars will be available soon in the church bookstore too.
Parish Constitution Revision Committee-
        Our current parish constitution was revised about 4 years ago. It has come to the attention of some parish council members that perhaps some more revisions need to be made. If you would like to serve on a small committee to help make suggested changes that will be presented to the parish for a vote, please see Fr. Ignatius. The time commitment for this committee should be no longer than two months.
Do You Have a Prayer Request?
         Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain. If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius know.
Choir Leadership-
        During the weekend of March 23-24, the choir will be lead by Tania Van Dinter.
Coffee Hour-
        On Sunday March 24, the food for coffee hour and the clean-up of the fellowship hall will be provided by the St. John the Baptist team.
Holy Bread-
        On Sunday, March 24, the holy bread will be provided by the Abuissa family. Thank you in advance. Anyone can sign up to provide holy bread for future liturgies. Look for the sign-up sheet in the narthex.
Church Cleaning-
        During the week of March 17-23, the cleaning of the nave, narthex, bookstore, stairs, nursery and bathrooms will be accomplished by the St. Nicholas team.
Food for Thought-

To the atheistic formula, “If God exists, then man is not free,” the Bible responds, “If man exists, God is no longer free.” We are able to say no to God, but God is no longer able to say no to us, for according to St Paul, “there is only yes in God” (2 Cor 1:19), the yes of his Covenant which Christ has given on the Cross. Then, “I am free” means “God exists.” It is God himself who guarantees the freedom of doubt, so as to not violate human conscience.

God has created the “second freedom,” and he takes the supreme risk of a freedom which is capable of stopping him, of obliging him to descend into death and into hell. He freely allows himself to be assassinated in order to offer pardon and resurrection to the assassins. His omnipotence is to make room for human freedom, to veil his presence in order to be in dialogue with “the other,” to love with an infinite patience which waits for the free response, a free creation of a common life of God and his child. A patristic saying states it this way: “God can do everything, except constrain us to love him.” The omnipotence of God is to become the life-giving Cross, the unique response to the case of atheism on freedom and evil. …

It is of the greatest urgency to correct the “terrorist” and “penitentiary” ideas of God. It is no longer possible to believe in a heartless God incapable of suffering. The only message which could reach atheism today is that of Christ descending into hell. As deep as the hell in which we find ourselves, it is even more profound to find Christ already there waiting for us. God does not ask of us virtue, moralism, blind obedience but a cry of assurance and of love from the depth of our hell. We ought never to fall into despair. We can only fall into God and it is God who never despairs. St Anthony the Great said that hell surely exists, but only for himself, which is to say that hell is never “for the others,” that it is never the object of our discourse.

Paul Evdokimov