“The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such ‘marriages.’
“The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a “right” for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.
“As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation’s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.”
“We welcome AAC delegates and observers, as well as those unable to attend the AAC, to read through the synopsis,” said Priest Nathan Preston, Administrator of the recently revived Department of Pastoral Life and Ministry.
“After a dormant period of several years’ inactivity, the Department of Pastoral Life was reorganized at the start of 2015 and has endeavored since then to begin the work that is its charge: to aid and support clergy and their families so that they may continue to serve and lead the faithful from a place of health,” said Father Nathan. “To this end, the colloquium met in April for an inaugural conversation exploring those issues now facing priests and their families.”
The Bookkeeper reports to the Associate Chancellor for Finance. Duties for the 20-hour-per-week position include
daily receipting and application of student payments.
preparation of student invoicing each semester.
reconciliation of student receivable ledger with general ledger.
preparation of monthly student statements and collection of receivables.
daily receipting of SVS Press/Bookstore payments.
monthly processing of employee credit card receipts with SVS credit card invoices.
monthly input of Endowment Investment transactions.
generation of monthly departmental actual vs. budget reports.
other duties as assigned.
An undergraduate degree in Accounting is preferred, while prior bookkeeping or junior staff accountant experience is necessary.
Interested candidates may e-mail or post resumes to Ms. Melanie Ringa, Associate Chancellor for Finance, Saint Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Road, Yonkers, NY 10707; email@example.com.
Yonkers, NY: SVS Press to debut Gospel Commentary by Archbishop Dmitri at 18th AAC
Saint Vladimir’s Seminary Press will formally debut The Holy Gospel According to Saint John: A Pastoral Commentary, by His Eminence, Archbishop Dmitri [Royster], at the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, to be held in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015. The release of the volume, published posthumously—Archbishop Dmitri fell asleep in the Lord in 2013—was timed to coincide with the opening of the Council and to complement its overall theme, “How to Expand the Mission.” SVS Press will feature the new title in a special section of its display, along with Archbishop Dmitri’s other six publications through SVS Press.
“Archbishop Dmitri’s newest title concludes the Archbishop’s scriptural series, which has been popular for decades among pastors and parish Bible study groups,” noted Michael Soroka, Production Manager and Associate Editor at SVS Press. “This book attests to the author’s unflagging zeal in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Americas, and especially to those unfamiliar with either the Christian message or the Orthodox Church.
“We thought it appropriate to have this title ready for the AAC, not only to honor the memory of this prolific author and evangelizer, but also to offer a book that can ‘replenish the faith of Christians today,’ as William J. Abraham, professor at Perkins School of Theology and personal acquaintance of Archbishop Dmitri, writes in the Foreword,” Mr. Soroka concluded.
SVS Press planned the release of seven other new titles during the spring semester and summer of 2015, some of which already have made literary and scholarly news. In April, Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence was welcomed to launch at the “Arvo Pärt: Journeys in Silence” Live Ideas Festival, sponsored by New York Live Arts.
In May a major international doctoral and post-doctoral religion conference in Prague, “Ecumenical Reception and Critique of 20th Century Orthodox Theology in Exile and Diaspora,” featured the title The Ways of Orthodox Theology in the West. The book emerged from a larger overall project, “Symbolic Mediation of Wholeness in Western Orthodoxy,” which was financed by the Czech Republic and included prominent Protestant and Orthodox scholars who analyzed the interplay between Orthodox and Western Christians in the past century, including the Dean of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Archpriest John Behr, who wrote the Foreword to the book.
“Besides attracting thousands of Orthodox Christian readers annually, our titles fall into some of the most unusual but grateful hands,” said Deacon Gregory Hatrak, Director of Marketing and Operations at SVS Press and Bookstore. “For example, last year, the Salvation Army in Australia called to place a large order for our Popular Patristics title On the Human Condition, by Saint Basil the Great, for a course they were offering!
“Our newest eight titles represent the breadth and depth SVS Press typifies,” Deacon Gregory emphasized, “and we are so pleased to offer Archbishop Dmitri’s final pastoral commentary in this year’s wide-ranging mix of publications. Memory Eternal to a great evangelist!”
St. Petersburg, Russia: Midwest diocesan priest participates in anniversary of canonization of St. John of Kronstadt
Priest James Dank, Rector of Saint John of Kronstadt Church, Lincoln, NE, was among numerous international guests who participated in celebrations marking the 25th Anniversary of the canonization of Saint John of Kronstadt in St. Petersburg, Russia during the week of June 10, 2015. Invitations had been extended to representatives of churches, monasteries, schools orphanages, charitable foundations and other Orthodox Christian organizations worldwide named in honor of the saint—some 450 guests from 22 nations.
The celebrations began at St. Petersburg’s Saint John of Rila Stavropeghial Convent, established in 1900 by Saint John, in which his relics are enshrined. His Eminence, Metropolitan Sergius of Barnaul and Altai presided at a Service of Thanksgiving, at which Father James and rectors of churches dedicated to Saint John from abroad concelebrated. Among other North Americans present at the celebration was His Grace, Bishop Peter of Cleveland of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.
Father James also was featured in a documentary film, “By the Name of John of Kronstadt,” which highlighted the work of clergy and founders of churches and organizations dedicated to Saint John in the USA, Pakistan, Chile, Iran, Indonesia, Germany and Russia.
Edmonton, AB, Canada: Rachmaninoff’s Vigil sung at St. Herman Church
In what was perhaps a “first” for Canada, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil Opus 37 was sung during the celebration of Vigil at Saint Herman of Alaska Sobor on Saturday, June 6, 2015.
A local Edmonton group, Kappella Kyrie Slavic Chamber Choir, chose to sing this popular monumental work in honor of the choir’s fifth anniversary of organization and the centennial year of Rachmaninoff’s composition and premiere.
“Kappella Kyrie sang the parts of the Vigil service composed by Rachmaninoff, while Saint Herman’s Choir sang the propers for the Sunday after Pentecost, dedicated to All Saints,” said Priest Vincent Lehr, the parish’s Rector, who celebrated the Vigil. “The collaboration of both choirs in a solemn service for over two hours provided the 250 parishioners and guests who filled St. Herman’s church with a unique choral and spiritual experience.”
Concelebrating were Protodeacon Jesse Isaac and Deacon Sebastian Scratch, along with other OCA clergy and priests from Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. The conductor of Kappella Kyrie Choir was Dr. Melanie Turgeon, while Saint Herman’s Choir was led by Mr. Greg Fedor.
Following the Vigil, parishioners hosted a luncheon in the parish hall in honor of the visiting and local choirs, parishioners, attending clergy and the many guests from the Edmonton community who were present for the historic service.
Ames, Iowa: Mission parish begins its mission to college students
Holy Transfiguration Mission, 621 Kellogg Ave., Ames, IA will host an open house for incoming Iowa State University students from 4:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18 and 19, 2015—resident hall “move-in days.”
Priest Marty Watts and parishioners will be on hand to meet new students and their parents and to introduce them to the mission community’s plans for the coming school year.
“With an enrollment of over 35,000, Iowa State University of Science and Technology serves students from all 50 states, many Canadian provinces, and a variety of other foreign countries,” said Father Marty. “We’re hoping to reach every Orthodox Christian student and invite them to make our spiritual home their own during their college years. It is my hope that perhaps next year, every parish in a college town will host such an event, and that OCF will create a national registry of such events to distribute more widely, perhaps as part of its “First 40 Days” program. [See related story.]
Those who know of students in the Ames area are invited to submit their names to Father Marty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants in the 18th All-American Council of the Orthodox Church in America, slated to convene July 20-24, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, are reminded that the registration deadline Is Friday, July 10.
“Registration must be completed by that date to ensure a place at the Council,” said Archpriest Eric G. Tosi, OCA Secretary. “Registrations that arrive after that date will require special approval by the Preconciliar Commission and the registrants’ diocesan bishops.”
The on-line registration procedure may be completed here.
In related news, the Atlanta Convention Bureau has created two special web sites through which AAC participants will find special discounts at Atlanta-area attractions and venues.
The “City Pass,” valid for discounts at the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, CNN Tours, Zoo Atlanta, the Civil Rights Museum, and a host of other venues, is available here.
The “Savings in the City Card,” customized for AAC participants and good for discounts at numerous attractions, restaurants and stores in the Atlanta area, also is available here.
Members of the Orthodox Church in America’s Pension Board held their quarterly meeting at the Chancery here on Tuesday, June 23, 2015.
The Board finalized plans for the upcoming 18th All-American Council. The Board will host an Open House from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2015 . The informal session is open to all clergy, Church workers, members, nonmembers, and spouses to visit at any time during the session with questions or to learn more about the Plan. The Board will present a formal report to the entire Council during Plenary Session III on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
The independent auditors of the Plan, Saslow, Lufkin and Buggy, presented an unqualified audit report for the year ending December 31, 2014. Interested parties may contact Maureen Ahearn, Plan Administrator, at email@example.com to receive a copy of the report in PDF format.
Finally, Board Chairman John Sedor was honored and appreciated for 20 years of dedicated service to the Pension Plan. Mr. Sedor’s term as a Board Member will expire at the upcoming All-American Council. To ensure a smooth transition, Priest Gleb McFatter was elected Interim Chairman.
The Orthodox Church in America Pension Plan serves over 325 active participants and more than 125 retirees, widows, and beneficiaries. The Plan is the only approved retirement vehicle for OCA parishes and clergy. Participation is expected of all clergy and is available for all full-time Church workers. Information and resources concerning the Plan are available here.
Pension Board Trustees include His Eminence, Archbishop Nikon; Archpriests Matthew Tate and John Zdinak; Priest Gleb McFatter; and Messrs. Theodore Bazil, Barry Gluntz, and John Sedor.
His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon presided, offered the Commencement Address, the text of which appears below. He also awarded Master of Divinity Degrees to 13 graduate, including those from India, Austria and the middle East.
Deacon Theophan received Honors in Church History for his thesis, “The Mystery of Lawlessness: A Pastoral Examination of the Manifestation of Evil in Contemporary Society. Archpriest Daniel Donlick, who had just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of his decisive role in moving the seminary toward accreditation with the Association of Theological Schools and his decades of service as professor, academic dean, and confessor that continues to the present day. A scholarship also was named in honor of Father Daniel.
Participating in commencement exercises were two new board members: Nancy Kohudic, who is a member of the Diocese of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania and an ardent supporter of the seminary’s Married Student Housing Project, and His Grace, Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the Mid-Atlantic, a long time supporter and friend of the Saint Tikhon Community.
Saint Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
May 23, 2015
Your Eminence, Archbishop Michael; Your Grace, Bishop Thomas; Very Reverend Fathers and Matushki; Distinguished Members of the Administration, Faculty, Staff, Board of Trustees and Alumni of our Seminary; Pilgrims to our Monastery and friends of our Seminary; Beloved Seminarians and families; and, especially today, Honored Graduates of the Class of 2015:
As we come to the conclusion of this academic year, I offer my congratulations and best wishes to the graduating seminarians of the class of 2015. My congratulations to you are not simply accolades for a job well done during your years at Seminary, although the many recognitions your class has received today is testimony to your accomplishments both individual and collective. Rather, my congratulations come to you in the form of a blessing: a blessing from your Rector and the Holy Synod of Bishops, a blessing from your Dean and the Administration, Faculty, Staff, Board of Trustees and Alumni of the Seminary, a blessing from the Church, to begin in earnest your apostolic ministry.
In the academic world, commencement addresses typically focus on the new beginning of the graduates, the horizons that are opening up, the challenges that they will face. The speaker will, often with humorous anecdotes or clever phrases, encourage the graduates to be true to themselves, to make an impact, to be daring and creative, to pick themselves up when they fall and above all, to be successful.
I will offer my own similar words of encouragement today, but I thought it might be helpful for us to reflect somewhat on the reality of our Orthodox Christian context for today’s ceremonies. We are here, in the year of the Lord 2015, fifty years after the repose of the ever-memorable Metropolitan Leonty, who is buried right behind us. We are here 100 years after the repose of the recently glorified Saint Raphael of Brooklyn. We are here 111 years after the founding of the Monastery by Saint Tikhon of Moscow and 221 years after the arrival of Saint Herman the monastic missionaries to Alaska.
Orthodoxy in North America is young, in some cases younger than some of the more venerable institutions of higher education in North America which are also holding commencement exercises. But while those institutions can perhaps place themselves within a longer history of the noble pursuit of knowledge and research, only you, as graduates this Theological School, as participants in these 74th Commencement exercises, can claim to be graduating within the bosom of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. As such, you are here as brothers in Christ, and all of us are here, as your brothers and sister in Christ, all with the possibility of participating in and experiencing eternity, here, where we are. This is no small blessing.
I myself recently returned from a trip to the ancient Church of Georgia, which traces its origins to the Apostle Andrew and to missionaries of the early centuries such as Saint Nino, the Equal to the Apostles. It is humbling for someone from North America to enter this ancient world and to behold the wealth of expressions of a real and solid Christian faith, with the witness of brave martyrs, ascetic monastics, saintly bishops and priests as well as faithful artists, teachers and scholars. The question arises: can such experience be incarnated in our lands and in our lifetime? And if so, how is this accomplished? This is what your task, as graduates of this theological seminary, whether you are ordained or not, will be for the rest of your lives: to seek to enter into the experience of the saints and to draw others to that experience through the life that you lead.
On my return flight from Georgia, I watched a 1997 movie called “Contact,” starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. The movie is based on a novel of the same name written by the famous astronomer and scientific popularizer, Carl Sagan. I will not go into the details of the plot of this movie but will note that it centers on a scientist whose work is devoted to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. She is chosen to be the one to make contact an extra-terrestrial intelligence when strong evidence of its existence is discovered. This scientist, who does not believe in God, is sent in a special machine through various wormholes and other astronomical entities and somehow enters into contact with something “not of this world.” Upon her return to earth, she is, ironically, unable to convince the scientific community of the reality of her experience because there was no scientific record of it. Religious leaders in this movie are portrayed with the usual range of modern skepticism, from violent to unenlightened to simple people.
I mention this simply to note that, in our Orthodox understanding, the experience of the saints can very much be considered a scientific experience. Often, science and faith are opposed in our modern world, but if we look at the millennial witness of the Church, we see that, in fact, everything is empirical, that is to say, mystical. Mysticism is not something unreal or imaginary, or “dreamy or vague thinking in the clouds.” Rather, it is, in the words of Saint Nikolai (Velimirovich), “the science of the highest realities.” It is what Saint Paul is referring to when he says that we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Corinthians 3:6).
But when Saint Paul says this, it is not with a philosophical background of dualism but with the foundation of Jesus Christ, Who is the incarnate Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity and the Source of our salvation. The only way for us to enter into this reality is through our own experience, with the help of the experience of the Church and the Grace of God. So while our spiritual life should not be likened to a scientific experiment, it nevertheless is a way to train our soul to participate in higher realities.
As Saint Symeon the New Theologian writes, “The man who is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Revealer of all things, acquires new eyes and new ears, and sees no more as a natural man, namely by his natural sight with natural sensation, but standing as it were beyond himself contemplates spiritually visible things and bodies as the symbols of the things invisible.”
Each of you, the graduates of the class of 2015, has had three or four years of learning about such things, and I am not prepared to summarize all that you have learned. However, I would just remind you that those years of learning were not simply the acquisition of knowledge but, in fact, part of your path to entering into the experience of the saints. Through the temptations that you have endured, through the struggles with your brothers, through your effort to stay awake in class, to pray with attention while distracted by your children, to care for you family while overwhelmed with classwork or field education, through your questioning whether you in fact, truly love your brothers or will perpetually be annoyed by them, through all of these ways, you have entered into the experience of the saints, that is, you have drawn closer to Christ your Master and Lord.
Jesus Christ is the fulness and foundation of everything, He is our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Church is not something in the past, nor something in our imagination, or something only in our mind. Rather she is an expression of His glory, the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The Church is the witness of the reality of the victory of life over death, and the place where every human being can find salvation and healing. All of this is brought about by our Lord Jesus Christ, experienced by saints, martyrs and holy men and women throughout the ages and offered to us today, in our modern age and in our new world. He is why each of you came to seminary and it is for His sake that each of you is now sent forth as His Apostles.
Do not forget Christ. This is my first exhortation to you. It is precisely when we enter into this experience, even in a very small way, even imperfectly, that we come to understand what ancient Christianity is and what it can mean for us today.
Do not stop seeking your own healing. Our Church is founded on the premise that the ultimate goal of Christianity is deification: “God became man so that man might become god.” By uniting the Divine Nature with human nature, Christ brought man back to his primitive state and, beyond this, made it possible for man to become god by grace. You have not spent these years in seminary to learn to judge your brother or to condemn yourself. Rather you have started to learn, even if imperfectly, how to use the tools of our Christian asceticism in order to benefit from the salvation and healing wrought by Christ and to fulfill the potential given to you in baptism.
Do not forget the monastery. Monasticism is another “ancient” lifestyle that might feel anachronistic, not only in terms of relevance to our society but also in terms of community. In our age when we have access to unlimited information on the world wide web, unceasing contact with one another through email and text messages, boundless opportunities to express ourselves on blogs and comment threads, and near unlimited ability to share photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, it seems even more odd that a man or a woman might choose to enter the solitary life. But many continue to do so, and they do so, not to be alone, but rather to be united with all of mankind. As Archimandrite Vasileios writes, “A monk is one who is separated from all and united with all.”
As you leave here, you must support the monastic life, not only here at the monastery that helped to form you, but wherever it may be found and no matter how small its presence may appear. Make time in your busy schedules to make pilgrimage to a monastery, to remember the ceaselessly praying monastics in your own halting prayers, and to slowly strive for the inner peace and hesychia that the monastics offer to you as a gift and as an inspiration.
Be Creative. The Orthodox Church is often portrayed as static, reactionary, ultra-conservative, slow to change and archaic. All of these are inaccurate because they do not address the fundamental creativity of the Church, a Church which continues to be guided by the Holy Spirit. If you truly enter into the experience of the saints, you will become more, not less creative, in your work and in your ministries. Of course, this requires much discernment, but do not fear the true creativity that reveals not yourself, but the glory of Jesus Christ.
These are just some small exhortations to help you in your Apostolic Work. Just as asceticism is not the concern of monastics alone, so apostleship is a vocation for the entire Church. Archbishop Anastasios of Albania reminds us that “each one of us personally, bears his or her share of responsibility [for missions], as a living cell of this organic whole. Interest in apostleship, in mission, is not the specialty of particular groups or individuals, but a definitive characteristic of the Church herself. It is designated as the occupation of the Church. It is the sine qua non of its life.”
A contemporary ascetic of our own day, Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonos Petras monastery, write the following concerning Saint Herman: “[Saint Herman] knew that if he wanted to spread Orthodoxy, and if he wanted himself to become rich, that he would have to make himself small. If he wanted to become rich in the good things of God, then he himself would have to become poor. If he wanted to be first in the Kingdom of Heaven, he would be last here below. And thus, precisely for these reasons, he became a missionary and chose as his plan and method of missionary work not programs, not learned arguments, nor worldly standards, but instead silence and the desert, silence and prayer. He had learned this from the Apostle Paul who, when Christ called him to go bring the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles, disappeared for almost eleven years in the deserts and in seclusion in order there to absorb the Holy Spirit and so have something to give to people. His prayer was his mightiest weapon. Fellowship with God was its result.” This was echoed in all those who labored after St Herman.
In order to help in overcoming the division and brokenness of the world, Saint Tikhon of Moscow heeded the words of the Lord: “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Saint Tikhon was a true missionary and laborer with Christ in this mission of bringing the lost sheep into the fold. But he labored in a truly humble and deeply Christian manner. Contrasting the aggressive and self-aggrandizing ways of the non-Orthodox, Saint Tikhon pointed out that “Orthodox emissaries, on the other hand, act differently: they go to their holy task not in order that through it they might obtain glory among men, but in order they they themselves might reap mercy from God as well as salvation for others. They do not trumpet their success before the whole world, and, indeed, do not ascribe success to themselves but to the power of God.” In another place he would add, “But most importantly, the Orthodox Church accomplishes her [missionary] task in silence, with humility and godliness, with an understanding of human frailty and divine power.”
This is the hallmark of all true apostolic work. It was revealed by Saint Herman and by Saint Tikhon. It was lived by Saint Raphael and Saint Nikolai of Zhicha. And it was revealed by Metropolitan Leonty, whom we remember during this year, the 50th year of his repose. His vision for the Orthodox Church in America was not a national vision but a vision which he shared with Saint Paul, Saint Nino and all the saints down to our own time. It is a vision that is born out of humility and expressed through the actions of love.
Of course, all of our human efforts to attain these gifts will be for nothing if they are not blessed by the grace of God. And yet, we know that we are also called to exercise our free will in helping God to accomplish His divine will. An elder on Mount Athos told me once, in reference to my question about what advice to give to young men who were torn between following the path of monasticism and the path of marriage. His words were, “Sometimes its not so much a question of us doing God’s will but God doing our will.” Once again, this is a paradoxical statement, counter-intuitive to all that we have, perhaps, been taught about obedience to God, but founded on the reality that sometimes we, as human beings, must make a decision in our life, and then our obedience to God’s will lies in persevering in that decision.
May our loving and merciful Lord, whose glorious Ascension we celebrate, strengthen all of you to take the path that is laid out before you with boldness but with trust in God. May you express the ancient tradition of the faith in creative ways. May you always strive to enter into the experience of the Saints with humility but with perseverance. And may our merciful God fill you with His love and compassion for all of mankind. Amen.
Printed copies of the reports will not be available at the AAC, slated to convene in Atlanta, GA July 20-24, 2015. Delegates may print out copies of the reports and place them in the three-ring binders they will receive at registration or bring them in electronic form to AAC sessions. Similarly, delegates are asked to print out copies of the Delegate Handbook, which also may be placed in the binder. Upon registration, delegates also will receive tote bags and delegate badges, which must be worn in order to gain entry into AAC plenary sessions.
The credentials and final registration process is being completed by the AAC staff. Please note that AAC registration will close on Friday, July 10. Registrations received after this date will have to be secured through special permission from the diocesan bishop.
In related news, the Atlanta Hilton is sold out, while the overflow hotel, the Hyatt Regency, is rapidly selling out. Delegates and participants are urged to make hotel reservations by June 26, 2015. The Hyatt Regency’s special AAC rate—$124.00 per standard guestroom, per night, plus applicable taxes and fees—is available from July 17 through 24. Reservations may be made on-line or by phone at 1-888-421-1442. Request the “Orthodox Church in America” Group Rate.
Tsar Nicholas II was the son of Alexander III, who had reposed in the arms of Saint John of Kronstadt. Having been raised in piety, Tsar Nicholas ever sought to rule in a spirit consonant with the precepts of Orthodoxy and the best traditions of his nation. Tsaritsa Alexandra, a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria of England, and a convert from Lutheranism, was noted for her piety and compassion for the poor and suffering. Their five children were beloved of all for their kindness, modesty, and guilelessness.
Amidst the political turmoil of 1917, Tsar Nicholas selflessly abdicated the throne for what he believed was the good of his country. Although he had abdicated willingly, the revolutionaries put him and his family under house arrest, then sent them under guard to Tobolsk and finally Ekaterinburg. A letter written from Tobolsk by Grand Duchess Olga, the eldest of the children, shows their nobility of soul. She writes, "My father asks that I convey to all those who have remained devoted to him ... that they should not take vengeance on his account, because he has forgiven everyone and prays for them all. Nor should they avenge themselves. Rather, they should bear in mind that this evil which is now present in the world will become yet stronger, but that evil will not conquer evil, but only love shall do so."
After enduring sixteen months of imprisonment, deprivation, and humiliation with a Christian patience which moved even their captors, they and those who were with them gained their crowns of martyrdom when they were shot and stabbed to death in the cellar of the Ipatiev house in Ekaterinburg in 1918.
Together with them are also commemorated those who faithfully served them, and were either slain with them, or on their account: General Elias Tatishchev; Prince Basil Dolgorukov; the physician Eugene Dotkin; the lady-in-waiting Countess Anastasia Hendrikova; the serving-maid Anna Demidova; the cook John Kharitonov; and the sailors Clement Nagorny and John Sednev.Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Saint Athanasios had Trebizond for his homeland. He first entered the monastic life on the mountain called Kymaeos or Kyminas, which is in Mysia of Bithynia, then he went to Mount Athos and founded a large monastery, which is known as the Great Lavra. He became so renowned for his virtue that from Rome, Calabria, Georgia, and elsewhere, rulers, men of wealth and nobility, abbots, and even bishops came to him and were subject to him. When the time for his departure was at hand, God revealed to him how it would take place, so that he was able to instruct his spiritual children not to be troubled when it should come to pass. A new church was being built for the sake of the many who came to him, and only the dome had not been finished. Together with six of the brethren, the Saint went to the top of the church to help the workmen. The dome collapsed, and they fell. Five were killed at once, and the Saint died three hours later. His holy body remained incorrupt and he worked many miracles after his death. He reposed about the end of the tenth century.
Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
This Saint, great and renowned among the ascetics of Egypt, lived in the fourth century in Scete of Nitria. After the death of Saint Anthony the Great, he left Scete to live in Saint Anthony's cave; he said of this, "Thus in the cave of a lion, a fox makes his dwelling." When Sisoes was at the end of his long life of labours, as the Fathers were gathered about him, his face began to shine, and he said, "Behold, Abba Anthony is come"; then, "Behold, the choir of the Prophets is come"; his face shone yet more bright, and he said, "Behold, the choir of the Apostles is come." The light of his countenance increased, and he seemed to be talking with someone. The Fathers asked him of this; in his humility, he said he was asking the Angels for time to repent. Finally his face became as bright as the sun, so that the Fathers were filled with fear. He said, "Behold, the Lord is come, and He says, 'Bring Me the vessel of the desert,'" and as he gave up his soul into the hands of God, there was as it were a flash of lightning, and the whole dwelling was filled with a sweet fragrance.Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Saint Kyriaki was the daughter of Christian parents, Dorotheus and Eusebia. She was given her name because she was born on Sunday, the day of the Lord (in Greek, Kyriaki). She contested in Nicomedia during the reign of Diocletian, in the year 300. After many bitter torments she was condemned to suffer beheading, but being granted time to pray first, she made her prayer and gave up her holy soul in peace.
Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
In 451, during the reign of the Sovereigns Marcian and Pulcheria, the Fourth Ecumenical Council was convoked in Chalcedon against Eutyches and those of like mind with him. After much debate, the Fathers who were the defenders of Orthodoxy, being 630 in number, agreed among themselves and with those who were of contrary mind, to write their respective definitions of faith in separate books, and to ask God to confirm the truth in this matter. When they had prepared these texts, they placed the two tomes in the case that held Saint Euphemia's relics, sealed it, and departed. After three days of night-long supplications, they opened the reliquary in the presence of the Emperor, and found the tome of the heretics under the feet of the Martyr, and that of the Orthodox in her right hand. (For her life, see Sept. 16.)Reading copyright Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Brookline, MA, used by permission. All rights reserved. (show less)
Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church