St. Andrew Orthodox Church will hold a Lenten book study on Wednesday evenings during Great Lent. We will be exploring the Divine Liturgy through the ancient text of Nicholas Cabasilas, a 14th Century Greek author and contemporary of St. Gregory Palamas. He is also venerated as a saint in the Greek church. His book Commentary on the Divine Liturgy explores the sacramental and liturgical life of the Eastern Orthodox Church and is still used today in seminaries and catechisms across the world.
The book study will follow the Wednesday Lenten service (usually a Presanctified Liturgy) and begin around 8 p.m. Please let Fr. Irineos know if you would like to attend.
Following the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Theophany of our Lord, Fr. Irineos and the lay readers performed a blessing on Clear Creek in Liberty Hill, Texas. The creek flows into the San Gabriel River, which feeds the Brazos River and continues into the Gulf of Mexico. The creek is located on the land where the new temple for St. Andrew Orthodox Mission will be built.
St. Andrew's fall book study will look at two questions of interest to all Christians, regardless of where they worship or what they believe.
- How did the Church develop differently in organization and faith in the East and the West?
- How do the faithful attain salvation?
Our study will begin on October 5th and continue for the next five Wednesdays. In that time, we'll cover two short (less than 75 pages) books. First, we'll look at "The Roman West and the Byzantine East" by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna and Bishop Auxentios of Photiki. This book is only about 60 pages, and is a solid introduction to the differences in Church History and Theology between the west and the east. During the second half of the study, we'll look at a wonderful little book I've recently read called "Are You Saved?: The Orthodox Christian Process of Salvation" by Barbara Pappas. This books looks at the historical teaching of the Church on salvation in a concise but substantive way. All participants will receive a free copy of the books.
Each Wednesday we will meet at 7 p.m. for Vespers (evening prayer). The book study will start around 7:30 p.m. A light meal will be provided.
Please register in advance so we can order the books.
by Fr. Irineos
Reflection on the Healing of the Blind Man
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear of Christ healing the man who had been born blind. This story is familiar to us. Christ spits on the ground, makes clay and puts it in the man’s eyes, and instructs him to wash in the pool of Siloam. The man does as he is told and his sight is restored. He returns, not to find Christ, but to face others who question how this miracle could have occurred. Some people even doubt that he is the same man, for never before had it been known for a man blind from birth to be healed.
Glory to Jesus Christ!
During Subdeacon Makarios's recent trip to Greece, he was ordained to the diaconate and then the priesthood by Metropolitan Angelos. At that time, his name was changed to Father Irineos. With an ordained priest, we can now celebrate the Divine Liturgy and offer the full sacraments of the Church. We will begin serving the Divine Liturgy on December 6th. Liturgy will begin at 10 a.m.
We will be sorting out our schedule for other services as we adjust to the new availability of the Divine Liturgy.
We have great need of readers and singers. If you can help, please visit with Fr. Irineos.
In our continuing quest to deepen the cycle of liturgical services available for the faithful and inquirers, St. Andrew Orthodox Church will be adding weekly vespers services beginning in June 2015.
On the first and third Saturdays of the month, we will offer Reader's Vespers at 7 p.m. On the second and fourth Wednesdays, Reader's Vespers will be also held at 7 p.m. Vespers is a non-sacramental service. All are invited to attend and pray with us.
About the Vespers Service
Vespers (εσπερινός) is first service of the Daily Cycle of divine services celebrated in the Orthodox Church. This practice follows the Biblical account of creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” (Gen 1:5). Because the liturgical day begins at sunset, Vespers is traditionally served in the early evening. For many parishes, Vespers is the principal evening service.
The service of Vespers takes us through creation, sin, and salvation in Christ. It leads us to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs us and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. On the eves of the Divine Liturgy, it begins our movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.
Vespers has its roots in the Lamplighting prayers of ancient Judaism (see Exodus 30:8, Leviticus 24:1-4). Evening prayer services are recorded in the Early Church as far back as the second century.
St. Andrew Orthodox Church welcomed the Lenten season with the reading of the Great Canon of St. Andrew, the most renowned penitential work of St. Andrew of Crete. Written in the early 700s, this great work features a spirit of mournful humility, hope in God, and complex and beautiful Trinitarian Doxologies and hymns to the Theotokos in each Ode. There is no other sacred hymn which compares with this monumental work, which St Andrew wrote for his personal meditations. Nothing else has its extensive typology and mystical explanations of the scripture, from both the Old and New Testaments. One can almost consider this hymn to be a “survey of the Old and New Testament”.
The Canon is read over the course of the first four nights of Great Lent. We will be reading it at 7 p.m. from February 23 to February 26. All are welcome to join us.
On the Sunday of the Prefeast of Theophany, Metropolitan Chrysostomos elevated St. Andrew Orthodox Church's Reader Mark was elevated to the order of Subdeacon and vested in the sticharion and orarion of an Orthodox subdeacon. The service preceded the Sunday liturgy at the monastery chapel of Met. Chrysostomos in Quito, Ecuador. This was Subdeacon Mark's third visit to Quito as he continues to learn and grow under the spiritual guidance of the metropolitan.
In addition to participating in the services of the week, Metropolitan Chrysostomos met with Subdcn. Mark to review our mission's Typica service and suggest corrections and improvements to better reflect correct Orthodox praxis. We will be implementing these changes immediately in our services at St. Andrew's mission.
Reader Mark also received the Holy Water blessed by Met. Chrysostomos for use at the mission and for distribution to our members. Holy water will be available at all services for the next month. Finally, Metropolitan Chrysostomos expressed his prayers for the mission, and his hope that he can soon visit Texas to bless the mission and consecrate the altar.
Additional photos of the elevation can be found in our photo gallery.