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Saying Goodbye to our Koumbari/Nouno

4 Jul

Today Michael, our friend and sponsor into the Orthodox Church, is leaving for Tanzania.  He will be serving God there as a missionary through the Orthodox Christian Missionary Center for the next two years.  We are so sad to see him go, but so proud of and thankful for his ministry.  I know that he will serve well.

Michael is very dear to us.  A year ago we crept into Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church as searchers with very little understanding of the Greek culture or Orthodox life.  We were quickly introduced to Michael by many of the older ladies in the church – they adore him!  We had lunch together a few times, and we really enjoyed his company. When it came time to find a sponsor for our Chrismation, it only made sense to ask him and I’m so thankful we did.  We didn’t understand then what sponsoring us into the church really meant.  It’s a big responsibility and Michael took us on.

Michael is  part of our family, and he and his family have graciously allowed us to be a part of theirs.  He has helped us to learn the Faith and we are forever, forever grateful to him.  But now is his time to go on and serve with the best of his of his abilities and talents.  To let his faith and his God lead him into full-time, selfless servant-hood.  He goes with our love, thoughts, and very many prayers.  Adeline will miss her “Nono” and we will miss our friend.

Friends, being a missionary is not easy – it doesn’t pay well…or at all.  Funding is sometimes hard to find and secure.  If you are able and feel so led, I know a very worthy, unworthy servant whose ministry could benefit from any funding you might be able to give .  Please remember Michael in your prayers over the next few years.  There is no greater gift.

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Our Crowning

28 Jun

Matthew and I were blessed to go through the betrothal and crowning service on Sunday after liturgy. I was going to blog about it, but my dear husband beat me to it!  If you’re interested, head over to his blog to read about the blessing. What a joyous day it was, and how lucky we are.  I have a little to add to Matthew’s thoughts, but will share that later.

Also, I feel the need to say to our friends, family, and those who have the wrong idea about the blessing of our marriage.  In no way was our marriage invalid (in our eyes or the eyes of the church) before this blessing.  Because Matthew will be an Orthodox priest someday (Lord willing), it is important that he receive every sacrament available to him.  Even if this were not case, we would have been glad to receive this blessing from God.

Finally, if  you have found your way here researching the Orthodox marriage blessings for those who have joined the Orthodox church after marriage, please feel free to leave a message, question, or comment.  I had a terrible time trying to find information, and I will be glad to share what I know with you.

Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!

5 Apr

Christ is risen!  Truly, He is risen!

I have been absent from this blog for quite some time now.  Okay, not months but long enough that it feels awkward to write here! The last few weeks have been more hectic than usual.  Midterms, a new business venture, lovely weather, and Holy Week made for busier days and nights.

Christ is risen, we are feasting, and my spirit feels renewed.  Hopefully I will be around a bit more now that I’ve broken the silence!

Blessed Pascha/Easter to you all!

Sunday of the Holy Cross

7 Mar

This third Sunday of Lent is the Sunday of the Holy Cross.  I really enjoyed what was in our Church’s (Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church) bulletin this morning.  It certainly explains, far better than I can, what we celebrate this Sunday:

On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life=Giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness resentment, and depression.  The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted.  In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion –  being humiliated in a shameful manner.  The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find  comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving cross, which our Fathers “planted: on this Sunday.  Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.

Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as an ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden.  By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished.  Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal.
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The normal service was followed by the procession of the Holy Cross on a tray surrounded by daffodils.  At the end of the service we all received flowers from the tray from our priest.

Adeline was enthralled by the procession and thrilled by the two flowers she received from Fr. Jim.  I still am always struck by the beauty of Orthodox worship, our worship.  The history, tradition, and truth never cease to move my spirit as it approaches the body and blood of Christ.  I am grateful for this tradition, this tangible reminder of the Holy Cross and passion of Christ, during the middle of this Great Lent as our family prepares for His resurrection .

Clean Monday

15 Feb

Today, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the beginning of Great Lent.  Called Clean Monday, today is the day that Orthodox Christians begin the Lenten Fast and strive to increase our spiritual and physical discipline as we await the resurrection of our Lord.

I have to admit that I’m feeling a bit daunted as we begin our first Lenten season as Orthodox Christians.  Because of physical restraints, our household will not hold the complete fast (meat, dairy, olive oil, and wine), but will each hold it according to our own ability. This will may make meal planning a somewhat difficult venture, but will also allow me to meditate even more deeply and frequently of those things not of this world, but of the kingdom of God.  Prostrations with the extra weight of a wiggling toddler ought to remind me of the gravity and responsibility of raising her in and teaching her the Faith.  Increased prayer when I already struggle to find enough time in the day for everything should remind me of my priorities.

So though I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed in the beginning of this Lenten season, and in this very new season of our lives, I pray “Lord, have mercy!” and thank Him that I know He will.

Many prayers for all of you who read this blog as you, no doubt, are on your own journeys (of many kinds, I’m sure).

A blessed Clean Monday to you, and a fruitful Great Lent.

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet,

they shall be as white as snow;

though they are red like crimson,

they shall become like wool.

Isaiah 1:18-19

The Feast Day of St. Brigid, Abbess of Kildare

1 Feb

Matthew is of Irish descent, so when I learned that the Orthodox church celebrates the feast day of St. Brigid, abbess of Kildare, I was excited to celebrate. Irish saints are few and far between in the Orthodox church.   So, today I made Irish soda bread, which is lovely with strawberry preserves.

Let Adeline color an icon of St. Brigid that I found here.

And we listened to Jane G. Meyer’s book about St. Brigid be read by Dr. Chrissi Heart on Ancient Faith Radio.  Click here to listen to stories about the amazing life of St. Brigid.

Forget-Me-Not Friday– January 29, 2010

30 Jan

–  This week Adeline has attached herself to her baby doll and can now say “baby” instead of “deba”.

–  She can repeat each letter in the alphabet after you say them very clearly to her.

– We made pudding finger paints on Thursday.  She had a blast!

– Matthew received blessing from His Eminence to attend Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Seminary in the fall!

– Today Adeline and I went to The Children’s Play Gallery, then Papa took us out for dinner.  It was a wonderful day!