As a reminder, our next Homeless Shelter meal is on the Feast of the Theophany, 6 January! Four Evangelists partners with the Welcome One Emergency Shelter in Belcamp, Maryland to provide prepared meals and meal service to the shelter community. Please join our parish in this important ministry to the most vulnerable in our community. The rewards are heavenly! Chefs and servers are needed. Please e-mail Pani Chris Czumak, or use our parish contact page to join in this important ministry.
The Feast of the Theophany of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – Sunday 6 January
A reminder that the Great Blessing of the Waters will take place immediately after the Prayer Behind the Amvon, at the end of the Divine Liturgy. Please don’t forget to bring containers for Holy Water. House blessings will be scheduled in the weeks immediately following Theophany.
Theophany is the Feast which reveals the Most Holy Trinity to the world through the Baptism of the Lord (Mt.3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). God the Father spoke from Heaven about the Son, the Son was baptized by the St John the Forerunner, and the Holy Spirit descended upon the Son in the form of a dove. From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine “those who sat in darkness,” and “in the region of the shadow of death” (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace.
Read more here
The following archpastoral letter is from the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Bishops Beyond the Borders of Ukraine
St. Philip’s Fast in Anticipation of the Nativity of our Savior Jesus Christ
“Let us not speak, indeed of such a fast as most persons keep, but of real fasting; not mere abstinence from meats – but from sins, too, for the nature of a fast is such that it does not suffice to deliver those who practice it unless it be done according to a suitable law…The honor of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawal from sinful practices. Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works. What kind of works? If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see an enemy, be reconciled to him. If you see a friend gaining honor, envy him not…For let not the mouth only fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the foot, and the hands, and all members of the body. Let the hands fast from being pure from rapine and avarice. Let the feet fast by ceasing to run to unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast from such as is unlawful or forbidden. Let the ear fast, also. The fasting of the ear consists in refusing to listen to evil speech and calumnies. Let the mouth, too, fast from disgraceful speeches and railings.” (Holy Father, John Chrysostom)
Dearly beloved Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Ukrainian Orthodox Churches beyond the borders of Ukraine and those of our Holy Church in Ukrainian lands:
GLORY TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST!
We have begun the Fast of St. Philip, called such because it commences the day after the Feast of St. Philip the Apostle, which falls on 27 November (14 November on the Gregorian or New Calendar) and continues through the Eve of the Holy Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on 6 January (24 December on the Gregorian Calendar). The pace of life and the rabid secularization of our Western society has, unfortunately, affected the lives of Ukrainian Orthodox Christians along with the rest of society in lessening the importance of this period of preparation for the Nativity of Christ and for Theophany – the manifestation of the Holy Trinity – followed by the beginning of our Lord’s earthly ministry. We appeal to you all, however, to take a step back from that process of de-Christianizing the world, to discover who you are as the inheritors of an incredible spiritual legacy in, which is our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, along with all the Orthodox world, and it’s profound devotion to Christ through the some of the most difficult and horrific moments of human history. Our forefathers and mothers provided us with example after example of devotion and dedication to Christ, the Word of God, even to the point of martyrdom.
This Philip’s Fast must be a time when we offer our very lives as gifts to Christ, bearing in mind that we may lose all that is dear to us because we dare to proclaim to the world who we are and why we love the Christ-Child and follow His Way. In our fasting we lay up treasures for ourselves, not here on earth, but in Heaven, where we will never need to worry about a place to store or defend them from attack or theft. Our fasting must be based on the comprehension that we cannot simply deny ourselves a few of the “good” things of life – like the foods we love the most – hoping to gain eternal life, if at the same time we devour our brother or sister alive with our lack of sensitivity, our jealousy, our harsh words or painful deeds. It has simply become too easy for us in the day of the “Internet” or “Facebook” or “Twitter” and the like to anonymously accomplish the most hurtful things in life – to ourselves and others – things that we would dare not do if forced to identify ourselves – and to “desensitize” ourselves to the consequences of our behavior.
We ask you to seriously examine your lives – as must we as your Spiritual Archpastors – and to compare your everyday behavior with that of our forefathers and mothers – or to that of your Grandparents or Great-Grandparents, whose lives you may have some familiarity with. If such an examination is accomplished honestly, seeking positive consequences for our lenten journey, then this Philip’s Fast will have served its spiritual purpose. It is not a period when we begin to sing Christmas carols (if we can call them that) and shop in anticipation of the holiday. It is a period when we begin to sing praises to the Christ-Child and offer ourselves in service to Him in anticipation of the HOLY DAY of His Nativity – the Incarnation – God lowering Himself to become one of us in order to lift us up to become one with Him!
May yours, our dear ones, be the firm decision to prepare for the Holy Day, rather than the holiday. As we approach this Great Feast, may you become more aware as each day of your fasting brings you something new spiritually, in understanding our complete humility before our Loving God. May the Light that shines forth from the Star of Bethlehem enlighten not only the manger in the cave, but the depth of your hearts and souls and all your homes and lives throughout the coming New Year and all thereafter. You are our children and we embrace you in the Love of this Holy Season – the all-encompassing LOVE of the Christ-Child, the Holy Birth-Giver of God, the Ever-Virgin Mary and all the Saints who rejoice in Heaven. Please keep us in your prayers as we do you on a daily basis.
GLORY FOREVER TO OUR LORD!
+ YURIJ, Metropolitan – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
+ ANTONY, Metropolitan – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Locum Tenens Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
+ IOAN, Archbishop – Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
+ JEREMIAH, Archbishop – Ukrainian Orthodox Eparchy of Brazil and South America
+ ILARION, Bishop – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
+ ANDRIJ, Bishop – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
+ DANIEL, Bishop – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
From the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America website:
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America cordially invites you to the joyful and life-affirming Enthronement of the Prime Hierarch of the UOC of the USA, His Eminence Metropolitan Antony.
Friday – 25 January, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Divine Liturgy and Enthronement Rite:
Saturday – 26 January, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
Saint Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral
15100 New Hampshire Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20905
Agape Feast and Celebration:
Following Divine Liturgy – 26 January, 2013
St. Andrew the First-Called Banquet Hall
R.S.V.P. by 4 January, 2013
Hotel Information will be posted as it becomes available
The original announcement can be viewed here on the UOCUSA website.
This just in! … The Ukrainian Orthodox League has just announced that our mission parish of Four Evangelists is the recipient of their 2012 Thanksgiving Tithing Project! We are greatly blessed by this decision, which demonstrates a level of commitment by the UOL and by the Church at large to our mission work here. His Beatitude, Metropolitan Antony repeatedly affirmed the importance of these efforts during the 10th Anniversary celebration. It is a great blessing to see that validated and acted on by the UOL. In this, as in so many things, we have received a great gift.
For more information, please the UOL Tithing Project announcement found here.
UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Four Evangelists Mission in Bel Air, Maryland Celebrates 10th Anniversary
By Charles Sanderson
On Sunday, 7 October — just one day after the Extraordinary Sobor convened at the Meropolia Center of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA in South Bound Brook, New Jersey — the Metropolitan-Elect, His Eminence Archbishop Antony, together with His Grace Bishop Daniel, joined the mission parish of the Four Holy Evangelists in Bel Air, Maryland for its 10th anniversary celebration. Parishioners, family, friends and visiting clergy joined together for a joyous Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, followed by a celebratory luncheon to mark the mission’s ten years of service in Northern Maryland. The love, unity and communion shared between the faithful and their hierarchs recalled the words of the disciples: “Lord, it is good for us to be here!” (Matt. 17:4)
The first Orthodox mission in Harford County, Maryland, Four Evangelists has, by the grace of God, experienced an exciting period of growth since the first Divine Liturgy was celebrated there in 2002. Four Evangelists is blessed with many young children (comprising fully fifty percent of its membership), and among its various ministries the mission parish supports the local homeless shelter, participates in the International Orthodox Christian Ministries (IOCC) school and health kit programs, and offers religious education and workshops to children and adults of the parish as well as those outside the parish. Having met and worshipped in a series of temporary facilities over the past several years, Four Evangelists recently launched a major Capital Fund Drive for the purpose of establishing a permanent temple.
It was truly providential that Vladyka Antony’s first Archpastoral visit as Metropolitan-Elect was to the mission parish of Four Evangelists. At the Extraordinary Sobor His Eminence spoke repeatedly about the need for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA to plant and support more mission parishes, and His Eminence carried that same message to Maryland the next day, as he repeatedly exhorted the community of Four Evangelists to never cease its missionary work to be “fishers of men,” that all those in need of God’s mercy and help would come to know the love of the Lord and His Holy Church. His Grace Bishop Daniel likewise challenged the mission to continue its growth while holding on to its unique identity as a mission parish. Both hierarchs underscored the Christian love, humility, and desire to serve others present in the Four Evangelists community, and exhorted the faithful to give generously of this most precious gift by extending that love into the needy world outside the four walls of the parish.
Four Evangelists’ pastor, Father Gregory Czumak, echoed this same message, noting that the mission’s growth over the past ten years has been the fruit of much faith, prayer, and effort by the faithful. “We fully understand that it is only by the grace of God, realized in our efforts to serve Him, and through the many prayers of you, our dear parishioners and God-given friends of our parish, that we have arrived at this point,” noted Father Gregory, “and it is only by His grace, our efforts, and your prayers that we will continue to thrive and flourish. So, today let us celebrate, and give thanks to God Almighty for allowing us this incredible opportunity.”
The faithful of Four Evangelists were joined in the anniversary celebration by family and long-time friends of the parish, including V.Rev. Gregory Matthewes-Green and Khouria Frederica, Rev. Joseph Toroney and Matushka Kathy, V.Rev. Volodymyr Steliac, Rev. Protodeacon Ihor Mahlay, Rev. Deacon Michael Bishop, Rev. Deacon Vasyl Dovgan, and Reader Basil Athas. Prior to the Divine Liturgy Vladyka Antony tonsured Nicholas Czumak a reader, recognizing his own ten years of faithful service at the mission alongside his father, and afterwards, His Eminence also specifically honored long-time members and founders Alex and Lia Krowzow, along with Reader Basil, for their tireless efforts in establishing Four Evangelists mission.
At the day’s end, faithful and friends alike were reminded that Four Evangelists is a mission parish which exists solely that, by the grace of God, His Church may grow and become fully established for the sanctification and salvation of souls, and that He may be worshipped and glorified in an Orthodox manner in northern Maryland. The mission’s vocation as an Orthodox Christian community is to love one another just as the Lord loves each and every one of us, and to extend that love to all who are in need of God’s mercy and help. In worship, in charity, in service to others, in basic human compassion, the faithful live out that vocation in the place God has placed them: the mission parish of the Four Holy Evangelists. For this opportunity — for this gift — the faithful are grateful. The 10th Anniversary celebration proved a most appropriate moment to show, and to share, that gratitude.
Mark your calendars! Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church in Baltimore, Maryland is holding their annual Fall Fun Day on Saturday, October 27 beginning at 3:00 PM in the many-acre picnic area of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cemetery (6480 Elibank Drive, Elkridge, MD 21075). You can download the flyer for the event here. See the invite from Fr. John Vass below:
Dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church will host a Fall Fun Day on Saturday, October 27 beginning at 3:00 PM in the many-acre picnic area of Holy Trinity Orthodox Cemetery (6480 Elibank Drive, Elkridge, MD 21075). All Baltimore area Orthodox Sunday School students and families are warmly invited.
Dear Brother Priests,
You are all invited to concelebrate Vespers in our cemetery chapel to start the day of activities for the kids.
We will ask the kids to help sing during the service.
After Pan-Orthodox Vespers in the chapel, there will be plenty of games and activities for the kids of all ages, in the large playground, spacious fields and pavilion.
Hamburgers/hot dogs will be provided. We request families to bring a garnish dish, snacks or desserts to share with others.
We’ll finish the evening with a campfire, sing-a-long and smores.
Please distribute the attached flyer and encourage your Sunday School families to attend.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
Fr. John Vass
On October 6th, 2012, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA will hold an extraordinary Sobor (i.e., council) at the Metropolia Center in South Boundbrook, NJ with the purpose of electing a new Primate for our Church. Representing Four Evangelists Orthodox Church will be Fr. Gregory and parish council president Charles Sanderson. Brian Davis will serve as a delegate alternate. Please pray for all who are attending this extraordinary Sobor. More information can be found on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA website.
Excerpted from Archbishop Antony’s July 6, 2012 letter:
According to our Church Constitution, I am obliged to call a Special Sobor of the Church to take place within six months of the repose of our Primate. After consultation with Bishop Daniel and our Council of the Metropolia, I have set Saturday, 6 October 2012, as the date for this Sobor to take place at the Metropolia Center. A Special Sobor of our Church may consider only the items for which it is called. Of course, the main purpose of the Sobor will be to elect a new Primate for our Church. The complete agenda is published in this edition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Word.
Your participation in this Sobor is of utmost importance to the continuation of our Church life and ministry to a secularized world that, under evil influences, never ceases challenge our Faith and our faith – seemingly to make both irrelevant to an “enlightened” mankind. We must respond with a profound statement of our unity and our renewed commitment and devotion to our God in the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There will be a church school planning meeting tomorrow (Friday, 9/7/12) evening at 8:15pm in our church hall. We are still in need of a teacher for the youngest class. If you are thinking of teaching, please come to the meeting. You don’t need experience- just a little patience and the desire to learn right along with the children. Your curriculum will be outlined for you too!