Eminent Brother Archpastors, Honorable Fathers, Dear Brothers and Sisters:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
With a sense of jubilation in the Lord, the Victor over evil, hell and death, I greet you all on this luminous night of the Matins and Liturgy of the Pascha of Christ, this “feast of faith” which the great Chrysostom exhorts us to relish! Congratulations with the Bright Resurrection of Christ!
The grace-filled power of Great Lent and Holy Pascha unites us all, elevates, illumines, softens and broadens our souls, which during these holy days are revealed in their finest degrees. Still, no matter how much we have strived to seclude ourselves within the cells of our hearts, mindfully heeding the touching hymns sung during Great Lent and Passion Week, that which is unfolding in the land of Kievan Rus’ — a land so dear to us — forcefully encroaches into our lives. We, as Orthodox Christians, cannot remain indifferent when members of one and the same Local Church gaze at each other through the sights of automatic weapons; we cannot remain indifferent when our brothers and sisters, deprived of shelter, become refugees, as once were the founders of our own Russian Church Abroad.
Our inability to remain indifferent is expressed first and foremost in our fervent prayers for the restoration of peace, lifted up during the Divine Services in the parishes of our Russian Church Abroad. And at this moment, as we worship Christ the Giver of Life, we turn towards His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the archpastors, pastors, and the multitude of the flock of the persecuted Ukrainian Orthodox Church, and fervently implore that they, and all those who with wearied hearts are tormented by the present tragedy, may experience that which is hymned in the Paschal nighttime, as we sing out: “O Pascha, thou art the ransom from sorrow!”May “this chosen and holy day” be a consolation and joy, an outpouring of mercy, aid, and Divine strength for all!
O God, our God, grant that the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) may reign among our Orthodox peoples, that we, not falling into despair, may overcome all tribulations, discord and conflicts “through Him that loved us”(Romans 8:37), so that “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23) may be restored among us anew.
Now, as hostility, anger and hatred destroy the concord and brotherhood between nations and bring our sinful world to the threshold of hell, it is not the place of the Church to render political verdicts or take upon ourselves the task of seeking out those responsible for what is happening in the Ukrainian land. It is the work of the Church to join the suffering — not only in prayer, but in deed. Of this, our Lord the Chief Pastor instructed us plainly in the Gospel reading of the Sunday of the Dread Judgment (cf. Matthew 25:31-46).
This is why, beginning already in 2014, we have been offering help to those suffering in southeastern Ukraine; and since February of this year, when the new hostilities began, the dioceses and parishes of the Russian Church Abroad, our Fund for Assistance, and our other ecclesiastical-social organizations have been responding with kind hearts, vigorously and generously, to this terrible catastrophe. May the Lord save you all for your sacrificial labors! Such concrete help prevents us from becoming “salt that has lost its flavor” (Matthew 5:13), and shows that we can and must become more involved in the conciliar work of building the Church. We, as God’s people, scattered throughout the entire world, have many gifts and talents with which we can serve not only Him, Who with His Most-Pure Blood perfected our salvation, but can also serve His Holy Church and our neighbor. So let us not grow weak in spirit or fall into despair, but “let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God!”
May Pascha, wondrous and sweetly fragrant, warm cold hearts and unite us all! May the exclamation “Christ is Risen,” which forever evokes trepidation among those who have departed from the Father’s house, remind us that we, as Orthodox Christians, are children of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who Rose on the third day and with Whom and in Whom we shall also be resurrected for the life of the age to come. Amen.
With love in the Resurrected Christ, I ask for your holy prayers,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Pascha of the Lord 2022
On Great and Holy Friday, April 22nd, the service of Matins of Great and Holy Saturday, Lamentations at the tomb, concluded with a procession around the Church carrying the plachinitsa and veneration by the faithful. Beautiful, fresh spring flowers adorn the tomb of Christ, as the faithful approached, they were greeted with a sweet fragrance and joyful heart. In the morning on Great and Holy Saturday, April 23rd, Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, concluded with the Blessing of Paschal Baskets in the Church.
Beloved in the Lord, all-honourable fathers, brothers, and sisters!
On the bright Feast of the Resurrection of Christ I warmly greet you with the words of the apostolic proclamation: CHRIST IS RISEN!
In these days of the worldwide celebration of the triumph of all-conquering love, when we celebrate ‘the death of death, the destruction of hell, and the beginning of a new and eternal life’ (Paschal Canon, Ode 7), may the radiant and saving light of the Resurrection of Christ fill souls with unending joy in the Risen Saviour, and may His inexpressible divine love shine forth in our hearts and may the fire of divine illumination, peace, joy and hope burn brightly in our hearts!
With all my heart I congratulate the faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church on the bright Feast of the Pascha of Christ - CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
Bishop of Sourozh
Interim Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes
in the USA & Canada
Pascha of Christ, 2022
Eminent fellow archpastors, reverend pastors and deacons, all-honorable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Addressing you with these life-asserting words, I extend to all of you my heartfelt greetings on the great and world-saving feast of Pascha. On this chosen and holy day so overwhelming is our spiritual joy and profound gratitude to God and so distinct is the feeling of might and depth of the Creator’s love for human beings that, when trying to express our emotions, we can hardly find other words than those of the myrrh-bearing women who ran to the apostles to tell them about the miraculous event – that they had seen the Lord.
One can only imagine how hard it was for the Savior’s disciples to believe in the reality of His Resurrection. It was not long ago that they had seen their beloved Teacher being tortured and crucified. Still fresh in their minds were the memories of how His dead and lifeless Body had been laid in the tomb, with a heavy stone rolled to its door. And now sorrow gives place to the firmness of faith and the triumph of life, and tears of affliction turn into tears of joy.
Experiencing the real communion with the Risen Christ and the unfading Paschal joy inspired and lent wings to the apostles who went to the ends of the earth to preach the forgiveness of sins and salvation which we received through the Lord Jesus, Risen from the tomb. Unafraid of adversities and severe persecutions, suffering hardships and tribulations, the apostles tirelessly and bravely bore witness to Christ the Vanquisher of death.
For two thousand years now, the tidings of the Resurrection have formed the core of the Church’s live, which has been striving to bring these tidings to every man that cometh into the world (Jn. 1:9). In the light of Pascha everything is indeed different: fear and despair, caused by sorrows, afflictions and worldly troubles, go away. And even the trying circumstances of these troubled times lose their ominous acuteness in the perspective of eternity granted unto us. To bear witness to the Risen Savior, we do not have to go somewhere far, like the apostles did who spread the Paschal tidings all over the world. Many people around us are in need of a living model of Christian faith working through love (Gal. 5:6). God does not demand of us some heroic deeds that are beyond our strength. He just asks us to show love to one another, to remember that by doing so we also show love to Him. A kind smile, attention and sympathy to those who are near, as well as timely words of consolation and support can become our most important deeds for the sake of our Lord.
And today when the world is torn by conflicts and confrontations, when many hearts are filled with hatred, fear and enmity, it is of particular importance to be mindful of our Christian vocation and to show genuine love towards our neighbors – love that alone can heal the wounds inflicted by evil and falsehood. We must not yield to the temptation of the archenemy who strives to shatter the blessed unity between Orthodox Christians. I ardently pray to our Lord Jesus the Vanquisher of death and ask you to lift up your fervent prayers to Him as well, so that all obstacles be overcome, a lasting peace prevail, and the wounds of divisions be healed by the Divine grace.
Greeting all of you on the feast of Pascha, I invoke upon you the blessing of the Risen Christ and wish you, my dears, the inexhaustible radiant Easter joy that strengthens us in faith, hope and love. God willing, may this light never fade in our hearts, always shining in the world (cf. Mt. 5:14). And may we, illumined by the word of God by reading the Gospel and partaking of the Divine grace in the Sacraments of the Church – grow steadily in the knowledge of the Lord and in fulfilling His commandments, so that people, seeing our good works, glorify our Father which is in heaven (cf. Mt. 5:16) and join us in joyfully proclaiming that
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
Patriarch of Moscow & all Rus'
Lazarus Saturday, April 16
Divine Liturgy 10 AM, Reading of Hours prior
Palm Sunday, April 17
Great Feast of Entry of The Lord into Jerusalem
Blessing of Pussy Willows 9:30AM, Divine Liturgy 10 AM, Reading of Hours prior
Holy Wednesday, April 19
Holy Unction Service, 7 PM
Holy Thursday, April 21
Vesperal Liturgy 10 AM, Reading of Hours prior
Matins of Holy Friday (Twelve Gospels) 7PM
Holy Friday, April 22
Matins of Holy Saturday (Funeral of Christ) 7PM
Holy Saturday, April 23
Grave Vigil, Readings of The Acts of the Apostles 8:30 to 10AM
Vesperal Liturgy 10 AM, Blessing of Baskets following Liturgy
Midnight Office 11:15PM, Paschal Procession 11:45PM
Pascha April 24
12 Midnight Paschal Matins and Divine Liturgy Blessing of Baskets following
Bright Monday, April 25
Paschal Divine Liturgy 10 AM, Reading of Hours prior
Bright Tuesday, April 26
Paschal Divine Liturgy 10 AM, Reading of Hours prior
St. Thomas Sunday, May 1
The Blessing of Graves at Oakland Cemetery
Divine Liturgy 10AM, Reading of Hours prior
Blessing of Graves following Liturgy, approximately 1PM
On Palm Sunday, April 17th, Divine Liturgy concluded with a procession around the Church for The Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem Feast Day. Pussy willows carried by the faithful in the procession were blessed in the Church that morning. Following services, a wonderful meal and special time together was enjoyed in the hall. The children, together with Fr. Luka, hand-decorated and colored eggs for Pascha, as they prepared for their Journey through Holy Week.
Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:
During these terrifying days when streams of blood merge with the flow of deceit and wickedness, we Christians cannot allow ourselves to submit to the spirit of war. The spirit of war is demanding. It requires us to divide into parties. It forces us to hate.
We Christians must understand: the wrath with which war burns is the wrath of hell. The enemy of God drinks in not so much human blood as human bitterness and division. The devil wants nothing more than to separate man from his neighbor, from the Church and from Christ.
This is nothing new. Before the beginning of Great Lent, during Cheesefare Week, the Lord cautions us: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another… And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold… But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:6-13).
Ahead of us lies the just Judgment, the all-encompassing Divine Judgment. Those who forget this judge others quickly and carelessly-and this is already war, the ancient war of the devil against God. On whose side shall we stand?
This sermon is addressed to those who serve the Church, and to those who have newly come. The German Diocese is our local Church. Contained therein are priests and believers of various nationalities: Ukrainians, Russians, Belarussians, Carpatho-Russians, Jews, “Russian Germans,” migrants, and the local “native” Germans, Greeks, Moldovans, Serbs, Georgians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians… Each of us loves our homeland. But the All-Merciful Lord united us, called upon us to establish Church life within this diocese, to the salvation of the present and future generations of Orthodox Christians in this nation. Here we must be the People of God, serving the One God.
If we allow this service to divide along national traits, we will commit a grave, most grave sin-the rending of the living, unified Body of the Church.
It is this rupture, this division that the prince of this world lusts after, and more persistently demands of us.
We recall that it was even demanded of Christ that He present Himself as a political leader and would destroy the occupiers. That He would separate Himself from the Roman invaders and would become the God not of all mankind but of a single suffering nation. And when He did not satisfy them-as many, many thought at the time to be well-deserved and righteous political expectations and imperatives-we recall what those who made these demands did to Him.
Politics always presumes division into “us” and “them.” But the bloodless Sacrifice of Christ is made “in all and for all.”
If our hearts are in disagreement with the words “in all and for all,” then can we partake of Communion? Are we truly Christian?
Let us for a moment lift our spiritual gaze to the heavens. Let us think of the invisible angelic world. The bond with that world is particularly noted by the Church during Liturgy: during the Minor Entrance, the Cherubic Hymn, the singing of “Holy, Holy, Holy…”
But the angelic world is not enclosed by the walls of the church. Even in the heat of battle, under bullets and bombs, when it seems that hell reigns over everything, each warrior is accompanied by his own Guardian Angel, who tends to and protects the person, cares and suffers for him. Demons, the servants of the devil, strive through their hatred to destroy human bodies, and mainly, their souls. The Angels, as heralds of Christ, strive to save each soldier with their love, no matter which side he fights for. And this pain is felt for the mothers praying in church, the wives and sisters of the warriors, praying for the salvation and consolation of the warriors on both sides.
To what shall we open our hearts-to love or to hatred? Whose side are we on this genuine war?
If we are Christians, let us reject the spirit of war which is alien to Christ.
May peace take hold in our hearts-that sole genuine peace which the Savior brought to us already.
Let us follow the Apostle’s call: “Neither give place to the devil… rather… labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption… Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:27-32).
Let us firmly trust in the words of Christ:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Metropolitan of Berlin and Germany
Commemoration of the Dead Saturday
March 6/19, 2022
We all fervently pray for the protection and well-being of the people of Ukraine, for the immediate cessation of all military action and hostilities and for the complete restoration of peace. Let us always remember that, first and foremost, we are Orthodox Christians. And our Holy Orthodox Church, throughout history, has united Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, and people of all ethnicities into the one, true, Orthodox faith. We are brothers and sisters regardless of borders.
His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia addressed the archpastors, pastors, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Your Beatitude! Your Eminences and Graces! Dear fathers, brothers & sisters!
It is with deep and heartfelt pain that I witness the suffering of people caused by the events taking place.
As the Patriarch of All Rus’ and the Primate of the Church, whose flock is in Russia, Ukraine and other countries, I deeply empathize with everyone who is experiencing misfortune.
I call on all parties of the conflict to do everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
I appeal to bishops, pastors, monastics and laity to provide available assistance to all victims, including refugees, people left without shelter and livelihood.
The Russian and Ukrainian peoples have a common centuries-old history dating back to the Baptism of Rus’ by holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Prince Vladimir. I believe that this God-given commonality will help overcome the divisions and contradictions that have arisen that have led to the current conflict.
I call on the entirety of the Russian Orthodox Church to raise deep, fervent prayer for the speedy restoration of peace.
May the all-merciful Lord, through the intercession of our Most Pure Lady Theotokos and all the saints, preserve the Russian, Ukrainian and other peoples, which our Church spiritually unites!
PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA
On Sunday February 13th St. Michael’s church council for the year 2022 took their oath of office following the end of liturgy upstairs in the church. The torch was passed on to new leadership, and several fresh faces stepped up to take a role in guiding our parish forward. Thank you all for your service!
Join us in celebrating the Feast of the Theophany:
Tuesday January 18th Eve of the Feast of Theophany of Christ Vespers 6PM
Wednesday January 19th Day of the Feast of Theophany of Christ Divine Liturgy 9AM, Reading of Hours prior
The Feast of the Holy Theophany of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God.
Join us in celebrating the Great and Holy Feast of Christ's Nativity. Celebrate the birth of Christ with us virtually or in person. We will be live streaming via our Facebook page. For in person participation, visitors are requested to follow health and safety guidelines including wearing a mask indoors.
- Thursday, January 6th Eve of the Feast of Nativity of Christ Vigil (Great Compline followed by Matins) 6:30PM
- Friday, January 7th Day of the Feast of Nativity of Christ Divine Liturgy 10AM, Reading of Hours prior
Contribute to our parish Nativity Feast Food Drive and bring non-perishable, high protein goods to support Philabundance, a food bank working to end hunger in our region.
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