Greetings on the glorious Feast of Pentecost, one of the major Feast days of our Holy Orthodox Church. On this day we celebrate the day when the Glorified Christ poured out the Holy Spirit upon His followers. We remember when John the Baptist prophesied, “I baptize you with water, but someone is coming who is so much greater than I am… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16).
On Sunday April 11, 2021 dedicated to the memory of St. John of the Ladder, His Eminence Archbishop Mark celebrated the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great at St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Glen Mills, Pa. His Eminence presented Gramoti to two devoted members of the Church Council, Anastasia Plisko and Christel Krugovoy for their many years of service to our parish. The highlight of the visit was the blessing of the newly installed iconostas which was gifted from the Holy Trinity Church in McAdoo, Pa.
This Sunday we hear the words of the Gospel of the Last Judgement from the Evangelist Matthew 25:31-36. This Sunday is also known as Meatfare Sunday because it is the last day before the Feast of Feasts, on which the eating of meat is allowed. Next week is Cheesefare Sunday, when in addition to refraining from meat, we begin our fasting, according to the Church, from dairy products etc, thus ushering us into the more stricter discipline of Great and Holy Lent.
On this the last Sunday and day of the month of February 2021, we again hear the Gospel of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). This gospel lesson is about a son who runs away from his home and his father, squalors away his inheritance and eventually down and out from high living returns home to his welcoming father.
With this Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee, we Orthodox Christians begin the Lenten Triodion which is the ten-week period of Pre Lent and Great Lenten days ending on the Saturday of Holy Week. Thus, this book the Triodion prescribes the order for the four Pre-Lenten Sundays, the six weeks of Great Lent (40) and Holy Week.
Today we read the Gospel from the 17th Sunday of Matthew Chapter 15: verses 21-28, concerning the woman of Canaan who approached Jesus as he came to the region of Tyre and Sidon. She had not been brought up by pious Jewish parents to practice the customs of the Jews and to believe in the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She was a Gentile of Canaanite stock, who were old enemies of the Jews.
Today we hear the Gospel for the 34th Sunday After Pentecost which is taken from Matthew 25:14-30, the parable of the Talents. The reason for the Readings to now switch to Matthew instead of Luke as we have been hearing for so many weeks, is because Pascha is late this year. We also celebrate today, January 30, 2021, the Holy Feast of the Three Hierarchs: St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom – the great Doctors of the Church, who played a pivotal role as influential bishops of the early Church in the shaping and development of Christian theology.