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Stations of the Cross booklet cover

Our 2019 Lenten retreat with Fr Joe Ostopowich takes place this week, Friday & Saturday 12–13 April.

On Friday evening, Fr Joe will be available to hear confessions from 6:30 PM. At 7 PM we will pray the Stations of the Cross, followed by our annual memorial service at which we pray Panakhyda (Панахида) for all departed parishioners and our loved ones. Following the prayer services, Fr Joe will deliver a spiritual talk on the themes of repentance and kindness.

On Saturday morning, Fr Joe will preach at our regular Divine Liturgy at 11 AM.

Saint Ephrem the Syrian, from a 16th Century Russian manuscript

Saint Ephrem, a 4th Century deacon of the Syriac Church, was a prolific hymn writer and theologian, declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict the XV in 1920. His hymns and prayers are known for their rich metaphors and striking compression of complex theological ideas. His Lenten prayer is considered the most succinct expression of the spirit of Great Lent, so is especially suited for personal prayer during this season.

O Lord, and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power, and idle chatter.

Instead, grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble mindedness, patience, and love.

O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brothers and sisters, for You are blessed, now and forever and ever. Amen.

Господи і Владико життя мого, духа лінивства, недбайливості, властолюб’я і пустомовства віджени від мене.
Доземний поклін

Духа чистоти, покори, терпеливості й любові даруй мені, слузі твоєму.
Доземний поклін

Так, Господи, Царю, дай мені бачити гріхи мої і не осуджувати брата мого, бо ти благословенний на віки вічні. Амінь.
Доземний поклін

Today, 15 November, is the beginning of the pre-Christmas season of abstinence and penance of the eastern churches, often known as ‘Philip’s Fast’ because it begins the day after the feast of St Philip the Apostle. The season corresponds to but is somewhat longer than the season of Advent in the western church, and lasts through 24 December.

Although not traditionally as strict a fast as the pre-Easter season of Lent, Philip’s Fast serves a similar purpose in preparing us mentally and spiritually for the great celebration to come. In the words of Monsignor Russell A. Duker:

To worthily meet our Lord and Savior, we should sanctify this pre-Nativity season of the Phillipian Fast. Sanctifying means spending our time in faith and in the service of God and in kindness towards our neighbor, especially those who are in need of our assistance. And we should think of what we would have been had Christ not come to our lowliness and poverty. Together with the whole of the Byzantine Church we should try to meet Christ as he deserves to be met and as it will, in His mercy, best serve our spiritual benefit!

[Source: ‘Philip’s Fast / Advent’,]