Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Going to be in NYC? Might be worth visiting the Met

While I'm at it, let me also plug Kh. Krista West's fine book The Garments of Salvation. Here's a synopsis:

Is beauty within the Church optional or essential? What is the origin of Orthodox Christian liturgical vestments and what is their significance? What meaning is contained in the textiles, colors and designs used in Orthodox Christian liturgical practice? Answering these and many other questions, master vestment maker, Khouria Krista West, invites us to explore the fascinating and colorful world of Orthodox Christian vesture and church adornment. The first comprehensive book on this topic in the English language, The Garments of Salvation is an engaging and compelling presentation of the nearly 2000-year tradition of liturgical garments within the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It can be purchased here. And now to the article itself...

(The Met) - Why Vestments? An Introduction to Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World
The exhibition Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World, now on view through November 1, 2015, presents a selection of notable liturgical vestments that communicate the continuing prestige of the Orthodox Church and its clergy in the centuries following the fifteenth-century fall of Byzantine Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. From a strictly theological viewpoint, vestments are hardly a necessity for Christian worship. Liturgical scholars are largely in agreement that for the first several centuries of Christianity's existence, its clergy officiated at services wearing the normal "street dress" of the Roman world. Only gradually did these items of clothing take on special significance as liturgical vestments, to be worn only during worship.

The tunic—worn by virtually everyone in Late Antiquity, regardless of age, rank, or gender—was stylized to become the sticharion, or alb; while the outer, poncho-like cloak, the Roman paenula, became the vestment known in the West as the chasuble (from casula, "little house") and in the Greek-speaking East as the phelonion. By the fourth century, special stoles of office were added for the deacon and for the bishop (the orarion and omophorion, respectively), while the priest's stole, the epitrachelion, also worn by bishops, appears in textual records only several centuries later.

The history of liturgical vestments in the later centuries of the Byzantine Empire is one of increasing distinctions. Not only did vestments, as before, differentiate the clergy from the laity and distinguish orders within the clergy (bishops, priests, deacons, subdeacons, etc.), but new additions to the repertoire of vestments helped to distinguish rank within these clerical orders. Hence, from the eleventh century onward, metropolitans and other bishops of high rank were entitled to wear the polystavrion phelonion, a vestment decorated with an all-over pattern of crosses. Byzantine canonists' repeated insistence on the limited number of bishops entitled to this vestment is belied by its rapid spread over the twelfth through fourteenth centuries. Perhaps to compensate, a still more privileged vestment, the sakkos, was introduced in the twelfth century, to be worn only by patriarchs and archbishops on only the most important of feast days.

The introduction of figural embroidery on vestments, which likely occurred in Byzantium as a new phenomenon in the twelfth century, can be seen as part of this trend to differentiate the garments and insignia of the highest-ranking figures from those of lower ranks. This is not to say, of course, that the embroideries were merely a means of self-aggrandizement by the clergy; rather, they point beyond themselves to the mysteries of the liturgy as a dramatic reenactment of the life of Christ and a microcosm of the divine kingdom.

The Benaki Museum, in Athens, houses an impressive post-Byzantine icon from Corfu (left) depicting Saint James of Jerusalem. James the Adelphotheos ("Brother of God," that is, of Jesus) was considered the first bishop of Jerusalem, and the icon shows the saint clothed in the vestments that might have been available to a well-positioned bishop in the seventeenth century. His omophorion and the lining of his phelonion imitate Italian damasks, while the outer fabric of his phelonion recalls the repeating patterns of crosses typical of Ottoman silks woven for use in the Christian liturgy (as seen in the hanging above). His epitrachelion and epigonation, moreover, are depicted as bearing elaborate embroidery in silk and gold. The subjects depicted—priests, kings, and prophets of the Old Testament on his epitrachelion, and the entombment of Christ on his epigonation—emphasize his connection to Jerusalem, the site of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection, and his role as a high-priestly successor to his forebears who served in the Jewish Temple.

Although vestments of the late Byzantine period (1261–1453) were generally decorated with embroidery on plain, unpatterned silk textiles, the post-Byzantine period saw the rise of patterned silks intended specifically for liturgical use. These seem to have been a specialty of the imperial Ottoman textile workshops at Bursa and Istanbul, and records from Moscow attest to the importation of various patterns of woven silks—many with gold and silver threads—from Ottoman Turkey to Muscovy for use in the vestments of the clergy.

One such pattern, with the figure of Christ enthroned among the four symbols of the Evangelists, is known from vestments in the Kremlin in Moscow and can be viewed on a sakkos now in the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum. Like the two Ottoman textiles featured in the exhibition (below, top left and top right), its figural motifs are surrounded by crosses with the abbreviations ΙϹ ΧϹ ΝΙΚΑ, for "Jesus Christ is victorious." These patterns thus continue to adhere, centuries later, to the custom that the vestments of the clergy of highest rank should be adorned with repeating patterns of crosses. Even the Russian embroidered yoke of a phelonion, the design of which borrows from the stock of ornamental motifs—vines, tulips, serrated saz leaves—common among Ottoman textiles, also includes golden crosses at the centers of the silver, palmette-shaped leaves.

Bombing churches in Las Cruces, NM

(Seattle Times) - A New Mexico church service was set to start when the mailbox exploded near the office entrance.

Unshaken in faith, the congregation of Calvary Baptist in Las Cruces headed to the parking lot, set up folding chairs and listened as the pastor drew from the story of David and Goliath.

The explosion that sent the mailbox flying 100 feet over a woman’s head was the first of two om Sunday that caused minor damage to two churches in Las Cruces — the second-largest city in New Mexico near the border of Mexico and Texas.

No one was injured in the blasts at Calvary Baptist and Holy Cross Roman Catholic, but authorities said the explosive devices could have caused serious injuries if anyone had been nearby.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Blessed Makrina Project

(Blessed Makrina Project) - Many books have been published about the great elders of recent times. They have impacted and moved us all deeply. They show us that our ancient faith is real, present, and relevant in these times.

The time has come for us to hear the stories of the Holy Mothers of the Church. These spiritual giants lived quiet lives of deep humility and simplicity. They lived lives full of silence and love.

The sisterhood of St. John’s Monastery is currently translating the life and teachings of Gerontissa Makrina. Her story, relating the indescribable suffering that she went through as a child, and the incredible joy that she found in noetic prayer, is important for every Orthodox Christian.

I have had the opportunity to read the transcript of this book, and have been awestruck by her story. God is glorified in his saints, and the story of Gerontissa Makrina, this Mother of so many monasteries, is one that will inspire.

Fiery Furnace Productions is currently in the writing/development stages of a documentary on the life of the blessed Gerontissa Makrina. God willing, we will be traveling to Greece to interview people who were touched by this holy soul.

This documentary will:
  • Help promote the English translation of the book
  • Reveal previously unknown stories of how Gerontissa Makrina touched the lives of the faithful
  • Capture the beauty of Orthodox Monasticism in America and Greece
  • Tell the story of Gerontissa Makrina’s work in revitalizing Orthodox Monasticism
  • Create opportunity to establish an Orthodox voice in the digital video revolution
The project is a daunting one. We will need a great deal of prayer as we embark on this great undertaking. There will also be many financial needs- travel, production costs, etc. Any contribution that you are able to make to help us on the journey, will be greatly appreciated. This story of one holy woman’s life is one that needs to be heard. This year is the 20th anniversary of Gerontissa Makrina’s repose. By telling, translating, and showing her story we can bring this shining example of Christ’s love to a wounded world. Please send your donations to St. John the Forerunner Greek Orthodox Monastery in Goldendale. They are handling the finances of the project. May the prayers of Gerontissa Makrina be with us all! – Innocent Lewis

Please remember Schemamonk John in your prayers

(Holy Cross Hermitage) - On Tuesday, July 28, Schemamonk John (Dezorzi) returned to the Hermitage of the Holy Cross. Fr. John was a part of the Hermitage brotherhood from 1998 until 2006, when he left and afterward lived in several other monasteries. However, several weeks ago he called the Hermitage because he had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and wished to spend his last days here at Holy Cross. With the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion, he has been received once more into the Hermitage brotherhood.

Fr. John entered monastic life at Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Boston in 1973, at which time they were part of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. He was tonsured to the Great Schema there in 1976.

Fr. John is now the first monk to occupy the new infirmary room, located in the St. Panteleimon Dorm (Project Kellia). We are grateful to all the many benefactors who made this infirmary room possible by contributing to the Project Kellia building fund. The infirmary is set up like a hospital room, complete with a private handicapped bathroom, and provides a comfortable and safe environment for a monk who is seriously ill or recovering from surgery.

Hospice is directing the care of Schemamonk John. The nurse has informed us that this type of cancer is very aggressive and painful, but their excellent treatment is providing him with as much peace and comfort as possible. A rotation of monks keeps someone sitting with him at all times, and each day they read to him the Morning and Evening Prayers, the Akathist to the Mother of God, and passages from Holy Scripture and various spiritual books. Fr. John has prepared for a Christian ending to his life, and he was very happy to be able to come down to church to receive Holy Communion for the feast of St. Seraphim.

Although he is being kept as comfortable as possible, Fr. John is very weak and spends most of his time in bed. The hospice nurse tells us that he probably has only a short time remaining, so we ask everyone to please remember Schemamonk John in your prayers.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Under they Protection (Παναγία Δέσποινα)

For the words in English, see this link (PDF). This paraliturgical hymn is often chanted during the distribution of the antidoron after liturgy. In some monasteries on the Holy Mountain, it is chanted after the procession back into church following the meal after a vigil on feast days of the Mother of God.

The Abp. Dmitri Memorial Chapel in Dallas

I'll be in Dallas in September and hope to visit the cathedral while I'm there. I've been tracking this project since the initial planning and financing stage. It's wonderful that the same iconographer who did the initial iconography was able to do this important work as well. Three cheers for continuity and another one for Mr. Grygorenko's professionalism.

(OAJ) - The Archbishop Dmitri Memorial Chapel is an ongoing project at St. Seraphim Cathedral in Dallas, Texas. It is especially interesting as it is a chapel designed to honor the earthly remains of the locally venerated archbishop. We are pleased to offer this interview with master iconographer Vladimir Grygorenko, who designed and painted the chapel.

A. Gould: How did the idea for a memorial chapel come about?

V. Grygorenko: It was obvious to everyone at St. Seraphim Cathedral that Archbishop +Dmitri should be buried near the church that he founded in 1954. Unfortunately, the city code allows such burials only under the foundation of pre-existing church buildings. Since St. Seraphim was built upon a number of piers, and it was impossible to fit an underground burial chamber between them, the idea to build a chapel adjacent to the cathedral was the first that came to my mind. We started to develop a plan right after his departure… Because it was impossible to build anything before his burial, it had been decided that Vladika’s earthly remains would temporarily stay at Restland Cemetery.

A. Gould: How much role did you have in designing the structure of the chapel? What were you trying to achieve, artistically, with this simple barrel-vaulted form?

V. Grygorenko: In this project, God blessed me with the wonderful opportunity to do almost everything: from the architectural design and construction supervision to the murals and iconography. I made the first sketch at the memorial supper, a few hours after Vladika’s burial. Metropolitan Jonah blessed it right away. The final design of a much bigger memorial complex, including a chapel and bell tower, was completed in 2013, together with Mr. Nick Unich, ASA.

I had several problems to solve. First, the exterior of the new addition should match the existing cathedral, which resembles Russian church architecture. Second, the interior of this rather small space should allow for a close and intimate relationship with the services, which will be conducted there, and with the Archbishop himself, who will be buried there someday.

I think the chapel’s form with barrel vault fits here perfectly. Designing the chapel, I have always kept in mind the murals which I would eventually put on its walls and ceiling. I cannot say that whole composition was developed in detail from the beginning. In fact I have changed it several times during the process, but the main idea, “The Last Judgment” scene remained intact.

There were also a few technical difficulties, such as the fire-lane setback for example, which were limiting my choice of solutions, but in general, I am satisfied with the result. With this addition we have enlarged St. Seraphim by about 30% of its size...
Complete article here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Met. Jonah begins teaching at ROCOR's Pastoral School

(ROCOR) - The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America is now accepting applications for the coming fall semester. In addition, scholarship applications are also being accepted for two separate scholarship tracks: Need-Based Scholarships and Academic Scholarships. The Pastoral School would like to thank the Fund for Assistance to the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia for supporting our scholarship program.

We are pleased to announce that His Eminence Metropolitan Jonah has joined the faculty and will be teaching Dogmatic Theology this year in the Pastoral School.

This year the Pastoral School is pleased to offer a Catechist Training Program – the first of its kind available in English in the Russian Orthodox Church. This program was created in response to the call by the Council of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church which met in Moscow in February 2013. At this council the bishops called for the training of catechists and the educational institutions to be created to carry out this training. The Orthodox Studies major in the Pastoral School offers a one-year catechist training program. Those who successfully complete the one-year program are eligible to participate in a second year advanced catechist training program. Catechists will be certified to prepare catechumens and sponsors for baptism, as well those seeking to be wed in the Church. The second year of the program examines these and broader Orthodox Theological issues in greater depth, and prepares the catechist to be an even greater aid to the parish Rector in his work with the flock.

This year the Pastoral School is also pleased to offer a loan program to its students to assist them in completing their studies in as timely a manner as possible. It is hoped that this program will make financial issues less of a hindrance to Pastoral School students in their studies preparing them to serve the Holy Church.

More information can be found on the Pastoral School web site:

PLEASE NOTE! There are deadlines associated with applications for admission and scholarships. Deadline for admission is September 1. Deadline for scholarships is August 15.

Terry Mattingly on the passing of Fr. Gordon Walker

FRANKLIN, Tennessee (On Religion) - It was a typical evangelistic crusade in rural Alabama and, as he ended his sermon, the Rev. Gordon Walker called sinners down to the altar to be born again.

Most Southern towns have a few notorious folks who frequent the back pews during revival meetings, trying to get right with God. On this night, one such scalawag came forward and fell to his knees.

"Preacher! I've broken all the Ten Commandments except one," he cried, "and the only reason I didn't break that one was that the man I shot didn't die!"

It didn't matter that this man repeated this ritual several times during his troubled life, said Walker, telling the story decades later at Holy Cross Orthodox Church outside Baltimore. Now wearing the golden robes of an Eastern Orthodox priest, Walker smiled and spread his arms wide. The church, he said, has always known that some people need to go to confession more than others. The goal was to keep walking toward the altar.

With his gentle smile and soft Alabama drawl, Walker -- who died on July 23 -- was a key figure in an unusual American story. The former Southern Baptist pastor and Campus Crusade evangelist was part of a circle of evangelical leaders that spent a decade reading church history before starting an Orthodox church for American converts. Then in 1987, the late Metropolitan Philip Saliba accepted more than 2,000 pastors and members of their Evangelical Orthodox Church into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

As the late Father Peter Gillquist, the movement's charismatic leader, told me in 1992: "One Orthodox leader said to me, 'How are we supposed to incorporate a couple of thousand Bill Grahams into the world of Orthodoxy?'"

St. Paisios on marital strife and complementarity

The below is from the blog Orthognosia...

Elder Paisios said:

A man came to my cottage once, telling me how depressed he was, because of the disputes he had with his wife. However, I didn’t find any serious problem. He frowned because of something, and his wife frowned about something else, so they couldn’t join together. In this case a little “furnishing” was necessary. As an example, we can take unfurnished planks. One has a knot in one place, the other one has a knot on another place, and if you try to put them together, an empty space will appear between. But, if you equalize and furnish one of the planks on one side, and the same is done with the other plank with the same furnishing tool, they quickly fit with each other, and there is no empty space between. (Elder Paisios considered that the married couple should have one common spiritual father, who will help them in the reconciliation of their disputes.)

Some men say: “I am not compatible to my wife, we are totally different characters! Why does God make such strange things? Couldn’t God harmonize the married partners, so their characters be the same or similar, and so that they could live in spiritual togetherness?”

I tell them: “Don’t you understand that God’s harmony lies in the different characters? Different characters harmonize each other. God save you from being the same characters! Imagine that both of you have the same character, what would happen if both of you grew angry: you would destroy your house. Or, if both of you would be gentle and inactive, both would start sleeping on each others feet! If both of you would be stingy, you would be similar and you would agree among each other, but both of you would go to hell. If both of you would be squanderers, would you be able to save your house? No. You would demolish your house, and your children would end up on the street.

If one has a bad temper, and marries one with a bad temper, they will be the same or similar, won’t they? But, they would kill each other in only one day!

God created so that the gentle and nice partner is to marry someone different, give him help, because it might be he always has had good will, but there was no one to help him, since he was born.”

Even little differences in our characters may help the partners to form a harmonic family, because they supplement each other. You need an accelerator pedal to move your car forward, but still you need the brake pedal to stop when needed. If there would be a car with only a brake pedal, it would stay in one place for good. If there would be a gear-box but no brakes, the car wouldn’t stop.

Do you know what I once told a couple? “You do not fit with each other, because you fit too much with each other!” Both were oversensitive. Something would happen in the house. He was a bit confused saying: “Oh, what will happen to poor us?” Then she would say the same: “Oh, what will happen to poor us?” They were helping each other to fall more quickly in desperation. Couldn’t she, in opposition, calm down her husband saying: “Wait, it’s not so terrible what happened to us.” I have noticed this in many marriages.

And, in the education of their children, when different characters, the partners are always helping each other to give the right education to their children. The one says: “Let’s give the kids a bit more freedom”, and the other one brakes a bit. If both are strict, they will lose the children. But also, if both are too liberal, they will again lose them. When different, they are able to keep their children in balance.

What I want to say is that everything in marriage is necessary. Of course, we must take care not to over cross the borders, but we must have in mind that every person may help the other; people are here to help each other.

Why is there a Dormition Fast?

When the assumption of thine undefiled body was being prepared, the Apostles gazed on thy bed, viewing thee with trembling. Some contemplated thy body and were dazzled, but Peter cried out to thee in tears, saying, I see thee clearly, O Virgin, stretched out, O life of all, and I am astonished. O thou undefiled one, in whom the bliss of future life dwelt, beseech thy Son and God to preserve thy people unimpaired.

- Sticheron after the Gospel, Orthros

(Antiochian.org) - It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it.

Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a few question why it is there, neither knowing its purpose. First, given the pervasive misunderstanding of the purpose of fasting itself, a refresher on its purpose is always a good idea. There is a perception that we should fast when we want something, as though the act of fasting somehow appeases God, and seeing us “suffer” gets Him to grant our request. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is not our fasting that pleases God, it is the fruits of our fast (provided we fast in the proper mind set, and do not merely diet) that please Him. We fast, not to get what we want, but to prepare ourselves to receive what God wants to give us. The purpose of fasting is to bring us more in line with another Mary, the sister of Lazarus, and away from their sister Martha, who in the famous passage was “anxious and troubled about many things.” Fasting is intended to bring us to the realization of “the one thing needful.” It is to help us put God first and our own desires second, if not last. As such it serves to prepare us to be instruments of God’s will, as with Moses in his flight from Egypt and on Mt. Sinai, as well as our Lord’s fast in the wilderness. Fasting turns us away from ourselves and toward God. In essence it helps us become like the Theotokos, an obedient servant of God, who heard His word and kept it better than anyone else has or could.

So why do we fast before Dormition? In a close-knit family, word that its matriarch is on her deathbed brings normal life to a halt. Otherwise important things (parties, TV, luxuries, personal desires) become unimportant; life comes to revolve around the dying matriarch. It is the same with the Orthodox family; word that our matriarch is on her deathbed, could not (or at least should not) have any different effect than the one just mentioned. The Church, through the Paraklesis Service, gives us the opportunity to come to that deathbed and eulogize and entreat the woman who bore God, the vessel of our salvation and our chief advocate at His divine throne. And as, in the earthly family, daily routines and the indulgence in personal wants should come to a halt. Fasting, in its full sense (abstaining from food and desires) accomplishes this. Less time in leisure or other pursuits leaves more time for prayer and reflection on she who gave us Christ, and became the first and greatest Christian. In reflecting on her and her incomparable life, we see a model Christian life, embodying Christ’s retort to the woman who stated that Mary was blessed because she bore Him: blessed rather are those who hear His word and keep it. Mary did this better than anyone. As Fr. Thomas Hopko has stated, she heard the word of God and kept it so well, that she of all women in history was chosen not only to hear His Word but give birth to it (Him). So while we fast in contemplation of her life, we are simultaneously preparing ourselves to live a life in imitation of her. That is the purpose of the Dormition Fast.

The Feast of the 350 Maronite Martyrs

(Maronite Servants of Christ the Light) - Today in the Maronite Church we celebrate the Feast of the 350 Maronite Martyrs- July 31

After Saint Maron died, many were inspired by his teachings and his ascetic way of life. By the fifth century a monastery was built near where he lived known as Bet Maroun. The monastery became very significant in the region. Also in the fifth century a debate had emerged about the nature of Jesus. The debate centered on whether Jesus was divine, human or both and exactly what that meant. Some, like the Nestorians, argued that Jesus was separately divine and human and that the two natures were independent. Others such as the Jacobites taught that Jesus was only divine and his divinity absorbed his human nature.

In 451, The Council of Chalcedon dealt with the debate once and for all, declaring that Christ was both divine and human, but one person.

The Maronites upheld the proclamation of the Council of Chalcedon. The monks of Saint Maron led the way preaching the true doctrine and opposing heresy. We learn of the martyrdom of the 350 Monks in a letter from the monks to Pope Hormisdas in the year 517. They described the suffering and attacks they are enduring, particularly from the Antiochian Patriarchs Severus and Peter who opposed the teachings of the Council of Chalcedon. They described that they were mocked for their support of the Council and were suffering afflictions. They described how the Emperor Anastasius had sent an army that had marched through the district of Apamea closing monasteries and expelling the monks. Some monks had been beaten and others had been thrown into prison. While on their way to Saint Simon Stylite, the Maronites had been ambushed and 350 monks were killed, even though some of them had taken refuge at the altar. The monastery was burned. The letter was signed by Alexander, priest and archimandrite and over 200 other signatures followed, of other archimandrites, priests and deacons.

We pray that like the 350 Martyrs we are always obedient to the teachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

May their prayers be with us always. Amen

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Planned Parenthood hacked, details unfolding

(The Hill) - Planned Parenthood confirmed Monday that anti-abortion hackers have attempted to infiltrate the organization, potentially exposing sensitive data on their employees.

Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood executive vice president, called the incident a “gross invasion of privacy” that could put staff at risk.

“Today Planned Parenthood has notified the Department of Justice and separately the FBI that extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood's mission and services have launched an attack on our information systems, and have called on the world's most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members,” Laguens said in a statement.

“We are working with top leaders in this field to manage these attacks,” she added.

A hacker going by the name of “E” took partial credit for the cyberattack early Monday, claiming the hackers had pilfered internal files, emails and worker information.

The digital thieves have already apparently leaked information on Planned Parenthood employees, and are threatening to decrypt and unveil the organization’s internal emails next. The organization has not confirmed the intruders actually have this information.

The attack comes on the heels of a bruising week for the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health services, including contraception, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted disease testing and abortions.

Anti-abortion activists last week released edited videos (and also the unedited videos the media seems to not like mentioning) showing an organization official discussing the costs and methods of preserving fetal tissue for donation. The advocates had posed as buyers from a medical research company to get the meeting.

The videos spurred arguments on the airwaves and on Capitol Hill about the practice, and led to renewed calls to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.

The hackers indicated that the videos had also motivated them to launch the digital assault.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Diocese of the Midwest new liturgical guidelines

(OCA) - Bishop Paul reported that he does not intend to issue any “global liturgical directives” at this time, as he feels that he needs another year or so to observe the liturgical life of diocesan parishes. Should issues arise, he should be consulted.

With regard to Vesperal and Baptismal Liturgies, he explained that these may be effective in some parishes, but he hopes that a single “version” of each could be developed for the sake of consistency.

With regard to the attire of readers and subdeacons, he noted that in light of the sexual misconduct guidelines, we must not be “overly clerical” with minor orders. Readers may wear cassocks only when they are discharging their duties; if they are not reading at a given service, they should not wear them. Readers and subdeacons are not to wear cassocks when they visit other parishes.

In the future, altar servers may be blessed to wear oraria in the Byzantine style – that is, not crossed as customary for ordained subdeacons – and henceforth will be referred to as “senior altar servers” rather than “blessed subdeacons.” Only those who are capable of serving Hierarchical services will be ordained to the Subdiaconate proper.

In response to a question with regard to occasions on which seminarians are permitted to wear cassocks, Bishop Paul responded that they are blessed to do so at their respective seminaries.

... and ascended into heaven ...


The blessing of a business

Tony Backos owner of Old 41 Restaurant in Bonita asked Fr Hans to Bless his business. So this past Sunday, in the middle of the busiest time, the restaurant and its patrons got blessed! Watch how wonderful it is to welcome Jesus Christ everywhere, even into the kitchen and the freezers.