Saturday, June 12, 2021

Reader Services through the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul

This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar June, which on the civil Calendar runs from June 14th through July 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). During this period service variables for the Vigils are all found in one file, with exception of the final Sunday.

For the Sunday of the Pentecost (June 20th n.s. / June 7th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_pentecost.doc 

For the Sunday of All Saints (June 27th n.s. / June 14th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pent1.doc 

For the Saturday of St. John of Shanghai (July 3rd n.s. / June 20th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/stjohnofshanghai_t8.doc 

For the Sunday of All Saints of Russia (July 4th n.s. / June 21st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pent2.doc 

For the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (July 7th n.s. / June 24th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_nativity_forerunner.doc 

For the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost / Translation of the Relics of Ss. Cyrus and John (July 11th n.s. / June 28th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/6-28_sscyrus&john.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone2.doc

For the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (July 12th n.s. / June 29th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_sspeter&paul.doc 

Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the Sunday of the Pentecost (June 20th n.s. / June 7th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pentecost.doc 

For the Sunday of All Saints (June 27th n.s. / June 14th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent1.doc 

For the Saturday of St. John of Shanghai (July 3rd n.s. / June 20th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_stjohnofshanghai_t8.doc 

For the Sunday of All Saints of Russia (July 4th n.s. / June 21st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent2.doc 

For the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (July 7th n.s. / June 24th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_nativity_forerunner.doc 

For the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost / Translation of the Relics of Ss. Cyrus and John (July 11th n.s. / June 28th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent3.doc 

For the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul (July 12th n.s. / June 29th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_sspeter&paul.doc 

Friday, June 04, 2021

Review: The Eastern Orthodox Bible, New Testament


Over the past couple of years, I have often been asked my opinion about the Eastern Orthodox Bible, published by Newrome Press, and so I purchased a copy of their "portable" edition, and read my way through it. So my comments are about this edition specifically, but while other editions may not have some of the same issues in terms of font size, or typos, my comments about the translation itself would generally apply to all current editions. To better understand the issues involved in translations of the Bible, I would recommend reading my article An Orthodox Look at English Translations of the Bible.

In terms of the quality of the book itself, it is beautifully printed. I personally do not like the zipper on the cover (which is especially a problem with the ribbon markers), but the imitation leather cover is attractive, does not look or feel cheap, and it seems like it should hold up very well over time. The text is gold leafed, and the text itself is beautiful, as is the artwork. The paper is high quality. The font is far too small, in my opinion. The main body of the text is in 7 to 7.5 point font, which is small, but at least legible. The footnotes are in 6 point font, and are very hard to read without a magnifying glass.

Unlike most modern English translations of the New Testament, there is not a problem with the choice of the base text that is behind this translation. The text is translated from the Patriarchal Greek Text, which generally (though not always) coincides with the text behind the King James Version, and the New King James Version (which you would find in the Orthodox Study Bible), and so the base text does adhere to the textual tradition of the Church. 

The translation is generally not in what I would describe as beautiful English, and so I would not recommend it for liturgical use, for that reason alone. However, a contemporary English translation, that is well done and accurate could be very helpful for private study. In its present form, however, this translation has a number of problems, and here are some specific examples: 

In the introduction to the text, there is a section that explains the use of  abbreviations and codes, and this table begins with two kinds of brackets, the first kind is square brackets "[ ]" for words which are not literally found in the Greek, but which are added to the text for clarity. In the King James Version, these kinds of words are put into italics. Then there are curly brackets "{ }" which are used for words that are included for theological clarity -- but it states that these words should not be read aloud in the public reading of Scripture. There are two problems with this. One is that  because the text is so small, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between these two kinds of brackets in the Portable edition. Secondly, most people don't pay close attention to the introduction to a Bible, and so most people will assume that these words are part of the text and intended to be read aloud. And this becomes a particular problem, for example, with John 1:1, which the EOB translates as: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was {what} God {was}." I am not sure why these bracketed words were thought to be useful here, but it would have been far better to have put some comments into a footnote to explain what was going on with the Greek text (and you can see commentary on this translational question in the footnotes the NET Bible provides for John 1:1), because, if the intention here is that when this text is read aloud, that it be read as "and the Word was God,"  that is what the main body of the text should actually read.

Throughout the text, you find certain Old Testament names listed with two forms, for example,  you find "Isaias (Isaiah)," and "Elias (Elijah)," but for some reason they use "Jeremiah" rather than "Jeremias," and "Elisha," rather than "Eliseus." I think it makes the most sense to consistently use the form of a name that is most commonly used in English, and so even though in the New Testament the King James uses  "Isaias," "Elias," "Jeremias" (though it also uses "Jeremy"), and "Eliseus," I think it is far less confusing to use the forms the King James Version uses in the Old Testament, which are clearly the most common forms used today in English for these Old Testament persons (the KJV did this differently in the New Testament because the underlying text in the New Testament is Greek, and so they use a transliteration of the name as it occurs in Greek). But in any case, a translation should pick which form of the name they are going to go with, and then just use that one form. Putting two forms into the text is distracting.

The EOB consistently translates the word "proskyneō (προσκυνέω)" as "express adoration," and "latreuō" (λατρεύω)" as "offer divine service." The translators are trying make a clear distinction between these two words, because proskynesis refers to showing reverence... and literally refers to bowing. This can be in reference to God, but it can also be in reference to people, or icons. Latria literally means "service," and specifically refers to the worship that is due to God alone. The problem with these translations is that they make for clunky translations. For example, you have Christ speaking to the Samaritan woman:
"Woman, believe me, a time is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you express adoration to the Father. You express adoration to what you do not know. We express adoration to what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will express adoration to the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such [people] to express adoration to him. God is a spirit, and those who express adoration to him must express adoration in spirit and truth” (John 4:21-24).
If one was trying to avoid translating proskynesis as "worship," it would generally be better to use the word "bow" or "reverence," but often "worship" is the only thing that really works in English, and this passage is clearly a case in point. In our Protestant culture, it is common today to use the word "worship" exclusively with reference to God, but this is not historically true, and I think it is often better to use the word "worship" and simply educate people better on what the word actually means. For example, in the services we often hear "O come let us worship..." "O come let us us express adoration..." would not do at all.

Furthermore, the word "adoration" has often been used to refer to the worship due only to God, and so this choice of translation is more likely to confuse people, then to illuminate the question. For more on the meaning of the words proskynesis, latria, and the Hebrew word hishtahawa (which has a meaning which closely parallels proskyneo), see The Icon FAQ, and Old Testament Exegesis on the Hebrew Terms for Prostration and Worship).

Another odd quirk in the EOB is that in the Sermon on the Mount, where we find the Lord's prayer, they shift into traditional English, and have it as: 
"Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we also forgive our those who trespass against us [sic]. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. <For thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and unto ages of ages. Amen.>"
Then in a footnote, you find: 
"EOB Translation: "Our Father in heaven, may your name be sanctified. May your Kingdom come. May your will be done on earth as it is [done] in heaven. Give us this day our sustaining bread and forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors. Do not bring us o a period of trial, but deliver us from the evil one. <For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.>"
This is odd on a number of levels. If the translator makes the decision to go with contemporary English, it is odd to switch back to traditional English simply because this prayer is used Liturgically. There are other parts of the Gospels that we use liturgically (aside from reading the Gospel lectionary readings), and this is not done (e.g. in the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55). And curiously, when the Lord's Prayer occurs in Luke 11:2-4, contemporary English is used.

The decision to consistently translate the word "presbyteros" as "presbyter," even when it is in reference to Jewish elders, and so you end up with texts like this:
"In the morning, all the chief priests and the presbyters of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death..." (Matthew 27:1).
Since in English, the word "presbyter" is used exclusively in reference to Christian clergy, this choice makes little sense.

Between Matthew 27:31, and Matthew 27:32, there is a section header, which apparently was meant to be in the margin, that somehow found its way into the body of the text.

In the account of the rich young ruler, in Mar 10:21, instead of translating it as: "Then Jesus beholding him loved him," the EOB reads "Jesus look at him and felt love for him." The problem with this translation is that not only is it exceptionally awkward, there is nothing in the Greek that speaks of how Christ "felt." It just says that he loved him, and the word for love that is used here is a verbal form of the word "agape," which is not at all about feelings or emotions.

Rather than the more familiar "...when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" in Luke 18:8, the EOB reads "...when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the land?" In a footnote, "on the earth" is provided as an alternative translation, but it is hard to imagine how finding "faith on the land" was considered to be an improvement. There is no subtly in the Greek that is being brought out here, just a very strange way of expressing the same idea.

Because the translator seems to favor translating "psyche (ψυχή)" as "life," whenever possible, rather than "soul," instead of the familiar words of Christ with regard to those facing persecutions: "In your patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19), the EOB translates it as "By your endurance acquire your lives." This is not only an unnecessary choice, in the context, it is clearly a bad choice, because when facing persecution, preserving your soul and preserving you life are two very different questions, and often one has to be prepared to give up their life, to save their soul.

The big advantage to a new translation over the King James is supposed to be that it is easier to understand, but compare these two translations of 1 Corinthians 2:11, and ask yourself which one is easier to follow:
KJV: "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."

EOB: "For what human being knows what is truly human except the human spirit that is within? Likewise, no one truly comprehends things of God except the Spirit of God"
And if we look at some other modern literal translations, we see that the KJV has conveyed the sense of the text far better and more clearly than the EOB:
NET: "For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God."

MEV: "For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Likewise, no one knows the things of God, except the Spirit of God."

NASB: "For who among people knows the thoughts of a person except the spirit of the person that is in him? So also the thoughts of God no one knows, except the Spirit of God."

RSV: "For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
One of the more famous verses in the Bible is St. Paul's statement: 
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).
However,  the EOB translates it as: 
"Now faith is the personal foundation of things hope for, certainty about thing hat cannot be seen." 
So do any other major translations translate this in a similar way? Not one. There are different ways that this could reasonably be translated, but this is not one of them. The Greek word that the King James translates as "substance," and the EOB translates as "personal foundation" is the word "hypostasis (ὑπόστασις)," but I don't think any patristic interpretation of this passage would support this translation, and every other translation either ops for "substance," "confidence," "reality," or "assurance." Though this term obviously acquired a particular meaning in the context of Trinitarian theology, we cannot read that meaning into this text when neither the context, nor the historical use of the word prior to St. Paul's time supports its. 

Many more examples of quirky, idiosyncratic translation choices could be cited, but of course much of the translation is accurate, and there are some cases in which I would say that he EOB does a better job than most translations of accurately conveying the meaning of the original Greek. But there would need to be a thorough revision of the text before I would recommend anyone consider using it as a primary text for personal study, and it would need a lot more work before it would be suitable for liturgical use. Even so, I think it is worth having for comparison, and often the footnotes, as hard as they are to read, are very insightful. I sincerely hope that a revision of this text is done, because clearly a lot of work has been put into the text, and there is a need for a good, accurate translation of the New Testament that matches the Greek texts the Church has actually used, and is done by, and for, Orthodox Christians.

You may also find these two reviews by R. Grant Jones helpful:

This is a review of the original edition of the EOB New Testament:



And this is a review specifically of the EOB New Testament, portable Edition:

Friday, May 21, 2021

Stump the Priest: Baptism with Water and Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Question: "What is the difference between the Baptism in water and the Baptism by the "Holy Spirit and Fire" in Acts 1:5?"

In Acts 1:5, Christ said: "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence," which is very similar to what St. John the Baptist said himself:

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11, cf. Luke 3:16). 

What St. John Chrysostom points out is that Christ did not say that the Apostles would be baptized with water in the upper room, because they had already been baptized with water unto repentance, but that this did not include the gift of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit was not yet given. Being baptized with the Holy Spirit is the more essential part of baptism:

"...why does Christ say, “Ye shall be baptized,” when in fact there was no water in the upper room? Because the more essential part of Baptism is the Spirit, through Whom indeed the water has its operation; in the same manner our Lord also is said to be anointed, not that He had ever been anointed with oil, but because He had received the Spirit. Besides, we do in fact find them receiving a baptism with water [and a baptism with the Spirit], and these at different moments. In our case both take place under one act, but then they were divided" (Homily 1 on Acts). 

So in Christian baptism, we are baptized both with water, and with the Holy Spirit, which is why in the Orthodox Church we baptize a person in water, and anoint them with Holy Chrism, all in one service. The baptism of John foreshadowed Christian Baptism, and in Christ's baptism, He was both baptized in water, and affirmed by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

This is made even more plain in Acts 19:1-7, where St. Paul encountered a group of people who had only been baptized with the baptism of St. John:

"And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Spirit since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Spirit. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve."

So in the case of these people, who had received only the shadow of Christian baptism, when they were given the reality which had been foreshadowed, they then received the Holy Spirit, which is the baptism of fire St. John the Baptist and Christ spoke of.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Stump the Priest: Tradition?


Question: "What's the working definition of "tradition" as far as the Church is concerned?" 

The English word "tradition" comes from the Latin word "traditio," which corresponds closely with the Greek word we find in the New Testament, "paradosis". The word itself literally means "what is transmitted." It is the same word used when referring negatively to the false teachings of the Pharisees (e.g. Mark 7:3), and also when referring to authoritative Christian teaching (1 Corinthians 11:2, 2 Thessalonians 2:15). So what makes the traditions of the Pharisees false and that of the Church true? The source! Christ made clear what was the source of the traditions of the Pharisees when He called them "the traditions of men" (Mark 7:8). Saint Paul on the other hand, in reference to Christian Tradition states, "I praise you brethren, that you remember me in all things and hold fast to the traditions [paradoseis] just as I delivered [paredoka, a verbal form of paradosis] them to you" (1 Corinthians 11:2), but where did he get these traditions in the first place? "I received from the Lord that which I delivered [paredoka] to you" (1 Corinthians 11:23). This is what the Orthodox Church refers to when it speaks of the Apostolic Tradition — "the Faith once delivered [paradotheise] unto the saints" (Jude 3). Its source is Christ, it was delivered personally by Him to the Apostles through all that He said and did, which if it all were all written down, "the world itself could not contain the books that should be written" (John 21:25). The Apostles delivered this knowledge to the entire Church, and the Church, being the repository of this treasure thus became "the pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Timothy 3:15).

Within the Church, we use the word "tradition" in a number of senses. Though we often speak of Scripture and Tradition as being two different things, there is a very real sense in Which Scripture is also Tradition. Much of Scripture existed in oral form before it was written down, and in some cases the gaps or hundreds and even thousands of years -- and so prior to being written down, these were oral traditions. Furthermore, Tradition has passed on what should be recognized as Scripture, Tradition has passed on the meaning of Scripture, and Tradition has in fact passed on the very text of the Scripture.

After Scripture, Apostolic Tradition is without doubt the highest form of Scripture, and it is from Apostolic Tradition that we derive the core of our liturgical and canonical practices, and even such things as making the sign of the Cross, facing east at prayer, and baptism by triple immersion, as St. Basil the Great points out in his treatise On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 27.

There are also what we could call Ecclesistical Traditions, which are not directly based on Apostolic Tradition, but which have been affirmed by the universal Church, and so are no less trustworthy. Such Traditions would include the canons and decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, as well as the canons of local councils and Fathers of the Church that have been affirmed by the Ecumenical Councils. This would also include universally received Liturgical Traditions.

Then there are what you could call local traditions -- and here we are getting into traditions that could also be categorized as "customs." For example, in the Russian Church, it is the tradition to kiss the chalice after you receive Holy Communion. In the Greek Church, they do not kiss the chalice. Both of these practices are motivated by a common piety regarding the Eucharist, but are expressed in opposite  ways. Neither custom is superior to the other, but when in Rome, one should do as the Romans do, and in the context in which one custom prevails or the other, one should respect that practice. But clearly, we are not talking about infallible traditions of the universal Church.

There is a popular distinction that is sometimes made between "big T" traditions" and "little t" traditions. I think this distinction is not far off, so long as one is careful about what they label as "big T" or "little t" traditions. I personally don't use this distinction, because I have too often seen people try to dismiss universally received traditions as "little t" traditions. 

Another important distinction that should be understood is that there is a big difference between saying "The Tradition of the Church is..." and "There is a tradition...." For example the Tradition of the Church teaches us that we should baptize by a triple immersion, and that is not something that you can either take or leave. There is a tradition that Christ travelled to England as a boy, which may or may not be true. 

So a tradition can either be a good and binding tradition, a bad and erroneous tradition, or a good local custom, but with a relative authority. The key questions are, what kind of tradition are we speaking about, what is its origins, and how universally received is the tradition in question? But when we are speaking of Apostolic Tradition, or Traditions which have been universally received, these are Traditions that we are to hold fast to, just as St. Paul tells us (2 Thessalonians 2:15).

See Also: Stump the Priest: Are Ecumenical Councils Infallible?

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Reader Services through the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council


This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar May, which on the civil Calendar runs from May 14th through June 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). During this period service variables for the Vigils are all found in one file.

For the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers (May 16th n.s. / May 3rd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha2.doc 

For the Sunday of the Paralytic (May 23rd n.s. / May 10th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha3.doc 

For Mid-Pentecost (May 26th n.s. / May 13th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/midpentecost.doc 

For the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (May 30th n.s. / May 17th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha4.doc 

For the Sunday of the Blind Man (June 6th n.s. / May 24th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha5.doc 

For the Apodosis of Pascha (June 9th n.s. / May 27th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha_apodosis.doc 

For the Ascension of the Lord (June 10th n.s. / May 28th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_ascension.doc 

For the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (June 13th n.s. / May 31st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha6.doc 


Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearers (May 16th n.s. / May 3rd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pascha2.doc 

For the Sunday of the Paralytic (May 23rd n.s. / May 10th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pascha3.doc 

For Mid-Pentecost (May 26th n.s. / May 13th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_midpentecost.doc 

For the Sunday of the Samaritan Woman (May 30th n.s. / May 17th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pascha4.doc 

For the Sunday of the Blind Man (June 6th n.s. / May 24th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha5.doc 

For the Apodosis of Pascha (June 9th n.s. / May 27th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_apodosisofpascha.doc 

For the Ascension of the Lord (June 10th n.s. / May 28th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_ascension.doc 

For the Sunday of the Holy Fathers (June 13th n.s. / May 31st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pascha6.doc 


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Using the Fear of Epidemics to Shut Down Churches

Having watched how parish churches have been shut down around the world on the basis of the Coronavirus, I had thought prior to reading the following that there must be a bunch of old Soviets kicking themselves that they hadn't thought of it first. But the fact of the matter is, they not only thought of it... they did it. I recently read the book "Red Priests," which is a book about the schismatic "Living Church," and the use that the Soviets made of them to try to undermine the real Russian Church, and I found this quote, which was speaking about various strategies the Soviets were using during the 1930's to try to eradicate the Church:

"Parish churches were often closed when they refused to register clergy or because of the threat of "epidemics," that is, on the pretense of preventing the spread of disease by parishioners who gathered together for worship" (Edward Roslof, "Red Priests: Renovationism, Russian Orthodoxy, and Revolution, 1905-1946 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002), p. 186 [Emphasis added].

History may not repeat exactly, but it certainly does rhyme. 

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Reader Services through St. Thomas Sunday

This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar April, which on the civil Calendar runs from April 14th through May 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). The Sunday services prior to Pascha require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. Beginning with Pascha, all the variable material is included in one file. On Sundays, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you also need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/matinsgospel.doc Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.

For  the Great Canon on Thursday, for those who are not use to doing services, I would recommend that you use the text of Small Compline: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/compline.htm and then, right after the Creed, you would do the Great Canon. This text has the text has the text for the Great Canon on the 5th week of Lent, beginning on page 42:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/greatcanon_sts.pdf

For the Fifth Friday of Great Lent, we do the service of the Akathist Hymn. For those not use to doing services, I would recommend using this text, which follows the more simple Greek order of service, but is arranged as a Reader Service:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/smallcompline_akathist.doc

For the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt (April 18th n.s. / April 5th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/lent5.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone4.doc

Beginning with Lazarus Saturday (April 24th n.s. / April 11th o.s.) through Pascha (May 2nd n.s. / April 19th o.s.), you will find all of the services laid out as reader services here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/holyweek_index_rs.htm

For St. Thomas Sunday (May 9th n.s. / April 26th o.s.)

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/pascha1.doc 

Or alternatively, you could do Small Compline with the canon:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/smallcompline_stthomas.doc 


Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt (April 18th n.s. / April 5th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_lent5.doc

Beginning with Lazarus Saturday (April 24th n.s. / April 11th o.s.) through Pascha (May 2nd n.s. / April 19th o.s.), you will find all of the services laid out as reader services here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/holyweek_index_rs.htm

For St. Thomas Sunday (May 9th n.s. / April 26th o.s.)

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pascha1.doc 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

St. Paisios on Fear of Germs and Holy Things

The following conversation that St. Paisios the Athonite had with one of his spiritual children, which is recorded in Elder Paisios of Mount Athos: Spiritual Counsels III: Spiritual Struggle, is of some interest, especially in the times we currently live in.

I remember also at the Coenobium we had a monk who as a layman had been a police captain. They made him a reader because was educated. He had been in the monastery for years yet was still disgusted by many things. He would not even touch a doorknob! He would try to open a door with his foot, or try to turn the knob with his elbow and then clean his sleeve with alcohol. He would even open the door of the Church with his foot. In his old age, God permitted that his feet developed gangrene, especially the one he use to open the door. I was serving as a nursing aide when he first came to the monastery’s hospital with his foot all bandaged up. The nursing orderly told me to untie it while he went to get some bandages. When I untied it, I gasped. It was covered with little worms. “Go down to the sea to wash it and get rid of the worms, and come to have me change the bandages.” I was at a loss seeing the condition of his foot, the degree of his punishment. The nursing orderly asked me, “Do you know the cause of his afflictions?” “Yes, it’s because he opens the door with his foot,” I told him.

-- And Geronda, did he continue to open the door with his foot?

-- Yes with his foot! And he had grown old as a monk.

-- Didn’t he understand in the end?

-- I don’t know. After that, I went to the monastery of Stomion in Konitsa. I don’t know how he died. But there in the Coenobium on Mount Athos some of the younger monks would eat the food left on the plates of the older monks as a blessing. Thy would gather the leftovers because thy had been blessed. Others would kiss the doorknob touched by the Elders, while the monk who was disgusted by everything would barely touch his moustache to the holy icons when he bowed to reverence them. One can only imagine what his poor moustache had to endure with the rubbing alcohol!

-- Geronda, when something like this happens with sacred things, is it not irreverence?

-- Of course; this is how things start, and then move on to further developments. The same monk reached the point of not kissing the icons because he feared that the monks who reverenced them before him had some illness!

-- In other words, if one is to avoid being disgusted, he must not be fussy or pay attention to such things?

-- People do not see what trash is mixed into the food they put in their mouth! Even if one has some phobia about getting sick, Christ will help if one makes the sign of the cross with faith. Many people who have various illnesses come by my Kalyvi*. Some simple folk who come will cross themselves when they pick up the tin cup I have there to drink some water. Others who are afraid do not touch it. Someone who held an important position in a company recently came to see me. He is so afraid of germs that he had bleached his hands white from frequent washings with disinfectant alcohol. He will even rub  the steering wheel of his automobile with alcohol. I felt sorry for him. Do you know what it is like to hold such an important position and to be like that? I gave him some loukoumi**, and he did not take It because I had touched it. But even if it had still been in the box, he would not have taken it because he would be thinking that someone else must have placed it in the box with his hands in the first place. I took the loukoumi and rubbed it on his shoe and ate it. I did a number things like that in order to help him free himself, even a little, from his feeling of disgust.

Today a young woman came here who was a hypochondriac. She would not receive a blessing when she entered because she was afraid of catching germs. And when she was leaving, after all I had said to help her, she still would not receive a blessing. “I won’t kiss your hand, Geronda, because I’m afraid of catching germs,” she told me. What can you say? Such people make themselves miserable (Elder Paisios of Mount Athos: Spiritual Counsels III: Spiritual Struggle (published in Greece in 1999, and in English, in 2016, by the Holy Monastery “Evangelist John the Theologian”, Souroti, Thessaloniki, Greece, pp.51-53).

*A little house.
**Also known as "Turkish delight"... but not by Greeks.

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian

Lent is about to begin, and one prayer we should all memorize and incorporate into our daily prayers during Lent is the prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not.  Prostration

But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant.  Prostration

Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see my own failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.  Amen.  Prostration

Then twelve reverences (making the sign of the Cross, with a bow from the waist).  With each one we say:

O God, cleanse me a sinner.

Then, the entire prayer without a break:

O Lord and Master of my life, a spirit of idleness, despondency, ambition, and idle talking give me not. But rather a spirit of chastity, humble-mindedness, patience, and love bestow upon me Thy servant. Yea, O Lord King, grant me to see my own failings and not condemn my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.  Amen.  Prostration

You will find this prayer in the current edition of the Jordanville Prayer Book on p. 171.

You can read an explanation of the meaning of this prayer by St. Luke the Surgeon of Crimea, in the following articles:

https://orthochristian.com/111414.html

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Texts for Lenten Services / Annunciation

 

I send out the variable portions of Vigil on a monthly basis to this group, and so you can join it to receive these documents as soon as they are available:

https://groups.io/g/vigil-texts/

I have also been posting the same variable portions in my monthly installments for reader services on this blog, and so, you can get them there too, for as long as the lockdowns continue.

You can find the Rubrics for most Lenten Services posted here (though the complete texts are in the St. Innocent Liturgical Calendar):

https://saintjonah.org/rub/

Also linked on the Rubrics page are the texts for Forgiveness Sunday Vespers. If you want everything put together, however, it is in this document:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/forgivenessvespers_combo.doc

The variable portions of the full Liturgies are posted here:

https://saintjonah.org/lit/

The variable portions for the Presanctified Liturgies are posted here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/presanct/

All of the texts necessary for the Annunciation services are posted here:

https://saintjonah.org/services/annunciation_index.htm

I don't insert the Triodion variables into the fixed parts of the services for Annunciation because these change every year, but the other texts can easily be re-used from one year to the next (at least most of the time).

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Reader Services through the Sunday of St. John Climacus

This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar March, which on the civil Calendar runs from March 14th through April 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). The Sunday services require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. On Sundays, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you also need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/matinsgospel.doc Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.

For Forgiveness Sunday (March 14th n.s. / March 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/triod4.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone7.doc

For Forgiveness Sunday Vespers (done on Sunday Evening), this text has everything laid out exactly as it would be done, with nothing omitted:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/forgivenessvespers_rs.doc

First Week of Lent: for Monday (March 15/2 ) through Thursday (March 18/5), the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete is done. 

http://stjonah.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/greatcanon_sts.pdf

Ideally, this is done as a part of Great Compline, but if that is too much, you can do it as part of Small Compline.

On the Fridays of Great Lent, you can do the Akathist with Small Compline:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/akathistforlent.htm

For the Sunday of Orthodoxy (March 21st n.s. / March 8th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/lent1.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone8.doc

For the Sunday of the St. Gregory Palamas (March 28th n.s. / March 15th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/lent2.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone1.doc

For the Sunday of the Cross (March 4th n.s. / March 22nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/lent3.doc

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone2.doc

For the Feast of Annunciation (April 7th n.s. / March 25th o.s.):

Annunciation is one of the more complicated services in the Liturgy Year. If anyone wants to try to put it together, the rubrics and texts are posted here:

https://saintjonah.org/services/annunciation_index.htm

But for most people, I would suggest that if you are unable to go to Church, on the eve of the feast (Monday night) use this text for Small Compline, which has the Annunciation Canon in it, laid out for lay use:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/smallcompline_annunciation.doc

For the Sunday of St. John Climacus (April 11th n.s. / March 29th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/lent4.doc

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone3.doc


Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For Forgiveness Sunday (March 14th n.s. / March 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_triod4.doc

For the Sunday of Orthodoxy (March 21st n.s. / March 8th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_lent1.doc 

For the Sunday of the St. Gregory Palamas (March 28th n.s. / March 15th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_lent2.doc

For the Sunday of the Cross (March 4th n.s. / March 22nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_lent3.doc

For the Feast of Annunciation (April 7th n.s. / March 25th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_annunciation.doc

For the Sunday of St. John Climacus (April 11th n.s. / March 29th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_lent4.doc

Friday, February 19, 2021

Sarah Riccardi-Swartz and Russophobia


The cover of Time Magazine, 
promoting the idea that Russia was behind the election of Donald Trump, 
from their May 18, 2017

Sarah Riccardi-Swartz is an Orthodox anthropologist who has written extensively about her studies of the ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia) community in and near the Holy Cross Monastery in West Virginia. She has been identified in academic forums as being a member of ROCOR, but if she has ever written about how she came to convert to the Orthodox Faith, I have not seen it, and she is at least currently not affiliated with ROCOR. She began her study not long after the election of Donald Trump, and it is clear that her analysis of ROCOR converts is entirely viewed through a political lens that is colored by her own left-wing politics. Her observations are entirely improbable -- and I speak as someone who is a ROCOR convert, and after having been in ROCOR for most of my life at this point.

ROCOR does not represent millions of people. Alexei Krindatch's data had the membership of ROCOR estimated to be about 27,700, within the United States. I have been in ROCOR since 1990, and so in this relatively small world, while I may not know everyone in ROCOR, there are probably not many members in North America that I don't at least know someone who knows them. In the case of Holy Cross Monastery, I have a former parishioner who is a monk there, whom I have known for decades, and his mother is still a very active member of my parish. There are others in the monastery and in the nearby parish that I know on one level or another, and I simply do not believe her descriptions have any relationship with the reality on the ground there.

For example, in the following video presentation, Sarah speaks of "converts" (in the plural, as if this is common) who are "willing to take up arms for Russia if they invaded the United States," who speak "of the revolutionary day when Vladimir Putin would invade the United States and restore moral order in order to avoid God's wrath." In my 31 years in ROCOR, in which I have traveled all over the country, I have never encountered anyone in ROCOR that I have ever heard say such things, nor could I imagine anyone I have known ever seriously saying anything of the sort. I can imagine someone speaking this way in jest, or someone who is mentally ill speaking this way... but I rather doubt Sarah has heard more than one mentally ill person saying such things in earnest, who thought they were speaking of a realistic scenario. After all, in the age of nuclear weapons, who thinks Russia would ever attempt to invade the United States, much less that they could do it successfully?

She also speaks of a man named "Reynolds" whom she describes as a mid 50's business man, who is ex-military, and regarding whom she makes the following comment:

"For Reynolds, converting to Russian Orthodoxy was more than sitting on the back porch of his priest's cabin drinking vodka and shooting rifles into the night's air, although he admitted to thoroughly enjoying those moments."

I frankly do not believe that anyone with the slightest idea of gun safety, much less someone who had been in the military, sits on anyone's back porch, and fires guns into the night air. People who use guns that I have known will never point their gun, even when they believe it is unloaded, at anything they are not trying to destroy, and they certainly would not be firing a gun into the air, with the knowledge that they could accidentally kill someone by doing so. I could imagine someone shooting at a target from a back porch, but not into the "night's air." But I am sure that many liberal academics get a kick out of having their stereotypes of toothless rednecks confirmed by such assertions.

She also makes some rather unlikely comments about "typical" converts in ROCOR:

"While statistical data has yet to catch up with the influx of converts in ROCOR, primarily because of its geographical diffusion across the US,  clerics and laity consistently offer examples of a typical convert, which aligns quite readily with the folks I have encountered during my research. A composite rendering of a likely convert often paints them as a single or married male between the ages of 20 and 60, typically with a college degree or more often then not a more advanced degree from a seminary or graduate training in theology, philosophy, or history. On the whole their political leanings are conservative at least, and sometimes far more radical, including but not limited to far and alt-right affiliations, and monarchism. Religious backgrounds of typical male converts, often run the gamut from non-denominational to Southern Baptist, to Pentecostal, to Catholic, but the largest number generally hail from Evangelical backgrounds. Crucial to the political concerns of converts were fears over social and moral issues, such as abortion, same sex marriage, human rights -- gay, trans, and women's right primarily, and restrictive access to legal fire arms. These fears are not new, but an embedded part of the religious right's platform, that came to rise during the early years of the cold war, and spread through the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. The language of moral evil that came to prominence during the Cold War, and helped spawn the religious right, and eventually the moral majority, is re-emerging with unabashed vigor among far right Christians today. And those iconic cold war marketing images, of Russia as the red menace, and the United States as the salvific global figure robed in nationalistic -- which we can read as White Christian pride -- have seemingly been inverted for the typical far right convert."

I have not seen Sarah allude to any scientific surveys that she has conducted to find out what the typical views and demographics of ROCOR converts are. Apparently, she is basing her comments on her limited observations in one community, and supplementing this with anecdotal evidence from conversations she has had. This hardly seems like the basis a real scholar would use to make these kinds of sweeping comments. In my experience, I have found converts vary rather widely in terms of their backgrounds and how and why they became Orthodox.

She also is very much off the track in terms of her knowledge of the history she alludes to. There were no culture war issues in the early years of the Cold War. I am old enough to remember when Democrats and Republicans didn't differ very much on issues of morality. In fact, the first presidential race I was old enough to pay attention to, was when Jimmy Carter ran against Gerald Ford in 1976, and I remember a Southern Baptist preacher, whom I think was Adrian Rogers, saying "I'm not going to tell you who to vote for, but he has the same initials as Jesus Christ." Jimmy Carter ran as an Evangelical, and he won the Evangelical vote by a big margin. Well into the 80's, many mainstream Democrats ran as being Pro-Life, including Bill Clinton and Al Gore -- in fact I well remember Al Gore's wife waging a mini-culture war against x-rated and violent music lyrics, and she was joined by a lot of Republicans and Democrats. Barack Obama ran for president twice, taking the position that he opposed same-sex marriage, and only after the mid-term elections of his second term did Joe Biden float the trial balloon of supporting it. This is not ancient history, we are talking about here. So to act like it is the lunatic fringe who oppose abortion and gay marriage, when most people still oppose abortion on demand, and when 20 years ago, almost no one was seriously talking about gay marriage as anything other than as a joke, only shows the youth, inexperience, and ignorance of recent history of the person making these comments.

The idea that concerns about the moral issues she mentions have anything to do with "White Christian pride" is also both slanderous and ignorant. It is slanderous, because the implication is that these concerns are driven by racism, when there is nothing in evidence to support such an assertion. It is ignorant, because only someone who has not spent much time around non-elite Black people could make such an assertion. I am sure that, these days, tossing around accusations of racism in an academic context is common, but in the real world, people should be more careful about such things.

When I first began working for the State of Texas, I was part of a training group for six months that consisted of about eight Black women, two white women, one black man, and one Hispanic man, and myself. We were also trained by a team of three Black women. I remember one day when we were eating lunch together we somehow got on the topic of abortion, and it was me and the eight Black women, against the two liberal White women, with the other two men staying out of it. Over the 27 years that I worked with the State of Texas, I discovered that Black people generally are far more socially conservative than most White people. This was also evident in California when they had a constitutional amendment on the ballot to ban same-sex marriage. Had only White people voted, the amendment would not have passed. It was Blacks and Hispanics that swung that vote. Here in Houston, when they had an ordinance that would have allowed men who think they are women to use women's restrooms, the ordinance was voted down... and this is in a city in Which white people represent about a third of the population. It was Black and Hispanic Churches that led the push to overturn this ordinance, and it was voted down by an overwhelming majority of voters. 

This past October, I agreed to be interviewed by Sarah, and I was a bit hesitant because I had read some questionable things Sarah had written before, but when I asked the monk I know from Holy Cross about her, he told me that he thought she was sincere, and so I did the interview. I could be wrong, but I am fairly certain she quoted me in her most recent article about the suspension of Fr. Mark Hodges: "After Orthodox Priest Suspended for "Stop the Steal" Activity, A Renewed Spotlight on the Orthodox Far-Right." She wrote:

"Many far-right Orthodox Christians I’ve encountered are gripped by the conviction that progressives have shifted the social ethos of the United States so far left that they are in danger of being persecuted for their moral ideologies. As one convert priest told me, “I don’t know what the future is gonna hold, if this thing doesn’t change and it keeps getting worse, I don’t know what that’s going to mean for us as Russian Orthodox Christians, as American converts to the Russian Church.” His apocalyptic worries are echoed online among far-right Orthodox folks, who suggest that persecution looms on the horizon. [See image below left]"

And here is the image the article refers to:


If memory serves, and she is in fact quoting me, I was speaking specifically about the anti-Russian drumbeat that we have been hearing ever since the 2016 election, when the left tried to say that the Russians stole the election (back when we still had the freedom to think an election might be stolen). My concern is of course that anti-Russian propaganda can lead to anti-Russian actions, and any people or institutions associated with Russians could easily become targets of unhinged people. I have spoken with many Russians about what it was like to be a Russian in the US during the Red-scares of the 50's and 60's, and it was not easy. The older ROCOR parish in Houston, up until the time I talked them into changing their listing in the 90's, was officially "The Eastern Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir," which made finding them in the phone book difficult. This parish was founded in the 50's, and it was because of this anti-Russian sentiment that they made sure to avoid using "Russian" in their name for the public to see.

What Sarah probably does not know about the picture the article included is that it is a picture from a book published in the early 1980's, at a time when Ronald Reagan was president, and few could imagine America ever harboring any sympathy for Marxism. This book based this inscription on the prophesy of a Russian Elder (the Elder Ignatius), who was living in Harbin, China in the 1930's, who said "What began in Russia, will end in America." He obviously did not say this because he was a Trump Supporter, or because of anything to do with the current culture wars of the United States. And so to use this, as evidence that ROCOR converts are a fifth column force for Russia in the United States is ridiculous, slanderous, and based on an ignorance of what she is talking about.

I can't remember if I mentioned this to Sarah when I spoke with her or not, but this past June, my parish was the subject of a terrorist threat from a local Antifa supporter, who was trying to gin up a group of like-minded terrorists to burn my Church down. He made a point of referring to my parish as "St. Jonah Russian Orthodox Church." This is despite the fact that we nowhere use "Russian" in the name of our parish -- not on our sign, and not on our parish website. I had to get the FBI and local law enforcement involved, and our parish subsequently had to spend well over ten thousand dollars to beef up security. So I don't think my concerns are unfounded. We have much better uses we could have put that money towards.

When I entered ROCOR, the Cold War was still going on, and certainly no one in the Church was talking about the Soviet Union as anything other than an evil. When the Soviet Union collapsed, we rejoiced that the Church was once again free, and we have welcomed the growing strength of the Russian Church. I do not, however, think of myself as being a Russian, nor do I want Russia to invade the United States, nor would I encourage anyone to take up arms against the United States on Russia's behalf.

I would also suggest to Sarah that she spend some time talking with people who have experienced Communism. I am married to one, and have talked to many such people over the years. In fact, I have a professional relationship with a Chinese man that has been ongoing for about two decades now. We have often made small talk about our families, but after this past election, he cautiously asked me about it, because he was wanting to make sure I was a safe person to talk to, and then he began expressing his concerns about the rise of Marxism in the United States, as well as the stifling of dissent and the control of the flow of information. He was raised and educated in Communist China, and he told me this was too much like what he had seen there for his comfort. And after seven months of riots across the country, conducted by people who identify themselves as Marxist, you can't seriously argue that there is no reason to be concerned. He has very grave concerns about where things are headed, and he is certainly not a White convert to ROCOR. I certainly hope that these concerns turn out to be unfounded, but eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and if we are not concerned about keeping it, we will certainly lose it. In fact, there is no doubt that we have lost a lot of freedom in this country already -- but someone in their 20's would probably be too young to have noticed.

What seems to be behind all of this nonsense is sort of the left-wing version of Q-Anon conspiracy theories. We had many on the left spend four years asserting the Russia had taken over the United States in 2016, and that Donald Trump was Putin's puppet. Evidently Sarah either has bought into such conspiracy theories, or she is at least willing to feed them with her work, and doing so has certainly garnered her a lot more attention than she otherwise would likely have gotten.

The idea that ROCOR converts are not loyal to their own country is offensive and baseless. I was baptized in ROCOR the same week I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, right as the first Gulf War was on the horizon. ROCOR actually worked with the US government during the Cold War, in its efforts to bring down the Soviet Union, and was thanked by Ronald Reagan for doing so. One can want the best for Russia without hating America, and one can also be concerned about the direction America has been heading in, and be motivated by love of both God and country. If Sarah doesn't believe that immorality could spell the end of the United States, she should open up her Bible and read it. God certainly does judge nations for immorality, and especially for the shedding of innocent blood. In the Bible, she will find, for example, that God destroyed the kingdom of Judah because they engaged in child sacrifice:

"And he [Manasseh] made his son pass through the fire [a form of child sacrifice], and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger" (2 Kings 21:6).

"Surely at the commandment of the Lord this [the destruction of Judah by the Babylonians] came upon Judah, to remove them from His sight because of the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also because of the innocent blood that he had shed; for he had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, which the Lord would not pardon" (2 Kings 24:3-4).

And also, that God drove out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan because of their immorality (see, for example, Leviticus 18:24-30).

Of course, I hope God will be merciful to this country, and that our country will be given time to repent. I live here, and so naturally want the best for the country, for my parishioners, and for my family, but being concerned about God's judgment is not a fringe idea for a believer who takes the Bible at all seriously.

Sarah, also in her most recent article, wrote:

"The Orthodox far-right in the United States are caught up in the global Culture Wars; whatever political ideology they align themselves with—fascism, populism, monarchism, and many of the other isms—they are typically homophobic, transphobic, anti-intellectual, and, more often than not, white supremacists—whether avowed or in spirit."

I would ask Sarah to define what she means by "homophobic" and "transphobic," but I would also ask her why she thinks those "phobias" are bad, why she feels the need to stoke Russophobia, and whether she thinks that this is any way a Christian ought to treat those she claims to share the same faith with. Stoking Russophobia has real-life consequences for those who either are ethnically Russian, or who belong to the Russian Orthodox Church, and if people like Sarah continue to stoke it, it is not hard to imagine lives being lost as a result.

*We do not hide the fact that we belong to the Russian Church, but we do not want people to think that our parish is only for Russians.

For More Information, see:

Converts and Culture

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Reader Services through the Sunday of the Last Judgment


This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar February, which on the civil Calendar runs from February 14th through March 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). The Sunday services require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. In addition to the files linked for the Sundays below, you will need to use the appropriate Katavasia, which for this time period is the Katavasia of  the Presentation, and then various Katavasiae from the Triodion  -- the respective Rubrics will tell you which. Also, on Sundays, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you also need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/matinsgospel.doc Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.

For the 36th Sunday after Pentecost / Martyr Tryphon / Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 14th n.s. / February 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/2-01_martyr_tryphon_ff.doc This text does not have the canon for the Menaion, but you can find that here: https://www.ponomar.net/maktabah/MenaionLambertsenFebruary2000/0201268.html

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone3.doc

Vigil for the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 15th n.s. / February 2nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_presentation.doc

For the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee / Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 21st n.s. / February 8th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/triod1_af_feb08.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone4.doc

For the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (February 28th n.s. / February 15th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/triod2.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone5.doc

For the Sunday of the Last Judgment (March 7th n.s. / February 22nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/triod3.doc

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone6.doc


Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the 36th Sunday after Pentecost / Martyr Tryphon / Forefeast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 14th n.s. / February 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent36.doc

For the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 15th n.s. / February 2nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_presentation.doc

For the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee / Afterfeast of the Meeting of the Lord (February 21st n.s. / February 8th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_triod1_af_feb08.doc 

For the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (February 28th n.s. / February 15th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_triod2.doc

For the Sunday of the Last Judgment (March 7th n.s. / February 22nd o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_triod3.doc


Monday, January 11, 2021

Reader Services through the 35th Sunday after Pentecost


This installment covers the Sundays and Feasts of Old Calendar January, which on the civil Calendar runs from January 14th through February 13th. I intend to keep these texts posted as long as there are states or English speaking countries that are still under lockdown due to the Coronavirus.

The Eves

For the Eves of the upcoming Sundays and Feasts, you could ideally do the Vigil. The fixed portions can be downloaded here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/reader_vigil.doc

or viewed in HTML, here:

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil.htm

For the Rubrics, see: http://www.saintjonah.org/rub/

The variable portions of the service can be downloaded here (all of these would be served on the eve of their respective days). The Sunday services require two files, because these combinations do not repeat annually. In addition to the files linked for the Sundays below, you will need to use the appropriate Katavasia, which for this time period is the Katavasia of the Theophany and then that of the Presentation -- the respective Rubrics will tell you which. Also, on Sundays, there are some hymns that are appointed according to which Matins Gospel is read. To find out which one is read, you also need to look at the Rubrics. For those texts, you will find them here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/matinsgospel.doc Those hymns are usually done at the Exapostilaria and then at the Doxasticon at the Praises.

Also, the texts below do not always have the full canon for the Menaion, but you can find that here:

https://www.ponomar.net/maktabah/MenaionLambertsenJanuary2000/index.html (you will need to look up the service according to the Old Calendar (o.s.) date).

For the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord & St. Basil (January 14th n.s. / January 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/stbasil_circumcision_weekday.doc

For the 32nd Sunday after Pentecost / Forefeast of Theophany & Synaxis of the 70 Apostles (January 4th n.s. / January 17th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/1-04FFofTheophany&Synaxis70.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone7.doc

Vigil for the Eve of Theophany (January 18th n.s. / January 5th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_theophany_eve.doc

(This service is not set up as a reader service, but by following the usual modifications, you could easily use this text to do it as a reader service)

Vespers for Theophany (January 19th n.s. / January 6th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/theophany_vespers_rs.doc

Vigil for Theophany (January 19th n.s. / January 6th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/theophany_vigil_rs.doc

For the 33rd Sunday after Pentecost / Venerable Theodosius the Great / Afterfeast of Theophany (January 24th n.s. / January 11th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/1-11AFofTheophany&StTheodosius.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone8.doc

For the 34th Sunday after Pentecost / Ss. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria (January 31st n.s. / January 18th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/1-18SsAthanasius&Cyril.doc 

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone1.doc

For the 35th Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (February 7th n.s. / January 25th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/vigil_nmmrussia.doc

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/tone2.doc


Typika

In place of the Liturgies, you would do Typika:

For the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord & St. Basil (January 14th n.s. / January 1st o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_circumcision_wk.doc

For the 32nd Sunday after Pentecost / Forefeast of Theophany & Synaxis of the 70 Apostles (January 4th n.s. / January 17th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent32.doc

Royal Hours and Typika for the Eve of Theophany (January 18th n.s. / January 5th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/royalhours_theophany_rs.doc

Typika for Theophany (January 19th n.s. / January 6th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_theophany.doc

For the 33rd Sunday after Pentecost / Venerable Theodosius the Great / Afterfeast of Theophany (January 24th n.s. / January 11th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent33.doc

For the 34th Sunday after Pentecost / Ss. Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria (January 31st n.s. / January 18th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent34.doc

For the 35th Sunday after Pentecost / Sunday of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia (February 7th n.s. / January 25th o.s.):

http://www.saintjonah.org/services/typika_pent35.doc