The Parish of Our Lady of Kazan and the Protection of the Mother of God
Russian Orthodox Church • Patriarchial Parishes in Canada

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NATIVITY EPISTLE Of His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia

M C 2018

 

Beloved in the Lord archpastors, all-honorable presbyters and deacons, God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!

From the depths of my heart I congratulate you on the great feast of the Nativity of Christ – the feast of the birth in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ from the Holy Spirit and Most Pure Virgin Mary. Today we call upon all people, together with the Church, to glorify the Creator and Maker with the words: “O all the earth, sing ye unto the Lord” (heirmos of the First Ode of the Canon for the Nativity of Christ).

The all-beneficent God who loves his creation sends down his Only-Begotten Son the awaited Messiah so that he may accomplish the cause of our salvation. The Son of God, “which is in the bosom of the Father” (Jn 1:18), becomes the Son of Man and enters our world so that through his blood he may deliver us from sin and so that the sting of death should never inspire fear in the human person.

We know that the Magi who bowed down before Christ brought him gifts. What gift, then, can we bring to the Divine Teacher? The very gift which he asks of us himself: “Give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Prov 23:26). What does it mean to give one’s heart? The heart is a symbol of life. If it ceases to beat, then we die. To give one’s heart to God is to dedicate our whole life to him. This dedication does not require that we renounce all that we have. We are merely called upon to remove from our hearts that which is an obstacle to the Divine presence within it. When all our thoughts are taken up with our own ego, when there is no room in our hearts for our neighbor, then there is no room for the Lord too. The presence of our neighbor in our heart depends mainly upon our capability to feel another’s pain and respond to it with deeds of mercy.

The Lord requires that we “observe his ways.” To observe the ways of God is to see the Divine presence in our lives and in human history: to see the manifestations of both Divine love and his righteous ire.

The past year for our people was replete with reminiscences about the tragic events of the twentieth century and the incipient persecution of the faith. We recalled the great spiritual exploits of the new martyrs and confessors who steadfastly bore witness to their fidelity to Christ. Yet even at that terrible time for our country, the Lord bestowed his mercy: after an enforced two hundred year rupture, the Office of Patriarch was revived in the land of Russia, and the Church, at a time of tribulation, found in the person of the holy bishop Tikhon, who was elected First Hierarch, a wise and courageous pastor, through whose ardent prayers before the Throne of the Most High Creator our Church and people were able to pass through the crucible of trials.

Today we are undergoing a special period: afflictions have not yet left this world, every day we “hear of wars and rumors of wars” (Mt 24:6). Yet how much of God’s love is poured out upon people! The world exists in spite of the forces of evil, while human love and family values abide in spite of the unbelievable attempts to destroy, desecrate and distort them. Faith in God is alive in the hearts of the majority of people. And our Church, in spite of decades of persecution in the recent past and the endeavors to undermine her authority in the present, remains and shall always be with Christ.

We believe that after undergoing the current trials, the peoples of historical Russia will preserve and renew their spiritual unity, will prosper materially and socially.

The Nativity of Christ is the central event of human history. People have always sought out God, yet the Creator – the Triune God – revealed himself as fully as possible to the human race only through the incarnation of his Only-Begotten Son. He came into a world of sin to make people worthy of the beneficent will of the heavenly Father and lay a firm foundation to the world in leaving this precept: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you” (Jn 14:27).

May this year be for our people, for the peoples of historical Russia and all the nations of the earth, a year of peace and prosperity.  May the Divine Infant, who has been born in Bethlehem, help us to find hope that overcomes fear, and through faith feel the power of Divine love which transforms the life of people.

Amen.

 + KIRILL

PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA 

Moscow

Nativity of Christ

2017/2018


Christmas Greeting of Bishop of Kashira Iov, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada

Very Reverend and Honorable Fathers! Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!

 

Христос рождается, славите Его! Christ is Born: Let us glorify Him!

 

            With heartfelt joy I congratulate you all with the great feasts: the Nativity of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, His Circumcision in flesh on the Eighth Day upon His Birth and His Baptizing in The Jordan River!

            The Nativity of Jesus Crist is the Feast that brings to the followers of Christ the essential thing in their life. Two thousand years ago, during the population census in the Roman Empire, the most vital event in the human history took place in Bethlehem of Judea — was born Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is difficult for us to wholly comprehend how God and a Human being were united; how infinity was encompassed into the voluntary restraint, and eternity — incorporated into the limits of time…

            Though Our Savior was born in the most despondent surroundings, His Birth has performed the real revolution in the world: it was the turning point from perdition to salvation of humankind. God Himself, who “will save His people from their sins” (Math. 1:21), has come to us. This greatest event and the kindest deed in the world has brought to all God-believers spiritual joy and real happiness, since from the moment of the Nativity of Jesus Christ God has been truly residing with us.

            The Nativity of Jesus Christ is always above all social events in the world history. In the time of political crises and social troubles it is very important to remember that God has united with people through His Birth and became close to us, as nobody else.

            Saint John Chrysostom noted that all other great Christian feasts are rooted in the Nativity of Jesus Christ: The Baptizing of Christ (The Feast of Epiphany), The Transfiguration, The Passions of Our Lord, His Glorious Resurrection and the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. Everything in the Christian Orthodox Church has as its beginning the Nativity of Our Lord.

            Saint Basil the Great and the other Holy Fathers expressed their admiration in front of the mystery of the Nativity and Epiphany in the words of theology, sermons and poems. But they noted along with that it is better for us to be silent and meekly attend the great moment… Every our good deed in the name of the Glory of God, helps us to bow in front of Him, as once bowed in front of him the simple shepherds, who were first “to find Him in the swaddling clothes, lying in the manger…” (Luke, 2:8-14). The angelic singing gives strength to our prayers; the bright light of the eternal star of Bethlehem awakens in us the willingness to bring to Him the best things that we possess — the freshest and the most beautiful!

           In the luminous and quiet Bethlehem night of the Nativity of Jesus Christ I wish that we all and the whole world return with all our hearts to Our Savior, who is meekly lying at this moment in the Bethlehem manger… Only together with God our soul acquires the fullness of life in any earthy circumstances! When we are with God, nobody is able to harm us! God is with us now and forever! Amen!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

                                                          Nativity of Our Lord, 2017-2018

Bishop of Kashira Iov,

Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada


Annual Picnic – 2016

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Dear Parishioners & Friends,

Sisterhood of The Parish of Our Lady of Kazan and the Protection of the Mother of God is very pleased to report that the traditional Annual Picnic at Eccolands Park was a great success yesterday!

Not only we had a record number of attendees (42!), but also the following rich entertainment program:

1) Early-morning fishing from the dock and diving in nearby waters;
2) Yammy BBQ lunch (pork, chicken and some lamb chops) with a big variety of salads (starting with all-organic garden vegetables and ending with olivie), appetizers (salmon, bologna, pastrami sandwiches, pickled cucumbers, beets, hot peppers, carrots, eggplants, olives, relish), and the list goes on and on;
3) Amateur concert of Russian folk songs lead by some choir members and accompanied by lovely “bayan” (thanks to Iliya!) and, finally,
4) Icredible boat-tour along Rideau River (thanks to Yevgeniy Sorokatiy and Nikolai Vardomsky!).

A BIG THANK YOU TO THE ORGANIZING COMMITTEE (you know who you are :-)) for tremendous efforts and resourcefulness!

THANK YOU, EVERYONE, who contributed and came out to share the great fun we had!

SPECIAL THANKS TO BATUSHKA, FR. DIMITRI SEVER, and to FR. NIKOLAI MELNIK for coming and blessing our picnic with their presence, as well as prayers!

Join us again next summer!

Sisterhood

P.S. Stay tuned for our next activity: parish pilgrimage to the Russian Orthodox Monastery in New York area that’s being planned for next long weekend of September 4th-5th. Pleas, make sure you have a valid Canadian passport. Details will follow.


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