The Parish of Our Lady of Kazan and the Protection of the Mother of God
Russian Orthodox Church • Patriarchial Parishes in Canada
Annual Picnic – 2016
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!
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.
The Paschal Epistle of His Grace Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada
Highly Reverend and honorable Fathers, dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters!
Lovingly, I am addressing you with my wholehearted Paschal greetings on the thrilling and salvation-granting celebration of Christ’s Resurrection, starting my message with the apostolic exclamation: «Christ is Risen! Χριστος Aνεστη! Христос Воскресе! Christus resurrexit!»
On the Pascha Service today we repeatedly hear the remarkable call of the Church to the bright happiness and spiritual bliss: «In this day, that the Lord had created, let us rejoice and be glad!» (Psalm 117: 24). Our souls cheer up, because Pascha reminds us about immortality that can lead us to the Kingdom of Christ, if we conduct the true church life and live according to the Evangelical Precepts. This annual joy of Pascha strengthens our faith that Christ had truly risen and has been living and dwelling in our Church since that time.
That is why we are so overjoyed at this Great Paschal Feast, although it is Christ, who had risen – and not us yet; only over Him death does not longer possess any power: «Christ, after having risen from the dead, does not die anymore; death does not any longer have dominion over him» (Rom. 6: 9). Risen Savior has become invulnerable to the laws of earthy nature: His body no longer needs food, sleep or rest; He passes through the closed doors, suddenly appears and disappears. As the Christian Teaching promises, our own transformed bodies will be like this after the general Resurrection.
Resurrection of Christ from the dead has become the second after Christmas – and an even more important step towards our salvation! It destroyed the absolute power of death. Death is trodden, trampled and crushed by Christ. Now death does not any longer separate God-believers from The Source of Life – Jesus Christ. In our days everyone, who is «dying in the Lord» (Rev. 14:13), does not disappear in hell, but transits, following Christ, into eternity, and transforms into the state of being similar to that of The Risen Saviour.
St. John Chrysostom, in his famous sermon on the Holy Pascha describes for us the destruction of death in a following way: «Let no one fear death, for the Saviour’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it». Christ crushed death, when it held Him a prisoner. It had never happened before in history that someone imprisoned and held bound tightly with ropes and iron chains, could not only free himself, but also defeat the enemy! Christ, by His dead flesh having gotten into the subterranean stronghold of hell, disarmed there the chief spiritual terrorist of all ages – the devil. He snatched out of his hands a terrible weapon that brings death – the sin. This could have been performed only by the Almighty God! Since that time, the death for those faithful to the Risen Christ (as the root of the Slavic word «уничтожить» – «to annihilate» literally says) turns into «nihil», or «nothing», «zero». That is why today, according to Saint John Chrysostom, «let no one be fearful of death: the death of the Savior has liberated us!» The main meaning of Pascha for us is in this liberation from sin and death.
«… From death to life and from earth to Heaven, Christ, Our God, had brought us, – [as we today are] victoriously singing…», – says the Irmos of the first song of the Paschal canon. Our Pascha is the transition from the temporal death to the eternal Life – Risen Christ; from the earthy slums into the heavenly palaces. And Risen Christ – as once Moses the prophet, who was leading the people of God in the Sinai desert on their way to the Promised Land, – leads all of us to this goal – immortality.
With the help of Christ, the blessed victory over sin and death had already been attained by the saints, who «have crucified themselves together with Him and risen together with Him» (Romans 5: 6-8.). Their faces, as, for example, the faces of Venerable St. Seraphim of Sarov and Silouan of Mount Athos, were shining with light and joy of the Resurrection. And once – in the clear morning of the Universal Resurrection – we also will beam with light and joy of a new life! Then all those, who believe in the Lord, will see Risen Christ coming in glory, and will rejoice! Nothing can deprive us from this eternal joy, as Our Lord Jesus Christ is Risen Indeed! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! Воистину Воскресе! Vere Resurrexit!
With Paschal greetings and episcopal blessing, yours in the Risen Jesus Christ,
Iov (Job), Bishop of Kashira,
Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada.
Great and Holy Pascha, May the 1, 2016. Edmonton. Canada.
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The Paschal Greeting of His Grace Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada
I greet you all, my dear Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, by the universal joyful Paschal greeting of The Holy Gospel: Christ is Risen! Христос Воскресе! Χριστος Aνεστη! Christus resurrexit! Christ est ressuscité!
Christ is risen – and the gloomy hellish fortress of satan is collapsed! Christ is risen – and the enslaved mankind steps out into freedom! Christ is risen – and death, like snow in the spring, disappears: it becomes the door to the Heavenly Kingdom! Christ is risen – and we celebrate the Victory of Life!
Saint Nikolai of Serbia says that “…the victory of Christ is the only victory, which all human beings, starting from Adam and including those living at the end of times, can rejoice in. Any other victory on earth has always been separating people. When one king here on earth gains victory over another king, one of them rejoices, but the other one grieves. Only Christ’s victory is similar to the sun that is distributing its bright beams, streaming with light, on everybody, who stands under it. Only Christ’s victory makes all human hearts bream with the fullness of joy. This is the only victory in which there is no gloating and spite. Jesus Christ won this battle not for His own sake, but for ours. His victory did not make Him neither greater, nor richer, nor more alive than he was before, but made us such. His victory – is not self-centered egoism, but pure love, not an appropriation, but a gift. Any earthly winner snatches his victory; Christ is the only One, Who gives his victory away. There is no such a conqueror, a king or a ruler on earth, who wishes his victory to be taken from him and to be assigned to somebody else. Only the Risen Christ, with both His hands, stretches His victory to each of us and it does not bring him anger, but joy – when His triumph makes us victorious, makes us greater, more alive and richer than what we usually are…”.
Let us allow our Lord Jesus Christ to conquer our hearts with His Heavenly love and let Him stay within us till the end of times! Let Him overcome all our sinful passions and vices that had already taken root in us! Rejoicing and glorifying Our Resurrected Saviour, let us become the united spiritual Body of Christ!
Let the light of Resurrection that had shined from His Holy Sepulchre, always stay with us and become the source of unending joy that nobody can steal from us, joy that only in Christ reaches its fullness and perfection. Let the celebration of His Resurrection from the dead strengthens our belief in immortality! Let the grace of Holy Spirit help us to revive our hearts and to resurrect our souls from the sinful slumber. Let us become the uplighters of Christ’s Truth in our world and let the light of our Easter joy “shine before people”, so that when they see our good deeds, they would “glorify Our Heavenly Father!” (Matthew 5:16)!
Let us fervently pray that Our Holy Orthodox Church – foundation of which was laid by Saint Equal-to-the Apostles Prince Vladimir, who enlightened with the Christ’s Faith all people of Kievan Rus, – was able to stand against and overcome all hostility and hatred on the burning and tortured by the fire of war Ukrainian land! Let us pray that Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the prayers of All our Saints, grant us true and permanent peace!
From all my heart I wish to every one of you always to continue glorifying the Victory of Christ over the devil, sin and death and to answer to the Easter preaching with the joyful ecclesiastical exclamation: In truth He is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! Воистину Воскресе! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!
With the paschal greeting and love in the Risen Lord, +Iov, Bishop of Kashira, Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada Holy Pascha * April 12, 2015 * Edmonton