Friday, February 21, 2020 UTC

FEB 22: COMMEMORATION OF ALL HOLY ASCETICAL FATHERS AND MOTHERS

  FEB 22: CONFESSION – 3:00 PM, VESPERAL DIVINE LITURGY – 4:00 PM (SN). On February 22nd we commemorate all Holy Ascetical Fathers and Mothers, both known and unknown. We are inspired to imitate their God-pleasing conduct. They also teach us that fasting is not merely abstinence from food, but involves refraining from inappropriate speech and actions. If we undertake prayer, fasting, and good works, we shall receive from God the same reward they did. Most of the holy ascetics commemorated today have their own separate Feast Day during the year, while some are remembered only on this day.

FEB 23, 26 & 28: FORGIVENESS SUNDAY (SUNDAY OF CHEESE-FARE), VESPERS OF FORGIVENESS & PRE-LENTEN READING PREPARATION

FEB 23: 3RD HOUR – 9:40 AM, TYPIKA – 10:00 AM (NOTE: mutual forgiveness part of Vespers service immediately following Typika); POTLUCK (BRING CHEESIEST DISH TO SHARE) – 12:00 PM; VESPERS OF FORGIVENESS – CANCELLED; FEB 26: CONFESSION – 4:30 – 5:30 PM, PRE-SANCTIFIED LITURGY – 6:00 PM, LENTEN POTLUCK TO FOLLOW; FEB 28: CONFESSION – 4:30 – 5:30 PM, PRE-SANCTIFIED LITURGY – 6:00 PM.

Reading from the “Journey Through the Great Fast” – Sunday of Cheese Fare: SundayofCheeseFare

Reading for Sunday of Cheesefare: PRELentenReadingSundayofCheesefare

Vespers of Forgiveness: Forgiveness_Vespers

The Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew 6: 14-21, which provides excellent instructions for the beginning of the Great Fast. Let us understand what the purpose of the Great Fast is and understand how we can learn to forgive completely. We are put in the right mindset for the fast and the Gospel of the Last judgment presents criteria for judgment. We are to learn to become like Christ. If we know this, the Great Fast is not a somber time, but a time of joy, expectation and change.

The Sunday of Cheesefare or Sunday of Forgiveness is the last Sunday prior to the commencement of the Great Fast.  This Sunday reminds us of our need for God’s forgiveness and guides our hearts, minds, and spiritual efforts on returning to Him in repentance. We recite the Prayer of St. Ephraem daily and during weekly Pre-Sanctified Liturgies.

PRAYER OF ST. EPHRAEM

O Lord and Master of my life, keep from me the spirit of indifference and discouragement, lust of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)
Instead, grant to me, your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humble-mindedness, patience and love. (Prostration)
O Lord and King, grant me the grace to be aware of my sins and not to judge my brother; for You are blessed, now and ever and forever. Amen. (Prostration)

This is the last day that dairy products can be eaten before the Lenten fast.

 

FEB 23: 1ST & 2ND FINDINGS OF THE HEAD OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

 Usually on February 25th, we commemorate the 1st and 2nd Findings of the Head of John the Baptist, but this year the commemoration is transferred to February 23rd due to the 1st week of the Great Fast. After the Beheading of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John (August 29), his body was buried by disciples in the Samarian city of Sebaste, and his venerable head was hidden by Herodias in an unclean place. Saint Joanna, the wife of King Herod’s steward Chuza, secretly took the holy head and placed it into a vessel and buried it on the Mount of Olives in one of Herod’s properties. After many years, this property passed into the possession of a government official who became a monk with the name of Innocent. While digging the foundation of a new church the head in the vessel was found, preserved by Innocent & reburied upon his death. It was later found again during the days of Constantine the Great by devout Christians & monks who buried it in a cave. A church was built on this spot.