Nativity – and icon – of the Theotokos

Christ is in our midst!

Two upcoming service notes… One a reminder and the other unexpected news…

First, the reminder: Tomorrow evening (Wed., Sept. 7th) at 7pm we will celebrate the Nativity of the Theotokos with a Vesperal Liturgy, as planned. As usual, please come fasting from about noon on if you are intending to receive communion.

Second, the news: You have heard that the myrrh-streaming icon of the Theotokos is coming to Vancouver this weekend – to Holy Resurrection Sobor and to Holy Trinity Church. Well, the rector of Holy Trinity Church, Fr. Sergei, apparently spoke very highly of our little community to the bearer of the icon, and the myrrh-streaming icon is now also coming to St. John’s!

If all goes according to plan, the icon will arrive at St. John’s around noon on Saturday, perhaps a little later – so we will begin our prayers before the icon around 12:30 or so. I am astonished and humbled that the icon is being brought to us – a blessing unlooked for – we have much to learn about God’s grace…

For those interested in knowing more about the holy icon, its history is recorded here:

I would also like to note how welcoming and hospitable both Holy Resurrection and Holy Trinity Churches have been to us. The icon’s coming to our little mission may take away one material reason to visit our neighbours, but the love they have shown us in this should give us all the more reason to visit and further establish the spiritual bond of friendship between our parishes.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Justin.

Pentecost and Kneeling Vespers

This Sunday, as you know, is the great feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is, of course, the birthday of the Church, and is the liturgical birthday of St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission – it was on Pentecost Sunday, 2007, that we celebrated our very first Divine Liturgy in our current location. In memory of that, I’ve dug out an old photo album of that momentous event (pictures by Gregory Gascoigne):

St John's First Liturgy (Pentecost 2007)

We have grown in many ways since then!

Following our celebration of the Divine Liturgy at Pentecost, the posture of penitence, kneeling – which we have avoided throughout the joyous celebration of Pascha – is restored to us in the “Kneeling Vespers” service. We generally celebrate this service right after we finish our Agape Feast, following the Divine Liturgy.

Service Reminder: Vesperal Liturgy for the Presentation of Christ in the Temple Tonight

Just a quick reminder: We will be celebrating Vesperal Liturgy tonight for the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, one of the twelve great feasts of the church. Because of the emphasis on Christ being the light of the world in righteous Simeon’s prophecy (“a light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of Your people, Israel”), it is traditional, at this feast, to bring any candles that you will be using in your prayer corner at home to be blessed. (For more detail on this, please see Fr. Stephen’s excellent post here.)

Also, as is usual with any Vesperal Liturgy, those intending to receive communion at the service tonight are reminded to fast from about noon on, in preparation.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Justin.