St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral

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The Nativity Fast (November 15-December 24)

The Nativity Forty-day Fast represents the fast undertaken by Moses, who - having fasted for forty days and forty nights - received the Commandments of God, written on stone tablets. And we, fasting for forty days, will reflect upon and receive from the Virgin the living Word - not written upon stone, but born, taking flesh and blood - and we will commune of His Divine Body. (St. Symeon of Thessalonica)

The Nativity Fast is a journey. It marks a path from wherever we are spiritually at this time of the year - to Bethlehem; from the bustle and distractions of our life now - to the quiet, timeless night of the Birth of Our Savior; from the darkness and muddle of our wanderings - into the warm radiance of the Light of the World.

At the beginning of the liturgical season, like the Wise Men from the East, we set out to seek a wondrous thing. Unlike the Wise Men, we know what - or more precisely Who - we are looking for, because we have received the testimony of the apostles concerning the One Who is God with Us and we have experienced in our own lives the love of the Savior and we have discovered the joyful beauty that reveals itself as we are drawn into worship at the feast. It is truly a wise person who chooses to make the season of the Fast a journey to the manger, in anticipation of a grace-filled encounter with the Christ Child.

This encounter is so very important! Love is only known, experienced and nourished through the mutual encounter of the lover and the beloved, in relationship. Think about it: apart from a real encounter of love, what is love? - just a daydream, just words, just a notion, just a wish, a platitude...Love always needs to be manifested, expressed. It grows as it is accepted and reciprocated. The very real love of God always seeks to meet us, to find us, to embrace us. And it is only our love for God - as we encounter Him in prayer and worship and sacrament and the many ways in which we strive to cultivate a sense of His presence - only in our loving encounter with Him that we are enabled to actually know and grow in Him. And because true love is always fruitful and creative and expansive, if our love of God is true love, it finds expression in our love for one another - in concrete acts of mutual kindness and concern and good will, in acts of self-offering both large and small. It is not for nothing that even the most secular expression of the Christmas season has at its heart the exchange of gifts.

The Birth of Christ is, in the words of the Apostle John, the manifestation of the love of God among us, so that we might live: Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4: 7-11).

Our greeting - 'Christ is Born! Glorify Him!' - is therefore a confession of faith, a joyful proclamation of the new life given us in Christ. May following the Fast and the celebration of the Feast renew us in His love!

 ~ Fr. Andrew



SERVICE SCHEDULE All services are held at the Cathedral unless otherwise noted.
Please watch the Messenger and website for places/times of other services.

Schedule of ServicesMonday, November 11
Veterans Day
11:00 a.m. Parastas (Veterans Day)

Wednesday
, November 13
St. John Chrysostom
6:15 p.m. Vespers

Thursday, November 14
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy

Friday, November 15
Advent Fast Begins (Nov.15 - Dec.24)

Saturday, November 16
5:00 p.m. Vespers

Sunday, November 17
22nd Sunday After Pentecost
St. Gregory the Wonderworker of Neo-Caesarea
7:45 a.m. Matins @ Cathedral
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy @ Cathedral




 



NOTE: Elevators available at both the Cathedral and the Parish Center.

This Week's EventMonday, November 11
Church Office Closed
8:30 a.m. Perohi
7:00 p.m. Board Meeting

Tuesday, November 12
8:30 a.m. Perohi
6:30 p.m. Iconography Group
7:00 p.m. Rachmaninoff Choir Rehearsal
7:00 p.m. Balalaika Rehearsal
7:00 p.m. Men’s Bible Study

Wednesday, November 13
7:00 p.m. Choir Rehearsal

Friday, November 15
Advent Fast Begins (Nov.15 - Dec.24)
Article Deadline for the December 2019 Monthly Bulletin

11-2:00 p.m. Perohi Sales

Saturday, November 16
8:00 a.m. Women’s Club Bread Baking
10:00 a.m. Rachmaninoff Choir Dress Rehearsal (Cathedral)
10:00 a.m. Orthodox Book Club
1:00 p.m. Our Life in Christ - Diocesan Youth Retreat
(St. Elizabeth Orthodox Church, 125 Congress St. E, St. Paul)

Sunday, November 17
11:00 a.m. Church School @ Parish Center (Gymnasium Reserved for Church School)
11:00 a.m. Women’s Club Christmas Market & Bake Sale @ Parish Center


















 


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