St. Mary's Orthodox Cathedral


St. Mary of Egypt

It is sometimes asked, why do monastic and ascetic saints figure so prominently in our church life?

For example, during Lent we have made much of the life and witness of St. Gregory Palamas, St. John of the Ladder, and today St. Mary of Egypt. Wouldn't it be good to celebrate the witness of some married saints and saints whose sanctity shone forth in family life? Wouldn't it be good to reflect rather more on the kind of asceticism that must be part and parcel of leading a godly life in the world?

This is a good question. A partial answer as to why we do what we do may lie in the fact that so much of the content of our liturgical tradition comes from monastic sources, promulgated by church authorities who were themselves monastics. Monasticism is a very powerful resource in the ongoing life of the Church and the preeminence of monastics and ascetics in our liturgical calendar and thus in our hymnography is simply part of the the tradition we have received. But if we have received this tradition, it is surely because Orthodox believers are, generally speaking, lovers of monks and nuns and monasticism. The prominent role of monastics and monasteries in the piety of believers is not something imposed from without but comes from a deep affection, attraction and resonance within us. This piety need not preclude a sense that perhaps more emphasis on married saints and Christian family life would be helpful.

The most important answer to this question lies in the internal, thematic meaning of the Great Fast as a time for the renewal of our discipleship by means of the opening of our hearts and minds to God's grace through ascetic effort. There is a cost to discipleship and that cost is the inner meaning of asceticism. The whole point of asceticism is to make discipleship costly. Unless the Lenten disciplines of fasting, prayer and good works have an impact on self-satisfaction and a self-centered ordering and way of life, unless they inconvenience us in some way, unless they have a sacrificial character, unless they subvert in some way our nicely-ordered and comfortable lives, they don't have much point. For the Kingdom of Heaven is taken by force and violent men bear it away and no one ever attained salvation through convenience and ease. Although monastic life cannot lay an absolute and unique claim to ascetic practice, it is in the lives of some of these saints that we find a very powerful and inspiring image of the cost of discipleship. This is especially the case with St. Mary of Egypt. Her profound repentance, her ascetic struggle, and her dedication to prayerful communion with God make her an example and a powerful intercessor for us.

- Fr. Andrew


Service cancellation policy:

  • No one should travel to church for services if the road conditions are dangerous.
  • No services will be cancelled.
  • Those who cannot get to services should instead stay home, give thanks to God, be happy that at least a priest and a chanter are singing the services and praying for them.
  • Good church etiquiette also suggests staying home if you are sick or feel like you are coming down with an illness.
All services are held at the Cathedral unless otherwise noted.
Please watch the Messenger and website for places/times of other services.

Schedule of ServicesGreat Lent
Wednesday, April 17
8:30 a.m. Confessions
9:00 a.m. Presanctified Liturgy (downstairs chapel in Cathedral)
6:15p.m. Lenten Vespers (Confessions after Vespers)

Friday, April 19
8:30 a.m. Confessions
9:00 a.m. Presanctified Liturgy (downstairs chapel in Cathedral)
6:00 p.m. Ninth Hour and Confessions
6:15 p.m. Presanctified Liturgy

Saturday, April 20
Lazarus Saturday
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy
4:00 p.m. General Confession
5:00 p.m. Great Vespers @ Cathedral (Confessions after Vespers)

Sunday, April 21
Palm Sunday
7:45 a.m. Matins @ Cathedral
9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy @ Cathedral

4:00 p.m. MEOCCA Vespers: Bridegroom Matins
St. Herman OCA Church; 612-722-2506; 5355 38th Ave S, Minneapolis


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

This Week's EventsGreat Lent
, April 15
Church Office Closed
8:30 a.m. Perohi

Tuesday, April 16
8:30 a.m. Perohi
7:00 p.m. Men’s Bible Study
7:00 p.m. Balalaika Rehearsal

Wednesday, April 17
6:00 p.m. Slovak Class
7:00 p.m. Choir Rehearsal

Thursday, April 18
7:15 p.m. Theology on Thursday

Friday, April 19
11 a.m.-2 p.m. Perohi Sales
Saints Lenten Dinner follows Presanctified Liturgy

Saturday, April 20
Breakfast for 2nd Graders & their families following liturgy
11:00 a.m. Parish Clean-up

Sunday, April 21
11:00 a.m. Church School @ Parish Center

Lenten fellowship dinner following Vespers

7:30 p.m. Floor Hockey @ Gym


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