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Feasts

Feasts

The Paschal Message of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin 2024

To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West: Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen! At the end of our forty-day sojourn through Great Lent, and before we are plunged into the darkness and horrors of Holy Week, we are blessed with two days of light and joy. The resurrection of Lazarus was the prefigurement of the death of death. The power of Jesus Christ not only over sickness and suffering in the living but over…
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Prayer at home during Great Lent

Archpriest Sergei Chetverikoff In the contemporary situation of Orthodox people, who are often completely cut off from the Church of God, who have no opportunity to experience within themselves the beneficial influence of the Church services and the whole prayerful atmosphere of the Church, it is very important to create, even in one’s solitude, some likeness of the churchly atmosphere. How can this be accomplished?  First of all, set aside some special place for prayer. In your home, perhaps above…

Let Us Celebrate, O People!

Let us celebrate, O people! Let us go up in spirit! Let us raise our minds on high! These are not simply exclamations of enthusiastic piety and emotional devotion for the few strange people who like that sort of thing. They are exhortations and commands which are essential to the spiritual life of all human beings who must hear and obey as if their life depended upon it. Because, in a real sense, it does…

Pentecost 2023 Photographs

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). On Saturday evening, June 3, and the morning of Sunday, June 4, the Cathedral of the Diocese of the West celebrated the great saving day of Pentecost: the feast of the Holy Trinity and its patronal feast. His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West presided at the divine services. Festal Vigil was served on Saturday night with…

Looking Ahead to Holy Week & Pascha

Looking Ahead to Holy Week & Pascha April 8 – 16, 2023 On Lazarus Saturday (April 8), we enter into the special and sacred time of Holy Week and Pascha. Each and every one of us is called to truly “lay aside all earthly cares,” i.e., all activities and concerns that distract from the great mystery which is happening for us and to us. It must be an experience that transcends the fulfilling of an annual religious obligation or custom.…

Fifth Week of Lent: March 27-April 1, 2023

During this week, the Fifth Week of Great Lent, we celebrate additional church services that are a little longer. This is by design, and helps us intensify our Lenten efforts of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. If a believer is accustomed to attending only the Sunday Liturgy during Great Lent, then the opportunity for a deeper Lenten experience will, alas, be missed. What should one expect this week? On Wednesday evening, at the Presanctified Liturgy, the usual antiphonally sung Psalms will…

Archbishop Benjamin’s Lenten Message

2023 Lenten Message of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West: For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I…

Dormition of the Holy Theotokos

The first chapter of St. Luke’s gospel contains an outstanding hymn by the holy Theotokos, which poured out of her heart in response to the salutation of her relative, the righteous Elizabeth: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” This Elizabethan prophecy, that we repeat so often in one of our most favorite prayers “Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos,” was followed by Mary’s hymn, Mary’s prayerful prophesy, which is especially important for our attention on…

Transfiguration and the Blessing of Grapes and Apples

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, In August, we celebrate two Great Feasts of the Church: the Transfiguration of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the Dormition (Falling Asleep) of Our Most-holy Lady the Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. The first of these feasts commemorates the events described by the Evangelists Matthew (17:1-13) and Luke (9:28-36). In view of His forthcoming death on the cross, the Lord revealed to His chosen disciples the voluntary character of His passion…

Two Soldiers of Christ: Boris and Gleb

It seems remote, the steppe on that July evening of 1015. Tents were being pitched. A prince, Boris, Vladimir’s son, was camping for the night with his retinue of a few hand-picked men. They were particularly conscious that evening of their limited numbers since earlier that same day a whole army had been marching with them. Now it had gone: the army had deserted its prince. The enemy, moreover, was on its way. When Boris had ridden out earlier in…

Pentecost 2022 Photographs

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). On Saturday evening, June 11, and the morning of Sunday, June 12, the Cathedral of the Diocese of the West celebrated the great saving day of Pentecost: the feast of the Holy Trinity and its patronal feast. His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin of San Francisco and the West presided at the divine services. Festal Vigil was served on Saturday night with…

Pentecost 2022 Homily of His Eminence, Archbishop Benjamin

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. As I am sure many of you already know, I am rather fascinated by what we might call the fulfillment of the prophecies, rites, and customs of the Old Covenant in the New — in particular, in Orthodox Christianity. I understand Christianity to be the heir to all the Law and the Prophets gave witness to. Our present celebration of Pentecost is no exception. Pentecost…