Feast - Exhaltation of the Holy Cross
The Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross is celebrated each year on September 14. The Feast commemorates the finding of the True Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine.
In the twentieth year of his reign (326), the Emperor Constantine sent his mother Saint Helen to Jerusalem to venerate the holy places and to find the site of the Holy Sepulchre and of the Cross. Relying upon the oral tradition of the faithful, Saint Helen found the precious Cross together with the crosses of the two thieves crucified with our Lord. However, Helen had no way of determining which was the Cross of Christ.
With the healing of a dying woman who touched one of the crosses, Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem identified the True Cross of Christ. Saint Helen and her court venerated the Precious and Life-Giving Cross along with many others who came to see this great instrument of Redemption.
The Patriarch mounted the ambo (pulpit) and lifted the Cross with both hands so that all of the people gathered could see it. The crowd responded with "Lord have mercy".
This became the occasion of the institution in all of the Churches of the Exaltation of the Precious Cross, not only in memory of the event of the finding of the Cross, but also to celebrate how an instrument of shame was used to overcome death and bring salvation and eternal life.
The Feast is an opportunity outside of the observances of Holy Week to celebrate the full significance of the victory of the Cross over the powers of the world, and the triumph of the wisdom of God through the Cross over the wisdom of this world. This Feast also gives the Church an opportunity to relish the full glory of the Cross as a source of light, hope and victory for Christ's people. It is also a time to celebrate the universality of the work of redemption accomplished through the Cross: the entire universe is seen through the light of the Cross, the new Tree of Life which provides nourishment for those who have been redeemed in Christ.
Icon of the Feast
The icon of the Feast of the Precious Cross tells the story of the finding of the Cross and of its Exaltation. Patriarch Macarius is standing in the pulpit elevating the Cross for all to see and venerate (1 & 2). On each side of the Patriarch are deacons holding candles (3). The elevated Cross is surrounded and venerated by many clergy and lay people, including Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine (4).
In the background of the icon is a domed structure that represents the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. This church was one of the churches constructed and dedicated by Emperor Constantine on the holy sites of Jerusalem.
Orthodox Christian Celebration of the FEAST OF THE Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross
This Feast of our Lord is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, which is conducted on the day of the feast and preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on the evening before the day of the feast.
On the day of the Feast at the conclusion of the Matins or of the Divine Liturgy, a special service is held. The Cross is placed on a tray surrounded by branches of basil and is taken in solemn procession through the church to the chanting of the Hymn of the Feast. The tray is placed on a table, and the priest takes the Cross and offers petitions from each side of the table, the four directions of the compass. This represents the universal nature of the offering of Christ upon the Cross. As the people respond by chanting "Lord have mercy", the priest raises and lowers the cross, a commemoration of its finding and exaltation. At the conclusion of the service, the people come and venerate the cross and receive the basil from the priest. The basil is used and offered, as it was the fragrant flower growing where the Cross was found.
Scripture readings for the Feast of the Cross are the following: At Vespers: Exodus 15:22-16:1; Proverbs 3:11-18; Isaiah 60:11-16. At the OrthMatins): John 12:28-36. At the Divine Liturgy: I Corinthians 1:18-24; John 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, 30-35.
exerpt from Greek Orthodox Church Archdiocese
Bishop Alexander visit
Kursk Root Icon visit Tues April 5 2016
St. Tikhon Russian Orthodox mission
of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia to host a visit of the
‘Root Icon of the Theotokos of the Sign’
Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Ohio Veterans Home Secrest Chapel
Accompanying the Icon will be Father Ilia Marzev, Pastor St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Cathedral, Parma, Ohio. Father Ilia will serve a brief Akathist to the Theotokos of the Sign before the Holy Icon. After the service, the faithful will be able to venerate the icon.
The public is warmly invited to attend
This Russian Icon of the Mother of God, now 700 years old, is credited as a constant source of healing, comfort and deliverance for countless of Orthodox Christians who sought the heavenly intercessions of the Most Pure Theotokos. Since its miraculous appearance to a hunter in the forest near Kursk, Russia, in 1295, the icon has survived fire, war, vandalism and the Russian Revolution. In 1919, it was carried out of Russia and since 1957 has been in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Mother of God of the Sign in New York City.
Each year, the wonderworking icon is taken on pilgrimage around the world to parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, where the faithful venerate the icon and offer prayers to the Theotokos. The icon is considered to be the protection of Orthodox Christians living everywhere.
The highly venerated icon depicts the Theotokos and Christ surrounded by nine prophets holding Old Testament scrolls: King Solomon, Daniel, Jeremiah, Elijah, Habakkuk, Gideon, Isaiah, Moses, and King David.
Parking is at the Ohio Veterans Home Secrest-Giffin Care Facility parking lot off of Strub Rd; entry to the facility is through the double glass doors; Secrest Chapel is on the first floor, just past the reception desk.
Everyone is welcome.
Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
The ancient Orthodox Church reminds us, its faithful, that it's that time in its yearly liturgical and sacramental cycle to prepare to look deeply into oneself to assess one's spiritual condition and how it governs his/her life and influences the lives of others.
Great Lent was and is a spiritual journey in preparation for the Resurrection of Christ (Pascha). Its main intent being to humbly and sincerely search one's soul in order to see oneself as he/she truly is. By honestly recognizing one's sins. Through prayer, worship, reading of Scripture, almsgiving and especially forgiveness and love, change the direction of our lives. In this way we begin to gain control over the things that have controlled us or badly influenced us that need to be 'turned around' (repentance). – Matushka Nina Stroyen
There is a powerful prayer of the ancient church attributed to a 4th century monk, St. Ephraim the Syrian, found in Lenten worship services:
Prayer of St Ephraim
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust for power and idle talk. But rather give to me Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience and love. Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother for blessed art Thou O Lord unto ages of ages. Amen
Our parish Thanksgiving Dinner is Sunday, Nov 8, 12:00 noon following Divine Litugy in the church party room. This is a time of fellowship and enjoyable conversation withour neighbors, friends and family. Dinner tickets are $15 each. To help with the amount of food to prepare for dinner, please purchase or order your dinners in advance. Call Catherine for phone orders at 440-984-7052.
LET US GIVE THANKS
An old poem describes a woman walking through a meadow, mediating on nature. While strolling about, she came upon a field of golden pumpkins. In the corner of the field stood a majestic, huge oak tree.
She sat under the oak tree musing on the strange twists in nature which put tiny acorns on huge branches and huge pumpkins on tiny vines. She though to herself, “God blundered with Creation! He should have put the small acorns on the tiny vines and the large pumpkins on the huge branches.”
Nodding off, the woman stretched out under the oak tree for a nap. A few minutes after falling asleep she was awakened by a tiny acorn bouncing off her nose. Chuckling to herself, she rubbed her nose and thought, “Maybe God was right after all!”
For all the blessings we have received this year, whether they be seen or unseen, recognized or disguised, let us offer a Prayer of Thanksgiving unto the Lord! For He knows what we need even before we ask or are aware of it!
-Matushka Nina Stroyen
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
PASCHA - May 1, 2016
Pascha is the greatest and most joyful feast in the Church!
It is a movable Feast and the date of its celebration each year is determined according to a formula agreed to by the Church at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. This year Pascha is celebrated on May 1.
Pascha celebrates Our Lord and Saviour's Resurrection from the dead conquering death for all those who follow him.
It is immediately preceded by Great Lent and Passion Week, times during which Orthodox Christians prepare themselves with prayer, fasting and repentance for their spiritual growth and the coming feast.
Passion Week ends and Pascha begins at sunset on Great Saturday, April 30, recalling the Jewish Sabbath which begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.
We know from the Gospels that Christ was crucified on Friday and remained in the tomb during the Sabbath.
Parish Growth Workshop - Sat, Nov 21, 1:00 - 4:00 pm, Church Meeting Room
Parish Growth - To Be Good Stewards of Our Parish Future
For interested parishioners of any age, willing to work toward a stronger future for Sts. Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church. Facing Forward Workshop will include short presentations and structured discussions to help align priorities for our Life in Christ. Light lunch furnished.
Explore and Reflect: on the qualities of vibrant Orthodox parishes - - what does it take?
Identify and Clarify: our strengths, challenges and opportunities.
Define and Develop: select a few critical priorities on which to focus to build up the Body of Christ.
Facilitated by Joseph Kormaos, Parish Development Ministry Facilitator, Orthodox Church in America
ORTHODOX GREAT LENT
GREAT LENT BEGINS MON., FEB. 23
The Orthodox Church and the Western Church both have a 40 day Great Lent, but they are calculated differently.
The Orthodox Church starts Great Lent on Monday and ends on Lazarus Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday.
The Western Church starts on a Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday.
During the period of Great Lent the Church helps us to assess our spiritual condition and renew ourselves by creating conditions which predispose us towards fasting and repentance.
Some of us give up something and add something, both in an effort to help us to recognize our sins and gain control over our spiritual lives...
Give up cookies and smile one more time each day...
Give up gossiping about the neighbor and open the door for someone at the store...
Give up a favorite TV show and pray for someone you don't like...
Give up an extra cup of coffee and arrive at church 5 minutes early...
We complete our Lenten effort by going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion.