January, 2024

Focus on the Faith: Fr. Andrew Damick’s 14 New Year’s Resolutions for Orthodox Christians

  1. Get serious about coming to church (more).
  2. Get to church on time.
  3. Begin to tithe.
  4. Pray more at home.
  5. Sing along at church (Join Choir?) and stand more.
  6. Memorize a psalm.
  7. Encourage your priest.
  8. Invite someone to church.
  9. Visit a monastery.
  10. Read the Old Testament.
  11. Attend an adult education class.
  12. Volunteer.
  13. Go to confession.
  14. Read a spiritual book.

From the Fathers

"And what more requisite gift...is there than the element of water? For with water all things are washed and nourished, and cleansed and bedewed. Water bears the earth, water produces the dew, water exhilarates the vine; water matures the grain in the ear, water ripens the grapecluster, water softens the olive, water sweetens the palm-date, water reddens the rose and decks the violet, water makes the lily bloom with its brilliant cups. And why should I speak at length? Without the element of water, none of the present order of things can subsist. So necessary is the element of water; for the other elements took their places beneath the highest vault of the heavens, but the nature of water obtained a seat also above the heavens. And to this the prophet himself is a witness, when he exclaims, Praise the Lord, you heavens of heavens, and the water that is above the heavens. Nor is this the only thing that proves the dignity of the water. But there is also that which is more honourable than all — the fact that Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain, and was known as a spring, and diffused Himself as a river, and was baptized in the Jordan. For you have just heard how Jesus came to John, and was baptized by him in the Jordan. Oh things strange beyond compare! How should the boundless River that makes glad the city of God have been dipped in a little water! The illimitable Spring that bears life to all men, and has no end, was covered by poor and temporary waters! He who is present everywhere, and absent nowhere — who is incomprehensible to angels and invisible to men — comes to the baptism according to His own good pleasure.”

(St Hippolytus of Rome, +236 AD, Discourse on Theophany)

Orthopraxis: House Blessings and Theophany

Blessing of the Home

While you may certainly bless your own home with the Theophany water, it is also possible, to invite your priest to bless your home with holy water within the few weeks following Theophany and before the beginning of the Great Fast (Lent.). Prepare by cleaning the house and opening and lighting all the rooms.

What you need for the house blessing:

  • An icon corner or wall, or at least an Icon of Christ and the Mother of God
  • A small table, preferably covered, in front of your home icon corner.
  • A candlestick with a new candle in it, placed on the otherwise cleared table

Using a “krupilla”(a special horse hair sprinkler) the priest will go to each room and sprinkle it in the four corners blessing the home with the grace of the Holy Spirit which also protects you from evil spirits. If you were unable to attend the Theophany Liturgy, the priest will bring extra Holy Water so that you may keep some at home, near your icons. Please have a dedicated jar or vessel prepared for this water. It can only be used for Holy Water thereafter. For House Blessings, it is appropriate that all family members are in attendance, but if this is not possible, at least those who are home should participate in the service. All TV's, electronics, music, etc., should be turned off. House Blessings are a yearly tradition.

Personal Use of Holy Water

According to Orthodox doctrine, holy water has the power to sanctify and heal. Have each family member drink a small amount of the holy water from Theophany. Keep the unused holy water in your home icon corner (krasny ugol) for future use: times of adversity, before starting a new venture or trip, to give thanks, or when someone is ill. You may drink it or anoint yourself when you feel spiritually afflicted. It should be taken when fasting, if at all possible. To rid the house of evil spirits, it should be sprinkled in the four corners of each room, so no one will step on it. In the countryside, the holy water is often sprinkled in the fields and on the animals.

If you would like to have your home blessed, please contact Fr. Basil or use the Sign-up sheet at the candle desk in the Narthex of the church.

Save the Date! Burns Supper on January 25th!

This event is coming up. go to the bottom for a downloadable and printable flyer that you can share!


Burns_Supper_Flyer (Downloadable PDF)

Upcoming Events

Upcoming events this month are in the online calendar, which you can subscribe to on your phone or tablet. Use the print button on the calendar to print a copy.

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