Please read this article as today marks the beginning of one of the 4 great fasts of the church year – the Dormition Fast. “It would be a gross understatement to say that much has been written about the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Yet very little has been written about the fast that precedes it. Every Orthodox Christian is aware and generally knows the reason behind the fasts for Pascha and Christmas. But while they may know of the Dormition Fast, few follow it, and more than a few question why it is there, neither knowing its purpose.” The remainder of this insightful article can be found here.
May God help us all realize “the one thing needful” during these next two weeks.
A Blessed Feast of St. Anna to you all! We beseech the Righteous Ancestor of God for “help with faith, that we may all be saved from all manner of tribulation” and asking her to intercede for “forgiveness of sins for them that honor [her] with love”.
Below is the list of the services we will celebrate during Holy Week and leading up to the Saturday evening Pascha service. You may join the clergy and chanters in praying and celebrating ALL of these services by going to the St. Anna Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/StAnnaOrthodoxColumbiaTN/
If you miss the appointed time for the service you may view and pray along with the clergy and chanters after the service is completed by clicking on the link to that service. Father Stephen will be praying some of these services from his home. The text of these services can be found in your Holy Week Service Book.
Sunday, April 12th: Palm Sunday-Orthros and Divine Liturgy: 9 am
Sunday, April 12th: Bridegroom Matins 6 pm
Monday, April 13th: Bridegroom Matins: 6:30 pm
Tuesday, April 14th: Bridegroom Matins: 6:30 pm
Wednesday, April 15th: Orthros: 6:30 pm
Thursday, April 16th: Service of 12 Passion Gospels: 6:30 pm
Friday, April 17th: Great Vespers 3 pm
Friday, April 17th: Lamentations 6:30 pm
Saturday, April 18th: Pascha 10 pm
We understand that joining these services by viewing them on you your phone, tablet, computer screen or TV may not be like you are used to joining in on Holy Week services. However, under these circumstances, complying with the directives sent to us by the Metropolitan and doing all we can to not put any of you at a health risk during these uncertain days, we believe these online services will be a great way to supplement your personal and family prayers and Holy Week and Pascha traditions at your home. We know that you are doing your best to make these days special with your families and we urge you to make these limited daily services a part of your upcoming days as we journey together to Jerusalem, the upper room, the garden, the cross and the empty tomb. May God have mercy on us all.
During this unusual time when we cannot attend services at church or go to Sunday school, there are some resources available online to help your children and teens continue to be reminded of this season of Lent and our journey to Pascha. For those who have children in the atrium, they have all been given a presentation on the Annunciation to the Theotokos which we will be celebrating tomorrow. You could read Luke 1:26-38 and ask a few questions, like: What did the angel say? What names were given for this baby? Imagine how Mary felt. What did Mary say to the angel?
There are no right or wrong answers at this age. There may be no answers verbally. It’s just a good way to help them remember what they have heard before and ponder it some more.
Here are some resources sent out from the Antiochian Archdiocese that may be of help to your family. I’ve just copied and pasted from some emails I’ve gotten.
Also, virtual Sunday School begins THIS Sunday! Tending the Garden of Our Hearts has announced the following: Welcome to Tending the Garden of our Hearts: Weekly Meditations for Orthodox Families!
During this time of social distancing and quarantine, Tending the Garden of Our Hearts will expand on our podcast offering with our Virtual Sunday School! In addition to the weekly podcast, you’ll find videos, activities and printables to get your family talking and learning together. Classes begin on Sunday, March 22, 2020! Make sure that your Sundays still feel like Sunday. Attend a liturgy online, and then drop in here for Sunday School: https://tending-the-garden.com/virtualsundayschool/
Here are additional options: The Children’s Word from Orthodox Christian Network Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities. http://myocn.net/orthodox-christian-childrens-newsletter/
Please forgive this late notice. We’ve made a change of plans. Regrettably, we’ve encountered some logistical limitations which will keep us from Livestreaming our services tomorrow morning so Fr. Stephen has asked that we participate in the streaming of the services being offered at St. Ignatius tonight and tomorrow. Please go to the St. Ignatius Facebook page to join their services – You can find the live-stream of the St. Ignatius services in 3 different places:
Each of these links should also work on your mobile device. If you would like to have a copy of the hymns and prayers being offered during these services you can find them at the Antiochian Archdiocese website – https://www.antiochian.org/liturgicday/2308
During the past 2 days we have been working on setting-up and testing out the possibility of using our St. Anna Facebook Page to “Livestream” Sunday morning services beginning this weekend at 9:00am (Orthros) and continuing through the Divine Liturgy which begins at 10am. You will be able to view and participate in the prayers and hymns being offered during these services on the St. Anna Facebook Page. If you are not yet connected to the St. Anna Facebook Page please go to this site and “LIKE” this page to receive notifications when the Livestreaming has started on Sunday: https://www.facebook.com/StAnnaOrthodoxColumbiaTN/ We will be sending out the weekly bulletin and service hymn sheet later today or tomorrow so you are able to print it off (if desired) or use it to aid you in your prayers during the services. Those who have been offering online Orthodox Church services in their churches for several years have suggested that we urge our parishioners to stand, if you are able, as you would during the services in the Orthodox Church temple, especially during the litanies and readings of the Gospel lessons. It is important to approach these special accommodations for participating in these services from your home differently than you would from other videos or TV you might watch. You are NOT simply WATCHING the clergy and chanters “do Orthros and Liturgy”. Please join us in offering these hymns and prayers to God and the Saints on your behalf, one another and for all of the world. Reciting the prayers and singing the hymns that you know, along with us will minister to your souls, further unite us as a parish (in diaspora) and amplify the effectiveness of our corporate prayers. Also, please consider gathering your family together, viewing the livestreaming in the same room and lighting candles or burning incense at your home icon corner or altar during the services. We all expect this to be a “short-term” adjustment but we can make the most of our current situation and still share in our Lenten journey as we set aside this time for the special accommodations which are being made during these days. Our services will not be “professional video productions” but we will do what we are able to make adjustments to our set-up, equipment and technical options to try to minimize the distractions and limitations we will likely encounter as we livestream these services. Your patience and feedback will be treasured during these days. Those of us working on this video option are not filmmakers or videographers but we are being advised by those who are as we work through this with their help.
Blessings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ as we continue our Lenten journey through these unusual times. I am sure you all continue to monitor the evolving Coronavirus situation and attempts to mitigate the pandemic facing us all.
In response to government guidance, our Archdiocese has issued new directives for the church in order to do our part to protect our congregations and our communities. Though some of the following instructions may seem drastic, they are prudent and necessary to get to the other side of the pandemic as soon as possible. With that goal in mind, the following directives are implemented until further notice:
1. All non-liturgical activities (church school, meetings, meals, coffee hour, etc.) are cancelled. 2. Services are limited to Orthros/Divine Liturgy (commencing March 22) and Akathist (commencing March 27). Services will be limited to CLERGY and CHANTERS ONLY “on behalf of all and for all.” 3. Confession will be offered only in case of great, immediate spiritual need. 4. Baptisms are postponed until further notice. 5. In case of a funeral, only immediate family may attend (limited to 10 persons). 6. Service texts for home use will be available on the http://www.antiochian.org website under the Liturgics section.
If you are a chanter and show symptoms of any sickness or are awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test for you or a loved one, please stay at home. I will coordinate with John Meese which chanters will be present at each service.
I hope each of you will see this difficulty as an opportunity for a truly meaningful Lenten offering. What could be more of an acceptable Lenten offering that to give up our own will and desires in obedience to the service and welfare of our community?
We are exploring ways to enhance our journey through these times such as video homilies and other communications, as well as providing a list of churches providing streaming services as soon as possible.
Above let us pray for another and take the time to reach out to each other by phone or email. Obviously, I will keep you informed of any changes as soon as they are implemented.
St. Anna Men’s Night Out – Thursday, November 7th at 6pm at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant (15 Public Square, Columbia, TN 38401) All men of the church (18 and older) and your guests are invited. Special guest – Abbess Aemiliane from the Sacred Monastery of St. Nina.