Saturday, March 01, 2014
My beloved Faithful Clergy and Laity of our God-protected Diocese: As we begin Great Lent on March 3rd, I wanted to share with you a few thoughts so that we may journey through the season and approach Pascha with the proper frame of mind.
Great Lent is a period of increased activity for the active Orthodox Christian. Our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving must increase. Attendance at Church services (of which there are many) and spiritual reading must increase. We must increase our self-examination, reflection and confession. Great Lent is also a period of decreased activity for the active Orthodox Christian. We should show restraint in our normal “outside of Lent” lifestyle. We should reduce our watching television, listening to the radio, surfing the internet, going to concerts and movies. Great Lent is not just about what we eat, but more importantly how we live.
In our prayer life the Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian is read each week day during Great Lent.
O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth,
despair, lust of power, and idle talk.
But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and
love to Thy servant.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions,
and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages
of ages. Amen. Jesus Christ’s instructions on fasting are found in Matthew 6:16-18.
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 say to you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly
When we fall away from God, we have removed ourselves from His communion. We have excommunicated ourselves. To re-enter communion with God is the on-going activity of all Christians. We fall away daily in some way or another. No one is exempt. Read more...
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,
Our Orthodox Church recommends that, during this period of Great Lent, we focus our attention toward sincere repentance, “the melting pot of sin,” according to St. John Chrysostom. Repentance is the first topic of our Lord Jesus Christ’s preaching and the very essence of the Christian teaching. It is the Church’s daily invitation to us all.
Despite this, many of us have not truly experienced repentance. We sometimes feel that it does not concern us personally because we have not “come to ourselves” in order to comprehend and contemplate how we may have committed any sin. However, as we are taught by the wise teacher of the spiritual life, Abba Isaac the Syrian, and as most of the Church Fathers proclaim through experience, repentance is necessary even for the perfect.
Friday, February 28, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- With the blessing of His Grace, Bishop Gregory, the National Junior ACRY, as in previous years, has taken it upon itself to aid the Diocesan ministry of Saint John the Compassionate, located in the inner city of Toronto, Ontario. The National Junior ACRY has renewed its ongoing effort to assist in the work of Saint John the Compassionate. This renewed commitment was affirmed at the National Convention in Chicago this past summer.
One again members of the Junior ACRY had the opportunity to visit the Mission this past summer and experience the labors of love that take place there each and everyday. Read more...
Thursday, February 27, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- As part of its continuing outreach efforts to the shut-ins and homebound, the Diocesan Apostolate For Information Technology and Communications, will this year live stream Divine Services from Christ the Saviour Cathedral on Wednesday and Friday Evenings during the Great Fast. Read more...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- The schedule of His Grace, Bishop Gregory of Nyssa for March 2014, has been released by the Diocesan Chancery. Read more...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- The Diocesan Chancery has been informed that Diocesan Students may be eligible for a $5,000 Undergraduate or a $5,000 Graduate Scholarship through the John C. Kulis Charitable Foundation. A total of ten undergraduate and ten graduate scholarships will be awarded.
To be eligible, a student must be actively involved in ther Eastern Orthodox faith and a member of a parish in one of the following jurisdictions: American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States. Scholarships are based on need and all candidates must provide evidence of true financial need. Read more...
Thursday, February 20, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- The Diocesan Chancery is pleased to announce that the on-line Orthodox Bible Study Class, hosted by St. Nicholas Orthodox Church of Warren, Ohio, will resume this coming Saturday, February 21, 2014 after a several week hiatus. The harsh winter weather caused water lines to burst, which resulted in extensive water damage to the Church complex and the internet broadcast system. This year's study is focusing on the Gospel of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John The class is led by Very Rev. Protopresbyter Kenneth Bachofsky, D. Min, Professor of Sacred Scripture at Christ the Saviour Seminary and Pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Warren, Ohio. The class takes place on Saturday evenings at 4:45 pm and is approximately 60 minutes in duration. The Gospel of St. John is being read and discussed within the context of the patristic mindset of the Church. Emphasis is placed on both the Gospel's historical context and application to contemporary life. Read more...
Thursday, February 20, 2014
ECUMENICAL PATRIARCHATE OF CONSTANTINOPE --His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Constantinople, released the following message today to the Ukrainian Nation and the members of the Ukrainian community abroad in response to the escalating crisis in the Ukraine. Beloved children and friends in Ukraine and abroad,It is with heavy heart that we have been following the ongoing and, indeed, only escalating tragic circumstances in Ukraine over the last weeks. We feel that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are our own flesh and blood. We endure the same sufferings that you suffer and we work with you for your joy, as St. Paul says. In our high responsibility as Ecumenical Patriarch, we are obliged to call for peace from the authorities in a democratic and independent nation, where its elected leaders – both in government and opposition – have the ultimate responsibility to protect the dignity of human life among its citizens. Read more...
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA -- [Diocesan Chancery] - Due to weather-related concerns, the Diocesan Priest Convocation scheduled for Feb 19-21 and the Readers/Subdeacons/Deacons Retreat (Feb 21-22) has been postponed. The convocation has been re-scheduled for Bright Week, Priests: April 23-25; Readers/Deacons/Sub-deacons: April 25-26. Read more...
Thursday, January 30, 2014
JOHNSTOWN, PA - The Diocesan Chancery is pleased to announce the schedule of the annual Diocesan Lenten Retreats, which are sponsored by the ACRY for the upcoming Lenten Season. These retreats are open to everyone and contain special programing for youth and adults of all ages. Bishop Gregory, along with other talented clergy of the Diocese will offer insightful and inspiring presentations designed to encourage and challenge the faithful to stay focused on the spiritual life as they continue their Lenten Journey to Pascha. Read more...