Thursday, 2 December 2010

Services for December 2010

Sat 4th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 5th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Sat 11th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 12th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy
Mon 13th Meeting of Trustees 7.30pm

Sat 18th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 19th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Mon 20th 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Tues 21st 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Wed 22nd 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Thurs 23rd 6.30pm Vespers and confessions
Fri 24/25th 11am Vesperal Liturgy
11pm Matins; Midnight Nativity Liturgy
Fast-free until 5th January

Sat 25th 6pm Great Vespers
Sun 26th 10am Matins; 11am Divine Liturgy

Wishing you all strength and blessing to continue the Nativity Fast and then a very Happy and Blessed Christmas!

Name Days in December

9th Hannah Gandy
19th Nicholas Joseph; Jonathan Bartholomew
26th Joseph Clive Amson; Simon Stone
27th Stefan Ron Kinnersley; Stephanie Giselle Ayoub

Parish Feasts

20th St Ignatios, Belfast


7th Deacon John Mark

Commemoration of the Shepherds in Bethlehem who were watching their flocks and went to see the Lord

On December 25th, not only do we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we also commemorate the Shepherds who went to see the Lord.
The Monastery at the Shepherds’ Field is located in the village of Beit-Sahour, about 1km to the east of Bethlehem and tradition indicates that this was the spot where the Shepherds kept watch (Luke 2:18-20) and where they heard the angelic proclamation “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will toward men”. Ancient olive trees on the site date back over 2000 years and it is said that two of these trees mark the location where King David wrote many of the psalms.
Locally, the place is known as Kaniseter Rawat, which means ‘Place of the Shepherds’ Shelter’ and the cave in which shelter was taken is now a church – one of many built by Saint Helena in the year 325 AD and dedicated to the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos which we celebrate on 26th December. This is the only remaining ‘original’ church of St Helena as all the others have been destroyed and rebuilt over the centuries.
By the end of the 4th century, pious traditions also associated the Shepherds’ Field with the place where Jacob pastured his flock and built the Mignal Eder (Tower of the Flocks) referred to in Genesis 35:14. The remains of the base of this tower are still visible today.

Let us, like the Shepherds, keep watch and receive the joyful news of Christ’s birth.

Troparion of the Nativity (Tone 4)

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shined upon the world the light of knowledge; for thereby, they that worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.

St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia

This Saint lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, and reposed on December 6th 330 – the day on which the Orthodox Church commemorates him (as well as May 9th – the transfer of his relics – and July 29th – his nativity).
Born of well-to-do parents, Nicholas inherited his parents’ estate and became known for his generous gifts to those in need. This probably explains his basis for the Santa Claus legends. As a young man, he desired to espouse the solitary life. He made pilgrimages to Palestine and Egypt and to the holy city Jerusalem, where he found a place to withdraw to devote himself to prayer. It was made known to him, however, that this was not the will of God for him, but that he should return to his homeland to be a cause of salvation for many. He returned to Myra, and was ordained bishop. He continued to be known for his abundant mercy, providing for the poor and needy, and delivering those who had been unjustly accused. No less was he known for his zeal for the truth. He was reputedly present at the First Ecumenical Council of the 318 Fathers at Nicaea in 325; upon hearing the blasphemies that Arius brazenly uttered against the Son of God, Saint Nicholas struck him on the face. Since the canons of the Church forbid the clergy to strike any man at all, his fellow bishops were in perplexity what disciplinary action was to be taken against this hierarch whom all revered. In the night our Lord Jesus Christ and our Lady Theotokos appeared to certain of the bishops, informing them that no action was to be taken against him, since he had acted not out of passion, but extreme love and piety. He is the patron saint of many countries – notably Greece and Russia - of all travellers, and of sea-farers in particular; he is one of the best known and best loved Saints of all time.

Apolytikion for St Nicholas (Tone 4)

The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith,
an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance;
for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty.
O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.

Words of Wisdom

In death the soul that has come to know God through the Holy Spirit experiences a measure of dread when the angels bring her before the Lord, since while living in the world she was guilty of sin. But when the soul beholds the Lord, she rejoices in His meek and merciful countenance, and the Lord in the abundance of His gentleness and love remembereth not her sins. One glance at the Lord, and love of Him will take up its abode in the soul, and from love of God and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit she will be completely transformed.