Saturday, 31 December 2011

February and beyond.

Father George and his family will be returning to Australia in early February. They have been a great blessing to us in the transition period while beginning to move our Saturday and Sunday worship to our new church at Dresden.
When we first bought our church building at Audley it was in a terribly derelict state. We set to with fundraising and hard work and gradually it has, by the grace of God become a beautiful little church. We will continue to use this church for weekday services because we love it dearly and have been deeply involved in its repair and equipping for Orthodox worship. I will serve a weekly Liturgy in Audley on Wednesdays throughout the year, Pre-sanctified Liturgies during Great Lent. Great Feasts will be shared between the two buildings, as we did for the Feast of our parish Patron, the Holy Archangel Michael.
After much prayer and very slow negotiating, we have now begun to do the same for our new church building at Dresden. There will need to be much prayer, fundraising and hard work to make it a suitable place for Orthodox worship. By the grace of God this is possible! We all need to be totally committed to both of our churches in our prayers, our attendance and our giving of time, talents and finances. The help for the process at Dresden has, so far, been minimal from most, but exceptional from the few who have begun this great work and we owe them our grateful thanks. Don’t leave it to someone else but rather be at the very heart of the godly labour yourself.
I will reiterate that we are one parish , Saint Michael’s, with one congregation and two churches. We have been greatly blessed by our good God, let us try to be worthy of His beneficence and work together with the love and sense of family which has always been the characteristic of our parish.

May God bless us all!
Fr. Samuel.

Church Fathers on Baptism

...It was not for nothing that Naaman of old, when suffering from leprosy, was purified upon his being baptized, but as an indication to us. For as we are lepers in sin, we are made clean by means of the sacred water and the invocation of the Lord from our old transgressions, being spiritually regenerated as new-born babes… St Irenaeus
We believe in one baptism for the remission of sins…The Nicene Creed
For in Baptism the sins are buried, the former things are blotted out, the man is made alive, the entire grace written upon his heart as it were a table. St John Chrysostom
Today He is baptized by John that He might cleanse him who was defiled, that He might bring the Spirit from above, and exalt man to heaven, that he who had fallen might be raised up… St Gregory of Nyssa
Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred, and, lo, the body is pure. St Justin Martyr


The word Theophany comes from the Greek word Τheophaneia meaning “appearance of God”. Christ’s baptism is a theophany and it is one of the Great Feasts of the Church. It is one of the clear Biblical references to the Trinity. God the son is baptized, the Spirit of God descends in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father speaks from Heaven. As in the Troparion:
When you O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest. For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His beloved Son. And the Spirit in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of His word…
An interesting element of most Theophany icons is the tree in the corner with an axe in it. This is showing the words of the scripture Therefore any tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… (Matthew 3:10b).