In this email
Message from Fr Alexander — A Christian life
Stay connected to the Church — Calendars
With the Eyes of the Soul
Live stream information
News of Future Services
Saints and Feasts — 2nd–10th December
Offer of help
What is the goal of a Christian life? Is it to make us feel better? Perhaps we go to Church to satisfy our desire for beauty? Or perhaps as a get out of hell card? Ultimately we each need to answer the question, “Why are you a Christian?”
For the Orthodox, this is not directly related to social justice nor to performing services correctly, this is not about icons nor a cultural connection: we are Christians because we want to be united with Christ at any cost. By his death and Resurrection, we are brought to new life, we are changed, we are no longer caught by the snares of this world but are free.
But how do we live that? How do we act here and now as Christians? We act in all things with humility and obedience. These are the key characteristics of a Christian but they are ones that the world does not value.
29 years ago today a monk died on the Holy Mountain. His teaching in the world lives on through his disciples and can be read in the engaging book “Wounded by Love” which, I believe, is the best book to read for those who already know and love Christ and would like to learn more about an Orthodox mindset: I cannot recommend it enough.
St Porphyrios is a saint of our time and for our time. He shows us that humility and obedience are not only for monastics—monks and nuns—but for us all and this is possible in our modern world. We can, each one of us, be humble by offering to God glory when it is offered to us; we can, each one of us, be obedient to those set over us: our wife or husband, our parents, our boss, our friends. We can learn from the examples of the saints to be Christlike by cultivating humility and obedience in all we do that we may live a Christian life in its fullness and be united—fully!—to our God and Saviour.
Stay connected to the Church
Our Archdiocese publishes an annual calendar for you to put up on your wall. It can be part of keeping you in contact with the Church every day of the week. I now have copies in stock for 2021 and they would make an excellent addition to your home and a beautiful gift for a friend.
This year’s features pictures from our monastery in Shropshire. There are the saints and the Bible readings for each day of the year as well as a guide to fasting.
Contact me for details, email@example.com: £6 per copy.
With the Eyes of the Soul
A beautiful video on the life of St Porphyrios.
Worries are increasing on the possible increase in the spread of the disease. Yet there is a division: one side is accused of scare-mongering while the other of irresponsibility. The situation is becoming fractious and each side’s position is becoming more entrenched.
Our duty as Christians is to stand for truth and to bring about unity. But to stand for truth does not mean to ridicule nor deride those who are wrong, it is to act patiently, humbly, lovingly: in other words to be Christ-like. We do not shy away from the truth nor do we separate ourselves from others.
The Church has a clear position as given by our bishops: we are to obey the civil authorities on these matters. We follow the law while maintaining our Faith and thus provide a witness—a martyrdom—of the Gospel. And then, by trusting in the power of God and not our own, we may become an icon of unity and concord.
Would you like help? Advice? Support? Then let me know.
The Monastery of Saints Antony and Cuthbert, Shropshire, is live-streaming its services for all who are unable to go to their own churches. These are over YouTube and can be accessed here:
Usually Vespers on Saturday evenings at 5 pm and Matins and Liturgy on Sunday mornings from 7.30 am.
News of Future Services
We want to start to hold services together: things are difficult now but they remind us that we can do nothing by our own power. Only when we place our hope in the Lord—and not in our own skills, talents, ideas, imaginations—will we be able to build a house for the Lord.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has regular additions during the week as well as on feast days. Please do like and share our page and content so we may reach a wider group of people.
Do you receive the weekly (on Fridays) text message? If not, then let me know.
Saints and Feasts
Wednesday 2nd December — Prophet Habakkuk (Avvacum, Avakkum, 7th BC). St Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia (M Athos, 1991).
Thursday 3rd — Prophet Zephaniah (Sophonias) (635–605 BC). St Birinus, Bishop of Dorcester (649–50).
Friday 4th — Great Martyr Barbara and Martyr Juliana, at Heliopolis in Syria (c 306). St John of Damascus (c 749).
Saturday 5th — St Savvas the Sanctified (532)
Sunday 6th — 26th after Pentecost (Luke 10). St Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia (c 345).
Monday 7th — St Ambrose, bishop of Milan (397).
Tuesday 8th — St Patapios of Thebes (8th). Apostles Sosthenes, Apollos, Cephas, Tychikos, Epaphroditos and Onesiphoros of the Seventy (1st).
Wednesday 9th — The Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by the Righteous Anna. Prophetess Anna, mother of the Prophet Samuel (1100 BC).
Thursday 10th — Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphos of Alexandria (c 313).
Can I help you?
I am here for you, you need only ask. Is there a way I can support your life of faith? Get in touch.
Can you help the mission?
Yes, absolutely. Offer yourselves to the Lord: pray! Make available to him all your talents and ask him how he would like you to use them — listen for his reply.
I ask your prayers for me.
With love in Christ