We are still waiting on the Church we have approached in Eastleigh. We understand they will be having a meeting in early February where our proposal will be considered: we hope they will reply positively.
I have regularly been asking you to pray and I continue to do so: please pray! Make the sign of the Cross and ask God that his will be done.
Blessing of homes
It is not too late to have your home blessed: I warmly encourage you to arrange this. It is a short service and establishes your home as a place where God is glorified.
Please get in contact and we can arrange a mutually convenient time.
Truth in the Face of Heresy:
Spiritual Life in the Witness of St Irenaeus of Lyons
The Orthodox Fellowship of St John the Baptist organises a study weekend around this time of year each year: this year it will be held at our mother parish in Poole Friday 21st – Saturday 22nd February. This year, we will consider St Irenaeus of Lyons.
St Irenaeus lived in the second century and was the disciple of St Polycarp of Smyrna who himself was a disciple of St John the Theologian — so, St Irenaeus was the “spiritual grandson” of the beloved disciple of the Lord to whom was entrusted the care of the Theotokos after Christ’s death and resurrection.
St Irenaeus was bishop of Lyons, in southern France, and wrote an important and much-quoted work, Against Heresies, where he justifies true Christian belief against the falsehood around him. This is something we have to do as a Church — stand up for the truth — and we can learn much from the work of this beloved saint.
Coming to lead us in learning about St Irenaeus will be Bishop Irenei of London, the bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) diocese covering Britain and Ireland as well as much of Western Europe. As well as being an expert on the saint, he is engaging and popular.
I strongly recommend you come, further details, including application form, are here.
There is a cost, but please do not let that put you off: please speak to me if you would like to come and we can arrange for it to happen.
Our Facebook Page, facebook.com/orthodoxeastleigh, too, has daily 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.
The Three Hierarchs
Among the saints who are bishops and writers, there are, perhaps, no better known three as St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian and St John Chrysostom. When a dispute arose on which of the three was the greatest many people were divided — this was until the three saints appeared to a saintly bishop and told him they are equal in glory before God. This feast day was instituted and a special service composed.
The Three Hierarchs are a symbol to us that we should not allow ourselves to be divided and work and pray for reconciliation. Our Faith is strong, we should not look for divisions.
The Meeting of the Lord
This is one of the twelve Great Feasts of the year and commemorates St Joseph and the Theotokos bringing Christ into the Temple at the age of forty days. This is recorded in the Gospel which will be read on Sunday (see below).
In obedience to the Law of Moses, the one who gave the Law fulfills the Law. God enters into his own Temple and we enter with him to see the mystery.
Gospel for the Meeting of the Lord (Luke 2:22–40)
In those days, the parents of Jesus brought Him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Thy people Israel.” And His father and his mother marveled at what was said about Him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.” And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of Him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.
St Nicholas of Japan
Among the saints of the last century, a great missionary is in their midst. St Nicholas was sent to Japan to minister to the Russians who worked in the Imperial Embassy. Not being content with this, he quickly went to learn Japanese and gained fluency quickly. St Nicholas was dedicated to education and established a number of schools to help in the preaching of Christ — for example, the Tokyo mission housed schools for catechists, for women, for church servers and a seminary. After fifty years, from no existing Christians in the Japanese population, there were 33,000 Christians in 266 communities served by 1 Archbishop, 1 bishop, 35 priests, 6 deacons, 14 singing instructors, and 116 catechists.
A less abbreviated summary of his life can be read here.
The life of St Nicholas is an example to us of what can be achieved in mission. If we hold faithfulness to Christ above all and if we meet persons where they are much can be achieved. This can only happen through a life of prayer.
In our own modest way, we hope to bring the Gospel to Eastleigh — may the prayers of our father among the saints, Nicholas of Japan, guide us to do the Lord’s will.
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 — pray! Pray that we may glorify God where he wills us. When you rise up in the morning and before you sleep, make the sign of the Cross and pray “thy will be done.”
With love in Christ