Dearly Beloved in the Lord,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
As mentioned on Sunday, we started the 2 week long Dormition Fast this past Saturday, August 1. Compared to the Apostle & Nativity Fasts, this one, although (generally) shorter, is more penitential in nature, similar to the Great Fast preceding Holy Week & Pascha. It behooves us, therefore, to expand our prayer during this time, and we are helped in this by the Church in that one of our Great Feasts falls during the first week of the Fast.
Holy Transfiguration, the patronal feast of our 122 year old mother cathedral here in Denver, is this coming Thursday, August 6. I include a beautiful reflection about the feast below.
Amidst our pandemic-afflicted world, St. TIkhon Mission continues to offer Divine Liturgy on Sundays and on Great Feasts at church, and attendance is welcome per the guidelines outlined here: https://sttikhonparker.org/signups. Other services are live-stream only. This week we will serve Great Vespers for Transfiguration Wednesday evening at 6:00 PM, as well as the Paraklesis, a supplicatory prayer service to the Most-Holy Theotokos, on Friday evening at 6:00 PM. Next week we will serve Paraklesis on Wednesday evening at 6:00 PM, and Great Vespers for the Dormition on Friday evening at 6:00 PM. As usual, the schedule can be found on our Web site at https://sttikhonparker.org/calendar2, all times given are Mountain, and livestream is available either via Zoom (https://zoom.us/j/2389591436; we please ask everyone to mute your client) or Facebook Live ( https://www.facebook.com/sttikhonparker/).
We also provide texts/music for these services via the following links:
- Paraklesis when not served by a priest (please use this to sing this service by yourself at home!): https://www.dropbox.com/s/i78un5wes0rs8nf/ParaklesisReader.pdf?dl=0
- music for Irmosi of the Canon sung at the Paraklesis: https://www.dropbox.com/s/n8sbf6qxmaxp7vv/TheotokosIrmosiTone8.pdf?dl=0
COVID-19 certainly has changed a lot of things for many/most of us, some of which are causing harm to our wellbeing. Our relationship with Jesus Christ, however, has a great opportunity to actually grow and flourish during the pandemic, since we are less burdened with many of the common distractions that we enjoy during "normal" times, and therefore we are left with more time for prayer & repentance. Let us take this great opportunity to enhance our spiritual wellbeing, to grow closer to God, even as we are less able to attend the Divine Services at Church, by engaging more fervently in prayer & repentance in the comfort of our own homes!
With love in Christ,
Fr Andreos Andreopolous, a prolific writer on the Transfiguration:
.... the last public image of Jesus Christ on earth and the beginning of our death and resurrection in Christ, the Transfiguration, as the luminous image of Christ in glory, is the best approximation we have for its conclusion. It is, perhaps, the most accurate memory the church has of Christ, having passed through his death and Resurrection, having been baptized with him, and having accepted him to be born inside us. This is the memory and the image of Christ in his fullness, above life and death, as the doorway to the kingdom of heaven, the brilliance of the Father, revealed by the Holy Spirit, resting in his saints, and inviting us into his brightness. We embark on this journey of divine discovery by placing ourselves on Mount Thabor with the fallen disciples of Jesus. They saw their Master in his divinity so that they could understand something more about who he was, and thus they would be better prepared to face his forthcoming Passion and Resurrection. By showing to them his power and his glory, Christ told them essentially this: “This is who I really am. You'll see me beaten, tortured, and crucified. You'll see me die on a cross. But nature and death cannot restrict me. I'll rise from the dead. I'll be as glorious and as luminous as you see me now. When I come back at the end of time, I will also be as you see me now, bathed in the light of my divinity.
Until I return, remember my life, but me as you see me now. Every time you need to remember that time, space, and death has no power over me, every time you need to remember that what I give you is the union of the complete nature of humanity with the complete nature of God, you can remember me as I appear now in front of you, surrounded by the prophets of old who were brought here to see me and talk with me, brighter than the sun, singled out and recognized by my Father for who I am, for your sake. This is the mystery of my Transfiguration. And if you want to follow me, you'll die many times and you'll be raised with me many times, but what you see right now will be your guidance, the compass in your death, and the promise of eternal life.