Beloved Orthodox Faithful,
We have celebrated the glorious Resurrection of Our Saviour at Pascha and the festive weeks through to the Ascension, and shared many joys and blessings together as a Parish family. And though the current time is certainly difficult for all of us, with dramatic changes in our communities, the closure of schools, remaining often in our homes, and being unable to all attend Church Services together, yet I must tell you I am so grateful for the many mercies that we have received and shared.
First and foremost, it is incredible that Our Saviour enabled us to celebrate all the Services of Holy Week and the entire Paschal Season! Father Sergey has been able to stream many Services and continue his ministry amongst the faithful. At the Cathedral we have live-streamed all of our Services and joined together, bringing the prayers and hymns of the Church into our homes.
I heard from many of our Parishioners, as well as our Orthodox brothers and sisters across the country who have also found consolation and spiritual joy through these Services. I can’t tell you how very encouraged I have been to receive pictures of the home Icon Corners of many of our faithful, as well as letters, calls, and emails of appreciation. For me the most uplifting part was to know that so many faithful joined the Services praying together, holding the beautiful palms, and with the lighted Pascha candles that we had distributed from Saint Nicholas, experiencing the hymns, readings, and the blessing of Christ together. May Our Saviour bless all those whose efforts and labour has made all of this possible for the faithful of our Church.
We also shared in the happiness of two new Orthodox Christians with John, a Police Officer in our area receiving holy Baptism on Bright Saturday, and my dear father James, a retired Police Officer, on Bright Thursday. And also on Bright Saturday we received the joyous news of the birth of a baby girl, Anastasia, to our parishioners Simeon and Stacey. We are so very happy for you!
Now, as we prepare to celebrate the Great Feast of Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Holy Apostles. For on this day, the Holy Spirit descended and rested upon the heads of the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire. And they were filled with the Spirit, and began speaking in other tongues and dialects, as the Holy Spirit instructed them. The day of Pentecost is the inauguration and commencement of the preaching of the Apostles to the nations, and on that one day alone, about three thousand souls were baptized into the Faith.
Dear Faithful, in these days approaching Pentecost I ask you to remember and pray for all the clergy and faithful of our Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto: our beloved Metropolitan Andrew, Father Bohdan and flock at Saints’ Peter and Paul, Father Demjan and flock at Saint Andrew’s, the faithful at the Keeper of the Portal Church in Calgary, Father Sergey, Protodeacon George and myself and the faithful at Saint Nicholas, that the Holy Spirit enlighten and strengthen us all.