Dear and Faithful Orthodox Christians,
I have been thinking about the many blessings we have received over the last year, and with this short note I wanted to ask that all of us take a moment to give thanks to Our Saviour Christ for His gifts of grace and mercy! Some days have been challenging, complex and even frustrating, yet we know that Our Saviour has bestowed and continues to bestow innumerable blessings upon us all. A few weeks ago we celebrated the Feast of Holy Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit. We prayed together in the Vespers that the Holy Spirit come upon us all! We celebrated the Sunday of All Saints and the Sunday of All Saints of Russia, the holy mountain Athos, and All Saints of North America.
Whether we have been participating in Services from home, or attending the Service in Church, let us keep the upcoming Feast of Saints Peter and Paul with reverence, remembering the action of the Holy Spirit and the preaching of the Apostles to every nation. And just as the Upper Room where the Apostles were gathered became a grace-filled Church, and a great house of prayer, so may we also be blessed wherever we are found. Saint Romanus reminds us of the work of the Holy Spirit amongst the Apostles in his Kontakion hymn for the Service for Pentecost:
“When he had spoken like this to the other Apostles, Peter roused them to prayer,
and standing in their midst, cried out,
Let us pray, let us bend the knee, let us ask,
let us make this room a Church! For so it is and so it hath become!
Let us sing and cry aloud to God,
Send us Thy good Spirit,
that He may guide us all into Thine upright land
which Thou has prepared for those who honour and who glorify
the All-Holy Spirit.”
Our thanksgiving at Pentecost is of course mixed with sorrow at the repose of our beloved Metropolitan Andrew. He has been in all our thoughts and prayers. Within our loss, we also see a joy in that for over fifty years he dedicated himself to Our Saviour, and certainly loved and guided us all at Saint Nicholas through his prayers and witness to the Faith. Eternal Memory!
How Metropolitan Andrew would also rejoice with us at the words, ‘This room is a Church, for so it hath become!’ How even now he encourages us to keep Vigil and celebrate all the Feasts and Saints of the Church.
We have received so many blessings! Last August, with gladness, we received our brother, Liam Christian into the holy Church, and before Lent on Saturday March 13, Nicademus was baptized and added to the flock of Christ. Then in April, Father Deacon George and I were honoured to travel to Calgary for the baptism of baby Cyprian and to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Mother of God of the Portal on Saturday April 10. We are both grateful for the warm welcome and wonderful hospitality we experienced, and the opportunity to be together with the faithful and look forward to the next visit.
Father Protodeacon George celebrated his 10th Anniversary as a Deacon on April 30! May God continue to bestow His grace on Father George, and reward him for his years of faithful service!
Blessings continued as we con-celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral with Father Demjan of Saskatoon on the Feast of All Saints! With the blessing of Metropolitan Andrew, Father Sergey established the Saint Serpahim of Sarov Mission. And last Saturday, we baptized baby Vladimir the nephew of our brother Alexandre, Novice while he was visiting in Toronto.
Let us then all remember Liam, Nicademus, Cyprian, Vladimir and the Saint Seraphim Mission in our prayers, and ask that God enlighten and strengthen all in the Orthodox Faith!
As we come to the final days of the Apostles Fast we pray for all the new members of our Parish, we pray that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit continue to guide and act amongst us for the glory of God and the salvation of our souls.
With prayers in Christ,