Dear and faithful Orthodox Christians,
According to the Church Calendar on September 1st (September 14th on the Civil Calendar), Orthodox Christians celebrate the beginning of the New Year. And in the hymns for the day, we ask the Our Saviour to bless the crown of the year ahead. And it this time we pray also that He enlighten and help the children and young adults as they begin their new studies at school, as well as pray for the Teachers and those who assist in the education of others and in the furtherance of our own knowledge and faith in Christ.
O Lord, bless the Crown of this Year!
In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 4, appointed for the New Year we hear how Our Saviour came into the Synagogue and stood up and read from the Book of Esaias,
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
This scripture is reflected in today’s Dismissal hymn that we chant for September 1st:
O Master of all creation, Who hast established the times and the seasons in Thine own power:
Bless the crown of this year with Thy goodness, O Lord, and keep our rulers and Thy flock in peace,
by the intercessions of the Theotokos, and save us.
It is also a suitable time to offer prayers for those with challenging illnesses or who struggle in these complex times that are difficult for many. Let us also express our gratitude and thanks to God as we recall the many blessings He has bestowed upon us at Saint Nicholas in the preceding few months.
Thankful for the Blessings of Our Saviour
We were all inspired by the many Orthodox Faithful who came to worship and join in fellowship at the Saint Peter the Aleut Camp in August. Father Protodeacon George and his family together with other Parishioners of Saint Nicholas travelled to New Hampshire and joined with Metropolitan Gregory, our Elder Isaac and other clergy and faithful between July 30, 2023 and August 5, 2023. Our Canadian Orthodox contingent was joined by Orthodox brothers and sisters from the United States, Ukraine, the Republic of Georgia, Guatemala, and Mexico. It was a blessed week, filled with fellowship, spiritual talks, daily prayers, Divine Liturgies, and outdoor wilderness activities. The annual camp is confirmed to meet again next August. Plan now if you are able and save time in your summer 2024 calendar!
At Saint Nicholas Cathedral, we were blessed to welcome new parishioners including Michael, Mary, Helena and Julie, and we rejoiced together with them at the baptism of their son Martin. God’s blessing be upon them, and also upon the newly illumined servant of God Jason who was also baptized in August.
Supporting our local Community and Faithful abroad
Saint Nicholas continues to provide relief and spiritual support for members of our local community, and it has been an honour for me to serve on several occasions over the last months with our Deacon Antony at the Church of the Mother of God in Calgary. And I do look forward to celebrating the Liturgy with them this week on Saturday September 16.
God bless all of you who contributed towards the important donation of funds from our Parish to the Orthodox Mission in Uganda. They have just completed the building of another Church there through the labours of our MIssionary Society and with the blessing of our Metropolitan Paul of Nairobi and East Africa. The Church is dedicated to the great confessor, Saint Mark of Ephesus, and these funds will contribute towards the furnishings of the Church interior.
The Great Feasts of September
In the days ahead, as the Church begins her annual celebration of the Great Feasts of the Saviour and His holy Mother, note your schedules and plan to celebrate the Feast of the Birth of the Mother of God (Sept 8/21), and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept 14/27). You can find details for those Services and others in our September and October Calendars.
The Synaxis and elevation of a new Bishop
Father Protodeacon George and I, together with other clergy of the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto will travel to the meeting of the Clergy at the Synaxis in Boston at the end of the month, when also God-willing the Priestmonk John (Zatonski) will be raised to the Episcopate on Sunday October 1st, 2023 as Bishop of Woodside. May God bless him and grant him and us to continue to stand fast in the true confession of Orthodoxy.
With love and prayers in Christ,