Saturday, January 26, 2008

Message from Fr. Lawrence January 27

Dearly beloved in Christ:
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Forgive my absence again today; I underwent another eye surgery on Friday, and the surgeon forbade me to return to work for a week. (The surgery was to remove the silicon gel from my eye.)
Today (January 27) is the feast of the translation of the relics of St. John Chrysostom. We are blessed to have some of his relics in our parish, which we bring out in procession every Pascha during the singing of his tropar at Paschal Matins. I wanted to speak to you about the words he uttered as he lay dying. You can read them for yourself, for they are written on the ‘west’ wall of the church, under his icon. As you see, he said, “Glory to God for all things!”
St. John’s success had attracted envy in very high and powerful circles, and these powerful men set about to destroy him. He had been lied about, persecuted by bishops, condemned unjustly by church courts, and driven into exile far from his beloved Constantinopolitan flock by the Empress. He appealed to other leaders and bishops in the Church worldwide for justice, but to no avail. When he continued to exert a wide influence even from exile through his letters, he was driven even further out into more remote exile, and forced to travel in winter through terrible lands despite his advanced age and his frail health. Worn out, battered, sick and exhausted, he died far his native lands, disgraced and defeated. And his last words were, “Glory to God for all things!”
I deliberately chose St. John’s icon and his last words for our west wall, because I wanted his last words to be the last thing we see every time we leave the Church and go out into the world. For the world will batter us. It will treat us harshly and unjustly. It will knock us about and bruise us. And when we see evil apparently unjudged and triumphant, it is easy to become discouraged. But St. John Chrysostom and his life urge us to courage. For Christ will turn all that we endure for truth into glory for us. St. John knew well the words of St. Paul, who wrote that nothing—neither death nor life, nor anything else in all creation— will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. No suffering can separate us from Him, and so in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Whatever the world has in store for us when we leave the Church, we can rely on God’s conquering love and be certain of our final victory. May St. John’s final words, written under his icon, be written over our life: “Glory to God for all things!”

God bless you all.
All my love in the Lord,
Papa Lawrence

Friday, January 25, 2008


Fr. Lawrence has had a successful eye surgery. He will be resting and recovering for a few days. It's been interesting around here, as the floor installation that was begun on the 14th ran into a few snags, and so that has been going on around us today of all days! We are now trapped upstairs subsisting on coffee and donuts....once the installers leave, it'll be off to pick up Chinese food for dinner!

thank you all for your prayers. I'll see you at church, if I don't come down with the cold that is threatening me...;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Surgery for Fr. Lawrence again

Fr. Lawrence's next eye surgery is scheduled for this Friday, so we would appreciate your prayers. This is to remove the silicon gel; the doctor also is considering doing some laser work on his other eye at the same time. He will therefore be recovering for a bit. Dn. Kurt & Fr. John Bingham have got the weekend services covered, and next Wednesday, a week today, Rdr. Greg W will lead reader vespers. God willing, Fr. Lawrence wil be back at services beginning with Sat. Feb 2, 9 a. m. liturgy for Feast of the Meeting.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not to be morbid, but.....

Yesterday I caught a brief news piece on TV about the practice of Natural Burial.

"Natural burial" really is mostly what we Orthodox have always preferred to do, excepting that we do have a churchyard with headstones rather than trees (and in fact, here in the Lower Mainland, I think we mostly have to make do with general cemeteries rather than a parish churchyard attached to the church.) In some countries, there were/are wooden crosses rather than stones; and often, after decomposition, bones are dug up and removed to an ossuary so the grave can be reused. This is how some saints have been discovered to be incorrupt after death.

That seems bizarre to us in our death-denying, mechanistic culture. We need to remember that for most of history, this was just normal.

What left me aghast was the numbers cited on the TV report: apparently some NINETY PER CENT of British Columbian deceased are dispatched by means of cremation, a practice that is abhorred by the Orthodox church and only reluctantly permitted in jurisdictions where it is compulsory, such as Japan, or in case of an epidemic or disaster.

These articles on the Natural Burial site explode the concept that cremation is good for the environment, and describe how conventional burial is also bad. A summary of how cremation is actually done is found here.

Here is an article by the late Fr. Victor Sokolov (formerly of Holy Resurrection Vancouver) about Orthodox funeral practice.

Lots to think about. Is there in our future here the possibility of the Orthodox getting together to get our own burial ground somewhere not too far out of town, where we can do an Orthodox version of "natural burial"? Unless I am mistaken, as of now, most local authorities here in BC require either the conventional embalming or cremation. At the least, perhaps some of us should be thinking of getting together and buying a bunch of plots in some Fraser Valley Cemetery so that we can have an 'Orthodox area' where we can bless the graves together, even if we must still have conventional burial. I think the Greeks do have a "Greek section" in one or two of the Vancouver area cemeteries.

Any thoughts, anyone? We are such a young parish, we have done only a handful of funerals, most of those for non-members, over the 20 plus years we have been here. But unless the Lord comes, we will all face death one day. I think now is the time to start considering these very practical possibilities. Ideas?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

caption contest!!

R: Give me that creme. You must relinquish it.

Fr. D.K.: No, I will take the creme and consume it now, while I can. LENT is coming so soon.

T: Hey, Guys. What do you have going on over there? Can I have some?

(click here for the rest)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

the churching of baby Anna and other sunday stuff

another cute baby:

same cute baby, this time with cute aunty...

a visitor from across the pond looking contemplative and lovely:

and of course, you can find the rest of the photos on my flickr account.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blessing Trout Lake

Pictures of St. John's Theophany Great Blessing of the Waters at Trout Lake can be seen here (and below):

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fraser River blessing on site!

Theophany blessing of Fraser River is now up on the Archdiocesan website!

It's a pdf, so I believe you'll need acrobat to read the article.

Feast of the Meeting February 2nd

Just a bit of advance notice-- although it wasn't officially announced, some of you may have heard that this was to be a vesperal liturgy on the eve of the Feast. However, it's also the eve of Dave & Laurenn's wedding (see post below!) and it turns out all our choir directors are singing at the wedding and will therefore have to be at the wedding rehearsal on the eve.

Therefore the new schedule for Feast of the Meeting will be :

Saturday February 2nd 9 AM-- Divine Liturgy

no matins before. Father & probably many other people will shortly thereafter have to head for the wedding venue, so I think perhaps there will not be much of an official meal-- we will have to sort it out on that day.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008



This is David,

Laurenn and I are getting married. (WOOHOO!)

since you are a part of our church family, you are all invited to the ceremony, which will be at

7838 Canada Way, at Archangel Michael Serbian Orthodox Church, at 12:30 pm on Feb 2nd.

a short standing reception will follow.

I miss you all,

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Theophany 2008

see the rest of the photos here.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Last year's Theophany photos--blessing of the Fraser River

Photos are here and here
If you missed it last year-- it's really cool, don't miss it this time!
I think somebody suggested last time we ought to have hot chocolate at the park afterward-- anybody have an idea how to manage that for a large crowd in a park?

Christmas goodbye, Theophany hello!

Don't forget today is the last day of the fast-free period. Tomorrow, the eve of Theophany, although it is a Saturday, is also a FAST DAY.

Bring your bottles for holy water to vespers tomorrow night.

The FEAST of Theophany is this Sunday, so do please bring festal food. We will have lunch and, weather permitting (so far it looks promising!) we will then quickly head out to Derby Reach provincial park (see map here) to bless the waters of the Fraser River.
Gosh. Should we have thought sooner about getting the media there for a photo op? and/or does anyone have any photos of last year's blessing to post here? I think we could at least try to take some & write it up for the Archdiocesan web site this year.
In any case, we will meet at the parking lot by Edgewater Bar, off Allard Crescent.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Orthodox Readings - January

In the temporary absence of our annual calendar, please find attached a link below for January's Scripture Readings:

Happy Reading!