Month: May 2021
Weekly Bulletin for May 16, 2021
Pastoral Message May 9, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!
We are just finishing Bright Week – the continued Day of Pascha. And though you are no doubt, and regrettably accustomed to typos slipping into my messages here and there, Bright Week being a single Day is not a misspelling. Bright Week, or Renewal Week is a continued celebration of the single event that is the Resurrection of Christ. It takes us to the first Sunday following the Resurrection, when we lift up the doubt and the proclamation of St. Thomas. Our specific Paschal celebration will come to a conclusion, but the Season of the Resurrection continues up until the Leave Taking of Pascha and the Feast of the Ascension.
But returning to our Holy Week and Pascha. Thank you to all who made our preparations and celebrations dignified and lovely. So much of what had been missed returned to us: groups of people engaged in fellowship and sacred tasks; children learning, growing and thriving in their faith; and the people of God worshiping, witnessing and glorifying their precious Savior. This was a transitional year. Next year, I hope to see all of us back and in our places and hearing your voices. We are on track for a return to our not-so-distant days of high energy, shared excitement and Christ-centered motivation. Our thoughts and actions are now squarely on building back our community, and transforming our liturgical space.
But just as many of you were able to return to the church for Holy Week and Pascha, there are those friends among us who continue to worship through live streaming. One such friend is Sister Nonna Harrison, an Orthodox Monastic who lives in the Los Angeles area; a well-respected academic and a kind soul. I was blessed to know Sr. Nonna while in California and have recently renewed our communication and friendship in Christ. She is a brilliant Patristic scholar, lecturer and author. When the timing is right for her, it is my full intention to bring her to St. Anna’s for a much-needed retreat.
Having received her permission to share a message she sent me, I’d like to tie some things together. Indeed, we are, and will continue to chant the clarion proclamation that Christ is Risen from the Dead. Pascha was last Sunday. But Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday, and Sr. Nonna, always the teacher, wove together a wonderful message about the ministry of the Theotokos in these days, and her continued relationship with her Son.
Dear Fr. Anthony,
Thank you for providing services for Holy Week and Pascha on You Tube. I was present at almost all of them. Sometimes a little later than when you were there. This has been a tremendous blessing to me. I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about Christ’s resurrection.
When he died, his whole human nature was still present and his body entered the tomb. His divine hypostasis and nature remained alive, of course. His soul went down to Hades. But the divine hypostasis remained united with each natural part of him and held them all together regardless of where each was. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, acting as one, raised his body and soul from the dead and sustained his personal unity. This was an act of restoration that could only be accomplished by the Creator. So Christ remains fully God and fully human. Once he is raised, his humanity also is active with God in the great work of raising humankind from the dead, a work that is ongoing and not as yet completed.
Christ’s human personal relationships with other people, such as his disciples, continue but are transformed by his resurrection. These relationships are an important part of his humanity. He knows us in a divine way and also in a human way. We know when we pray to him that he has himself experienced many basic things that we also undergo. For instance, he has experienced childhood, though we do not know many details since they are not included in the Gospels. He has also experienced many kinds of suffering that humans undergo. This helps us to pray to him.
His personal closeness with his Mother continues. During his Passion and after his death he heard her lamentations. The hymns of the church suggest that he answered her, speaking words of comfort and reassurance. She is now with her Son in heaven and is greatly glorified. His love for her grew after the resurrection, and so did her love for him. The Mother/Son relationship continues and is strengthened.
It is a blessing to her and to all humankind. Christ loves humans as his relatives through her. And she loves them for his sake, especially members of his Church. Therefore we pray to her with thanksgiving and praises, and also in our sins and in our needs, asking for her help. She is a loving mother to us. We ask her to pray to her Son for us. I do this especially when I fear his judgment.
With thanks and best wishes,
I thank Sr. Nonna for her lovely message that keeps us in the Moment, and allows us to find, yet another opportunity to lift up Panagia with love, respect, tenderness and awe.
So, may you all enjoy the blessings of the Resurrection! And may our mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, nuns, female role models, teachers and friends be blessed for their nurturing ministry. Happy Mother’s Day! St. Thomas will have to share the day. I have to believe that his mother would approve.
Fr. Anthony Savas
St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church
Some Reminders: Please continue to bring case-lot items for our on-going food support ministry. People are in need. We are here to help!I have also attached the flyer for our Golf Classic Tournament. We are in need of teams and volunteers. Please, sign up and play!We are still about 12% off our 2021 Stewardship Goal as we hit mid-year. Please, Please, Please, if you have not done so, turn in your 2021 Pledge!Twelve percent may not sound like much, but it is. Let’s do this ! Thank you!