Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message March 17, 2024

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This evening, we will begin our long-anticipated journey into Great Lent. We will carve out time in the course of our daily lives and dedicate ourselves to a greater appreciation for Christ’s ministry unto us. We will walk with our Lord in preparation for His passion, suffering, crucifixion, removal from the cross, His burial, and finally, His resurrection. Are you ready to walk this path? Are you prepared to enter into a more substantial and rigorous life of prayer? Are you eagerly anticipating the redemptive acts of our Savior? Are you ready to begin the Fast?

Partnered with our individual acts of prayer, fasting and giving of alms, the Church invites us to participate in the multitude of services that take place only this time of year. Following is a brief synopsis of what you can expect. Please take every opportunity to be with us, enjoying the blessings of our new worship space, and to come together as a community in prayer. 


This service takes place only once. It is the literal transition from pre-Lenten preparations to the actual throws of the season. We are steeped in the necessities of seeking and offering forgiveness for any offense against us, or for any transgression against our brothers and sisters. The service is a solemn and beautiful gateway to the days and weeks ahead. Great Vespers concludes with the opportunity to ask the forgiveness of all in attendance. 

Key Hymn: As the vestments in the church change from celebratory gold to penitential purple;

“Turn not Your face from your child, for I am afflicted; hear me speedily. Give heed to my soul and redeem it.” 


Great Compline is a somber service or repentance. It encourages us to turn away from worldly things toward God our Savior. Specifically, it is a service of prayer before sleep, so it includes prayers asking for God’s protection as we approach the end of the day and the coming of darkness upon us. This service is offered weekly on Monday evenings during the five weeks of Great Lent. It puts us in a frame of mind that we require His loving protection from the temptations that tear us away from His loving embrace.

Key Hymn: “Lord of the Powers, be with us. For in times of distress, we have no other help but You. Lord of the Powers, be with us.” 


Also simply known as the Presanctified Liturgy, this unique and lovely service is celebrated weekly on Wednesday evenings. It is also accompanied by a potluck dinner and lecture from various speakers from both within and from outside our parish. Unlike the Divine Liturgy which is a celebration, this service is somber, reflective, penitential and weighty. An additional Lamb (consecrated Body of Christ for Communion) is prepared during Sunday Liturgies before each Presanctified Liturgy (thus the name, “presanctified”). Offering the Eucharist in this unique way reminds us that the weekdays of Lent are steeped in humility and the process of repentance. The service is partly Vespers with additional elements of the Liturgy. Though the Presanctified Liturgy is defined by a dignified stillness, it is still one of the most dynamic services of the Church.

Key Hymn: Psalm 140 “Let my prayer arise as incense and let the lifting of my hands be an evening sacrifice.”


These services, chanted on the first four Friday evenings of Great Lent, are actually portions of the full prayer (The Akathist Hymn) that is chanted in its entirety on the fifth Friday of the Fast. It is a joyful poem, or cannon of hymns dedicated to the Theotokos and her unrepeated ministry in the world, and her proximity to Jesus Christ. We are continually reminded that her intercessions are important, comforting and peaceful. Portions of the Great Compline are also included in this service, reminding us that we are still in the season of Lent.

Key Hymn:

“O Champion Leader, I your City now inscribe to you triumphant anthems as the tokens of my gratitude, being rescued from the terrors, O Theotokos. Inasmuch as you have powers unassailable, from all kinds of dangers free me, so that unto you, I may cry aloud, Hail, O unwedded Bride.”

My dearly and much beloved in the Lord, please take the time to be active and prayerful participants in these divine prayer services. You will be richly and spiritually inspired to continue the course of the Fast and emerge victoriously at the end. 

With Much Love Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas