St. George
Serbian Orthodox Church
Carmichaels, PA

Bulletin 344 - July 25 / August 7, 2005


The Orthodox Faith


Chronicle of St. George Serbian Orthodox Church
Diocesan Bishop - His Grace Bishop Dr. MITROPHAN
Parish Priest - Fr. Rodney Torbic
296 Old Route 21
Carmichaels, Pennsylvania 15320
July 25 / August 7, 2005
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
No. 344

Remember to listen to the parish radio broadcast each Sunday afternoon at 12:15 on WMBS, 590 AM, Uniontown.

Matthew 9:29

Then He touched their eyes saying, "According to your faith, be it unto you."

Services This Past Week

July 31
One person came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Akathist to Jesus Christ, Matins and First Hour.
Thirty-four people came for Divine Liturgy. Two communicants. Ava Lola Paroda, daughter of United States Air Force Captain Matthew and Tara Paroda, was baptized.
August 1
Two people came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ and Canon to the Mother of God.
Three people were present for Matins and First Hour.
Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
August 2
One person came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Akathist for Communion, Matins and First Hour.
Five people came for Divine Liturgy.
One person came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
August 3
Two people came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ and Canon to the Mother of God.
Three people came for Matins and First Hour.
Four people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
August 4
Four people came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Canon to Mother of God, Matins and First Hour.
Two people came for Ninth Hour and Vespers.
August 5
Two people came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Matins and First Hour.
August 6
Three people came for Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Matins, and First Hour.

Services this Coming Week - Call to Confirm Weekday Schedule

Today
Midnight Office, Canon to Jesus Christ, Akathist to Communion, Matins, First Hour. Divine Liturgy.
Mornings
5:30 AM and 6:30 AM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 8:00 AM Divine Liturgy.
Afternoons
4:30 PM Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday. Thursday at 6:30 PM. Friday at 3:00 PM
Tuesday
Divine Liturgy at 8:00 AM

Remember Monastery Marcha with Prayers and Contributions

Important Dates

August 14 - Parish Healthcare Day, Fasting Covered Dish dinner, Dormition
August 14 - Fast begins and continues until August 28.
August 19 - Feast of Holy Transfiguration
August 26 - Apodasis of Transfiguration
August 28 - Dormition of the Mother of God, Kolo Slava, Covered dish dinner.
September 10 - St. Nikodim Chapel Slava, Diocesan Center
September ll - Beheading of St. John the Baptist

If you are too busy to pray...you are too busy!

Parish Life

· Thank you to Sonia Janson and Dianna Brozich for working a full week at Shadeland Camp including the Diocesan Days Weekend. Thank you to Aaron Carson for making the trip for Diocesan Days Weekend to Shadeland. Thank you to Gojko Arbutina from nearby West Virginia for also making the trip.

· Plan to attend the Healthcare Day Dinner and program Sunday.

· Adult Class this Thursday evening at 7:00 PM.

· Captain Michael DePhillips listens to the parish radio broadcast while stationed in Iraq.

· Guy Gotch of Canton, Ohio listens to the parish radio broadcasts.

· Listen to the parish radio program on Sundays on station WMBS.

· During the week listen to the parish radio program on the parish website including six months of archived radio programs.

· Remember the men and women serving in the military and their families.

· Remember the suffering Serbian People in Kosovo and Metohija.

· Remember the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, those in care homes, hospitals, rehab centers and homebound. Remember their families and the staffs of the facilities.

· Read your Bible daily for the benefit of your soul.

· Come to church one additional weekday a month.

· Remember those grieving for loved ones departed this life.

· Observe the Dormition Fast beginning August 14 until the Feast on August 28.

· Congratulations to Andrea Janson, multiple prize winner at Fayette County Fair for cows raised.

A Thought from St. Gregory of Nazianzus

That God, the creative and sustaining cause of all, exists, sight and instinctive law inform us-sight, which lights upon things seen nobly fixed in their courses, borne along in, so to say, motionless movement; instinctive law, which infers their author through the things seen in their orderliness. How could this universe have had a foundation or constitution, unless God gave all things being and sustains them? No one seeing a beautifully elaborated lyre with its harmonious, orderly arrangement, and hearing the lyre's music will fail to form a notion of its craftsman-player, to recur to him in thought though ignorant of him in sight. In this way the creative power, which moves and safeguards its objects, is clear to us, though it not be grasped by the understanding.

(St.Gregory of Nazianzus. On God and Christ.. Translated by Frederick Williams and Lionel Wickham. St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, Crestwood, New York, 2002, pp. 41-42 )

Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville

To Consider

· The Kingdom of God.
· The criteria for entering the Kingdom of God.
· Experiencing the Kingdom of God.

Recent Activities of Parish Priest

August 2 - Visited home of parishioner in Fairmont and Holy Trinity Mission.
August 2 - Visited parishioner at exhibit site in Uniontown.
August 6-7 - Went to Shadeland Camp for Diocesan Days.

From the Desert Fathers

He (Pambo) also said, "Not understanding what has happened prevents us from going on to something better."

Seeking the Kingdom of God...

In the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew, we are told by the Lord Jesus Christ to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Each person hearing the message of Jesus Christ responds in some way.

Some take Jesus Christ and His message very seriously. Those who take Christ seriously commit themselves to the journey to the Kingdom. They pray, they fast, the worship God.

Serious followers of Christ are attentive to the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, the needy and the stranger. (Mt. 25:31-46)

Serious followers of Jesus Christ are familiar with the Holy Gospel and immerse themselves in the teachings of Christ. Serious followers of Jesus Christ look to the Holy Scriptures for direction in life and understanding of life.

Serious followers of Christ look to the saints and the teachings of the Holy Fathers. The lives of the holy men and women serving God through the centuries serve as examples, as inspiration and as intercessors before the Lord God.

When followers of Christ have questions, they turn to God in prayer. When followers of Christ run into difficulties, they turn to God in prayer. When difficulties seem to worsen, believers know that with God all things are possible. (Mt. 19:26)

The Resurrected Christ defeated death and established hope. The Resurrected Christ defeated death and turned darkness into everlasting light. The Resurrected Christ turned defeat into victory…turned death upon the Cross into an empty tomb and a joyful greeting.."Be not afrightened: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him." (Mk. 16:6)

On Holy Mount Athos and Holy Meteora, there are monasteries where monks devote their lives to God. They live in prayer and fasting, set apart from the world. They live in ways pleasing to God and benefit many throughout the centuries because of the way they live.

In the Epistle of St. James we read: "The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much. The Holy Prophet Elijah is a very vivid example of a prayerful man. ." (James 5:16-18)

Prayer belongs at the beginning of any good work. Prayer belongs with us throughout the day and throughout the night. The Holy Apostle Paul set the standard for each believer to attempt to achieve that standard is unceasing prayer. Until we reach the state of unceasing prayer, we all fall short of the goal the Holy Apostle Paul established in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians (5:17)

For Orthodox Christians, Holy Confession and Holy Communion are important ways to experience God's forgiveness and to be renewed in Christ. Believers experiencing Holy Baptism, do so with the best of intentions. At Baptism, believers begin the journey toward the Kingdom of God. The road of life is a long road. Many temptations and distractions are along the road to draw believers from a firm and concentration on God and the ways of God.

Repentance and renewal in Christ is a life-long process. If we are to draw near to Christ and remain united with Christ, we must fight of the demons that beset the serious believer. We must fight the temptations that appear along the road. We must turn to Christ for strength and forgiveness when we fall short.

The message of Christ's Resurrection is a message of great joy. The message of Christ's birth is a message of great joy. The message of the healings and miracles of Christ are messages of joy.

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. (Heb 13:8) Christ is with us today. Christ's teachings are with us today. The joy of Christ is present today.

There is a saint who greeted each person with the Paschal Greeting: "Christ is Risen!" I know an Orthodox priest who will use this greeting even when it is not the time of Pascha.

In Orthodoxy, feasts are treated as current happenings. At the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, we say: "Christ is Born!" At Pascha, we say: "Christ is Risen!" The joy of Christ is contemporary.

This joy comes at a price. The price is the Cross. There is no Resurrection without the Cross. Centuries before Jesus went to the Cross, Joseph said to his brothers: "Ye thought evil against me: but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Gen. 50:20).

When we experience hardship in our lives, let us look to the lives of the martyrs witnessing to Christ through the centuries to the current moment. When we come upon seemingly insurmountable problems and nowhere to turn, let us keep in mind Abraham when he was faithful to the point of preparing to sacrifice Isaac. God provided for the faithful Abraham. Abraham did not need to take the life of Isaac. (Gen. 22:13)

If we are to find nourishment from God, we must seek that nourishment. We must be prepared to make sacrifices. We must be prepared to put forth effort. We must be prepared to set aside interests that are distracting and impede Christian development.

Growth in Christ is a life-long process. The Serbian Orthodox Priest of Blessed Memory Father Radovan Milkovich once preached a sermon "Your God is Too Small." The sermon I believe was inspired by the book of J.B. Philips, A God Too Small.

God is greater than a single finite mind can comprehend. As we grow as Christians, we come to know how little we know. We come to know there is much to learn.

The reading of one Psalm with great concentration can require a great effort for understanding. Studying one section of Holy Scripture can take a considerable period of time.

Each person chooses the way he or she will spend the time of their lives. The Psalmist tells us we can expect to live seventy to eighty years. (Ps. 90:10) People are known to live longer. Some live less.

The Psalmist states: "Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." (Ps. 90:12).

In present form, each person has a limited amount of time of earthly life. Each fraction of time is important. Each period of time is a gift from God to be used for the glory of God.

We live in an area where we are relatively free to worship as Christians. This is not true for everyone. Serbian Orthodox Christians in Kosovo suffer great dangers on a daily basis. Christians in other parts of the world face dangers.

The memory of churches and monasteries being destroyed is fresh in the mind of Serbian Orthodox believers. Let us make good use of the freedom to follow Christ. Let us set examples in the way we live. Let us set examples in the way we work. Let us set examples in the way we relate to others.

While we enjoy the freedom to worship in relative safety in this country, Let us be mindful of those who face hardships and threats when they express their Christian faith.

The martyrs giving their lives for Christ are candles lighting the path for present day believers. When we familiarize ourselves with the lives of the martyrs, we become familiar with their steadfastness of faith in Christ.

Beginning the journey to God's Kingdom is important. Continuing on that journey in the midst of adversity and until the end of earthly life is the challenge for each believer.

Sickness, economic hardship, accidents, relationship problems and a host of other influences can put one's faith in Christ to the test. Actually each moment of life we decide either to draw closer to Christ or to step away.

St. Nikolai Velimirovic, in his Prayers by the Lake introduces the believer to different ways to see God's presence. Believers seeking to grow in Christ do well to examine the writings of the saints.

Each person decides what is most important in life. Some people put material wealth at the top of their goals. Others seek certain social goals. Some seek fulfillment in sports.

Jesus Christ provides fulfillment. Jesus told the woman at the well: "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (Jn. 4:6-14)

When we establish goals, we then apply our resources toward achieving the goals. God gives us time. God gives certain gifts and certain resources. We determine the way we use the time of life. We determine the way we manage our gifts and resources.

The prodigal son wasted a portion of his life initially but eventually came to his senses. (Lk. 15:11-32). As long as we have breath, as long as we have life, as long as we have faculty of mind, we can repent and return to God.

The good thief on the Cross made the best use of his remaining time of life. (Lk. 23:40-43) We do not know when Jesus Christ will return. We do know it is advisable to be like the wise virgins and to be prepared (Mt. 25:1-14)

Not all who say "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ said: "Not every one that sayeth unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Mt. 7:21)

Discerning the will of God and doing the will of God takes concentration and discipline. Time must be set aside for God each day. Each day must be set aside for God.

God gives us the day. It is incumbent on us to give the day to God. The best way we can give the day to God will vary by each person. Each person has different talents and abilities and interests.

We must manage our days in ways that are pleasing to God. We find ways pleasing to God by being in His Holy Church. We find ways pleasing to God by studying the Holy Scriptures.

We find ways pleasing to God by studying the lives of the saints and the writings of the Holy Fathers. We find ways pleasing to God through prayer and fasting.

God does not disappoint those who follow Him. God does not disappoint those who are faithful to Him.

It is helpful to bear in mind the words of the Psalmist: "Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Ps. 110:3).
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
July 25 / August 7, 2005
Seventh Sunday after Pentecost.
Dormition of Righteous Annam Mother of the Most Holy Theotokos

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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