View the January 2015 Monthly Messenger

The monthly newsletter of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church —Tacoma, Washington
Volume 27, Number 1
January 2015
Saint Nicholas Messenger
14 New Year’s Resolutions for Orthodox Christians
by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
1. Get serious about coming to church (more)
While many who read this are no doubt at least every-Sunday attenders at church, it is statistically true
that only 26% of Orthodox Christians in America come to church weekly . And if you’re already coming to
church weekly, consider adding at least one service per week. What are you normally doing when those
services are going on? Your priest and other parishioners are there praying, including praying for you. Why
don’t you join them? You won’t regret it.
And while we’re at it…
2. Come to church on time
It’s kind of an in-joke that Orthodox people are always late to church. But why is that?
We too often accept the excuse that we function on “Greek time”. Why can we show up on time for work,
sporting events, movies, doctor’s appointments, etc., but reserve our tardiness for an encounter with the
King of Kings? What you show up on time for tells the world what you find important. It’s what you find
indispensable. And it also communicates it to your kids. And you can be assured that they will imitate you.
Come at least ten minutes early. That says you are serious. You know what also says you’re serious?
3. Tithe
Nothing says you’re serious like giving 10% of your income to something. Giving 10% to God sounds crazy
to a lot of people, but the reality is that it’s actually totally normal for many Christians—even for generations. Some inherited a system based on union dues. So many may think that giving $500 a year (less
than $10/week) is a lot. But if you have a parish of 100 families and each family only gives $500 a year,
then you only have an annual income of $50,000. With that, you cannot support your priest, and you certainly cannot pay for a building and its maintenance. Other people are picking up the slack for you. If
they’re not, your priest may be on food stamps or welfare. I know
some who are.
Inside Messenger
But if those 100 families each made the median household inJanuary Calendar
4 come for the US (about $52,000), and they all tithed, that same
100-family parish would have $520,000 to work with. If they even
News & Announcements
5 gave just 5%, they’d have $260,000. Meanwhile, you are probably spending a lot more just on cable TV. Or Internet access. Or
News from our Ministries
6 your smartphone. Or eating out. Or coffee. Or a lot of other things.
But the most important thing about pledging and tithing is not
Stewardship card
14 about meeting parish budgets or supporting your priest like the
hardworking, educated man he is. It’s about worship. Your heart
is where your treasure is (Matt. 6:21). Where’s your treasure? FolInformational flyers
16 low the money, find the heart.
If you’re not up for 10% yet, then try 8%. Or 6%. Or whatever. But
go on record, and get disciplined about giving. Don’t give until it hurts, but until it actually feels good.
4. Pray at home.
Even if all you do is say the “Our Father” when you wake up (saying it three times a day is the most ancient known prayer rule), you will notice a change in how you think and feel about your faith. It will become more present for you and will define you more. Oh, and, parents? It will have a huge impact on your
kids. Watching parents pray at home and (in time) joining them in that prayer is one of the biggest contributions that kids can receive toward their long-term spiritual viability. If you don’t bring the faith home,
you can forget about it mattering in the long run, either for you or your kids.
(continued on page 12)
Saint Nicholas Messenger
S t N i cho las G re ek O r t h o d ox Ch u rch
1523 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
Phone: 253-272-0466
Fax: 253-572-3245
Parish Website:
E-Mail: [email protected]
Sunday Services
8:45 am Orthros
10:00 am Divine Liturgy
Please join us for Social/Coffee Hour in our
downstairs hall, following the Divine Liturgy
Fr. Seraphim Majmudar, Our Presiding Priest
For appointments, questions or urgent needs, Fr. Seraphim is available
24/7 on his cell phone.
Fr. Seraphim’s Cell phone: 253-365-5817
Office Hours at St Nicholas
Thursdays 9:00am - 12:00 noon
Email: [email protected]
Saint Nicholas Messenger is the official monthly newsletter of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Tacoma.
Editor: Bill Samaras
Media team: Paula Karanasos, Rebecca Phillips, Andrew Primis, Bill Samaras, Fr. Seraphim
Saint Nicholas Messenger is published monthly on the 25th of each month. Contributors are encouraged to submit content by the 15th of each month to allow for timely compilation. Saint Nicholas Messenger is published in electronic format to the St. Nicholas web page, and in
print for pickup at the parish on Sundays on or after the 25th of each month. Physical mailings are
limited to shut-ins and special needs parishioners.
Submit comments, corrections, or content addressed to the Editor at [email protected]
All content copyright © 2014, 2015 St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Tacoma
Page 2
Saint Nicholas Messenger
St. Nicholas Ministries
2014 Parish Council
Hands of Love
George Pirotis
Andrew Primis —President
David Frisk—Vice-President
Christina Leinneweber—Treasurer
Bill Samaras—Secretary
Kula Andreas, Yvonne Brandvold, George
Delyanis, Fred Ehret, Tikon Hamilton, Kathy
Heiser, Zach Karanasos, Merrilee Pangis
Merrilee Pangis
Altar Servers
Dr Nick Themelis
Bible Study
Fr. Seraphim
Building Committee
Bill Acker
Christina Leinneweber
Coffee Hour
Savina Frisk
Daughters of Penelope
Helen McClure- President
Ann Koopman- Vice- President
Yvonne Brandvold- Secretary
Evy Kontos- Treasurer
Greek Folk Dance
Anastasia Fyntrilakis-Chair & teen Instructor
Evy Kontos—Middle Group Instructor
Kelly Rosati—Toddler Instructor and Treasurer
Krisann Firth — Costumes
Savina Frisk — Secretary
Adult Group Instructor —George Pirotis
Greek School
George Pirotis
Maids of Athena
Debby Lord ,Helen McClure,
Diane Pirotis -Advisors
Katie McClure- President
Brigid Majmudar- Vice President
Paige Mosko- Secretary
Reanne Charuhas- Treasurer
Diane Pirotis
Philoptochos Society
Joyce Kalivas-Griffin- President
Kathleen Heidal- Vice-President
Marian Palas- Secretary
Merrilee Pangis- Treasurer
Dean Hamos
Sunday School
Rebecca Phillips- Director
Pro Life
Fr. Seraphim
Military Service
Fr. Seraphim
Zach Karanasos
News and Announcements
Parish Council Board Meeting
The Board meeting for January 2015 will be Tuesday January 13 at 7:00PM in the upper hall.
Thank you
Thank you everyone for coming to our home to celebrate our son Todd's life. Your support, friendship and
love during this time was greatly appreciated and meant the world to us. May his memory be eternal.
—The Heidal's: Richard, Kathleen, Troy, Lindsay and family. God Bless!
Prosphoro Bakers
January 4 Evdokia Dunlap
January 11 Despina Ampatsis
January 18 Lena Plunkett
January 25 Lena Plunkett
Page 3
Macarius the Great of Egypt
ENRICH Premarital Clergy Training Removal of the Relics of John
Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
10:00am-11:00am Bible Study
12:00pm-1:00pm Philia Luncheon
Athanasios the Great
Philoptochos Soup Potluck
8:45am-9:45am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am Divine Liturgy
Gregory the Theologian
11:00am-12:00pm Bob Leonard
Memorial & Coffee Hr
Righteous Euthymius the Great
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
7:45am-8:45am Canon to St Maximos the Confessor
10:00am-11:00am Bible Study
The Holy Martyrs Hermylus and
6:30am-7:30am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am WOCA: St Paul's,
Brier (Washington Orthodox Clergy
Association (WOCA) is a PanOrthodox br)
7:00pm-8:00pm Parish Council
Tatiana the Martyr of Rome
Theodosios the Cenobiarch
8:45am-9:45am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am Divine Liturgy
The Theophany of Our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ
8:45am-9:45am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am Divine Liturgy &
Blessing of Waters
6:00pm-8:00pm Philoptochos Mtg
Eve of the Theophany of Our Lord
and Saviour Jesus Christ
6:30am-7:30am Orthros & Royal
7:00pm-8:00pm Vesperal Divine
Liturgy & Blessing of Waters
Parish Council Swearing In
Vasilopeta Cutting
8:45am-9:45am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am Divine Liturgy
Ephraim the Syrian
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
7:00pm-8:00pm Paraklesis
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
Maximus the Confessor
7:00pm-8:00pm Paraklesis
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
Leavetaking of the Theophany of
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
7:00pm-8:00pm Paraklesis
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
Synaxis of John the Holy Glorious
Prophet, Baptist, & Forerunner
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
7:00pm-8:00pm Paraklesis
Access latest content at:
January 2015
Removal of the Relics of Ignatius
the God-bearer
6:30am-7:30am Orthros & Canon to
St Ephraim the Syrian
7:00pm-8:00pm Vespers: Three
Holy Hierarchs
7:45pm-8:45pm Evening Liturgy:
Three Holy Hierarchs
Timothy the Apostle of the 70
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
11:00am-12:00pm Hands of Love
John the Hut-Dweller
6:30am-7:30am Orthros
6:30pm-7:30pm Daughters of
George of Hozeva
11:00am-12:00pm Hands of Love
Basil the Great
Circumcision of Our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
Synaxis of The Three Hierarchs:
Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, & John Chrysostom
The Holy Hieromartyr Clement,
Bishop of Ancyra
7:00pm-8:00pm Paraklesis to St
Xenia (for employment)
7:45pm-8:45pm Evening Liturgy: St
FAST: Wine & Oil ok
Veneration of Apostle Peter's
Precious Chains
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
10:00am-11:00am Bible Study
Polyeuctus the Martyr of Melitene
in Armenia
6:30am-7:30am Orthros
10:00am-11:00am Bible Study
Seraphim of Sarov
6:30am-7:30am Divine Liturgy
7:30am-8:30am Paraklesis to St
10:00am-11:00am Bible Study
Cyrus & John the Unmercenaries
7:00pm-8:00pm Vespers
8:00pm-9:00pm Catechism
Xenia of St Petersburg
7:00pm-8:00pm Vespers
8:00pm-9:00pm Catechism
Anthony the Great
7:00pm-8:00pm Reader's Compline; no Catechism
Gregory of Nyssa/ Theophan the
7:00pm-8:00pm Vespers
8:00pm-9:00pm Catechism
Genevieve of Paris
9:00am-10:00am Divine Liturgy
10:00am-11:00am Poirot Baptism
7:00pm-8:00pm Vespers
8:00pm-9:00pm Catechism
Saint Nicholas Messenger
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
News and Announcements
2015 Stewardship
Please submit your stewardship card for 2015. As stewardship is now the primary source
of funding at St. Nicholas, your pledge of monetary contribution for 2015 allows our parish
to operate. If you already turned in your 2015 stewardship card, thank you.
If you’re looking for a stewardship card, see pages 14 and 15 of this issue. Simply fill out
the 2nd page and return it to church.
Questions and Answers (duplicated from last month):
Q: What is Stewardship?
A: “Stewardship” is the annual parishioner monetary pledging process.
Q: Why is it important to commit to Stewardship now?
A: The Parish Council creates the operating budget for the next year in December. Stewardship commitments allow prediction of operating income for the next year.
Q: How much money should I give?
A: There is no set amount. Please give what your personal situation allows. Our goal is to
become financially independent from Stewardship alone allowing Festival profits to fund
improvements to St. Nicholas. As an example, if the average annual family contribution is
$2000, we would be completely independent of festival income.
Q: How do I pay?
A: That’s up to you. You can pay weekly, monthly, or annually. Just note your preference on
the Stewardship card.
Q: Is my Stewardship contribution amount confidential?
A: Yes. Only the Treasurer handles Stewardship contribution information. It is not shared or
divulged to anyone.
Q: How do I submit my Stewardship pledge?
A: Stewardship cards are mailed to parishioners, are available at the church, and is included in this issue. Return the information by mail, or drop it off at church.
We humbly ask your Pledge card to be returned by mid JANUARY 2015.
Page 5
Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Coffee Hour
All parishioners (including visitors) are welcome to attend Coffee Hour immediately after the Divine Liturgy every Sunday in the lower hall. If you’re new to St. Nicholas, please introduce yourself and have
some refreshments.
Upcoming Coffee Hour Sponsors
Please check the church web page calendar at for the most up to date schedules.
Savina Frisk — Coffee Hour
On January 27, 2015 we will have our Philia luncheon. There will be a baked potato and salad bar. Suggested donation of $ 5.00 is appreciated. See you there!
Diane Pirotis—
Altar Servers
Our vision: to be men of prayer, serving God with humility.
We have been discussing the role of the Psalms at the beginning of the liturgy
(antiphons) and their use in ancient Jewish worship, as well as the Orthodox liturgy. We
have also discussed the shape of the liturgy as practiced in the early church, and how
the basic structure of our services remains the same
-Fr Seraphim—
JANUARY 4th Vasilopita cutting and tray collection
JANUARY 6th Philoptochos meeting at 6PM. Dinner served
JANUARY 18th Potluck soup coffee hour. Benefitting social services / cancer fund
January 31st Northwest Regional conference at St. Demetrious. See flyer on page 16.
-Joyce Kalivas-Griffin
Page 6
Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Building Committee
A couple weeks ago Father Seraphim called to report about another roof leak in his office. This presented a convenient opportunity to revisit the front roofs facing the Yakima Avenue side of the Saint
Nicholas Church, and be reminded of what poor shape they are in. Below are four photos, two of which
were taken shortly after a heavy rain storm.
The first photo is the roof over the Upper Hall. Note the
large puddle of water gathered around the roof drain. Because the roof is virtually flat, it doesn’t drain well, and unfortunately, the most common way to get rid of standing water there is via dry weather and evaporation. The structural
roof joists in this area are undersized, and the few times Tacoma gets a heavy snowfall, the ceiling in the Upper Hall will
visibly sag. Also, though it doesn’t show well in the picture,
there are the numerous large blisters in the roofing, which
become more obvious when one walks on the roof during a
warm sunny day.
The second photo is a portion of the roof over Father Seraphim’s
office. This roof is near flat as well, which is why there is visible
standing water along the roof edges. Also, note the mastic at and
around the skylight. That was applied as a band aid fix to cover of
up various cracks and deterioration in the skylight. This roof area
also has numerous blisters under it.
The third photo is the back side
of one of the roof barrels over
the main church entrance. This
photo was taken during a relatively dry day in October. Note the
standing water behind the back
of the roof barrel and the high masonry church wall that faces
Yakima Avenue. Also note how deteriorated the upper curved back
edge of the barrel roof is. All three
barrel roof structures have apparently experienced some settlement, as they now slightly slope
towards Yakima Avenue, causing the
rain run-off to initially drain in the
opposite direction of where it’s supposed to go, as is indicated in the fourth photo.
These are some of the primary reasons why just re-roofing the front side of
the church is not going to fix the overall problem. Instead, as a long-term
solution, we have proposed to replace the Upper Hall, entrance and priest’s
office altogether, starting from the foundation and main structure that remains, on up. This is going to take a large amount of time, money and strategic planning, which is why we have to be focused, deliberate and diligent,
as this area of the church is presently living on borrowed time.
Meanwhile, Madsen Roofing, currently under contract to re-roof the Sanctuary roof, is waiting for a week of anticipated semi-decent weather before
they start, and, there should be a defined, long-term fix for the leaky and
deteriorating Sanctuary windows to propose in the next month or so
Bill Acker—
Page 7
Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Bible Study
Our group just completed the Gospel of Luke. We noted:
-Jesus chastises several groups: faltering apostles, Sadducees, Pharisees, Romans, etc., but there is no place in the Gospels where He chastises women. The
only ones receiving this are men.
-Women express leadership in many instances: providing for His needs; standing at the Cross; being the first to announce the Resurrection; courageously proclaiming salvation
We will begin a study of the book of Genesis next week. The creation of the world, the fall of Adam & Eve,
the casting out of Paradise, Cain & Abel and the first murder, Noah and the flood. The most important
events in Scripture! Come join us on Tuesdays at 10am if you are able. (check schedule for changes)
Fr. Seraphim—
Greek School
The "GREEK SCHOOL" continues successfully - it’s open to everyone that is interested to learn the Greek Language,
History and Culture!
Teacher - George Pirotis (206-841-5705)
Purpose: The purpose of the Greek School is to promote the Greek letters, language, culture, and civilization. The
classes will be open to all parishioners independently of age (this may change if it is needed). Students will learn grammar and “Conversational Greek”.
Yearly events and possible student involvement:
Αγιασμος (Blessing) of the class in the beginning of the School year.
March 25th (Greek Independence Day) event.
Schedule (Tentative): Sundays from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.
Cost: The classes will be provided free of charge.
George Pirotes—
Children and Teen Dance Groups
January 11th Dance Group Parents meeting
This is important because as we will elect officers for 2015. We encourage all parents of dance group
members to participate.
Anastasia Fyntrilakis—
Still reading Messenger in 1950’s black and white? View the full color prettier version on-line at
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Hands of Love
The items we have worked on through these last few months are now on their way to their charities. We
thank the women who have given of their God given talents in crocheting, knitting and sewing items.
Baby hats, baby blankets, scarves, stuffed animals, dishcloths, baby washcloths and baby booties.
Beginning in January 2015 we will meet on the following dates:
January 8 and January 22 at 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m
Anyone wanting to donate yarn, knitting accessories or items please contact the following members:
Anne Havens, Krisann Firth, Gretchen Eagle or Merrilee Pangis.
Please consider joining our group and try your hand at knitting, crocheting or handmade items you want
to share with the group. We meet downstairs in the large hall for two hours on the scheduled Thursdays.
Coffee or Tea is provided. Please bring your sack lunch or snack with you.
Meeting with our women has brought much thoughtful and peaceful reflection as we work together to
make handmade items for newborn babies and adults. The gift of love and warmth that is going to be
shared with these individuals comes from God and through our hands. What better gift can we give.
Respectfully submitted, By the Members of the Hands of Love Ministry—
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Some Questions and Answers on the subject of Christmas:
What is Christmas? The birth of the Son of God.
How did this happen? Christ chose to be incarnate of the Virgin Mary
What was the exact moment of the Incarnation? The Annunciation by Gabriel, when
the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Virgin Mary
What was in her womb for those nine months? The incarnate Son of God, perfectly
divine, perfectly human
Didn’t He only really become incarnate at His birth? No. He became fully human at
His conception
How do we know this? John the Baptist, as a “fetus” leaped in Elizabeth’s womb when the Virgin Mary
approached with the “fetus” Jesus inside her.
So? Fetal tissues don’t leap and dance; human beings leap and dance
What does this mean? It means that like Him, ALL of us are fully human at our conception.
What else does it mean? The Church has ALWAYS BEEN and ALWAYS WILL BE PRO LIFE!
See Fr Seraphim for more details.
Military Service Ministry
We welcome Mrs Clara Howard, one of our stewards who is on staff at
Madigan Army Medical Center, as our new ministry coordinator. She has
accomplished an AMAZING amount in just a few weeks.
She was able to assist in helping Fr Seraphim to become an officially recognized chaplain at Madigan (not an easy task); she has been arranging for
meals and presents to the families of deployed soldiers in our parish; she
has obtained several care packages from the USO, so our Sunday School
children can send them with greetings and prayer-wishes to these soldiers.
Captain Nick Calbos is completing his registry of active duty, retired or veterans who have passed on. Please see Captain Calbos or Fr Seraphim if you or a loved one are not yet
registered. We are hoping to increase our ministry of love and appreciation to these wonderful servants.
Thank you, Nick & Clara!
Fr. Seraphim—
New Pilgrimage Ministry
A new Ministry was formed to promote world wide pilgrimages for our parishioners
2015: Greece/Asia Minor
2017: San Francisco
2019: Holy Land/Cyprus
Please see the flyer in the back of this issue.
Zach Karanasos—
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
Maids of Athena
Sparta Chapter #1
January News
Grand Lodge visitation is January 10th,2015 1:30pm Saturday at the Church of the Assumption, Seattle.
We will car pool to Seattle. Contact Maids of Athena President : Katie McClure 253-820-2557 or [email protected]
Plans for the day: meeting , lunch, ice skating and then dinner in Seattle. Grand Lodge secretary, Sofie
Batshon, our liaison for district 22 will be here.
Growth and Expansion points for January. Please bring canned foods for our local food pantry: Fish Food
Network. See all Maids on Jan 10th.
Maids and advisors at holiday brunch
Helen McClure—
Daughters of Penelope
Start the new year off attending the Monthly DOP Meeting.
Next meeting :January 15th- Thursday 6pm at St Nicholas
We have missed seeing some of our members and look forward to connecting again. Lots to discuss!
For those interested in finding out more about the Daughters of Penelope and the good work they do locally and nationally there will be a:
New Members Event
Jan 25th, 2015-Sunday 4pm to 6pm at the home of President Helen McClure
please RSVP either through email-:[email protected] or home phone 253-589-3279. Refreshments will
be served.
Also: SAVE THE DATE-- The Daughters will have their annual
Wine Tasting event
Saturday, Feb 21st, 2015 at St. Nicholas Church Hall
Time to be announced: Tickets : $25.00 a person (Tickets available the end of January, contact Evy
Helen McClure—
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
14 New Year’s Resolutions for Orthodox Christians
(continued from page 1)
5. Sing along at church. And stand more
The choir and chanters are there to lead you in prayer, not to entertain you or pray instead of you. Yes, it
is possible to pray with them silently, but there are few things more spiritually invigorating than singing
your prayers. So if you’re able, you should. And while you’re at it, why don’t you stand up a bit more? It’s
certainly easier to sing while standing. And it’s also the 2000-year-old tradition of the Orthodox Church to
stand during worship. So there’s that.
6. Memorize a psalm
Memorizing Scripture is a great thing for many reasons, but psalms are especially powerful, because they
are all prayers. Pick your favorite one to memorize. Lots of Orthodox love Psalm 50 (“Have mercy on me,
O God…”). But there are plenty to choose from. Pick a short one or a long one. Just make it your own. Try
praying it every day.
7. Encourage your priest
Yes, he should be willing to do his job without getting any encouraging words. And many priests do. That
wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t get so many complaints. While some priests (like me!) aren’t constantly
barraged with complaints, some never can seem to escape them, even while they pour their lives out for
their people. And I would actually have to say that I probably get more complaints than I do encouraging
words. My brother priests mostly say the same thing.
Your priest is a human being just like you are. And while he shouldn’t live for praise, you can help him see
that his hard work is appreciated by telling him so. Your job isn’t to tell him that he shouldn’t want
praise—he has a father-confessor to tell him that. Your job is to love him. And saying encouraging things
to him is part of that love. You don’t have to shower him with compliments. Just tell him that what he’s
doing matters to you.
I have some people in my parish who say encouraging things to me. I don’t live for their kind words, but
they help to keep me going, because it reminds me that what I’m doing matters.
There is nothing better for a parish’s health than an encouraged priest. If he feels like what he’s doing
matters, he will love doing it. And he will also strive to get better at it, too. So even if you do feel like he
needs to improve, the best way to help him do that is to inspire him, not to complain at him.
8. Invite someone to church
Did you know that 82% of the unchurched say that they would come if invited? Did you know that only 2%
of church members invite someone to church in a given year?
Do you really believe that you’ve found the true faith, seen the true light and received the heavenly Spirit,
like you sing near the end of the Liturgy?
Then why are you keeping it to yourself? Think of at least one person you know who isn’t in church. Make
him or her a spiritual priority this year. Pray every day for that person. And when the time is right, give the
invitation. Statistically speaking, they are probably going to say yes.
And when you make the invitation, don’t say, “You should come to church with me sometime.”
“Sometime” is no time. Say, “We’re celebrating the Divine Liturgy this Sunday at 9am at my church. Can I
pick you up and bring you with me?”
9. Visit a monastery
You won’t believe how amazing monastic visits are until you go on one. There are few things that underline for us how much is really possible in the Christian life like visiting people who are actually making a
go at being 24/7/365 Christians. And don’t you think that people who practice prayer that much might
know a thing or two about it? Monasteries aren’t just for monks and nuns. They’re for all Christians. They
are not only spiritual havens but also spiritual powerhouses. And don’t just visit once and say you did it.
Develop a relationship.
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
Ministry News
And maybe if you’re really blessed, one of your kids will join a monastery and pray for you a whole lot. I
hope one of mine does.
10. Read the Old Testament
Yes, we should read the whole Bible, but the truth is that most Orthodox Christians are cryptoMarcionites—we don’t know almost anything about the Old Testament. Marcion was a 2nd century heretic who taught that the Old Testament was a book for Jews and had nothing to do with Christians. He was
really wrong. The Old Testament is about the thousands of years of preparation before the coming of Jesus Christ. It is what sets the stage for His appearance. Jesus is everywhere in the Old Testament, but
you have to know how to look for Him. The Old Testament is filled with all kinds of fascinating stories,
prayers, songs, poetry, etc. But most of us have almost no idea that it has much other than Adam and
Eve, Noah and Jonah. And we’re probably a little fuzzy on some of those details. But if God prepared the
world for the coming of Jesus by what He did in the Old Testament, how can we think we’ll be prepared
for His coming into each of our own lives without any of that same preparation?
So, that makes me think of something else.
11. Attend an adult education class
It’s actually kind of crazy how uneducated many Orthodox people are in their own faith. I sometimes hear
the excuse that that stuff is just for seminarians and clergy, that it’s too intellectual, too far above the
heads of the average parishioner, etc. But the very same people can give you detailed information about
what the rules and records in the Super Bowl are, what their least favorite politician has done to wreck
the country, and what the latest gossip is on various celebrities, all in remarkable detail. But when it
comes to what will last into eternity, we are suddenly the dumbest people on the face of the earth.
Don’t sell yourself short. You are probably pretty smart about many things. Why don’t you use that same
talent to get smart about your faith?
12. Volunteer.
Do something in your parish or in your community that benefits other people without giving you any kind
of material gain. And do it without expecting recognition. Your recognition will come from God in His Kingdom. You don’t need it from anyone else. Not only will selfless volunteering help you be grateful for all
that God has given to you, but it will set an example of what a Christian is for your kids and your friends,
and it will also help you to be humble, something we know is necessary for entrance into the Kingdom of
13. Go to confession
There are lots of Orthodox Christians who go to confession only once a year—or maybe even never. Like
people who never go to the doctor, what that means is that you think everything is perfectly fine and you
need no help. Literally, it means that you do not think you need the gift of forgiveness that comes in the
sacrament of absolution.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sinner. I mean, I sin every day. I have a problem. I’m a sinner. I need to
confront my sins directly in confession. And I want the sacrament of absolution that goes with it.
I try to go once during each of the four fasts (though I will admit that I don’t always keep my rule very
well), and I always dread going before I go, because I don’t like thinking about how I am a sinner. And
then I always wonder what took me so long after I go. It’s really wonderful, actually. Thank God for confession.
14. Read a spiritual book
There are few things that get us into another story, another way of looking at life, like a good book. And a
good spiritual book can help to retrain your mind to become like the mind of Christ. Most of us do not
have the mind of Christ. We have the mind of something else. Our minds are filled with distractions, necessities and the cares of this world.
But the extended meditation on what is good and true and beautiful that can come from a good spiritual
book can help to change all that. And you know what? That change helps to bring us peace. And that’s
something that each of us needs a whole lot more of.
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Join Reverend Fr. Seraphim Majmudar of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of
Tacoma, Washington on an unforgettable Spiritual Odyssey!
Our Pilgrimage will take us to the the most important sites in northern Greece. Enjoy a tour of Thessaloniki including
the Cathedral of St. Demetrios, the museum, Moni Vlatadon, Osios David and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Partake in
the celebrations for the feast day of St Demetrios. Afterwards, the men will spend a few nights on Holy Mount Athos
while the women will enjoy a private cruise around the legendary Byzantine monasteries of Mt. Athos and visits to
Amfipoli, Ekosefenesa Monasery, cave of Alistrate, Serres and Prodromou and Ormelyia Monasteries with some free
time to relax and enjoy the sea side town of Ouranopoulis. The women will pick up the men as they return from Mt.
Athos and continue to the town of Kavala. Visit Philippi and Ancient Neopolis. Cross the Greek-Turkish border.
ASIA MINOR: Constantinople & Cappadocia
In Turkey and take a ferry ride on the Sea of Marmara to the Island of Marmara. From the fall of the Byzantine Empire
to the years directly following World War I, the island was almost exclusively populated by Greek Orthodox Greeks.
During World War I much of the population was forced off of the island onto the mainland. Continue to
Constantinople, the heart of Orthodoxy. Visit the 17th century Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate. Pray at the St
George Cathedral and venerate the Holy Relics of Saints Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom and the relics
of the three female Saints - Euphemia, Solomone and Theophano. Participate in a private audience with His All
Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (subject to his availability). Visit the most important sites for the Greek
Orthodox in Constantinople: Agia Sophia, the Church of the Holy Savior of Chora, Baloukli Monastery and Panagia
Blacherna were the beautiful hymn, “Te Ypermacho” was chanted over 1,400 years ago and the Grand Bazaar. Take a
private ferry and buggy ride to the island of Halki, home of the renowned Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.
Afterwards, visit the mystical city of Cappadocia which was a refuge for persecuted early Christians and home to many
important saints such as St. Basil. See the rocky moonscape of Cappadocia where early Christians carved out caves and
churches decorated with coned ceilings, graceful columns and impressive frescoes. See the Zelve Valley and the
Goreme Open Air Museum with its world famous Dark Church. Descend into the incredible underground city of
Kaymaki. Visit Sinnassos with its many churches such as St.Basil’s church and the Church of Constantine & Eleni.
Zach Karansos
Email: [email protected]
work: 206-223-1461
Cloud Tours Inc. 31-09 Newtown Ave. Long Island City, NY 11102
Tel: 718-721-3808 Toll Free 800-223-7880 Fax: 718-795-4356 Email: [email protected]
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Saint Nicholas Messenger
S t . Nic hola s Greek Orthodox Church
1523 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
Address Service Requested
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