“Thy pure image do we venerate, O good One, asking forgiveness of our sins, O Christ our God; for by Thine own will Thou didst ascend the Cross in Thy body, to save Thy creatures from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, with thankfulness we cry aloud to thee: Thou hast verily filled all with joy, since Thou didst come, O our Savior, to save the world.”
Dear Faithful Orthodox the members of the parish of St. George,
This Sunday we celebrate the “Triumph of the Orthodox Faith” when icons were restored to be used in Orthodox churches. In the hymn above we read “Thy pure image do we venerate, O good One, asking forgiveness of our sins, O Christ our God”. At the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787, the Fathers of the Church affirmed the Orthodox Faith of the use of images in churches and in worship. Here is the text from that Council, please print it and bring it with you to church on Sunday we will read it together at the end of the Liturgy after the procession around the church. Each child should have an icon for his/her patron saint, tell them to bring their icons with them to church. The text:
THE SYNODICON: THE AFFIRMATION OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH
“As the Prophets beheld, as the Apostles have taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers have dogmatized, as the universe has agreed, as Grace has shown forth, as Truth has revealed, as falsehood has been dissolved, as Wisdom has presented, as Christ has awarded: thus we declare, thus we assert, thus we preach Christ our true God, and honor His Saints in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in Holy Icons; on the one hand worshiping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord; and on the other hand honoring as true servants of the same Lord of all, and accordingly offering them veneration.
(Loud) This is the Faith of the Apostles; this is the Faith of the Fathers; this is the Faith of the Orthodox; this is the Faith which has established the universe!”
Next week we will have services on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday the Feast of the Annunciation, and Friday. All services are at 7 PM.
Please, take a box for “Food for Hungry people” so you can put in it your sacrifices during Lent for the poor.
Fr. Philip LeMaster writes: “And the more we grow in His image and likeness, the more we will become our true selves. Icons portray particular human beings whose lives have shown brightly with the holiness of God. The unbelievable truth is that, in Christ Jesus, we may do the same. No matter our age, health, occupation, family circumstances, personality quirks, or anything else, we too may become living, breathing manifestations of our Lord’s salvation when we open ourselves to His healing mercy through prayer, fasting, forgiveness, generosity to the needy, and all the various forms of spiritual nourishment given through the life of the Church. There could be no greater optimism about us than what we proclaim on the Sunday of Orthodoxy. We not only carry icons, we are icons. We not only venerate icons, we are called to become living proof of what happens to a human being who enters into the eternal blessedness of God, even as we walk around Toronto. Let this sink in: What the Old Testament saints hoped for, we possess. This Lent, let’s take Jesus Christ as His word, and prepare—with humility, persistence, and mindfulness- to “see the heaven open and angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” For that is the good news of our salvation.”
Jesus said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” Blessed are our eyes for what they see, blessed are we because we see the angels descending and ascending from the Holy Altar during Liturgy. Blessed are we because we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses the Saints in our church building.
Let us hold on to our Orthodox Faith and teach our children to be proud that they are Orthodox Christians, let us pass on the Orthodox Faith to our children and teach them to be committed to our parish of St. George.
In the True Faith of the Orthodox I remain,
~Pastor’s Message of March 21, 2021~