The Sunday of the Triumph of Orthodoxy - The Restoration of Icons - March 17th, 2019
The restoration of the Icons established Orthodoxy for the whole world. The whole world is made aware forever of the Incarnation of God in the flesh through this restoration. Everybody in the world knows what Jesus Christ looks like be- cause of this restoration. All artistic representations of Him stem from the Icons of the Church.
Just like the iconoclasts of old, whose power was at length broken by the Church, we are accused by modern iconoclastic rigorists of idolatry because of our veneration of icons and other holy objects. This is completely erroneous and heretical. We do not idolize the icons or relics, any more than did the woman in the Gospel idolize the hem of the Lord’s garment when she touched it and was healed. The Lord sensed His healing power going from Him when He asked “Who touched me?” She did not touch His physical person. She merely touched an object that was His. Her faith provided the connection. This faith-knowledge of His divine power passing through His objects was not hers alone.
When the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out into all the country round about and brought unto Him all that were diseased; and be- sought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. (Matthew 14:35-36)
And this faith-knowledge of His divine power through material objects did not only belong to the people in the Gospels. It is the property of the Church and her people forever. In our encounters with wonder-working icons of the Mother of God in our own day, we see the exact same power displayed. How could it be otherwise, when the All-creating God the Son is with us in the Holy Mysteries of His Body and Blood? “Lo, I am with you alway,” He said. Is He not all-powerful? We have free will, but we are quite limited in our sphere of action. But is there any means from which divine power is excluded?
So, the Church venerates icons of the Lord, the Mother of God and of all the saints. We ask St. Nicholas for his intercessions to the Lord, before his icon. We know in experience that these prayers are answered for our benefit. We anoint ourselves with oil from myrrh-streaming icons. We know people healed of physical ailments from this anointing. We know for ourselves of easing of pain of heart.
And last in this small discussion, we have the image of the precious and life-creat- ing Cross all we baptized Orthodox wear around our neck. This object Christ used Himself as the place whereon He poured out His blood for our salvation.
If the Lord does not limit Himself, from using any means to bring about our salva- tion, then neither should we. In our actions in venerating and gratefully receiving the grace poured out through God-given holy objects such as our icons, we are liv- ing out our gratitude to God for the labors in the 8th and 9th centuries by St. Theodora and the holy fathers.
We worship Thine immaculate icon, O Good One, asking the forgiveness of our failings, O Christ God; for of Thine own will Thou wast well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh, that Thou mightest delivery from slavery to the enemy those whom Thou hast fashioned. Wherefore we cry to Thee thankfully: Thou didst fill all things with joy, O our Savior, when Thou camest to save the world. (Troparion hymn for the Sunday of Orthodoxy)
There will be Sunday School Today at the rectory. See you all there!
The First Week of Lent was prayerfully kept every evening this week, culminating in the remembrance of Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit, who, in response to Julian the Apostate Emperor’s defilement of food, told the bishop in a dream to invent Koliva. Thanks to those who made it for yesterday’s agape meal in remembrance of St. Theodore’s gift.
A fundraising committee meets every two weeks concerning our parish hall building campaign. We have made a brochure and posters, and are planning to assemble a booklet of about 20 pages detailing the history of our parish and especially since we received the gift of the chapel. Many of us were not here at the beginning, nor when we got the chapel property. Periodic reports on the current status will be made. In regard to fundraising….
A Matching Grant is In Effect - Yesterday we received a notice of a matching grant. Glory to God! A donor has promised to match the first $5,000 donated to our Building Fund by Palm Sunday. We have 5 weeks until Sunday, April 21, to collect at least $5,000 to make it $10,000. In this season of humility, effort, prayer and sacrifice, which is Great Lent, we once again get an opportunity to contribute to building our parish hall. Especially if you are receiving a tax refund, this is a great way to put a portion, or all of it, to a great use. God paves the way, let's walk it faithfully and diligently.
Obtain a 2019 Calendar - The photos reveal the beauty of our ever-growing life. Purchase one or more so that, wherever you are, you can always be reminded of your church family, and keep up with the feasts and fasts. The price is $6.00 which only covers the cost, and should make multiple purchases easier.
Time (always time any time) to Make or Renew Your Annual Pledge - To fulfill our responsibility to financially support our parish, and to fulfill our responsibility to God and each other, we encourage making a pledge of a percentage of our income. The ideal foundation of our giving is 10% of our income. Those who do at least this much can testify of God’s present blessings. If you have not done so before, and to renew and update your pledge, please complete a pledge form and return it to the donation box when completed. Please speak with our treasurer, Mariya Petrenko.
Here for the First Time? - Please sign our new guest book, including any information to enable contact if desired.
'Our Paradise in Beltsville'
– a new brochure for the building of our parish hall and beyond...
The occasion for the new brochure is twofold. The new brochure reflects the fact that, since we have raised the $50,000 necessary for the architect’s fees, we have moved on to the next phase of our capital campaign: the building of our parish hall. Secondly, a great number of these brochures accompanied Fr. George and Matushka to St. John’s for a special presentation recently. Please take a copy of the brochure and read it. Take extra copies to give to any interested friends. Spread the word! We want to build our church!
Two new posters - We have also created two new posters for the presentation at the Cathedral, and for our Capital Campaign in general. The large color poster will go with the watercolor poster of our future parish hall. This new poster has photos of the historic chapel and grounds. The smaller poster is the design for the interior of the parish hall. These three posters are featured on our kitchen wall.
A fundraising committee has been meeting every two weeks. In addition to having produced the brochure and posters, we are planning to produce a booklet of about 20 pages or so, which will detail the history of our parish and especially since we received the gift of the chapel. We want to bring everyone on board, as we have a lot of new parishioners who were not there in 2009, when we were given the chapel, and before that, when we were searching for our parish home.
Andrew Gould’s Vision -
See and be inspired by his beautiful water color of the parish hall, along with the concept drawings from this God-sent and God-gifted man. See, too, his impromptu presentation at our trapeza. It stimulated one present to say, ”We gotta get this guy!”
Holy Apostles Youtube Channel and Videos! - See online the results of the labors of Herman Muller in consultation with Matushka Deborah in creating the parish youtube channel. The channel banner is from the 6th century mosaic icon over the altar of the church of St. Apollinaris in Classe in Ravenna, Italy. The contents consist of all our videos over the years, leading off with the complete video of June 10th’s fund raising event.
Pray for: Our Traveler Abraham Alexander.
The Holy Fire is with us from this year’s Holy Land Pascal celebration, conveyed to Metropolitan Hilarion in New York, conveyed by him to St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedra; in Howell, NJ, and conveyed to us from there by a friend of the parish. Please avail yourselves of it, and join those who keep the fire burning all the time. To do this well, you need two oil lamps like those at church that you relight twice daily, one from the other.
Make an Annual Pledge to help us with steady financial help and fulfill our responsibility to God and each other. The ideal foundation for giving is a tithe, or 10%. Those who do this testify of God’s blessings. Please complete a pledge form and return it to the donation box.
Service and Support Opportunities:
- Sign up to make a meal for all after Sunday Divine Liturgy, together with cleanup. We need food for up to 60. Add your name to the signup sheet.
- Holy Apostles Chariots – See Reader Kyril : if you need a ride.
- Holy Apostles Choir – Required rehearsals are from 7 to 9 PM on Thursdays.
- The St. Juliana of Lazarevo Sisterhood sees to various needs of the parish, including church decoration and prosphora baking. See Elena Solodkova (Sherry).
- Nick’s Place is a halfway house for young men recovering from substance abuse. We deliver non-perishable goods. Please donate.
- A Commemorative Tile made by John Hume is a likeness of our chapel with our name and the verse, “I was glad when they said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord.” This beautiful perpetual reminder of mutual prayer can be had for $45.
- We accept credit cards! We have a card reader that works with smart phones, so, get with the treasurer (or designee), to make donations and purchases.
- We have an on-line mall service from the eScrip program. The eScrip page of our web site has a link and instructions for use. For items bought through eScrip, merchants donate small referral bonuses to our building fund. Please use this method for your on-line shopping. See our treasurer, Mariya Petrenko for more information.
- Please sign our Guest Book! - When you visit for the first time please record your coming in the little book by the door, including name and contact information such as address, telephone and email. If you wish to be on our distribution list, please let us know.