New Announcements 2018

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Archive: 2018 Announcements

Ascension of Our Lord
Troparion, Tone 4: 
Thou hast ascended in glory, О Christ our God, having made joyful Thy disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit, which was announced unto them in the blessing; for Thou art the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
Kontakion, Tone 6: 
When Thou hast accomplished Thy dispensation concerning us, and united those on the earth with the heavenly, Thou didst ascend in glory, О Christ our God, yet in nowise separating Thyself from us, but abiding ever present and crying out unto those that love Thee: I am with you, and none shall prevail against you.
 
  This holy day is celebrated on the fortieth day after the Resurrection of Christ, on the Thursday of the sixth week of Pascha. The ascension of Christ into heaven is mentioned in the prophecies of the Scriptures. Christ Himself, upon His Resurrection, said to Mary Magdelene: «I go back up to My Father and your Father and to My God and your God».
  This great event with which Jesus" life on earth concludes is briefly mentioned in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. But in the Acts of the Apostles there is a fuller account: Gathering His disciples, Jesus commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to await what had been promised by the Father, that is, the descent of the Holy Spirit. «John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized by the Holy Spirit. You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem and all of Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth. »
  Saying this, He went with His disciples to Bethany and stopped on the mount of Olives. Here He lifted up His hands and blessed them, and as He was blessing them, He was parted from them, and a cloud enveloped Him and He disappeared from their sight. And while they stood looking up into heaven as He was ascending, suddenly two men in white apparel appeared who said: «Ye men of Galilee, why do you stand and gaze up into heaven? This same Jesus Who is ascending up from you into heaven, shall come in the same manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.»
  Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem to where the Mother of God and the myrrh-bearing women were in prayer. In the Gospel  of Mark it is written that upon ascending to heaven, the Lord sat upon the right side of  God the Father, i.e., that the human soul and body of Jesus Christ took on the same glory  as His Divinity.
  Ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ promised to always be on earth invisibly among those who believe in Him.

St. Nicholas the Wonderworker: May 22
Anyone who has ever prayed to St. Nicholas for help knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he not only did exist, but still does exist, for our God is a God of the living (cf. Mt. 22:32).
St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning 'Conqueror of nations').
Fr Nicholas made pilgrimage of the holy places in Jerusalem, especially Golgotha where Christ was crucified. Icons today continue to recount the miraculous nature of his voyage to Jerusalem there by ship, during which a great storm arose (Nicholas having earlier predicted that it would). Seeing in a vision the devil climbing aboard the ship, Nicholas warned the crew and prayed for the salvation of the craft and its occupants, and the sea shortly calmed.St Nicholas' title 'wonderworker' comes from the multitude of reports of miracles that issued forth at his intercession, both during his life and after. The renown of his miraculous acts was widespread in his own lifetime. As he had secretly delivered gold, many years before, to the father of three destitute daughters, so he secretly delivered gold to an Italian merchent (by some accounts, this gold was left miraculously by an apparition of the saint appearing to the merchant in Italy), convincing him to sail to Myra with a shipment of grain. And so by his prayers and deeds, his city of Myra was rescued from a terrible famine.

Pentecost. Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles:
Troparion, Tone 8: 
Blessed art Thou, О Christ our God, Who hast revealed the fishers to be most wise, having sent down upon them the Holy Spirit, and through them having caught the universe: О Lover of mankind, Glory to Thee.
Kontakion, Tone 8: 
When the Most High descended, He blended the tongues, dividing the nations; but when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all into unity; Wherefore, with one accord, we glorify the All-Holy Spirit.

The real beginning of the history of the Church, its birth, is the feast of Pentecost. On the tenth day after the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, His disciples with His Mother and some other holy women and with some of those Jews who came to believe in Him, about 120 in all, were gathered in a home on mount Zion. As was usual, they were spending their time in prayer and in awaiting the promised Holy Spirit, when all of a sudden there was a noise from heaven as of rushing wind that filled the whole house where they were. And there appeared tongues as of fire that divided and alit on each person. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to converse in other languages.
This day was the Jewish feast of the Pentecost that commemorated he giving of the Law on the Mountain of Sinai, and because of this there were many people in Jerusalem from different ands. They heard an unusual noise in the air and started gathering near the house where the apostles had been. They were surprised to hear, each in his own tongue, the mighty works of God. In amazement they started asking: «what does this mean?», and others made fun saying:  «they are drunk on sweet wine».
Then apostle Peter came before the people and said: «Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem. Let this be known to you, and give heed to my words. These men are not drunk, for it is only the third hour of the day (nine in the morning according to our time), but the time of fulfillment of the prophecies has come, when the Spirit of God comes down on the faithful. Listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourself know, this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you took and nailed to a cross by the hands of sinful men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up, putting an end to the bonds of death: because it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.» (Acts 2: 14-15; 22-24)
These words of apostle Peter suggested to him by the Holy Spirit deeply moved many of the people, and on that day about three thousand people were baptized in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such was the beginning of the spreading of the Gospel, that through the apostles and their disciples it first spread throughout Judea, and then throughout the world.

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