Monthly Archives: March 2009

Of your charity

Please pray for the soul of Demetrios, a boy of only twenty, who has fallen asleep in the Lord, and for the comfort of his family. To hear his father sobbing during the memorial tonight was heartwrenching. Light candles for them. Let your prayers rise as incense!

Αιωνια αυτου η μνημη

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For prayer during the day

While I was looking for something else, I came across a delightful and edifying website. If you are a reader who appreciates the liturgical translations of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery of Brookline, Massachusetts, then you will very much like this website.

It is The Dynamic Horologion and Psalter. Utilizing texts from The Great Horologion and the psalms in The Psalter According to the Seventy published by HTM, the author has arranged a series of reader’s services (that is, reading texts of services as they would be if a priest is not present) throughout the day, as well as the day’s kathismata of the Psalms, for the benefit of Orthodox Christians to pop by the website and read the service of that hour. It is not complete, but it is certainly very helpful. For busy people, anything that will keep the Lord in their minds is a welcome thing!

The schedule of services on the site is here, and the schedule of the kathismata is here.

We have Dionysius Rossi to thank for this website. He programmed the whole thing himself, as he describes:

This site was created for busy Orthodox Christians who for various reasons are forced to be online for long periods of time, but who still want to be able to incorporate the Psalms and hourly prayer services into their daily prayer life. As such, the dynamic Horologion will automatically display the current prayer service as read when a priest is not available (i.e. a reader’s service) and/or the current kathisma for whatever time it is, while still allowing you to manually view the services if you want to view the services for the day at any time. So if you just wanted to read say, Matins, you can get the Matins service for the day at anytime during the day.

Use his site and give glory to God who has made such talented people and inspired them to do such thoughtful and wondrous things!

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Be with us

Κύριε τῶν Δυνάμεων, μεθ’ ἡμῶν γενοῦ·
ἄλλον γὰρ ἐκτός σου βοηθόν,
ἐν θλίψεσιν οὐκ ἔχομεν,
Κύριε τῶν Δυνάμεων, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

Lord of the Powers, be with us,
for no other helper do we have
in troubles than You.
Lord of the Powers, have mercy on us.

From Great Compline.

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My first parade

This morning I went over to San Francisco in order to watch the Greek Independence Day Parade. Immediately and happily I saw a number of parishioners there from my own parish, Ascegrnsion Cathedral in Oakland, which was great fun, many of whom were helping to organize the parade. And when I saw Metropolitan Nikitas of the Dardanelles (who’s filling in at our cathedral since the retirement of our proistamenos) , I went over to welcome him back from a trip to the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He greeted me with something like, “Good morning! Glad you’re here, Kevin. You’re marching with the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute group.” Metropolitan Nikitas is currently the head of the Institute, and I serve with him as an acolyte at the cathedral. So, of course, I did, and quite happily. And it was a blast!

The Greek Orthodox community in the Bay Area has many friends among various organizations and schools, several of whom also marched in the parade: representatives of the San Francisco Police and Fire Departments, representatives of the Red Cross, some elementary school groups (including one right in front of our group, a group of young and quite adorable girls doing a Chinese-style fan and banner waving routine–very cute!), several high school marching bands, some JROTC units from various schools, an absolutely fantastic group of dancing horses (which I was happy to be marching in front of, if you get my drift) accompanied by a large mariachi band on a float, and also floats from various of our churches, including a number of very good Greek dancing groups of various ages. It was a beautiful day, weather-wise, warm with a breeze, but not too hot, not too cold–a perfect spring day for an extended walk. If readers are familiar with San Francisco, it was along Market Street, from Second Street up into the Civic Center, ending up right in front of City Hall, where there was a stand with our Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco, Metropolitan Nikitas, several clergy, and several civic dignitaries. One of the California Senators presented a plaque to Metropolitan Gerasimos in appreciation for the Greek Orthodox community’s contributions to California culture and philanthropy. After the parade was finished, there was a function at the Civic Center Auditorium, with various presentations, dancing groups, and such, with much food. This latter function I only saw the very beginning of, as I had to get back home to Berkeley, but it was very well-attended and looked to be an interesting presentation.

I had an absolutely great time. It’s nap time now!

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Greek Salutations (Χαιρετισμοι)

In my last post I mentioned that I was working on the texts for the Salutations/Χαιρετισμοι services for the five Fridays of Lent. Here is the Greek text. The services for all five Fridays are included, with no abbreviations, no flipping back and forth between pages, and with rubrics.

I won’t be posting the English, which I’ve also completed, because it is text from publications of the Holy Transfiguration Monastery which are under copyright. If I receive permission to post it or publish it in the future, I will.

Fittingly, I have chosen to post it on the Feast of the Annunciation to the Theotokos, the day of the Incarnation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.

Κυριε Ιησου Χριστε, ελεησον με τον αμαρτωλο.

Δοξα τω Θεω !

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Almost done

For several days, I’ve been working on the Greek and English texts of the Salutations (Χαιρετισμοι) services, in which the famous Akathist to the Theotokos is chanted. The arrangement of the service itself is very interesting. It begins with the service for the Small Compline (Μικρον Αποδειπνον). At the point where the kontakion of the saint of the day is chanted in that service, the Canon of the Akathist and the Akathist itself are chanted. At their conclusion, the service continues not with the rest of Small Compline, but with the service for Great Compline (Μεγα Αποδειπνον). And while that might sound simple, it’s a bit more complex than that.

The Salutations services are held in the evenings of the first five Fridays of the Great Fast (Lent). I’ll describe here the various differences. On the first Friday, the service includes the entire Canon of the Akathist, all nine Odes in a row, followed by the first six stanzas of the Akathist (those of the letters α through ζ). Then, near the end of the service, there is a Gospel reading of John 15.1-7 (“I am the True Vine”). None of the other Salutations services include Gospel readings. The second Friday’s service also goes entirely through the Canon of the Akathist, and then through the next six stanzas of the Akathist (η through μ). The third Friday then also goes entirely through the Canon, and then through the next six stanzas of the Akathist (ν through σ). The fourth Friday also goes straight through the Canon, and then finishes the Akathist with the final six stanzas (τ through ω). The fifth Friday is quite different than the first four Fridays, however, particularly in its reading of the entire Akathist to the Theotokos. Several items are different (namely some kontakia), but especially different from the other Salutations services is the arrangement of the Canon and Akathist. It goes in this order: Akathist stanzas α through ζ; Canon Odes 1 and 3 (there is no Canon 2); Akathist stanzas θ through μ; Canon Odes 4 through 6; Akathist stanzas ν through σ; Canon Odes 7 through 9; Akathist stanzas τ through ω, followed by a repeated stanza α. So, while both the Canon and the Akathist are read in their entirety, neither is read consecutively in its entirety.

So, there’s a little purple book we’ve been using for the Salutations services in our parish which includes both Greek and English texts on facing pages. Last year I noticed a number of oddities, mistakes really, in both the Greek and the English, including incorrect Greek texts (the compiler took it upon himself, wrongly, to change some of the words) and faulty and missing translations on the English side. I made a note of some of these, but then forgot about them until we came to the first Salutations service this year. So I began compiling the English and polytonic Greek texts during this last week. I spent a nice afternoon today proofreading the latter, particularly paying attention to the accents. I’ve compiled the English text out of the translations from the Holy Transfiguration Monastery, adjusting the Our Father (to using “…Who art in heaven…trespasses…who trespass against us…evil one.”) and the Creed to the standard English translations in use in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. It’s been educational and highly edifying work, tracking down the texts and getting everything arranged just right. I’ve got each service arranged on the page, all the way through, no turning back and forth. The total is about 200 pages, but with large print and lots of white space, to make it easier for reading in church. The HTM English part had its trial run just yesterday, when one of our readers used it in the Salutations service, and noted some corrections. This coming Friday, I’ll have the full Greek and English version ready, and run it by our bishop and priest, to see if they find it useful. I just have to finish proofreading, and then arrange the texts on facing pages, and that’s that.

So, that’s my fun and edifying project of the week!

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Honoring Saints

Although God’s saints have no need of glory and honor from men, since they enjoy heavenly and divine glory, living in eternity according to Solomon, and their souls are in the hand of God, and their names are recorded in the book of life, nevertheless it is our indispensable duty to write their lives and achievements for their glorification and honor, and consequently to praise them and pronounce them blessed, as faithful servants of God, or rather as genuine friends of His. For according to Basil the Great, the honor that is given to the best of fellow-servants is proof of goodwill towards our common Lord. This is especially true if these good servants of God are not simply saints, if they did not simply struggle for their own Salvation, but were also public benefactors, who struggled for the salvation of many, and made myriads of efforts towards this end.

Such were our Holy and God-inspired Fathers Niketas, John, and Joseph [founders of Nea Moni, Chios]. For they struggled not only for their own Salvation, but after their super-human efforts of spiritual endeavor over a period of many years they concerned themselves with the Salvation of the many. To this end these Fathers of blessed memory subjected themselves to myriads of pains, both on land and on sea, in their effort to build Monasteries for men’s Spiritual salvation, and did actually build them. And through the divine example of their virtues and their God-inspired teaching they saved many. Wherefore, it is just that they be praised as our common benefactors, for the glory of God, Who is glorified in His Saints, and for the benefit of those who read or hear about their divine Conduct and their godlike virtues.

St Nikephoros of Chios. Quoted in Constantine Cavarnos, Saint Nikephoros of Chios, Modern Orthodox Saints volume 4, pages 79-80

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