O Precious Paradise

Detail of parish Creation Mosaic with scenes from Genesis, and the Expulsion From Paradise ~ Genesis 3:23-24

…O ranks of angels, O beauty of Paradise and all the glory of the garden: weep for me, for in my misery I was led astray and rebelled against God. O blessed meadow, trees and flowers planted by God, O sweetness of Paradise: let your leaves, like eyes, shed tears on my behalf, for I am naked and a stranger to God’s glory. No longer do I see thee nor delight in thy joy and splendour, O precious Paradise…. ~ Canticle 4, Sunday of Forgiveness

…O Paradise, share in the sorrow of thy master who is brought to poverty, and with the sound of thy leaves pray to the Creator that He may not keep thy gate closed for ever. I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me… ~ Ikos, Canticle 6 – Sunday of Forgiveness

God Forgives and Blessings Abound!

Today is the day before Great Lent begins, and we celebrate with making Blini Crepes or Pancakes to use up the last of any dairy. If you’re already a plant-based person, these Vegan Blini are simply delicious, and easy to make!

Congratulations on your Saint’s Day Zoe! (Feb. 26/13) God grant you many years!

Flowers of Penitence

Vibrant Spring Crocus by Melania – © Divine Florals

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing… ~ Isaiah 35:1-2

At winter’s end, the crocus – also known as the penitent flower, appears before the spiritual spring of Great Lent… a season of forgiveness, repentance, efforts, hope, and renewal.

The week preceding Great Lent is called Cheesefare (Maslenitsa), and in 2022, Cheesefare begins Monday, February 28th. Meat is now excluded until Pascha (Easter). Dairy and seafood are (thoroughly) enjoyed this week, and it’s traditional to include blini crepes or pancakes to use up remaining dairy – before the more strict plant-based fare of Great Lent.

This year Great Lent begins on Monday, March 7th.

May we all cultivate fragrant buds of virtue, and Blossom Forth!

Holy Blessed St. Xenia

Beautiful Icon of St. Xenia – Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Monastery Jordanville, New York, by Raymond Bucko via Wikimedia Commons.

February 6/January 24

Happy Feast Day!

Today is St. Xenia’s (Ksenia’s) special day.

Congratulations to my dear goddaughter, Xenia – on your Name’s day. May God grant you many years!

Wondrous is God in His Saints! To this very day, St. Xenia continues to be an intercessor for those needing a home, or employment, or who have a physical or mental illness, or for people in search of a spouse. Through God’s mercy, our family can testify to her great support and help!

Here is a beautiful Orthodox folk hymn about the Life of St. Xenia, by Katina.

(Katina’s music can also be heard on Spotify. Although I’ve enjoyed her music over the years, I hadn’t realized she reposed in 2018. Memory Eternal Katina!)

In celebrating St. Xenia’s Day, and remembering certain miracles of her clairvoyance, some like to make blini pancakes.

Blini Crepes can be made for any occasion, and are a time-honoured treat to share. In olden times, this light-fare was served to celebrate a birth or to mark a passing. It’s customary to enjoy Blini Crepes throughout Cheesefare Week (the week before Great Lent begins), up to and including Forgiveness Sunday… the day before Great Lent. This uses up any remaining dairy products, before embarking on the 40 day Vegan Fast of Great Lent.

In closing, I’d like to share what a dear friend recently said…

May St. Xenia help us all remain peaceful, calm, and open to God’s love for mankind.


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