A Royal Visitation

We work, pray and hope every day to experience God’s mercy. Every day we experience a continuous miracle. Others begin to feel this and come to our church in order to give their souls a rest. ~ St. Elizabeth, Grand Duchess

She was a rare combination of exalted Christian spirit, moral nobility, enlightened mind, gentle heart, and refined taste. She possessed an extremely delicate and multifaceted spiritual composition and her outward appearance reflected the beauty and greatness of her spirit. Upon her brow lay the seal of an inborn, elevated dignity which set her apart from those around her. Under the cover of modesty, she often strove – though in vain, to conceal herself from the gaze of others, but one could not mistake her for another. Wherever she appeared, one would always ask: “Who is she who looketh forth as the morning, clear as the sun” (Song of Solomon 6:10)? Wherever she would go she emanated the pure fragrance of the lily. Perhaps it was for this reason that she loved the colour white – it was the reflection of her heart. All of her spiritual qualities were strictly balanced, one against another, never giving an impression of one-sidedness. Femininity was joined in her to a courageous character; her goodness never led to weakness and blind, unconditional trust of people. Even in her finest heartfelt inspirations she exhibited that gift of discernment which has always been so highly esteemed by Christian ascetics… ~ Metropolitan Anastassy + (1965)

This week our parish was blessed with an amazing 24 hours… the visitation of the Holy Relics of New-martyr Grand Duchess, St. Elizabeth and Nun Barbara. 

St. Elizabeth the Grand Duchess was the granddaughter of England’s Queen Victoria, (so was St. Elizabeth’s sister, the Tsarina Empress and Royal Martyr St. Alexandra). As Canadians, these are warm connections to our own country’s history.

The holy relics were carried to the church entrance over a welcoming walkway (see above feature image), strewn with hundreds of petals and herbs from parishioners’ gardens. The brisk afternoon breeze continuously swept the flowers in vibrant kaleidoscopes of colour.

The Saints’ Reliquary was venerated by the faithful and visitors to our parish… where many detected the relics emitting a gentle, heavenly fragrance of roses.

It was an extra blessing for those present, who have the New Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth as their Patron Saint.

Before and during the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy a new Reader was tonsured (Axios!), and our priest was awarded the right to wear the kamilavka (Axios!). The kamilavka is a special hat which reminds us of our Saviour’s Crown of Thorns.

After Divine Liturgy, a Molieben to St. Elizabeth was served, culminating with a joyful Procession around the church… where both the building and the congregation were blessed with refreshing and copious showers of Holy Water!

Holy New-Martyr Grand Duchess Elizabeth and Nun Barbara, pray to God for us!

Beautiful 6 minute Folk Hymn/Ballad about the life of St. Elizabeth, by Katina, (Memory Eternal)

Through His Tender Mercy

An October Dawn

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ~ Psalm 23:6

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. ~ Psalm 52:8

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. ~ Psalm 85:10

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. ~ St. Matthew 5:7

Repentance is the gate of mercy which is opened to those who seek it. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian

Lord, as You will, and as You know, have mercy! ~ Abba Macarius

In my life, two questions have especially occupied my attention. First, the exploration of the ways of God’s mercy which I found first in nature. Then I began to observe human life, and even where free will was leaning towards evil, I always found God’s mercy. Then I decided to turn to that which is most sinful, most evil, and I turned to my inward life. It seemed that here there was no place for God’s mercy, because there was nothing good in it; but even here I discovered God’s mercy, and I remembered the words of the Psalmist: ‘Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.’ Then I finally became convinced that the mercy of God towards man is limitless and boundless. ~ Archbishop Iosaph Skorodumov

The Dawning Dayspring connects all Creation through the Created! The Dayspring… the Orient from on High, refers to our merciful Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

May we all make Good Choices today… and be swathed in the Tender Mercy of His Redeeming, Healing, Peaceful, Love.

Parish Youth Choir Sing ~ 2023
🎵 Lord Have Mercy 🎵

Proven Paths

Traditional Stone Village in Askas, Cyprus by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

In all things let us travel the road laid down for us by the tradition of our elders and by the goodness of their lives. ~ St. John Cassian

Christianity is more than a theory about the universe, more than teachings written down on paper; it is a path along which we journey – in the deepest and richest sense, the way of life. ~ Kallistos Ware, The Orthodox Way

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive… One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness. ~ C.S. Lewis

Simplicity of Heart

Strolling through California Wildflowers ~ shared by Anastasia

Christ is Risen!

Today is also St. Basil of Ostrog’s Feast Day!

… You want to taste a moment of joy from God. What’s the secret here? Suppose you believe that, if you ask, you’ll receive the joy. ‘He can’t help but give it to me’. But He doesn’t. And you yourselves are the reason why. It’s not that God doesn’t want to give, but the secret is your own simplicity and gentleness. If you’re lacking in simplicity and you say: ‘I’ll do this and God will give me what I’m asking’, it won’t happen. Do everything simply, gently. Don’t do things with an eye on the outcome. Don’t say: ‘I’ll do this in order to get that result’. Just do it gently, without knowing you’re doing it. In other words, pray simply and don’t think about what God will give you in your soul. Don’t keep tabs. Don’t discuss it with yourself. When you say the Jesus Prayer, do so gently and simply and don’t think about anything else except the prayer. Let your heart be simple… let it be good… Everybody seeks a good and simple soul; they find solace in it; they approach it without fear, without suspicion. And that soul itself lives with inner peace, has good relations with other people and the rest of creation. ~ Saint Porphyrios of Kafsokalyvia

Love Christ and put nothing before His Love. He is Joy, He is Life, He is Light. Christ is Everything. He is the ultimate desire, He is everything. Everything Beautiful is in Christ. ~ St. Porphyrios

If you have the opportunity to read Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Saint Porphyriosplease do, it’s amazing! The book is an anthology of his letters and writings.

Sharing this sweet old folk hymn on the beautiful Joys and Gifts of Simplicity

‘Tis the gift to be simple,
‘Tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed,
To turn, turn, will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning, we come ’round right.

Striving to seek the Lord in simplicity of heart…
With love in Christ.

Truly He is Risen!

Virtues of Hope

Image by Igor Schubin from Pixabay

The Virtues of Hope
rejoice in tribulation
for God is with us.

Expectancy rests…
trusting, patiently faithful,
in the unseen Good.

Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. ~ Psalm 33:20-22

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~ Psalm 46:1

Cascades of Blessings

Image by falco from Pixabay

The Lord loves us so dearly that it passes all description. Through the Holy Spirit alone can the soul know His love, of which she is inexpressibly aware. The Lord is all goodness and mercy. He is meek and gentle, and we have no words to tell of His goodness; but the soul without words feels this love and would remain wrapped in its quiet tranquility forever. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

Do not say, ‘This happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.’ In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance… How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God? ~ St. Basil the Great

That green leaf on the tree which you needlessly plucked – it was not wrong, only rather a pity for the little leaf. The heart that has learned to love feels sorry for every created thing. ~ St. Silouan the Athonite

Wishing you Peace and Joy!

From Flower to Flower

Image by sharkolot from Pixabay

Be like little bees that go about from flower to flower and gather only the nectar from which they can make honey. A bee flies from flower to flower – to many flowers. But bees don’t stay where there’s no nectar from which they can make honey – they flee. So, may you collect from everyone only what is good and beneficial to you. Let the rest just slip by, as though through raindrops. ~ Elder Paisios; A Little Corner of Paradise

Our Lord Jesus Christ deserves unending praise!

For all His known and unknown blessings…

For helping us to find and grind the good wheat

For wisdom to avoid indigestible chaff.

While threshing and milling a myriad of useless thoughts and actions over stressful situations… Mercifully, and with God’s help (again), it recently occurred to me I’d reacquired an ugly old habit of hovering over stinky, nectarless, flowers. Phew!

Thank you for your prayers. They mean a lot to me!

 Jesus, beautiful goodness, adorn me with flowers of good thoughts and feelings. ~ Ikos 6; Akathist for Holy Communion

Truth is the Beverage of Life

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

One should not seek among others the truth that can be easily gotten from the Church. For in her, as in a rich treasury, the apostles have placed all that pertains to truth, so that everyone can drink this beverage of life. She is the door of life. ~ St. Irenaeus of Lyon

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. ~ Psalm 100:5

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ St. John 1:14

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~ St. John 4:24

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. ~ St. John 8:32

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth…~ Ephesians 5:9

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

Even When it’s Raining

The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all of us who are bowed down. ~ Psalm 145:14

It’s been said that sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but Faith looks up!

We glimpse this in our own gardens, with flowers blooming – regardless of debris from past storms.

For even when it’s raining, the Sun is shining above those clouds!

The fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth. ~ Ephesians 5:9

Sweetness of Humility

A person is humble when he knows that his very being is on loan to him. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

When your children are still small, you have to help them understand what is good. That is the deepest meaning of life. ~ Elder Paisios

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