Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2024!

Shamrock Image by Jenneth Graser from Pixabay

Today on the old style (Julian) calendar, we celebrate the 5th century St. Patrick of Ireland. He is also known as St. Patrick, Bishop of Armagh, Enlightener of Ireland. (March 17th falls 13 days later on the Julian Calendar)

Here are some fascinating historical documents about St. Patrick, written by the 7th century monk Muirchú from the Royal Irish Academy.

Icons of St. Patrick often show him holding a three-leafed shamrock growing on a single stem, he used this to illustrate the Holy Trinity – our One God in Three Persons.

St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn, the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!”   ~ St. Patrick

Abbreviated Lorica Hymn of St. Patrick’s Prayer, recorded and sung below, by our Youth Choir in 2019.

One of his many miracles: During a perilous journey to share the Christian faith in King Loegaire’s territory, the saint discovered they were in mortal danger of an ambush. He prayed the Lorica Prayer, and to those lying in ambush, the saint and his company of monks appeared to them as if they were wild deer, and not humans. Because of this miracle, the Lorica Prayer is also known as The Deer’s Cry.

The early fifth century Enlightenment of Ireland by St. Patrick and his brethren, has been called the most successful single missionary venture in the history of the church.  

A short recording by my GG’s

Today is also the 4th anniversary of my first Blisswood posting (A Shamrock Day) which fell upon St. Patrick’s Day in 2020! Thank you for visiting!

Below are two easy, tasty, recipes to celebrate St. Patrick’s day – or any day!

An online Plant Based Colcannon (Potato/Cabbage) Side Dish Recipe, and…

Here’s my own, new, Sweet’n Savory Irish Beer Bread Recipe!

May Christ’s Divine Joy and Peace fill our hearts – as we strive to live in the awareness of His Glorious Presence.

Holy St. Patrick, pray to God for us!

A Touch of Green on Forgiveness Sunday

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay

Today there are many celebrations!

It is Forgiveness Sunday and tomorrow is the first day of Great Lent (Orthodox Style).

Pascha (Easter) comes late this year. (May 5th)

Today is also St. Owen’s Day (March 17/4)!

On the new style calendar, today is also St. Patrick of Ireland. (The equivalent Julian calendar date for March 17th is 13 days later – on March 30th)

Here are some fascinating historical documents about St. Patrick, written by the 7th century monk Muirchú from the Royal Irish Academy.

Icons of St. Patrick often show him holding a three-leafed shamrock growing on a single stem, he used this to illustrate the Holy Trinity – our One God in Three Persons.

St. Patrick wrote many hymns. Here is an excerpt from a beautiful, longer hymn, the Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick. “I bind unto myself today, the Strong Name of the Trinity! By Invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three!”   ~ St. Patrick

Abbreviated Lorica Hymn of St. Patrick’s Prayer, recorded and sung below, by our Youth Choir in 2019.

As today is Forgiveness Sunday, I’ll conclude with sincerely asking your forgiveness… For any offense I may have given to any of my readers/subscribers, at any time.

God Forgives!

May our Lenten Journey ahead, be Peaceful and Fruitful!

Another (very short) recording of St. Patrick’s Prayer sung outside, by my GG’s a few years ago. The precious robin chirping at the end… was totally unrehearsed!

Eve of Nativity Greetings

Past Orthodox Christmas Postings Resource ⭐️

On the Night of Nativity ~ 7th Century Homily

This Nativity night [Christ] bestowed peace on the whole world;
So let no one threaten;
This is the night of the Most Gentle One –
Let no one be cruel;
This is the night of the Humble One –
Let no one be proud.
Now is the day of joy –
Let us not revenge;
Now is the day of Good Will –
Let us not be mean.
In this Day of Peace –
Let us not be conquered by anger.
Today the Bountiful One impoverished Himself for our sake;
So, rich one, invite the poor to your table.
Today we receive a Gift for which we did not ask;
So let us give alms to those who implore and beg us.
This Day opens the heavenly doors to our prayers;
Let us open our door to those who ask our forgiveness.
Today the Divine One took upon Himself the seal of our humanity,
In order for humanity to be adorned by the Seal of Divinity.

~ by St. Isaac the Syrian, 7th century

Parish Youth Choir sang this short Nativity piece (virtually), back in 2020. Their merry voices rang out like silver trumpets, with the lyrics from St. Isaac the Syrian’s poem above, and put to my music.

Below, our Parish Choir (recorded in 2014) sings the ancient Nativity Kontakion (a short hymn of a feast or a saint) composed by 6th century St. Romanos the Melodist:


…Wishing you a blessed Nativity Feast tomorrow, and a joyous Twelve Days of Christmas!

Spiritual Fragrance

Roses of Spiritual Friendship from Olga

Today is the Feast Day of St. Xenia! (A very special Saint who has greatly helped our family) Congratulations also, to goddaughter Xenia on your Saint’s Day. May God grant you many years!

Yesterday, after service, our youth choir rehearsed It is Truly Meet to Bless Thee, O Theotokos… a hymn they’ll be singing for an upcoming liturgy. Sung from the heart, their pure, prayerful voices filled the air with spiritual fragrance – and arose like incense.

It is Truly Meet – Parish Youth Choir 2023

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
Ever blessed and most pure,
And the Mother of our God.
More honourable than the cherubim,
And more glorious beyond compare
Than the seraphim,
Who without corruption gavest birth
To God the Word,
True Theotokos we magnify thee.

May the Mother of God keep you and your family.

National Public Radio Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas

NPR Orthodox Christmas Blisswood

Happy Eve of Nativity!

National Public Radio’s (NPR) Morning Edition recently reached out to Blisswood!

I was interviewed for the 3 minute short radio story heard here that aired today January 6th… regarding the traditions of those celebrating Orthodox Christmas using the Julian (Old Style) Calendar.

Some of our parish Youth Choir’s music is heard! A snippet was included of our wonderful Voices of Faith, Hope and Love singing the carol Glory to God in the Highest from their 2020 Virtual Nativity Concert during the pandemic. The whole concert can be heard on Blisswood’s My Music Vids

Another small clip of our music was heard from our Adult Choir’s 2014 Nativity Concert, singing Little Pine Tree also found on Blisswood’s My Music Vids.

This 20 minute interview (condensed into the 3 minute show) with NPR was such an amazing experience and a wonderful opportunity to share our ancient Orthodox Christian Faith!

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star Illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Our Lord’s Holy Nativity!

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy for 2023!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven, meet ye Him!

With Love in Christ, m Barbara.

Past Nativity Posts’ Resource

Church Bells in Ayia Napa, Cypress – Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay

May the Light of Bethlehem’s Star illuminate and warm our hearts on this coming Bright Feast of Christ’s Holy Nativity!

National Public Radio NPR Broadcast with Blisswood on Orthodox Christmas Published January 6, 2023

Our Little Nativity Creche Published by issuu magazine 2022

Re-Gift Boomerang Published by issuu magazine 2022

Christ is Born! Posted January 6, 2022

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Posted January 7, 2021

Happy 2nd Day of Christmas Posted January 8, 2022

Happy 3rd Day of Christmas Posted January 9, 2022

4th Day of Nativity Posted January 10, 2022

5th Day of Nativity – the Holy Innocents Posted January 11, 2022

6th Day of Nativity Posted January 12, 2022

Apodosis of Nativity Posted January 13, 2022

St. Basil’s Feast Day Posted January 14, 2022

St. Basil’s Day Cake Recipe Posted January 14, 2021

Greetings on St. Basil’s Day Posted January 14, 2021

Holy Theophany Posted January 19, 2022

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Concert 2020

St. Sophia Voices of Faith Hope and Love – Youth Choir Virtual Nativity Tropar 2020

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing the 16th Century Coventry Carol – 2014 Concert (In Honour of the Holy Innocents)

It’s Nativity Poem/Song

Little Pine Tree Poem/Song

The Holly Poem

The Candy Cane Poem/Song

St. Sophia Adult Choir Sing Little Pine Tree – 2014 Concert

Prayerfully wishing you God’s Blessings of good health, strength of spirit, and peaceful joy!

With Love in Christ.

They Dance for Joy

Detail of Mosaic Panel of Creation – St. Sophia Orthodox Church – Canada

angels… are always being filled full of light, becoming ever more radiant and making blessed use of their natural ability to change. They dance for joy around the First Light, look continuously towards Him and are enlightened directly by Him, as they tirelessly sing the praises of the Fount of Light and, being ministers of light, transmit illuminating grace to those lower beings who are being enlightened. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Malachi 4:2), is without beginning and pre-eternal. He is both immutable and unchangeable, as with Him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). He is without end, never-setting, beaming out the true and heavenly light of day without evening, in which the spirits of the righteousness live with the good angels. When this present age reaches its end, the righteous shall also have their bodies with them, as heirs of the light and sons of the true day. That day continues forever without evening, and neither has, nor ever did have, a morning, since it has no beginning. ~ St. Gregory Palamas

On occasion, I’ve orchestrated group observation with my youth choir to demonstrate how we, as created beings, are unable to fully comprehend the concept of Eternity or Pre-eternal.

After first discussing general definitions of the two words, we’d continue with the next part of the exercise. For just a few minutes, (it’s too difficult to try longer) we silently contemplate the concept of what Eternal means. How God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are Pre-Eternal (beyond time and space)… and have always “been” even before anything else existed. No beginning, no end.

The attempts to try and wrap our mortal minds around the notion of eternal and pre-eternal is humbling and revealing.

Spontaneous laughter and amazement conclude these experiments. Exclamations from the youth range from “Wow, that’s impossible!” to “My brain exploded!”

God is simultaneously everywhere. (Yet another wondrous point to ponder!) He is the beginning, the continuation, the Life and Light of everything that exists. In His great and loving goodness, the Way to salvation is revealed through His Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ… the Sun of Righteousness, the Dawn and Dayspring from on high.

And so, like the angels, let our souls rejoice and dance with joy; radiantly infused with the Pre-eternal Divine Light, and Peace… which surpasses understanding.

✠ Excellent Post Script from Anastasia, who shares: “A priest once said in my high school religion class: “Eternity is not a “line”. It is a “point”, and we are standing in it.” As he said that, he drew a line and then a dot on the board. I’ve remembered it these 50+ years it impressed me so.

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