We begin the month of February with another feast day which falls on Monday. With the permission of Metropolitan JOSEPH, we will transfer this feast to the day before and so will celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas and the Meeting of the Lord) on Sunday, February 1. Matins will, as usual, be at 9AM and at 9:30, the ceremonies particular to this feast day will be observed: the blessing of the candles to be used throughout the year and a procession around the church as the Nunc Dimittis (the Song of Simeon – “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace”) is sung.
As is the custom in the Western Rite, we will put away the joyful exclamation of the Church, “Alleluia”, before the three pre-Lenten Sundays Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. In this 3-week period, we also begin using purple as the liturgical color, we do not sing the Gloria in excelsis, and the dismissal is sung in a simpler manner than that used during the rest of the year. All these things are external preparations for the very serious season of repentance and fasting which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 25.
The ashes which are used to mark the faithful with the sign of the Cross on Ash Wednesday are made from palms from the previous Palm Sunday. Please remember to bring the ones that you may have placed behind icons or crosses in your homes by Sunday, February 22 so that they can be burned for use on Ash Wednesday.
At our Annual Parish Meeting on January 18, Stella Green was elected to the Parish Council and Doug Byrum was re-elected for another term. Council officers will be chosen at the first meeting in February.
Our Food for the Hungry collection of canned and packaged food weighed 134 pounds – a record for us! This food was donated to Martha’s Table for use in their programs to feed the poor. Thank you to all who helped in this effort.
Thanks also to all who helped with the breakfast after the Mass on the day of the annual March for Life. We were joined by our friends from St. Patrick’s Church in Warrenton, VA for the service and breakfast before participating in the March.
Please mark your calendars now for the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers on March 1. At this yearly observance, the clergy and faithful of all the Orthodox jurisdictions represented in the Washington area come together to celebrate the end of the iconoclastic controversy and the restoration of icons through the decisions of the Seventh Ecumenical Council in 787. This year’s Vespers service will be held at Ss. Peter & Paul Church in Potomac, Maryland at 5:30PM. The speaker will be our Antiochian Bishop ANTHONY of the Diocese of Toledo and the Midwest (Antiochian Archdiocese) and the three Antiochian parishes will provide refreshments for the reception following the service. It is expected that the installation of the new icons at Ss. Peter and Paul will be complete in time for this celebration.
Read the full February newsletter here.