Thursday, December 18, 2008

Upcoming Special Services

Just a brief note about three special services that are coming up soon...

Saturday, December 20th, 6pm at St. John's and St. Nina's (1967 Napier Street):
Panikhida (Memorial Service) for Kevin's grandmother and for the newly departed Patriarch Alexey II - followed by our usual Great Vespers service. While Panikhidas are often served more privately as "family affairs", since this will be the first Panikhida served at our mission, and since it is appropriate to "mourn with those who mourn", we will begin the Panikhida at the time we usually begin Great Vespers so that the whole community may join in.

Wednesday, December 24th, 6pm at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Sobor (75 East 43rd Avenue):
Royal Hours and Vigil for the Nativity will be served at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, which Fr. Mikhail Fourik has kindly made available to us (since we learned on very short notice that our chapel will not be available on Wednesday and since Holy Resurrection celebrates the Nativity on the Old Calendar).

Thursday, December 25th, 9am at St. John's and St. Nina's (1967 Napier Street):
Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for the Nativity. There will be no Hours preceding the service (i.e., Liturgy will begin right at 9am) and no communal meal following the service so that the service should be finished by about 10:30am.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SERVICE TONIGHT: Entrance of the Theotokos

Just a reminder (made all the more necessary by my failure to post it on the St. John's and St. Nina's web-calendar - my apologies!) that we will be celebrating the Feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple with a Vesperal Liturgy at St. John's Monastic House (I was not able to get in touch with the folks who run St. George's) TONIGHT (Thursday, November 20th) at 7:30pm. Please come fasting from noon onwards if you are planning to receive communion.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Glory to God! We have a leader!

As was said by one member of the All-American Council here: "God has not abandoned His people!" Or as another put it, enthusiastic and repeatedly, "We have a leader!"

The election of the newly-minted Bishop Jonah of Ft. Worth to become our new metropolitan is nothing less than a miracle - and at the same time it reveals just how radically the Holy Synod of Bishops and the central administration of the OCA has changed in the last little while. In the process of nominating a metropolitan for the OCA, if no nominee receives more than 2/3rds of the ballots cast in the first round of voting, the Holy Synod of Bishops elects as metropolitan one of the two men who receive the most nominations in the second round of voting. In both of the last two elections since the OCA received its autocephalus ("self-heading") status from our mother-church in Russia in 1970, the synod has chosen the more experienced second-place nominee over the less-experienced "people's choice": first Metropolitan Theodosius was chosen over Archbishop Dimitri, then Metropolitan Herman was chosen over then-front-runner Archbishop Seraphim.

This is the first time that the Holy Synod of Bishops has chosen the "people's choice" to be the new metropolitan of the OCA, and the first time that someone who converted to Orthodox Christianity in adulthood has been chosen - a choice made all the more dramatic by Bishop Jonah's radical inexperience: he had been a bishop for less than two weeks before being made metropolitan! The bishops' choice shows that the Holy Synod is listening carefully to its flock - and reminds me of how the catechumen Ambrose was elected bishop of Milan in AD 374.

The turning point came when Fr. John Jillions, speaking for the pre-conciliar commission, pressed the Holy Synod to respond to the questions they had asked us to ask them at the beginning of the council. The bishops were at first reluctant to respond, as (through a typically Orthodox oversight) they had not received a copy of the compiled questions beforehand to consider. At last, as it was obvious to all that all the delegates present earnestly desired to hear the bishops' response to the questions, the Holy Synod sent Bishop Jonah up to answer some of the questions after first putting them in their proper theological context. Bishop Jonah's response, available to listen to here in its entirety (and well worth a listen - do check it out!) revealed to all present exactly what a thoughtful, articulate, wise and loving individual he is - and his response made it clear that he understood the hurt and betrayal that many have felt, and at the same time made it clear that forgiveness of the hurt does not justify what was done, but absolutely must be extended as it is essential for our own salvation and healing.

The feeling of joy and gratitude to God that can be felt here is overwhelming, and may be glimpsed in the response to Metropolitan Jonah's speech at the banquet here tonight - a speech which also revealed him to be a man of vision, and a man whose vision is firmly rooted in the resurrectional reality of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. With Metropolitan Jonah we all cry "Glory to Jesus Christ!" and with all those present at the council we all cry "Axios!" and "Many years!" to our newly-elected leader.

Looking forward to coming home and rejoicing with you all, I remain,

your servant in Christ,

Fr. Justin.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Special Service Reminders

Just a reminder - there are two special services this week.

Tuesday, 7pm: Daily Vespers at St. Mark's Chapel, UBC, for all associated with the UBC Chaplaincy

Thursday, 7:30pm: Vesperal Liturgy for the feast of St. John the Theologian at St. John of Shanghai Monastic House (i.e., in what is on Sunday the St. John's and St. Nina's Mission dining room) - come fasting from noon onwards if you are planning to receive communion

Friday, September 19, 2008


Supper with Archbishop Seraphim is at 6pm tonight.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Archbishop Seraphim is coming! ...but not this Saturday.

As was announced on Sunday, Archbishop Seraphim is coming to visit our little community again - but, due to the demands of his new job as administrator of the OCA, the timing of his visit has been changed.

Archbishop Seraphim will now not be visiting us for Great Vespers this Saturday. Instead, he will be coming to eat and chat with us the following Friday (September 19th). The meal will be "pot-luck" (or pot-blessing?), and Friday is, of course, a fast-day, so if you are coming (as I hope you will) please bring some fast-friendly food to share with everybody else.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jennifer's Baby Shower

Just a quick reminder to all and sundry that there will be a little baby shower for Jennifer (Ness) Wicks after the meal on Sunday, August 17th. Quoting from the official announcement:
Bring a little present or something handmade and special to bless Alex, Jenn, and Gabriel's new little one!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Feast Day of St John of Shanghai

Today is the feast-day of St. John of Shanghai, patron of our community - or one of our patrons, at least! Following the custom of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (the church in which St. John served as a bishop and in which he was initially glorified as a saint), we will be celebrating his feast-day on the Saturday closest to the date of his repose - in other words, this Saturday! Accordingly, we will be celebrating Divine Liturgy at St. John's (1967 Napier Street) this coming Saturday, July 5th, beginning with the Hours at 9am.

My apologies for the lateness of this announcement. With all the other monumentous events occuring in our community these days, our parish feast-day almost escaped my attention! Fortunately there are others in our midst with better memories than mine. I look forward to seeing and celebrating with any and all who are able to make it out on such short notice.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Monks are back at St Herman's

The monks have moved back to St Herman's monastery in Platina California. There was extensive damage from the wild fires all around, but it seems the monastery itself was miraculously protected.

Thank you for your prayers.

Fr C

Monday, June 30, 2008

Platina evacuations have been lifted!

As of last night for St Herman's Monastery and this morning for the St Xenia Skete, the evacuations have been lifted. One of the fires is 81% contained, and the other is 52% contained (just how do they figure that out accurately anyway?). I'd feel better if the news was both fires were 100% contained and it had started raining in the area, but alas, that hasn't happened yet.

It's good news, but keep them in your prayers, please. I keep thinking the fires are still 19% and 48% uncontained, or, out-of-control - or is that the cynic in me?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Nuns of St Xenia's Skete are now evacuated too

Current updates to the situation for both St Herman's Monastery and St Xenia's Skete can be found here:

Lord have mercy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Pray for St Herman's Monastery

Apparently, there is a wild fire, out of control, on the ridge above the monastery in Platina, California. The monks have been evacuated to Redding, and they are asking for prayers to save the Monastery.

The Platina Fire Department (a total of two people!) are doing their best...

The nuns at St Xenia Skete are still there, according to the latest news.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Work Party and Hewlett Family Transportation Difficulties

Just a reminder that (1) there is a work party tomorrow (well, today now) as well as a warning that (2) we (Fr. Justin and family) may not be there for much of it! This is not because we are trying to get out of working, but rather because we will be trying to get our van working. It died late last night as we were on our way to St. John's House, so we had to return to our home in Surrey to sleep and obtain our one working vehicle.

Matushka will be letting those who will be at the work party know what needs to be done - and those who live at St. John's House will also have a good sense of what needs to be done, I'm sure! If it is at all possible for me to get in by noon for the rescheduled mission board meeting, I will be there, but if I am not able to get in until later in the day, perhaps we might be able to meet shortly after I arrive.

The children did amazingly well, thank God, especially considering the lateness of the hour and how long they had to wait while Matushka Sarah and her dad tinkered with the van to try to get it working. We're still not sure what the problem is with the van yet - it mostly just refuses to start - please continue to keep us all in your prayers!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Vesperal Liturgy for Ascension Tonight

Just a quick reminder that there will be a Vesperal Liturgy for Ascension, held in St. John's House, tonight (Thursday) at 7:30pm. If you are planning to receive communion, please come fasting from about noon on.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fr. Joseph Ponti has passed away

Our kind benefactor, Fr. Joseph Ponti, the rector of St. Francis of Assisi parish who so generously gave us access to our current building, passed away last Sunday. I did not know him well, but in our brief relationship I came to know him as a wise, good-humoured pastor with a heart for God, much concerned for the spiritual well-being of those under his care and for the cause of the Gospel.

In lieu of Little Compline tonight, I will be attending the prayer service for Fr. Joseph which is being held at St. Francis of Assisi at 7:00pm, and I would encourage as many of you who are able to do so to do the same.

The full obituary for Fr. Ponti is available online here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm under the weather today...

Actually, the weather is reasonably good, but, whatever it is, I'm feeling "under" it! As a result, I will not be at Little Compline tonight, but it will be going ahead at the usual time and place with our faithful monk, Br. Cyprian.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Justin.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Come and help us stamp out the duct tape plague at St. John's! Not that we have anything against duct tape... We love it, really - the handyman's secret weapon and all that... It's just that we would prefer not to have it adorning the carpet under our feet at Sunday morning liturgy!

And now, thanks to a generous donor and to Fr. Ponti, who has given us the go-ahead to go ahead and improve the floor, we are finally blessed with the ability to replace the carpet with some beautiful laminate oak flooring. And here it is, sitting in the entrance area of St. John's house, adorned with a coffee press that we bought at the same time, right in front of the sign-boards for the soon-to-be-designed signs that will reveal the presence of St. John of Shanghai Orthodox Mission to the surrounding neighbourhood (more about that in a future post...)!

Obviously, there's just one minor problem with this picture... The flooring would look a whole lot better if it were actually installed as a floor! That's where you come in. If you are handy with this sort of thing and have some time to spare this Monday (which you just might, given that it's the Victoria Day long weekend), please feel free to come out to St. John's and help us celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday by helping us install the new floor! (We'll probably also be doing some preparatory work ripping up old duct-taped carpets on Sunday afternoon, if for some reason you're not available Monday during the day.)

Many thanks in advance if you are actually able to come out and help us on such short notice. If you're not able to, may God bless you with a wonderfully restful Victoria Day long weekend!

Monday, March 24, 2008

TIME CHANGE: Vesperal Liturgy for Annunciation at 7pm

Vesperal Liturgy for the Annunciation tonight will begin at 7pm rather than 6pm (as was previously scheduled). Remember to come fasting from noon on if you are planning to receive communion.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers

Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers will be held at Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church in New Westminster (220 Carnarvon Street) at 7pm this coming Sunday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

REMINDER: Vesperal Liturgy Tonight

Just a reminder that if you are planning to receive communion at tonight's Vesperal Liturgy for St. Raphael, please come fasting from noon onwards.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Orthodox Young Adult Retreat in Vancouver!

Registration forms are now available for the Orthodox Young Adult Retreat being held in Vancouver, BC on May 16-18, 2008.

Speaker: Father John Hainsworth

Topic: "Pure and undefiled religion is this" ~ maintaining purity and guarding against personal pollution in Orthodox spiritual life.

Cost: $160 if full payment is received prior to March 1st, 2008 $175 if payment is received after March 1st, 2008

Registration fee includes two nights’ accommodation, four meals, access to all lectures and group discussions, Vespers, prayer groups, Liturgy and a daytrip to Granville Island.

Email vancouver.retreat{at} (replace "{at}" with "@") to receive your registration package. Accommodation will be provided at the University of British Columbia, located in the middle of Pacific Spirit Park, close to beaches and the city centre.

Please note that the retreat is open to all Orthodox between the ages of 18 -35 (the upper age limit is definitely negotiable)

Questions? Email Muryn Jordan at vancouver.retreat{at} (replace "{at}" with "@")Facebook Group: Vancouver Orthodox Retreat/Conference May 2008

Spread the word! Download, print, and post the official retreat flyer - available here.

REMINDER: Work Party Tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder that there is a work party scheduled for tomorrow, which will begin shortly after 10am and continue until just before choir practice at 4pm - or until we have the whole house cleaned up, whichever comes first! ;-) This work party's main focus will be on rearranging the kitchen to make it more functional and to accommodate the larger refrigerator we are obtaining.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

REMINDER: Reader's Vigil Wednesday for St. Anthony the Great

Just a quick reminder: there will be a reader's vigil this Wednesday at St. John's House for the feast-day of St. Anthony the Great.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Blessing Trout Lake

Pictures of our Theophany Great Blessing of the Waters at Trout Lake are now up!