For St. Thomas Sunday (the Sunday after Pascha), Archbishop Michael made his annual visit to Holy Apostles. He tonsured Nikolaos Demetriades as a reader, and awarded Fr. Joel the Kamilavka. Especially falling during the Paschal season, it was a joyous occasion for all.
To celebrate Jesus sanctifying the waters by his baptism, Orthodox churches not only bless water in church, but traditionally bless the nearest body of water as well. We have a long-standing practice of blessing Cayuga Lake on or shortly after the Feast of Theophany. This year we had the particular joy of holding this blessing jointly with St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church in Ithaca. It was a lovely opportunity to embody our shared work of sanctifying this place.
How can a womb contain Him Whom nothing can contain?
How can He remain in His Father’s bosom, yet rest in His Mother’s arms?
It is His good pleasure to accomplish this.
Having no flesh, He purposely assumes it for our sake.
HE WHO IS becomes what He never was.
He shares our substance without forsaking His own nature.
Desiring to make us citizens of the world on high,
Christ, the Only-begotten of the Father, is born on earth as a man.
-From Matins for Nativity
Lazarus was baptized on December 18, 2022. It’s always a joy to see a new Christian life beginning in the Church!
On the Feast of the Transfiguration, we bless fruit: as Christ’s Transfiguration shows the beauty of humanity in its intended divine beauty, so we take the beautiful fruits of creation and offer them up to God, so that they may share in spiritual beauty as well. This year people brought especially abundant offerings of fruit, as can be seen in the picture.
The 34B Bridge, right next to our church, was under construction for long enough that for some of us, walking out to check on its progress after services became a regular routine. So when it was finished, we did what comes naturally to a church steeped in the liturgical mindset of sanctifying the created world: we held a procession and blessed it.
Pascha is a traditional time to receive converts into the Church, since Baptism is a personal participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ. This year we received two new members by Baptism on Lazarus Saturday, and a third by Chrismation on Holy Saturday.