SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH

June at St. John's........

May 29, 2020
June at St. John's........

June is usually the month of weddings, graduations, outdoor barbeques, the shore, the beach, the pool, parkway traffic and summer games of baseball and volleyball. For me this year, there are no celebrations or weddings but some very pleasant social gatherings that have been cancelled. School has been out since April or March but the children are all home and our street is quiet. Church has been closed and I sincerely miss the services although we are fortunate that Father Maryan and his family are quite adept at live streaming. Frankly I also miss the coffee hours and terrific people I see in church each week . And in the midst of the strange, quiet, peaceful, existence most of us are experiencing, is also the sadness of those who have fallen asleep in the Lord. “Blessed are they whom Thou has chosen and taken, O Lord.” We send our deepest sympathy to: Barbara and John Kary on the passing of Barbara’s brother, Lawrence; to Peggy and Nicholas Kovalycsik on the passing of Nick’s sister, Susan; to Sonja and Chris Finno on the passing of Chris’s mother; to Andrea Shaker on the passing of her father, Michael and to all those not mentioned that have fallen asleep in the Lord recently. With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants and may their Memory be Eternal!

 

Happy Birthday to all those celebrating their birthday in June. Michael Bzik, June 3; Kerri Czech, June 13; Zenia Kary, June 19; Mary Ann Dolak, June 22; and George Hook on June 27. And also wishing Sofia Kseniuk a Happy Birthday on June 12. May God grant each of you a very happy birthday and Many Years.

 

At His Ascension, Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. That happened at Pentecost when they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4) The Sunday of Pentecost, The Feast of the Holy Trinity, is June 7, and is followed by a fast-free week. Since then the Holy Spirit has been sustaining the Church and its members. We are reminded by St. Paul: “See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8) Divine Liturgy will be live streamed from our church starting at 9:30 AM.

 

June 15 is the beginning of the Ss. Peter and Paul Fast. On Monday, June 29 is the Holy Day commemorating Ss. Peter and Paul, Glorious Leaders of the Holy Apostles. Peter was brought to Jesus by his brother, Apostle Andrew the first called. His name had been Simon but Jesus called him Peter which means rock from the Greek, petra. Jesus said, “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church,” He was at Jesus’ side throughout His ministry. Apostle Peter ended his life with a martyr’s death, and is now glorified throughout all the world.

 

In the beginning of his experience with Jesus, Saul (Paul) vowed to wipe out all belief in Christ but, later in repentance, he (Paul) authored almost half of the 27 books of the New Testament. He was the apostle largely responsible for the solid inception and growth of Christianity. It is Paul who rejoices in the Resurrection of Christ by stating “ "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:54-58) Divine Liturgy for the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul on Monday June 29 will begin at 9:30 AM.

 

During the fast of Ss. Peter and Paul, we encounter the Nativity of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday June 24. Our beloved church was named in honor of this great Saint. Jesus began His ministry by going to St. John to be baptized. “Now John was clothed with camel's hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, "After me comes He who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased." (Mark 1:6-11)

 

The birth of the parish began in July 12, 1925. Father Peter Kohanik of Whitestone, NY accepted the invitation to organize a new parish, with the blessing of Metropolitan Platon. The parishioners unanimously agreed to name the church in honor of St. John the Baptist and the parish acquired a small church on Jackson Street in Passaic, NJ in November 1925. St. John’s is the only saints’ birthday celebrated during the church calendar year. John is remembered on three other days as well but they all deal with the discovery of his relics. Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist will start at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, June 24.

 

Memorial Saturday is June 6, the day before Pentecost. The next memorial Saturday will be October 24 and is dedicated to St. Demetrius. The Church’s constant prayer for the departed members is the affirmation that they are still alive in Christ, that we are all united in God’s love. In the words of St. Paul “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39) Remember your loved ones and give Father the names of all those departed to pray for them on the Memorial Saturdays.

 

At this time, no news has been forthcoming for the opening of churches for attendance within guidelines directed by the federal and state authorities. However, the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops have met and are still contemplating the opening of churches when the approval is received. A COVID-19 Parish Reopening Toolkit has been established to assist parishes when the staged re-opening will be permitted. The procedure developed and published on May 13 can be seen: here.   Also, in a letter from May 22, 2020, the leadership of Assembly of Bishops has Appealed for Equitable Treatment of Religion in Reopening of States. That letter can be seen: here.

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Akathist to St. John the Baptist - 9:00 AM

"And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus."   (Acts 19:4-5)