Pastoral Letter August 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Prophet Elijah will be the Forerunner of the Dread Second Coming of Christ. He was born in Tishba of Gilead 900 years before the Incarnation of the Word of God. He dedicated himself to the One God, settled in the wilderness and spent his whole life in strict fasting, meditation and prayer. Orthodox Christians of all times, and in all places, have venerated the Prophet Elijah for centuries. In iconography the Prophet Elijah is depicted ascending to Heaven in a fiery chariot. We pray to him for deliverance from drought, and to ask for seasonable weather.
The Transfiguration of Christ is one of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church celebrated on August 19. Christ had gone with his disciples Peter, James, and John to Mount Tabor. Christ’s appearance was changed while they watched into a glorious radiant figure. There appeared Elijah and Moses, speaking with Jesus. The disciples were amazed and terribly afraid. This event shows forth the divinity of Christ, so that the disciples would understand after his Ascension that He was truly the radiant splendor of the Father, and that his Passion was voluntary (Mark 9:2-9). It also shows the possibility of our own theosis.
The Theotokos was “blessed amongst women,” and she was chosen “to bear the Savior of our souls.” Knowing that she is eternally present at the throne of God interceding for mankind, we pray for her love, guidance, and protection. The commemoration of the Dormition of the Theotokos and the preparation for the Feast begin on August 14 with a period of fasting. The Feast of the Dormition of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on August 28 each year. The Feast commemorates the repose (dormition and in the Greek kimisis) or “falling-asleep” of the Mother of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Feast also commemorates the translation or assumption into heaven of the body of the Theotokos.
Wishing you happy and blessed upcoming feasts and fast I remain in prayer.