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Encyclical for the Feast of the Dormition 2018

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“The Virgin is holding the Creator in her arms as an infant.”
Saint Photios the Great, Homily XVII

 

Dearly Beloved,

We are accustomed to seeing and venerating icons of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus Christ. As we contemplate and prepare for the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos over the next two weeks, we are challenged by the converse of the above statement from the great Saint, theologian, and Patriarch Photios. In the icon of the Feast of the Dormition, the Creator holds the Virgin in His arms.

As Orthodox Christians, we proclaim that the translation of Mary into the heavens at the time of her falling asleep is a great mystery and miracle. Tradition holds that at her falling asleep, the Lord entered the room and received her soul from the Archangel Michael, while an angelic choir sang nearby. We believe that Mary passed through death unharmed and already dwells with her Son in the kingdom that is to come. The icon for the Feast presents our hope to pass through death and into eternal life with Christ. We can only sing praises to God when we encounter this miracle.

Metropolitan_Gerasimos_2016_largeIn our life’s experiences, the time will come when we will face the death of a loved one. As Orthodox Christians, however, we look upon death in a different way. The Dormition of the Theotokos is a reminder that we too, will depart from this life “to the source of life.” We must also call to mind the words Saint Paul uses when instructing the Philippians about death: “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

These first two weeks in August always provide us the opportunity to grow in faith and be strengthened by the intercessions of the Holy Mother of God. Let us contemplate the mystery and the miracle of the Dormition of the Theotokos. Observe the fast. Attend the Paraklesis services and sing praises to the Almighty God and to the Virgin Mary. Take time to submit your name and the names of your loved ones so that we might pray for your “health, salvation, visitation, pardon and remission of sins….

For you, the faithful stewards of our Holy Metropolis, I ceaselessly pray: “commemorating our most Holy, Pure, Blessed and Glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the saints let us commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.

With Love in Christ,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco

Our Church

Our Priest and Our Team

Liz Levy

Office Administrator

Marcelo P. Souza

Site administrator, teacher.

Fr. Niko Bekris

Parish Priest since 2015

Anna Teodosiadis

Youth Director
Our Ministries

Latest Updates

This Monday we will finish off our 8-month study of the Book of Acts with a movie night – we will watch the movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ” which was released this year.   Then the following Monday we will continue on the same scroll of Luke-Acts (backwards) as we begin to journey through the… Read More

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On May 1, a brunch for all our moms was held at Father Niko & Presbytera Stella’s house, and a wonderful time was had by all!  On that day, topics for forthcoming mom’s group sessions were discussed, including marriage and prayer, as well as continuing the topic of raising children in an Orthodox Christian home. … Read More

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As mentioned last month a new podcast has spun out of Father Niko’s blog, “Christ, Coffee and Comics” as of this year!  Chris Kotsakis, a devout Orthodox Christian from Northwest New Jersey who is also a graphic design artist, has arranged to record a podcast called “Creative Blessings” each month with Father Niko! The second… Read More

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Between the joy of Pascha and the anticipation of Pentecost: The Road to Emmaus – Their Eyes were Opened in the Breaking of the Bread

by Marcelo P. Souza In the time between the joy of Pascha and the anticipation of Pentecost, it is good for us to reflect on the life that has been given us by the resurrection of Christ. Christ is risen from the dead, having conquered death, sin, and suffering, but instead of immediately returning to the… Read More

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Beloved in the Lord, “The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” –Psalm 29:11 I just returned from spending the weekend in Brookline, Massachusetts for the 76th Commencement at Hellenic College Holy Cross School of Theology. Seeing the eager faces of our graduates and their families brought… Read More

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Dear fellow parishioners, In an effort to continue tailoring our ministries to target the needs of each of our families, we have prepared a brief survey to collect data which we feel will assist us going forward.  Please take a moment to fill out the survey by following the link below, it would be much… Read More

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After taking a brief hiatus early 2018, our Mom’s Bible Study group format was changed a bit and restarted this last March 13 during Great Lent.  The group, led by Annemarie Bosl, now will go through topical discussions over a series of four sessions periodically throughout the year. Our first topic for this year was… Read More

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From the Fathers

Spiritual Sayings

Our soul, as a spiritual, active being, cannot remain idle; it either does good or evil, one of the two; either wheat grows in it or tares. But as every good comes from God, and as the means of obtaining every good from God is prayer, those who pray fervently, sincerely, from the depths of their hearts, obtain from the Lord grace to do good, and, before all, the grace of faith; whilst those who do not pray, naturally remain without these spiritual gifts, voluntarily depriving themselves of them by their own negligence and spiritual coldness.

A protection and shelter, I have with you in my life.

A certain monk told me that when he was very sick, his mother said to his father, “How our little boy is suffering. I would gladly give myself to be cut up into pieces if that would ease his suffering.” Such is the love of God for people. He pitied people so much that he wanted to suffer for them, like their own mother, and even more. But no one can understand this great love without the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Do not say, “this happened by chance, while this came to be of itself.” In all that exists there is nothing disorderly, nothing indefinite, nothing without purpose, nothing by chance … How many hairs are on your head? God will not forget one of them. Do you see how nothing, even the smallest thing, escapes the gaze of God?

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