Church Telephone: (781) 585-8907 (Note: telephone messages are checked on Saturday evenings only; for a quicker response, please use our email address)
Church Address: 261 Main Street, Kingston, MA 02364
Church Email: email@example.com
Donations: PayPal or Credit Card
Administrator and Dean: Archpriest Vasily Lickwar
Priests: Archpriest John T. Bacon and Priest Kevin Kalish
Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00 AM (Third Hour begins at 9:30 AM)
Great Vespers & Confession: 5:00 PM on the 1st Saturday of every month (unless otherwise noted)
St. Mark of Ephesus Orthodox Church is blessed with a small, but actively participating congregation. We are a warm, family-oriented body of faithful believers and our members are of all age groups and we embrace many cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The parish conducts a regular and traditional cycle of Orthodox liturgical worship throughout the course of the year, and participates regularly in several community charitable ministries such as on-going charities to aid local shelters, grocery collections for our on-going food pantry, and visiting the ill and shut-ins in our community. All these inititatives are supported by the free-will offerings and volunteer assistance of the parishioners.
March Presanctified Liturgy & Confession Schedule
Wednesday, March 29: Presanctified Liturgy at 5:30 PM (Fr. John)
Saturday, April 1: Great Vespers (Confession following) at 5:00 PM (Fr. Kevin)
Holy (Passion) Week and Paschal Worship Schedule
Saturday, April 8 at 10:00 AM: Lazarus Saturday
Divine Liturgy of St. John & Palm Sunday Great Vespers with the Blessing of the Palms/Willows follows
Sunday, April 9 at 10:00 AM: Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
Wednesday, April 12 at 5:30 PM: Great and Holy Wednesday
Mystery/Sacrament of Holy Unction
Thursday, April 13 at 5:30 PM: Great and Holy Thursday
Matins of Holy Friday/Reading of the Twelve Gospels
Friday, April 14 at 3:00 PM: Great and Holy Friday
Vespers of Holy Friday
Saturday, April 15 at 9:00 AM:
Great and Holy Saturday - Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil
Paschal Compline/Nocturns at 11:30 PM
Sunday, April 16 at 12:00 Midnight:
HOLY PASCHA - The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Feasts of Feasts
Weekly Liturgical Calendar
Monday, March 20: Holy Fathers slain at St. Sabbas' Monastery; Martyr Photini (Svetlana)
Tuesday, March 21: St. James the Confessor, Bishop of Catania; St. Cyril, Bishop of Catania
Wednesday, March 22: Hieromartyr Basil of Ancyra; Venerable Isaac of Dalmation Monastery
Thursday, March 23: Martyr Nikon and his 199 disciples; Martyr Philetas the Senator
Friday, March 24: Forefeast of the Annunciation; Venerable Zachariah the Recluse; St. Artemius of Seleucia (Wine & Oil)
Saturday, March 25: Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos (Fish, Wine & Oil)
Sunday, March 26: St. John Climacus of the Ladder; Leavetaking of the Annunciation; Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel
For today's scripture readings, click on the following link: https://www.oca.org/readings
Remember in Your Prayers: Archpriest Vasily & Matushka Nancy Gilbert, Mitred Archpriest Andrew Tregubov, Matushka Barbara Bernardi, Marie Bernardi, Mary Anne, Helen, Katherine, Daniel H., James, Luis, Ramon, Maria, Marya, Paul, Simon, Alban Frank Ryles, Matushka Eleanor, Priest Antony, Matushka Beverly, Alexandra, Conor, Peter, Alexandra; Catechumens: Judith, Ryan, Rebecca, Ari, Selah, Robert, Gabriel, David; the kidnapped Hierarchs Metropolitan Paul (Boulos Yazigi) & Archbishop John (Yohanna Ibrahim); deployed: Andrew Delaney & Nicholas Williams; for the cessation of hostilities in Ukraine; newly-departed Vasily "Bill" Price; newly-departed Priest John Bernardi; newly-departed Bishop Tikhon (FitzGerald), former bishop of the Diocese of the West; for those who perished and those who are suffering in Turkey and Syria.
The Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos
(Commemorated on March 25)
The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts and was already being celebrated in the fourth century. There is a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dating from the second century. The Council of Toledo in 656 mentions the Feast, and the Council in Trullo in 692 says that the Annunciation was celebrated during Great Lent. The Greek and Slavonic names for the Feast may be translated as “good tidings.” This, of course, refers to the Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation He brings. The background of the Annunciation is found in the Gospel of Saint Luke (1:26-38). The troparion describes this as the “beginning of our salvation, and the revelation of the eternal mystery,” for on this day the Son of God became the Son of Man.
There are two main components to the Annunciation: the message itself, and the response of the Virgin. The message fulfills God’s promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15): “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.” The Fathers of the Church understand “her seed” to refer to Christ. The prophets hinted at His coming, which they saw dimly, but the Archangel Gabriel now proclaims that the promise is about to be fulfilled. We see this echoed in the Liturgy of Saint Basil, as well: “When man disobeyed Thee, the only true God who had created him, and was deceived by the guile of the serpent, becoming subject to death by his own transgressions, Thou, O God, in Thy righteous judgment, didst send him forth from Paradise into this world, returning him to the earth from which he was taken, yet providing for him the salvation of regeneration in Thy Christ Himself.”
The Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to Nazareth in Galilee. There he spoke to the undefiled Virgin who was betrothed to Saint Joseph: “Hail, thou who art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature. Then said Mary unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34). “And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1: 35-38)
In his Sermon 23 on the day of the Annunciation, Saint Philaret of Moscow boldly stated that “the word of the creature brought the Creator down into the world.” He explains that salvation is not merely an act of God’s will, but also involves the Virgin’s free will. She could have refused, but she accepted God’s will and chose to cooperate without complaint or further questions. The icon of the Feast shows the Archangel with a staff in his left hand, indicating his role as a messenger. Sometimes one wing is upraised, as if to show his swift descent from heaven. His right hand is stretched toward the holy Virgin as he delivers his message. The Virgin is depicted either standing or sitting, usually holding yarn in her left hand. Sometimes she is shown holding a scroll. Her right hand may be raised to indicate her surprise at the message she is hearing. Her head is bowed, showing her consent and obedience. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon her is depicted by a ray of light issuing from a small sphere at the top of the icon, which symbolizes heaven. In a famous icon from Sinai, a white dove is shown in the ray of light.
There are several famous icons of the Annunciation. One is in the Moscow Kremlin in the church of the Annunciation. This icon appeared in connection with the rescue of a prisoner by the Mother of God during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Another is to be found in the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow (July 8). It was originally located in Ustiug, and was the icon before which Saint Procopius the fool (July 8) prayed to save the city from destruction in 1290. One of the most highly revered icons in Greece is the Tinos icon of the Annunciation (January 30). The Annunciation falls during Lent, but it is always celebrated with great joy. The Liturgy of Saint Basil or Saint John Chrysostom is served, even on the weekdays of Lent. It is one of the two days of Great Lent on which the fast is relaxed and fish is permitted (Palm Sunday is the other).
Message of the Week: Of Love of Wealth & Vanity
You will hear this kind of justification from many who pursue riches: "When I become rich, I will be able to perform good works!" Do not believe them, for they deceive both you and themselves. St. John Climacus knew in depth the most secret motives of men's souls when he said: "The beginning of love of money is the pretext of almsgiving and the end of it is hatred of the poor (step 16). This is confirmed by all loves of money, both the very rich and the less rich. The average man says: "If only I had money, I would carry out this and that good work!" Do not believe him. Let him not believe himself. Let him look, as in a mirror, at those who have money and who are not willing to do this or that good work. That is how he would be if he acquired some money. Again, the wise John says: "Do not say that you must collect money for the poor, that through this assistance you might gain the Kingdom. Remember, for two mites the Kingdom was purchased" (Step 16) (Luke 21:2). Truly, the widow in the Gospel purchased it for two mites, and the rich man, before whose gates Lazarus lay, could not purchase it for all the countless riches. If you have nothing to give to the poor, pray to God that He will give to them, and by this you have performed almsgiving and purchased the Heavenly Kingdom. When St. Basil the New prophesied to the empress, the wife of Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, that she would first give birth to a daughter and then to a son, the empress offered him much gold. The saint refused it. The empress implored him in the name of the Holy Trinity that he take the gold. Then St. Basil took only three pieces of gold and gave it to his needy servant, Theodora, saying: "We do not need too much of these thorns, for they prick much."
Hymn of Praise: Vanity
What is the worth of man, Thou didst ask, O Lord,
That he acquires the whole vast world as his property,
When today or tomorrow he must die,
And the accumulated wealth will outlive him?
What worth is it that he sets a crown upon his head,
When he must leave it behind him?
What good to him is gold and a pile of silver,
When grass grows through his withered ribs?
What good are silk, pearls and food,
When the sun does not gaze upon him living?
Of what help is the world, if he loses his soul?
Without the soul, the body is lowered into the grave.
His body and soul - both have died,
And to the grave each of them hurries.
Then men bury the two lifeless ones;
For neither of them do men bitterly mourn.
Let him who has understanding guard his soul.
Thou gavest to all a clear reminder:
The soul is the only thing that can be saved;
All else in the world, and even the world itself, will perish.
We know Thy counsel, O dear Lord,
Yet we need Thy power and help.
Help our sinful souls, O Good One,
That the smoke of vanity not suffocate them.
Contemplate the Lord Jesus crucified on the Cross:
How His compassionate love for mankind did not diminish because of His sufferings.
How, with love, He offered comfort to His mother, comending John to her as a son in place of Himself.
How he prayed with love to the Father for mankind: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
Counting the drops of His All-holy Blood and counting my sins.
Counting His painful sighs, and counting the mindless days of my laughter.