Friday, August 03, 2007

Death of Patriarch Teoctist of Romania

“Can’t you see he looks like a saint? He is a living saint, a living icon”


Indeed it was. His appearance transmitted a bright aura, the image of a man who was fully reconciled with himself and with God.
He was mostly remarked by his white beard, gentle and forgiving look, and soft voice, in the sound of which the passages of the Holy Scripture made way into the depths of the people’s hearts like a soothing balm.
Humble. Tolerant. Loving of people. Simple. Faithful.

He came from a large family, in which he was the tenth child. He entered God’s service when he was only thirteen years old. He was a monk throughout his life and through his acts, attitude and humility. He loved children most of all, for whom he reintroduced the study of religion in schools in the 1990s, in the aftermath of the fall of the Communist regime, built orphanages and schools.
He will also be remembered as the first Patriarch to welcome a Catholic Pope in a Orthodox country. Pope John Paul II came to Romania in May 1999.


He fought for unity. Mostly loved for the entire holy essence he spread all around, inevitably slandered by some few, as any luminous presence would be…but what is most important, he will be remembered for his grand works and not by the small miseries of a soul who took upon his shoulders the incredible weight of the church. When he was talking to children, he used to explain the meaning of his garments. Once, he said: “these are not just ornaments…they were meant for me to carry through them the burden… ”
People say he left behind him a “path of light”.

In his memory, his funeral service was a special one: a four-hour long Resurrection service at which “Christ is risen” was sung.

May he rest in peace!

His Beatitude Patriarch Teoctist †

Preafericitul Părinte Patriarh Teoctist †
(Teodor Arăpaşu)
2 February 1915 – 30 July 2007

“We are sons of Resurrection!” (HBP Teoctist)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good Friday

On the Good Friday Christ was crucified.

Romanian Icon, Nicula naive style (early 19th c.)

"Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" which is translated "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!" (selected verses from Mark 15:33-15:41)

Good Friday is an aliturgical day; the only service is in the evening, called "The Burial of Christ". Also, during this day, the Holy Epitaph, an embroidery depicting the scenes of Christ's laying in the Holy Tomb, is taken out and laid on a table in front of the altar. The faithful come, kiss the embroidery, go under the table, and cross the icon of Christ. They repeat this three times. At the end of the service, the priests take the Epitaph and surround the church three times, followed by the entire congregation.

On Good Friday the Orthodox also observe the "black fast", which means abstaining from any food or drink from dawn till dusk.

"The Burial of Christ"
Romanian Icon on glass
Painted by Savu Moga (1864)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Romania Day Celebration

What a nice evening! Thank you to ALL who helped, came, participated, sang and danced :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Baptism of our Lord - 6th of January

The Feast of the Holy Theophany (Epiphany) of our Lord is celebrated each year on January 6. The Feast commemorates the Baptism of Christ and the divine revelation of the Holy Trinity. At the Baptism of Christ, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—were made manifest. Thus, the name of the Feast is Epiphany, meaning manifestation, or Theophany, meaning manifestation of God.

The origins of the two feasts –Theophany and Epiphany – lie in the time of the Byzantine Empire, as evidenced by the Greek words that are used to describe them. The word “Theophany” (Theos - God; phainomai – to manifest) means “Manifestation of God”. The meaning of “Epiphany” (Epi - above; phainomai – to manifest) is “Manifestation from above”.

There was much confusion among Early Christians of East and West about when and how to acknowledge the various manifestations of God. The Early Church recognized four such manifestations, called The Four Manifestations, where the Lord appeared to mankind in glory and divinity. They are 1) The Nativity of Our Lord; 2) The Visit of the Magi; 3) The Baptism of Christ, and 4) The Miracle of the Wedding Feast of Cana (1).
Early, the Nativity and the Baptism of Christ were celebrated on January 6. Later the Nativity was moved to December 25 in an effort to accommodate and eventually replace the heathen festivals centered on the winter solstice. The Armenians still celebrate the Nativity and the Baptism of Christ on January 6 according to the ancient custom. While both East and West settled on December 25 as the date for the Nativity, there evolved no consensus on which of the Manifestations should be recognized on January 6 (1).

Theophany (January 6) in the Eastern Church

In his Discourse on the Baptism of Christ, Saint John Chrysostom speaks of two Theophanies, the actual one on January 6, and the second one in the future at the end of the world.
In the 8th century, Saint John Damascene stated that the Lord was baptized not because He Himself had need of cleansing, but in order to bury sin through water, to fulfill the law, to reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and finally to sanctify the “watery nature” by proffering it to us in the form and example of baptism by water (1).

In the church is conducted “The Blessing of the Waters”; however in many places throughout the world services are conducted near open bodies of water. As a sign of blessing as Christ blessed the Jordan, holy water is poured into the body of water. An associated tradition has been the tossing of a cross into the water to be retrieved by divers.

The holy water from the church is given to the faithful to consume and to use in blessing their homes. In the weeks following the Feast, clergy visit the homes of parishioners and conduct a service of blessing using the holy water that was blessed on the Feast of Theophany (2).

Epiphany (January 6) in the Western Church

Very early in its history, the Western Church assigned to January 6 the manifestation of God associated with the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child in Bethlehem (which in the Eastern Church is associated with the Nativity). The Magi or Three Kings from the East are described in the Scripture as three royal figures who came to Bethlehem driven by a star announcing the birth of the Savior. Bearing precious gifts of gold, incense and myrrh, they paid homage to the King of Kings and were received by Him in His manifestation to the Gentiles. The Roman liturgy honors on January 6 the visit of the Magi exclusively (1).


New Year Wishes

On behalf of the COA we wish you that the new year 2007 find you in good health, joyful and pour faith and hope in your hearts!

The Holiday season, that started with the celebration of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ on the 25th of December, continued with the celebration of Saint Stephen on the 27th, then with the celebration of Saint Basil on the 1st of January is ending with two great feasts: the Baptism of the Lord (the Theophany) on the 6th of January followed by the celebration of Saint John the Forerunner on the 7th of January.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Vatican confirms the authenticity of the tomb of Saint Paul

Vatican announced that it will open the sarcophagus that lies underneath the Basilica San Pablo, outside Rome. Recent excavations seem to confirm that the marble tomb, which was disenterred, indeed has the remains of Saint Paul the Apostle, who converted to Christianity on his way to Damascus after having had a vision.

This confirmation is important both religiously and archeologically: "There is no doubt that the sarcophagus under the ground of the Basilica San Pablo belongs to the Apostle", the Archpriest Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo explained.

Back in 2002, some excavations were initiated that revelead the tomb to the pilgrims. It is estimated to date back to 390 A.D. The slab on the tomb reads "Paulo Apostolo Mart" (Paul, Apostle and Martyr) and has the hole that was done in order to connect the relic with the altar, but also for pilgrims to introduce pieces of cloth to touch the remains.

According to Montezemolo, the intents to see the contents of the sarcophagus through X rays were impeded by the thickness of the marble walls of the coffin, therefore the possibility to open it was put forth.

San Paul, of the town of Tarsus, in present day Turkey, was a great persecutor of Christians, until he embraced the faith himself, through a vision of the Resurrected Christ. After years of fighting for Christianity, for which he was called the Apostle to the Gentiles, he was beheaded in 65 A.D.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


Dear friends,

COA wishes you all a most merry and blessed Christmas, and Happy New Year!

May your hearts rejoice as we celebrate the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ!

We have waited it for so long, and it is finally here! Snow!!!

This is our beautiful Christmas tree, and you have now an additional reason to go and admire it as you go up or down that hill from Mead Chapel!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia - 6th of December

December 6. Early morning.

Shhh...most children go and check their boots to see whether "Santa" Nicholas has brought them candy and gifts. This is just one of the "traditions" that people have associated the Saint's figure with; he is also said to appear on a white horse, as a symbol of the first snows at the beginning of December. However, Saint Nicholas was a real person, a bishop from Myra, who lived at the beginning of the 4th century. In addition, he is the patron saint of sailors, children, students, etc.

There are many deeds and miracles that are attributed to him. He is celebrated not only in the Orthodox part of the world, but also in Italy, Hunagry, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Belgium, France, Portugal or the Netherlands.

Since we received candy last Saturday, an early gift from Saint Nicholas, it means we have all been good :-)