Christ the Savior Orthodox Church
June/July 2017 Bulletin
Prayer requests: Please continue to pray for God’s direction in our search for a permanent location for Christ the Savior Parish. For now, we are welcome to stay at St Johns Chapel at 234 French Street. St Teresa’s in Brewer is still a possibility.
Prayer requests: Please remember the following in your personal prayer both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox included. (Place names on the prayer sheet for inclusion herein)
For the Living: Luke, Karen, Rebecca, Laurence, Rob, Rob, Rob, David, Lesley, Fred, Janice, Kristopher, Susan, Giovanni and family,
For the Departed: Mark, Marie, Thomas, Scott, Charlie, John, Mark, Herman, Jane, Patrick, Ruth, Constance, Robert, Catherine, Mildred, Richard,
Vacation Alert: Father Scott and Matushka Faith will be in Guatemala from July 13 to July 29th serving with Stand With Me, a Christian Medical non-profit operated by their son Scott.
Orthodox Teaching of the Month
Catechism & Conversion
A catechumen is defined as “one receiving instruction in the basic doctrines of Christianity before admission to communicant membership in the Church.”
The following information will help those who are already Orthodox to review the ideal s which surround the Catechumenate and guide those entering the process. Everyone will profit from a review of the expectations of Church Attendence and the other sections.
- Regular Church Attendance- Worship of God is at the center of Orthodox life and spirituality. Worship is not only an experience of learning but a way that God’s mystical grace comes to us, touches us and changes us. A catechumen is expected to attend Sunday Divine Liturgy each week as well as special services throughout the year. Some examples of the other services are: Great Lent: Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesday evenings, Canon of St Andrew first and fifth Week, Holy Week- Bridegroom Services (Sun-Tue evenings), Holy Unction on Wed. evening, Holy Friday services and Pascha midnight services; Great Feasts of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14th), Christmas (Dec. 25th), Theophany (Jan. 6th), Pentecost, Transfiguration and Dormition of Theotokos (Aug. 15th).
- Instructional Class Attendance- Orthodoxy means “right doctrine” or “true worship.” In other words, the Orthodox Church has specific teachings and traditions regarding the nature of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Church; as well as what it means to be a follower of Christ and how to live as a Christian. A catechumen is expected to attend Instructional Classes, centered around the Cathecism of Metropolitan Philaret, given to each Catechumen.
- Spiritual Guidance- In the Orthodox Church, one does not determine and follow their own spiritual path without the advice and guidance of spiritual fathers and mothers. Personal accountability is essential to growth in Christ along with intellectual knowledge and church attendance. In a spirit of love, the spiritual guide watches over the growth and progress of the spiritual child. The priest will help the catechumen in a spiritual self-examination to prepare for Holy Confession. The priest will also help deal with personal questions, issues, problems that arise before and after joining the Orthodox Faith. The catechumen is expected to participate in spiritual guidance and counseling with the priest of the community.
- Frequently Asked Questions-
- How long does it take to become a member of the Orthodox Faith? Commonly, it is a year-long process. However, the priest always uses discretion to determine the readiness of a catechumen. Becoming a member is not just learning about the Faith but growing in Faith--a personal transformation must be evident. Often, this takes time and is dependent on the level of commitment of the catechumen.
- If my fiancee and I wish to be married, does the non-Orthodox spouse need to join the Church? No, the Church does not require or force a person to join the Church. The Church will marry someone who is Orthodox with someone who is non-Orthodox. That non-Orthodox person however, must be a Christian baptized in the name of the Holy Trinity.
- When can I start receiving Holy Communion and other Sacraments? Holy Communion and the other Sacraments (except Marriage, see above) are offered only to those persons who are baptized and chrismated in the Orthodox Church. Becoming a catechumen is the process of preparing for Baptism and/or Chrismation. After you are baptized/chrismated, you should first participate in the Sacrament of Holy Confession and then, under the guidance of the priest, you may receive Holy Communion and other Sacraments.
- If I was baptized in another Faith/Denomination, do I need to be re-baptized? This is a complex answer: Trinitarian Baptism from another Christian Church is possibly acceptable. However, the type of Baptism administered today is often not done in anything close to the proper form or ideal of the Orthodox Church and every individual case must be considered carefully. Always err on the side of accepting an Orthodox Baptism when in doubt.
- Do I need to change my name? Legally, no. Spiritually, one who is converting to Orthodoxy through baptism or chrismation is encouraged to take on a Christian or Saint’s name. The reason is two-fold. First, the saint becomes a personal example to the catechumen of how to live the Christian life. Second, the saint becomes the patron of the newly converted, praying and interceding to God on their behalf. This new name would be used when participating in the sacraments of the Orthodox Church. Some catechumens may already have a saints name, some might choose a name that sounds similar to their name, some may choose a name based on admiration for a particular saint.
- Do I need a Godparent? Yes, everyone who is converting to the Orthodox Faith needs a godparent (aka sponsor). The sponsor must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing with the Church. He/she should be a model and example of faithfulness and take quite seriously the role of godparent. A female catechumen is encouraged to choose a female godparent and likewise male for male. If the godparent is from another parish, verification of membership in good standing from his/her parish priest is required.
“Thinking about our Faith”
We would like to share thoughts and essays from our Parish in our monthly bulletins. This second article is by Johan Selmer-Larsen. Please consider sharing your thoughts or an essay on a topic of interest to you and our Parish; send articles to Fr Scott Ceraphim. Regular Columns are invited!! Thank you.
Our New Catafalque
By Johan Selmer-Larsen
The Church is about continuity in time. What was original, and lasts? What was The Word and remains The Word?
The great physicist Stephen Hawking recently speculated that mankind has only 100 years to find and colonize a new planet, or else face extinction. The eminent historian Youval Noah Harari at least gives us a thousand years.
A book by an Orthodox Christian has just reached the national bestseller lists, titled "The Benedict Option - a Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation", by Rod Dreher.
It's probably just the weather, too long and wet a winter, that's a downer. Yet with war and mass migration and millions in refugee camps, I have to wonder: are there too many of us, what lies ahead for us all?
So what lasts, even if we, as individuals, do not?
Thus the lure of the original liturgy, the preservation of the original church, as Christ spoke it and the Bible tells: the Orthodox Church.
And so it was that Father Scott and I (Johan) reached back in history a couple months ago and drove to Dartmouth, MA (south of Providence) to retrieve, by U-Haul van, an ancient catafalque, or Kouvouklion - an elaborately hand-carved representation of the bier, or sepulcher, used in Orthodox Pascha services to honor Christ's death. It is eight feet tall and an impressive structure. But time took its toll, and at the Dartmouth Street St.George Greek Orthodox Church, parishioners purchased a new, smaller model, and put the old one on e-bay.
Fr. Scott in his usual tireless manner left Glenburn at about 6 a.m. and got back home, with the catafalque, at midnight or so, squeezing in the Thursday night's vespers service and Bible study in Brunswick, enroute. On the last leg home, about 10 p.m., he was driving, but I kept my eyes on the highway because, in his tireless manner, he was meanwhile demonstrating some hymns for me on his cell phone!
We have re-glued and re-stained the old catafalque, from a little wobbly to now rock solid, and ready for its new home (stay tuned...!). Next Pascha it will stand in its glory, garlanded with flowers, the physical center of the service.
While scraping away up underneath the structure I found an abbreviated inscription in Greek, I presume the sculptor's name. Who was this distant artisan, working away on this thing, surely lovingly, and now surely gone?
The Kontanis family of Bedford/Dartmouth was at their new church of nine years to greet us. Their mother, Kula Kontanis, and Sophie Zingold, Eva Hobson and Dora Gerrity (the Annis sisters) purchased the catafalque from the Greek artist, and dedicated it in the name of their parents, mr and Mrs Vasolius (William) Bartzos, in 1961. The sisters' grandfather, Emmanuel Annis, emigrated here from the Greek island of Skiathos in 1898, and was a charter member of the St. George church.
When we departed, with our new, and their old, treasures, there were tears in some eyes.
George Kontanis of Bedford, a great grandson of Annis, and parish council member and assistant treasurer of the church, managed to locate an old newspaper clipping about the dedication ceremony. Shown with the Annis sisters and the catafalque is Fr. Constantine Bebis, pastor since 1954, and today, 63 years on, still an assistant priest in his 90s.
Said George, "We are happy and grateful the catafalque has found a sacred space. We hope to visit you in Bangor sometime." We hope so too, and thank you!
Christ the Savior Contact information:
For Hospital visits, Pastoral visits, Bible Studies, or Evangelistic Outreach needs, please call or email Fr Scott Ceraphim at 207-478-3088 and firstname.lastname@example.org. For any Church related administrative or charitable donation needs, please call or email Sr. Warden Chris Maas at 924-4553 and email@example.com