Archive for the ‘Orthodox Newfoundland & Labrador’ Category

Christ is risen!

Our six month sabbatical has come to an end and we are temporarily back in Newfoundland. I have returned to work and Fr John has returned to serving Holy Lady of Vladimir full time.

During our sabbatical we enjoyed seeing old friends and meeting new:

We attended frequent divine services at St. Anthony’s Monastery, more services than we ever had the opportunity to attend before. The greatest blessing of the whole experiences was attending the Divine Liturgy on Saturday mornings at the church of St. Menas where the tomb of Blessed Geronda Ephraim is located.

We spent a lot of time at the Three Hierarchs Academy.

We had the great blessing of greeting and venerating the fragrant myrrh-streaming Iveron icon from Hawaii when it visited the school.

We participated in the life of an new Orthodox mission parish in Florence.

We enjoyed vacationing in Texas.

Father John spoke at a great conference on Orthodox education and I gave a number of talks also.

Finally, our six month sojourn in the desert convinced us to make Arizona our new home.

Until then I’ll thoroughly enjoy this cold but pleasant North Atlantic island: serving our parish, working as a social worker, and hiking in the woods, by ponds, around lakes and on edge of the ocean.

Yesterday we went to the beach to see a unique sight: a visiting walrus (they don’t usually visit this part of the island)! Unfortunately, he had returned to the ocean just before we arrived. But would you just look at the beauty of the Atlantic ocean?! Glory to God!

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Fr John and I at the 2022 St. Kosmas Conference

Today I came across the above homily Fr John gave in our parish in Newfoundland. It is Homily 10 in a series of homilies on Blessed Makrina’s teachings. There are twenty-seven homilies in the series and (my personal bias aside) they’re awesome.

Happy (almost) Sunday of St John Climacus!

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Our last Sunday, October 24, feast of St. Arethas

Recently Fr John and I departed Newfoundland. By your prayers we have embarked upon a new adventure. We are taking a little sabbatical and going to see what God has in store for us next.

Please keep us and, most especially, the wonderful community of Holy Lady of Vladimir OCA Mission in your holy prayers!

Here are a few pictures of our favourite places on ‘the Rock’.

As for our wonderful flock, my amazing co-workers, and beloved/colourful clients, ”If you opened my heart you would find the image of each one of you imprinted inside me” (Gerontissa Makrina, Words of the Heart, p. 125).

(I’ve tried to insert a sideshow of photos but if it doesn’t load I’ll try updating the post at a later date. The internet connection I’m currently using is spotty).

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Cynthia Damaskos of Holistic Christian Life – Worshiping God – Mind, Body and Soul graciously offered to have me on her wonderful podcast. I loved chatting with Cynthia about the ups and downs of the past year and half. I hope you enjoy our chat as well.

Lessons From a Pandemic with Mat. Constantina Palmer – Ep. 13

(From Holistic Christian Life) Join Cynthia for this inspiring interview with Mat. Constantina Palmer.  The author of The Sweetness of Grace and The Scent of Holiness is just the person to talk with about the last year and a half. Matushka had some plans that fell through this past year on top of everything else we have all been going through.  She gained insight through accepting God’s will in her life and in this world, and shares why we should give thanks that He is allowing us to live during these difficult years.

Constantina R. Palmer lives with her husband, an Orthodox priest, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, serving the Holy Lady of Vladimir (OCA) Orthodox Mission, the only Orthodox parish on the island of Newfoundland.  She teaches Sunday School to children of various ages, striving to present the great mysteries of the Orthodox faith in a form and context they can grasp.  She is also a social worker with the provincial government’s social housing corporation.  She is the author of The Scent of Holiness: Lessons from a Women’s Monastery and The Sweetness of Grace: Stories of Christian Trial and Victory.

All episodes of the podcast can be found HERE.

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Glory to God! We at Holy Lady of Vladimir Mission are still rejoicing over the recent adult baptisms in our community. It was a busy weekend: three baptisms and a wedding. This was in addition to a baptism we had in May and another wedding in July.

While the forecast said 100% chance of rain on the day of the baptisms, by the afternoon the weather was incredible. The bright sun and peaceful breeze were like physical manifestations of the spiritual reality taking shape in the hearts of our newly-illumined. Through the prayers of the holy fathers our “little flock” is a little less little now.

Of the baptismal service, St. Symeon of Thessaloniki says, “It is necessary that all the faithful be present then with all possible reverence and joy, in the conviction that the angels are present together with them, rejoicing in the one sinner who repented” (St. Symeon of Thessaloniki, Talk on the Sacred Rites and Sacraments of the Church, 30).

St. John Chrysostom says: “when you receive the royal robe, when you are girt with the purple dipped in the master’s blood, when you will be crowned with the diadem, which has lustre leaping forth from it on all sides, more brilliant than the rays of the sun. Such are the gifts of the Bridegroom, greater indeed than your worth, but worthy of his loving-kindness” (St. John Chrysostom, First Instructions to Catechumens, pp. 159-160)

I was excited to decorate the baptismal candles, tie the prayer ropes (presents for the newly-illumined from the parish), decorate the wedding candles, and make the wedding crowns.

The prayers ropes were made with white yarn as a special reminder of the purity that comes with baptism. You’ll notice, however, one lone black thread in the tassel. This was a special blessing I was grateful to be able to include in the prayer ropes. A friend from South Africa graciously sent Fr. John and me a few “blessings” earlier this year. Included in the gifts was a small bundle of black yarn which had been blessed on Geronda Ephraim’s holy body before his burial. So, I included a small piece of this yarn in the prayer ropes for our newly-illumined. May they have the blessing of Geronda Ephraim’s holy intercessions before the throne of God!

The wedding crowns were a fun challenge. I used bamboo embroidery loops, spray-painted them with 24k gold, added some pearl stickers, and sowed gold glass beads onto the white ribbon that I intertwined around the crowns.

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Here is the most recent icon I painted of Holy Lady of Vladimir. I began painting this icon last summer (2020) and finished a few months ago. I worked at it a bit at a time and took some pictures along the way.

Not only is our OCA Mission, Holy Lady of Vladimir, named for this icon but it just so happens to be my personal favourite icon of the Mother of God. I gifted this hand-painted icon to my aunt as a token of love from her nieces and nephew (my sister, brother and me) for taking care of our mother during her cancer treatment last year. Our aunt is a wonderful member of our family and we are very grateful to her for all her help and support.

May the Mother of God and Christ never cease to look after and protect her just as she tirelessly looked after our mother!

Here are some photos showing a bit of the step-by-step process:

*As you can sort of see in the first photo I applied the gold at the beginning of the process, for it’s “in thy light that we see light” Ps. 36:9 and “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Eph. 5:8). The iconographer applies the gold first to mirror sanctification – a person encased in the light of Christ gradually becomes light, “for in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). To protect the gold during the painting process I covered it with paper and that’s why you’ll notice a paper covering throughout the photos until the end.

I also framed a print of my hand-painted icon and hung it on the wall above the candles in our new church location at 1618 Portugal Cove Road. (My cell phone is so old it doesn’t take good pictures but this gives you an idea.)

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If you arrive in St. John’s, NL by airplane (which, let’s face it, if you’re traveling all the way to Newfoundland you’re coming by plane), all you need to do is take a right when you get out of the airport and keep driving toward the ocean, Conception Bay to be precise. In less than 10 minutes you’ll arrive at Holy Lady of Vladimir Orthodox Mission! Our new building is located just outside the city limits of St. John’s in a lovely community called Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s.

We moved in just over one month ago. It was a very busy time (not least because I like everything done immediately; Fr. John says this is code for “within a few hours of getting the keys”). In reality, though, it took us two or three days before we had cleaned the whole building (quite a feat since it was formally a dog grooming business), moved in all our liturgical furniture, shelved all our liturgical books, rolled out the rugs, and hung all the icons.

You may remember Holy Lady of Vladimir was previously located in a townhouse. However, with the onset of Covid we gave up that rental space and services were held in the private chapel of St. Nektarios in our home (for more recent photos of St. Nektarios’ chapel see this post).

By God’s grace, a parishioner came across this stand-alone building for rent in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s and we moved in just in time for Holy Week and Pascha! Now we’re making plans to have an iconostasis built. Hopefully more on that soon!

Here are some photos of our wonderful new church at 1618 Portugal Cove Road.

Glory to God!

Holy Thursday & Holy Friday Matins

Holy Saturday Matins

Vesperal Liturgy of Holy Saturday, Agape’s Vespers & Bright Tuesday

You are most welcome to visit us in our new church! For those farther away, perhaps by some miracle the provincial/ international borders will open in Canada in the near future and then you can come too!

Here are some “behind the scenes” photos of our move to the new spot and Holy Week preparations.

Please keep us in your holy prayers and if you’re so inclined consider donating to Holy Lady of Vladimir Mission, the only Orthodox parish in the entire province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

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