A message for the Feast of the Pentecost

posted May 21, 2010, 12:26 PM by fr.irenei@stjohnsacademysf.org
Dear Parents:
 
We now approach the end of the Paschal liturgical cycle with the major holiday of the Pentecost, coming this Sunday. Last week we saw the Savior ascend back into the Heavens to "sit at the right hand of the Father". He left with the promise to His disciples that He was going to send down to earth the Holy Spirit. The apostles were instructed to stay in Jerusalem until that happened - which they did. While waiting in prayer for the arrival, they chose the twelfth apostle to replace Judas, who had betrayed the Savior.
 
The Descent of  the Holy Spirit is an event of supreme importance and joy for us. With the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the Church of Christ was established on earth and given the sacramental powers to enable us, the members of the Church, to live the kind of life on earth that would allow the Savior, through His mercy, to receive us into the Heavenly Kingdom. Without the Grace that the Church gives us though the Mysteries, we would not have the power to defeat the wiles of Satan. We would not have the power to live a Christian lifestyle. This is why this holiday is such an important and glorious one for us!

This year, our celebration of the Pentecost will be made additionally joyful by the presence in the Cathedral of the Hawaii Iviron icon of the Theotokos: a myrrh-streaming icon which reminds us of the continuing presence and power of the Spirit in our midst today. It will be a special blessing for each of us to be able to venerate this holy icon during the weekend services.

The schedule of the services at the Cathedral this Sunday is different from the usual one. The early Liturgy will begin at 7:00 AM (rather than 7:30) and the later one at 9:00 AM. Immediately after the late liturgy, the special Vespers service ('Kneeling Vespers') will begin, during which the Pentecostal kneeling prayers are read. This means that the later service will be very long; thus it is probably better for the families with the smaller children to attend the early Liturgy. Due to the particular holiness of this important day, I would like to encourage everyone to attend both the Vigil service on Saturday evening, as well as the Sunday liturgy.
 
In closing, please allow me to congratulate all of you with our holiday joy. May the Savior bless everyone and open our hearts to see that we need to use the full measure of Grace that the Holy Spirit offers us through the Church. If we do this, we will then be able to stand before our Savior when we are called into the other world, and confidently ask Him to allow us to share the blessedness of eternity with Him.
 
With love in Christ,
Archpriest Serge Kotar   
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