Sister Vassa Larin of the Award Winning Sensation, “Coffee with Sister Vassa” visited St. Vladimir Orthodox Church - Ann Arbor on January 1, 2015 speaking on the topic, "Being Church in the Age of the Internet" to about 75 people in attendance, including a few from our mission parish.
Her presentation was witty, thorough, entertaining and relevant, and she even spent all of the time necessary to answer everyone's questions. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed some lenten snacks and social time to visit with her. For those who purchased coffee mugs (which were sold out) and/or magnets, she took the time to pose for Mug Shots, and invited those folks to send their photos to her Facebook where she will publish it for all to see.
The next day, we were off to Goshen, Indiana, where many enjoyed her presentation and gathering. In attendance were John and Tonya Maddex of Ancient Faith Radio, among the 40+ clergy and guests who came to see her that evening.
She is a modest and humble servant of God, who has figured out a wonderful 21st Century way to reach out to not only us Orthodox, but those of many other Christian and nonChristian Faith people. We are truly lucky to have an advocate and shepherd to teach us - and in an entertaining way - some of the greatest things about our Holy Orthodoxy!
Please take a moment (even right now) to check her out. I have included some links below and we have a special link at the bottom of our Home Page.
Or her You Tube Channel:
This year, Fr. Gregory helped us prepare ourselves for the Nativity a special Molieben on January 4, the last Sunday before the Feast; and made himself available to hear our Confessions, even though we did not commune that day, and we celebrated the Nativity Feast there followed by a community breakfast (to BREAK the FAST) and to answer questions many had about our Faith, this Holy Day, and even the status of our diocese, deanery and parishes. It was very nice!
By the Grace of God, a lot of help from the Catholic Archdiocese and the wonderful folks at St. Mary Church in Rockwood, we had an opportunity to get together again, regain some momentum and enhancing some lives in our mission parish. On Sunday, January 4, 2015, we had been given permission to showcase and pray at their former St. Victor Parish building in Gibraltar, Michigan.
So that you know: This building is for sale! It can be something that would be powerful for our future. Not only do we need to continue to administer to the needs of our brothers and sisters (Orthodox and those that will want to be), but we could be close enough for some really pious Faithful in Toledo, who we hope may be looking for a home, too. This could also be a realistic facility to begin our Senior Day Care ministry that many of us have been preparing/studying about, and the area itself is prime for doing some excellent work in the name of Jesus Christ!
We also had an informal parish discussion about the many options opening for our future and have begun to set a course to reach our goal of growing to the next level. We feel that All Saints is in a unique position to take that next step, and now have put the first pieces in place.
We are also encouraging everyone to continue to invite family members, friends and Orthodox (and even folks interested in Orthodox) neighbors to join us. We will have a lot of brochures available, Icons and other items available to show, and have discussed ways to do classes.
The 2015 Annual Nativity Ball, hosted by St. Vladimir Orthodox Church was held on Friday, January 9, 2015 in the beautiful banquet hall of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Ann Arbor. Along with excellent traditional Russian cuisine and a bar with Russian Vodkas and Wines, the group of about 100 people enjoyed a wonderful evening of entertainment, music and dancing, some raffles and drawings, and a special visit from Father Frost.
Several members of our mission parish were in attendance (we purchased a table for the event), and we were pleased to help our sister parish in the kitchen and bar areas. We would like to extend our deepest Congratulations to Leta, Zhanna, Yuliya, Szezhana and so many of the people of St. Vladimir for making it a real First Class event.
Ten days after Holy Pascha is called the Radonitsa, which is the first time since the Risen Lord that we can celebrate the memories of our loved family and friends who have preceeded us in death. Basically, it is the day we can have a Requiem (Panakhida) for them.
Our sister parish, St. Vladimir (Ann Arbor) had a Divine Liturgy followed by the memorial service, where Fr. Gregory Joyce led prayers for Clergy; the family and friends of St. Vladimir (and those who requested prayers), and for a founder, family and friends and supporters of our mission parish - Our Special People!
Congratulations to Fr. Gregory Joyce on the 20th Anniversary of his Ordination into the Holy Priesthood. Please keep Father, Matushka Elizabeth and their 3 children in your prayers for health and safety in recognition of this wonderful milestone serving the Lord. Many people just don't realize that this is not just a job, but a lifestyle and an opportunity to lead us into the greatest of all opportunities to be with Him, when He calls. Thank you so much for being our shepherd.
Fr. Gregory 20th Anniversary Thank You!
Liza, the children, and I would like to thank everyone who remembered us on the 20th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood! As Leta rightly mentioned on Sunday, Liza should also be lauded on such occasions. I could not agree more. It is only with a strong and loving partner than any priest can have a successful ministry and this is exactly what Liza is and has been for me for these many years. It is not easy to be the wife of a priest – there are many struggles, not the least of which is functioning often as a single parent. Liza does this with grace and love and I would ask all of you to thank her for her efforts the next time you see her and also remember her in your prayers. Thank you all for remembering us!
Enjoy our days in photos.
By the Grace of God, some really Diligent Prayer, and friends at a local Catholic Church, we have been blessed to continue our ministry at the old St. Victor Church in Gibraltar, Michigan, while we continue to organize, fund raise and create a community that is still continuing to grow.
Each Sunday, we have celebrated with Reader's Services so that we can pray together in a same location and as a community. Enjoy some of the various photos from our first few weeks here; but more importantly, please consider joining us as we strive to be a strong influence and true advocates to the Holy Orthodox Faith!
We would like to take a moment to congratulate Luis and Araceli Nino as they, along with their son Luis proudly present their daughter, Fernanda with her Quinceanera on July 24, 2015 at the beautiful Salon Kiosco in Detroit.
Quinceañera (pronounced: [kinseaˈɲeɾa]/[k̟ĩn̺s̺e̞äˈɲe̞ɾä]; feminine form of "fifteen-year-old"), also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, is the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people from Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. Latin myths and tradition tell about how girls were prepared to be married by the age of fifteen; in the years prior to their fifteenth birthdays, girls were taught to cook, weave, and about child rearing by the elder women in their communities in preparation for their lives as married women.
Hosting many family members, friends and special guests, it was a truly first class event enjoyed by all. Congratulations Fernanda!
On August 1, 2015, we were able to celebrate our first Divine Liturgy in our Summer Home at St. Victor in Gibraltar. We had a modest audience of adults and children who enjoyed a really inspirational service celebrated by our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Gregory Joyce. Today we celebrated St. Seraphim of Sarov, who was a really simple, yet humble man who was satisfied with the simplest joys of life, and this in turn provided a great lesson to all of us who enjoy our 'toys' in life.
Afterwards, we enjoyed some really nice snacks served by Sasha and Caitlyn, along with some nice conversation, and excitement about future plans around here. A little water for our beautiful flowers and today was perfect. Enjoy the photos:
On August 22, 2015, All Saints Orthodox Mission was proud to sponsor and witness our first family to become Christmated into Holy Orthodoxy. Tiffany Morton and her 3 children, Alyssa, Aaron and Taylor were received during a special service and subsequent Divine Liturgy (where they received Holy Communion for the first time) at our Summer home, St. Victor Church in Gibraltar.
The service was celebrated by our Spiritual Advisor, Fr. Gregory Joyce, and with several witnesses, including their sponsors, Sonia Boyar, Sub-Deacon Michael Boyar and Patricia Bowser, they were received with a beautiful service and a small reception which followed.
Congratulations to all of them, and we look to many many years of love, education and support in our community.
On Saturday, August 29th, The Macy's Corporation had dedicated a special day for Non-Profit Agencies (like churches, shelters, food outlets, etc.) to be highlighted throughout their stores. Special Thanks to the Southland Store, who not only allowed us to participate, but encouraged us to come down and talk to people that may be interested in our little Mission Parish. We set up something really simple, which attracted a lot of attention, including from the General Manager, Kevin who acually Thanked Us for being there. We met a lot of really nice folks from our strategically awesome spot between the front door and the only escalator.
If you are out shopping for important items for your family, we encourage you to go visit them. That was a really nice thing to do for us and we want to support them, too.
The Diocesan Youth Committee sponsored/participated in a Cross Procession from Dormition Monastery in Rives Junction to St. Vladimir Orthodox Church in Dexter over the Labor Day weekend. To our knowledge this was the ONLY procession of its kind in North America. It was a physically challenging event, but with the love and dedication to prayer and determination, the group of 50 plus, including our Cody Bowser and Aaron Morton-Slis (from All Saints), and lead by Fr. Daniel Marshall (of St. George - Cincinnati) and Sub-Deacon Methodius Chwastek (of St. Vladimir), it was a huge success.
On September 19-20, 2015, St. Vladimir (our sister parish) Ann Arbor celebrated their 3rd Annual Russian Festival on their grounds in Dexter, Michigan. Touchy weather at first turned into a beautiful weekend and we are all proud to announce that the event was a Huge Success - The Best One Yet!!!
We were honored to help them and share in their joy to promote the Russian culture and Orthodoxy at its Best!!
Special Congratulations to Fr. Dean Katsilas and the entire family parish of St. John the Divine in Windsor, who celebrated their Centennial Anniversary recently. This is a really powerful miracle in the Orthodox Faith in Windsor, and has a very special place in our hearts, as St. John the Divine was the first mission project we worked on. It is also very special, because our family was very dedicated through most of its history.
We congratulate all of the dedicated faithful there and pray for health and prosperity for at least another 100 years.
Windsor, ONTARIO: Centennial celebrated at St. John the Divine Church (Reference: OCA.ORG)
The clergy and faithful of Saint John the Divine Church, Windsor, ON, Canada, celebrated their parish’s 100th Anniversary
September 25-26, 2015.
His Eminence, Archbishop Irénée of Ottawa and Canada presided at the celebration of Great Vespers on Friday evening and the
Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning. Concelebrating were Priest Constantine Katsilas, Rector; Mitred Archpriest Anatoliy Melnyk
of Montréal, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Canada, who attended with his Matushka Iryna; Deacon Nicolas P. Svetlovsky of
Saint Seraphim Church, Rawdon, QC; and area clergy representing various jurisdictions.
Saint John the Divine parish is considered the “Mother Church” of Orthodox Christianity in the region. In the early 1900s, Windsor’s Orthodox Christians, who were without of church of their own, traveled to Detroit, MI for services. The sizable multi-ethnic colony, comprised of Russians, Bessarabians, Bukovinians, Ukrainians, Carpatho-Rusyns, Galicians, Serbians, Romanians, and Greeks,
decided to formally organize their own parish in Windsor in 1914.
The parish’s first church building was completed in 1916, while a hall was erected in 1929. After a 1946 fire that destroyed the
original church, the cornerstone for the present church was blessed in 1949. In time, the community saw the establishment of other parishes to serve the needs of specific ethnic groups. “Today, Saint John’s worships in English and reaches out to all,” said Father Constantine, who has served the parish since 2007.
A noteworthy personality in the parish’s history was the Archpriest Lukian Steciuk, who began his ministry in 1934 as a Reader and Deacon and, from 1944 until his repose in 1976, as Rector. After experiencing a period of decline due to demographic and related
factors, the parish entered a period of revitalization in 2005 when a group of Father Lukian’s family members spearheaded the
renovation of the church and hall in 2005. Since his appointment as Rector, Father Constantine has made dramatic progress in the
A major Holy Day in the Orthodox Church, we celebrated the Exhultation of the Cross on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Sometimes known better as the Elevation of the Cross, we honor everything that it stands for in the Christian Faith and celebrate its existance as a tool to show the ultimate importance in the greatest sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our children led a small procession and placement of our cross, adored my fresh flowers as we then prayed with a Reader's Service led by Claudia and Sasha. After, we all enjoyed a small reception and congratulatory celebration for Tiffany.
DES PLAINES, ILLINOIS - From October 14-17, 2015 the Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America held its triennial Diocesan Assembly. This gathering is comprised of all the clergymen of the diocese, as well as lay delegates in equal number to the clergymen appointed to the parishes of the diocese. In addition, many Church Schools of the diocesan parishes were represented by lay delegates, as were the various diocesan committees and other administrative structures.
The assembly began on October 14 in the evening with opening remarks by His Grace, Bishop Peter, Administrator of the Diocese, followed by the election of the Polling Committee, the Deputy President of the Assembly, the Editing Committee, the Assembly Secretaries, and a review of the minutes from the 2012 Diocesan Assembly.
The next day the proceedings continued, including a very interesting presentation from His Eminence, Metropolitan Phillip of Poltava and Mirgorad. On this day and for the subsequent days of the Assembly the heads of the various diocesan committees and structures presented reports on their groups' activities since the last Diocesan Assembly in 2012. Divine Liturgy was served each morning of the Diocesan Assembly. On October 16 the delegates were presented another interesting guest lecture, this time by Archpriest Sergei Kiselev on the growth and challenges facing parochial schools in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. Following the acceptance of the Resolution of the Assembly on October 17 the delegates returned to their parishes, reinvigorated in their diverse ministries.
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, we were able to celebrate a beautiful Divine Liturgy with Fr. Gregory celebrating at our home in the old St. Victor Church all dressed in Red for the Advent season. Many were in attendance as we also witnessed baby Rylee Ruth Ann be churched into our Holy Orthodoxy. This is the general step before Baptism and Christmation into our Faith and is a huge celebration for the family.
Fr. Gregory also stressed the importance to continue to prepare for the upcoming Nativity Holy Day (with our 2 swords) and how living in a time and place where not everyone participates can be a strong incentive for us to work harder - It's all a good thing!
We spent time after to enjoy each other and to hear about our progress towards our new permanent home, as well as some exciting news about possible clergy assignments. Karl Meyer (from the Diocese and St. Vladimir) also did a very nice presentation on the importance of St. John Kochurov and we can help.
Please pay close attention to us and some really cool ideas we have for the upcoming Holy Theophany. (Clue: It is on a Tuesday, so you may want to consider setting your (and your children's) plans on coming down, and wear warm clothes and good shoes - Remember how close we are to the Detroit River/Lake Erie).