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Diocesan Pilgrimage to Spruce Island and Alaska - 02/17/19

Join your fellow Orthodox believers in the 50th Anniversary celebrations of St. Herman of Alaska’s glorification and the 50th Anniversary of the OCA’s autocephaly in 2020. There will be weekly trips to Alaska over the summer of 2020 sponsored by each of the dioceses of the OCA. The Diocese of the West will sponsor their trip July 8-14, 2020. This will be a special trip for all Orthodox believers. Sign up early and reserve your space. Final cost to be determined.

Core package includes:

*          7 days/6 nights accommodation

*          Round trip air fare to Kodiak from Anchorage

*          Excursion to Spruce Island

*          Touring and sightseeing as listed in itinerary

For terms and conditions, passports, visas, baggage fees, air, additional taxes and travel insurance information visit email 713-688-6793.

Download the flyer here.

Winter Feasts and Jubilees - 02/08/19

On December 19th (New Style), the Nativity of the Holy Virgin Parish celebrated Divine Liturgy for St Nicholas Day. This is, of course, always a much revered occasion for any Orthodox parish, but all the more so in our strong Slavic immigrant community. But this St Nicholas Day had an added jubilant atmosphere, as on that very day our longtime Sisterhood President, Tatiana Dimitrievna Diedovitch (known lovingly by all as ‘Tata’), turned 90 years young.

Tata, like so many ethnic Russians whose families fled the country after the Bolshevik revolution, came to America (by way of Brazil) from Harbin, China. She still taps into her Chinese background from time to time, speaking Mandarin with the Chinese inspector from the San Mateo County Environmental Health Services department who comes during our annual Christmas Bazaar to ensure health codes are being enforced (which of, course, they are, under Tata’s watchful eye).

Successful Bay Area Walk for Life - 02/03/19

Another year of praying for an end to abortion and another peaceful, prayerful and successful West Coast Walk for Life! It was a joy to see so many Orthodox Christian clergy, monastics and faithful of so many jurisdictions.  Special thanks to Father Serge Kotar for leading the service to end abortion; to Father Josiah Trenham, with the assistance of Emily Wilkinson, for organizing attendance by Southern Californians; and to Father Aris Metrakos of Holy Trinity Church and the wonderful staff at the Christopher Center for hosting them. We hope all are inspired and energized to incorporate sanctity of life prayer, service and education throughout the coming year.

You can download the PDF for the text of the service to end abortion here. You can also download the Encyclical of Metropolitan Evangelos, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, on the recent New York abortion law here. While this encyclical responds to a recent event, it is also a concise statement on the Church's teaching on abortion. Its issuance is timely and greatly appreciated.

Fr John Behr Presents: St John the Theologian and His Paschal Gospel - 02/01/19

Tempe, AZ

Come participate and learn from one of the greatest Orthodox Theologians of the 21st century, Fr. John Behr. He will be speaking about his upcoming new book: John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel. A Prologue to Theology, on February 22nd at St John the Evangelist Mission in Tempe, AZ at 6 PM Arizona time.
This event will also simultaneously be live streamed to a global audience. Webinar Registration

Fr. John Behr’s new work brings three different kinds of readers of the Gospel of John together with the theological goal of understanding what is meant by Incarnation and how it relates to Pascha, the Passion of Christ, how this is conceived of as revelation, and how we speak of it. The first group of readers are the Christian writers from the early centuries, some of whom (such as Irenaeus of Lyons) stood in direct continuity, through Polycarp of Smyrna, with John himself. In exploring these writers, Fr. John Behr offers a glimpse of the figure of John and the celebration of Pascha, which held to have started with him.

The second group of readers are modern scriptural scholars, from whom we learn of the apocalyptic dimensions of John’s Gospel and the way in which it presents the life of Christ in terms of the Temple and its feasts. With Christ’s own body, finally erected on the Cross, being the true Temple in an offering of love rather than a sacrifice for sin. An offering in which Jesus becomes the flesh he offers for consumption, the bread which descends from heaven, so that ‘incarnation’ is not an event now in the past, but the embodiment of God in those who follow Christ in the present.

The third reader is Michel Henry, a French Phenomenologist, whose reading of John opens up further surprising dimensions of this Gospel, which yet align with those uncovered in the first parts of this work. This thought-provoking work brings these threads together to reflect on the nature and task of Christian theology.

Rocky Mountain Deanery Winter Activities - 01/28/19

Rocky Mountain Deanery Heads North for Meeting and to Honor Bozeman Church

It’s funny how business sometimes gets done in Orthodox churches, and the results are often unexpected. Like most deaneries, the clergy of the Rocky Mountain Deanery of the Diocese of the West like to support their sister church communities by attending one another’s Altar Feasts. Last November, these brother-priests found themselves talking business while enjoying a festive meal at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Pueblo, CO. The question at hand: where and when should they meet for their more official meeting in early 2019? “Let’s go up to Bozeman (Montana) for their St. Anthony parish feast day!”

St. Anthony the Great Church up the northern clime of Montana is a wonderful account of God blessing a small group of Orthodox Christians who persevere, often against the common wisdom of church planting experts and wisdom. Under the pastoral care of Fr. David Morrison, St. Anthony’s recently “graduated” from mission status to that of a parish. As such, this fledgling Orthodox church was transferred from the diocesan-wide Mission Deanery to the Rocky Mountain Deanery. One of the great challenges of Orthodox churches in areas like Montana is tremendous isolation. The closest Orthodox Church to Bozeman is a 2 hour drive. In fact, it has been an ordeal for the Montana clergy to participate in the Deanery’s meetings, requiring an expensive flight or arduous drive down to Colorado. The Colorado members of the Deanery decided it was time to change that pattern; it was their turn to make the effort.

American River Blessing on Theophany - 01/15/19

On Sunday, January 6th, the Theopany of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as His baptism in the River Jordan by John the Forerunner, the Reverend Timothy Winegar and faithful of Elevation of the Holy Cross Parish in Sacramento gathered at the banks of the American River for the Great Blessing of Water. The American River is a 120 mile waterway that originates in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and is known as the site where gold was discovered in 1848 that started the California Gold Rush. It flows into Folsom Lake just outside of Sacramento, and eventually confluences with the Sacramento River. By this confluence, the waters of the American flow into the San Francisco Bay Watershed. By flowing into the Bay, these waters then eventually join the Pacific Ocean and through the Pacific, reach the rest of the world. Thus, by blessing the river off of this rainy, rocky bank, the Orthodox faithful seen in these pictures invoke God's blessing on the living waters on the whole of His creation! "Great art Thou O Lord, and marvelous are Thy works, and there is no word sufficient to hymn Thy wonders!"  

(photos courtesy of Melissa Dubovik)


Diocese of the West Video Now Available - 07/30/18

A video highlighting the work going on in the Diocese of the West, prepared for and debuted at the 19th All-American Council held July 23-27 in St. Louis is now available online. If you wish to view the video, click


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