Indeed He is Risen!

   If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let him enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival!
   If anyone is a wise servant, let him, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord!
   If anyone has wearied himself in fasting, let him now receive his recompense!
   If anyone has labored from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let him keep the feast. If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; for he shall suffer no loss. If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near without hesitation. If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let him not fear on account of his delay. For the Master is gracious and receives the last, even as the first; he gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first. He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one he gives, and to the other he is gracious. He both honors the work and praises the intention.
  
Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward. O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy! O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day! You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today! The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fatted; let no one go forth hungry!
  
Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.
  
Let no one lament his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
  
Let no one mourn his transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.
  
Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.
  
He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
  
It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
  
"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?"
   Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
  
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
  
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
  
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
  
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
  
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.

To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.

Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom (5th Century)

Pacific NW Orthodox Youth Camp

It's that time of the year... to sign up kids for the coming summer's Pacific Northwest Orthodox Youth Camp sessions at Gig Harbor, WA.  The camp is open to children in 1-12 grades. It is a family camp with activities that include swimming, sports, canoeing, hiking, arts & crafts, and campfires, along with religious services. For further information, contact camp director Father Barnabas Powell at (425) 623-3653. You can also find out more at the camp website, or open/print the camp schedules and application form.  

AXIOS! (Deacon Michael)

Axios! to the newly ordained Deacon Michael. He was ordained on Saturday, March 21, by His Grace Archbishop Benjamin at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York. Deacon Michael was raised in the Orthodox Church in Pennsylvania, where his father served as a priest. He first joined St. Katherine's in 2008, and he and and Matushka Xenia (Tzila) were married at St. Katherine's in 2011. After becoming a subdeacon he went to St. Vladimir's. Deacon Michael, who will continue his studies at St. Vladimir's to earn his Master of Divinity degree, is pictured here at St. Vladimir’s with Archibishop Benjamin, Matushka Xenia, and other seminarians. 

Bell ringing joy...

A group of St. Katherine Sunday school kids gathered around a familiar Salvation Army kettle at  the Fred Meyer in Kirkland. The bell-ringing activity is an annual December event for the Sunday school kids, as they help collect funds that are used for a wide range of charitable causes, including shelters for women and children; rehabilitation centers; low income families; families facing emergency needs for food, shelter, medicines; shelters for the homeless and transient; and disaster services. The kids were corralled by Emily S., Aubrey M., and Popadija. 

Preparing for the Nativity

The Nativity of Christ is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church. But with all of the distractions we face—store shelves stocked with decorations in October, an overabundance of food, the ever-present acquisitory “Black Friday” madness—it’s easy to lose sight of the nature of the Feast, when The Creator became His creation to save us from our sin. It’s good to remember that Advent, or the 40 days prior to the Feast of the Nativity, is a time for heeding the words of Prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight the paths of God.” (Isaiah 40:3).

Advent is a time when everyone should come for confession, especially if they wish to receive Holy Communion on Christmas Day. Father Barnabas is available for confession after most evening services and during his weekday office hours. So whether office hours work for you, or a Saturday evening is better, please plan to come for confession between now and Christmas.

A Wreath for the Building Fund

Our parish is growing rapidly, and we are actively seeking a property that will become our permanent home. We will continually update the blog page with news and fund raising announcements. In the meantime, a great way to help us out—and decorate your home for the Feast Day—is to purchase a Christmas wreath at church. The wreaths cost $30, and 50% of the purchase price will go to our Building Fund. There’s a sign-up sheet in the Coffee Hour Room. Wreaths will be delivered on Sundays, with Dec. 21 being your last chance. Please see Denise Craciun for more information.

Entrance of the Theotokos

the blessing of the theotokos by the priests in the temple. chora church, istanbul.

Join us, if you can, on Friday Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. for Hours and Divine Liturgy to celebrate the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple, one of the 12 Great Feasts of the Church. According to Tradition, the Virgin Mary was taken, or presented, by her parents Joachim and Anna into the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem as a young girl, where she lived and served as a Temple virgin until her betrothal to Joseph. Mary was received by the temple community, which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. She was led to the temple to become herself the "holy of holies" of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine child who was to be born in her. 

The Feast of St. Katherine

The feast day of our patron saint, Holy Greatmartyr Katherine of Alexandria, is on November 24. For three years in a row, we had the joy of welcoming our Archbishop Benjamin to preside at the services and visit with us, but this year His Eminence will be unable to join us due to a prior commitment. We will rejoin us in November 2015, but for this year, we are still counting on guest clergy from neighboring parishes – and can expect, God willing, to have the relics of St. Katherine herself visit us, courtesy of Ss. Joachim & Anna Romanian Orthodox Mission, which has them on permanent loan. Due to the proximity of the Feast of the Entrance of the Most Holy Theotokos and of St. Katherine’s day, we’ll have five successive days of services from Nov. 20-24. It will be like a “Holy Week in November.”