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Serving Christ this Lent

by Melody Thompson

This Lent, Matthew 25 is coordinating four almsgiving opportunities: A food drive, with donations going to the State College Area food bank; a clothing drive, with donations going to the St. Vincent de Paul Society; a gift card drive (grocery/gas/etc.) so Housing Transitions (the local homeless shelter) can purchase items they need to help residents be clean and comfortable in their temporary housing; and a coin collection so these residents can do their laundry.

How is this serving Christ? Surely He doesn’t need canned food or clothes or gift cards… or quarters!

Or does he? Christ Himself tells us, “…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matt. 25:40)

Even in an apparently well-to-do community like ours, there are many of Christ’s (and our) brethren who need us to reach out to them. Please consider responding to Christ’s words through one of these opportunities. Collection receptacles will be avail-able in the Narthex and Parish Hall, and the Church School has made a special poster on which to place the gift cards. For more information about these activities, please see me or Dn. Alex.


On Enduring Through Grief

When a person—crushed with grief—sins, then what benefit does he receive from this grief? The point is that the reason why we sin is because we are impatient and do not want to endure anything that goes against our will. However, God would never send us anything beyond our strength, just as the Apostle says: “God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (1 Cor. 10:13). But we do not have patience, do not want to endure even a little, do not attempt to accept everything with humility and therefore become overburdened. And the more we attempt to avoid these attacks, the more we suffer from them, get exhausted and are unable to rid ourselves of them. When a person endures temptation with patience and humility, it passes by without harming him. If he starts to be fainthearted, agitated and begins to blame others, then he will be burdened needlessly, inflicting upon himself even greater temptations without receiving any benefit.

— Abba Dorotheos of Gaza


Muslim Extremists Torch Orthodox Christian Churches, Homes

ETHIOPIA – Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.

At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran.

The violence escalated to the point that federal police forces sent to the area two weeks ago were initially overwhelmed by the mobs.

The string of attacks comes on the heels of several reports of growing anti-Christian tension and violence around the country where Muslims make up roughly one-third of the total population but more than 90 percent of the population in certain areas, 2007 Census data shows.

One of those areas is Besheno where, on November 9, all the Christians in the city woke up to find notes on their doors warning them to convert to Islam, leave the city or face death, a Christian from Besheno told on condition of anonymity…

Later that month three Christians in Besheno were assaulted in religiously-motivated attacks and three others were forced to flee the city after being told that Muslim leaders had commissioned hit men to kill them, one of the exiled Christians told

— Diane Macedo,

The Passions and Our Tribulations

Editor’s Note: The following are excerpts from letters Abbot Nikon wrote to his spiritual children in the 1940s and ’50s while suffering in exile in a Russian prison camp.

If you sincerely want to follow Jesus Christ, then there is no other way but the one He indicated—the path of external sorrows, physical illness and never-ending battle with the passions which reveal themselves in many different ways. There are obvious passions: hedonism, despondency, anger, vanity, pride, disbelief, jealously, judgment of others, etc. The disciple of Christ must fight against each one of these passions in succession, to be vindicated and to vindicate.

This requires great effort and patience. It is often a real trial, a cross from which one cannot run away. There are only two choices–either a person succumbs to the passions and betrays Christ, preferring the world and the life it offers, or he fights and suffers, and through this process spirit-ually he matures.

The demons, although their minds were darkened by their fall, retained much of the reasoning powers and other capabilities endowed to angels. They have a masterful knowledge of both the physical and psychological aspects of human nature, and they have access to the body, nervous system, and brain of a person; always acting on behalf of evil, they also work upon the characteristics and manifestations of the soul, trying to destroy it.

Since a person is aware of obvious passions, and the harm which can result from them, the devils try to confuse everything, trying to belittle the significance of some passions, and making others seem very attractive. There is no end to their craftiness, malice, lies and countless methods of tricking and subverting a person.

As inexperienced beginners lacking spiritual guides, we must know one thing: we alone are not able to conquer the passions and the demons. We must, however, fight them according to our strength, and cease not to ask for the Lord’s help when they attack us (cf. Psalm 117:11). You cannot overcome them by your own strength; still less can another person do it for you. The Lord alone can provide the help you need.

Consequently, you must pray more with rever-ence, with a contrite heart, confessing before the Lord yours sins, your passions, your weakness, asking for forgiveness and help. By doing this you will quickly feel calm and peace enter your soul, along with a measure of humility and the resolve to endure everything for the sake of the Lord and your salvation.

Extra Scoops: April 2011

Many Thanks

Thank you to all of those who attended and supported our recent Soup-er Sunday luncheon for the homeless and hungry of our community. We also extend our gratitude to everyone who purchased Gertrude Hawk candy (and especially to Mark and Leslyn Radomsky for once again chairing the fundraiser).

Sshhh… Learning Going On!

Our Parish Hall is used for many activities and the hour before the Sunday liturgy is a busy time down there. This can sometimes distract the students and make it difficult to hear. If you are in the hall during class time, please be considerate. You may want to consider going upstairs to the Matins service for quiet prayer and worship in preparation for the Eucharist.

First Confession

After nearly eight weeks of preparation, six of our young Christians will be making their first confession on Lazarus Saturday. Please pray for Julia Rush, Joelle Rush, Daryel Stickles, Sophia Biberdorf, Nicolai Pelikan, and Benjamin Oleynik as they enter into this sacrament for the first time.

Vacation Bible School Dates Set

The week of June 13-17, 2011, will be a week of learning, fellowship and fun for our students as we conduct our annual Vacation Bible School. Mark your calendars!


Students to Serve Soup For Charity

Our Church School students will be hosting a Lenten luncheon this Sunday following the Divine Liturgy.  Students will be responsible for preparing, serving, and hosting the meal.  All proceeds from the free-will offering will be given to the local charities of Housing Transitions and the Food Bank of the State College Area, which were selected by our children. All students are needed on Saturday at 4 p.m. to prepare for the luncheon (preparing foods, setting tables, preparing silverware, etc.). See you there!

Young Adult Fellowship and OCF to Co-Host Dinner

Everyone in our community aged eighteen to thirty-something are especially invited to attend a “yummeaux” dinner of authentic Cajun cuisine this Sunday at 6 p.m. The event is a kick-off event for a new ministry initiative to bring together and address the unique needs of this demographic. The fast-friendly dinner is co-sponsored by the Penn State Orthodox Christian Fellowship and Holy Trinity’s Adult Ministries. Families with children are welcome. There’s no charge, but be sure to bring a friend!

Chocolate Orders Due Sunday

Attention Chocolate Lovers: Sunday is the last day to place your Gertrude Hawks order online and have your goodies shipped directly to your home. All proceeds from your Pascha candy purchases go to support special Sunday School activities such as field trips and outings. Need help? Contact Leslyn Radomsky. Thank you!

Subscribers Being Sought for Pantocrator Icon

Yesterday we celebrated the restoration of iconography and the Triumph of Orthodoxy over the iconoclasts in the eighth century. In keeping with this celebration, Holy Trinity has begun the second phase of completing the iconographical program of our newly renovated church. Subscribers are now being sought for the first stage: a large eight foot in diameter mural of Christ Pantocrator (“Ruler of All”) to be placed directly above worshippers in the Nave. Once fully funded ($8,000), it will be written by Dmitry Shkolnik and installed as early as this summer. For more information or to pledge your support, see our display in the Nave or contact the Parish Office (231-2855).

In Memoriam: Gennady Belih (1933-2010)

Gennady (Henry) Belih, longtime faithful member of Holy Trinity, fall asleep in the Lord early this morning at his home in Boalsburg. He was resting peacefully after having been placed on hospice care as a result of terminal lung cancer. He was 77.

Gennady was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the nation’s capital, to his parents, Arxruny Genasyan and Antonia Belih. In 1959, he graduated from Ural State Technical University in Yekaterinburg, the biggest technical institution of higher education in Russia, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering. He worked 40 years as an engineer specializing in computer manufacturing in Moldova before immigrating to the United States. He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Anastasia, their two children Natalyia and Alexsey, and their two grandchildren.

Among our parish family, Gennady will be most remembered for his years of committed service to Holy Trinity, especially his dedication and hard work in beautifying our temple, a position from which he and Anastasia only recently retired.

Funeral services will be held later this week at Holy Trinity, with a Panikhida at 7 p.m. on Thursday night and the burial service on Friday at 10am. Interment will take place immediately afterwards at Boalsburg Cemetery followed by the Mercy Meal in the Parish Hall. Vigil will be kept throughout the night Thursday into Friday morning. If you are interested in chanting, please see the online sign-up sheet for available times and contact Sam Leathers.

Memorial contributions to help his family defray the cost of burial are currently being accepted. Offering envelopes marked “Special Appeal” are available in the Holy Trinity Narthex for this purpose.

May Gennady’s memory be eternal!

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