News Concerning Services Conducted at St. Herman Antiochian Orthodox Church, Wasilla
As of May 29, 2020, St. Herman Church is still closed to the public until further notice based on restrictions from our Archdiocese. All events, programs are cancelled. Any liturgical service that is done will be limited to 25% capacity and will be open to church members only. We ask visitors, for the time being, to please call Fr. Matthew Howell at (907)373-5254 to ask permission to attend if desired.
Spiritual Resources and Encouragement
During COVID-19 Pandemic
A Special Prayer for Protection and Healing from the New Pandemic
His Beatitude Patriarch John X of Antioch and All the East, and His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, have approved use of this “Special Prayer for Protection and Healing from the New Pandemic” by our clergy and faithful.
O Lord, our God, the rich, the merciful, and wise in His care: in Thy wisdom take care of our lives, hear our prayers, accept our repentance for our sins, and stop this rampant pandemic in the same way that Thou didst stop punishing Thy people in the days of David the King. O Physician of our souls and bodies: grant healing to those infected by this pandemic, and let them rise quickly from their pain to glorify Thee, O merciful Savior; as for those who are healthy, protect them from any disease.
Bless, O Lord, and support all those who care with love and sacrifice for the sick wherever they are found, whether they are at home or in hospitals, and keep them with Thy grace. Protect Thy people from all disease and pain, and teach us to value life and health as Thy gifts.
Grant us, O God, Thy peace, and fill our hearts with firm faith in Thy care, and with love towards Thee and our neighbor. Have mercy on us, and save us, O our God, and to Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
(Issued by the Holy Synod of the Romanian Church March 11, 2020)
A Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian
For the withdrawal of the spirit of fear
Studies on Genesis Chapters 1-3
A video Bible Study
Fr. Matthew Howell and his dad, Fr. Stephen Howell, do an introductory study of the first three chapters of Genesis. Along the way, they give definitions of important theological terms as well as tie the beginning of the Old Testament to the last two chapters of the New Testament.
Episode 1 - April 1, 2020
Episode 2 - April 8, 2020
Episode 3 - April 22, 2020
Episode 4 - April 29, 2020
Episode 5 - May 6, 2020
Episode 6 - May 13, 2020
Episode 7 - May 20, 2020
Episode 8 - May 27, 2020
Episode 9 - June 3, 2020
Episode 10 - June 10, 2020
It is also relevant to Episode 8 for someone to listen to this podcast by Bishop IRENEI about St. Symeon the Theologian's writings on The Temptation to Cast Blame for Our Sin.
Loving God Without Fear
Audio Lectures by Bishop IRENEI Steenberg
"Loving God Without Fear" is a free three-part lecture series by Bishop Irenei (Steenberg) of London and Western Europe of the Russian Orthodox Church in America. Bishop IRENEI is author of the book The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer and is a onetime fellow of Oxford University and Chair of Theology and Religious Studies at Leeds. He also the founder of the Sts. Cyril and Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in San Francisco, and for many years produced a wonderful podcast on Ancient Faith Radio called "A Word from the Holy Fathers."
These lectures were given at the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Parish Life Conference in San Francisco in 2014. At the time of the lectures, Bishop Irenei was an archimandrite. Also, shortly before the third lecture of this series, our own bishop, Metropolitan JOSEPH, was elected as the new metropolitan and archbishop of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America by the Holy Synod of Antioch.
These lectures are free courtesy of Patristic Nectar Publications, and can be downloaded here.
Liturgy of the Heart
Spirit of St. Tikhon's Podcast on Ancient Faith Radio
by Archimandrite Sergius Bowyer and Fr. John Parker
Archimandrite Sergius, the Abbot of St Tikhon’s Monastery—the oldest Orthodox monastery in North America—has recently posted a few short reflections on Facebook titled “The Liturgy of the Heart” (see links on page below) Fr. John Parker, Dean of St. Tikhon’s Seminary, hosted Fr. Sergius on a live show on Thursday, April 2 on Ancient Faith Radio.
From one of Fr. Sergius’ recent videos: “Let us dust off the altar of our heart, place the Gospel back in the center, take what is given to us in this life (both good and bad) and offer it to God in gratitude (εὐχαριστία). When we do so, we will find that we will receive Christ Himself in return, and every encounter with Christ is Pascha.”
Stories That Work: Fr. Michael Oleksa
An Interview with Alaska's Senior Priest about the Providence of God
Click here to watch an interview with Fr. Michael Oleksa by Dn. Adam Roberts and Fr. Matthew Howell on their show "Stories That Work," done on behalf of the Antiochian Department of Missions and Evangelism on April 9, 2020. Fr. Michael has been a priest in Alaska for 50 years and shares some of the history of Orthodoxy in Alaska, including stories about St. Innocent Veniaminov, St. Yakov Netsvetov, and blessed Matushka Olga Michael, and he tells us how God's Providence is involved in every circumstance of our lives.
Stories That Work: Fr. James and Kh. Linda Ellison
An Interview about the Struggle of Processing Grief
Fr. James and Kh. Linda have spent the last 15 years processing grief from major losses of loved ones. They have both gone through a Clinical Pastoral Education program (CPE) and have helped create bereavement support groups. On Holy Tuesday, April 14, 2020, they shared part of their story with Fr. Matthew Howell and Dn. Adam Roberts. Their story is powerful, but is not one that centers on the pain of loss in this world. Rather, their story encourages all of us to make firm the foundation of our personal faith in Jesus Christ and His Resurrection so that we can all live with hope in the world to come.
The New Abnormal: On Getting Back Together
A Video Reflection by Fr. John Oliver
Click here to watch an encouraging video from Fr. John Oliver, an Antiochian priest and the pastor of St. Elizabeth Orthodox Christian Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Fr. John reminds us that the new "abnormal" caused by this virus should not become the long-term "normal."
Series of Lenten Talks with Bishop Irenei (Steenberg)
Video Lectures with the ROCOR Bishop of London and Western Europe
Lenten Spiritual Talk #1 - March 23, 2020
Lenten Spiritual Talk #2 part 1 - March 25, 2020
Lenten Spiritual Talk #2 part 2 - March 25, 2020
Lenten Spiritual Talk #3 - March 27, 2020
Lenten Spiritual Talk #4 - March 30, 2020
Lenten Spiritual Talk #5 - April 2, 2020
Liturgy of the Heart
Video Reflections by Archimandrite Sergius Bowyer, Abbot of St. Tikhon Monastery
Archimandrite Sergius has been the abbot of St. Tikhon Monastery in South Canaan, Pennsylvania since 2010. He is the author of the book Acquiring the Mind of Christ, and is also a professor of spirituality at St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary.
Liturgy of the Heart Part 1 - Archimandrite Sergius gives a brief word on the "liturgy of the heart"—especially important during a time when so many are separated from the Liturgy at church.
Liturgy of the Heart part 2 - Archimandrite Sergius gives a practical word on how to develop a short prayer rule that can help us enter into the "liturgy of the heart" he discussed in his first video.
To learn more, check out this short PDF on getting started with a prayer rule at home.
"Death prevailed and swalled them, but again God wiped away every tear from every face; He took away the disgrace of His people from all the earth; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Then it will be said in that day, 'Behold, this is our God, in whom we hoped and rejoiced exceedingly; and we shall be glad in His salvation.'" -- Isaiah 25:7-9, Orthodox Study Bible
"No man shall be able to oppose you all the days of your life, and as I was with Moses, thus I will be also with you. I will not forsake you nor disregard you." -- Joshua 1:5, Orthodox Study Bible
"Behold, I have commanded you. Be strong and courageous. Do not be cowardly or fearful, for the Lord your God is with you in all things, wherever you go." -- Joshua 1:9, Orthodox Study Bible
-- Ephesians 6:10-11, Orthodox Study Bible
"Fall upon prayer as your only aid and help in this life. When you are weary, pray. When you are joyful, let your joy feed deeper prayer. When in hunger or thirst, open your heart to the Lord. When in exultation, bind your life more firmly to God. When prayer itself is hard, pray all the more. For prayer is 'the ascent of the heart to God,' Who is its true and proper Master in every condition of this life." -- Bishop Irenei Steenberg, The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer, p. 83
"Thus let us purify our heart! Let us throw out all the dusty trash that is stored there; let us scrub the dirty floor, wash the windows and open them, in order that light and air may come into the room we are preparing as a sanctuary for the Lord. Then let us put on clean garments, so that the old musty smell may not cling to us and we find ourselves thrust out" (Luke 13:28). -- Tito Colliander, Way of the Ascetics, p. 14
"For God is able to free you from all these evils this day. But not until He sees that you are purified; not until He sees that a conversion has taken place, and a repentance firm and unshaken, will He entirely remove the tribulation. The goldsmith, until he perceives the gold well refined, will not draw it out from the furnace; and even so God will not take away this cloud before He hath thoroughly amended us." -- Saint John Chrysostom
"Only God knows how many Lents I will have before my repose. I should make this one count." -- Bishop JOHN Abdalah, The Word Magazine, March 2020, Vol. 64, No. 3, page 3.
Fr. Matthew Snowden is pastor of St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Jackson, Tennessee. He is a graduate of St. Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary and a former classmate of Fr. Matthew Howell. His homily is about a community centered on the Holy Cross. "What makes a Christian community is living at the foot of the cross together...At this time we are all called to live with the cross, we are all called to live in a shared vulnerability, not only with one another as Christians, but with the whole world."
The Very Rev. Archpriest Andrew Stephen Damick is pastor of St. Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and author of Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy (Ancient Faith Publishing/Conciliar Press, 2011 and 2017), An Introduction to God (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2014) and Bearing God (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2017). He has been podcasting since 2007 and is host of the Amon Sûl, Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy and Roads from Emmaus podcasts, and co-host of The Areopagus Podcast. He visited St. Herman Church in 2015. This homily is taken from his blog, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/asd/.
External Resources for Information on COVID-19