• Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Gabriel, Archbishop of Montreal & Canada. 2020

    15 April 2020


    To the clergy and God-saved flock of the Diocese of Canada
    Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!


    With all my heart I greet you with the Feast of Feasts, the Glorious Resurrection of Christ,
    and pray for each of you to be granted Paschal joy, peace and wellbeing.
    Of all the feasts celebrated by the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the most joyous,
    most triumphant is the Feast of the Pascha of the Lord, the Unconquerable Victory over the
    powers of hell and death. So that we all, after Christ’s Resurrection, set our trust in our own
    resurrection, and life everlasting. And “trust”, as St John of Tobolsk puts it, “is higher than
    hope, it transcends hope”.

    This year, however, our Easter joy is inseparably linked with the “godly sorrow”, as St
    Paul says in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “For godly sorrow works repentance unto
    salvation” (2 Cor 7:10).

    By order of the civil authorities all public worship in our churches is temporarily
    suspended. We follow this order, since, if we were to break it, we would, besides running the
    danger of falling victim to the illness ourselves, risk becoming an unwitting cause of
    meaningless death of our kinsfolk – may God preserve us from this! We ourselves are doing
    all we can to stop the pestilence from entering the homes of our parishioners. But this does not
    mean the services in the churches of our Diocese have ceased. They are continuing, but only
    the clergy who celebrate them are allowed in (not more than two celebrants in some
    provinces). Through God’s providence, many people are able to follow these on the internet,
    and thus, in these difficult circumstances, are given a chance to create house Churches in their
    homes. Therefore, beloved brothers and sisters, do keep in mind the words of Our Risen Lord
    Jesus Christ: go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who
    is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Mt 6:6).

    At this time it would be good to speak of miraculous events which took place in the
    island of Corfu long time ago. The black plague that was raging in neighbouring Italy and
    other countries of Europe, reached Corfu in 1629. The terrible news spread quickly across the
    island. Despite strict quarantine, the number of people stricken with the disease grew. Then
    the Orthodox, having assembled in the church of St Spyridon, prayed for the deliverance from
    the cruel pestilence. And the plague retreated. By Palm Sunday of 1630 the epidemic has
    ceased completely, while elsewhere in Europe thousands were still dying from the disease.
    On the same day of the Feast of the Entry of Our Lord into Jerusalem a solemn procession
    went through the streets in gratitude for the miracle wrought by the Supreme Physician of our
    souls and bodies through the prayers of the Holy Hierarch Spyridon.

    Let us implore Our Risen Lord to be swiftly delivered from this cruel pestilence,
    remembering the words of St John of Kronstadt: “Wars, illnesses and other calamities are but
    medicines in the hands of most merciful Heavenly Father… When the Lord strikes you with
    sore affliction, or sickness, or misfortune, then be assured that He will also truly send you
    consolation, and will afterwards bestow upon you the grace of peace, strength, and joy
    corresponding to your previous sufferings. For ‘the Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
    long-suffering, and of great goodness. He will not always be wrathful… He hath not dealt with
    us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our wickednesses’ (Ps 102:8-11)”.

    Dear brothers and sisters! May Our Risen Lord grant us all, in our present condition, to
    celebrate this Glorious Feast in good health and spiritual joy.
    “Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have set our hope on Thee” (Ps 32:22).
    Christ is Risen indeed!

    Archbishop of Montreal and Canada
    Christ’s Pascha, 2020

  • March 30/April 12 – Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)

    10 April 2020

    Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion; proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Savior; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal (Zach. 9:9).

    Entry of The Lord Jesus Christ in JerusalemThe prophet of God pronounced this prophecy over four hundred years before the event that we commemorate and celebrate today. Having completed His preaching on the earth, our Lord Jesus Christ made His triumphant entry into the royal city of Jerusalem, into the city where the true God was worshipped, a city in most ways Godly. The Lord made this entry as the King and victor, in order to finish His service by a decisive exploit: destroying death by death; removing the curse from the human race by taking this curse upon Himself. He made His entry into the royal city on the colt of an ass, whereon yet never man sat (Lk. 19:30), in order to restore to mankind the royal dignity which our forefather had wasted; to restore this dignity by ascending the cross. The unbroken colt was tamed beneath the wondrous Rider. The Apostles placed their garments upon the colt; great multitudes of people ran ahead to meet the Lord and walk alongside Him, shouting in their ecstasy, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he [the king (Lk. 19:38)] that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest (Mt. 21:9). The Lord is proclaimed King in the name of the Lord at His own beckoning—not accidentally, and not by conscious human will. In the course of four days, those same people who that day proclaimed Him King will cry, Away with him, away with him, crucify him… We have no king but Caesar (Jn. 19:15).

    What is the significance of the Lord’s riding into Jerusalem on an unbroken colt? According to the explanation of the holy fathers, this has a deep, prophetic meaning. The all-seeing Lord already saw the Jews’ approaching final apostasy from God. He announced this apostasy even back when the Law was given to the Israelites on Mt. Sinai, through the lips of the inspired Law-giver. They have sinned, said Moses of the Jews’ future sin against the God-man, as if he were speaking of something already done. They have sinned, not pleasing him; spotted children, a froward and perverse generation. Do ye thus recompense the Lord? (Deut. 32:5–6). It is a nation that has lost counsel, neither is there understanding in them. They had not sense to understand: let them reserve these things against the time to come (Deut. 32:28–29). For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and their vine-branch of Gomorrha (Deut. 32:32). While to the contrary: Rejoice, ye heavens, with him—the Son of God—and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him (Deut 32:43). The entry into Jerusalem upon an unbroken colt is a repetition of Moses’ prophecy—not in words, but in symbol. Moses foretold that the Gentiles would rejoice in the Lord, but the Jews would be rejected. Here, the unbroken colt, whereon yet never man sat (Lk. 19:30), is an image of the Gentiles. The Apostles’ garments are Christ’s teachings by which they would instruct the Gentiles, and the Lord seated Himself spiritually upon the Gentiles, making them God. He led them into Jerusalem, to the bosom of the Church, to the eternal city of God not made by the hands of men, to the city of salvation and blessedness. The rejected Jews were also present there. With their lips they cried, ”the King of Israel,” but in their soul, their Sanhedrin, they had already resolved to kill the Savior.

    Here is another meaning of the colt of an ass. It is an image of every person who is led by irrational desires, deprived of spiritual freedom, attached to the passions and habits of fleshly life. Christ’s teaching looses the ass from its attachment; that is, from fulfilling its sinful and fleshly will. Then the Apostles lead the ass to Christ, place their garments upon it; the Lord seats Himself upon it and makes His entry upon it into Jerusalem. This means that the person who has left his sinful life is led to the Gospels, and is clothed as if in apostolic vestments, in the most detailed and refined knowledge of Christ and His commandments. Then the Lord seats Himself upon him by spiritually appearing to him and spiritually abiding in him, as it was His good will to promise: He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (Jn. 14:21). And my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him (Jn. 14:23). The Lord’s coming is accompanied by peace surpassing words and comprehension; peace that is full of grace, and worthy of the one Who grants it—the Lord. This peace is not to be compared with the natural rest of fallen man, who may feel rest and pleasure from fleshly delights, and who may consider his own insensibility, his own eternal death, to be rest. The Lord is seated upon the natural qualities of the person who has submitted to Him and has assimilated His all-holy teachings; and He leads that person into the spiritual city of God, the city of peace—into the Jerusalem created by God, and not by man.

    The soul that upholds the Lord is greeted by the Holy Spirit, Who offers that soul spiritual joy which is incorruptible and eternal. Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, the daughter of the Holy Church—because you belong to no one but God. Proclaim it aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, the King is coming to thee, just, and a Savior; he is meek and riding on an ass, and a young foal (Zach. 9:9). You have felt the grace-filled peace of Christ, and become a daughter of this peace; you have been renewed with spiritual youth and have come to know Christ’s Kingdom by experience. The passions are tamed in you by the grace-filled power of Rider Who steers you; your natural qualities cannot break their natural laws, they cannot go beyond their boundaries and be transformed into uncontrolled passions! Taking all your thoughts, feelings and actions from the Lord, you can and must proclaim the Name of the Lord to your brethren, and hymn Him in the midst of the Church (Ps. 21:22). As one born of the Holy Spirit and a daughter of the Spirit, you are able to behold the spiritual procession of your King, you are able to behold the righteousness of your King. He is meek and lowly in heart (Mt. 11:29), and He will guide the meek in judgment, He will teach the meek His ways (Ps. 24:9). Our God is a Spirit which is incomparable to any created spirit, as He is in all aspects infinitely different from all creatures. The holy created spirits are His thrones and chariots. He is seated and rides upon the Cherubim; He is seated and rides upon those blessed human souls who have submitted to Him and brought all their natural qualities to Him as a whole burnt offering. The King rides upon such souls, and enters the holy city of God, bringing holy souls into it also. Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh. Amen.

    St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov)
    Translated by Nun Cornelia (Rees)

  • Annunciation of the Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary

    6 April 2020

    Sorry, this entry is only available in Русский.

  • Decree re: Coronovirus Pandemia.

    21 March 2020

    To all the rectors and clergy of the parishes of the Canadian Diocese


    During the first weeks of the Great and Salvific Lent, during days of fervent prayer and repentance, when we make special efforts to adequately meet the Resurrection of Christ, it was precisely during these days that our earthly world was faced with a difficult ordeal: the appearance of a destructive epidemic and the spreading of a disease-causing virus. We do not know how long this danger will last. Nor do we know if the “beginning of sorrows” about which the Lord warned His disciples not long before His passions on the Cross, have begun (Matthew 24:8). But we firmly know that many times, it seemed to sinful man, that the time of the Last Judgment was approaching, but by the indescribable and unending mercy of God, the life of our world continued – and continues to this day and hour. “Famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes” came and went (Mat., 24; 7), much more cruel and destructive epidemics than the one that is visiting us now. Even the seemingly common flu kills significantly more people than this new virus, the fight against which has just begun.

    We will not repeat here again and again the rather simple hygienic rules, which today are successfully implemented by the civil authorities. They are completely assimilated by our flock, aware of the vital necessity of following them. At the same time the parish rectors are instructed, when necessary, to remind the flock of such rules both from the ambo, as well as with special parish leaflets. Our main, primary duty is to continue to perform the divine services in our churches. This especially concerns the Divine Liturgy, moreover, no deviations from the centuries-sanctified order of the Liturgy, including, in the order of the communing of the laity, are allowed. If the civil authorities, in the event of the situation worsening, prescribe any other rules for us, we will respond to their requirements. Now our business is to follow the word of Christ: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt., 26; 41).

    – We have sinned and we have transgressed, and therefore Thy righteous anger has visited us, O Lord, our God; and the darkness of death has encompassed us and we have drawn nigh unto the gates of Hades. But, with compunction, we cry out unto Thee, our God, in our infirmities: Spare, o spare Thy people, and destroy us not utterly, humbly we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

    – Remember that we are flesh, O Lord, whose breath, when it departs, shall not return, and mercifully turn aside Thy wrath that has justly taken hold of us, by which, as with a sword, Thou hast grievously visited us. Do Thou set aright the pain and appease the wounds that suddenly are destroying us. For the dead do not praise Thee, neither all them that have descended into Hades. But we, the living, praise Thee, and, groaning with pain in our hearts, we pray Thee, hearken and have mercy.

    – More than all others we have sinned against Thee and we have transgressed, O Master, and if we have not acquired repentance, instead of repentance accept our offering. And having set Thyself to mercy, as Thou art almighty, free Thy servants from deathbearing sickness and grievous afflictions, groaning in pain we pray Thee, quickly hearken and have mercy.

    We prescribe for all parishes of our diocese after the Divine Liturgy on Precious Cross week, on Sunday, March 9/22, to serve а moleben sung in time of Devastating Epidemic and Deathbearing Pestilence.

    1. Services will continue according to the schedule.
    2. The church school is closed.
    3. Sisterhood luncheons are also closed.
    4. It is necessary to limit the number of worshipers in the church according to the order of the civil authorities. Therefore, I ask members of the Church Council to come to services on Saturday morning or Saturday evening, so that on Sunday other parishioners have an opportunity to attend divine services.
    5.The members of the sisterhood should also come on Saturday morning, or Saturday evening.
    6.The most faithful parishioners should also come on Saturday.
    7. Each priest should decide whether to give the cross for veneration after the Liturgy. In those cases when the cross is not provided for veneration, there should be a general blessing of the faithful in church with the cross.
    8. Every effort must be made to obey the law.
    10. The dates of the general unction services as well as Annual General Parish Meetings should be postponed until better times.

    +Gabriel, Archbishop of Montréal & Canada
    March 7/20, 2020

  • Re: Coronovirus Pandemia.

    13 March 2020

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  • The Meeting of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

    14 February 2020

    Sorry, this entry is only available in Русский.