Loss of a priest

Below is a news piece that appeared on the local TV News (here). I heard about the passing away of Fr. Janko earlier today but I was away. In fact, I had an annual Parastos for my own father who passed away ten years ago.  I’m not sure of the exact details. I think he was on his way from the parish house to the church when he had either a stroke or heart attack. He fell and got up and fell again and must have fallen on the cement sidewalk. Not sure if any of these details are fully accurate. It is, nonetheless, a sad day for us in the Eastern Diocese, the Cleveland Deanery in particular.

May God grant Fr. Janko memory eternal!

Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church is mourning the loss of its priest

A parishioner found Reverend Janko Rajlich’s body near the church Saturday afternoon.

It appears he died of natural causes, and police say foul play does NOT appear to be a factor.

“He had some health issues and, he was found this morning, closer to noon, and we’re just investigating at this point right now to make sure there is nothing further to it, ” said Det. Sgt. Daryl Martin with the Youngstown Police Department.

Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church is located on Youngstown’s West Side.

Dogmas and Customs

H/T: Salt of the Earth (here)

“Everybody must preserve what was defined by common ecumenical decisions, but a particular opinion of a church father or a definition issued by a local council can be followed by some and ignored by others. Thus, some people customarily shave their beards; others reject this practice by local conciliar decrees. Thus, as far as we are concerned, we consider it reprehensible to fast on Saturdays, except once a year (on Holy Saturday), while others fast on other Saturdays as well. Thus, tradition avoids disputes by making practice prevail over the rule. In Rome, there are no priests legitimately married, while our tradition permits men, once married, to be elevated to the priesthood.

When the faith remains inviolate, common and catholic decisions are also safe; a sensible man respects the practices and laws of others; he considers it neither wrong to observe them nor illegal to violate them.”

* This excerpt is from a letter from St. Photius the Great to Pope Nicholas I of Rome in the year 861 A.D. “EP. 2, PG 102, cols. 604-605D.”

An accidental hanging

H/T: BBC News (here)

Brazil actor playing Judas dies from accidental hanging

A Brazilian actor has died after accidentally hanging himself while playing Judas in an Easter Passion play.

Tiago Klimeck, 27, was enacting the suicide of Judas during the performance on Good Friday in the city of Itarare.

The actor was hanging for four minutes before fellow performers realised something was wrong.

Klimeck was taken to hospital suffering from cerebral hypoxia but died on Sunday.

The Passion play was being performed in Itarare, 345km (214 miles) west of Sao Paulo.

Klimeck was re-enacting the scene in which Judas commits suicide in repentance for his betrayal of Jesus Christ.

Police are investigating the apparatus that was meant to support Klimeck. It appears the knot may have been erroneously tied.

When the actors realised something was wrong, Klimeck was taken down and found to be unconscious.

The Santa Casa de Itapeva hospital has confirmed the death and an autopsy will take place on Monday.

The Lord wants to help us

“There are such illnesses today, difficult, frightening, incurable. The Lord does not wish to punish us, nor to destroy us by taking our lives or anything else. Through sicknesses and difficulties we remember God, we turn to the Lord that He might help us to heal and which we bear as a problem in our lives.”

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia

An icon, a title and a miracle-working Spring

Today is Bright Friday, the first Friday after Pascha, when the Life-Giving Spring is celebrated.I joined the clergy of the local Carpatho-Russian parish at the Divine Liturgy this morning (hence, I’m in the photo above as photographer).  This feast was a favorite of Metropolitan Nicholas of blessed repose and it was customary for him to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at Camp Nazareth with neighboring clergy.

The Life-Giving Spring is all at once a title given to the Mother of God, an actual miracle-working spring near Constantinople, and an Icon of the same name.

The icon principally shows the miracle-working spring, located outside the Golden Gate of Constantinople, amid a grove of trees. Overtime the spring was not taken care of, became choked with plants, and was forgotten. It was later in the 5th century that the spring was  rediscovered by the future-emperor Leo Marcellus, at the prompting of the voice of the Theotokos. A church dedicated to her as the Life-Giving Fount was built, protecting the spring until it was destroyed 1000 years later during the Turkish invasion. Nevertheless, the spring still survives today, underground now and accessed by descending stone steps.

As mentioned, the “Life-Giving Spring” is also a title of honour given to Mary, the Mother of God, for example in the Canon of the Akathist:  HAIL, Sovereign Lady, never failing spring of the living water. The living Water is, of course, Christ Himself and the line is a reference to the Old Testament, when Moses in the wilderness struck the rock “and [God] brought water out of the rock, and caused waters to flow down as rivers” (Psalm 78:16; also Exodus 17). Jesus, referring to this miracle, said: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

Just as the Old  Testament miracles prefigured the as yet unborn Jesus Christ, so too do modern miracles point back to their source in the Risen Christ. The Icon, then, shows the miraculous spring which still exists today – usually in the shape of the Cross.

Around about people are coming to the waters to be healed. This is where most of the people’s attention is focused. Yet we who stand “outside” the Icon, are also granted the invisible image of the Mother of God holding Jesus Christ. Seated within a font, they sanctify the waters which then flow into the cross-shaped pool everyone is gathered around. The physical manifestation of God’s love for mankind is shown together with the spiritual source of such miracles: Christ, the living Water and His Mother, from whose belly the living Water flowed.