December 28th, 2020
On Christmas day the world is filled with Light! The Savior is Born! The world rejoices! God became man so that man can become god!
This Christmas was very different for us all. We celebrated Christmas in a different way, away from our church, friends and families which is very hard for us all. So many of us have suffered financially, fallen ill and lost loved ones. We are full of uncertainty on what the future holds now more than ever. Although we do not know what tomorrow will bring, we know that our Savior is Born and we know He has opened the gates of paradise through His Incarnation for us all. Let us live a Christ like life. Let us love one another as He loves us. Let us help one another as He did for us. Let us have the same joy today in our hearts as the shepherds had when they saw the newborn King!
With the new year approaching, we must keep faith that 2021 will be a better year for the entire world. Many of us, including myself, are ready to put 2020 behind us. With the new year a few days away, so many of us have our new year resolutions in place and are eager to make a change. This year we should focus on change not just for our physical well-being but for our spiritual well-being. With the uncertainty of the future, we cannot focus on something we can’t control. We cannot control the virus or the vaccine schedule. We cannot control restrictions placed on us by our government. We cannot control how our finances may be impacted. What we can control is our relationship with God. We can control loving our neighbor. We can control our tongues so we can speak truths and not spread lies about people in an attempt to hurt them due to jealousy and spite in our hearts. We can control our judgement of others by leaving that in Gods hands as He is the perfect judge. We can control truly forgiving those who have wronged us and seek forgiveness from people who we have hurt either voluntarily or involuntarily. Let’s focus on 2021 being a Metamorphosis for each and every one of us bringing us closer to God keeping in mind we can spread joy just as easy as we can spread misery and hate.
I pray that you have a Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season and all of Gods Blessings in the new year.
November 16th, 2020
The Christmas fast began on November 15th. This is a period where we prepare ourselves for the joyous news from the Angel which comes to all humankind. "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord". This is a time for prayer and fasting which go hand in hand. This is something that has been passed down to us from our mothers and grandmothers. There is also one other very important piece which is sometimes overlooked and we heard it in Sunday's Gospel, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. We hear in the gospel that a man was lying on the side of the road, severely injured. A priest walked by and crossed the other way as did a Levite, but the Good Samaritan stopped, bandaged his wounds, took him to an Inn and gave money to the innkeeper for his recovery. This parable shows us that "loving our neighbour" is not just those close to us. The Samaritan helped the person in need and he did so not based on that persons skin color or religious beliefs. Not political views or ethnicity and regardless if that person was sober or an addict.
Love in Christ is unconditional and it is our duty to help those in need and love our neighbour. All of humanity is trying to navigate through this pandemic, many of us have been impacted financially and it makes things much more difficult. That being said, loving your neighbour does not have a set dollar value. Helping is helping regardless! We are created in the Image and Likeness of Christ! Every neighbour we come across is Christ Himself!
I pray that you have a Blessed Nativity Fast and keep safe.
October 8th, 2020
I wanted to wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving. For many of us, this has been a very difficult year with the losses of our loved ones, financial hardship and living through a pandemic in which we do not know what the future holds. It is hard for many people to find a reason to give thanks to God during all of this. I believe that we if we look at the smaller things in life, we can find reasons to give thanks.
We can give thanks that during this pandemic we were able to spend more time with our families. A great number of people I have spoken to have told me in the past that they were never able to drive their children to school or pick them up. Spouses never got to be together for lunch during the week. Many of us have had to brainstorm to create fun activities for the entire family to do together. Through physical distancing, we have not been able to go wherever we please and see whoever we want but many of us have settled into our cohorts with close friends and have truly become closer than ever.
Personally, I have enjoyed my time with my family and give thanks to relationships that have become stronger during this time. I give thanks that I am your parish priest and try my best to bring Christ into your lives. I am thankful for everyday that I get to see my family because every day truly is a gift from God. If we simplify our lives, we can find many reasons to give thanks to God and I pray the same for each of you.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
September 9th, 2020
August 4th, 2020
The Dormition of the Theotokos, which is celebrated on August 15th, is a very important time for us Orthodox Christians (click here for more information). The 2 week fasting period, beginning on August 1st, prepares us to receive Holy Communion and everyone should prepare themselves to receive the Holy Gifts. We know how important this day is and many people prepare themselves to come to church that day. Unfortunately, we are limited to 75 people and once we have 75 people in the church we will be at capacity. For those of you who aren't able to fit in the church you will still be able to light your candle and Parish council members will escort you into the hall, socially distanced and the Divine Liturgy will be streamed on the projector. At the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, once the church has been vacated, council members will guide those in the hall to communion as they wish. I will remain in the church and will be administering Holy Communion to those who wish to partake of the Body and Blood of our Lord.
The schedule of services for August has been posted on our website (click here) and all of our services are now open to the public. We will be serving the small Paraklesis to the Theotokos weeknights at 7pm k here to follow along with the readings of the Paraklesis. St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Calgary.
A friendly reminder that masks are mandatory in the church and hall. You may only remove your mask when you are about to receive Holy Communion and immediately afterwards you must put it on again. Also, you will be asked for your name and contact information upon entering the church. This is for your safety in case of an outbreak and we need to notify you.
God bless you, be safe and have a Blessed Dormition of the Theotokos!
June 2nd, 2020
Our Church will be reopening on June 7th for Sunday services. Our members have been emailed the guidelines and regulations for the reopening of our church as well as providing an opportunity for those who wish to attend to come in an organized manner due to the limited capacity we have. If anyone would like to RSVP, please contact Penelope at firstname.lastname@example.org or (403) 246-4553 ext 3.
The provincial government has imposed regulations for worship and we will be following those regulations. The faithful are not allowed to kiss the icons, gospel or the hand of the priests. Processions will not be held around the church to ensure social distancing and the most important is that Holy Communion will NOT be offered to the faithful as per the governments regulations of no shared items, such as chalices, spoons, etc. That being said, the Body and Blood of Christ cannot and will never transmit sickness or disease but we must follow the rules that have been placed upon us. As of now, our Archdiocese has not permitted any alternative methods in the distribution of the Holy Gifts. That being said, the provincial regulations as well as any directives from the Archdiocese may change and at that point, announcements will be made as needed.
I know many people are excited that the church is reopening but many people also want to stay safe and stay away from places where people gather which I respect and understand. For that reason, services will continue to be streamed so you can follow along from home.
For those who would like to receive Holy Communion, please reach out to me and I can come to your home so you can partake of the Holy Gifts.
With the beginning of the New Year, many of us set goals and resolutions to become a better version of ourselves. Most goals revolve around getting healthier, stopping a bad habit, losing weight and becoming more active.
These goals are very important and we should strive for these things but they shouldn’t be our only goals. Why not set some goals for ourselves to become better Christians?
Being a Christian encompasses many things. We should all try to make an effort to explore the many important parts of our faith. These include fasting in a way that works for you, praying often and making an effort to partake in the Holy Sacraments of our Church.
A very important part of being Christian came from Christ himself which is found in Matthew 25:31 (The Final Judgement).
The Lord said, "When the Son of man comes in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
What does the Lord tell us in this passage? This is not a parable or something that can be interpreted in different ways. He is telling us that if we do not truly love our neighbor as ourselves, there is no salvation. Feeding the hungry, clothing those who cannot on their own and the like are direct results of our faith. If we have true faith and love for Christ, everything found in this passage should be instilled in each and every one of us and especially in our homes.
Let’s all try and make an effort to better ourselves this year and through Holy Lent which is approaching. Every time we turn on the news, we see evil and darkness. Christ calls us to be beacons of light to others. How can we do this? Easy! Follow the perfect example of Christ and the saints. When you are walking downtown and see a needy person, go and buy them something to eat. When you check your mail and see envelopes from World Vision, War-Amps, Children’s Hospital, etc. do not just throw them away, open them up and in turn your wallet. Support charities and support your Church. People need help and it is our duty, not just as Christians but as human beings to help. We cannot be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes, purses, gadgets, fancy dinners, cars, etc. and not giving anything to the needy, charities and our church. No one is saying we can’t have nice things, or spoil ourselves but its all about balance. If you are buying presents for your entire family and friends and not making a donation to toy mountain there is a problem. If you go out for lunch and on your way back someone is begging for food and you walk by them as if they don’t exist, there is a problem.
Helping others not only makes us better Christians but by doing so we set examples for our colleagues and friends. Imagine if you are walking somewhere with friends or coworkers and they see you stop and make a difference in someone’s life? They will notice and challenge them do the same for the next person they see! This is just one example of how we can become beacons of light.
Let’s all set this as a goal and become beacons of light!
God Bless you all.
Rev. Fr. Peter Rougas