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February 21, 2015

Due to road conditions outside of Halifax, Fr Vladimir will not be travelling, therefore we will have readers services this weekend. (Note to bakers - no prosphora needed.)

Forgiveness Sunday (start of Lent)
Sat Feb 21: Readers Services 6:00 pm
Sun Feb 22: Hours, Typika, Forgiveness Sunday Vespers 10:00 am

Please come if you can, but check road conditions in your area before travelling Sunday morning to be safe.

Nightly Mon-Thurs (Feb 23-26) at 6:00 pm: Small Compline with the Canon of Repentance of St. Andrew of Crete. Please attend these important services if you can.

For other services in Lent, please refer to the Great Lent schedule.

Please note: Special service Sat Feb 21

7:30-8:30 pm: The Coptic Church of St. Mena (167 Willett Street, Halifax, NS B3M 3L6) is holding a memorial service for the Twenty-One Egyptian Christians killed in Libya last week (see http://www.bbc.com/news/world-31481797). Everyone is invited!

A note from Father Vladimir about this tragic event: The Coptic tradition is one of the oldest and most beautiful expressions of Christianity. The tradiiton holds that St. Mark was the evangelist to bring the Gospel to Egypt, and Egypt, at that time oppressed by the Roman yoke, joyfully welcomed the message of freedom and peace promised by the Gospel. The Gospel fell on very fertile soil in Egypt, for the Egyptians had behind them the rich mystical spiritual tradition of three millenia and in that soil Christian spirituality bloomed and blossomed. Some of the greatest Christian saints came out of the Coptic Church - St. Athanasius, St. Mary of Egypt, Thais of Alexandria, St. Anthony the great, and countless others.

But no matter how blessed and faithful a Christian community may be, it will not be free from persecution and trials. In II Timothy 3:12, the Apostle warns us that "all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Such words could have been spoken directly to our Coptic Christian brothers and sisters, for persecution has been a hallmark of the Coptic Church. Ever since the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Coptic Christians have been the target if torture and persecution. Even in the "civilized" and more enlightened world of the twenty-first century, bitter and savage persecution has not ceased in Egypt. The recent martyrdom of the twenty-one Coptic Christians in Libya is yet another example of the sufferings which have befallen the Coptic Church.

To make the martyrdom of these Copts even more bitter, the president of the United States has blatantly denied that these men died because of their faith. Barak Obama has referred to them merely as "citizens", purposely avoiding any reference to their Christian faith and thereby depriving them of the crown of martyrdom. Despite the anti-Christian attitudes of the world, we recognize these men as Christians who have been tortured and martyred because of their faith in Christ. At the same time, let us give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ who has given them the strength to bear their martyrdom, to triumph in their faith, and enter into the glory of the eternal Kingdom.

With all the saints and martyrs, may these twenty-one martyrs have Eternal Memory.

St.Vladimir Orthodox Church, 629 Purcell's Cove Road, Halifax NS, (902) 982-3759

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