Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Founder of Christian Xenodolion (hospital-inn)

Commemorated September 4

The OCA website has another account of St Hermione

Our holy mother Hermione was a daughter of Saint Philip the Deacon (Acts chapter 6). She was born in Caesarea of Palestine early in the first century. Inspired by a true understanding of the Gospel, she studied the philosophy of medicine in her native city. After the Christians were driven out of Palestine, Saint Hermione traveled to Ephesus to seek out the beloved Apostle John. By the time she arrived, the great evangelist had already departed this life.

Joined by her sister Eukhidia, Saint Hermione bought a house and founded a medical clinic, devoted to the treatment of the poor and the homeless. Soon, she added rooms for these homeless ones and for poor travelers who were ill. Thus was established the first of those hospital-hostels or "xenodukia", which would become so much a part of the Orthodox Christian tradition. Like the other unmercenary physicians who would come after her, she understood that salvation consisted in the healing and liberation of the whole person - body and soul together. While ministering to the physical illnesses of those who came to her, the saint also nourished them with the Gospel and led them to that true healing and freedom in Jesus Christ.

Filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Saint Hermione was given the gift of prophecy and became a link in that chain of New Testament prophets who were united in spirit and calling to the great Old Testament prophets. After a long life of service as physician, evangelist and prophet, Saint Hermione was granted the crown of martyrdom. During the reign of Emperors Trajan and Hadrian, she was arrested and, in spite of her great old age and renown, subjected to terrible tortures in an effort to force her to renounce our Lord Jesus Christ. She was beheaded on September the fourth and received the glorious crown of those who choose everlasting life in our Lord Jesus Christ above this transitory earthly life.

Through her holy prayers, may we also find healing and salvation.

From "Lives of the Saints", Vol. 11
Synaxis Press

Reprinted with the kind permission of Archbishop Lazar Puhalo

St Hemione can teach us so many things. She gave of herself to those in need; she was a servant to those people who were too sick or injured to care for themselves and she asked for nothing in return. Did they thank her or show gratitude? Maybe, maybe not. Sick people can be cranky. Homeless people can seem ungrateful. She chose to help anyway. What do we do?
I love that she is wholistic and treated the body and soul. She is an academic in a time that women were not learned, but she used that knowledge in a very feminine way and cared for and ministered to people.
How can we be like St Hermione? Are we skilled to heal the body as physicians or the soul as proclaimers of the gospel? Can we make a meal for someone who is sick or to support someone who is caring for someone who is sick? What about running errands or cleaning up a house? Or just sitting and being present with someone who is suffering? We can listen.
These are beautiful ministries that are often fulfilled by women because we are empathetic and like a practical way to help people. In our homes and families and places of work and churches, why don't we look for ways to be like St Hermione. Ask her to reveal to you those in need. See what happens....

5:52 am

Why 5:52 am? Well that's what time it is. You see, I have usually been at work for an hour by now and was indeed at work at 4:50 am today only to discover that I don't work until tomorrow!
This could be seen as a very frustrating event in ones life, but it is actually working out quite nicely for me. We had a wonderful friend over for dinner last night and had a very lively and challenging conversation. I threw in the towel at 12:10 am and left my husband and said friend still talking (I have no idea what time my husband finally came to bed). So I was understandably quite groggy at 4:00 am when I had to get up for work and drank 2 cups of coffee while getting ready. I walked across the street to work only to find out I didn't have to be there and so I had a chat with a teammate who really needed to chat said "Hi" to my coworkers and then "By" to my coworkers and walked back across the street home. Since I am too buzzed on the caffeine (a good plan for a day of work, but not for trying to go back to bed) I have been getting so much done.
I did my morning prayers--uninterupted--had a couple more cups of coffee--uninterupted--caught up on my email--uninterupted--you see where I am going with this....
Now I am going to do the dishes and I may even phone a friend in New York while I do them. I can let my husband sleep in instead of having to get up and get the kids off to school ('cause he went to bed waaaay later than me) and hang out with the baby. When she goes for a nap I will go for a nap. Then I will have enough energy to make cinnamon buns for a post vespers treat tonight.
What an unexpected gift this day is already and it is only 6:02 am!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Synaxis of the Ecumenical Teachers and Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, and John Chrysostom

Troparion - Tone 1

Let us who love their words gather together
and honor with hymns the three great torch-bearers of the triune Godhead:
Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom.
These men have enlightened the world with the rays of their divine doctrines.
They are sweetly-flowing rivers of wisdom
filling all creation with springs of heavenly knowledge.
Ceaselessly they intercede for us before the Holy Trinity!

Kontakion - Tone 2

O Lord, You have taken up to eternal rest and to the enjoyment of Your blessings
the divinely-inspired heralds, the greatest of Your teachers,
for You have accepted their labors and deaths as a sweet-smelling sacrifice,
for You alone are glorified in Your saints!

Friday, January 27, 2006

To my dear Lady the Reverend and God-Loved, Deacon, Olympias

Did you know that this was how St. John Chrysostom addressed his close friend and confidant, St Olympia? Here is a well researched book by Dr. Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald entitled
Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church Called to Holiness and Ministry It is edited by Father Thomas Hopko.
St Nina's Quaterly has a great review
written by Deborah Belonick Associate Editor for St Vladimir's Seminary Press
Any mention of Women Deacons is charged with varied, but immediate reaction:
"Yes!!! This ministry needs to return"...."Oh no...once they get to be deacons what is keeping them from being priests??"..."Shush"..."That is feminist retoric"..."Why can't women's ministry be ordained?"...
I think it is important to ask why we have these strong emotional reactions and are they based on any facts or research or knowledge of the historical role of Diaconess or are they based on our assumptions and what was debated with our friends?
On a related theme, there are many incredible orthodox women of past and of present. Some are saints, but most are just women trying to live out their life in Christ. Over the next while I think I will post about some of the wonderful women and resources for women and books written by Orthodox women.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Great New Find

I have discovered a wonderful new magazine.
Every DAy with Rachel Ray It is all about food and wine. The recipes are simple and easy to follow with lots of pictures. There is even a 7 day meal planner complete with shopping list! Most of the recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes.
Tonight my husband made fresh tuna burgers with ginger, garlic and soy sauce. They were topped with wasabi mustard and mango chutney. Wow! They were delicious.
Now I love Martha Stewart, but my leisure time has been severely restricted since I took out my subscription in 1996. I wonder if 3 more children and a full time+ job have added any work?
Now in 2006 I love Rachel Ray. Great energy, quick prep times and yummy food.
She does a lot of sea food and pasta, so it is not hard to find fast-friendly recipes.
This is only her second issue; I am sure there will be many more.
Happy cooking.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Did You Vote???

Don't forget that today is election day in Canada.
7am-7pm at your local polling station.
It is very important that your voice is heard.
So PRAY then VOTE.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January = Birthdays!!!

January is a very busy month for birthdays for our friends and family. Here is a big "Happy Birthday" to everyone.

Kurt Jordan Jan 2
Esmé Hoogendyk Jan 11

Elijah Jan 17
Jonah Jordan Jan 18

Kimberley Francis Jan 20
Alban Jan 21

Kimberly Rigden Jan 22
Malachai Duran Jan 22
Elise Jan 23
Katrina Duran Jan 27
Avery Jordan Jan 29

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list, just all the names I could come up with off the top of my head. Please feel free to add anyone whom I have missed….or yourself if your birthday is in January.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dea is here!!!!!

Today is a wonderful day. My fabulous friend, Dea, has come all the way from Houston, Texas to visit little ole me! Y'all can meet her if you come to Vespers tomorrow night. She is a breath of fresh, warm DRY air! I was hoping that some of that hot sunny weather would have followed her here, but it seems she is going to see Vancouver at it's finest--raining; we have just broken a record for the most consecutive days of rain.

I have been in denial about how much I have missed her until I saw her beautiful face. I am not going to think about what it will be like when she has to leave again....that is days away.

After I picked her up at YVR, we went to Gastown (and got soaking wet)! Tomorrow thrift store shopping and a good long coffee clatch and then Victoria and Whister (God and weather willing) should round out the week.

Friendship is a truly incredible gift and a friend that you been in the trenches with and and knows that from which you speak it an immeasurable blessing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Miraculous Intervention or using the skills God gave us?

A post on a friend's blog reminded me of a wonderful clip from Jon Stewart's The Daily Show
I was at a conference last fall for Professional Emergency Communicators and attended a talk about the "Miracle of Flight 358" That was the Air France flight that crashed last summer at Pearson Airport in Toronto. Thank God, everyone got off the plane safely, but having said that, I really appreciate that nod from Stewart. God gives us the gifts to use, but we need to USE them in a competent manner.
Let me know your thoughts on this clip.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Another DA quote for the fans

He hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife.
Douglas Adams

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

And wow! Hey! What's this thing coming towards me very fast? Very very fast. So big and flat and round, it needs a big wide sounding word like... ow... ound... round... ground! That's it! That's a good name - ground! I wonder if it will be friends with me?
Douglas Adams

I don't know how many of you are Douglas Adams fans, but he is a fantastically hilarious author. I am especially fond of his four part trilogy, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Thursday, January 05, 2006

This is a picture of Greta taken a few days ago. It is striking how much she looks like Esmé. When I look at this picture, I am looking into Esmé's eyes. Do the girls see the similarity in each other? I am told that both my daughters look very much like me; I can see that they look very much like each other, but do not recognize myself in them. I wonder why? I am not conscious or aware of what (or whom) I really look like?
Tonight I made Prosphera bread for the first time. I was very conscious of my thoughts and actions while making it. I found it a very peaceful ritual in an incredibly stressful day. Tomorrow morning my husband will pray for many people as he cuts it into pieces and uses it in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. I am struck by the miraculous as I ponder how this bread will be transformed during the liturgy. God allows us, such sinful people, to participate in such an act of worship. He is such a loving God. If only I would allow Him to tranform me, flesh and bones and hurts, as He does this flour, water, yeast and salt.

Monday, January 02, 2006

One Last Holiday Treat

This is my Niko. Of course he would have a balloon bicycle hat on his head! We had a fabulous family day at the Vancouver Aquarium
The hat is courtesy of Arty the Balloon Guy. Niko wore it on our walk around Stanley Park...there was no missing him!
As dusk settled on the city we arrived at the miniature train. The area was ablaze with Christmas lights. One last chance to celebrate Christmas! We ate roasted chestnuts and took a ride on the train. We had to wait a couple of turns and ended up at the very front of the line--the kids picked the seats right behind the engineer and we had 15 minutes of bliss: Christmas carols, Christmas lights, ornaments, statues ( including the White Witch in her sleigh) and excited joyful children.
Tomorrow it is back to the familiar and very busy routine: kids to school, coffee to drink, toddler to chase after, diapers to wash, chores to attempt, me to work (night shift--ugh!), but tomorrow also starts a new and precious routine--Tuesday Night Vespers at UBC. What a joy, what a gift!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

One of my favourite prayers

This is one of my favourite prayers. It seemed fitting to post it on the first day of the year. This is a lovely prayer to add to your morning prayers. It just seems to set the tone for the day. I pray it will bless you.
Happy New Year

Prayer of Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

Lord, I know not what to ask of You. You alone know what my true needs are. You love me more than I myself know how to love. Help me to see my real needs which may be hidden from me. I dare not ask for either a cross or a consolation. I can only wait upon You; my heart is open to You. Visit and help me in Your steadfast love. Strike me and heal me; cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence Your holy will. I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice. I put all my trust in You. I have no other desire than to fulfill Your will. Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me.