Welcome to St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Christian Church

A CHURCH OF THE SELF-RULED ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ARCHDIOCESE OF NORTH AMERICA

+JOSEPH, Primate and Metropolitan of New York and all North America

+ANTHONY, Diocese of Toledo

ADDRESS: 2124 Shafer Drive, Fitchburg, WI, 53711

PASTOR:  The Rev. Fr.  Basil Koory    *      CHURCH PHONE:  (608) 273-0133

SI Iconostasis 12-14

St. Ignatius of Antioch Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church serves the Madison, Wisconsin area. Our membership includes Orthodox Christians of Middle Eastern, Greek, Russian, Coptic, Serbian and other ethnic backgrounds, as well as many who have come from Protestant and Catholic backgrounds. It is a youthful and dynamic parish which prays, serves the local community and socializes together.

Our Divine Services are all in English and sung a cappella.  Our Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00am and is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes long.  There is a luncheon pot-luck coffee hour immediately following Divine Liturgy where all families and guests are encouraged to enjoy a light meal and, more importantly, share in fellowship.

For first time visitors to the Orthodox Church a good service to attend is the Saturday evening Great Vespers starting at 5:00pm (about 45 minutes long).  Here one will hear the beautiful melodies of the Byzantine and Russian traditions, prayers of petition, psalmody, and seasonal topics of celebration.   Inquirer’s Class is generally held every other week at 6:00 pm, after Great Vespers (check calendar for exceptions).  This informal Q/A is a great opportunity to meet our priest, ask questions, and meet Orthodox Christians from the parish and other inquirers.

Our general schedule of services is as follows:

Sunday Matins – 9:00AM*
Sunday Divine Liturgy – 10:00AM*
Saturday Great Vespers – 5:00PM*
Saturday Confessions – 6:00PM
Weekday Liturgy – As scheduled*

*Please be sure to look at the calendar for exceptions.

You may sign up over in the right sidebar to get email updates every time we add new posts to the site.

If you’re looking for additional online resources about Orthodoxy,  the Antiochian Archdiocese website,  Journey to Orthodoxy, and Ancient Faith Radio are sites we recommend.

If you have any questions, please contact us by email or call the church office at the above number.

St. Ignatius Parish with newly consecrated Bishop ANTHONY, January 29, 2012.

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Reflection on the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity

I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will make all Thy wonders known
In the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord!
They are studied by all who have pleasure in them!
His work is glory and beauty, and His righteousness endures forever.
–Christmas Day, 1st Antiphon (Psalm 111:1-3)

Truly, “Great are the works of the Lord!”

He sees a world filled with suffering and He Himself voluntarily suffers to make a path to healing.

He sees a world dying and He Himself dies to bring resurrection and unending life.

He sees a world in darkness and He Himself enters that darkness to bring a divine light that can never be extinguished.

He sees a world in bondage to the forces of evil and He submits Himself to that evil in order to destroy it forever.

The God Who is “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible and eternally the same” empties Himself of power and divine privilege. He becomes a weak, fragile human being in order to share fully in our broken existence and in so doing offers the possibility of a life in communion with Him, with each other, and with all creation.

+TIKHON
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

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Reflection from Fr. Laurence Lazar

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time
we will  reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
-Galations 6:9

             Today the breeze outside was a bit cool, even what you might call refreshing but then it hit me that it won’t be too long before everyday will feature cold weather, snow, sleet, and ice.  If you think I’m looking forward to any of that you’re wrong.  The changes in the weather, the roads, the… (fill in the blank), in reality, there will always be the good and bad.  That’s life.  The great philosopher Rosanne Rosanadana said, “Life.  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”  In the words of Forrest Gump, “Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”

             Isn’t that the truth? Yet, we children of our loving God realize that whatever it is that life “throws” at us, it is His gift to us, to be used for our good and that of others, for His glory.  “Everything that is good come to us from above.” And everything that is NOT good? No, it doesn’t come from Him.  Man’s sin brought into our world death and sickness, problems, heartache, the injustice of poverty, and all of our woes.  But because God loves us, He strengthens us to endure whatever is wrong in our lives, in society, across the world to endure everything until we are with Him forever in Paradise.

             Let us give thanks to the Lord.  The seasons and challenges of our lives change.  But there is one thing that will never change.  God’s mercy and love.  They endure forever.  His love is beyond our comprehension.  His forgiveness is constant.  His blessings never cease to fall on us.  With each day of life in this world-when it’s peaceful and beautiful, or even painful, we need to grow in union with Jesus Christ, the Captain of our Ship of Life, who promises to lead us through the often crashing waves of the sea to the safety and joy of Paradise.

            ~Fr. Laurence Lazar

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Response of Assembly of Bishops to Obergefell v. Hodges

Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America strongly disagrees with the United States Supreme Court decision of June 26, Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Court invents a constitutional right for two members of the same sex to marry, and imposes upon all States the responsibility to license and recognize such “marriages.”

The Supreme Court, in the narrowest majority possible, has overstepped its purview by essentially re-defining marriage itself. It has attempted to settle a polarizing social and moral question through legislative fiat. It is immoral and unjust for our government to establish in law a “right” for two members of the same sex to wed. Such legislation harms society and especially threatens children who, where possible, deserve the loving care of both a father and a mother.

As Orthodox Christian bishops, charged by our Savior Jesus Christ to shepherd His flock, we will continue to uphold and proclaim the teaching of our Lord that marriage, from its inception, is the lifelong sacramental union of a man and a woman. We call upon all Orthodox Christians in our nation to remain firm in their Orthodox faith, and to renew their deep reverence for and commitment to marriage as taught by the Church. We also call upon our nation’s civic leaders to respect the law of Almighty God and uphold the deeply-rooted beliefs of millions of Americans.

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A Christmas Homily (excerpt) by St. Gregory Nazianzus (+380)

Christ is born, glorify Him. Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him. Christ on earth, be exalted.  Sing to the Lord all the whole earth; and that I may join both in one word, let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad, for Him who is of heaven and then of earth.  Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy; with trembling because of your sins, with joy because of your hope.

Again, the darkness is past; again Light is made; again Egypt is punished with darkness; again Israel is enlightened by a pillar.  The people who sat in the darkness of ignorance, let them see the great Light full of knowledge.  Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new.  The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front.  The shadows flee away, the truth comes in on them.  Melchizedek is concluded.  He who was without Mother becomes without Father (without mother of His former state, without father of His second).  The laws of nature are upset; the world above must be filled.  Christ commands it, let us not set ourselves against Him.  O clap your hands together all you people, because unto us a Child is born, and a Son given unto us, whose government is upon His shoulder (for with the cross it is raised up), and His name is called The Angel of the Great Counsel of the Father.  Let John cry, prepare the way of the Lord; I too will cry the power of this Day.  He who is not carnal is Incarnate; the Son of God becomes the Son of Man, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.  Let the Jews be offended, let the Greeks deride; let heretics talk until their tongues ache.  Then shall they believe, when they see Him ascending into heaven; and if not then, yet when they see Him coming out of heaven and sitting as Judge.

This is our present Festival; it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to Man, that we might go forth, or rather (for this is the more proper expression) that we might go back to God – that putting off of the old man, we might put on the new; and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ, being born with Christ and crucified with Him and buried with Him and rising with Him.  For I must undergo the beautiful conversion, and as the painful succeeded the more blissful, so must the more blissful come out of the painful.  For where sin abounded grace did much more abound; and if a taste condemned us, how much more does the passion of Christ justify us?  Therefore let us keep the Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own, but as belonging to Him who is ours, or rather as our master’s; not as of weakness, but as of healing; not as of creation, but of re-creation…

The very Son of God, older than the ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the incorporeal, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the fountain of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the perfect likeness, the definition and word of the Father: He it is who comes to his own image and takes our nature for the good of our nature, and unites Himself to an intelligent soul for the good of my soul, to purify like by like.

He takes to himself all that is human, except for sin.  He was conceived by the Virgin Mary, who had been first prepared in soul and body by the Spirit; His coming to birth had to be treated with honor, virginity had to receive new honor.  He comes forth as God, in the human nature He has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit. Spirit gave divinity, flesh received it.

He who makes rich is made poor; He takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of his divinity.  He who is full is made empty; He is emptied for a brief space of His glory, that I may share in His fullness.  What is this wealth of goodness?  What is this mystery that surrounds me?  I received the likeness of God, but failed to keep it.  He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to the image, immortality to the flesh.  He enters into a second union with us, a union far more wonderful than the first.

Holiness had to be brought to man by the humanity assumed by one who was God, so that God might overcome the tyrant by force and so deliver us and lead us back to Himself through the mediation of His Son.  The Son arranged this for the honor of the Father, to whom the Son is clearly obedient in all things.

The Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep, came in search of the straying sheep to the mountains and hills on which you used to offer sacrifice.  When He found it, he took it on the shoulders that bore the wood of the cross, and led it back to the life of heaven.

Christ, the light of all lights, follows John, the lamp that goes before him.  The Word of God follows the voice in the wilderness; the bridegroom follows the bridegroom’s friend, who prepares a worthy people for the Lord by cleansing them by water in preparation for the Spirit.  We need God to take our flesh and die, that we might live.  We have died with him, that we may be purified.  We have risen again with Him, because we have died with Him.  We have been glorified with Him, because we have risen again with Him.

 

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Fr. Patrick’s Meditation from Oct/Nov 2014 Parish Newsletter

     “When you are wronged and your heart and feelings are hardened, do not be distressed, for this has happened providentially; but be glad and reject the thoughts that arise within you, knowing that if they are destroyed at the stage when they are only provocations, their evil consequences will be cut off; whereas if the thoughts persist the evil may be expected to develop.”

St. Mark the Ascetic

Everyone knows that pride is the root of every sin, but pride is an enemy of many differing forms that, more often than not, is very difficult to identify.  It’s easy to confess the sin of pride, or at least the lack of humility, but because of the subtleties of pride and our inability or unwillingness to identify it and its disguises, we are left continually vulnerable to a sad recurrence of the same old struggles.  There is one persistent sin that occurs in my life that I believe if I were to become even just a little more watchful of I might find myself at least occasionally ahead of “[our] adversary the devil [who] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

What is this sin?  It is that which arises in the thoughts, that when embraced gives birth to greater sins.  The thoughts of judgment and hatred, of feeling wronged or jealous, of self-justification and self-pity, of anger and self-doubt, the thoughts of … (insert here).  It seems to me that, more and more, men are becoming a people of the mind, no longer governed by absolutes but rather by thoughts and emotions.  Intelligence and the volatility of our feelings are a vicious combination which can lead to all kinds of evil: evil against a society, against neighbor, and even against one’s own self – blindly and violently!

I am intrigued as to how this particular Trojan Horse has wormed its way into the very fabric of modern disposition.  There isn’t anything new here but it does seem to present itself in a different way at this time in history.  Could one source be progressive education?  C.S. Lewis presented a good argument for this in his book, The Abolition of Man.  Has man become so enamored with himself, his knowledge, his achievements and his potential, like Narcissus and his reflection in the pool, that he has forgotten to “man his post?”  It seems that we’ve become so weighed down with ourselves that we’ve become low hanging fruit – easy pickings – for that “roaring lion.”  Whatever poise any of us may possess seems precarious and subject at any given moment to collapse – at the moment of any random thought or feeling.  How can it not be when I have been empowered to validate my every thought, etched in the very “correctness” of my own evolutionary development (?!).

Beloved in Christ, I would like to state clearly that our thoughts need not be our enemy.  They are only part of who we are and while guided by them we should never be ruled by them.  However, if we do not want to be ruled by them then we must take very seriously our life in Christ and His Holy Church.  It requires of us discipline and a growing ability to see things in a different way; most especially, as St. Mark the Ascetic has said here, “providentially.”  Divine Providence is the strangest of concepts to men who believe only in themselves; and only men who are willing to lower themselves from the heights of self-determination (and conceit) can ever hope to understand it.  What might be the first clues that our thoughts are leading us down the pathway of evil?:  when the thoughts pit man against God or brother against brother, which more often than not lead to the greatest heresy of all: Schism (division – separation from God, separation from our brother).  There are, of course, many other clues, too many to enumerate here.  A question is: How are we to see temptation in this context, or the wrong that I have been asked to endure, or the judgment I am convinced is correct, or the self-justification and self-pity that leads to isolation?  Maybe a better question is: Will my faith carry me through any difficult and unendurable circumstance so that no evil may find its source in me?  Like a cancer, early detection is the best way to stop the spread of provocation and ultimate consequence.  Am I willing to diligently, humbly, prayerfully seek the virtue of early discernment and reject (cut off) the divisive intentions of the devil’s provocation?  “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).  Beloved, may it be so!  May we all strive to be more watchful over our thoughts!

 

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