Iconostasis Update

It’s been a while since we updated about the status of the iconostasis. As you know we chose some very specific woods for use in the construction, and, while we were able to secure enough sheets of the Baltic birch from Russia for the panels, as well as the African bloodwood for the trim around the icons, the local Alabama aromatic cedar for the posts and cross beams have been a bit of a setback. Since we opted to locally-source the cedar from a small, independent sawmill operator here in Alabama, we had to get on a wait list for posts of this size; and, moreover, the first batch of posts twisted in the kiln-drying process, beyond what was able to be planed out to be usable. So we are waiting on posts from their next batch, before we can actually begin assembling the iconostasis. However, we have been assured by our craftsmen that the bulk of construction, once all the materials are in, will happen very quickly–they are expecting between 2-3 weeks.

However, we have gotten news from our iconographer that the new panel icons, of St John Maximovitch and St Luke of Crimea, for the new panels, are finished and will be shipping to us in another week or so (once the varnish has had sufficient time to dry). Included are the photos they sent of the new icons, and they are beautiful! We can’t wait to see this project’s first phase completed.

Introducing the St Ita of Killeedy Church School

St. Ita, abbess and founder of education in medieval Ireland.

One of the goals of St John Cassian Orthodox Chapel, since its inception, was to found a parochial school for Orthodox Christians in central Alabama. This summer, St John’s has taken the first step toward realizing this goal, by establishing an at-home church school covering for Orthodox Christian families who wish to home school their children.

The St. Ita of Killeedy Church School is an established ministry of St. John Cassian Orthodox Chapel, and will provide opportunity for and assistance to parents wishing to give the best possible education to their children in a context that is consistent with the teachings of the Orthodox Church–giving them not only necessary secular learning but, most importantly, spiritual formation. We strongly believe this is the answer for so many of the challenges faced by parents and children in the modern world.

St. Ita is known as “the foster mother of the saints of Ireland,” and her school, founded in the 6th century, fostered and educated generations of holy men and women, who converted their society to the Gospel. Among her numerous students was the famous St. Brendan the Navigator! It is our sincere hope that St. Ita of Killeedy Church School will enable your child to be inspired and formed in such a way to be among the peers of those educated by our patroness.

If you are interested in St. Ita of Killeedy Church School, please follow this link.

Service Cancellation

Due to the hard freeze warning in effect in our area until noon today, combined with the overnight snow and ice and the very real possibilities of black ice on the roads, we will regretfully be forced to cancel our planned morning Divine Liturgy in honour of St Theodore the Recruit. Please stay exercise caution and stay safe.

At this time, Great Vespers this afternoon is still planned for 6 PM.

Scam Alert

There is a rumour going around that St John’s is taking in Ukrainian refugees and collecting money/donations for this purpose. This is a scam, please do not donate to anyone or any organisation using our name, if you have not seen it here on our website or on our FaceBook page.

Upcoming Events and Lent Schedule

We will begin out Lenten service schedule on Monday, 14 March, 2022.

Monday-Thursday of the first week we will have Compline with the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete @ 6:00 PM.

Beginning Friday of the first week and continuing through the fifth week, we will have Compline with the Akathist Hymn to the Mother of God @ 6:00 PM.

Beginning Wednesday of the second week, we will have the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts every Wednesday @ 6:00 PM.

Friday of the sixth week, we will have the Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts for the Eve of Lazarus Saturday.
Weekened services will remain at their usual times.

Special services (Saturdays of Souls, St Mary of Egypt, and Annunciation), as well as the schedule for Holy Week and Pascha, will be announced at a later date.

On the Third Weekend of Great Lent our rector, Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar) of the Monastery of St Dionysios will be visiting us, and bringing the Brotherhood’s relic of the True Cross for our veneration on the Sunday of the Cross.

St. John Cassian’s New Home

After a year of renovations, St John Cassian Chapel had its first services in their new temple, located at 1731 13th St N, in Bessemer, Alabama, this past weekend.

Move in day on Saturday the 5th was a herculean effort by members of the mission. We began by taking down, packing, and loading up all of the furnishings, furniture, and holy things at the old chapel space, and hauling it over to the new building. The painters were still finishing up as we were moving things in, so it was a bit tricky at times to get things in without disturbing them or messing up the new paint. The ladies worked hard, cleaning and mopping the space to clear out the sheet-rock dust and other debris associated with any construction project, and the men of the mission began the task of unloading and placing the liturgical furniture and boxes (mostly of icons!) into the space.

Everyone worked exceptionally hard, and that evening, Priest Justinian Burnett blessed the building before beginning Great Vespers. At the end of the service, he thanked everyone who came and worked so hard, and who stayed for the first service in the building.

On Sunday, February the 6th, the Sunday of Zaccheus and of the commemoration of the New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia, Priest Justinian served Matins and Divine Liturgy, and during the homily he pointed out that just as salvation came to the house of Zaccheus when the Lord went to stay there, salvation had come to this new house of God, raised to His glory and to the glory of the mission’s patron, St John Cassian. There were 20 in attendance, and 16 partook of the Holy Mysteries. After the Divine Liturgy, the community shared a potluck meal and fellowship. In all, it was a joyful celebration, and a milestone achievement for the little community that began just over 7 years ago meeting in the living room of two of the parishioners for reader’s typika.

It’s Happening!

With great joy and thankfulness to God, we are announcing that, at last, we are moving into the new building at 1731 13th St N this weekend!

There are a few things that will not be completed yet, however, the building will be able to be used for our worship and after-liturgy meals and other gatherings.

Those wishing to help with the move are welcome! We’re going to be assemble at the current chapel location at 3389 Lindsey Loop Rd at 9 AM Saturday morning (2/5). There is a lot of stuff that has to be moved, so please come ready to help and stay for Vespers at 6 PM, which will be held at the new location.

While we almost certainly will not be able to get everything moved this weekend, the more we can do, the better.

Thanks for all the prayers and support we have received during this endeavor. And please continue them, because now the real work begins!

Theophany Services

Services for Theophany will be held at our chapel space on 3389 Lindsey Loop Rd. Service times are as follows:
1/18 @ 6 PM — Great Vigil for Theophany
1/19 @ 8 AM — Festal Divine Liturgy followed by the Great Blessing of Waters

Please note that the Pre-Communion prayers will not be read before Divine Liturgy on the 19th. If you are communing, please pray the rule of prayer yourself before arriving at church.

Matching Fund-Raiser Update

We are happy to announce that we have exceeded our primary fundraising goal of $2500, which will be matched by our benefactor, for $5000 for the construction of the iconostasis. Thanks to your generosity, we raised $350 over the $2500 goal. The additional funds will go toward the purchase of new icons for the additional panels of the iconostasis.

This great blessing was made possible solely by your gifts and prayers, and we cannot thank you enough for the enthusiasm everyone has expressed for this project.

Although the matching-funds fundraiser is over, we will still gladly accept any gifts and donations for the project, which will be used toward the purchase of additional icons or for the second phase of the construction (which will be the deacon’s doors and the icons to adorn them).

Our existing iconostasis icons, which will be housed on the beautiful, new iconostasis.

Services for the Entry of the Theotokos

Regrettably the construction at our new location is not quite finished, so there will be no time to move in and clean up in time for the festal service this weekend. The services for the Entry as well as the regular Sunday services will be held at our present location.

Festal Services:
Friday, 3 December, @ 6:30 PM – Great Vespers
Saturday, 4 December @ 9:00 AM — Matins; @10:15 AM — Divine Liturgy.

Services for Sunday, including Saturday evening Great Vespers, will be held as normally scheduled.

Please keep the renovation project in your prayers!