After five years of worshipping in our current space in the home of one of our members, St John Cassian Chapel has purchased a permanent building of our own. The new location will be at 1731 13th Street North in Bessemer, Alabama. The new facility features a large worship space, a fellowship hall, kitchen, offices, nursery, and library, as well as room to expand for classrooms and a ‘flex space’ for meetings, adult education, catechism, and other uses.
The building needs some work, and we will soon be beginning renovations to turn it into a truly Orthodox temple, worthy of the Lord. We anticipate moving in before Great Lent this church year.
If you would like to help out with the renovations, either by donating your time and labor, or through a financial contribution, we would be very grateful for your assistance. Dates/times for workdays will be announced here and on our FaceBook page. Donations can be processed securely through PayPal here.
We would like to extend a big THANK YOU to everyone who has helped us over the years, all of those who have prayed for us, and to everyone who has supported us as we have grown from a small group to real community of Orthodox Christians. We know that this move will be a big step toward helping bring the light of Orthodox Christianity to the people of Bessemer and the surrounding areas of metro-Birmingham.
First some excellent news: for the foreseeable future we will be having weekly Divine Liturgies on Sunday morning following Matins. We begin Matins at 9 am with Divine Liturgy following, usually around 10:15 am. We are very blessed to have Fr. Joseph and his family with us every weekend.
Also, starting this Sunday (11/17) we will begin our Inquirer’s/Adult Education class after the common meal (around 12:30 pm). This class will be a basic introduction to Orthodox Christianity, with a particular emphasis on the very basic principles of Christian faith and a sampling of material that was used by the earliest Christians to catechize those coming to the Church. The material for this class will be St Innocent’s Indication of the Way to the Kingdom of Heaven (ISBN 9780884653035 ) which is available from Holy Trinity Publications or from Amazon; selections from the Wisdom of Sirach aka Ecclesiasticus (which can be found in the 1611 edition of the King James Bible, the Oxford Ecumenical Edition RSV, the Orthodox Study Bible, or in stand-alone editions of the Apocrypha); the Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7); and finally with the prologue of the Gospel of St John (chapter 1, verses one through eighteen). This class is open to anyone who would like to participate.
We are still having midweek Vespers on Wednesday evening at 6 pm, with our bible study following. We are currently working our way through Archbishop Averky (Taushev)’s commentary on the Apocalypse (Revelation of St John), and discussing its meaning in the context of the New Testament, the liturgical structure of the book, and learning about the nature of symbolism through an exploration of the many symbolic depictions in the book. All materials are provided for this class, and it is open to anyone who wants to learn about the Orthodox understanding of the end times.
Finally, the Advent Fast is approaching. This year it begins on 11/28. We will hold an Unction service at the beginning of the fast on 11/29. As a reminder, Holy Unction is a sacrament of the Church, and is only open to Orthodox Christians who have prepared themselves with fasting, prayer, and recent confession.
Please check back for service times for upcoming feasts during the Advent Fast.
This has been a very exciting year for St John Cassian Chapel. On Holy Pentecost Rdr Justinian Burnett was ordained to the Diaconate by Metropolitan Hilarion at Holy Trinity Church in Mebane, NC. He is attached as clergy at the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension (Resaca, GA), and has been assigned to serve at the Chapel by the monastery’s abbot, Archimandrite Maximos (Weimar).
The Chapel has also been blessed to have Priest Joseph Gagliano, who has been appointed as a Chaplain at the Monastery of the Glorious Ascesnion, to be serving at the Chapel on a bi-weekly basis. This allows us to have Divine Liturgy at least two Sundays a month (which are listed on the parish calendar). Having Fr Joseph and his family with us has been a great pleasure!
We are in the midst of two projects. The first, creating new altar cloths, chalice veils, and other sacred coverings for the chapel, as well as some new sticharia for the altar servers. The other is looking for a building or for property on which to construct a building. We have been very fortunate to be in the space set aside by Phillip and Ita Burnett in their home for the last three years, but, we are now reaching the point where we are outgrowing the space. If you would like to help us out with either project, please make use of the PayPal donation button on the Be A Benefactor page of our website.
4 January, Friday, 6 PM — Office of the Forefeast of Christmas
5 January, Saturday, 8:30 AM — Matins
5 January, Saturday, 10 AM — Divine Liturgy
5 January, Saturday, 5 PM — All Night Vigil at St Martin of Tours Mission
6 January, Sunday, 10 AM — 3rd & 6th Hours, Divine Liturgy at St Martin of Tours Mission
6 January, Sunday, 10 PM — Christmas Services
Please note that we will be having joint services with our sister mission, St Martin of Tours, for Saturday and Sunday morning. St Martin meets at the chapel at Holy Cross Episcopal School, 4400 Bell Road, Montgomery, Alabama, 36116.
There will be light refreshments following our Christmas service, so that we can break the fast together. Please contact Lori Burnett about food planning.
We will be making a change to our weekly service schedule beginning Wednesday, 30 May 2018. Wednesday evenings we will have Daily Vespers followed by a study on various topics.
Our first study topic will be on the Angelic Ranks and the specific angelic powers mentioned in the Holy Scriptures as well as what has been handed down to us in the Holy Tradition from the earliest times.
If you would like to learn more about what the Orthodox Church teaches about the angels and their relationship to us and to God, please join us beginning on May 30th at 6 PM.
Orthodox Lent begins with the service of Forgiveness Vespers, which we will hold at the Chapel this Sunday following lunch after our normal Sunday services (around 12:30 PM). This is an extremely moving service, that allows us to start fresh with everyone, having asked and been asked for forgiveness from everyone in the parish, as we begin the Great Fast. We will be having Compline with the Great Canon of St Andrew during the first week of Lent (2/19 – 2/22), and will begin Friday (2/23) with our Lenten midweek services (Lenten 9th Hour with the reading from the Ladder of Divine Ascent, Lenten Typica, and Lenten Vespers), which will be served on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the Great Fast. Other services will he held as listed on our Calendar.
We will be hosting the mission’s rector, Archimandrite Maximos of the Brotherhood of St Dionysios the Areopagite, on the third Sunday of Great Lent (3/11), the Sunday of the Holy Cross. Archimandrite Maximos is bringing with him the Brotherhood’s relic of the True Cross of the Lord for the faithful to venerate. He will also be with us the following Tuesday (3/13) for the mission’s patronal feast. We invite everyone to attend!
Remember that Great Lent is the most spiritually important season of the Church year. It is incumbent on us to attend as many of the services offered so that we can purify ourselves with prayer and fasting, so that we may more fully enter into the joy of the Lord on Holy Pascha.
Although we had to cancel plans for celebrating Pascha at the Chapel, many of us were able to go over to the Monastery of the Glorious Ascension for the concluding services of Holy Week and the Great Feast. As always, we were welcomed warmly by Sister Christonymphi and Fr. Benedict, as well as the usual congregants there.
We are back to our usual service schedule, with the Canon to St John Cassian on Thursdays at 5:30 PM, Great Vespers on Saturday at 5 PM, and Matins and Typica on Sundays beginning at 9 AM.
There are some exciting plans in the works for this summer, so please check back often for announcements.
This weekend (3/25-3/26) will we have a pastoral visit from Archimandrite Maximos Weimar. We will have Great Vespers on Saturday evening at 5 PM, and Matins and Divine Liturgy on Sunday beginning at 9 AM.
We will be having a special luncheon after liturgy. If you plan to attend, please contact Reader Justinian by phone or text (205-200-1898) no later than Friday evening, so we can get a head count and can prepare enough food for everyone.
This is a very important event in the life of the mission. Please make every effort to attend.
Our service schedule for Great Lent is as follows:
2/27-3/2 – 5:30 PM – Compline with the Great Canon of St Andrew
3/3 – 5:30 PM – Great Paraklesis to the Theotokos
Mondays – 5:30 PM – 9th Hour with reading from the Ladder of Divine Ascent
Wednesdays – 5:30 PM – Lenten Vespers
Fridays – 5:30 PM – Small Compline with the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
Saturdays – 5:00 PM – Great Vespers
Sundays – 9:00 AM – Matins and Typica
Other services will be as announced or as listed on the Calendar.