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The First Sunday of the Triodion Period: Sunday of The Publican and Pharisee  

Vespers - Saturday Jan 31 at 5 pm

Divine Liturgy - Sunday Feb 1 at 10 am

 

     The Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee is the first Sunday of a three-week period prior to the commencement of Great Lent. It marks the beginning of a time of preparation for the spiritual journey of Lent, a time for Orthodox Christians to draw closer to God through worship, prayer, fasting, and acts of charity. It is also on this day that the Triodion is introduced, a liturgical book that contains the services from this Sunday, the tenth before Pascha (Easter), to Great and Holy Saturday.

 

     The name for this Sunday is taken from the parable of our Lord Jesus Christ found in Luke 18:10-14. This is the story of two men, one a Pharisee, a member of a Jewish sect known for its diligent observance of the Law, and the other a Publican, a government official charged with the responsibility of collecting taxes.

 

     Both men enter the temple, and the Pharisee stands openly and prays, thanking God that he is not like other men, specifically extortioners, the unjust, adulterers, “or even this tax collector” (v. 11). He then begins to list his religious accomplishments by stating, “I fast twice a week, and I give tithes of all that I possess” (v. 12).  In direct contrast to the pride of the Pharisee, the Publican goes to a place where he will not be noticed by others and beats his breast saying, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (v. 13).

 

     Having told this story, Jesus affirms that it was the Publican who returned home justified and forgiven rather than the Pharisee. He states, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).

 

     The theme of this parable is repentance. Repentance is the door through which we enter Lent, the starting-point of the journey to Pascha. To repent signifies far more than self-pity or futile regret over things done in the past. The Greek term metanoia means “change of mind.” To repent is to be renewed, to be transformed in our inward viewpoint, to attain a fresh way of looking at our relationship with God and with others.

 

 

     The fault of the Pharisee is that he has no desire to change his outlook; he is complacent, self-satisfied, and so he allows no place for God to act within him. The Gospel depicts him as a man that is pleased only with himself who thinks that he has complied with all of the requirements of religion. But in his pride, he has falsified the meaning of true religion and faith. He has reduced these to external observations, measuring his piety by the amount of money he gives.

 

     The Publican, on the other hand, truly longs for a “change of mind.” He humbles himself, and his humility justifies him before God. He becomes, in the words of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3), “poor in spirit.” He acknowledges that he is a sinner, and he knows that salvation is only found in the mercy of God. Here we find an example of true humility, an essential aspect of repentance. A “change of mind” and the transformation of our lives can only happen when we humble ourselves before God, acknowledge our willingness to turn from sin, and receive His grace into our lives.



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 Who We Are 

 

     We are a family church of many cultures with intergenerational worship; we have a full liturgical life throughout the Church year, with many opportunities for joyful fellowship and enduring growth. Our vision is to “manifest the Kingdom of God by proclaiming and living the Orthodox Christian Faith.” Orthodox Christianity is for everyone — come and see!

 

     Located at the north end of California's San Joaquin Valley, St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church is dedicated to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to His promise of salvation to all mankind. The services of our mission-parish are located in the heart of Merced, in the beautiful Chapel at Mercy Medical Center's “Dominican Campus” on M Street, just south of Bear Creek. Committed to serving Christ and His Holy Church, the people of St. Mary Magdalene welcome and encourage all visitors to be our guests, especially those who are truly seeking the path of salvation. 

 




Saint Mary Magdalene
Orthodox Church

Archpriest David Thatcher
Sermons

"The Eternal Communion of Love""
Jan 11, 2015
"The Language of Gifts"
Jan 18, 2015
"Salvation Has Come to This House"
Jan 25, 2015
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 Read and Listen to Scripture:

 

 

  

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Schedule of Services

 

 

Sunday

8:00 AM -- Matins 

 

 9:40 AM -- Office of the Hours (precedes the Divine Liturgy)

 

10:00 AM -- Divine Liturgy (the main Sunday service) 

 

After services we gather for brunch and fellowship.

 

Thursday

7:00 - 9:00 PM - Office of Vespers

   and/or Bible Study: The Book of Ephesians

(Current schedule HERE )

 

Saturday

5:00 PM -- Office of Vespers, or Vigil

 (worship preparing us for the Lord’s Day)

 

 

 

Services for Feast Days

     St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church keeps a full schedule of services for the major feast days of the Church Year. On the eve of the Feast Day, we serve Vespers or Vigil. On the day of the Feast, we serve the Divine Liturgy (Holy Eucharist). The schedule for Feast Days is found on the Calendars & Schedule pageHERE.

Directions & Location

 

     St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church holds services at the Chapel of Mercy Outpatient Center (also called "Dominican Campus") located at 2740 M Street, Merced, CA 95340, between 27th Street and Bear Creek Drive.  The entrance to the chapel is from the Bear Creek Side (north side). Go to the Driving Directions page for a map and detailed directions. HERE.

 

 

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Today We Celebrate
Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs - 01/30/15

Synaxis of the Three Hierarchs: Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom: During the eleventh century, disputes raged in Constantinople about which of the three hierarchs was the greatest. Some preferred St Basil (January 1), others honored St Gregory the Theologian (January 25), while a third group exalted St John Chrysostom (November 13).

Dissension among Christians increased. Some called themselves Basilians, others referred to themselves as Gregorians, and others as Johnites.

By the will of God, the three hierarchs appeared to St John the Bishop of Euchaita (June 14) in the year 1084, and said that they were equal before God. “There are no divisions among us, and no opposition to one another.”

They ordered that the disputes should stop, and that their common commemoration should be celebrated on a single day. Bishop John chose January 30 for their joint Feast, thus ending the controversy and restoring peace.


 

The icon of St. Mary Magdalene at the top of each page used by permission of Maria Tsimboka, the iconographer,
and the K-W Gift Gallery, the North American distributor of this artist's work.





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