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St. Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church  

has a new address and a new home at 

1635 Shaffer Rd. in Atwater  



Sunday of the Forefathers

The Sunday that falls between December 11-17 is known as the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. These are the ancestors of Christ according to the flesh, who lived before the Law and under the Law, especially the Patriarch Abraham, to whom God said, “In thy seed shall all of the nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3, 22:18).

Troparion — Tone 2

Through faith You justified the Forefathers,

betrothing through them the Church of the gentiles.

These saints exult in glory,

for from their seed came forth a glorious fruit:

She who bore You without seed.

So by their prayers, O Christ God, have mercy on us!

Kontakion — Tone 6

You did not worship the graven image,

O thrice-blessed ones,

but armed with the immaterial Essence of God,

you were glorified in a trial by fire.

From the midst of unbearable flames you called on God, crying:

Hasten, O compassionate One!

Speedily come to our aid,

for You are merciful and able to do as You will.

An Invitation to Worship

The Nativity Fast

November 15 thru December 24

Why fast before the Nativity?

      We fast before the Great Feast of the Nativity in order to prepare ourselves for the celebration of Our Lord’s birth. As in the case of Great Lent, the Nativity Fast is one of preparation, during which we focus on the coming of the Savior by fasting, prayer, and almsgiving.

     By fasting, we “shift our focus” from ourselves to others, spending less time worrying about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and so on in order to use our time in increased prayer and caring for the poor. We learn through fasting that we can gain control over things which we sometimes allow to control us—and for many people, food is a controlling factor. 

     While fasting from food, however, we are also challenged to fast from sin, from gossip, from jealousy, from anger, and from those other things which, while well within our control, we all too often allow to control us.

     Just as we would refrain from eating a lot before going to an expensive restaurant for dinner—if we “ruin our appetite” we will enjoy the restaurant less—so too we fast before the Nativity in order to more fully feast and celebrate on the Nativity itself.

During the Nativity Fast, we are called upon to refrain from meat, dairy, fish, wine, and olive oil. At the same time, we are challenged, within this framework, to fast to the best of our ability, and to do so consistently. 

     If we must modify the extent to which we fast within this framework, it is of course possible, but in every instance our fasting should be consistent and regular, for Christ does not see fasting as an option, but as a “must.” 

     In Matthew Christ says, “WHEN you fast, do not be like the hypocrites"

It is not: "IF you fast" or "IF YOU CHOOSE to fast."


Fasting is wonderful, because it tramples our sins like a dirty weed, while it cultivates and raises truth like a flower.  


Fasting Seasons and Days

Fasting Rules 

Fasting Rules (2)

Why Do We Fast?


The Meaning of the Great Fast



St Mary Magdalene Orthodox Church

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About Us



     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.


     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.  

Your Address:



Fr. Lawrence Gaudreau

Audio files

Sept 30, 2018 Heiromartyr Gregory
Oct 7, 2018 Synaxis of All Saints of Alaska
Oct 14, 2018 Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council
Oct 21, 2018 Venerable Hilarion the Great
Oct 28, 2018 Martyrs Terrance, Neonila, and Their Children
Nov 4, 2018 Venerable Joanicus the Great
Nov 11, 2018 Martyrs Menaqs, Victor, Vincent, and Stephanides
Dec 02, 2018 Prophet Habbakuk
Audio and Video Sermon Archives Here


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