Dear brothers and sisters
This Saturday – the feast of the All-Merciful Saviour and the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross – marks the beginning of the Dormition Fast, but we start it with the first of August’s feasts of the Saviour, and the blessing of honey.
In his prologue, St Nikolai Velimirovic reminds us that –
“This feast was instituted by a mutual agreement of the Greeks and Russians at the time of the Greek Emperor Manuel and the Russian Prince Andrew in commemoration of the simultaneous victories of the Russians over the Bulgarians and the Greeks over the Saracens [in 1164]. In both of these battles, crosses were carried by the armies from which heavenly rays shone. It was therefore instituted that, on August 1, the Cross be carried first to the middle of the Church of the Divine Wisdom [Hagia Sophia] and after that, along the streets for the people to venerate as a commemoration of the miraculous help of the Cross in previous battles. This was not an ordinary cross but the true Honorable Cross which was kept in the church of the imperial court. On July 31, the Honorable Cross was carried from the imperial court to the Church of the Holy Wisdom of God and from there it was carried along the streets for the consecration of the earth and the air. Finally, on August 14, it was again returned to the church of the imperial palace.”
It is our long-standing Russian Orthodox tradition to bless honey, and poppy-seed dishes on this feast.
So… please you bring your honey or baked goods for the blessing at the end of Sunday Liturgy when we will gather around the icon of the All-Merciful Saviour (the Saviour of Romanov-Borisoglebsk) and ask the Lord’s blessing for the honey-harvest.
With this in mind may I encourage you to support your LOCAL beekeepers.
Instead of going to the supermarket and buying mass-produced honey, that is a mixture of everything from everywhere, pay extra and buy a jar of local honey that is the produce of this corner of God’s world.
Help our LOCAL bees and support our LOCAL beekeepers.
Remember that when you eat this honey, it will be as a blessing from the All-Merciful Saviour, and a sign of His mercy and beneficence.
I know that some parishioners often bring honey and poppy-seed cakes to be blessed for this feast. Remember, we will be in the Dormition Fast, so any baked goods need to be Lenten – no dairy ingredients or eggs.
An indication of those needing confession on SUNDAY, would be most helpful. On Saturday, confessions will be heard during compline and the chanting of the canons for the All-Merciful Saviour.
Saturday – Compline/Confessions: 16:30
Sunday – Hours, Liturgy, honey-blessing: 11:00
Place: St John’s Church Canton