Services on 17-18 March, the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent
On Saturday 17 March and Sunday 18 March we had services for the departed and for the Fourth Sunday in Great Lent, the day of commemoration of Saint John of the Ladder (+649 AD), Abbot of Mount Sinai and author of the The Ladder of Divine Ascent, a spiritual book of great and enduring significance in Orthodox spirituality. As Saturday 17 March was a day of commemoration of the departed, the service on Saturday evening was preceded by a general panikhida at which the ever-memorable Metropolitan Laurus (Skurla) (+16 March 2008), fifth First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, was commemorated, together with many departed hierarchs and clergymen of our Diocese, parishioners, relatives and friends. After the panikhida, koliva and other foods were blessed and shared. In his sermon on Sunday the parish rector made particular reference to Saint John's advice in The Ladder of Divine Ascent to laymen: "Do all the good you can; do not speak evil of anyone; do not steal from anyone; do not lie to anyone; do not be arrogant towards anyone; do not be absent from divine services; be compassionate to the needy; do not offend anyone; do not wreck another man's domestic happiness, and be content with what your own wives can give you. If you can behave in this way, you will not be far from the Kingdom of Heaven" (Step 1:21).