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Thou didst descend from on high, O Merciful One
Thou didst endure the three day burial
To free us from our sufferings.
O Lord, our Life and Resurrection,
Glory to Thee!

Troparion of the Resurrection - Tone 8

Welcome to Holy Resurrection!
A personal welcome…


Welcome to Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church, Tacoma Washington. We pray that your visit will be a source of blessing for you. Though our manner of Christian worship is centuries old, most Americans find it a bit different at first — but watch and listen, and the timeless beauty of heavenly, eternal worship will begin to reveal itself to you.  Please, when you visit, don't worry about "doing the right thing;" we count it a sin to judge others while we pray (Luke 18:10-14). As you will see, we do like to stand in the presence of God, but if you need to sit, please do so! While the worship of the Holy Trinity is the very heart and foundation of our community and faith, we also find encouragement in fellowship with one another through our various parish activities. You will find that we simply enjoy being with each other!


We are one of the oldest Orthodox Christian communities in the United States, and the first to use English exclusively in Washington. Having outgrown historic Holy Trinity church in Wilkeson, we have moved into our new home southeast of Tacoma city limits. Here, amidst ten beautiful acres of field and forest, we have built and have had to enlarge preliminary buildings as we grow and welcome more people to our faith. There is no hiding the fact that we are very excited to be a part of one of the fastest-growing faiths in North America, while at the same time a part of the oldest Christian Church in the world. Most of us were new visitors once, and most of us are converts to Orthodox Christianity!


Whether you spend a morning, an evening or a lifetime, you will at least have come away with the experience of how, for centuries, countless millions of Christians have worshiped the Most Holy Trinity throughout Eastern Europe and the lands around the eastern Mediterranean. It is a way shaped by the churches of Jerusalem, Antioch and Constantinople, a way inspired by Kiev and Moscow: now it is our turn in Pierce County, Washington, and we would be blessed to have you be a part of it!


God bless you! 

The Clergy and Faithful of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church


The Week at a Glance
Wednesday, November 25th
"Glory to God"
6:30 PM
Thursday, November 26th
Thanksgiving Day
Saturday, November 28th
Vespers 7:00 PM
Sunday, November 29th
Matins 8:15 AM
Liturgy 9:30 AM
coffee hour
1-6 w Fr John
Tuesday, December 1st
Bible Study
9:30 AM
lenten potluck
Wednesday, December 2nd
Vespers 6:30 PM
Monthly Calendar >
The Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple - November 21

Today is the prelude of the good will of God,

Of the preaching of the salvation of mankind.

The Virgin appears in the temple of God,

In anticipation proclaiming Christ to all.

Let us rejoice and sing to her:

"Rejoice, O Fulfillment of the Creator's dispensation."

-Troparion of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple



According to Holy Tradition, the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple took place in the following manner. The parents of the Virgin Mary, Sts Joachim and Anna, praying for an end to their childlessness, vowed that if a child were born to them, they would dedicate it to the service of God.

When the Most Holy Virgin reached the age of three, the holy parents decided to fulfill their vow. They gathered together their relatives and acquaintances, and dressed the All-Pure Virgin in Her finest clothes. Singing sacred songs and with lighted candles in their hands, virgins escorted Her to the Temple (Ps. 44/45:14-15). There the High Priest and several priests met the handmaiden of God. In the Temple, fifteen high steps led to the sanctuary, which only the priests and High Priest could enter. (Because they recited a Psalm on each step, Psalms 119/120-133/134 are called “Psalms of Ascent.”) The child Mary, so it seemed, could not make it up this stairway. But just as they placed Her on the first step, strengthened by the power of God, She quickly went up the remaining steps and ascended to the highest one. Then the High Priest, through inspiration from above, led the Most Holy Virgin into the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest entered once a year to offer a purifying sacrifice of blood. Therefore, all those present in the Temple were astonished at this most unusual occurrence.

After entrusting their child to the Heavenly Father, Joachim and Anna returned home. The All-Holy Virgin remained in the quarters for virgins near the Temple. According to the testimony of Holy Scripture (Exodus 38; 1 Kings 1: 28; Luke 2: 37), and also the historian Josephus Flavius, there were many living quarters around the Temple, in which those who were dedicated to the service of God dwelt.

The earthly life of the Most Holy Theotokos from Her infancy until She was taken up to Heaven is shrouded in deep mystery. Her life at the Jerusalem Temple was also a secret. “If anyone were to ask me,” said St Jerome, “how the Most Holy Virgin spent the time of Her youth, I would answer that that is known to God Himself and the Archangel Gabriel, Her constant guardian.” (read more)


In and Around Our Parish
Toys for Tots

The Holy Myrrhbearers Sisterhood will continue their annual tradition of collecting your generous donations of new toys for the Toys for Tots program, sponsored by the United States Marine Corps.  Please bring new, unwrapped toys to the Parish House through early December.




Food Bank Drive

Canned and commercially packaged foods are still being collected! Leave your gifts on the fireplace hearth in the Parish House and they will be taken to our local Fish Food Bank for distribution.


Advent Collection

This year we will take a special collection from the start of the Nativity Fast, new calendar (November 15th), through old calendar Nativity, (January 7th). This collection will go to Raphael House of Portland, a large home for battered women and their children, run under the supervision of our diocese, The Diocese of the West.


Akathist for Thanksgiving

The beautiful Akathist, Glory to God for All Things, will be served on Wednesday, November 25 at 6:30 p.m. in honor of Thanksgiving.


Children’s Class with Fr. John

Fr. John will meet with children, grades 1-6, after Liturgy on Sunday, November 29th.


Bible Study

Bible study is held on scheduled Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. at Holy Resurrection. Potluck December 1st, no potluck December 15th. We are reading I Samuel. Please check newsletter for information on the Olympia area Bible Study held on Tuesday evenings, led by Fr. James.


Slavonic Divine Liturgy

In December we will serve Slavonic Liturgy the first Saturday, December 5th, at 10:00 a.m. Note that in January, Slavanic Liturgy will be served on the date of Old Calendar Nativity (January 7th).


St Nicholas Party

St. Nicholas's Feast Day this year falls on the first Sunday of the month, December 6th.  We will enjoy our first Sunday potluck, along with treats for the children, and a special visitor.


Parish Newletter

Download our current newsletter here


The Nativity Fast - Why We Fast
Fr. Stephen Freeman

November 15, marks the beginning of the Nativity Fast (40 days before Christmas). The following article offers some thoughts on the purpose of fasting.  (Source)

Fasting is not very alive and well in the Christian world. Much of that world has long lost any living connection with the historical memory of Christian fasting. Without the guidance of Tradition, many modern Christians either do not fast, or constantly seek to re-invent the practice, sometimes with unintended consequences. There are other segments of Christendom who have tiny remnants of the traditional Christian fast, but in the face of a modern world have reduced the tradition to relatively trivial acts of self-denial.

I read recently (though I cannot remember where) that the rejection of Hesychasm was the source of all heresy. In less technical terms we can say that knowing God in truth, participating in His life, union with Him through humility, prayer, love of enemy and repentance before all and for everything, is the purpose of the Christian life. Hesychasm (Greek Hesychia- Silence) is the name applied to the Orthodox tradition of ceaseless prayer and inner stillness. But these are incorrectly understood if they are separated from knowledge of God and participation in His life, union with Him through humility, prayer, love of enemy and repentance before all and for everything. And it is the same path of inner knowledge of God (with all its components) that is the proper context of fasting. If we fast but do not forgive our enemies – our fasting is of no use. If we fast and do not find it drawing us into humility – our fasting is of no use. If our fasting does not make us yet more keenly aware of the fact that we are sinful before all and responsible to all then it is of no benefit. If our fasting does not unite us with the life of God – which is meek and lowly – then it is again of no benefit.

Fasting is not dieting. Fasting is not about keeping a Christian version of kosher. Fasting is about hunger and humility (which is increased as we allow ourselves to become weak). Fasting is about allowing our heart to break. I have seen greater good accomplished in souls through their failure in the fasting season than in the souls of those who “fasted well.” Publicans enter the kingdom of God before Pharisees pretty much every time.

Why do we fast? Perhaps the more germane question is “why do we eat?” Christ quoted Scripture to the evil one and said, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We eat as though our life depended on it and it does not. We fast because our life depends on the word of God.

I worked for a couple of years as a hospice chaplain. During that time, daily sitting at the side of the beds of dying patients – I learned a little about how we die. It is a medical fact that many people become “anorexic” before death – that is – they cease to want food. Many times family and even doctors become concerned and force food on a patient who will not survive. Interestingly, it was found that patients who became anorexic had less pain than those who, having become anorexic, were forced to take food. (None of this is about the psychological anorexia that afflicts many of our youth. That is a tragedy) It is as though at death our bodies have a wisdom we have lacked for most of our lives. It knows that what it needs is not food – but something deeper. The soul seeks and hungers for the living God. The body and its pain become a distraction. And thus in God’s mercy the distraction is reduced.

Christianity as a religion – as a theoretical system of explanations regarding heaven and hell, reward and punishment, is simply Christianity that has been distorted from its true form. Either we know the living God or we have nothing. Either we eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us. The rejection of Hesychasm is the source of all heresy.

Why do we fast? We fast so that we may live like a dying man – and in dying we can be born to eternal life.


OCMC Mission Teams Needed

Around the world there are adults and children longing to learn more about the Faith. There are women who want to offer their time and talents to the Church, but need guidance on how best to serve. There are people desperate for healthcare. In 2016, Orthodox Mission Teams from the OCMC will do these things and more. Your service on one of these teams is needed!


Mission teams will serve in seven countries including Alaska (USA), Albania, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda. (read more here or visit OCMC for more details)


Saints You Missed in Sunday School

The Department of Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry of the Orthodox Church in America has launched a new digital project titled Saints You Missed in Sunday School.  This project will highlight the lives of some of the lesser known saints found on the OCA’s daily Lives of the Saints.

“The lives of our saints are an incredible resource for all of us, demonstrating the continuous preaching of the Gospel throughout history and encouraging us towards missionary work, deeper prayer, and acts of mercy by their example,” said Andrew Boyd, OCA Youth Director.  “With the launching of ‘Saints You Missed in Sunday School’, we hope to present these saints in a way that’s easier to share on social media and through other digital means, making them more accessible to youth and young adults.”


First Visit to an Orthodox Church?
12 Things I Wish I’d Known - by Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green

Orthodox worship is different! Some of these differences are apparent, if perplexing, from the first moment you walk in a church. Others become noticeable only over time. Here is some information that may help you feel more at home in Orthodox worship—twelve things I wish I’d known before my first visit to an Orthodox church.


1. What’s all this commotion?

During the early part of the service the church may seem to be in a hubbub, with people walking up to the front of the church, praying in front of the iconostasis (the standing icons in front of the altar), kissing things and lighting candles, even though the service is already going on. In fact, when you came in the service was already going on, although the sign outside clearly said “Divine Liturgy, 9:30.” You felt embarrassed to apparently be late, but these people are even later, and they’re walking all around inside the church. What’s going on here? (read more)


Recommended Listening

These following podcasts are made available by Ancient Faith Radio. They are just a few of the many podcasters that provide high quality 24-hour internet-based Orthodox radio including live music streaming, teaching, readings,  interviews, lectures, conference recordings, live call-in programs, an extensive list of downloadable Orthodox podcasts and much, much more at AFR!

Sing to the Lord” is a program devoted to exploring the various aspects of Orthodox liturgical singing and all manner of related topics. The program explores the theology of singing, Orthodox worship over the centuries, different types of hymns, genres, origins and structures of various chant systems, and various hymnographers and composers. We will hear the music itself and discuss ways of listening to the hymns, understanding them, and ways of learning to internalize them so that they speak to us more clearly, and help us to pray.


"In the Heart of the Desert", an Advent retreat hosted by Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church (Boulder, CO) in November 2013, featured speaker Rev. Dr. John Chryssavgis, an author and theologian who serves as advisor to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. Topics included “Creation Care and Spirituality,” “Living with the Desert Fathers and Mothers,” and “Learning from the Desert Fathers and Mothers.”


In "The Names of Jesus", Fr. Thomas Hopko (memory eternal) identifies the fifty-five names bestowed on Christ by the Holy Scriptures and the Church Fathers and explains their significance.

The Bible’s Grand Narrative” with Marcia Harris Brim makes clear why knowing Scripture’s story matters to every human life. It reveals the Bible as a unified narrative by following the literary forms of Genesis 1-5 through the last chapters of Revelation. These forms are the story threads that weave together the Bible’s meaning and purpose into a storied tapestry of truth, goodness, and beauty. This study is for Christians from any expression of faith, as well as for those who are undecided about faith in general.

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