It is with pain of heart that I am following the events unfolding in California, which is engulfed in flames, making this the second worst fire season in the history of the state. And I hasten to express my profoundest sympathy to everyone. I prayerfully empathize with His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill, the auxiliary bishops His Grace Bishop Theodosy and His Grace Bishop James, the clergy, monastics and flock of the Western American Diocese, the citizens of California, all who have suffered from the flames and the tens of thousands of firefighters battling them.
Glory to God, the fire did not touch the Church of Our Lady of Kazan on the Russian River...
The Monastery of the All-Merciful Savior is located in Washington State, which was one of the first epicenters of the coronavirus epidemic, then of the mass protests that have swept throughout most of the country. The head of this monastery, Abbot Tryphon (Parsons), a licensed psychologist before his tonsure, has for many years replaced his clients and patients with spiritual children.
He not only discussed how to rid ourselves of the pandemic and what consequences we might face. The priest, who in his youth was a radical socialist, shared his thoughts on how faith can help overcome tribulations, and also compared today’s events in the USA with the pre-Revolutionary situation in Russia in 1917.
It is most difficult today for the elderly and youth
- Fr Tryphon, why did you, an American, choose Russian Orthodox Christianity?
- It came from the heart. I love Russian culture, Russian music, the Liturgical music of the Russian Church, her traditions. When I began to seek my path to Orthodox Christianity, it was natural for me to join the Russian Church.
- You live in the State of Washington, which became one of the epicenters of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. What do you think of this situation?
Right reverend brother-archpastors, reverend fathers,
beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord!
Pushkin’s chronicler Pimen, passing on his life’s work to his student, said:
"…To thee I hand my task. In hours exempt
From the soul’s exercise, do thou record,
Not subtly reasoning, all things whereto
Thou shalt in life be witness; war and peace,
The sway of kings, the holy miracles
Of saints, all prophecies and heavenly signs; -
For me ‘tis time to rest and quench my lamp…"
"Here is that which is most dear to the Russian people: the holy miracles of saints, prophecies, and heavenly signs. And truly, no celebration in Russia ever saw the coming together of such multitudes in Russia as the opening of new holy relics," said Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who 100 years ago led the Russian Church Abroad, in one of his sermons.
As we know, the stages of the glorification of a saint in Christ’s Church take place gradually. We, the archpastors, pastors, and flock, examine ourselves against the dispositions of our forebears in the Faith, and in this way the canonization of God’s saints matures and takes shape.
In other words, saying precisely when our lives will return to normal is very difficult. Like, on the other hand, answering the question will that life essentially be normal, i.e. as before. But we might, and I believe we should, take a different approach. That is to say we should try to understand the effect this ordeal has had on our thinking and what we have learned from it. Or otherwise on what should we have reflected and what should we have learned. Or still alternatively what insight can we obtain from it, how can our minds become enriched, disregarding the tragedy and incredible complexity of what has occurred.
I will attempt to share what I have come to understand.
1. It seems to me that it is worth placing first the obvious necessity of being prepared for anything in life.
I would like to share my thoughts in connection with the discussion that has unfolded around the decoration of the mosaics of the main Church of the Armed Forces of Russia, recently built in Moscow.
Since ancient times, temples and entire monasteries dedicated to various historical events have always been erected on Russian soil. Such churches and monasteries include the following: the Church of the Protection on the Nerl, the Sretensky Monastery, the Kazan Cathedral on Red Square, the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir in Sevastopol, which is called the "Admiral's Cathedral" of the Russian fleet, where Admirals Lazarev, Kornilov, Nakhimov and Istomin are buried. The names of all naval officers who fell during the defense of Sevastopol are engraved on marble slabs in the upper church of this temple. The churches listed above include the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, built in 1883 in honor of the victory over Napoleon in the Patriotic War of 1812, and the St. Nicholas Cathedral, dedicated to the Russian fleet and all reposed sailors, built from 1903-1913 in Kronstadt. Even now those temples that belonged to a particular military regiment in tsarist times have also been preserved.
As a rule, in addition to icon painting, these temples were also decorated...
Today, May 25, 2020, the Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsome, has declared that churches and all houses of worship are now open.
The monasteries and parishes of the Western American Diocese within the State of California may enter into this new phase of reduced social distancing. However, all are required to observe the guidelines found in the document published by
It is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge the cancellation of our the annual diocesan pilgrimage to Fort Ross on Memorial Day, which would have been held this year on Monday May 25, 2020.
It has always been a joyous day with the concelebration of the Divine Liturgy led by our hieararchs and surrounded by many the faithful from throughout the Western American Diocese. The procession to the cemetery across the canyon is a brisk and refreshing hike. When we arrive, prayers are raised up for the departed and the graves of those buried there 200 years ago are blessed.
On Friday May 22, 2020, the opening of churches within the United States, after their closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced by President Donald Trump; the opening of houses of worship beginning this weekend.
The President’s statement is welcome as the faithful look forward to the possibility of returning to the usual rhythm of Church life through attendance at the Divine Services and participating in other parish activities.
However, for now the practices for the ministry of the faithful that have been worked out successfully and maintained...
On April 9th, 2020, Deacon Alexander Gousev, a cleric and founder of Holy Royal Martyrs of Russia Church in Sparks, NV, reposed in the Lord.
Alexander Gousev (Sasha) was born in the former Soviet Union on May 10th, 1962. He came to Holy Ascension Church in Sacramento, CA, in 1989. Sasha lived for some time in San Francisco and eventually settled in Reno, NV.
On Thomas Sunday, April 26th, 2020, Archpriest Paul Volmensky and a few parishioners went out to the Russian Orthodox Cemetery for the commemoration of the departed souls laid to rest.
It was not possible to hold our annual general panykhida and pinic due to the Orders of the Sacramento Health Department. However, by mercy of God, prayers were said over many of the graves of our beloved departed ones. Two men were assigned to assure that soical distancing was observed and that those who desired to enter on the cemetery for prayer did so within the limits defined by the Orders.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
The Divine Services for Pascha on April 19, 2020, were preformed behind closed doors in compliance with the Sacramento County Orders for quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the Paschal Matins, Paschal Liturgy, blessing of the Artos and blessing of the Paschal baskets were all accomplished by the mercy of God and recorded on a live stream. There are 500 views of that recording to date.
Bright Friday: On Bright Friday, which is also the Feast of the Life-giving Spring of the Most-Holy Theotokos, there was performed a Liturgy, and also "The Lessor Blessing of the Waters" with a procession around the church. Also, on this day a new icon for our church of the Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Methodius and Cyril Teachers of the Slavs was blessed. This icon, a gift from ascetics of one of the cells of St. Anne's Skete on Mt. Athos, has particles of the honorable relics of those Saints.
It is a common practice within the Holy Church to perform cross processions with holy icons, honorable relics and with the sprinkling of holy water during plagues and other calamities. Many times in the history of the Church, pestilences have subsided after such sacred acts have been performed. With prayer, faith and hope, may the COVID-19 pandemic subside with great speed.
The Divine Liturgy was performed on Holy and Great Saturday April 18 from 9:00 am. Father Rector presided and Alexandra and Maria Volmensky chanted and sang.
On Great Friday, April 17, 2020, the Father Rector Archpriest Paul Volmensky an his daughters performed the Divine Services for Vespers with the bringing out of the Holy Winding-sheet and Matins with the procession around the church.
The Divine servcies were live-streamed using new equipment. Many thanks to our donors and technicians who helped to make the production more professional.
Paschal Message of
Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics
and All the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church
Your Graces the archpastors, venerable fathers,
all-honourable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
By the grace of the All-Generous God, we have been vouchsafed to come to the radiant Paschal night and once again rejoice in the glorious Resurrection of Christ. From the depths of my heart I greet all of you, my beloved, with this great holiday and “feast of feasts.”
Reverend Fathers, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful
of the Western American Diocese ROCOR:
Precious Children of the Church, my beloved flock:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
The voice of the Angel who proclaimed “He is risen!” has never been more longed-for than today, nor has our joy been deeper in hearing it. This voice shattered the expectation of the women at the Lord’s tomb: they expected the continuation of funeral rites and the prescribed customs of the Law, and they wept when what they expected was disturbed. But the Angel revealed to them what was beyond their expectation as they made that journey to the tomb:
Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento is observing Sacramento County Orders concerning COVID-19.
An insightful letter about the coronavirus shared by Fr. Victor Potapov of St. John's ROCOR Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
I watch what is happening and I increasingly understand that mankind urgently needed such a shake-up!
Just think - how have we lived our lives during the last decades? The coronavirus will make you rethink your whole life! Mankind will live differently after the triumph of the virus!
Nature and our Lord are tired of our contemptuous attitude towards our health and the environment! We've stopped being human! Hubris overtook our minds and we began to feel that we are the masters of the world! But the tiny virus quickly put us in our place!
During these holy days of Great Lent and Passion Week throughout the world, churches have been closed. By Divine allowance, government officials of many nations have, from fear of the spread of COVID-19, announced general quarantines, including in the Holy Land. Christians have limited access to holy sites, deprived of spiritual support, common prayer and the partaking of the Holy Gifts of Christ in their churches.
Dear in the Lord fathers, brothers, and sisters!
I sincerely greet you with the very warmest well-wishes for the blessings of God, good health, spiritual calm, and the patience so needed in this trying time! I especially greet the doctors, nurses, and all who work in the hospitals, sincerely wishing them increased strength and Heavenly aid! I wish for those who are sick - and for their friends and relatives - comfort in the hope of God’s will, which always directs man toward the good. Our prayers are with all of you.
Instructional Notice Concering Reception of Post-Communion and other Pracitices during the Spread of the Coronavirus:
On Friday March 6, 2020, His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill gave instruction to all of the clery of the Western American Diocese that zapivka (wine after communion) be served to the communicants from individual disposable cups until the Coronavirus ends. There is to be placed a paper bag for cup disposal next to the zapivka table.
Peter and Elizabeth Henry were honored at the Annual Blini Dinner on Meat-fare Sunday, 2020, as they marked their 50th Wedding Anniversary on January 25th of this year.
The parish hall was filled to capacity as the parishioners of Holy Ascension Church joined Peter and Elizabeth and their children and grandchildren to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
Peter Henry was the care-taker of our cemetery for many years and Elizaeth has been a faithful member of the Sisterhood. Peter also serves as an alcolyte in the altar for Divine Liturgy, contiuning has childhood practice; as he served under St. John (Maximovich) back in Shanghai, China.
On Sunday Januray 19, 2020, the faithful of Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church of Sacramento "went out to the Jordan" to the participate in the Great Blessing of the Waters.
On January 11th, 2020, the Cossack Cadet School in honor of the "Don" Icon of the Mother of God at Holy Ascension Church held the Annual Yolka. See the photogallery below.
Under the direction of Alexandra Volmensky, the choir of Holy Ascension Church performed the 2nd Annual Benefit Concert to aid in the beautifcation of our church.