Saturday, April 30, 2016


Dear friends in Christ,



The Miracle of the Holy Fire has just occurred in Jerusalem (Jerusalem is in another time zone). This is a wondrous miracle of God that has been happening every year on Orthodox Pascha (Easter) since the first century. This great miracle takes place at the Tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel.

Every year the tomb is sealed and all of the candles and lampadas are extinguished. Before the Patriarch of Jerusalem enters theTomb of Christ for the Paschal Services he is carefully searched so that it can be verified by the faithful that nothing that could start a fire is brought in with him. This has been done year after year for centuries. After a period of prayer, the Holy Fire miraculously descends from God into the Tomb of Christ. This fire is then used to light the candles of the thousands of faithful who gather in the Church to witness the miracle. Often lampadas in various parts of the church also spontaneously light. The Holy Fire is then taken to other Orthodox countries. Today, it is usually flown by jet planes, sometimes by military jets.

The Holy Fire is miraculous. For thirty-three minutes, one minute for every year of our Lord’s life, it is unlike any other fire. The faithful can bathe their hands and faces in the flame without being burnt in any way by it. But after thirty-three minutes it burns like any other flame. This miracle only occurs on Orthodox Easter and only at the Paschal Services of Orthodox Christians. 

I am attaching for you three articles and a short video on the Miracle of the Holy Fire. Please be sure to at least view the video, and then send it on to family and friends.

The first article is a short piece reporting that the Holy Fire has just descended in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. 

After that, you will find a short VIDEO taken of the miracle that has just occurred. Please watch it carefully. You will see how the Holy Fire is passed from candle to candle among the Orthodox faithful; and then YOU WILL SEE how the faithful bathe their hands and necks and faces in the tall flames coming from the candles, but ARE NOT BURNT by the Holy Fire. In fact they are smiling and rejoicing as the flames of the Holy Fire bathes their flesh, but does not burn them. This too is a miracle of God!

The next link will take you to a website dedicated to spreading the word of this annual miracle that has been taking place on Orthodox Easter Sunday since the first century. There you will read a description of the Miracle of the Holy Fire from the Patriarch of Jerusalem himself.

The final link will take you a report on the Miracle of the Holy Fire from Abbot Daniel who was on pilgrimage in the Holy Land from AD 1106 to 1107, almost a thousand years ago.

God is good and is with His people! 

Here are the links: 


VIDEO - Miracle of the Holy Fire (Holy Light) in Jerusalem 2016:

Description of the Miracle of Holy Light (Holy Fire) that happens every year in Jerusalem:

HOW THE HOLY LIGHT DESCENDS UPON THE HOLY SEPULCHRE, From The Pilgrimage of the Russian Abbot Daniel in the Holy Land AD 1106-1107 :


Tomorrow, Sunday, May 1st, is Easter Sunday. A Solemn Paschal Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 10:00 AM. A festive Potluck Luncheon will follow in the parish hall. 

Please be sure to invite family and friends. Visitors are always welcome! Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing. There is always plenty of good food and warm fellowship.


Members of our church family are asked to bring a main dish, OR a side dish and a desert for our Easter Sunday Potluck Luncheon. Visitors are our guests and do not have to bring a thing.

There will be no Sunday School or Matins on Easter Sunday. A Solemn Paschal Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist will be celebrated at 10:00 AM.

The church will be beautifully decorated for Holy Pascha, with new lampadas on the walls. Beautiful Paschal hymns will be sung, including the Paschal troparion: “Christ is Risen from the Dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!” We will greet one another with the ancient Paschal greeting: “Christ is Risen!” With the response, “He is Risen indeed!” After Holy Mass red Easter Eggs will be distributed to the faithful in remembrance of Christ’s death upon the cross and his  Resurrection from the dead on the third day.

Holy Pascha, Easter Sunday, is the feast of feasts, the most holy day of the Christian year and the most important day in history. God is with us, and has demonstrated that He is with us by once again performing the Miracle of the Holy Fire at the Tomb of Christ in Jerusalem. Every Christian should be in church on Holy Pascha to celebrate and give thanks for the Resurrection of Christ, for in dying he conquered death and in rising he restored our life. Christ is Risen!

Invite your family and friends. It may just change their lives! I’ll be looking forward to seeing you at church in the morning.

May God grant you every grace and blessing,


Fr. Victor Novak
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558 

Friday, April 22, 2016


Holy Week begins Sunday, April 24th, with Palm Sunday. Holy Pascha, commonly called Easter Sunday, is Sunday, May 1st.

PALM SUNDAY, April 24.

9:15 AM - Matins, followed at 10:00 AM by the Blessing and Distribution of Palms and the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, with fellowship and refreshments in the parish hall after the Liturgy. 

There will be no Sunday School on Palm Sunday. Christian Education resumes on Sunday, May 8th. Our monthly Potluck Luncheon has been moved to Easter Sunday, so we can celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ with a joyous agape meal, but we will have fellowship and refreshments after the Liturgy on Palm Sunday as usual. There will be plenty of blessed palms to take home and to share with others so take all you need.


11:00 to 11:45 AM - Confessions.

12:10 PM - The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. 

Wednesday of Holy Week is the day on which Judas made arrangements with the Temple authorities to betray Christ and thus became a spy within the band of the Apostles. Join us at church as Jesus begins his passion, and pray that we may all live in such a way that we never betray Christ in thought, word or deed.


11:00 AM to Noon - Confessions.

6:30 PM - The Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist, Vespers and the Stripping of the Altar. 

On this evening we commemorate the Last Supper (called the Mystical Supper in the East) and the institution of the Holy Eucharist by Christ, and receive Holy Communion with those in the Upper Room as from Christ’s own hand. Immediately after Holy Mass we  go with Christ into the Garden of Gethsemane and respond to His heartfelt request that we “watch and pray” (St. Matthew 26:40) with him, by praying Vespers. Upon the conclusion of Vespers the altar is stripped bare and the tabernacle left empty in remembrance that our Lord has been betrayed, arrested and taken away.

Maundy Thursday is the traditional English name for the Thursday before Easter. In the Roman Rite it is commonly called Holy Thursday. The word “Maundy” derives from the first antiphon of the ceremony of the washing of feet, “mandatum novum” - “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (St. John 13:34). 

In the English tradition the ancient ceremony of washing the feet of twelve (or more) poor men has been confined to bishops and other great ecclesiastical and secular personages. In modern times the adoption of the Roman Rite practice of the parish priest washing the feet of twelve men has been introduced and is becoming more common in English Use parishes. 

Sheer Thursday is another old name for Maundy Thursday, from “Sheer” (similar to Shrove), meaning “clean” and “free from guilt,” referencing the practice of going to confession and receiving absolution. Confessions are scheduled to be heard on Spy Wednesday from 11:00 at 11:45 AM, Maundy Thursday from 11:00 AM to Noon, Good Friday after The Way of the Cross, and by appointment.

GOOD FRIDAY, April 29.

10:00 AM - Matins and the Liturgy of the Word (Ante-Communion).

12:10 PM - The Way of the Cross.

12:30 PM - Confessions (Immediately after The Way of the Cross).

6:30 PM - Vespers and the Litany.

On Good Friday we commemorate the passion, crucifixion, and burial of Christ. At Matins we remember our Lord’s arrest and trial; and at the Liturgy of the Word, or Ante-Communion, his scourging and crucifixion.

In the Western Rite, Good Friday and Easter Even (or Holy Saturday) are the only days of the year that the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist cannot be celebrated. In the English tradition the Liturgy of the Word, often called the Ante-Communion, follows Matins, while in the Roman Rite a Liturgy of the Presanctified has become grafted onto it. Some English Use parishes have also adopted this practice.

At 12:10 PM we will follow our Lord Jesus Christ as he carries his cross from prison to Golgotha with a service of prayer and reflection called, The Way of the Cross. Confessions will again be heard after this Service.   

At 6:30 PM we will gather once again for Vespers and the Litany, keeping watch in anticipation of our Lord’s Resurrection. This year we will incorporate a beautiful Eastern Rite tradition into our evening Service. We will have an Epitaphion (“belonging to the burial”). The Epitaphion or Epitaphios is an icon of the burial of Christ that will lay on a bier in the centre of the church, decorated with flowers. Gathered around the tomb of Christ we will sing Vespers and the Litany.

I am sometimes asked why the Orthodox Christian Church observes Holy Week and celebrates Pascha, Easter Sunday, at a time that often is at variance with that of other Christians. The answer is simple. The Council of Nicea (AD 325) that has given us the Nicene Creed also established when Easter was to be celebrated. As Orthodox Christians we continue to recite the Nicene Creed as originally written, without the Filioque clause (that is both un-Scriptural and was added unilaterally and without Catholic consent), and we continue to celebrate Easter as directed by that Oecumenical Council. In an ever changing world the Orthodox Church has an unchanging message. Orthodox Christianity is a fixed star by which men and women can find their way home to our Father’s House.

Please arrange your schedule so you can attend as many Holy Week Services as possible. Try to attend them all as they are all different and through them you will be able to follow our Lord from his betrayal at the hands of a friend (Do we betray him through our sin, indifference and double mindedness?), his arrest, passion, crucifixion, death and burial, and his glorious resurrection on the third day. Holy Week is the holiest week of the year, and it can touch hearts and change lives.

Paschal (Easter) Service information will be posted next week, but for now let us focus our attention on being with our Lord on these last few days of his earthly life. We adore thee O Christ and we bless thee. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Visitors are always welcome at Holy Cross parish. We are a faithful and friendly congregation, and we have a place for you! 

7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
(402) 573-6558