December 2009 letter
We congratulate you on the beginning of the Nativity fast, and Kiahk evenings known as the praises of 7 and 4, which begins this year on Saturday, December 12that 6,30 pm. It is called seven and four, as it consists of four canticles (hooses) and seven Psalis and Theotokias. For our benefit, I would like to explain the background of these Hooses and its relation to our lives and spiritual struggle:
v First Canticle (Hoos): the praise of Moses after crossing the Red Sea, as mentioned in chapter 15 of Book of Exodus. The Red Sea is a symbol of baptism, which is the dividing line between Pharaoh together with his soldiers, and God’s people crossing into the wilderness. The church through the baptism of her children has crossed now in the wilderness of the world, prevailing and singing praises of salvation (hymn of Moses), as a confirmation of her victory and lifts the moral spirit in the unforeseen war with the devil.
v Second Canticle: is Psalm 135, in which the phrase “His mercy endures forever”is constantly repeated. In this praise the church thank God for His great love and for enduring our many weaknesses.
v Third Canticle: is the praise of the three youth who were thrown by the pagan king in the midst of fire. Although the fire was not extinguished, yet it did not affect them because a fourth person like a Son of God was with them in the furnace. The significance of the story is that many times the Lord does not prevent or stop our trials, but rather be in it with us.
v Forth Canticle: consists of Psalms 148, 149 and 150. All these psalms are praising God, knowing that praise is the work of angels and the continuous work of the church in heaven.
We hope we all will enjoy the praises of Kiahk, especially when we understand the beautiful background of spiritual meaning in it.
We also remind you of the feast of the martyrdom of St. Philopateer Mercurius, the intercessor of the church on Hatour 25th (December 4), where the service will be as follows:
v Vesper prayers on Thursday, December 3rd at 7:00 p.m.
v Mass on Friday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m., and later vesper prayers at 7:00 p.m.
v Saturday December 5th: English mass of the first Saturday of the month at 8:30 a.m., then vesper prayers at 7:00 p.m. during which H.G. Bishop David will anoint the relics of St. Mercurius.
v Sunday December 6th: His Grace will pray the Holy mass at 8:30 a.m. on this occasion.
Please remember the church, the priest, the servants and their services always in your prayers, and may the blessings of St. Mary and St. Mercurius and the blessing of the Nativity fast be with us always, Amen.
Fr. Youssef Halim
Belleville, December 1, 2009