The Orthodox Scouter's Annual Pageviews

14 June 2019

REVIEW: Cub Scouts Preview Adventures

Recently the BSA introduced 2 Preview Adventures for Cub Scouts, The Protect Yourself Rules Preview Adventure and Yo-Yo Preview Adventure, 2 corporately sponsored Adventures. So my new Tiger and WEBELOS Cub Scouts tried them out and here is their feedback. But first a brief description of each Adventure.
  • In partnership with the Barbara Sinatra Foundation we are proud to present the Protect Yourself Rules Adventure. This adventure is designed to provide your Cub Scouts information on how to Recognize, Respond, and Report abuse as part of the BSA’s Personal Safety Awareness program. This adventure is available for all Cub Scouts. It may be earned in place of the Cyber Chip requirement for Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light badges of rank. (Lions do not earn Cyber Chip). If used in place of the Cyber Chip requirement, it may not be used as an elective adventure towards that badge of rank.
  • In partnership with Duncan Toys, we are proud to present the Yo-Yo Preview Adventure. This adventure develops eye-hand coordination and teaches fundamental concepts of gravity, motion, and energy. This adventure is available for the following ranks: Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light Cub Scouts.
For the record, both of my Cub Scouts have already taken their Cyber Chip for this Cub Scout Year, and so this was to be done as an elective. Both said they thought it was much more detailed and helped them more than Cyber Chip and can see this being a new more modern replacement for the Cyber Chip. Both thought it was very good and made them think.

Only my Webelos Scout was eligible for the Yo-Yo Adventure, although my Tiger Cub Scout really wanted to do it as well. The adventure recommends THIS Yo-Yo for the Adventure, and it definitely helps to have the right kind of Yo-Yo! The above link is the cheapest way to buy the recommended yo-yo. My Webelos thought this adventure was a little hard, but overall fun and was probably one of the shortest adventures he has ever done in Cub Scouts.

So overall my Cub Scouts recommend both adventures. You can check them out yourself at https://www.scouting.org/programs/cub-scouts/preview-adventures/

09 June 2019

Matthew 5:16: "Thus, let your light shine before men that they might see your good works, and might glorify your Father Who is in the heavens."

Verse and Patristics taken from the Orthodox New Testament Volume 1: The Holy Gospels (Evangelistarion) as usual.

"As many therefore as stand indebted to you, either for money, or for trespasses, let them all go free, and require of God the recompense of such your magnanimity. For so long as they continue indebted to you, you can not have God your debtor. But if you let them go free, you will be able to detain your God, and to require of Him the recompense of so great self-restraint in bountiful measure. For suppose a man had come up and seeing you arresting your debtor, had called upon you to let him go free, and transfer to himself your account with the other: he would not choose to be unfair after such remission, seeing he had passed the whole demand to himself: how then shall God fail to repay us manifold, yea, ten thousand fold, when for His commandment's sake, if any be indebted to us, we urge no complaint against them, great or small, but let them go exempt from all liability? Let us not then think of the temporary pleasure that springs up in us by exacting of our debtors, but of the loss, rather, how great! Which we shall thereby sustain hereafter, grievously injuring ourselves in the things which are eternal. Rising accordingly above all, let us forgive those who must give account to us, both their debts and their offenses; that we may make our own accounts prove indulgent, and that what we could not reach by all virtue besides, this we may obtain by not bearing malice against our neighbors; and thus enjoy the eternal blessings, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might now and always, even forever and ever. Amen." –Saint John Chrysostom

The Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America is introducing the Duty to God Buffalo Award.

“The Scout in his promise undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place. His first duty is to God. There is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the kingdom of God. That is the rule of peace and goodwill on earth.” –Lord Baden-Powell

The Duty to God Buffalo Award is a necklace with a realistic, western-style buffalo skull and a swiveling medallion in the center that shows the Duty to God shield on one side and Matthew 5:16 on the reverse.

"He did not say, "You must display your virtue," for that is not good; but rather He said only, "Let it shine," so that even your enemies will marvel and glorify not you, but your Father. If we practice virtue, we must practice it for the glory of God, and not for our own glory." Saint Theophylact of Ochrid

This item is a good reminder of Scouting’s focus on Duty to God. The requirements are focused to help the individual better understand and implement their Duty to God:

  1. Read Matthew 5:16 and summarize what it means to let your light shine. How does letting your light shine glorify God? Share with your group or leader. 
  2. How can “men see your good works”? Write a plan and set goals to serve those around you and your community. Perform a service project of at least one hour. 
  3. The Holy Spirit is here to guide you. What are ways you can reduce the worldly noise around you to clearly hear His promptings? 
  4. A Scout promises their first duty to God. Discuss with your group or leader how you can fulfill this promise by putting God first in your daily routines such as daily prayer and scripture study, participating in church duties (if any), etc. 
  5. God loves us and wants us to gain as much knowledge as possible. Make a list of these opportunities you’re given and share with your group or leader.

The Council encourages all Scouting units and youth groups to incorporate the Buffalo Award and associated activities during your time at camp this summer.

You can apply for the award at http://blog.utahscouts.org/duty-to-god/duty-to-god-buffalo-award-2019/


31 May 2019

Corps of Discovery's 20th Anniversary Flap Patch Available NOW for Sea Scouts, Venturers, and all other Scouts & Scouters!

Sea Scout 20th Anniversary COD patchVenturing 20th Anniversary COD patch
For the 20th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery (nee Venturing Corps of Discovery) Service Organization, 2 special patches are being made in very limited quantities. There will be 100 traditional flaps (for Scouts BSA and Venturing BSA uniforms) and 50 hexagon flaps for Sea Scouts BSA. If you would be interested in ordering one (or more) of these limited time, limited edition flaps celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery, please contact Dr. Craig Murray at https://www.sageventure.com/store/COD20.html and order them A.S.A.P.. The ordering window is very short!

The images will look even better once they are made into flaps. Craig's patches, knots, and flaps are always exquisite, which you can see from this picture of my latest uniform.


As a society that encourages servant leadership, the Corps of Discovery seeks to recognize the willingness of Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, Explorers, and leaders to nurture and grow their programs. Induction into the Corps of Discovery should be a "pay forward" commitment. Similar to the commitment made when taking an oath of office.

The first item used for recognition was a animal tooth that hung on a wire from the right pocket. Later, a western region Venturing leader asked Dr. Craig Murray to design a pocket flap. The first flaps were presented to youth who completed a Kodiak training course in 2005 and made a promise to take on a simple service project when he or she got home. Some of the projects were as complex as helping with Scoutreach camps, Powder Horn, and VOAs, and others were as simple as recruiting some friends to join their Units.

Below is the history of the Corps of Discovery flap, from oldest to newest, showing only the traditional Scouts BSA style/ current Venturing style flap or old Venturing style flap, as this is the first one ever made specifically for Sea Scouts flaps! As you can see, the quality improves over the 20 years that the Corps of Discovery has been around!


Here are some additional special Corps of Discovery flaps that were made for special occasions as well.



Make sure you do not miss out on this limited time opportunity and order these special flaps for both yourself and your friends in (or soon to be in) the Corps of Discovery today!

23 March 2019

What is Wood Badge and Seabadge?

The Boy Scouts of America offers two high-level leadership and management courses for BSA leaders that are internationally recognized so much that many companies will give time off and/or pay for Scouters to attend the courses, as it makes them not only a better Scout Leader, but a better employee, spouse, and parent. Generally, it is suggested that you attend Wood Badge Basic Leadership Training before you attend Seabadge Advanced Leadership Training, as Seabadge will take the skills you learned in Wood Badge to an all new level. The American version of Wood Badge is celebrating it's 70th anniversary this year and Seabadge will celebrate it's 50th anniversary in 2020.

The purpose of Wood Badge Basic Leadership Training is to develop skilled leaders who can strengthen Scouting units in achieving the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Open to adults, including Scouters in any BSA program and Venturers and Sea Scouts ages 18 and older. The Wood Badge course is either held as a 6-day course or two 3-day courses and is run by the local council.

Wood Badge serves as the basic leadership training program for all branches of Scouting, including the Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Sea Scouting, and Venturing programs. Wood Badge allows an in-depth exploration of leadership skills as well as a supervised implementation of the skills through a multi-part, post-course delivery plan referred to as a “ticket.”

Besides position specific training, Leaders of each Scouting program have other preresiquites before they can take Wood Badge.
  • Cub Scout leaders are recommended to have taken BALOO: Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation
  • Boy Scout, Venturing, and Sea Scout Leaders are recommended to have taken IOLS: Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills
  • Venturing participants must have completed ILSC: Introduction to Leadership Skills for Crews
  • Sea Scouts participants must have completed ILSS: Introduction to Leadership Skills for Ships
Wood Badge teaches participants the basics of listening, managing conflict, leading change, stages of team development, coaching & mentoring, leadership for different stages, servant leadership, project planning, communicating, valuing people, and more. Once the skill is learned, each member is given the opportunity to use the skill as a member of a successful working team. At the conclusion of the course, each participant develops a set of personal goals related to his or her Scouting role known as "the Ticket." Working toward these goals allows each participant to practice and demonstrate new skills.

Seabadge Advanced Leadership Training teaches leadership skills for unit, district, and council Scout leaders. Seabadge is intense leadership and management training focused on the “how-to” aspects of managing a successful youth led Scout program. While Seabadge was originally developed as an advanced leadership training program for experienced Sea Scout adult leaders the course is open to all adult Scout leaders. The driving theme for the training is to “Focus on Youth”, which makes the course especially valuable for any Scout leader dealing with older youth. Seabadge does not cover topics like boating, knots, or other program-related materials found in the Sea Scout Manual.

Seabadge is an intensive 3-day course. Course participants and staff function as a model ship to help participants understand how a ship or youth-led unit should function. The curriculum includes twenty sessions, with established objectives, that are presented in a motivating and informative forum. After the course, participants have 18 months to complete their Praxis, (previously known as the Rutter) similar to the Wood Badge Ticket.

The objectives of Seabadge are to:
  • Improve the understanding of leadership, management, and motivational skills among adult leaders.
  • Provide management, leadership, and presentation skills and tools to adult leaders so that they may use and share them with others in their day-to-day Scout activities.
  • Use the skills and tools acquired at Seabadge to improve the quality of their Scouting program.
  • Encourage the development of lifelong contacts and sharing of resources by and between course participants and staff.
Course applicants must meet the following minimum standard requirements prior to consideration for participation in a Seabadge course:
  1. Is a registered adult member of the Boy Scouts of America.
  2. Has completed the basic training courses for their Specific Scouting  position(s) and Leader Specific: Sea Scout Adult Leader Basic Training.
To find your next local Wood Badge course, check the website if your council and/or that of surrounding councils. For the next regional Seabadge check https://seascout.org/adult-training/seabadge/

19 March 2019

Orthodox Christian Saints that were Scouts and Scouters

While it is somewhat common knowledge to many Scouts that Saint George the Trophy-Bearer of Cappadocia is the patron saint of Scouting, and that Sea Scouts share the same patron along with Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra in Lycia, Saint Brendan the Navigator of Ireland, and Saint Cormac of the Sea, many may not know that some modern Orthodox Christian Saints were involved in Scouting.

I only list a few more prominent saints, but I am sure there are many more Orthodox Christian Saints that were involved in Scouting as well.

Saint Nicholas the Tsar Martyr - Had Scouting bought to Russia by Lord Robert Baden-Powell (pictured left)

Saint Basil the Hieromartyr of Kineshma - Scoutmaster (pictured top left)

Saint Alexei the Royal Martyr and Passion Bearer - The First Scout of Russia (pictured right)

Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco - Scout Camp Chaplain in Europe and America (pictured top right)

You can see more about the founding of Scouting in America, in Russia, and in many traditional Orthodox Christian countries at https://orthodoxscouter.blogspot.com/2016/09/orthodoxy-and-scouting-in-america-and.html

I will post more about the lives of these holy saints of Scouting in the upcoming months. Holy Orthodox Scouts and Scouters, Pray unto God for us!

12 March 2019

Servant Leadership: The Corps of Discovery

Founded in 1999 by a Venturing Crew, the purpose of the Corps of Discovery (COD) is to promote a stand alone servant leadership and service program within our home communities or religious institutions that youth groups, especially Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships, Scout Troops, and Exploring Posts can use to enhance their program and to service regardless of the endorsement of any national organization. The mission is to provide servant leadership to youth and adult members of youth groups through leadership training, program development, and service projects.

The COD is not an honor society so much as it is a unit-based co-educational Service organization. To be a member, one must simply be willing to commit to doing service, and ask to join the Corps of Discovery. The COD takes its name and symbolism from Lewis and Clark's historic Voyage of Discovery.

The Corps of Discovery is a Service Society for the youth and adults who have shown a willingness to promote service within their Scouting organizations, communities or within their religious institutions. It is intended for youth and adults who have gone beyond what would normally be expected by a unit member or unit leader; ones that provide widespread service. It should not be thought of as an inclusive precursor to the (newly made Co-Ed) Order of the Arrow (OA). It is a totally different animal. One must not choose between membership in one or the other. In fact, many CoD members are also OA members.

The Order of the Arrow is an optional Honor Society whose purpose is to promote camping in Boy Scouting. It is structured into a Lodges like Freemasonry. It's theme is based in American Indian culture, and its ceremonies involved dressing up as Native Americans.

The Corps of Discovery is a Service Society whose purpose is to provide service to Venturing, Scouting, Exploring, and our communities. It's theme is Servant Leadership and it is based on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The moment depicted on the current pocket flap is when Sacagawea recognized her brother, Cameawhait, upon her return to Western Montana. She had been kidnapped by a rival tribe as a young girl and was returning to her home territory for the first time — as a member of the Corps of Discovery. The reason this moment is so important is because the Corps was in danger of failing at that moment, as they needed horses and directions in order to cross the Bitterroot Mountains into Idaho and Eastern Washington State before winter, which her brother provided.

The first pocket flap was a depiction of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark at the white bluffs of the Missouri Breaks at the moment they (thought they) could see the Continental Divide. It turned out they were seeing the Bearpaw Mountains and were a week or so away from the Rockies.

The next pocket flap, designed for the 20th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery, will show the leaders of the Corps voting on whether to spend the winter on the Washington State side of the Columbia River or to cross over to Oregon to winter near the present site of Astoria. Everyone in the Corps got a vote, including Sacagawea and York, Clark's slave. This was almost certainly the first time in American history that a woman and a black man got to vote in a major decision. The Corps voted to move to the southern shore of the Columbia and wintered at Fort Clatsop, a small log compound which they built themselves. That flap can be ordered in a variety a of shapes. Click here for more information on this special flap.

Here is the elevator speech version:
"The Corps of Discovery is a Service Society based on one of the greatest adventures in American history. The Order of the Arrow is an Honor Society based loosely on American Indian culture and Masonry."
The COD is not an official part of the Boy Scouts of America (although some BSA districts, councils, areas, and regions recognize it as an important part of their program) many units, including Venturing Crews, Sea Scout Ships, Scout Troops, and Exploring Posts are embracing the program for several reasons. Some of those reasons include:
  • The fact that the COD takes its name and symbolism from Lewis and Clark's historic Voyage of Discovery.
  • It is a service organization and not an honor society of lodges.
  • Both males and females have always been able to belong to the Corps.
  • To become a member, one must simply be willing to commit to doing service (a pay it forward concept).
For more information on the Corps of Discovery and how to join, please see https://www.TheCorpsOfDiscovery.org & https://www.SageThinking.org/COD.shtml as well as on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/16213695514/ and https://facebook.com/vcorpsofdiscovery

19 February 2019

Saint Anastasia the Great-Martyr and Deliverer from Potions

The Great Martyr Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions, a Roman by birth, suffered for Christ at the time of Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Her father was a pagan, but her mother was secretly a Christian. Saint Anastasia’s teacher in her youth was an educated and pious Christian named Chrysogonus. After the death of her mother, her father gave Saint Anastasia in marriage to a pagan named Publius, but feigning illness, she preserved her virginity.

Clothing herself in the garb of a beggar, and accompanied by only one servant, she visited the prisons. She fed, doctored and often ransomed captives who were suffering for their faith in Christ. When her servant told Publius about everything, he subjected his wife to a beating and locked her up at home. Saint Anastasia then began to correspond secretly with Chrysogonus, who told the saint to be patient, to cleave to the Cross of Christ, and to accept the Lord’s will. He also foretold the impending death of Publius in the sea. After a certain while Publius did indeed drown, as he was setting out with a delegation to Persia. After the death of her husband, Saint Anastasia began to distribute her property to the poor and suffering.

Diocletian was informed that the Christians who filled the prisons of Rome stoically endured tortures. He gave orders to kill them all in a single night, and for Chrysogonus to be sent to him at Aquileia. Saint Anastasia followed her teacher at a distance.

The emperor interrogated Chrysogonus personally, but could not make him renounce his faith. Therefore, he commanded that he be beheaded and thrown into the sea. The body and severed head of the holy martyr were carried to shore by the waves. There by divine Providence, the relics were found by a presbyter named Zoilus who placed them in a coffer, and concealed them at his home.

Saint Chrysogonus appeared to Zoilus and informed him that martyrdom was at hand for Agape, Chione and Irene (April 16), three sisters who lived nearby. He told him to send Saint Anastasia to them to encourage them. Saint Chrysogonus foretold that Zoilus would also die on the same day. Nine days later, the words of Saint Chrysogonus were fulfilled. Zoilus fell asleep in the Lord, and Saint Anastasia visited the three maidens before their tortures. When these three martyrs gave up their souls to the Lord, she buried them.

Having carried out her teacher’s request, the saint went from city to city ministering to Christian prisoners. Proficient in the medical arts of the time, she zealously cared for captives far and wide, healing their wounds and relieving their suffering. Because of her labors, Saint Anastasia received the name Deliverer from Potions (Pharmakolytria), since by her intercessions she has healed many from the effects of potions, poisons, and other harmful substances.

She made the acquaintance of the pious young widow Theodota, finding in her a faithful helper. Theodota was taken for questioning when it was learned that she was a Christian. Meanwhile, Saint Anastasia was arrested in Illyricum. This occurred just after all the Christian captives there had been murdered in a single night by order of Diocletian. Saint Anastasia had come to one of the prisons, and finding no one there, she began to weep loudly. The jailers realized that she was a Christian and took her to the prefect of the district, who tried to persuade her to deny Christ by threatening her with torture. After his unsuccessful attempts to persuade Saint Anastasia to offer sacrifice to idols, he handed her over to the pagan priest Ulpian in Rome.

The cunning pagan offered Saint Anastasia the choice between luxury and riches, or grievous sufferings. He set before her gold, precious stones and fine clothing, and also fearsome instruments of torture. The crafty man was put to shame by the bride of Christ. Saint Anastasia refused the riches and chose the tools of torture.

But the Lord prolonged the earthly life of the saint, and Ulpian gave her three days to reconsider. Charmed by Anastasia’s beauty, the pagan priest decided to defile her purity. However, when he tried to touch her he suddenly became blind. His head began to ache so severely that he screamed like a madman. He asked to be taken to a pagan temple to appeal to the idols for help, but on the way he fell down and died.

Saint Anastasia was set free and she and Theodota again devoted themselves to the care of imprisoned Christians. Before long, Saint Theodota and her three sons accepted a martyrdom. Her eldest son, Evodus, stood bravely before the judge and endured beatings without protest. After lengthy torture, they were all thrown into a red-hot oven.

Saint Anastasia was caught again and condemned to death by starvation. She remained in prison without food for sixty days. Saint Theodota appeared to the martyr every night and gave her courage. Seeing that hunger caused Saint Anastasia no harm whatsoever, the judge sentenced her to drowning together with other prisoners. Among them was Eutychianus, who was condemned for his Christian faith.

The prisoners were put into a boat which went out into the open sea. The soldiers bored holes in the boat and got into a galley. Saint Theodota appeared to the captives and steered the ship to shore. When they reached dry land, 120 men believed in Christ and were baptized by Saints Anastasia and Eutychianus. All were captured and received a martyr’s crown. Saint Anastasia was stretched between four pillars and burned alive. A certain pious woman named Apollinaria buried her body, which was unharmed by the fire, in the garden outside her house.

In the fifth century the relics of Saint Anastasia were transferred to Constantinople, where a church was built and dedicated to her. Later the head and a hand of the Great Martyr were transferred to the monastery of Saint Anastasia Deliverer from Potions, near Mount Athos.

Troparion — Tone 4
Your lamb Anastasia, calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:
“I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You I endure suffering.
In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
for I have offered myself in love.”
Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Troparion — Tone 5
As a martyr you emulated the deeds of the martyrs,
To whom you ministered,
And, striving valiantly, you overcame the enemy.
You are an abundant and overflowing source of grace
For all who come to you, O godly-minded Anastasia!

Kontakion — Tone 2
Those in temptations and afflictions hasten to your temple
And are restored by the grace that dwells in you,
For you ever pour forth healings for all the world,
O great Martyr Anastasia!

17 February 2019

Saint Nicholas of Japan, Apostle to the Japanese

Saint Nicholas, Enlightener of Japan, was born Ivan Dimitrievich Kasatkin on August 1, 1836 in the village of Berezovsk, Belsk district, Smolensk diocese, where his father served as Deacon. At the age of five he lost his mother. He completed the Belsk religious school, and afterwards the Smolensk Theological Seminary. In 1857 Ivan Kasatkin entered the Saint Peterburg Theological Academy. On June 24, 1860, in the academy temple of the Twelve Apostles, Bishop Nectarius tonsured him with the name Nicholas.

On June 29, the Feast of the foremost Apostles Peter and Paul, the monk Nicholas was ordained deacon. The next day, on the altar feast of the academy church, he was ordained to the holy priesthood. Later, at his request, Father Nicholas was assigned to Japan as head of the consular church in the city of Hakodate.

At first, the preaching of the Gospel in Japan seemed completely impossible. In Father Nicholas’s own words: “the Japanese of the time looked upon foreigners as beasts, and on Christianity as a villainous sect, to which only villains and sorcerers could belong.” He spent eight years in studying the country, the language, manners and customs of the people among whom he would preach.

In 1868, the flock of Father Nicholas numbered about twenty Japanese. At the end of 1869 Hieromonk Nicholas reported in person to the Synod in Peterburg about his work. A decision was made, on January 14, 1870, to form a special Russian Spiritual Mission for preaching the Word of God among the pagan Japanese. Father Nicholas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite and appointed as head of this Mission.

Returning to Japan after two years in Russia, he transferred some of the responsibility for the Hakodate flock to Hieromonk Anatolius, and began his missionary work in Tokyo. In 1871 there was a persecution of Christians in Hakodate. Many were arrested (among them, the first Japanese Orthodox priest Paul Sawabe). Only in 1873 did the persecution abate somewhat, and the free preaching of Christianity became possible.

In this year Archimandrite Nicholas began the construction of a stone building in Tokyo which housed a church, a school for fifty men, and later a religious school, which became a seminary in 1878.

In 1874, Bishop Paul of Kamchatka arrived in Tokyo to ordain as priests several Japanese candidates recommended by Archimandrite Nicholas. At the Tokyo Mission, there were four schools: for catechists, for women, for church servers, and a seminary. At Hakodate there were two separate schools for boys and girls.

In the second half of 1877, the Mission began regular publication of the journal “Church Herald.” By the year 1878 there already 4115 Christians in Japan, and there were a number of Christian communities. Church services and classes in Japanese, the publication of religious and moral books permitted the Mission to attain such results in a short time. Archimandrite Nicholas petitioned the Holy Synod in December of 1878 to provide a bishop for Japan.

Archimandrite Nicholas was consecrated bishop on March 30, 1880 in the Trinity Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky Lavra. Returning to Japan, he resumed his apostolic work with increased fervor. He completed construction on the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ in Tokyo, he translated the service books, and compiled a special Orthodox theological dictionary in the Japanese language.

Great hardship befell the saint and his flock at the time of the Ruso-Japanese War. For his ascetic labor during these difficult years, he was elevated to the rank of Archbishop.

In 1911, half a century had passed since the young hieromonk Nicholas had first set foot on Japanese soil. At that time there were 33,017 Christians in 266 communities of the Japanese Orthodox Church, including 1 Archbishop, 1 bishop, 35 priests, 6 deacons, 14 singing instructors, and 116 catechists.

On February 3, 1912, Archbishop Nicholas departed peacefully to the Lord at the age of seventy-six. The Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church glorified him on April 10, 1970, since the saint had long been honored in Japan as a righteous man, and a prayerful intercessor before the Lord. He is commemorated on February 16th in the New Calendar and February 3rd on the old calendar. For his successful apostolic and evangelistic efforts, he was named Equal-to-the-Apostles and the Apostle to Japan.

Troparion — Tone 4
O holy saint Nicholas
The enlightener of Japan,
You share a dignity and the throne of the Apostles;
You are a wise and faithful servant of Christ,
A temple chosen by the Divine Spirit,
A vessel overflowing with the love of Christ.
O hierarch equal to the Apostles,
Pray to the Life-Creating Trinity
For all your flock and for the whole world.

16 February 2019

HOW TO: Find Orthodox Theological Academies in the United States of America

So, you've decided that youy would like attend an Orthodox Christian pastoral or theological academy, college, house of studies, institute, seminary, university, etc., but not sure what is available for you in America? Then this blog post is for you. Here are the 12 solid higher learning facilities in the U.S.A. that you will want to consider, sorted by the states in which they reside followed by alphabetic order:

ALASKA
  1. Saint Herman Theological Seminary in Alaska (OCA)

CALIFORNIA
  1. Great Martyr Euphemia Orthodox Theological Academy in California (JP)
  2. Saint Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology in California (AOCANA)
  3. Saints Cyril & Athanasius Institute for Orthodox Studies in California (ROCOR)

ILLINOIS
  1. Orthodox Pastoral School in Illinois (ROCOR)
  2. Saint Sava School of Theology in Illinois (SOCNASA)

NEW JERSEY
  1. Saint Sofia Orthodox Theological Seminary in New Jersey (UOCUSA)

NEW YORK
  1. Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in New York (ROCOR)
  2. Saint Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York (OCA)

PENNSYLVANIA
  1. Christ the Saviour Seminary in Pennsylvania (ACROD)
  2. Saint Stephen House of Studies in Pennsylvania (AOCANA)
  3. Saint Tikhon Orthodox Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania (OCA)

15 February 2019

Let's Go Sailing!

Recently I got a Co-Operative Game from Family Pastimes called "Let's Go Sailing!". It looked interesting, so we played it and I was surprised just how much everyone loved playing the game. It took a lot of cooperation and planning to win, but a lot of luck is involved too! It is meant for 1-6 players, aged 6-Adult.

Here is how Family Pastimes describes their game:
"You are a sailing crew taking your Sailboat from Home Dock to the Island Port. When you get safely there, celebrate a great day of sailing by breaking out rations of milk and cookies. Then it’s hoist anchor and set sail for home again. 
Sailing is a challenge, demanding the best effort from everyone on the crew. Everyone’s contribution is valued.

Each of us has a supply of Action Cards that we share with each other. We use them to advance the boat, negotiate Strong Currents and High Winds, while trying to avoid Rocks and Reefs. In each game, the location of the Reefs is different.

We must keep a Seadog’s eye out for potential Breakdowns that could ground us. Save the Coast Guard cards in case we need to be rescued. Or else we could end up being adrift at sea!"
Sounds fun right? Well it is! It even won Dr. Toy's Game of the Year Award! This game is perfect for a family, a Sea Scout Ship, a Boy Scout Patrol, a Maritime Exploring Club, a Venturing Crew, or even a Cub Scout Den.

Family Pastimes also has many more co-operative games about Deep Sea Scuba Diving, Exploring, Search & Rescue, Hiking, Mountaineering, Weather, Birding, etc. I'll probably be checking out at least a few if them. Most of their games can be found HERE.

14 February 2019

The REAL Saint Valentines!

Saint Valentine the Hieromartyr of Interamna and Terni 

The Hieromartyr Bishop Valentine and his three disciples, Proculus, Ephebus and Apollonius, and the righteous Abundius lived during the third century. Saint Valentine was a bishop in Umbria (now Italy), in the city of Interamna. He received from God the gift of healing various maladies.

At this time three pagan youths, Proculus, Ephebus and Apollonius, came from Athens to Rome to study.They found a tutor named Craton, and lived in his home. Craton’s son Cherimon fell grievously ill, and his spine was so contorted that his head was bent down to his knees. Craton asked Bishop Valentine to help his sick son.

The holy bishop went into the sick child’s room and prayed fervently all night. When day came, the happy parents saw their son had been healed. They believed in Christ and were baptized with all their household.

Craton’s students, Proculus, Ephebus and Apollonius were also baptized and became devoted disciples of Saint Valentine. The bishop’s fame quickly spread, and many were converted to Christ. Among them was the city prefect’s son, Abundius, who openly confessed himself a Christian. This was a bold thing to do, since paganism prevailed in the world, and Christianity was persecuted.

The wrath of the prefect and other city leaders fell upon Bishop Valentine, the teacher of the youths. They demanded that he renounce Christ and worship the idols.

After much torture they threw him into prison, where his followers visited him. Learning of this, the prefect gave orders to take Valentine out of the prison and behead him. Saint Valentine’s students Proculus, Ephebus, and Apollonius took the body of their teacher and carried it to the city of Interamnum, where they buried it.

Both believers and pagans were drawn to them, and they converted many idolaters to the true Faith. When the authorities heard about this, they arrested the youths and threw them in prison. Fearing that people might break the sufferers out of prison, the executioners beheaded them by night.

Abundius, learning that his friends had been locked in prison, hastened to see them, but found that they had already been executed. He buried their bodies near the grave of holy Bishop Valentine.

Saint Valentinus the Presbyter and Martyr of Rome

During the reign of the emperor Claudius II (268-270), Saint Marinus together with his wife Martha and their sons Audifax and Habakkuk journeyed from Persia to Rome, to pray at the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. During this time fierce persecutions and executions befell the Roman Church. Saint Marinus and his wife and sons helped Christians locked up in the prisons, and also requested the bodies of executed martyrs. At one of these jails they met a prisoner named Cyrenus and they helped him, since he had endured many torments for faith in Christ.

The persecution spread, and even more Christians were arrested. During this time 260 Christians, among whom was the tribune Vlastus, had been sent under the court sentence to dig ground along the Salerian Way, and were executed by archers. When they learned about this vicious murder, Marinus, his family, and the presbyter John went by night and took the bodies of the martyrs to be buried in the catacombs. They returned later to the prison where Saint Cyrenus was incarcerated, but did not find him. He had been executed the day before and his body was thrown into the Tiber River. Doing their holy duty, Saints Marinus and Martha and their sons took the body of the holy martyr from the river and committed it to the earth. The holy workers were among Christians, who continued secretly to perform the divine services under the leadership of the holy Bishop Callistus, and hid them from their pursuers.

In consummation of their great charitable deeds the holy family was deemed worthy to glorify the Lord by martyrdom. The pagans beheaded the courageous confessor Valentinus the Presbyter, and the imperial gardener Asterius who had been converted by him, and the holy ascetics from Persia were arrested and given over to torture. By order of the emperor, Saints Marinus, Audifax and Habakkuk were beheaded in the year 269, and Saint Martha was drowned in a river.

The relics of the holy saints are in Rome at the Church of Saint John the Hut-Dweller, and the relics of Saint Valentinus are in the Church of the holy Martyr Paraskeva.

Saint Valentine of Moesia in Bulgaria

The Martyrs Valentine and Pasikrates came from the city of Durostorum, Silistria (now Bulgaria) and were soldiers under the governor Absolanus. Pasikrates was twenty-two years old, and Valentine was thirty.

When a persecution against Christians began, Saints Pasikrates and Valentine openly confessed their faith in Christ. At the trial Pasikrates spit at the idol of Apollo, and refused to offer sacrifice.

The brother of Saint Pasikrates wept and urged him merely to appear to offer sacrifice to the idols. The martyr placed his hand on the sacrifice in the fire and said, “The body is mortal and burns in the fire, the soul, however, is immortal and is not harmed by these torments.” Saint Valentine also showed his readiness to suffer for Christ.

When they led the martyrs to execution, the mother of Saint Pasikrates followed them and exhorted her son not to fear death for Christ. Both martyrs were tortured and then beheaded in 288.

13 February 2019

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