December 3, 2013

Psalm 37

“The Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go” (Ps 37:23).

Saint Innocent of Alaska left behind this verse as a theme for the sermon to be preached at his funeral, when he died in 1878 as Metropolitan of Moscow. Throughout his life he felt the guidance of God. This was the case in 1823 when as a successful young priest in Irkutsk he first heard of the mission to Unalaska. None of the clergy wanted to go, and neither did he. He wrote later “Why should I (humanly speaking) have travelled God-knows-where when I had one of the best parishes in the city, when I enjoyed the love of my parishioners and the good graces of the authorities, when I already owned my own home and had a larger salary being offered to whomever was assigned to Unalaska?”*

St Innocent
St Innocent of Alaska, Apostle to America

But miracles do happen, and the hard heart of Father John Veniaminov was eventually touched by the grace of God to accept this mission.

My own example serves as a new proof of the truth that the “Lord guides a man safely in the way he should go,” and that each of us servants in His Church is no more than an instrument in his hands. He saw fit to establish my field of ministry in America—and that despite my opposition.*

The entire psalm is about overcoming anxiety, fretting, envy, distress over the prosperity of others (especially “the wicked”), and all this is contrasted to the blessings that come from steady trust and hope in the Lord. “Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way…Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will act” (37:7,5).

It would be hard to find a better set of mottos for daily Christian living.

* From Paul D. Garrett, St Innocent, Apostle to America (Crestwood, NY: 1979), 33-34, 36.

Chancery Update

It’s a big day for meetings at the Chancery. The Pension Board will have its regular quarterly meeting in the dining room, while the Pre-conciliar Commission will meet in the “Metropolitan Leonty Room” for its first meeting to prepare the way for the OCA’s 18th All-American Council, to be held in Atlanta. 

Day 9: Recruiting 300 Stewards for the Orthodox Church in America

17th AAC
17th All-American Council, Parma, Ohio

The members of the Pre-conciliar Commission are carrying out an important ministry for the OCA. Most of their work is behind the scenes until the Council itself in July 2015, but the thinking, planning, praying and logistical work they do helps prepare for God’s grace to act through the several days of the Council. The proverb says, “The horse is prepared for battle, but victory belongs to the Lord (Proverbs 21:31). What results come from the Council are up to God, but we still need commission members to come together and prepare.  For more on the Preconciliar commission see

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I hope you will consider adding your name as a Steward of the Orthodox Church in America (a list of Stewards will be published on the last day of this campaign, December 13th, the feast of Saint Herman of Alaska). To find out more about this effort to recruit stewards please see Thank you for your support!