English translation by Igor Radev

Beijing - At the Orthodox parish of the Dormition of Most Holy Mother of God on the grounds of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in PRC in the city of Beijing during the entire first week of Great Lent, Divine Services were celebrated in the Red Fangzi building. On an invitation from the parishioners, priest Alexy Kiselevich from Shanghai arrived.

February 19-22—on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of the first week, the evening service was celebrated accompanied with the reading of the Great Canon of Repentance by St Andrew of Crete. The services were attended by the employees of the Russian Embassy in the People's Republic of China as well as by the Orthodox believers living in Beijing.

Simultaneously, this week in China was marked by mass celebration of the Chinese New Year, causing the evening services in the Red Fangzi to be held under the unceasing noise of firecrackers and fireworks.

On Tuesday during the first week, the regular class was held dedicated to Lent of the adult Sunday School. Fr Alexy was invited to the class where he addressed the various questions of those participating in the School concerning the importance of fasting in the life of the faithful.

On Friday evening of the first week, Fr Alexy also heard confessions. On Saturday, on the commemoration day (February 17/24) of St Theodore the Tyron and the Iveron Icon of the Mother of God, a Divine Liturgy was celebrated during which sixty people received Holy Communion. This week, many children attended the Services. In the first week, Fr Alexy performed the Sacrament of Baptism on two children of Russian Embassy employees.

After the Divine Service on Saturday, the faithful were given decorated editions of a children's Bible. The Service was followed by a tea serving with some fast keeping cakes.

Unfortunately, Orthodox Chinese still do not have an opportunity of observing Church prayers due to the lack of a church building in Beijing.

Keeping with the tradition of marking the beginning of Lent with good deeds, this week in the Orthodox community of Beijing donations were being gathered for an orphanage in Moscow district.

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Teachings of Christ

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23 ESV)

Exaltation of the Cross

Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance; * grant victory to Your Church over her enemies * and protect Your commonwealth by Your Cross. (Troparion - Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Willingly lifted up on the Cross, O Christ God, * bestow Your compassions upon the new commonwealth that bears Your name. * By your power grant joy to Your Church, * granting her victory over her enemies. * May she have your Cross as the weapon of peace * and the invincible ensign of victory. (Kontakion - Tone 4)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross on September 14th.

Random Proverb

"Hear, O sons, a father's instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching." (Proverbs 4:1,2 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

“It is necessary most of all for one who is fasting to curb anger, to accustom himself to meekness and condescension, to have a contrite heart, to repulse impure thoughts and desires, to examine his conscience, to put his mind to the test and to verify what good has been done by us in this or any other week, and which deficiency we have corrected in ourselves in the present week. This is true fasting.”

Saint John Chrysostom