Autumn Newsletter in English

Holy Resurrection Autumn News

Thank you for remembering Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church in your prayers. Here is a bit of news from our parish.

Pastoral visit

Recently we were very blessed to be visited by His Grace Bishop Ignatius, auxilary bishop for Metropolitan John of Europe, along with Father Jean Mansour. Father Jean is attached to the Antiochian Orthodox parish, St. Mary’s, in Stockholm.

Bishop Ignatius met our mission group, confirmed one of our catechumens, Joel, and celebrated Divine Liturgy with us.


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Receiving help, and helping

We cannot emphasize enough how much we are encouraged by knowing that we are part of a worldwide community of belevivers. When Mikael stayed at the home of Fr. John (Touloumes), priest in Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Pittburg, PA, he was not only blessed by Father John’s hospitality, but also by a gift from the church in Pittsburgh. Mikael was surprised and delighted to be presented with two beautiful icons of Christ and the Theotokos at the end of Divine Liturgy. It goes without saying that he was moved by this gift, and that the mission back home would benefit greatly from it.

At his stay in Pittburgh, Mikael gave a short presentation of our mission in Sweden, and talked a little about the concept of missions in general. The heart of the matter, said Mikael, is that everyone is a missionary, in their own context.

When Mikael and Herman came back from the U.S. we were very blessed to be visited by David Bhasme (second from left) from Bangalore, India. David is part of a newly started mission in Bangalore called Saint John Chrysostom Orthodox Community. We know how important it is as a mission to receive the support from brothers and sisters around the world, as described above, so we sent three of our old icons with him back to the community. Please pray for the Orthodox faithful in Bangalore, and visit their website: http://stjohnoc.wordpress.com.


Saint Sigfrid

On the 15th of February we celebrate one of Swedens most important saints, Saint Sigfrid of Växjö [pronounced VECK-shuh]. Sigfrid lived in the eleventh century and died around 1045. He was probably of Anglo-Aaxon or Nordic origins, and was sent as a missionary to, among other places, Sweden from England where he was a monk. He came to Sweden with three brother monks (according to legend they were called Unaman, Sunaman and Vinaman). Sigfrid continued the mission work that many had carried out before him. Among his predecessors were Saint Ansgar, Saint Unni and Bishop Turgot, as well as many monks whose names have been lost in history. Sigfrid distinguished himself from his predecessors because his work in Sweden bore significantly more fruit in the form of parishes and dioceses that were established, and which continued to thrive after his lifetime.

Sigfrids work was mostly confined to the mid-southern province of Sweden called Småland, as well as some work in the province around the Swedish west coast. The first Christian King of Sweden, King Olof “the Donor”, is thought to have been baptized by Sigfrid. The same king gave various lands and farms to the church as donations, hence the name “the Donor”. With these gifts King Olof created a more stable economic base on which to build the ongoing mission work.

Sigfrid converted many heathens to Christianity and baptized them. Many different springs around the south-west bear his name, as he is said to have baptized many converts in them. At these places he also stayed for extended periods of time, building up diocesan centers. Eventually he was informed that his three brother monks had been martyred in Småland where they had stayed to run the mission. He returned and continued their work. They had, among other things, established a Christian parish in Växjö, and built a church there.

According to legend, Unaman’s, Sunaman’s and Vinaman’s murderer had ordered that they be beheaded, and had placed their heads in a basket together with a heavy rock, throwing it into a lake. When Sigfrid arrived in the area he prayed to God that he might find the heads of his three friends. One night while he was walking alone in the woods, he saw three beacons of light floating across the water, coming towards shore. Sigfrid was curious, and so he took off his shoes and waded out into the water towards the light. Under the light he saw the basket with their heads floating towards him. Sigfrid interred the relics in the church in Växjö. When icons were later painted of Saint Sigfrid he was often depicted holding the basket with the three heads. King Olof “the Donor” came to Växjö soon after he heard about the death of the martyrs. His intention was to execute the murderers, but he was prevented by Sigfrid who plead for mercy on their behalf. The murderers were fined instead. The money from the fines was used to build up the diocese in Småland, where Sigfrid continued his missionary work.

Sigfrid died in Växjö on the 15th of February, and was soon revered as a saint. His relics are still there. The veneration of Saint Sigfrid has been very popular ever since, and he is considered one of the chief protectors of Sweden.


Supporting the Swedish mission

Many of you have asked us how you can help us in our missions work. We have been so blessed by all the gifts and encouragement we have received, including icons and liturgical equipment.

We don’t want you to feel that we are asking anything of you besides your prayers. Nevertheless, for those who want to contribute to our mission, we have set up a Paypal account that you can deposit money into.

Our outreach plans include travelling to nearby cities to hold vespers. We also print Orthodox litterature in Swedish (for example lives of Saints) and give them away at Christian conferences. These are the kinds of things we do with donations. But again, please feel that you are doing more than enough just by remembering to pray for our mission. Thank you for your support.

Donate here

God bless you as you continue to do God’s work in your own community. We are so encouraged to know that we have an extended family of Orthodox Christians around the world who support our mission work. Thank you again for all your prayers and gifts.

In Christ,

Herman Fields, Mikael Fälthammar and all the faithful of Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church