Saturday, January 27, 2007

Holy Baptism Times Two

The mission was blessed with the sacred duty and honor of baptizing infant cousins. Kidus Abebe Daniel and Yonatan Abebe Abichu were baptized and chrismated on December 3, 2006 at Holy Transfiguration Chapel with over 50 faithful and guests in attendance. Father John Brian is seen here between the infants and their godfathers. Some guests came from Chicago and Minneapolis. A reception was held at Baruka's, and Ethiopian restuarant on State Street in downtown Madison, Wisconsin, hosted by godfather Markos Regassa (on the right) - "Uncle Abebe" was the other godfather.

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Theosis and Nativity - a very special message given on Ledet

    Theosis and Nativity - a very special message given on Ledet (that is, Holy
    Nativity celebrated by our African parishioners) by Fr John Brian on January
    7, 2007 recorded at Maruroopa Palli (Holy Transfiguration
    Orthodox Mission) in Madison, Wisconsin USA
    10 minutes, 37 seconds

    One unique feature of these recorded sermons is that they are
    extemporaneously given - no written text or outline is used besides the

    Due to continuing technical difficulty between website and service at this
    time, this sermon is only available for podcasting or download go to

    "Theosis and Nativity - a very
    special message given on Ledet " should be the top listed audio file.

    All sermons can be downloaded - podcast at

    More sermons and articles are posted at

    By Fr. John-Brian Paprock
    Available at and other fine book sellers
    Or at a special price at
    Buy the book and help our mission effort

    Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission
    6205 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53705 USA
    608.236.9622 voice mail

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Monday, January 08, 2007

    Orthodox Christmas: A celebration of Christ's birth

    Wisconsin State Journal
    POSTED ONLINE: MON., JAN 8, 2007 - 12:23 AM
    Orthodox Christmas: A celebration of Christ's birth
    DANYA HOOKER 608-252-6120
    While many Christians have already packed away their Christmas decorations and disposed of their trees, millions of Orthodox Christians waited until early Sunday to celebrate Christ's birth.

    In Madison, 15 Oriental Orthodox Christians gathered at Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Parish Chapel, 6205 University Ave., at midnight for a night of celebration and worship.

    Women arrived draped in white - the color of purity - took off their shoes and knelt to pray before the altar. A thick fog of sweet-smelling frankincense permeated the small room, lit only by candles.

    For two hours, worshipers led by the Rev. John-Brian Paprock celebrated their savior's birth according to ancient Christian traditions.

    The service "is the oldest continuous expression of the Christian church," said Paprock's wife, Teresa. "When you come to a service, you're experiencing a tradition and liturgy that has existed, literally, for 2,000 years. That's what makes it so interesting."

    Worshipers gathered in a circle around a makeshift bonfire - representing the fire the shepherds sat around when they were told of Jesus' birth - and one-by-one threw incense and palm fronds left over from Palm Sunday into the fire.

    Nearly every aspect of the service is symbolic of the environment of the Nativity. Breathing the same incense, surrounding the fire and hearing the bells ring - representing angels - are some of the steps in becoming more like God, John-Brian Paprock told worshipers.

    "Salvation is not a one-shot deal. It's a process, as we become more like God," Paprock said.

    All Orthodox Christian churches recognize Dec. 25 as Christmas, but a disagreement about exactly when that date occurs has resulted in some churches celebrating the holiday 13 days later. Those celebrating on Dec. 25 follow the Gregorian calendar used by most of the world. But a few churches have opted to stick with the older Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian.

    "I think there's a certain stubbornness in accepting what you've been given as truth. I think that's really a fundamental of Orthodoxy, that we honor what our spiritual ancestors have given us," Paprock said. "There's this idea that we're continuing, not starting over all the time. . . . Sometimes a calendar becomes a major way of doing that."

    Paprock estimated there are 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide and 20 million in the U.S.

    Paprock's small congregation of mostly Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrants practices under Oriental Orthodox traditions, the original Christian practices of North Africa, the Middle East and India.

    The Madison church's existence - it's one of only a handful outside major Midwestern cities - was surprising to many of the immigrants who came here expecting to either have to travel great distances or forgo going to church.

    "I was really excited," said Banchiygezu Wolde, who immigrated to Madison from Ethiopia in 1999, of when she learned of Paprock's church. Wolde said the only major difference between Paprock's services and those she attended in Ethiopia is the language.

    The influx of Ethiopian or Eritrean immigrants to the church was an unexpected but pleasant surprise, Teresa Paprock said.

    "We thought we were going to be a mission of American converts," she said. Instead, the congregation is a diverse group representing different cultures, languages and backgrounds.

    Because of the diversity of native languages in his congregation, John-Brian Paprock conducts services in English. And although that can pose problems at times, the diversity is a blessing, he told his congregation during the Christmas service.

    "This is what's so great about our little mission. We are proof that God works regardless of our race, regardless of our language regardless of our culture."


    [photo BY ANDY MANIS - For the State Journal ]

    [photo caption]
    Rev. John-Brian Paprock leads a procession of Orthodox Christians through a tradition of sprinkling frankincense over a flame symbolizing the fire the shepherds were gathered around when an angel told them of Jesus' birth. The service was part of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission Parish's midnight service Sunday in celebration of the Orthodox Christmas.



  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian