Our Patron Saint is Alexis Toth of Wilkes-Barre. Yes, he labored for God in North America, and was canonized just twenty years ago. He was instrumental in the return of 17 Carpatho-Russian and Galician Uniate parishes in America to Holy Orthodoxy, and also started 15-20 new parishes, so we sing of how “He called back the sheep who had been led astray.”
That’s what he’s done for us who have him as patron, since most of us in the Parish are grateful converts from other Christian traditions (together with a few whose families had been wrested from Orthodoxy). No, I wasn’t led astray from Orthodoxy; I was born astray from Orthodoxy – to devout parents who cast their lot with, and then did the best they could with, what they knew of Christianity in the North American milieu of the late 4os forward.
Today also is the observance of St. Ambrose of Milan, who was instrumental in the conversion of St. Augustine of Hippo, and the 95th birthday of my late father (who, yes, turned 22 the day Pearl Harbor was attacked). He barely got to know anything about Orthodoxy between my conversion and his death, and one thing he read worried him (I won’t go into that now). But God is gracious, and loves mankind, and I’ve claimed Ambrose as dad’s patron saint, who I like to say “is Orthodox now.”
Too bad we’re in the Nativity Fast, because I feel like a party!
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)