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tv   Mosaic  CBS  December 12, 2021 5:30am-6:00am PST

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we might ask what time is it, the time in the church is advent. it is the season of advent and soon-to-be christmas and the soon-to-be epiphany season. we want to share just a word about these seasons, what you might expect when you worship in a congregation during this beautiful time of year. the first word of encouragement is to worship.
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to find a place, a house of worship where you might feel comfortable and go there on a sunday morning for a midweek service and note that you will be welcomed. this is the time of year where churches and congregations expect and hope for newcomers and seekers to come to the houses of worship and to experience god. go and worship and in the season of advent, we call it the postseason. you might see lots of blue pyramids in the worship space, the season of advent is a time of waiting, of hope, and expectation and yes, it is four weeks and that leads up to the season of christmas and i say season of christmas because christmas is actually a season of the church. it's not just one-day. it's not just to two days. the 24th or the 25th, it is the 12 days of christmas. we can
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take our time as christians to celebrate and to receive the gift of this incarnation of god coming to us at christmas time. this particular time of year is a joyful time of year but for some, is also a lonely time of year, so go to a house of worship, a church, and you will find community. you will find people like you hoping and expecting to receive a word of grace. a word of hope. a word of goodness. go and worship. advent, christmas, which leads us to epiphany an epiphany is a festival of the church on january 6th and it's also a and celebrated in the heritage of our two guests that are with us this morning. i want to take the time to say
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welcome to the two of you. we want to hear from you and what people might expect when they worship at your place of worship. i'm so pleased to introduce father tom, who is the head priest, the ascension cathedral in oakland. a greek orthodox parish. >> yes. >> you are also a priest? the assistant. you were here. welcome to both of you. >> thank you for having us. >> delighted to have you here. tell us, for our worshipers, and reviewers, they were to come to the cathedral during the season of advent and christmas, what what they experience in worship and amongst the people there. >> it is a time of preparation, like many periods of the orthodox church. we don't just walk into the feast of christmas first of all, we don't really call it
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christmas. it is the cae flesh of our lord and savior, jesus christ. even the the title, if you will, really emphasizes what we are trying to celebrate there on that day and everything kind of moves towards that on november 15th. we transition from our normal sundays and our normal way of living to a fast.. a 40 day fast. where we prepare for the birth of our lord and savior. it's a little bit relaxed, but it is a period of time where we are more reflective about what god is doing for us. that's reflected in the worship. it's reflected in him narcos the and being influence a bit of it with what is going on here in the united states and western culture. we taken a few things from that, setting up the christmas tree, adding the red colored vestments and things like that
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to make it a little more festive and a little more anticipatory. >> that is during the season of advent. do you call it the season of advent point at this point? it is a series of preparation. >> it's not so much out of it, and that terminology. it is not a required. >> we are already seeing differences and similarities between our two, the heritage. father nino's, we will come back to you after we take a quick break and we also then want to hear, as opposed to fasting, how you will feast to celebrate the incarnation of christ. >> okay. >> we will be back in just a moment.
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welcome back to mosaic.
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we have and we are so privileged to have father tom, he is the head priest of the ascension cathedral and oakland. the assistant preach. we are so happy to have you here. we were talking about the fasting in preparation for the incarnation, the celebration of christ's birth. it let's talk about the feasting of those celebrations starting on december 24th and 25th. what were worshipers experiencing for those christmas services and the 12 days beyond? >> well, the worship is an integral part of the entire season and on christmas eve and on christmas day, we will be having, of course, a divine liturgy and for us, this is the ultimate feast. it is the banquet of love. it's the moment where we encounter an experience, god,
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as you said in your opening and for us, that is what we are really preparing for because every divine liturgy is for an incarnation. it's god coming to us and entering us and on christmas day, that is really is situated. really amplified. that sense of incarnation or that experience of incarnation and so, in response to that, you have a lot of joy, of course. a lot of family activities and a meal for people will go home and just like any other family and celebrate christmas. lots of, you know, opening of gifts and all of those sorts of things. there is a theological, sacramental experience and then there is the everyday american experience. >> yep. the celebration discontinued for 12 days leading up to another important celebration inr is epiphany. >> epiphany, the celebration of
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our lord and savior's baptism by john the baptist. we kind of compress, if you will, 30 years between christmas and epiphany and in the early church, there was no christmas celebration. it was celebrated with epiphany and by the fourth or fifth century, they were separated because the feast of the incarnation of the birth of our lord and savior, was found to be so important that it needed its own celebration and there is a lot of theories as to why they chose december 25th. i think it is very, very simple but you have so many celebrations for our lord, you have to space them out over a course of a year. i think they said, okay, there is an empty space right here in the calendar. the important thing is not the timing, the important thing is the celebration and that the two face are linked in. you have the birth of our lord and savior jesus christ and you have the revelation as he is
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god in the flesh. he is born for our salvation and now he is gone the flesh with the witness of the holy spirit in the voice of god saying, this is my son. all of these things are connected and that 12 day period. we talked about fasting, there is no fasting during that period. typically in the orthodox church, we fast on wednesdays and fridays. wednesday, because the day the lord was given up or gave himself up for the life of the world and friday, because he was gratified. there is no fasting on those days so that we can celebrate this wonderful feast. the feast of the birth. the feast of his baptism. >> if one of our viewers came to worship on either christmas or the epiphany, january 6th, what will they experience? what should they notice and pay attention to, to fully appreciate worship at the cathedral? >> i think as the father nino pointed out and he will talk
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about it a little more, it is focused on the liturgy and in that respect, it may seem very similar, but the hymns of the church are going to reflect something very, very different. >> we tried to incorporate the whole person and the worship. that is not purely an intellectual experience, but an almost psychosomatic experience, if you will, that tries to encourage and incorporate the whole person and as we like to say, all five senses. you will hear the hymns. you will see the icons. you will smell the incense. you will taste the body and blood of jesus christ. for your eternal salvation for the remission of your sins. the whole person is involved and this has, because as human beings, we are both sold spirit and body and all of that has to be given and worship. >> do you use a lot of
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incidents in these festival services or throughout the year? >> it depends on what you mean. >> i know. >> incense is an integral part of the worship. it is in honoring of the space, if you will. we honor the space that this is god's house but we also honor the icons, which represent either christ, the virgin mary, who is almost always a part of this, where st., some of the reflex christ into the world and every other saint that is there, which is every human being that is created in god's image and likeness and we are honoring the presence of christ, either in the architecture or in the theology of color. the icons are in the human person. every single human person is created in god's image and likeness. >> how long would a worship service last? i mean, a viewer might come to at the cathedral. >> fisher because christmas falls on a sunday, it changes
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our order, but the literature, the christmas of liturgy is now done on saturday morning. we have a priest service called matins, that's about an hour or hour and 15 minutes and divine liturgy is about an hour and a half. christmas eve night, we do the great vest, the evening service, we follow the jewish day at sunset. we ventured into christmas day. at 6:00, let's say as the sun is setting, we are entering into sunday and a celebration this year of our lord's birth and in the morning, we have, of course, matins again, an hour, hour and a half and the divine liturgy. the divine liturgy we are celebrating on christmas day is the liturgy of st. basil the great and the liturgy we do on saturday is the liturgy of st. john, krista stone. that liturgy is a shortened version of basals. liturgy on sunday is a little longer. you only use this 12 times a year to emphasize that this is
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an important celebration and in the basals liturgy, the theology of the incarnation is just throughout all of the prayers and it is a beautiful, autiful expression of what does this mean to us as human beings. >> in the worship itself, you are teaching and witnessing to this theology. >> exactly. >> it is a transformative experience. as father mentioned, just by entering into the church at any point during the day, even if there is no literature going on, something happens to your soul. some kind of nourishing. some kind of cleansing. some kind of location. even though you may not be aware of it. i think that this is our attitude towards worship. is that we are there, simply to receive it. to receive god. to receive his blessing, his grace and to come there with a pure heart and to be nourished and fed in that way.
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it's not something where we try to rationalize it or reason, how does this work, how does this work. >> we experience it. >> was simply experience it, just as you would a pitiful sunset. >> thank you. that is a beautiful description of the liturgies there and when we come back, we will hear more from our two priests here and there. their personal stories of faith. just a minute.
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welcome back to mosaic. we have father tom , father nino's, both from ascension cathedral in oakland. it is a greek orthodox congregation, parish. >> yes. >> and i would like to hear more. we would like to hear more about the two of you as individuals, just how did you happen to become a priest's. is this a part of your family heritage, lineage? particularly, father, your family in syria that is a concern to us in iraq. father tom, please. >> as far as being a family tradition, when i told my 90- year-old grandmother i was becoming a priest she told me a greek that that is a very
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strange thing. i go, why? she said nobody from our village ever became a priest. maybe there was one she remembered but i remember growing up in the greek orthodox church. mike parents came from greece and i was altered in that faith and when they went to college and studied theology at a presbyterian college in indiana and when my professors there said, you should study what you are all about, which were faith is all about and i ended up in our seminary here i am in oakland, california serving the church in serving my congregation and greek orthodox is a church that traces its roots back to the apostles. you heard about st. paul reaching their, well, we have the name of every bishop that was in there starting with the one that he established all the way up to the current bishop. we have that long long tradition and we take great pride in that connection because it gives up deep, deep roots in the church was really founded and nurtured in that
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area of the eastern mediterranean but we can't asian minor, present-day syria, lebanon, of course the holy land, north africa and greece. it is a deep part of who we are and it defines who we are as a people. you cannot take orthodoxy out of being a colleen, a greek, and being greek means that you are an orthodox christian. >> as i was reading about your congregation, you welcome people of all backgrounds and cultures. >> we have tremendous, tremendous different cultures in our parish. we have a lot of people that have come from different parts of the world that are now part of our congregation. we have a lot of people that are converted into the grave. in fact, we will bleed into this because he comes from a very, very interesting orthodox
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background that people aren't so aware of. >> let's hear more. >> well, christianity is often put into two categories. you have the east and the west and it is known of the greek easter the latin west. there is a third branch. the far east or the semitic branch and for the earliest days of christianity, you have the aramaic speaking christians and even the arabic speaking christians who were, of course, in the love aunt in mesopotamia and here you have the earliest primitive christian communities individually the large centers of christianity. my background as an assyrian christian traces its roots into that part of the world and it's not very well known. mostly because, like i said, a lot of the theology was
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expressed in the greek world and also in the latin world, what you have, as part of the christianity, a tremendous treasure of writings, of church fathers, of poetry, of terminology, of people of the syrian, who really were able to capture the eternal truths of christianity or poetry. through theological writings. from these communities, you have a number of churches that flourish and among them is e orthodox. the eastern orthodox, which also traces its roots in a very run-on, but still as part of this experience of the christians who were eastern orthodox. my father said, you would find them and i rock, and even in the iran and lebanon and syria.
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my f■amily, my great-randfather was an orthodox priest. >> okay. >> and actually, he served in i'm on. in the 1930s. he was quite a powerful preacher and a missionary priest who converted many people and then he had to flee because of that. he wasn't really welcome to do that in a predominantly muslim country at the time. he fled to iraq and he started a mission parish there and he had three sons who all became priests and these were my great uncles and i'm kind of following in their footsteps. n >> there isa liage there in terms of my , your currenmily.
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>>i rock >> yes. most of them have tried to leave and some of them have stayed. it's very difficult. have one and two came recently and she lived there her whole life and it was really hard to pick up and leave at this stage in her life but you have to. thankfully, i think there is an effort now to create a region in northern iraq for christians, for the assyrians because this is the indigenous people of i rock. they are trying to have a place where they can worship. they can preserve their culture and heritage and language and also be safe from people like asus and all the other islamic fundamentalists. >> thank you for reminding us about. you know, it is a season of hope and joy, but it is also a season where we pray for peace and we pray for peace and
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all lands, but especially in those lands. thank you. we will be right back in just a minute.
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welcome back. we have father tom, the head priest and the assistant, the cathedral in oakland with us. tell us, particularly on christmas, can tell us pierce
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>> christmas eve we have the christmas eve divine liturgy, which is at 10:00 on saturday morning. >> saturday morning. >> everybody is welcome. we don't have open communion in the orthodox church but at the end of every liturgy, we give out a piece of blessed bread and its ruminant from the mill that the early christians celebrated. everybody leaves with a little something. being greek, we have to give you something when you leave and that's right. then, we go to them at 5:00, which transitions us into christmas and on christmas morning, as i said, the divine liturgy at 2:00, little bit longer liturgy. very very theologically for them. i read the priest players out so people can hear these beautiful, beautiful prayers and everybody's worship and after both services we think a few christmas carols as well because, again, we are in the west and that we celebrate that aspect of being a christian and
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being part of the american mosaic, if you will. >> thank you for that and our viewers, if they were to worship with you, they will see both of you at those services. >> yes, we celebrate together. >> wonderful, they will feel family faces, that's important. >> services at st. mark, as lutherans, we love to sing carols. if one of our special heritage. we have services, christmas eve, 5:00. 7:00. 1030 business stay at st. mark sibling church at 10:00 a.m. but there are many, many choices for you to make. go and worship. in worship and be a part of a congregation. part of your christmas celebrations and we all want to wish our viewers a blessed and merry christmas. thank you for joining us here on mosaic on the sunday morning . things to each of you. thank you to our guests as well. so god you were here. >> have a blessed activity.
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right now on wpix 5 and streaming on cbsn bay area. gavin announces a crack down on ghost guns in the state. >> they're just not over they're way over. >> the homes that sold for a million dollars over the asking price even in a red hot market it's a decision that stunned realtors. thank you for joining us. let's start with a check of our weather. plenty of rain showing up this morning. devon we're right at the beginning of what's going to be an all


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