We are an inclusive Old Calendar Orthodox Christian community but our worship services conform to the theology of the Slavonic (Russian) typicon. We are not a local Church in Hayward but a small Orthodox metokian skete, dedicated to worship, study, and service to Orthodox and Catholic Christians from any historic jurisdiction in the greater San Francisco bay area. We also have a unique (among Orthodox Christian communities) focus in service of the marginalized, including the LGBT community as well as their welcoming non-LGBT friends.
We are part of the American Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church under the omophorion of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Nestor.
The large Orthodox and Catholic jurisdictions continue to publicly humiliate LGBT folks with declarations like: “homosexuality is intrinsically disordered.” This attitude is so prominent that some LGBT folks assume that our Russian jurisdiction must be homophobic, judgmental and concerned all about sex as these jurisdictions seem to be. Very seldom do clergy talk about knives which can be used for good or for evil. We think the same way about sex so we seldom discuss it. Some of the best advice about sex might be found in Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, appropriately enough to be found on page 69:
Those members of our community, as well as any visitors, who are still catechumens (learners), are welcome to approach and kiss the Holy Chalice, the cross, and the priest's hand. We also welcome those who are prepared to receive Holy Communion, have been Chrismated in their own Orthodox jurisdiction.
Beginning in 1980, Axios, an organization of Eastern & Near Eastern Orthodox, and Byzantine & Eastern-rite Catholic Gay & Lesbian lay Christians was founded in Beverly Hills California. They did not include Roman Catholics at that time because the LGBT Roman Catholics already had their own support group called Dignity which had been founded earlier in San Diego, California.
Details about the history of Axios.org can be found on the Axios website. Axios marched in Pride celebrations for five years until two anti-catholic members insisted on ousting the two Eastern-Rite Catholics from the group. Axios, following its charter, voted unanimously (except for the 2) to uphold their membership. The two disgruntled members sent the Axios mailing-list to the OCA bishop in San Francisco. California membership has been mostly underground ever since. Anyone interested in working with Axios may contact them directly.
While Catholic and Orthodox Church hierarchy still continues to see each other as schismatics of sorts and argue over authority, the overwhelming majority of LGBT Orthodox and Catholic lay people, I have met, perceive each other to be in cultural jurisdictions of the one Church established at Pentecost with valid and effective sacraments. Therefore, our Saint Seraphim community, serving the San Francisco bay area of California, in solidarity with all LGBT Orthodox and Catholics, welcome each other to pray and commune with us.
We celebrate Divine Liturgy, as a community, almost every Sunday morning at 10 AM in our Saint Seraphim skete chapel in the hills of downtown Hayward, CA 94541. Our Saint Seraphim phone line for messages is (510) 856-3611. Please phone ahead for directions and to make certain we are not out of town that Sunday. If you enjoy singing Russian chant in English, please do ask about singing with us. We enjoy hearing from anyone who is interested in our work.
Today we celebrate the Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. In about a week's time, the same voices that shout “Hosanna!” (an expression of praise, joy or adoration) to Our Lord this day will shout “crucify Him!” then. The fickleness of the crowd shows how tenuous is the “faith” of many in the crowd who had witnessed Jesus' many amazing miracles. Miracles of themselves do not create faith. It may ignite or strengthen faith but human nature, being what it is is easily distracted. Like children who get bored easily and jump from distraction to distraction.
Our Lord knew that even His disciples would flee at the first sign of danger. Simon Peter who boasted that he would give up his life for Jesus denied Him when the moment of truth came. Yet Jesus never gave up hope for those He had chosen. They would go on to become His witnesses, some with their lives. Our Lord Jesus knows likewise that we are the same. We are human. We profess adoration and love for God one minute and the next minute, we sin and fail to live up to the love we professed. But Jesus never gives up on us. We must like Simon Peter face up to our faults and failings and return to Him.
May you experience the full measure of God's love for you during this Holy Week. God bless you!