Monday, December 11, 2017

Services for Saint Nicholas

Fr. Joseph Towne is planning to visit Holy Transfiguration for St. Nicholas day. 

Vespers at 5pm on Monday Dec 18th.
Divine Liturgy at 10am on Tuesday Dec 19th.

As always please check our calendar page for the latest updates.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Announcement: New Rector, Priest Gabriel Monforte

As of December 2(15) 2016, Archbishop Peter has appointed Priest Gabriel Monforte as Rector of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church.  Fr. Gabriel, Matushka Laura (Kassiana), and their daughter Lydia, live in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Fr. Gabriel is a graduate of St. Tikhon's Theological Seminary and has already served in Peoria several times in 2016.  We are grateful to God and look forward to Fr. Gabriel's leadership in Peoria.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Full Schedule of Services Through Pascha

Greetings in Christ!

Starting tonight at 6PM with the commemoration of the raising of St. Lazarus from the dead begins a 9-day schedule of services every day through Pascha!  Every day we will commemorate the specific events described in the Gospels which happened as the Lord completed His man-restoring mission, was lifted up on the cross, and arose from the tomb.  

Please make sure to always reference the *live* calendar to get the latest on any adjustments to our schedule.  There are also links on this page which you can use to subscribe to the calendar on your smartphone or PC calendar application:

Fr. Gabriel will be serving with us every day through Pascha, except for Monday and Tuesday.  He has asked that all confessions be heard on or before Wednesday evening, so please prepare accordingly.  If this is not possible, then please contact Subdeacon Benjamin (309) 282-6755 so that another appropriate time can be arranged.  

“Rejoice with Jerusalem, And be glad with her, all you who love her; Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her; That you may feed and be satisfied With the consolation of her bosom, That you may drink deeply and be delighted With the abundance of her glory.”

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Announcement: Kursk-Root Icon of the Mother of God to Visit Peoria on March 26, 2016

Glory to God for all things!

We are pleased to announce that, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Peter, we plan to receive a visit from the Mother of God on March 26, 2016.  Her holy wonderworking "Kursk-Root Icon 'Of The Sign'" - the protectress of the Russian Church Outside of Russia - will make a second-ever visit to the Greater Peoria Area and a first-ever visit to the city of Peoria itself.

We will host this second visit on Saturday, March 26th, 2016 at our current location:

3701 N. Sheridan Rd. Unit C
Peoria, IL 61614

A single Moleben prayer service will be held at 9AM.

The general community are all welcome and encouraged to come and see the icon in-person from 10AM - 1PM.

Here are the accounts of her first visit, in 2014, to our former location in Brimfield, IL:

All interested visitors are welcome.  While personal viewing, veneration, lighting of available candles, and silent prayer near the icon are all encouraged, those not of spiritual motivation should also each feel equally welcome to satisfy his or her curiosity.

A special presence of Mary is always near the icon, so extra care will be taken to maintain an environment of silent, prayerful reverence in the church.  Nevertheless, parents are encouraged to bring children near to the icon, albeit under continual supervision.

Anyone wishing to contribute to icon's travel expenses can do so by submitting a check written to "DCMA" with "Kursk-Root Icon" in the notes.

For further questions, please leave a message at the parish phone number, (309) 282-6755, or send email to

Event on our Facebook page:

A Test of the Reasonableness of Our Faith


A homily given on the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee
- by Bishop Tikhon (Shevkunov) of Egorievsk

Two men each brought their own righteousness to God’s temple and presented them to God—the publican and the Pharisee.

The Pharisee presented his righteousness: he strictly fulfilled everything prescribed in the law of Moses—not just fulfilled, but fulfilled it devoutly, to the last detail. And in this he sees the meaning of his life. He studies the law. He disdains everything that is not in accordance with this law. And this is truly his own suffered and soul-saving—or so he thinks—righteousness. But in the Church we call this righteousness the righteousness of the Pharisee—prideful, and false. It is a mortally dangerous righteousness. It seeks and very successfully finds strength in self-aggrandizement, and the continual humiliation of others. And this strength really is quite remarkable. But the God of Truth and Love loathingly rejected this deceitful and cruel spirit: Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (Mt. 23:33). There are no more wrathful words in the Gospel uttered by the Creator to His creation. Only the “righteous” Pharisees earned them.

The publican also brought his own righteousness to God. This righteousness consisted in words that, like those of the Pharisee’s, expressed the spirit and state of the man’s soul. But these words became the deepest and most beloved prayer of all disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. We repeat them every day: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” This sincere and bitter, wise and saving truth about himself became the publican’s sacred offering to God.

What righteousness do we bear in our own souls? What righteousness do we not in words but in realty offer from our hearts to God, Who knows the most hidden things about us? The Holy Church from year to year calls us to learn from the publican’s example.

Today we have also run across two kinds of righteousness that people bring to church with respect to one and the same recent matter. Ten days ago an event occurred that has stunned and troubled millions of people: His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with the Pope of Rome. However, this event also caused a large number of Orthodox people serious confusion—let’s call a spade a spade. We priests know this from confessions and questions that have been asked us at meetings and in letters to the website, What is there to do? This is nothing other than a test—a test of the sobriety of our faith, our faith in the Church, holy Orthodoxy, and the Gospels of Christ. Today, brothers and sisters, we have to talk about this.

We are not going to talk about what Catholicism is—that is a scholastic subject. Each of us can take a look at the catechesis, study the many writings, including patristic writings, that talk about the deviations and heresies present in the Catholic faith.

The holy fathers definitely consider Catholicism erroneous and heretical. “Papism is what the heresy that has possessed the West is called, and from it as branches from a tree have come the various Protestant teachings,” St. Ignatius (Brianchaninov) points out. “The Pope changed many dogmas, corrupted all the sacraments, weakened the rules of ecclesiastical leadership and correction of morals, and everything from there went not according to God’s intention—worse and worse…” writes St. Theophan the Recluse.

Other holy fathers are in agreement with them.

The vast Christian catechism of the Orthodox Catholic Eastern Church determines the meaning of heresy: “Heresy is when people mix opinion into the teachings of the faith that are against Divine truth.”

But at this we must also recognize as essentially important for all our patristic tradition: The falling away of the Western Church in 1054 was one of the most terrible tragedies in the history of Christianity. This is our catastrophe and woe. And therefore the desire for unity, the prayer for it (That they all may be one [Jn. 17:21]), commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, is perfectly natural for Orthodox Christians.


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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Upcoming Priest Visits - January 2016

Starting in January, we will have the opportunity for more frequent services with a priest at Holy Transfiguration.  We have already updated our calendar for the next several weeks to reflect our ambitions.

We have also added a new "Online Donations" link on the right side of this page.  Please make use of it as we will need the extra funds to support Fr. Gabriel as he travels back-and-forth from Indianapolis to serve in Peoria.  Without additional income we will not be able to have Fr. Gabriel here as often as he will be available.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Real Saint "Nick"


Life of St Nicholas the Wonderworker
Commemorated May 9/27, December 6/19

'The truth of things hath revealed thee to thy flock as a rule of faith, an icon of meekness, and a teacher of temperance; for this cause, thou hast achieved the heights by humility, riches by poverty. O Father and Hierarch Nicholas, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.'

So reads the troparion of St Nicholas, hierarch of the Church of Myra in Lycia (now Demra in Turkey), known as 'wonderworker' and 'father' throughout the Christian world. He is beloved in the Orthodox Church, and indeed far beyond, for his kindness, almsgiving and aid, meted out both during his earthly life and after. As one of the multitude of English lives of the saint joyously proclaims, 'he is one of the best known and best loved saints of all time.' And in another: 'The name of the great saint of God, the hierarch and wonderworker Nicholas, a speedy helper and suppliant for all hastening to him, is famed in every corner of the earth, in many lands and among many peoples. In Russia there are a multitude of cathedrals, monasteries and churches consecrated in his name. There is, perhaps, not a single city without a church dedicated to his honour.'

Childhood and early life

St Nicholas was born (c. 270) in the the region of Lycia (southern Asia Minor), in the city of Patara. His parents, Theophanes and Nonna, were both pious Christians, and being childless until his arrival, consecrated Nicholas to God at his birth (the name Nicholas meaning 'Conqueror of nations'). His birth considered by both an answer to their prayer, and especially the prayer issued during Nonna's illness, his mother was said to have been healed immediately after giving birth. Nicholas would always remember his parents' love and devotion to God, and in his later years promised to come to the aid of those who remembered them in their prayers.

Various traditions recount signs of Nicholas' future glory as 'wonderworker' (Gr. thaumatourgos), apparent already in his earliest childhood. One recalls that as an infant in the baptismal font, Nicholas stood on his feet for three hours in honour of the Trinity. Another proclaims him a childhood faster, not accepting milk from his mother until after the conclusion of evening prayers on Wednesdays and Fridays.

His later life revealed that Nicholas had from a young age been absorbed in the study of the Church's sacred scriptures. He thrived on reading divine texts, and earned a reputation as a devoted youth who often would not leave the church, reading the sacred texts late into the night.

Such activity soon came to the attention of the local bishop, Nicholas' uncle (his father's brother), also called Nicholas. Seeing his nephew's fervour for the Christian life, this elder Bishop Nicholas of Patara tonsured him reader, and later ordained him priest. At Fr Nicholas' ordination, the elder Bishop Nicholas remarked:

'I see, brethren, a new sun rising above the earth and manifesting in himself a gracious consolation for the afflicted. Blessed is the flock that will be worthy to have him as its pastor, because this one will shepherd well the souls of those who have gone astray, will nourish them on the pasturage of piety, and will be a merciful helper in misfortune and tribulation.'

The newly-ordained Fr Nicholas' special charge as assistant to the bishop of Patara was the instruction of the faithful—a unique and uncommon role, given his young age.

The ministry of Fr Nicholas

Nicholas approached his duties as priest and teacher of the faith with the same fervour his uncle had witnessed in him during his childhood. Despite his youthfulness, many of the faithful considered him an elder, and his ability to respond to questions of the faith in love and wisdom earned him the deep respect of those in the city. He was noted in particular for the fervency of his prayer and kind-hearted nature, and the attention to charitable work that characterised his priestly ministry. Following the injunction of Christ, Fr Nicholas sold his possessions and, following his parents deaths a few years after his ordination, distributed his inheritance to the poor and afflicted, who would often seek him out for assistance...

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