St. John the Divine Orthodox Church
Canadian Archdiocese of the Orthodox Church in America

News and Information

By Women & For Women

Ladies Craft Night!

"But, I'm not crafty!"

To that I'd say, "...but it's not about the crafts!"

It's all about growing in friendship and community. So if you aren't working on anything, come out anyways!!! Perhaps you'll be inspired to learn a new skill :)

And if you are working on a project...bring it along and be an inspiration to others.

Share coffee, snacks, and great conversation!

Every Wednesday night 7:00pm - 8:30pm.



On Saturday April 12, 2014, there will be Divine Liturgy @ 10:30am. Afterwards, following a light lenten lunch, the Ladies of St. John will gather to do some housekeeping/cleaning to prepare the Church for Pascha. We will also be making Palm Crosses for blessing and distribution on Sunday April 13, 2014, Palm Sunday.

Please come out and join us :)

March 20, 2014, Making Pysanky

The word pysanky comes from the verb pysaty, "to write", as the designs are not painted on, but written with beeswax.

Many eastern European ethnic groups decorate eggs using the wax resist method for Easter/Pascha.

Each region, each village, and almost every family had its own special ritual, its own symbols, meanings and secret formulas for dyeing eggs. These customs were preserved faithfully and passed down from mother to daughter through generations. The custom of decorating pysanky was observed with the greatest of care.

Pysanky were traditionally made during the last week of Lent, Holy Wee, in the Orthodox Tradition. They were made by the women of the family. During the middle of the Lenten season, women began putting aside eggs, those that were most perfectly shaped and smooth, and ideally, the first laid eggs of yound hens.

The dyes were prepared from dried plants, roots, bark, berries, and insects. The dyes were prepared in secret, using recipes handed down from mother to daughter. Sometimes chemical dyes (unusual or difficult colours) were purchased from peddlers along with alum, a mordant that helped the natural dyes adhere better to the eggshells. A stylus was and still is used to apply the wax to the eggshell.

The pysanky were made at night, when the children were asleep. The women in the family gathered together, said the appropriate prayers, and went to work. It was all done in secret--the pattern and colour combinations were carefully guarded.

Pysanky were made sing a was resist method. Beeswax was heated in a small bowl on the large family stove and the styluses were dipped into it. The molten wax was applied to the white egg with a writing motion; any bit of shell covered with wax would be sealed, and remain white. Then the egg was dyed yellow, and more wax applied, and then orange, red, purple, black. The dye sequence is always light to dark. Bits of shell covered with wax remained that color. After the final colour, usually red, brown, or black, the wax was removed by heating the egg in the stove or over a candle flame, then gently wiping off the melted wax.

Pysanky are typically made to be given to family members and respected friends. To give a pysanky is to give a symbolic gift of life, which is why the egg must remain whole. Furthermore, each of the designs and colours on the pysanky is likely to have a deep, symbolic meaning. Traditionally, pysanky designs are chosen to match the character of the person to whom they pysanky is to be given. Typically, pysanky are displayed prominently in a public room of the house.

In a large family, by Holy Thursday, 60 or more eggs would have been completed by the women of the house. The more daughters a family had, the more pysanky would be produced. The eggs would then be taken to the church on Pascha to be blessed, after which they were given away.

Everyone from the youngest to the oldest received a pysanky for Easter. Young people were given pysanky with bright designs; dark pysanky were given to older people.

More Pysanky Pictures

Our talented Instructor, Nada
Our talented Instructor, Nada
Our talented Instructor, Nada
Nada, Victoria, and Isaac
Nada, Victoria, and Isaac
Nada, Victoria, and Isaac
Nada, Mat Pat, Kim, Victoria, Leslie, and Lorraine
Nada, Mat Pat, Kim, Victoria, Leslie, and Lorraine
Nada, Mat Pat, Kim, Victoria, Leslie, and Lorraine
November 29, 2013


Come on out this Wednesday night, December 4, from 6pm - 9pm and learn how to bake Litya which will be used in the Vespers Service Friday December 6, 2013 in commemoration of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.

See Lorraine for directions to her home.

Lots of pictures to follow :)


November 17, 2013


(Samaritan’s Purse)


When we decided to participate in Operation Shoebox this year, and had to decide how many boxes to order, we debated between 50 and 100. Fr. Dean exclaimed, “Let’s just do 100!” So we did! We are overjoyed to announce that we had 90 boxes returned! An all time record! Last Friday, they were loaded into my car to make their first drop off on a long trip overseas. Initially, I was skeptical. I did not think that they would all fit in my little Focus. To my astonishment, not only did they fit, but there was room for 90 MORE! So next year, we will plan to order 200! Might I just add that it’s never too early to start collecting items for next year now!

Thank you to all! Women, men, children, and families who contributed to this very worthy cause!

October 20, 2013



On Sunday October 20, 2013, the ladies of St. John the Divine gathered to show support for the startup of the Ladies Group. Fr. Dean blessed the group, its plans and its goals for the future. It was very encouraging to witness the number of women in attendance and the interest and zeal they came with. All of the committees presented were accepted and filled with both a Committee Leader and a group of dedicated women who are committed to the cause. Of course, afterwards, there was snacks and refreshments, and time for deepening friendships. Thank you to all! Looking forward to seeing where God leads this group.

October 12, 2013

Women Mentoring Women


     “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”      


One of the goals of the Ladie's of St. John is to teach other women the traditions of our faith. This past week Lorraine invested time with Katie and taught her how to make prosforo.


Prosforo (Communion Bread)

 A religious seal (sfrayitha) stamps a special design on the prosforo before baking. During preparation of the Eucharist, the priest conducts the proskomithi in which he first cuts out the center of the stamped design that says "IC,XC, NIKA (Jesus Christ Conquers). It becomes the Body of Christ (the Lamb). Then the large triangle on the left is cut in honor of the Virgin Mary. The nine small triangles on the right are cut to commemorate the angels, prophets, apostles, holy fathers and prelates, martyrs, ascetics, holy unmercenaries, Joachim and Anna, and all saints, including the saint of the day's liturgy. The last cuts are tiny squares to remember specific names of the living and the dead.