Sunday Morning Orthros/Matins 8:15am, Divine Liturgy 9:30am; Saturday Great Vespers 5:00pm (October thru May); Weekday Services (see Online Calendar, Sunday Bulletin & Monthly Newsletter); Confession (by appointment).
As the deliverer of captives, and the protector of the poor; a physician of the sick, the defender of kings; O Great Martyr St. George Victorious, intercede to Christ our God, to save our souls.
The Lord Jesus was coming from the Temple on the Sabbath, when, while walking in the way, He saw the blind man mentioned in today's Gospel. This man had been born thus from his mother's womb, that is, he had been born without eyes (see Saint John Chrysostom, Homily LVI on Matthew; Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V:15; and the second Exorcism of Saint Basil the Great). When the disciples saw this, they asked their Teacher, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" They asked this because when the Lord had healed the paralytic at the Sheep's Pool, He had told him, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14); so they wondered, if sickness was caused by sin, what sin could have been the cause of his being born without eyes. But the Lord answered that this was for the glory of God. Then the God-man spat on the ground and made clay with the spittle. He anointed the eyes of the blind man and said to him, "Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam." Siloam (which means "sent") was a well-known spring in Jerusalem used by the inhabitants for its waters, which flowed to the eastern side of the city and collected in a large pool called "the Pool of Siloam."
Therefore, the Saviour sent the blind man to this pool that he might wash his eyes, which had been anointed with the clay-not that the pool's water had such power, but that the faith and obedience of the one sent might be made manifest, and that the miracle might become more remarkable and known to all, and leave no room for doubt. Thus, the blind man believed in Jesus' words, obeyed His command, went and washed himself, and returned, no longer blind, but having eyes and seeing. This was the greatest miracle that our Lord had yet worked; as the man healed of his blindness himself testified, "Since time began, never was it heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind," although the Lord had already healed the blind eyes of many. Because he now had eyes, some even doubted that he was the same person (John 9:8-9); and it was still lively in their remembrance when Christ came to the tomb of Lazarus, for they said, "Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have caused that even this man should not have died?" Saint John Chrysostom gives a thorough and brilliant exposition of our Lord's meeting with the woman of Samaria, the healing of the paralytic, and the miracle of the blind man in his commentaries on the Gospel of Saint John.
This great and renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312, on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at the head of his troops, he saw in the sky after midday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the words: "By this shalt thou conquer." The following night, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream and declared to him the power of the Cross and its significance. When he arose in the morning, he immediately ordered that a labarum be made (which is a banner or standard of victory over the enemy) in the form of a cross, and he inscribed on it the Name of Jesus Christ. On the 28th Of October, he attacked and mightily conquered Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber River while fleeing. The following day, Constantine entered Rome in triumph and was proclaimed Emperor of the West by the Senate, while Licinius, his brother-in-law, ruled in the East. But out of malice, Licinius later persecuted the Christians. Constantine fought him once and again, and utterly destroyed him in 324, and in this manner he became monarch over the West and the East. Under him and because of him all the persecutions against the Church ceased. Christianity triumphed and idolatry was overthrown. In 325 he gathered the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea, which he himself personally addressed. In 324, in the ancient city of Byzantium, he laid the foundations of the new capital of his realm, and solemnly inaugurated it on May 11, 330, naming it after himself, Constantinople. Since the throne of the imperial rule was transferred thither from Rome, it was named New Rome, the inhabitants of its domain were called Romans, and it was considered the continuation of the Roman Empire. Falling ill near Nicomedia, he requested to receive divine Baptism, according to Eusebius (The Life of Constantine. Book IV, 61-62), and also according to Socrates and Sozomen; and when he had been deemed worthy of the Holy Mysteries, he reposed in 337, on May 21 or 22, the day of Pentecost, having lived sixty-five years, of which he ruled for thirty-one years. His remains were transferred to Constantinople and were deposed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, which had been built by him (see Homily XXVI on Second Corinthians by Saint John Chrysostom).
As for his holy mother Helen, after her son had made the Faith of Christ triumphant throughout the Roman Empire, she undertook a journey to Jerusalem and found the Holy Cross on which our Lord was crucified (see Sept. 13 and 14). After this, Saint Helen, in her zeal to glorify Christ, erected churches in Jerusalem at the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, in Bethlehem at the cave where our Saviour was born, another on the Mount of Olives whence He ascended into Heaven, and many others throughout the Holy Land, Cyprus, and elsewhere. She was proclaimed Augusta, her image was stamped upon golden coins, and two cities were named Helenopolis after her in Bithynia and in Palestine. Having been thus glorified for her piety, she departed to the Lord being about eighty years of age, according to some in the year 330, according to others, in 336.
Eighth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 20:11-18
At that time, Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, "Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that He had said these things to her.
Prokeimenon. 4th Mode. Psalm 18.4,1.
Their voice has gone out into all the earth.
Verse: The heavens declare the glory of God.
The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 26:1, 12-20.
IN THOSE DAYS, King Agrippa said to Paul, "You have permission to speak for yourself." Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: "I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining round me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It hurts you to kick against the goads.' And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles-to whom I send you to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' "Wherefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those at Damascus, then at Jerusalem and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God and perform deeds worthy of their repentance."
Sunday of the Blind Man
The Reading is from John 9:1-38
At that time, as Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man's eyes with the clay, saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, "Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?" Some said, "It is he"; others said, "No, but he is like him." He said, "I am the man." They said to him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" He answered, "The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash'; so I went and washed and received my sight." They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, "He put clay on my eyes and I washed, and I see." Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?" There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, "What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?" He said, "He is a prophet."
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, "Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" His parents answered, "We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself." His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess him to be Christ he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, "He is of age, ask him."
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, "Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner." He answered, "Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see." They said to him, "What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?" He answered them, "I have told you already and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?" And they reviled him, saying, "You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from." The man answered, "Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." They answered him, "You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?" And they cast him out.
Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, "Do you believe in the Son of man?" He answered, "And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?" Jesus said to him, "You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you." He said, "Lord, I believe": and he worshiped him.
Women Evangelists (5-14-2017)
One of the most frequent questions I get from people, both Orthodox Christians and those outside our Faith tradition, is “Do you have woman priests?” Of course, the answer is no, we do not but I remind them that women can serve in any and every other role in the life of the Church: choir, chanter, reader, usher/greeter, parish council, ministry chair, and as leaders in each of these parish groups, not to mention as youth ministers and pastoral assistants. Likewise, women can serve in leadership positions on the regional, national and international level on metropolis and archdiocese councils, seminary professors and interreligious dialogue commissions. What about as monastic novices, sisters, mothers and abbesses? But more important than these women can serve the Church as saints and apostles. We forget that the greatest human example to all Christians is a woman, our Lady the Virgin Mary Theotokos, and she was not a priest or presbyter.
Let’s look at another female church leader, the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at the well in today’s Gospel reading (John 4:5-42) from the Fifth Sunday of Pascha. Samaritans were despised by Jews, seen as half-breeds and religious syncretists. Yet, Jesus asks her for a drink of water (v.7) and this leads to an extensive discussion between the two. Eventually, the Samaritan woman becomes aware of her sinful life, repents and then goes back to her city of Syhcar (v.5) and tells the citizens, 29"Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" 30Then they went out of the city and came to Him. 39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." (John 4:29,30,39).
Because of her witness to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ that caused the conversion of many, perhaps hundreds if not thousands, we call her Photini, which means “Enlightened or Enlightener” and we call her “Equal-to-the-Apostles.” In other words, she stands in same stature as the Twelve Apostles, who were the closest most well-known disciples of Christ, and the Seventy Apostles, the next tier of disciples who are all mentioned by name in the New Testament and are referred to as the “Seventy” in Luke 10:1. Her accomplishments are even more note-worthy because at the time of Jesus, women were often treated as second-class citizens, even as property to be bought and sold and discarded if no longer wanted. This is why the early Church ministry to widows was so important.
The faith of Photini the Samaritan was so strong that she became a martyr under the Emperor Nero. Her faith was so strong and influential that her sisters, Anatoli, Photo, Photis, Paraskeve & Kyriake; her sons- Photeinos (Victor Stratelates) & Ioses & others with them including Theokletos, Sebastianos the Duke and Christodoulos were also martyred with her in the year 66AD. Her great influence is one of the reasons we call her a “Great Martyr.”
But Photini is not the only Great Woman Martyr, there is also Xenia of Kalamas Peloponnesus (May 3, 318), Kyriaki (July 7, 289), Euphemia the All-Praised (July 11, 451), Marinaof Antioch Pisidia (July 17, 4th cent.), Christina (July 24, 300), Princess Shushaniki/Susanna of Rana (August 28, 475), Queen Ketevan of Georgia (Sept. 13, 1624), All-Praised Euphemia of Chalcedon (Sept. 16, 304), Paraskeve of Iconium (Oct. 28, 3rd cent.), All-wise Katherine of Alexandria (Nov. 25, 305), Barbara at Heliopolis Syria (Dec. 4, 306), and Anastasia the Healer of Rome (Dec. 22, 304).
In addition, Photini is not the only woman recognized as “Equal-to-the Apostles.” We also have Thekla of Iconium (Sept. 24, 1st cent.); Helen the God-crowned and mother of Constantine (May 21, 327), Olga Princess of Russia (July 11, 969), Holy Virgin Myrrhbearer Mary Magdalene (July 22, 1st cent.), Queen Nana of Mtskheta Georgia (4th cent), Nina/Nino Enlightener of Georgia (July 14, 335), and Mariamne, sister of Apostle Philip (Feb. 17, 1st cent.).
In the comemmorations the priest prays during the Proskomide service to prepare the bread and wine for the liturgy, first are the angels, second are the prophets, and third are the apostles, before the hierarchs, martyrs, ascetics and healing saints. Now this is not a strict order of importance but it does gives us a sense of the high esteem given to the apostles including women who are called “equal-to-the-apostles.” And women serve in every other order of these saints: prophets, apostles, martyrs, ascetics/monastics, and healers.
In my opinion, over the centuries Christians have allowed male chauvinism and prejudice against females to infect our attitudes so that we denigrate, diminish and forget the great accomplishments of faithful women in the Church. This has caused many distortions to creep into the practice of our Faith including clericalism, which means to put an inordinate emphasis of importance on the ordained priesthood. Thus, many see the fact that women cannot serve as priests as itself chauvinistic, which is not the case. If you read the synaxaria of the Church, which is the list and stories of the saints, you will see that of the thousands of saints, very few come from the ranks of the priesthood.
In conclusion, instead of hyper-focusing on a female priesthood, all of us in the Church should direct our attention towards encouraging women to aspire to and serve in the numerous other important, some more important ministerial roles of the Orthodox Christian Church. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to see an Orthodox woman evangelist on television expounding the truth of Christianity instead of the distortions and false teachings that we often hear now? On this Mother’s Day 2017, we remember the utterly unique role that mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, step-mothers and mother-in-laws play in the life of their children. A male, a man, can never ever be a mother. Her role is so unique and highly influential upon her children, it is way more powerful than a priest can have. Therefore, cannot a mother become a martyr for her children, showing them how to live a Christ-centered self-sacrificial life? What a powerful witness if a mother encourages her children to become themselves martyrs for Christ. Cannot a mother become an apostle to her own children? Bringing them to a deep, enduring, life-changing faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world? Blessed Mothers Day! Christ is Risen! Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
May 21, 2017 SUNDAY OF THE BLIND MAN
TODAY’S EVENTS: Sunday School Graduation 11am; AHEPA Sunday; Greek School 12pm; Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4pm; Greek Dance Practice 6:30pm.
Epistle Reader: Andrew Hattling Prosfora: Rita Kanavati
Fellowship: Frank & Marcia Nemeth Head Usher: Jon Kennedy
Tuesday 05-23 Office closed
Wednesday 05-24 DIVINELITURGY – APODOSIS OF PASCHA 8:00AM
VESPERS- ASCENSION 6:00PM
Thursday 05-25 ORTHROS (8:00am) &DIVINELITURGY- ASCENSION 9:00AM
Glad Tidings Mailing – volunteers needed 11:00AM
Camp Task Force Meeting at Elsie’s in NE Minneapolis 6:00PM
Friday 05-26 Orthodox Young Adults Event at Tin Fish in Edina 7:00PM
Sunday 05-28 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINELITURGY- 7th SUNDAY OF PASCHA 9:30AM
Memorial Service at Roselawn Cemetery 12:30PM
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4:00PM
Greek Dance Practice 6:30PM
Monday 05-29 Memorial Day Holiday – office closed through Wed, May 31
40-Day Churching: Elena Condos and daughter Samantha-Paraskevi last Sunday, May 14, 2017.
Congratulations Graduates! High School- Ekaterina Hofrenning, Danielle Pathos & Theologia Pitsavas. College- Anastasia Pathos & Keegan Tountas. May God continue to guide your path!
Thank you Sunday School Staff! For your hard work and dedication: Lani Hattling, Natalie Eidsvold, Carol Alexis, George Canas, Stephen Kanavati, Anastasia Mastrogiorgis, Nick Kanavati & Vicky Paraschou.
Office Closed: this Tuesday, May 23. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Think About It: The mouth which is continuously giving thanks receives blessing from God. In the heart that always shows gratitude, grace abides. St. Isaac the Syrian (+700)
Prison Ministry Sunday Today! "I was in prison and you came to Me" (Matthew 25:36). Please consider a monetary donation to support either the Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry of Minnesota www.ocpm-mn.org and/or the National Prison Ministry www.theocpm.org. Also considering becoming a prison minister. Contact Eleni Hoffhines at email@example.com or Dr. Rick Wagner firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
AHEPA Sunday Today! We thank the local and national organizations for all their work to support the mission of our Greek Orthodox parish and archdiocese to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Gift of Chocolate: The candy at today’s coffee hour is a thank you from Pete Demos for the community’s kindnesses to his sister Besse Maragos.
Christ is Risen! Come sing the triumphal hymn for the final time this season at Liturgy for Apodosis of Pascha this Wednesday am. Then celebrate the Ascension of our Lord Wed eve Vespers and Thursday am Liturgy.
IOCC Summer Internship: for student or graduate in social sciences; based in Twin Cities with periodic travel throughout US managing home builds; coordinating Youth ServExtreme and grant writing. For more info, www.iocc.org/take-action/internship-program or contact Dan Christopulos email@example.com
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: He who prays and fasts as he ought, does not have many wants, and therefore is not covetous. He who fasts is light, as if with wings, prays with wakefulness, extinguishes the passions, propitiates God and humbles himself. Nothing is mightier than the person who prays sincerely. St. John Chyrsostom (+407)
Youth Events: Next Saturday May 20th, our GOYA will be going out to Minnehaha Falls to enjoy the nice weather, reflect on the past year of events, and have fun! Kids should bring a pot luck snack to share as we celebrate another school year completed! We will be meeting there at noon. JOY will have their next youth night on June 3rd where we walk along the Stone Arch Bridge! We will be meeting at Noon! Snacks will be provided. Vacation Church School has been scheduled for June 12-15 from 9:00-12:00. This years theme is "Jesus Christ: Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!" See Nathaniel for registration information!
Summer Camp: July 1-7, 2017. Fee is $475. Register through 4:30pm this Thursday, May 25 at: www.stmaryscamp.com. Summer Church Camp is one of the best communal religious experiences Orthodox youth will have in their lifetime. Thanks to the James Nickitas Camp Scholarship, $100 will be given to every child who registers for camp. Plus there are need-based scholarships for families who cannot afford full-price of camp registration. Please contact Fr. Rick for more details.
The Church Fathers Speak: The Lord tells us to pray in secret—in our hearts. We are instructed to shut the door which means our mouth. The Apostle Paul says, “You are the temple of the Lord.” Therefore, the Lord seeks to dwell in us His temple. He seeks to cleanse His temple but only while the door/mouth is shut. St. Aphrahates the Persian (+345)
Memorial Service at Roselawn: next Sunday, May 28th approximately 12:30pm. Please attend Divine Liturgy first and submit names of departed loved ones to Fr. Rick at church. May their memories be eternal!
Save the Date! The Young at Heart Group will meet on Tuesday, June 6 for a tour of the Como Park Conservatory followed by lunch. Stay tuned for further details.
Twin Cities Young Adult Event: Celebrate the start of summer with YAL (Orthodox Young Adult League, ages 18-35) at the Tin Fish Braemar location this Friday May 26, 2017, 7-9pm. Address: Braemar Golf Course, 6364 John Harris Dr., Edina, MN 55439. Questions? Contact Fr. Jason Houck FRjason@stmarysgoc.org, Katherine Pappas firstname.lastname@example.org, or Alexandra Richardson email@example.com
Patristic Wisdom: A young calf starts to wander after fresh grazing and eventually finds itself stranded, lost and in danger. So it is with the soul when our thoughts lead us astray. St. Mark the Ascetic (+5th cent.)
Philoptochos Decades Birthday Party: 5:30pm Thursday June 1st at Fabulous Ferns, 400 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul. Please RSVP to Reva Adkins at 651-337-1118 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, May 29. All ladies of St. George are invited! Please tell your friends! 2017 memberships are now due. Payments can be placed in the Philoptochos mailbox outside the conference room, or mailed to Tina Sageotis, 1000 Forest Glen Court, Burnsville, MN 55337. $25 of each "fair share" contribution goes to the national/diocesan Philoptochos.
Pentecost Pan-Orthodox Vespers on Sunday, June 4th at 4pm, St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, with meal to follow, hosted by MEOCCA. Gather for Kneeling Vespers of Pentecost and the descent of the Holy Spirit.
Welcome Visitors Thank you for joining with us in prayer and fellowship. The worship of the Orthodox Church is deeply rooted in and very similar to that of the early Christian Church. Unique sensory stimuli and mystery are elements that go back even to the liturgy of the Jewish temple. Everything in an Orthodox Christian church communicates the majestic presence of God the Holy Trinity with His Saints. It is literally heaven on earth. It is a sad consequence of the divisions in Christianity that we cannot extend a general invitation to receive Holy Communion. Visitors are invited to receive the blessed bread (antithoron) at the conclusion of the liturgy. We pray and work for the reconciliation and unity of all Christians. If you are interested in learning more about Orthodoxy, please contact Fr. Rick at email@example.com. We are proud of our Greek heritage but one does not have to be of Greek descent, nor speak Greek to be a Greek Orthodox Christian.
Note to Orthodox about Holy Communion: Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is one of the most Holy experiences for a Christian in order to be granted the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. We are never worthy to partake of Divine Nature. Yet, it is essential that we prepare ourselves for this sacred Communion by constant prayer, reading the Scriptures, regular fasting and periodic Confession. At a minimum, we should fast all morning before Communion, arrive at the beginning of Liturgy, and come for Confession at least once a year. In addition, we should not have separated ourselves from the Church through serious sin. Otherwise, please refrain from Communion to avoid “judgment…not discerning the Lord’s body” (1Cor. 11:29). Contact Fr. Rick for pastoral guidance.