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).
This divine Father, who was from Asia Minor, was from childhood reared in the royal court of Constantinople, where he was instructed in both religious and secular wisdom. Later, while still a youth, he left the imperial court and struggled in asceticism on Mount Athos, and in the Skete at Beroea. He spent some time in Thessalonica being treated for an illness that came from his harsh manner of life. He was present in Constantinople at the Council that was convened in 1341 against Barlaam of Calabria, and at the Council of 1347 against Acindynus, who was of like mind with Barlaam; Barlaam and Acindynus claimed that the grace of God is created. At both these Councils, the Saint contended courageously for the true dogmas of the Church of Christ, teaching in particular that divine grace is not created, but is the uncreated energies of God which are poured forth throughout creation: otherwise it would be impossible, if grace were created, for man to have genuine communion with the uncreated God. In 1347 he was appointed Metropolitan of Thessalonica. He tended his flock in an apostolic manner for some twelve years, and wrote many books and treatises on the most exalted doctrines of our Faith; and having lived for a total of sixty-three years, he reposed in the Lord in 1359.
His holy relics are kept in the Cathedral of Thessalonica. A full service was composed for his feast day by the Patriarch Philotheus in 1368, when it was established that his feast be celebrated on this day. Since works without right faith avail nothing, we set Orthodoxy of faith as the foundation of all that we accomplish during the Fast, by celebrating the Triumph of Orthodoxy the Sunday before, and the great defender of the teachings of the holy Fathers today.
Saint Theophanes, who was born in 760, was the son of illustrious parents. Assenting to their demand, he married and became a member of the Emperor's ceremonial bodyguard. Later, with the consent of his wife, he forsook the world. Indeed, both of them embraced the monastic life, struggling in the monastic houses they themselves had established. He died on March 12, 815, on the island of Samothrace, whereto, because of his confession of the Orthodox Faith, he had been exiled by Leo the Armenian, the Iconoclast Emperor.
Saint Symeon became a monk of the Studite Monastery as a young man, under the guidance of the elder Symeon the Pious. Afterwards he struggled at the Monastery of Saint Mamas in Constantinople, of which he became abbot. After enduring many trials and afflictions in his life of piety, he reposed in 1022. Marvelling at the heights of prayer and holiness to which he attained, and the loftiness of the teachings of his life and writings, the church calls him "the New Theologian." Only to two others, John the Evangelist and Gregory, Patriarch of Constantinople, has the church given the name "Theologian." Saint Symeon reposed on March 12, but since this always falls in the Great Fast, his feast is kept today.
Saint Gregory was born in Rome to noble and wealthy parents about the year 540. While the Saint was still young, his father died. However, his mother, Sylvia, saw to it that her child received a good education in both secular and spiritual learning. He became Prefect of Rome and sought to please God even while in the world; later, he took up the monastic life; afterwards he was appointed Archdeacon of Rome, then, in 579, apocrisiarius (representative or Papal legate) to Constantinople, where he lived for nearly seven years. He returned to Rome in 585 and was elected Pope in 590. He is renowned especially for his writings and great almsgiving, and also because, on his initiative, missionary work began among the Anglo-Saxon people. It is also from him that Gregorian Chant takes its name; the chanting he had heard at Constantinople had deeply impressed him, and he imported many elements of it into the ecclesiastical chant of Rome. He served as Bishop of that city from 590 to 604.
Fifth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from Luke 24:13-35
At that time, two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Prokeimenon. Plagal 1st Mode. Psalm 11.7,1.
You, O Lord, shall keep us and preserve us.
Verse: Save me, O Lord, for the godly man has failed.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 1:10-14; 2:1-3.
"IN THE BEGINNING, Thou, Lord, didst found the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of thy hands; they will perish, but thou remainest; they will all grow old like a garment, like a mantle thou wilt roll them up, and they will be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will never end." But to what angel has he ever said, "Sit at my right hand, till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet?" Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?
Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the message declared by angels was valid and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him.
Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas
The Reading is from Mark 2:1-12
At that time, Jesus entered Capernaum and it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, not even about the door; and he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and when they had made an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven." Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, "Why does this man speak thus? It is a blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, "Why do you question thus in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your pallet and walk? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-he said to the paralytic-"I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home." And he rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
Invite Logistics for Sunday of Orthodoxy/Icons (3-5-2017)
When there’s a special event going on, and you’re invited, it’s often helpful to know a few things, like who’s invited, where it is, when it is, what’s going on, and how do I get there. The who, what, where, when, why, how basics of any import event. And today’s special event is the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the Sunday on which we commemorate the restoration of the holy icons to the Church.
And if someone were to ask you, what are the icons, what would you say? One might say, well I’m not sure but we have them at church. You might point them out saying, “That’s an icon!” The inquirer might respond, “Oh, so an icon is a painting.” Well, yes, but icons are much more than paintings. Icons are images. The word ‘icon’ comes from the Greek word ‘eikona’ which means ‘image.’ But icons are not just images. They are sacred images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, one of the Saints, or even an event from salvation history. For example, today, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we have its icon on the stand in the narthex and it depicts a group of people and one of them is holding the icon of the Virgin Mary with the Christ-child. Thus, we have an icon depicted in an icon. So, what are the icons? Icons are sacred images. Who is in the icons? Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the Saints and events in salvation history.
But why do we have icons? Why do we use them? Why do we adorn or churches with icons? Well, we use icons for the simple fact Jesus became a man. The Incarnation is the reason why. Jesus was not an apparition or a ghost. Jesus was a real human person, who could be seen, who could be touched, who could be handled, who spoke, who people listened to. And because Jesus, the eternal Word and Son of God, was a human person who could be seen and touched, we are not only allowed to depict Him in iconic form, the Church Fathers all the way back to the eighth century said, we must depict Jesus in icons, because they are a witness to the Incarnation. That is why we use icons.
So, we know what icons are, we know who is depicted in them and we know why we use icons. But as we look at the icons, we see them and they look like paintings but they don’t look like paintings that we see in museums or that we hang on the walls of our home. Icons are different. The question is how are they different? How are icons made? One of the first things to remember is that the making of icons is called ‘iconography’ and that word does not mean the painting of icons or images. Rather it means the ‘writing of icons/images.’ Thus, there is a story that is being told in the icon.
We may be more familiar, certainly most people in American society, with Renaissance style religious art, which is something that Michaelangelo would have done. And this style’s purpose was to make the person or persons depicted look as realistic as possible. We know that are Byzantine style icons are different from Renaissance paintings. That’s because Orthodox iconography is done in a way that limits the humanity of the person, such as Christ or one of the Saints. It does not want to go far in emphasizing their human nature. Rather, icons seek to balance humanity with divinity in the case of Christ, or with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in the case of the Virgin Mary and the Saints. Christ, as we know, was both fully God and fully man. So, in iconography we depict the human person but we emphasize their spiritual nature in a stylized or abstract fashion. We don’t have time today to go into the details of this.
However, Fr. Anthony Coniaris, notes in his book “Sermons on the Major Holy Days in the Orthodox Church” that there are three ways to depict a person: 1) a photograph, 2) a portrait, and 3) the icon. First, the photograph records the features of a person exactly as they are with no changes. Second, the portrait reproduces a person’s features in a recognizable way but tries give expression his/her character. Thirdly, the icon goes even further than the portrait by showing what the person has become because of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Iconography does this by eliminating or de-emphasizing everything that is irrelevant to the spiritual nature. Thus, the depiction is stylized and spiritualized, not in an unrealistic way but in supra-realistic manner.
Icons have been called many names over the centuries: prayers, hymns, sermons in form and color. There are two types of Gospels in the Orthodox Church: the verbal and the visual. Together, they appeal to the whole person, both mind and heart. St. Basil the Great said, “What the word transmits through the ear, that painting silently shows through the image, and by these two means, mutually accompanying one another…we receive knowledge of one and the same thing.” St. John of Damascus said, “If a pagan (non-believer) asks you to show him/her your faith, take that person into a church and place him/her before the icons.”
So we know where to find icons. We find them in the Church. But do we also find them in our home? It’s typical or traditional for Orthodox Christians to have an altar in their home, perhaps many altars, one for each person in the family. And on those altars we find candles, lamps, incense and other sacred items, and icons. But the icons are not there for aesthetic purposes. They are not art that you use to decorate your home. Icons are a witness to who you believe in, to who is number one in your life.
In Russia, icons were displayed prominently in the home and when guests would enter they would go first to venerate the icons before greeting their hosts. Christianity probably survived Communism because of the Faith in Christ was preserved in the home, the house Church. Do we have icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints prominently displayed in our homes? Or do we have posters of famous people, musicians and athletes instead?
Icons are not only placed in our homes to show who we believe in, but more importantly to remind us of God’s presence in our life. Icons also remind us to pray. This speaks to the when of iconography. Hopefully, icons remind us to pray each and every day.
Let me close today but asking a question. What is the very best icon ever written? Many of us have been to many different places and seen all sorts of icons. What is the best one you ever seen? What if we had a contest, which icon would win? Well it’s the one that God made Himself and that would be each and every human being. When God created Adam He said, “Let us make him in our image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26). During the Orthodox worship services the priest often censes the holy icons but he also censes the people because they are icons too. Each person is a living icon of Christ. Thus, each person is worthy of the same respect and veneration that we would give to Jesus. To disrespect and abuse another human is to become an iconoclast, an icon smasher, just like the iconoclasts of the eighth and ninth centuries who destroyed the icons because they erroneously thought they were idolatrous.
And in today’s world, many are trying to change the image of God found in mankind. They are literally trying to redefine the human icon into something different than it is. But of course, there is no need to do this because God doesn’t create junk. If we are in His image and likeness, what reason is there to change or alter it? How could we possibly improve it? So, let us respect one another as icons of God and also let us respect ourselves. During this time of Lent, we try to train ourselves as best we can to resist sin. Because when we sin, we are smashing the icon of God within ourselves. To disrespect and abuse ourselves through sinful thoughts, words or actions is also to become an icon-smasher. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
March 12, 2017 SUNDAY OF ST. GREGORY PALAMAS
TODAY’S EVENTS: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS BEGINS- SET CLOCK AHEAD; Greek School 12pm, Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers and reception here at St. George 4pm; Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS 4pm.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: anonymous
Fellowship: Lana Kartak Family
Monday 03-13 GREAT COMPLINE (by readers) 6:00PM
Catechism Class: Sacraments II-Eucharist, Liturgy, Worship, Prayer 7:00PM
Wednesday 03-15 NINTH HOUR 5:30PM
PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY 6:00PM
Lenten Meal & Lecture on Modern Heresies with Fr. Richard Andrews 7:30PM
Thursday 03-16 OCF at University of St. Thomas 12:00PM
AHEPA meeting 7:00PM
Friday 03-17 AKATHISTOS / SALUTATIONS 6:00PM
Lenten Meal & Lecture on the Torah, aka the Pentateuch with Fr. Ted Wojcik 7:30PM
Saturday 03-18 Be the Bee Youth Retreat at St. Mary GOC 9:30AM
GREAT VESPERS 5:00PM
Pan-Orthodox Young Adults event at Giordano’s in Richfield 7:00PM
Sunday 03-19 ORTHROS (8:15 am) & DIVINE LITURGY – SUNDAY OF THE HOLY CROSS 9:30AM
Greek School 12:00PM
Greek Dance Practice 1:00PM
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS on Lake Street, hosted by St. George 4:00PM
Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers & Reception at Holy Trinity Church in St. Paul 4:00PM
Memory Eternal: our parishioner, Linda Moran, reposed in the Lord on March 8th. Visitation is today, 5-8pm at Willwerscheid Mortuary with 7pm Trisagion service. Funeral is tomorrow, Monday 11am. We extend our sympathies to her family: husband Thomas, children: Alex, Thomas Jr. and Caroline (Aaron) Haried.
Sympathies & Condolences: to Dr. Tasso Pappas & Dr. Telly Pappas on the repose of their mother, Presbytera Maria Pappas, wife of Fr. Angelo of Sioux Falls, SD. Funeral was yesterday March 11th.
Pan-Orthodox Vespers: we host the service today at 4pm followed by a reception. Please welcome our guests!
Think About It: Control desire and you will overcome anger; for desire gives rise to anger. St. Thallasios the Libyan (7th cent.)
Phyllo Orders: available today for pick-up. Please see the Philoptochos ladies in the social hall to pick up your order. Thanks for helping the Philoptochos fundraiser.
Summer Camp Early Bird Registration: will open on April 18th at 10am. Registration fees are as follows: Early Bird Discount: $425 from April 18- May 5, 2017; Standard Fee: $475 from May 6-25, 2017 at 4:30pm. Please register at: www.stmaryscamp.com. Summer Camp dates are July 1-7, 2017.
Greek Cookbooks: various vintage hardcover editions in Greek are available in the bookstore.
Be the Bee Retreat: this Saturday, March 18 all youth (k-12), parents, and youth workers are invited to join us at St. Mary's in Minneapolis for the Be The Bee BEETREAT, a day of engaging workshops, activities, and great opportunities to explore our faith. JOY, Jr. GOYA, and GOYA will be separated into their own retreats. Come see what all the fuss is about! Workshops are from 9:30- 5:00. To register, go to BeTheBee.goarch.org/retreats
The Church Fathers Speak: God our Savior wants all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1Timothy 2:4). Grace does not compel anyone. Men have the God-given freedom to accept it and to work with it or to reject it. Those who embrace it are saved and those who withdraw from it are lost. Elder Cleopa of Romania (+1998)
Parent Volunteers Needed: We are looking for a parent for both Saturday of Lazarus and Holy Friday to coordinate the potluck meals. The sign-up sheet is located in the social hall. Thank you!
Daughters of Penelope: Thursday’s meeting on March 16th has been cancelled.
Lenten Lectures: Our 16th annual Lenten Lectures series' themes are "Modern Heresies" on Wednesdays and "The Torah-Pentateuch" on Fridays. Fr. Rick will speak on Weds. about secularism, humanism, rationalism, pluralism and phyletism. On Fridays various presenters will speak about the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Law of Moses and their relevance for modern readers today.
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: When someone takes the first step towards reconciliation, he immediately feels joy, peace and relief. Why? Prior to this, hatred, enmity, separation and alienation laid like a heavy burden on his shoulders. There was also pressure from the devil who wanted his way. God, on the other hand, is love and humility. All of us, nonetheless—and I first—are fooled by our egotism, and seek to erect our own will. We believe that we are correct, that we are good, and that others are at fault. Elder Ephraim of Philotheou
Greek Independence Day Lunch: the AHEPA will sponsor the annual Greek Independence Celebration lunch on Sunday, March 26th. Tickets available at the door. See insert for details.
Lenten Meals: please see sign-up sheet in social hall. You can volunteer individually or with a group.
Stewardship 2017: Our theme is You are the Voice of Christ in a Changing World: As the Father Has Sent Me, So I Send You (John 20:21). We have received 89 pledge cards for 2017 with a total of $147,196 and an average of $1,654. When pledging be sure to increase your pledge, even if only a few dollars. This reflects spiritual growth and overcomes stagnation. We encourage everyone to give a minimum of 2% pledge of gross yearly income to become a self-sustaining community. This is far less than the biblical ideal of tithing, giving 10%.
Patristic Wisdom: The rich man is not one who possesses much, but one who gives much. St. John Chrysostom (+407)
Holy Land/Russia Pilgrimage: Sept.27 – Oct.11 2017. Holy Land trip is first 9 days and costs $1,300/ person. Russian trip is afterwards for 6 days at $1,550/person. Prices do not include air, travel insurance and tips. Several options available. Pilgrimage hosted by Icon Art Studios under the leadership of Tom Rudquist at firstname.lastname@example.org and Deb Korluka email@example.com.
Pictorial Directory 2015: is now available for $5 per copy. They can be purchased either from Julie in the office or in the bookstore (limit, one per family).
Palm Sunday Fish Lunch: on Sunday, April 9, following the Divine Liturgy. Tickets will be available at the door in the social hall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.