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).
On Sunday, five days before the Passover of the Law, the Lord came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Sending two of His disciples to bring Him a foal of an ass, He sat thereon and entered into the city. When the multitude there heard that Jesus was coming, they straightway took up the branches of palm trees in their hands, and went forth to meet Him. Others spread their garments on the ground, and yet others cut branches from the trees and strewed them in the way that Jesus was to pass; and all of them together, especially the children, went before and after Him, crying out: "Hosanna: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel" (John 12:13). This is the radiant and glorious festival of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate today.
The branches of the palm trees symbolize Christ's victory over the devil and death. The word Hosanna means "Save, I pray," or "Save, now." The foal of an ass, and Jesus' sitting thereon, and the fact that this animal was untamed and considered unclean according to the Law, signified the former uncleanness and wildness of the nations, and their subjection thereafter to the holy Law of the Gospel.
This holy Martyr was from the parts of Cappadocia, and lived a blameless life with his wife. During the reign of Julian the Apostate, this blessed one was filled with divine zeal and, with other Christians, destroyed the pagan temple dedicated to Fortune. Because of this he received the crown of martyrdom by beheading in the year 362.
The Reading is from Matthew 21:1-11; 15-17
At that time, when Jesus drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If any one says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion,
Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their garments on them, and he sat thereon. Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee." But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant; and they said to him, "Do you hear what they are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read,
'Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings,
you have brought perfect praise'?"
And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
Prokeimenon. 4th Mode. Psalm 117.26,1.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Verse: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His mercy endures forever.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 4:4-9.
BRETHREN, rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.
The Reading is from John 12:1-18
Six days before Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazaros was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazaros was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazaros, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazaros also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
The next day a great crowd who had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!" And Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it; as it is written, "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!" His disciples did not understand this at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that this had been written of him and had been done to him. The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazaros out of the tomb and raised him from the dead bore witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.
Jesus the Ransom for Many (4-2-2017)
How many movies and television shows have been made over the decades that involve at an innocent person being kidnapped or taken hostage. And why did the perpetrator do such a heinous act? Unlike the many of the recent nihilistic criminals and terrorist, whose sole purpose is to kill and destroy, the kidnapper of old was seeking some sort of reward, financial or otherwise. And this reward is called a ransom. In these older movies, we see friends and family of the victim trying to gather together a large sum of money in order to pay the perpetrator to gain the release of their loved one taken hostage. Now ransom is an interesting word because it functions as both the verb and the noun. So it is both the action of paying to win the release of a captive and the payment itself.
In today’s Gospel reading (Mark 10:32-45), from the Fifth Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, we hear Jesus mention the word ransom. In the last verse (v.45) He says, 45For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” This one of only three times the word is mentioned in the New Testament: this one and the from the same account in Mt.20:28 and the Apostle Paul 5For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself a ransom [antilytron] for all, to be testified in due time, (1Timothy 2:5-6).
The Greek form of ransom is ‘lytron’ which also carries the equal connotation of ‘redemption’ (lytrosin). When we hear or use the word redeem we might think of coupons or gift certificates that we redeem to get a discounted price on goods and services. But when the words ‘ransom,’ ‘redeem’ or ‘redemption’ are used in the Scriptures, it is not usually about commercial exchange. In the Greek, both lytron and lytrosin have the same root ‘ly’ which means to loose or untie, to set free.
During St. Basil’s Liturgy, which we celebrate on the Sundays of Great Lent, the priest prays the great High Prayer or Anaphora. This long prayer has a section which explains the dynamic of Jesus giving Himself as ransom:
For, since through man sin came into the world and through sin, death; it pleased Your only-begotten Son, (who is in Your bosom, God and Father, born of a woman, the holy Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary) born under the law, to condemn sin in His flesh, so that those who died in Adam may be brought to life in Him, Your Christ….He gave Himself as ransom to death in which we were held captive, sold under sin. Descending into Hades through the cross, that He might fill all things with Himself, He loosed the bonds of death. He rose on the third day, having opened a path for all flesh to resurrection from the dead, since it was not possible that the Author of life would be dominated by corruption….Do this in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this Bread and drink this Cup, you proclaim my death, and you confess my resurrection.
Just like God sent Moses to the Israelites in Egypt to deliver them from the captivity of slavery under Pharoah, God sends Jesus Christ into the world to deliver the whole race of humanity from the captivity of slavery to sin under the devil. Satan is the perpetrator who has taken us hostage through the deception of sin. The ransom Lucifer demanded is our loyalty and allegiance. We could not and we cannot set ourselves free. It’s like being in a jail cell without the key to the lock. Jesus came down from heaven to earth as a man, a human being to show us how to live. But He went even farther. He descended from earth to Hades through the Cross to show us how to die. Jesus is like the hero in the movies who offers himself or herself as a ransom so that hostage(s) may be set free.
This is not really a mystery in the sense that Jesus stated His intent on the very first day of His earthly ministry. Reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the Temple, He said: 18"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (Luke 4:18)
The mystery is that Jesus disciples thought He was going to establish an earthly kingdom and rule as king with great power to force His enemies to bow down before Him. Instead, Jesus allows Himself to be taken captive, to be tried and executed as a common criminal. What a scandal? No wonder the disciples tried to prevent it just like in the movies, family members and friends try to prevent the hero or heroine from offering themselves as a ransom, to take the place of and become the hostage.
As we close today we must remember that even though Jesus became a ransom for all people of all time, He must become our personal ransom. In other words, the redemption He provides cannot be imposed on any person against his or her will. Neither can it be given to people who are indifferent or lukewarm to this great gift of deliverance. It must be received and accepted willingly, earnestly. And this willingness is not a mere ascent to the idea in one’s mind but a real sacrifice of mind, body and soul. Remember, the ransom the devil wants is your allegiance and loyalty. There is no middle road. It’s a binary choice. It’s either yes or no. It’s black and white. If you don’t love God will all your heart, with all you mind, with all your strength and with all your soul, and your neighbor as yourself, your allegiance is not with God. Your loyalty is with someone else—an idol of your own making. Ask yourself, if Christ gave Himself to ransom me from death, do not I owe Him my entire life—not just part of it? Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
April 9, 2017 PALM SUNDAY
TODAY’S EVENTS: AHEPA Fish Luncheon;Acolyte Training, 12pm; Pan-Orthodox Lenten Vespers and reception at St. Herman’s Orthodox Church; 4pm; Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS 4pm; Hierarchical Bridegroom Service at St. Mary GOC in Minneapolis 7pm.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: anonymous
Fellowship: AHEPA Fish Luncheon Head Ushers: Jon Kennedy & Alexis Bighley
Monday 04-10 BRIDEGROOM SERVICE 7:00PM
Tuesday 04-11 PRESANCTIFIED LITURGY 9:00AM
BRIDEGROOM SERVICE 7:00PM
Wednesday 04-12 HOLY UNCTION SERVICE 3:00PM
BRIDEGROOM SERVICE WITH UNCTION 7:00PM
Thursday 04-13 VESPERAL LITURGY OF LAST SUPPER 9:00AM
HOLY PASSION – 12 GOSPELS SERVICE 7:00PM
Friday 04-14 ROYAL HOURS 9:00AM
Youth Retreat incl. Palm Crosses and Church Cleaning 11:00AM
DESCENT FROM CROSS VESPERS 3:00PM
LAMENTATIONS SERVICE 7:00PM
Saturday 04-15 VESPERAL LITURGY – DESCENT INTO HADES 9:00AM
Sunday 04-16 RESURRECTION SERVICE midnight 12:000AM
DIVINE LITURGY & Lamb Dinner 12:30AM
AGAPE VESPERS 11:00AM
Welcome! To His Grace Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos, Chancellor of our Metropolis of Chicago. AHEPA will host their annual fish luncheon today. Tickets available at door.
Mural Icons Installed! thank you to iconographer Mother Theodora Balaban and woodcarver Doug Trail-Johnson for their beautiful work. Thank you to the four families who designated memorials and provided additional funding to complete the project. What a wonderful addition to our sanctuary. Glory to God!
Think About It: Sin is a blazing fire. The less fuel you give it, the faster it dies down; the more you feed it, the more it burns. St. Mark the Ascetic (5th cent.)
How Can I Help During Holy Week: Holy Thursday- Dying Eggs 11am (Anastasia Mastrogiorgis); Holy Friday Retreat Youth Retreat (Nathaniel Kostick). Potluck Meal (Mersina/Jason Van Cleave & Milam/Maria Paraschou). Flowers (Lisa Jordan). Myrrhbearers (Dawn Lampros). Kouvouklion bearers (Jon Kennedy & Dan Simon). Pascha Lamb Dinner (Jason Barbes). Agape Vespers Readers- (Stephen Kanavati), Egg Hunt & Piñata (Lisa Jordan). Thanks in advance for volunteering!
Pascha Flower Donations Due: Wednesday April 12 by noon. Please submit forms and payment to the church office with names of departed loved ones for Pascha bulletin insert. Forms available in social hall or narthex.
Pascha Lamb Dinner- after midnight Resurrection service and liturgy on April 16th. Donations being received now to help sponsor the meal and drinks. Please participate and support this great fellowship event!
Youth Retreat onHoly Friday, April 14th from 11am to 3pm. Please contact Nathaniel Kostick to RSVP. Sign up for potluck meals in social hall. We hope to see you there!
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 95 pledge cards for 2017 with a total of $151,836 and an average of $1,598. 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%.
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: Many, who have presumptuously rejected the Holy Fathers, and have come without any intermediary but with blind audacity, with an impure mind and heart to the hearing of the Gospel, have consequently fallen into fatal delusion. The Gospel grants access only to the humble. St. Ignatius Brianchinivov (+1867)
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.
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).
Greek Cookbooks: various vintage hardcover editions in Greek are available in the bookstore.
Save the Date! The St. George Greek Festival will be August 19-20. 2017. More volunteers are needed to serve on committees; if you are interested, please contact Jon Kennedy, Phyllis Kapetanakis or Alexis Bighley.
The Church Fathers Speak: In time of religious peace we take up our cross and follow Christ by putting our evil passions and desires to death through virtuous living. But when persecutions come, we must despise our own life, give up our soul for the sake of the Faith, taking up our cross, following the Lord, so as to inherit eternal life. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mt.10:39)
St. Gregory Palamas (+1359)
Daughters of Penelope & AHEPA: will meet on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 7pm.
Sixth Annual Pan-Orthodox Ladies Tea on Saturday, April 22nd, from 3-5pm at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, 1250 Oakdale Ave., W. St. Paul. The featured speaker is Doria Saros, speaking on Visitation Ministry. Please plan to join the fellowship and Vespers at 5pm; and if you would like, bring a treat to share.
Parish Feast Day! will be the weekend after Pascha. Saturday Vespers on April 22nd starting at 5pm with dinner prepared by Jason Barbes. April 23rd Sunday Liturgy and luncheon hosted by Dino Contolatis. Please plan to participate for both worship services and meals. Contact Jason and Dino to help with setup and cleanup.
Patristic Wisdom: This is the great work of every human being: Always to take the blame for his/her own sins before God, and to expect temptation to his/her last breath. St. Anthony the Great (+356)
Philoptochos: will hold a combined April/May meeting on Tuesday, April 25 at 1:30pm. 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. A reminder that a total of $25 from each membership contribution goes to the national and diocesan Philoptochos.
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 aconsequence 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.