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.
Saint Silas was a companion and fellow labourer of the Apostle Paul: "And Paul chose Silas and departed...and he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches" (Acts 15:40-41). He later became Bishop of Corinth, and reposed in peace. Saint Silvanos became Bishop of Thessalonica, and also reposed in peace. Saint Crescents, whom Saint Paul mentions in his Second Epistle to Timothy(4:10), became Bishop of Chalcedon, and brought many to the Faith. As for him whom the Apostle of the Nations praises as "my well-beloved Epenetus, the first-fruits of Achaia unto Christ" (Roman 16:5), he became Bishop of Carthage, and after enduring many afflictions from the idolators, and bringing many of them to Christ, he departed to the Lord.
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. Grave Mode. Psalm 28.11,1.
The Lord will give strength to his people.
Verse: Bring to the Lord, O sons of God, bring to the Lord honor and glory.
The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 1:10-17.
BRETHREN, I appeal to you by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apollos," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispos and Gaius; lest any one should say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any one else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
8th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 14:14-22
At that time, Jesus saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves." Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat." They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me." Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. Then he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
What Are You, Blind? (7-23-2017)
It’s hard to believe it has been eight years since Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson danced their way into fame. The the couple from Saint Paul, Minnesota and their wedding party danced down the aisle of Christ Lutheran Church on June 20, 2009 to the song “Forever” by Chris Brown. A video of the procession was posted on YouTube and became so popular that NBC flew them all to New York to re-enact the dance on the Today Show yesterday morning. Many people are of the opinion that this is one of best wedding celebrations ever, while others think it is a mockery of God, the church and the sacrament of marriage. How is that two people can witness the same event or conversation and yet draw very different, even opposite, meanings from it?
Maybe today’s gospel reading (7th Sunday of Matthew 9:27-35) can help us understand. The crowds of witnesses were amazed after the healing of the mute demoniac (v.32-33). However, the Pharisees, who also witnessed it, said “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons” (v.34). In other words, one group sees the coming Messiah and the other group sees the Devil. Why the difference?
We only need look earlier in today’s passage to begin to understand that faith accounts for the difference in spiritual perception. It says that two blind men followed Jesus, “Crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’” (v.27). In other words, by saying “Son of David,” the men who could not see with their physical eyes, saw with their spiritual eyes Jesus as the “Christ”, the Messiah, the Son of God. Then, emphasizing the role of faith, Jesus responds to the two men saying, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (v.28). They answer, “Yes, Lord” and then Jesus emphatically underlining the point says, “According to your faith let it be done to you” (v.29) and their eyes were opened. This is the first healing of the blind in the New Testament.
Is this much different than our own experience of being healed or witnessing a dramatic healing and believing that God was involved or thinking it was just the medicine, the physician, and/or the genetic make-up that caused the person to be cured?
In another, more well-known passage about the man blind from birth, Jesus speaks more directly to the point, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind” (John.9:39). This, like many of Jesus’ sayings, has layered meaning. He is speaking about both the physically blind and the spiritually blind. He ties spiritual blindness to sin when he says to the Pharisees, “If you were blind you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore, your sin remains” (v.41). This He said because they witnessed the miraculous healing of the man born blind from birth yet refused to believe that Jesus is the Christ. The relationship between sin and spiritual blindness is articulated again by John the Evangelist in his first universal epistle, “11But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1John 2:11).
Interestingly, physical blindness is sometimes given as a punishment for lack of faith. Remember Saul the greater persecutor of Christians who encounters Christ on the road to Damascus. He is struck blind until he converted to faith in Christ. Then he was baptized with the name Paul (Acts 9). Later, Paul himself strikes blind Elymas the sorcerer and false prophet (Acts 13:6-12). And what about St. Paraskevi, whom we commemorate today July 26th? Like many second century Christians she was tortured because of her faith. While placed in a cauldron of boiling oil and pitch, she threw some of the hot liquid into the face of the Emperor Antonius Pius blinding him. He then asks for her help, she heals him and he sets her free.
For us, while we may not be physically blind, our spiritual blindness can be a temporary self-inflicted punishment for our sin and/or our lack of trust in God. I have been re-reading the Book of Exodus and most recently the section where Moses seeks to convince Pharaoh to release the Jewish people from bondage and slavery in Egypt. It’s amazing, even from one plague after another, how stubbornly Pharaoh refuses to see and believe in the God of Israel. How often do we hold onto our tired mythical beliefs and worn-out philosophies about life because they are more familiar than a new faith in Jesus Christ?
During the Divine Liturgy before the Gospel reading, the priest prays: “Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our minds (kai tous tis dianoias imon dianoixon ophthalmous) that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel.” How interesting that the word for “intellect, mind” has the same root as “to open and opening.” I would assert that it is because our mind and intellect is the doorway into our soul. This helps us understand Jesus’ teaching elsewhere in Matthew, “22The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mt.6:23-24). So, just like the physical eye is one of the gateways to the intellect, the mind is the spiritual gateway to the soul and the two perceptions are interrelated.
Let us guard our intellect by exercising discernment and restraint in what we see, taste and hear. Let us guard our heart and soul by exercising discernment and restraint in what we continually think and believe. The way of Orthodoxy can teach us because it professes and lives this ascesis. Thus, a dance of celebration can find its proper place and a place of God’s solemn, peaceful presence can remain so. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
July 30, 2017 8TH SUNDAY OF MATTHEW
TODAY’S EVENTS: Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4pm; Greek Dance Practice.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: anonymous
Fellowship: Greek Festival Committee Head Usher: Jim Theros
Tuesday 08-01 FAST OF DORMITION BEGINS - PROCESSION OF HOLY CROSS
ORTHROS for IOCC Youth Xtreme Conference in Bloomington 8:30AM
PARAKLESIS – 12:00PM
Wednesday 08-02 Festival Baking – Volunteers Needed 9:30AM
PARAKLESIS – 7:00PM
Thursday 08-03 PARAKLESIS – 9:00AM
Prison Ministry Leaders meeting at St. Mary’s GOC in Minneapolis 12:00PM
Saturday 08-05 VESPERS – HOLY TRANSFIGURATION 5:00PM
Sunday 08-06 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINELITURGY- HOLY TRANSFIGURATION 9:30AM
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4:00PM
Greek Dance Practice 6:30PM
Monday 08-07 PARAKLESIS – 11:00AM
Loaves & Fishes at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church 4:30PM
Fast of Dormition: August 1-15, begins this Tuesday; an excellent time to worship, fast, repent and confess. Paraklesis-Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos services will be celebrated at various times throughout the fast. Please plan ahead for at least two to three services in your schedule. The Paraklesis is a beautifully melodic service the kids will enjoy. Please be sure to bring names of the living so priest can pray for them.
Crown Them in Glory: John & Lerah McCullough were united in the Orthodox Sacrament of Holy Matrimony on July 20. Sponsor is Koumbaro Steve Arsenault. Congrats to all!
Festival Tasting Today during social hour, hosted by the Greek Festival Committee. Please join us to try the new menu items and sign up for one or more volunteer shifts on August 19 -20, as well as August 18 and 21.
Think About It: Let mercy outweigh all else in you. A hard and unmerciful heart will never be pure. St. Isaac the Syrian (+700)
Bring Your Fruits: we will have traditional blessing of fruits at the Divine Liturgy next Sunday, August 6th for the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord.
Congratulations! Alexandra Leaskas, granddaughter of +Nick & Hazel Leaskas, will begin her fellowship this August at the University of Iowa, for their PhD program in Sociology.
Greek Festival: Tickets at the price of $10 for $10 of food and beverages are available for purchase in the social hall after liturgy, in the office from 9-4 on weekdays, and online at www.stgeorgegoc.org/greekfestival/ Volunteer for one or more shifts on the sign-up sheets in the social hall or online thru same website.
FOCUS MN Annual Fundraiser: Tuesday, August 15 at 6pm, St. Mary’s GOC in Mpls. Proceeds directly support FOCUS MN programs. See insert and postings for details. Reserve your free spot by August 10!
Church Fathers Speak: Anger blinds the eye of the soul, preventing it from seeing the Sun of Righteousness …Whether reasonable or not, anger obstructs our spiritual vision. Our incisive power should only be used according to our created nature when turned against our own impassioned or self-indulgent thoughts. St. John Cassian (+435)
New Metropolitan of Chicago: the Trisopon (list of three candidates) selected by the Holy Eparchial Synod of America was forwarded to the Patriarchal Synod in Constantinople. Unofficially, it appears that the list has been rejected and a new list must be selected. Please continue to pray that God grant us a worthy successor and chief shepherd. Until then, Metropolitan Nicholas of Detroit is serving as locum tenens.
Festival Baking: help make delicious Greek sweets! Next scheduled baking day is Wednesday, August 2 at 9:30am. Contact Nanette Gomez for more information.
Feast Day Vespers of the Dormition at St Mary's Greek Orthodox Church.Everyone is invited for St. Mary Greek Parish Feast Day Vespers on Monday, August 14 at 6:00 PM. We will sing the Lamentations to the Virgin, have the Five Loaves Service, and refreshments/fellowship to follow.
Patristic Wisdom: Let us be humble and temperate, far from any cursing or evil speech, making ourselves righteous by deeds and not by words [alone]…Let our praise be from God, and not from ourselves. God hates those who praise themselves. Let the witness of our good deeds be given by others. St. Clement of Rome (+101)
Lexington Parkway Improvements- starting early July, concrete and brick crosswalks will be replaced with blacktop along with new pedestrian accessible curbs at intersections. Watch for lane shifts and closures.
Rise and Shine! Orthros is the sunrise service in the Orthodox Church but probably one of the most neglected. Every individual and family should make an effort to participate periodically. At least, plan to arrive at the beginning of Divine Liturgy. Like Vespers, Orthros has many profound hymns about Jesus' Resurrection and the Saints or Feast of the Day along with petitions, prayers and readings. Orthros begins Sunday morning 8:15am.
Let Us Commit Ourselves and one Another: We cannot neglect the task of practical preparation to enhance our liturgical participation. Commitment to God and His family (the Church) requires advance planning and sacrifice. It behooves all of us to take seriously our Orthodox Christian Faith by participating the Sunday Divine Liturgy and weekday Lenten services. Let us commit ourselves and one another and our life to Christ our God!
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: Prayer is the language of the next world. Sooner or later, we will have to live in that world. When we go to another country to live there, we must speak their language. In order to learn the language of the age to come, we must pray. St. Sergei of Vanves (+1987)
Need Counseling? Fr. Rick is always available by appointment for pastoral counseling. He will soon become a Licensed Associate in Marriage & Family Therapy (LAMFT). To complete his doctoral internship, Father needs a certain number of hours counseling individuals, couples and families. His program allows pastoral counseling to count towards those hours. Fr. Rick has over 22 years of parish priest experience as well as doctoral training in MFT. Help him to help you. All counseling is strictly confidential. Fr. Rick is also a certified Seminar Director for the Prepare-Enrich program (www.prepare-enrich.com), the premier pre-marital and marital counseling assessment tool in the world. This enables him to train others to become program facilitators.
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).
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.