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 most holy man, a Prophet of God from childhood, was the last judge of the Israelite people, and anointed the first two Kings of Israel. He was born in the twelfth century before Christ, in the city of Armathaim Sipha, from the tribe of Levi, the son of Elkanah and Hannah (Anna). He was the fruit of prayer, for his mother, being barren, conceived him only after she had supplicated the Lord with many tears; wherefore she called him Samuel, that is, "heard by God." As soon as Hannah had weaned him, she brought him to the city of Silom (Shiloh), where the Ark was kept, and she consecrated him, though yet a babe, to the service of God, giving thanks to Him with the hymn found in the Third Ode of the Psalter: "My heart hath been established in the Lord . . ." Samuel remained in Silom under the protection of Eli the priest. He served in the Tabernacle of God, and through his most venerable way of life became well-pleasing to God and man (I Kings 2: 26). While yet a child, sleeping in the tabernacle near the Ark of God, he heard the voice of God calling his name, and foretelling the downfall of Eli; for although Eli's two sons, Ophni and Phineas, were most lawless, and despisers of God, Eli did not correct them. Even after Samuel had told Eli of the divine warning, Eli did not properly chastise his sons, and afterwards, through various misfortunes, his whole house was blotted out in one day.
After these things came to pass, Samuel was chosen to be the protector of the people, and he judged them with holiness and righteousness. He became for them an example of all goodness, and their compassionate intercessor before God: "Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; yea, I will serve the Lord, and show you the good and the right way" (ibid. 12:23). When he asked them -- having God as witness -- if he ever wronged anyone, or took anyone's possessions, or any gift, even so much as a sandal, they answered with one voice: "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, nor afflicted us, neither hast thou taken anything from anyone's hand" (ibid. 12:4). When Samuel was old, the people asked him for a king, but he was displeased with this, knowing that God Himself was their King. But when they persisted, the Lord commanded him to anoint them a king, saying, "They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me from reigning over them" (ibid. 8:7); so Samuel anointed Saul. But Saul transgressed the command of God repeatedly, so Samuel anointed David. Yet, since Samuel was a man of God, full of tender mercy, when the Lord told him that He had rejected Saul, Samuel wept for him the whole night long (ibid. 15:11); and later, since he continued to grieve, the Lord said to him, "How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?" (ibid. 16:1). Having lived blamelessly some ninety-eight years, and become an example to all of a God-pleasing life, he reposed in the eleventh century before Christ. Many ascribe to him the authorship of the Books of judges, and of Ruth, and of the first twenty-four chapters of the First Book of Kings (I Samuel).
Eleventh Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 21:14-25
At that time, Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after he was raised from the dead, and he said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."
Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!" So, the word went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die; but Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Prokeimenon. 2nd Mode. Psalm 117.14,18.
The Lord is my strength and my song.
Verse: The Lord has chastened me sorely.
The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 9:2-12.
Brethren, you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to our food and drink? Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a sister as wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say this on human authority? Does not the law say the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of a share in the crop. If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits? If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
11th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 18:23-35
The Lord said this parable: "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, 'Pay what you owe.' So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord delivered him to the torturers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."
The Glory of God (8-13-2017)
During the season of summer in America, we are inundated with messages of patriotism. Commercials resound with themes of American flags, apple pies, hot dogs, fireworks, and Chevy trucks. No doubt, this is due in large part to the major holiday of the summer, July 4th, on which we celebrate our nation’s independence. We are all very familiar with our national anthem which commemorates, not the War of Independence fought from 1775 to 1783, but rather commemorates a key battle in the War of 1812, which was also against Great Britain. Another famous song of American patriotism is the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I am sure you recognize the words:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; | He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; | He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: | His truth is marching on.
(Chorus) Glory, Glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on.
What is probably less well known is the author of the hymn, Julie Ward Howe, and that it was written in 1861 as the Civil War was beginning.
I want to focus on its phrase “the glory of the coming of the Lord” and specifically the word “glory” that it repeats throughout its many refrains and choruses. What is the glory of the Lord? I think it is appropriate to do this today on Sunday August 13th because it is the Apodosis of the Transfiguration. In other words, today is the completion of the Feast of our Lord’s Transfiguration which began last Sunday August 6th. The Feast of the Transfiguration commemorates the event when Jesus took three of His disciples, Peter, James and John, upon Mount Tabor, and there was transfigured before them. In the Gospel of Luke, it says that the disciples “saw His glory” (Lk.9:32). In the Gospel of Matthew, it says that Jesus’ “face shined like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light (Mt.17:2). This relates to one of the Old Testament readings associated with the feast, in which we hear about Moses meeting God on Mount Sinai and it said, “the glory of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai” (Ex.24:16), and “the sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain” (Ex.24:17).
So, we have a sense of what the glory of the Lord looks like: bright as the sun, white as light, a consuming fire. But do we know exactly what is the glory of the Lord? The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Arndt & Gingich, 1957, University of Chicago Press) defines ‘glory’ (from the Greek ‘doxa’) as ‘brightness, splendor, radiance, magnificence.” I would say that the glory Moses saw on Mt. Sinai and was revealed to Peter, James and John on Mt. Tabor was the grace of God, or as St. Gregory Palamas would say, the uncreated energies of God. Palamas made the distinction between the nature of God and His energies. We can never know God by His nature but we can know and experience Him in His energies that He reveals to us.
And this is one of the main themes of the Transfiguration Feast. Not only do we come to know Jesus as the Divine Logos, the Son of God the Father, but we come to know that God’s glory can become our glory. After God spoke to Moses face-to-face (Ex.33:11) and gave Him the Tablets of the Law (Ex.34:4), Moses descended from Mt. Sinai, and when Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, his face was shining (Ex.34:29-35). This is similar to Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen, whose face shined like an angel as he preached Christ (Acts 6:15). This is what Jesus meant when He prayed to God the Father: 22And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one (John 17:22). Furthermore, the giving of God’s glory to us is underlined in the Wedding service of the Orthodox Church, where we sing Psalm 8:5 as the couple is being crowned: “O Lordour God, crown them with glory and honor. And right after that in the Gospel, when Jesus performs His first miracle, changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. It says, 11This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)
However, receiving and reflecting the glory of God is not easy nor automatic. It requires great effort on our part. Notice that God revealed His glory Moses, as He revealed to Peter, James and John, on a mountain. Climbing to the top of a mountain is not easy. It requires effort, strength, training, planning and cautiousness. Seeing the glory of God requires a pure heart (Mt.5:8), which is gained through askesis, or spiritual training and discipline. Askesis involves deep self-sacrifice in prayer, fasting, worshipping, almsgiving, repentance, confession, receiving unction and the Eucharist. Jesus emphasized two of them, prayer and fasting, in today’s Gospel reading for today (10th Sunday Matthew 17:14-23)
I have witnessed only few people who truly reflected the glory of God. One is Irena Sendler, the lady who smuggled 2,500 Jewish babies out of the Warsaw Ghetto of Nazi-occupied Poland during WWII. I recently posted her story and a brief biographical video on my Facebook page. I was inspired by her bravery during the war but I was equally inspired by her shining face as a 90 year old woman. She seemed to reflect the glory of God. I remember Bishop Gerasimos of Abydos, the retired bishop of Boston, who lived on our seminary campus, who attended all the chapel services, who occasionally visited the Summer Church Camp of Boston. His face shined also with the glory of the Lord. A third example, is Fr. George Maloney, a Byzantine Rite priest and famous author on Eastern Christian spirituality, whom I had the honor of meeting when he came for our Lenten retreat during the time I served Holy Apostles Church in Chicago. I picked him up at the airport, and on the drive back to the church, we talked quite a bit. I noticed a unique radiance in his face. I asked him how old he was, thinking he was in his mid-fifties. He replied that he was 72 years old. I was astounded. I believe he reflected the glory of God.
As we close today, let us remember the words of the Apolytikion of the Transfiguration—the main hymn of the Feast.
When You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ our God, You showed Your disciples Your glory as far as they could bear. So now, for us sinners also, let this same eternal light shine forth through the prayers of the Theotokos. O Giver of Light, glory to You.
Thus, we sinners pray that Christ not only reveal His glory to us but that He allow His glory to shine forth through us. We need not only to pray for this, but we also need, especially during the Dormition Fast, the prayers of the Virgin Mary and all the Saints to help us shine with the glory of God. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
REV. FR. RICHARD DEMETRIUS ANDREWS, PRESBYTER
August 20, 2017 11th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW
TODAY’S EVENTS: Greek Festival 11am; Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4pm.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: Rita Kanavati
Fellowship: Greek Festival Head Usher: Diane Anastos
Tuesday 08-22 Sunday School teacher seminar at St. Mary’s GOC 6:00PM
Parish Council meeting 6:30PM
Thursday 08-24 Glad Tidings mailing – volunteers needed 10:00AM
Saturday 08-26 Prison Ministry reunion breakfast | Greek Festival in Rochester, MN 10:00AM
Sunday 08-27 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINELITURGY- 12th SUNDAY OF MATTHEW 9:30AM
Greek Festival in Rochester, MN
Serve-a-Meal at FOCUS MN 4:00PM
Tuesday 08-29 ORTHROS (8am) &DIVINELITURGY- BEHEADING OF FORERUNNER 9:00AM
Friday 09-01 ORTHROS (8am) & LITURGY- INDICTION: CHURCH YEAR BEGINS 9:00AM
Welcome! To all our visitors and guests who came for our Greek Festival this weekend. Thank you!
Thanks! To all our Greek Festival volunteers under the leadership of chairpersons: Jon Kennedy, Alexis Bighley and Phyllis Kapetanakis. We appreciate everyone’s hard work and dedication! Great job!
Memory Eternal! Deacon Bohdan Melnychenko of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church reposed in the Lord on August 15th. Visitation this evening 5-7pm, and tomorrow Monday August 21st 9am, followed by funeral service at 10am followed by memorial meal—all at Holy Trinity. May God remember his Holy Diaconate forever!
Chrismation: Yodah Raphaella Gamada was received into the Orthodox Church through the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit on August 13th. Congratulations and welcome to her and to her sponsor, Diane Anastos!
Think About It: When elated by praise, be sure that disgrace will follow. St. Mark the Ascetic (5th cent.)
40 Day Churching: Dina Kontinakis Negron and daughter Kostandina on August 13th and was born on July 11.
Sympathies: to Lana Payton, whose mother, Mary Cucekov, fell asleep in the Lord on August 12th in Florida.
Rochester Greekfest: parishioners are welcome to help our sister parish Holy Anargyroi in Rochester during their Greekfest Friday, August 25th to Sunday, August 27th. If interested in volunteering, please email Calli at firstname.lastname@example.org . Holy Anargyroi wishes Saint George a successful festival the weekend before.
Sermons Updated: and posted on our website through May 7, 2017. More to come including children’s sermons from 2016-2017. http://stgeorgegoc.org/pastors-corner/fr-ricks-sermons/
2017 Lenten Lectures and Lenten Retreat audios posted: please visit our website at http://stgeorgegoc.org/pastors-corner/lectures/ to hear 12 different lectures presented by speakers Fr. Richard Andrews, Fr. Marc Boulos, Dr. Eugenia Gavrilyuk, Fr. Ted Wojcik, Fr. Barnabas Powell and Michael Lotti.
Philoptochos Elections: Sunday, September 10th, elections for board Members and officers in the conference room after liturgy. Please plan to attend this important meeting. You will be able to vote if you have paid your fair share offering. Currently there are 25 paid members, so check with treasurer Tina Sageotis email@example.com to confirm if you’re a paid member. $21 per member goes to National & Metropolis office.
Church Fathers Speak: It is God’s task to administer the world and the soul’s task to guide the body. St. Thalassios the Libyan (7th cent.)
St. Paul Classic Bike Tour: will take place on Sunday, September 10, 2017 from 8am to noon. No parking allowed on the north side of Summit Avenue – cars parked in posted no parking zones will be tagged and towed.
LOMCP Annual Fundraising Gala: Sunday, September 17, 4-7pm on the Terrace of the Stillwater Public Library, 224 3rd Street N, Stillwater. Tickets are $30, available from church office or at www.lomcp.com.
Lebanese Festival: at St. Maron Catholic Church, 602 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis on Saturday, September 23 1-8pm and Sunday, September 24, 11am-6pm. Fun for all ages; free admission, plus food, games, live music and dance. See posting in social hall or visit www.stmaron.com for more info.
Patristic Wisdom: Just as the dreadful qualities are attached to one another (for example, envy follows upon avarice, as do treachery, perjury, anger and remembrance of wrongs), so the opposite qualities of these vices are dependent upon love; I mean of course, gentleness and patience, as well as endurance, and the ultimate good—holy poverty. It is not possible to acquire love without poverty. Those therefore who have resources must not overlook those who have needs. St. Syncletica of Alexandria (4th cent.)
Support Taste of Northeast: at St. Mary’s Orthodox Cathedral, Sept 29-30, 2017. Consider being a Business Sponsor, Personal Sponsor, or Marketplace Vendor. For more information, including forms and deadlines, contact Lynn Bjornnes at 651.492.5390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Wisdom from the Church Fathers: If stinginess takes hold of a person, there is no greater illness. It is good to be thrifty, but one must be careful to be gradually overcome by the spirit of stinginess. St. Paisios the Athonite
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.
Labor Day Weekend Family Retreat: Join other Orthodox families at the St. Iakovos Retreat Center in Wisconsin, Sept 1-3, 2017 for a fun-filled time reconnecting with your family and with God. Find more information on bulletin boards and at www.GOCFFamilySynaxis.org. Register online by August 18.
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.
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.