Sunday Services: Orthros-8:45 a.m. Divine Liturgy-10:00 a.m. Sunday School after Distribution of Holy Communion. Holy Day Services As announced in weekly bulletins.
Please join us on Sundays for the celebration of the Orthros 9:00 am (for those who may feel uncomfortable in a "group setting" the hour between 9 and 10 may be a good time to come to church, light a candle, pray, or leave your offfering) and Divine Liturgy 10 am as we are now "open" following the guidelines of our Metropolis and of our State of Mississippi.See the guideline details below. If you cannot join us the Liturgy will be streamed "live and in color", (streaming at 10:00 am). If you cannot attend and still want to light a candle, or make an offering and watch. Please use any of the links below
Our Facebook pagr click on the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/269685419794311/ or go to our church web page
www.holytrinitysaintjohnjackson.org and click on the link
We are grateful to those who have contributed and contribute their donations through the mail or by the two secure on-line options both of which can be found on our web page.
The light a candle say a prayer link below or the Donate Button on the bottom of the home page
Ushers: ALL available Parish Council Members are asked to be here to help
Epistle Reader: Miles Alex Graham
Prophoro: Father Andrew
Please Note - Our guidelines for "worshiping in person"
There will be limited access to the church proper - the door by the Church offices will be unlocked please use this one, please note that one or both of the double doors to the Church proper will remain open, so please enter quietly. We ask that when you enter or leave please wash your hands in the appropriate rest rooms or use the hand sanitizer provided by the door as you enter the Church proper. A limited number of disposable masks will be available.
Per the guidelines - all persons are asked to wear a mask or face covering in church.
The offering tray will be on the bench as you enter the nave - you may leave your offerings as you enter the Church proper.
You may proceed to the back of the church to light a candle - for now we ask that you refrain from kissing icons, priest's hand, etc. Bowing is another way to show our reverence to icons etc. etc.
Pews have been marked with a green cross so that the proper social distancing of 6 feet between people. There are 40 seats marked so there is plenty of room that allows for social distancing. Members of the same family may sit together.
Distribution of Holy Communion - row by row and stand six feet apart in line. You may remove your mask to receive Holy Communion - allow the servers to hold the Communion cloth under your chin. But please refrain from "touching the cloth" to your lips. Please understand that our Metropolis guidelines have insisted that all priests and their adult servers that help with the distribution of Holy Communion wear face masks while doing so.
Antidoron will not be offered after Holy Communion but will be available when you leave Church and will be offered in plastic zip lock baggies. As we leave the Church please follow the directions of the ushers so that we leave in an orderly fashion and still observe the six feet rule of social distancing.
Since we are asked to avoid "gatherings" of people we ask that you avoid, at least for the time being, "the temptation" to socialize as you enter or leave the Church proper and building.
We of course will continue to live stream We hope that this will unite us as we pray, will calm our souls and bring us closer to Christ. Stay well. Thoughts and prayers for all of you.
These are just a few of the guidelines we have been issued by our Metropolis. They may not be ideal but at least we can all worship together again.
Our July Birthday Celebrations:
John Polles-July 3rd
Gayland Cox-July 4th
Christo Burnham-July 5th
McKenna Fowler-July 7th
Presbytera Bonnie Koufopoulos-July 8th
Nickolas Fowler-July 12th
Stamati Polles-July 13th
William Moxey-July 15th
Stephanos Manganfakis-July 15th
Jerry Kountouris-July 21st
Malissa Zouboukos-July 26th
Gebre Menfes Kidus-July 26th
Janet Ingram Grillis-July 28th
Emma Papadimitriou-July 28th
Alexis Ann Kountouris-July 29th
Michael Fowler-July 30th
Our Holy Trinity-St. John the Theologian Prayer List:
"Remember Lord, those whom each of us calls prayerfully to mind" Chuck Odom, Nicholas & Dianna Psaris, William Abihider, John Botes, Christ Castanis, George V. Pinchuk, Chris Grillis, Lambryne Angelo, Callie McDole, Malissa and Pat Zouboukos have asked that we pray for their friend Bill Hardin, Paula Fowler, Victoria Lepsa (Cristina Nica's mother in Romania), Tatianna Koufopoulos Quick of Phoenix Arizona, Please keep Costa Glennis's daughter Wanda Parker in your prayers, Miles "Alex" Graham has asked us to pray for his friend Alena Nasianceno, Please remember to pray for our Doctors, Nurses, and all those on the fronlines during these times and for all those who may be suffering or in hardships from this pandemic.
These Martyrs contested in Ancyra in 106, during the reign of the Emperor Trajan. Saint Proclus was seized as a Christian and, confessing his faith, was burned on his sides and belly, was hung upon a beam with heavy stones tied to his feet, and finally was taken away to be shot with arrows. As he was being led forth, his nephew Hilary encountered him and greeted him, and was himself seized. After his uncle had been slain with arrows, Hilary, because he would not deny Christ, was tormented, then beheaded.
Saint Golindoux was a Persian, living in the reign of Chosroes II, King of Persia (590-628), and of Maurice, Emperor of New Rome (582-602). Moved by a divine revelation to become a Christian, she was betrayed to Chosroes by her husband and was cast into a dungeon called Oblivion for eighteen years, withstanding all attempts to make her deny Christ, and preserved by the grace of God. Set at liberty through the visitation of an Angel, she went to Jerusalem, and then to Constantinople, where she fell asleep in peace. She was called Mary in holy Baptism.
Grandson of Saint Olga, Saint Vladimir ascended the throne of Kiev in 980. Though a zealous idolater, he was illumined by the grace of God, accepted the Christian Faith, and completely changed his ways. He was baptized in Cherson in 988, receiving the name Basil; he came forth from the font not only healed of a blindness lately afflicting him, but also from being passionate and warlike, he became meek, peaceable, and exceedingly godly. Whereas his grandmother had refused marriage with the Emperor in Constantinople (see July 11), he married Anna, sister of the Emperors Basil and Constantine, and was accompanied home by priests from Constantinople. Diligently seeking to spread Christianity throughout his realm like a new Constantine, he destroyed the idols (having the chief diety Perun scourged and then cast into the Dnieper River), and summoned all his subjects to Holy Baptism. He reposed in peace in 1015.
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. Fourth Tone. Psalm 103.24,1.
O Lord, how manifold are your works. You have made all things in wisdom.
Verse: Bless the Lord, O my soul.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans 10:1-10.
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified. Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on the law shall live by it. But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down) or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.
5th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 8:28-34; 9:1
At that time, when Jesus came to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one would pass that way. And behold, they cried out, "What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" Now a herd of many swine was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, "If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine." And he said to them, "Go." So they came out and went into the swine; and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and perished in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, and what had happened to the demoniacs. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood. And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city.
Romans 10:1-10; Matthew 8:28-9:1
We live in a time in which many people feel lonely and isolated, even if they are around others on a regular basis at home, work, and other settings. Sometimes that is because we hold ourselves back emotionally from the possibility of being rejected or harmed. Such separation is a symptom of the estrangement from God and one another which Jesus Christ came to heal.
The demon-possessed men in today’s gospel reading represent Gentiles who were enslaved to the worship of idols and false gods. Their deliverance shows that Christ’s salvation is for all people, including those separated from others by the power of evil in their lives. When He set them free from their miserable isolation, the Lord required nothing of them in advance; instead, He graciously liberated them from the degrading forces of evil and restored them to a truly human existence. Here we see an implication of St. Paul’s instruction to the Romans: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” At the very heart of our faith is not a requirement for meeting an objective standard; instead, the unlimited mercy of God is the very foundation of our life and extends even to demon-possessed Gentiles, as well as to you and me.
The Orthodox Church has many rules, many canons, traditions, and practices. But at the heart of our faith and common life is not the obedience of law, for we are not called to be like the Pharisees of old. Instead, we are called, as St. Paul teaches, to confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and to believe in our hearts that God has raised him from the dead; if we do so, we will be saved. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Of course, there are no magic words that can heal our souls. Instead of creating a new law, St. Paul points to the deep truth of what it means to commend all our life to Christ our God. It means that we trust in Him as whole persons. As we offer our lives to Him, our words, deeds, and thoughts will come to embody the new life that He has brought to the world. That is how we open ourselves to receiving His transforming grace. That is how, like the demon-possessed men in today’s reading, we too may become living icons of the mercy of Jesus Christ.
Remember that He did not require the Gergesene demoniacs to earn their deliverance; neither does He require that of us. Instead, the Savior has graciously taken upon Himself the consequences of all human corruption and sin to the point of death, burial and descent to Hades so that He could conquer them all in His glorious third-day resurrection. He has ascended into heaven with full, complete glorified humanity and sent the Holy Spirit to empower His Body, the Church, of which we are members. He lives within our hearts by the Holy Spirit, casting out our demons, forgiving our sins, and enabling us to share in His eternal life even now as healed and transformed persons in relationship with Him and one another. By His grace, Christ restores us to the dignity and freedom of those who bear the divine image and likeness.
Those particular men were set free from the control of demons, but that was surely only the beginning of their lives in Christ. Even though their deliverance was quite dramatic, it was only a start and they surely had to press on from there to resist temptation, to grow in holiness, and to learn to love and serve Him in their neighbors. They certainly had old fears and habits to overcome. And the same is true of us. Our salvation is a process, an ongoing journey of sharing more fully in the new life that our Savior has brought to the world. We must confess Christ more fully each day as we find greater healing, as we more fully manifest His victory over sin and death in our own lives.
If our religion were about meeting the requirements of a law, we could meet the standard and not think about it anymore. We could check off a box and move on to something else; perhaps then it would make sense to condemn others who did not measure up. But Orthodox Christianity is not about rules and regulations, but instead about growing in relationship with a Person, our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is about sharing in His blessedness, about partaking in His divine nature by grace. And because God is eternal and infinite and beyond even our best attempts to define and control Him, there is no upward limit on what it means to unite ourselves to Him.
So we are constantly as much in need of Christ’s mercy as were those demon-possessed fellows. We say the Jesus Prayer precisely because we are sinners in need of Him. The more we are healed by His grace, the more aware we will be of our brokenness and weakness. The more we open our lives to Christ, the more clearly we will see how far we have yet to go, how undeserving we are, how grateful we must be before an infinitely holy God Who will stop at nothing—not even the cross—in order to bring us into His blessed kingdom.
The formerly demon-possessed men could claim no credit for their deliverance. They could only marvel at their great blessing and do their best to live lives worthy of what Christ had done for them. We all face the same challenge: to live in ways that reflect what our Lord has done for us, to bear witness to the healing and fulfillment that He has brought to our lives, and to continue to open ourselves more fully to His salvation.
That means that we must all continue to struggle against whatever evil thoughts, habits, words, and deeds threaten to separate us from the Lord and one another. We will not do that perfectly, for we get side-tracked and distracted from fulfilling our vocation each day. That is precisely why we need to build holy habits—like attending services, praying daily, fasting regularly, and giving generously to the needy– into our lives. We need to wake up and stay alert, for the ultimate choice of our lives is an ongoing challenge. At stake is whether we will grow in relationship with Christ by faith, repentance, and humility: by a life that confesses what He has done and is doing for us. The other alternative is to return to the graveyard, to the isolation and slavery of worshiping the false gods of our own will. Our choice is not whether to obey a law, but whether we will embrace deliverance and healing. If we turn away from Christ, we do so as isolated individuals who prefer our own will to His, who would rather decay in the loneliness of a cemetery—of a dark tomb– than share in the blessed banquet of the Kingdom. But if we offer ourselves to the Lord, we enter into eternal joy through His Body, the Church; we become members of Him through our life together. The standards and practices of the Church help us to grow in relationship with Him and with one another. They sustain our faith, and help us grow in freedom from our slavery to the power of sin in our lives. They enable us to do what we cannot do alone as isolated individuals who hide in fear from God and one another.
So like those Gergesene demoniacs, it is time for us to leave behind the graveyard of evil and instead become who we are called to be in Jesus Christ. It is time to embrace our true identity as those created in God’s image and likeness and called to become partakers of the divine nature. By sincere faith, honest confession, and genuine repentance, let us accept the infinite mercy of the One who loves us so much that He conquered sin and death in order to bring us from the despair of the tomb into the joy of the Kingdom. Now is the time to turn our backs on the degrading delusions of idolatry and to enter into the unspeakable blessedness to which He calls us. Now is the time to confess and believe in Christ as we offer every dimension of our lives to Him for deliverance and transformation that know no bounds. Now is the time to turn from the isolated misery of sin for the joyful communion of those who have been set free through the mercy of Jesus Christ.