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 continue to 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
The 40 Day Memorial Service for Jane Kountouris will be celebrated on Sunday August 16th. Please mark your calendars.
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.
August Birthday Celebrations: Sophia Efstratiou – August 4th Ellen Hontzas – August 9th Kimberly Thompson-August 10th Dianna Psaris-August 14th Lydia Laird-August 20th Pete Zouboukos-August 22nd Lana Sturgon-August 29th
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 and the friend and neighbor Bill Spence, 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.
After Judas by transgression fell from his apostleship (Acts 1: 25), and hanging himself out of despair ended his life with a wretched and shameful death (Matt. 27: 5), then, that the number of the Twelve not be lacking, all the disciples gathered in one place after the Ascension of the Savior (the number of men and women being 120), and they chose two men from among them, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was also surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and they set them in the midst. Then they prayed to God and cast lots, "and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles" (Acts 1: 15-26). And thus, having taken the place of Judas, Matthias fulfilled the work of apostleship and the prophecy concerning Judas, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David: "And his bishopric let another take" (Ps. 108(109):8). After this, it is said, Matthias preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, and completed his life there in martyrdom.
This Saint, who was born in Spain, was the Archdeacon of the Church of Rome, caring for the sacred vessels of the Church and distributing money to the needy. About the year 257, a harsh persecution was raised up against the Christians by Valerian. Pope Sixtus, who was from Athens, was commanded to worship the idols, and refused; before his martyrdom by beheading, he committed to Laurence all the sacred vessels of the Church. When Laurence was arrested and brought before the Prefect, he was questioned concerning the treasures of the Church; he asked for three days' time to prepare them. He then proceeded to gather all the poor and needy, and presented them to the Prefect and said, "Behold the treasures of the Church." The Prefect became enraged at this and gave command that Laurence be racked, then scourged with scorpions (a whip furnished with sharp iron points - compare II Chron. 10:11), then stretched out on a red-hot iron grill. But the courageous athlete of Christ endured without groaning. After he had been burned on one side, he said, "My body is done on one side; turn me over on the other." And when this had taken place, the Martyr said to the tyrants, "My flesh is now well done, you may taste of it." And when he had said this, and had prayed for his slayers in imitation of Christ, he gave up his spirit on August 10, 258.
Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk was born in 1724 into a very poor family of the Novgorod province, and was named Timothy in holy Baptism. In his youth he was sent to seminary in Novgorod where he received a good education and later taught Greek and other subjects. Having received the monastic tonsure with the name Tikhon, in the same year he was ordained deacon and priest, and appointed two years later as rector of the Seminary in Tver. In 1761 he was consecrated Bishop of Kexholm and Ladoga, and in 1763 nominated Bishop of Voronezh, a difficult diocese to administer because of its large size and transient population, which included many schismatics. Feeling the burden of the episcopacy to be beyond his strength, the Saint resigned in 1767, retiring first to the Monastery of Tolshevo, and later to the monastery at Zadonsk, where he remained until his blessed repose. In retirement, he devoted all his time to fervent prayer and the writing of books. His treasury of books earned him the title of "the Russian Chrysostom", whose writings he employed extensively; simple in style, replete with quotes from the Holy Scriptures, they treat mostly of the duties of Christians, with many parables taken from daily life. In them the Christian is taught how to oppose the passions and cultivate the virtues. A large collection of the Saint's letters are included in his works, and these give a wealth of spiritual guidance directed both to the laity and monastics. Saint Tikhon reposed in peace in 1783, at the age of fifty-nine. Over sixty years later, in 1845, when a new church was built in Zadonsk in place of the church where he was buried, it was necessary to remove his body. Although interred in a damp place, his relics were found to be whole and incorrupt; even his vestments were untouched by decay. Many miracles were worked by Saint Tikhon after his death, and some three hundred thousand pilgrims attended his glorification on August 13, 1863. He is one of the most beloved Russian Saints, and is invoked particularly for the protection and upbringing of children.
The divine Maximus, who was from Constantinople, sprang from an illustrious family. He was a lover of wisdom and an eminent theologian. At first, he was the chief private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. But when the Monothelite heresy became predominant in the royal court, out of hatred for this error the Saint departed for the Monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), of which he later became the abbot. When Constans tried to constrain him either to accept the Monothelite teaching, or to stop speaking and writing against it - neither of which the Saint accepted to do - his tongue was uprooted and his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile, where he reposed in 662. At the time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East. See also January 21.
Ninth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 20:19-31
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
Prokeimenon. Plagal Fourth Tone. Psalm 75.11,1.
Make your vows to the Lord our God and perform them.
Verse: God is known in Judah; his name is great in Israel.
The reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 3:9-17.
Brethren, we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
9th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 14:22-34
At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."
And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that we are totally self-sufficient and able to live exactly as we please with no serious consequences. Self-reliance, independence, and freedom certainly have their places, but they also have their limits and must be kept in proper perspective. We must develop these qualities in light of who we are before God, if we are to flourish as His beloved sons and daughters.
That is precisely what Peter did not do in today’s gospel reading, however. As he miraculously walked on the water with Jesus Christ, he did not accept the reality of who he was in relation to the Lord. He turned his trust away from the One Who was enabling him to do what he could never do on his own, to walk on the water. Instead, he focused on the wind and the waves and his own weakness, and began to sink. It had apparently not sunk into Peter’s mind that he was walking on the waves purely because the Son of God had enabled him to do so. As he turned away from trusting the Lord and relied only on himself, he began to sink like a stone. As we all know, that is simply the reality of what happens to a human being who tries to walk on the water by his own power.
Something similar would happen to a building that was not squarely grounded on a solid foundation. It would collapse under its own weight. As St. Paul reminded the Corinthians, our one true foundation in life is the same Son of God Who spoke the universe into existence, became the Second Adam to restore our corrupt humanity, and Who conquered death in His third-day resurrection. He is the very basis of our existence and our hope for salvation.
Whenever we use our freedom as an excuse to turn away from Him and to trust only in our own desires and abilities, we turn away from our true selves. We cut ourselves off from the truth, reality, and power that are necessary for us to flourish as those created in the image and likeness of God. If we are honest, we will see that it does not take much at all to put us in our place, to show us that living by our own designs is a path that leads only to weakness and despair. That is why Peter started to sink when he focused more on the stormy sea than on the Lord. Our ultimate choice, which we make every moment of our lives, is whether to entrust ourselves to the merciful, transformative power of the Savior. He alone provides the path to true freedom from slavery to our passions and ultimately from death.
It is no accident that Peter’s fear in that moment was focused on death. He was a fisherman and knew that someone in his situation was about to drown, but he at least had the presence of mind to call out “Lord, save me.” The circumstances that we face due to our lack of faith may not be quite so clear, but the meaning is the same. When we step away from the one true foundation, we choose the pain of death instead of the joy of the empty tomb. When we nourish hate and anger toward others, we murder them in our hearts. When we embrace lustful thoughts, we enslave ourselves to immoral desires and commit adultery. When we refuse to forgive others, we harden our hearts and make it impossible to accept God’s forgiveness for our own sins. When we do not serve our neighbors in need, we disregard the Lord Himself. No, we do not have to do anything nearly as dramatic as Peter did in order to start sinking into the depths.
Of course, some will justify drowning in sin in the name of being true to themselves. Here is where Orthodox Christianity insists that human beings are not mere bundles of freedom who are made to find fulfillment wherever and however they happen to desire. Instead, the Lord has made us in His image and likeness. It is our very nature to be united with God in holiness. Unfortunately, our common corruption has gravely distorted our ability to fulfill that righteous vocation. That is why we so easily worship money, power, pleasure, and getting our own way. It why we so easily make success in the world on our own terms a false god. And even as we become more and more enslaved to our self-centered desires and illusions, we may truly believe that we are doing the right thing. That is simply a sign that we are diminishing ourselves even further.
In this light, we must all seriously discern whether we are really being true to ourselves as those created in God’s image and likeness and whose one true foundation is Jesus Christ. Are we being true to ourselves as God’s temple in whom the Holy Spirit dwells? Are we being true to ourselves as those who have put on Christ in baptism and who are nourished by His Body and Blood in Holy Communion? If not, then we are living a lie that puts major roadblocks between us and the holy joy that it is our nature to seek.
When Christ enabled Peter to walk on the water, He gave us an icon or image of what it means to share in His life by grace. He showed us that human beings may participate already in His victory over sin and death, that in Him we may know a blessed freedom that enables us to overcome even the darkest and most powerful temptations. As we grow in personal union with our risen Lord, He heals us from corruption and empowers us for a life of holiness. In Him, we find infinitely greater fulfillment than in a life of slavery to our self-centered desires and illusions. That is what it means for us to walk with Him across the stormy seas of our lives.
St. Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were “God’s fellow workers; God’s field, God’s building.” If the workers on a building site become careless and do not ground the structure on its foundation, the project will likely collapse. The same is true of us. We must all wrestle with the question of whether we are cooperating with the Lord as we build the project of our lives. He calls us to be His holy temple, and we must all resist the temptation to become distracted from fulfilling that high calling. A temple is a place where we offer ourselves to God in holiness. That is the most fundamental calling of our lives which fulfills God’s purposes for creating us in the first place. It is only by offering ourselves for union with Christ in holiness that we become participants in the eternal life and blessedness for which He brought us into existence.
Let us use our freedom to become God’s fellow workers in making ourselves holy temples. Let us embrace the divine power that enables us to walk across the stormy seas of our lives, even to share in the Savior’s victory over sin and death. We will be able to do so only when we embrace personally the glorious truth that our nature and purpose is to grow in holiness and union with the Lord. Anything less is a path to the despair of sinking like a stone or collapsing like an ill-constructed building under its own weight. True freedom comes in accepting who we are in God’s image and likeness, His beloved sons and daughters, and living accordingly.