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.
Ushers:. T J Hare & Stamati Polles
Epistle Reader: Stephanos Mangafakis
Prosphoro: Father Andrew
Orthros starts at 8:45 am
Please Note - Our guidelines for "worshiping in person"
Please join us on Sundays for the celebration of the Orthros 8:45 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 page click on the link below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/269685419794311/ or go to our church web page
or go to
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
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
Our January Birthday List: Elaina Valsamakis Baggett-January 1st, Bennet Hutson-January 3rd, Michael Kountouris-January 4th, Halie Nicholette Cora-January 4th, Thomas Sturgon-January 13th, Brayden Quinn-January 13th, Christopher Broome-January 17th, Steve Efstratiou-January 26th,. PLEASE LET FATHER ANDREW KNOW OF ANY ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS
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, 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 their 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, Maria Costas, Alexa Zouboukos, Dot Pavlou, Jean Hare has asked that we pray for her nephew Scot Smith, Presvitera Bonnie Koufopoulos, Sherry Wheat (Theo Mavridoglou's friend's spouse), Charlie Privett (Chris Valsamkis' friend from Aberdeen MS). Please remember to pray for our Doctors, Nurses, and all those on the frontlines during these times and for all those who may be suffering or in hardships during this pandemic.
Saint Gregory, the younger brother of Basil the Great, illustrious in speech and a zealot for the Orthodox Faith, was born in 331. His brother Basil was encouraged by their elder sister Macrina to prefer the service of God to a secular career (see July 19); Saint Gregory was moved in a similar way by his godly mother Emily, who, when Gregory was still a young man, implored him to attend a service in honor of the holy Forty Martyrs at her retreat at Annesi on the River Iris. Saint Gregory came at his mother's bidding, but being wearied with the journey, and feeling little zeal, he fell asleep during the service. The Forty Martyrs then appeared to him in a dream, threatening him and reproaching him for his slothfulness. After this he repented and became very diligent in the service of God.
Gregory became bishop in 372, and because of his Orthodoxy he was exiled in 374 by Valens, who was of one mind with the Arians. After the death of Valens in 378, Gregory was recalled to his throne by the Emperor Gratian. He attended the Local Council of Antioch, which sent him to visit the churches of Arabia and Palestine, which had been defiled and ravaged by Arianism. He attended the Second Ecumenical Council, which was assembled in Constantinople in 381. Having lived some sixty years and left behind many remarkable writings, he reposed about the year 395. The acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council call him 'Father of Fathers."
Saint Tatiana was the daughter of a most distinguished consul of Rome. She became a deaconess of the Church, and for her confession of the Faith of Christ, she endured many torments. As she was suffering, angels punished her tormentors with the same torments they inflicted on her, until they cried out that they could no longer endure the scourges invisibly brought upon them. She was beheaded during the reign of Alexander Severus (111-135).
Saint Sabbas (Sava), the first Archbishop and teacher of the Serbs, and the most beloved of all the Saints of Serbia, was born in 1169, and was named Rastko by his parents. He was the son of Stephen Nemanja, the ruler of Serbia, who is better known as Saint Symeon the Myrrh-streamer (see Feb. 13). As a young man, Rastko fled secretly to the Holy Mountain, Athos, to the Monastery of Saint Panteleimon. When his father learned of his flight, he sent soldiers after him. Before they could seize him, he was tonsured a monk with the name of Sabbas, after Saint Sabbas the Sanctified (celebrated Dec. 5). Soon after, he entered the Monastery of Vatopedi, where his father joined him in 1197. Together they rebuilt the Monastery of Hilandar and made it a great spiritual center for their countrymen. In 1200 Saint Symeon reposed, and his body became a source of holy myrrh; in 1204 Saint Sabbas was compelled to return to Serbia with his father's relics, that he might restore peace between his two brothers, who were struggling over the rule of the kingdom. The grace of Saint Symeon's relics, and the mediations of Saint Sabbas, healed the division between his brethren. After persuading the Emperor in Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch to grant autocephaly to the Serbian Church, the Saint against his will was ordained first Archbishop of his native land in 1219, where he labored diligently to establish the Orthodox Faith. In 1221 he crowned his brother Stephen first King of Serbia (the memory of Saint Stephen, First Crowned King of Serbia, is kept on September 24). In 1234, foreseeing by divine grace his coming departure to the Lord, he resigned the archiepiscopal throne, named his disciple Arsenius as his successor, and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Mount Sinai; while returning through Bulgaria, he fell asleep in peace in 1236. Because he has been ever since the national hero of Serbia and an invincible bulwark strengthening the Orthodox Faith, the Moslem Turks burned his incorrupt relics in the year 1594. See also June 28.
Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great and king of the Jews, grew wroth against the Church of Christ, and slew James, the brother of John the Evangelist. Seeing that this pleased the Jews, he took Peter also into custody and locked him up in prison, intending to keep him there until after the feast of the Passover, so that he could win the favour of the people by presenting him to them as a victim. But the Apostle was saved when he was miraculously set free by an Angel (Acts 12:1-19). The chains wherewith the Apostle was bound received from his most sacred body the grace of sanctification and healing, which is bestowed upon the faithful who draw nigh with faith.
That such sacred treasures work wonders and many healings is witnessed by the divine Scripture, where it speaks concerning Paul, saying that the Christians in Ephesus had such reverence for him, that his handkerchiefs and aprons, taken up with much reverence, healed the sick of their maladies: "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:12). But not only the Apostles' clothing (which certainly touched the bodies of the sick), but even their shadow alone performed healings. On beholding this, people put their sick on stretchers and beds and brought them out into the streets that, when Peter passed by, his shadow "might overshadow some of them"(Acts 5:15). From this the Orthodox Catholic Church has learned to show reverence and piety not only to the relics of their bodies, but also in the clothing of God's Saints.
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. First Tone. Psalm 32.22,1.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Verse: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.
The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 4:7-13.
BRETHREN, grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said, "When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men." (in saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Sunday after Epiphany
The Reading is from Matthew 4:12-17
At that time, when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: "The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned." From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
In the Gospel reading today, on this Sunday after Theophany, we hear the very first sermon that Christ ever gave in his public ministry: “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!”
With just these few short words, Christ begins His earthly ministry, and he summarizes all of the Gospel that is to come. Yet the first word He says is “repent.” “Repent” in the original Greek literally means to “change one’s mind – to change one’s heart” and to “turn God-ward.” In order to see Christ and to believe in Him, we must repent. In order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, we must repent. In order to take even the first step, we must repent.
Repentance is not a one-time thing, or some grand, romantic gesture. We who sin almost continually – if not in our actions, then in our thoughts – must constantly turn back to God and repent. To repent, we must die to ourselves and live to God. And we must die daily. And many times daily. Maybe thousands of little deaths each and every day – but death to sin and death to death. Repentance is a death that brings life! This sense of paradox is captured quite wonderfully in a quote written on a wall in St. Paul’s Monastery on Mt. Athos which says: “If you die before you die, then when you die, you will not die.”
This is a constant battle from the moment we are born until our very last breath.
Repentance is not simply an emotional state. It isn’t simply feeling sorry, although this is part of it. Repentance is a turning from darkness to the light of Christ. It is about moving away from selfishness to selflessness, moving away from death to life. It is not some protracted, morose state of being. Instead, repentance brings true joy. When we truly repent and truly turn to God, then we receive the grace of God and we are joyful! When we turn to Christ in repentance, this turning brings life, light, joy and peace – the very fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are new and different – full of joy. Full of life and vigor. This is what it means to repent. This is what Christ is saying when He says, “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” This Kingdom can be experienced here and now, if we repent and turn to God.
Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life – the Living Kingdom. Christ sets for us a banquet table, and He calls us together with Him and to dine with Him. He feeds us with His own self – His own sacrifice – the Body and Blood of our Lord.
And why are these two statements linked together: “Repent” and “the Kingdom of God is at hand”? It is this way because Christ is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He has accomplished everything for us and for our salvation. He has reconciled us to God and has prepared and acquired for us the Heavenly Kingdom. All God requires of us is that we accept it. Our salvation is given to us by God free and complete, but we must accept it.
Fr. Thomas Hopko told a story about how he was once riding in a taxi when the taxi dreiver looked at him and asked, “So… are you a priest?” Fr. Hopko said, “Yes, I’m an Orthodox Christian priest.” The cabbie then asked him, “Well… Are you saved?” And Fr. Hopko thought about it and said, “Yes! I am saved! Christ became Incarnate for us. He suffered, died on the Cross, was buried and rose again, all for my salvation. He did it all for us and there’s nothing more that God could possibly do to save us. The only problem,” Fr. Hopko said, “Is that I reject it, everyday, by my own sins and actions.”
Indeed, Christ offers us salvation, if only we will turn to Him. The Kingdom of Heaven and Christ the King are ineffably close to us – much closer than we can imagine. Closer to us than the beating of our own heart. Closer to us than our next breath. “Behold I stand at the door” of your heart, and knock, says Christ. “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in with him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev. 3:20) It is only through repentance that we can open wide the doors of our heart to our Saviour, the Heavenly King. On this first Sunday after Theophany, let us recall our own baptism, and our own baptismal promises. Let us turn from our sins and fix our gaze on Christ. Through a true repentance let us open wide the doors of our heart to Christ and to the Kingdom of Heaven as we look ahead towards Lent – that great season of repentance. “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”