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:. Michael Fowler & Jack Kaler
Epistle Reader: Monique Polles
Prosphoro: Ellen Hontzas - Ellen made two last week-one was used and one saved for this Sunday
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.
Our February Birthday List: Chuck Odom-February 2nd, Demetra Papademitriou-February 5th, Noah Wood-February 6th, Jean Hare-February 9th, Chris Valsamakis February 11th, Cari Fowler-February 17th, Monique Polles-February 20th, Theo Mavridoglou-February 21st, Nicholas Mangafakis-February 22nd, Bill Nikolis-February 25th Please let us know of any errors or omissions 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.
Our righteous Mother Xenia of Rome was of a distinguished family. While her parents were preparing to wed her, she stole away secretly, taking two handmaids with her, and departed for Mylasa of Karia in Asia Minor, and there she completed her life in asceticism. She was ordained deaconess by Paul, her spiritual father, who became Bishop of Mylasa. Although she was originally named Eusebia, to conceal her identity, she took the name Xenia - which means "stranger" in Greek - because of her estrangement from her country.
Our righteous Mother Xenia of Petersburg was born about the year 1730. She was married to a Colonel named Andrew; when she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly, having been drinking with his friends. Left a childless widow, Xenia gave away all that she had, and vanished from Saint Petersburg for eight years; it is believed that she spent this time in a hermitage, learning the spiritual life. When she returned to Saint Petersburg, she wore her husband's military clothing, and would answer only to the name Andrew, that is, the name of her late husband. She took up the life of a homeless wanderer, and was abused by many as insane; she bore this with great patience, crucifying the carnal mind through the mockery she endured, and praying for her husband's soul. She was given great gifts of prayer and prophecy, and often foretold things to come; in 1796 she foretold the death of Empress Catherine II. Having lived forty-five years after her husband's death, she reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, about the year 1800. Her grave became such a source of miracles, and so many came to take soil from it as a blessing, that it was often necessary to replace the soil; when a stone slab was placed over her grave, this too disappeared over time, piece by piece. Saint Xenia is especially invoked for help in finding employment, lodging, or a spouse.
This great Father and Teacher of the Church was born in 329 in Arianzus, a village of the second district of Cappadocia, not far from Nazianzus. His father, who later became Bishop of Nazianzus, was named Gregory (commemorated Jan. 1), and his mother was named Nonna (Aug. 5); both are among the Saints, and so are his brother Caesarius (Mar. 9) and his sister Gorgona (Feb. 23). At first he studied in Caesarea of Palestine, then in Alexandria, and finally in Athens. As he was sailing from Alexandria to Athens, a violent sea storm put in peril not only his life but also his salvation, since he had not yet been baptized. With tears and fervour he besought God to spare him, vowing to dedicate his whole self to Him, and the tempest gave way to calm. At Athens Saint Gregory was later joined by Saint Basil the Great, whom he already knew; but now their acquaintanceship grew into a lifelong brotherly love. Another fellow student of theirs in Athens was the young Prince Julian, who later as Emperor was called the Apostate because he denied Christ and did all in his power to restore paganism. Even in Athens, before Julian had thrown off the mask of piety; Saint Gregory saw what an unsettled mind he had, and said, "What an evil the Roman State is nourishing" (Orat. V, 24, PG 35:693).
After their studies at Athens, Gregory became Basil's fellow ascetic, living the monastic life together with him for a time in the hermitages of Pontus. His father ordained him presbyter of the Church of Nazianzus, and Saint Basil consecrated him Bishop of Sasima (or Zansima), which was in the archdiocese of Caesarea. This consecration was a source of great sorrow to Gregory, and a cause of misunderstanding between him and Basil; but his love for Basil remained unchanged, as can be plainly seen from his Funeral Oration on Saint Basil (Orat. XLIII).
About the Year 379, Saint Gregory came to the assistance of the Church of Constantinople, which had already been troubled for forty years by the Arians; by his supremely wise words and many labours he freed it from the corruption of heresy, and was elected Archbishop of that city by the Second Ecumenical Council, which assembled there in 381, and condemned Macedonius, Archbishop of Constantinople, the enemy of the Holy Spirit. When Saint Gregory came to Constantinople, the Arians had taken all the churches and he was forced to serve in a house chapel dedicated to Saint Anastasia the Martyr. From there he began to preach his famous five sermons on the Trinity, called the Triadica. When he left Constantinople two years later, the Arians did not have one church left to them in the city. Saint Meletius of Antioch (see Feb. 12), who was presiding over the Second Ecumenical Council, died in the course of it, and Saint Gregory was chosen in his stead; there he distinguished himself in his expositions of dogmatic theology.
Having governed the Church until 382, he delivered his farewell speech - the Syntacterion, in which he demonstrated the Divinity of the Son - before 150 bishops and the Emperor Theodosius the Great; in this speech he requested, and received from all, permission to retire from the see of Constantinople. He returned to Nazianzus, where he lived to the end of his life, and reposed in the Lord in 391, having lived some sixty-two years.
His extant writings, both prose and poems in every type of metre, demonstrate his lofty eloquence and his wondrous breadth of learning. In the beauty of his writings, he is considered to have surpassed the Greek writers of antiquity, and because of his God-inspired theological thought, he received the surname "Theologian." Although he is sometimes called Gregory of Nazianzus, this title belongs properly to his father; he himself is known by the Church only as Gregory the Theologian. He is especially called "Trinitarian Theologian," since in virtually every homily he refers to the Trinity and the one essence and nature of the Godhead. Hence, Alexius Anthorus dedicated the following verses to him:
Like an unwandering star beaming with splendour,
Thou bringest us by mystic teachings, O Father,
To the Trinity's sunlike illumination,
O mouth breathing with fire, Gregory most mighty.
On the Sunday that falls nearest to January 25, we commemorate all the faithful throughout the former Russian Empire who died at the hands of the atheists, beginning in the year 1917. Among them are the Royal Family (see July 4), followed by Patriarch Tikhon the Confessor (see Mar. 24), and an innumerable multitude of clergy, monastics, and layfolk who confessed the Name of Christ in the face of every conceivable mockery, torment, and bitter death.
Saint Ephraim was born in Nisibis of Mesopotamia some time about the year 306, and in his youth was the disciple of Saint James, Bishop of Nisibis, one of the 318 Fathers at the First Ecumenical Council. Ephraim lived in Nisibis, practicing a severe ascetical life and increasing in holiness, until 363, the year in which Julian the Apostate was slain in his war against the Persians, and his successor Jovian surrendered Nisibis to them. Ephraim then made his dwelling in Edessa, where he found many heresies to do battle with. He waged an especial war against Bardaisan; this gnostic had written many hymns propagating his errors, which by their sweet melodies became popular and enticed souls away from the truth. Saint Ephraim, having received from God a singular gift of eloquence, turned Bardaisan's own weapon against him, and wrote a multitude of hymns to be chanted by choirs of women, which set forth the true doctrines, refuted heretical error, and praised the contests of the Martyrs.
Of the multitude of sermons, commentaries, and hymns that Saint Ephraim wrote, many were translated into Greek in his own lifetime. Sozomen says that Ephraim "Surpassed the most approved writers of Greece," observing that the Greek writings, when translated into other tongues, lose most of their original beauty, but Ephraim's works "are no less admired when read in Greek than when read in Syriac" (Eccl. Hist., Book 111, 16). Saint Ephraim was ordained deacon, some say by Saint Basil the Great, whom Sozomen said "was a great admirer of Ephraim, and was astonished at his erudition." Saint Ephraim was the first to make the poetic expression of hymnody and song a vehicle of Orthodox theological teachings, constituting it an integral part of the Church's worship; he may rightly be called the first and greatest hymnographer of the Church, who set the pattern for these who followed him, especially Saint Romanos the Melodist. Because of this he is called the "Harp of the Holy Spirit." Jerome says that his writings were read in some churches after the reading of the Scriptures, and adds that once he read a Greek translation of one of Ephraim's works, "and recognized, even in translation, the incisive power of his lofty genius" (De vir. ill., ch. CXV).
Shortly before the end of his life, a famine broke out in Edessa, and Saint Ephraim left his cell to rebuke the rich for not sharing their goods with the poor. The rich answered that they knew no one to whom they could entrust their goods. Ephraim asked them, "What do you think of me?" When they confessed their reverence for him, he offered to distribute their alms, to which they agreed. He himself cared with his own hands for many of the sick from the famine, and so crowned his life with mercy and love for neighbor. Saint Ephraim reposed in peace, according to some in the year 373, according to others, 379.
This common feast of these three teachers was instituted a little before the year 1100, during the reign of the Emperor Alexis I Comnenus, because of a dispute and strife that arose among the notable and virtuous men of that time. Some of them preferred Basil, while others preferred Gregory, and yet others preferred John Chrysostom, quarreling among themselves over which of the three was the greatest. Furthermore, each party, in order to distinguish itself from the others, assumed the name of its preferred Saint; hence, they called themselves Basilians, Gregorians, or Johannites. Desiring to bring an end to the contention, the three Saints appeared together to the saintly John Mavropous, a monk who had been ordained Bishop of Euchaita, a city of Asia Minor, they revealed to him that the glory they have at the throne of God is equal, and told him to compose a common service for the three of them, which he did with great skill and beauty. Saint John of Euchaita (celebrated Oct. 5) is also the composer of the Canon to the Guardian Angel, the Protector of a Man's Life. In his old age, he retired from his episcopal see and again took up the monastic life in a monastery in Constantinople. He reposed during the reign of the aforementioned Emperor Alexis Comnenus (1081-1118).
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. 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 Timothy 1:15-17.
Timothy, my son, the saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory to the ages of ages. Amen.
14th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 18:35-43
At that time, as Jesus drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging; and hearing a multitude going by, he inquired what this meant. They told him, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by." And he cried, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And those who were in front rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" And Jesus stopped, and commanded him to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" He said, "Lord, let me receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.
"As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, 'Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.' "
Beggars would often be found at the city gate where people are passing in and out. He is probably used to calling out to those who pass by, asking for money, begging for alms.
Blindness and diseases of the eye were common illness in the ancient world.
Those who lost one of their senses would often develop their other sense much more. But it takes no special insight for the blind man to realize that the number of people on the road crowding into the city is much large than usual.
A pushing, shoving crowd competes to stay up with someone who attracts their attention. The blind man cries out to whoever can hear him, "What is going on?" And one of the bystanders says, "Jesus of Nazareth is passing by."
Once he is told that Jesus of Nazareth is passing by, he begins to yell at the top of his lungs:
"He called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, 'Son of David, have mercy on me!' " (18:38-39)
But this is no helpless, feeble cry for help. It is loud and insistent. He keeps on shouting. He won't be shut up, even though the crowd continues to tell him to stop.
Some people are intimidated and subdued by their own handicaps. It's possible to almost give up. But not our Blind man.
What motivates his uncontainable cry for healing? Faith.
To call someone "Son of David" as a title is equivalent to calling someone, "Messiah," for it signifies to the Jews a person who is the promised descendent of David who will sit upon the throne of Israel.
During most of his ministry, Jesus doesn't encourage others to refer to him as the Messiah, because the political implications of this title would soon prevent him from being able to minister effectively (Matthew 16:16, 20). But now his hour is come. His face is set towards Jerusalem where he will be crucified.
The blind man’s request for mercy uses the same words that other beggars use. But this beggar's address to Jesus is startling. When he asks the "Son of David" for mercy, he is expecting far more than money. And he has faith that the Son of David, the Messiah, will grant his request.
"Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?'
'Lord, I want to see,' he replied." (18:40-42)
But why does Jesus ask the obvious? I can think of two reasons: (1) to energize faith and cause it to be vocalized, or (2) to help the person himself determine what he wanted from Jesus. This question is nearly unique to Jesus' ministry.
Jesus' question, "What do you want me to do for you?" can be useful for us, his disciples, in our own ministry to people. For example we can ask each other, our youth and those outside the faith "How do you want us to pray for you?" or "What do you want Jesus to do for you?"
The fact is, some people do NOT really want to be healed -- a blessing, a prayer, perhaps, but not real healing.
In the case of Blind man, Jesus is trying to get him to vocalize his faith, since Jesus responds to him, "Receive your sight; your faith has healed you."(18:42)
Jesus speaks a word, a command for healing, and the healing takes place immediately.
What is so special about the blind man's faith? Once he hears that Jesus is there, he immediately begins to ask mercy of Jesus as Messiah, exhibiting insight into Jesus' true mission. But he also has an unstoppable faith, a faith that won't take no for an answer. The crowd tells him to shut up, and he calls out all the louder. People are embarrassed as the local beggar goes ballistic when Jesus comes to town, but he doesn't care. He has an intensity of desire that overcomes obstacles, rebuke, and embarrassment to achieve what he desires. Jesus is pleased.
Jesus is a bridge to the Father, always pointing people to a relationship with the Father. Jesus is trying to make people trust God on their own. Many can see Jesus only, but Jesus keeps encouraging their faith and pointing them to the invisible Father. We also can serve as bridges for people. At first, they are often VERY dependent upon us. We shouldn't be afraid of that, but not seek it. Rather we should see it as a stage of faith. Our goal is to help transfer their faith in us to faith in their Heavenly Father. Only when we have achieved this have we succeeded, only then have we become like Jesus.
"Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God." (18:43)
The once-blind man now becomes a disciple and joins Jesus' disciples.
He now is ready. He is a man of faith, and is more than ready to leave begging and take up giving to others.
This blind man serves a tremendous encouragement to others who are in the same physical or spiritual that he was.
The story of the blind man now known to the church as Bartimaeus is a powerful example to us of how it pleases Jesus for our faith to see its opportunity, grasp it, and refuse to let it go until we receive what we need from God. Who would have thought this beggar would instantly become a giver!
The fathers also give a spiritual interpretation to this miracle, with the blind men symbolizing future generations who would come to faith only by hearing, without the benefit of seeing Christ in person (see Jn 20:29). Those who tried to silence the blind man are persecutors and tyrants who, in every generation try to silence the Church. Nevertheless, under persecution the Church all the more confesses Jesus Christ and calls us to do the same