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Annunciation/Evangelismos Church, Elkins Park, PA
Publish Date: 2021-01-17
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Annunciation/Evangelismos Church, Elkins Park, PA

General Information

  • Phone:
  • (215) 635-0316
  • Fax:
  • (215) 635-8301
  • Street Address:

  • 7921 Old York Road

  • Elkins Park, PA 19027


Contact Information




Services Schedule

We meet for divine worship every Sunday morning and on holy days starting with Orthros (Matins) at 8:30, Divine Liturgy at 9:30-11 AM.

Visit us at www.anngoc.org for information on how to attend services during the COVIT-19 Pandemic.


Past Bulletins


Weekend Update

Please sign up HERE  to attend in person any of the church services. All ages are welcomed (and encouraged) to attend. 

All attendees must register in advance. No walk-ins allowed.

For those unable to attend in person, click on the service to see the text and pray with us through our Facebook Livestream
Let us know if you would like for us to light a votive candle for you HERE

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12th Sunday of Luke,  January 17,  2021

Κυριακή ΙΒ΄ Λουκᾶ, 17 Ιανουαρίου, 2021. Το κήρυγμα ΕΔΩ

  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY
  • Join us in offering memorial prayers  for the peaceful repose of the souls of our brethren Ioannis Fisfis (6-months), Michael Trifonidis (11-years), and Antonios Thomas (15-years) of blessed memory
Monday, January 18, 2021Athanasios and Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria
  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY
  • The LePage and the Economopoulos families will offer the artoklasia (blessing of the bread, wine, and oil) for health and salvation (feast of St. Athanasios)
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
  • 7 pm Parish Council meeting
Friday, January 22, 2021
  • 7:30 pm GOYA Greek folk dance practice
14th Sunday of Luke, January 24, 2021
  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY
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Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. Grave Mode. Psalm 115.15,12.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
Verse: What shall I render to the Lord for all that he has given me?

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 13:17-21.

Brethren, obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Προκείμενον. Grave Mode. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 115.15,12.
Τίμιος ἐναντίον Κυρίου ὁ θάνατος τῶν ὁσίων αὐτοῦ.
Στίχ. Τί ἀνταποδώσωμεν τῷ Κυρίῳ περὶ πάντων, ὧν ἀνταπέδωκεν ἡμῖν;

τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα Πρὸς Ἑβραίους 13:17-21.

Ἀδελφοί, πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν, καὶ ὑπείκετε· αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν, ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες· ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν, καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες· ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτο. Προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν· πεποίθαμεν γὰρ ὅτι καλὴν συνείδησιν ἔχομεν, ἐν πᾶσιν καλῶς θέλοντες ἀναστρέφεσθαι. Περισσοτέρως δὲ παρακαλῶ τοῦτο ποιῆσαι, ἵνα τάχιον ἀποκατασταθῶ ὑμῖν. Ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης, ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης αἰωνίου, τὸν κύριον ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦν, καταρτίσαι ὑμᾶς ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ εἰς τὸ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, ποιῶν ἐν ὑμῖν τὸ εὐάρεστον ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ· ᾧ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων. Ἀμήν.


Gospel Reading

12th Sunday of Luke
The Reading is from Luke 17:12-19

At that time, as Jesus entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus's feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus: "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him: "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

12th Sunday of Luke
Κατὰ Λουκᾶν 17:12-19

Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, εἰσερχομένου αὐτοῦ εἴς τινα κώμην ἀπήντησαν αὐτῷ δέκα λεπροὶ ἄνδρες, οἳ ἔστησαν πόρρωθεν, καὶ αὐτοὶ ἦραν φωνὴν λέγοντες· ᾿Ιησοῦ ἐπιστάτα, ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς. καὶ ἰδὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· πορευθέντες ἐπιδείξατε ἑαυτοὺς τοῖς ἱερεῦσι. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ὑπάγειν αὐτοὺς ἐκαθαρίσθησαν. εἷς δὲ ἐξ αὐτῶν, ἰδὼν ὅτι ἰάθη, ὑπέστρεψε μετὰ φωνῆς μεγάλης δοξάζων τὸν Θεόν, καὶ ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον παρὰ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστῶν αὐτῷ· καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν Σαμαρείτης. ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς εἶπεν· οὐχὶ οἱ δέκα ἐκαθαρίσθησαν; οἱ δὲ ἐννέα ποῦ; οὐχ εὑρέθησαν ὑποστρέψαντες δοῦναι δόξαν τῷ Θεῷ εἰ μὴ ὁ ἀλλογενὴς οὗτος; καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἀναστὰς πορεύου· ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε.


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Saints and Feasts

17_anthony2
January 17

Anthony the Great

Saint Anthony, the Father of monks, was born in Egypt in 251 of pious parents who departed this life while he was yet young. On hearing the words of the Gospel: "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell what thou hast, and give to the poor" (Matt. 19:21), he immediately put it into action. Distributing to the poor all he had, and fleeing from all the turmoil of the world, he departed to the desert. The manifold temptations he endured continually for the span of twenty years are incredible. His ascetic struggles by day and by night, whereby he mortified the uprisings of the passions and attained to the height of dispassion, surpass the bounds of nature; and the report of his deeds of virtue drew such a multitude to follow him that the desert was transformed into a city, while he became, so to speak, the governor, lawgiver, and master-trainer of all the citizens of this newly-formed city.

The cities of the world also enjoyed the fruit of his virtue. When the Christians were being persecuted and put to death under Maximinus in 312, he hastened to their aid and consolation. When the Church was troubled by the Arians, he went with zeal to Alexandria in 335 and struggled against them in behalf of Orthodoxy. During this time, by the grace of his words, he also turned many unbelievers to Christ.

Saint Anthony began his ascetic life outside his village of Coma in Upper Egypt, studying the ways of the ascetics and holy men there, and perfecting himself in the virtues of each until he surpassed them all. Desiring to increase his labors, he departed into the desert, and finding an abandoned fortress in the mountain, he made his dwelling in it, training himself in extreme fasting, unceasing prayer, and fierce conflicts with the demons. Here he remained, as mentioned above, about twenty years. Saint Athanasius the Great, who knew him personally and wrote his life, says that he came forth from that fortress "initiated in the mysteries and filled with the Spirit of God." Afterwards, because of the press of the faithful, who deprived him of his solitude, he was enlightened by God to journey with certain Bedouins, until he came to a mountain in the desert near the Red Sea, where he passed the remaining part of his life.

Saint Athanasius says of him that "his countenance had a great and wonderful grace. This gift also he had from the Saviour. For if he were present in a great company of monks, and any one who did not know him previously wished to see him, immediately coming forward he passed by the rest, and hurried to Anthony, as though attracted by his appearance. Yet neither in height nor breadth was he conspicuous above others, but in the serenity of his manner and the purity of his soul." So Passing his life, and becoming an example of virtue and a rule for monastics, he reposed on January 17 in the year 356, having lived altogether some 105 years.


Newgeorge
January 17

George the New Martyr of Ioannina

The New Martyr George of Ioannina was a young Christian who maintained his Christian beliefs while laboring for Ottoman Turks who considered him an apostate from Islam, which led to his martyrdom. He is commemorated on January 17.

George was born in 1808 in the village Tsourchli in what is now Grevena Prefecture, Greece, the son of a poor farmer Constantine and his wife Vasilo. Orphaned at a young age and without any formal education, George moved to Ioannina and became a servant of the Turks, employed in the Turkish army as a horse groom and stable hand under the name "Infidel (Giaour) Hasan". Modest in demeanor, George wore the traditional long foustanela of his village and an embroidered waistcoat, as now depicted on his icons.

George entered into a new phase in his life as he became engaged to and then married to Eleni, a Christian girl from Ioannina, on the feast day of St. Demetrius. In December 1837, the couple had a son, John who they had baptized according to the Orthodox tradition on January 7, 1838. These events aroused the suspicion of the Islamic Turks and provoked his persecution as the Turks had considered him a muslim Turk who was abandoning Islam.

George refused to deny his Christian faith and he was subjected to torture by the Turk. During the tortures he courageously maintained, "I was never a Turk, I was always a Christian". Sentenced to the gallows, George steadfastly defended his faith. Facing the gallows with composure and bravery, George answered his tormentors' final question to him "What are you?". After he had asked that his hands be untied, he made the sign of the cross and replied, "I am a Christian and I shall die a Christian, I bow before my Christ and my Lady Theotokos.” His martyrdom occurred on January 17, 1838.

His body was left to hang from the gallows for three days. When taken down, his body was found not having begun decaying, which caused even many Turks to believe in his holiness and allowed George's body to be buried honorably.

The people began to honor George as a saint even as he was being tortured, and soon after his death asked for formal recognition of George as a saint from the Ecumenical Patriarchate. George of Ioannina, the New Martyr, was officially glorified on September 19, 1839 by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. To make his sainthood less obvious to the Turks, the Synod, at the time, asked that it be celebrated on January 17, with St. Anthony.

The first icon to the newly martyred saint was made on January 30, 1838, only days after his martyrdom. It was commissioned by the Hieromonk Chrysanthos Lainos who was George's spiritual father and guide and depicted St. George in his traditional clothes, holding a cross in his right hand and a scroll in his left.


Athncyrl
January 18

Athanasios and Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria

In the half-century after the First Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 325, if there was one man whom the Arians feared and hated more intensely than any other, as being able to lay bare the whole error of their teaching, and to marshal, even from exile or hiding, the beleaguered forces of the Orthodox, it was Saint Athanasios the Great. This blazing lamp of Orthodoxy, which imperial power and heretics' plots could not quench when he shone upon the lampstand, nor find when he was hid by the people and monks of Egypt, was born in Alexandria about the year 296. He received an excellent training in Greek letters and especially in the sacred Scriptures, of which he shows an exceptional knowledge in his writings. Even as a young man he had a remarkable depth of theological understanding; he was only about twenty years old when he wrote his treatise "On the Incarnation." Saint Alexander, the Archbishop of Alexandria, brought him up in piety, ordained him his deacon, and after deposing Arius for his blasphemy against the Divinity of the Son of God, took Athanasios to the First Council in Nicea in 325. Saint Athanasios was to spend the remainder of his life laboring in defense of this Holy Council. In 326, before his death, Alexander appointed Athanasios his successor.

In 325, Arius had been condemned by the Council of Nicea; yet through his hypocritical confession of Orthodox belief, Saint Constantine the Great was persuaded by Arius's supporters that he should be received back into the communion of the Church. But Athanasios, knowing well the perverseness of his mind, and the disease of heresy lurking in his heart, refused communion with Arius. The heresiarch's followers then began framing false charges against Athanasios. Finally Saint Constantine the Great, misled by grave charges of the Saint's misconduct (which were completely false), had him exiled to Tiberius (Treves) in Gaul in 336. When Saint Constantine was succeeded by his three sons Constantine II, Constans, and Constantius, in 337, Saint Athanasios returned to Alexandria in triumph. But his enemies found an ally in Constantius, Emperor of the East, and he spent a second exile in Rome. It was ended when Constans prevailed with threats upon his brother Constantius to restore Athanasios (see also Nov. 6). For ten years Saint Athanasios strengthened Orthodoxy throughout Egypt, visiting the whole country and encouraging all: clergy, monastics, and lay folk, being loved by all as a father. After Constans's death in 350, Constantius became sole Emperor, and Athanasios was again in danger. On the evening of February 8, 356, General Syrianus with more than five thousand soldiers surrounded the church in which Athanasios was serving, and broke open the doors. Athanasios's clergy begged him to leave, but the good shepherd commanded that all the flock should withdraw first; and only when he was assured of their safety, he also, protected by divine grace, passed through the midst of the soldiers and disappeared into the deserts of Egypt, where for some six years he eluded the soldiers and spies sent after him.

When Julian the Apostate succeeded Constantius in 361, Athanasios returned again, but only for a few months. Because Athanasios had converted many pagans, and the priests of the idols in Egypt wrote to Julian that if Athanasios remained, idolatry would perish in Egypt, the heathen Emperor ordered not Athanasios's exile, but his death. Athanasios took a ship up the Nile. When he learned that his imperial pursuers were following him, he had his men turn back, and as his boat passed that of his pursuers, they asked him if he had seen Athanasios. "He is not far," he answered. After returning to Alexandria for a while, he fled again to the Thebaid until Julian's death in 363. Saint Athanasios suffered his fifth and last exile under Valens in 365, which only lasted four months because Valens, fearing a sedition among the Egyptians for their beloved Archbishop, revoked his edict in February, 366.

The great Athanasios passed the remaining seven years of his life in peace. Of his fifty-seven years as Patriarch, he had spent some seventeen in exiles. Shining from the height of his throne like a radiant evening star, and enlightening the Orthodox with the brilliance of his words for yet a little while, this much-suffering champion inclined toward the sunset of his life, and in the year 373 took his rest from his lengthy sufferings, but not before another luminary of the truth -- Basil the Great -- had risen in the East, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. Besides all of his other achievements, Saint Athanasios wrote the life of Saint Anthony the Great, with whom he spent time in his youth; ordained Saint Frumentius first Bishop of Ethiopia; and in his Paschal Encyclical for the year 367 set forth the books of the Old and New Testaments accepted by the Church as canonical. Saint Gregory the Theologian, in his "Oration On the Great Athanasios", said that he was "Angelic in appearance, more angelic in mind; ... rebuking with the tenderness of a father, praising with the dignity of a ruler ... Everything was harmonious, as an air upon a single lyre, and in the same key; his life, his teaching, his struggles, his dangers, his return, and his conduct after his return ... he treated so mildly and gently those who had injured him, that even they themselves, if I may say so, did not find his restoration distasteful."

Saint Cyril was also from Alexandria, born about the year 376. He was the nephew of Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, who also instructed the Saint in his youth. Having first spent much time with the monks in Nitria, he later became the successor to his uncle's throne in 412. In 429, when Cyril heard tidings of the teachings of the new Patriarch of Constantinople, Nestorius, he began attempting through private letters to bring Nestorius to renounce his heretical teaching about the Incarnation. When the heresiarch did not repent, Saint Cyril, together with Pope Celestine of Rome, led the Orthodox opposition to his error. Saint Cyril presided over the Third Ecumenical Council of the 200 Holy Fathers in the year 431, who gathered in Ephesus under Saint Theodosius the Younger. At this Council, by his most wise words, he put to shame and convicted the impious doctrine of Nestorius, who, although he was in town, refused to appear before Cyril. Saint Cyril, besides overthrowing the error of Nestorius, has left to the Church full commentaries on the Gospels of Luke and John. Having shepherded the Church of Christ for thirty-two years, he reposed in 444.


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Wisdom of the Fathers

Having met the Savior, therefore, the lepers earnestly besought Him to free them from their misery, and called Him Master, that is. Teacher. No one pitied them when suffering this malady, but He Who had appeared on earth for this very reason, and had become man that He might show pity to all, He was moved with compassion for them, and had mercy on them.
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Commentary on the Gospel of St. Luke, Homilies 113-116. B#42, pp. 465-466, 4th Century

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Become an Annunciation Sustaining Steward Now

“…the greatest of these is love” I Corinthians 13:13

OUR SUSTAINING STEWARDSHIP INITIATIVE

Sustaining Stewardship is a simple, scripturally consistent, and practical initiative to meet our above Stewardship Giving goals.

This initiative explicitly asks each parishioner to financially support the church by giving a portion of their treasure through automatic and recurring stewardship payments.  This member and steward who enrolls in these payments is referred to as a Sustaining Steward.

A Sustaining Steward commits to stay engaged continuously and support the church through regular weekly or monthly payments. A Sustaining Steward’s pledge rolls over to the following year without filling out a pledge card each year. A Sustaining Steward can adjust their pledge anytime to reflect their level of commitment or personal/family situation.

WHY BECOME A SUSTAINING STEWARD?
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUSTAINING STEWARDSHIP?

Becoming a Sustaining Steward (1) fulfills God’s command to give faithfully and regularly.  As a sustaining steward, your enrollment and giving (2) rolls-over annually, eliminating the need to re-register and re-pledge every year. This automatic and recurring giving also (3) helps the church address seasonal funding gaps, and (4) helps us achieve festival independence, allowing us to save more. 

Ultimately, it (5) creates better ministry and budgetary planning, and (6) helps support our church, her ministries, and their growth. 

HOW DO I BECOME A SUSTAINING STEWARD?
  1. Fill out the Family Information Form HERE (first- time registration or annual update)

  2. Fill out the Online Pledge Form HERE and choose  your method of payment (auto-debit from a debit card, credit card, or checking account trough GivePlus+; personal check; or you bank’s bill payer service)

  3. If you are already signed up for regular payments through GivePlus+ or your bank's bill payer service, you are already a Sustaining Steward!  Please adjust your pledge and payment to reflect your new level of commitment for 2021 and make sure your automatic payments continue through the new year.

Annunciation is a full stewardship parish that requires no minimum pledge to be a Steward.
Our Stewardship Program encourages parishioners 18 and over to pledge donations in any amount, according to the blessings they have received from our Lord.
Our Stewardship Pledge Drive starts in November for the following calendar year, although new members and current members may submit a pledge at any time.
We offer you the Weekly Giving Guideline chart below to help you determine your level of giving. Being a good steward is using your resources wisely.

Weekly Giving Guidelines

Weekly

Income 

10%

5%

4%

2%

$500

$50

$25

$20

$10

$750

$75

$37

$30

$15

$1000

$100

$50

$40

$20

$1500

$150

$75

$60

$30

$2000

$200

$100

$80

$40


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Community News & Events

Congratulations to our Newly Elected & Installed 2021 Parish Council

Executive Board:

Constantine Dalson, President
Mary O’Hara, Vice President
Christine Ferello, Secretary
Demetrios Papakirk, Treasurer
Peter Nikolopoulos, Assistant Treasurer

Members:

Catherine Avgiris, Craig Godshall, Peter Gouris, Leonidas Koletas, James Papacostas, Russell Penning, Antonios Vlahos.

May the Lord bless and guide them as they work with Fr. John to lead our parish in the new year.


2021 Vasilopita Celebration

Congratulations to Peter Gouris for receiving this year’s vasilopita coin on behalf of the Council of Ministries! We wish Peter and everyone involved in the ministries of Annunciation Church a year of good health, filled with joy and many blessings!


Organist Needed for Weddings

We are looking for a parishioner who can provide organ music for church weddings.

This position is ideal for a young person who can play the piano or organ.

Interested persons should contact Fr. John for more information frjohn@anngoc.org 


Church Postal Mail Delayed

Fellow Parishioners,

We want to update you on two bulk mail shipments sent out at the beginning of December but have not arrived at your homes yet due to unusual Postal Service delays.

The first mailing contained the Philoptochos Bid & Buy Booklet. The second mailing included the 2021 Wall Calendar, 2021 Pocket Calendar, Nativity Schedule, and a Christmas Donation Envelope.

We haven't been able to get confirmation from the Postal Service as to when they may be arriving at your homes.

In the meantime, we would like to provide you with the following links to the electronic versions of these mailings:

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Sunday Special Services Reminder

If you are planning to offer a memorial, artoklasia (blessing of the five-loaves), 40-day mother & child blessing, etc., after liturgy on a Sunday, we kindly remind you to please contact the parish office, via telephone or email, at least two weeks in advance with the request. All requests are considered based on the ecclesiastical calendar.

We need to know in advance so we can celebrate the divine liturgy with solemnity and respect, without interruptions, and to offer the additional prayer service at the appropriate time with dignity. 

Thank you!


Bulletin Announcements

Please submit your material by Wednesday 12 noon for the upcoming Sunday bulletin.
Send your submission to office@anngoc.org, and always Cc Fr. John at frjohn@anngoc.org for his review and approval.
All submissions will be placed on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis and are subject to editing and review. Thank you!


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Youth Activities and News

What Do You Share?


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Homeless Ministry News

 

A professor gave a balloon to every student and asked them to inflate it, write their name on it and throw it in the hallway. The professors then mixed all the balloons. The students were given 5 minutes to find their own balloon. Despite a hectic search, no one found their balloon. At that point, the professors told the students to take the first balloon that they found and hand it to the person whose name was written on it. Within a few minutes, everyone had their own balloon. The professors said to the students: “These balloons are like happiness. We will never find happiness if everyone is only looking for their own. But if we care about other people's happiness, we'll find ours too!

The Homeless Ministry's next serving date at Aviator Park is 1/28/21.

If you would like to help serve, prepare, or donate any of the foods we will be serving, please add your name to the sign-up genius: 

https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E084CAAAD2CA5FC1-homeless 

Please contact Angela Godshall at 215.370.2623 if you have any questions or for more information.

Please continue to keep the homeless, especially those we serve that are 

living on the streets, in your prayers during this cold weather. 

If you see a person who appears to be homeless during a Code Blue, 

call the City's Homeless outreach hotline at (215) 232-1984.

Thank you for sharing a little happiness with those experiencing homelessness!

In Christ's service, 

The Homeless Ministry    

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Annunciation Resource Center

 

Annunciation Resource Center January Update

 

 (Maxim number 16 from Fr. Thomas Hopko's 55 Maxims of Christian Living) 

Fr. Hopko wrote a list of 55 maxims in response to being asked: "If you summarized, in the shortest form, the practical life of a believing Christian, of a human being who believes in God and believes in Christ, what would it be like? What kind of maxims or rules would that include?” Fr. Hopko listed 55 things that he said a believer, very simply, would do if they were really a believer and were really obedient to God and wanted to live the way God would have us live. Fr. Hopko fell asleep in the Lord on March 18, 2015. May his memory be eternal!  

We thought we'd share our thoughts on a few of the good books we've read and would love to hear from you about what you are reading!

Olga's review of The Archbishop 

"Among the first remember, Lord, (episcopal rank) (name), grant him to your holy churches in peace, safety, honor, and health, unto length of days, rightly teaching the word of Your truth.” This simple prayer, from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, has become more meaningful and poignant for me since reading The Archbishop.  

An Orthodox Christian classic written at the beginning of the 20th century and set in Russia, this powerful novel keeps you engaged as you examine your own life and the health of your soul. 

The story starts out with an age-old conflict: do you do for others out of love, and what is acceptable to God while violating civilian law? If you do, are you willing to accept the consequences? This is the dilemma that Father Paul finds himself in, having acted out of love by marrying a couple without their registration papers. He flees the consequences with distance and drink while not considering how his actions might affect those around him. Along comes the archbishop, unrecognizable to Father Paul, who makes him understand that while he is ordained, he is not yet a priest.  

The archbishop is filled with love for his clergy and his flock. He faces the same conflict as Father Paul. Does he follow acceptable hierarchical practices when interacting with his flock, or does he do what is necessary to bring people back to the churches and the Orthodox faith and help them restore their bodies and souls?  

The book has many other characters: the doctor who believes in science, the professor of theology who believes in dogma, people who are beggars and from asylums, Father Gherasim whose life has been filled with pain and suffering and devoid of love and who cannot see what is in front of him, Father Grigori who preaches ideals but has no works to back them up. It is filled with life’s themes and conflicts such as rationality vs. faith, intelligentsia vs. the church, love and truth and good vs. evil, the resurrection of man, the death of one’s soul, free will to choose and do the right thing, sin and redemption, the responsibilities of priests and bishops, the need for people to work together to save one another, and many more. This book will instigate many conversations, thoughts, and hopefully, actions.   

The archbishop has a way of perceiving the troubles of others and, with his patience and love uses these powerful perceptions to guide all to redemption and the renewal of soul and body - if they are willing to open themselves to the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

This book is for all Orthodox Christians. It is not lengthy in pages but lengthy in insight into the health of one’s soul seeking eternal life.

Dianne's review of Do Not Judge

As with all things Orthodox, reading the advice of elders is one thing - a short excursion - and living it is another thing altogether - a lifelong struggle and adventure. Do Not Judge is a great place to start or to pick up anytime in one’s journey toward the Lord. It is well-written, beautifully bound, and very portable for carrying in one’s purse or book bag or for placing on the night table or coffee table. Thank you for recommending it and for keeping the Annunciation Resource Center going in these tumultuous times.

 

Talia's review of All Is Well.

I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who is an over-thinker like myself. Living in the present is challenging, and as we all know, the reality of distressing situations like the pandemic can make it even more difficult. 

All Is Well offers an opportunity to look at life’s challenges in a different way. It teaches us how to avoid overthinking or creating problems in our heads before they exist. It guides us to always seek improvement spiritually and personally through self-reflection. The tools of the church and taking time for prayer and discipline help us achieve that. 

In a time where we have to be distant and at times alone, this book brings comfort in teaching that isolation can be of great benefit to ourselves and can bring much healing. God is always with us. Even when we think we are alone, we never are!

Emmalia's review of Prayer Spa

Prayer Spa by Jennifer Anna Rich offers a soothing and contemplative guide to daily prayer. Instead of imposing strict guidelines, Rich inspires us to genuinely incorporate prayer into our hearts by highlighting the true beauty of Orthodoxy. Her prose is interlaced with passages from psalms, words from saints and elders, and offers ideas on how to pray. The guidance is expansive and includes creative suggestions for prayer using all five senses. The spiritual grace of God is translated into the corporeal world to nourish “mind, body, and soul.”

The book is specifically written with the modern reader in mind—one who is influenced by the demands of work and secular culture. She acknowledges these obstacles with realistic guidance on how to bring prayer into busy schedules. As indicated by the title, the book will especially touch those who want to find a spa of stillness and relaxation through daily healing prayer.

Angela's review of From I-ville to You-ville