Annunciation/Evangelismos Church, Elkins Park, PA
Publish Date: 2020-01-12
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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 starting with Orthros (Matins) 8:30, Divine Liturgy 9:30-11AM, followed by a fellowship hour in our community center. All are invited!

Please see Community Calendar for a complete listing of all weekday feast-days and worship services.

Past Bulletins

Weekend Update

Sunday after Epiphany, January 12, 2020

Κυριακὴ μετὰ τα Φώτα, 12 Ιανουαρίου, 2020. Το κήρυγμα ΕΔΩ

  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY
  • Philoptochos vasilopita (St. Basil’s bread) celebration and collection to benefit St. Basil Academy.
  • PTO hosts the fellowship hour today.
  • GOYA Sights & Sounds practice.
Monday, January 13, 2020
  • 6:30 pm Philoptochos & PTO holiday dinner.
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
  • 5 pm Greek School classes.
  • 7 pm Intermediate/Advanced adult Greek class.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
  • 7 pm Bible Study.
Friday, January 17, 2020. Anthony the Great
  • 9 am DIVINE LITURGY at the celebrating St. Anthony Church 430 W Wheat Rd, Vineland, NJ 08360
  • 5 pm Greek School classes.
  • 6:30 pm Beginners adult Greek class.
  • 6:30 pm GOYA Sights & Sounds practice.
  • 6:30 pm HOPE & JOY dance practice.
  • 7:30 pm GOYA dance practice.
Saturday, January 18, 2020. Athanasios and Cyril, Patriarchs of Alexandria
  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY
  • Memorial prayers will be offered for the repose of the soul of Michael Trifonidis of blessed memory (10-years).
  • The artoklasia (blessing of the five-loaves, wine & oil) is offered for health and salvation by the Economopoulos & LePage families – Feast of St Athanasios
  • 11:30 am Baptism: Doucoure family.
12th Sunday of Luke, January 19, 2020
  • 8:30 am MATINS, 9:30 am DIVINE LITURGY. Youth Sunday
  • Memorial prayers will be offered for the repose of the souls of Theoharis Zissios  (3-years), and of Antonios Thomas (14-years) of blessed memory.
  • The fellowship hour will be hosted by the Greek School.
  • GOYA Sights & Sounds practice.

Saints and Feasts

January 12

Tatiana the Martyr of Rome

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).


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. First Mode. 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.

Προκείμενον. First Mode. ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 32.22,1.
Γένοιτο, Κύριε, τὸ ἔλεός σου ἐφ' ἡμᾶς.
Στίχ. Ἀγαλλιᾶσθε δίκαιοι ἐν Κυρίῳ

τὸ Ἀνάγνωσμα Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους 4:7-13.

Ἀδελφοί, ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἡμῶν ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις κατὰ τὸ μέτρον τῆς δωρεᾶς τοῦ Χριστοῦ. Διὸ λέγει, Ἀναβὰς εἰς ὕψος ᾐχμαλώτευσεν αἰχμαλωσίαν, καὶ ἔδωκεν δόματα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις. Τὸ δέ, Ἀνέβη, τί ἐστιν εἰ μὴ ὅτι καὶ κατέβη πρῶτον εἰς τὰ κατώτερα μέρη τῆς γῆς; Ὁ καταβάς, αὐτός ἐστιν καὶ ὁ ἀναβὰς ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἵνα πληρώσῃ τὰ πάντα. Καὶ αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν τοὺς μὲν ἀποστόλους, τοὺς δὲ προφήτας, τοὺς δὲ εὐαγγελιστάς, τοὺς δὲ ποιμένας καὶ διδασκάλους, πρὸς τὸν καταρτισμὸν τῶν ἁγίων, εἰς ἔργον διακονίας, εἰς οἰκοδομὴν τοῦ σώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ· μέχρι καταντήσωμεν οἱ πάντες εἰς τὴν ἑνότητα τῆς πίστεως καὶ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς ἄνδρα τέλειον, εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας τοῦ πληρώματος τοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Gospel Reading

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."

Sunday after Epiphany
Κατὰ Ματθαῖον 4:12-17

Τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ, ἀκούσας δὲ ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς ὅτι ᾿Ιωάννης παρεδόθη, ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὲτ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καπερναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλείμ, ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ ῾Ησαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλείμ, ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ ᾿Ιορδάνου, Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν, ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκότειεἶδε φῶς μέγα, καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτουφῶς ἀνέτειλεν αὐτοῖς. ᾿Απὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν· μετανοεῖτε· ἤγγικε γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.


Wisdom of the Fathers

For as persons not even knowing where to put a step forward, so they sat, overtaken by the darkness.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 14 on Matthew 4, 4th Century

Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth His praise. For when ye assemble frequently in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed, and the destruction at which he aims is prevented by the unity of your faith.
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Epistle to the Ephesians Ch. 13, 2nd century


Community News and Events

Philoptochos News & Events

Philoptochos Annual Vasilopita Celebration in Memory and Honor of St. Basil the Great  (Memory commemorated January 1)

One of the most beautiful and inspiring traditions and customs of the Greek Orthodox Church is the observance of vasilopita. It is this annual family observance, together with many other traditions of our Church, which joins our Orthodox Faith and heritage with the history of Christianity through the ages. The word vasilopita "βασιλόπιτα" is a compound Greek word from βασιλεύς 'king' + πίτα 'pie', but was reinterpreted as Basil's (Βασίλειος) cake.


This age-old tradition commenced in the fourth century, when Saint Basil the Great, who was a bishop, wanted to distribute money to the poor in his Diocese. He commissioned some women to bake sweetened bread, in which he arranged to place gold coins. Thus the families in cutting the bread to nourish themselves were pleasantly surprised to find the coins.

The Annual Home Observance

This original event which happened in Cappadocia of Caesarea in the last half of the fourth century is very much alive in our Orthodox homes each year on January 1st. According to tradition, special sweet bread (in some areas of Greece, it takes the form of a pita or a cake) is prepared both in Orthodox homes and in the Church community which is called vasilopita. Sweets are added to the bread which symbolizes the sweetness and joy of life everlasting. It also symbolizes the hope that the New Year will be filled with the sweetness of life, liberty, health, and happiness for all who participate in the vasilopita observance. When the vasilopita is prepared, a coin is usually added to the ingredients. When the bread is cut and the observance begins, the individual who receives that portion of the Pita which contains the coin is considered blessed. This tradition adds joy to the celebration at the beginning of the New Year, which everyone hopes will bring joy to all. Many Orthodox Christians enjoy the vasilopita at home with their loved ones during the New Year celebration. The head of the family cuts the pieces of pita for all members of the family. Since Saint Basil loved the poor people, a special piece is cut for the unfortunate of the world, which symbolizes our awareness and concern for the poverty-stricken people of all nations.

Who was Saint Basil?

During the fourth century, one of the greatest Fathers of the Christian Church appeared on the spiritual horizon of the Orthodox Faith. His name was Basil and he was Bishop of Caesarea, Cappadocia (Asia Minor). He was born four years after the First Ecumenical Council held in the year 325 A.D. Saint Basil was one of the three Cappadocian Fathers of the Church (the others were Gregory of Nazianzus, his best friend, and his brother, Gregory of Nyssa). Saint Basil used his family's wealth to establish an orphanage for little children. He also founded the first Christian hospital in the world. His fame as a holy man spread like wildfire throughout the Roman world. He was considered one of the wisest and compassionate clergymen in the entire history of the Church. His feast day is observed on January 1st, the beginning of the New Year and the Epiphany season. The Church, therefore, in respect for his many contributions to the Church and to mankind in general, combined the joy and happiness of the New Year with the glory of the birth of Christ, and the Epiphany into what is known in the Orthodox Church as the vasilopita observance. The vasilopita is a joyous observance, and it is a custom that continues to be observed by Greek Orthodox Christians worldwide.

Our Church Celebration

At the conclusion of the divine liturgy, Father John will be blessing and sharing this special bread in honor of our Universal Church, as well as our local Annunciation Church and her ministry leaders, as we are remembering the inspiring life of St. Basil the Great, who offered his life to God and the needs of the poor.

Annunciation Ministry Leaders will be called to the solea to receive a piece of the vasilopita on behalf of each church ministry. Following the example of St. Basil, we will be charged on this day to receive our blessed piece of bread and then find a way to multiply it in the lives of those in need throughout the year!

PTO News

Our hearts are filled with gratitude and appreciation to the following women who baked and helped make the annual PTO Bake sale a delicious success! Thank you to Cathy Avgiris, Dimitra Ganas, Kiki Malitas, Betsy McGrath, Maria Mountis, Theodora Mikroulis, Anastasia Niamonitos, Stella Nikolopoulos,  Dea Papadopoulos, Rubena Papakirk, and Venetia Voutsinas. 

Thank you to the GOYA and JOY teams along with many members of PTO who volunteered their time to help with set up, preparation and selling of the various baked goods, your continued support and enthusiasm is not only appreciated but essential to the future of all our youth programs.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year!

The PTO Board

Matthew 25 Outreach

Matthew 25 has put away the Angel Tree, delivered the many gifts to the happy recipients, and is now preparing for our next delivery to Seeds of  Hope which is scheduled for 1/22/2020.  January and February are difficult and lean months for the pantry.  Our ministry doesn’t focus on the month of December for food donations. The reason for this is due to individuals and organizations that like to donate once a year to keep up with the spirit of giving.  This is wonderful, but when the cold weather settles in, many people have less work or increased heating bills and once again food insecurities peak. 

Please consider giving more generously during these next few months.  The shelves become so bare, as the needs increase.  Soups, warm cereals, pasta, red sauce, peanut butter, go such a long way.  Think about the foods that keep you warm and full this time of year.  We accept frozen vegetables along with feminine hygiene products. These are just suggestions. 

Please help us deliver more than a carload of non-perishable goods this January.  This is a new year with new resolutions.  If you would like to fulfill your resolution of being more charitable this year, donate or join our team.  Reach out to with any questions.   We look forward to feeding more families this year as our fight to help reduce food insecurities continues. 

Wishing you a blessed and abundant New Year.


To Anna Dalson for being nominated to be our parish Greek School honoree at the 2020 Regional Greek Letters Day Celebration on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

To Dimitra Ganas for being nominated to be our parish PTO honoree at the 2020 Regional Greek Letters Day Celebration on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

Please Mark Your Calendars for Godparents Sunday- February 9, 2020

Serving as a godparent is a great blessing and spiritual responsibility. And if we allow Him to, God nurtures special spiritual relationships between godchildren and godparents and with their families as well.

Celebrating Godparents Sunday is one way of renewing and reaffirming our relationship with God and the special relationships we enjoy with our godparents and godchildren. Please make plans to participate in the divine liturgy with your godchild/godparent on Sunday, Feb 9, 2020.

Reception will follow sponsored by the Annunciation PTO.

Looking Ahead Beyond Next Week...

  • Friday, January 24, 2020, 6 pm- Greek School 3 Hierarchs Program (parish level)
  • Sunday, January 26, 2020, 4 pm- Delaware Valley Three Hierarchs/Greek Letters Celebration. St. Thomas Church, Cherry Hill, NJ
  • Sunday, February 9, 2020- Triodion Starts (Three-week pre-Lenten Season)
        • Godparents Sunday
        • OPA 2020 Planning Meeting
  • Sunday, February 16, 2020- Council of Ministries Meeting
  • Saturday, February  22, 2020- First of Three Saturday of Souls
  • Sunday, February 23, 2020- Judgment Sunday (Meatfare) Sunday
        • Spring General Assembly of Our Parishioners
  • Saturday, February  29, 2020- Lenten Retreat: “Behold The Bridegroom: Preparing for Lent with The Parables of Jesus.”
  • Sunday, March 1, 2020- Forgiveness Sunday
        • Parish Oratorical Festival
  • Monday, March 2, 2020- Clean Monday, Start of Holy and Great Lent
  • Saturday, March 14, 2020- Regional Sights and Sounds Youth Arts Festival. St. Luke Church, Broomall, PA
  • Sunday, March 29, 2020- Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade
  • Sunday, April 13, 2020- Palm Sunday, Stat of Holy Week

Liturgical Items Needed

Prosforo for the Eucharist. We use 2 –3 loaves on Sunday plus a few more for weekday liturgies.  There will never be too much prosforo in stock.  Please do not hesitate to bring any amount at any time!

Charcoal briquettes & incense. Donations are appreciated as we purchase specific king of charcoal & incense.

Thank you!

CrossRoad 2020

CrossRoad is a ten-day academic summer institute that prepares high school juniors and seniors to make big life decisions and invites them to connect with the Orthodox Christian theological and spiritual tradition. 

Participants from all over the country come together to experience daily worship, take theology classes from some of the best professors in the country, visit local parishes, serve their neighbors, tour the city, and even spend a day at the beach.

Click HERE for more information. Application deadline is February 1, 2020


Focus on Our Church Family

Celebrations, Milestones, Gratitude, Comfort & Support

Pastoral care: If you or someone you know is sick, homebound elderly, or scheduled for surgery, please call the church office to let us know so Fr. John can make a pastoral visit, or to add someone to the prayer list.

Let us pray to the Lord for health and salvation: Suffering and persecuted Christians in the Middle East and the non-Christian world, Athena, Stephen, Tom, Sandra, Susan, George, Betty, Antonios, Anthony, Debora, Despina, Nikolaos, George, Yiannis, Eugene, Mary, Maria, Noel, Pavlos, Vincent, Alexandros, Constantino, Dionysios, Elizabeth.

Names will be kept on this list for approximately three months. Please resubmit Names if needed. Fr. John will include the submitted names at the Psokomide “Offering of Gifts” during the first part of the liturgy when he prepares the mystical gifts of bread & wine. Please lift these names to the Lord in your personal prayer life also.

Prayer for healing: Heavenly Father, physician of our souls and bodies, who have sent our Lord to heal every sickness. Visit and heal us. Grant patience in this sickness, the strength of body and spirit, and recovery of health. Lord, You have taught us to pray for each other that we may be healed. We pray that You heal, guide, and protect your servant (s) (pray by name for those who are sick) and grant them the gift of complete health. You are the source of healing, and to You, we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen

Χρόνια πολλα!  Happy birthday!   God grant you many years!  To those celebrating this week: Leonidas Bavas, Charles Millili, Penelope Otto, Delfine Prousi, Joseph Sarver, Thalia Tsiobikas, Betsy Angelis, Angelina Makris, Athanasios Maragoudakis, Michael Thomas, Stephen Zevitas, Antonio Gonzales, Angeliki Karamatsoukas, Peter Kloufetos, Melena Tsoflias, Daphne Calliagas, Christopher Lawrence, Antonios Malitas, Angela McCulloch, Argiris Mountis, Olga Stylianou, Christopher Cosmas, Lazaros Mackrides, Nikolaos Papanikolaou, Haroula Psihogios, Effi Angelikas, Demetra Diamantas, John Ferello, Michael Ferello, Alan Gnessin, Alexandra Marino, Panagiotis Mavrakis, Angeliki Mountis, Maria Stakias Rigalos, Katerine Tsakiris, Constantine Avgiris, Achiles Bezick, Geovanny Cardenas, Greg Driscoll, Joanna Konstantinidis, Yiannis Moustakas, Philip Nanos.



Bulletin Inserts


Help Needed


My name is Andrea Thomas Merrick, and I am an Annunciation parishioner. 

My husband, Alan Gnessin, was diagnosed at age 16 with Type 1 Diabetes. Back then, treatment was much different than today.  Now, there are insulin pens, different types of insulin,  pumps, meters that test your blood without pricking your fingertips and many other medical advances. He followed the rules, watched what he ate, and lived his life.  But, these things don’t stop the progression of this chronic, incurable disease.

Today, Alan has Stage IV Kidney Disease and needs a kidney transplant. This is a daunting milestone.  His quality of life has greatly diminished.  His kidneys are failing with each passing day.  He continues to live the best life that he can but, without a kidney transplant, he will not be able to continue.  That is just the inevitably sad fact for all of us who care so much for him. 

There are two ways of obtaining a kidney. The first is from a deceased donor, which means you are put on the List and wait your turn until a matching kidney becomes available. You must receive dialysis while you wait what could be 5 or more years if you are lucky.

Alternatively, there are living kidney donors.  Having a living kidney donor has better outcomes than a cadaver donor. It also avoids having to wait years on the List for a match and means that the recipient need not spend endless time on dialysis.  This is a true gift.

On behalf of Alan, I am reaching out to you and asking for your help. Would you be willing to be tested to see if you are a compatible donor? Would you be willing to share Alan’s story and ask others? I am hoping that among family, friends, acquaintances and new connections, there is someone out there who can help save a life.  Please know that Alan’s immediate family are not suitable donor candidates, hence this outreach. (Alan has Type O blood, so a direct donor needs to be Type O (+ or -).

If you want to learn more about how the process works to be evaluated as a kidney donor, please go to  If you prefer speaking directly and confidentially with the transplant program, please feel free to reach out to our transplant coordinator at Jefferson at or at 1-888-855-6649.  You can download and complete the Living Donor Medical Assessment and Referral Form at  and e-mail it to if you are interested in being considered as a living kidney donor. This form is the initial screening form.

We are so grateful for your interest, your questions, your help, and your friendship during this very difficult time.

Thank you all for listening to Alan’s story and considering his situation.

Andrea Thomas Merrick, Alan’s wife.

For questions and more information, please contact Fr. John at  215-6350316