Sunday Morning Orthros/Matins 8:15am, Divine Liturgy 9:30am; Saturday Great Vespers 5:00pm (October thru May); Weekday Services (see Online Calendar, Sunday Bulletin & Monthly Newsletter); Confession (by appointment).
As the deliverer of captives, and the protector of the poor; a physician of the sick, the defender of kings; O Great Martyr St. George Victorious, intercede to Christ our God, to save our souls.
Saints Hermylus and Stratonicus contested for piety's sake during the reign of Licinius, in the year 314. Saint Hermylus was a deacon, and Stratonicus was his friend. For his confession of Christ, Hermylus was beaten so fiercely that his whole body was covered with wounds. Stratonicus, seeing him endure this and other torments that left him half dead, wept with grief for his friend. From this he was discovered to be a Christian, and when he had openly professed his Faith and had been beaten, he and Hermylus were cast into the Danube River, receiving the crown of martyrdom.
The holy Hierarch Hilary was born of pagan parents in Gaul, and was trained in philosophy and rhetoric. At a time when paganism was still strong in Gaul, Saint Hilary understood the falsehood of polytheism, and became a Christian, and a great defender of his new Faith. About the year 350 he was ordained Bishop of Poitiers, when Arles and Milan were in the hands of the Arians and the Arian Constantius was sole Emperor. Like his contemporary Saint Athanasius, Saint Hilary's episcopate was one long struggle against the Arians. As bishop of Poitiers, Saint Hilary foresaw the future greatness of Martin (see Nov. 12), and attached him to himself. In 355, when required to agree to the condemnation of Saint Athanasius passed by the Council of Milan, Hilary wrote an epistle to Constantius convicting the wrongs done by the Arians and requesting, among other things, the restoration of the Orthodox bishops, including Athanasius. For this, Hilary was banished to Asia Minor, where he wrote his greatest work, On the Trinity. Saint Hilary returned to his see in 360, where Saint Martin sought him out again. It was this time that Saint Hilary blessed Martin to found a monastery near Poitiers, where Martin remained until being consecrated Bishop of Tours in 371. In his last years, Saint Hilary, strove for the deposition of Auxentius, the Arian Bishop of Milan, but by affecting an Orthodox confession Auxentius retained his see. Saint Hilary reposed in peace about the year 368. Auxentius died in 374 and was succeeded by Saint Ambrose, who continued Saint Hilary's battle against Arianism.
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. 1st 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.
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."
Baptism of Christ & of Christians (1-6-2019)
The glorious Feast of Theophany is celebrated every year on January 6th. It centers on the event of the Lord’s baptism in the Jordan River. It is an occasion for us to reflect on the meaning of not only Jesus’ baptism but our own baptism as well. Bishop Theophilos of Campania (1749-1795) wrote a short treatise about this and I share much of that and more today.
Let us start with Jesus’ Baptism. If Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect man, why was He baptized? In order to reveal truth, to show the way, and sanctify the waters and through the waters the whole of creation. We’ll cover the first two.
Reveal Truth- that Jesus is the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ for “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him” (Mt.3:16); that Jesus is the Son of God the Father, “a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (v.17). Jesus said later, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
Show the Way- Jesus became an example for humans to follow. Jesus submitted to baptism in order to teach us how we should behave in order to attract the grace of the Holy Spirit. The omnipotent and all-powerful eternal Word and Son of God takes the form of servant submits Himself to His own servant. He who was without sin, submits to baptism for the cleansing of sin. This is all summed up in one word—humility.
Jesus shows us the way to regeneration. After His own baptism, He went immediately into the desert and fasted 40 days and nights. Jesus was also tempted by the devil and conquered him. Thus, Jesus teaches us that we cannot undergo the temptations of the devil without fasting, and both of these are based on the grace of the Holy Spirit which we receive at our baptism. Furthermore, when Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened (Mt.3:16) to show that every time a human person is baptized, the heavens are opened. And this way to heaven remains open if we keep our baptism undefiled.
John the Baptist hesitated to baptize Jesus because he knew Jesus was greater than himself. 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt.3:15). Thus, Jesus demonstrates by example that we also must fulfill righteousness, in other words, we must follow Divine Law. This is why Jesus also submitted to circumcision, the Sabbaths and feasts, to show that He was not an opponent of the Law. For He said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Mt.5:17).
Next, let’s discuss Christian Baptism, our own baptism We Christians are baptized because Jesus ordered His disciples to do so. After His resurrection, Jesus told them, 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Mt.28:19-20). The first and primary teaching is to reject the deception of idolatry which is the worship of creation instead of the Creator, for God said to Moses “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). This is clearly evident in our own day as more people turn away from faith in God towards faith in humanity. What is the result? Endless perversions and redefinitions of human identity.
Another hot topic today is equality. But we forget that God reaffirmed the equality of all human beings in Christian baptism because it is necessary and done the same for all people: kings and subjects, rich and poor, men and women. The grace that God bestows in baptism is the same for everyone.
In Orthodox Christian baptism submersion and emersion occur three times. We know this symbolizes the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What we may not know is that it also symbolizes Christ’s three-day burial. In the early Church, some were doing this only once instead of three times. This was considered inappropriate and contrary to the Lord’s teaching such that Canon 49 of the Holy Apostles specifically forbade the practice and imposed strict penances for violating the triple standard.
Several pre-figurations or types of baptism appear in the Old Testament. We heard about several of them in the Royal Hours readings on Friday and the Vespers last night. One of the most famous is Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea as they fled from the Pharaoh’s Egyptian army (Exodus 14). We remember well that the Israelites were saved by God in the midst of the waters. What we may forget is that the Egyptian army perished in the same waters. Something similar takes place in our own baptism. It saves those who believe but it condemns those who do not believe. This is why we are obliged to continuously cultivate our faith and never defy our own baptism, so that we too may not perish in the waters of unbelief.
Christian baptism only occurs once. That’s what we confess in the Creed, “I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.” But why? Because Christ was buried and rose from the dead only once. Again, the early Church had to deal with people who sought and practice multiple baptisms because they sinned after their previous baptism.
The Apostle Paul addressed when he said, 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
Instead of rebaptism, Orthodox Christianity practices the Sacrament of Tears, what we call the Mystery of Penance or Confession. Sadly, few of us partake of it regularly or at all.
In his primary teaching about baptism, the Apostle Paul said, 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life… 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:4,11). Thus, baptism is a paradigm of putting the devil and sin to death, but one transposing us from the earthly to the heavenly, from death to life, reigning with Christ forever. That is why Clement of Alexandria says, “those who are baptized are illumined; and those who are illumined are adopted as sons; and those who are adopted as sons become perfect; and those who become perfected become immortal.” Therefore, we see that this transposition is progressive, not instantaneous.
However, as we close today, if you want to know the instantaneous way to sanctification and perfection, I share the miraculous example of the power of baptism. There are several saints in our tradition who carry the name Porphyrios. Two of them were mimes or actors. One lived during the reign of Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate in the late fourth century (Sept.15) and the other during the reign of Emperor Aurelian in the late third century (Nov.4). Both actors were trying to be funny by mocking Christian baptism in their play or skit. They had a font, they donned the robes, they even had other actors portraying bishops and priests. But these two were the ones being baptized. After being submersed three times in the name of the Trinity, both were suddenly wounded by love for Christ and then openly and truly confessed Him as the true God. The spectators and other actors thought it was part of the comedy routine, but both insisted that they indeed were now followers of Christ. Because of their new-found faith, they were both tortured and martyred for Christ.
My brothers and sisters, these two Porphyrioi mocked baptism but afterwards became saints. Let us who take our own baptism or that of our children seriously, not make light of it afterwards by turning away from the continuing life of baptism in the Church. Amen!
ST. GEORGE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH
Rev. Fr. Richard Demetrius Andrews, Presbyter
1111 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105, (651) 222-6220, www.stgeorgegoc.org
January 13, 2019 SUNDAY AFTER THEOPHANY
TODAY’S EVENTS: Parish Council Oath of Office 11:30am;Vasilopita Celebration 11:45am; Youth basketball practice at St. Paul Downtown YMCA 12:30pm.
Epistle Reader: Stephen Kanavati Prosfora: anonymous
Fellowship: Philoptochos Head Greeter: Jimmy Theros
Monday 01-14 Catechism Class “Introduction to Orthodox Christianity” with Fr. Rick 7:00PM
Tuesday 01-15 Parish Council meeting 6:30PM
Thursday 01-17 AHEPA meeting 7:00PM
Friday 01-18 Youth Winter Camp near Hudson, WI through Jan 21
Saturday 01-19 VESPERS 5:00PM
Sunday 01-20 ORTHROS (8:15am) &DIVINE LITURGY – 12th SUNDAY OF LUKE 9:30AM
Youth basketball practice at St. Paul Downtown YMCA 12:30PM
Greek Dance practice 4:30PM
New Parish Council Installed: today at end of Liturgy with Oath of Office service. They will then elect the officers for Year 2019. Please keep our council in your prayers that they may be faithful leaders.
Vasilopita Celebration Today: sponsored by Philoptochos, will begin with traditional cutting of the Vasilopita by Fr. Rick assisted by the youth. A silent auction of Vasilopitas in the social hall afterwards. All proceeds go to Saint Basil Academy, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese home for children in upstate New York. The academy provides a loving Christian environment where resident children are nurtured to adulthood. Give generously!
Intro to Orthodoxy- the cooperative catechism program of classes begins tomorrow Monday, January 14th and will continue on Monday evenings 7-9pm for twelve weeks. This is an excellent opportunity to refresh the knowledge of our Orthodox Christian Faith. Classes are open to everyone but required for those planning to convert. For more info and to register online, visit https://tinyurl.com/yccynqsr
Think About It: Never risk the health and life our soul by being resentful or bearing grudges. St. Gregory of Nyss (+395)
40 Day Churching- Tabitha Kazaglis and baby Maxwell were churched on Sunday, January 6th. Congratulations to the whole family including dad Louis!
March for Life- on Tuesday January 22, 2019 Orthodox Christians in the Twin Cities will join with thousands across the country to bear witness that all life is sacred. After Divine Liturgy here for the Apostle Timothy, a bus will pick up (10am) and transport people to the Catholic Cathedral of St. Paul for a 10:30am service and then a march to the State Capitol building for the rally and return to St. George approximately 1pm.
Sunday Social Hour Coordinator needed- Volunteer from home. Work at your pace. Get to know parishioners. Past coordinator will work with you for questions. Written instructions provided.
Note from Treasurer: please include designations on checks when making contributions to the church. A few words on the memo line noting the purpose of the check (e.g. 2018 stewardship, 2019 stewardship, memorial, capital campaign) is extremely helpful for bookkeeping, thank you!
Bible Study: meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 1:30-3pm in the conference room at church. RSVP or questions to Kathy Ryan 651-292-9948 or Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org. All are welcome!
Roselawn Cemetery Lots: 2019 prices are: $6,120 for a Monument Lot (2 graves); $3,825 for a Flat Lot A (2 graves); $2,167.50 for a Flat Lot B (1 grave). Single graves have limited availability. Contact church today!
Exterior Restoration- Brick, block and tuckpointing have been completed. Cost of project is $118,647. We have raised over $72,505 from our parishioners and friends. Please join us in this important work. Thank you!
Church Fathers Speak: How do you reproach yourself? Very simply. Listen to your conscience because it immediately speaks out and censures us. Then, we only need to agree that we acted wrongly and humbly turn to God with prayer for forgiveness. St. Barsanuphios (+540)
Youth Minister Position Open: applications are now being accepted for this part time position. To apply, email a resume, cover letter and two references to Fr. Rick at email@example.com.
Woman's Bracelet Found: please contact the church office if you lost a bracelet last Sunday, January 6.
Basketball Practices: Sundays Jan 6-Feb 3 from 12:30-2:30pm at St. Paul Downtown YMCA, 194 Sixth St E, St Paul, MN 55101. Coaches are Boys- Milam Paraschou & George Mastrogiorgis, JOY Coed- Elena Condos, Women- Anastasia Mastrogiorgis, Men- Luke Simon. Contact Dan Simon to confirm registration for the tournament. Register for the tournament and book hotels now before cost increases on January 15th.
2019 Basketball Tourney: hosted by Annunciation Church, Milwaukee, February 8-10. Player Registration, click here. Meal registration is separate click here. Early Bird Weekend Package is $90/adult, $55/child until Jan 14; afterwards $110/adult, $60/child until Jan 28. Rooms $119/night at the Brookfield Hotel, 375 South Moorland Rd, Brookfield, WI 53005, 262-364-1100 or here. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patristic Wisdom: By unceasing inner watchfulness we can perceive what is entering into us and shut the door if necessary, calling upon our Lord Jesus Christ to repel malevolent adversaries. Inner attentiveness obstructs the demons by rebutting them. And Jesus, when invoked, disperses them together with all their fantasies. St. Philotheos of Sinai (+1380)
IOCC Job Opening in Minneapolis: the IOCC US Field Office is hiring a full time Administrative Project Assistant. Please see posting in social hall or https://www.iocc.org/careers/administrative-project-assistant. Deadline for application is January 18.
Pan-Orthodox Ethnic Dance Party- Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at 7pm, St. Mary’s GOC in Minneapolis; all ages invited. Instruction in at least one Arab, Bulgarian, Greek, Romanian, Russian and Serbian dance. If possible, please bring an appetizer or dessert to share. A cash bar priced to cover expenses will be provided. Event is free; but rsvp at https://stmarysgoc.org/pan-orthodox-ethnic-dance-party/
Wisdom from the Fathers: Throw out of your head the idea that you can through a comfortable life, become what you must be in Christ. St. Theophan the Recluse (+1894)
Things Sound Different- yes, that’s right, the Sunday liturgy is sounding a bit different the last few months. That’s because the choir is using minor mode from the Cherubic Hymn through the Epiklesis/Consecration. Although this is new to our community, it is not innovative or novel in the Tradition. Many Greek Orthodox churches throughout the United States and the world do this. Minor mode conveys a mystical and penitential quality that is so important to our Orthodox Christian phronema (mindset). Fr. Rick has encouraged this addition to the choir’s repertoire for many years. Recently, they accepted the challenge and are working hard to execute it better each and every Sunday. Please support them and seek to understand what minor mode is all about.
Welcome Visitors Thank you for joining with us in prayer and fellowship. The worship of the Orthodox Church is deeply rooted in and very similar to that of the early Christian Church. Unique sensory stimuli and mystery are elements that go back even to the liturgy of the Jewish temple. Everything in an Orthodox Christian church communicates the majestic presence of God the Holy Trinity with His Saints. It is literally heaven on earth. It is a sad consequence of the divisions in Christianity that we cannot extend a general invitation to receive Holy Communion. Visitors are invited to receive the blessed bread (antithoron) at the conclusion of the liturgy. We pray and work for the reconciliation and unity of all Christians. If you are interested in learning more about Orthodoxy, please contact Fr. Rick at email@example.com. We are proud of our Greek heritage, but one does not have to be of Greek descent, nor speak Greek to be a Greek Orthodox Christian.
Note to Orthodox about Holy Communion: Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is one of the most Holy experiences for a Christian in order to be granted the forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. We are never worthy to partake of Divine Nature. Yet, it is essential that we prepare ourselves for this sacred Communion by constant prayer, reading the Scriptures, regular fasting and periodic Confession. At a minimum, we should fast all morning before Communion, arrive at the beginning of Liturgy, and come for Confession at least once a year. In addition, we should not have separated ourselves from the Church through serious sin. Otherwise, please refrain from Communion to avoid “judgment…not discerning the Lord’s body” (1Cor. 11:29). Contact Fr. Rick for pastoral guidance.