Every Saturday we have Great Vespers (unless otherwise noted) at 6:00 p.m. Every Sunday - Orthros at 8:50 a.m., Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m. Weekday Services are as listed on the Calendar and Community News.
Every Sunday we have Orthros beginning at 8:50 a.m. and Divine Liturgy beginning at 10:00 a.m. Saturday evenings we have Great Vespers at 6:00 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Weekday services are listed below and begin at 9:00 a.m. with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy. Unless otherwise stated service will be at St. George.
(Note: All services are at 9:00 a.m. and at St. George unless otherwise noted)
3rd, Monday - Paraklesis @ 7 p.m.
5th, Wednesday - Great Vespers @ 7 p.m.
6th, Thursday - Holy Tranfiguration @ 9 a.m.
7th, Friday - Paraklesis @ 7 p.m.
10th, Monday - Paraklesis @ 7 p.m.
12th, Wednesday - Paraklesis @ 7 p.m.
14th, Friday - Great Vespers @ 7 p.m.
15th, Saturday - Dormition of the Theotokos @ 9 a.m.
29th, Saturday - Beheading of St. John the Baptist @ 9 a.m.
The Church is now open to the public. We will continue to stream on YouTube. To view online go to our website www.saintgeorgeokc.org, FaceBook page and click on the link or click on the link below.
Living out every day with joyfulness of heart
The renowned 19th century Russian saint, Seraphim of Sarov (1759-1833), said of himself, “I don’t know anything”. These words were remarkable coming from a hermit who was the most sought after spiritual adviser of his age, with even the Tsar seeking out his counsel. Yet Saint Seraphim recognized that he was but a funnel from which anything good that came out of him, was from God.
As a priestmonk, I am often troubled by the knowledge that I am a poor example to others, and that I fall short, daily, of living out the image of Christ in me. Yet I am compelled to live out every day with joyfulness of heart, no matter what. I am also compelled to preach, teach, and write of the things of the Lord, and to try to trust God, no matter what. I try, as best I can, to remember the words, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4)”.
I try to remember the words of Saint Basil the Fool for Christ, whose holy relics reside in Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, who said, “winter is cold, but paradise is sweet”. Knowing that true validation comes only from God, I try not to be hurt when I do not receive validation from my peers, remembering that I am called upon to give to others what I want to receive.
Like Saint Anthony the Great, I cry out to God, “where are You?”, all the while floating in a river of grace. I want to be a friend of God, yet often feel like the chick who has been pushed out of the nest by the mother eagle.
Yet I am comforted by the counsel of Saint Seraphim, who instructed his spiritual children with the words: “When despondency seizes us, let us not give in to it. Rather, fortified and protected by the light of faith, let us with great courage say to the spirit of evil: “What are you to us, you who are cut off from God, a fugitive for Heaven, and a slave of evil? You dare not do anything to us: Christ, the Son of God, has dominion over us and over all. Leave us, you thing of bane. We are made steadfast by the uprightness of His Cross. Serpent, we trample on your head.”
With love in Christ,
Christian morality, ethics, and liturgical services are inconceivable in the absence of love
Our liturgical rites and religious traditions are of no value if we have not love and mercy. When we rise to a sincere evangelical love for others, we become God’s collaborators, for our Christian love and mercy is the most divine trait possible for the human being. Our mercy is the expression of our love of God, for it is in our love of God that our mercy is poured out upon those who suffer, and upon those who are ill, or helpless in body and mind. Our Christian mercy springs from love and is a concrete expression of love.
Our religious rites and practices are not an end in themselves, but vehicles by which we enter into a profound relationship with God, Who is love. The very essence of our Christian faith is love because God Himself is love (1 John 4:8). Thus, our Christian morality, our ethics, and even our liturgical services and rites, are inconceivable in the absence of love. And, this love is not merely an act that has sprung up from a sense of ethical duty, but something that binds our world, the one seen, to the heavenly world, that world unseen. One world is temporal, and the other world is eternal, yet both have been created by God. The temporal world is wherein we exercise, preparing ourselves for the eternal world. Mercy and love is the means by which both are connected.
With love in Christ,
The energy of the mind inside the heart
It has been said that humans are a microcosm of the whole universe because we have within ourselves the entire material world. Created as we were for immortality, it is our fallen nature that has separated us from that which God had intended. When we avail ourselves to the transformational healing that comes with repentance, we will see the Kingdom of God, which is within.
In the patristic tradition the heart is the center of our self-awareness, something the holy fathers also refer to as our “noetic faculty”.
The Ancient Church taught that knowledge of God comes only through the noetic science of the heart. Mind and logic are not the same thing, since logic functions within the brain, while the mind functions within the heart. Thus, the noetic faculty of the heart is the energy of the mind inside the heart. This means that the Church sees herself not as a religious institution, but rather a hospital of the soul, wherein one comes for therapeutic procedures that restore the health of the soul, and allow for the ultimate goal of union with God (theosis).
It was humankind’s mishandling of the memory of God that led to the fall, and the cure comes through the reactivation of the eye of the soul (the nous). This memory is not the reclamation of something of an historical nature, but rather the opening up of a knowledge that has always been there. This healing is not of a juridical nature whereby an angry God has decided to overlook the evil and fallen nature of our souls by the bloodletting of His Son, but by the cleansing of the nous that has been darkened, thus restoring us to health and wholeness. The memory of God is restored, and we are again in full communion with the Most High, freed from the permanency of death by the trampling down of the power of death through Christ’s Holy Resurrection.
The purpose of the Church’s presence in the world is for the cure of humankind, and the restoration of the hearts of men and women. The Church thus functions as a therapy centered hospital, and the priests function as therapists. This Divine-human Organism is the living Body of Christ, the Church, and is life itself. The healing of the nous that comes within the life of the Church returns us to our true nature.
In this state of wholeness our faculties are able to use logic and reason as it was meant to be used. Reason and logic become the rightful vehicle by which we can explore the universe, and behold all that God has created, and science, nature, and even the cosmos, can be seen in the light of a heart that is the center of our self-awareness.
Love in Christ,
In Our Prayers
On Sunday, August 23rd we will have a 6 month memorial service for Dimitrios Smirlis. May his memory be eternal.
Our BUZZED with BLESSINGS fundraiser continues in a time of social distancing. The Bees might be a nice alternative! $50, includes 30 Bees, occasion card & honey. Thank you! Take care & prayers for our community. Contact the Church office or a Philoptochos member to schedule any upcomming BUZZED with BLESSINGS date.
Until further notice, we will not be having Fellowship Hour.
2nd - Catherine Chrysant
6th - Catherine Chrysant (Holy Transfiguration)
9th - Vana Economopoulos
15th - Fofo Bargeliotis (Dormition of the Theotokos)
16th - Fofo Bargeliotis
23rd - Tasia Smirlis
29th - Litza Angelidis (Beheading of St. John the Baptist)
30th - Litza Angelidis
St. Paul writes, "The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in rememberance of me.'" (1 Cor. 11:24).
We are in need of Prosfora bakers. Our ladies and gentlemen have diminished over the years. The greatest part of this is everyone qualifies! Anyone young and old can make Prosfora. We would only ask a few times per year to prepare bread for a Divine Liturgy. What better way for a family to give of themselves and their love for the Church.
Prosfora can be kneaded in a bread machine, with a mixer that has dough hooks, or by hand. It can easily bge an individual's or an offering made by the whole family. Children love to knead bread or be able to put the seal on and for the children it is a learning experience. It is a great offering of life and love to God.
Please call the Church office if you would like to offer this gift.
Ninth Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 20:19-31
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them: "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him: "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them: "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said: "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
Prokeimenon. Plagal Fourth Mode. 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 the Corinthians 3:9-17.
Brethren, we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw - each man's work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
9th Sunday of Matthew
The Reading is from Matthew 14:22-34
At that time, Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was many furlongs distant from the land, beaten by the waves; for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately he spoke to them, saying "Take heart, it is I; have no fear."
And Peter answered him, "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water." He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus; but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "O man of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they entered the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
After Judas by transgression fell from his apostleship (Acts 1: 25), and hanging himself out of despair ended his life with a wretched and shameful death (Matt. 27: 5), then, that the number of the Twelve not be lacking, all the disciples gathered in one place after the Ascension of the Savior (the number of men and women being 120), and they chose two men from among them, Joseph, called Barsabas, who was also surnamed Justus, and Matthias, and they set them in the midst. Then they prayed to God and cast lots, "and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven Apostles" (Acts 1: 15-26). And thus, having taken the place of Judas, Matthias fulfilled the work of apostleship and the prophecy concerning Judas, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David: "And his bishopric let another take" (Ps. 108(109):8). After this, it is said, Matthias preached the Gospel in Ethiopia, and completed his life there in martyrdom.
This Saint, who was born in Spain, was the Archdeacon of the Church of Rome, caring for the sacred vessels of the Church and distributing money to the needy. About the year 257, a harsh persecution was raised up against the Christians by Valerian. Pope Sixtus, who was from Athens, was commanded to worship the idols, and refused; before his martyrdom by beheading, he committed to Laurence all the sacred vessels of the Church. When Laurence was arrested and brought before the Prefect, he was questioned concerning the treasures of the Church; he asked for three days' time to prepare them. He then proceeded to gather all the poor and needy, and presented them to the Prefect and said, "Behold the treasures of the Church." The Prefect became enraged at this and gave command that Laurence be racked, then scourged with scorpions (a whip furnished with sharp iron points - compare II Chron. 10:11), then stretched out on a red-hot iron grill. But the courageous athlete of Christ endured without groaning. After he had been burned on one side, he said, "My body is done on one side; turn me over on the other." And when this had taken place, the Martyr said to the tyrants, "My flesh is now well done, you may taste of it." And when he had said this, and had prayed for his slayers in imitation of Christ, he gave up his spirit on August 10, 258.
This Martyr was from Catania in Sicily and contested during the reign of Diocletian. He presented himself of his own accord to Calvisianus the Governor, who put him to exceedingly harsh torments. As Euplus was on the rack, Calvisianus commanded him to worship Mars, Apollo, and Aesculapius; he answered he worshipped the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He was beheaded in the year 304.
These Martyrs contested in Nicomedia about the year 288. When Diocletian stirred up his persecution of the Christians, Anicetus presented himself openly and said that all who worship idols are blind and senseless. He was beaten with rods so ruthlessly that his bones appeared from the rents and wounds in his flesh. As he was suffering further torments, his nephew Photius came and embraced him, calling him his father and his uncle. He was also put to many tortures with him. They were then imprisoned together for three years. Finally they were cast into a furnace, where they gave up their spirits, and their bodies were preserved unharmed. Saint Anicetus is one of the Holy Unmercenaries.
The divine Maximus, who was from Constantinople, sprang from an illustrious family. He was a lover of wisdom and an eminent theologian. At first, he was the chief private secretary of the Emperor Heraclius and his grandson Constans. But when the Monothelite heresy became predominant in the royal court, out of hatred for this error the Saint departed for the Monastery at Chrysopolis (Scutari), of which he later became the abbot. When Constans tried to constrain him either to accept the Monothelite teaching, or to stop speaking and writing against it - neither of which the Saint accepted to do - his tongue was uprooted and his right hand was cut off, and he was sent into exile, where he reposed in 662. At the time only he and his few disciples were Orthodox in the East. See also January 21.
Saint Dorotheos was born in Antioch, Syria, in the year 506 or 508 A.D. He began his education very early in life and profited from the social statusof his parents. He received a classical education in the Greco-Roman world, which included medical studies, thus allowing him to work as a physician. Despite his great mind, Dorotheos yearned for a life of seclusion in the monastery. He inquired through letters with the holy men Barsanuphius and John (see February 6th) as how to begin the process towards monasticism. Many of these letters exist to this day and provide insight to the life of Dorotheos and his relationship with his mentors.
Dorotheos entered the monastery of Thawatha where Barsanuphius and John lived. His quick mind and advanced education made life in the monastery difficult as he struggled with social encounters and even challenged his abbot when he knew of better ways to run the monastery. This struggle against pride lasted a great while and served as an ongoing lesson for Dorotheos. He worked as assistant to the holy father John and enjoyed this position of communication between John and the rest of the community.
As he progressed in the spiritual life, Dorotheos was given spiritual charge over younger monks to which he was hesitant to accept as he struggled with interactions with others. Despite his reservations, Dorotheos took charge over a young man named Dositheos and taught him the monastic life, a relationship which proved to be difficult but beneficial for both. When John died, Dorotheos left the monastery of Thawatha and founded his own monastery where he took charge of many young monks, training them in the spiritual art.
Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk was born in 1724 into a very poor family of the Novgorod province, and was named Timothy in holy Baptism. In his youth he was sent to seminary in Novgorod where he received a good education and later taught Greek and other subjects. Having received the monastic tonsure with the name Tikhon, in the same year he was ordained deacon and priest, and appointed two years later as rector of the Seminary in Tver. In 1761 he was consecrated Bishop of Kexholm and Ladoga, and in 1763 nominated Bishop of Voronezh, a difficult diocese to administer because of its large size and transient population, which included many schismatics. Feeling the burden of the episcopacy to be beyond his strength, the Saint resigned in 1767, retiring first to the Monastery of Tolshevo, and later to the monastery at Zadonsk, where he remained until his blessed repose. In retirement, he devoted all his time to fervent prayer and the writing of books. His treasury of books earned him the title of "the Russian Chrysostom", whose writings he employed extensively; simple in style, replete with quotes from the Holy Scriptures, they treat mostly of the duties of Christians, with many parables taken from daily life. In them the Christian is taught how to oppose the passions and cultivate the virtues. A large collection of the Saint's letters are included in his works, and these give a wealth of spiritual guidance directed both to the laity and monastics. Saint Tikhon reposed in peace in 1783, at the age of fifty-nine. Over sixty years later, in 1845, when a new church was built in Zadonsk in place of the church where he was buried, it was necessary to remove his body. Although interred in a damp place, his relics were found to be whole and incorrupt; even his vestments were untouched by decay. Many miracles were worked by Saint Tikhon after his death, and some three hundred thousand pilgrims attended his glorification on August 13, 1863. He is one of the most beloved Russian Saints, and is invoked particularly for the protection and upbringing of children.
This Prophet (whose name means "who is like God?"), was a Morasthite from the land of Judah. He prophesied more than fifty years in the days of Joatham, Ahaz, and Hezekias, Kings of Judah. These kings reigned in the eighth century before Christ. From this it is clear that this Michaias is not the one who was the son of Iembla (or Imlah-III Kings 22:8), who censured Ahab and was murdered by Ahab's son Joram, as the Synaxaristes says; for this Joram reigned the ninth century before Christ. Yet Michaias was still prophesying, as mentioned above, in the days of Hezekias, who was a contemporary of Hosea and Esaias, and of Hoshea, the last King of the ten tribes of Israel, when that kingdom was destroyed by Salmanasar (Shalmaneser), King of the Assyrians (IV Kings 17: 1 - 16; 18: 1). This Michaias is sixth in rank among the minor Prophets. His book of prophecy is divided into seven chapters; he prophesied that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Michaias 5: 2). In the reign of Saint Theodosius the Great, the holy relics of the Prophets Michaias and Abbacum were found through a divine revelation to Zebennus, Bishop of Eleutheropolis (Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., Book VII, 29).
Concerning the Dormition of the Theotokos, this is what the Church has received from ancient times from the tradition of the Fathers. When the time drew nigh that our Savior was well-pleased to take His Mother to Himself, He declared unto her through an Angel that three days hence, He would translate her from this temporal life to eternity and bliss. On hearing this, she went up with haste to the Mount of Olives, where she prayed continuously. Giving thanks to God, she returned to her house and prepared whatever was necessary for her burial. While these things were taking place, clouds caught up the Apostles from the ends of the earth, where each one happened to be preaching, and brought them at once to the house of the Mother of God, who informed them of the cause of their sudden gathering. As a mother, she consoled them in their affliction as was meet, and then raised her hands to Heaven and prayed for the peace of the world. She blessed the Apostles, and, reclining upon her bed with seemliness, gave up her all-holy spirit into the hands of her Son and God.
With reverence and many lights, and chanting burial hymns, the Apostles took up that God-receiving body and brought it to the sepulchre, while the Angels from Heaven chanted with them, and sent forth her who is higher than the Cherubim. But one Jew, moved by malice, audaciously stretched forth his hand upon the bed and immediately received from divine judgment the wages of his audacity. Those daring hands were severed by an invisible blow. But when he repented and asked forgiveness, his hands were restored. When they had reached the place called Gethsemane, they buried there with honor the all-immaculate body of the Theotokos, which was the source of Life. But on the third day after the burial, when they were eating together, and raised up the artos (bread) in Jesus' Name, as was their custom, the Theotokos appeared in the air, saying "Rejoice" to them. From this they learned concerning the bodily translation of the Theotokos into the Heavens.
These things has the Church received from the traditions of the Fathers, who have composed many hymns out of reverence, to the glory of the Mother of our God (see Oct. 3 and 4).