9 AM Orthros Prayer Service
10 AM Divine Liturgy Communion Service
Wednesdays except during Summer and Holiday Breaks
7 PM Bible Study or Discussion Group
Father will be back in town early, so we WILL have Sunday services on January 9 & January 16.
BLESSINGS & FAREWELL TO THE AZKOUL FAMILY
We have been blessed to have Aaron & Rebecca Azkoul and family with us during their time at Goodfellow Air Force Base. This week we received the following letter from Rebecca:
Your blessings, Father,We pray you and your family are having a safe and enjoyable trip.Assumption was such a welcoming and kind parish, and we were so grateful to be a small part of it. Aaron’s orders have us leaving this weekend (the 8th) back to St. Louis.We will miss you all and pray for you.Thank you again for your support and friendship.Forgive me,Rebecca Azkoul (and family!)
Please return your pledge cards promptly. Pledge cards aren't a binding contract. They aren't an attempt to predict the future. They show what you think you can give to the church as part of your care and upkeep for it. If you have a change in circumstances like a job loss, job change, etc., then just let the priest know what is going on and it will be fine. Thank you.
We still need about $7,000 to finish paying off the new HVAC system. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.
If you haven't donated yet, please consider making at least a small donation. Every bit helps.
If the Covid situation continues to be mild, and the Bishop gives his blessing to do so, then we will be able to resume the typical Orthodox practice of house blessings in 2022. These will occur in January and February. A sign-up list will be posted in the Social Hall. House blessings are your opportunity to have a special blessing said for you and your house. It's a special service that really makes a house feel like a home.
UPCOMING SPECIAL SERVICES
Wednesday, February 2, the feast day of the Presentation of the Lord at the Temple: 9 am Orthros, 9:45 am Divine Liturgy
Saturday, February 26, Saturday of Souls, 9 am Orthros, 10 am Liturgy
Sunday, February 27, Meatfare Sunday, 9 am Orthros, 10 am Liturgy
Saturday, March 6, Saturday of Souls, 9 am Orthros, 10 am Liturgy
Sunday, March 7, Sunday of Forgiveness, 9 am Orthros, 10 am Liturgy, with Vespers of Forgiveness immediately following Liturgy, and coffee hour following the Vespers
Monday, March 7, Lent begins, with Great Compline at 7 pm. Start Lent off right with attending the Great Compline. We will also have six Lenten Service Projects for everyone to participate in.
WAYS YOU CAN HELP
We always need prosforo bakers. If you'd like to sign up, see Fr. Mark.
We need people to help bring food to coffee hour. If you don't want to sponsor the entire meal, you could team up with someone, or just volunteer to bring one dish. There is a sign-up sheet in the kitchen.
We are looking for volunteers to read the Epistle on Sundays. You could read aloud or chant it, whichever you prefer. If you don't know how to chant it, we can teach you. See Father or John Choate.
Saints for the Week: See the write-ups we have down below in this bulletin. The saints' stories are very interesting and helpful to us.
Send your prayer requests to Fr. Mark. Also send your requests for visits to the sick and the hospitalized. These days, hospitals do not release patient information or call the priest, so you need to let Father know yourself.
When you travel, find an Orthodox parish and go to church! They are easy to find online. Why should we visit other parishes when we go on vacation? Because God doesn't take a break from us, so we shouldn't take a break from Him!
Whenever we cannot attend church services, we should still find a way to worship God.
Please join us for Coffee Hour. Take the initiative to stay, meet, and talk with one another, so we can build strong bonds of friendship and community.
Since we won't have regular Sundays til later in January, I'm putting down everyone who has a "date" between now and when we are getting back to regular services
Birthdays: Joanna Garcia
Namedays: Hilary Choate (St. Hilary of Poitiers)
Seventh Orthros Gospel
The Reading is from John 20:1-10
On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Prokeimenon. 1st Tone. 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."
Saint Polyeuctus, a soldier in rank, contested during the reign of Valerian, in the year 255. He was from Melitene, a city in Armenia.
Our Father among the Saints Philip, Metropolitan of Moscow, was born in 1507 of noble family, and served for a time in the royal court. While still a young man, he secretly left Moscow and entered Solovki Monastery in the north, about the year 1538, a little over a hundred years after its founding. Because of his spiritual stature he was chosen against his will to succeed Abbot Alexis in 1548. As abbot, Philip was a great builder and beautifier of Solovki Monastery. He laid the foundations for the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, constructed cells, hermitages, and a hospital for the monks and for pilgrims, established a cattle yard on one of the islands, drained swamps and connected waterways by a series of canals and damns, built a mill and various workshops, and even invented ingenious machines and implements to help the monks in their work. His fame spread, and in 1566, by the will of Tsar Ivan IV, he was raised to the rank of Metropolitan of Moscow.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible revered Philip, even as Herod had revered Saint John the Baptist, and he had been a generous benefactor of Solovki Monastery. But because the Tsar had established the oprichnina, a state within a state, giving power to the oprichniki, who used it to oppress and rob the innocent, Philip told him the he could not be Metropolitan if the Tsar suffered the oprichniki to continue in power. This angered the Tsar, he told Philip that it was not for him to interfere in matters of state, and many hierarchs prevailed upon Philip to accept the Metropolitan's throne. But as the horrors committed by the oprichniki grew worse-thefts, false accusations, murders, and all manner of injustice and rapacity, with the knowledge of the Sovereign- Saint Philip could not remain silent. He rebuked the Tsar once and again for the reign of terror that he had brought upon his own people. The Tsar warned him to hold his peace and bless him to do as he wished. The Metropolitan answered that his silence brought sin upon the Sovereign. The Tsar threatened him with his wrath, and told him to resign his throne if he were not willing to comply. Saint Philip answered that he had not sought the Metropolitan's throne, and it was the Tsar who had deprived him of his hermitage on Solovki; but now the pastoral burden was upon him, he would not remain silent when the canons of the Church were broken.
The more the Tsar threatened Philip with his wrath, the more the holy hierarch stood fast and threatened the Tsar with judgment of God; Philip alone had the courage to rebuke the Tsar openly and oppose his iniquity. Finally the Tsar, finding false witnesses against Philip in his own monastery on Solovki, held a council against him in early November, 1568; the Saint had to endure the persecution of the Tsar who had torn him from his beloved monastery, the betrayal of his fellow hierarchs, and the slanders of his own spiritual children. He was imprisoned in Moscow, but because of the love of the people for him the Tsar feared him even in prison, and he was transferred to a monastery in Tver, where he spent a year in great hardships and continual prayer. On December 23, 1569, a royal messenger came, asking the Metropolitan's blessing for the Tsar's expedition to Novgorod. Saint Philip told him to do that which he came to do, then raised his hands in prayer to God. The Tsar's messenger fell upon him and suffocated the holy hierarch with a pillow. In 1591 his relics were transferred to Solovki, and in 1652 to the Dormition Cathedral in Moscow; many miracles were wrought through his holy relics (See also Oct. 5 and July 3).
Saint Gregory, the younger brother of Basil the Great, illustrious in speech and a zealot for the Orthodox Faith, was born in 331. His brother Basil was encouraged by their elder sister Macrina to prefer the service of God to a secular career (see July 19); Saint Gregory was moved in a similar way by his godly mother Emily, who, when Gregory was still a young man, implored him to attend a service in honor of the holy Forty Martyrs at her retreat at Annesi on the River Iris. Saint Gregory came at his mother's bidding, but being wearied with the journey, and feeling little zeal, he fell asleep during the service. The Forty Martyrs then appeared to him in a dream, threatening him and reproaching him for his slothfulness. After this he repented and became very diligent in the service of God.
Gregory became bishop in 372, and because of his Orthodoxy he was exiled in 374 by Valens, who was of one mind with the Arians. After the death of Valens in 378, Gregory was recalled to his throne by the Emperor Gratian. He attended the Local Council of Antioch, which sent him to visit the churches of Arabia and Palestine, which had been defiled and ravaged by Arianism. He attended the Second Ecumenical Council, which was assembled in Constantinople in 381. Having lived some sixty years and left behind many remarkable writings, he reposed about the year 395. The acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council call him 'Father of Fathers."
This Saint had Cappadocia as his homeland. He lived during the years of Leo of Thrace, who reigned from 457 to 474. The Saint established in the Holy Land a great communal monastery, wherein he was the shepherd of many monks. While Saint Sabbas was the head of the hermits of Palestine, Saint Theodosius was governor of those living the cenobitic life, for which reason he is called the Cenobiarch. Together with Saint Sabbas, towards whom he cherished a deep brotherly love in Christ, he defended the whole land of Palestine from the heresy of the Monophysites, which was championed by the Emperor Anastasius and might very well have triumphed in the Holy Land without the opposition of these two great monastic fathers and their zealous defense of the Holy Council of Chalcedon. Having lived for 103 years, he reposed in peace.
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).
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.
As for the holy Martyrs of Sinai and Raithu, those of Sinai contested during the reign of Diocletian, about the year 296; those of Raithu were slain about the middle of the fifth century. On both occasions, the perpetrators of these massacres were a barbarian tribe called Blemmyes, from the parts of Arabia and Egypt.
Because of the Apodosis of the Feast of Holy Theophany also on the 14th of January, the liturgical services to the Holy Fathers slain at Sinai and Raitho are transferred to January 13th.
The holy virgin Nina was from Cappadocia. According to some, her father Zabulon was a friend of the holy Great Martyr George, whose father was a Cappadocian. The conversion of Georgia by Saint Nina is reported in the Church histories of Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret: Rufinus, writing less than a hundred years after Saint Nina, said that he heard the history in Jerusalem from a Georgian Prince named Bacurius. Saint Nina was taken captive by the Georgians (whom the Greek accounts call Iberians), and while in captivity she lived a very devout life of sobriety and virtue, praying unceasingly night and day; this drew the attention of the Georgians, and to all who asked her about her way of life, she preached the dispensation of Christ. When she healed by her prayer a certain woman's sick child, whom no one else had been able to help, the report of her came to the ears of the Queen of Georgia, who was herself gravely afflicted with an incurable malady. She asked that the captive women be brought to her, but Saint Nina declined out of modesty, so the Queen commanded them to carry her to Nina. Saint Nina healed her immediately, and the Queen returned home in joy. When she extolled Nina and her faith to the king, he gave her no heed, although she mentioned it to him often. But while hunting in the forest, he was shrouded with an impenetrable darkness in which he lost his way, became separated from his men, and fell into despair; he made a vow that if Christ should deliver him, he would worship him alone. The light of day straightway shone again, and the king fulfilled his vow. He and the Queen were instructed in the Faith by Saint Nina, and they with the whole Georgian nation became Christ's. The King also sent an embassy to Saint Constantine the Great, informing him of their conversion, and requesting that priests be sent to Georgia. Saint Nina reposed in peace in about the year 335. The above-mentioned Church historians speak of her without calling her Nina. She is celebrated in the Roman Martyrology on December 15 under the name Christina.
Because of the Apodosis of the Feast of Holy Theophany also on the 14th of January, the liturgical services to Saint Nina are transferred to January 13th.
Saint Paul, first among hermits, was born about 227 in the Thebaid of Egypt. In 250 he fled into the wilderness because of the persecution raging at that time under Decius. Having lived a solitary life in a certain cave for ninety-one years, he reposed in 341, at the age of 114, and was buried by Anthony the Great, who had been directed thither by God several days before the Saint's repose.
Saint John, who was from Constantinople, was the son of illustrious parents -- Eutropius the Senator and Theodora. At twelve years of age he departed secretly from his home and went to the Monastery of the Unsleeping (see Dec. 29). Aflame with longing for his parents, he returned after six years to his father's home in the guise of a pauper and beggar. Living in a small hut at the gates of his parents' house (wherefrom he is called "hut-dweller"), he remained unknown therein for many years, and suffered mockery at the hands of those who had been his own servants. Foreknowing his death, he revealed himself to his parents, and within a few moments reposed, about the year 450.