St. Stephen Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2019-03-17
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St. Stephen Orthodox Church

General Information

  • Phone:
  • (707)235-0316
  • Street Address:

  • 11055 Hirschfeld Way

  • Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Contact Information

Services Schedule



Vespers: 4:00pm


Matins: 8:45am

Liturgy: 10:00am

Past Bulletins

Saints and Feasts

March 17

Sunday of Orthodoxy

For more than one hundred years the Church of Christ was troubled by the persecution of the Iconoclasts of evil belief, beginning in the reign of Leo the Isaurian (717-741) and ending in the reign of Theophilus (829-842). After Theophilus's death, his widow the Empress Theodora (celebrated Feb. 11), together with the Patriarch Methodius (June 14), established Orthodoxy anew. This ever-memorable Queen venerated the icon of the Mother of God in the presence of the Patriarch Methodius and the other confessors and righteous men, and openly cried out these holy words: "If anyone does not offer relative worship to the holy icons, not adoring them as though they were gods, but venerating them out of love as images of the archetype, let him be anathema." Then with common prayer and fasting during the whole first week of the Forty-day Fast, she asked God's forgiveness for her husband. After this, on the first Sunday of the Fast, she and her son, Michael the Emperor, made a procession with all the clergy and people and restored the holy icons, and again adorned the Church of Christ with them. This is the holy deed that all we the Orthodox commemorate today, and we call this radiant and venerable day the Sunday of Orthodoxy, that is, the triumph of true doctrine over heresy.


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Matins Gospel Reading

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.

Ninth Orthros Gospel
يوحنا 20: 19-31

19 لَمَّا كَانَتْ عَشِيَّةُ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ وَهُوَ أَوَّلُ الأُسْبُوعِ وَكَانَتِ الأَبْوَابُ مُغَلَّقَةً حَيْثُ كَانَ التّلاَمِيذُ مُجْتَمِعِينَ لِسَبَبِ الْخَوْفِ مِنَ الْيَهُودِ جَاءَ يَسُوعُ وَوَقَفَ فِي الْوَسَطِ 20 وَقَالَ لَهُمْ: «سلاَمٌ لَكُمْ». 21 وَلَمَّا قَالَ هَذَا أَرَاهُمْ يَدَيْهِ وَجَنْبَهُ فَفَرِحَ التّلاَمِيذُ إِذْ رَأَوُا الرَّبَّ. 22 فَقَالَ لَهُمْ يَسُوعُ أَيْضاً: «سلاَمٌ لَكُمْ. كَمَا أَرْسَلَنِي الآبُ أُرْسِلُكُمْ أَنَا».23 وَلَمَّا قَالَ هَذَا نَفَخَ وَقَالَ لَهُمُ: «ﭐقْبَلُوا الرُّوحَ الْقُدُسَ.24 مَنْ غَفَرْتُمْ خَطَايَاهُ تُغْفَرُ لَهُ وَمَنْ أَمْسَكْتُمْ خَطَايَاهُ أُمْسِكَتْ». 25 أَمَّا تُومَا أَحَدُ الاِثْنَيْ عَشَرَ الَّذِي يُقَالُ لَهُ التَّوْأَمُ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ مَعَهُمْ حِينَ جَاءَ يَسُوعُ.26 فَقَالَ لَهُ التّلاَمِيذُ الآخَرُونَ: «قَدْ رَأَيْنَا الرَّبَّ». فَقَالَ لَهُمْ: «إِنْ لَمْ أُبْصِرْ فِي يَدَيْهِ أَثَرَ الْمَسَامِيرِ وَأَضَعْ إِصْبِعِي فِي أَثَرِ الْمَسَامِيرِ وَأَضَعْ يَدِي فِي جَنْبِهِ لاَ أُومِنْ». 27 وَبَعْدَ ثَمَانِيَةِ أَيَّامٍ كَانَ تلاَمِيذُهُ أَيْضاً دَاخِلاً وَتُومَا مَعَهُمْ. فَجَاءَ يَسُوعُ وَالأَبْوَابُ مُغَلَّقَةٌ وَوَقَفَ فِي الْوَسَطِ وَقَالَ: «سلاَمٌ لَكُمْ»28 ثُمَّ قَالَ لِتُومَا: «هَاتِ إِصْبِعَكَ إِلَى هُنَا وَأَبْصِرْ يَدَيَّ وَهَاتِ يَدَكَ وَضَعْهَا فِي جَنْبِي وَلاَ تَكُنْ غَيْرَ مُؤْمِنٍ بَلْ مُؤْمِناً». أَجَابَ تُومَا: «رَبِّي وَإِلَهِي».29 قَالَ لَهُ يَسُوعُ: «لأَنَّكَ رَأَيْتَنِي يَا تُومَا آمَنْتَ! طُوبَى لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَرَوْا». 30 وَآيَاتٍ أُخَرَ كَثِيرَةً صَنَعَ يَسُوعُ قُدَّامَ تلاَمِيذِهِ لَمْ تُكْتَبْ فِي هَذَا الْكِتَابِ.31 وَأَمَّا هَذِهِ فَقَدْ كُتِبَتْ لِتُؤْمِنُوا أَنَّ يَسُوعَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ اللَّهِ وَلِكَيْ تَكُونَ لَكُمْ إِذَا آمَنْتُمْ حَيَاةٌ بِاسْمِهِ.




Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 4th Tone. Daniel 3.26,27.
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
Verse: For you are just in all you have done.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 11:24-26, 32-40.

Brethren, by faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets -- who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign enemies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated -- of whom the world was not worthy -- wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

البروكيمنون. 4th Tone. دانيال 3: 26-27.
مبارك أنت يارب إله آبائنا
لأنك عدل في كل ما صنعت

فصل من رسالة بولس الى العبرانيين 11: 24-26 32-40.

يَُّا إِخْوَة، بِالإِيمَانِ مُوسَى لَمَّا كَبِرَ أَبَى أَنْ يُدْعَى ابْنَ ابْنَةِ فِرْعَوْنَ، مُفَضِّلاً بِالأَحْرَى أَنْ يُذَلَّ مَعَ شَعْبِ اللهِ عَلَى أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ تَمَتُّعٌ وَقْتِيٌّ بِالْخَطِيَّةِ، حَاسِباً عَارَ الْمَسِيحِ غِنًى أَعْظَمَ مِنْ خَزَائِنِ مِصْرَ، لأَنَّهُ كَانَ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى الْمُجَازَاةِ.وَمَاذَا أَقُولُ أَيْضاً؟ لأَنَّهُ يُعْوِزُنِي الْوَقْتُ إِنْ أَخْبَرْتُ عَنْ جِدْعُونَ، وَبَارَاقَ، وَشَمْشُونَ، وَيَفْتَاحَ، وَدَاوُدَ، وَصَمُوئِيلَ، وَالأَنْبِيَاءِ، الَّذِينَ بِالإِيمَانِ قَهَرُوا مَمَالِكَ، صَنَعُوا بِرّاً، نَالُوا مَوَاعِيدَ، سَدُّوا أَفْوَاهَ أُسُودٍ، أَطْفَأُوا قُوَّةَ النَّارِ، نَجَوْا مِنْ حَدِّ السَّيْفِ، تَقَّوُوا مِنْ ضُعْفٍ، صَارُوا أَشِدَّاءَ فِي الْحَرْبِ، هَزَمُوا جُيُوشَ غُرَبَاءَ، أَخَذَتْ نِسَاءٌ أَمْوَاتَهُنَّ بِقِيَامَةٍ. وَآخَرُونَ عُذِّبُوا وَلَمْ يَقْبَلُوا النَّجَاةَ لِكَيْ يَنَالُوا قِيَامَةً أَفْضَلَ. وَآخَرُونَ تَجَرَّبُوا فِي هُزُءٍ وَجَلْدٍ، ثُمَّ فِي قُيُودٍ أَيْضاً وَحَبْسٍ. رُجِمُوا، نُشِرُوا، جُرِّبُوا، مَاتُوا قَتْلاً بِالسَّيْفِ، طَافُوا فِي جُلُودِ غَنَمٍ وَجُلُودِ مِعْزَى، مُعْتَازِينَ مَكْرُوبِينَ مُذَلِّينَ، وَهُمْ لَمْ يَكُنِ الْعَالَمُ مُسْتَحِقّاً لَهُمْ. تَائِهِينَ فِي بَرَارِيَّ وَجِبَالٍ وَمَغَايِرَ وَشُقُوقِ الأَرْضِ. فَهَؤُلاَءِ كُلُّهُمْ، مَشْهُوداً لَهُمْ بِالإِيمَانِ، لَمْ يَنَالُوا الْمَوْعِدَ، إِذْ سَبَقَ اللهُ فَنَظَرَ لَنَا شَيْئاً أَفْضَلَ، لِكَيْ لاَ يُكْمَلُوا بِدُونِنَا.

Gospel Reading

Sunday of Orthodoxy
The Reading is from John 1:43-51

At that time, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me." Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and he said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" Nathanael said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you." Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these." And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Sunday of Orthodoxy
يوحنا 1: 44-51

44 في ذلك الزمان كَانَ فِيلُبُّسُ مِنْ بَيْتِ صَيْدَا، مِنْ مَدِينَةِ أَنْدَرَاوُسَ وَبُطْرُسَ. 45فِيلُبُّسُ وَجَدَ نَثَنَائِيلَ وَقَالَ لَهُ: ((وَجَدْنَا الَّذِي كَتَبَ عَنْهُ مُوسَى فِي النَّامُوسِ وَالأَنْبِيَاءُ يَسُوعَ ابْنَ يُوسُفَ الَّذِي مِنَ النَّاصِرَةِ)). 46فَقَالَ لَهُ نَثَنَائِيلُ: ((أَمِنَ النَّاصِرَةِ يُمْكِنُ أَنْ يَكُونَ شَيْءٌ صَالِحٌ؟)) قَالَ لَهُ فِيلُبُّسُ: ((تَعَالَ وَانْظُرْ)).47 وَرَأَى يَسُوعُ نَثَنَائِيلَ مُقْبِلاً إِلَيْهِ، فَقَالَ عَنْهُ: ((هُوَذَا إِسْرَائِيلِيٌّ حَقّاً لاَ غِشَّ فِيهِ)). 48قَالَ لَهُ نَثَنَائِيلُ: ((مِنْ أَيْنَ تَعْرِفُنِي؟)) أَجَابَ يَسُوعُ وَقَالَ لَهُ: (( قَبْلَ أَنْ دَعَاكَ فِيلُبُّسُ وَأَنْتَ تَحْتَ التِّينَةِ، رَأَيْتُكَ)). 49 أَجَابَ نَثَنَائِيلُ وَقَالَ لَهُ: (( يَا مُعَلِّمُ، أَنْتَ ابْنُ اللَّهِ! أَنْتَ مَلِكُ إِسْرَائِيلَ!)) 50أَجَابَ يَسُوعُ وَقَالَ لَهُ : ((هَلْ آمَنْتَ لأَنِّي قُلْتُ لَكَ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُكَ تَحْتَ التِّينَةِ؟ سَوْفَ تَرَى أَعْظَمَ مِنْ هَذَا!)) 51وَقَالَ لَهُ: (( الْحَقَّ الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: مِنَ الآنَ تَرَوْنَ السَّمَاءَ مَفْتُوحَةً، وَملاَئِكَةَ اللَّهِ يَصْعَدُونَ وَيَنْزِلُونَ عَلَى ابْنِ الإِنْسَانِ)). 




Hymns of the Day

Apolytikion of Sun. of Orthodoxy in the Second Tone

O Christ our God, begging forgiveness of our sins, we venerate Your Pure Image, O Good One. Of your own will you condescended to ascend upon the Cross in the flesh and deliver those You created from the bondage of the enemy. Wherefore, thankfully, we cry out, "When You came to save the world, Your filled all things with joy, O Our Savior."

Kontakion of Sun. of Orthodoxy in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

The indescribable word of God became defined when He became incarnate of You O Theotokos. He restored our soiled image to what it was of old by joining it to His divine beauty. We confess salvation, and recount it in word and deed.

Wisdom of the Fathers

Peter, when after so many miracles and such high doctrine he confessed that, "Thou art the Son of God" (Matt. xvi. 16), is called "blessed," as having received the revelation from the Father;
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 21 on John 1, 1. B#58, pp. 72, 73, 4th Century

... while Nathanael, though he said the very same thing before seeing or hearing either miracles or doctrine, had no such word addressed to him, but as though he had not said so much as he ought to have said, is brought to things greater still.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 21 on John 1, 1. B#58, pp. 72, 73, 4th Century


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Fasting Guidelines: Great Lent 2019

This year, our journey through the Lenten fast to Pascha begins at Forgiveness Vespers on Sunday, March 10. The Church, in her wisdom, begins preparing us for this most-holy time in the weeks that precede the fast. This post will provide you with the fasting guidelines for the pre-Lenten period of preparation, Great Lent, and Holy Week, according to the general practice of Saint Stephen Parish.

The guidelines in this post are general. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that should be practiced with the oversight and direction of your spiritual father. If you have any specific questions about how the fasting discipline applies to you, you should consult your spiritual father. In the case of Saints Stephen parishioners, your spiritual father is Fr. Romanos


WEEKS OF PREPARATION 2019 (February 17 – March 10)

  • Four Sundays of preparation precede Great Lent. The Church eases us into the fasting discipline during these weeks of preparation as follows:
  • February 17 is the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee and the week that follows (February 18 – 24) is fast-free. There is no Wednesday or Friday fast this week.
  • February 24 is the Sunday of the Prodigal Son and the week that follows (February 25 – March 3) is a normal week. Wednesday and Friday of this week are fasting days.
  • March 3 is Meatfare Sunday (the Sunday of the Last Judgment) and on this day we say “farewell” to meat. During the week that follows (March 4 – 10) we fast from meat only. All dairy, cheese, eggs, wine, and oil are permitted during this week, even on Wednesday and Friday.
  • March 10 is Cheesefare Sunday (the Sunday of Forgiveness) and on this day we say “farewell” to cheese, dairy, eggs, wine, oil, etc. This begins the fast proper.


GREAT LENT AND HOLY WEEK 2019 (March 11 – April 27)
The Lenten fasting discipline commences after Forgiveness Vespers on March 10 and concludes with the breaking of the fast at Pascha on April 28. In general, the fasting rules during Great Lent and Holy Week are as follows:

WEEKDAYS (Monday – Friday) are observed as Strict Fast Days. On these days we abstain from meat, dairy, fish with backbones, fowl, alcoholic beverages, and oil.
WEEKENDS (Saturday and Sunday) are observed as Wine and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit alcoholic beverages and olive and other vegetable oils.
In addition, two special feastdays that fall during this period – Annunciation (March 25) and Palm Sunday (April 21, this year) – are kept as Fish, Wine, and Oil Days. On these days the fast is relaxed to permit fish with backbones, in addition to alcoholic beverages and oil.
There are certain days of the Holy Week cycle that have special fasting rules.

  • Great and Holy Thursday (April 25, this year) is observed as a Wine and Oil Day due to the commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist.
  • Great and Holy Saturday (April 27, this year) is observed as a Strict Fast Day – the only Saturday of the year kept as a strict fast; however, wine (but not oil) is permitted.

Additional Notes:

  • Meals for the fast should follow the dietary restrictions and be cooked simply. Portions should be smaller than usual.
  • Fasting on the weekdays of the first week of Great Lent is especially severe. The strictest observance would be to take only two meals during this week – one on Wednesday evening and one on Friday evening after the services scheduled for those nights – keeping Pure Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday as absolute fasts (no food whatsoever).
  • For many this is impracticable. A good starting place to work towards the strict observance is to keep the first day of Great Lent, Pure Monday, as an absolute fast and to limit meals on the other days.
  • It is a pious practice to observe Great and Holy Friday as an absolute fast. If one does not have the strength to do this, it is good to abstain from food until after venerating the epitaphios (winding sheet) during Vespers on this day.
  • If you have a medical condition that requires you to relax the fasting guidelines, then do so.
  • Before you attempt to strictly follow the fasting guidelines, consult with Fr. Romanos. It is very easy to lose sight of the fact that fasting is merely a means to an end (that is, our salvation) and not an end in itself.
  • Generally speaking, children and elderly people are allowed to relax the fast under the guidance of their spiritual Father.

May our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ give you the strength to do the best of your ability to follow the guidelines of the Church and your spiritual father and come to receive his blessing to see what you can do and what you cannot do for your Feasting period.

In Christ,

Father Romanos



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