St. Stephen Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2019-03-31
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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 28

Agapius the Martyr & His Companions

The holy Martyrs contested for piety's sake during the reign of Diocletian (284-305), when Urban was Governor of Caesarea of Palestine. When Urban had commanded that together with a heathen festival, certain condemned Christians be publicly cast to wild beasts, Timolaus, a native of Pontus, Dionysius of Tripolis in Phoenicia, Romulus of Diospolis, Plesius (or Paisius) and Alexander from Egypt, and another Alexander from Gaza, tied their own hands and presented themselves to Urban when the exhibition was about to begin, professing their faith in Christ; they were immediately cast into prison. A few days later Agapios and Dionysius also presented themselves. All were beheaded together at Caesarea. Their martyrdom is recorded by Eusebius (Eccl. Hist.,Book VIII, ch.3, called The Martyrs of Palestine).

March 29

Sabine the Martyr of Egypt

The holy Martyr Sabine was from Hermopolis in Egypt, and was known for his zeal and piety. During the persecution of Diocletian, he concealed himself with other Christians in a small dwelling outside the city. But when he was discovered, and professed his faith in Christ, he was taken before Arian the Governor, and after he had been tortured he was drowned in the river. Concerning Arian the Governor, See also December 14.

March 30

Alexis the Man of God

Saint Alexis was born in old Rome of illustrious parents named Euphemianus and Aglais, and at their request was joined to a young woman in marriage. However, he did not remain with her even for one day, but fled to Edessa, where he lived for eighteen years. He returned to Rome in the guise of a beggar and sat at the gates of his father's house, unknown to all and mocked by his own servants. His identity was revealed only after his death by a paper that he had on his person, which he himself had written a little before his repose. The pious Emperor Honorius honoured him with a solemn burial. The title "Man of God" was given to him from heaven in a vision to the Bishop of Rome on the day of the Saint's repose.

March 31

Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem

This Saint was born in 315, and succeeded Maximus as Archbishop of Jerusalem in 350. He was zealous for the Orthodox Faith, and was a defender of the poor. He was exiled three times by the Arian Emperors Constantius and Valens. But after their death, he was recalled to his throne; he reposed in peace in 386. Of his writings, the most prominent are his catechetical lectures, which are considered the most ancient systematic summary of Christian teaching. Before Saint Cyril, there had been two dioceses, one of Jerusalem, and one of Holy Sion; under Saint Cyril, they were united into one bishopric. See also May 7.

March 31

Sunday of the Holy Cross

With the help of God, we have almost reached the middle of the course of the Fast, where our strength has been worn down through abstinence, and the full difficulty of the labour set before us becomes apparent. Therefore our holy Mother, the Church of Christ, now brings to our help the all-holy Cross, the joy of the world, the strength of the faithful, the staff of the just, and the hope of sinners, so that by venerating it reverently, we might receive strength and grace to complete the divine struggle of the Fast.


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Matins Gospel Reading

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.

Eleventh Orthros Gospel
يوحنا 21: 14-25

14في ذلك الزمان أظهر يسوع نفسه لتلاميذه من بعد ما قام من بين الأموات 15وقال لسمعان بطرس ((يَا سِمْعَانُ بْنَ يُونَا، أَتُحِبُّنِي أَكْثَرَ مِنْ هَؤُلاَءِ؟)) قَالَ لَهُ: ((نَعَمْ يَا رَبُّ أَنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنِّي أُحِبُّكَ)). قَالَ لَهُ: ((ارْعَ خِرَافِي)). 16قَالَ لَهُ أَيْضاً ثَانِيَةً: ((يَا سِمْعَانُ بْنَ يُونَا، أَتُحِبُّنِي؟)) قَالَ لَهُ: ((نَعَمْ يَا رَبُّ، أَنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أَنِّي أُحِبُّكَ)). قَالَ لَهُ: ((ارْعَ غَنَمِي)). 17قَالَ لَهُ ثَالِثَةً: ((يَا سِمْعَانُ بْنَ يُونَا، أَتُحِبُّنِي؟)) فَحَزِنَ بُطْرُسُ لأَنَّهُ قَالَ لَهُ ثَالِثَةً: أَتُحِبُّنِي؟ فَقَالَ لَهُ: ((يَا رَبُّ، أَنْتَ تَعْلَمُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ. أَنْتَ تَعْرِفُ أَنِّي أُحِبُّكَ)). قَالَ لَهُ يَسُوعُ: ((ارْعَ غَنَمِي. 18اَلْحَقَّ الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكَ: لَمَّا كُنْتَ أَكْثَرَ حَدَاثَةً كُنْتَ تُمَنْطِقُ ذَاتَكَ وَتَمْشِي حَيْثُ تَشَاءُ. وَلَكِنْ مَتَى شِخْتَ فَإِنَّكَ تَمُدُّ يَدَيْكَ وَآخَرُ يُمَنْطِقُكَ، وَيَحْمِلُكَ حَيْثُ لاَ تَشَاءُ)). 19قَالَ هَذَا مُشِيراً إِلَى أَيَّةِ مِيتَةٍ كَانَ مُزْمِعاً أَنْ يُمَجِّدَ اللَّهَ بِهَا. وَلَمَّا قَالَ هَذَا قَالَ لَهُ: ((اتْبَعْنِي)). 20فَالْتَفَتَ بُطْرُسُ وَنَظَرَ التِّلْمِيذَ الَّذِي كَانَ يَسُوعُ يُحِبُّهُ يَتْبَعُهُ، وَهُوَ أَيْضاً الَّذِي اتَّكَأَ عَلَى صَدْرِهِ وَقْتَ الْعَشَاءِ، وَقَالَ: (( يَا سَيِّدُ ، مَنْ هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَلِّمُكَ؟)) 21فَلَمَّا رَأَى بُطْرُسُ هَذَا ، قَالَ لِيَسُوعَ: ((يَا رَبُّ، وَهَذَا مَا لَهُ؟)) 22قَالَ لَهُ يَسُوعُ: ((إِنْ كُنْتُ أَشَاءُ أَنَّهُ يَبْقَى حَتَّى أَجِيءَ ، فَمَاذَا لَكَ؟ اتْبَعْنِي أَنْتَ!)). 23فَذَاعَ هَذَا الْقَوْلُ بَيْنَ الإِخْوَةِ: إِنَّ ذَلِكَ التِّلْمِيذَ لاَ يَمُوتُ. وَلَكِنْ لَمْ يَقُلْ لَهُ يَسُوعُ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَمُوتُ، بَلْ: ((إِنْ كُنْتُ أَشَاءُ أَنَّهُ يَبْقَى حَتَّى أَجِيءَ ، فَمَاذَا لَكَ؟)).24هَذَا هُوَ التِّلْمِيذُ الَّذِي يَشْهَدُ بِهَذَا وَكَتَبَ هَذَا. وَنَعْلَمُ أَنَّ شَهَادَتَهُ حَقٌّ.25وَأَشْيَاءُ أُخَرُ كَثِيرَةٌ صَنَعَهَا يَسُوعُ ، إِنْ كُتِبَتْ وَاحِدَةً وَاحِدَةً، فَلَسْتُ أَظُنُّ أَنَّ الْعَالَمَ نَفْسَهُ يَسَعُ الْكُتُبَ الْمَكْتُوبَةَ.



Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 6th Tone. Psalm 27.9,1.
O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance.
Verse: To you, O Lord, I have cried, O my God.

The reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6.

BRETHREN, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek."

البروكيمنون. 6th Tone. مزمور 27: 9، 1.
خلص يالله شعبك وبارك ميراثك
إليك يا رب صرخت، إلهي

فصل من رسالة بولس الى العبرانيين 4: 14-16 5: 1-6.

يَُّا إِخْوَة، إِذْ لَنَا رَئِيسُ كَهَنَةٍ عَظِيمٌ قَدِ اجْتَازَ السَّمَاوَاتِ، يَسُوعُ ابْنُ اللهِ، فَلْنَتَمَسَّكْ بِالإِقْرَارِ. لأَنْ لَيْسَ لَنَا رَئِيسُ كَهَنَةٍ غَيْرُ قَادِرٍ أَنْ يَرْثِيَ لِضَعَفَاتِنَا، بَلْ مُجَرَّبٌ فِي كُلِّ شَيْءٍ مِثْلُنَا، بِلاَ خَطِيَّةٍ.فَلْنَتَقَدَّمْ بِثِقَةٍ إِلَى عَرْشِ النِّعْمَةِ لِكَيْ نَنَالَ رَحْمَةً وَنَجِدَ نِعْمَةً عَوْناً فِي حِينِهِ. لأَنَّ كُلَّ رَئِيسِ كَهَنَةٍ مَأْخُوذٍ مِنَ النَّاسِ يُقَامُ لأَجْلِ النَّاسِ فِي مَا لِلَّهِ، لِكَيْ يُقَدِّمَ قَرَابِينَ وَذَبَائِحَ عَنِ الْخَطَايَا، قَادِراً أَنْ يَتَرَفَّقَ بِالْجُهَّالِ وَالضَّالِّينَ، إِذْ هُوَ أَيْضاً مُحَاطٌ بِالضُّعْفِ. وَلِهَذَا الضُّعْفِ يَلْتَزِمُ أَنَّهُ كَمَا يُقَدِّمُ عَنِ الْخَطَايَا لأَجْلِ الشَّعْبِ هَكَذَا أَيْضاً لأَجْلِ نَفْسِهِ. وَلاَ يَأْخُذُ أَحَدٌ هَذِهِ الْوَظِيفَةَ بِنَفْسِهِ، بَلِ الْمَدْعُّوُ مِنَ اللهِ، كَمَا هَارُونُ أَيْضاً. كَذَلِكَ الْمَسِيحُ أَيْضاً لَمْ يُمَجِّدْ نَفْسَهُ لِيَصِيرَ رَئِيسَ كَهَنَةٍ، بَلِ الَّذِي قَالَ لَهُ: ((أَنْتَ ابْنِي أَنَا الْيَوْمَ وَلَدْتُكَ)). كَمَا يَقُولُ أَيْضاً فِي مَوْضِعٍ آخَرَ: ((أَنْتَ كَاهِنٌ إِلَى الأَبَدِ عَلَى رُتْبَةِ مَلْكِي صَادِقَ)).

Gospel Reading

Sunday of the Holy Cross
The Reading is from Mark 8:34-38; 9:1

The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

Sunday of the Holy Cross
مرقس 8: 34-38 ، 9: 1

34 في ذلك الزمان دَعَا يسوع الْجَمْعَ مَعَ تَلاَمِيذِهِ وَقَالَ لَهُمْ: ((مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ وَرَائِي فَلْيُنْكِرْ نَفْسَهُ وَيَحْمِلْ صَلِيبَهُ وَيَتْبَعْنِي. 35فَإِنَّ مَنْ أَرَادَ أَنْ يُخَلِّصَ نَفْسَهُ يُهْلِكُهَا، وَمَنْ يُهْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ مِنْ أَجْلِي وَمِنْ أَجْلِ الإِنْجِيلِ فَهُوَ يُخَلِّصُهَا. 36لأَنَّهُ مَاذَا يَنْتَفِعُ الإِنْسَانُ لَوْ رَبِحَ الْعَالَمَ كُلَّهُ وَخَسِرَ نَفْسَهُ؟ 37أَوْ مَاذَا يُعْطِي الإِنْسَانُ فِدَاءً عَنْ نَفْسِهِ؟ 38لأَنَّ مَنِ اسْتَحَى بِي وَبِكَلاَمِي فِي هَذَا الْجِيلِ الْفَاسِقِ الْخَاطِئِ، فَإِنَّ ابْنَ الإِنْسَانِ يَسْتَحِي بِهِ مَتَى جَاءَ بِمَجْدِ أَبِيهِ مَعَ الْمَلاَئِكَةِ الْقِدِّيسِينَ)).1 وَقَالَ لَهُمُ: ((الْحَقَّ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ: إِنَّ مِنَ الْقِيَامِ هَهُنَا قَوْماً لاَ يَذُوقُونَ الْمَوْتَ حَتَّى يَرَوْا مَلَكُوتَ اللَّهِ قَدْ أَتَى بِقُوَّةٍ)).




Hymns of the Day

Apolytikion of Sun. of the Elevation of the Cross in the First Tone

Save, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; grant Thou unto the faithful victory over adversaries. And by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve Thy commonwealth.

Wisdom of the Fathers

And see how He also makes His discourse unexceptionable: not saying at all, "whether you will, or no, you must suffer this," but how? "If any man will come after me."
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 55 on Matthew 16, 1. B#54, p.339., 4th Century

"I force not, I compel not, but each one I make lord of his own choice; wherefore also I say, 'If any man will.' For to good things do I call you, not to things evil, or burdensome; not to punishment and vengeance, that I should have to compel.
St. John Chrysostom
Homily 55 on Matthew 16, 1. B#54, p.339., 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 (April 7th) and Palm Sunday (April 21st 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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