St. Stephen Orthodox Church
Publish Date: 2019-04-28
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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

April 25

Holy Thursday

On the evening of this day, which was the eve of the feast of unleavened bread (that is, the Passover), our Redeemer supped with His twelve disciples in the city. He blessed the bread and the wine, and gave us the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. He washed the feet of the disciples as an example of humility. He said openly that one of them was about to betray Him, and He pointed out the betrayer by revealing that it was he "that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish." And after Judas had straightway gone forth, Jesus gave the disciples His final and sublime instructions, which are contained in the first Gospel Reading of the Holy Passion (John 13:31-18:1 known as the Gospel of the Testament). After this the God-man went forth to the Mount of Olives, and there He began to be sorrowful and in anguish. He went off alone, and bending the knees He prayed fervently. From His great anguish, His sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. As soon as He had completed that anguished prayer, lo, Judas came with a multitude of soldiers and a great crowd; on greeting the Teacher guile fully with a kiss, he betrayed Him.

The Lord Jesus was then apprehended and taken prisoner to the high priests Annas and Caiaphas. The disciples were scattered, but Peter, who was more fervent than the others, followed Him even into the court of the high priest, but in the end denied thrice that he was His disciple.

Then our divine Teacher was brought before the lawless Sanhedrin and was interrogated concerning His disciples and His teaching. The high priest adjured Him before God that He tell them whether He was truly the Christ. And having spoken the truth, He was judged guilty of death, supposedly as one who had blasphemed. Then they spat in His face, beat Him, smote Him with the palms of their hands, and mocked Him in every way, throughout the whole night until the morning.

April 26

Holy Friday

When Friday dawned, Christ was sent bound from Caiaphas to Pontius Pilate, who was then Governor of Judea. Pilate interrogated Him in many ways, and once and again acknowledged that He was innocent, but to please the Jews, he later passed the sentence of death against Him. After scourging the Lord of all as though He were a runaway slave, he surrendered Him to be crucified.

Thus the Lord Jesus was handed over to the soldiers, was stripped of His garments, was clothed in a purple robe, was crowned with a wreath of thorns, had a reed placed in His hand as though it were a sceptre, was bowed before in mockery, was spat upon, and was buffeted in the face and on the head. Then they again clothed Him in His own garments, and bearing the cross, He came to Golgotha, a place of condemnation, and there, about the third hour, He was crucified between two thieves. Although both blasphemed Him at the first, the thief at His right hand repented, and said: "Remember me, O Lord, when Thou comest in Thy Kingdom," to which our Saviour answered, "Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." As He hung upon the Cross, He was blasphemed by those who were passing by, was mocked by the high priests, and by the soldiers was given vinegar to drink mixed with gall. About the ninth hour, He cried out with a loud voice, saying, "It is finished." And the Lamb of God "Which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) expired on the day when the moon was full, and at the hour when, according to the Law, was slain the Passover lamb, which was established as a type of Him in the time of Moses.

Even lifeless creation mourned the death of the Master, and it trembled and was altered out of fear. Yet, even though the Maker of creation was already dead, they pierced Him in His immaculate side, and forthwith came there out Blood and Water. Finally, at about the setting of the sun, Joseph of Arimathea came with Nicodemus (both of them had been secret disciples of Jesus), and they took down the all-holy Body of the Teacher from the Cross and anointed it with aromatic spices, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth. When they had buried Him in a new tomb, they rolled a great stone over its entrance.

Such are the dread and saving sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ commemorated today, and in remembrance of them, we have received the Apostolic commandment that a fast be observed every Friday.

April 27

Holy Saturday

On Saturday, the high priests and Pharisees gathered together before Pilate and asked him to have Jesus' tomb sealed until the third day; because, as those enemies of God said, "We suspect that His disciples will come and steal His buried body by night, and then proclaim to the people that His resurrection is true, as that deceiver Himself foretold while He was yet alive; and then the last deception shall be worse than the first." After they had said these things to Pilate and received his permission, they went and sealed the tomb, and assigned a watch for security, that is, guards from among the soldiers under the supervision of the high priests (Matt. 27:62-66). While commemorating the entombment of the holy Body of our Lord today, we also celebrate His dread descent with His soul, whereby He destroyed the gates and bars of Hades, and made His light to shine where only darkness had reigned (Job 3 8 : 17; Esaias 49:9; 1 Peter 3:18-20); death was put to death, Hades was stripped of all its captives, our first parents and all the righteous who died from the beginning of time ran to Him Whom they had awaited, and the holy angelic orders glorified God for the restoration of our fallen race.

April 28

Great and Holy Pascha

Mary Magdalene, and the other women who were present at the burial of our Saviour on Friday evening, returned from Golgotha to the city and prepared fragrant spices and myrrh, so that they might anoint the body of Jesus. On the morrow, because of the law which forbids work on the day of the Sabbath, they rested for the whole day. But at early dawn on the Sunday that followed, almost thirty-six hours since the death of the Life-giving Redeemer, they came to the sepulchre with the spices to anoint His body. While they were considering the difficulty of rolling away the stone from the door of the sepulchre, there was a fearful earthquake; and an Angel, whose countenance shone like lightning and whose garment was white as snow, rolled away the stone and sat upon it. The guards that were there became as dead from fear and took to flight. The women, however, went into the sepulchre, but did not find the Lord's body. Instead, they saw two other Angels in the form of youths clothed in white, who told them that the Saviour was risen, and they sent forth the women, who ran to proclaim to the disciples these gladsome tidings. Then Peter and John arrived, having learned from Mary Magdalene what had come to pass, and when they entered the tomb, they found only the winding sheets. Therefore, they returned again to the city with joy, as heralds now of the supernatural Resurrection of Christ, Who in truth was seen alive by the disciples on this day on five occasions.

Our Lord, then, was crucified, died, and was buried on Friday, before the setting of the sun, which was the first of His "three days" in the grave; observing the mystical Sabbath, that "seventh day" in which it is said that the Lord "rested from all His works" (Gen. 2:2-3), He passed all of Saturday in the grave; and He arose "while it was yet dark, very early in the morning" on Sunday, the third day, which, according to the Hebrew reckoning, began after sunset on Saturday.

As we celebrate today this joyous Resurrection, we greet and embrace one another in Christ, thereby demonstrating our Saviour's victory over death and corruption, and the destruction of our ancient enmity with God, and His reconciliation toward us, and our inheritance of life everlasting. The feast itself is called Pascha, which is derived from the Hebrew word which means "passover"; because Christ, Who suffered and arose, has made us to pass over from the curse of Adam and slavery to the devil and death unto our primal freedom and blessedness. In addition, this day of this particular week, which is the first of all the rest, is dedicated to the honour of the Lord; in honour and remembrance of the Resurrection, the Apostles transferred to this day the rest from labour that was formerly assigned to the Sabbath of the ancient Law.

All foods allowed during Renewal Week.


Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

Prokeimenon. 8th Tone. Psalm 117.24,29.
This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Verse: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever.

The reading is from Acts of the Apostles 1:1-8.

In the first book, O Theophilos, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. To them he presented himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of lsrael?" He said to them, "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth."

البروكيمنون. 8th Tone. مزمور 117: 24، 29.
هذا هو اليوم الذي صنعه الرب لنفرح ونتهلل به
Verse: احمدوا الرب لأنه صالح لأن إلى الأبد رحمته

فصل من أعمال الرسل 1: 1-8.

1اَلْكَلاَمُ الأَوَّلُ أَنْشَأْتُهُ يَا ثَاوُفِيلُسُ عَنْ جَمِيعِ مَا ابْتَدَأَ يَسُوعُ يَفْعَلُهُ وَيُعَلِّمُ بِهِ 2إِلَى الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي ارْتَفَعَ فِيهِ بَعْدَ مَا أَوْصَى بِالرُّوحِ الْقُدُسِ الرُّسُلَ الَّذِينَ اخْتَارَهُمْ. 3اَلَّذِينَ أَرَاهُمْ أَيْضاً نَفْسَهُ حَيّاً بِبَرَاهِينَ كَثِيرَةٍ بَعْدَ مَا تَأَلَّمَ وَهُوَ يَظْهَرُ لَهُمْ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْماً وَيَتَكَلَّمُ عَنِ الأُمُورِ الْمُخْتَصَّةِ بِمَلَكُوتِ اللهِ. 4وَفِيمَا هُوَ مُجْتَمِعٌ مَعَهُمْ أَوْصَاهُمْ أَنْ لاَ يَبْرَحُوا مِنْ أُورُشَلِيمَ بَلْ يَنْتَظِرُوا ((مَوْعِدَ الآبِ الَّذِي سَمِعْتُمُوهُ مِنِّي 5لأَنَّ يُوحَنَّا عَمَّدَ بِالْمَاءِ وَأَمَّا أَنْتُمْ فَسَتَتَعَمَّدُونَ بِالرُّوحِ الْقُدُسِ لَيْسَ بَعْدَ هَذِهِ الأَيَّامِ بِكَثِيرٍ)). 6أَمَّا هُمُ الْمُجْتَمِعُونَ فَسَأَلُوهُ: ((يَا رَبُّ هَلْ فِي هَذَا الْوَقْتِ تَرُدُّ الْمُلْكَ إِلَى إِسْرَائِيلَ؟)) 7فَقَالَ لَهُمْ: ((لَيْسَ لَكُمْ أَنْ تَعْرِفُوا الأَزْمِنَةَ وَالأَوْقَاتَ الَّتِي جَعَلَهَا الآبُ فِي سُلْطَانِهِ 8لَكِنَّكُمْ سَتَنَالُونَ قُوَّةً مَتَى حَلَّ الرُّوحُ الْقُدُسُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُونَ لِي شُهُوداً فِي أُورُشَلِيمَ وَفِي كُلِّ الْيَهُودِيَّةِ وَالسَّامِرَةِ وَإِلَى أَقْصَى الأَرْضِ)).





Gospel Reading

Great and Holy Pascha
The Reading is from John 1:1-17

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'") And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Great and Holy Pascha
يوحنا 1: 1-17

1 فِي الْبَدْءِ كَانَ الْكَلِمَةُ وَالْكَلِمَةُ كَانَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَكَانَ الْكَلِمَةُ اللَّهَ.2 هَذَا كَانَ فِي الْبَدْءِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ. 3 كُلُّ شَيْءٍ بِهِ كَانَ وَبِغَيْرِهِ لَمْ يَكُنْ شَيْءٌ مِمَّا كَانَ.4 فِيهِ كَانَتِ الْحَيَاةُ وَالْحَيَاةُ كَانَتْ نُورَ النَّاسِ 5 وَﭐلنُّورُ يُضِيءُ فِي الظُّلْمَةِ وَالظُّلْمَةُ لَمْ تُدْرِكْهُ. 6 كَانَ إِنْسَانٌ مُرْسَلٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ اسْمُهُ يُوحَنَّا.7 هَذَا جَاءَ لِلشَّهَادَةِ لِيَشْهَدَ لِلنُّورِ لِكَيْ يُؤْمِنَ الْكُلُّ بِوَاسِطَتِهِ.8 لَمْ يَكُنْ هُوَ النُّورَ بَلْ لِيَشْهَدَ لِلنُّورِ.9 كَانَ النُّورُ الْحَقِيقِيُّ الَّذِي يُنِيرُ كُلَّ إِنْسَانٍ آتِياً إِلَى الْعَالَمِ.10 كَانَ فِي الْعَالَمِ وَكُوِّنَ الْعَالَمُ بِهِ وَلَمْ يَعْرِفْهُ الْعَالَمُ.11 إِلَى خَاصَّتِهِ جَاءَ وَخَاصَّتُهُ لَمْ تَقْبَلْهُ.12 وَأَمَّا كُلُّ الَّذِينَ قَبِلُوهُ فَأَعْطَاهُمْ سُلْطَاناً أَنْ يَصِيرُوا أَوْلاَدَ اللَّهِ أَيِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ بِاسْمِهِ.13 اَلَّذِينَ وُلِدُوا لَيْسَ مِنْ دَمٍ وَلاَ مِنْ مَشِيئَةِ جَسَدٍ وَلاَ مِنْ مَشِيئَةِ رَجُلٍ بَلْ مِنَ اللَّهِ. 14 وَﭐلْكَلِمَةُ صَارَ جَسَداً وَحَلَّ بَيْنَنَا وَرَأَيْنَا مَجْدَهُ مَجْداً كَمَا لِوَحِيدٍ مِنَ الآبِ مَمْلُوءاً نِعْمَةً وَحَقّاً. 15 يُوحَنَّا شَهِدَ لَهُ وَنَادَى: هَذَا هُوَ الَّذِي قُلْتُ عَنْهُ: إِنَّ الَّذِي يَأْتِي بَعْدِي صَارَ قُدَّامِي لأَنَّهُ كَانَ قَبْلِي.16 وَمِنْ مِلْئِهِ نَحْنُ جَمِيعاً أَخَذْنَا وَنِعْمَةً فَوْقَ نِعْمَةٍ.17 لأَنَّ النَّامُوسَ بِمُوسَى أُعْطِيَ أَمَّا النِّعْمَةُ وَالْحَقُّ فَبِيَسُوعَ الْمَسِيحِ صَارَا




Hymns of the Day

Apolytikion for Great and Holy Pascha in the 5th Tone

Christ is risen from the dead, by death, trampling down upon death, and to those in the tombs He has granted life.

المسيح قام من بين الأموات ووطئ الموت بالموت ووهب الحياة للذين في القبور.

Hypakoe of Great and Holy Pascha in the 4th Tone

When they who were with Mary came, anticipating the dawn, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, they heard from the Angel: Why seek ye among the dead, as though He were mortal man, Him Who abideth in everlasting light? Behold the grave-clothes. Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen, and hath put death to death. For He is the Son of God, Who saveth the race of men.

Seasonal Kontakion in the 8th Tone

Though You went down into the tomb, You destroyed Hades' power, and You rose the victor, Christ God, saying to the myrrh-bearing women, "Hail!" and granting peace to Your disciples, You who raise up the fallen.

Wisdom of the Fathers

Now this is a proof that Christ is God the Word, and the Power of God. For whereas human things cease, and the Word of Christ abides, it is clear to all eyes that what ceases is temporary, but that He Who abides is God, and the true Son of God, His only-begotten Word.
St. Athanasius of Alexandria
On the Incarnation 55, 4th Century

He is also called Wisdom, as the Knowledge of things divine and human. For how is it possible that He Who made all things should be ignorant of the reasons of what He has made?
St. Gregory the Theologian
Fourth Theological Oration, 4th Century


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