St. Peter Newsletter — December 7, 2012

Patriarch Ignatius — May His Memory Be Eternal

Patriarch Ignatius, the head of the Antiochian Orthodox Church located in Damascus, Syria passed away this week. The Antiochian Church Archdiocese distributed this biography:

His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV (Hazim) of Antioch and All the East was born in 1920 in the village of Muharda, near the city of Hama Syria. In 1936, he moved to Beirut, where he became an altar server. Years later, upon taking monastic vows, he became a hierodeacon.

Patriarch Ignatius

In 1945 he graduated from the American University of Beirut, and from 1949 to 1953 studied at the Saint Sergius Theological Institute in Paris. On his return to Lebanon, the young theologian with a master s degree was ordained hieromonk.

In 1942, he became one of the founders of the influential Orthodox Youth Movement in Lebanon and Syria, which has done much to renew youthful participation in Church life. In 1953, His Beatitude became one of the organizers of Syndesmos the worldwide Brotherhood of Orthodox Youth.

In 1961 he was ordained Bishop of Palmyra and Patriarchal Vicar, and in the following year, he was sent to the monastery of Balamand as superior and as dean of the Theological Seminary founded, which in 1988 was transformed into an Orthodox University, the first in the Middle East. He has published a series of theological books and numerous articles. His Beatitude is an honorary doctor of Sorbonne and SaintFPetersburg (1981) and Minsk (2003) Theological Academies. In 1970, the future Patriarch was appointed Metropolitan of Latakia (Laodicea).

On 2 July 1979, he was elected Primate of the Church of Antioch and enthroned on 8 July of the same year!

Bishop Antoun has requested that we say memorial prayers for Pat. Ignatius this Sunday at the Divine Liturgy.

The Nativity Season

Despite what the retailers say, the Christmas season really begins December 6 on St. Nicholas Day. Now we begin contemplating the coming of Christ into the world.

Think of Christ’s coming over the next few weeks. Read through the Nativity accounts in the Gospels especially Luke 2. That’s the one we all know because it is the most complete and poetic account. That will help us get into the right frame of mind.

I’ll speak more of the Nativity as the time approaches. In the meantime strive for solemnity in your lives and homes. Set time apart to pull back from the social and commercial pressure of the season to discover again the full importance and meaning of Christ’s birth.

We will have Divine Liturgy on Christmas Eve (December 24) at St. Paul’s. I will have more details next week but mark you calendar now. No Christmas Liturgy on Christmas Day.

A Program Sunday Evening that May Interest You

Ancient Faith Radio, easily one of the best Orthodox media outlets in the country is hosting a program on Orthodoxy and ethnicity in America. It is a call in program and promises to be very interesting.

Ancient Faith Radio

The program is this Sunday starting at 8pm Eastern at Ancient Faith Radio (ancientfaith.com)

Sunday Scripture Readings

Epistle

Galatians 4:22-27 (Conception of St. Anne)

Ancient Cover for the Bible

The righteous shall rejoice in the Lord.
Verse. O God, hear my prayer.

The reading is from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Galatians.

BRETHREN, Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, the son of the free woman through promise.

Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.

For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and shout, you who are not in travail; for the children of the desolate one are many more than the children of her that is married.”

Gospel

Luke 13:10-17 (10th Sunday of Luke)

The Reading from the Holy Gospel, according to St. Matthew

At that time, Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity for eighteen years; she was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.

And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she praised God.

But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be healed and not on the sabbath day.”

Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrite! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his ass from the manger, and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, and daughter of Abraham who Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”

As Jesus said this, all hi adversaries were put to shame; and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.