St. Peter Newsletter March 13, 2018 — Fourth Sunday of Lent, St. John of the Ladder

Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

Cyril, Patriarch of Jerusalem; Martyrs Trophymos and Eukarpos of Nicomedia and those with them; Nikolai (Velimirovic), Bishop of Zhicha who labored in America

St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)

St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)

Our venerable and God-bearing Father John Climacus (ca. 579 – 649), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus, and John Sinaites, was a seventh century monk at St. Catherine’s monastery at the base of Mount Sinai.

He came to the monastery and became a novice when he was about 16 years old, and when he died in 649 he was the monastery’s abbot. He wrote a number of instructive books, the most famous of which is The Ladder of Divine Ascent. (It is because of this book that John is known as “Climacus,” which means “of the ladder”.)

It describes how to raise one’s soul to God, as if on a ladder. This book is one of the most widely read among Eastern Orthodox Christians, especially during the season of Great Lent which immediately precedes Pascha (Easter), and on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent he is especially commemorated.

Quotes from St. John

  • Repentance is the renewal of baptism.
  • Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
  • A penitent is a buyer of humility.
  • Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.
  • Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care.
  • Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.
  • A penitent is an undisgraced convict.
  • Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
  • Repentance is purification of conscience.
  • Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.
  • A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments.
  • Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.

Read more on the Orthodoxwiki website.

Letter Parents: Bring Your Children to Lazarus Saturday

The Raising of Lazarus

The Raising of Lazarus

We will begin with the Liturgy (where Fr. Hans will explain the importance of the day to the children), a pancake breakfast, making palm crosses to be distributed the next day at Palm Sunday and confession for the kids.

Also consider bringing your children to the Taking Christ Down from the Cross service on Holy Friday afternoon. This is a short and highly visual service and children love it. Start setting the traditions early and it will stay with them their entire lives.

Fr. Thomas Hopko on “St. John of the Ladder”

Click to listen to Fr. Hopko

Originally broadcast on March 11, 2008 Length: 13:24

It is at this point in our Lenten journey that the Church contemplates the instruction of St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Fr. Tom takes us step by step through this treasure and makes it practical for us non-monastics!

Listen here:

Click to listen to the podcast

St. Basil Liturgy Celebrated During Lent

St. Basil the Great

During the Lenten Sundays we celebrate St. Basil’s Liturgy instead of our usual St. John Chrysostom Liturgy. St. John’s liturgy is derived from St. Basil’s but the prayers are a bit shorter.

Lenten Suppers Following Wednesday Presanctified Liturgies

Man giving thanks to God

On Wednesday evenings following Presanctified Liturgy we will share in a light Lenten supper of lentil soup, bread and fruit. This is a practice of many churches and provides rich fellowship and sharing.

During the supper we will have a very short presentation on a theme particular to Lent. The supper this week is sponsored by Harry and Bettina Zafiris

Mark You Calendars: Palm Sunday Brunch and Pascha Dinner!

Plan on attending St. Peter’s Palm Sunday Brunch following the Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy on April 1, 2018. We will have a sign up sheet available shortly. Please sign up with Thoma in the social hall after Liturgy if you plan to attend so we can prepare properly. Suggested donation is $10 per person with no cost for children.

Following the Agape Vespers on Sunday, April 8, plan on attending our church wide Pascha celebration. The menu includes lamb, potatoes, and other items. This is a wonderful way to share fellowship and bread to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was a huge success last year and will be a joy again this year. Please sign up with Thoma in the social hall after Liturgy if you plan to attend so we can prepare properly. Suggested donation is $15 per person with no cost for children.

There’s a place for you at the table!

Donations for Holy Week flowers Needed

Flowers beautify the Church and are essential part of Orthodox worship during Holy Week and Pascha. Please give your donation for flowers to Angela Long who is overseeing this project this year.

Interfaith Charities Needs Our Help!

Interfaith Charities Needs Our Help!

Interfaith Charities has asked us to help supply:

  • Jelly
  • Crackers (Ritz or Saltines)
  • Any Chef Boyardee food item (cans only please)

They also need:

  • Used clothing
  • Shoes
  • Bedding

Bring bring all items you can to St. Peter’s and we will get them to Interfaith Charities.

Interfaith Charities is a coalition of churches and business that help the poor in the San Carlos and south Fort Myers area (view their website). We partner with them to help the working poor in our area as part of our mission to serve the poor around us.


Calendar At A Glance

  • Friday, March, 2018 2:30pm Parish Council Meeting

Lenten Schedule

A complete schedule of Lenten and Holy Week services is posted on the St. Peter website.

  • Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:30pm Presanctified Liturgy
  • Friday, March 16, 2018 6:30pm Salutations to the Theotokos
  • Sunday, March 18, 2018 St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)
  • Monday, March 19, 2018 6:30pm Great Compline
  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:30pm Presanctified Liturgy
  • Friday, March 23, 2018 6:30pm Salutations to the Theotokos

Wisdom From The Elders

Abba Moses then said: “True discrimination comes to us only as a result of true humility…”

Fleeing the cross is equivalent to fleeing from the glory of God. Metropolitan Saba(Esber)

Bear with every man in such a way that God may also bear with thee. Abba Amonis

Those without a good disposition will not be enlightened and will be misled during the years of apostasy. For whoever does not have divine Grace, does not have spiritual clarity, just like the devil. Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

Never envy. This is a grievous sin. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

But those who would like to live a genuine spiritual life must first of all be satisfied with a few things. When their life is simplified, without too many concerns or nuisances, not only will they be liberated from the worldly spirit, they will also have plenty of time available for spiritual things. Elder Paisios of Mount Athos


Remember in Your Prayers

Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Eva K.
Sean Helgeland (great nephew to Steve and Anne Brietenbach)
Baby Brynn L.
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Ron Chromulak
Beverly Chromulak
Loucine Kassis
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
Anthony Mourgis
John Hansen
James Hord

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names (first names are sufficient) and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Add or remove names and print this list for easy reference during your prayer time on the St. Peter website.


Sunday Readings

Christ Giving Blessing


The Lord will give strength to His people.
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (6:13-20)

Brethren, when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Men indeed swear by one greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He interposed with an oath. So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.


The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (9:16-30)

At that time, a man came to Jesus, kneeling down and saying unto him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Thy Disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And Jesus answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.” And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Jesus, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if Thou canst do anything, have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when Jesus had entered the house, His Disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And Jesus said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And Jesus would not have anyone know it; for He was teaching His Disciples, saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and after He is killed, He will rise on the third day.”

St. Peter Orthodox Church