St. Peter Newsletter — Paraklesis to the Theotokos and Transfiguration Vespers and Liturgy (August 5 and 6)

The Seventh Sunday of Matthew
The Sunday after the Transfiguration of Christ

The Holy Righteous Martyr Dometius

This Martyr, who lived during the reign of Saint Constantine the Great, was a Persian by race and an idolater by religion. He was catechized by a certain Christian named Abarus. He went to Nisibis, a city of Mesopotamia, where he was baptized and donned the monastic habit in a certain monastery.

He afterwards ascended a mountain and there endured in extreme ascetical struggles, working miracles for those that came to him, and converting many unbelievers.

Julian the Apostate learned of these things as he was marching against the Persians in 363, and at his command the Saint and his two disciples were stoned to death, as they were chanting the Sixth Hour.

Joseph of Arimathea

Righteous Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. As a member of the Sanhedrin he did not participate in the “counsel and deed” of the Jews in passing a death sentence for Jesus Christ. After the Crucifixion and Death of the Saviour he made bold to go to Pilate and ask him for the Body of the Lord, to Which he gave burial with the help of Righteous Nicodemus, who was also a secret disciple of the Lord.

They took down the Body of the Saviour from the Cross, wrapped it in a winding-cloth, and placed it in a new tomb, in which no one had ever been buried, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the presence of the Mother of God and the holy Myrrh-Bearing Women (St Joseph had prepared this tomb for himself). Having rolled a heavy stone before the entrance of the tomb, they departed (John 19:37-42; Matt 27:57-61; Mark 15:43-47; Luke 24:50-56). St Joseph travelled around the world, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. He died peacefully in England.

Holy Transfiguration Vespers (August 5) and Liturgy (August 6)

The Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

On Friday evening August 5 at 6:30 we celebrate Great Vespers of the Transfiguration. This is to prepare us for the Divine Liturgy of the Holy Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, August 6 at 9:30am.

What is the Transfiguration?

The transfiguration of Christ is one of the central events recorded in the gospels. Immediately after the Lord was recognized by His apostles as “the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the Living God,” He told them that “He must go up to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed and on the third day be raised” (Mt 16). The announcement of Christ’s approaching passion and death was met with indignation by the disciples. And then, after rebuking them, the Lord took Peter, James, and John “up to a high mountain”—by tradition Mount Tabor—and was “transfigured before them.”

The Jewish Festival of Booths was a feast of the dwelling of God with men, and the transfiguration of Christ reveals how this dwelling takes place in and through the Messiah, the Son of God in human flesh. There is little doubt that Christ’s transfiguration took place at the time of the Festival of Booths, and that the celebration of the event in the Christian Church became the New Testamental fulfillment of the Old Testamental feast in a way similar to the feasts of Passover and Pentecost.

In the Transfiguration, the apostles see the glory of the Kingdom of God present in majesty in the person of Christ they see that “in Him, indeed, all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,” that “in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 1.19, 2.9). They see this before the crucifixion so that in the resurrection they might know Who it is Who has suffered for them, and what it is that this one, Who is God, has prepared for those who love Him. This is what the Church celebrates in the feast of the Transfiguration.

Learn more on the Orthodox Church of America website.

Why Should We Attend?

Worship is the doorway into the presence of God. Only by entering into God’s presence can we be conformed to Him. Only by being conformed to God do we experience who we are and what we were created for in the ways that God intended us to experience it.

Dormition of the Theotokos – August 1-15

The Dormition of the Theotokos

Dormition of the Theotokos

From August 1 through 15 we commemorate the Dormition of the Theotokos. “Dormition” means “falling-asleep,” the term St. Paul uses for those who have died in Christ. Death in Christ is like a falling asleep and then awakening with Christ.

The Holy Scriptures tell us that when our Lord was dying on the Cross, He saw His mother and His disciple John and said to the Virgin Mary, “Woman, behold your son!” and to John, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:25-27). From that hour, the Apostle took care of the Theotokos in his own home.

The season ends on August 15 with a special Divine Liturgy held in the evening. During the two weeks leading up to that day, we will hold a smaller service called “The Paraklesis to the Theotokos” on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6:30pm.

This is also a fasting period. The basic discipline is no meat from August 1 to 15.

Eggs for the Poor

Two weeks ago we got a call from the Cafe of Life asking if St. Peter’s could donate 16 dozen hard boiled eggs (eight last week, eight this week) for the working poor of Bonita Springs. St. Peter’s partners with Cafe of Life as part of our mission to help the poor around us.

St. Peter’s parishioners got to work and the eggs were delivered this week.

The eggs distributed to the working poor

The eggs distributed to the working poor

Do You Have a Couch to Donate?

Do you have a couch you don’t need? Cafe of Life is resettling a family and they need a couch. If you have one please mention it to Zannos Grekos.

Thank you to…

Maria Mourgis for donating the books for our Paraklesis Service and Eddie Kocani for donating the refrigerator in our Social Hall.

Register Your Children for Sunday School

Let the Children Come unto Me

Let the Children Come unto Me

Sunday School begins September 11, 2016 — the first Sunday after Labor Day and parents need to register their children!

You can register you child in three ways:

  • Fill in the registration online on the website or…
  • Download and print the registration form, fill it in and bring it to Church or…
  • During Social Hall on Sundays.

Please register early. Sunday School is growing and we need to plan. It is only about 7 weeks away.

No Choir practice August 3 and 10, 2016

We will hold Paraklesis Service at 6:30.

No Bible Study August 3 and 10, 2016

We will hold Paraklesis Service at 6:30.

Wisdom from the Elders

Remain in prayer, persevere, go through the day without sin. All the rest will be given by God Himself.

-Archimandrite Sophrony of Essex

We follow the ways of wolves, the habits of tigers: or, rather we are worse than they. To them nature has assigned that they should be thus fed, while God has honored us with rational speech and a sense of equity. And yet we are become worse than the wild beast.

-St. John Chrysostom

Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward & learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.

-St. John Chrysostom

And when we say ‘love’, we don’t mean the virtues that we will acquire, but the heart that is pervaded by love towards Christ and others. We need to turn everything in this direction.

Do we see a mother with her child in her arms and bending to give the child a kiss, her heart overflowing with emotion? Do we notice how her face lights up as she holds her little angel? These things do not escape a person with love of God.

He sees them and is impressed by them and he says, ‘If only I had those emotions towards my God, towards my Holy Lady and our saints!’ Look, that’s how we must love Christ our God. You desire it, you want it, and with the grace of God you acquire it.

-Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love

Prayer List on the St. Peter website

Pray unceasingly St. Paul teaches us

The Prayer List is now available on the St. Peter website. You can add or remove names using the form provided. More important is that you can print out the names periodically to keep on your family altar or near your icons and bible and reference the names whenever you pray.

Remember in Your Prayers

Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Christine
Maria
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
Maria Karela
Anthony Mourgis
John Hansen
Constandina James
James Hord
Bob Smith
Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

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

Search the Scriptures

Epistle

For Seventh Sunday of Matthew

O Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance.
Verse: To you, O Lord, I have cried, O my God.

BRETHREN, we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves; let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to edify him. For Christ did not please himself; but, as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.”

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Gospel

The Gospel according to Matthew 9:27-35

At that time, as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly charged them, “See that no one knows it.” But they went away and spread his fame through all that district.

As they were going away, behold, a dumb demoniac was brought to him. And when the demon had been cast out, the dumb man spoke; and the crowds marveled, saying, “Never was anything like this seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.