Why Does St. Peter’s Parish Exist?

The reason why St. Peter’s exists is so that those who attend can find Christ. Our vision when it started and that guides it today is: St. Peter’s is here for those who wants to find Christ as He is understood and served in our Orthodox Christian faith. It is open to everyone – even those who are looking for Him but don’t know where to find Him yet.

This means then that we must always be open to our neighbor, to love our neighbor in the same way that God loves us. When we love our neighbor we love God. When we love God we love our neighbor. If God or neighbor is missing from the equation that we are not really serving God.

It also means that each one of us must define what our vocation and ministry is. Vocation and ministry are two words the define a very important part of our life in and with Christ. Vocation is what kind of work we are called to do – the kind of work we do; and ministry is how we accomplish that work.

Everyone has a vocation and ministry. No two people’s vocation and ministry are alike. And vocation and ministry are practiced both in the Church and outside of it.

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Don’t know what your vocation is? The first step is to realize that God has called you out from the larger dominant society. Yes, we live in society but we are also members of a new nation, a royal priesthood, called by God to do good work.

The second step is to look at what you do well and what you really like doing. Ask yourself, “What do I do well and what do I really like to do? What gives me fulfillment? What kind of work brings me joy?” Start thinking about these things and also ask God to give you insight. You will become more aware of what you could be doing.

Then start to apply the insights. You will experience more meaning and joy. Cultivate your gifts. Bring them to work in the Church, your workplace and the other places where you live.

We are blessed at St. Peter’s because we have so many people contributing to parish life in ways that bring real value to our other parishioners. God will bless them for this.

As we continue the parish will grow because this kind of dedication and commitment and even selflessness on occasion is needed to offer those who are seeking Christ but do not yet know where to find Him a place where they will find Him.

That is already happening and will continue if we – the ones to who much is given and therefore from whom much is required – remain faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In Christ,

Fr. Hans

Fr. Thomas Hopko: The Triumph of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Orthodoxy

The Triumph of Orthodoxy

Icons are not optional devotional extras, but an integral part of Orthodox faith and devotion. They are held to be a necessary consequence of Christian faith in the incarnation of the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, in Jesus Christ.

You won’t find a more concise and helpful explanation of why Orthodox Christians keep and venerate icons.

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Listen here:

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Podcast courtesy of Ancient Faith Radio.

Bp. Timothy Ware on the Prodigal Son and Repentance

Bp. Timothy Ware on the Prodigal Son and Repentance

But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

From the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Fr. Thomas Hopko: 55 Maxims for Christian Living

Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and teacher of seminarians and priests for decades passed away in 2015. Fr. Tom was first a pastor, a man with a generous heart and burning love for Christ who directed many towards our Lord.

Below are 55 maxims that Fr. Tom says are necessary for a sound Christian life.

Memory eternal to Fr. Thomas Hopko.

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  1. Be always with Christ.
  2. Pray as you can, not as you want.
  3. Have a keepable rule of prayer that you do by discipline.
  4. Say the Lord’s Prayer several times a day.
  5. Have a short prayer that you constantly repeat when your mind is not occupied with other things.
  6. Make some prostrations when you pray.
  7. Eat good foods in moderation.
  8. Keep the Church’s fasting rules.
  9. Spend some time in silence every day.
  10. Do acts of mercy in secret.
  11. Go to liturgical services regularly
  12. Go to confession and communion regularly.
  13. Do not engage intrusive thoughts and feelings. Cut them off at the start.
  14. Reveal all your thoughts and feelings regularly to a trusted person.
  15. Read the scriptures regularly.
  16. Read good books a little at a time.
  17. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  18. Be an ordinary person.
  19. Be polite with everyone.
  20. Maintain cleanliness and order in your home.
  21. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  22. Exercise regularly.
  23. Live a day, and a part of a day, at a time.
  24. Be totally honest, first of all, with yourself.
  25. Be faithful in little things.
  26. Do your work, and then forget it.
  27. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  28. Face reality.
  29. Be grateful in all things.
  30. Be cheerfull.
  31. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  32. Never bring attention to yourself.
  33. Listen when people talk to you.
  34. Be awake and be attentive.
  35. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  36. When we speak, speak simply, clearly, firmly and directly.
  37. Flee imagination, analysis, figuring things out.
  38. Flee carnal, sexual things at their first appearance.
  39. Don’t complain, mumble, murmur or whine.
  40. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  41. Don’t seek or expect praise or pity from anyone.
  42. We don’t judge anyone for anything.
  43. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  44. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  45. Be defined and bound by God alone.
  46. Accept criticism gratefully but test it critically.
  47. Give advice to others only when asked or obligated to do so.
  48. Do nothing for anyone that they can and should do for themselves.
  49. Have a daily schedule of activities, avoiding whim and caprice.
  50. Be merciful with yourself and with others.
  51. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  52. Focus exclusively on God and light, not on sin and darkness.
  53. Endure the trial of yourself and your own faults and sins peacefully, serenely, because you know that God’s mercy is greater than your brokenness.
  54. When we fall, get up immediately and start over.
  55. Get help when you need it, without fear and without shame.

Met. Joseph Urges Orthodox to March for Marriage

antiochian-letterhead

The letter below was received from Met. Joseph urging Orthodox Christians to join the March for Marriage in Washington DC on April 25, 2015.

From the letter:

We are clearly on the cusp of a historic Supreme Court decision that could mark a powerful affirmation of marriage between one man and one woman, upon which all major civilizations have flourished – or, it can initiate a direction which the Holy Orthodox Church can never embrace.

Throughout the history of our faith our Holy Fathers have led the Orthodox laity to gather in unison to preserve the faith against heresy from within, and against major threats upon societies from without. We are in a unique position as Orthodox Christians in a nation governed as a democratic republic. We still benefit from religious freedoms that would allow us to voice with clarity the gospel message of Christ’s love, and the path to salvation.

A growing group of Orthodox clergy and laity have begun to prepare for this event and to assemble resources, and they have established the website www.crownthem.org . We encourage you to visit this website for additional information.

The letter follows:

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