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St. Peter Newsletter April 14, 2020

Pascha (Passover)

The Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
The Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ


Holy Week comes to an end at sunset of Great and Holy Saturday, as the Church prepares to celebrate her most ancient and preeminent festival, Pascha, the feast of feasts. The time of preparation will give way to a time of fulfillment. The glorious and resplendent light emanating from the empty Tomb will dispel the darkness. Christ, risen from the dead, cracks the fortress of death and takes “captivity captive” (Psalm 67:19). All the limitations of our createdness are torn asunder. Death is swallowed up in victory and life is liberated. “For as by a man came death, by a man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:21-22). Pascha is the dawn of the new and unending day. The Resurrection constitutes the most radical and decisive deliverance of humankind.


The Resurrection has not yet abolished the reality of death. But it has revealed its powerlessness (Hebrews 2:14-15). We continue to die as a result of the Fall. Our bodies decay and fall away. “God allows death to exist but turns it against corruption and its cause, sin, and sets a boundary both to corruption and sin.” Thus, physical death does not destroy our life of communion with God. Rather, we move from death to life – from this fallen world to God’s reign.

Read more about Pascha on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.


Archdiocese Instructions for Celebrating Lazarus Saturday, Palm Sunday and Holy Week

The differences and new rules are:

No Holy Unction because the faithful will not be there to receive the anointing. We will serve the Orthros for the Divine Liturgy of the Last Supper. We still have some oil from last year so when the pandemic passes Fr. Hans will anoint everyone after Liturgy one Sunday.

Unfortunately we are still under lock-down so services will performed with minimal staff and live streamed.

No outside processions. We will attempt small inside processions.

This is clearly a hardship for everyone. Who would have thought we could not go to Church on Holy Week and Pascha? Double down on you prayers.

What can you do? Decorate your icon corner or table at home. Parents, set up a small table for the kids to decorate. Use flowers they pick. Make your home the house-church of Pascha this year.


For Those Present and Those Absent in Liturgy

One day after the Liturgy we took a carriage and went somewhere together with Father. In the carriage he said to us, “Today Chrysoula also was in church.”

“No, my Father,” we said to him, “He wasn’t.”

“Why, what are you saying? I censed her.”

“No,” we repeated, “She wasn’t there.”

“Eh, well, well,” he said without concern, and then with conviction, “It was her spirit.”

We wondered at what he told us, because the same thing had occurred at a certain monastery, where the priest censed the stall of an absent deacon and would not cense a monk who was in his stall.

The monk wondered about this and complained to the priest—how did he omit to cense him, even though he passed in front of him, and yet censed the empty stall?

And thus the priest was given an opportunity to hear the confessions of both — that is,what thoughts they had during the Liturgy. The monk confessed that his mind ran towards thoughts which were sinful and far removed from his sacred calling. Whereas the poor deacon, even though he had undertaken a duty outside of the church, kept his mind present in church.

For this reason we also asked the sister what she had been thinking of on the previous day, and she said with great simplicity (for she was illiterate) that her mind and soulhad been present at the Diving Liturgy.

From the life of Papa Nicholas Planas, ch. 4. Translated from the Greek by Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Boston MA.


Our Services Will Be Simple, But Also Beautiful

St. Peter’s is a parish well on its way, but we also prefer to do things without ostentatiousness and display. We don’t reach for things beyond our grasp but instead do well what we know how to do. We live by the maxim that we do things properly and in order, taking one step at a time, placing one foot in front of the other.

For that reason many of our services will be simple. Yet, simplicity can convey deep beauty and so we will worship to the best of our ability, knowing that God receives the sacrifice of praise from those whose heart is set on sacrifice — clergy and laity alike, and in return He will bless us with His grace — His divine presence and power.

May the Lord bless and keep all the parishioners and friends of the parish of St. Peter, may He cause the light of His countenance to shine upon us and have mercy on us.


What Happens Once the Social Distancing Restrictions Are Lifted?

On the first Sunday we are open Fr. Hans will annoint everyone present with the oil from Holy Unction that was blessed last year (2019). He still has some left. We will do this as we leave the Liturgy for Social Hall.

After that we will go into the Social Hall and celebrate — greet everyone we have missed, talk with friends you have not seen face to face for weeks, thank God that He has got us through this and more. We will figure out the details and let you know as the date approaches.

We could call it our belated Pascha celebration.

Meanwhile, stay strong and courageous. Pray. This pandemic will lift, we will all be changed by the experience in one way or another, and hopefully our gratitude for the blessings God has given will deepen in us.


Resetting the Prayer List

The prayer list grows and grows and that presents a problem: we don’t know when to remove the names that are on the list.

Soon after Pascha, Fr. Hans will reset the list and we will, in a sense, start over. Some names will remain such as seniors who have moved away but are still in touch with the parish. Also remaining will be the current names towards the top of the list, the ones will the name of the submitters and the date of submission.

In the future all names will include the extra information. That way we won’t loose track of the names. We will have a way of determining which names we can remove and which names should stay. We will remove names that have been on the list for one month. If you have names that should remain on the list longer, please let Fr. Hans know.

Why have a list of all? The answer is simple really: The prayers for the people listed often get answered. Prayer works, especially the corporate prayer of all the believers in Church as well as the private prayers some parishioners pray when they read the names at home.


Please Don’t Forget to Fulfill Your Pledge and Donations

As you can imagine, the cash flow of St. Peter’s Church has taken a significant hit. In March we are close to $9,000 short in meeting our expenses. We collected only half of what is needed to keep the Church in the black. Our highest expense is rent.

Some of this is because of the uncertainty of the length of the shut down. While we don’t know for certain when it will end, President Trump’s announcement on Sunday that the country may be shut down for at least another month means that we probably will be too.

Please keep current with your pledge. The financial health and stability of our parish requires us to do our part.

You can mail your check to:

St. Peter Orthodox Church
24850 Old 41 RD Suite 6
Bonita Springs, FL 34135

You can also donate online (scroll to bottom of page):

Pledge & Income Report – February 2020

Donations received in February: $15,511.00
Amount of money needed to cover expenses: $18,121.00
SHORTFALL: $2,610.00

Thank you for your continued support. As you can see, we are behind in our February numbers. Due to our current situation, I am sure that March will be significantly behind, too.

You can fill out a pledge form on the St. Peter website.


Calendar At A Glance

Live Streamed Services This Week

UPDATE: St. Peter Live Stream is now available on the St. Peter website (as well as Facebook). Just go to the website, click “Watch Live Stream” and wait for the service to begin.

To Live Stream a service on FACEBOOK: Go to the St. Peter Facebook page. Scroll down to “posts” (use the navigation bar on the left). You do not need a Facebook account to view.

St. Peter Orthodox Church


Palm Sunday and Holy Week

  • Sun Apr 12 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
  • Sun Apr 12 — Bridegroom Service 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Mon Apr 1s — Bridegroom Service 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Tue Apr 14 — Bridegroom Service 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Wed Apr 15 — Orthros for Holy Thursday 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Thu Apr 16 — Liturgy of the Last Supper 9:30am LIVE STREAM
  • Thu Apr 16 — The Twelve Gospels 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Fri Apr 17 — Royal Hours 9:30am LIVE STREAM
  • Fri Apr 17 — Taking Christ Down from the Cross 3:00pm LIVE STREAM
  • Fri Apr 17 — Lamentation Service 7:00pm LIVE STREAM
  • Sat Apr 18 — First Resurrection Service 9:30am LIVE STREAM
  • Sat Apr 18 — Great and Holy Pascha 10:00pm LIVE STREAM
  • Sun Apr 19 — Agape Service 11:00am LIVE STREAM

Wisdom From The Elders

Living simply means not judging. Do not judge anyone. For example, here comes Elikonida. She passed by, and that is all. This is what thinking simply means. Otherwise, at seeing Elikonida passing by, you could think about her bad side: she is such and such, her character is thus and so. That is not simple. Elder Ambrose of Optina

Nothing done in humility for the sake of God is bad. St. Peter of Damaskos

Show love simply, with out any deviation into cunning thoughts, without any trivial, worldly, covetous calculations, remembering that love is God Himself. Remember that He sees all your ways, sees all the thoughts and movements of your heart. Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt

The spiritual person must attain such a spiritual condition that even it God does not grant him Paradise, he will not be disturbed. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

You are pleased when people help you when you are in need. Therefore strive yourself, as much as you can, to help your neighbor in all of his needs. Metropolitan Gregory (Postnikov) of St. Petersburg

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9:24-25

Remember in Your Prayers

Pantellis (Anna T 20-04-08)
Angelo/Evangelos (Jacobse 20/04/05)
Christine (Kanellos 20/04/05)
Edna (Jacobse 20/04/05)
Pauline (Jacobse 20/04/05)
Priest Benjamin (20/04/05)
Vasiliki (Morekeas 20/04/05)
Louis (Repya 20/04/05)
Iakavos (Diveris)
Heriklia (Diveris)
Macy James
Joan (Breitenbach)
Mary (Rauch)
Diomidis (Kanellos)

Anastasia (Ann Constan)
Ben (Ben)
Thomas (Ben)
Irene (C. Diveris)
Vasiliki (C.Diveris)
Efrosini (C. diveris)
Charles (Oberg)
Christine (Kouzes)
Nina (Kovalev)
Hugh (Jacquie)
Violet (Jacquie Mom)
Tammie (Jacquie friend)
Baby Luke
Savannah (Jonson)
Bill R.
Pat R.
Priest Kyprianos
Maryanne (E)
Ron (E)
Robert (J)
Mary (J)
Sofia Tešanovic
Dennis H. and Family
Victor Evan
Dimitri – Presbyter
Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
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



This is the day which the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad therein!
O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; His mercy endureth forever.

The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. (1:1-8)

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, untilthe day when He was taken up, after He had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to theApostles whom He had chosen. To them He presented Himself alive after His passion by manyproofs, appearing to them during forty days, and speaking of the kingdom of God. And whilestaying with them He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise ofthe Father, which, He said, “You heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but before manydays you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” So when they had come together, they askedHim, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for youto know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you shall receivepower when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem andin all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”



The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (1:1-17)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Hewas in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was notanything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shinesin the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whosename 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 everyman was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yetthe 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.

St. Peter Orthodox Church