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St. Peter Newsletter April 7, 2020

The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

The Entrance of Our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ into Jerusalem
Palm Sunday

From Fr. Hans:

This week and next we will feel the estrangement from our parish most deeply. Missing Holy Week and Pascha Services rank close to unthinkable, something we would never do expect in the most dire circumstances such as war or pestilence.

Well, the pestilence is upon us.

Think of this as a kind of involuntary Lent, or even more accurately as an involuntary deepening of Lent. Lent is a period of voluntary deprivation, a forgoing of things common in our lives in order to foster a greater awareness of our dependence on God.

Impositions like not being able to attend Church, being confined to our homes all day long (curbs on mobility is difficult for us to bear), not knowing the the future might hold cause us to think more of our own mortality and God at the same time.

Take the frustration you feel and deepen prayer and self-reflection. Pray more, pause to think and evaluate the important things more. This time compels us to do so, just like Lent.

And remember that deepening your prayer will also direct you towards greater purification of the heart. This deeply spiritual work also changes the world around you in strong but usually imperceptible ways. It’s one way we defeat the pestilence around us. It may even be the strongest way.

I am including the information for Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday below as a reminder of both what we will miss this year but what we will celebrate in full next year. Below I will include the instructions on how we will celebrate these important services through live streaming.

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Palm Sunday

On the Sunday before the Feast of Great and Holy Pascha and at the beginning of Holy Week, the Orthodox Church celebrates one of its most joyous feasts of the year. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of the Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem following His glorious miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead. Having anticipated His arrival and having heard of the miracle, the people went out to meet the Lord and welcomed Him with displays of honor and shouts of praise. On this day, we receive and worship Christ in this same manner, acknowledging Him as our King and the Virgin would show her. A voice replied to her from on high: “If you cross the Jordan, you will find rest.”

The biblical story of Palm Sunday is recorded in all four of the Gospels (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-38; and John 12:12-18). Five days before the Passover, Jesus came from Bethany to Jerusalem. Having sent two of His disciples to bring Him a colt of a donkey, Jesus sat upon it and entered the city.

People had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover and were looking for Jesus, both because of His great works and teaching and because they had heard of the miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus. When they heard that Christ was entering the city, they went out to meet Him with palm branches, laying their garments on the ground before Him, and shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

Read more about Palm Sunday on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.

Lazarus Saturday

The Raising of Lazarus
The Raising of Lazarus

On the Saturday before Holy Week, the Orthodox Church commemorates a major feast of the year, the miracle of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ when he raised Lazarus from the dead after he had lain in the grave four days. Here, at the end of Great Lent and the forty days of fasting and penitence, the Church combines this celebration with that of Palm Sunday.

In triumph and joy the Church bears witness to the power of Christ over death and exalts Him as King before entering the most solemn week of the year, one that leads the faithful in remembrance of His suffering and death and concludes with the great and glorious Feast of Pascha.

Read more on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.


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


  • Sat Apr 11 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am


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

Here are the differences and new rules:

No Holy Unction on Wednesday 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.


Teen-SOYO Virtual Retreat on Saturday, April 11 at 2:00pm

The retreat will be held via ZOOM. Downloading ZOOM is easy. As soon as the link for the retreat is available, we will email it to you. Click the link, it will ask you if you want to download ZOOM, click “yes” and it will install and bring you to the retreat location.


Do Any Of Our Seniors Need Help During the Shut-Down?




If any seniors need help during the shut-down like buying groceries or anything else that might come up, please call or text Fr. Hans (text preferred but not necessary) at 239-248-4775.

If anyone could help our seniors if something comes up, please call or text Fr. Hans (text preferred but not necessary) at 239-248-4775. We will set up a list of volunteers.


Video of Bishop Nicholas Live Stream Held Sunday, April 5, 2020

Bishop Nicholas does a Sunday Live Stream every Sunday. I encourage everyone to listen to it below.

Bp. Nicholas provides solid counsel and encouragement for all us of dealing with the ramifications of the coronavirus and economic shutdown in the wisdom of our Orthodox faith and practice. It is the kind of leadership we need in these difficult times.

Watch it and see if you agree. Then sign up for the Band App or on the Band website to view these live stream videos every Sunday. Sign up instructions are on the St. Peter website.

St. Peter Orthodox Church


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

  • Sat Apr 11 — Lazarus Saturday Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM

To Live Stream a service: 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

Sunday April 5 Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

  • Mon Apr 6Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Wed Apr 8Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Fri Apr 10Small Compline with Canon of St. Lazarus 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Sat Apr 11 — Lazarus Saturday Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM


Lazarus Saturday

  • Sat Apr 11 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM

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

Vasiliki (Morekeas)
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



For Palm Sunday

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