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St. Peter Newsletter December 13, 2016 — Sunday Before Nativity, The Geneology

The Genealogy of Christ According to Luke

The Sunday of the Fathers is the Sunday before the Nativity of the Lord (December 18-24). On this day the Church honors all those who were well-pleasing to God from all ages, from Adam to St Joseph the Betrothed of the Most Holy Theotokos, those who are mentioned in the genealogy of Luke 3:23-38. The holy prophets and prophetesses are also remembered on this day, especially the Prophet Daniel and the three holy youths.

The previous Sunday, the Sunday of the Forefathers, the Church commemorated all the righteous of the Old Testament who awaited the coming of Christ, this day remembers all those in the Old Testament who were related to Christ by blood and those who spoke of his birth as a man. This Sunday is part of the Forefeast of the Nativity, which strictly speaking begins on December 20.

Christmas Worship Schedule

The Nativity of Christ

Christmas worship is different this year because Christmas falls on a Sunday. The schedule is:

  • December 23 (Friday) Nativity Royal Hours 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Nativity Eve Divine Liturgy 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Great Vespers 6:30pm
  • December 25 (Sunday) Nativity Divine Liturgy, Hours 9:00am, Liturgy 9:30am

St. Panteleimon Blesses St. Peter’s

On Sunday, November 27, 2016 the icon of St. Panteleimon behind the altar began exuding oil. It lasted for one day although some oil is still fresh in the left side of the cross near St. Panteleimon’s ear. The oil began exuding during the Divine Liturgy although no one noticed it until the Liturgy was complete. A parishioner with an ear problem was scheduled for prayers immediately following the Liturgy so when the oil on the icon was discovered, it was used in the annointing.

St. Panteleimon Exuding Oil
St. Panteleimon Exuding Oil

Stewardship Letters in the Mail

Responsibility towards God includes taking responsibility for His Church. We love God because He first loved us. He established the Church as His body, as the way we find Him and draw closer to Him. We are responsible for maintaining it so that the work of Christ can continue in the world. That’s how it works.

You will be getting letter next week asking for your commitment to St. Peter’s. Prayerfully consider your support of St. Peter’s. The Church is not a charity. The Church is the Body of Christ. It needs to be high on our list.


New Restaurant Opens in Bonita Springs/Naples

Christos and Dena Poulias just moved down from Columbus, Ohio and opened a new Greek Restaurant in the shopping complex where Tom and Mercedes Sovjani have their hair salon (Wiggins Pass Road and 41 behind the Walgreens – get map here).

Mykonos Restaurant

Greek Mediterranean Cuisine
Open 7 days – 4pm to 9pm

Christos and Dena have been in the restaurant business for 30 years. All recipes are family owned. They are just starting out in Florida so any business we can give them will help them get a strong start!


Christmas Season Food Drive for NAMI


Every Christmas season St. Peter’s runs a food drive for NAMI (National Association for Mental Illness)serving local people in need. NAMI helps people with serious and persistent mental illnesses, as well as their parents, children, spouses, siblings and friends.

St. Peter’s has contributed to NAMI emergency food bank care for six years. Donations go to the Sarah Ann Drop In Center in Naples, FL. Three categories of items are needed:

  1. Canned and dry goods
  2. Toiletry articles (The small hotel type items work very well)
  3. Diabetic foods

Bring them to church and we will get them to NAMI. The drive will run through Christmas.


We’ve Entered the Christmas Fasting Period

The Christmas fasting period runs from November 15 to December 24. Guidelines for proper fasting during the Christmas fast can be found on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.. Look at the schedule, conform to the fast as you are able, and if you have questions consult Fr. Hans.

Fasting is important but sometimes circumstances require adjustments to the directions. We are not bound to directions (fasting is voluntary) but we should not use our liberty as an excuse for slackness or negligence either.

Why fast? It helps us focus on Christ more in our interior lives. As we learn to master our interior life, our exterior life changes for the better too. We fast faithfully and in secret, not judging others, and not holding ourselves up as an example.

From the Antiochian Archdiocese Website:

The Purpose of Fasting

The purpose of fasting is to focus on the things that are above, the Kingdom of God. It is a means of putting on virtue in reality, here and now. Through it we are freed from dependence on worldly things.

  • Fasting in itself is not a means of pleasing God. Fasting is not a punishment for our sins. Nor is fasting a means of suffering and pain to be undertaken as some kind of atonement. Christ already redeemed us on His Cross. Salvation is a gift from God that is not bought by our hunger or thirst.
  • We fast to be delivered from carnal passions so that God’s gift of Salvation may bear fruit in us.
  • We fast and turn our eyes toward God in His Holy Church. Fasting and prayer go together.
  • Fasting is not irrelevant. Fasting is not obsolete, and it is not something for someone else. Fasting is from God, for us, right here and right now.
  • Most of all, we should not devour each other. We ask God to “set a watch and keep the door of our lips.”

Do Not Fast

  • between December 25 and January 5 (even on Wednesdays and Fridays);
  • if you are pregnant or nursing a newborn;
  • during serious illness;
  • without prayer;
  • without alms-giving;
  • according to your own will without guidance from your spiritual father

2017 Liturgical Calendars Available

Pick up yours at Church. One per household please. What constitutes a household? If you have kids in college and want to send them a calendar for example, that would count as another household. So go ahead and send it.

If we have any left (we ordered 100) we can move to more than one per household.

The calendar is attractive and useful. It lists the Saint for each day, the scripture readings, fasting schedule, and more.

Toys for Tots Continues Until Christmas

Toys for Tots

The drive for Toys for Tots leading up to our St. Nicholas Pot Luck was successful and we have decided to continue it another few weeks. Please bring an unwrapped toy to Church and we will make sure it gets to the people who give it to needy children.


Music from Archdiocese Teens

Grace Shining Forth

Grace Shining Forth, a beautiful Music CD featuring our teens singing hymns of the Orthodox Church was just released. Sales of this CD provide scholarships for our teens to participate in the Youth Music Ministry (YMM) of the Sacred Music Institute (SMI) held each year.

You can hear a sample of the music and order a CD on the Teen SOYO website.


Choir Practice on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bible Study on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 7pm

Bible Studies DISCONTINUE until after Theophany in January

Calendar At A Glance

Choir Practice every Tuesday at 6:00pm and Bible Study every Wednesday at 7:00pm unless cancelled as noted below. Divine Liturgy every Sunday at 9:30. Extra services noted below.

  • November 15 – December 24 Christmas Fast Period
  • December 23 (Friday) Nativity Royal Hours 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Nativity Eve Divine Liturgy 9:00am
  • December 24 (Saturday) Great Vespers 6:30pm
  • December 25 (Sunday) Nativity Divine Liturgy, Hours 9:00am, Liturgy 9:30am

Wisdom From The Elders

How does one acquire humility? By silence. Be silent! Be stupid! Let everyone consider you to be stupid! Silence is the primary means for the attainment of humility and love. One is saved by silence.
—Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
—The Letter of James, Chapter 1:23-27

A person who doesn’t go through tribulations, who doesn’t want to feel any pain, or to suffer hardships, who doesn’t want others to trouble him, or to correct him, but wants an easy life, is out of touch with reality.
—St. Paisios of Mount Athos

Abba Poemen said of Abba John the Dwarf that he had prayed God to take his passions away from him so that he might become free from care. He went and told an old man this; ‘I find myself in peace, without an enemy,’ he said. The old man said to him, ‘Go beseech God to stir up warfare so that you may regain the affliction and humility that you used to have, for it is by warfare that the soul makes progress.’ So he besought God and when warfare came, he no longer prayed that it might be taken away, but said, ‘Lord, give me strength for the fight.’
—St. John Kolovos (the dwarf)

The Christian prays while he walks, while he talks, while he rests, while he works or reads: and, when he meditates alone in the secret retreat of his own soul, and calls upon the Father with groans that are no less real because they are unspoken, the Father never fails to answer and draw near to him.
—St. Clement of Alexandria

Remember in Your Prayers

Baby Kyriake
Brad William
Robert Jarvis
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Harry Zifiris
Iris Kuring (Bettina Zifiris' mother)
Constantine Houpis
Gerhard Kuring (Bettina Zifiris' father)
Ron Chromulak
Beverly Chromulak
Loucine Kassis
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
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

Christ Giving Blessing


For the Sunday before the Nativity

Blessed are Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
For Thou art justified in all that Thou hast done for us.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (11:9-10, 32-40)

Brethren, by faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight.

Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.


For the Sunday before the Nativity: “The Genealogy”

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (1:1-25)

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram, and Aram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.

And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amon, and Amon the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.

And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, Who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ were fourteen generations.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called His Name Jesus.