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St. Peter Newsletter February 28, 2017 — Sunday of Orthodoxy, Presanctified Liturgy, Akathist Hymn, Women’s Retreat, Lenten Supper Talks, more…

The Sunday of Orthodox - The Restoration of Icons

First Sunday of Great Lent
The Triumph of Orthodoxy

Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great

The Sunday of Orthodoxy is the first Sunday of Great Lent. The dominant theme of this Sunday since 843 has been that of the victory of the icons. In that year the iconoclastic controversy, which had raged on and off since 726, was finally laid to rest, and icons and their veneration were restored on the first Sunday in Lent. Ever since, this Sunday has been commemorated as the “Triumph of Orthodoxy.”

The Seventh Ecumenical Council dealt predominantly with the controversy regarding icons and their place in Orthodox worship. It was convened in Nicaea in 787 by Empress Irene at the request of Tarasios, Patriarch of Constantinople. The Council was attended by 367 bishops.

Almost a century before this, the iconoclastic controversy had once more shaken the foundations of both Church and State in the Byzantine empire. Excessive religious respect and the ascribed miracles to icons by some members of society, approached the point of worship (due only to God) and idolatry. This instigated excesses at the other extreme by which icons were completely taken out of the liturgical life of the Church by the Iconoclasts. The Iconophiles, on the other-hand, believed that icons served to preserve the doctrinal teachings of the Church; they considered icons to be man’s dynamic way of expressing the divine through art and beauty.

An Endemousa (Regional) Synod was called in Constantinople in 843. Under Empress Theodora. The veneration of icons was solemnly proclaimed at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral. The Empress, her son Michael III, Patriarch Methodios, and monks and clergy came in procession and restored the icons in their rightful place. The day was called “Triumph of Orthodoxy.” Since that time, this event is commemorated yearly with a special service on the first Sunday of Lent, the “Sunday of Orthodoxy”.

Read more on the Greek Orthodox website.


Procession of Icons Following the Liturgy

Bring your icon from home to hold them during the Procession of Icons that follows the Divine Liturgy. Children and members of the Parish Council will process around the interior of the Church led by the priest who will read the petitions. This will be followed by a reading of the Synodikon of the Seventh Ecumenical Council.


St. Basil Liturgy Celebrated During Lent

St. Basil the Great

During the Lenten Sundays we celebrate St. Basil’s Liturgy instead of our usual St. John Chrysostom Liturgy. St. John’s liturgy is derived from St. Basil’s but the prayers are a bit shorter.


Liturgy for 40 Holy Martyrs on Thursday, March 9 at 6:30

The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste
The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste

A Presanctified Liturgy for the 40 Holy Martyrs will be held on Thursday, March 9 at 6:30.

Who Were the 40 Holy Martys?

When the pagan Licinius ruled the eastern half of the Roman Empire (307-323 AD), it was his evil intent to eliminate Christianity from the lands under his control, and especially, for fear of treason, among the troops. One of his supporters was a cruel man by the name of Agricola who commanded the forces in the Armenian town of Sebaste, in what is now eastern Turkey. Among his soldiers were forty devout Christians who wielded equally well the sword of battle and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17). These men formed an elite bodyguard. When it came to Agricola’s attention that they were Christians, he determined to force them to renounce their’ faith and bow down to the pagan gods. He gave them two alternatives:

1) Either offer sacrifice to the gods and earn great honors or, 2) in the event of your disobedience, be stripped of your military rank and fall into disgrace.”

The soldiers were thrown into jail to think this over…

Read the full story on the Forty Holy Martyrs Church website.

Lenten Suppers — Sign-Ups and Program

We will hold a light Lenten supper following each Wednesday Presanctified Liturgy during Lent. This will be something like lentil soup, bread and fruit — very simple.

A sign up sheet is posted on the board in the Social Hall. The dates are March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29.

We also will hold brief presentations during the suppers. This year we look at Monasticism. The schedule this year:

  • March 1 St. Anthony and the Desert Fathers — A Brief Introduction
  • March 8 The Holy Mountain — A video about Mt. Athos
  • March 15 Trude Mancini talks about her son’s life on Mt. Athos
  • March 22 Monasticism in the United States — A video on the monastery in Arizona
  • March 29 From the Little Mountain — A video on a hermitage in West Virginia

Social Hall Lenten Food

In order to stay faithful to our Lenten disciplines, during Lent we will eliminate animal products (meat, cheese, eggs, fish, etc.) from our refreshments following the Divine Liturgy. Shell fish (shrimp, etc.) and oil are still allowed.


Orthodox Christian Fellowship Started

Attention college age and above Orthodox Christians in SW Florida. Members of St. Peter’s have started an Orthodox Christian Fellowship open to anyone who would like to join. They meet twice a month. Many plans are in the works including activities, occasional bible studies and more. This is a great way to get to know Orthodox Christians your own age!

Events will be announced in the newsletter and on the website and the OCF phone text list. Questions? Want to join? Contact Jeremiah at 504-256-8768 (text him), Erika at 412-716-2899, or Julia at 239-450-2400.

Looking for Bookshelves

If you have any you don’t need please see Fr. Hans.


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.

  • March 1 (Wednesday) Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
  • March 3 (Friday) First Stanza Akathist Hymn 6:30pm
  • March 4 (Saturday) Women’s Retreat
  • March 6 (Monday) Great Compline 6:30pm
  • March 8 (Wednesday) Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
  • March 9 (Thursday) Presanctified Litury 40 Holy Martyrs 6:30pm
  • March 10 (Friday) Second Stanza Akathist Hymn 6:30pm
  • March 12 (Sunday) St. Gregory Palamas

Full Lenten schedule available on the website.


Daylight Savings Starts March 12

Daylight Savings Ends

Set your clocks forward a week from this coming Saturday night (March 11). Spring forward, Fall back.


Wisdom From The Elders

The more one suffers trials and tribulations through illness, the more he is purified and sanctified, as long as he is patient in his illness and accepts it with joy.
St. Paisios of Mount Athos

What saves and makes for good children is the life of the parents in the home. The parents need to devote themselves to the love of God. They need to become saints in their relations to their children through their mildness, patience, and love. They need to make a new start every day, with a fresh outlook, renewed enthusiasm and love for their children. And the joy that will come to them, the holiness that will visit them, will shower grace on their children.

St. Porphyrios

Avoid not only impure deeds, but even words, so that you may be a pure and undefiled man not only in your deeds, but also in your words.
St. Theophan the Recluse

The Son of God, the Word, did not become man in order only that men should believe in the Holy Trinity, glorify It, and theologize about It, but in order to destroy the works of the devil.
St. Symeon the New Theologian

This is your main rule: be simple in all your thoughts, feelings, words, behavior, and your relations with people. Being simple means not in any way allowing artificiality and behaving before people as before God.

Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

All men led by the light of fallen nature alienated from guidance of God’s light ,will be enticed into submission to the seducer (antichrist).
St Ignaty Brianchaninov

Remember in Your Prayers

Baby Samuel
Baby Kyriake
Brad William
Robert Jarvis
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Iris Kuring (Bettina Zifiris' mother)
Constantine Houpis
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


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

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (11:24-26, 32-40)

Brethren, by faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 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 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.


The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (1:43-51)

At that time, Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him, “We have found Him of Whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said to Jesus, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God! Thou art the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”