St. Peter Newsletter — January 2, 2016 – Sunday before Theophany

The Sunday Before Theophany

The Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

The Theophany of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Theophany (or Epiphany) means shining forth or manifestation. The feast is often called, as it is in the Orthodox service books, Theophany, which means the shining forth and manifestation of God. The emphasis in the present day celebration is on the appearance of Jesus as the human Messiah of Israel and the divine Son of God, One of the Holy Trinity with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Thus, in the baptism by John in the Jordan, Jesus identifies himself with sinners as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29), the “Beloved” of the Father whose messianic task it is to redeem men from their sins (Lk 3:21, Mk 1:35). And he is revealed as well as One of the Divine Trinity, testified to by the voice of the Father, and by the Spirit in the form of a dove. This is the central epiphany glorified in the main hymns of the feast:

When Thou, O Lord, wast baptized in the Jordan the worship of the Trinity was made manifest! For the voice of the Father bare witness to Thee, calling Thee his Beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, confirmed the truthfulness of his Word. O Christ our God, who hast revealed Thyself and hast enlightened the world, glory to Thee (Troparion).

Read the entire article on the Orthodox Church of America website.

Vassilopita on Sunday, January 3, 2016

Vasilopita

We will cut the Vassilopita (St. Basil’s bread) on Sunday January 3 following the Divine Liturgy.

Royal Hours, Theophany Liturgy, and Blessing of Water at 6pm on January 5, 2016

On January 5 at 9am we will read the Royal Hours. This is a service of prayer and Psalms, solemnly done and lasting about an hour or so. This is a good service for those seeking deeper encounter with God and pepares us for the Divine Liturgy of Theophany later in the day.

On January 5 at 6pm we will hold the Divine Liturgy of Theophany followed by the Great Blessing of the Waters.

The day before Theophany is a strict fast day. Many will be working before the Liturgy so eat sparingly that day. Try for a light breakfast and lunch, with nothing in the afternoon. Also prepare by saying the Jesus Prayer throughout the day — “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy.”

The actual day of Theophany is January 6 but because most people will be at work, Met. Joseph has authorized the celebration of the Feast Day on the Eve of the Feast.

Chior Practice and Orthodoxy 101 Class Continue Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Choir practice begins at 6pm and Orthodoxy 101 at 7pm.

After this class Orthodoxy 101 is complete.

Read Chapters 17-Conclusion, Pages 239-277 to prepare for class.

Remember in Your Prayers

Bonnie Joseph

Bob Smith

Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Sunday Readings

pantokrator-blessing

Epistle

For the Sunday before the Theophany of Christ

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my God.

The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy. (4:5-8)

Timothy, my son, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

Gospel

For the Sunday before the Theophany of Christ

The reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (1:1-8)

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And there went out to him all the country of Judea, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, and had a leather girdle around his waist, and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes He Who is mightier than I, the strap of Whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”