The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
The Sixth Sunday of Matthew
Great-martyr Procopius of Caesarea in Palestine
New-Martyrs Theophanes and Anastasios of Constantinople; Venerable Theophilos, The Myrrh-Streaming of St. Basil Kelli on Athos; Procopius of Ustug, Fool-for-Christ
The Holy Great Martyr Procopius, in the world Neanius, a native of Jerusalem, lived and suffered during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). His father, an eminent Roman by the name of Christopher, was a Christian, but the mother of the saint, Theodosia, remained a pagan. He was early deprived of his father, and the young child was raised by his mother. Having received an excellent secular education, he was introduced to Diocletian in the very first year of the emperor’s accession to the throne, and he quickly advanced in government service. Towards the year 303, when open persecution against Christians began, Neanius was sent as a proconsul to Alexandria with orders to mercilessly persecute the Church of God.
On the way to Egypt, near the Syrian city of Apamea, Neanius had a vision of the Lord Jesus, similar to the vision of Saul on the road to Damascus. A divine voice exclaimed, “Neanius, why do you persecute Me?”
Neanius asked, “Who are you, Lord?”
“I am the crucified Jesus, the Son of God.”
At that moment a radiant Cross appeared in the air. Neanius felt an inexpressible joy and spiritual happiness in his heart and he was transformed from being a persecutor into a zealous follower of Christ. From this point in time Neanius became favorably disposed towards Christians and fought victoriously against the barbarians.
Read the entire biography on the Orthodox Church in America website.
We Are Moving Forward and Need Your Help
UPDATE: We have over $500 thousand committed which means we are more than half way. We are now in the due diligence phase (building inspection, city compliance, and so forth).
We need to raise the remaining commitments by July 13. This is a short period but the process is moving fast. Please prayerfully consider what you can invest or donate and include it on the commitment letter.
At our General Assembly Meeting earlier this month, it was unanimously approved to pursue the acquisition of the new property for our parish expansion. The property is a steel building formerly used as a post office sorting facility with parking. It is located on Broadway and US41. The cost for the building is $600 thousand (a good price) and with improvements and city requirements for upgrades the total cost is estimated to be $900 thousand to $1 million.
All in all it is a good find for the price. It is also one of the few buildings for sale in the area with enough parking. The area is zoned for a church which saves us a considerable amount of money and time.
The new facility will be able to seat 180 parishioners. Currently we have room for 125. The floor level seats 100 people and you can see during season we reach capacity almost every Sunday. There is also room for a social hall, kitchen, and Sunday School rooms.
We will have to retrofit the building to make it a church but we are good at that. Also, everything that has been purchased in our present facility can be moved (we planned on this from the start). Being in a new building will offer us more opportunities and it will also draw more people. Our tentative date for occupancy is February 1, 2019 barring no unforeseen issues.
We will fund this through donations and a private mortgage. The private mortgage will be converted to a bank mortgage once we establish a track record for lenders. Debt service on this mortgage will amount to about one-half of what we presently pay for rent so it will not be a hardship.
How Can You Help?
Now the heavy lifting starts. We need donations and investments. The more donations we have the less debt we have to carry. If you would like to invest, please talk to Fr. Hans and he will direct you to the people in charge of side of the process.
We need financial commitments. We have to bring money to the table in order to buy the property. Please donate generously so that our goal of $1 million can be reached.
Please note that we will need commitments by the middle of July.
Below is a commitment letter. Click the image and you will be brought to the page.
A Personal Note from Fr. Hans
We began in humble beginnings at the Holiday Inn. Then we moved to Bernwood. It was a risk but one worth taking we decided at the time and it turned out to be correct. I think this next step is a logical one that is led by our Lord as well. St. Peter’s has flourished, it is meant to flourish, and it can flourish into the future as we remain faithful.
To that end let me assure everyone that St. Peter’s will be my home until God calls me to my eternal home. I love the people of St. Peter’s, I love the work I am called to do, and I am not going anywhere. My personal goal is to see St. Peter’s completely established and to be faithful in my pastoral work to the best of my ability.
We are in this together because our Lord has called us to work together. And we work for the future which means we work for the young because the young enable to see the future. If we do that the parish will prosper and flourish and outlast our brief sojourn on this earth.
God Bless America!
America has been a tremendous force for good in the world. We have problems, we have made mistakes, but America is still the most magnanimous and generous nation the world has ever seen. Freedom is a gift from God and those who value freedom know this. Those who shun God, who make themselves the lord of their own universe, will come to hate freedom because they will hate the accountability to God and others that freedom requires.
Freedom is also a precondition for love. Love has to be freely given or else it becomes coercion. Those who claim they know best but don’t have God, who believe that their ideas will bring peace and order into the world but refuse to be accountable to God, become coercive, even tyrannical, in the end. They want to make the free man to conform to their ideas of the good and will use almost any means of force to get the free man to comply.
The founding fathers understood this and instead of constraining free men, they constrained the powers of government to prevent the coercion of free men. But this requires that the free men restrain themselves, to recognize that a free and virtuous people can only maintain the freedom given to us by the founding fathers. If virtue dies, freedom will die too.
Next St. Peter Community Luncheon on Thursday, July 5 at Noon
You are invited to join your church friends for lunch and friendship held on the first Thursday of every month in the St. Peter’s community center. This was formerly the seniors get-together but it has been expanded to everyone who wants to come.
Reservations are required (so we know how much food to make). Reserve your spot today by calling Barbara Dionysopoulos at 239-826-1655 or sign up Sundays in the Social hall.
Pastitcho (Greek Lasagna)
Greek Salad with Feta and Olives
Bread, Dessert, Beverage
Meals are prepared by Barbara Dionysopoulos and friends.
Pilgrimage to Panagia Vlahernon Greek Orthodox Monastery on Saturday, July 7, 2018
Join us for a pilgrimage to the Panagia Vlahernon Monastery near Ocala on Saturday, July 7, 2018. We will leave the church at 8:00am and return between 9:00-10:00pm. We will rent a bus and ride up together.
The cost is $40 per person to pay for the bus. If you cannot afford this talk to Fr. Hans. You will go anyway. This remains private. If you can afford a contribution to support someone else, please give.
Dress Code: Men wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. Women wear long skirts and blouses (shoulders covered) and a head scarf. No open toe sandals (dark socks in sandals is acceptable).
You can learn more about the monastery on their website.
Bishop Nicholas Pastoral Visit to St. Peter’s on Friday-Saturday, July 13-14, 2018
His Grace Bishop Nicholas will be making a pastoral visit to St. Peter’s next Friday and Saturday. He would like to meet with all members of St. Peter’s as well as the individual groups (Parish Council, Sunday School, Choir, women, etc.).
The schedule is being organized as we speak so please mark you calendar. Details will be announced as soon as everything is finalized.
Calendar At A Glance
- Thursday, July 5, 2018 — Noon St. Peter Community Luncheon
- Saturday, July 7, 2018 — 8:00am Pilgrimage to Panagia Vlahernon Monastery
- Friday, July 13, 2018 — 2:30pm Parish Council Meeting
- Friday – Saturday, July 13-14, 2018 — Bishop Nicholas Pastoral Visit
- Monday – Friday, July 16-20, 2018 — Fr. Hans at Antiochian Clergy Symposium
Fr. Hans Attending Antiochian Clergy Symposium July 16-20
Every two years a week long Clergy Symposium is held for all Antiochian Clergy held at Antiochian Village. This is geared toward clergy continuing education as well as providing opportunity for clergy to get to know each other. Fr. Hans will be attending from Monday, July 16 to Friday, July 20.
Wisdom From The Elders
But the most important thing is to pray to God and ask Him to prolong this mercy of warmth in the heart. The Art of Prayer
If you see a man who has sinned and you do not pity him, the grace of God will leave you. Whoever curses bad people, and does not pray for them, will never come to know the grace of God. St Silouan the Athonite
Would it be difficult for God to constantly help everyone? No, but then man would not be really helped in this way. A spoiled child, whose parents constantly give him chocolates so he wants them always to be giving him, will become lazy, ill-disposed and unfortunate. Man, too, will never mature spiritually if he is constantly assisted by God without struggling himself. Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
Miracles happen with the prayers of little children. Whatever they ask of God, He provides, because they have innocence, and God hears their pure prayer. St. Paisios of Mount Athos
Initially grace arouses the conscience in a divine manner. That is how even sinners have come to repent and so to conform to God’s will. Saint Kosmas Aitolos
As Fr. Seraphim knew, however, such transfiguration does not happen of itself. He did not wait for the virtues to come naturally, but, seeing their lack in himself, he consciously labored to acquire them, hoping on Christ to strengthen him. Fr. Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works
Remember in Your Prayers
Dimitri – Presbyter
Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Baby Brynn L.
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Anna Marie Smith Baker
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.
For Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Thou, O Lord, wilt preserve us and keep us from this generation.
Save me, O Lord, for the Godly man hath disappeared.
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans. (12:6-14)
Brethren, having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, and serve the Lord. Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (9:1-8)
At that time, Jesus got into a boat, crossed over and came to His own city. And behold, they brought to Him a paralytic, lying on his bed; and when Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He then said to the paralytic—“Rise, take up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they marveled, and they glorified God, Who had given such authority to men.