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St. Peter Newsletter July 6, 2016 — St. Joseph of Damascus

St. Joseph of Damascus

The Third Sunday of Matthew

Commemorating St. Joseph of Damascus

St. Joseph of Damascus
St. Joseph of Damascus

Who Was Joseph of Damascus?

A married man, St. Joseph of Damascus, as he is popularly known, was at first a weaver and then was ordained to the holy priesthood at the age of twenty-four in 1817, and to the Patriarchal Cathedral of the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos in the heart of the Old City of Damascus.

On Monday, July 9th, 1860 the brutal massacre of Christians, which began in the mountains of Lebanon, spread to Damascus. Some Damascenes (including Michael Hawaweeny and his young wife Mariam who was bearing in her womb a son who would be the future St. Raphael of Brooklyn) fled Damascus for the port city of Beirut. The majority, however, took refuge in al-Mariamiyeh. Many had previously fled to Damascus from their mountain villages, while others came to the Cathedral from the Christian Quarter of Damascus and the villages that surrounded the city.

St. Joseph took up his communion kit containing the Reserved Sacrament, left his home and began to make his way to the Cathedral by jumping from rooftop to rooftop across the narrow streets of the Old City. As he went, he stopped to confess and commune the aged and infirm who could not flee their homes, encouraging them with stories from the Lives of the Great Martyrs. On Tuesday morning July 10th, the Cathedral was surrounded, pillaged and burned by a fanatical crowd. Those inside the holy temple perished in the flames; of those who escaped and fled into the streets, most were shot or caught and forced back into the burning building, while only a few, including St. Joseph, survived.

As he roamed the narrow streets searching for survivors who needed confessed and communed, St. Joseph was surrounded by the enemies of Christ. Seeing that his end was near, St. Joseph took out his communion kit and consumed what remained of the Body and Blood of Christ. Recognizing him as the “leader of the Christians,” the persecutors savagely attacked him with axes. Then, binding his legs with ropes, they dragged his mutilated body through the streets to be mocked and spat upon by jeering onlookers. St. Joseph’s sacred relics were then unceremoniously pitched into the city dump along with those of the other New Martyrs (numbering two thousand five hundred men plus women and children).

St. Joseph and his Companions were glorified by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of the Great City-of-God Antioch and all the East in the year of our salvation 1993. Through their intercessions, O Christ our, have mercy upon us. Amen.

Source: Antiochian Archdiocese.

Feast Day / Independence Day Celebration Gallery

St. Peter's Names Day and American Independence Day Luncheon

Our Names Day and Independence Day celebration was a good time had by all. Thank you to Angela Long and Anthea Tuefel who organized and directed this effort.

Visit the gallery of images from this event on the website.

Choir Practice Continues Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We also have choir practice this Wednesday, July 6.

Bible Study Continues Wednesday, July 13, 2016

We also have Bible Study this Wednesday, July 6.

No Bible Study on Wednesday, July 20. Fr. Hans will be attending the Clergy Conference at Antiochian Village.

Wisdom from the Fathers

Love of the body is a sign of unbelief. Faith frees the intellect from the categories of the senses and sobers it by means of fasting, by pondering on God and by vigils.

—St. Justin Popovich

In order to live spiritually and draw breath from grace, we must continually exhale the ashes of sin.

—Ignaty Brianchaninov

A fall is often an occasion of humility for those who are willing to use it to their advantage.

—St. John Climacus

Rightly may we say to those who labor: Work on, for what you seek is of true value.

—The Art of Prayer

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

—1 Peter 5:6

Prayer List on the St. Peter website

Pray unceasingly St. Paul teaches us

The Prayer List is now available on the St. Peter website. You can add or remove names using the form provided. More important is that you can print out the names periodically to keep on your family altar or near your icons and bible and reference the names whenever you pray.

Remember in Your Prayers

Baby Dani

Scott Nedoff

Maria Karela

Anthony Mourgis

John Simon

John Hansen

Constandina James

Peter Wouralis

Sia Wouralis

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 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 St. Joseph of Damascus

The saints shall boast in glory, and they shall rejoice upon their beds. Sing unto the Lord a new song; His praise is in the church of the saints. The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to St. Timothy. (2:1-10) Timothy, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to satisfy the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my gospel, the gospel for which I am suffering and wearing fetters like a criminal. But the word of God is not fettered. Therefore, I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus with its eternal glory.


The Third Sunday of Matthew

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew. (6:22-33)

The Lord said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not the soul more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of heaven: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his stature? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon himself in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”