St. Peter Newsletter — June 6, 2013

The Vision of St. Peter’s Mission

From time to time it is good to remember why St. Peter’s was established.

St. Peter’s seeks to reach out to anyone who desires to come into a deeper relationship with our Lord and Jesus Christ within the framework of our Orthodox Christian faith. We seek to serve our Savior by loving our neighbor in accord with the two great commandments: love God and neighbor.

That means we support each other, but that we also offer the gifts given to us to anyone who might be seeking Him. And because we understand that mission to others is central to the Christian life, we welcome anyone who might approach us because we understand that it may indeed be God Himself who is bringing them to us.

Who might be interested in St. Peter’s? The unchurched Orthodox as well as people with little or no religious affiliation whatsoever. There is a great spiritual hunger in the land — a desire that lies deep within the hearts of many people — for the enduring things that meaningful and can bring order and clarity in a very confused time. Only communion with God can slake that desire. It is what the scriptures call the “living water” that we read about in the gospel about the Samaritan Woman last Sunday.

That’s what we are here for. We want to bring the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone who is seeking Him.

For that reason we will make St. Peter’s an open community welcoming to all. As we get established we will offer classes, fellowship opportunities, more scheduled worship, and all the other things that contribute to the stability of a parish and meets its responsibilities and goals.

Remember though that times have changed. People who don’t have a connection with Church usually don’t come on the own. They come when they are invited and we do the inviting. We need to be open then to the possibility that God is leading people to St. Peter’s through us.

St. Photini — The Samaritan Woman

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Last Sunday I explained how the Samaritan Woman (the Woman at the Well) became St. Photinia, a great saint in the Church. The following gives her history. Note that she converted one of Nero’s daughter. Nero was the Emperor of the Roman empire at the time and a great persecutor of Christians.

The New Testament describes the familiar account of the “woman at the well” (John 4:5-42), who was a Samaritan. Up to that point she had led a sinful life, one which resulted in a rebuke from Jesus Christ. However, she responded to Christ’s stern admonition with genuine repentance, was forgiven her sinful ways, and became a convert to the Christian Faith – taking the name ‘Photini’ at Baptism, which literally means “the enlightened one”.

[. . .]

Later, Byzantine hagiographers developed the story of the Samaritan Woman, beginning where Saint John left off. At Pentecost Saint Photini received baptism, along with her five sisters, Anatole, Photo, Photis, Paraskeve, Kyriake, and her two sons, Photeinos and Joseph. She then began a missionary career, traveling far and wide, preaching the good news of the Messiah’s coming, His death and resurrection. When Nero, the emperor of Rome, began to persecute Christians, Photini and her son Joseph were in Carthage, in Africa, where she was preaching the Christian gospel. After Jesus appeared to Photini in a dream, she sailed to Rome. Her son and many Christians from Africa accompanied her. Photini’s arrival and activity aroused curiosity in the capital city. Everyone talked about her, “Who is this woman?” they asked. “She came here with a crowd of followers and she preaches Christ with great boldness.”

Read the complete story on the Orthodox Christian website.

Complete Address List for Bob Smith, Anatole Kurdsjuk, and Jeremiah Tewis

Please remember our parishioners in need of prayer.

Bob and Jane Smith
11817 Flanders Circle NE
Blaine, MN. 55449

Anatole and Linda Kurdsjuk
470 Dawn Drive
North Fort Myers, FL 33904

Dylan Jeremiah Tewis
Resident Center
Apt #509
2020 Peachtree Road NW
Altanta, GA 30309

Please note that Jeremiah’s address is new. He is now in outpatient therapy for a month of so.

Sunday Scripture Readings

Epistle

Acts 16:16 – 34 (Sunday of the Blind Man)

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Thou, O Lord shalt preserve us, and keep us from this generation.
Save me, O Lord; for the godly man ceaseth.

The Reading is from the Acts of the Apostles

In those days, as we apost les were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followed Paul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.”

And this she did for many days. But Paul was annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, “I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was g one, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers; and when they had brought them to the magistrates they said, “These men are Jews and they are disturbing our city. They advocate customs which it is not lawful for u s Romans to accept or practice.” The crowd joined in attacking them; and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.

And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly the re was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and every one’s fetters were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.

But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said, “Men, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all that were in his house.

And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, with all his family. Then he brought them up into his house, and set food before them; and he rejoiced with all his household that he had believed in God.

Gospel

John 9:1 – 38 (Sunday of the Blind Man)

The Reading of the Holy Gospel according to St. John

At that time: When Jesus passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was n ot that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. We must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

As he said this, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and anointed the man’s eyes with the clay, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar, said, “Is not this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said, “It is he”; others said, “No, but he is like him.” He said, “I am the man.” They said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash’; so I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God , for he does not keep the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” There was a division among them. So they again said to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight, and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they feared the Jews, for the J ews had already agreed that if any one should confess him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age, ask him.” So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give God the praise; we know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner, I do not know; one thing I know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?’ He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you too want to become his disciples?” And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Why, this is a marvel! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if any one is a worshiper of God and does his will , God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that any one opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out.

Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of God.” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you. ” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.