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St. Peter Newsletter March 20, 2018 — The Annunciation of the Theotokos

The Annunciation of the Theotokos

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

The Annunciation of the Theotokos
The Annunciation of the Theotokos


The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary is celebrated on March 25 each year. The Feast commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb.

Biblical Story

The biblical story of the Feast of the Annunciation is found in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke (1:26-39). The Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, who was living in Nazareth, and said to her, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you.” Mary was perplexed and wondered what kind of greeting this was.

The angel told her not to be afraid, for she had found favor with God. He said, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Mary responded to the angel by asking how this could happen since she had no husband. The angel told her that the Holy Spirit and the power of God would come upon her, and that the child to be born of her would be called holy, the “Son of God.”

The angel then proceeded to tell the Virgin Mary that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived a son in her old age (John the Baptist), and affirmed that with God nothing is impossible.

In faith and obedience to the will of God, Mary replied to the angel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be according to your word.” Upon her response, the angel departed.

It is on the Feast of the Annunciation, that Orthodox Christians commemorate both the divine initiative of God, whereby He took on flesh from the Virgin for our salvation, and the human response, whereby Mary freely accepted the vocation offered to her. He elected to become man, and He desired to do this with the willing agreement of her whom He chose as His mother. Mary could have refused, for she was not a passive instrument, but an active participant with a free and positive part to play in God’s plan for our salvation. Thus, when on this and other feasts the Orthodox Church honors the Theotokos, the Mother of God, it is not just because God chose her but also because she herself chose to follow His will.

Read more on the Greek Orthodox Website.

Parents: Bring Your Children to Church on Lazarus Saturday Morning

The Raising of Lazarus
The Raising of Lazarus

Parents, bring your kids to Church on Lazarus Saturday. We will begin with the Liturgy (where Fr. Hans will explain the importance of the day to the children), a pancake breakfast, making palm crosses to be distributed the next day at Palm Sunday and confession for the kids.

Also consider bringing your children to the Taking Christ Down from the Cross service on Holy Friday afternoon. This is a short and highly visual service and children love it. Start setting the traditions early and it will stay with them their entire lives.

Fr. Thomas Hopko on The Annunciation

Click to listen to Fr. Hopko

On March 25, exactly 9 months before Nativity, the Church celebrates the Annunciation to the Theotokos that she will be the Mother of God. God’s declaration through the angel Gabriel, however, had a contingency attached.

Listen to find out what it was.

Listen here:

Click to listen to the podcast

St. Basil Liturgy Celebrated During Lent (Except Annunciation)

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.

The only variation is when Annunciation falls on a Sunday during Lent. Then we celebrate the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.


Lenten Suppers Following Wednesday Presanctified Liturgies

Man giving thanks to God

On Wednesday evenings following Presanctified Liturgy we will share in a light Lenten supper of lentil soup, bread and fruit. This is a practice of many churches and provides rich fellowship and sharing.

Sign up for the Palm Sunday Brunch!

Sign up for the Palm Sunday Brunch!

Plan on attending St. Peter’s Palm Sunday Brunch following the Palm Sunday Divine Liturgy on April 1, 2018. We will have a sign up sheet available shortly. Please sign up with Thoma in the social hall after Liturgy if you plan to attend so we can prepare properly. Suggested donation is $10 per person with no cost for children.

Sign up for the Pascha Dinner!

Sign up for the Pascha Dinner!

Following the Agape Vespers on Sunday, April 8, plan on attending our church wide Pascha celebration. The menu includes lamb, potatoes, and other items. This is a wonderful way to share fellowship and bread to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was a huge success last year and will be a joy again this year. Please sign up with Thoma in the social hall after Liturgy if you plan to attend so we can prepare properly. Suggested donation is $15 per person with no cost for children.

There’s a place for you at the table!

Donations for Holy Week Flowers Needed

Help Beautify the Church!

Flowers beautify the Church and are essential part of Orthodox worship during Holy Week and Pascha. Please give your donation for flowers to Angela Long who is overseeing this project this year.

Interfaith Charities Needs Our Help!

Interfaith Charities Needs Our Help!

Interfaith Charities has asked us to help supply:

  • Jelly
  • Crackers (Ritz or Saltines)
  • Any Chef Boyardee food item (cans only please)

They also need:

  • Used clothing
  • Shoes
  • Bedding

Bring bring all items you can to St. Peter’s and we will get them to Interfaith Charities.

Interfaith Charities is a coalition of churches and business that help the poor in the San Carlos and south Fort Myers area (view their website). We partner with them to help the working poor in our area as part of our mission to serve the poor around us.


Calendar At A Glance

A complete schedule of Lenten and Holy Week services is posted on the St. Peter website.

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2018 6:30pm Presanctified Liturgy
  • Friday, March 23, 2018 2:30pm Parish Council Meeting
  • Friday, March 23, 2018 6:30pm Akathist Hymn
  • Sunday, March 25, 2018 The Annunciation of the Theotokos
  • Monday, March 26, 2018 6:30pm Great Compline
  • Wednesday, March 28, 2018 6:30pm Presanctified Liturgy
  • Friday, March 30, 2018 6:30pm Canon of Lazarus
  • Saturday, March 31, 2018 9:00 Divine Liturgy Raising of Lazarus, Pancake Breakfast, Making Palms

Wisdom From The Elders

Nobody can become a Christian by being lazy. It needs work, lots of work. Elder Porphyrios

Fasting is a mechanical aid to cleansing the mind, to subjecting the will to the mind. Priest Daniel Sysoev

Everything we do, our every objective, must be undertaken for the sake of… purity of heart… we must practice the reading of the Scripture, together with all the other virtuous activities… to hold our hearts free of the harm of every dangerous passion and in order to rise step by step to the high point of love. St. John Cassian

Abba Moses then said: “True discrimination comes to us only as a result of true humility…”

So long as the soul is in a state contrary to nature, running wild with the weeds and thorns of sensual pleasures, it is a dwelling place of grotesque beasts. Saint Theodoros

Obedience is love, but disobedience is non-love, it is the trampling upon love. Never decline from obedience. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk

Do not give assent to the demons! Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk


Remember in Your Prayers


Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Eva K.
Sean Helgeland (great nephew to Steve and Anne Brietenbach)
Baby Brynn L.
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Petronia (Wife of Phil Pappas)
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Ron Chromulak
Beverly Chromulak
Loucine Kassis
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
Anthony Mourgis
John Hansen
James Hord

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


Tell forth from day to day the glad tidings of the salvation of our God.
Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (2:11-18)

Brethren, He Who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Thy Name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise Thee.” And again, “I will put my trust in Him.” And again, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Since, therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that He is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For, because He Himself has suffered and been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted.


The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (1:24-38)

At that time, Elizabeth, the wife of Zachariah, conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying, “Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” In the sixth month the archangel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the archangel came to her and said, “Rejoice, O favored one, the Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.

And the archangel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou wilt conceive in thy womb and bear a son, and you shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the archangel, “How shall this be, since I have known no man?”

And the archangel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, and the power of the Most High will overshadow thee; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the archangel departed from her.

St. Peter Orthodox Church