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St. Peter Newsletter March 24, 2020

St. John Climacus

Fourth Sunday of Great Lent
St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)

Martyr Mark, bishop of Arethusa, Martyr Cyril the deacon of Heliopolis and those with them; Martyrs Jonah and Barachisios of Persia and those with them; Eustathios the Confessor, bishop of Bithynia

St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)

St. John of the Ladder (Climacus)

Our venerable and God-bearing Father John Climacus (ca. 579 – 649), also known as John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus, and John Sinaites, was a seventh century monk at St. Catherine’s monastery at the base of Mount Sinai.

He came to the monastery and became a novice when he was about 16 years old, and when he died in 649 he was the monastery’s abbot. He wrote a number of instructive books, the most famous of which is The Ladder of Divine Ascent. (It is because of this book that John is known as “Climacus,” which means “of the ladder”.)

It describes how to raise one’s soul to God, as if on a ladder. This book is one of the most widely read among Eastern Orthodox Christians, especially during the season of Great Lent which immediately precedes Pascha (Easter), and on the fourth Sunday of Great Lent he is especially commemorated.

Quotes from St. John

  • Repentance is the renewal of baptism.
  • Repentance is a contract with God for a second life.
  • A penitent is a buyer of humility.
  • Repentance is constant distrust of bodily comfort.
  • Repentance is self-condemning reflection, and carefree self-care.
  • Repentance is the daughter of hope and the renunciation of despair.
  • A penitent is an undisgraced convict.
  • Repentance is reconciliation with the Lord by the practice of good deeds contrary to the sins.
  • Repentance is purification of conscience.
  • Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions.
  • A penitent is the inflicter of his own punishments.
  • Repentance is a mighty persecution of the stomach, and a striking of the soul into vigorous awareness.

Read more on the Orthodoxwiki website.


Fr. Thomas Hopko on “St. John of the Ladder”

Fr. Thomas Hopko

Originally broadcast on March 11, 2008

It is at this point in our Lenten journey that the Church contemplates the instruction of St. John Climacus and his Ladder of Divine Ascent.

Fr. Tom takes us step by step through this treasure and makes it practical for us non-monastics!

Listen here:

Click to listen to the podcast

Annunciation Liturgy on Monday, March 25 at 6:30pm Preceded by Orthros at 5:30pm

The Annunciation of the Theotokos

This liturgy will be live-streamed on Facebook. Go to the St. Peter Facebook page. Scroll down to “posts” (use the navigation bar on the left). You do not need a Facebook account to view.

The Divine Liturgy of the Annunciation will be held on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 preceded by Orthros at 5:30pm.

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.

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:


Do Any Of Our Seniors Need Help During the Shut-Down?

Click to listen

If any seniors need help during the shut-down like buying groceries or anything else that might come up, please call or text Fr. Hans (text preferred but not necessary) at 239-248-4775.

If anyone could help our seniors if something comes up, please call or text Fr. Hans (text preferred but not necessary) at 239-248-4775. We will set up a list of volunteers.


Met. Joseph Issues Directives on Worship and Church Activities

Met. Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph has issued a directive for Worship and non-liturgical activities during the coronavirus pandemic. You can read the entire directive on the St. Peter website. The main points are listed below.

  1. No non-liturgical parish activities will be held. This means that we will cancel Social Hall, Community Luncheons, Sunday School, Greek School (already cancelled), Bible Studies or any other kind of social activity until further notice.
  2. Sunday and Orthodox Liturgies will continue but only with the Priest, Deacon, Altar Servers, and Chanter(s). No more than 10 parishioners can attend. We will see if can set up a live stream for parishioners who remain at home.
  3. Presanctified Liturgies are cancelled.
  4. Friday Akathists will continue.
  5. The Divine Liturgy of Annunciation on March 25 will held.

These measures are to conform to the instructions of the public health officials that we maintain social distancing in order to limit the spread of the virus.

You are encouraged to continue your services at home. These are called “Readers Services,” the same service held in a Church if a priest cannot be present. You can find the services on the Archdiocese website (here). This is important. Don’t ignore the prayer. It will keep you strong.

Read the entire message sent out to parishioners on Tuesday, March 18, 2020 on the St. Peter’s website.


Schedule for Lenten Suppers Following Presanctified Liturgies on Wednesday

Presanctified Liturgies, and therefore the Lenten Suppers, are cancelled until further notice.


Pledge & Income Report – February 2020

Donations received in February: $15,511.00
Amount of money needed to cover expenses: $18,121.00
SHORTFALL: $2,610.00

Thank you for your continued support. As you can see, we are behind in our February numbers. And due to our current situation, I am sure that March will be significantly behind, too.

Since our attendance at weekly services we are not collecting weekly donations yet our expenses still need to be paid. You can remain current in your stewardship by donating online by clicking the donate button on the St. Peter’s website, or by mailing your check to the church at:

St Peter Orthodox Church
24850 Old 41 Road, Ste. 6
Bonita Springs, FL 34135

Thank you to all of you who support Saint Peter’s.


Our Stewardship to St. Peter’s



Click to view the letter


The letter for Stewardship Support of St. Peter’s in 2020 has been sent.

PLEASE NOTE: Although most of us cannot attend Church, our bills still need to be paid. We are on a sound financial footing, but this will continue only if we maintain our giving to the Church. Please mail your contributions to the church or, if you prefer, donate online by clicking the donate button on the St. Peter’s website.

We are responsible to increase what God has given us. In the Parable of the Talents, the master gave his servants talents that they are expected to nurture and grow. This is a responsibility we cannot avoid.

The Church is both a place where the increase begins on the inside of us, and to which we much give some our increase. This too is a responsibility we must take on.

A contribution form will be included in the letter you receive. Our goal this year is $217,000.


Calendar At A Glance

Live Streamed Services This Week

To Live Stream a service: Go to the St. Peter Facebook page. Scroll down to “posts” (use the navigation bar on the left). You do not need a Facebook account to view.

  • Wed Mar 25 — Annunciation Liturgy 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Fri Mar 27 — Fourth Stanza Salutations 6:30pm LIVE STREAM

All Sunday Services are live streamed as well.

Greek School classes cancelled.

Sunday March 22 Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross LIVE STREAM

  • Mon Mar 23Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Tue Mar 24Annunciation Vespers 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Tue Mar 24Annunciation Orthros 5:30pm
  • Wed Mar 25 — Annunciation Liturgy 6:30pm LIVE STREAM
  • Fri Mar 27 — Fourth Stanza Salutations 6:30pm LIVE STREAM

Sunday March 29 Sunday of St. John of the Ladder LIVE STREAM

  • Mon Mar 30Great Compline 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Wed Apr 1Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm CANCELLED
  • Fri Apr 3 — Complete Salutations/Akathist Hymn 6:30pm LIVE STREAM

Undetermined. Since this is the last week before Holy Week, we will wait for clarification on what to do for this final week and Holy Week.

Sunday April 5 Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

  • Mon Apr 6 — Great Compline 6:30pm
  • Wed Apr 8 — Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm
  • Fri Apr 10 — Small Compline with Canon of St. Lazarus 6:30pm
  • Sat Apr 11 — Lazarus Saturday Liturgy 9:30am / Baptisms / Make crosses / Pancake breakfast / Children confessions – Full Schedule TBA

See the entire Lenten Schedule on the St. Peter website.


Wisdom From The Elders

The way of humility is this: self-control, prayer, and thinking yourself inferior to all creatures. Abba Thithoes

A person who is accustomed to humiliation attracts the grace of God. Elder Porphyrios

It is a spiritual gift from God for a man to perceive his sins. Venerable Isaac the Syrian, bishop of Nineveh

Mental prayer does not allow either distractions or foul thoughts to enter the inner sanctum. Venerable Abba Dorotheos of Gaza

The beginnings of prayer do not reside in a method, in a specific style or form of practice. They are a cry of the heart, a longing of the soul. If you have discovered this longing within yourself, even if its precise shape or source or focus remains un­known to you, then you have within you the seeds from which prayer can grow. But these seeds must be fostered, watered! Bishop Irenei Steenberg

If one has not made the decision about death and is not prepared to die, nothing can be achieved. It all starts from there. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

Remember in Your Prayers

Iakavos (Diveris)
Heriklia (Diveris)
Macy James
Joan (Breitenbach)
Mary (Rauch)
Diomidis (Kanellos)

Anastasia (Ann Constan)
Ben (Ben)
Thomas (Ben)
Irene (C. Diveris)
Vasiliki (C.Diveris)
Efrosini (C. diveris)
Charles (Oberg)
Christine (Kouzes)
Nina (Kovalev)
Hugh (Jacquie)
Violet (Jacquie Mom)
Tammie (Jacquie friend)
Baby Luke
Savannah (Jonson)
Bill R.
Pat R.
Priest Kyprianos
Maryanne (E)
Ron (E)
Robert (J)
Mary (J)
Sofia Tešanovic
Dennis H. and Family
Victor Evan
Dimitri – Presbyter
Nikolay (5 year old boy in Bulgaria whose parents asked us to pray)
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Constantine Houpis
Anna Marie Smith Baker
Mary Kassis
Baby Maximus
Annette Star
Claire Livaditis
Eva Chandilles
Baby Dani
Scott Nedoff
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

Search the Scriptures


For the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent

The Lord will give strength to His people.
The Lord will bless His people with peace.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (6:13-20)

Brethren, when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whomto swear, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thusAbraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Men indeed swear by one greater thanthemselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to showmore convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He interposed with an oath. So that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible thatGod should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seizethe hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that entersinto the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, havingbecome a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.



For the Fourth Sunday of Great Lent

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (9:17-31)

At that time, a man came to Jesus, kneeling down and saying unto him, “Teacher, I broughtmy son to you, for he has a dumb spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and hefoams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Thy Disciples to cast it out, and theywere not able.” And Jesus answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you?How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me.” And they brought the boy to Him; and whenthe spirit saw Jesus, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about,foaming at the mouth.

And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if Thou canst do anything, have pity on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you,come out of him, and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

And when Jesus had entered the house, His Disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And Jesus said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And Jesus would not have anyone know it; for He was teaching His Disciples,saying to them, “The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and after He is killed, He will rise on the third day.”

St. Peter Orthodox Church