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St. Peter Newsletter March 29, 2015 — Third Sunday of Lent / Veneration of the Holy Cross

Veneration of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Each of the Sundays of Great Lent has its own special theme. This Sunday’s theme is that in the cross of Christ crucified lies both “the power of God and the wisdom of God” for those being saved (1 Cor 1:24). On this Sunday in the middle of the Lenten season, the cross stands in the middle of the church, not merely to remind the faithful of Christ’s redemption and for them to keep the goal of their Lenten efforts, but also as a reminder: “He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10:38).

Historical theme

The historical theme, as seen in the hymnology, is the victory and joy of the cross, not the suffering. The Church fathers equate the life-giving cross with the tree of life and plant it in the middle of the Lenten pilgrimage. It was the tree that was planted in Paradise; it is to remind the faithful of both Adam’s bliss and how he was deprived from it.

Personal theme

For the catechumens of the early church, and the faithful preparing for Pascha today, the spiritual theme starts to change from personal faith, and personal effort, to Christ. The Church teaches that it is Christ’s cross that saves. One cannot take up his own cross and follow Christ unless one has Christ’s cross which he took up to save mankind. Partaking of this tree, one will no longer die, but will be kept alive.

This is done to refresh, reassure and to encourage those participating in Great Lent. The Church equates the appearance of the cross at this time to the banners and symbols that precede the return of a victorious king. The Epistle reading is from Hebrews 4:14-5:6 and explains Christ’s priesthood, and the Gospel lesson from Mark 8:34-9:1 ends with And He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.”

From Orthodoxwiki website.

Fr. Thomas Hopko on “Taking Up Your Cross”

Fr. Thomas Hopko

On the third Sunday of Great Lent, we concentrate on the Cross of Christ, and Fr. Tom helps us understand what it means to take up our cross.

Listen here:

Click to listen to the podcast


Letter Parents: Bring Your Children to Lazarus Saturday

The Raising of Lazarus

Elevation of the Precious and Life Giving Cross

Parents, take note of the letter on the website (which will be mailed to all parents) outlining a morning of events for your child start off Holy Week. 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.

Get more information on the website.

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.

Letter to Invite Friends to Church

Would you like to invite a friend to church but don’t know what to say? Try out the “Invitation to Worship” letter on the website. You can print and send the letter as is or take the language and make your own.

We hope you find it helpful.

See and print the letter on the St. Peter website.

Lenten Service Schedule

Extreme Humility

Sunday, April 3 Sunday of the Veneration of the Cross
Hours 9:00am, Divine Liturgy 9:30am

Monday, April 4
Great Compline 6:30pm

Wednesday, April 6
Presanctified Liturgy 6:30pm

Friday, April 8
Fourth Stanza Salutations 6:30pm

The St. Peter Lenten Service Schedule is available on the website.

How does Good Friday to Pascha Sunday Equal Three Days?

From Jim Kolettis.

The Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

I had a friend say to me, “I could never count the days from Friday to Sunday coming out as three.”

The solution is simple when we learn that according to Jewish custom any part of a day, however small, is included as part of a full day. “Since the Jews reckoned part of a day as a full day, the ‘three days and three nights’ could permit a Friday crucifixion.”

This phenomena is exemplified in scripture in the book of Esther. “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way,” (Esther 4:16). Then, in Esther 5:1 it says, “Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace.”

We can see that even though the three days and nights had not been completed, Esther went in to see the King on the third day even though she said to fast for three days and nights. We see that “on the third day” is equivalent to “after three days.”

Additionally, Mark 8:31 says, “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Yet, 1 Cor. 15:4 says, “and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Also, Luke 24:5-7, “and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'”

Here we can see that “after three days” is equivalent to mean “on the third day.”

Therefore, we can see that because of the Jewish usage of counting any part of a day as the whole of the day, the term, “three days and nights,” is idiomatic and not literal.

Thank you to Those Hosting Coffee Hour

Sign up for Coffee Hour

April is filled after the appeal on Sunday. Keep in mind that sponsoring coffee hour is a great way to honor someone — memorial, birthday, graduation and others. We will announce it too.

You can sign up in the Social Hall on Sundays.

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. Sponsors this week are John and Corgette Troutman.

Additions to Calendar

  • Confessions following weekday services or by appointment.
  • Lazarus Saturday — Pancake breakfast (great for the kids), making of Palm Sunday Crosses, confessions for children following breakfast.
  • Palm Sunday — Palm Sunday Brunch following Liturgy in Social Hall.
  • Holy Friday — Decorate tomb of Christ following Royal Hours (around 10:30am).
  • Agape Vespers — Paschal celebration and feast in Social Hall following vespers.

Changing the Way We Read Names During Liturgy

The parish is growing and the list of names read during the Great Entrance is getting larger. From now on Fr. Hans will continue to read all the submitted names in the Proskomedi (the prayers of the preparation of the gifts) but they will not be read during the Great Entrance.

The names that will be read out loud are those that are sick and the deceased. We will have a separate list just for the sick where you can include the names of the people who need prayers.

Confessions Follow Weekday Services

Fr. Hans will hear confessions after any weekday service or by appointment. Why confess? It heals the soul. Confession is a sacrament of healing, not judgment.

Flower Donations Requested

Can you help donate for Easter flowers? Please see Angela Long or a Parish Council member to make your donation.

Lenten Service Books

Salutation and Akathist (Friday evening services)

The Akathist Hymn - Click to Order

The Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos in a new translation by Father Seraphim Dedes, presented in Greek and English on opposite pages. Text is metered.

Order your copy through the Holy Cross Bookstore either online or call (800) 245-0599. We will have a few extra copies at Church for visitors.

Holy Week (Palm Sunday Evening through Agape Service)

Holy Week Service Book

This year we will be using the Holy Week Service Book of the Antiochian Archdiocese during Holy Week. If you would like one for private use please order it from Ancient Faith Publishing. The price is $35.00.

Includes the three Bridegroom services, the three Liturgies of the Presanctified Gifts; the service of Holy Unction; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy and 12 Passion Gospels of Holy Thursday; the Royal Hours, Vespers, and Lamentations of Holy Friday; the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of Holy Saturday morning; Great and Holy Pascha; and the Agape Vespers of Sunday afternoon.

Presanctified Liturgy (Wednesday Evenings)

There are many copies of Presanctified Liturgies all essentially the same except for the English translations and a few moveable hymns. Almost any book will do. For services we will be using the version supplied weekly on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.

Two suggestions are:

  1. Ninth Hour and Typica / The Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts of St. Gregory the Dialogist for Wednesdays of Great Lent. This version is more difficult to follow but a good edition. Order from Antiochian Village Bookstore. Price: $12
  2. The Lenten Liturgies. The translation is a bit wooden but services are very easy to follow. Order from Holy Cross book store. Price: $22.

Printing Services from Your Computer

Some of the services we use can be found on the internet. This page lists all the services that you can print out and use. Most of the services we use not found in books will be taken from here.

Youth and Adult Bible Studies Postponed Until After Lent

Come to church instead.

Choir Practice on Wednesdays at 5:30pm

Orthodox Wisdom

Cowardice is a falling away from faith that comes of expecting the unexpected. Fear is a loss of conviction.

—St. John Climacus

Do not believe that inner thoughts can be controlled without the control of the body. Fear bad habits more than devils.

—St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

When there is a respect for small things, there will be an even greater respect towards the bigger things. When there is no respect for small things, then neither will there be for the bigger ones. This is how the Fathers maintained Tradition.

—Elder Paisios

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Remember in Your Prayers

Constandina James

Peter 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.

Sunday Readings

Search the Scriptures


For the Third Sunday of Great Lent

O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
To Thee, O Lord, have I cried, O my God.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. (4:14-5:6)

Brethren, since we have a High Priest, Who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One Who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him Who said to Him, “Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee”; as He says also in another place, “Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”


For the Third Sunday of Great Lent

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. (8:34-9:1)

The Lord said, “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it.

For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

And Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come with power.”