Christ is Risen!
The Sixth Sunday After Pascha
The Sunday of the Blind Man
Venerable Stylites Simeon the Younger of the Mountain of Wonders and Nikitas of Pereyaslavl-Zalesski; Martyr Meletios the General of Galatia; Venerable Vincent of Lerins
The sixth Sunday of Holy Pascha is observed by the Orthodox Church as the Sunday of the Blind Man. The day commemorates the miracle of Christ healing the man who was blind since birth. The biblical story of this event is found in the Gospel of Saint John 9:1-41.
The Lord Jesus was coming from the Temple on the Sabbath, when, while walking in the way, He saw the blind man mentioned in today’s Gospel. This man had been born thus from his mother’s womb, that is, he had been born without eyes (see Saint John Chrysostom, Homily LVI on John; Saint Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book V:15; and the Second Exorcism of Saint Basil the Great). When the disciples saw this, they asked their Teacher, “Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” They asked this because when the Lord had healed the paralytic at the Sheep’s Pool, He had told him, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14); so they wondered, if sickness was caused by sin, what sin could have been the cause of his being born without eyes. But the Lord answered that this was for the glory of God. Then the God-man spat on the ground and made clay with the spittle. He anointed the eyes of the blind man and said to him, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” Siloam (which means “sent”) was a well-known spring in Jerusalem used by the inhabitants for its waters, which flowed to the eastern side of the city and collected in a large pool called “the Pool of Siloam.”
When our Lord Jesus Christ, then, came at midday to this city, which is also called Sychar (John 4:5), He was wearied from the journey and the heat. He sat down at this well. After a little while the Samaritan woman mentioned in today’s Gospel passage came to draw water. As she conversed at some length with the Lord and heard from Him secret things concerning herself, she believed in Him; through her many other Samaritans also believed.
Therefore, the Savior sent the blind man to this pool that he might wash his eyes, which had been anointed with the clay-not that the pool’s water had such power, but that the faith and obedience of the one sent might be made manifest, and that the miracle might become more remarkable and known to all, and leave no room for doubt. Thus, the blind man believed in Jesus’ words, obeyed His command, went and washed himself, and returned, no longer blind, but having eyes and seeing. This was the greatest miracle that our Lord had yet worked; as the man healed of his blindness himself testified, “Since time began, never was it heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind,” although the Lord had already healed the blind eyes of many. Because he now had eyes, some even doubted that he was the same person (John 9:8-9); and it was still lively in their remembrance when Christ came to the tomb of Lazarus, for they said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have caused that even this man should not have died?” Saint John Chrysostom gives a thorough and brilliant exposition of our Lord’s meeting with the woman of Samaria, the healing of the paralytic, and the miracle of the blind man in his commentaries on the Gospel of Saint John.
Read more on the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.
Mid-Course Correction: Sunday Sign-Ups and More
We are learning as we go. What have we learned?
- Sunday Sign-ups continue (sign up here) with a maximum limit of 30 persons.
- Monday liturgies don’t really work. Instead, we will have a second liturgy on a Feast Day or Saint’s Day during the week. Watch the calendar. Those who cannot make it on Sunday can come during the week.
- We will continue with this plan until we receive permission to increase our number.
- Social distancing must be maintained.
Regarding the Social Distancing: Toward the end of Divine Liturgy last Sunday, a lot of people congregated toward the front of the Church since our regular Social Hour is still restricted. If you would like to talk to others (and we all do of course), please also use the sidewalks outside so that proper social distances can be maintained.
At St. Paul’s in Naples on Tuesday, May 19 at 6:00pm: Akathist to St. Nikiforos the Leper
This service will be held at St. Paul Orthodox Church in Naples, FL.
Stand-alone service (no Compline) Akathist Service at 6:00pm. The service lasts about a half-hour.
St. Nikiforos has appeared several times to faithful Orthodox Christians over the last few months to offer them (and us) strength, consolation, and assurance that the Lord is not indifferent to the world’s suffering. In all appearances, he encouraged them to ask for his intercessions before the throne of God SPECIFICALLY against the COVID-19 virus.
Read about the Life of St. Nikiforos.
More about >St. Nikiforos.
St. Constantine and Helen Divine Liturgy Thursday, May 21 at 9:30am
With restrictions easing, we will resume our Feast Day and Saint Day Divine Liturgies. These services are offered during the week so people who cannot make Sunday for healthy and safety reasons may consider attending on weekdays because fewer people attend.
This great and renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312, on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at the head of his troops, he saw in the sky after midday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the words: “By this shalt thou conquer.”
The following night, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream and declared to him the power of the Cross and its significance. When he arose in the morning, he immediately ordered that a labarum be made (which is a banner or standard of victory over the enemy) in the form of a cross, and he inscribed on it the Name of Jesus Christ. On the 28th Of October, he attacked and mightily conquered Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber River while fleeing. The following day, Constantine entered Rome in triumph and was proclaimed Emperor of the West by the Senate, while Licinius, his brother-in-law, ruled in the East.
As for his holy mother Helen, after her son had made the Faith of Christ triumphant throughout the Roman Empire, she undertook a journey to Jerusalem and found the Holy Cross on which our Lord was crucified (see Sept. 13 and 14). After this, Saint Helen, in her zeal to glorify Christ, erected churches in Jerusalem at the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, in Bethlehem at the cave where our Saviour was born, another on the Mount of Olives whence He ascended into Heaven, and many others throughout the Holy Land, Cyprus, and elsewhere.
Fr. Hans Out of Town
Fr. Hans will be out of town from Tuesday May 26 to Thursday May 28. He will be in North Carolina with First Things Foundation. For pastoral emergencies please contact Fr. Paul Girgis at 509-845-4540.
Ascension Divine Liturgy on Friday, May 29 2020 at 9:30am (A Day Later Than it Should Be)
The Ascension is when Jesus Christ ascended into heaven to resume his rightful place at the right hand of the Father. It is the completion of Christ’s earthly ministry. Following about two weeks later the Holy Spirit descends, the Church begins, and the era of the New Covenant (God’s new way of dealing with men) begins.
Divine Liturgy will be held on Friday, May 29, 2020 instead of May 28 (May 28 is the correct day). Why? Because Fr. Hans is out of town and wont return until late evening on May 28. Better to have it one day later than not to have it at all.
Do You Receive THE WORD Magazine?
The Word Magazine is the official publication of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and comes out monthly. It is filled with helpful articles, archdiocese news, and more. All members of St. Peter’s can (and should) receive it.
If you are not receiving your copy sign up on the Antiochian Archdiocese website.
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Bishop NICHOLAS Offers a Weekly Live Stream
His Grace Bishop NICHOLAS offers a LIVE STREAM talk with questions and answers to everyone in the Diocese of Miami and the Southeast every Sunday at 3:00pm ET.
You will be able to send questions directly to Bishop NICHOLAS via chat during the live stream. A recording of the live stream will be posted to the DOMSE BAND group. You must join the newly formed Domse band group to join in.
Open this invite link below on your iPhone, Android, or desktop: https://band.us/@domse
If you have BAND already, you will be able to simply join the group. If you do not have BAND, you will be able to download the application and join the group.
Sharing the Light
Fr. Hans received requests about sharing the light, the flame from the Paschal Candle, that many people like to bring home.
Since we can’t meet, Fr. Hans will keep votive candles lit with the light from the Paschal Candle. He will keep them burning until we resume the services at the Church. If you would like to take the Paschal light home after the parish is opened, you will be able to get them from these candles.
So this is what we will do. On the first Sunday after opening, Fr. Hans will anoint everyone with Holy Oil after the Divine Liturgy with oil he has saved from the Holy Unction service last year. Then we will go to the Social Hall and have a celebratory meal. On the way out you can light a candle to bring the Holy Light home and bless your homes.
God bless all the good people of St. Peter’s. God is with you. Stay faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to each other.
Christ is Risen!
Interfaith Charities is Ramping Up and the Shelves are Bare
Interfaith Charities gave out all their available food during the coronavirus pandemic. The shelves are bare and they are asking local churches and business for help in feeding the poor in the south Lee County area (where St. Peter’s is located).
- Peanut butter
- Canned vegetable (any and all)
- Staples (any and all except for rice and beans)
St. Peter partners with Interfaith Charities as part of our service to the larger community. You can find out more on the Interfaith Charities website.
The Parish Life Conference is Going Virtual!
The Parish Life Conference scheduled for June in Memphis, TN was cancelled because of the virus. It is going virtual instead! Click the image (or here) to see the schedule and sign up!
Please Don’t Forget to Fulfill Your Pledge and Donations
We received some last minute donations in March and exceeded our March budget goal. We were able to cover our February shortfall as a result. Thank you very much for all who contributed for your care and stewardship of St. Peter’s. We should all draw great encouragement from this. A complete financial tally is found below.
Please keep current with your pledge. The financial health and stability of our parish requires us to do our part.
You can mail your check to:
St. Peter Orthodox Church
24850 Old 41 RD Suite 6
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
You can also donate online (scroll to bottom of page):
Pledge & Income Report – April 2020
Donations received in April: $16,163.00
Amount of money needed to cover expenses: $18,121.00
Thank you very much for your support of St. Peter’s. Please give generously so we can catch up with our $2,000 shortfall.
You can fill out a pledge form on the St. Peter website.
Calendar At A Glance
Live Streamed Services This Week
UPDATE: St. Peter Live Stream is now available on the St. Peter website (as well as Facebook). Click go to the website, “Watch Live Stream” and wait for the service to begin.
To Live Stream a service 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.
- Tue May 19 — Akathist to St. Nikiphoros at St. Paul’s in Naples 6:00pm
- Wed May 21 — Sts. Constantine and Helen Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Fri May 29 — ASCENSION Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun May 31 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Jun 07 — PENTECOST Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Jun 14 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Jun 21 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Wed Jun 24 — NATIVITY ST. JOHN BAPTIST Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Jun 28 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
Wisdom From The Elders
How can there be peace, when people are not reconciled with God? Only when man is reconciled with God can inward and outward peace come. But for us to be reconciled with God, we must first attain awareness, we must repent, we must live in accordance with God’s commandments, and then the Grace and peace of God will enter into us, enabling us to also help create peace around us. Elder Paisios of Mount Athos
It is difficult for you, but think of how it was for the Savior on the Cross. The end is near; life passes quickly. We are guests on earth, migratory birds. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk
An unfulfilled promise is just like a good tree without fruit. St. Ambrose of Optina
No wickedness, no heresy, not even the devil himself can deceive anyone unless he counterfeits virtue…
Dorotheos of Gaza
He who attains love cannot fall. Saint Macarius the Great
For you to learn repentance depends not only on me, but more on you yourself. Repentance in its essence is humility. And you must humble yourself. Then humility will teach you true repentance. Archbishop Seraphim (Sobolev) of Bogucharsk
Remember in Your Prayers
The Prayer List has been revamped. To bring order to the list we will do the following:
- Names will remain on the list for two months.
- If you would like to keep them on longer please mention it to Fr. Hans. We will keep the names on the list for as long as the person needs prayers.
- Names will include the person who requested the prayers and the month the name will be removed.
- The permanent list includes friends and members of St. Peter’s and others including shut-ins.
Were names dropped that should have remained? Please mention it to Fr. Hans. He will add them back.
Current Prayer List (Resets June 1)
Sergio (Mary Kazakos 8/20)
Francis (Copeland 7/20)
Dimitrios (Copeland 7/20)
Patricia (Copeland 7/20)
Dennis (Dusckas 7/20)
Barbara (Dusckas 7/20)
Jerry (Zafiris 7/20)
Harry James (Zafiris 7/20)
Irene (Tsikitas 6/20)
Dimtrios (Jacobse 6/20)
George (Elpida 6/20)
Pantellis (Anna T 6/20)
Angelo/Evangelos (Constan 6/20)
Christine (Kanellos 6/20)
Edna (Mitchell 6/20)
Pauline (Jacobse 6/20)
Priest Benjamin (6/20)
Louis (Repya 6/20)
Iakavos (Diveris 6/20)
Heriklia (Diveris 6/20)
Macy James (6/20)
Joan (Breitenbach 6/20)
Mary (Rauch 6/20)
Diomidis (Kanellos 6/20)
Anastasia (Constan 6/20)
Ben (Ben 6/20)
Thomas (Ben 6/20)
Irene (Diveris 6/20)
Vasiliki (Diveris 6/20)
Efrosini (Diveris 6/20)
Scott (Repya 6/20)
Permanent Prayer List
Presbytera Rosy (in Pakistan)
Friends and Benefactors Departed this Life
Fr. Stephanos (Sigoury)
Panagiota (Bea Chionis)
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.
Thou, O Lord, shalt keep us and preserve us.
Save me, O Lord, for the godly man hath disappeared.
The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles. (16:16-34)
In those days, as we Apostles were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slavegirl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by soothsaying. She followedPaul and us, crying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the wayof 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 gone, 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 us 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 there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’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.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (9:1-38)
At that time, when Jesus was passing, 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 not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him. I 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 Jews had already agreed that if anyone 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 don ot 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 anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone 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.