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St. Peter Newsletter November 12, 2019

Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost
The Ninth Sunday of Luke

Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea; Gennadios and Maximos, patriarchs of Constantinople; Nikon the Wonderworker, disciple of Sergios of Radonezh; Hilda, Abbess of Whitby

Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea

Who was Gregory the Wonderworker, Bishop of Neo-Caesarea?

Saint Gregory was born in Neocaesarea of Pontus to parents who were not Christians. He studied in Athens, in Alexandria, in Beirut, and finally for five years in Caesarea of Palestine under Origen, by whom he was also instructed in the Faith of Christ. Then, in the year 240, he became bishop of his own city, wherein he found only seventeen Christians. By the time the Saint reposed about the year 265, there were only seventeen unbelievers left there.

Virtually the whole duration of his episcopacy was a time of continual, marvellous wonders worked by him. Because of this, he received the surname “Wonderworker”; even the enemies of the truth called him a second Moses (see Saint Basil the Great’s On the Holy Spirit, ch. 29).

Source: The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.


St. John Chrysostom Divine Liturgy, Wednesday, November 13 at 9:30am

St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom

The Holy Church of Christ celebrates the blessed memory of Saint John Chrysostom, our great teacher, confessor, and preacher, on November 26 (November 13 according to Julian calendar). The great John is seen as the beacon of faith and enjoys indisputable authority among all Orthodox Christians. He is venerated in Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Oriental Orthodox churches, too. Many of us know a lot about this great Christian man of faith. Some of us have read his works and homilies. Let us list several facts from his life so as to praise the Lord who acts through His saints.

  1. St. John Chrysostom was born in Syria in the great city of Antioch to a noble family. His father Secundus was a high-ranking military officer who died when St. John was a young boy. His mother Anthusa was widowed when she was 20. As a true Christian widow, she decided to not marry again. Instead, she devoted her life to bringing up her son.
  2. The great preacher was well-versed in all Greek wisdom , i.e., in all sciences of his day. He attained outstanding mastery in the art of eloquence thanks to his teacher Libanius, a pagan rhetorician. Libanius is supposed to have said on his deathbed that John would have been his successor “if the Christians had not stolen him from us”.
  3. The future holy hierarch was baptized as an adult , at the age of about 20, in spite of having been born in a Christian family. Notwithstanding this fact, he was in favor of infant baptism and considered it more suitable for Christian families.
  4. John spent about 4 years in extreme asceticism in a desert not far from Antioch. He became a hermit after the death of his mother. He led a stringent and extremely harsh life, as a result of which his stomach and kidneys were permanently damaged, and he is believed to have suffered from gastritis or ulcer.
  5. When John returned to Antioch, he was ordained as a deacon and later as a presbyter at the age of 40 and entrusted with preaching the Word of God to the people. That was how the most fruitful period in the creative and public speaking career of this great Christian preacher from Antioch began. It was during that period that most homilies and exegetical works of the talented pastor were written. John would preach daily in front of large crowds. The people nicknamed him Chrysostom, or Gold Mouth, for his exceptional eloquence.
  6. St. John Chrysostom knew the Scripture so well that his sermons include ca. 7 thousand Old Testament quotations and 11 thousand New Testament quotations.
  7. St. John Chrysostom belonged to the School of Antioch. He knew Theodore of Mopsuestia and studied under Diodore of Tarsus but for some mind-boggling reason managed to avoid the extremes of their school and remained strictly Orthodox in his theology.
  8. When St. John Chrysostom was appointed the Archbishop of Constantinople, he had to deal with depravity of the clergy, bribery, lavish social gatherings and enormous spendings of the Church of Constantinople. The holy hierarch fought against those vices, which made him an enemy of many people, especially Empress Eudoxia whom he publicly shamed for her transgressions.
  9. St. John Chrysostom believed that you can serve Christ best by being merciful to the poor, for, by giving alms to beggars, we help Christ. That is why he is said to have ordered to sell marble plated meant for decoration of a church, donate the earned money to a hospital and build several new hospitals.
  10. A wide coalition of St. John’s opponents, led by Eudoxia and Theophilus, the Archbishop of Alexandria, who wanted to bring Constantinople under his sway and influence the imperial house directly, convened a synod, which resulted in St. John’s deposition, banishment, and exile.
  11. St. John was exiled to Pitiunt (Pityus) but never reached this destination, as he died at Comana Pontica on September 14, 407 during the journey due to numerous difficulties during the journey and mistreatment by his guards. When he was dying, he was comforted by an apparition of Martyr Basiliscus near his shrine, took the Holy Eucharist, and reposed in the Lord, his last words being “Glory be to God for all things.” Given that September 14 is the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Church instituted a separate commemoration of this saint on November 13 (November 26), the day when he started his ministry in Constantinople.
  12. His relics were transferred to Constantinople in 438. The honorable remains of the saint were transferred to Rome during the 4th Crusade. The relics were placed in a special chapel in St. Peter Cathedral. The relics of St. John Chrysostom and St. Gregory the Theologian were returned to the Orthodox Church of Constantinople by the decree of Pope John Paul II in 2004.

Saint John Chrysostom remains one of the most highly revered Orthodox saints. He left a formidable treasure of homilies and exegeses of the Holy Scripture, as well as several prayers before Holy Communion and prayers used during the Sacrament of Unction. This holy hierarch of Constantinople is also famous for laying out a new rite of the Divine Liturgy based on the ancient anaphora of the Twelve Apostles, which was used in Antioch. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom went on to become the most widely used in the Byzantine rite, which makes St. John who created this rite one of the most frequently mentioned saints in Orthodox churches—another case in point emphasizing the uniqueness of this remarkable man of God.

Source The Catalogue of Good Deeds website.


Community Luncheon on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 12:00pm

Community Dinner

Please note the Community Luncheon is held on the second Thursday this month.

Greek Salad with Feta and Kalamata Olives

Barbara Dionysopoulos and friends are preparing a delicious meal for all our members. Come and join us to enjoy some good food and the company of your friends. Make some new friends too and get to know other parishioners.

Reservations are required! Please call Barbara at 239-826-1655 or sign up in the Social Hall after Divine Liturgy.

Please: Don’t sign up if you cannot attend. The food is prepared for the numbers who sign up.

Donations are accepted. Proceeds benefit the building fund.


Parish General Assembly on Sunday, November 17, 2019 Following the Divine Liturgy

Parish Assembly Meeting

We will hold our Annual Parish Assembly this Sunday, November 17, 2019 in the Social Hall following the Divine Liturgy.

Items to be discussed include:

  • Review of past year (finances, activities, parish growth, etc.)
  • Approval of the 2010 budget
  • State of the Parish report by Fr. Hans
  • Questions from the floor

Nativity Fast Begins on Friday, November 15, 2019

The Nativity Fast is one of the four Canonical Fasting Seasons in the Church year. This is a joyous fast in anticipation of the Nativity of Christ. That is the reason it is less strict than other fasting periods. The fast is divided into two periods. The 1st period is November 15th through December 19th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, fish, wine, and oil) is observed. There is dispensation given for wine and oil on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Similarly, fish, wine, and oil are permitted on Saturdays and Sundays. The 2nd period is December 20th through 24th when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, fish, wine, and oil) is observed. There is dispensation given for wine and oil only on Saturday and Sunday during this period. Here are the guidelines:

Meat Dairy Fish Wine Oil
beef, chicken, pork, turkey, elk, veal, lamb, deer, rabbit, buffalo, and so forth milk, eggs, cheese, butter, yogurt, cream, and so forth fish with a backbone (not including shrimp, octopus, shellfish, squid, or other seafood. (some include all types of alcohol in this category) (some include all types of oil in this category)
Abstain. Abstain. Permitted only on Saturdays and Sundays before December 20. (some permit fish Tuesdays and Thursdays also) Permitted only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, & Sundays before December 20. Permitted only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, & Sundays before December 20.

The Purpose of Fasting

The purpose of fasting is to focus on the things that are above, the Kingdom of God. It is a means of putting on virtue in reality, here and now. Through it we are freed from dependence on worldly things. We fast faithfully and in secret, not judging others, and not holding ourselves up as an example.

  • Fasting in itself is not a means of pleasing God. Fasting is not a punishment for our sins. Nor is fasting a means of suffering and pain to be undertaken as some kind of atonement. Christ already redeemed us on His Cross. Salvation is a gift from God that is not bought by our hunger or thirst.
  • We fast to be delivered from carnal passions so that God’s gift of Salvation may bear fruit in us.
  • We fast and turn our eyes toward God in His Holy Church. Fasting and prayer go together.
  • Fasting is not irrelevant. Fasting is not obsolete, and it is not something for someone else. Fasting is from God, for us, right here and right now.
  • Most of all, we should not devour each other. We ask God to “set a watch and keep the door of our lips.”

Too Hard?

Want to remain faithful to the teachings but have never fasted before? Try to abstain from meat for this period. Do a bit more next year, and then more the year after that. Start a marathon by walking around the block.

Source: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese.

Diocese of Miami Winter Retreat

DOMSE Winter Retreat

Bible Studies

Bible Study


  • Wed Nov 6 — Community Bible Study 7:00pm
  • Wed Nov 13 — Men’s & Women’s Bible Study (Held separately) 7:00pm
  • Wed Nov 20 — Community Bible Study 7:00pm
  • Wed Nov 27 — CANCELLED Men’s & Women’s Bible Study (Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy held instead) 7:00pm

The Community Bible Study is for the entire community.

The Men’s and Women’s Bible Study are separate studies but held concurrently.

Third Annual Toys for Tots Drive Up and Running!

Toys for Tots Drive Until December 2, 2018

At St. Peter’s we help the poor and disadvantaged. It is part of our mission. Organizations we support include Interfaith Charities, NAAMI, and Toys for Tots. Our third annual Toys for Tots drive has begun!

Please bring an unwrapped toy and put it in the box.

Upcoming Liturgies

St. John Chrysostom on Wednesday November 13, 2019 at 9:30am

St. John Chrysostom

St. John Chrysostom

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple on Thursday, November 21 at 9:30am Followed by the Baptism of Joshua Liriano

The liturgy will be followed by the baptism of Joshua Liriano, a young man who attends church in St. Petersburg, FL but who Fr. Hans has been catechizing.

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple

St. Peter Orthodox Church

St. Katherine the Great Martyr on Monday, November 25, 2019 at 9:30am

St. Katherine of Alexandria the Great Martyr

St. Katherine of Alexandria the Great Martyr

St. Peter Orthodox Church

Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 6:30pm

Giving thanks to God

Pledge & Income Report – October 2019

In October we took in $17,201 in total donations. Our monthly goal is $16,777.00 leaving us $424 above our monthly expenses.

Please continue giving and thank you for it. We are on track to meet all of our 2019 expenses.


Interfaith Charities Needs More Food Items

Interfaith Charities Needs Our Help

They need:

  • Ramen noodles
  • Canned tuna
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Soups

Please note: Interfaith Charities is no longer accepting clothing or household items so we won’t be accepting them at St. Peter’s either.

Bring the food items to church and we will get them to Interfaith Charities. Interfaith Charities is a coalition of local churches helping the poor in our immediate community. See more on their website.


Calendar At A Glance


  • Wed Oct 30 — Men’s & Women’s Bible Study (Held separately) 7:00pm


  • Wed Nov 13 — St. John Chrysostom Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Wed Nov 13 — Men’s & Women’s Bible Study (Held separately) 7:00pm
  • Thu Nov 14 — Community Luncheon 12pm
  • Sun Nov 17 — Parish General Assembly following Divine Liturgy
  • Wed Nov 20 — Community Bible Study 7:00pm
  • Thu Nov 21 — Entrance of the Theotokos Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Mon Nov 25 — St. Katherine Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Wed Nov 27 — CANCELLED Men’s & Women’s Bible Study (Held separately) 7:00pm
  • Wed Nov 27 — Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy 6:30pm

Please note the extra remaining liturgies scheduled for November:

  • Wed Nov 13 — St. John Chrysostom Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Thu Nov 21 — Entrance of the Theotokos Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Mon Nov 25 — St. Katherine Divine Liturgy 9:30am
  • Wed Nov 27 — Thanksgiving Divine Liturgy 6:30pm

Wisdom From The Elders

If you have done anything wrong, or even, sometimes when you have not done anything wrong, you feel a deadly despondency in your soul. Wherefore? Because you have allowed the evil spirit of despondency to take possession of you.
Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt

And, you see, people are not at all aware that we are living during the signs of the times, that the sealing is already advancing. It is as if nothing is happening. This is why the Sacred Scripture says that even the elect will be deceived. Saint Paisios of Mount Athos

We are to take stock ofour condition daily, to see it in its true weakness, and to call upon the solace and support of the charitable Lord to overcome it. Bishop Irenei Steenberg

The enemy enters the hearts of men because they have given themselves up to a carnal mode of life—to gluttony, and because they do not pray. It is, therefore, natural that he can be driven out from them by opposite means—that is, by prayer and fasting. Righteous John, Wonderworker of Kronstadt

God descends to the humble as waters flow down from the hills into the valleys. St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Seeking of high spiritual states is forbidden by our Lord and by the holy fathers. All our inner struggle should be concentrated on repentance and on everything which promotes that penitent state. When the soul is clean, God’s grace will then enter by itself – if the Lord Himself so wills Abbot Nikon Vorobiev


Remember in Your Prayers

Diomidis (Kanellos)

Anastacia (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
Priest Kyprianos
Savannah (Jonson)
Bill R.
Pat R.
Hieromonk Serapion
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 Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

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

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. (6:11-18)

Brethren, see with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the Law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all, who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God. Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.


For the Ninth Sunday of Luke

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (12:16-21)

The Lord spoke this parable: “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” As He said this, Jesus called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

St. Peter Orthodox Church