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St. Peter Newsletter October 17, 2017 — St. Averkios, An Alternative to Halloween, Church Clean Up Day, St. Peter Bake Sale, more…

Sixth Sunday of Luke
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Averkios the Wonder Worker, Equal to the Apostles and Bishop of Hierapolis, The Seven Holy Youths (“Seven Sleepers”) martyred in Ephesus, and Bishop Eulalios

Who Was St. Averkios the Wonder Worker?

St. Averkios

During the reigns of Emperor Antoninus and his son, Marcus Aurelius, St. Abercius was the bishop of the city of Hierapolis in Phrygia. The great majority in this city were pagans, and St. Abercius governed his sparse flock, sorrowing in his heart because of the great number of pagans and idolaters, and diligently praying to God that He would bring them to the light of truth.

During a boisterous idolatrous festival, Abercius became inflamed with God’s zeal and entered the idolatrous temple, smashing all the idols. When the enraged pagans sought to kill him, three young madmen, foaming at the mouth and howling, fell down before this man of God, and he drove the demons from them. The young men became sane and calm. This turned the pagans’ anger into amazement at the wonderworker of Christ, and five hundred of them immediately desired baptism. Little by little, all of Hierapolis came to believe in Christ and were baptized.

The proconsul of the province, Publius, had a mother who was blind. Abercius restored her sight by prayer, and Publius, his mother and many others believed in Christ.

In old age, Abercius was summoned to Rome, where he healed the emperor’s daughter of insanity. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared several times to His faithful follower. People from near and far came to him for miraculous help when they suffered from incurable illnesses. The demons not only feared him, but also served him at his command. At the guidance of the Lord Himself, Abercius preached the Gospel throughout Syria and Mesopotamia.

In great old age, St. Abercius presented himself to his beloved Lord in Hierapolis, at the end of the second century.

Source: The Full of Grace and Truth website.


Who Were The Seven Holy Youths “Seven Sleepers” of Ephesus?

The Seven Holy Youths of Ephesus

The Seven Youths of Ephesus: Maximilian, Iamblicus, Martinian, John, Dionysius, Exacustodianus (Constantine) and Antoninus, lived in the third century. Saint Maximilian was the son of the Ephesus city administrator, and the other six youths were sons of illustrious citizens of Ephesus. The youths were friends from childhood, and all were in military service together.

When the emperor Decius (249-251) arrived in Ephesus, he commanded all the citizens to offer sacrifice to the pagan gods. Torture and death awaited anyone who disobeyed. The seven youths were denounced by informants, and were summoned to reply to the charges. Appearing before the emperor, the young men confessed their faith in Christ.

Their military belts and insignia were quickly taken from them. Decius permitted them to go free, however, hoping that they would change their minds while he was off on a military campaign. The youths fled from the city and hid in a cave on Mount Ochlon, where they passed their time in prayer, preparing for martyrdom.

Read the complete story on the Orthodox Church in America website.


Bob Smith Hospitalized

Bob Smith

Winter resident Bob Smith was hospitalized recently and is undergoing rehabilitation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bob and his wife Jane are strong supporters of St. Peter’s having joined just as we moved into our present location and helping us with the move.

You can send Bob a note a Caring Bridge, a website that delivers notes and well wishes to people undergoing medical treatment.

Keep Bob and Jane in your prayers (they are the top of the prayer list). Pray for a speedy recovery and a return to good health.


Living the Orthodox Faith Class Continues Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00pm

“Living the Orthodox Faith” will look at why our Church does things the way it does, and how to do it properly. We will learn about the sign up the cross, how to enter the Church properly (candles and veneration), how to make a home altar, and more. This is a very practical class, not theological as much as how to live the Orthodox life as an Orthodox Christian.

The class will run on Wednesday evening for four weeks, October 11, 18 and November 1 and 15 (October 25 is the Liturgy of St. Demetrios, November 8 is the Liturgy of St. Nektarios). Classes run for one hour.

Can’t make the class? Join in on Facebook Live! You can also view last week’s class too.


Order Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Bakery Items at St. Peter’s Bake Sale!

It’s easy! Click on the image below or here (it will bring you to the St. Peter’s website), print out the order form, and fill in what you want to order for Thanksgiving and Christmas! We offer spanikopita (spinach pie), tiropita (cheese pie), baklava, galatoboureko (milk and egg custard), and koularikia (butter cookies).

Pick up your order on Sunday November 12 or November 19 following the Divine Liturgy.


Join Patriarch John X in Washington DC on Behalf of Christians in the Middle East

Dear Friends,

Metropolitan Joseph

Metropolitan Joseph

I write to you as a member of the Religious Advisory Board for In Defense of Christians, a non-profit organization advocating for the human rights of Middle Eastern Christians and for the preservation of Christianity in the Middle East.

As many of you know, Antiochian Orthodox Christians are eagerly awaiting the visit of our Father and Patriarch, His Beatitude John X, from Damascus, Syria, to the U.S. We are blessed that His Beatitude will be joining us and other Christian leaders from the Middle East this October 24-26, for the 2017 IDC Conference: American Leadership and Securing the Future of Christians in the Middle East.

Many people from across the world will come to this conference to learn how to take action on behalf of Christians in the Middle East. While the Archdiocese does not generally take a position on political issues, we do advocate for the peace and safety of our people, and we appreciate and applaud the efforts of those who are working with U.S. legislators to secure that peace and safety. The agenda for the IDC conference is to meet with decision-makers to ask for:

  • Security and Stability in Lebanon
  • Emergency Relief for Victims of Genocide in Iraq and Syria
  • Accountability for the Actions of American Allies in the Middle East
  • Recognition of the Armenian Genocide
  • The Creation of a Taskforce to Identify Supporters of ISIS in their Genocide Against Religious Minorities

We are appreciative that IDC has extended a special invitation to Antiochian Orthodox Christians to attend this important gathering – I hope you will be able to join us in advocating for our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Middle East.

Thank you and God bless you,

Metropolitan Joseph

Learn more about In Defense of Christians on the Antiochian Archdiocese website or visit the In Defense of Christians website.


Trunk or Treat — An Alternative to Halloween

No to Halloween

Halloween is problem. It remains as a cultural hold-over from pagan (pre-Christianized) Europe. Several decades ago it was not a problem because it was sanitized. Kids dressed up as cartoon characters and it was still safe to go house to house. As our society becomes increasingly de-Christianized however, the old pagan roots of Halloween become more evident. You see this especially on television where (horrible!) horror shows are played endlessly, the costumes become gory, and so forth.

The problem for parents is that Halloween is so hyped up that all kids get into it. The promise of candy and sweets is a great lure. We could isolate ourselves from it but that is difficult for our children to understand. It is better to restrict our children’s exposure to it by joining with like-mined parents who handle it ways different than what the dominant culture dictates.

To that end, parents are invited to bring your children to the Trunk or Treat Celebration hosted on the grounds of First Baptist Church (get directions here). Bring your children to St. Peter’s at 5:30pm on October 31 where Fr. Hans will give a small talk to the kids about Halloween. Then parents will drive to First Baptist Church and kids will pick up their candy from the trunks of cars hosted by parents with the same concerns we have. The event begins at 6:30pm.

There will be no Halloween themed costumes or candy (no monsters, no gore, nothing that implies death or horror) at Trunk or Treat. Kids can wear costumes but they should be wholesome characters. This way the kids partake of the day without ostracization from their peers but without the dark themes that are becoming increasingly prevalent in the larger culture.


Memorial Prayers of John Spiropoulos and Plato Pavis, Sunday November 5, 2017

John Spiropoulos

Thirteen year memorial prayers will be offered of John Spiropoulos, father of Joan Simon, on Sunday, November 5, 2017 following the Divine Liturgy. John was born in Manhattan and grew up in Elmhurst, Queens, NY. He had resided in Succasunna for 47 years before moving to Mt. Arlington, New Jersey. He also resided in Ft. Myers, FL. Mr. Spiropoulos served in World War II and the Korean War as a First Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps. He was a 1947 graduate of Princeton University where he earned his B.S. Degree in Economics and was Captain of the Varsity fencing team. Mr. Spiropoulos worked as a market research analyst for various companies, including Reliance Electric in Newark, NJ.

Plato Pavis

One year memorial prayers will be offered for Plato Pavis was a long time resident of Fort Myers, a locally known painter, and a much loved man in the local Orthodox community. Plato possessed an indomitable spirit and was active until his death at 96 years old. Several years ago the Fort Myer’s News Press published an article that reveals what an interesting man Plato was.

Both memorials are sponsored by John and Joan Simon.


Church Clean Up Day, Saturday November 4, 2017 following Divine Liturgy at 9:00am

Church Clean Up Day

Church clean up day is scheduled for Saturday, November 4 starting at 10:30am. Please note that this follows a Divine Liturgy at 9:00am for St. Raphael of Brooklyn that our Metropolitan requires us to celebrate.

Please bring your cleaning tools from home along. We will have supplies at Church as well the the more we have the easier and faster the job can be done.

This prepares the Church for the Christmas and Epiphany season.

Many hands make light work. The more volunteers we have, the quicker the clean up can be done.


Calendar At A Glance

  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017 6:30pm Choir Practice
  • Wednesday, October 18 2017 7:00pm “Living the Orthodox Faith” Class
  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017 6:30pm Liturgy Eve of St. Demetrios
  • Tuesday, October 31, 2017 5:30pm Trunk or Treat. Meet at Church at 5:30.

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 6:30pm Choir Practice
  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 7:00pm “Living the Orthodox Faith” Class
  • Saturday, November 4, 2017 9:00am (NOTE TIME) Liturgy St. Raphael of Brooklyn
  • Saturday, November 4, 2017 10:30am Church Clean Up Day
  • Sunday, November 5, 2017 John Spiropoulos and Plato Pavis Memorial by John and Joan Simon
  • Wednesday, November 7, 2017 6:30pm Liturgy Eve of Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:30pm Liturgy Eve of St. Nektarios
  • Saturday, November 15, 2017 Nativity Fast begins
  • Saturday, November 15, 2017 Charity Drive for NAMI and Toys for Tots begins
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 6:30pm Choir Practice
  • Saturday, December 2, 2017 3:30pm Social Hall Decoration, Vespers, Potluck Day

Wisdom From The Elders

The most pure name of Jesus cannot tolerate to dwell in the midst of impurity. It requires that all impurity should be expelled and vanished from the vessel of the soul. It enters the vessel according to the degree of its purity, and it at once begins to act in it and effect the further purification for which the man’s own efforts were insufficient and which is needed if the vessel is to become a worthy recepticle for the spiritual treasure, a shrine for the most holy name.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

If you wish that God should speedily give you hearty faith in prayer, strive with all your heart to speak and to do everything in regard to other people sincerely, and never be deceitful in your dealings with them. If you are straightforward and truthful with others, then God will give you straightforwardness and sincere faith also in reference to Himself.
St. John of Kronstadt

Whoever observes God’s benevolence learns to rely upon divine providence. He then feels like an infant in a crib, crying when left alone for a little while by its mother, until she returns to its side. It is an important matter to entrust yourself to God.
Elder Paisios of Mount Athos

And so it is incumbent upon us to strive, rather, to correct our faults and to improve our behavior.
St. John Cassian

On account of its soul-saving effect upon us of prayer in general, and of the rememberance of God or the prayer of Jesus in particular,as means to remaining in constant union with God and to constantly repulsing the attacks of the enemy, engagement in the prayer of Jesus is especially hateful to the devil.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Satan dwells morally in a man when the man becomes a door of the devil’s will. It was in this way that Satan entered into Judas Iscariot (John 13:27), that is, he controlled his reason and will, and became one with him in spirit.
St. Ignatius Brianchaninov


Remember in Your Prayers

Baby Brynn L.
Presbytera Rosy
Eva W.
Carol Ann
Maria Louise
Brad William
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
Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

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 Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Sing praises to our God, sing praises.
Clap your hands, all ye peoples.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians. (1:11-19)

Brethren, I would have you know that the Gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the Church of God violently and tried to destroy it; and I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people; so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers.

But when He Who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me, in order that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas, and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other Apostles except James the Lord’s brother.


For the Sixth Sunday of Luke

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (8:26-39)

At that time, Jesus arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And as He stepped out on land, there met Him a man from the city who had demons; for a long time he had worn no clothes, and he lived not in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him, and said with a loud voice, “What hast Thou to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech Thee, do not torment me.” For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. [For many a time it had seized him; he was kept under guard, and bound with chains and fetters, but he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the desert.]

Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. And they begged Jesus not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged Jesus to let them enter these. So He gave them leave. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled, and told it in the city and in the country.

Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how he who had been possessed with demons was healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked Jesus to depart from them; for they were seized with great fear; so He got into the boat and returned.

The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Jesus; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare all that God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city all that Jesus had done for him.