Sunday Before the Elevation of the Cross
Consecration of Resurrection Church in Jerusalem
Hieromartyr Cornelius the Centurion; Venerable Hierotheos the Younger of Iviron Monastery on Athos; Great-Martyr Ketevan, Queen of Georgia; The Six Martyrs at Tomi in Romania
Nativity of the Theotokos — Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 9:30am
The birth and early life of the Virgin Mary is not recorded in the Gospels or other books of the New Testament, however this information can be found in a work dating from the second century known as the Book of James or Protevangelion.
According to the story found in this book, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anna, were childless for many years. They remained faithful to God, but their prayers for a child were unanswered. One day, when Joachim came to the temple to make an offering, he was turned away by the High Priest who chastised him for his lack of children. To hide his shame, Joachim retreated to the hill country to live among the shepherds and their flocks.
As Joachim was praying, his wife Anna was praying at the same time at their house in Jerusalem. An angel appeared to both of them and announced that Anna would have a child whose name would be known throughout the world. Anna promised to offer her child as a gift to the Lord. Joachim returned home, and in due time Anna bore a daughter, Mary.
Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese website.
The Holy and Righteous Ancestors of the Lord Joachim and Anna — Wednesday September 9, 2020 at 9:30am
The holy and righteous Joachim and Anna are the parents of the Theotokos, the grandparents of Jesus Christ.
St. Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David. St. Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, of the tribe of Levi as was Aaron the High Priest.
Sts. Joachim and Anna had been married for fifty years, and were barren. They lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple. Joachim had done this since he was 15-years-old, and God multiplied his flocks, so the couple was well provided for. They longed for a child but remained childless into their old age. When they were in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, the High Priest, Issachar, upbraided Joachim, “You are not worthy to offer sacrifice with those childless hands.”
Others who had children jostled Joachim, thrusting him back as unworthy. In despair, he consulted the geneological records of the tribes of Israel and discovered every righteous man in the nation had been blessed with children, except him. This caused the aged saint great grief, and he and his wife left with heavy hearts. Then the two of them gave themselves to prayer to God that He would work in them the wonder that He had worked in Abraham and Sarah, and give them a child to comfort their old age.
St. Joachim took his flocks and went to a high mountain, refusing to return home in shame. Meanwhile, St. Anna prayed in her garden. God sent the Archangel Gabriel to each of them, who gave them tidings of the birth of “a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world.”
Each promised to have their child raised in the Temple as a holy vessel of God. The archangel told St. Joachim to return home, where he would find his wife waiting for him in the city gate. St. Anna he told to wait at the gate. When they saw one another, they embraced, and this image is the traditional icon of their feast.
Read more on the OrthodoxWiki website.
Elevation of the Holy Cross Divine Liturgy, Monday, September 14, 2020 at 9:30am
Saint Helen, the mother of Saint Constantine the Great, when she was already advanced in years, undertook, in her great piety, the hardships of a journey to Jerusalem in search of the cross, about the year 325. A temple to Aphrodite had been raised up by the Emperor Hadrian upon Golgotha, to defile and cover with oblivion the place where the saving Passion had been suffered.
The venerable Helen had the statue of Aphrodite destroyed, and the earth removed, revealing the Tomb of our Lord, and three crosses. Of these, it was believed that one must be that of our Lord, the other two of the thieves crucified with Him; but Saint Helen was at a loss which one might be the Wood of our salvation. At the inspiration of Saint Macarius, Archbishop of Jerusalem, a lady of Jerusalem, who was already at the point of death from a certain disease, was brought to touch the crosses, and as soon as she came near to the Cross of our Lord, she was made perfectly whole.
Consequently, the precious Cross was lifted on high by Archbishop Macarius of Jerusalem; as he stood on the ambo, and when the people beheld it, they cried out, “Lord have mercy.”
It should be noted that after its discovery, a portion of the venerable Cross was taken to Constantinople as a blessing. The rest was left in Jerusalem in the magnificent church built by Saint Helen, until the year 614. At that time, the Persians plundered Palestine and took the Cross to their own country (see Jan. 22, Saint Anastasius the Persian). Late, in the year 628, Emperor Heraclius set out on a military campaign, retrieved the Cross, and after bringing it to Constantinople, himself escorted it back to Jerusalem, where he restored it to its place.
The Great Martyr Euphemia Divine Liturgy, Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 9:30am
Saint Euphemia lived in the 3rd century AD. She was the daughter of pious parents. Her father was a senator named Philophronos and her mother was Theodosia. She was born in Chalcedon, located across the Bosporus from the city of Byzantium (modern-day Istanbul). From her youth she dedicated her life to Christ and practiced the virtues of prayer, fasting and chastity.
The governor of Chalcedon, Priscus, had made a decree that all of the inhabitants of the city take part in sacrifices to the pagan god Ares. Euphemia was discovered with other Christians who were hiding in a house and worshiping the Christian God, in defiance of the governor’s orders. Because of their refusal to sacrifice, they were tortured for a number of days, and then handed over to the Emperor for further torture. Euphemia, the youngest among them, was separated from her companions in the hope that she betray Christ if she was on her own. She was promised worldy riches but refused to deny Christ. She was subjected to particularly harsh torments, including the wheel, in hopes of breaking her spirit but the wheel miraculously stopped and an Angel of the Lord ministered to her wounds.
The govenor then ordered that the saint be cast into a fiery furnace. Two soldiers, Victor and Sosthenes, led her to the furnace, but seeing to fearsome angels in the flames, refused to carry out the order of the governor and became believers in the God Whom Euphemia worshipped. Boldly confessing that they too were Christians, Victor and Sosthenes bravely went to suffering. They were cast into the arena to be eaten by wild beasts. During their martyrdom, they cried out for mercy to God, asking Him to receive them into the Heavenly Kingdom. A heavenly Voice answered their cries, and they entered into eternal life. The beasts, however, did not even touch their bodies.
Saint Euphemia, cast into the fire by other soldiers, remained unharmed. Ascribing this to sorcery, the governor gave orders to dig out a new pit, and filling it with knives, he had it covered over with earth and grass, so that the martyr would not notice the preparation for her execution but here too she remained unhurt.
Finally, they sentenced her to be devoured by wild beasts at the circus. Before her martyrdom, Saint Euphemia implored God to deem her worthy to suffer terribly for His Name but when she was cast into the arena, none of the wild beasts attacked her. Finally, one of the she-bears gave her a small wound on the leg, from which flowed the pure blood of the martyr, and immediately the holy Great Martyr Euphemia gave her spirit to the Lord. During this time there was an earthquake, and both the guards and the spectators ran in terror, so that the parents of the saint were able to take up her body and reverently bury it not far from Chalcedon.
A majestic church was afterwards built over the grave of the Great Martyr Euphemia.
Source: OrthodoxWiki website.
Carmine Riccioli and Charles Wolffe Start A New Business
Both Carmine and Charles are members of St. Peter’s, Carmine was baptized and christmated over a year ago along with his wife Elizabeth and baby John (Carmine Jr.). You may remember baby Carmine as the infant that received the miracle healing from God through His servant St. Luke.
Charles joined our Church several months ago and will soon be a catechumen along with his wife Amanda and two young daughters. We welcome them and are grateful to God they have joined St. Peter’s.
Both men have started a business that they hope to grow to support their families. Charlie has extensive experience in the field and Carmine has served as his apprentice. Both men know what they are doing.
At St. Peter’s we support the businesses of our parishioners. We want to see our entrepreneurs succeed. If you can use the services of Grout Like New or if you can recommend them to people who can, please do so.
Coming Soon: Introduction to Orthodoxy Classes
Fr. Hans will be offering Introduction to Orthodoxy Classes starting in September.
The classes will be scheduled as soon as Fr. Hans reviews the books being used for the class. They arrive early this week.
The classes will be held on Sundays, following the Social Hour. All seekers and catechumens are required to attend, but the class will be open to everyone. Details will follow?
Why hold the class on Sundays? Because it makes the class available to more people.
Starting date and details forthcoming.
Coming Soon: DOMSE Virtual Retreat — MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Schedule now available on the new DOMSE website!
DOMSE (Diocese of Miami and the Southeast) will hold a two day virtual retreat from Friday through Saturday, October 3-4, 2020.
Topics and schedule will be available soon.
Pledge & Income Report – July 2020
Donations received in July: $23,531.00
Amount of money needed to cover expenses: $18,167.00
We are ahead by $5,364.00
Please note:Thank you for your response to our July Appeal Letter. Please continue your generous support as the summertime is always a difficult time for us financially. If you cannot make it to church please mail in your donation to:
St. Peter Orthodox Church
24850 Old 41 Road Suite 6
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
You can also donate online (scroll to bottom of page):
Bishop NICHOLAS Offers a Weekly Live Stream
These are short thirty minute presentations where His Grace Bp. Nicholas speaks on one theme in Sunday readings for fifteen minutes followed by questions from the listeners. It’s worth tuning in. Get instructions on the St. Peter website on how to use the Band App on your phone or computer to participate.
Calendar At A Glance
- Sun Sep 6 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Tue Sep 8 — NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Tue Sep 8 — Byzantine Chant Workshop at St. Paul Naples 7:00pm
- Wed Sep 9 — THE HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS ANCESTORS OF THE LORD JOACHIM AND ANNA Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Sep 13 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Mon Sep 14 — ELEVATION OF THE CROSS Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Tue Sep 15 — Byzantine Chant Workshop at St. Paul Naples 7:00pm
- Wed Sep 16 — ST. EPHEMIA Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Fri Sep 18 — Parish Council Meeting 3:30pm
- Sun Sep 20 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Tue Sep 22 — Byzantine Chant Workshop at St. Paul Naples 7:00pm
- Wed Sep 23 — CONCEPTION OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST Divine Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Sun Sep 24 — Orthros 8:30am / Liturgy 9:30am LIVE STREAM
- Fri Oct 3 — Sat Oct 4 — DOMSE Virtual Retreat
Wisdom From The Elders
Many people have never experienced the pleasure of a light stomach. St. Paisios of Mount Athos
Especially inexcusable are faint-heartedness and unbelief in the’ man who has already been deemed worthy of often receiving marvellous help from God the Saviour. O, how great a sinner I am! St. John of Kronstadt
It is God, Who is merciful and grants everyone what he needs, Who is building him up when He gives him more than he needs; in doing so He shows the abundance of His love for men and teaches him to give thanks. When He does not grant him what he needs, He makes him compensate for the thing he needs through the working of the mind and teaches him patience. St. Dorotheos of Gaza
Do not be discouraged when you see no improvement. One thing is needful: try to live according to the Gospel commandments. Fight and defend yourself against every sin through deeds, words or thoughts, and do not voluntarily succumb to bad influences. If you do succumb, repent before the Lord, ask forgiveness, and rise to fight again. And so until death. Abbot Nikon Vorobiev
For even if we do not seek virtue, but at least praise it, we shall perhaps be able to attain it; and even if we do not avoid evil, but at least censure it, we shall perhaps be able to escape it. St. John Chrysostom
The Christian, who is called to a heavenly country, who is only a stranger and a sojourner upon earth, ought not attach his heart to anything earthly, but should cling to God alone, the Source of life, our resurrrection, and the Life eternal. St. John of Kronstadt
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 (Updated September 1 / Resets October 1)
Pantelis (Tsikitas 11/20)
Patricia (Evanoff 11/20)
Barbara (Dusckas 11/20)
Brendan (Wolffe 11/20)
Douglas (Dusckas 10/22)
Sophia (Irina 10/22)
Nicholas (Zeena 10/22)
Ruthann (Zeena 10/22)
Charles Timothy (Wolfe 10/22)
Sergio (Mary Kazakos10/22)
Libby Ann (Riccioli 10/22)
Andrea (Sarros 10/22)
Basil (Sarros 10/22)
Margaret (Sarros 10/22)
Susan (Wolffe 9/20)
Grant [Van Berkom] (Zeena 9/20)
Barbara (Dusckas 9/20)
John (Troutman 9/20)
Dave (Dusckas 9/20)
Constandina (Stephania 9/20)
Steven (Breitenbach 9/20)
Irini (Tsikitas 9/20)
Lori (Dusckas 8/20)
Patricia (Copeland 8/20)
Demetrios (Copeland 8/20)
Efstathios (Mourgis 8/20)
Permanent Prayer List
Presbytera Rosy (in Pakistan)
Founders, Members, and Benefactors Departed this Life
Fr. Stephanos (Shagoury)
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.
For the Sunday before the Elevation of the Holy Cross
O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
To Thee, O Lord, I have cried, O my God.
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 Sunday before the Elevation of the Holy Cross
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. John. (3:13-17)
The Lord said, “No one has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven, the Son of man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For, God sent His Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”