Christ is born! Glorify Him!
+May God, through the cultivation of a deeper relationship with Him, grant you all a blessed New Year filled with TRUE joy and REAL peace+
Tomorrow/Tuesday (Jan. 1)
Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord Jesus Christ
& Commemoration of St. Basil the Great
Festal Orthros 8:30AM
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil 9:30AM
+Immediately followed by the Blessing & Cutting of the Vasilopita+
Why the circumcision of Christ?
“The Church Fathers explain that the Lord, the Creator of the Law, underwent circumcision in order to give people an example of how faithfully the divine ordinances ought to be fulfilled. The Lord was circumcised so that later no one would doubt that he had truly assumed human flesh, and that his Incarnation was not merely an illusion, as certain heretics (Docetists) taught.”
Naples Daily News: “Best Images of 2018”
Features the St. Paul Iconography Project
Read the original (front page) article:
Bringing saints to Naples: Iconographer adds paintings to St. Paul Orthodox Church
The Baptism of Christ
Icon of the Baptism of Christ at St. Paul Church in Naples
Weekly Bible Study Group
Gather with us in this low-key environment to learn about the Holy Scriptures through the lens of the Ancient Christian Faith.
This is not a lecture hour with Fr. Paul but rather a warm-discussion about the relevant reading and how it fits into our personal life, local community, and world.
This is how we learn about the Faith.
Why is Great Vespers important?
“The service leads to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. On the eves of the Divine Liturgy, it begins the movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.”
Learn more about Great Vespers here
The Day the Lord has Made: A Reflection for 2019
Bishop JOHN Abdalah
“The coming of the New Year is often a time of reﬂection, and, this year, folks seem more reﬂective than ever. This year, I think that reﬂective may even mean anxious. Perhaps this anxiety is related to economic uncertainty, to our being bombarded with so much information from everywhere, to hostilities and frustrations around the world, to America’s realization that the world is not receptive to all of our ideals and standards, to our inability to assuage all of the suffering we see around us and around the globe, and to bad news reported from everywhere.
Then again, perhaps our anxiety is more about our search for meaning in a world that doesn’t seek God any longer. Not only does our society not seek God, but Christians are ridiculed as silly, old fashioned, non-thinkers! It seems that almost overnight, our ideals as a culture have changed and, outside of shopping and Santas, there isn’t much space for Christian faith and truth. Eastern mysticisms are the place of choice for “feel-goods,” and truth is an old-fashioned concept that has all but been abandoned by modern humanity.
In the Orthodox Church, Truth is not a what, but a Who. The Word of God took on ﬂesh so that we could come to share His life. The message of Christ cannot be reduced to doing nice things and getting along with each other. Christ hung on the cross so that He could share in our lives and in our deaths, and in so sharing, join us to Himself. The Christian message of who we are and Who Truth is cannot be reduced to our feelings. The Word of God took on ﬂesh for us to share His Life with us, and for us really to be His people. Meaning in life comes not from a feeling; rather, it comes from our relationship with God, and the relationship that gives us access to God is in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-man. We know God and God knows us, by our being in relationship with Him. Like all other relationships, a relationship with God requires time and effort.
To be honest, I am not very anxious about the New Year. I know what God has accomplished for us and I have conﬁdence in His mercy and love. He will do what is best for me, in spite of me. Here I am not talking about salvation – I will leave that up to God. I am not assured that I won’t suffer – that is dependent on those around me, my own poor decisions, and the unfolding of my genes. I am not anxious, because I have come to understand that God is good and that sufferings and pains do come to an end sometime. But the things that count, that give meaning to life and are eternal, are all accomplished by Christ, and He brings them to us.
I write this to comfort those who are reﬂective and anxious at this time of year. This year like every year, and this day like every day, is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” (source here)
- Stewardship Sunday w/Pancake breakfast (Jan. 13)