Fourteen Sunday After Pentecost & First Sunday of Luke
Hieromartyr Phocas, Bishop of Sinope
Apostle Quadratos of the Seventy: Martyr Phocas the Gardener; New-Martyrs Isaac and Martin
September 22, 2019
“Let us believers praise and worship the Word; co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, born of the Virgin for our salvation. For, He took pleasure in ascending the Cross in the flesh to suffer death; and to raise the dead by His glorious Resurrection.”
+Resurrectional Apolytikion in Tone Five
On September 22 in the Holy Orthodox Church we commemorate the Holy Hieromartyr Phocas, bishop and wonderworker of Sinope, who was perfected in martyrdom by being terribly burned in a bath-house in the reign of Trajan.
As bishop in his birthplace, the town of Sinope on the Black Sea, Phocas strengthened the faith of the true believers and converted many idol-worshipers to the true Faith. This enraged the hardhearted pagans. In a vision from the Lord, Phocas saw a white dove fly down from heaven carrying a wreath of flowers in its beak, and lowered it onto his head. And Phocas heard a voice, saying: “Your cup is full and you should drink it!” With gratitude toward God he prepared himself for suffering. The torturers beat and wounded his whole body, and then threw Phocas into boiling water. Phocas entered into the joy of his Lord in the year 102. His companion, the Martyr Phocas the Gardener, suffered for Christ on this day in the year 120.
On this day, we also commemorate the Apostle Quadratos of Magnesia of the Seventy; and New-martyrs Isaac and Martin.
By their intercessions, O Christ God, have mercy upon us. Amen.
The Reading from the Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. (1:21-24)
Brethren, it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; He has put his seal upon us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. But I call God to witness against me—it was to spare you that I refrained from coming to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith; we work with you for your joy, for you stand firm in your faith. For I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you.
The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (5:1-11)
At that time, Jesus was standing by the lake of Gennesaret. And He saw two boats by the lake; but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, Jesus asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at Thy word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a great shoal of fish; and as their nets were breaking, they beckoned to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the catch of fish, which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.
Weekly Community Bible Study
Join us for this New Series: Virtues & Passions
God willing, the class will discuss creation, mankind’s Fall, the purpose of this life, the remedy towards healing and the channels in which we truly become human beings, how to cultivate the virtues, be cleansed of the passions, and more…
This new series is closely related to the online course Fr. Paul is leading through the St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology (www.saaot.edu).
[Fr. Paul is teaching two online classes – middle and high school – on the “Virtues and Passions” (Course Description)].
All are welcome – adults and youth!
Kh. Dana (Thekla) & Gabriel Churching
Last Sunday, at the end of Orthros and prior to the start of the Divine Liturgy, we welcomed back Kh. Dana (Thekla) Girgis and “churched” Gabriel James Girgis as the 40 day period since his birth came to a close.
Churching is a service of thanksgiving and blessing of the mother and her child when they return to the church after childbirth. It is reminiscent of the Old Testament ceremony of purification (Lev. 12: 2-8) and the presentation of Jesus at the Temple (Luke 2: 22-29). There are separate services of churching for the mother and for the child.
In some traditions, it is customary to baptize the child on the eighth day, following the example of the Old Testament rite of bris or circumcision of boys with the naming of the child taking place in the temple. When this occurs, the mother does not attend and the child is presented by its godparents. The more common custom, however, is for the naming to take place on the eighth day and for the baptism to occur after the churching on the fortieth. Continue Reading… Stay tuned for details on the baptism.
St. Paul Church Iconography (Dome)
As John continues his work, please be watchful of the scaffolding. Naturally, several of the pews are not available for use. Thankfully, the equipment is installed in a safe and convenient manner to allow access to the front of the church and not disrupt our Divine Services.
Make sure to visit our parish Facebook Page for photos – share the beauty with your family and friends.
Every Saturday 6:00-6:45PM
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 here
Join us immediately after the Divine Worship each Sunday for Fellowship Coffee Hour.
There is great joy in serving, offering hospitality, and “breaking bread” together, which are essential elements of the Christian life.
In order to avoid allowing this “labor of love” to fall upon the same few people week-after-week, please sign-up to sponsor the Fellowship Coffee Hour on any available Sunday.
“Great – what exactly am I signing up for?”
Simply bring 1 1/2 – 2 dozen Bagels sliced in half (or specialty breads, breakfast cake, etc.) to the kitchen, upon arrival to service Sunday morning. After service, set the food out and then clean up at the end – there is help so you’re not alone! We already have the toppers (peanut butter, jam, etc.), paper goods, and coffee at the parish!
“Can I support Fellowship Coffee Hour in a different way?”
No problem – make an offering that would donate towards the bagels and we will handle the rest!
Either way, keep it simple and give it a shot!
“CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST”
A Note Regarding Protocol and Etiquette
Dear brothers and sisters,
Please take care to embrace these few words regarding the practice of the “Kiss of Peace” during the Divine Liturgy at our parish in Naples.
After the Deacon or priest intones, “Let us love one another, that with one accord we may confess:..” the people joyously hymn the Holy Trinity, “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: The Trinity one in essence and undivided…” The clergy venerate the gifts and holy altar then exchange the “Kiss of Peace” with one another before confessing the Nicene Creed w/the faithful.
Generally speaking, up until about the 11th C., men would exchange the “Kiss of Peace” only with men and women only with women as it was in fact an actual kiss!
Nonetheless, the “Kiss of Peace” exchanged between the faithful during the Divine Liturgy fell out of use around 1,000 years ago – and in some places even before that.
Read (short) “Sealed With The Kiss” by Fr. Lawrence Farley to learn more.
Why did it stop?
As one of the ancient manuscripts explains, it was due to disruptive and irreverent behavior from the faithful. However, the “Kiss of Peace” remained between the clergy.
In recent times, there has been an attempt to “revive” the practice of the faithful exchanging the “Kiss of Peace” in some parishes here in North America.
Generally speaking, this is not a practice done universally but locally, which is why not every Orthodox Christian walking through our doors will be familiar with the practice. You will also be hard-pressed to find an Orthodox Church internationally that practices it among the faithful.
Unfortunately, even in our day (1,000 years later), it has given way to inappropriate behavior during the Divine Liturgy.
The following is a serious departure from the true ethos of the Divine Liturgy when the faithful are afforded an opportunity to exchange the “Kiss of Peace”:
- Lots of commotion and movement
- Walking around the church to greet friends
- Laughter and conversation, etc.
My dear ones, the above are only a few examples as to why parishes actually stop this practice.
In order to avoid the need to eliminate it at our parish, please stay within the following boundaries, which have been set forth by our Bishop(s):
- Exchange the “Kiss of Peace” in the form of a handshake and/or embrace with the person ONLYon either side of you.
- Avoid traveling down the aisles, crossing over multitudes of pews (and people) to greet your friends, etc.
- “Christ is in our midst”…“He is and ever shall be” are the only words uttered at this exchange.
- At the words, “The Doors! The Doors! In Wisdom let us attend.” everything stops/time is up and we begin confessing the Nicene Creed together as the Church – the Body of Christ.
Today, many parishes have desired to avoid this “revival” due to the reasons mentioned above and simply do not have the faithful exchange the “Kiss of Peace” between one another at all. In fact, this is a common topic of discussion among priests and their Bishops.
At our parish in Naples, all we need to do is simply take more care to mind ourselves and recall we are worshiping the All-Holy Trinity.
See you Sunday, God willing!
Priest’s Heartfelt Message of Support to Parents Reluctant to Take Their Children to Church Goes Viral
“Please ignore people’s eyes rolling and heads turning when your children are ‘playing up’ inside the house of God. I want you to know that they are always welcome,” says Fr Michael Psaromatis.
When Adelaide-based Greek Orthodox priest, Father Michael Psaromatis, posted a heartfelt message to his parishioners last Friday letting them know that he is fully supportive and perfectly aware of their struggles and efforts to bring their children to church, he never anticipated that within minutes parishioners from all over Australia would take to social media to express their gratitude towards his thoughtful gesture, Neos Kosmos reports.
“I am aware when you become red-faced, breaking out into sweats when your children start fidgeting and fussing inside the church, and I want you to know, that I have so much respect and admiration on how much you try to keep them quiet and calm during the church service,” wrote father Michael, aged 34, and one of the youngest, most forward-thinking priests in Adelaide.
“I admire how you prepared you are when you come in, how hard you try and chase them down the aisle to nullify their noise and movements and I want you to know that I also feel your pain when I see those heads that turn in your direction and the eyes that roll, indicating a shameful dismay at the fact that you cannot keep your children under control and quiet when all you are doing is trying to participate in the Liturgy and hear the sermon.”
Father Michael’s post sent a clear message to the rest of the parishioners to be less judgemental and more supportive towards young families who try and attend church services.
“As a priest, I experience the inner bliss of distributing Holy Communion to little children, who are more worthy than all of us to approach the chalice of life. Your children teach me and us all with their innocence, that we need to become like them to inherit the Kingdom of God so let’s all take a moment to appreciate how blessed we are to have the young families and their children with us, actively participating in your and our struggle on the journey to the Kingdom of God. A struggle that includes seeing infants, toddlers, young children, whose parents are willing to brave the discomfort, inconvenience and stress of bringing them into Church, even if it seems completely futile.”
In his heartfelt message, the son of one of the longest-serving priests of Adelaide, paid special tribute to the majority of his parishioners who are there to support the young parents and families and seek to assist where they can, sometimes simply by smiling at the young parents in an attempt to provide strength and courage to keep on going.
“There are those of course who seem nervous, not because they are annoyed, but because they want you to feel at peace but aren’t sure how to physically help and so, proceed to pray for your family,” says father Michael pleading with young parents to build the strength and courage and continue to bring their children to Church.
“Young families are our future,” he concluded, adding that “if you do not hear crying, the church is dying.”
Social media users have since shared the priests message, congratulating him on having the courage to speak up about a matter that’s close to most Greek Orthodox young parents’ hearts.
“I am the first to admit that I find it hard to be in church with my kids. I haven’t included my son for just this reason. It’s nice to know that our Fathers know we try. I’ve heard the clicks of tongues, the stares and the words spoken in judgement and it’s hard,” wrote a mother of three.
“Before I was Orthodox and attended a church service where any noise of children caused horror, I often wondered; how can you possibly expect these children to be faithful in worship when they are adults if you refuse to welcome them as children,” wrote another user who recently joined the Greek Orthodox religion.
“The children in church are a real blessing. We learn so much from them. No matter if they cry, run around or make noise. Seeing them kiss the icons, receive holy communion and witnessing the sheer joy in their faces is inspirational,” wrote another.
“I needed this. It’s been so hard trying to take my newborn and his two-year-old brother to church service on a Sunday morning, but I really want to go so please don’t judge me. I am only trying,” wrote a young mother.
“We are so blessed to have you as our spiritual guide and thank you for making us feel welcome despite the troubles our son might be causing inside your church from time to time,” wrote the father of a young autistic boy.