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January 5, 2014
Feast of Theophany
 
    This Feast Day is one of the greatest days of the Christian year.  In English, we are accustomed to hearing this Feast Day called “Epiphany,” a word which means “manifestation” or “appearance.”  On this day, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist (he is called “the Baptist” because he baptized Christ).  Epiphany is also called “Theophany” which means “God shows Himself to us.”  The importance of this Feast Day lies in the fact that for the first time the Holy Trinity was revealed for all mankind to know and believe (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).  When Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, a voice was heard from the heavens above saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”  The Father whose voice was heard from the heavens was God.  The white dove was the symbol of the Holy Spirit which descended upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Thus, we have the Holy Trinity being revealed to all that day, almost 2000 years ago.  This is why we call this day the day of illumination (light) and manifestation (appearance).  The Holy Trinity made its appearance, and we have been illuminated by this wonderful truth and blessing.  On this day we have the traditional blessing of the waters.  Since the waters of the Jordan were blessed in the presence of Jesus Christ, it is a source of Divine Grace and blessing, and we bless ourselves and our homes with the waters of the “Sanctification Service” which is held during the Epiphany Services.
    Theophany Day is a day of illumination and sanctification.  Let us pledge ourselves to a greater participation in the sacramental life of the Church of Christ.  When the Priest blesses our homes, let us all pray that the blessing of the Theophany Season be with us throughout the year and may our homes be sanctified with our prayers, Christian living and spiritual direction in our lifetime.

Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7: In the reading from Titus, St. Paul reminds us that the grace of God saves us through baptism in Jesus Christ — the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
 
Matthew 3:13-17: Our Lord did not need purification.  But by making the purification of humanity His own, He would wash away the sin of humanity, grant regeneration, and reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
 
Troparion of Theophany:  By thy baptism, O Lord, in the River Jordan, worship to the Trinity has made its appearance; for the voice of the Lord didst come forth to thee with the testimony, naming thee beloved Son; and the Spirit in the likeness of a dove, confirming the truth of the word. Wherefore, O thou who didst appear and light the world, glory to thee.
 
Kontakion of Theophany:  Today thou hast appeared to the universe, O Lord, and thy light hast been shed upon us, who praise thee with knowledge, saying, Thou hast come and appeared, O unapproachable Light.
 
CALENDAR
 
Sunday, January 5  
            8:50 a.m.         — Orthros
            9:00 a.m.         — Christian Education
            10:00 a.m.       — Divine Liturgy
            5:30 p.m.         — Youth Group
 
Monday, January 6   (Theophany)
            Office Closed — Father John’s Day Off
           
Tuesday, January 7   
            6:00 a.m.         — Daily Orthros
                       
Wednesday, January 8    
            6:30 p.m.         — Daily Vespers
           
Thursday, January 9  
            NO Daily Orthros
 
Friday, January 10    
            NO Daily Orthros
 
Saturday, January 11   
            10:00 a.m.       — Ladies Gathering for Akathist and Lunch
            5:45 p.m.         — Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers

Sunday, January 12   (Sunday after Theophany)
            8:50 a.m.         — Orthros
            9:00 a.m.         — Christian Education
            10:00 a.m.       — Divine Liturgy
            12:00 p.m.       — Pot Luck Meal
            4:00 p.m.         — Blessing of the Waters at Ross Barnett Reservoir
 
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Dn. Richard Roots for the Divine Liturgy this morning.  The Artoklasia Bread for the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and the Feastday of St. Basil the Great was offered by the Bakers this past Tuesday evening.
 
Please be reminded of the following:
Be very careful with the Blessed Bread when you take it after communion.  Because this bread has been blessed, we should take care not to let crumbs fall on the floor.  Parents, especially, please help your children to choose a small piece and treat it carefully.
         Also, at the end of the liturgy, maintain a prayerful disposition during the veneration of the cross as the prayers of thanksgiving after communion are still underway.  Please exchange your greetings with each other in the Fellowship Hall during Coffee Hour.
 
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule:
                                     Eucharist Bread                     Coffee Hour
January 5                     R. Root                                     Ellis/Zouboukos/Fahmy
January 12                   Algood                                     POT LUCK MEAL     
                                                                                       set-up: Pigott/Brock/Strain
January 15 (Wed. p.m.)  Schelver                           Anastasia Jones
         (Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter)
January 19                   Morris                                      Skirtech/Skirtech/Parker
January 26                   Jones                                        D. Root/Dansereau/Dale Cooper
 
Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the front pew.  Please be sure to use this book when you read.
                                            Reader                                  Reading                          Page#
January 5                           Phillip Lasseter                     Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7        361
January 12                         Brenda Baker                         Eph. 4:7-13                     364
January 15 (Wed. p.m.)   Sh. Charlotte Algood           Acts 12:1-11                   50-51
January 19                         Warren Strain                        Col. 3:4-11                       233
January 26                         Kh. Sharon Meadows           I Tim. 4:9-15                   252
 
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers. 
 
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted recently while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
 
Terrorists have abducted 12 Orthodox nuns from the Convent of St. Thekla in Syria.  Please keep them in your prayers.
 
Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.
 
Please remember the following in your prayers:  Steve, Sheryl and Stephen Chamblee; Amy and Brantley Oliver; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Georgia Buchanan, George Johns (Georgia’s grandson) and his family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Sh. Gail Shannon; Dn. Sidney and Sh. Mary Elliot;
Fr. Alexander Atty, the Dean of St. Thikon’s who is battling cancer; Walt and Charlotte Wood and their family; Tom and Jennifer Skirtech and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham.
 
Please be reminded that the Sacristy/Vestry which is adjacent to and behind the altar in our church is considered by the Orthodox Church to be part of the Sanctuary (Altar area) and should not be entered without the blessing of the priest for a specific purpose.  If you need to speak with a member of the clergy while they are in the Sanctuary, please ask them to come to you in the nave.
 
Mary Guy is still at home recovering from back surgery.  Please keep her in your prayers.
 
Congratulations to Fr. James and Kh. Sharon (and also to Joseph and Amanda) on the birth of their grandson, Hunter Joseph Hines, last Sunday morning.  Hunter weighed 6lbs 6oz and was 19 inches long.  Mother and baby are doing well.
 
Calendar Items:
*    The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month.
*    The Ladies of St. Peter will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children.  Those who are able will go out for lunch and fellowship afterwards.
*    The Youth Group will meet for a meal and Christian Education with Father John on Sunday evenings, January 5th and 26th, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
*    As is our custom, we will hold the Annual Blessing of the Water at Old Trace Park at the Ross Barnett Reservoir with the other Orthodox Churches in the area on Sunday, January 12th, beginning at 4:00 p.m.  Those who are interested will go to Cock of the Walk for supper afterwards.
*    We will celebrate our patronal feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter on Wednesday evening, January 15th with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy beginning at 6:00 p.m.
*    The Young Adults will meet at the church Sunday, January 19th from 5:00-6:30 p.m.
*    Deanery Youth Retreat with Sister Magdalene – February 14-16th.

Young Adults Study Group:  The Young Adults will meet once a month on Sunday evening from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. (time will be strictly adhered to) for a meal, fellowship and teaching.  The next meeting will be January 19th.  Please let Father John know by text or e-mail if you will be there, so that plans may be made for the meal.
 
Metropolitan Philip has given the Antiochian Women the project of raising money for the orphans of the war in Syria.  He has asked them to raise $200,000 towards this project.  All monies raised are to be distributed directly to the affected areas.  Please read information regarding “Help the Orphans of War in Syria” posted on the bulletin board in the Fellowship Hall.  If you wish to contribute to this project, please make your donation to the Ladies of St. Peter noting it is for “Help the Orphans of War in Syria.”  They will be collecting money for this project through the coming months.
 
Sister Magdalene from the Monastery of St. John the Baptist in Essex, England will be the speaker at the Deanery Youth Retreat, February 14-16th.  The topic of the Retreat will be “Our Faith, My Life.”  Following the Retreat, she will be at St. Peter’s Sunday evening and Monday and will fly home to England on Tuesday, the 18th.  Father John will be arranging times for speaking engagements and meetings during her stay.  More information will be available at a later date.
 
Parents, please supervise your children with food in the Fellowship Hall.  We are getting stains on the new carpet (and also the chairs in the nave).
 
Fasting Discipline for January
The forefeast of Theophany (January 5th) is observed as a strict fast day (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy wine or oil).  The traditional fasting is observed on the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.
 
Major Commemorations for January
January 6               Theophany
January 7               Synaxis of the Forerunner
January 11             Theodosios the Head of Monasteries
January 18             Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria
January 20             Euthymios the Great
January 25             Gregory the Theologian
January 27             John Chrysostom
January 31             Cyros and John the Unmercenary Healers
 
Canned food drive:  The Christian Education classes are collecting canned good s for the needy. 
 
Tuesday morning, December 24th, a $10 bill was found on the floor of the Narthex.  If you lost this bill, please see Kh. Sharon.  If no one claims the money, it will be placed in the Tithe Box.
 
Happy Birthdays in January:
         January 1               —    Dn. Richard Root
         January 5               —    Sarah Anne Milnor
         January 10             —    Georgia Buchanan
         January 11             —    Nicholas Henderson
         January 12             —    Cheryl Pigott
         January 13             —    Nader Dabit
         January 19             —    Saliba (Sam) Dabit
         January 20             —    Alfred Katool
         January 22             —    Tatiana Lavric
         January 24             —    Oliver Yeatts
         January 26             —    Jay Davis
         January 29             —    Michelle Pigott
         January 30             —    Chris Dansereau
 
Happy Anniversaries in January:
         January 10             —    Bob and Georgia Buchanan (#27!)
         January 17             —    Chris and Rebecca Dansereau (#5!)
         January 19             —    Ramzi and Jean Kafoury (#11!)
 
Quotable:      “The home is one of the divine institutions.  The Church and the state are also divine institutions.  The home is, in a sense, a little state, but it is definitely a little church.  The home must have government.  The home must have an altar.  The home must have God.  The distinguishing quality of a Christian home is that Jesus Christ is the center, and all its members seek to obey His law of self-denying love.  It is the parents’ supreme duty to train their children in the fear and love of God.”
                      “Children are no more the property of their parents than riches are; they are a gift from God (Ps. 126:3).  They are His creatures, destined to be happy with Him forever.  Children are only given in trust by God to their parents to be brought up in His service.  Parents therefore are only servants, bound to carry out the Will of God in regard to their children.”
                                                Rev. Fr. David F. Abramtsov, The Orthodox Companion
 
 
Worship:         Sunday, January 12, 2014 (Sunday after Theophany)
        
         Scripture:                               Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17
         Celebrant:                              Father John
         Epistle Reader:                      Brenda Baker
         Prosphora:                             Algood
         Coffee Hour:                          POT LUCK MEAL
                                                         (set-up:  Pigott/Brock/Strain)

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