December 31, 2017
Sunday before Theophany of Christ, Which Falls on the
Apodosis (Leave-taking) of the Nativity of Christ
II Timothy 4:5-8: St Paul encourages Timothy to persevere in his calling, knowing that our perseverance in the battle before us will be rewarded with the crown of righteousness.
Mark 1:1-8: From the Gospel of St Mark we hear how John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus’ public ministry by calling for the people to repent from their sins and be baptized.
Troparion of the Resurrection: 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.
Troparion of the Nativity: Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath given rise to the light of knowledge in the world; for they that worshiped the stars did learn therefrom to worship thee, O Sun of justice, and to know that from the east of the Highest thou didst come; O Lord, glory to thee.
Troparion of the Sunday after Nativity: Proclaim, O Joseph, to David, the grandparent of God, the amazing wonders; for thou hast seen a Virgin great with child; for with the shepherds thou didst give glory, with the Magi thou didst worship, and by the angel it was revealed to thee. Wherefore, plead thou with Christ God to save our souls.
Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.
Kontakion of Nativity: On this day the Virgin beareth the Transcendent in Essence; to the Unapproachable, the earth doth offer a small cave; Angels join in choir with shepherds in giving glory; with a star the Magi travel upon their journey; for our sakes is born a young Child, He Who existed before the ages as God.
Sunday, December 31 (Sunday before Theophany)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros
9:00 a.m. — Christian Education
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy
6:30 p.m. — Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia
Monday, January 1 (Circumcision of our Lord; Feast-day of St. Basil the Great)
Office Closed — Father John’s Day Off
Tuesday, January 2
6:00 a.m. — Daily Orthros
Wednesday, January 3
6:30 p.m. — Daily Vespers
Thursday, January 4
6:00 a.m. — Daily Orthros
11:30 a.m. — Men’s Lunch
Friday, January 5
7:00 a.m. — Royal Hours
Saturday, January 6 (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.
9:00 a.m. — Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy
5:45p.m. — Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, January 7 (Synaxis of John the Baptist)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros
9:00 a.m. — Christian Education
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy
4:00 p.m. — Outdoor Blessing of the Waters at Ross Barnett Reservoir
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Morrises for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord this past Sunday evening and by the Joneses for the Divine Liturgy this morning.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule:
Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour
December 31 (Sun. a.m.) Jones Schelver/Meadows
December 31 (Sun. p.m.) Bakers (Artoklasia Bread)
January 6 (Sat. a.m.) Meadows Cheryl Pigott
(Feast of Theophany)
January 7 Davis Henderson/Baker/Lockhart
January 14 D. Root POT LUCK MEAL
January 15 (Mon. p.m.) Karam Christina Katool
(Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter)
January 21 Brock Ellis/Zoubouos
January 28 Baker Pigott/Lavric/Alaeetawi
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#
December 31 Kh. Sharon Meadows II Tim. 4:5-8 354
January 6 (Sat. a.m.) Mildred Morris Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 361
January 7 Kh. Be’Be’ Schelver Acts 19:1-8 64
January 14 Sam Habeeb Eph. 4:7-13 364
January 15 (Mon. p.m.) Brenda Baker Acts 12:1-11 50-51
January 21 David Turner I Tim. 4:9-15 252
January 28 Walt Wood II Tim. 3:10-15 258
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
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.
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.
Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl Chamblee; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Sue Thayer (Charlotte Wood’s mother), Walt and Charlotte and their family; Lynda Costas; Fr. Nicholas, Kh. Jan and Angelina Speier; Peggy (David Turner’s paternal aunt) who is suffering from cancer and related complications; and George (Dorothea and Daniel Staursky’s uncle) who sustained injuries in a bad fall; David Morris and his family.
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Please keep Fr. John Morris and Kh. Cheryl in your prayers. They have both been ill recently.
We have established a Seminary Fund for Phillip Lasseter. If you would like to make a contribution, please make a note on your check that it is for the Seminary Fund.
2018 Church Calendars are in the foyer. Please take only one per family.
The Outdoor Blessing of the Waters at the Ross Barnett Reservoir will be held beside Cock of the Walk Restaurant on Sunday afternoon, January 7th, beginning at 4:00 p.m. We are very grateful to the ownership of Cock of the Walk for allowing us to conduct this service on their property! There will be a room reserved at the restaurant for those who want to remain afterwards and partake of a meal together. We are looking forward to this time of fellowship with our sister churches in the area.
Registration for Campers at the Antiochian Village opened online on December 11th. Camp
St. Thekla has not yet posted their registrations on their website, but will probably do so soon. Please check their website at campstthekla.org or go to the Archdiocese website antiochian.org and click on Departments and Organizations and then click on Camping. You can find a link to Camp St. Thekla there as well.
The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast will hold a Winter Retreat in Atlanta January 25-28th. This is a spiritual retreat that is open to all – Clergy, Antiochian Men, Antiochian Women, Young Adults and Teen SOYO. There will be brief business meetings with the Bishop followed by a retreat for each organization of the Diocese with wonderful speakers. There will also be a time for His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS to lay out his vision for our Diocese with a time for Questions and Answers. The retreat will be held at the Courtyard Atlanta Decatur Downtown and the reservation number is 1-404-371-0204 (Courtyard Decatur Front Desk) or 1-888-236-2427 (Marriott Central Reservations). The special rate is $144 per night and is good until January 11th. Be sure to mention the St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Church room block when making your reservations over the phone. Please see the enclosed flyer with the Retreat Schedule.
Pledge Letters were mailed out recently. Please return yours to the Church Office as soon as possible. This information is vital to formulating a budget for next year.
His Grace, Bishop NICHOLAS will be making his first Arch-pastoral visit to St. Peter the week-end of March 2-5, 2018. We look forward to spending this time with His Grace! More will be forthcoming in the future about his specific schedule and meetings he would like to schedule while he is here.
Parents of Young Children: Please make sure that your children are supervised if they are in the Nursery during Coffee Hour, just as they are supervised if out on the Playground. The Nursery is being left in a mess on Sunday mornings following Coffee Hour and the clean-up is falling on the same people (i.e. those who teach Sunday School classes in that room). If you leave and there are still children using the room, please make sure that your children pick up the things with which they have been playing.
If you are the last to leave, please make sure that the doors in the Fellowship Hall, the kitchen and the hallway are all locked.
* 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 the month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children.
* The Ladies of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the last Tuesday of the month, beginning in September.
* As is our custom we will celebrate the feast of the Circumcision of our Lord and the feast of St. Basil the Great with Great Vespers with Litia and Artoklasia TONIGHT, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
* We will celebrate the feast of Theophany with Royal Hours on Friday, January 5th beginning at 7:00 a.m. Orthros followed by the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated on Saturday morning, January 6th, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
* The Blessing of the Waters at the Reservoir will be held at Cock of the Walk on Sunday afternoon, January 7th, beginning at 4:00 p.m.
* The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast Winter Retreat in Atlanta is January 25-28th.
* Bishop NICHOLAS will be making his first arch-pastoral visit to St. Peter the weekend of March 2nd-5th. Please mark your calendars now.
Fasting Discipline for January
From December 25th through January 4th, there is no abstinence of any kind and all types of food are permitted. The Forefeast of Theophany (January 5th) is observed as a strict dast day (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil). The traditional fasting discipline is observed on the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.
Major Commemorations for January
January 1 Circumcision of Christ; St. Basil the Great
January 6 Theophany
January 7 Synaxis of the Forerunner
January 11 Theodosios the Head of Monasteries
January 16 The Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter
January 18 Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria
January 20 Euthymios the Great
January 25 Gregory the Theologian
January 27 John Chrysostom
January 30 The Three Hierarchs
January 31 Cyros and John the Unmercenary Healers
Quotable: “It was given to Moses to know that Absolute Primordial Being is not some general entity, some impersonal cosmic process or supra-personal, all-transcending ‘Non-Being’. It was proved to him that this Being had a personal character and was a living and life-giving God. Moses, however, did not receive a clear vision: he did not see God in light as the apostles saw Him on Mount Tabor—‘Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was’ (Exos. 20.21). This can be interpreted variously but the stress lies on the incognisable character of God, though in what sense and in what connection we cannot be certain. Was Moses concerned with the impossibility of knowing the Essence of the Divine Being? Did he think that if God is Person, then He cannot be eternally single in Himself, for how could there be eternal metaphysical solitude? Here was this God ready to lead them but lead them where and for what purpose? What sort of immortality did He offer? Having reached the frontier of the Promised Land, Moses died.”
Archimandrite Sophrony, His Life Is Mine
Worship: Sunday, January 7, 2018 (Synaxis of the Forerunner)
Scripture: Acts 19:1-8; John 1:29-34
Celebrant: Father John
Epistle Reader: Kh. Be’Be’ Schelver
Coffee Hour: Henderson/Baker/Lockhart