January 3, 2021
Forefeast of and
Sunday before Theophany 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 Forefeast of Theophany: Make ready, O Zebulon, and prepare, O Nephtali, and thou, River Jordan, cease thy flow and receive with joy the Master coming to be baptized. And thou, Adam, rejoice with the first mother, and hide not yourselves as ye did of old in paradise; for having seen thee naked, He appeared to clothe thee with the first robe. Yea, Christ hath appeared desiring to renew the whole creation.
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 the Forefeast of Theophany: In the running waters of the Jordan River, on this day the Lord of all crieth to John: Be not afraid and hesitate not to baptize Me, for I am come to save Adam, the first-formed man.
From Father John: In His Eminence, Metropolitan JOSEPH’s last communique regarding the restrictions for participation in the services at our churches, he stated that, we should follow the guidelines based on our local numbers with the virus. As our numbers locally are rising, we will be dropping back to 35 participants at liturgies (which includes the priest and chanters). I will continue to try my best to rotate, as fairly as possible, our members who are healthy and wish to come to the services. Thank you for your cooperation with these restrictions.
Please continue to follow the CDC Guidelines to limit contagion and the spread of the COVID virus.
ATTENTION: Please be reminded that both the Archdiocese and the Governor have issued directions which mandate that masks be worn while in public/group settings. If you are inside of the church, you must wear a mask. Only the chanters and serving clergy are exempted from this during services. Masks should be worn outside, too, if you are in close proximity to others. You have done well with this for the most part, but with a few lapses recently, I wanted to remind you of this essential precaution. — Fr. John
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: All services listed on the calendar will be available through streaming and webcast.
Sunday, January 3 (Sunday before the Theophany of Christ)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
Monday, January 4
Father John’s Day Off
Tuesday, January 5
6:00 p.m. — Festal Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy
Wednesday, 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.
6:30 p.m. — Daily Vespers
Thursday, January 7 (Synaxis of the Forerunner)
6:00 p.m. — Great Vespers (No Ninth Hour Prayers)
Sunday, January 10 (Sunday after the Theophany of Christ)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Hendersons for the Feast of the Nativity, by the Algoods for last Sunday morning and by the Schelvers for the Divine Liturgy this morning.
Please remember that the schedule for prosphora is still in place as we will continue to serve the Divine Liturgy.
Also, please remember that we still need your tithes and offerings which may be placed in the tithe box at the back of the nave or be mailed to: St. Peter Orthodox Church, P.O. Box 2084, Madison, MS 39130-2084.
Eucharist Bread Schedule (NO Coffee Hour):
Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour
January 5 (Tues. p.m.) Morris
(Feast of Theophany)
January 10 Jones
January 16 (Sat. a.m.) Meadows
(Feast of the Chains of St. Peter)
January 17 Davis
January 24 D. Root
January 31 Karam
February 1 (Mon. p.m.) Meadows (Artoklasia Bread)
(Presentation of our Lord in the Temple – Great Vespers with Litia & Artoklasia)
February 7 Brock
February 14 R. Root
February 21 Henderson
February 28 Algood
March 6 (Sat. a.m.) Katool Koliva:
(Saturday of the Souls)
March 7 Schelver
March 14 Morris
March 21 Jones
March 24 (Wed. p.m.) Meadows
(Feast of Annunciation)
March 28 Davis
If you are ready to return to the services of our church, please let Fr. John know so that he can add you to the list of attendees. It is up to individuals to request attendance at the services. Fr. John attempts to be fair in allotting slots, but he does not make assignments or phone calls.
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl Chamblee; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon’s sister); Jay and Joanna; Fr. Leo and Kh. Be’Be’ and their family; Emad and Natalia Alaeetawi and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham; Walt and Charlotte Wood.
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.
Pray for the following:
Rola’s parents, Mona and Toufic, and her brother , Riad, as all three have contracted the coronavirus.
Rachel and Andy Anderton who are recovering from the coronavirus.
Cliff Stewart who is also recovering from the virus.
If you get sick, especially with the Corona virus, please let Fr. John know.
Welcome and Many Years! to Darlene Amason, who was chrismated at St. Peter’s on Saturday, December 18th.
Pledge Letters will be mailed out this coming week. Please return them to the church as soon as possible.
* We will celebrate the Feast of Theophany with Royal Hours on Tuesday morning, January 5th, beginning at 7:00 a.m. Festal Orthros followed by the Divine Liturgy will be celebrated that evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
* We will celebrate the Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Saturday morning, January 16th, beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Fasting Discipline for January
January 5th is a strict fast day when the traditional fasting discipline (No meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) is observed. However, Wednesday, January 6th is not a fast day as it is the Feast of Theophany. Following that the traditional fasting discipline is observed on the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.
Major Commemorations for January
January 6 Feast of Theophany
January 7 Synaxis of the Forerunner
January 11 Theodosios the Head of Monasteries
January 16 Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter
January 18 Athanasios 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
The new Icon Calendars are available on the table in the hall outside the nave. Please only take one per family.
A Benevolence account remains in effect at St. Peter to help the Strain family deal with Warren’s medical bills and other needs. If you would like to make a donation to this fund, please note on your check that it is for the Warren Strain Benevolence Fund. 100% of these funds will go to the Strain family. (All funds previously raised to go toward the purchase of a special van will now be applied to Warren’s funeral expenses.)
Save the Date! The Diocese of Miami and the Southeast will hold a Virtual Winter Retreat January 29th – 31st, 2021. Registration materials will be available at a later date.
Instructions for streaming our services can be found on the parish website.
The Archdiocese Convention scheduled for 2021 in Pittsburgh has been cancelled due to the pandemic. This was necessitated by the hotel’s demand for an excessive nonrefundable deposit.
ead of ManHead of Maonasteries
Quotable: “We must empty ourselves, therefore, of the immoderately high faith we have in ourselves. Often it is so deeply rooted in us that we do not see how it rules over our heart. It is precisely our egoism, our self-centeredness and self-love that cause all our difficulties, our lack of freedom in suffering, our disappointments and our anguish of soul and bodyoly Spirit, goiven and sent by both the FFaa.”
Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics
Worship: Sunday, January 10, 2021 (Sunday after the Theophany of Christ)
Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17
Celebrant: Father John