March 21, 2021
First Sunday of Lent
Sunday of Orthodoxy
On the first Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This is an historical feast commemorating the restoration of the icons, which had been banned for several decades, to their rightful liturgical use in the year 843 A.D.
The major emphasis of this feast is the victory of the true faith, the victory which always ultimately triumphs. Having completed the first week of our lenten efforts, we are reminded that Christ, the perfect image of God the Father, calls us to personal victory by restoring within ourselves “the image and likeness of God” in which we were first created (Genesis 1:26).
The icons of Our Lord, the Theotokos, and all the saints are images of true humanity, signs of what our eternal calling and vocation really is. They tell us that we are all called to be living icons and imitators of Christ, bearing the likeness of God as gracious vessels of the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 11:24-26;32-40: The writer of Hebrews calls us to consider the faith of those Old Testament saints who endured hardships and death and yet still did great things because of their faith. The Apostle encourages us to lay aside the encumbrances of sin and run with endurance the race that is set before us.
John 1:43-51: From our reading in the Gospel of John we see Jesus call Philip and Nathaniel to be His disciples.
Troparion of the Resurrection: O compassionate One, thou didst descend from the heights; thou didst submit to the three-day burial, that thou might deliver us from passion. Thou art our Life and our Resurrection, O Lord, glory to thee.
Troparion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy: Thy pure image do we venerate, O good One, asking forgiveness of our sins, O Christ our God; for by thine own will thou didst ascend the Cross in thy body, to save thy creatures from the bondage of the enemy. Thou hast truly filled all with joy, since thou didst come, O our Saviour, to save the world.
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 Sundays of Lent: To thee the champion leader, I thy servant offer thanks for victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me form terror. As thou hast power invincible, free me from every danger that I may cry unto thee: Rejoice, O bride without bridegroom.
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.
UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE: All services listed on the calendar will be available through streaming and webcast.
Sunday, March 21 (Sunday of Orthodoxy)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
NOTE: We will not be having a Pan-Orthodox vespers service that evening as we usually do. Instead we will do the procession with the icons at the end of the Divine Liturgy following the Prayer behind the Ambo. Those attending the liturgy that morning should bring their icons with them.
Monday, March 22
Father John’s Day Off
Tuesday, March 23
6:00 p.m. — Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy
NOTE: We are still limited on the numbers of attendees for services, so it is necessary to sign up for this service. Please text Fr. John for this.
Thursday, March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation)
THE SCRIPTURE (Luke 1:26-38): The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee (the northernmost district of Palestine) named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house (family) of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Rejoice, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father (ancestor) David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob (the father of all the tribes of Israel) for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the Angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the Angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid (servant) of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the Angel departed from her.
THE SIGNIFICANCE: This feast commemorates the day when the Archangel Gabriel announced to a young virgin named Mary that she, among all women, had found favor with the Father. She was invited to cooperate with Him for the Incarnation of His pre-eternal Son through the operation of the Holy Spirit. This, “the beginning of our salvation,” was conditioned not only by God’s will and His election of Mary, but also by Mary’s own “YES” to do God’s will – “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Friday, March 26(Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel)
6:30 p.m. — Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
6:00 p.m. — Great Vespers (No Ninth Hour Prayers)
Sunday, March 28 (2nd Sunday of Lent; Gregory Palamas)
8:50 a.m. — Orthros (webcast)
10:00 a.m. — Divine Liturgy (webcast)
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
The Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Joneses for the Divine Liturgy this morning.
Eucharist Bread Schedule (NO Coffee Hour):
Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour
March 24 (Wed. p.m.) Meadows
(Feast of the Annunciation)
March 28 Davis
April 4 D. Root
April 11 Karam
April 18 Brock
April 24 (Sat. a.m.) R. Root
April 25 Henderson
April 29 (Thur. a.m.) Algood
(Great and Holy Thursday)
May 1 (Sat. a.m.) Katool
(Great and Holy Saturday)
May 1 (Sat. p.m.) Schelver
May 9 Morris
May 16 Jones
May 23 Meadows
May 30 Davis
June 6 D. Root
June 9 (Wed. p.m.) Karam
(Feast of the Ascension)
June 13 Brock
June 19 (Sat. a.m.) R. Root Koliva:
(Saturday of the Souls)
June 20 Baker
June 27 Henderson
June 28 (Mon. p.m.) Algood
(Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul)
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.
We welcome Marilyn Snell as our newest member to St. Peter.
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; Anthony and Athena Zouboukos.
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.
If you get sick, especially with the Corona virus, please let Fr. John know.
Please schedule a time for your confession during the Fast. Also, please don’t wait to the last minute to do this, as it causes difficulties for Father John.
* As is our usual parish custom during Great Lent, we will celebrate the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified Gifts on Wednesday evenings in place of Daily Vespers, beginning at 6:30 p.m.,
except for the March 24th (Feast of the Annunciation) and April 14th (Canon of St. Andrew of Crete with the Life of St. Mary of Egypt).
* Also during Great Lent we will have the Akathist to the Theotokos on Friday evenings, beginning at 6:30 p.m., except for April 23rd (Canon of St. Lazarus).
* We will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Wednesday, March 24th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
* Stewpot dates for the coming year are JUNE 26 and November 6. More information will be available closer to time.
Tax letters were mailed recently. If you did not receive your letter for your 2020 donations, please contact Kh. Sharon as soon as possible.
Pledge Letters have been mailed out. Please return them to the church as soon as possible.
Christian Education classes: Daniel Root is contacting parents about the possible resumption of classes. If you have not heard from Daniel, please get in contact with him.
Fasting Discipline for March
Beginning with Clean Monday on March 15th, the traditional fasting (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) discipline is observed on all days of the week until Pascha (except the Feast of the Annunciation on Marsh 25th and Palm Sunday on April 25th, when fish, wine and oil are permitted).
Major Commemorations for March
March 21 1st Sunday of Lent; Sunday of Orthodoxy
March 24 Feast of the Annunciation
March 26 Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel
March 28 2nd Sunday of Lent; Gregory of Palamas
The new Icon Calendars are available on the table in the hall outside the nave. Please only take one per family.
Instructions for streaming our services can be found on the parish website.
ead of ManHead of Maonasteries
Quotable: “This is self-persecution; in this way does one silence, with God’s help, one’s loud-voiced will.
You are perhaps wondering, is this really necessary? The holy Fathers reply with another question: Do you really think that you can fill a jar with clean water before the old, dirty water has been emptied out? Or do you wish to receive a beloved guest in a room crammed with old trash and junk? No; he who hopes to see the Lord as he is, purifies himself, says the apostle John (I John 3:3).”
Tito Colliander, The Way of the Ascetics
Worship: Sunday, March 28, 2021 (Second Sunday of Lent: Commemoration of Gregory Palamas)
Scripture: Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12
Celebrant: Father John