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About Us




Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

1614 E Monte Vista Road

Phoenix, Arizona 85006


Regular Services


 5:00 PM  Great Vespers


 9:00 AM  Divine Liturgy

The Right Reverend DANIEL, Bishop of Santa Rosa, Rector

Priest David Balmer, Attached, Retired


Alexis Washington

Most glorious are You, O Christ our God! You have established the Holy Fathers as lights on the earth!

Through them You have guided us to the true faith! O greatly Compassionate One, glory to You!

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Bishop Daniel, Rector



Father David Balmer, Attached, Retired



Protodeacon Alexis Washington


Stephanie A. Homyak, Church School Director & Newsletter Editor



Barbara Peterson, Myrrh Bearers



Andrew Evans, Council President



Pat Starkey, FOCA President



Barbara Harp, Choir Director


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3rd Qtr 2015

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Looking through my files, I see that my monthly message for October 2014 highlighted the fact that we were preparing to host the annual Diocesan Assembly of the Diocese of the West.  In that message, I noted that, particularly special to the 2014 Assembly, we were pleased to welcome not only our own Archpastor, Archbishop BENJAMIN, but also the Primate of The Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude Metropolitan TIKHON.  In addition to these hierarchs, we also welcomed over one hundred lay and clergy delegates and observers from throughout the Diocese of the West—clergy and faithful from our own corner of the Diocese here in the Desert Southwest, to the Pacific Northwest and even from Hawaii.  

In remembering and reflecting upon that special week, we must acknowledge what a blessing it was for our parish! From the Divine Liturgy celebrated in a full church with a clergy choir, to the business sessions, to the meals, to the fellowship time spent meeting new people and reacquainting ourselves with those we have known throughout the years—those days were filled with many moments that created wonderful memories.

Most of you will recall the several meetings and the behind-the-scenes activities that went on in the preceding weeks to make the 2014 Diocesan Assembly the memorable and successful event that it was.  A lot of hard work went into welcoming our guests—but that hard work and time were more than rewarded.  And those rewards and blessings came to us because what we did was not merely about hard work or enthusiasm.  Indeed, everything the members of our parish community did to welcome our guests was inspired by the loving care and hospitality that we offer all our guests at all times, week after week, month after month, throughout the year.  Just as during the Diocesan Assembly, we always welcome each and every guest into our parish home with love and with open arms—we welcome them as we welcome the Lord Himself.

Over the summer months and in recent weeks, we have welcomed new members as well as returning members to our parish family.  In speaking with several of them, I know that the loving and enthusiastic hospitality you have shown has made them feel welcomed and, indeed, valued and appreciated as members of our parish.  My prayer is that the spirit of hospitality, that spirit of welcoming guests and new members as we would the Lord Himself, will always remain at the forefront of our effort to share the Gospel Message as we live and celebrate it here at Saints Peter and Paul Church.

With love in the Lord,

+Bishop Daniel

 Bishop Daniel’s Message for October

Reflections in Christ


Orthodox Churches

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral

Assumption Greek Orthodox Church

St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church

St. Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church

St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church

St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church

Exaltation of The Holy Cross Orthodox Church

St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church

For more information about our local monasteries, visit their websites

Saint John of San Francisco Monastery

Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great

Saint Paisius Monastery

The Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem

The Annunciation of the Theotokos

Holy Thursday. The ritual of the Washing of Feet

Three Beautiful
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Saint Petersburg Orthodox Theological Academy

Commemoration of the Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council

Today the Church remembers the 350 holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council under the holy Patriarch Tarasius (February 25).

The Synod of 787, the second to meet at Nicea, refuted the Iconoclast heresy during the reign of Empress Irene and her son Constantine Porphyrogenitos.

The Council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry (Exodus 20:4-5), because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype (the person depicted). It also upheld the possibility of depicting Christ, Who became man and took flesh at His Incarnation. The Father, on the other hand, cannot be represented in His eternal nature, because “no man has seen God at any time” (John 1:18).

In Greek practice, the holy God-bearing Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council are commorated on October 11 (if it is a Sunday), or on the Sunday which follows October 11. According to the Slavic MENAION, however, if the eleventh falls on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, the service is moved to the preceding Sunday.

“Hard sayings” indeed!

By Father Steven Kostoff

“If ninety-nine of us are good and saintly but one of our brothers or sisters is far from our solace and support, in sin and darkness, be sure that God is not among us ninety-nine, but He has gone to find our brother whom we have lost and forgotten.”—Saint Nikolai Velimirovic (+1956)

These deeply Gospel-inspired words are clearly based on Christ’s short parable, that of the Lost Sheep, found in Luke 15:3-7. This is the first of three parables that the Lord directs against the pharisees who objected to Christ sharing table fellowship with “tax collectors and sinners.” This parable is followed by that of the Lost Coin (15:8-10) and the incomparable parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11-32). These three parables all share a single theme: God will seek out the lost at all costs. And that, in turn, is the Gospel. From God’s perspective, “no one is left behind.” From our human perspective, to live among the “righteous” and to avoid sinners is not only easy, but something to be sought after. Yet, that is not how life is ordered—now or at any time in the past. Although loved by God, that one brother or sister lost in sin and darkness may today be described as one of our (many?) enemies. And these “enemies” come in various forms and represent various things that are unlikeable or even distasteful to us today—a member of a political party that we do not trust or with whom we hardly ever agree any given issue; a proponent of an ideology we consider warped and dangerous; an adherent of a religion with beliefs and practices that we cannot comprehend and which “on the inside” we fear and detest. The sin and darkness we find in the other person can be real or it can be imaginary, simply the result of our perspective, if not prejudice. Then again, there are many human beings who are clearly lost in “sin and darkness.” Such human beings do things that are both horrible and harmful. They must be avoided and they must be stopped from their evil activities. Such is life in a world in which good and evil co-exist.

Yet, if Saint Nikolai is properly interpreting Christ’s parable, then we must understand that according to the Lord, such persons are still loved by God “Who desires that all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). And they are still loved even if they do not come to this “knowledge of the truth,” tragic as that may prove to be. And further, if Saint Nikolai is correct, then what he says is not sentimental, but an expression of the boundless love of God that knows no limits:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only-begotten Son so that those who believe in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). There is no sentimentality in the Cross, so when the Father “gave” His Son to the world that He loved, that meant that Christ had to embrace the Cross to fully reveal God’s love for us. “You were bought with a price,” the Apostle Paul reminds us (1 Corinthians 6:20).

The words of Saint Nikolai are closely related to a passage from the new book of Frederica Mathewes-Green,
Welcome to the Orthodox Church. In fact, I discovered the above passage from Saint Nikolai in her book, immediately following what she wrote on the subject of God’s love: “The idea is to love the world, even though it hates you. That is what Christ did, and what He can do in you. Progress in the spiritual life is literally growth in communion and union with Christ, and He has loved every human being in the whole history of the world” (p. 81). This teaching was beautifully confirmed by Saint Silouan of Mount Athos, a rather recently glorified/canonized saint of the Church who died in 1938. Living a life of silence and prayer on Mount Athos—the holy mountain—Saint Silouan, in his teaching, said, “The soul cannot know peace unless she prays for her enemies…. The Lord taught me to love my enemies. Without the grace of God we cannot love our enemies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches love, and then even devils arouse our pity because they have fallen from good, and lost humility in God…. If you will pray for your enemies, peace will come to you; but when you can love your enemies—know that a great measure of the grace of God dwells in you, though I do not say perfect grace as yet, but sufficient for salvation. Whereas if you revile your enemies, it means there is an evil spirit living in you and bringing evil thoughts into your heart for, in the words of the Lord, ‘Out of your heart proceed evil thoughts or good thoughts…. If you cannot love, then at least do not revile or curse your enemies, and things will already be better, but if a man curses and abuses his enemies, it is plain that an evil spirit lives in him, and if he does not repent, when he dies he will go to the place where evil spirits dwell. May the Lord preserve every soul from such adversity…. Thus our thought must be that all should be saved. The soul sorrows for her enemies and prays for them because they have strayed from the truth and their faces are set towards hell. That is love for our enemies. When Judas bethought him to betray the Lord, the Lord was stirred to pity and showed him what he was doing. Thus must we, too, be gentle with those who err and stray, and we shall be saved by God’s mercy” [Saint Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony, pp. 376-378].

These are “hard sayings,” indeed. In fact, such teaching may seem unrealistic within the chaotic and dangerous world in which we live. Yet the Gospel is always leading us toward a “higher way,” one experienced by the saints—flesh and blood human beings such as we are—and thus “possible” even though it may seem to be “impossible.” Being a Christian is about striving toward that high calling of the Gospel. Keeping in mind that God will always seek the lost sheep may prove to lead us along that same path.


Beginning of the Ecclesiastical Year &
The Day of Prayer for the Creation
September 1, 2015


To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:

On September 1, 1989, the late Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrios I issued the first message from the Ecumenical Throne on the environment.  With his proclamation and the establishment of September 1, the first day of the Ecclesiastical New Year, as the Day of Prayer for the Creation, the Church again seeks to remind us, as Mary reminded Martha, of the one needful thing - life and unity with Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ.  In that statement Patriarch Demetrios I reminds us that the holy fathers of the Church teach that, "Man is the prince of creation, endowed with the privilege of freedom. Being partaker simultaneously of the material and the spiritual world, he was created in order to refer creation back to the Creator in order that the world may be saved from decay and death."

In St Ephrem the Syrian's work "Hymns on Paradise" we are given yet another guide to how we might come into that unity and life in Christ. St Ephrem tells us that God's two witnesses, or pointers, are, "Nature, through man's use of it, [and] Scripture, through his reading it."

As the summer draws to a close and children go back to, or away to school for the first time, and begin again a new academic year ecclesiastical year, let us, being reminded by the pointers to Christ as mentioned by St Ephrem, take a moment to turn to the one needful thing in praise, worship and thanksgiving for the creation and all the blessing bestowed upon us by our merciful Creator. 

It is my prayer that the parishes, Sunday Schools, Youth Groups and other organizations of the Orthodox Church in America will take up this time around September 1 to celebrate the Day of Prayer for the Creation. Our Department of Christian Education has prepared an excellent Study and Activity Guide for young people titled,
"The Earth is the Lord's", which can be found at www.oca.org.

With my archpastoral blessings and love
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada

Building Hope

for Boys Without


And Families

Without Homes