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Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church

1614 E Monte Vista Road

Phoenix, Arizona 85006

602-253-9515

Regular Services

Saturday:  

 5:00 PM  Great Vespers

Sunday:

 9:00 AM  Divine Liturgy

CHRIST IS RISEN!

INDEED, HE IS RISEN!




The Right Reverend DANIEL, Bishop of Santa Rosa, Rector


Priest David Balmer, Attached, Retired


Protodeacon

Alexis Washington

Proper Church Etiquette

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April

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Today’s Saint

Parish Contacts


Bishop Daniel, Rector

bishopdaniel@sspeterpaulaz.org

480-287-0240

Father David Balmer, Attached, Retired

frdavidb@sspeterpaulaz.org

480-213-7631

Protodeacon Alexis Washington

pdnalexis@sspeterpaulaz.org

Stephanie A. Homyak, Church School Director & Newsletter Editor

stephanie@sspeterpaulaz.org

623-869-0470

Marty Gala, Myrrh Bearers

marty@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-803-0280

Andrew Evans, Council President

andy@sspeterpaulaz.org

480-948-7929

Pat Starkey, FOCA President

pabs5@cox.net

623-512-2021

Barbara Harp, Choir Director

bharp@vosymca.org

Mike Wagner, Webmaster   

mike@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-741-4950

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1st Qtr 2014




Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


This week we enter into the holiest time of the Church year—the week we know as both “Great” and “Holy.”  In the week ahead, the Orthodox Church invites us, her children, to receive abundantly from the riches of our liturgical heritage as we participate in the Holy Week services.  


It is my hope and prayer that this year’s observance of Holy Week will accomplish at least one thing for all of us: that each one of us as individuals and all of us as Church will enter more fully, more deeply, with greater understanding and with greater appreciation into the week that celebrates what we already live every day of the year: the mystery of our salvation through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.


As we enter this week and as you plan your schedule around the Holy Week Liturgies and Services, I ask you to already look to this week’s culmination on the bright morning of Pascha.  I ask you to think of the great moment of the proclamation of the Resurrection.  Having processed around the church, carrying light candles, that “Never-waning Light” which cannot be extinguished, we will arrive at the moment we have waited for a prepared for throughout the season of Great Lent.


Standing at the closed doors of the church, filled with anticipation, we are ready to proclaim the good news- the central news- of the Gospel—the Good News that Christ is risen.  At that moment the Paschal service begins with praise of the All- Holy Trinity “Glory to the Holy, Undivided, and Life-creating Trinity,” and then the assembled Church sings the great proclamation of the Feast: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!


At this moment, we’re taken out of time—we are transported to that empty tomb; we experience it for ourselves and what do we do?  We immediately proclaim the good news of salvation.  We sing, again and again, the words proclaiming Christ’s Resurrection.  We greet one another with the words which announce that “Christ is risen!  Truly He is risen!  Indeed He is risen!”  This is the greatest of joys.


And this joys is still made even greater for those who have observed the Fast and those who have walked with Christ through His last saving days and accompanied Him on His own salvific pilgrimage.  Those who have participated in the life and worship of the Church throughout the Great Forty Days, those who have kept the fast, those who have sacrificed for the sake of others and reached out in love and charity to those in need, those who have entered into prayer and deepened their relationship with Christ through prayer, all these experience the joy in a real, tangible way.  However, we do not “hold it over” those who have come late to the feast—as St John Chrysostom says in his Paschal Homily:  even those who arrive to the feast at the twelfth hour are welcomed and given a place at the festal table of Pascha.


Holy Week and Pascha will bring the devout and the not-so devout together.  Those who are in Church every Sunday and feast day stand side-by-side with their brothers and sisters who enter the Church only for the holidays and wedding and funerals.  But no member of the Church is a stranger; no member is excluded from the joy.  Neither is any member of the Church absolved from the responsibility of carrying the Good News of Christ’s Victory into the world, into the marketplace in which we live our lives.


One might ask: “What does this do for me? What does participation in Holy Week do for me—how does it help me?  What difference does it make for the way I live my life?  IT MAKES EVERY DIFFERENCE!  Having walked with the Lord through His Passion and Death.  Having witnessed the Lord shed his if blood on the Cross.  Having come to know that the Tomb is empty because Christ has conquered death, brings us to understand how we are called to live our life.  What reason can I now have for being angry with my neighbor?  What rational can I come up with for looking down on others, for judging others?  How can I be bitter about life or bear any kind of grudge?  How can I leave Christ’s work to others?  The mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection puts everything into perspective for us:


Death, where is your sting? Hell, where is your victory?  Christ is risen and you are abolished.  Christ is risen and the demons have fallen.  Christ is risen and the angels rejoice.  Christ is risen and life has found freedom.  Christ is risen, and there is no corpse in the grave.  For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  To Him be glory and might for ever and ever.  Amen! (Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysostom).


With love in the Lord,

+Bishop Daniel

 Bishop Daniel’s Message for April

Reflections in Christ

           Building Hope for Boys

          Without Families

        And

           Families Without Homes

Click here to see pictures of the Consecration of his Grace Bishop DANIEL and visit the OCA website www.oca.org  and the Diocese of the West website www.dowoca.org for more details and pictures.

Local

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

HOLY PASCHA: The Resurrection of Our Lord

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith; receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.
(Sermon of St John Chrysostom, read at Paschal Matins)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Christian faith. St Paul says that if Christ is not raised from the dead, then our preaching and faith are in vain (I Cor. 15:14). Indeed, without the resurrection there would be no Christian preaching or faith. The disciples of Christ would have remained the broken and hopeless band which the Gospel of John describes as being in hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. They went nowhere and preached nothing until they met the risen Christ, the doors being shut (John 20: 19). Then they touched the wounds of the nails and the spear; they ate and drank with Him. The resurrection became the basis of everything they said and did (Acts 2-4): “. . . for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

The resurrection reveals Jesus of Nazareth as not only the expected Messiah of Israel, but as the King and Lord of a new Jerusalem: a new heaven and a new earth.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. . . the holy city, new Jerusalem. And I heard a great voice from the throne saying “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people. . . He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:1-4).

In His death and resurrection, Christ defeats the last enemy, death, and thereby fulfills the mandate of His Father to subject all things under His feet (I Cor. 15:24-26).

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Rev. 5: 12)

THE FEAST OF FEASTS

The Christian faith is celebrated in the liturgy of the Church. True celebration is always a living participation. It is not a mere attendance at services. It is communion in the power of the event being celebrated. It is God’s free gift of joy given to spiritual men as a reward for their self-denial. It is the fulfillment of spiritual and physical effort and preparation. The resurrection of Christ, being the center of the Christian faith, is the basis of the Church’s liturgical life and the true model for all celebration. This is the chosen and holy day, first of sabbaths, king and lord of days, the feast of feasts, holy day of holy days. On this day we bless Christ forevermore (Irmos 8, Paschal Canon).

PREPARATION

Twelve weeks of preparation precede the “feast of feasts.” A long journey which includes five prelenten Sundays, six weeks of Great Lent and finally Holy Week is made. The journey moves from the self-willed exile of the prodigal son to the grace-filled entrance into the new Jerusalem, coming down as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband (Rev. 21:2) Repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study are the means by which this long journey is made.

Focusing on the veneration of the Cross at its midpoint, the lenten voyage itself reveals that the joy of the resurrection is achieved only through the Cross. “Through the cross joy has come into all the world,” we sing in one paschal hymn. And in the paschal troparion, we repeat again and again that Christ has trampled down death—by death! St Paul writes that the name of Jesus is exalted above every name because He first emptied Himself, taking on the lowly form of a servant and being obedient even to death on the Cross (Phil. 2:5-11). The road to the celebration of the resurrection is the self-emptying crucifixion of Lent. Pascha is the passover from death to life.

Yesterday I was buried with Thee, 0 Christ.
Today I arise with Thee in Thy resurrection.
Yesterday I was crucified with Thee:
Glorify me with Thee, 0 Savior, in Thy kingdom (Ode 3, Paschal Canon).

THE PROCESSION

The divine services of the night of Pascha commence near midnight of Holy Saturday. At the Ninth Ode of the Canon of Nocturn, the priest, already vested in his brightest robes, removes the Holy Shroud from the tomb and carries it to the altar table, where it remains until the leave-taking of Pascha. The faithful stand in darkness. Then, one by one, they light their candles from the candle held by the priest and form a great procession out of the church. Choir, servers, priest and people, led by the bearers of the cross, banners, icons and Gospel book, circle the church. The bells are rung incessantly and the angelic hymn of the resurrection is chanted.

The procession comes to a stop before the principal doors of the church. Before the closed doors the priest and the people sing the troparion of Pascha, “Christ is risen from the dead...”, many tImes. Even before entenng the church the priest and people exchange the paschal greeting: “Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!” This segment of the paschal services is extremely important. It preserves in the expenence of the Church the primitive accounts of the resurrection of Christ as recorded in the Gospels. The angel rolled away the stone from the tomb not to let a biologically revived but physically entrapped Christ walk out, but to reveal that “He is not here; for He has risen, as He said” (Matt. 28:6).

In the paschal canon we sing:

Thou didst arise, 0 Christ, and yet the tomb remained sealed, as at Thy birth the Virgin’s womb remained unharmed; and Thou has opened for us the gates of paradise (Ode 6).

Finally, the procession of light and song in the darkness of night, and the thunderous proclamation that, indeed, Christ is risen, fulfill the words of the Evangelist John: “The light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).

The doors are opened and the faithful re-enter. The church is bathed in light and adorned with flowers. It is the heavenly bride and the symbol of the empty tomb:

Bearing life and more fruitful than paradise
Brighter than any royal chamber,
Thy tomb, 0 Christ, is the fountain or our resurrection (Paschal Hours).

MATINS

Matins commences immediately. The risen Christ is glorified in the singing of the beautiful canon of St John of Damascus. The paschal greeting is repeatedly exchanged. Near the end of Matins the paschal verses are sung. They relate the entire narrative of the Lord’s resurrection. They conclude with the words calling us to actualize among each other the forgiveness freely given to all by God:

This is the day of resurrection.
Let us be illumined by the feast.
Let us embrace each other.
Let us call “brothers” even those who hate us,
And forgive all by the resurrection. . .

The sermon of St John Chrysostom is then read by the celebrant. The sermon was originally composed as a baptismal instruction. It is retained by the Church in the paschal services because everything about the night of Pascha recalls the Sacrament of Baptism: the language and general terminology of the liturgical texts, the specific hymns, the vestment color, the use of candles and the great procession itself. Now the sermon invites us to a great reaffirmation of our baptism: to union with Christ in the receiving of Holy Communion.

If any man is devout and loves God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. . . the table is fully laden; feast you all sumptuously. . . the calf is fatted, let no one go hungry away. . .

THE DIVINE LITURGY

The sermon announces the imminent beginning of the Divine Liturgy. The altar table is fully laden with the divine food: the Body and Blood of the risen and glorified Christ. No one is to go away hungry. The service books are very specific in saying that only he who partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ eats the true Pascha. The Divine Liturgy, therefore, normally follows immediately after paschal Matins. Foods from which the faithful have been asked to abstain during the lenten journey are blessed and eaten only after the Divine Liturgy.

THE DAY WITHOUT EVENING

Pascha is the inauguration of a new age. It reveals the mystery of the eighth day. It is our taste, in this age, of the new and unending day of the Kingdom of God. Something of this new and unending day is conveyed to us in the length of the paschal services, in the repetition of the paschal order for all the services of Bright Week, and in the special paschal features retained in the services for the forty days until Ascension. Forty days are, as it were, treated as one day. Together they comprise the symbol of the new time in which the Church lives and toward which she ever draws the faithful, from one degree of glory to another.

0 Christ, great and most holy Pascha.
0 Wisdom, Word and Power of God,
grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the never-ending day of Thy kingdom
(Ninth Ode, Paschal Canon).

The V. Rev. Paul Lazor
New York, 1977


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Christ Is Risen!









Indeed, He Is Risen!

Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women with the Noble Joseph

Today we commemorate the Holy Myrrh-bearing women Sts Mary Magdalene (July 22), Mary the wife of Clopas, Joanna (June 27), Salome, mother of the sons of Zebedee (August 3), Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus (June 4). Also St Joseph of Arimathea (July 31), and Nicodemus.

The holy right-believing Queen Tamara of Georgia is commemorated twice during the year: on May 1, the day of her repose, and also on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women.

Synaxis of all Saints of Thessalonica.

St Seraphim Bishop of Phanar (December 4, 1610)

New Martyr Elias Ardunis (January 31, 1686)

New Martyr Demetrius of the Peolponnesos (April 13, 1803)


Pascha.  Liturgy starts at about 2:50


Washing of the feet