Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This month, our parish community has the honor and joy of hosting the 2014 Diocesan
Assembly of the Diocese of the West. Parishes throughout the Diocese normally take
turns hosting this event—most generally in the San Francisco Bay Area or the Pacific
Northwest. It has been exactly twenty years since this annual diocesan meeting
has taken place in Phoenix—so it’s certainly our turn. In 1994, the Assembly was
held at the local Franciscan Retreat Center, with only the Divine Liturgy taking
place in our church. Much has changed in the past twenty years—the Diocese has grown
(nearly doubled in number of communities); Phoenix has grown; and, thanks be to God,
our parish has also grown. And we’ve also seen many improvements to our temple and
parish property over these past years. The Assembly offers our parish the opportunity
to offer hospitality to our brothers and sisters throughout the Diocese as well as
to showcase our parish community as we live and celebrate our Orthodox Faith here
in the Sonoran Desert.
Particularly special to this 2014 Assembly is the fact that, in addition to our own
Archpastor, Archbishop Benjamin, we will welcome His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.
Although His Beatitude has been present in the Diocese of the West prior to this,
this will be his first official visit to a diocesan-wide event.
Additionally, over one hundred clergy, lay delegates, and observers will come together
for prayer, to review the life of the Diocese over the past year, and to plan for
the future. Through the past few months, several members of our parish community
have been planning and working to make this a memorable event. The “behind-the-scenes”
activities and preparations are more involved than most would imagine!
A lot of hard work and enthusiasm—and a lot of love and care—are a part of hosting
this Assembly. While the planning and carrying out of the plans for this event might
at times be tiring or frustrating, in the end we all know that what we are doing
by hosting this Assembly is of service to the Church and to the Lord Himself. As
we welcome all of our guests, we welcome them into our parish family home with love
and with open arms—we welcome them as we welcome the Lord Himself.
As I have announced on several occasions, the highlight of the Assembly will be the
celebration of the Divine Liturgy on Thursday, October 9, at 8:00 a.m. This is also
the Feast of the Glorification of Saint Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener
of North America—and His Beatitude’s nameday. I encourage everyone in the parish,
if at all possible, to take the time away from work or school or whatever else you
might be engaged in that day, in order to be present and participate in this Liturgy.
It is a rare occurrence that the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America is present
in the Diocese of the West—and even rarer that he would visit our parish. Hopefully,
everyone realizes the importance and meaning of this special visit and will be able
May the Lord bless all of you for your kindness, hospitality, and willingness to
welcome our guests to Phoenix.
With love in the Lord,
St Peter the Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia
The celebration of a special day to honor Saints Peter, Alexis, Jonah the Metropolitans
and Wonderworkers of All Russia was established by Patriarch Job on October 5, 1596.
In 1875, St Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow (March 31 and October 6) proposed that
St Philip be included with the others. St Hermogenes was added only in the year 1913.
In 2005 the Church of Russia added St Innocent (March 31 and October 6), St Macarius
(December 30), St Job (April 5 and June 19), St Tikhon (April 7 and October 9), St
Philaret (November 19), St Peter (September 27), and St Macarius (February 16).
By celebrating these hierarchs on a common day, the Church offers each of them equal
honor, as heavenly protectors of the city of Moscow and prayerful intercessors for
Information about the Lives of these holy Hierarchs is found under the dates of their
commemoration: St Peter (December 21 and August 24), St Alexis (February 12 and May
20), St Jonah (March 31, May 27, and June 15), St Philip (January 9 and July 3 ),
St Hermogenes (February 17 and May 12 ).
Martyr Charitina of Amisus
The Martyr Charitina of Rome was orphaned in childhood and raised like a daughter
by the pious Christian Claudius. The young woman was very pretty, very sensible,
kind and fervent in faith. She imparted to other people her love for Christ, and
she converted many to the way of salvation.
During a time of persecution under the emperor Diocletian (284-305), St Charitina
was subjected to horrible torments for her strong confession of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and she died in the year 304.
UPDATE ON THE DIOCESAN ASSEMBLY OCTOBER 7-9, 2014: A Planning Committee meeting for
the annual Diocesan Assembly which is being hosted by our parish (October 7-9) was
held Wednesday, August 27. Planning continues to go forward with great enthusiasm
as we look forward to welcoming clergy and lay delegates from throughout the Diocese
of the West. If you haven’t yet volunteered to help, please see Fr Daniel.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE DIOCESEN ASSEMBLY ---THE DIVINE LITURGY - Mark your calendars now!
Metropolitan TIKHON and Archbishop BENJAMIN will preside at the celebration of the
Divine Liturgy on Thursday, October 9, at 8:00 a.m. October 9th is the day on which
the Orthodox Church commemorates the Glorification of Saint Tikhon, Patriarch of
Moscow. It is also Metropolitan Tikhon’s nameday. Mark your calendars now and plan
on attending. This is an historic event for our community—plan on taking a few hours
off of work or away from school in order to participate in this special moment. You’ll
be glad you made the effort to participate in this memorable event.