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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


The Right Reverend DANIEL, Bishop of Santa Rosa, Rector


Priest David Balmer, Attached, Retired


Deacon

Drew Maxwell

Biography

Master, Teacher of wisdom, Bestower of virtue, you teach the thoughtless and protect the poor: Strengthen and enlighten my heart. Word of the Father, let me not restrain my mouth from crying to you: / Have mercy on me, a transgressor, O merciful Lord!

Adorned with the royal purple of your virtues, you were glorious as a hierarch and shone forth resplendently, wise Porphyrius. You were excellent in word and deed and you strengthen all with the grace of godliness. As you ever serve Christ, do not cease to pray for the world.


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,



At the beginning of this month (February 2) we celebrate the Great Feast of the Meeting of the Lord.  Recalling the evens recounted to us in the second chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, we remember that the Lord Jesus, on the fortieth day after His birth, was taken by Mary and Joseph and presented in the Temple in order to fulfill the ordinances of the Law (Luke 2:22-40).

Central to the story of the Lord’s presentation on the fortieth day is the man referred to as “just and devout,” the pious and faithful believer, Simeon.  The Gospel tells us that Simeon was looking forward to the consolation of Israel and that the Holy Spirit was upon him.  When Simeon saw the forty-day-old infant Jesus being brought into the Temple, he recognized in this small child the fulfillment of his hope.  Taking the Infant Jesus into his arms, Simeon proclaimed the beautiful words we hear at every Vesper service: “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word.  For my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-31).

Indeed, this Infant, whose birth we celebrated a few short weeks ago, was and is the Light of Revelation to the entire world.  And the good news is that His light continues to shine in our hearts and lives and throughout the world.  Some would say, of course, that this Light does not seem to be burning very brightly today in the world in which we now live.  This brilliant shining Light is only dimmed by the world’s sinfulness and by our personal sinfulness as well.  But, acknowledging this, we do not lose heart!  The brilliance of the Light of Christ shining in our hearts and lives- and, indeed, in the world—can be restored through our own lives of repentance, by our own turning again to the Lord.  

In a few short weeks, indeed, before the end of this month, we will enter into the very serious, sober, solemn, and focused period of Great Lent.  As we enter into this season of the Great Fast, the Church encourages us to enter more deeply into the spirit of penance and provides us with all the “tools” we need to remove any haze or fog or mist that dampens the brightness of the Light that has come into the world.  I encourage everyone in our parish community and each one of you as individuals to recognize the great means which the Church offers us to enable the Light of Christ to shine within us.  The Scriptures invite us to prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  I ask that you join with me in seeking to redouble our efforts in prayer—both our personal prayer and by a greater participation in the additional opportunities for prayer which the Church offers us in the season of Great Lent.  Take the fasting prescriptions of the Church seriously, to the best and fullest of your ability and to the fullest extent your physical health will allow.  Give alms—seek to help those around you in any kind of need.  Give alms of spiritual support, reaching out to those who feel in need of any type of support.  And, yes, give alms from your own material resources, stretching out a hand to those in need of material assistance- and there are many.  

Making use of and, yes, taking advantage of, these means for spiritual growth in Great Lent will help each and every one of us to refocus, to wipe away from our lives anything that dims the Light of Christ within us so that the Light of Christ may shine brightly in our world.

Be assured of my prayers- for all of you and for each of you- as we prepare to enter into the season of grace which we know as Great Lent.  May the Light of Christ, which illumines all, enlighten your hearts and homes.


With love in the Lord,

+Bishop Daniel

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Parish Contacts


Bishop Daniel, Rector

bishopdaniel@sspeterpaulaz.org


480-287-0240

Father David Balmer, Attached, Retired

frdavidb@sspeterpaulaz.org


480-213-7631

Deacon Andrew Maxwell

deaconandrew@sspeterpaulaz.org


480-320-8059

Stephanie A. Homyak, Church School Director & Newsletter Editor

stephanie@sspeterpaulaz.org

623-869-0470

Barbara Peterson, Myrrh Bearers

barbara@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-278-1994

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


Mara Hecht, Teen & Young Adult League   

mara@sspeterpaulaz.org


Mike Wagner, Webmaster   

mike@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-741-4950

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 Bishop Daniel’s Message for February

Visit our local Monasteries  websites

Saint John of San Francisco Monastery

Monastery of Saint Anthony the Great

Saint Paisius Monastery



Building Hope

for Boys Without

Families

And Families

Without Homes










The Most Blessed TIKHON
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada


Biography








The Most Reverend BENJAMIN
Archbishop of San Francisco and the Diocese of the West


Biography

4th Quarter Visitor Stats

Sunday of Cheesefare: Expulsion of Adam from Paradise

Commemorated on February 26


As we begin the Great Fast, the Church reminds us of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise. God commanded Adam to fast (Gen. 2:16), but he did not obey. Because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden and lost the life of blessedness, knowledge of God, and communion with Him, for which they were created. Both they and their descendents became heirs of death and corruption.


Let us consider the benefits of fasting, the consequences of disobedience, and recall our fallen state. Today we are invited to cleanse ourselves of evil through fasting and obedience to God. Our fasting should not be a negative thing, a mere abstention from certain foods. It is an opportunity to free ourselves from the sinful desires and urges of our fallen nature, and to nourish our souls with prayer, repentance, to participate in church services, and partake of the life-giving Mysteries of Christ.


At Forgiveness Vespers we sing: “Let us begin the time of fasting in light, preparing ourselves for spiritual efforts. Let us purify our soul, let us purify our body. As we abstain from food, let us abstain from all passion and enjoy the virtues of the spirit....”


St. Porphyrius the Bishop of Gaza

Commemorated on February 26


Saint Porphyrius, Archbishop of Gaza, was born about the year 346 at Thessalonica. His parents were people of substance, and this allowed Saint Porphyrius to receive a fine education. Having the inclination for monastic life, he left his native region at twenty-five years of age and set off for Egypt, where he lived in the Nitrian desert under the guidance of Saint Macarius the Great (January 19). There he also met Saint Jerome (June 15), who was then visiting the Egyptian monasteries. He went to Jerusalem on pilgrimage to the holy places, and to venerate the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord (September 14), then he moved into a cave in the Jordanian wilderness for prayer and ascetic deeds.


After five years, Saint Porphyrius was afflicted with a serious malady of the legs. He decided to go to the holy places of Jerusalem to pray for healing. As he lay half-conscious at the foot of Golgotha, Saint Porphyrius fell into a sort of trance. He beheld Jesus Christ descending from the Cross and saying to him, “Take this Wood and preserve it.”


Coming out of his trance, he found himself healthy and free from pain. Then he gave away all his money to the poor and for the adornment of the churches of God. For a time he supported himself by working as a shoemaker. The words of the Savior were fulfilled when the saint was forty-five years old. The Patriarch of Jerusalem ordained Saint Porphyrius to the holy priesthood and appointed him custodian of the Venerable Wood of the Cross of the Lord.


In 395 the bishop of the city of Gaza (in Palestine) died. The local Christians went to Caesarea to ask Metropolitan John to send them a new bishop who would be able to contend against the pagans, which were predominant in their city and were harassing the Christians there. The Lord inspired the Metropolitan to summon the priest Porphyrius. With fear and trembling the ascetic accepted the office of bishop, and with tears he prostrated himself before the Life-Creating Wood and went to fulfill his new obedience.


In Gaza there were only three Christian churches, but there were a great many pagan temples and idols. During this time there had been a long spell without rain, causing a severe drought. The pagan priests brought offerings to their idols, but the woes did not cease. Saint Porphyrius imposed a fast for all the Christians; he then served an all-night Vigil, followed by a church procession around the city. Immediately the sky covered over with storm clouds, thunder boomed, and abundant rains poured down. Seeing this miracle, many pagans cried out, “Christ is indeed the only true God!” As a result of this, 127 men, thirty-five women and fourteen children were united to the Church through Holy Baptism, and another 110 men soon after this.


The pagans continued to harass the Christians. They passed them over for public office, and burdened them with taxes. Saint Porphyrius and Metropolitan John of Caesarea journeyed to Constantinople to seek redress from the emperor. Saint John Chrysostom (September 14, January 27 and 30) received them and assisted them.


Ss. John and Porphyrius were presented to the empress Eudoxia who was expecting a child at that time. “Intercede for us,” said the bishops to the empress, “and the Lord will send you a son, who shall reign during your lifetime”. Eudoxia very much wanted a son, since she had given birth only to daughters. Through the prayer of the saints an heir was born to the imperial family. As a result of this, the emperor issued an edict in 401 ordering the destruction of pagan temples in Gaza and the restoration of privileges to Christians. Moreover, the emperor gave the saints money for the construction of a new church, which was to be built in Gaza on the site of the chief pagan temple.


Saint Porphyrius upheld Christianity in Gaza to the very end of his life, and guarded his flock from the vexatious pagans. Through the prayers of the saint numerous miracles and healings occurred. The holy archpastor guided his flock for twenty-five years, and reposed in 420 at an advanced age.

Announcements for February


IN ADDITION TO REGULAR SERVICES THIS MONTH:


Sunday, Feb. 26th – Cheesefare Luncheon followed by       Forgiveness Vespers

Monday, Feb. 27th – Canon of Saint Andrew at 6:00 pm

Tuesday, Feb. 28th – Canon of Saint Andrew at 6:00 pm

Wednesday, Mar. 1st  – Liturgy of the Presanctified       Gifts at 6:00 pm followed by Lenten Meal


All Saints Orthodox Summer Camp

Flagstaff, Arizona


Registration is officially open!


Click Here for details allsaintscamparizona.org


I was a counselor at All Saints last year and truly cannot speak highly enough of All Saints, their Orthodox mission and the counselors and staff who run it!


If you have any children, grades kindergarten through 12th, that are interested in going, please click on the link above and sign up! Feel free to reach out to me personally with any questions as well, 440-479-4982 or mara.hecht@gmail.com