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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

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One!

Angels with shepherds glorify Him! The wise men journey with a star! Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!



Protodeacon

Alexis Washington


Archimandrite Daniel (Brum) Rector

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

Proper Church Etiquette

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December

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Parish Contacts


Archimandrite Daniel (Brum), Rector

frdaniel@sspeterpaulaz.org

480-287-0240

Protodeacon Alexis Washington

pdnalexis@sspeterpaulaz.org

Stephanie A. Homyak, Church School Director & Newsletter Editor

stephanie@sspeterpaulaz.org

623-869-0470

Harold Homyak

harold@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-942-1734

Marty Gala, Myrrh Bearers

marty@sspeterpaulaz.org

602-803-0280

Andrew Evans, Council President

andrew@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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Love without Limits

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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


As we come to the last month of the year, we continue to observe the Nativity Fast in preparation for our celebration of the Birth of the Lord on Christmas Day. The Nativity Fast is marked by several significant feastdays which offer us the opportunity for special reflection.  At the beginning of the Fast, on November 21st we celebrated the feast of The Entrance of the Theotokos in the Temple.  In commemorating this special moment in the life of Mary of Nazareth, we were able to also reflect upon our own longing to live in the Lord’s presence: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). We also reflected upon our own desire to serve the Lord and His Church by becoming His dwelling place, His temple.  


During the Nativity Fast we also celebrate the feast days of several saints, intercessors before the Throne of God, whose lives provide ample material for imitation and reflection.  Without a doubt, at the head of this list of saints who are commemorated in the weeks before the Nativity is Saint Nicholas, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia, the Wonderworker. Other saints commemorated at this time of the year include several Old Testament Prophets whose prophetic ministry prepared the way for the coming of the Savior.  Also, Saint John of Damascus, Saint Barbara, Saint Ambrose, and Saint Herman of Alaska, among others.  The commemoration of the saints, on any day and at any time of the year, is a beautiful reminder to us of the great Communion of Saints that is the Church.  At this time of the year, remembering the saints, inspires us and encourages us to keep the fast well so that the feast will be all the more joyous.


Remembering those who have gone before us and whose prayers and intercession assist us in our earthly sojourn should also remind us that we are, here and now, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, members of the Church—and members of our own parish community—whose prayers, shared faith, love, and example also inspire us on the way that leads us to the Kingdom.


During the next few weeks, may we, each and every member of our parish community, strive to support those who journey with us.  Let us pray for one another.  Let us reach out to those in any kind of need, offering them our loving support, especially in the midst of what can be a stressful time of the year for many.  And, as we come to the end of another calendar year and look with hope to the year to come, let us rejoice together in the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon our parish family.


With love in Christ Emmanuel,

Father Daniel

 Father Daniel’s Message for December

Reflections in Christ

           Building Hope for Boys

          Without Families

        And

           Families Without Homes

Divine Liturgy

Metropolitan KALLISTOS Ware


Part of a lecture series on Orthodox Christianity

Read More of Father Daniel’s Journey to Orthodoxy.

CHRISTMAS FLOWERS - If you would like to make a donation to assist with the purchase of flowers for Christmas, please use an envelope designated for flowers or mark a check or envelope “For Christmas Flowers.”


WELCOME - We are pleased to welcome His Beatitude, Metropolitan HERMAN who, again this year, is joining us for the holidays.  We welcome him with love and pray that his stay in Arizona (and our warmer-than-Pennsylvania weather) will be restful, restorative, and enjoyable.  Welcome, also to those who accompany him on this annual trip.  Eis polla eti despota!



CONSECRATION OF ARCHIMANDRITE DANIEL, BISHOP-ELECT OF SANTA ROSA

Plans continue to be made for the Father Daniel’s Episcopal Consecration which will be held next month, January 23-25, 2015.  To stay informed about the schedule of events and the other plans being made, please see our parish website (www.sspeterpaulaz.org) or the Diocese of the West website (www.dowoca.org).


FIRST HIERARCHICAL LITURGYThe newly-consecrated Bishop of Santa Rosa will concelebrate his first Hierarchical Divine Liturgy at Saints Peter and Paul Church, Phoenix, with His Eminence, Archbishop BENJAMIN, on Sunday, February 1, 2015.  Please mark your calendars and plan accordingly.  Plans are being made for a festal luncheon to be held following the Divine Liturgy.  This special luncheon will take place at a local restaurant.  More information will be forthcoming.



Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude,

Metropolitan Tikhon


Nativity of our Lord 2014


Schedule for Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th

Eve of the Nativity

5:00 pm Compline

followed by Holy Supper

Thursday, December 25th

Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord

9:00 am

Divine Liturgy

The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, was born of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in the city of Bethlehem during the reign of the emperor Augustus (Octavian). Caesar Augustus decreed that a universal census be made throughout his Empire, which then also included Palestinian Israel. The Jews were accustomed to be counted in the city from where their family came. The Most Holy Virgin and the Righteous Joseph, since they were descended from the house and lineage of King David, had to go to Bethlehem to be counted and taxed.

In Bethlehem they found no room at any of the city’s inns. Thus, the God-Man, the Savior of the world, was born in a cave that was used as a stable.

“I behold a strange and most glorious mystery,” the Church sings with awe, “Heaven, a Cave; the Virgin the Throne of the Cherubim; the Manger a room, in which Christ, the God Whom nothing can contain is laid.” (Irmos of the 9th Ode of the Nativity Canon).

Having given birth to the divine Infant without travail, the Most Holy Virgin “wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger” (Luke 2:7). In the stillness of midnight (Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-15), the proclamation of the birth of the Savior of the world was heard by three shepherds watching their flocks by night.

An angel of the Lord (St Cyprian says this was Gabriel) came before them and said: “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). The humble shepherds were the first to offer worship to Him Who condescended to assume the form of a humble servant for the salvation of mankind. Besides the glad tidings to the Bethlehem shepherds, the Nativity of Christ was revealed to the Magi by a wondrous star. St John Chrysostom and St Theophylactus, commenting on St Matthew’s Gospel, say that this was no ordinary star. Rather, it was “a divine and angelic power that appeared in the form of a star.” St Demetrius of Rostov says it was a “manifestation of divine energy” (Narrative of the Adoration of the Magi). Entering the house where the Infant lay, the Magi “fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented Him gifts: gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt. 2:11).

The present Feast, commemorating the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, was established by the Church. Its origin goes back to the time of the Apostles. In the Apostolic Constitutions (Section 3, 13) it says, “Brethren, observe the feastdays; and first of all the Birth of Christ, which you are to celebrate on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month.” In another place it also says, “Celebrate the day of the Nativity of Christ, on which unseen grace is given man by the birth of the Word of God from the Virgin Mary for the salvation of the world.”

In the second century St Clement of Alexandria also indicates that the day of the Nativity of Christ is December 25. In the third century St Hippolytus of Rome mentions the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, and appoints the Gospel readings for this day from the opening chapters of St Matthew.

In 302, during the persecution of Christians by Maximian, 20,000 Christians of Nicomedia (December 28) were burned in church on the very Feast of the Nativity of Christ. In that same century, after the persecution when the Church had received freedom of religion and had become the official religion in the Roman Empire, we find the Feast of the Nativity of Christ observed throughout the entire Church. There is evidence of this in the works of St Ephraim the Syrian, St Basil the Great, St Gregory the Theologian, St Gregory of Nyssa, St Ambrose of Milan, St John Chrysostom and other Fathers of the Church of the fourth century.

St John Chrysostom, in a sermon which he gave in the year 385, points out that the Feast of the Nativity of Christ is ancient, and indeed very ancient. In this same century, at the Cave of Bethlehem, made famous by the Birth of Jesus Christ, the empress St Helen built a church, which her mighty son Constantine adorned after her death. In the Codex of the emperor Theodosius from 438, and of the emperor Justinian in 535, the universal celebration of the day of the Nativity of Christ was decreed by law. Thus, Nicephorus Callistus, a writer of the fourteenth century, says in his History that in the sixth century, the emperor Justinian established the celebration of the Nativity of Christ throughout all the world.

Patriarch Anatolius of Constantinople in the fifth century, Sophronius and Andrew of Jerusalem in the seventh, Sts John of Damascus, Cosmas of Maium and Patriarch Germanus of Constantinople in the eighth, the Nun Cassiane in the ninth, and others whose names are unknown, wrote many sacred hymns for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, which are still sung by the Church on this radiant festival.

During the first three centuries, in the Churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Cyprus, the Nativity of Christ was combined together with the Feast of His Baptism on January 6, and called “Theophany” (“Manifestation of God”). This was because of a belief that Christ was baptized on anniversary of His birth, which may be inferred from St John Chrysostom’s sermon on the Nativity of Christ: “it is not the day on which Christ was born which is called Theophany, but rather that day on which He was baptized.”

In support of such a view, it is possible to cite the words of the Evangelist Luke who says that “Jesus began to be about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23) when He was baptized. The joint celebration of the Nativity of Christ and His Theophany continued to the end of the fourth century in certain Eastern Churches, and until the fifth or sixth century in others.

The present order of services preserves the memory of the ancient joint celebration of the Feasts of the Nativity of Christ and Theophany. On the eve of both Feasts, there is a similar tradition that one should fast until the stars appear. The order of divine services on the eve of both feastdays and the feastdays themselves is the same.

The Nativity of Christ has long been counted as one of the Twelve Great Feasts. It is one of the greatest, most joyful and wondrous events in the history of the world. The angel said to the shepherds, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Then suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, glorifying God and saying: Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Those who heard these things were astonished at what the shepherds told them concerning the Child. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:10-20).

Thus the Nativity of Christ, a most profound and extraordinary event, was accompanied by the wondrous tidings proclaimed to the shepherds and to the Magi. This is a cause of universal rejoicing for all mankind, “for the Savior is Born!”

Concurring with the witness of the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church, in their God-inspired writings, describe the Feast of the Nativity of Christ as most profound, and joyous, serving as the basis and foundation for all the other Feasts.

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!


Archbishop Benjamin has set up a

“Home Page of Consecration

of Bishop-Elect Daniel”

click here for dates, times and details…

Christ Is Born!









Glorify Him!