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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


Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death.

And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.


Beloved in Christ,


With next Saturday’s commemoration of the Raising of Lazarus (April 8), we will enter into our annual observance of the week we refer to as “Great and Holy.”  The beautiful and solemn services of Holy Week offer us the opportunity to accompany the Lord in His last days, the saving days of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  The Divine Services of Holy Week offer a unique vantage point that allows us to not only observe, but to fully enter into the experience of the Lord’s salvific death and life-giving resurrection.  We walk with the Lord as He enters Jerusalem in triumph, carries His cross to   Golgotha, and is laid in the tomb.  And then, with the Holy Myrrhbearing Women, we discover that the tomb is empty and that Christ is risen.


Those who have attended these services can attest to the power of the experience—there is no experience like it found outside the Orthodox Church.  And there is no celebration of Pascha like one that has been prepared for beforehand by participation in the services of Holy Week.   The schedule of our parish Holy Week and Pascha Services is included in this monthly newsletter and may also found on our parish website; feel free to copy it and share it with family and friends and others you might wish to invite to share in this deeply spiritual and life-changing        experience.


I look forward to celebrating and praying the Divine Services of Holy Week with you all.  May our participation in the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Savior bring all of us to the eternal joy of the Kingdom He has opened      unto us.


With love in the Lord Who goes to His voluntary Passion,


+Bishop Daniel

Church Etiquette

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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 April

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Building Hope

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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

Click here to see Bishop Daniel’s Emails

Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despair, lust of power, and idle talk.


But give rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.


Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother, for blessed art Thou, unto ages of ages. Amen.

HOLY PASCHA: The Resurrection of Our Lord

Commemorated on April 16


Pascha (Easter)


Enjoy ye all the feast of faith; receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

(Sermon of Saint John Chrysostom, read at Paschal Matins)

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the center of the Christian faith. Saint 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! Saint 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, O Christ.

Today I arise with Thee in Thy resurrection.

Yesterday I was crucified with Thee:

Glorify me with Thee, O 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, O 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, O 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 Saint 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 Saint 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.


O Christ, great and most holy Pascha.

O 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

The Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude,

Metropolitan Tikhon

on the Great and Holy Pascha 2017


To the Venerable Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, Monastics, Distinguished Stewards, and the entire family of the Orthodox Church in America:

CHRIST IS RISEN!  INDEED HE IS RISEN!

(Click to read)

The Paschal Message of

Archbishop Benjamin

On the Great and Holy Pascha 2017


“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” (Mark 16:6)


To the Reverend Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the West


Dearly beloved:

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

(Click to read)

Christ Is Risen!












Indeed, He Is Risen!

Click here to see “Christ Is Risen!” In 36 Languages

Tuesday Apr. 25th , 2017


Christ is risen!  Indeed He is risen!

Today, the Tuesday of Saint Thomas week, is known as “The Day of Rejoicing” - Radonitsa. As we continue to celebrate with the full joy of Pascha throughout these forty days, we remember those Orthodox Christians from all ages who have died in faith and in the hope of resurrection.

It is traditional to remember one’s loved ones in prayer, whether at church with special memorial services or by visiting their graves and praying for them there, sharing with them the joy of the Resurrection.  Often, especially in Orthodox countries, entire families visit the graves of their loved ones and ask a priest to serve a memorial services and bless the graves.  

If you are unable to visit a cemetery, you might consider honoring the memory of your departed loved ones by remembering the poor and needy by giving alms to someone you might encounter today or by making a special donation to a charity that serves the poor. Christ is risen!

Sunday of the Holy Myrrhbearing Women with the Noble Joseph

Commemorated on April 30


Today we commemorate the Holy Myrrh-bearing women Saints 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 Saint 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.