Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church
Phoenix, Arizona
Bishop Daniel’s Message for August

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The 19th All American Council of the Orthodox Church in America was recently convened in St. Louis, Missouri.  Every three years, the bishops, clergy, monastics, and laity of our Church gather for five days of Divine Services, meetings, forums, and fellowship, reflecting upon and celebrating the life we live as Orthodox Christians on the North American Continent.  A highlight of this triennial church gathering is the address given by the Primate of our Church, His Beatitude Metropolitan TIKHON.  As part of this address, His Beatitude formally presented his reflection on the life and mission of the Church titled “Of What Life Do We Speak?”  In his preface to this work, His Beatitude writes:

“In the year 2020, the Orthodox Church in America will mark the 50th anniversary of the glorification of Saint Herman of Alaska, the first saint of North America, and the one who, together with his seven missionary companions, planted the Apostolic and monastic seeds in North America. His glorification was one of the first acts of the Orthodox Church in America as the local autocephalous Church and both the granting of autocephaly and the lifting up of the humble hermit of Spruce Island as a saint were the fruit of over 150 years of the watering and nurturing of those seeds by great figures such as Saint Innocent, Saint Jacob, Saint Tikhon, and Metropolitan Leonty of blessed memory. By their prayers and through their labors — as well as those of countless other bishops, clergy, and faithful — a local North American Church sprouted, first as a tender shoot, then as a frail sapling, and finally as the young tree that it is today.

This young tree is still tender and in need of nurturing and strengthening. It is not yet the mustard tree which is greater than all the other herbs and shoots out great branches so that the birds of the air may lodge under its shadow. And yet, even as a grain of mustard seed, the Word that was sown fell on good ground, as witnessed by the accounts of the first missionaries on this continent:

‘I have been living on the island of Kodiak since 24 September 1794. I have, praise God, baptized more than 2,000 Americans, and celebrated more than 2,000 weddings. We have built a church and, if time allows, we shall build another, and two portable ones, but a fifth is needed. We live comfortably, they love us and we them, they are a kind people, but poor. They take baptism so much to heart that they smash and burn all the magic charms given them by the shamans.’ (Archimandrite Ioasaph in his letter to Abbot Nazarii, May 1795)

How has Holy Orthodoxy in North America fared since those days full of apostolic zeal and missionary activity? The Church has certainly expanded geographically, from Alaska to the Midwest, and numerically, with waves of immigration to the East Coast; missions have been planted, seminaries established, and converts welcomed; liturgical services have been celebrated and the holy mysteries offered for the salvation and healing of souls; a wealth of books, musical compositions, lectures, and podcasts have been shared and have impacted not only this continent but the entire world. There is much that has been accomplished and much for which we should give thanks to God.”

His Beatitude continues on to outline four “pillars” upon which the work of the Church in America is built and founded (just as the Holy Altar table is built upon four pillars): The Spiritual Life, Stewardship, Relations With Others, and Outreach and Evangelization.  At the heart of this valuable offering to the Church is the simple statement from the preface quoted above: “There is much that has been accomplished and much for which we should give thanks to God.”  However, the overall message or theme of this beautifully-written reflection is that we not only have much to be thankful for, but also much to do.  The Lord has entrusted each one of us individually and all of us together with the task of building up the Church and proclaiming the Good News of Salvation. Much has been accomplished and clearly much has yet to be done. I encourage each and every one of you to read and reflect upon His Beatitude’s thoughts in this regard.  You can find it on the OCA website (oca.org), specifically at: https://oca.org/holy-synod/statements/his-beatitude-metropolitan-tikhon/of-what-life-do-we-speak-four-pillars-for-the-fulfillment-of-the-apostolic and https://oca.org/cdn/PDFs/synod/mettikhon-four-pillars.pdf.

With love in the Risen Lord,

+Bishop Daniel

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Upcoming Calendar
  • 18

    Aug

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
  • 19

    Aug

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
  • 25

    Aug

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
  • 26

    Aug

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
  • 1

    Sep

    Saturday
    The Church New Year
    5:00 Great Vespers
  • 2

    Sep

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
  • 8

    Sep

    Saturday
    NATIVITY OF THE THEOTOKOS
    5:00 Great Vespers
  • 9

    Sep

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
(Printing Instructions)

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Saints Peter & Paul Orthodox Church
1614 E Monte Vista Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85006