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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Open to me the doors of repentance O Giver of Life; for my spirit rises early to pray towards Thy Holy Temple, bearing the temple of my body all defiled. But in Thy Compassion purify me by the loving kindness of Thy Mercy.

In a few short days the “Doors of Repentance” will be opened for us so that we may enter into the special season of grace, the 40-day period of the Church’s year, which is known as Great Lent or the Great Fast.  Indeed, it is repentance, and fasting and abstinence which are the hallmarks of our observance of this grace-filled season.  While we dedicate more time to prayer and study of the Holy Scriptures, participate more fully in Church’s services, and reach out in charity to those in need, it is fasting of which we are most conscious in our day-to-day of life.  But fasting from the foods (i.e. limiting the amount we eat and drink) and abstinence from many types of food (i.e. not consuming any animal products and foregoing alcoholic beverages) is not an exercise we perform for its own sake. Rather, the fasting discipline to which the Church calls us is intended not only as a form of penance and self-denial, but to help us focus on our spiritual lives so that we might grow in holiness as we prepare to renew within us the Paschal Mystery of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saint John Chrysostom speaks about the importance fasting in one of his most memorable sermons.  He emphasizes that fasting is not just about eating and drinking less or abstaining from certain foods.  He states,   “I have said these things, not that we may disparage fasting, but that we may honor fasting; for the honor of fasting consists not in abstinence from food, but in withdrawing from sinful practices; since he who limits his fasting only to an abstinence from meats, is one who especially disparages it. Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works! Is it said by what kind of works? If you see a poor man, take pity on him! If you see an enemy, be reconciled to him! If you see a friend gaining honor, envy him not! If you see a handsome woman, pass her by! For let not the mouth alone fast, but also the eye, and the ear, and the feet, and the hands, and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being pure from loose living and avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing from running to the unlawful spectacles. Let the eyes fast, being taught never to fix themselves rudely upon handsome countenances, or to busy themselves with strange beauties.”  Saint John Chrysostom, the preacher with the “golden mouth,” counsels us to not only embrace fasting, but, as we embrace it, to look beyond the spiritual practice of fasting and realize that, if our fasting is to have any merit, if it is to make any difference in our lives, it must have an impact on all the areas of our life.

We are only at the beginning of the Fast and the weeks ahead can become more challenging and more tedious with each passing day- but, despite frustration or even boredom with the fast, we strive to remain faithful to it nonetheless.  So, as we strive to be faithful to the Church’s discipline, let’s also reflect upon the impact that our daily and Lenten fasting has in our daily lives.  If we are more loving, if we are caring for those around us, if we reach out to those in need, if we are curbing our tongues, if we are less tempted by the world and its enticements, we will see the fast at work within us.

The Lenten journey we are about to begin can be difficult.  But we do not begin this journey alone.  Indeed, we are surrounded by our fellow-strugglers, our brothers and sisters in Christ who are walking the same Lenten path we are walking.  This year, those who walk this path with us are greater in number as we welcome Father Thomas Frisby and the clergy and faithful of Exaltation of the Holy Cross Church.  They will be worshipping with us, praying, fasting, and repenting with us throughout the Holy Days of Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha and until they are able to locate a new place to call home.  We are blessed by their presence and participation in our parish and in our common life.  May that mutual support encourage us in our commons effort so that together we may arrive at the bright and joyous day of Pascha.

With love in the Lord,

+Bishop Daniel

Upcoming Calendar
  • 24

    Mar

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 30

    Mar

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 31

    Mar

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 6

    Apr

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 7

    Apr

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 13

    Apr

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 14

    Apr

    Sunday
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 20

    Apr

    Saturday
    5:00 Great Vespers
    Fast: wine & oil
  • 21

    Apr

    Sunday
    PALM SUNDAY
    9:00 Divine Liturgy
    Fast: fish, wine, & oil
(Printing Instructions)

Christ's Three Part Recipe for Lent

DYING to SELF

When you are forgotten or neglected and you don't hurt with the insult, but your heart is happy…

—that is dying to self.

When your advice is disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, and take it all in patient, loving silence…

—that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear disorder, irregularity, tardiness, and annoyance...and endure it as Jesus endured it…

—that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or record your own good works, or itch for praise after an accomplishment, when you can truly love to be unknown...

—that is dying to self.

When you can see your brother or sister prosper and can honestly rejoice with him, and feel no envy even though your needs are greater…

—that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, or any society…

—that is dying to self.

When you can take correction, when you can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, with no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart…

—that is dying to self.

Parish News

2019 Pan-Orthodox Vespers Schedule

March 2019 Newsletter

 

MARCH 2019 ANNOUNCEMENTS

PRESANCIFIED LITURGY – Every Wednesday and Friday evening of Great Lent at 6:00 p.m.  Please note that we are adding the Friday Presanctified Liturgy to this year’s Lenten Schedule in order to have a more robust, full, and fulfilling period of preparation for Holy Pascha.

Our Wednesday evening Liturgies will be followed by a Lenten meal and a brief presentation or period of discussion.  Our menu is simple: soup, salad, bread, and fruit.  Think of providing one of these to share at some point during the Fast.

CONFESSIONS - As we begin our Lenten Journey, we have our minds focused on being prepared to celebrate the Lord’s triumph over sin and death through His glorious Resurrection.  Our celebration of Christ’s Paschal Victory has greater spiritual meaning and brings more joy when we have received the Lord’s forgiveness through the Mystery of Repentance.  CONFESSIONS ARE HEARD BEFORE EVERY SERVICE AND BY APPOINTMENT.  Please plan on making your Easter Confession in a timely manner and to avoid the “rush” so that your confession may be made peacefully and prayerfully.

The Mission of The Orthodox Church in America, the local autocephalous Orthodox Christian Church, is to be faithful in fulfilling the commandment of Christ to “Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Learn More >

The Holy Scripture is a collection of books written over multiple centuries by those inspired by God to do so. It is the primary witness to the Orthodox Christian faith, within Holy Tradition and often described as its highest point. It was written by the prophets and apostles in human language, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and collected, edited, and canonized by the Church.

Daily Readings >

Holiness or sainthood is a gift (charisma) given by God to man, through the Holy Spirit. Man's effort to become a participant in the life of divine holiness is indispensable, but sanctification itself is the work of the Holy Trinity, especially through the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ, who was incarnate, suffered crucifixion, and rose from the dead, in order to lead us to the life of holiness, through the communion with the Holy Spirit.

Today's Saints >

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