This Feast Day is one of the greatest days of the Christian year. In English, we are accustomed to hearing this Feast Day called "Epiphany," a word which means "manifestation" or "appearance." On this day, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist (he is called "the Baptist" because he baptized Christ). Epiphany is also called "Theophany" which means "God shows Himself to us." The importance of this Feast Day lies in the fact that for the first time the Holy Trinity was revealed for all mankind to know and believe (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). When Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, a voice was heard from the heavens above saying, "This is my Son in whom I am well pleased." The Father whose voice was heard from the heavens was God. The white dove was the symbol of the Holy Spirit which descended upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Thus, we have the Holy Trinity being revealed to all that day, almost 2000 years ago. This is why we call this day the day of illumination (light) and manifestation (appearance). The Holy Trinity made its appearance, and we have been illuminated by this wonderful truth and blessing. On this day we have the traditional blessing of the waters. Since the waters of the Jordan were blessed in the presence of Jesus Christ, it is a source of Divine Grace and blessing, and we bless ourselves and our homes with the waters of the "Sanctification Service" which is held during the Epiphany Services. Theophany Day is a day of illumination and sanctification. Let us pledge ourselves to a greater participation in the sacramental life of the Church of Christ. When the Priest blesses our homes, let us all pray that the blessing of the Theophany Season be with us throughout the year and may our homes be sanctified with our prayers, Christian living and spiritual direction in our lifetime.
Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7: In the reading from Titus, St. Paul reminds us that the grace of God saves us through baptism in Jesus Christ -- the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3:13-17: Our Lord did not need purification. But by making the purification of humanity His own, He would wash away the sin of humanity, grant regeneration, and reveal the mystery of the Holy Trinity.
Troparion of Theophany: By thy baptism, O Lord, in the River Jordan, worship to the Trinity has made its appearance; for the voice of the Lord didst come forth to thee with the testimony, naming thee beloved Son; and the Spirit in the likeness of a dove, confirming the truth of the word. Wherefore, O thou who didst appear and light the world, glory to thee.
Kontakion of Theophany: Today thou hast appeared to the universe, O Lord, and thy light hast been shed upon us, who praise thee with knowledge, saying, Thou hast come and appeared, O unapproachable Light.
Sunday, January 6 (Theophany)
9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
12:00 p.m. -- Pot Luck Meal
4:00 p.m. -- Outdoor Blessing of the Waters at the Ross Barnett Reservoir followed by a meal at Cock of the Walk Monday, January 7 (Synaxis of the Forerunner) Office Closed -- Father John's Day Off 6:00 a.m. -- Daily Orthros 6:30 p.m. -- Daily Vespers 7:30 p.m. -- Choir Practice
6:00 a.m. -- Daily Orthros
Friday, January 11 (Theodosios, the Head of Monasteries) 6:00 a.m. -- Festal Orthros
7:30 a.m. -- Bible Study with Breakfast
5:45 p.m. -- Ninth Hour Prayers followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, January 13 (Sunday after Theophany)
9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Daniel Roots for the Divine Liturgy this morning and the Artoklasia Bread was offered by the Bakers for the Feast of the Circumcision and Feastday of St. Basil the Great this past Monday evening.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule: Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour January 6 D. Root POT LUCK MEAL (Feast of Theophany) (Set-up: Dansereau/Algood/Meadows) January 13 Yeatts Schelver/Lavric January 15 (Tues pm) Abraham Meadows (Feast of the Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter) January 20 Bassinger R. Root/Abraham/Davis January 27 Freundt Henderson/Baker/Lockhart
Schedule for Epistle Readers – Page numbers refer to the Apostolos (book of the Epistles) located on the front pew. Please be sure to use this book when you read. January 6 Tom Willingham Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7 361 January 13 Tom Skirtech Eph. 4:7-13 364 January 15 (Tues pm) Sh. Charlotte Algood Acts 12:1-11 50-51 January 20 Walt Wood II Cor. 4:6-15 163 January 27 Warren Strain Heb. 7:26-8:2 334
Please remember Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.
Please be reminded of the following: Be very careful with the Blessed Bread when you take it after communion. Because this bread has been blessed, we should take care not to let crumbs fall on the floor. Parents, especially, please help your children to choose a small piece and treat it carefully. Also, at the end of the liturgy, maintain a prayerful disposition during the veneration of the cross as the prayers of thanksgiving after communion are still underway. Please exchange your greetings with each other in the Fellowship Hall during Coffee Hour.
Please remember the following in your prayers: Steve, Sheryl and Stephen Chamblee; Amy and Brantley Oliver; Aidan Milnor, the Milnor family; Sam and Lamia Dabit and Sammie; Georgia Buchanan, George Johns (Georgia's grandson) and his family; Mary Greene (Lee and Kh. Sharon's sister); Fr. Stephen Tewfik; Sh. Gail Shannon; Dn. Sidney and Sh. Mary Elliot.
Please be reminded that the Sacristy/Vestry which is adjacent to and behind the altar in our church is considered by the Orthodox Church to be part of the Sanctuary (Altar area) and should not be entered without the blessing of the priest for a specific purpose. If you need to speak with a member of the clergy while they are in the Sanctuary, please ask them to come to you in the nave.
House Blessings! A sign-up sheet is available in the Fellowship Hall to sign up for your house blessing. Please schedule these as soon as possible. Everyone should have their home blessed. However, the responsibility for scheduling lies with individuals and not Father John. No house blessings will be done once Great Lent starts (March 18th this year).
Pledge Letters will be mailed next week. Please fill these out and return them to office as soon as possible. Your pledges make it possible to plan a budget for the coming fiscal year.
* The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month. * The great Feast of Theophany will be celebrated today with a Pot Luck meal following the Divine Liturgy. We will hold our traditional Blessing of the Waters at the Reservoir with our sister churches later this afternoon at Old Trace Park on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Those who wish to do so will gather for a meal afterwards at Cock of the Walk nearby. * Our Patronal Feastday (Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter) will be celebrated with Orthros followed by Divine Liturgy on Tuesday evening, January 15th, beginning at 6:00 p.m. This is an important day in the life of our parish as we honor our beloved St. Peter. Please mark your calendars and make plans to attend. * Deanery Youth Retreat is scheduled for February 15-17, 2013. More details later.
He is Worthy! His Beatitude, JOHN X (Yaziji) was elected by the members of the Holy Synod on December 17th to succeed the late Patriarch IGNATIUS who reposed on December 5th. Prior to his election as Patriarch of Antioch, His Beatitude served as the Metropolitan Archbishop of Western and Central Europe. May God grant him Many Years! (Additional information on Patriarch JOHN is available on the table in the hallway.)
The Deanery Youth Retreat is scheduled for February 15-17, 2013. Sister Magdalene from the Monastery of St. John in England will be the speaker. Sister Magdalene will also be speaking at St. Peter's for two evenings around the time of the retreat. More details will be available at a later date. But be sure to mark your calendars now for the retreat and Sister Magdalene's talks!!
Coffee Hour guidelines have been posted on the refrigerator in the kitchen. These list the items to be set out for Fasting and Non-fasting Coffee Hours along with guidelines for setting out the food and for storage afterwards. Please be sure that the power switch on the dishwasher is turned off when you are through with clean-up.
Fasting Discipline for January The traditional fasting discipline(no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, wine or oil) is observed on the remaining Wednesdays and Fridays of the month.
Major Commemorations for January January 7 Synaxis of the Forerunner January 11 Theodosios the Head of Monasteries January 16 Veneration of the Chains of St. Peter January 18 Athanasios and Cyril of Alexandria January 20 Euthymios the Great January 25 Gregory the Theologian January 27 John Chrysostom January 30 The Three Hierarchs January 31 Cyros and John the Unmercenary Healers
When you host Coffee Hour or the meal for a Feast, please make sure that the oven, warmer, and coffee maker are turned off afterwards. On several occasions in the past, the cleaning ladies have found the oven still on when they came in to clean later during the week. Happy Anniversaries in January: January 10 -- Bob and Georgia Buchanan (#26!) January 17 -- Chris and Rebecca Dansereau (#4!) January 19 -- Ramzi and Jean Kafoury (#10!)
Happy Birthdays in January: January 1 -- Dn. Richard Root January 5 -- Sarah Anne Milnor January 10 -- Georgia Buchanan January 11 -- Nicholas Henderson January 12 -- Cheryl Pigott January 13 -- Nader Dabit January 19 -- Saliba (Sam) Dabit January 20 -- Alfred Katool January 22 -- Tatiana Lavric January 24 -- Oliver Yeatts January 30 -- Chris Dansereau
Building Fund: As we proceed with the plans for the approval by the City of Madison and Metropolitan PHILIP for our addition/renovation, we are reviewing our Building Fund. We currently have over $150,000 in the fund and are regularly adding to it. The Parish Council has decided to apply cash donations from the Sunday offering to the Building Fund – UNLESS it is specified or otherwise apparent that these are intended as a regular tithe/donation. Of course, other donations by check, etc., specified for the Building Fund are always welcome! So feel free to chip in a little (or lot!) extra as you are able. With God's grace, we look forward to this next phase of our building program and beyond to the next phase of building a new main church building/temple.
Quotable: "When the faithful man, who always pays strict attention to the commandments of God, performs all that the divine commandments enjoin and directs his mind toward their sublimity, that is, to a conduct and purity that are above reproach, he will discover his own limitations. He will find that he is weak and lacks the power to attain to the height of the commandments, indeed he is very poor, that is, unworthy to receive God and give Him thanks and glory, since he has as yet failed to attain any good of his own. One who thus reasons with himself in the perception of his soul will indeed mourn with that sorrow which is truly most blessed, which will receive comfort and make the soul meek. (cf. Mt. 5:5)." St. Symeon the New Theologian
Worship: Sunday, January 13, 2013 (Sunday after Theophany)
Scripture: Ephesians 4:7-13; Matthew 4:12-17 Epistle Reader: Tom Skirtech Coffee Hour: Schelver/Lavric