On the first Sunday of Great Lent, we celebrate the feast of the Triumph of Orthodoxy. This is an historical feast commemorating the restoration of the icons, which had been banned for several decades, to their rightful liturgical use in the year 843 A.D. The major emphasis of this feast is the victory of the true faith, the victory which always ultimately triumphs. Having completed the first week of our lenten efforts, we are reminded that Christ, the perfect image of God the Father, calls us to personal victory by restoring within ourselves "the image and likeness of God" in which we were first created (Genesis 1:26). The icons of Our Lord, the Theotokos, and all the saints are images of true humanity, signs of what our eternal calling and vocation really is. They tell us that we are all called to be living icons and imitators of Christ, bearing the likeness of God as gracious vessels of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 11:24-26;32-40: The writer of Hebrews calls us to consider the faith of those Old Testament saints who endured hardships and death and yet still did great things because of their faith. The Apostle encourages us to lay aside the encumbrances of sin and run with endurance the race that is set before us.
John 1:43-51: From our reading in the Gospel of John we see Jesus call Philip and Nathaniel to be His disciples.
Troparion of the Resurrection: The stone being sealed by the Jews, and thy pure body being guarded by the soldiers, thou didst arise on the third day, O Saviour, granting life to the world. Wherefore, the heavenly powers acclaimed thee, O Giver of life, crying, Glory to thy Resurrection, O Christ! Glory to thy kingdom! Glory to thy gracious providence, O only Lover of mankind.
Troparion of the Sunday of Orthodoxy: Thy pure image do we venerate, O good One, asking forgiveness of our sins, O Christ our God; for by thine own will thou didst ascend the Cross in thy body, to save thy creatures from the bondage of the enemy. Thou hast truly filled all with joy, since thou didst come, O our Saviour, to save the world.
Troparion of the Chains of St. Peter: O Holy Apostle, Peter, thou dost preside over the Apostles by the precious chains which thou didst bear. We venerate them with faith and beseech thee that by thine intercessions we be granted the great mercy.
Kontakion of the Annunciation: To thee the champion leader, I thy servant offer thanks for victory, O Theotokos, thou who hast delivered me from terror. As thou hast power invincible, free me from every danger that I may cry unto thee: Rejoice, O bride without bridegroom.
Sunday, March 24 (First Sunday of Lent; Sunday of Orthodoxy) 9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
6:00 p.m. -- Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers at St. George in Vicksburg
Monday, March 25 (Feast of the Annunciation) THE SCRIPTURE (Luke 1:26-38): The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee (the northernmost district of Palestine) named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house (family) of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, "Rejoice, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you! Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father (ancestor) David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob (the father of all the tribes of Israel) for ever; and of His kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the Angel, "How can this be, since I have no husband?" And the Angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God." And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid (servant) of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the Angel departed from her. THE SIGNIFICANCE: This feast commemorates the day when the Archangel Gabriel announced to a young virgin named Mary that she, among all women, had found favor with the Father. She was invited to cooperate with Him for the Incarnation of His pre-eternal Son through the operation of the Holy Spirit. This, "the beginning of our salvation," was conditioned not only by God's will and His election of Mary, but also by Mary's own "YES" to do God's will - "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."
Office Closed -- Father John's Day Off 6:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy (only) Tuesday, March 26 (Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel) 6:00 a.m. -- Lenten Orthros
Wednesday, March 27
6:30 p.m. -- Presanctified Liturgy followed by Soup Supper
7:30 p.m. -- Parish Council Meeting
6:00 a.m. -- Lenten Orthros
Friday, March 29
6:00 a.m. -- Lenten Orthros
6:30 p.m. -- Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos
5:45 p.m. -- Ninth Hour prayers followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, March 31 (Second Sunday of Lent; St. Gregory Palamas)
9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education
10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Joneses for the Divine Liturgy this morning. 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; Fr. Alexander Atty, the Dean of St. Thikon's who is battling cancer.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule: Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour March 24 Jones Skirtech/Skirtech/Parker March 25 (Mon. a.m.) Meadows Meadows (Feast of the Annunciation) March 31 Davis Strain/Dabit April 7 Yeatts Pigott/Freundt/Turner April 13 (Sat. a.m.) Abraham April 14 Freundt Algood/Bassinger/Yeatts April 21 Bassinger R. Root/Abraham/Davis April 27 (Sat. a.m.) Fahmy April 28 Baker MEAL AT COCK OF THE WALK
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. March 24 Mildred Morris Heb. 11:24-26, 32-40 281 March 25 (Mon. a.m.) Kh. Sharon Meadows Heb. 2:11-18 376 March 31 Brenda Baker Heb. 1:10-2:3 283 April 7 Walt Wood Heb. 4:14-5:6 285 April 13 (Sat. a.m.) Phillip Lasseter I Cor. 10:23-28 271 April 14 Warren Strain Heb. 6:13-20 287 April 21 Sh. Charlotte Algood Heb. 9:11-14 290 April 27 (Sat. a.m.) Kh. Sharon Meadows Heb. 12:28-13:8 291 April 28 Mildred Morris Phil. 4:4-9 294
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 Fr. Joseph and Kh. Joanna Bittle, and their daughter Abigail, in your prayers.
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.
Please continue to pray for the health of His Grace, Bishop ANTOUN.
Confessions: As we prepare our hearts and minds for Lent and the celebration of Holy Pascha, please be sure to schedule a time for confession.
* The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month. * Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers will be hosted by St. George Orthodox Church in Vicksburg this evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m. * We will celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation with Divine Liturgy (only) tomorrow morning, March 25th, beginning at 6:00 a.m.
March is Ladies Month in our Archdiocese when we honor the women in our church who serve so faithfully throughout the year. This month the Ladies will be reading the Epistle during the Liturgy.
Vacation Church School …The Christian Education department will hold a Vacation Church School June 27-29 from 8:30-12:30 each day. The curriculum will be "Ark of our Salvation – Feast Days of the Theotokos." Parents, please be sure to mark your calendars now.
Saturday of the Souls: The Orthros and Divine Liturgy for Saturday of the Souls has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 13th beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Palm Sunday Feast: Due to our construction project, we will not be able to hold our Palm Sunday Fish Fry here at the church as usual. Instead we will be going to Cock of the Walk for our meal on Sunday, April 28th following the Divine Liturgy. A sign-up sheet will be available in the coming weeks to give the restaurant a headcount for the meal. They will be providing a separate room for us and will be offering the same menu that they give us when they serve us at the church (all-you-can-eat catfish, French fries, coleslaw, cornbread and tea). The cost of the meal with gratuities is $18.00 per adult. The restaurant has requested that we write one check. You may write your checks to St. Peter and designate them for the Palm Sunday Feast. If anyone wishes to donate extra, they may do so. If anyone has a financial difficulty with the cost of the meal, please see Fr. John. We do not want anyone to miss the meal because of financial reasons.
Bible Study with Breakfast: We will suspend the biweekly Bible Study with Breakfast until after Pascha.
Fasting Discipline for March March 17th is Cheesefare Sunday, the last day until Pascha that dairy and wine are permitted. Monday, March 18th is Clean Monday, the first day of Great Lent when the traditional fasting discipline (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, wine or oil) is observed on all days of the week until Pascha (except Annunciation on March 25th and Palm Sunday on April 28th, when fish, wine and oil are permitted).
Major Commemorations for March March 24 1st Sunday of Lent ; Sunday of Orthodoxy March 25 Feast of the Annunciation March 26 Synaxis of the Archangel Gabriel March 31 2nd Sunday of Lent; Gregory of Palamas
(Remaining) Happy Birthdays in March: March 24 -- Brenden Skirtech (#9!) March 26 -- Katherine Habeeb (#5!) March 29 -- Sophie Dansereau (#2!) March 30 -- Aidan Milnor (#7!)
(Remaining) Happy Anniversaries in March: March 27 -- Sam and Anne Habeeb (#9!)
Parish Life Conference 2013: This year St. Basil Orthodox Church in Metairie, LA will be hosting the Parish Life Conference for our Diocese on June 12-16. His Grace, Bishop JOHN Abdallah will be the speaker. There will also be a special presentation by Fr. Philip Rogers on keeping our children in the Orthodox Christian Church. Parents are especially encouraged to hear his presentation. Please mark your calendars now and make plans to attend.
Quotable: "From the narration of Genesis in the Old Testament, we know that initially God created Adam's body and then He breathed into it and created his soul. By saying 'He created the soul' it is made clear that the soul is not a particle of God, the spirit of God, as some claim. But, as St. John Chrysostom says, since the inbreathing of God is the energy of the Holy Spirit, it is this energy of the Holy Spirit which created the soul, without itself being the soul. It is of vital importance to state this, for thus we understand well that the soul cannot be examined autonomously but only in connection with God." Metropolitan HIEROTHEOS, Orthodox Spirituality
Worship: Sunday, March 31, 2013 (Second Sunday of Lent; St. Gregory Palamas)
Scripture: Hebrews 1:10-2:3; Mark 2:1-12 Epistle Reader: Brenda Baker Coffee Hour: Strain/Dabit