"Unique and holy day, King and lord of days, feast of feasts, solemnity of solemnities. . . " Thus we celebrate the Great Feast because of the resurrection of our Lord and begin the season of celebration which lasts through Pentecost. The paschal solemnities (of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) are joined to the feast of the resurrection to endow the mystery of Christmas and the Incarnation with the fulness of its meaning and are the prerequisite condition for Pentecost. Easter, therefore, is the center, the heart of the Christian Year.
"Come, take light from the Light that has no evening, and glorify Christ, risen from the dead." The Church again represents the Christian mystery in terms of light; this Light, whose birth was marked by the star of Bethlehem, is shining among us with growing intensity; the darkness of Golgotha could not extinguish it. The physical Resurrection of Jesus would be without value to us if the divine light did not shine at the same time among us, within us. But the good news of the Resurrection is that the light brought by the Saviour now completely overcomes the darkness of our sins!
"Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down Death by death, and to those in the tomb He has given life!"
Acts 1:1-8: From our reading in Acts we are reminded that following the Resurrection and Ascension of our Lord, the Church would receive the Holy Spirit to empower Her in spreading the eternal gospel to all parts of the Earth.
John 1:1-17: Reading in the Gospel of John we see Jesus Christ as the eternally Begotten Son of The Father with Whom He has always existed. We also see John the Baptist coming to prepare the way for our Lord's ministry.
Paschal Troparion: Christ is risen from the dead; by Death has he trodden death, and upon those in the tombs, hath he bestowed life.
Hypakoe of Easter: They who were with Mary came before the dawn, found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre, and heard the angels say unto them, Why seek ye him as man with the dead, who dwelleth in light eternal? Behold the grave wrappings; make haste and declare to the world that the Lord is risen, and hath caused death to die; for he is the Son of God, the Saviour of mankind.
Kontakion of Pascha: When Thou didst descend into the grave, O Immortal, Thou didst destroy the power of Hades. In victory didst Thou arise, O Christ God, proclaiming ARejoice@ to the myrrh-bearing women, granting peace to Thine apostles and bestowing resurrection on the fallen.
Sunday, April 20 (PASCHA) 4:00 p.m. -- Agape Vespers
Monday, April 21 (Bright Monday) [NO FASTING DURING BRIGHT WEEK] Office Closed -- Father John's Day Off 6:00 a.m. -- Bright Week Orthros Wednesday, April 23 (Great-martyr George) 6:30 p.m. -- Paschal Vespers Friday, April 25 (Apostle Mark)
5:45 p.m. -- Ninth Hour followed by Great Vespers
Sunday, April 27 (Thomas Sunday) 9:00 a.m. -- Christian Education 10:00 a.m. -- Divine Liturgy
Eucharist Bread …was offered by the Meadows this morning for Great and Holy Saturday and by the Davises for the Paschal Liturgy tonight.
Eucharist Bread and Coffee Hour Schedule: Eucharist Bread Coffee Hour April 19 (Sat. p.m.) Davis POT LUCK MEAL set-up: Cheryl Pigott/Charlotte Wood April 27 D. Root Algood/Yeatts/Lasseter May 4 Yeatts R. Root/Abraham/Habeeb May 11 Abraham POT LUCK MEAL set-up: Schelver/Lavric/Turner May 18 Karam Henderson/Baker/Lockhart May 25 Fahmy Karam/Stewart/Meadows May 28 (Wed. p.m.) Baker Christian Katool
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. April 19 (Sat. p.m.) Kh. Sharon Meadows Acts 1:1-8 25 April 27 Mildred Morris Acts 5:12-20 32 May 4 Phillip Lasseter Acts 6:1-7 38 May 11 Kh. Be'Be' Schelver Acts 9:32-42 45 May 18 Brenda Baker Acts 11:19-30 52 May 25 Tom Willingham II Cor. 4:6-15 163 May 28 (Wed. p.m.) Walt Wood Acts 1:1-12 63
Continue to pray for Metropolitan Paul (who is also the brother of our Patriarch) and the Syriac Archbishop John of Aleppo who were abducted while on a humanitarian mission in Syria.
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.
His Eminence Metropolitan SILOUAN of Buenos Aires and Argentina (who is the Patriarchal Vicar of New York and all North America) has announced that the 40 Day Memorial for His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP will be celebrated in all the parishes of our Archdiocese on Sunday, May 4th. Plans are being made for His Eminence, Metropolitan SILOUAN to visit all of the dioceses in our Archdiocese in the next several weeks. At this time we do not know where or when his visit to our diocese will occur. We will continue to commemorate His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP through the 40 days until May 4th, after which he will be commemorated on the anniversary of his repose.
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; Walt and Charlotte Wood and their family; Tom and Jennifer Skirtech and their family; Tom and Kathy Willingham; Athena and Anthony Zouboukos and their family.
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 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.
Archdiocese Special Assembly: The date of June 5, 2014 has been set for the special assembly to nominate 3 candidates for Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. These will be forwarded to His Beatitude, Patriarch John X and the Holy Synod where the final decision will be made as to who succeeds His Eminence, Metropolitan PHILIP of Thrice Blessed Memory. Father John will represent St. Peter's at this assembly which will be held in Chicago from 9-5 at an, as yet, undisclosed hotel. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Trinity in these proceedings.
Welcome and Many Years to Nikki Lasseter who was chrismated this morning!! Kh. Janet is her sponsor.
Please remember Simon, Rola and Antonina Karam in your prayers as they are in Lebanon for the next few weeks visiting Simon's father who is ill.
* The Men of the parish meet for lunch and fellowship on the first Thursday of the month. * The Ladies of St. Peter will meet at 10:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of each month to pray the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children. Those who are able will go out for lunch and fellowship afterwards. * This Afternoon -- Agape Vespers at St. Peter at 4:00 p.m. * The Youth Group will meet for a meal and Christian Education with Father John on Sunday, April 27th beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Clean-up following the Paschal Meal: Charlotte and Cheryl will only be doing set-up for the meal so we are also asking for volunteers to clean up afterwards. Gentlemen, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to help! Clean up will be important because we will be hosting the Agape Vespers the following afternoon.
Agape Vespers: St. Peter will be the host church for the Agape feast this year. The feast will be at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. We'll be buying all the food and renting a tent and tables and chairs for this. We'd ask that everyone contribute as you can to help us out with expenses. There will be some baskets out for this. Costas Pavlou has graciously offered to do the cooking, and Nikki Lasseter and Emily Parker will be in charge of the egg hunt. Charlotte Algood and Be'Be' Schelver will be in charge of the feast. Thanks goes out in advance to all of you who are helping with this occasion!
Fasting Discipline for April During Bright Week (the week following Pascha) there is no fasting of any kind. The traditional fasting discipline (no meat, dairy, eggs, fish, wine or oil) will again be observed on the last Wednesday of the month.
Major Commemorations for April April 23 Great-martyr George
Young Adults Study Group: The Young Adults will meet once a month on Sunday evening from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. (time will be strictly adhered to) for a meal, fellowship and teaching. The date for next meeting will be set sometime soon. Please let Father John know by text or e-mail if you will be there, so that plans may be made for the meal.
Canned food drive: The Christian Education classes are collecting canned good s for the needy.
Suggestions on use of the Cry Room: -- Please remember you're in liturgy when you're in the cry room. -- Its main purpose should be a place for parents to take their children if they're being disruptive during liturgy, staying for 5-10 minutes (or until the child is calmed down) and then returning to liturgy. -- It should not be used as a main sitting area during the liturgy. -- Children should not be eating snacks or watching electronic devices while in the cry room.
Parents, please supervise your children with food in the Fellowship Hall. We are getting stains on the new carpet (and also the chairs in the nave).
Vacation Church School: We will be holding our Vacation Church School on Thursday-Saturday, June 26-28. The focus of this year's school will be on educating our children about the lives of their Name-Saints and of Sts. Peter and Paul. After Pascha, Sam Habeeb will be looking for volunteers to help with this wonderful program.
Happy Birthdays in April: April 6 -- John Wood (#21!) April 11 -- Brandon Strain (#12!) April 15 -- Anna Grace Dansereau (#1!) April 26 -- Alexander Andrei (#2!)
Happy Anniversaries in April: April 11 -- Simon and Rola Karam (#4!) April 12 -- Mike and Cheryl Pigott (#33!) April 28 -- Anthony and Athena Zouboukos (#24!)
Quotable: "The Sign of the Cross is likewise a prayer. It is an appeal to Heaven made in the Name of Him Who in submission to the Will of His Father, 'humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross' (Phil. 2:8); of Him Who declared, 'If you ask the Father anything in My Name He will give it to you' (John 16:23). Hence we begin and end our devotions with the Sign of the Cross in order that our petitions may be more acceptable at the Throne of Grace."
"When we are assured by Christians of all ages, but especially by those of the first centuries, that we have at our command so powerful a weapon in the Sign of the Cross, it is much to be regretted that we do not make better use of it in our times. Never did the world array before the child of God enemies so numerous or so insidious as at the present time. They assail him on every side, not only with sword and fire, but with false philosophies, with pride of intellect, with religious indifference, with, materialism, with denial of God. It is more difficult to combat a lifetime against these enemies than it would be to gain the Martyr's crown in a momentary struggle in the amphitheater. If for the first Christians, trained in the school of the Apostles and their immediate successors, the frequent use of the Sign of the Cross was so necessary, is it not also indispensable to us? Let us then follow the pious custom of our Fathers in the Faith and make the Sign of the Cross more frequently."
Rev. Fr. David F. Abramtsov, The Orthodox Companion Worship: Sunday, April 27, 2014 (Thomas Sunday) Scripture: Acts 5:12-20; John 20:19-31 Epistle Reader: Mildred Morris Coffee Hour: Algood/Yeatts/Lasseter