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As we navigate through these difficult times, St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church invites all faithful to remotely light a candle and offer a prayer.
Fr. Anthony will light as many narthex and vigil (7-day) candles as you would like to request. To make a request, simply email Fr. Anthony at email@example.com specifying the number and type of candles you would like to have lit, providing the name(s) you would like to have read for each candle. You can also call Fr. Anthony at 801-824-3987 to make your request and provide your name(s).
To make a donation for the candles requested, simply click here to access our online donation page. On the line for “Other Donations” insert the amount you wish to donate and type “Candle Donations” in the adjacent comment box.
Donations can also be mailed via check addressed to: St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church, P.O. Box 171224, Holladay, Utah 84117
May God continue to bless and protect all people of the world as we navigate through these challenging times.
The Entrance of the Theotokos – Tomorrow – November 21
The second great feast of the Theotokos is the celebration of her entrance as a child into the Jerusalem Temple which is commemorated on the twenty-first of November. Like the feast of her nativity, this feast of Mary is without direct biblical and historical reference. But like the nativity, it is a feast filled with important spiritual significance for the Christian believer.
The texts of the service tells how Mary was brought as a small child to the temple by her parents in order to be raised there among the virgins consecrated to the service of the Lord until the time of their betrothal in marriage. According to Church tradition, Mary was solemnly received by the temple community which was headed by the priest Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist. She was led to the holy place to be “nourished” there by the angels in order to become herself the “holy of holies” of God, the living sanctuary and temple of the Divine child who was to be born in her.
There is no doubt that the verses of the Old Testament Psalm 45, used extensively in the services of the feast, provided a great inspiration for the celebration of Mary’s consecration to the service of God in the Jerusalem Temple.
Hear, O Daughter, and consider and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your Lord, bow to him . . .
The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes, in many-colored robes she is led to her king, with her virgin companions, her escort, in her train.
With joy and gladness they are led along, as they enter the palace of the king.
Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations, therefore, the peoples will praise you forever and ever(Ps 45.10–17).
The Orthodox Church understands these words of the psalm to be a prophecy directly related to Mary the Theotokos. According to the Gospel of Saint Luke which is read at the Vigil of each of her feasts, Mary herself speaks the following words:
My soul magnifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden. For behold, hence-forth all generations shall call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation(Lk 1.47–50).
The main theme of the feast of Mary’s entrance to the Temple, repeated many times in the liturgical services, is the fact that she enters the Temple to become herself the living temple of God, thus inaugurating the New Testament in which are fulfilled the prophecies of old that “the dwelling of God is with man” and that the human person is the sole proper dwelling place of the Divine Presence (Ezek 37.27; Jn 14.15–23; Acts 7.47; 2 Cor 6.11; Eph 2.18–22; 1 Pet 2.4; Rev 22.1–4).
Today is the preview of the good will of God, of the preaching of the salvation of mankind. The Virgin appears in the temple of God, in anticipation proclaiming Christ to all. Let us rejoice and sing to her: Rejoice, O Divine Fulfillment of the Creator’s dispensation(Troparion).
The most pure Temple of the Saviour, the precious Chamber and Virgin, the Sacred Treasure of the Glory of God, is presented today to the house of the Lord. She brings with her the grace of the Spirit, which the angels of God do praise. Truly this woman is the Abode of Heaven!(Kontakion).
The fortieth chapter of Exodus about the building of the tabernacle is read at Vespers, together with passages from the First Book of Kings and the Prophecy of Ezekiel. Each one of these readings all end with exactly the same line, “for the glory of the Lord filled the house [tabernacle] of the Lord God Almighty” (Ex 40.35; 1 Kg 8.11; Ezek 44.4).
Once again on this feast, the Old Testament readings are interpreted as symbols of the Mother of God. This “glory of the Lord” is referred to the Mother of Christ and it “fills” her and all people after her who “hear the word of God and keep it” as the Gospel of the festal liturgy proclaims (Lk 11.37–28). The epistle reading at the Divine Liturgy also proclaims this very same theme (Heb 9.1–7).
Thus, the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos into the Temple is the feast which celebrates the end of the physical temple in Jerusalem as the dwelling place of God. When the child Mary enters the temple, the time of the temple comes to an end and the “preview of the good will of God” is shown forth. On this feast we celebrate—in the person of Christ’s mother—that we too are the house and tabernacle of the Lord.
. . . We are the temple of the living God, as God said, “I will live in them and move among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor 6.16; Is 52.11). From the Orthodox Church in America.
Whenever we enter the church and draw near to the heavenly mysteries, we ought to approach with all humility and fear, both because of the presence of the angelic powers and out of the reverence due to the sacred oblation; for as the Angels are said to have stood by the Lord’s body when it lay in the tomb, so we must believe that they are present in the celebration of the Mysteries of His most sacred Body at the time of consecration.St. Bede the Venerable
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we celebrate today, the gathering of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and All the Heavenly, Bodiless Powers, I pray that the numberless multitude of the angels, together with your own, personal guardian angels, bring you closer to God through their fantastic ministry. Please allow me to share with you a beautiful exhortation about this Feast by His Eminence Metropolitan Panteleimon of Antinoes:
The Synaxis of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and all the Heavenly Powers
The love of Almighty God is a quality which is externalized through the creation, from non-being, of both the invisible world, or that of the angels, and the creation of the material and visible universe. The culmination of the whole creative love of God was expressed with the formation of human beings and finally with the salvation of our race in Christ.
The world of the angels was the first creative act of God. The holy angels are noetic creations, immaterial spirits which are forever in motion. Angels are free and independent spirits: they had the choice to remain firmly in their holiness or to turn to wickedness, as was the case with Lucifer, who conceived evil, and with all those angels who followed him and fell. The angels are bodiless and serve God, ceaselessly praising His sanctity and limitless power. God created angels in the beginning to be immortal and strangers to both corruption and death.
They are, however, capable of change, as regards their nature and their outlook, that is they have the ability to alter their nature and to make the leap from good to evil. They take their glory and brightness from God. Angels are circumscribed, they aren’t able to be everywhere at once, as is the case with God.
According to the sacred Tradition of the Church, angels are separated into three classes and nine celestial orders. The first class contains: the seven-winged seraphs, the many-eyed cherubs and the thrones; the second has the dominions, strongholds and powers, while the third consists of the principalities, archangels and angels. Today, the Church celebrates the Synaxis of the Archangels. Synaxis means ‘assembly’ or ‘conclave’. Why do we celebrate the assembly of the Archangels and all the Heavenly Angelic Powers?
When God created the angels, He give them complete freedom over their thinking. They had to show, however, that they were worthy of the honor with which they’d been invested. This is why their faith was tested. One of them, Lucifer, the first in all the ranks of the angels, the most splendid, most powerful and brilliant, succumbed to overweening pride and thought he could supplant God and place his own throne above that of God.
That was his sin: his great pride. He revolted against God and took with him a large number of angels who, with their fall, were transformed from lambent angels into dark ones, from holy to wicked. When the evil angels, the demons, fell, all the ranks of the heavenly powers assembled and the Archangel Michael stood in the middle and cried aloud: ‘Let us stand aright. Let us stand in fear of God’.
Immediately all the holy angels proved their loyalty to God and refused to follow the wicked thinking of Lucifer. This is the event we celebrate today. We don’t celebrate the fall of the evil angels, but the convocation of the holy ones who demonstrated their true and unshakable loyalty to the one True God and Creator of all things. The holy angels came together to express their loyalty to the Creator, and since then they’ve remained firm in holiness and goodness.
Today’s feast of the Archangels reminds us of two things. First, if the angels who fell into pride lost their merit and brightness through sin, how much more true is this of us Orthodox Christians, if we don’t meet the requirements of virtue? If such an irreparable calamity could befall Lucifer, because he wasn’t watchful and turned to wickedness, how much more will some such catastrophe occur to those who of their own volition remain bound to sin?
Secondly, we should learn from the example of the angels. Society today is a constant challenge and every day we have to confess our loyalty to Christ. When sin, however it presents itself, casts its enticing snares to trap us, then we have to be firm in the virtues.
We have to cry aloud in faith: ‘Let us stand aright, let us stand in fear of God’, so that what happened to Lucifer doesn’t happen to us as well.
We have to resist evil every day, because our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood but against the authorities and powers of darkness of this age. In this engagement, we have the holy angels on our side, continuously praying to the Lord for our salvation. Amen
Through the intercessions, prayers, guidance and protection of the Heavenly Hosts, may you all enjoy a blessed Feast!
With Much Love in XC,
Fr. Anthony Savas
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I trust and pray you are well. The recent months behind us, and the time ahead has been, and certainly will be full of challenges and opportunities to seek out, participate in, and extend God’s mercies. I do not know of anyone that has not been touched in some way by either the physical or economic impact of the pandemic. Of course, I believe that we are also spiritually impacted by the recent circumstances our world finds itself in right now. This is obvious and painful.
Thankfully, there are in people dedicated completely to the welfare, betterment, dignity, comfort and protection of God’s precious children. Yes, indeed, the literal children – the vulnerable, little ones. But ALL his children who suffer, are in want, face crisis, have been displaced, lack basic needs, or find themselves lost in any way. For our Archdiocese, this group of protectors, sustainers, comforters and providers is the National Philoptochos Society, and by extension, parish-based women’s philanthropy groups, such as our Women’s Ministry Team.
The Philoptochos (literally translated as “Friends of the Poor”) is actually the second largest women’s auxiliary group in America. Our former Archbishop Michael established the Philoptochos to be the charitable arm of the church. Just like individual Greek Orthodox parishes, the Philoptochos is made up of chartered organizations based in local parishes. Philoptochos operates on the local, Metropolis and Archdiocese levels, just like the Archdiocese itself. They have their own governing body, organization, physical headquarters and system.
They are a unique ministry under the umbrella of our National Church.
As our parish is newly-established, and have only received our charter as a parish in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America this past summer, we have yet to take the formal steps of maturing our Women’s Ministry Team into a Philoptochos Chapter. This will take time. Such transitions, while eventual and necessary, take time, sensitivity, education and conscious effort. No doubt, us being largely apart still, due to coronavirus, has dampened the efforts to work towards such a lofty goal.
I can say without reservation, that the most important, energizing, Christ-centered and pure work of the church in America, coupled with our liturgical life, is the work that these thousands of dedicated women work towards and provide. Without a doubt, and above the call, the ladies of our Women’s Ministry Team are included.
I bring this up on this day, as tomorrow, Sunday November 1, 2020 is the Feast Day of Saints Cosmas and Damian, two twin-brother physicians who dedicated their lives to healing for the sake of glorifying God and comforting His children. I have included within the body of this writing, an Encyclical from His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, as these saints are the patron saints of Philoptochos and by extension, our Women’s Ministry Team. Please prayerfully read his words and contemplate his message…
Feast of the Holy Unmercenaries, Saints Cosmas and Damian November 1, 2020
Πορευόµενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, δαιµόνια ἐκβάλλετε· δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε.
And as you go, proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand! Cure the infirm, cleanse and restore the lepers, raise up the dead, cast out demons. Generously you have received, generously give.
– (Matthew 10:7-8)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America, Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today we commemorate the Holy Unmercenaries, Cosmas and Damian – patrons of our National Philoptochos. These physician Saints are called Ἀνάργυροι – “renouncers of silver,” because they applied their healing arts without ever accepting payment of any kind. Theirs was a health care system that treated the whole person: body, mind, heart, and spirit.
Their ministry was based above all in love, and love was always their motivation. How appropriate it is that these brothers are the Heavenly Patrons of our National Philoptochos, for the Philoptochos is above all else a sisterhood of love – love for the poor, whether that poverty is economic, emotional, or spiritual.
Therefore, on this Sunday when we celebrate these wondrous Saints, our National Philoptochos has dedicated their collections that are being taken across the Archdiocese for the needs and the support of the benevolent and philanthropic ministries of our Mother Church of Constantinople.
The Ecumenical Patriarchate provides concrete services to orphans and the poor at the Baloukli Hospital and Senior Center. When you offer generously, I pray that each of you offer as to your own mother, with an intention to be of the most help possible. We depend on our National Ladies Philoptochos Society and local Philoptochos chapters for this special offering, and they deserve all our gratitude.
Especially in the time of the pandemic, the needs are great and conditions are challenging. Your generosity is a proclamation that the Kingdom of Heaven has arrived, has come unto the world. For the Lord said that the ministries of healing recognize the gift of God that we have all received, and thus we can give to others.
Thank you for your love for our Holy Mother Church, and on behalf of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, I express the deep gratitude of the Great Church of Christ for the ongoing support of the Ladies Philoptochos Society and the faithful of our Holy Archdiocese for these precious ministries.
With paternal love in our Lord Jesus Christ,
† ELPIDOPHOROS Archbishop of America
As we do not have a tradition of “passing trays” on Sundays, I ask that if you feel compelled to participate in such an opportunity of giving, please send your donations to St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church, earmarked for Philoptochos, and we will supplement, and forward donations taken from our community.
This also gives me the opportunity to thank our St. Anna’s Women’s Ministry Team, especially through our co-presidents Beverly Bartel and Joanne Dokos for the countless hours they all dedicate to the principals and actions of their precious and philanthropic work. The ladies of our WMT are gems in the crown that is our parish.
May the Feast of the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian be an inspiration to us all.
May the work of our Women’s Ministry Team continue to be blessed, especially in times of great need, and while great limitations are placed on their efforts to gather, raise funds and work.
May our national organizations, especially those solely dedicated to philanthropic (philanthropy – literally translated as “friends of mankind”) work and Philoptochos specifically, find the support necessary to continue their mission.
May we all continue to navigate these days with faith, vision, trust, hope and joy. I love and miss you all tremendously. I remain,
With Love in XC,
Fr. Anthony Savas
The Holy Great-Martyr Demetrius – Celebrating Monday, October 26
This glorious and wonderworking saint was born in Thessalonica of noble and devout parents. Implored of God by childless parents, Demetrius was their only son, and so was raised and educated with great care. Demetrius’s father was a commander in Thessalonica. When his father died, Emperor Maximian appointed Demetrius as commander in his place.
As he appointed him, Maximian, an opponent of Christ, particularly recommended that he persecute and exterminate the Christians in Thessalonica. Demetrius not only disobeyed the emperor but openly confessed and preached the Lord Jesus Christ in the city of Thessalonica. When the emperor heard of this he became furious with Demetrius. Then, when he was returning from battle against the Sarmatians, Maximian stopped at Thessalonica to investigate the matter.
The emperor summoned Demetrius and questioned him about his faith. Demetrius openly acknowledged his Christian Faith to the emperor and also denounced the emperor’s idolatry. Maximian cast Demetrius into prison. Knowing what was awaiting him, Demetrius gave all his goods to his faithful servant Lupus to distribute to the poor, and joyfully awaited his imminent suffering for Christ the Lord. An angel of God appeared to him in prison, saying: “Peace be to you, O sufferer of Christ; be brave and be strong!” After several days, the emperor sent soldiers to the prison to kill Demetrius.
The soldiers found the saint of God at prayer and ran him through with lances. Christians secretly took his body and honorably buried it. Healing myrrh flowed from the body of the martyr of Christ, curing many of the sick. Soon, a small church was built over his relics.
An Illyrian nobleman, Leontius, was afflicted with an incurable illness. He hastened, with prayer, to the relics of St. Demetrius and was completely healed. In thanksgiving, Leontius erected a much larger church on the site of the old church. The saint appeared to him on two occasions.
When Emperor Justinian wanted to translate the relics of the saint from Thessalonica to Constantinople, flaming sparks sprang from the tomb and a voice was heard: “Stop, and do not touch!” And thus, the relics of St. Demetrius have remained for all time in Thessalonica. As the protector of Thessalonica, St. Demetrius has appeared many times, and on many occasions has saved Thessalonica from great calamity. His miracles are without number. The Russians considered St. Demetrius to be the protector of Siberia, which was conquered and annexed to Russia on October 26, 1581.
From the Prolog of Ochrid
Apostle and Evangelist Luke of the Seventy
Saint Luke is commemorated on October 18.
The Holy Apostle and Evangelist Luke, was a native of Syrian Antioch, a companion of the holy Apostle Paul (Phil.1:24, 2 Tim. 4:10-11), and a physician enlightened in the Greek medical arts. Hearing about Christ, Luke arrived in Palestine and fervently accepted the preaching of salvation from the Lord Himself.
As one of the Seventy Apostles, Saint Luke was sent by the Lord with the others to preach the Kingdom of Heaven during the Savior’s earthly life (Luke 10:1-3). After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saints Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus.
Luke accompanied Saint Paul on his second missionary journey, and from that time they were inseparable. When Paul’s coworkers had forsaken him, only Luke remained to assist him in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:10-11). After the martyric death of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul, Saint Luke left Rome to preach in Achaia, Libya, Egypt and the Thebaid. He ended his life by suffering martyrdom in the city of Thebes.
Tradition credits Saint Luke with painting the first icons of the Mother of God. “Let the grace of Him Who was born of Me and My mercy be with these Icons,” said the All-Pure Virgin after seeing the icons. Saint Luke also painted icons of the First-Ranked Apostles Peter and Paul. Saint Luke’s Gospel was written in the years 62-63 at Rome, under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. In the preliminary verses (1:1-3), Saint Luke precisely sets forth the purpose of his work. He proposes to record, in chronological order, everything known by Christians about Jesus Christ and His teachings.
By doing this, he provided a firmer historical basis for Christian teaching (1:4). He carefully investigated the facts, and made generous use of the oral tradition of the Church and of what the All-Pure Virgin Mary Herself had told him (2:19, 51).
In Saint Luke’s Gospel, the message of the salvation made possible by the Lord Jesus Christ, and the preaching of the Gospel, are of primary importance.
Saint Luke also wrote the Acts of the Holy Apostles at Rome around 62-63 A.D. The Book of Acts, which is a continuation of the four Gospels, speaks about the works and the fruits of the holy Apostles after the Ascension of the Savior. At the center of the narrative is the Council of the holy Apostles at Jerusalem in the year 51, a Church event of great significance, which resulted in the separation of Christianity from Judaism and its independent dissemination into the world (Acts 15:6-29). The theological focus of the Book of Acts is the coming of the Holy Spirit, Who will guide the Church “into all truth” (John 16:13) until the Second Coming of Christ.
The holy relics of Saint Luke were taken from Constantinople and brought to Padua, Italy at some point in history. Perhaps this was during the infamous Crusade of 1204. In 1992, Metropolitan Hieronymus (Jerome) of Thebes requested the Roman Catholic bishop in Thebes to obtain a portion of Saint Luke’s relics for the saint’s empty sepulchre in the Orthodox cathedral in Thebes.
The Roman Catholic bishop Antonio Mattiazzo of Padua, noting that Orthodox pilgrims came to Padua to venerate the relics while many Catholics did not even know that the relics were there, appointed a committee to investigate the relics in Padua, and the skull of Saint Luke in the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Vico in Prague.
The skeleton was determined to be that of an elderly man of strong build. In 2001, a tooth found in the coffin was judged to be consistent with the DNA of Syrians living near the area of Antioch dating from 72-416 A.D. The skull in Prague perfectly fit the neck bone of the skelton. The tooth found in the coffin in Padua was also found to fit the jawbone of the skull.
Bishop Mattiazzo sent a rib from the relics to Metropolitan Hieronymus to be venerated in Saint Luke’s original tomb in the Orthodox cathedral at Thebes.