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Weekly Bulletin for December 4, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for December 4, 2022

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Bulletins

Weekly Bulletin for November 20 and 27, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for November 20 & 27, 2022 Bishop Constantine Visit

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Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message November 13, 2022

Presbytera Andrea and Dimitri at the Washington Monument

I have perceived much beauty
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
Heard music in the silentness of duty;
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.
Nevertheless, except you share
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
You shall not hear their mirth:
You shall not come to think them well content
By any jest of mine. These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.

Wilfred Owen, The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Greetings from the Nation’s Capital! 

Any chance to walk the Mall, visit the National Monuments, and tour the shrines of our Federal Government is indeed a blessing and honor that any American Citizen should seize, given the opportunity. Though we are in Maryland for our son’s sporting event, we made sure not to miss introducing him to the stately beauty and enduring dignity that is Washington DC. Indeed, any day in our Nation’s Capital is a blessed day. And to be there on Veteran’s Day transforms the day from national pride to heartfelt thanksgiving. 

As we walked the area of the National Mall, we listened to the speakers, and partook of the events at the WWII, Korean, and Vietnam War Memorials. Vets, from all branches and eras walked in groups and stood as individuals, gracefully receiving our “Thanks for your service,” as we negotiated our way through the walkways. We felt a great sense of gratitude, seeing these proud Veterans, knowing that the marble buildings, bronze statues and sculpted artwork, all assembled to symbolize American pride and history, though permanent and stately, are only reflections of the actual people who have stood to defend our Nation. 

Every one of those Veterans has seen violence, experienced fear, heard sounds, smelled smells, and seen horrors that should never have scarred their minds or inflicted their bodies. They were placed in harm’s way, upholding the ideals and principles of our forefathers, so that the freedom and dignity of man could be protected and upheld.

While politicians come and go, governing philosophies rise and fall, red turns to blue, and blue turns to red, our collective Republic stands as one Nation Under God. To be sure, as debates are held and votes are taken in the chambers of Congress, every American should walk the streets of Washington DC and experience all that unites us, rather than dwell on that which divide s us. Abraham Lincoln’s second Inaugural Address reminded his listeners that both sides of the Civil War read the same Bible and prayed to the same God. His call to a collective consciousness is still important today.

It is also the reminder, that God is not forgotten in this great Land. It is here, between these two, blessed shores, where His Name is lifted, cherished, witnessed and glorified. Our St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church community is largely made up, as the children of immigrants. Our parents and grandparents strove to get here, so we could live and thrive here. We should never have to be reminded that their sacrifices and dreams should not be taken for granted. But sometimes we need a slight prodding. A walk through the sights of Washington DC can serve as such a reminder. That walk on Veteran’s Day is that much more vivid and powerful. 

Thank you to my grandparents who immigrated to this country. Specifically, thank you to my Papou Nick Zakis who gained his US Citizenship by serving in the Army. Thank you to my father-in-law, Steve Zoumadakis who served in the Korean War. Thank you to the Veterans of our St. Anna parish, both those living and who have passed. And to all men and women of the US Armed Forces. Bless the memories of those who never made it home and strengthen their families. God bless our incredible country, and every diverse person who calls it home. 

With Much Love in XC, 

Fr. Anthony Savas
Protopresbyter

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Bulletins

Weekly Bulletin for November 13, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for November 13, 2022 Fall 2022 Parish Assembly Meeting

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Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message November 6, 2022

Saint Nectarios of Aegina

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last Spring, our parish, and actually the entire Orthodox world in the United States were treated to an exceptional film, “Man of God,” the story of St. Nectarios of Aegina. His life and ministry as the “Modern Saint” is a guide and inspiration to us all. Let us recall our own, parish history, St. Nectarios was on our short list of names for our church. Since we will celebrate the Divine Liturgy this Wednesday in honor of his Feast Day, I thought it best to reintroduce you to his life today.

Saint Nectarios of Aegina (1 October 1846–8 November 1920), Greek: Άγιος Νεκτάριος Αιγίνης, Metropolitan of Pentapolis and Wonderworker of Aegina, was officially recognized as a Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1961. His Feast Day is celebrated every year on 9 November.

Anastasios Kephalas, later Nectarios, was born on 1 October 1846 in Selymbria (today Silivri, Istanbul) in the Ottoman Empire to a poor family. His parents, Dimos and Maria Kephalas, were pious Christians but not wealthy.

At the age of 14, he moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) to work and further his education. In 1866, at age 20, he moved to the island of Chios to take a teaching post. On November 7, 1876, he became a monk, at age 30, in the Monastery of Nea Moni, for he had long wished to embrace the ascetic life.

Three years after becoming a monk he was ordained a Deacon, taking the name Nectarios. He graduated from the University of Athens in 1885. During his years as a student of the University of Athens he wrote many books, pamphlets, and Bible commentaries.

Following his graduation he went to Alexandria, Egypt, where he was ordained a priest and served the Church of Saint Nicholas in Cairo. He was consecrated Metropolitan bishop of Pentapolis (an ancient diocese in Cyrenaica, in what is now Libya) by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Sophronios in 1889.

He served as a Bishop in Cairo for one year. Nectarios was very popular with the people, which gave rise to jealousy among his colleagues. They were able to persuade his superior that Nectarios had ambitions to displace the Patriarch. Nectarios was suspended from his post without explanation. He then returned to Greece in 1891, and spent several years as a preacher (1891–1894). He was then director of the Rizarios Ecclesiastical School for the education of priests in Athens for fifteen years. He developed many courses of study, and wrote numerous books, while preaching widely throughout Athens.

In 1904, at the request of several nuns, he established Holy Trinity Monastery for them on the island of Aegina.

Nectarios ordained two women as deaconesses in 1911. Up to the 1950s, a few Greek Orthodox nuns also became monastic deaconesses. In 1986, Christodoulos, the metropolitan of Demetrias and later archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, ordained a woman deacon in accordance with the “ritual of St. Nektarios” (the ancient Byzantine text St. Nektarios had used).

In December 1908, at the age of 62, St. Nectarios resigned from his post as school director and withdrew to the Holy Trinity Convent on Aegina, where he lived out the rest of his life as a monk. He wrote, published, preached, and heard confessions. He also tended the gardens, carried stones, and helped with the construction of the monastery buildings that were built with his own funds.

St. Nectarios died on November 8, 1920, at the age of 74, following hospitalization for prostate cancer and two months of treatment. His body was taken to the Holy Trinity Convent, where he was buried by his best friend St Savvas of Kalymnos, who later painted the first icon of St. Nectarios. The funeral of St. Nectarios was attended by multitudes of people from all parts of Greece and Egypt. His anathema was not lifted by the Alexandrian Patriarchate until 1998.

The relics of St. Nectarios were removed from the grave on 2 September 1953. Official recognition of Nectarios as a Saint by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople took place on 20 April 1961. 

Fr. Anthony Savas
Protopresbyter

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Bulletins

Weekly Bulletin for November 6, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for November 6, 2022

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Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message October 30, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I pray that you enjoy a blessed weekend as we head strongly into November. Though I indicated that we would be able to see the newly installed mosaic as soon as this week, it seems that I have over promised and under delivered. The combination of the cold and precipitation has made it not possible to uncover. Insulated tarps will remain around the scaffolding until Tuesday afternoon, when the concrete frame around the icon will be installed. Next Sunday, we should be able to witness the glory of our church’s transformation. We will reschedule the Blessing of the Mosaic, once it is uncovered. 

I am told that next Sunday, we should have access to the front door, once again, as construction will be complete on the bell tower. Finishing touches, such as windows, grills, lighting and the cross are still in the works. But soon enough, it will a functioning structure. We will then head straight into Phase II of construction, turning our sights on the interior.

Thankfully, as we have continued to communicate, worship will still remain uninterrupted. With November approaching, this is important because there are many Liturgies scheduled during this month.  November literally begins with a Divine Liturgy and ends with a Divine Liturgy. That said, this coming Tuesday, November 1st, we will commemorate the Holy Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor (Constantinople).

The Holy Wonderworkers and Unmercenary Physicians Cosmas and Damian and their mother Saint Theodota were natives of Asia Minor (some sources say Mesopotamia). Their pagan father died while they were still quite small children. Their mother raised them in Christian piety. Through her own example, and by reading holy books to them, Saint Theodota preserved her children in purity of life according to the command of the Lord, and Cosmas and Damian grew up into righteous and virtuous men.

Trained and skilled as physicians, they received from the Holy Spirit the gift of healing people’s illnesses of body and soul by the power of prayer. They even treated animals. With fervent love for both God and neighbor, they never took payment for their services. They strictly observed the command of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Freely have you received, freely give.” (Mt. 10:8). The fame of Saints Cosmas and Damian spread throughout all the surrounding region, and people called them unmercenary physicians.

Once, the saints were summoned to a grievously ill woman named Palladia, whom all the doctors had refused to treat because of her seemingly hopeless condition. Through faith and through the fervent prayer of the holy brothers, the Lord healed the deadly disease and Palladia got up from her bed perfectly healthy and giving praise to God. In gratitude for being healed and wishing to give them a small gift, Palladia went quietly to Damian. She presented him with three eggs and said, “Take this small gift in the Name of the Holy Life-Creating Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Hearing the Name of the Holy Trinity, the unmercenary one did not dare to refuse.

When Saint Cosmas learned what had happened, became very sad, for he thought that his brother had broken their strict vow. On his deathbed he gave instructions that his brother should not be buried beside him. Saint Damian also died shortly afterward, and everyone wondered where Saint Damian’s grave should be. But through the will of God a miracle occurred. A camel, which the saints had treated for its wildness, spoke with a human voice saying that they should have no doubts about whether to place Damian beside Cosmas, because Damian did not accept the eggs from the woman as payment, but out of respect for the Name of God. The venerable relics of the holy brothers were buried together at Thereman (Mesopotamia).

Many miracles were worked after the death of the holy Unmercenaries. There lived at Thereman, near the church of Cosmas and Damian, a certain man by the name of Malchus. One day he went on a journey, leaving his wife all alone for what would be a long time. He prayerfully entrusted her to the heavenly protection of the holy brothers. But the Enemy of the race of mankind took on the appearance of one of Malchus’ friends, and planned to kill the woman. A certain time went by, and this man went to her at home and said that Malchus had sent him to bring her to him. The woman believed him and went along. He led her to a solitary place intending to kill her. The woman, seeing that disaster threatened her, called upon God with deep faith.

Two horrific men then appeared, and the devil let go of the woman and fled, falling off a cliff. The two men led the woman home. At her own home, bowing to them deeply she asked, “My rescuers, to whom I shall be grateful to the end of my days, what are your names?”

They replied, “We are the servants of Christ, Cosmas and Damian,” and became invisible. The woman with trembling and with joy told everyone about what had happened to her. Glorifying God, she went up to the icon of the holy brothers and tearfully offered prayers of thanksgiving for her deliverance. And from that time the holy brothers were venerated as protectors of the holiness and inviolability of Christian marriage, and as givers of harmony to conjugal life. 

The Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Asia Minor should not be confused with the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1), or the Unmercenary Saints Cosmas and Damian of Arabia (October 17). (Source: OCA)

Remember: Our JOY Pumpkin Patch Outing is this Sunday after Church!

GOYA is this Friday at the Soter Home!

YAL is November 18th at Rocky Mountain Axe Throwing!

With Love in XC,

Fr. Anthony Savas
Protopresbyter

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Bulletins

Weekly Bulletin for October 30, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for October 30, 2022 GOYA Activity November 2022 YAL Axe Throwing JOY Outing October 2022

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Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Message October 23, 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I apologize for this late message. It has been an extremely busy week with our mosaic installer in town. What an incredible time in the history of our parish!

Before I share anything else, let me invite you to the Divine Liturgy this Wednesday Morning for the Feast of St. Demetrios. It will be your first real opportunity to see the new mosaic. We will bless it next Sunday following Church Services. 

Please note the above pictures. They are our new Sunday School rooms, located on the property of our new next-door neighbors and the future home of a Lunatic Fringe Hair Salon. The owners, Lauren Spatafore and her father, David Spatafore have graciously allowed us to hold Sunday School in their building until our classrooms (three of the intended five) are complete this spring. They are gracious and generous neighbors. 

Our preschool class will remain on our property; tomorrow, having class in the back of the church in their partitioned space, and eventually in the new storage building, once it has heat and electricity in the coming weeks. Elementary and Teenage Classes will go next door for the next few months. Our Men’s Ministry Team built a stairway and installed a handrail up to the new location. Teachers will guide the kids up for their classes following Communion. 

Once their salon is open, the employees of Lunatic Fringe will be parking in our parking lot during their business hours. We are honored as a community to be both the recipient of, and the provider of neighborly blessings. It is the way it should be. 

Enjoy a lovely remainder of your short evening. See you in a few hours. Stay warm. Come to Church!

Much Love in XC,

Fr. Anthony Savas
Protopresbyter

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Bulletins

Weekly Bulletin for October 23, 2022

Weekly Bulletin for October 23, 2022 GOYA Activity November 2022 YAL Axe Throwing