Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter July 1, 2018

“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,

By the time you receive our Bulletin and this message, my family and I will (God willing) be in New England, taking a few days of vacation before the 2018 Clergy/Laity Congress convenes in Boston. Please pray for the wisdom, discernment, discipline and fidelity that is required of our holy Archdiocese to continue its sacred mission of our National Church. Myself, together with Pat Daskalas are the delegates who will represent our parish. Pres. Andrea will also be present to take part in the meetings of the National Sisterhood of Presbyteres. We would all appreciate your prayers.

While I’m away, Fr. Elias will be celebrating the Divine Liturgy this Sunday. I am asking for you all to consider (actually, re-consider) something for me, and we’ll discuss it in church upon my return.

In the above quote by the Venerable St. Bede, he speaks of the interaction between us and the holy angels during the worship of the Church. During the Divine Liturgy, we are aware that the heavenly, bodiless Powers are also filling the church with their presence. They, together with us, honor Him in hymns and songs. They fly about, giving Him honor and glory. Their voices, blended with ours, lift up the sacred hymns of the Church before the Altar of God. What a great witness before Him: The angels and the faithful, singing joyfully together!

Our choir has continued to practice, prepare and work at their sacred task of singing the responses and hymns of the Divine Liturgy. Their chanting of the Liturgy has matured, as they continue to weave in more harmonies and an increase the level of sophistication of their singing.

But this, my Beloved in the Lord, is my point.

While I am so incredibly thankful to see a near-full sanctuary every Sunday during the summer, I, and the choir, have noticed that we, as a congregation, are not singing out as we’ve done in the past. Why is that?

One of the foundational goals of our parish was to include the worshiping faithful in the singing of the Divine Liturgy. A couple of years ago, we put in the time and effort to identify the best, possible materials to facilitate this goal. The hymnals and choir books were selected, not for the best, possible English translations and flow of music, but for their adaptability in the environment of congregational singing.

So, the congregation needs to start singing…again.

I truly miss hearing the sounds off all voices participating and singing out. This is who we are. This is who we wanted to be. This is how I’ve shaped, molded and prepared our musical traditions – based on what we originally wanted to do in our worship.

So, this Sunday, as Fr. Elias celebrates the Divine Liturgy, please, let’s surprise him with a resurgence in your chanting. The following week, I would also love to hear you all chanting. With the blessing of our continued summer attendance, it should sound loud, glorious and Spirit-filled.

Remember, the posture at St. Anna’s during the Divine Liturgy is that most people remain standing for the entire service. This is not usually the case in Greek Orthodox Churches, with pews or chairs in the nave.

Why do we do this? How did this come to be?

So we can sing.

Let’s sing!

With Much Love in Christ,

Fr. Anthony Savas


Weekly Bulletin for July 1, 2018

Weekly Bulletin for July 1, 2018


Services for Sunday, June 24, 2018


Weekly Bulletin for June 24, 2018

Weekly Bulletin for June 24, 2018


Services for Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter June 17, 2018

Through greed we underwent the first stripping, overcome by the bitter tasting of the fruit, and we became exiles from God. But let us turn back to repentance and, fasting from the food that gives us pleasure, let us cleanse our senses on which the enemy makes war. Let us strengthen our hearts with the hope of grace, and not with foods which brought no benefit to those who trusted in them. Our food shall be the Lamb of God, on the holy and radiant night of His Awakening: the Victim offered for us, given in communion to the disciples on the evening of the Mystery, who disperses the darkness of ignorance by the Light of His Resurrection. — Vespers on the evening of the Sunday of the Last Judgement

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

I pray that this week has been one filled with countless blessings and opportunities to grow in the Lord. We are well into the Apostles Fast and I trust that it has been a rewarding experience and an opportunity to strengthen your spiritual resolve and discipline. Before we reach the end of June and commemorate Ss. Peter and Paul and the Synaxis (Gathering) of all the Holy Apostles, we will come to another celebration: Father’s Day.

You would be correct in pointing out that Father’s Day is not a Church Feast or Commemoration. In fact, several years ago, following my ordination (that took place on Pentecost/Father’s Day) I said in a conversation that “It was nice to be ordained on Father’s Day.” His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah was within earshot and corrected me. “No,” he said. “You were ordained on the Sunday of Pentecost.” My bad.

But even though this Sunday’s secular recognition of fatherhood is not on our ecclesiastical calendar, it is equally true that every Sunday is actually “Father’s Day.” In fact, every single day that has ever existed, or will ever arrive is “Father’s Day.” We cannot even begin to fathom the role of a father without meditating upon the ministry of our Father Who is in Heaven. Our Creator. Our Sustainer. Our Benefactor. He is the Divine Who set in motion the design of creation. He lamented our expulsion from Paradise. He devised the plan for the return of humanity into the Gates of the Kingdom. He sent His Only Begotten Son to become incarnate in the flesh and to be born of the Virgin. He fashioned us from absolute nothingness and He rescued us from damnation, as we arrogantly turned away from His goodness.

We are well past the Sunday of Judgment. So please do not be confused by the above-mentioned hymn that is quoted from that service.

To me, this hymn speaks to God’s desire to become in union with us once again. In other words, a Father who longed for the companionship of His wayward children.

Father’s Day is not about BBQ grills, golf clubs or car detailing certificates (though admittedly, those all make nice gifts). There is no present or greeting card that can capture what a man receives when his sons and daughters enter the world. The gift of fatherhood itself is an honor to the man who receives that precious title.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to love unconditionally.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to sacrifice joyfully.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to discipline fairly.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to protect viciously.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to teach patiently.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to act prudently.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to speak wisely.

Fatherhood as given by the One, True Father is the responsibility to acknowledge the very Father who begat His Son in order to offer salvation to humanity.

Just as our own children make mistakes as they grow and mature, we as God’s children made a critical and fatal mistake, as we partook of the fruit and betrayed His ways. He, as the designer of perfect fatherhood, allowed us the freedom to act out impetuously; fairly presented the consequences of our actions; taught us the better way; and most importantly, did not hold us forever-accountable for our sin. He offered the gift of forgiveness. He permitted His Son to pay the price for that forgiveness, and from the Cross, and through the obedience of the Son, we became whole once again.

Father’s Day began as we were taken up from the dust of the earth. It continued as we (based on our own shortcomings) were banished away. And it was reflected through the blinding light of the Resurrection.

God gave us life.

God gave us renewed life.

God gave us abundant life.

God gives us everlasting life.

So this Sunday, as I mentioned in my message last week, I will not be with you as I travel to Camp Emmanuel with our young, freshly-minted GOYANs. Fr. Elias, a lovely father in every sense of the word, will have the blessing to share his (and my) prayers and best wishes to all of the fathers of our community. Happy Father’s Day to all the men who celebrate.

Your children, grandchildren and godchildren are stronger human beings and more faithful Christians because of your influence. At least that is the way it’s supposed to be. For many of us, we miss that mark. My own children can tell you that is the case, for sure. But with God’s grace, guidance and inspiration, we can come close enough to make the difference. For me, there is no greater joy than the blessings of being a dad, and no greater opportunity for humility than to be your “father.” I ask your forgiveness in my shortcomings in that precious capacity. You are all loved, deeply in my heart.

In the Joy of God the Father,

Fr. Anthony


Weekly Bulletin for June 17, 2018

Weekly Bulletin for June 17, 2018
St. Anna Capital Campaign


Services for Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter June 10, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Remember this one? Keep reading to the end. I have some updates!

“It’s that time of year again when schools are out, vacations are taking place, and our weekend hours become all the more precious. There are many reasons not to come to church on Sundays.

To be helpful, and to alleviate any pangs of guilt you may be feeling, I thought I should give you some more reasons. Though this list is not necessarily exhaustive, and I’m borrowing much of the concept from other sources, let’s make it easier for you to enjoy your Sunday mornings:


1. The Church is not Air Conditioned.
False! While some churches may be sweltering during the summer months, that is not the case for us! In fact, we can make the sanctuary so cold, that you’ll need to wear a sweater and bring a jacket. Remember, I am wearing several layers of vestments while serving in the altar, so I actually prefer the church to feel like a wintery wonderland. Will that help us fill the church during the summer? Brrrr.

2. I Have a Boat
Of course you do! Every other person who lives along the Wasatch Front does. Boats are great – Jesus spent a lot of time on boats since His Disciples were mostly fishermen. He preached from them, calmed storms in them, and walked on water towards them. Attend the Divine Liturgy this summer before launching your boat and I guarantee you’ll hear at least one reference to boats and/or water.

3. The Lawn Needs Mowing
And the flower beds need planting and the vegetable gardens need weeding and the fence needs painting and…and…and! There will always be chores to do around the house – both inside and out. But don’t neglect being in the Lord’s house as you attend to your own. Christ, Himself did allot of planting, harvesting, cultivating and pruning. But He did it for our spiritual benefit, not to our detriment. Put down the edger and come to Liturgy!

4. The Kids Have Games
Since moving back to Utah, we have experienced much less of this annoying occurrence in sports, but it still happens. I remember attending a club (comp) soccer game on a Sunday morning, at 7:00 am; two hours before the Orthros. Of course I was wearing my collar and a black suit since I was leaving directly to celebrate services. A woman wearing a Notre Dame hat asked me, “Father, don’t you have somewhere to be?” So of course I answered. “Sure. Don’t you also have somewhere else to be?” Yes, kids play sports. But we really need to limit their participation on Sundays. We can’t use our children’s athletic schedules as excuses to stay away from church. Who signed them up anyway?!?

5. There’s Church in the Summer, Even though Pascha was so Late?
Yup. Every Sunday morning just like the rest of the year. With Fellowship Hour, too!

6. We’re Away for the Weekend
That’s great – I hope you have a relaxing time. Be sure to take your Sunday Best with you and look up the closest Orthodox Church to your destination. It’s always fun to visit other churches and attend the Divine Liturgy in different cities. The similarities are obvious, but spotting the differences can be lots of fun, especially for the kids. If you are planning on visiting another parish this summer, let me know in advance and I will call that priest and make your introduction.

7. There’s No Sunday School
Perfect! Your kids can remain in church with you for the entire Liturgy. You can spend more time together as a family. Isn’t that better than being all separated on a dirt bike trail or on individual jet skis? Where’s the quality time in that? Besides, this is a wonderful time to have your boys who are entering into 3rd Grade start trying on Altar Boy robes and beginning to learn what to do “back there.” Summer is a non-threatening, easy time to begin Altar Service. Don’t wait for school to begin before allowing your boys to serve. Give them a head start!

8. I Gave up Summer Church for Lent
Lent is over! And the Apostles Fast is only, like, two days this year (that’s what happens when Pascha is so late.) So…since you won’t be spending the entire month of June watching your friends eat hotdogs and hamburgers at neighborhood barbeques, while you a keep a strict abstinence through the Feast of Ss. Peter and Paul, you can thank the Lord for this fast-free summer – at church! See you there!

9. I’d Rather Be Outside
I have an answer for that as well. Everyone can take turns sitting on the left side of the church so you can share opportunities in gazing out of the window. We are uniquely blessed in that most Orthodox Churches do not have windows that offer such views of nature. While attending the Divine Liturgy, at St. Anna’s, you’ll feel as though we are worshiping up a Cottonwood Canyon; the view is that lovely from our one window. Enjoy!

10. I Have a 9:00 am Tee Time
How perfect for you! This Sunday, June 12th, the Divine Liturgy begins at 7:00 am and is perfectly suited for almost any golf course – public or private. Get your early golfing done this weekend. Consider it our GOYANs gift to you, as they depart for Camp Emmanuel!

I hope you’ve found a good reason in this list to stay away from the Divine Liturgy until after Labor Day. But if not, I look forward to seeing you each Sunday. Summer is for relaxing the body and soul. The Divine Liturgy is for engaging the body and soul. You see, they’re made for each other!” WARNING: THIS WAS THE SCHEDULE TWO YEARS AGO. THIS SUNDAY’S SERVICES ARE REGULARLY SCHEDULED.

Now, for today’s thoughts on Thursday, June 7th, 2018…

If popular TV shows can offer summer reruns, why can’t I? – Fr. Anthony Savas

You may have had this thought, so I’m here to confirm for you right now: when I am blessing the congregation during the Divine Liturgy, I am also scanning to see who is there. and who is not. Especially during the summer months.

Now I realize the seemingly blatant hypocrisy of this message, as I write it poolside in Honolulu, anticipating Saturday’s marriage of Alexander Nicholas and Sarina Donnelly…

And with the knowledge that I won’t be in church this Sunday (thanks, Fr. Elias)…

And realizing that I’m kind of lazy at the moment; republishing what has already been written (being in Honolulu and all)…

And reminding everyone, every chance I get that I’m in Hawaii (did I mention that? Oh, yes, that’s where Honolulu is, of course. My bad.)…

But all of this silliness is precisely my point.

Summer is a busy time, Its a fun time. Prayerfully, its a safe time. But there is no reason that we can’t make time for worship.

I’ve never offered a late spring sermon entitled “See You in the Fall'” and there are reasons for that. God does not take a vacation from blessing, inspiring, answering, healing, protecting and gifting us. We should return the favor, in kind, by remaining joyful to stand in His presence.

Being out of town is a good enough reason not to be at St. Anna’s this Sunday, or any other Sunday. But the Sunday before you leave, and the Sunday after you return, should no longer be in play for that excuse. The choir still prepares their hymns. I (or the guest priest) will still write a sermon. You should still prepare for Communion. Please attend to the tender care of your precious soul during these months.

Lastly, I want to remind you that many of the particulars of the original post on this subject, are out of date. Especially the big, red warning that I included.

But please recall that while Pascha was very late two years ago, it was a bit early this year. So the 2018 Apostles Fast lasts actually about a full month. Please be mindful of this Fast and the reasons behind it. We are filled with God’s grace, we enjoy union with Him, and have knowledge of Him through the work of His Holy Apostles.

God bless you, enjoy the rest of this week. And into the next.

With Much Love in XC,

Fr. Anthony

Please be aware that I will not be in Church next Sunday either.

I am taking our Jr. GOYANs to Camp Emmanuel.

Believe me, NOT a vacation or a tropical wedding. (But still a great time)!


Weekly Bulletin for June 10, 2018

Weekly Bulletin for June 10, 2018