Pastoral Letter September 2, 2018

“Let us all praise Amphilochios, the new star of the Church of Christ, truly the ornament of the island of Patmos, the beauty of monastics and lover of piety, the lamp of prudence; he intercedes to the Lord that He may have mercy on our souls.”

Apolytikion Hymn of the Newly-Canonized St. Amphilochios

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As of This past Wednesday, there is a new Saint in the Orthodox Church!

Elder Amphilochios Makris, now listed among the Saints as St. Amphilochios, was born on the island of the Apocalypse, Patmos in 1889. He was a great defender of Orthodoxy, having suffered much throughout the years of Italian Fascist Occupation of the Greek Dodecanese Islands.

During those years he set up secret schools and made sure that the Greek language and Orthodox faith continued to be taught to the children of these islands, despite the best attempts of the Fascists and the Church of Rome to tear them from their roots.

For many years he was abbot of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian on Patmos. He was a spiritual child of Saint Nektarios of Aegina. He also founded the women’s monastery of The Annunciation (Evangelismos) of the Mother of the Beloved in 1937, which still thrives today as a beacon for the faithful.

He was noted for his many virtues, his love, humility and fatherly concern for his spiritual children. Father Amphilochios was a great believer in the strength of monasticism and in Christian mission. He himself traveled as a preacher throughout the war years and beyond.

In addition, Father Amphilochios founded other monasteries throughout the Greek islands, and was responsible for orphanages and various charitable institutions. The Elder reposed in 1970. The Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople announced on August 29, 2018, that he is to be listed among the saints. St. Amphilochios reposed in the Year 1970.

May Saint Amphilochios of Patmos intercede for us!

Some Other Important Announcements to Keep in Mind:

Please enjoy a blessed Labor Day Weekend. However, I trust that your weekend activities will not interrupt your participation in the Divine Liturgy on either Saturday, September 1 in commemoration of the Indiction (Ecclesiastical New Year) or, of course on Sunday. Service times are normal.

Please be reminded that the following Sunday, September 9th, is the first day of Sunday School for the 2018-2019 School Year. As is our St. Anna Tradition, we will recognize our teachers for their years of service, bless the new School Year and the students with an Agiasmos Service (Small Blessing of the Waters), as well as sanctify the classrooms. Join us on this special day and get your children involved in our dynamic Sunday School program.

Please be aware that beginning on September 9th, in conjunction with the start of Sunday School, there will be a change to the start time of Sunday Services: The Orthros will begin at 9:00 am and will be completed, together with the Singing of the Great Doxology by 10:15 am. In other words, services are moving up a few minutes in order to accommodate a timelier finish for Sunday School classes. So please, please, let’s break our bad, summer habit of coming late to the Liturgy.

Please, when you look at the flyer about the Diamond Nugget Necklace that is to be won in a Drawing for the benefit of our Capital Campaign and Building Fund, know that tickets will be available on Sunday in the Fellowship Hall. This gorgeous piece was hand-crafted for St. Anna’s by the renowned jeweler, Sue Gragg of Sue Gragg precious Jewels in Dallas, TX. Sue and Jimmy Gragg are great friends of our St. Anna parish. They have donated to our church on multiple occasions throughout the years, including the inaugural $10,000 donation which established our Building Fund. Ironically, the retail value of this piece of fine jewelry is also $10,000. Let us honor their generosity by participating in this drawing. Only 200 tickets were printed! The Drawing will take place at the Women’s Ministry Team’s Tables Extraordinaire event.

Lastly, Saturday September 1st marks my Third Year Anniversary as the priest of St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church. Words cannot express my profound gratitude for the blessing of serving you and our God-inspired, Spirit-filled and loving parish. Also, and much more importantly, that means we also mark the Four Year Anniversary of the founding of the Greek Orthodox Mission Parish of Utah. For those of you new to the community, that’s us! Happy Anniversary to us all!

Through the prayers and intercessions of St. Amphilochios of Patmos, I remain,

With Much Love in Christ,
Fr. Anthony